One of my top values is freedom. What it means to me is unique to me and might be very different from your interpretation of freedom For me that means being free to make decisions about my life and career. It means being free to be ME [and there are lots of sub categories of what being me means].
I used to think that I could only have that by living alone. Often we let economic constraints tunnel vision our thinking. As I considered this question, I realised that I could easily live with someone if I had enough space emotionally as well as physically. Sometimes we think we know what has to be in place to satisfy a need, and then we find out how flexible we are.
Freedom is a big word. It can mean many things to many people..here are a few examples I got when I asked people what freedom in a relationship meant to them.
separate holidays, some separate friends, working for themselves, being able to pursue interests even if they are time consuming, being able to indulge sexual relations out side the partnership, having someone accept them for who they are, following religious beliefs
unhampered, having one night out on their own alone each week , living in a separate home, sleeping in separate bedrooms, having a private work areas, your own bathroom, being able to go out for a long walk alone and have no one ask you where you are going...
And I could go on forever, because for each person, freedom will be an emotionally charged word. If you don't understand ASK. What does that mean to you?.
This is who I am - Match and fit?
When you get clarity on what you want, you are then in a position to let someone know.
A friend of mine is an artist. She lives with her man who is a corporate consultant. As she and her husband talked in the early stages of their relationship Arianne made it clear what she absolutely must have from a relationship. She talked about the things she wanted, what was important to her.. and he reciprocated. Keith, her husband, knew what he was getting when he asked her to marry him...they even wrote out their own contract and put it in a locked box.
She has to have a workroom and it's her private space and she expects to be left alone to paint when she is in there and to be able to do it when she wants [and that sometimes includes getting up at 3.00 am]. This suits Keith fine, he values his privacy too.
She expects to be able to invite who she wants into the home, and at odd times when her partner doesn't get on with someone, she won't invite them to spend the evening with her and her partner! Keith loves this because her friends are so interesting and even gave a job to one of her friends which worked out admirably!
Arianne and her partner go on holiday together but he expects to be able to take holidays on her own such as separate trips and weekends with friends - some male, some female. She expects her partner to be OK with this and he is because he also enjoys a golfing holiday with his mates. They have come to an agreement and it works for them.
It's all negotiable
Their relationship works because they created their own contract. Both stated what they needed and what had to be in place and they did it in the early stages of their relationship. WE ALL DO IT. We talk about what's important. What's also important is to listen out for this
information, get a feel for someone and watch how they behave. When you know this is in place, you can begin to develop something that works for you. And what works for you may be VERY DIFFERENT to what works for someone else.
You can create your own relationship.
Relationships are what you make and what you make of them. Too many of us are constrained by the traditional social choices. Live alone, live together, get married. You can develop any relationship you like with anyone. And when you know and are who you are, you know what will work for you and you are open to suggestions. After all an idea never killed anyone, but living with values that are not compatible with yours could lead you into living death. The death of who you are..
Louise is bisexual. She meets a woman once a month and they literally spend two or three hours having sex in a hotel room. They aren't interested in having a love-live-in relationship with a woman, they just enjoy the sexual side of it - Louise likens it to having a gourmet blow out once a month! They are both married and they both know where they stand. They have a relationship that works for them.
Anna is a 56 year old with a high flying job in the City. She lives in her own flat in London with her 19 year old daughter. Graham, her lover of 10 years is a university professor and lives 400 miles away. They both agreed that their careers were very important so they worked out a system that was right for them. They arrange special weekends away and speak often. Sometimes she visits him and sometimes he her. They take a holiday together and where convenient attend special social events together. They see each other at their best and of course their relationship sparkles with newness each time they meet. They worked out their arrangement because they both know what they want... and things can change..
Stuart was a doctor and so is his wife. Stuart gave it up because he really wanted to work in computers. He could only find work in London. Each weekend he would commute down to their home in Cornwall and spend time with his wife. Marianne, his wife was adamant she couldn't live in London. After two years, they sold their home, bought a holiday cottage in Cornwall and his wife moved to London and she's perfectly content. They successfully negotiated a win-win situation.
Jerry and his wife couldn't make their marriage work. They had 3 kids. They divorced, sold their home and bought two smaller identical houses side by side. The kids have bedrooms in each house and are free to come and go as they wish. Jerry and his wife created a negotiable agreement about how to bring up the kids. Instead of fighting and subjecting the kids to hostile visits where Dad waits in the car to take them for their weekend jaunt, Jerry and his ex-wife have worked out an ever adapting system that is right for them and their kids. And incidentally, they negotiated this when they went to Relate as a last ditch attempt to patch up their marriage.
So, when you do the exploration and discover what is important to you, you can begin to see whether someone is a match and fit for you... and the more aware of your own values, and those of others, the more you can make the decisions that are right for YOU.