What does your partner think of hobbies you pursue without their involvement? do you think it is different for men and women in het relationships, gay couples, etc? How does this jive with our current perceptions about gender?
Why, you say, do I ask? Well, as many of you know, I study Tae Kwon do, and have done so for about 2 years (woo-hoo I test for my probationary black belt in November!). While R. is very, very supportive of my pursuit by coming to belt tests, helping me work out, etc, he doesn't TKD, and has no plans to...
I was talking to him the other day, and was incredulous to hear that some of his friends (well, I suppose aquaintences is a better term, because his close friends are actually pretty progressive, like us) actually said things like "you let her do that?" or "you're cool with that?"
Personally, I never thought to *ASK* him permission (she says with a snort and sarcasm) because we just don't operate like that. We are both very independant, and we support each other regardless, unless we see the activity the other takes part in as being highly dangerous or self-destructive. Honestly, R. thinks it has more to do with the fact that I'm a woman, and many men are threatened by an overly aggressive female partner. While this seems ridiculous to us, here in our modern, egalitarian scarleteen love bubble, the rest of the world can be a very different place.
What has been your experience with partners and your quest to grow as an individual, apart from your relationship?
I don't think I could ever EVER be in a relationship where I had to ask someone for permission to do the things I enjoy. If we were living together, and we needed to talk about the money issue to do the things I enjoy, that would be okay, however, it wouldn't be a matter of "can I do this?" it would be a matter of "do we have the money for me to do this".
I'm not currently in a relationship right now, so I'll just use J. as an example. J. is involved in his own thing, and I'm involved with mine. He has his friends, and I have mine, some of them are the same friends, but for the most part we all don''t hang out together. I know that, for the most part he wouldn't care if I were to go out with friends, male or female, or whatever activities I might do in my spare time (cross country, dance, etc), because I don't spend every moment with him.
The only thing that might make him nervous is my involvement in the GBLT community. However, I know he would never stop me from going to anything, and I would never ask his permission to go. Plus who will turn down free condoms? Not us
But the point is, that, I am my own person, and he is his. Just because we are a couple doesn't stop me from being my own person, it just means I'm me, involved in a relationship with someone else. I'm also a very independent person, I have been since a very young age, and I feel that asking for someone's permission to do something is a way of saying that they control you. But only I control me. I've spent many years doing meditation and giving myself therapy to figure out that I control myself, and I won't ever go back to letting people control me.
------------------ Brittany Scarleteen Advocate
"Just say no" fights teen pregnancy the way "hey, cheer up" fights manic depression.
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