LOVE–why one size does not fit all–by Miriam Sagan

One Size Does Not Fit All

Sometimes I feel depressed that the dialogue around sex and love hasn’t changed much since I was in middle school. The same lines are drawn—good guys vs. bad guys. Freedom versus dependency. Boredom versus intimacy. And everyone seems to seek a compromised solution. For example, the belief that—

You’ll be happy if:

1. You have enough sex-(not too much to make it—gasp—a relationship based on sex or too little sex–less than the speaker prefers.

2. Let’s get gender-ed. The relationship should have the right genders—originally het, expanding to gay, gradually including trans…but people should know who they are and act accordingly. There should only be two…or in polyamorous situations everyone should know each other and discuss everything.

3. There should be no secrets.

Well, let me say that fifty years after middle school I’ve know very happy relationships with unique sexual agreements, super complex gender pairings, and lots of secrets. And wretched relationships based on norms, full of open sharing, and yes, even mutual respect.

So—what gives?

The poet Ovid said: Love is a kind of war, and no assignment for cowards.

This is not the current thinking. What if it turns out that relationships are tumultuous, full of shadows, acting out, changeable agreements, and privacy? Most importantly, what if one size doesn’t fit all?

I’ve known many very creative women who apply utterly bland standards to romance—and accept what society tells us about love—in a way they never would accept advice about mothering or career.

What makes a relationship happy can be judged only from the inside, by the participants. I have an amusing relative who said of her long marriage—it’s neurotic and clingy and even fucked-up, but hey, it works for us.

So I wish people would avoid sweeping statements about relationships. Usually remarks like—a woman absolutely needs to be economically independent to be happy—is just something the speaker has discovered about herself, not a universal.

I’ve had some cute one size fits all clothes. And some disasters. We know the best clothes in the world are made individually—whether a traditional dress stitched by a street vendor or a suit from a London tailor.

The same can be said of relationships.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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