Affinity

Affinity - Relationships and ConnectionsThe concept of affinity is far more fitting in my opinion than the general term relationship or marriage.  Because having affinity for someone implies a relationship with a connection born of the common.  A bond that is outside of a familial bond, closer to a natural and unforced affiliation and yet far stronger than a casual association.

The actual definition of the word is…

  • A relationship by marriage or by ties other than those of blood
  • An inherent, likeness, close resemblance or connection
  • A natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing, or idea
  • A person, thing or idea for which a natural liking or attraction is felt

Relationships, like so many things in life, are relative.  The inherent “goodness” or “badness” of a relationship is determined by the interpretation of the relationship by two or more people.

Relationships are Simple Right?

You might think that a relationship consists of two parts:

  1. You
  2. The other person

But you’d be wrong.  Relationships are much more complicated than that, the reality is that there are 6 parts to any relationship between two people:

  1. You
  2. How you interpret yourself within the relationship
  3. How you interpret the other person within the relationship
  4. The other person
  5. How the other person interprets themselves within the relationship
  6. How the other person interprets you within the relationship

The only two items you control completely are the first 2!  The third item is partially under your control but is influenced heavily by the actions (or inaction’s) of the other person.  The rest are outside of your control, this is a profound concept that you must realize…and more importantly…accept!

Items four and five are completely outside of your control with 6 only being partially in your control, they are controlled by the other person.  If you at any point think that you can control another human being with the capability of rational thought, I fear you are in for what is commonly referred to as a “rude awakening”!

If the other person is not capable of rational thought, then it is still a relationship, but is NOT a relationship through or with affinity.  Meaning that the other person is a child, handicapped, or dependent upon you in some manner and is incapable of truly escaping your will.

Thinking about it from the perspective outlined, it’s easy to see how the simple concept of a relationship…is anything but simple!

The point is that you may think you have some kind of influence, some kind of control or some kind of hold on another individual.  The reality is that you quite simply do not!

Their interpretation of the relationship can change at any moment in time….any moment…and if the paradigm shifts in a way that they no longer view the relationship as being to their benefit, the relationship will quite literally, cease to exist as you know it in that moment.

It happens all the time!  That’s why friends drift apart, couples disintegrate and marriages end in divorce.

Affinity and Love

Affinity is one of the most important aspects of true freedom.  Romantic relationships based solely on limerence that manifests without affinity (through lust or a sense of obligation for example) are doomed to failure.

That is not to say that even if you share affinity with someone that the relationship will last forever, quite simply a relational bond through affinity and tempered by respect, is likely to last regardless of the evolution of the relationship.

I may have given the impression with my words that a relationship is something that can truly end.  That’s really not the case, because like matter, relationships cannot be destroyed.  They are simply altered and evolve over time based on the outcomes of actions and inaction’s from one or both sides.

Heart break, torn affinity

What do I mean?  Say that you meet someone and a relationship “happens” (with or without affinity).  Over time you create a bond.  The months and years go by and the relationship grows as respect deepens and you become closer.  Then one day, you walk into a party and you see “your other” and there they are kissing someone else, maybe this “someone” is a mutual friend, maybe not.

One thing is for certain however, at that moment the relationship is suddenly subjected to a paradigm shift.  A loss of respect occurs, hurt and betrayal is introduced and the relationship is forever altered.

Should the romantic relationship continue after that, there will always be nagging questions.  Should the romantic relationship end, it’s possible that the relationship will evolve to a friendly one…or one of animosity and the intention of perpetual distance.

The relationship still exists.  There will always be that “I used to know” and “we used to be”.   But if you see them again of course the taint will be there, perhaps more or perhaps less over time, but there nonetheless.  So the relationship continues, it’s just in an altered state.  Once you “know” someone (whatever that means), you can’t really ever “UN-know” them.

Let’s say for instance that you decide to not “make a big deal” out of it and attempt to pretend it just didn’t happen.  Even if your intent is to keep the relationship exactly where it is, if the other person knows you saw their encounter and you do nothing, then the loss of respect will be toward you from them.  They now know that they can do anything they want, and you’ll likely be hunky dory with it!  As a result, the above relational alteration still likely happens, but will have a different…shall we say, flavor?

affinityLoveRelationships are those things that are constantly in a state of flux, those things that require balance, and hopefully your ledger has more black than red.  Nature abhors a vacuum, and if there is too much negative, nature will intervene and adjustments will be made.  Ironically if there is nothing but positives, well…mistakes must be made to appreciate the good.  Too much positive on one side and someone is often being taken for granted.

One of the more amazing resources I’ve found out there is a book called, “The 5 Love Languages“.  The concept, boiled down, is a simple one.  You need to be able to speak the particular love language of the person or people that you wish to connect with.

Affinity is about connections, aka relationships.  Think about it.  If you attempted to connect with someone that only spoke Spanish while you are speaking English, you may be able to…but the goings would be a bit rougher than if  you both spoke the same language, get it?

Affinity and Freedom

Affinity is one of the things that you have to understand if you want to be truly free.  You have to understand your place within relationships and how they form.  You need to understand and work on those aspects of your personality that often gets in the way of your relationships.  To attain true freedom, relationships have to be worked at, affinity appreciated, trust developed and more importantly maintained.

Like the other terms (affluence, aspect and altruism), this term is about the journey, not the destination.

Relationships are an ever evolving thing, something to be cherished and enjoyed, not something to posses.

On your road to true freedom, the affinity we experience with those we surround ourselves with is something that must be constantly worked on.

Freedom is a journey, enjoy the trip!

Suggestions and Further Exploration:

  • The Wall (Polsler, Martina Gedeck)For an interesting and symbolic exploration of freedom check out Polsler’s “The Wall” (DVD, Paperback or Audio Book).  It’s a really fascinating movie.  A bit low budget perhaps, but the book is amazing!  Read my review of The Wall.

25 thoughts on “Affinity

  1. Ian

    Sometimes in relationships it’s good to imagine ourselves in the other person’s shoes, and try to imagine how we are being perceived by our partner based on our actions. I think this could yield some surprising insights for a lot of people who are having relationship troubles. I think that we also need to leave ego aside and care for the well-being of our partner and vice versa.
    Great post!

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Boy now there’s wisdom for you, and something that I had to learn the hard way. I’ll tell you, it’s REALLY difficult walking in someone else’s shoes. It’s even more difficult when you are too self obsessed with yourself.

      True love…true unconditional love means that I love you regardless of everything, not that I’ll love you so long as you do what I expect.

      Well said Ian!

      Reply
  2. alexey aronov

    Hey there it’s Alexey!
    I had a good read – Nice article about affinity and relationships. You are right here, and I can agree with what you’ve said because I myself am in a relationship for 3.5 years. It is really about compromise and accepting the other person for who he / she is without trying to change them.

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Hi Alexey!

      Thanks for the insight! At going on 4 years in a relationship you are no doubt starting to get into the nitty-gritty aspects! 🙂

      The ability to accept someone for who they are is not something easily done. It’s SO easy to obsess over the minutiae. For example, if you catch yourself saying things like “why does she always have to …”, or “he never takes out the trash!”, basically anything that results in a “condition of love” you are potentially falling into a trap!

      These things MAY be problems, perhaps problems that should be dealt with, but love doesn’t have conditions. True love doesn’t end because someone doesn’t rinse off their plate after dinner. 😉

      -Jack

      Reply
  3. Tore

    This was really an interesting albeit long page. Your content is really informative and your page designe makes it perfectly easy to read!

    Reply
  4. Jason

    Relationships can be a very complicated thing to understand. We often show too much ego especially as men. We at times expect our other half to agree with everything we say.

    I have to be truthful; I have been guilty of this and am learning how to be a better person within my relationship. This article have truly given me some real insights into how I should go about in a relationship.

    I never looked at a relationship like this before. You mentioned that a relationship cannot be destroyed and now I fully understand what you mean.

    This, to me is a wonderfully written, powerful message that a lot more people should read. I will look into the book review that you wrote about the “The 5 Love Languages”.

    All the best to you in your relationship.

    Best,
    Jason.

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Jason,

      What an amazing testimony, and I couldn’t agree more. We men often take on the role of leader, and because of that…we lead.

      Many women actually EXPECT us to take on that role (I know, not all, ladies retract your claws please) and as a result, we tend to take our roles too seriously and we get into a “mode” of doing things.

      Many of us are “fixers”. Meaning, we fix things. When a woman comes to us and she’s irritated about something that is going on in her life, more often than not she expects us to be cheerleaders. This is not something I do well or naturally, especially since I can typically see the “solution” to her problem half way through her dissertation…

      …but that’s not the point! She just wants you to listen and sympathize UNLESS she specifically asks for advice. Even then it’s far better to help her to look at it from another perspective. All of us feel far better when we think the solution was our idea. 😉

      Thanks for the comment Jason!

      -Jack

      Reply
      1. Jason

        Thank you Jack. I appreciate your feedback.

        Looking forward to reading more of your work here.

        Best,
        Jason.

        Reply
        1. Tyya

          Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe you’re not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

          Reply
  5. Yvonne

    It’s true that relationships are an ever evolving thing and we should never take them for granted. Whether it is with our spouse, our children, our parents or friends, it is something that we have to constantly work at to maintain or improve. I have been married for 10 years and over the years, I’ve learnt that marriage is as what the saying goes, “not a bed of roses”. Like a plant, it has to be watered and nurtured for it to bloom and flourish. There are many important factors to make a relationship work. Among them: mutual respect, trust, patience, give and take among many others.

    Another important factor that I’ve come to realise is not to be quick to blame the other party when a problem arises. It’s so easy to start pointing fingers when it occurs. Always look at and within ourselves. Perhaps we could have prevented an issue/problem from occurring. It is easier to change ourselves and our mindsets than to change another person’s.

    Thanks for sharing your article. I enjoyed reading it.

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      You are a wise woman Yvonne! It’s true, my dad always told me, “you can change yourself, you can’t change someone else”. Give and take is an important concept. Many of us BELIEVE we give, but are we we really?

      I thought I was…I gave for years working every day, being the consummate provider. Often it’s that little bit extra that makes a difference.

      We get into our territories, you do this…and I’ll do that. Nope, I’m not going to help you with that, this thing over here, THIS is what I do. Nobody is helping me with my thing, why are you expecting me to help you with yours?!

      Often, it takes less than 15 minutes to help with the minutia, and like money, it’s the small emotional deposits that grow into something that takes you through the rest of your life.

      There is no retirement program in love, there is only perpetual, mutual joy in forever giving of forever.

      Reply
  6. Susan

    Relationships are so complicated. Your 6 parts to a relationship really sum it up well!

    It takes two to build a relationship and it takes two to continue making the relationship work. Give and take may be fine, but it only takes one party to start questioning ‘why should I give more?’ and the whole relationship could crumble in an instant. And how differently men and women think is not that helpful unless both of them are willing listeners.

    Your article explains it all very well. I have enjoyed reading it 🙂

    Susan

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Thank you Susan! Sounds like you’re a pro!

      Once one of you start asking that question around giving, that’s the beginning of the end. Luckily, endings often blossom into new beginnings. Now I’m not saying new beginnings with new people, often a new beginning with in an existing relationship, while often painful, results in a stronger more fulfilling relationship for both.

      Reply
  7. Lynne

    Thanks for this great post, I found it very interesting to read. You are so right about relationships being complicated. So many people think relationships are easy, all you need is love right?

    I’ve found relationships to be very hard, especially since I am an addict and an alcoholic… going being someone that only has damaged relationships while in addiction to having to grow up in sobriety has not been an easy journey for me.

    I enjoyed how you explained those 6 parts. It is funny how we try and control so many aspects of our lives, yet we really only have control of a small part of these things.

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      LOL, yes all you need is love. Oh, and infinite patience, a masters degree in psychology, and the negotiation skills of a statesman! 😉

      Addiction can be a rough cross to bear, and the fact that you carry that cross successfully means that you have strength that can be leveraged in everything you are and do, including your relationships. But I trust you understand that better than I do. 🙂

      Thank you so much for commenting Lynne, I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      Reply
  8. Garen

    I think a lot of people just think of relationships as you and the other person, but as you clearly pointed out there is much more than just that. A relationship isn’t just about control. In fact, it’s about compromise and understanding the other persons feelings.

    My girlfriend really understands me and I am so grateful for that. She is there for me emotionally. She has been there through the tough times and I am there for her emotionally too.

    I have personally witness the lost of trust from my sister and her x husband. He got caught cheating on her and it completely ruined their marriage. It took her about 3 years to fully get over it.

    I was wondering what tips you could give me to help someone that has been broken and no longer trust someone in her life. She has two kids and has to deal with her x husband for years to come. She has a lot of bitter feelings toward him, which I fully understand.

    Your guidance would highly be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Garen,

      You are fortunate indeed to have found someone that truly understands you. That can be an incredibly difficult thing to come by.

      I’m terribly sorry to hear about your sister, the betrayal of one’s heart is a terrible thing, but even more when it comes to affairs within marriage.

      The vows that were taken are not trivial. They are meant to be everlasting, and it can be a profoundly shattering event, regardless of whether one is religious or not.

      When betrayal like your sister has endured is encountered, the bitterness and resent which manifests can be debilitating. It is something that may never truly be completely obliterated from anyone’s psyche.

      However, since the damage has been done and it has apparently ended, she needs to find a way to release the anger and the innate distrust that likely accompanies her grief, which is likely boundless in its depth.

      The unfortunate loss of affinity that she has endured does have a lighter side. It’s over, the break can begin to heal. No doubt, though she despairs, there’s also a bit of relief. Relief that the drama is over, that the pain should not get worse…the betrayal has stopped.

      Now there’s the matter of trust. Trust in herself, trust that the problem is not with her, but with her former relationship. Understanding that she can become anything that she wishes. Finally, trust in others.

      I think she should start by reading “The Five Love Languages“. This is a book that can help her to understand herself better, her relations better, her children better, and anyone that she hopes to kindle affinity with.

      If she starts to spiral, or cannot get past the anger or distrust, she should seek some guidance. Sometimes having someone to talk to that specializes in matters where the heart pervades the mind can be liberating and she shouldn’t take it as any kind of negative aspect.

      I hope this helps in some small way.

      Reply
      1. Garen

        Hey Jack,

        Thanks a lot for the book recommendation. I will certainly pass that along to her. She does have a lot of trust issues which I can’t blame her for. It took her 3 years to get over it and she doesn’t really want to start dating now.

        I keep trying to remind her that some people in the world are just selfish and you shouldn’t think all men are bad because you found one rotten tomato.

        Reply
        1. Cindy

          This is my first time I visit here. I found so many enrtetaining stuff in your blog, principally its dialogue. great amount of on your articles, I reckon I am not the only one having an interest.on a regular basis to read.

          Reply
  9. Ken

    This was a very interesting post. I have been divorced now for almost 5 years. Our relationship had its ups and downs along the way. One of the biggest things I found that made us eventually grow apart, was the trust issue. This lead to my ex doing a few things behind my back, including filing for the divorce.

    Fast forward to present. I am in a relationship with a girl I dated over 20 years ago. We have re-connected and continue learning more about each other every day. One thing we both agree on is that something brought us back together. The relationship has it’s difficulties at times. But we think of why we are back together. We are now looking forward to a long and happy future.

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Ken, I’m sorry to hear about your divorce, but ecstatic to hear about the re-kindling of your relationship!

      The betrayal that ultimately results in heartbreak is a misery that is relentlessly lonely. Betrayal of a trust that was vowed to never happen through marriage is something that can be difficult to overcome even in the long term.

      When the heart has been forsaken once, it almost comes to expect it again. Take care that your new relationship is not tainted by the fractured connection of the past.

      I wish you well, and may you and your rekindled flame enjoy affinity for the rest of your days!

      Reply
  10. Jeanette

    Hi Jack! I believe that the relationships we have with people or our lovers/spouses can teach us a lot. I truly believe that we can learn from past mistakes that can ultimately make us a better person. I know all my past relationships have changed me for the better. What you said about relationships being altered is so true. All the lessons I have learned helped me to evolve to a more loving and open-minded person. This ultimately led me to meet my twin flame. My connection to him continues to teach me lessons. Over time I have learned to hold more unconditional love in my heart, and to also let go of a lot my bad habbits. Thank you again for this great post!

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Hi Jeanette! I love that characterization: your twin flame. That’s brilliant!

      You mention unconditional love, that is such a mind blowingly deep subject in and of itself. Something I intend to write about later. To love unconditionally should be the panacea we all aim for, it’s elusive nature is profoundly difficult to achieve, especially when we tend to think about it as being a simple thing.

      I’m glad that you’ve found your “twin flame” and wish you both many years together!

      Reply
  11. lilywong

    Wow, this is a very insightful article. I have always had difficulties with relationships and it’s just mind-blowing how right you are that a relationship comprises six components! You have also clearly pointed out where I end and where the other person begin, vice versa – which is a good foundation for setting healthy boundaries. This is very well-written – you should consider writing a book on this subject!

    Reply
    1. Jack Post author

      Thank you so much Lily! I don’t know about a book, though it’s crossed my mind, maybe someday.

      It’s a profound way of looking at relationships, many people approach relationships from a very narrow perspective.

      Perhaps they attempt to put themselves into the shoes of their partners and loved ones, but until you realize that the reason relationships are complicated is because of their compounding hidden levels, it’s often hard to see where we go wrong.

      I think you put it very well, characterizing it as “where I end and where the other person begins”.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply

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