There are Rules

By John Waterhouse 1888Recently, I read and pondered the following quote stateing we are “paralyzed by the illusion of choice.” This was said in response to modern relationships, especially for younger people. I sat back and thought what’s wrong with demanding choice in the intimate relationships you create with another person or other people. Life’s a buffet. Pile it on.

Then the idea hit me…there are rules! No matter what type of relationship you’re in, there are rules. Parameters that need to be hashed out. The typical monogomous two partner relationship breaks the rules when they have an emotional or physical affair outside of the core relationship. In an open relationship, the rules will vary, but there are plenty of open relationships that have failed simply because someone broke the rules or crossed boundaries.

Just because you’ve made up your own rules doesn’t mean you’ve changed the game. Or, were you playing games to begin with and, therefore, flexibility means being able to do whatever you want (as long as they don’t find out, or get their feelings hurt). You can’t manage other people’s reactions for your convenience. When I think of relationships as games I usually don’t think of “SORRY” I think of chess. And when I consider these people believe they’re playing chess, it’s really checkers or tag…in the dark.

Relationships don’t need to be games.

It is extremely difficult to play a game to which you don’t know the rules. When you are pushing boundaries, making decisions that will eventually hurt people because you believe it fits within the praxis of your idea of partnership you are clearly being selfish. If you can’t be honest you shouldn’t be with that person and if you are honest and the person holds it against you, they shouldn’t be involved. 

All is fair in love and war, which is to say even during war there are rules of engagement. Whether or not they are followed is something else altogether. And justification is a huge part of that. Rationalizing. Intentions that are self serving. 

There is a great song whose hook is nothing from nothing leaves nothing. He goes on to say you have to have something if you want to be with them. What is it that you have to offer? Honesty or deceit. A brave experiment in being a human being. Far be it from anyone to know what exactly humans can be…what we are. What we are capable of. And we are capable of creating the rules that we pledge to live by, as long as they do no harm. 

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