Stephen Mitchell, relational psychoanalyst in his book “Can Love Last?” writes that romance in relationships is a sandcastle for two. “It is a precondition for passion, not a permanent abode. The sandcastles of romance demand, by their shifting nature, continual rebuilding.”
“The myth of romance depends on mystery and long term relationships depend on understanding. Romance gets it’s fizz from sexuality and partnership demands tenderness and caring. Romance does not die a natural, inevitable death. We kill it, out of fear. Love by its very nature is not secure. We keep wanting to make it so. There is greater danger in being known by another person on whom one depends that in being unknown by someone new, because that someone new is unconsciously felt to be replaceable”, thus safer. Mitchell writes that we depend on our partner for a “sense of home” and a promise to escape from oneself. As much as we value the “pressure for change inherent in romantic love”, we are terrified by it. “This all important person lies outside one’s control. We create an illusion of ownership. But conscious or not; acknowledged or not; we know that we can never completely control the one we love.”
Ann Morrow Lindbergh used a different sea metaphor in “ Gift from the sea” when she wrote,“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.
The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”