Reframing Relationships with Sabrina and Seth
(The Open Nesters Podcast Season 2 | Episode 49)
Commitment and Obligation in Reframing Relationships
[Tessa] Twists and Turns. Side to Side. Front to Back. The path that Sabrina and Seth have been on is somewhat mind-boggling. They each divorced. They each have children. They each embrace open relationships. They are married and they live a thousand miles apart. Think that through for a second… then you might think any working relationship would simply be impossible under these circumstances. Then listen to Sabrina and Seth peel back the layers of their remarkable relationship.
Seth’s Categories of Expectations
[Tessa] Seth shared his headlines about expectations, general principles, that people can think about related to a functional relationship.
- Give Only What You Are Comfortable Giving
- Always Be Grateful for What the Other Person Gives
- Recognize The Process (the Relationship) is Voluntary by Both Parties
- Help Each Other Find Their Optimal Position by Being Honest and Supportive
- If Incompatibilities Prevent Both Sides from Reaching Equilibrium, Respectfully Walk Away
Sabrina’s Categories of Expectations
Understanding our own expectations helps us define the criteria of what we seek in a relationship. They are not judgments of someone else’s capacity in a given area; they are simply what works best for us.
- Intellectual Engagement. Do you seek to discuss, debate, and engage in the art of conversation? Long walks and discussions, or outings to museums? Or are you more about companionable silence? Either way, we tend to have expectations around how we engage intellectually. For me personally, intellectual engagement is a must-have (as one might conclude after reading this very writing). If someone is unable to meet my expectations around conversations, topics, and intellectual pursuits, I have a hard time imaging much compatibility or connection.
- Emotional Intensity. Are you looking for an emotional connection, a way to create shared experiences that tie you together? Or are you wanting drama-free engagement?
- Physical Attraction. For some people, physical attraction is an important factor if there is to be intimacy, but this is not necessarily expected in friendships.
- Levels of Intimacy. These are the expectations of how much, and whether or not physical or intimate contact takes place in a relationship. Intimacy does not necessarily mean sexual intercourse. If, on the other hand, there is sexual intercourse, this is where sexual expectations, practices, and preferences would be negotiated.
- Time Frame. This is the expectation about how long the relationship could or should last. One’s family is there for life, and similarly, some friendships last a lifetime. Conversely, there can be fleeting moments, chance encounters, fortuitous meetings.
- Levels of Responsibility. This has to do with how much responsibility is expected in a given relationship, and is particularly important when it comes to family and spouses or partners. Is there an expectation of co-parenting or being a parental figure? Elderly care? Life or death matters? In other relationships, maybe this expectation is more around having a confidante for personal matters. Or just someone to pick you up at the airport.
An Excerpt from the Interview
[Seth] On the Nature of Relationships: What is it that’s real here? That’s truly important. And what is it that we’re kind of arbitrarily putting into things? The expectations that we put in there because we see other people do it. We saw our parents do it, and therefore that’s the way relationships are supposed to be. So we throw in these rules and then get disappointed and resentful when other people don’t meet them without really understanding what the rules we’re actually are to begin with.
Resources for You
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