Romance! This comedy about a woman looking for perfect love in the middle of Manhattan triggered a lengthy and heartfelt discussion about the relationships in our lives, past and present. Several people talked about the various sorts of pain and learning we've experienced in our relationships, as well as our continuing work on becoming healthier and more self-realized so that we can attract healthier and more sustaining relationships (and avoid the icky ones!).
The discussion got off to a fast start with Question #1, because several of us have felt pressured by family and friends to "grow up," get married and start a family. Sometimes, however, that societal pressure hasn't stopped there. Rather, we've felt pressure to rebound into a new relationship after the dissolution of another relationship, such as during a divorce.
We received the message from others (as well as from the inner critics in our own heads) that somehow we're just not whole people unless we have a current relationship. And that, of course, is just what Question #4 was asking, because the view of romance that we learned as we were growing up is what makes us feel so inadequate when we don't have a "serious relationship," and so afraid of leaving a relationship--no matter how unsatisfying it might be--unless we have another relationship available to jump into immediately.
And so it became clear that we are responsible for choosing, creating and maintaining our relationships, no matter how fulfilling or unfulfilling they have been. It has been the beliefs and self-imposed limitations that we've accepted that have determined our decisions about who to choose, when to leave, and when to stay. That realization has helped us stop blaming others for our relationships and start taking responsibility for them ourselves (as in Question #5).
Here are the questions:
(Commentary by Elaine Dove)