I’m gonna out myself as a literary nerd and report that my ideas began with D.H. Lawrence and his novel “Women in Love”. This book was assigned as a part of my English Literature class in high school and my young mind being the sponge that it was, soaked up the theories that the author suggests and somehow continue to resonant with me today.
Most novels seemed to portray love and relationships as this overpowering all-consuming thing that swept everything else away. This concept terrified me, I was just learning about myself and developing my identity; only to then look forward to suppressing my being inside the boundaries and compromises of a joining with a member of the opposite sex. It was a horrifying thought, the possibility of becoming this shell that was governed by another.
It also didn’t help that the prospect of freedom and adult life was a tantalizing dream that I eagerly awaited, coupled with my contemptuous views on authority and the restrictions that those in authority tried to place on me. I could not see a way out, as I was certain that I would succumb to the pleasures of the flesh, thereby wholeheartedly embracing sex and all that it represented. Undoubtedly, sex meant a relationship; anything other would be a scandal that my young mind was well aware that society would frown upon.
Then came the characters of Birkin and Ursula a direct juxtaposition to Gerald and Gudrun and my life is changed. Birkin communicates this idea of “being together, yet separate” – two people who are in a relationship but are able to maintain an individual sense of self as opposed to the nauseating melding of two people into one being. While Lawrence’s message goes on a debatable journey, I took from it that one central theme and it has informed my attitude to relationships.
For me, an individual sense of self is critical to the success of any relationship. People must be allowed to be who they are without fear or pressure of adapting the perspectives of their significant other.
One of my favorite sayings about men, is that I must be both intellectually and physically stimulated to find a man attractive. He must be able to disagree with me, make me think, debate with me – share himself, yet maintain his own life and identity.
That to me is a perfect relationship, a meeting of minds and bodies; a deep respect and appreciation for the individual. Therefore, I am not attracted to the things we have in common but the things that are different or unusual and that itself is our common ground.
Two unusual people being unusual together 🙂
*Originally Posted August 18, 2014