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Should Your Romantic Partner Necessarily Be Your Life Partner?

Most of us believe our romantic partners to be our life partners. But does it necessarily have to be so? Can our life partner be separate from our romantic partner? And what would that mean for our relationships and for our lives? Let’s explore this profound and radical new thought about life, love and relationships.

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“Life Partner” Is Not Synonymous with “Romantic Partner”

The fact that romantic-sexual people equate “primary/cohabiting life partner” with “romantic-sexual partner” is so baffling to me, that every time I think about it, it feels like my mind goes completely blank and the only thing there is a big question mark. This makes even less sense to me than linear algebra. It is so beyond my ability to understand, that I can hardly get over the “How is this possible?” long enough to attempt analyzing the logic behind it.

If you need sex, fine.

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If you need romantic relationships, fine.

If you need sex and romantic relationships and you need them to always come in one package, fine.

But how and why would anyone believe that your primary life partner—the person you live with and share your practical responsibilities with and have a home with, etc—must also be your romantic-sexual partner, as if that’s a universal law and absolutely impossible to choose your way out of?

This is completely and totally irrational. There’s a logic to it, sure, but there’s zero rationality. (FYI, logic and rationality are two different things.)

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Once in awhile, I’ll see or hear about a friendship between two sexual people that actually have emotional weight. (Almost always, the two friends are teenagers or young adults, because the vast majority of sexual adults can’t do friendship worth a damn.) It’s so obvious that the two friends love each other, they get along so well, their relationship is effortless and 99% positive and stable and affectionate, etc. They have an enthusiasm for each other. They can be themselves together. All the ingredients for a secure, healthy, positive, happy life partnership are right there in their friendship.

But they’re going to spend their whole lives searching for a romantic-sexual partner to fill in that “Life Partner” role instead.

Even though romantic-sexual relationships are the most volatile kind of human connection.

Even though the American divorce rate is 50%.

Even though building nuclear families on a foundation of romantic-sexual monogamous relationships has created a society full of broken homes and kids that have little, if any, stability.

Even though most romantic-sexual people who claim to believe in sexual monogamy—because our culture says monogamy is good and non-monogamy is bad—royally suck at it in practice.

Even though cohabiting with a string of lovers takes highly uncomfortable emotional and practical tolls when the couple breaks up and someone has to suddenly move out.

Even though you’re fifty million times more like to be physically, mentally, sexually, and emotionally abused by a romantic-sexual partner that you live with than you are by your best friend.

Even though the frequency of conflict in a romantic-sexual relationship is usually exponentially higher than it is in the best friendship.

I could go on.

It’s just totally nuts to me, that anyone could have a real best friend who is compatible enough with them that the friendship lasts a long time—without even any formal commitment!—and choose to live a lifestyle where having a home and a family and a life partner all rides on their romantic-sexual relationships.

It’s nuts to me that anyone could have a best friend, an honest-to-God best friend, who provides EVERY SINGLE THING THEY’RE LOOKING FOR IN A LIFE PARTNERSHIP EXCEPT SEX, and choose to put not just one, but a whole series of sexual partners above that best friend, in the pursuit of the magical Romantic-Sexual Monogamous Life Partner Who Makes You Happy Forevermore.

And this is not about having sex or not having sex. This isn’t a matter of rejecting romantic love for friendship. This isn’t a choice between one or the other.

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