THE FUTURE OF
February,13, 2020 7- 9 PM
CAN RELATIONSHIPS SURVIVE BEYOND
DEFINITIONS, STIPULATIONS, AGREEMENTS,
AND SOCIAL IMPOSITIONS
In the last decade of this century, an unprecedented shift in social structure occurred. Far smaller and slower changes in early human history triggered civil wars, rebellions, and violent intellectual and spiritual crises. The extreme social transformation of this decade caused hardly any stir. It proceeded with a minimum of friction, upheaval, with a minimum of attention from scholars, politicians, the press, and the public.
My name is Mel Brooks. As an image and crisis consultant, I have a peculiar vocation: I am the last resort before the tower collapses. I landed in crisis management because I am emotionally intelligent and I can read people, and at times of confusion, people can not read their labels if they are " inside the bottle." My clients come to me after they have tried everything else and nothing has worked. My weapon is the truth, referred to by many as "the ugly truth." As a surgeon, I have to expose the underlying problems and fix them, hence my ability to bring clarity to a situation comes to play. My special skills got me dubbed "The Fixer," and I am better known for it than for my name.
In the last two years, the nature of my work became increasingly more complicated because the very nature of relationship dynamics changed. The emergence of concepts of gender equality and fluid identity soft-erased the traditional meaning of love, romance, unconditional love, commitment,
and marriage. There are no available clear-cut solutions today; everything " is complicated."
Let's look at a couple of my cases.
In 2014 Jane met Joe online. They dated for five years, and have been living together for 2 in a home they purchased together in 2018. While they are comfortable to commit to 20 years joined mortgage, they are unsure if they want to commit to a marriage. They decided that it is not a necessity. It's just a piece of paper and that most marriages end up in divorce.
Jane was raised by a single unmarried mother and has not seen her father since she was a toddler. Joe's parents divorced when he was seven and grew up in a home with his mother and her boyfriend until he went to college. Joe is close to his father, who is remarried and has children with his new wife.
Jane and Joe are thinking of having children, and the subject of marriage surfaced. That is what brought them to me.
Jane likes the idea of her children growing up in a traditional family. At the same time, James is concerned about possible marital problems down the road and negative consequences for the children should that occur. Joe's mom is adamant that they should not have children unless they are married, and Jane's mom is ok with whatever they want to do. Friends told them, married or not married, they would still be a family.
Indecision about the level of commitment to the relationship has put tension on the couple, jeopardized their love, and they are considering separation.
Jane and Joe's scenario is complicated, but it is representative of the issues of many gender-specific couples today.
Then there is the story and Amy and Rose, a married couple of 17 years from San Fransisco. Amy was Rose's first love and lover, and they have an age difference of 13 years with Amy being the senior. They are parents of one daughter through artificial insemination, Rose being the biological mother, and have adopted a son. Rose recently suffered extreme stress and found resolve in God, becoming a devoted Christian. Rose wants to leave the relationship and marry a man she has met in the church whom she refers to as her divine mate. They are stuck in a brutal divorce battle over child custody, and that is how I came to meet them.
Steven and Simone have been married for eight years and have 3 kids they oldest born before they wed. They met in the gym. Steven works full time, Simone stays at home with the kids. When I met them, Simone was considering a divorce because Steven has taken a male lover. Steven is unapologetic about his choice and assures Simone that he still loves her and the children and does not want to leave his family. Steven just recently realized that he is bisexual and think that his wife should support him as he is honest and upfront about it. He is suggesting that Simone meets his lover, and they can explore the possibility of a threesome relationship. Simone believes that Steven betrayed her and his marital vows and wants to sever all connections, including sole custody of their children, where Steven is allowed only supervised visitations.
Tom and Tifanny are a married couple, living together for 18 years. They have no children on their own, but they are pets parents of seven pets. Tifanny wants to transition. Tom is concerned about her choice and wants to know the real reason for her transition. He does not agree that Tiffany should use the marital funds to cover the costs of her transgender surgery, and the therapies needed post-surgery. He is not attracted to men and is unsure about his role in the marriage and wants a divorce. Tifanny assures him that she loves him and wants to preserve their marriage. She suggests that they agree on an open relationship. Tim's believes that open relationship completely obliterates the need for commitment. Tiffany's friends support her transition fiercely, and Tim friends tell him to divorce her immediately.
It is pertinent that we need to redefine the concept of commitment.
In the past, "the universality of marriage within different societies and cultures is attributed to the many basic social and personal functions for which it provides structure, such as sexual gratification and regulation, division of labor between the sexes, economic production and consumption, and satisfaction of personal needs for affection, status, and companionship. Perhaps its strongest function concerns procreation, the care of children and their education and socialization, and regulation of lines of descent. Through the ages, marriages have taken a great number of forms."
Traditionally the nature of commitment is understood as a consensual agreement between two people in a relationship
to maintain the relationship due to satisfaction of attachment to one's partner, mitigated by the availability of a better or more favorable alternative to present relationship.
to constrain individuals to remain in relationships regardless of their personal dedication to it.
to remain in a relationship to avoid consequences of dissolution, being
the disapproval of family and friends,
the expense of termination procedures,
for the benefits of raising children together,
the concern for the quality of life as a single person,
fear of being lonely
for financial security and stability
the desire for companionship
The price of dissolution economically, socially, personally, and psychologically.
What does it mean to be committed to something, whether to a person, a cause, a project,
a government, a job, or an institution?
Don't you find it interesting that most of the words that we use to describe devotion are also used to describe insanity? The word “fan” comes from “fanatic”, a maniacal follower of some cause or leader.
People are “committed” to a mental institution or to incarceration. When you commit yourself to something you pledge, bind, or oblige yourself to action or inhibition, to a belief system, institution or to a medical treatment facility.
Is commitment a sort of insanity? It seems that commitment requires some kind of single point-mindedness or obsession that can lead to insanity or greatness. Were Disney, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, obsessed with their vision to the point of insanity? What would have happened if they didn't succeed?
Can we bring the same level of commitment to our relationships?
Will this level of commitment in relationships guarantee the elusive" happily ever after?"
Do we demand or even desire this level of commitment in our relationships, and if you expect that from your partner, can you sincerely say that you can reciprocate it?
Can you be more or less committed and what is the right formula?
With the empowerment of women, equal pay, the "Me too," movement, "Belive the survivor," and the emergence of the concept of toxic masculinity and fluid identities the traditional gender roles blurred and meshed together.
The "knight in shining armor" abdicated in fear of being accused of being a misogynist, and the damsel is no longer in distress. Each can provide, take care of oneself, self-love, and find companionship in collectives. The judicial system divides and dictates the parental and the financial division of labor of raising children, and child care, and marriages are no longer perceived as the nuclear cell of society. Many women delay childbirth or forgo having children altogether' have children without being married or having a partner as artificial insemination or adoption provides for single parenthood, the expectations that marriage is for the sole reason of procreation to continue the bloodline are outdated and obsolete.
Is there even a need or a sound reason to commit in a relationship? Can you expect or demand commitment from your partner if all of the traditional reasoning that justify commitment no longer exist?
Commitment in its pure philosophical form is an obligation that you chose. Without the choice, it’s just slavery. When we feel forced into commitment by the expectations of others or by social imposition, we realize that maybe we are not as committed as we thought we were or maybe not committed at all. Pay attention to those signs — it’s easy to convince ourselves of a commitment that isn’t really a commitment at all. Ironically, Being committed to a mental institution might be necessary but is not voluntary.
So what happens now?
What can you expect and demand in relationships?
How are we to define commitment and can we agree on a new definition?
We need a new code and a new understanding of commitment. Using real-life experiences from my practice as a crisis consultant we will demonstrate what works and what does not, and we will offer you a different mindset and moral outlook to help you build sustainable relationships.
This is the topic of our webinar.
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"If it breaks from the inside, life begins.
If it breaks from the outside, life ends."