I recently read a headline that instantly caught my attention. It triggered me to ask another million dollar question. “Why can’t humans mate for life?” This media story involves the brief courtship of two polar bears named after the Disney greats, Baloo and Aurora. Their relationship did not have a fairy tale ending. In fact, the once promising love affair ended quite tragically. As humans, we’ve all heard or seen stories where that cute elderly couple have been together since the great depression but today’s modern relationships – – not so much. If mammals in the animal kingdom are having trouble, no wonder us humans, flawed and fabulous, have difficulty too.
I never personally believed in the “till death do us part” stuff. Yes, I read all the romanic novels and was indoctrinated in the American “love conquers all” movies when I was young but I also had first hand practical knowledge about real, romantic relationships often plagued with challenges. These relationships seemed to be uncertain and drama filled, and quite frankly frightening, especially since individuals often gave up their love and freedom for less than what they deserved – – real, authentic love. I developed a hidden “panic button” built into my very romantic soul ready to force endings in any relationship that warranted it. I would deal with some “ish” until it went too far and then run away as fast I could. I was the original runaway bride with two former engagements with unfortunate cancellations and lost wedding deposits. The fear would drive me forward never looking back with regret (only sadness for hurting another human). Everything would start off wonderful until we both “unveiled” our trUe selves with conflicting expectations. I held no hard feelings toward anyone but I’m not so sure about my exes. Most people don’t like heartbreaking, unfortunate endings.
My views on romantic relationships has ultimately became much more pragmatic and simple. I offer myself (mind, body and spirit) being transparent and free in my expression of love. This is a gift I am willing to offer. I expect my romantic partner to offer something of value to me as well (mind, body and spirit). I also have a long list of needs and expectations but it is important to know oneself before seeking any contractual partnership. We are not locked into a contract that cannot be broken if one or both are not satisfied with the terms. In this respect, I can be authentically ME throughout the relationship. If at whatever point it is no longer viable, my “panic button” will tell me to get out. My mate has the same freedom as well. For me, this type of relationship is honest, real and safe because everyone knows the terms. The heart yearns for authentic connections and occasionally knows with certainty what it wants but it is the mind and soul that negotiates the contractual love terms for a divine partnership. The soul and mind act as one’s personal attorney outlining the terms and conditions in which the client (the heart) is willing to forge a long term bond.
In the world of humans, even this approach is not fool proof (just look at my checkered runaway bride past.) I’m not sure what happened between Aurora and Baloo but clearly the terms were not to both their liking. Unfortunately, Aurora, the female polar bear, paid for it with her life. As humans, our relationships don’t necessarily go to these extremes but they can still be fraught with heartbreak and peril. The act of forgiveness, a trUe virtue, becomes a necessary skill for one to cultivate and practice along the way. My only advice, since romantic circumstances differ so greatly, is to follow the Shakespearean mantra “To Thine Own Self Be TrUe – – loving self first and last – – before seeking anyone in a romantic partnership. You’ll be a better mate and perhaps make wiser decisions for you and them. It doesn’t mean they will like all your decisions but at least it will give everyone free will to find their perfect, happy place even if not together. After all YOU are all YOU’ve got in the end anyway (#BeYourOwnBestFriend).