Finding Your Soulmate and
By Shepherd Hoodwin
Excerpt from "Loving From Your Soul"
[A reminder: For simplicity, the pronouns “he”
and “him” generically refer to both men and women.]
Finding your soulmate and developing intimacy are natural processes. They are not
automatic; they do not happen without your participation, but the kind of
participation that is effective is more akin to dancing than to conducting a
military campaign. Some people in search of a soulmate go to great lengths to find
one, organizing their lives around that quest. Participating in activities that
interest you does help you meet those who share similar interests. However, if
your primary purpose in doing so is to find your soulmate, you tend to work against
yourself. For one thing, you are likely to put pressure on others in whom you
have an interest, and this will tend to make them pull away from you.
Finding your soulmate is a by-product of living the life
you most want to live in the way you most want to live it. If you are enjoying
yourself, you are attractive to others who are enjoying themselves in similar
What are you seeking in a mate, if you do not have
one and would like one? You might be seeking intimacy, to see and be seen, to
know and be known. Many people do not want intimacy. If you perceive that a
potential partner does not want intimacy, and you do, you are wise to cross him
off your list. There is no point in trying to change him so that he will want
intimacy. You will probably not be successful. Besides, it is not loving or
accepting to demand that someone change how he is to be your mate. If you truly
love someone, you release him to be who he is. You do not require him to conform
to your mold. Yet, loving yourself, you do not require yourself to give up
something that is important to you in a relationship. So you let your connection
with him be what it is—not intimate, not your primary relationship, but perhaps
friendly, fun, and even an important part of your life.
Sometimes it is hard to give up relationships that
are not working or potential relationships that clearly will not work. One
reason might be the attitude that everything good is quite scarce, including
potential mates. Your experience may seem to back up this view: you have been
looking for the right person for many years, and he still has not arrived. It is
true that the more specific your requirements, the longer it can take to find
that person. But usually the key factor is not a scarcity of potential mates but
your relationship with yourself. We are not implying that if you do not
presently have a mate and you want one, there is something wrong with you. On
the contrary, not having a mate might imply that you are engaged in an important
inner process that you might not be able to engage in if you were mated. In any
case, if you are not in a relationship, you have a special opportunity to be in
a fulfilling relationship with yourself. The more you enjoy being with yourself
and the less desperate you are for a mate, the more attractive you are. You can
cultivate your relationship with yourself by doing things alone that you would
like to do with a partner, such as taking yourself out or having a special
evening at home with yourself, not waiting for someone else.
You do not need to become more attractive to have
a mate. You are already attractive to prospective mates who are fitting for you.
Attractiveness is not an issue. However, if you have a belief that you are
unattractive, you may want to change it, because it can cause you to get in your
own way and suppress your natural attractiveness, making it harder for potential
mates to see you and recognize how attractive you already are.
If you think that you have to change in order to
find a soulmate, or even to be worthy of having a mate, you probably got that idea
in your childhood. You may have felt that your parents did not love you fully,
and that perhaps you could have convinced them to love you more if you had
changed—if you had become better behaved, prettier, or more handsome. It is easy
to understand why a child might get this kind of idea, but it is not an accurate
You chose your genetic makeup and life situations,
including your parents, not because there were no better ones around, or because
you were inferior and did not deserve better, but because they were right for
what you wanted to do in this lifetime. If your parents did not love you fully,
you probably wanted to handle the lessons that situation tends to bring up.
When two people fit in a mate relationship, there
is a multiplication of energy. You are both energized to do what you have come
on earth to do. Of course, you feel this multiplication of energy whenever sex
is fulfilling, and it is generally more fulfilling between two people who fit,
in terms of what they have come to do.
The fitting mate for you is someone who wants to
do something in his life that fits with what you want to do in your life. That
is logical, isn’t it? Sometimes mates are called partners. There must be
something to partner; the partners must fit. If you were a ballroom dancer, you
would not have an effective dance partnership with someone doing ballet. He
might be good-looking and have a nice smile. You might even love him deeply. But
if you decided to be partners and tried to dance, you would step on each other’s
toes. You would want swing music, and he would want Tchaikovsky—you would not
get along in that situation. You might fit together as friends, or in working
together in some other way, but not as dance partners.
Of course, you seek someone you deeply love and
who loves you deeply; this is, obviously, essential between life mates. But love
is not the only factor. In your development as a soul, you will ultimately learn
to love in a way that includes everything. Even now, you probably love many
people. Romantic love really is not all that different from any other type of
love—at least in essence. Love is love. Love in a personal sense might be
defined as caring deeply for another in such a way that a current of your energy
moves to him. If you love someone, you are willing to share some of your being
with him. In a romantic partnering, you obviously share your physical being; you
have sex with one another. Sex can allow for intimacy on all levels—emotional,
intellectual, and spiritual as well as physical. But everything you do can be an
expression of love and a vehicle for intimacy. In a successful relationship, you
mate with someone you love primarily because it works for you to do so.
When looking at potential mates, you are wise to
be clear-eyed about what is workable. You do not serve yourself by disregarding
this. If you meet someone who is the apparently right age, gender, and size, in
the “right” career, and so forth, do not assume that this implies that you have
found your soulmate. You may well have made some agreements between you on an
essence level, but they may not have been to mate; mating may not be very
workable. On the other hand, someone who is in the “wrong” package might make a
splendid mate for you. We are not attempting to give you parameters, but to help
you see beneath the surface. Look for what you really share.
Many things must click into place for a mate
relationship to work. Your rhythms need to be aligned, or be capable of
aligning. The longer you know someone, the easier this is. If you knew someone
in past lifetimes and developed a rapport, it makes it easier to be together as
mates in this lifetime, even if your past experience together was not as mates.
However, no matter how much time you spent together in past lives, you still
need to get to know one another in this lifetime.
The term “soul mate” can have different meanings,
but many people define it as one soul with whom you want to mate in all your
lifetimes. Actually, your soul wants a variety of experiences. You can only gaze
into someone’s eyes for so many centuries!—then you need to get on with other
things. We advise against waiting around for your soul mate to come.
Most people have what we have termed an
twin, also known as a twin soul. This is the soul with whom you are
closest. It might be described as your learning partner for this planet. You
have many kinds of relationships together, including parent/child, sibling, and
friendship; you are mated in relatively few of your lifetimes. You also choose
not to be together in a substantial number of lifetimes. Some people are
referring to the essence twin when they use the term soul mate.
There are other souls with whom you have mated
several times in the past. Therefore, after all you have learned, you get along
well and like being together. If you have agreed to possibly mate again in this
lifetime, you might also be called “soul mates,” especially if mating again is a
high priority. Incidentally, you might be surprised at how many people in your
life you have known in past lifetimes. That includes people you work with as
well as your friends.
When you are planning your upcoming lifetime
before you incarnate, you usually find some of your old friends who are also
planning to incarnate in the same general vicinity. You might say to one of them
something like, “I enjoyed being your mother in ancient Rome. Why don’t we try
getting together as partners in this lifetime?” If your life plans fit together
reasonably well, he might reply, “That sounds good to me; I do have nine other
mate agreements, but I will put you on my list. If we run into each other and it
feels right at the time, let’s do it.” He probably will not mate with all ten
possibilities on his list, at least not for very long. However, these mate
agreements, along with the other agreements he has made, give him a strong yet
flexible foundation for his life.
There are many unpredictable factors on the
physical plane. You or those with whom you made mate agreements might have ended
up in unexpected locations or situations, and might have gotten involved with
other people. This is why you make so many mate agreements.
You have probably already met people with whom you
have mate agreements, perhaps in high school or college. You might have gone out
together, even recently. You usually feel connected to them, but mate
relationships with them in this lifetime do not necessarily turn out to be
workable or even compatible. Because of free choice, your souls cannot fully
predict how you will develop as people or what your reaction will be to one
another “in the flesh.” The unpredictability of life is part of the game; it is
not “bad.” In any case, you generally seek out those on your list before looking
seriously at other possibilities, and will probably cross names off it as you go
through life. If you meet everyone on your list that you are going to meet, and
none of them prove appropriate, you might start going through your “backup”
list, or you might simply open yourself to other friends, old and new.
When you made your mate agreements before your
life, you were not all-wise and all-knowing. You did not think of everyone who
might have made an appropriate mate, nor did you know what the future would
bring. There is nothing “wrong” with choosing someone not on your list as your
partner. However, those on your list generally fit from one important
standpoint: what they wish to accomplish in their lives is compatible with what
you wish to accomplish in yours. On the other hand, many people never do what
they set out to do, usually because of false personality [see
Your compatibility in terms of life task can be insignificant in a relationship
with someone who is not interested in doing what he came to do. But if you both
are interested in completing your life tasks, this can aid your relationship a
great deal. Compatibility of life tasks can also be present when there is no
mate agreement, although, of course, that is not certain.
Your soul and spirit guides are constantly working
to bring you together with others with whom you have agreements, mate and
otherwise. You do not always meet those you plan to, but you often do.
Particularly when you sleep, your soul and those of the people with whom you
have agreements plan how you might meet. When you are awake, your guides coach
you to be where those people are, and those people’s guides coach them to be
where you are. Of course, people often do not follow their guidance, so it may
take several tries. The closer you come to one another, the more strongly you
attract each other. To make an analogy, your agreements are like magnets that
are electrically boosted by your soul when you are in the vicinity of those with
whom you have the agreements.
Since your soul and spirit guides are already
working with you to help you meet those with whom you have agreements, how can
you help the process along? For one thing, be alert to intuitive “flashes” and
be willing to follow them. If you get a strong feeling that you should go
somewhere, or take a different route than you usually take, you might want to
pay close attention. It may indicate that you are trying to keep a date. You may
feel foolish sometimes; you may say to yourself, “I don’t know why I am going to
the mall. I don’t need anything,” yet you go, and you meet someone you would not
have met otherwise. This is not necessarily someone with whom you have a mate
agreement, but he may introduce you to a person with whom you have a mate
agreement, or he may enhance your life in some other way.
When you are learning to perceive intuitively,
there are times when, for example, you go to the mall and nothing happens. It
may be that you did have a “date” with someone important to you, and at the last
minute something came up for him, or you just missed one another. There is no
need to fret when this occurs. You usually get many more opportunities to meet.
If you had only one chance to meet the important people in your life, you seldom
would. It is also possible that what you thought was intuition was your
subconscious mind sending you an impulse because a part of you wanted to buy
something new, or some such thing. It takes work to learn to perceive impulses
Another thing you can do is to connect with those
with whom you have mate agreements in your consciousness through meditation. It
is especially successful late at night or early in the morning when they are
likely to be sleeping, unless you happen to catch them meditating at the same
time. You can connect with another person at any time, but if he is busy in an
outer sense, less of him is available to connect with you. To make the
connection, simply go into a deeply relaxed state and ask to be connected with
the person with whom you have a mate agreement whom you are most likely to meet
next. During the first meditation, it is a good idea to simply feel his energy.
This will aid you in identifying him if and when you finally do meet. This will
also give him a chance to tune in to your energy as a human being. In subsequent
meditations, you can communicate, discussing your life in your mind’s eye. You
can, for example, tell him the location where you work, and that you are a Mets
fan and can often be found at Shea Stadium, for instance; it does not hurt to
name specific dates. On a conscious level, he is not going to retain these
facts, but there will probably be some penetration, and you increase your
chances of meeting. When you are done, do not worry about what happens; let it
Rather than focusing on connecting with one
specific person, you can also ask in meditation to be connected with all the
people with whom you have mate agreements, or with everyone who might be an
appropriate mate. In communicating with them, tell them who you are, what you
are looking for, and where you can be found. It is rather like putting out a
personal ad into the universe on a radio signal saying that you are here and
Affirmations can be helpful. Your thinking
magnetizes people who have complementary thinking. If you change your thinking,
you can change what and whom you magnetize. One basic affirmation you could use
in finding a mate is:
now attracting to myself a mate who is a joy to be with, and to whom I bring
That covers a lot of ground, doesn’t it? If you
find it a joy to be together, many things are working properly. You do not have
to specify, “I am now attracting to me someone who has blonde hair, green eyes,
and is five-foot-six to five-foot-eight,” because if those qualities are the
only ones that will truly bring you joy in a mate relationship, you will attract
them. (Of course, you might be surprised.)
There is a prevalent expectation that when you
meet the “right” person, you will be metaphorically struck by lightning. You
will see him, preferably across a crowded room, and, as if by magic, you will
walk toward one another and fall into a passionate embrace. We are exaggerating
a little bit, but not much. You may expect that when you meet the right person,
you will know immediately. Sometimes that happens, especially if it is someone
with whom you have deep and long-standing connections from past lifetimes.
Often, however, “love at first sight” is more indicative of strong physical
attraction than it is of “fate.” If you prematurely decide that someone is “the
one” and start placing expectations on a relationship too quickly, you are
likely to twist or even ruin it.
Many relationships that work begin gently. Often
you do not know when you first meet someone what is possible between you, and
that can be an advantage. The first part of building a workable relationship is
friendship. This provides the foundation for what is to come. You may feel
comfortable with someone but not think of him as mate material at first.
Sometimes you may even dislike him, perhaps because of unpleasant past lifetimes
together, or people of whom he reminds you. Nevertheless, in time your
relationship may grow.
Desperation is not a strong foundation for a
long-lasting relationship. If you have been without a good relationship for a
long time, you may have a certain amount of tension or even panic. The longer it
has been, the more tension you are likely to have. Part of this may stem from
sexual frustration. Using masturbation to at least somewhat fulfill your own
sexual needs can be helpful. It can also help you practice loving yourself.
No one “must” have a relationship with someone
else. Relationships are potentially lovely and growthful experiences, but you
will not die if you do not have one. There are many other pleasures in life. If
you have a lot of charge around this issue, your first step in having the
relationship you want is to not want it so much. Relaxing your grip will allow
new things begin to happen.
When you emphasize in your mind how much you want
a relationship and how frustrated you are at not having one, you put out a
counterproductive energy. It is like repeating a negative affirmation that
states, “I don’t have a relationship. I can’t have one,” making it more likely
that you will not. It is similar to trying to get your car out of the snow; if
the wheels spin, you get more stuck. You have to put something under the wheels
to give them traction and move the car ahead. A new belief that relationships
are enjoyable, easy, and fun to be in is the traction that moves you ahead into
The degree to which you are desperate to have a
relationship is often the degree to which another part of you does not want one.
You may have fears of which you are not even conscious. A relationship may
suggest imprisonment to you, a lack of being able to do the things you want to
do. If you can bring these fears to the surface and examine them, you can make
choices about them. You can say, “Well, yes, I would give up some things, but I
would get other things. I can accept some compromise and still make sure that I
have the freedom I need.”
How can you develop intimacy with others? One key
is honesty. Some people tell little lies about themselves when they first begin
a relationship. This is destructive to intimacy, because your partner will never
be completely sure if you are telling the truth. It is much easier to maintain
credibility if you start out being credible. This is not to say that you must
talk about things you are not ready to talk about, but neither do you have to
falsify information. There are times when lying is appropriate, but rarely with
someone with whom you wish to have intimacy. Even lying about your age says to
the other person, “There is something about me I do not want you to know. This
is the boundary of our intimacy.” If you want to be known and understood, you
must make yourself knowable and understandable.
Communication needs to be not only honest, but
clear and complete. Communicating with another person—any person, not only your
mate—is a challenge, because each person speaks a slightly different language,
with different assumptions and definitions. You must be deliberate and alert to
make yourself clear to others. It is not a bad idea for couples to put their
fundamental agreements in writing and refine them over time, so that they are
clear. The refinement process can also help each partner become more aware of
what he is feeling.
People often have the unrealistic notion that if
somebody really loves you, he knows all you want, need, or mean without your
having to clarify it. Since human beings are generally not telepathic, this does
not usually occur. If you take responsibility for communicating what you want,
need, and mean, you avoid unnecessary disappointments and misunderstandings.
Misunderstandings destroy intimacy more than any other factor, and most of them
can be avoided. Of course, the more deeply someone knows you, the more aware he
is of your wants and needs, and of how you communicate. Nonetheless, as you
change and grow, it is important to stay up to date with each other.
Intimacy needs space and time to grow. If two
people have packed schedules day in and day out, there is probably not much
intimacy. Intimacy implies being with the other person, being there in the
present, in both conversation and silence. It may include expressing difficult
emotions; a clear and appropriate expression of anger, for example, can bring
two people closer together. Any time you love someone enough to tell him how you
feel, you are offering a bridge that can enable him to know you better. Of
course, bridges go both ways—you can get to know him better as well.
You cannot be any more intimate with another
person than you are with yourself. How can you expect someone else to know what
you are feeling, for example, when you yourself do not know what you are
feeling? You can develop intimacy with yourself in the same ways that work with
others: be honest with yourself, communicate clearly with yourself, and give
yourself space and time to be with yourself.
You cannot expect any other person—even someone
who conforms to your fantasies in every detail—to give you what you feel is
missing within you. You must do that yourself. If, for instance, you lack a
sense of self-worth, you are likely to attract a partner who mirrors your view
of yourself, who treats you as if you were worthless. Why? Because it is
confusing when a partner insists that you are worthy when you are certain that
you are not, and people do not like to be confused. If you are fortunate enough
to have a partner who tries to inspire a sense of self-worth in you, but you are
not willing to accept it, you will probably deflect his input or dismiss him
entirely. You might, for instance, tell yourself that he is prejudiced, or
think, “What does he know?”
Anything you have not yet dealt with in yourself
will likely come up at some point in the context of a mate relationship.
Therefore, if you are single and have been making use of your time alone to
release your old patterns, you will have an easier time when you form a
relationship. However, no one is finished processing everything. The more you
are willing to acknowledge and work on your shortcomings, without self-judgment,
the easier it will be to develop intimacy with a partner. One reason is that you
are less defensive.
Many fights arise over defensiveness. Suppose you
are in a relationship with someone who says to you, “You are selfish about the
television. We always have to watch what you want to watch.” What would most
people’s response be? Probably an automatic “No, I’m not!” Suppose that,
instead, you say, “Hmm…I wasn’t conscious of that. Thank you for pointing that
out.” After giving it some thought, you discuss possible solutions, such as
taking turns, or getting another television—you agree that you do not always
have to watch together. Also, since you had not been aware of the problem, you
ask him to be clearer in saying what he wants to watch. Because you were open
rather than defensive, he does not have to be angry about that issue anymore.
You have heard and received his complaint. If your partner complains about
something you do not agree with, or are not able to do something about, your
willingness to hear and discuss it can still help defuse the issue.
Some people want to get a relationship set up so
that it is running smoothly and they never have to do anything about it again.
However, this does not usually work. To make an analogy, someone may build his
dream house and move into it; however, he must continually refine and maintain
it. In a sense, a house is never done. The same is true of relationships. They
keep changing, providing opportunities for growth, as the people in them change
and grow. There is nothing wrong with that. Wouldn’t it be boring if you felt
that you had everything set up, that you always knew what to expect from your
partner? It is more fun to be constantly looking for the unexpected, discovering
new things, and changing.
Sometimes relationships change to the point where
they are no longer workable in that form. Maybe the form needs to be changed to
a more distant relationship, a friendship perhaps. That is not necessarily an
indication of anyone’s failure; you may have simply completed your work
together. Ending or changing a relationship gracefully, without making anyone
wrong, is a mark of maturity. The more quickly you acknowledge that a
relationship is no longer serving you, the sooner you can move on to your next
step. That may be a relationship that does serve you, or a period of aloneness.
Of course, some relationships are fitting and adaptable enough to serve you for
the rest of your life.
How do you know whether to keep working on a
relationship or to let it go? There are no hard and fast rules about this, but
generally, if you have an automatic impulse to run, there is a good chance that
you would benefit from staying with it. If you have an automatic impulse to hang
onto it, it is likely that you would be well advised to let it go. The key
factor is your motivation. If your impulse is to run, it is likely to be because
of laziness, not wanting to do the necessary work, or fear of what that work
might bring up. If your impulse is to hang onto the relationship, it is likely
to be because of fear that you will not find anyone else, perhaps because you
are not lovable enough. It is preferable to stay in a relationship because you
genuinely want to.
If you have mixed feelings—part of you wants to
stay with it, and part of you wants to leave it—it is helpful to evaluate how
much energy it would take to get the relationship working well, if that is even
possible. You may need the help of a professional counselor to clearly identify
the relationship’s problems and possible solutions. If it looks like it would
require a lot of work to reap relatively little improvement in it, your highest
growth might be found in letting go of the present relationship. That would
reinforce a belief that you deserve to be well treated and have enriching
relationships that come easily to you. On the other hand, you might realize that
even if the chances of changing the relationship are relatively low, you would
grow a great deal in some necessary skills by making the attempt. Of course, you
might also discover that your relationship is fundamentally sound, and that
relatively little effort could reap major improvements in it.
If you are in doubt, you might wish to have a
trial separation, and see what you feel. Do you feel unfinished, that you still
want to be together? Sometimes it helps to explore your feelings with an
objective third party, but only you can know for yourself what is right for you.
If you are willing to see the truth, what is right for you will usually become
clear to you in time.
It is generally assumed that an ideal relationship
lasts for the rest of your life, is monogamous, includes a house with a fence,
perhaps two or three children, and so forth. That is not necessarily the case.
Monogamy is not the ideal for everyone. In fact,
many marriages are not wholly monogamous, in spite of the often-unexamined rule
that they should be. Sometimes, this is due to a lack of maturity. Other times,
one or both of the partners are not innately suited for monogamy, or may have
important essence agreements to fulfill outside their primary relationship that
involve sex. That is not necessarily a “bad thing.” Monogamy is promoted in this
society to provide stability. When people are mature, they may be capable of
handling more complex arrangements without a loss of stability. Neither monogamy
nor alternative forms of relationship are “good” or “bad,” moral or immoral—it
is a matter of choice, but alternative forms are usually more challenging.
Most people need some sort of structure and
definition to their relationships. It can be rigid or flexible, but people
ordinarily like to know where things stand. Group marriages and other more
flexible arrangements will likely become more common in years to come. but
however your relationship is set up, it is important for everyone concerned to
be clear on what your agreements and boundaries are, especially if you wish to
deviate from the norm. Otherwise, it will be difficult to maintain the
You have the right in your relationships to
negotiate agreements that work for you as well as for your partner(s). You also
have the right to renegotiate them if your needs change. If you are clear that
you are not suited for monogamy, it is important to be honest about this with
prospective partners. You may lose the relationship, but you prevent painful
problems later for both of you. You might also find that your prospective
partner feels the same way you do. Your honesty helps him to be open about it
too, and allows you to make specific agreements about how you are going to
handle an open relationship. The majority of people prefer a one-on-one
relationship and find it easiest. For one thing, it is not smart to bring more
people into the picture if you have not yet learned how to be with one other
person. But if you cannot live with long-term monogamy, those with whom you have
mate agreements probably feel the same way. You do not have to fit yourself into
a mold. You do not necessarily have to give up things you truly want and need to
have other things you truly want and need. First, though, you must know what you
want and need, what you must have in a relationship to be fulfilled.
If you were to list the things you need to have a
fulfilling relationship, you might find the list to be long and maybe quite
limiting. That is all right, if you truly need all of them. It is better to be
clear on this from the beginning than to later find yourself feeling stuck in a
relationship that is not fulfilling to you. However, as you explore what you
need, you might find that some of your preconceptions no longer hold true for
It is easy to see this with your physical and
professional ideals. Be open to many different physical types. We are not saying
that you should get involved with someone to whom you are not attracted, but
perhaps you can discover that you are attracted to many types of people. This,
of course, gives you more potential mates. Also, if you have always thought that
your ideal mate would be an artist, for example, maybe what you really desire is
someone who has an artistic sensibility, including sensitivity and a love of
beauty. There are, of course, people with these traits who are not artists.
Relationships are one of the most important areas
of learning on the physical plane. Therefore, it is worthwhile to examine old
assumptions and premises about them so that you can fully take advantage of the
opportunities they provide. If you do not have a mate, having one will not solve
all your problems; conversely, if you are in a mate relationship that is not
satisfying, not having that relationship will not solve all your problems
Problems are your teachers. In finding their
solutions, you do what you came here to do, which is to grow, expand, and become
more capable of love. Love is who and what you are. As you function more and
more effectively in the realm of relationships, more and more of who you are
comes forth. The love comes through, not just because the other person is
present, but because you are more present.
It seems that the people I’m strongly attracted
to are never right, or don’t respond.
There are many things to consider here. If you
continually attract people who are not right for you, perhaps you need to
develop in yourself a clearer understanding of what is right for you.
You might ask also yourself what they symbolize to
you. Being attracted does not necessarily mean that you are being attracted to
potential mates. There may be a quality in them that you want to have more of in
yourself. Opposites do often attract. If, for example, you are easygoing, you
might attract dynamic types of people because you want to learn to be more
dynamic. If you practice being more dynamic, you may find that your attraction
to them on that basis begins to fade.
I’m with someone right now with whom I’m very
comfortable, but I’m wondering if we’ve hit some limitations we can’t get
beyond. Is it possible to be comfortable, yet still have to go on a different
Your feelings are a good gauge of what is going
on. If you still feel good in the relationship, that it is serving you and that
you are growing in it, then it probably still has value. It depends on how you
experience comfort. If comfort for you is an avoidance of growth and meeting
issues, then you may be in a rut. But there is certainly nothing wrong with
being comfortable in a relationship. In fact, it might be evidence that it is
It sounds as if you feel that something is missing
for you. Give some thought to what that might be, and see if you can create it
in your present relationship or in a platonic friendship. If not, decide if you
are willing to let go of what you have in order to seek it. Every day you stay
in a relationship, you are making a choice to do so. Knowing what motivates your
choice helps you choose consciously.
My husband and I no longer wish to be with one
another, but we have children and an obligation to look after his mother.
In solving problems, you grow and expand. Your
problem here is how to meet your own needs as well as your commitments to
others. When there are children involved, you do not necessarily serve them by
staying together. If you are apart, it can require ingenuity to make sure that
their needs continue to be met, but no doubt you can find ways to accomplish
this. There may also be no reason why you could not continue to help care for
your mother-in-law after the separation, if you chose to.
There is usually a way to solve a problem. You are
not stuck. If you and your husband truly wish to be apart, you can likely work
There are some people in my life who don’t seem
to have any real problems. They have excellent marriages, and everything goes
all right, without complications. How do they get off so easily?
Each path in life is unique. Of course, you may
not know what is really going on; you are only seeing part of the picture. But
suppose that you are correct that they have excellent, smooth relationships.
That may be what they chose for this life. You, on the other hand, may have
chosen to deal with some important, challenging issues that require your
undivided attention. Comparisons with other people in this regard are not valid;
others have what they need to grow, and you have what you need. If your life
could be different than it is, it would be. The fact that it is not fulfilling
you in specific ways means that there are areas of growth available that will
bring the fulfillment you seek.
I want to end my relationship, but my partner
doesn’t. Will I form karma with him if I leave him? Wouldn’t unconditional love
require that I stay with him?
You do not create karma unless you violate your
partner. He does not have the right to keep you in a relationship you do not
wish to be in, and vice versa. You would only create karma in such a situation
if you abandoned a partner who had no other means of support, and it resulted in
his harm or untimely death.
You can end a relationship in a loving manner.
That involves finding out what your partner needs in order to feel complete and
resolved, as well as doing what you need in order to feel complete and resolved.
You might undertake some counseling together to have clear communication and a
more graceful shift in your relationship. It is not necessarily loving to stay
in a relationship that no longer serves you. If it no longer serves you, it
probably does not actually serve him either, even if it is comfortable for him.
If you are unhappy in the relationship, you are not likely to give unconditional
love to it. On the other hand, there is no reason you cannot be unconditionally
loving as you end the relationship.
The way you end a relationship is as important as
the way you start it. It says more about you and your integrity than almost any
other time in a relationship. At the beginning, if you want what your partner
has to give, you may be on your better behavior or do things just to please him.
That is not unconditional love. When you decide that you no longer want the
relationship, you reveal your true colors. Your kindness, sensitivity, and
appropriateness become especially significant. But being kind does not mean
staying in a relationship that is stunting you. Being kind means communicating
your experience in a way that is honest yet not unnecessarily hurtful. Being
kind means taking his needs into account, so that you allow the transition to be
fair and workable. You do not just leave; you end the relationship with grace
and care. You balance your needs with his.
If you commit to a mate relationship with someone,
presumably you love him, however you define love. If it is genuine love, your
care and concern do not stop just because you no longer wish to be in that
relationship. If you now feel that you do not love him in any way, you probably
did not have a true or mature experience of love all along. In that case, some
self-examination is warranted.
If your partner was irresponsible and uncaring
both during a relationship and while ending it, how do you deal with that and
break the attachment?
It is important to have support from others. Those
who have gone through something similar can be especially helpful.
If someone is irresponsible and uncaring in a
relationship, recognizing that you are fortunate to be free of him can aid you
in breaking your attachment to him. Examining why you became attached to someone
with those qualities to begin with can also be helpful. Learning to fill more of
your own needs, meeting other people, and the simple passage of time can all
assist you in the transition.
Could you suggest some techniques for dealing
with unresolved feelings about a previous lover?
You might write him a series of letters pouring
out all your feelings. Keep throwing them away until you find it natural to
write a neutral, balanced letter. You may or may not want to mail that letter.
You also might examine what he represents to you,
and why he is still on your mind. Changing something in your life now may help
you release these feelings.
How does homosexuality fit into all this? Is it
okay to go in that direction if you feel you want to?
The principles governing relationships and
intimacy are the same regardless of sexual orientation. In fact, they apply not
only to mate relationships but to other kinds as well.
There is nothing intrinsically wrong or right with
either homosexuality or heterosexuality. It is a matter of what your path is. If
you are in conflict over it, resolving that conflict is part of your life task
and will bring you growth. Many people in such conflict are in fact bisexual,
yet are blocked for one reason or another in the full and free expression of
that bisexuality. Working to release that or any block can be beneficial.
Imagine yourself in the ideal relationship. There
is no need to try to picture the other person, and you can do this even if you
are in a relationship now. See yourself as you would be in a partnership that
works well. Feel how dynamic you are. Feel the flow moving between you and your
partner. Feel the fun you are already having as an individual increasing by
reason of having someone with whom to share it. Feel total connection moving out
from you to him. Feel how much you like him. Feel how much you enjoy being in a
healthy, satisfying relationship. Also, feel how much you enjoy being in
relationship with yourself. Take a moment and let all this come together in
you. The feelings are there; all you have to do is let them in.
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