Nadav Spiegelman

Designer Relationships

Mark Michaels
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For us, emotional monogamy means drawing the line at attachments that might intrude on our connection with each other, but that has not prevented us from developing attachments and recognizing and acknowledging them.
Esther Perel’s work, which is cited by both writers, highlights the tension that exists between the domestic and the erotic. Twenty-first-century society imposes a very heavy burden on long-term relationships; partners are expected to be lovers, friends, and parents, and it is not easy to balance these demands, especially when work and other obligations are factored in.
In a designer relationship, even the difficult, troubling, or unpleasant experiences can help build intimacy. Contrary to the almost universal idea that nonmonogamy and “going deep” are antithetical, conversations that are open, honest, and transparent about outside sexual encounters can provide an opportunity to deepen your connection.
Displaying profound interest is an ongoing process that requires some effort. The first step is to cultivate the ability to pay attention. As any experienced meditator knows, the capacity for sustained attention will fluctuate. Similarly, your capacity to be profoundly interested in your partner or partners will vary from time to time and situation to situation. It would be impossible, and undesirable, to be profoundly interested all the time and during every interaction. As with meditation, the fluctuations are to be expected; the value lies in making the effort and communicating your interest as best you can.
According to Gottman, you should “be aware of bids for connection and turn toward them.
consider the possibility that instead of gazing at each other because you were falling in love, you were actually falling in love because you were gazing at each other.
Building trust is not really all that complicated, leaving aside situations of past betrayal or where personal history has created obstacles. All it takes is honesty—a basic determination to be truthful and forthright—tempered with kindness. It also involves being reliable—calling when you say you’re going to call, showing up on time, taking responsibility if you make a mistake. There may be a little bit of self-sacrifice involved, especially if you are chronically late, for example, but taking these steps will demonstrate that you are “radically taking the other person into account.”73
If you follow the rules at the beginning, you will be creating the conditions for being more flexible in the future.
It is very important to be honest, but the way you go about it is crucial. It’s not unusual for people to use the statement “I’m just being honest” as a justification for emotional battery. In intimate relationships, total honesty is not always the best policy, since total honesty is often brutal. Being forthright in a way that is helpful requires some skill.
In any relationship, you are likely to experience varying degrees of satisfaction or dissatisfaction over time. Unless the trend is one of steadily diminished interest and satisfaction, it is much healthier to realize that these changes are just fluctuations and to be flexible enough to accept and roll with them.
If you experience jealousy, you don’t need to justify it. Nor is the feeling solely a personal problem. It is something that exists within the relationship, so it needs to be addressed. We’ve noticed a widespread tendency to say or imply that if you feel jealous, it is because you have personal issues and your buttons are being pushed. This is a kind of willful blindness to the fact that feelings of jealousy are relational.
In order to keep your bond strong, you have to find a way to reassure your partner about the value of your connection and to do so on a regular basis.