When Love Takes Away Your Personal Freedom.

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In order to have a meaningful relationship with another person, you need to be able to be yourself. That is not always a good thing. We cannot always show our true colors to the people at work, in the grocery store, or on the subway. But you need to be able to do some of that at home. You need to let the other person see, and hear about, your weaknesses. But this means that you become vulnerable.

We can hurt a person who is vulnerable considerably more than a person who has her guard up all the time. That is part of what it means to be vulnerable. Because vulnerability increases the chance that you might get hurt, being vulnerable can be scary. It’s risky business. Having to take that risk and live with that risk can be overwhelming to the point that our love becomes mixed with the occasional bout of hate.

However it is easy enough to see how love and hate can coexist in cases of unreciprocated love. But you can hate a person you love even when your love is reciprocated, and even when you have an overall thriving relationship with them. This is one of the things that is paradoxical about love and love relationships — whether romantic or not. Having an actual “we-spend-time-together” relationship with another person on the basis of love (romantic love, friendship love, parental love) requires giving up a little of your autonomy and personal freedom. Sometimes you need to spend time with the other person. This leaves less time to do things that you would rather do at that very moment. Certainly, when my alarm goes off at 5:00 in the morning so I can get ready to drive my love to work, I would much rather turn off the alarm and roll over for some more shut-eye — all else being equal. But not all else is equal.

When you have a relationship with another person, there will inevitably be times when you need to set aside your own preferences and heed the wishes or needs of the other. Sometimes you need to find a middle ground. If my better half wants to watch three movies, and I want to watch one, we might end up watching two. Meeting the other person halfway also entails giving up some of your personal freedom. In Western cultures, at least, where the importance of autonomy and personal freedom is repeatedly emphasized, having to let go of your freedom to some extent may not always feel right, especially not if you are used to being on your own and doing whatever you want.

You may perceive the giving and the deal making as a sacrifice or punishment. If you see your significant other as the reason for your loss of personal freedom, you may hate them a little — or a lot. It’s very important to note that, when love blends with hate, it turns to a case of ambivalence. In functional relationships, the ambivalence tends to be short-lived. The love trumps the hate. But ambivalence lasts longer whenever two emotions or desires genuinely compete. Longing and wanting erode our psychic skin by submitting us to uncertain outcomes, and possibly agonizing pain. For example, our loving, longing, and wanting may not be reciprocated. Impediments might present themselves, such as distance, religion, and marital status, as well as more internal complications within a couple, like ambivalence, insecurity, and worries about intimacy.

Love is a complicated thing and there is no bench mark or preset way to deal with it. So live your moments when the vibe is on when its done hit the road jack.

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