Part of what came out of the conversation about hard tactics to gain compliance was my antiquated belief that my girl friends want me to protect them. Heather has been fairly upfront about her requirements in this area. She wants to feel safe with me, she doesn’t want me to protect her.
These two things are not the same and I’d mention that they are more different than they are similar.
Protection is about controlling a situation or people. It is about preventing things from happening. While it has its place in certain instances – life or death moments, or moments of complete absentmindedness – it isn’t appropriate most of the time in a loving relationship that is based on trust and mutual respect.
Given that it is about control, protection is selfish and fear based. It is an attempt to immunize oneself from a future, a fatalistic prediction about a possible outcome that creates a sense of loss. There is important information contained within the projection, so a need or want to protect someone who is independent reveals a lot of useful information and while it should not be actioned upon, it should not be ignored.
Allowing or helping someone to feel safe is altruistic in nature as it is about the other person feeling safe. It is a fearless way to act in that it is freeing. Safety, in the context of relationships, doesn’t require that someone control a person or situation, it means that the other person has the liberty to act as they feel appropriate.
What does feeling safe in a relationship mean? It means having the freedom to be self-expressed, it means having the option to act as you feel is appropriate without the power struggle, it means acting with a win:win outcome being the goal, it means you get to create your own environment and act naturally within it. Ultimately, it means being able to exist in a relationship in a natural way, free from the others will and live a life rich with the experiences you each bring to it.