Non-Ownership Paradigm

Posted by on May 6, 2013

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering the concept of ownership of people with in our society and then, subsequently, pondering ownership within my own relationships. I started out my journey by preferring to have very specific rules about my partner’s behaviors while in a relationship with me. I was the rigid person who felt that any form of cheating was a deal-breaker that would end the relationship. I thought that it made my relationships better and safer. I thought that it gave me more security.

But, rules don’t stop a cheater. It doesn’t actually stop the lying or problems or issues. It simply sets up a punishment system. This works better for governments than it does for personal relationships. For me, it was a false sense of security that lulled me into thinking that my relationships were healthier than they were. So, then, why do we all feel the need to have these rules? I truly believed that it was a way to ensure love and to gain security. But, I began to realize that I needed to have that sense of love and security from within myself rather than looking for it externally. It was about self-esteem and being happy with who I am and making better partnership choices from within that place. In the most basic sense, I needed to really own myself and my own happiness and to truly take ownership and control of my own life. Without that, I would never be happy with anyone.

A part of this was also recognizing my partner’s right to the same self-ownership and happiness. And, then, encouraging them to grow and become the person that they want to be rather than the person that I want them to be or think that they should. It was about truly loving someone for who they are and encouraging their growth and happiness. I realized that I don’t want a partner who is with me because they either feel that they have to be or that they don’t really have a choice. I want a partner who is fully engaged in being with me because they want to be there. I don’t want to coerce them or force them or use rules to corral them into the relationship or even into the right behavior. To me, that doesn’t seem very loving.

This can be hard to wrap your head around. But, all the rules in the world really won’t change what a person chooses to do. I do like to agree on one base rule – to try to act out of love and compassion.  But, we tend to forgo the books of detailed ‘rules’ and deal in boundaries and limits. Rules generally attempt to control the behavior of others while boundaries are what you set to help you meet your needs. We talk about those boundaries and limits. Sometimes, we may push those boundaries and limits. But – because we’ve talked about them, we (ideally) have clear ideas on what can be pushed and what will break the relationship and also what is expected in exchange for pushing those boundaries and where those deal-breakers lie.

It also brings up a heavy need for honesty and self-reflection to make sure that each person has the necessary knowledge to make educated decisions about their life. It also requires accepting that your partner is the best expert on themselves and their own needs and not second-guessing their decisions. It’s not my job to stop my partner from having a specific person in their life or taking a certain job or what have you. It is my job to give my opinion and to be honest about it and to help them make an informed decision. But ultimately, I really can’t make those decisions for them. It often brings about a very frank discussion of differences in personal needs and how to accommodate them.

It ends up becoming focused on informed consent, making your own choices and trying to allow time for decisions and consensus to happen.

Last modified on May 8, 2013

Categories: Relationships

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2 Responses to “Non-Ownership Paradigm”

  1. Pernille Says:

    So glad I found this! I’m actuelly pondering these very things myself these days — as recently as last night,actually… Thinking, wondering; how can we even *say* ‘MY’ partner, lover, friend, etc. ? The one who sleeps next to me calls it ‘love-making’, and enjoys it without taking it personally… I’m practising and learning to do the same… Freedom…

  2. Sheye Says:

    I’ve thought a lot about the parlance of “my” (mother, friend, spouse, etc), too. So far, I’ve found that we don’t really have much in the way of good vocabulary for speaking without implied ownership. It’s very awkward to avoid. I tend to go as far as I can by just using names (although, I’m still not that good at it) and see when people start asking about what the relationship is. An interesting observation, though — I’ve found that people remember names better when it’s associated with a role in my life — even when it’s non-traditional role. It’s like we build maps of people in our minds to help us remember and associate them.

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