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Honestly I don’t know how you all do it …

Since my brief flirtation with breaking celibacy, I am noticing that I am feeling significantly more reactive about things than I usually do. Now … maybe this is one of those passing phases like many things have been on this spiritual journey where there is a temporary peak in emotional reaction and then it calms down again. That’s very possible.

But I’m still not seeing how to have physical intimacy:

* without a hormonal response that after four and a half years of celibacy just doesn’t feel “normal” to me anymore,

* without expectations of the other person — because I’ve never practiced physical intimacy outside of a monogamous relationship (I did have a relatively happy open relationship once but we did not have actual intercourse with anyone else), and

* without creating jealousy and conflict in other relationships.

I want to believe that it is possible. I just am feeling so tender and touchy these past couple of weeks. And I like having “space” between things that happen in the world and my response to those things. I’m not feeling that space right now. And I feel pretty disappointed with myself when I react to situations in ways that weren’t as productive as they could be.

For example, a situation happened last night, and instead of being my normal calm self, I went from 0 to 100 miles per hour with all kinds of assumptions in about five seconds. That doesn’t feel very good to me, and I’m sure it didn’t feel good to the other person either.

I want to believe that all these “conflict” situations actually provide the possibility of deeper intimacy. But when the space between two people becomes reactive, it’s so tempting to cut off communication instead of stay with it through the tough spots and reap the rewards of that intimacy. And when you’re not at the point of having a formal commitment with someone, how do you both stay connected enough to get through it?

Anyway, I see a few (not many) couples who seem to have this deeper rich intimacy but how they got there is a bit of a mystery to me.

If anyone can clue me in, I’d be very appreciative. :-)

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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Comments

  1. Erika says:

    I appreciate the support, guys. It gives me hope.

    Matt, thanks so much for sharing your story. I feel so moved by your journey, especially after losing your wife. And it’s nice to know more about you because your comments on the blog have been hitting home with me for a while now.

  2. Matt says:

    Drop expectation from the relationship. Stress/conflict is built from desiring a particular outcome from that situation, which may be at odds with the actuality of that situation. It is an internal change in oneself where the ultimate trust is in the Universe or God to provide what is absolutely the best… which can seem “good” or “bad” depending on our interpretation of the situation. Relationships are no different than “situations” because they, like situations, change from moment to moment.

    The situation that you describe last night is an outgrowth of expectation… which is fear that the outcome of what is happening in the current moment may be bad in the future. Thoughts and assumptions then fill the gap with what is “expected” in the future and are simply a method of attempted control over the present or future outcome. This is complicated when the strength of the emotions and hormones in a sexually charged situation or stemming from a previous charged situation arise. Complete and total acceptance without further expectations of future moments might bring the clarity that you desire.

    I am in a relationship right now after two years of celibacy. The celibacy was not something I chose, rather it was an outgrowth of being widowed two years ago. The range of hormones and emotional states is stunning after two years of celibacy, and I can understand the feeling of disconnection. What I am doing in my relationship is refusing to plan any outcome at all and insist that if the relationship is to occur, this is how it will have to work with me. Amazingly, what has occurred has been a very simple process of loving at every moment, even though neither party knows where the relationship is heading. It has negated the push/pull feeling in relationships where one person may feel more desirous of deeper commitment than the other person or wanting to take steps that the other person is not wanting to take. What happens instead is a flow relationship where each step is taken without the accompanying baggage of, “Am I doing the ‘right’ thing?” One is not “doing” anything other than being loving and demonstrating those actions of love. This is ultimately freeing to both parties, because if God wants you together, you will be together… if not, then not. It becomes very simple and yet completely whole.

    It is my belief that most of the religions in the world and the psychology of relationships stem from an outside observer looking at a state of enlightenment, in the case of religions, and flow relationship, in the case of the stamp of “healthy relationship” in psychology. In other words, they observed the actions or outcome of the state without actually understanding the state of being from which they stemmed. They then developed a framework or external measure by which to judge. I say this, because the flow relationship I am in now is progressing along the very path that psychology would dub “healthy,” yet we are not trying to make it healthy. Health is just simply what comes when you remove the baggage of expectation and allow utter freedom. Both people are then operating from a state of complete and utter autonomy and are choosing to be together rather than trying to follow an agenda.

    For me, this has produced a situation where the sexuality is actually enhancing my spirituality and vice versa. Every part gets fed and nothing goes wanting and the steps are taken as they appear rather than being forced because someone is afraid of getting their heart broken. It allows openness rather than trying to force a state of openness if that makes sense. Both people also must be totally willing to open to the fullest extent possible, even if it means heartbreak, because that is the requirement of utter trust that God only wants the absolute best for us, which means that we want the absolute best for ourselves. We can’t know the best. It is simply impossible… there are too many variables. We have to take that on trust. So we suspend expectation of what we think is the “best” in exchange for complete willingness to go along with what is (reality). Conflict cannot arise, because conflict is impossible in reality. One part does not work against another part.

    I don’t know if this makes a lot of sense to you, but it has certainly brought peace in my relationships (all relationships including family and friend relationships). It was also a hallmark of the relationship I had with my wife… our best times were times of surrender and willingness to accept each moment as it came.

  3. willowing says:

    Hi Erika, Tam here! :-) Not sure exactly what it is you are confused about, but when it comes to Andy and my relationship, the key is to keep talking/ processing and bringing awareness to what it is we’re feeling and needing – as much as possible staying away from judgement, but just really getting in touch with our own stuff and processing that with each other (if that makes sense?). hugs!

  4. L says:

    It has been my experience that sex usually changes everything. It’s the way we humans are made.

    Sex creates a bond that cannot be ignored.

    Celibacy is a good thing.

  5. Erika says:

    That makes two of us. I don’t get it either.

    I don’t want to be emotionally reactive about physical intimacy. But at the same time I’m not sure I want to be emotionally detached or indifferent, either. Quite frankly, this is very confusing for me right now.

    I honestly do not understand how people manage it long term.

  6. John~ says:

    What, specifically and simply, are you asking for?

    Are you asking how you can detach sexuality from emotionality?

    If intimacy in one place means confusion and jealousy in others?

    I don’t get it…

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