Relationships! It’s all research, right?

Aug 29, 2016 by



Can’t live with them, can’t live without them?


Maybe so.


I know there are some lucky people out there who have excellent astrology/karma and also work really hard at their relationships. They are blessed with happy, long term, satisfying relationships. (Bless you all for being an inspiration to the rest of us.)





But I am not one of those people. Like many other people that I know, I am one who has yet to figure out the secret to having a happily enduring relationship. It’s one of the deepest human instincts that we have -to bond with another person in partnership. And for me it’s been difficult, frustrating and disappointing.


I have done therapy, energy work and re-patterned my DNA. I have both loved and spanked my inner child. I have tried every kind of bodywork and breathwork, cleared my karma, swam with dolphins, realigned my planetary energy and chatted with some relationship experts from the Orion Nebula.



I have done personal growth work up the wazoo and still I can’t figure out this relationship stuff.


“It’s all research,” I recently said to one of my favorite clients, who was in my office crying over yet another broken relationship. “There are no relationship failures, only learning. Only research.” It was easy to say it to her, since it was clearly true and I felt nothing but compassion and sympathy for her. It was one of those weird moments of hypocrisy that frequently happens to healers and therapists. I was right on her same page and might has well been talking to myself.



David Schnarch who wrote the excellent book called “Passionate Marriage,” in which he describes marriage as a “people growing machine.” He sees relationships as a tool for bringing up all our most wounded places and in an ideal scenario, working them out in a context of a conscious relationship. This is where our beloved learns to hold space for us as the partnership triggers our old wounds. We then have the possibility to work through our old parental wounding.


Harville Hendrix in his seminal work “Getting The Love You Want,” theorizes that it is our partner’s unconscious mandate to dig up all our stuff and put it directly in our faces so we can work through it. And we that choose partners that fit an energy pattern match to the best and worst qualities of both of our parents.


Sounds like a party.


And it explains a lot about how we choose our mates and why. He makes it all ok that you choose someone who is NOT AT ALL like your mother/father, and is in fact THE VERY OPPOSITE of them. But in the end, they WILL mutant into that no matter what you do. It’s not our faults, really more like an opportunity. Very comforting.


A viable relationship is not one without issues. It’s one where both partners are committed to working through those issues towards a deeper healing. In the juiciest relationships, this becomes an enjoyable journey of self-discovery where you own your reactivity and work on it, rather than an exercise in projecting your stuff on your partner in a flamewar, blame and complain fest.


I see this as a divine process. Our partners in life are soulmates (and we have many of them, not just one! Whew!) and we have contracted these relationships at a soul level before we even get here. We come together like magnets for the purpose of stepping into our power, experiencing love, learning to set boundaries, or countless other lessons.


I believe that we have a certain set of spiritual lessons that can only be learned in the context of a deep, passionate, romantic relationship. Because our world is a planet of duality, our androgynous soul moves (more or less) towards one of these polarities. And we seek out our opposite in order to help us find inner balance.


Mystery schools called this the Great Work and it’s part of the process of enlightenment. Weneed to find someone that has the opposite polarity as us (regardless of their external gender) so that we can integrate our own inner male/inner female.


We crave sacred relationship with our beloved, since it is the most powerful way to harmonize our own selves and to find our way back to God.


We want it. We desire this so badly. We want to look into the eyes of our beloved and see ourselves mirrored there, wrapped in love.


Mystics from all religions have experienced this ecstatic union through prayer and spiritual devotion. Tantrists seek it consciously through divine union with an other, but even the most spiritually obtuse person has had a love affair that has cracked them open, right down to the soul. We have all had (at least I pray that you have had…) a sexual experience with a beloved, which has rent you asunder, opened your heart, expanded your consciousness and turned you inside out. Poleaxed you.


These experiences transform us down to the core. Love, sex and death are the greatest of the spiritual initiators, pushing us right through the eye of the needle. And love is the greatest of these.


Hard to say whether or not those relationships endure. Mostly, it seems, they don’t, at least not on the earth plane. However, that type of love is eternal, spiritual and divine and perhaps that is all that matters.


And yet there I am in my office with my client who is trying to figure out how to get back up in the saddle and open her heart yet again. Should she risk the horrors of Internet dating? Should she give up forever and join a monastery? Or become a cat lady? Move to Vermont and become a lesbian? (Is there perhaps a monastery in Vermont filled with cats, guarded by lesbians and populated with other lonely hearts?)





They all seem like perfectly viable options, but my advice was to give herself a period of time to learn from and integrate the lost relationship, to suck the marrow out of that experience and let the transformation settle. She needed time to lick her wounds a bit and then when she was ready- to throw her heart back into the ring again.



The more broken open our hearts are, the more resilient they become. After so many heartbreaks, one stops becoming so afraid of heartbreak and that is a good thing.


We really only have two choices, to curl up in despair, shutting down in bitterness. Or to risk love again by opening up, expanding and hoping. I could already see what she was going to do- brave soul. She was going to risk, gamble and open.


And I would give myself the same good advice. Despite all the wonky research, I will too- the VT cat monastery will have to wait.


Thank God it’s all research, right?



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