There is probably an inner free spirit part in most of us. We may have felt it when our relationship was new: decision making was spontaneous, connection joyful and sex filled the air.
At this romantic time a sense of love feels liberating and helps connection. So we may not notice that free-spirit can be a more permanent part of some people’s character, cemented in during early childhood.
At this romantic time the “Free-Spiriter” may assume that their partner will be enabling this wonderful sense of liberation always. They may even assume that a kind of agreement has been made: ‘If we stay together you will allow me feel liberated always’. Yet the other partner may have assumed something very different; for example: ‘If we stay together you will help me feel secure always’.
Free-spirit people often need regular hits of liberating experiences in order to sustain themselves: off-the-cuff socialising, plans thrown aside, spontaneous outings etc. A sense of space and freedom is essential to them. Moreover they need their partner to often share in, or approve of liberating activities in order to feel confident about the relationship.
In fact long-term partnership could be seen as an unnatural state from their point of view. For a free spirit, partnership can bring a sense of constant low-level constriction with all the realities of daily chores in family/relationship life. Frustration may appear in their behaviour: being snappy, flunking out of their share of cleaning or making a mess of dressing the kids for school.
Typically they may experience an underlying rift: a sense of freedom apparently denied by their partner’s need for security. So conflict arises around regular workaday things such as as tidiness, planning, organisation etc. More trouble can come when a long suppressed need for liberation bursts out: the sudden affair, drinking/drugs, a rebellious mid-life crisis, a row followed by disappearance for a whole weekend.
However, you cannot tie a free spirit down! – it is a truly wonderful life force. We often love our friends or partners for being that way; that may have been a big part of why we chose them in the first place.
So seek compromises together so you can both continue to enjoy your differences. Don’t get tied down in the small stuff; plan an important conversation. Each make a two lists: “What I like about Free Spirit” and “What I don’t like about Free Spirit”. Now dialogue about them.
With thanks to:
Getting the Love You Want by H Hendrix,
Mating in Captivity by E Perel,
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