Leave it to the sensational Esther Perel to nail the climate of modern love. At a conference speaking to 2,500 millennials, she outlined methods of rejection that are currently in vogue. Surprisingly, her arching definition perfectly describes what also happens in long-term married couples.
“These tactics of maintaining unclear relationships and prolonging break-ups all produce what I call stable ambiguity; too afraid to be alone, but unwilling to fully engage in intimacy building — a holding pattern that affirms the undefined nature of the relationship, which has a mix of comforting consistency AND the freedom of blurred lines.
We want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to have someone available to cozy-up with when it’s snowing, but if something better comes along, we want the freedom to explore.
In this relationship culture, expectations and trust are in constant question. The state of stable ambiguity inevitably creates an atmosphere where at least one person feels lingering uncertainty, and neither person feels truly appreciated or nurtured. We do this at the expense of our emotional health, and the emotional health of others.”