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  • Austen Moore

Life choices aren't binary, especially in love.

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Life is full of choices, big and small, that shape our journey and define who we are. We are constantly faced with decisions that will impact our future, and often we feel like we are forced to choose between two options, as if life were a binary system. However, the truth is that life choices are not binary, and there are often more than two paths to choose from.

First, let's define what we mean by binary. In computing, a binary system is based on the concept of 0 and 1, or yes and no. In other words, it is a system that has only two possible states. When we apply this concept to life, we tend to think that we have only two choices: black or white, left or right, yes or no. But this is not an accurate representation of the complexity of our lives.

Life is full of nuances, shades of grey, and subtleties that make it impossible to simplify our choices into two options. We may be faced with decisions that have multiple outcomes, different paths, and varying levels of risk and reward. For example, deciding on a career path is not a simple choice between two options. There are many factors to consider, such as job security, salary, passion, skillset, and personal values. Each factor may have multiple options to choose from, and each option may have its own pros and cons.

Furthermore, life is not static, and our choices can have ripple effects that can impact our future decisions. For instance, choosing to pursue a career in medicine may lead to other choices, such as specialising in a particular field or pursuing further education. Likewise, choosing to start a family may lead to decisions about career, finances, and lifestyle that will affect the rest of our lives.

It's important to recognise that life choices are not binary because this understanding can open up a whole world of possibilities. When we stop thinking in terms of yes or no, we can begin to see the multiple paths that are available to us. We can take the time to explore our options, weigh the pros and cons, and make informed decisions that align with our values and goals.

Moreover, understanding that life choices are not binary can help us navigate difficult decisions with greater ease. We can give ourselves permission to take risks, make mistakes, and explore new possibilities without feeling like we have to choose between two extremes. We can embrace the gray areas and trust that our choices will lead us to where we need to be.

I've had experience myself of a personal relationship that suffered through binary decision making. I was in a relationship which for a period of time made both of us very happy. But certain challenges around the relationship made us both unhappy, not all the time, but it was there sometimes. It centred around us not being able to be together as much as we wanted to be and in the way we wanted to be. So we agreed to try and resolve the issues that were causing this, so we could have the relationship we both desired.

This didn't work out as planned and it left her feeling very stressed and unhappy. I was feeling the same. But rather than talk it through together and come up with other potential solutions she made a binary choice an A or B. Ultimately she chose to end the relationship instead of explore other options together. The outcome of this is that we ended up both being apart, still being in love, but sharing absolutley nothing together and being less happy than we were before. There was nothing I could do as there was no discussion, as for her, the options were binary. But as we've discussed, life isn't binary, especially around love.

We ended up still being in love, not seeing each other, neither of us wanting anyone else and having average days emotionally or very unhappy days. As opposed to have mostly amazing days, conversing all the time, feeling overwhelmingly loved and complete, with just the odd days and moments of unhappiness.

All of this was driven by wanting to see more of each other, yet the outcome she chose when this didn't work was to have absolutley nothing instead. The options she saw were A or B. People often choose in this way. Yet sadly, binary choices in non-binary situations can result in very poor outcomes. Especially where love is concerned.

Life is complex, and our choices reflect this complexity. We should recognise that life choices are not binary and that there are often multiple paths to choose from. By embracing the nuance and subtleties of our decisions, we can make informed choices that align with our values and goals. Let's embrace the grey areas and trust that our choices will lead us to a fulfilling life.

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