I like to think of all my relationships as friendships. Surprisingly, I find that taking this perspective allows me to be more considered, thoughtful and consistent towards the people in my life, than when I attempt to pigeon-hole individuals into defined boxes, such as 'lover' or 'girlfriend', that come loaded with connotation and expectation. We encourage our children to create and maintain many meaningful social connections, as possessiveness and entitlement towards others only ever seems to be a cause of tension and separation, and yet as adults we seem to struggle to practice what we preach. We wouldn't encourage jealousy, fear or insecurity in our children, or teach them to guard and protect their friends from broadening their own social circle, so why exhibit behavior that produces that outcome for ourselves? As a society, we seem to understand that we cannot exert control and possession over our friends, and yet we are taught that the sole relationship paradigm that is valid is one of unconditional monogamy. This doesn't seem right to me. I would argue that we must be disciplined and remind ourselves that we don't own the individuals in our lives, regardless of their role, nor do we have the right to control anyone but ourselves. When we direct our focus from the external to the internal and begin to take control of ourselves as individuals, we can start the process of letting go of our fears of abandonment and loss and focus on the most important relationship - the relationship with oneself.
- Geoff Huneff