Submitted by Miss Proctor
Partnership or Relationship?
Most of the definitions I stumbled upon for the word “partnership” interestingly enough dealt with business; I was even referenced to a financial dictionary for one of the definitions of partnership. But I found an interesting one out of the bunch:
“A relationship between individuals or groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal: Neighborhood groups formed a partnership to fight crime.”
I don’t seek to be in a relationship. Terms like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are used as mediums for control and are superficial. Exchanges between “boyfriends” and “girlfriends” are often reduced to faithfulness out of obligation (because one dare not cheat on their “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” because their the “boyfriend”/”girlfriend”) and feuds stemming from jealousy; titles like “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” are territorial in their nature, much like “husband”/”wife.” The terms “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” are very heteronormative as well, to my knowledge I identify as straight, but if one day that changes why would I call my significant other my “girlfriend?” Terms like “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” have patriarchy so much tied to them. But that’s a whole other ballpark.
I seek a partnership with the opposite sex. A MUTUAL agreement that ensures that we both are spiritually and emotionally on the same page to embark on a journey that is simply about giving and taking: balance. Last year, my grandparents celebrated 50 years of “marriage.” (I argue that their marriage is a partnership; nothing like a marriage and the ways in which we see marriage performed.) Everyone kept asking them how they made it. Simply they would say: “It’s all about giving and taking…we know when we need to give one another space.” To this day, my grandmother still goes to bingo by herself twice a week and my grandfather goes to do the shopping for the home alone. They’ve mastered a partnership. They have been able to articulate what they’ve wanted from one another for 50 years (which was love and happiness, nothing more or less) and still have retained who they were before they got married. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I listen to them now as they chuckle and play dominoes together.
As for me…I seek to have a partner that doesn’t cheat on me not because I’m his “partner,” but rather he has no desire to. I’m enough for him. I do still have a desire to retain the person that I am…many people in “relationships” socially die. They weaken their ties with friends and become far too obsessed with their “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” and therefore forgetting and leaving behind who they were when they got into the “relationship” in the first place.
I seek to have a partner that I can share everything with. Sharing does not mean agree with. I have no desire to build with a carbon copy of myself. Many people get into “relationships” with people that are exactly like them. No room for growth in a partnership=failure. Partnerships are meant to flourish…
Lastly, I think sometimes our “relationships” invoke the same forms of dominance and control that the state inflicts upon us. We often treat our “significant other” like their chattel, our property. You should have to text your “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” about your whereabouts every 10 minutes. It’s called trust. This world has enough forms of surveillance around to keep tabs on us. The irony is that most people that have a “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” have no clue how to be their “boyfriend”/”girlfriend’s” friend. Once they break up no friendship is retained because friendship was never a premise of their “relationship.”
Moreover, rearticulating “boyfriend”/”girlfriend” relations takes more than changing what you call them. Some “partnerships” mimic “relationships” and vice versa.
I guess what I’m getting to is that maybe by more than just calling what I want from a man something different, but also articulating what I want will get me something different.
But what do I know, I’m a single 21 year old that’s only been in one serious “relationship” and has dated a multitude of “boys,” seeking to be men. I guess in learning what I don’t want from men, I’ve discovered what I do want.
More about Miss Proctor.