Newness : A Provocative Look at Today’s Open Relationships

So I was watching Newness on Netflix, which is an interesting and provocative taken on open relationships in today’s society.

 

SPOILERS.

 

 

The plot centers around two people that find each other through a dating/ hook
up app. Of course they have sex on the first night and quickly move in with one
another. They have their first huge fight and both end up cheating on one
another. After they discussed their affairs they chose to engage in an open
relationship akin to swinging. Eventually, they stop being transparent with one
another and break apart only to find out they really wanted each other all along
they were just scared to be completely honest with one another for fear of
rejection. In my experience this happen alot with couples. They are afraid to
be openly, almost radically honest, with one another for fear rejection. To me
this is a type of codependency that I am guilt of myself. What if we were
totally honest about our desires, dreams, and needs? What would change in the
relationship? True some individuals cannot handle or are ready for that type of
honesty because it means taking a closer look at themselves. I know when I held
the mirror to my inner self it was hard to face my flaws and what that meant
about me. I have come to terms with my dark passenger/ shadow self and embrace
her like a friend. My flaws, desires, and needs make me the person I am; they
make me whole. To deny that I have those and to hide them is a dis service not
only to myself, but to anyone I chose to love either friend, lover, or family. I
feel this particular movie shows the depths an individual needs to dive into
within themselves to find what they need and the importance of communicating it
to partners. This is just my opinion, please watch the movie for yourself and
form your own thoughts.

Kindness in Anger and Conflict

What place is there for kindness amongst a mire of resentment and fiery anger? How is kindness, such a small effect and action undergone in a habitual manner, such a pivotal force when suffering from conflict with your partner, or even your friend? Kindness, politeness, and caring is of paramount importance when moving through conflict with your partner, and helping to prioritize the relationship rather than the anger or frustration.

In the words Sanaa Hyder, M.S.Ed., “One of the hardest things to do in a relationship is to be nice to your partner when you’re upset with them”. People, without exemption, have an incorrigible tendency to let annoyance, sadness, or other negative emotions twist into resentful anger towards the ones closest to us. It is a burden we all bear, and something that may sometimes complicate the struggles that arise within relationships with each other. There is nothing worse than compounding anger and problems, no? But there are means by which partners overcome this instinct, means in order to show gratitude and kindness in the heat of the argument.

The conundrum can be simplified into three main components of which are outlined by Sanaa Hyder. The first is to think positive thoughts. Strange, but it is necessary. The human mind will subconsciously influence decisions with what the mind prefers to focus upon. Thus, if you maintain a mindset focusing on the negative qualities of your partner, it is a recipe for disaster and attacking those faults when conflict arises.

The second method that is commonly forgotten, or conveniently, is to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, actions, decisions, and others effects you have brought about. No one individual is faultless, emotionless, or has nothing to own up to when conflict is thrown in one’s face. When you make a mistake, say something hurtful, or realize something of your emotions, you must take ownership of the factor. This action shows integrity, and willing to admit wrongdoing or regretful actions, rather than lashing out in hot fury.

The final method most may adopt, is to, in the words of Hyde, ‘Let Hope Win’. This statement is vague, so allow me to explain. When someone opens the door for you out of courtesy, yet offers a genuine smile, how is it that you feel? How is that you feel when you partner goes out of their way in order to arrive home early for more quality time? The feeling of warmth and comfort at a partner’s off-handed acts of kindness are what’s a key emotion to remind oneself of. Do not neglect to do these gestures of good faith, even when closeness is at an intolerable level. These acts remind both you and your partner that you care more for each other than the negative anger that plagues you both.

Conflict is unavoidable, inevitable, and there will be most assuredly a time in which it will become uglier than whatever one could imagine. But with good faith in the relationship, with comfort and kindness as a method of affirming your bonds, the anger will not throw a wrench in the bond you and your partner, or partners, have worked endless hours for.

Hyder, Sanaa. “How to Be Kind When You’re Upset With Your Partner.” The Gottman Institute, The Gottman Institute, 27 Dec. 2016, www.gottman.com/blog/how-to-be-kind-when-youre-upset-with-your-partner/.