Did you buy into it?

I know I did.

The search for the “special” relationship.

Now at the risk of offending all my readers who are in relationships, lol, I would like to talk about this openly.

I don’t have all the answers. I’m in a space of “not knowing” about this issue.

But I’d like to start asking some questions.

There’s a huge marketplace built around the idea of attracting and building a relationship with that one “special” person.

But where do we see that relationship in actual reality?

Now there may be exceptions, but for the most part what I see are:
(1) people unhappily pursuing the ideal of the special relationship, or
(2) people unhappily living within a special relationship.

I even see people pretending to be happily living within special relationships, but they don’t sound very congruent. When I hear the details, my response is often, “wow that sounds pretty boring” or “wow, is that really all there is?” or “wow, I’d rather be single.”

What if the whole premise is wrong?

That’s what A Course in Miracles (ACIM) teaches.

It is in the special relationship, born of the hidden wish for special love from God, that the ego’s hatred triumphs. For the special relationship is the renunciation of the Love of God, and the attempt to secure for the self the specialness that He denied. T-16.V.4. The Holy Spirit knows that completion lies first in union, and then in the extension of union. T-16.V.5. The special relationship is a strange and unnatural ego device for joining hell and Heaven, and making them indistinguishable. What better example could there be of the ego’s maxim, “Seek but do not find”? T-16.V.6. This “self” seeks the relationship to make itself complete. Each partner tries to sacrifice the self he does not want for one he thinks he would prefer. T-16.V.7. Whoever seems to possess a special self is “loved” for what can be taken from him. T-16.V.8. The conviction of littleness lies in every special relationship, for only the deprived could value specialness. T-16.V.9. God must die so you can live. And it is this theme that is acted out in the special relationship. T-16.V.10.

Love is content, and not form of any kind. The special relationship is a ritual of form, aimed at raising the form to take the place of God at the expense of content. There is no meaning in the form, and there will never be. The special relationship must be recognized for what it is; a senseless ritual in which strength is extracted from the death of God, and invested in His killer as the sign that form has triumphed over content, and love has lost its meaning. Would you want this to be possible, even apart from its evident impossibility? T-16.V.12 See in the special relationship nothing more than a meaningless attempt to raise other gods before Him. In the name of your completion you do not want this. T-16.V.13. …

The special relationship is a device for limiting your self to a body, and for limiting your perception of others to theirs. T-16.VI.4. When two individuals seek to become one, they are trying to decrease their magnitude. Each would deny his power, for the separate union excludes the universe. Far more is left outside than would be taken in, for God is left without and nothing taken in. T-16.VI.5. It is impossible to let the past go without relinquishing the special relationship. For the special relationship is an attempt to re-enact the past and change it; a way in which you seek to restore your wounded self-esteem. T-16.VII.1. In the holy instant it is understood that the past is gone, and the stillness and the peace of now enfold you in perfect gentleness. T-16.VII.6.

What if being tied down in a monogamous relationship is spiritually problematic because it denies our connection to the All that Is?

I’m not pretending to have the answers about this one. ACIM talks about another option (the holy relationship), but I’m not sure what that looks like. I feel confident it doesn’t look like pain, suffering, and strife, however. I feel confident that it does not involve separation or exclusion.

I feel much closer to joy and truth when I’m dating a lot of guys than when I narrow my interest down to one. Am I the only woman who feels that way, deep down? I doubt it.


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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  1. hi Decker,

    Always nice to hear from you.

    I've become uncomfortable though with too much "everyone's choices are ok" in this arena.

    People come to this blog in part because they want to be shaken up from the conventional wisdom.

    For those of us who see divine wisdom in A Course in Miracles, there is no getting around this passage:

  2. Decker Cunov says:

    whew! nice thread for us to practice with erika!

    hostility/self-righteousness in defense of monogamy OR polyamory vs humbly owning our own lifestyle choices and honoring others choice to do the same…

  3. Holy crap, why would I be defending myself at 4 am when I could be … I don't know … sleeping?! Jesus, you take yourself way too seriously ;-)

  4. It's great to see so many different responses… getting down to the core of people's beliefs.

    I realized what matters to me most is spiritual friendship with another person. Under that, comes romance, love, partnership, marriage. Sex, to be mentally relaxing, needs to stem from spiritual friendship. Spiritual friendship is not false, sudden, easy in, easy out.

  5. Dan_Brodribb says:

    I have found inventing in my head the Perfect Relationship or trying to decide what a relationship should or shouldn't be isn't very helpful.

    It just invites comparison to some imagined ideal.

    I prefer to deal with the relationship I have. Then you only have to ask yourself the question: am I or am I not getting my needs met?

    After that, everything seems

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think what's right for Erika and what's right for Daria are great for each of them!

    I hope what they want works well for them. I just want you to keep in mind the overused saying, "don't put all your eggs in one basket." Don't give up yourselves for the dude(s) in your life.

  7. I want what I want and I believe what I want is good for me and it is for me.

    I want a relationship with a man that adores me.

    I don't know if it is 'special' like if the man was to die for example I would not want another partner.

    I see beauty in marriage and starting a family with one other person, like best friends, team mates and at the same time

  8. Is monogamy "tieing yourself down" to someone else? Who's to say it can't be tieing yourself *up* ? what if two people were runnin along a cliff edge, and when one teetered the other balanced both? Of course one could teeter so much that both stumbled down.

    Besides that, I think if one is not sure about their relationship , then that's probably evidence of ones

  9. Anonymous says:

    I'm gonna tie your panties in a knot. If you have to be superior to everyone by telling them to relax, then something inside you is fearful of finding out the truth. The truth that will squash your play and enjoyment of life forever!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Guys relax..This Forum is meant to be a fun and enjoyable platform. Some of you are getting your panties in a knot. Take a breath, laugh, play, go and enjoy life.

  11. You know I dig your stuff Erika, you make a lot of sense when you discuss exclusion, but I also have some different thoughts…

    I know that the very instant a typical human takes a typical look at the world and has a typical thought and interaction with that world, typically they are going to be excluding something from their experience. We are built that way by Darwin himself! (Way

  12. Anonymous says:

    In western modern society we tend to seek from other people what more ancient peoples sought from their connection with the divine and the natural world hence the notion of people going from person to person…what they are really looking for is a connecton with Spirit.

    When in a relationship known as a "sacred union" the exchange of energies between the couple – the union of

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anon 3:57: We can all tell you are Erika commenting in her own defense.

    To all readers here: If you make comments that poke holes in the story being created on this blog, your comments will be blocked.

    To those who feel polyamory doesn't exclude anyone: Please, use a condom.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I realize Erika that we will not agree on this, not today anyway, and I'm okay with that. You need to find your way in your own way. Yet I ask you to respectfully please keep this in mind:
    LOVE, a deep and intimate love that can only be found, nurtured, and grown within a monogamous relationship is something incredibly special and something to be cherished, for few find this for a number

  15. Anonymous says:

    Someday…you're going to be telling all those children of yours that you have no idea who their fathers are because you don't believe in excluding anyone who wants to have sex with you (polyamory does not exclude…because it it the way) and you don't use condoms.

    "But hold still baby. Let Mommy EFT all this sadness and the AIDS right out of your system. And then I&

  16. Erika,

    If love is not exclusivity, then why are you not having sex with all the men you meet. Is attraction a prerequisite to love? If so, doesn't this contradict Jesus's command for us to love his enemies?

    Also, do you think that those men who are going after 'hotter and hotter' women in the community to 'connect' with them are doing it out of

  17. Anonymous says:

    I just had a cool fantastic feeling shift. I'm loving the sheer excitement it's creating in my body. I was thinking…If for centuries, let's say society had created a rule that you can only lovingly hug one person in a given period of time then we'd all be blindly following it. Hugging another person would then be adultery and cheating. And someone would come along and say hey

  18. Erica,

    I'm glad that you saw beyond the super "specialness" of sex in context of a relationship (in the eyes of conventional conditioing) and how monogamy is exclusion at the core.

    Non-monogamy does not mean promiscuity. Non-monogamy does not mean not having deep relationships – sexual or not. Non-monogamy means being open to experiences and to loving other

  19. I feel liberated because until tonight, some part of me has bought into this hook, line, and sinker.

    And now it feels so obvious. Anything that we would not share with others is not in line with the Course.

    To exclude sex from that, and try to carve out this one little area where it's ok to exclude others … makes a mockery of the entire Course.

    I don't

  20. I finally feel some clarity about this.

    Jason, no, love is NEVER exclusion. Ever.

    Monogamy is exclusion by definition. It tries to protect something by excluding others.

    It cannot be the way.

    I feel a lot of clarity about this tonight, and I'm grateful for that.

    There is no way to say "we only have sex between us, but our love

  21. Jason Miller says:


    Respect where your heart takes you. If your path takes you down polyamory, respect that. If it takes you down monogamy, respect that. You get to define all the details as you go. If you change your mind, that's OK too. How can anyone declare what's right for you? Aren't you free to experiment? Isn't it OK if you make mistakes?


  22. i was the first anonymous and did not write the subsequent messages just to clarify, anyways…

    i see what you mean about monogamy excluding others, but what perhaps i didnt convey clearly in my initial post was that if at the center of the relationship is "God", if God is manifest at the center,ie( all that is) how is that exclusion ? Love pervades from all sides to all

  23. Anonymous says:

    I SO disagree with you.
    There is absolutely NO exclusion of others in my incredibly wonderful MONOGAMOUS union aside from other genitals.
    To have an intense love for one special person is truly divine, yet others are welcome with great love in my heart. I just won't have sex with them.

  24. It's a limit. It doesn't fully include others. In fact, it creates a rule that excludes others.

    It is an expression of "love" that excludes others.

    It cannot be the way.

    For so long, I have felt mixed feelings about this.

    Today I feel confident.

    Monogamy cannot be the way. It is a form of separation and exclusion. It

  25. Anonymous says:

    No, Erika, it DOES not exclude others from LOVE which grows more readily in a TRUE and LOVING monogamous relationship, and LOVE is all there is unless you prefer fear.
    All monogamy excludes you from is other fuck friends. Sorry I'd rather fuck the one I love.

  26. It excludes other people from the connection.

    "Oh, I'd like to connect with Leon tomorrow."

    "Nope can't do that, I've agreed to be exclusive with Henry."

    "Sorry, Leon, you're excluded. I have agreed to be someone else's property."

    That cannot be the way.

  27. Anonymous says:

    What does monogamy exclude Erika?

  28. If it excludes the world in anyway, it's not it. No matter how seductive it may sound in theory. Monogamy excludes. That cannot be the way….

  29. Anonymous says:

    and it's possible to have a monogamous relationship full of deep and abiding love and HOT amazing sex, lots of it, and where the divine can be touched but this divine is not god, for there is no such thing. cloud being? I don't think so. two as one yet most definitely individual? most definitely.

  30. Thanks for the comment, Anon. I will check the links but I'm highly skeptical that monogamy can fit with the idea of the holy relationship. How could it possibly, when it is an ideal of EXCLUSION, and the Course says that exclusion is exactly what we need to get away from?

  31. Anonymous says:

    this is a good post. however, i would say that a monogamous relationship where God is the center of the relationship is the ideal. Hence, you are not blocking out "all that is", in such a case, in fact you are aware and inviting "all that is" (God) into a mutually beneficent relationship. Also, since each individual understands that the other is not "God" nor do they

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