Process of Illumination

What’s “In Love” Got To Do With It?

Well, it seems as though there are a quite a few people who will miss the “Seven Years Later” series. I had one reader, who I met in person last night, say “What are we going to do? We’ll be going through withdrawal!” That made me laugh out loud :) I know I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again and again but I’m just so grateful to have an audience who really gets what my blog is about and who find it engaging and even helpful. Really. Thank you.

Since there are so many people who like the narrative stories I’ve told so far, I will definitely take that into consideration when I sit down to write. Perhaps that is the feedback I’ve been waiting for in terms of what the subject matter of my book will be. In the meantime, I’ll continue to follow my guidance from week to week and write about whatever seems to need to be addressed in the moment. I mean, really, my life, from here on out, is just a continuation of the “Seven Years Later” series anyway, right? 

It’s funny, because I’ve been dating a few different people recently and, inevitably, it comes up that I write a blog. One of the first things they want to know is if I would write about my experiences with them. At first, they think it’s a bit weird to imagine that they might be featured in something I’ve written but I assure them that I try to be very respectful when I write about other people and do my best to see things from the other perspective before I decide what to say. I don’t promise not to write about them at all because that is kind of the whole purpose of my blog… and my journey. If I discover something meaningful in the process of knowing someone, I’ll definitely write about it.  But I’m not out to air anyone’s dirty laundry or satisfy my ego. Ultimately, I write about the journey of my soul, which happens to include anecdotes from my own personal and spiritual exploration.

Once I address that concern, they often admit that they find it quite intriguing and the conversations, thereafter, become much more authentic. For instance, one man I know is in an open relationship with his wife of many years. He discovered, some time after being faithfully married and raising a family, that he is not monogamous. This led us to talk openly about the societal norms around that and how people’s needs change over time.

I certainly was faced with that in my marriage. When I first met the man whom I called my “soul-mate” in “Seven Years Later”, there was a time when I wished, more than anything, that there would be a way for society (and my husband and kids) to accept that I needed to explore that relationship without being judged and vilified. In reality, however, I’m not sure that I could have navigated that because, if history is any indication, I seem to only be able to be “in love” with one man at a time. Although, through my recent dating experience, I am beginning to learn that, for me, being “in love” and having sex don’t have to go hand in hand.  I know, I know… that may seem pretty obvious to some but, for me, based on my unfortunate early sexual experiences, I needed to feel emotionally connected to someone in order to have sex with them. In fact, that hasn’t really changed. What has changed is the ways in which I now define the various forms of emotional connection. I used to use the phrase “in love” to describe how I felt for someone with whom I wanted a monogamous relationship. What I’ve discovered recently is that I can be emotionally connected to and “love” all sorts of people with whom I enjoy sex but I don’t necessarily want to be monogamous or in a traditional “relationship” with them.

If you had asked me a year ago if that would ever happen, I would have said it was pretty unlikely. I was still so emotionally connected to my last relationship and being with another man without being “in love” seemed impossible because I had never done it – not since my twenties, anyway. And, truth be told, I didn’t even want that because I was still using my relationship status as one of the measures of my worthiness. I still believed I wanted a long-term, committed, live-in relationship some day because I believed that it was the only thing missing and that it would complete the picture of my otherwise, happy, fulfilling life.

I’m not saying that I don’t want that anymore, because I think I would like to be in a monogamous relationship again, one day. However, I’m not going to compromise my Self-Love just so I can have a partner. I will no longer settle for any relationships, even friendships, that aren’t founded on mutual authenticity, connection and safety. I’ve worked really hard to get to a place where I am able to fully embrace my own power and the people who are in my life now are in it because they are prepared to bring as much commitment and determination to the table as I do. For relationships to work over the long term, the people in them have to be really honest with themselves and their partners about what they need. There is no sense in hiding anything because that will only lead to closing down and eventual resentment and dis-ease.

I’ll have to leave it there because I am off to my first sailing class at QCYC! It’s been pouring rain all day but seems to be clearing up just in time. Looking forward to being on the water!

Till next time…

Journey Well