Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to Save Your Relationship During Awakening

Many people wake up and are in romantic relationships. It's to be expected because a spiritual awakening can arise at any time of someone's life, but it also brings with it unique challenges. Because while one person is suddenly in touch with the truth, the other person may be absolutely clueless, uninterested, or averse towards spirituality. Even when someone's partner is a spiritually aware person, he or she may not actually understand awakening. So, I'm writing this post with two main sections. One is for the awakening soul, and the other part is for the partner who has suddenly gotten on the rollercoaster ride and who genuinely wants to know what to do now.

What Is a Spiritual Awakening?

For the Awakening Soul

I know you may not have expected to wake up, but it's here now. Suddenly everything has to change, and your first inclination may be to get out of the relationship that you're in.

Take a moment.

Breathe.

Initially, when someone awakens and begins to become conscious to themselves and life, you become aware of many things that aren't aligned with the truth. More importantly, you become aware of all the things that aren't aligned right within you. Start with what's not right within you.

Of course your current relationship isn't completely right for you anymore. You've changed and are dissolving the original ego-self that created all the agreements with this other person. If you're at the beginning of healing and growing after your spiritual awakening, give your beloved the benefit of the doubt and opportunity to change. You can't force this change on him or her, but you can take care of your own process to get clear about what it is you need right now and who you are. The latter part is extremely important. Most people have no idea who they are, and until you know that, you are unlikely to be clear about how to interact with your partner. You may find that as you get greater clarity that you're with someone who loves you deeply enough that that love is all you really need anyway.

Seriously Dysfunctional Relationships Have to Go
If you're in an abusive relationship, you've got to get out. Serious verbal or physical abuse isn't okay in any relationship, but with what's happening for you right now in awakening, it is extremely bad. You're so vulnerable and open, and you need to clean out pain, not pile it on. If you've come into an awakening period, you probably see this very clearly, so I'm simply encouraging you to trust your knowing right now. If you do so, you'll be amazed at how quickly a much more compatible partner may arrive in your life, but this should not be an expectation. Many people need months or years on their own to work through the healing and growth that arises in the wake of a spiritual awakening. Some people will discover that the feel best leading a solitary life.

Over-Communication
Hopefully, you're not in a toxic relationship, and you have a partner who is willing to grow. That willingness to grow is really helpful, but not vital. As I said, you have to know you first, and then you'll better understand what kind of romantic relationship best serves you. Knowing yourself means actively developing your intuition, and then practicing sharing that knowing with your partner. That tends to mean over-communication is really key, since your partner may understand close to nothing of what you tell him or her.

You may barely understand what's happening yourself. Nonetheless, talk about what's happening a lot and the truth you're discovering. And really work on communicating what you need too. If you need to sit in a salt bath all day, then do so and explain those needs to your partner. Explain why you suddenly feel a drive to explore tantra (any time sex comes up, a whole world of issues gets kicked up). Helping your partner understand that this isn't a strange perversion or that you want another lover will help.

Here are some thoughts about spiritual sexuality:

Integrating Your Spiritual Awakening Through a Spiritual Sexual Practice

Sexual Healing With Your Partner

Take Care of Yourself
You may have so many subtle and specific new needs that you feel like a newborn after awakening. You'll want to treat yourself that way. If you've been the leader, main care-giver, etc. in the relationship, you have to let go of that role. Your partner is going to have to do more work looking after you. This can be a real test for the relationship, but it can also be highly rewarding if this situation requires a role-reversal. It can empower your partner and give you a sense of how strong he or she is. Initially, it may feel like the relationship is falling apart. In many ways, it is. That's the nature of spiritual rebirth. Everything falls apart around us so that it can be reborn.

If your partner is already a care-taker type, it may be a time where you become more assertive in the relationship. You will have to balance that with softness so that you can be taken care of because you have so much happening inside for you.

You Can't Hold It All Together
If a relationship is going to complete (I say complete and not end because relationships have natural life spans), then allow it to do so. We live in a culture where a successful relationship is measured in several decades with one partner dying of old age. It's a really out-dated and unhealthy view of relationships. A relationship can be successful if it lasts 1 day, 1 year, or 1 lifetime. Coming to understand that will help you as you move on if that becomes necessary. You obviously can't make the choices for your partner. You can't drag them down the path of spiritual growth, and you wouldn't want to anyway. You have so much happening inside that it may feel equivalent to running three marathons. Few people will understand just how much is happening for you.

But with a lot of self-love, shared love, and tons of communication, you can let your partner know what's going on and that you will be all right after all. However, during this timespan (months to years depending on your awakening and the intensity), you're going to need a lot of extra support. If that doesn't come from your partner, then it may be time to let him or her go.


For the Partner Not in Awakening

It was all going along so smoothly, and then one day your beloved is staring at you with these wide eyes, saying, "I get it." You're like, "Get what?" He or she is super excited. Your partner's mouth opens and closes, saying nothing. You really have no idea what he or she got. A job? A promotion? A four-day Caribbean cruise? God, that cruise sure would be nice.

The following days, your partner may be on some kind of crazy high. They could be filled with sex, coloring, writing, endless talking, dancing, or a general carrying on happiness that is pretty intoxicating. You kinda wonder who the heck this person is, but you don't really care because the sex is awesome right now (or whatever happens to be going on between you).

Then, there's a crash landing. You don't know it, but your partner has just hit an issue within him or herself that has to be cleared. The ensuing range of emotions and sudden strange shifts in diet, exercise, activities, or other things makes you feel like you're living with a stranger. It will get frustrating.

Spiritual Awakening Crash and Burn


Not Your Fault
Even if you have a strong spiritual practice, the way your partner is acting may be beyond your current frame of reference. Let's start here: it's not your fault. If your partner is crying or really scared, it's not your fault. It's not your responsibility to make that person feel better. Your partner needs to work through a lot of heavy issues to continue manifesting the truth they feel into their life. You may or may not understand this, but if you love them, simply focus on loving them. You haven't done anything wrong. Relationships change as people change. Your beloved is undergoing a major and beautiful change right now, and if you truly love him or her, then one of the best things you can do is to focus on your deepest love for them and remember that most of what is happening with them is not your fault.

You're Going to Have to Change
There's no way around this: you're going to have to change. It's an illusion that anyone stays the same in life anyway. We all change a little (or a lot) each day. But to continue to be with your partner will likely require that you have some inner flexibility and a willingness to heal and grow yourself. If you love to drink and party with your partner, he or she may now no longer want or be able to do that. You may have to find other things to do together. This doesn't mean that you have to become a deeply spiritual person (although that would help immensely). At the very least, you have to be flexible to try new things. About the time that he or she wants to do the tantra workshop, you may really get a jolt. But don't worry, that's a fun new way to connect with your partner through sex (although it is a misnomer to only think of tantra as sex--it's much broader than that). You may enjoy some of the new ways to connect with your beloved that appear because of the shifts your partner is experiencing

Growing With the Demands
Your partner is going to be placing a lot of demands on you. It won't be to intentionally burden you, but because he or she has so many demands on them, some of that work may get added to your shoulders. You may have to learn how to be present and loving if they are crying a lot, moving through and releasing deep internal pain. You will likely have to learn to deal with the issues that get triggered inside of you by the pain your partner is healing and the truth s/he is sharing. You may have to learn how to cook different things because your partner's dietary needs just shifted. Lots of changes are typically required if you are going to help your relationship grow, and this will challenge you a lot.

When your partner is in really hard spaces, you may have to encourage them to go for walks (walking helps move low energy) and other things that they've shared as being helpful for them. It can be so easy for someone to get stuck even with awakening driving a lot of the inner changes. They can also get really exhausted, so be gentle with your beloved. And practice having a whole lot of patience too!

It Still May Not Work Out

You both may come to a point where you know that it's time to part ways. This is okay. Oftentimes, one person gets to that decision to part and not the other, and that can make for difficulties.

Just remember that relationships are meant to serve us for a little while. If you both can give it the space to be let go, then you can find peace in the parting. I think that if two people can be in the awakening space together that you'll have the opportunity to forge a powerful bond. But as I said, relationships serve us for a little while. Different partners are needed for different times in our lives. If you're the unawakened partner and are not interested in spirituality, you may be much happier to find a new lover that wants to walk in the world in a similar way to yours. And for the awakened, you may now need a different partner to do the spiritual work before you and to be in the world in a way that resonates and reflects the truth you now feel.

There are many ways that a relationship can work during awakening, but both sides will need to share a lot of love, patience, hard work, and faith during a partner's transition. Regardless of the outcome, if two people do that, then how ever things go, the relationship will arrive where it is supposed to.

(Updated 2/28/2016)
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