On October 24, 1648, the major European powers signed the Treaty of Westphalia. After years of brutal religious wars in Europe, all the major political players decided it would be in all of their best interests to establish basic rules and territorial boundaries (at least in principle). For instance, one such rule that was derived from the treaty: “cuius regio eius religio,” which is translated from Latin to mean: "whose the realm, his is the religion." I personally found this to be too snooty a translation, so I’ll put it in plain English from the American South: “Ain’t but one rooster in the hen-house.”
The Treaty of Westphalia is a major turning point in Western history because it became one of the corner stones of the “nation-state” system. Even today we are operating under this basic nation-state system (in principle). The purpose of the system is quite simple: If I don’t respect your boundaries, what’s to stop someone else from disrespecting mine?
In terms of individual human relations, I find this philosophy of interaction to be the best words to strive to live by. Though we may all fall short due to: jealousy, anger, “love,” hate, embarrassment, curiosity, or so on… the principle is something I always try to keep in mind when I’m dealing with someone else.
How does this pertain to men and women’s misunderstandings of each other?
Well… recently, several conversations have come to mind that remind me of the importance of boundaries. I think many of us live in a self-centered fantasy-land when it comes to the boundaries we should have with one another. Basically, we want our cake, your cake, and everyone else’s cake AND to eat it without being judged. I have my doubts that this is a realistic way to go through life. Like the institutionalized interactions between states, there are implicit agreements in serious and functioning relationships, with respect to acceptable boundaries.
For example, consider the boundaries which should exist between the interactions of you or your mate, and others. A breach of those boundaries can cause serious problems. I think some major problems arise when we have trouble accepting that more often than not, one book must close before another one opens. THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS HAVING IT ALL.
It's easy to have trouble accepting that an ending is just that… an ending. For a functioning and respectful relationship, it’s detrimental to reach back to past lovers or romances, OR to create situations (yes, we create them most of the time) where ghosts from the past are free to reappear as they please. In terms of past serious relationships, that “friends” mess, in almost all cases, is highly inappropriate. This is all the more true the more serious that past relationship was. The hard truth is that there are appropriate friendships to have, and friendships that are inappropriate. Which ones are appropriate? Which ones are inappropriate? I can’t draw a bright-line for myself, let alone anyone else. But, I do have some ideas. How about avoiding these kind:
1) If you are still in love with someone else, and you are aware of it (don't kid yourself either).
2) If you still have in your heart/mind that you’ll always be connected to someone else (That's only true if you don't let go. You always have the option of doing so).
3) If you feel that you’re ALWAYS available to someone else, because you have "been through sooooo much together." Uh... yeah. And please, let's not do the whole, "but it's HARD" thing either.
For me, like most other men, another rooster in or pecking around my hen-house is absolutely unacceptable. But given my experiences with women, the same seems to be true for the opposite sex. I’ve never dated a woman who found it acceptable for another hen to peck around at her man's chicken coop, especially while mama hen wasn't home. Isn't that why there is chickenwire around chicken coops?
For those of you who have endured the silliness of an open-ended relationship, of any sort, you’ll probably understand better than others. The major problem that arises because of these open-ended relationships, is that they ARE open-ended, and relationships should not be they way. If someone is retaining an open-ended relationship, during a current commitment, one party is being abused.
Ever received that phone call from a past love while you were beginning a relationship with someone new? Many of us have. But how do you handle it? Do you try to honor a so-called promise that is now untenable and unacceptable? Do you hide it from your new partner? Do you THINK that you’ll always have a “special connection” with someone who is not your current mate? Do you want to?
Do you think any of that is appropriate?
In our relationships, it’s easy to forget that NOTHING IS FREE. Everything must be paid for in some way, shape or form; everything has an “OPPORTUNITY COST.” In economic terms, an opportunity cost is the true cost of something you give up to get what you want, which includes not only the MONEY spent but also the BENEFIT(S) you get in return. In relationship terms, an opportunity cost also includes the emotional price we pay too. Just because you didn't have a physical affair doesn't mean you're free and clear with respect to violating acceptable boundaries. Those benefits are paid for because you bought or did something, and can’t do or get something else because of it. IN PARCTICAL TERMS, THIS MAY VERY WELL COST YOU A MEASURE OF YOUR CURRENT PARTNER’S TRUST OR POSSIBLY THEIR RESPECT, ONCE YOU’VE ENTERED INTO A RELATIONSHIP.
Bottom line: Are you willing to pay for the cost of holding on to a past that can never be a real part of your future, at the expense of your present happiness, which actually has the chance to be your future?
Peace and Love,
HOLIDAY NOTE: To each and every person and family, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
From both of us,
nosthegametoo & No_the_game
ADDITIONAL NOTE: "No_the_game" has been in the process of moving, which is why she has been absent from the blog. As you can imagine, she has had more than a little bit to do. She sends her warmest regards to all of you here in blogworld; she misses you. Her internet connection will soon be up, and she will once again be preaching in the name of love.