The third instalment of the Fifty Shades of Grey movies was released in time for Valentine’s Day. This has certainly been a catalyst for some pretty interesting conversations on respect, fidelity and experimentation.
If your relationship is strong and boundaries are communicated well, experimentation can work.
However, I tend to work with the fallout when the anything-goes philosophy falls apart.
I believe the two strongest contributing factors to anyone’s behavioural choices come from these motivational drivers:
- a desire to belong (to be loved);
- a need for significance (power and position).
They’re not mutually exclusive – they work in tandem.
In a healthy, committed relationship, each partner needs to feel some level of importance to the other, as well as feeling love and belonging. Which is a higher priority is somewhat moot.
Our brains adapt and are moulded by our experiences. That alters our expectations.
Imagine if your partner grew up in a family full of miserable relationships and/or had a long history of argumentative and conflictual relationships. The absence of conflict might cause them to believe that everything is all right on the home front. No chatter, no problems. They have no context for a partner experiencing loneliness or unhappiness that’s not discussed and so they don’t pick up the less obvious clues.
Contrast that with the partner who has had such toxic past relationships that they’re insanely possessive, jealous and insecure. If you were dating somebody who regularly looked through your phone without permission, demanded to know where you were at all times, got angry or sobbed every time you went out with your friends, or screamed at you until blood vessels popped in their face when you go a single day without calling or texting, would this cause you conflict? Would you consider infidelity? This person is essentially acting as if you already cheated, so why not cheat? It can’t possibly get any worse, can it?
It’s not rocket science to say that the likelihood of infidelity in a relationship is directly proportional to how miserable the relationship feels to one or more of the individuals.
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity,” said Dale Carnegie.
A relationship is not an obligation. It’s a choice. And choices are involved in how partners conduct themselves within that relationship, regardless of what books and movies portray.
Bored people cause trouble at work and in your relationships. So if one or the other finds the intimate portions of the relationship to be a little too traditional, find a way to spice things up that remains both honourable and respectful to both parties.
Intimacy requires constant nurturing and that happens with deep connection and attention to what’s acceptable and unacceptable behaviour between the partners.
When conflicts create added pressure, focus on opportunities that promote a sense of belonging and a sense of significance within your relationship. This can ease some of the strain and help keep you committed to what brought you two together in the first place.
Take a minute to tell your significant other that you love them and find a way to express it with genuine caring and sincerity – not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day!
Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.