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Structure vs. Exploration


(I wrote this on February 1, 2002)

My personality type, INFP, is one that feels & expresses deep emotions and views the world intuitively (rather than concretely).

Even though I'm polyamorous, enjoying multiple open relationships, I still believe in setting up ground rules, agreements, or other forms of structure for my relationships with others. Many of my relationships benefit greatly from the creation of explicit boundaries -- so that each individual feels secure and in control. Not every friendship benefits from sex ... not every sexual encounter should lead to romantic attachment ... it is important to discuss these things to avoid unnecessary confusion and pain, so that each person has a chance to meet the other's expectations.

Sometimes these boundaries and structures can get in the way of needed growth and exploration ... I suppose that one could explore relationships without any structure at all, without any ground rules ... having no expectations and no goals ...

Over the long term, though, I think that both structure and exploration are necessary. While change is inevitable, and ever-present, change is not the same thing as chaos. It is possible to create areas of stability, areas in which to rest and escape and relax. Humans can only process a certain amount of change before they start breaking down.

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I thought about the great explorers through history ... there is no way somebody would have set out to climb Mount Everest without first planning the journey, without setting up base camps along the way ... sometimes you have to set up a detailed structure in order to explore places you've never been.

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Structure and Flexibility, Change and Stability ... I don't think we would recognize one without the other ...


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