One of the most interesting (and random) things I’ve noticed about Costa Rica is the relationship between dogs and their owners:
They seem to have the same dynamic that us Brits have with our cats, letting them come and go from their homes as they please.
As our group derives from a nation of fiercely protective canine-lovers, it’s been a peculiar phenomenon to witness.
Last week, we were staying in the middle of the jungle, where we were fortunate to be looked after by a lovely couple and their nine year-old son.
This family have a hilarious cracker of a pooch called Foxy, who’s well known in the area for disappearing off for adventures - often with doting travellers passing through.
When the mother, Mira, told us that Foxy’s vanishing acts can sometimes last for up to two weeks at a time, I asked her how she stops herself from panicking that one day Foxy may not return home to them at all (especially as there happened to be a puma roaming the area during our stay!)
“I just trust she’ll come back, and I get on with my day” she replied matter-of-factly. “And, if she doesn’t – well – that’s just life, I guess; she wants to be free, so we must let her.”
Her answer reminded me of one of my favourite quotes about romantic relationships from Kahil Gibran’s “The Prophet”:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
I used to waste so much energy in some of my more volatile relationships, anxious that one day my partner might walk out, never to return.
To try and prevent this from happening, I clung to their most precious commodity – their time – with ferocity, convincing myself that the more hours we’d clock up together, the deeper they’d fall in love with me, and the harder it’d be to leave.
But the more I’d clutch, the more they’d resist my subtle suffocation in pursuit of the space and autonomy that is each of our birth rights.
I know this, because I’d been in their position in many relationships myself, and detested nothing more than feeling trapped by my lover’s insecurity and neediness.
My relationship with Joe (who – like my dear old free-spirited dad – is a staunch protector of his independence) has taught me that:
The greatest gift you can ever bestow upon your beloved is to allow them the freedom to be, do and have whatever their heart is calling them towards.
Because the truth is that no matter how hard you try to make them do what you want, humans will always do what they want in the end, anyway (and if they don’t, you can bet your bottom dollar that there’ll be a whole heap of resentment coming your way imminently).
If your lover is meant to return to you, they will.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you ever felt suffocated by a romantic partner, or struggled to let your partner go off and do their thing for fear that they won’t come back to you?
Share your experiences and insights in the comments below!