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“Life is never better than our relationship with ourselves”: Olga Kheifits – on open marriage

Date: May 19, 2024 Time: 14:03:43

BURO columnist, writer, philologist and psychoanalyst Olga Kheifits analyzes the nature of open marriage, compares it to emotional teleportation and then leads us to a simple truth.

Writer, philologist, psychoanalyst, author of the science fiction novel “The Chamber of Sense” and the educational series of conferences “Architecture of Personality”.

People have been trying to find the middle ground between freedom and security for a long time. Previously, marriage was precisely a security contract that helped survive, continue the family line and transmit values, traditions and status by inheritance. Nowadays, the need to enter into formal relationships becomes more and more elusive, so we look for a commitment and an alternative structure of love.

An open marriage is exactly the compromise that should help people maintain a balance between freedom and security. Essentially, it is a mutual agreement to have sex outside of marriage, which promotes honesty between couples. Open relationships should free spouses from mutual restrictions and manifestations of power. Many people believe that this is how the couple maintains attraction.

Great, let’s find out. From the point of view of psychoanalysis, the attraction of extramarital relationships lies in the unconscious desire to be young again. Feel again the energy and joy of life that characterize us until we are 25-27 years old. A kind of emotional teleportation. At the same time, the relationship that seemed ideal to us in our youth is a fusion. Fusion formula: 1+1=1. This romantic love offers a model in which without a partner a person is not completely complete and life only gains meaning alongside the “beloved other.” It’s not a very feasible plan, but we are all eager to go there in search of bright emotions.

The name “Narcissus” comes from the Persian “nargis”, from which the word “narcosis” is also derived. “Nargis” means “numb, paralyzed.” The linguistic origin of this name says a lot about the states associated with it in cultural, philosophical and then psychoanalytic concepts.

Psychology knows numerous cases of open marriage. Even among very organized people. Unfortunately, almost without exception, all of those unions fall apart. Largely due to the fact that even in the case of the most rational mutual agreements, people have feelings. Jealousy, feelings of abandonment and need to know what is really happening. Relationships outside of marriage and sexual doping are designed to fill the spiritual void, and this is a false construction in advance.

Furthermore, openness in marriage is usually beneficial only for one of the spouses, while the other tries to save the family in this way. In fact, such contracts satisfy the need and habit of distributing feelings (for security reasons) among several people. This usually indicates a lack of love in early childhood, when, defending himself from lack of attention and rejection, the child understands that attachment to a person is too painful, dangerous and quickly learns “not to put all his eggs in the same basket”.

There are quite a few examples of open marriage between famous people. The Silver Age was especially famous for this. People created three-way unions or simply chose not to mix partners and sexual relationships. Briki and Mayakovsky; The Merezhkovskys and the Philosophers (the Merezhkovskys, by the way, spent 52 years together, without separating for a single day, leaving the marital bed cold); Blok, Mendeleeva and Andrei Bely; the same Bely, but in a different triangle, with Nina Petrovskaya and Bryusov. It should be noted that everything ended dramatically. Disappearances, divorces, suicide attempts and even murders.

In Europe, open marriages were practiced by no less enlightened people who were at the forefront of world psychology, philosophy and literature. Jung, Sartre, Simone De Beauvoir, Lou Salomé: they all built relationships contrary to tradition. And it brought a lot of pain to their partners. By the way, at some point Jung began to consider monogamy as dangerous for development and polygamy as a catalyst for creative energy and growth. At the same time, his wife suffered and her lover never started her own family.

As the years go by, a middle-aged person often looks back and is surprised at their own decisions in relationships or at work. The decisions he made unconsciously led him to a certain point. So, what should we do if the reality we find ourselves in today is a flesh-and-blood reality resulting from our hasty, unconscious, and childish decisions made at age 20?

There is only one way out: grow.

Adulthood requires a person to understand that only he is responsible for his material and emotional state. Neither a couple nor many lovers will solve the internal problem. Psychological immaturity gives rise to the illusory feeling that another whirlwind romance leads to renewal. But, if a person is not self-sufficient, the next romance will most likely end in devastation and a feeling of abandonment.

Today we are just children with adult bodies, mentally immature and who seek pleasure in the same way as in our youth.

In my opinion, the ability to grow over time is key to finding peace of mind, because life is never better than our relationship with ourselves.

“Blessed is he who was young from his youth, Blessed is he who matured in time…”

Pushkin, “Eugene Onegin”

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Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor
Hansen Taylor is a full-time editor for ePrimefeed covering sports and movie news.

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