Should Your Romantic Partner Necessarily Be Your Life Partner?

Should Your Romantic Partner Necessarily Be Your Life Partner?

This is just about relationship organization.

“Having a partner definitely allows you to take more risks.” – Arianna Huffington

You could have a non-sexual, non-romantic primary life partner who you live with, who is there for you emotionally and physically and financially, who’s there to take care of you if medical issues come up, who’s there to help you raise a kid if you want one, who’s there to keep you company at home and go on vacation with you and help keep house, etc—and still have a sex life and romantic relationships!

And my God, would that make so much more sense on every single level! I could paper the walls of my bedroom with all the benefits of making your best friend your non-romantic/non-sexual life partner, instead of a lover who may or may not stick with you for the long haul.

How many sexual people in the United States alone are wasting their lives on a never-ending roller coaster of serial romantic-sexual relationships, looking for the perfect one, getting married and getting divorced, moving in and moving out, scattering children all over the place, living in bad marriages or cohabiting romantic-sexual relationships, cheating on their lovers, fighting every other night, on and on and on? For what? For a home? For love? For joyful companionship? For a happy family?

“Partnership is not a posture but a process-a continuous process that grows stronger each year as we devote ourselves to common tasks.” – John F. Kennedy

You could have all of that with your best friend—if you’re lucky enough to have a best friend—without even trying.

But instead, you subordinate that best friend to all of these sex partners/lovers, to spouses you end up hating, to romantic-sexual relationships that last three months or six or a measly year, to romantic-sexual relationships that steal years of your life before finally imploding. How many people actually find what they’re looking for in romantic sexuality?

If you want a stable, warm, low-maintenance, loving, caring home life; if you want someone there for you who accepts you and likes you exactly as you are; if you want someone to share your life with who will take care of you and be loyal to you and still give you the freedom to be who you are and connect with other people—then be life partners with a best friend, if you’re lucky enough to get one.

And you can still have sex and you can still have romantic relationships, and if those romantic-sexual relationships prove to be consistently short-term or troublesome, at the very least, you still have a home and a steady companion and a source of love and support that doesn’t break down, when your sexual relationship of the moment does.

This is pure rationality, to me. It’s about maximizing your chances for a stable, happy, loving home life and reducing the negative impact of romantic-sexual relationships on yourself and your children if you have any. Instead of asking one romantic-sexual partner to be your Everything, let them just be your romantic-sexual partner, and make someone else your living partner, your financial partner, your live-in co-parent, your best friend.

“The most empowering relationships are those in which each partner lifts the other to a higher possession of their own being.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

If I had any reason to believe a romantic-sexual person capable of committing to a nonsexual/nonromantic life partnership and if I had a sexual best friend and if that best friend wanted to be life partners with me, I would commit and be non-monogamous life partners with them. And I wouldn’t care about their sex life or their romantic relationships with other people, as long as I could trust my partner was committed to our home and our friendship.

It probably helps a lot that I’m a radical relationship anarchist and not looking for any kind of strict monogamy (the sexual kind is irrelevant; the emotional kind isn’t doable for me), but even if that partnership was missing certain elements I wanted in my life—like physical affection, let’s say—I still wouldn’t have a problem with being my friend’s partner for good, as long as I could pursue other relationships, too.

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