Relationship Tarzan-ing


Aren't relationships great? They can bring out the best of us, (particularly in the first couple months in the relationship.) They can also bring out the worst in us, which is still very helpful in the general life-self-progress-journey. You have company, you have support, and if you're lucky (and work at it), you have love. When a relationship comes to an end, and you pack away all of these little emotional mementos, there definitely is a void in your schedule and in your heart. Even if the relationship turned sour, and the break up was the best thing to have happened, the sheer lack of another human being is noticeable. Wanting to fill that space is totally natural and part of the emotional recovery process. However, it is easy to fall into a pattern of filling that from a serious, committed relationship…with another very serious and committed relationship. This is what we I in the 'make-our-own-terms-up' world call relationship Tarzaning.

I'm sure we're all familiar with the fabled racially-stereotypical weirdly colonial story beloved Phil Collins-scored Disney movie, Tarzan. Of course, if anything, Tarzan is famous for swinging from vine to vine as a means of transportation through the jungle. Turns out, we can easily fall into a relationship pattern like this–swinging from relationship to relationship. Just as Tarzan uses the momentum of his swinging to go forward, we use the familiarity of comfort to jump into the next relationship.

Let me just say this: this behavior of Tarzan-ing through relationships isn't bad. It's not wrong. But it could be indicative of something else. It could be a symptom of not fully dealing with the loss of a previous partner. It could be a symptom of not fully dealing with being alone. Whcih is a pretty hefty thing to deal with after your body and mind have become accostumed to the presence of another person. At the same time, sometimes life just happens–sometimes you meet someone right off the bat after a relationship, and it's a refreshing experience. The difference between Tarzan-ing through relationships and just starting up new relationships is that Tarzan-ing is the needs that you are fulfilling and the control you have over them. Tarzan-ing has the potential of taking you out of control of fulfilling your own needs, and (about to be harsh) pawning it off on another person. Relationships are definitely about people supporting each other, however, it helps if those people can support themselves.

I'm not necessarily saying that you ought to only stick to short-term hookups right after a breakup, and I'm not saying that people who start new relationships withing whatever number of weeks aren't any more or less centered than others. After a relationship, you need time to recuperate. Everyone has a different resting period. But you do not have to rely on that familiar comfort in order to connect with other people. You can create your own momentum by nurturing yourself back to your own wholeness. And when you're ready whether it takes days or months, you can swing out again.