Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us: It's Complicated
by Cassendre Xavier
In social media, a relationship “status” or post with “It’s Complicated” can mean many things. According to a recent internet search I found that it could be anything from being with a partner who’s “not that into you” or being with someone who isn’t seeing you openly for any reason from being in a relationship with someone else who doesn’t know about you, to being on the “down low”, meaning, having a clandestine homosexual relationship. What these all have in common is that you’re not having a truly equal and complete relationship.
To have a truly equal and complete relationship, you need to be able to tell the truth to and hear the truth from your partner.
For the purposes of ease and convenience in conveying this idea, I will use perhaps the most common example of “It’s Complicated”: dating a married persun. And since this series addresses members of the polyamorous community, and our marriages tend to be open, are here we are talking about those that are not.
If the idea is to have a healthy, open, honest and truth-filled relationship, which is what poly folk are all about - which is why we have so many relationship-skill-building workshops, conferences, and meetups (oh my!), then how do you do that when your partner is betrothed to another, who has absolutely no idea you even exist? How do you know your partner is tell you the truth when s/he says s/he’s just having a relaxing night of solitude when you text them (for example? Hypothetically speaking!)? You don’t. They could be lying to you just as they lie to their mate when they are out with you.
Since this column is also for people who are recovering from abuse or addiction, self-esteem, or lack thereof, is often a very common issue. This means that sometimes we engage in self-sabotaging, unhealthful behaviors that then become patterns.
Let’s say you’re such a persun. Have you often found yourself in unbalanced, stressful, not completely open relationships? Is it a pattern?
I would like to share what I’ve noticed in my own life and what has helped me change this pattern for the better. There is always hope and on the path of recovery is always much progress. All you have to do is focus on the positive changes you’re making and over time you will find yourself making better and better ones, and having healthier and more balanced, peaceful, and enjoyable relationships.
How to Have Healthier, More Balanced and Peaceful Un-”complicated” Relationships:
a. Notice your progress. If you’re aware there’s a problem, this means your sense of and need for comfort have sharpened and increased. That happened because over time you have done more healing of your trauma and are coming now into a space of ease and health, rather than the struggle and dysfunction of the past. The fact that you can even see these flaws in your “it’s complicated” relationship(s) means that you have become significantly healthier. Otherwise you wouldn’t have noticed. Your standards have risen, and your tolerance for discomfort and dysfunction has decreased. Good for you! Very well done!
b. Make a list of what you do want. Now that you’re aware there’s a problem, write it down, and think about what you did to attract the relationship you’re in. Notice the positive aspects as well, since there are good things in the relationships. Notice everything, and use the negative aspects to assist you in formulating a new list of positives you want in your next relationship(s).
c. Find and maximize the treasure in the relationship. Hold on to the baby for now. Meaning, don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater, as the saying goes. Sometimes, or even oftentimes, a relationship will have negative qualities, but one or two of the positives may be perfect for your needs at the moment. After all, your self-love and self-esteem have grown over time, and you wouldn’t have attracted a relationship that didn’t serve you in any way whatsoever. Without making excuses for any serious or abusive situations, ask yourself what very good or good-feeling features or benefits there are in your “it’s complicated” relationship. Perhaps it’s companionship, support, or immense pleasure. For those of us living with mental illness or depression, oftentimes we do a lot of social isolating. Sometimes a sweetie or lover will be the only humyn contact we have that is purely by our choice - not work or group therapy, volunteering, or other obligation we have to be among our fellow and sistren humynoid types. We need to be out and about in the world, but we choose the joyful, relaxing, stress-free solitude as much as we can. When we do choose to be with people, our time with them is extremely precious. If you’re in one of those “it’s complicated” relationships, don’t be so quick to chuck the whole kit n’ kaboodle. Use the opportunity to notice how you attracted it, what you did that was healthy, and showed your increased capacity for joy, affection, perhaps intellectual stimulation - how you grew emotionally or socially, or improved as a persun. Notice how your presence in your lovers’ life has helped them. Notice the things they say about you that are true and good and that you believe - notice all those good things as you also notice what you attracted that you do not think is healthy - their unavailability, for example, as it shows you still have a limit for receiving joy and love. Once you find the blessing(s) of the relationship, give thanks for them, give thanks to yourself for having attracted it. Give thanks to and appreciate your lover(s) for giving you those good things, circumstances, and/or feelings. And use that positive energy to continue growing yourself as a persun, as a lover who is becoming healthier and more balanced and ready to attract more good things and better relationships next time. This is all very good! There’s good stuff in this relationship you attracted - find it and make the most of it, while never losing sight of the even better one(s) in your immediate future. Indeed it is these experiences today that will give birth to your experiences of tomorrow. Love yourself abundantly - appreciate the good you attracted, no matter what or how imperfect the circumstances are.
d. Take a break from dating. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, when a time comes that you have noticed you have some improving to do before manifesting your next good relationship, it’s wise to pause for the cause of just being for a while. Not necessarily a cause for celibacy or singlehood, but just not doing things which in the past have been part of your routine or system of attracting love and romance and/or sexual relationships. Re-direct your erotic or creative energies elsewhere for the moment. Artists and creative types are highly attractive to others energetically and often manifest romantic relationships quickly and often. If you are one of those people, you can choose to use your erotic and creative energy towards other persunal goals or towards community service. Instead of being passionately creative while open to and psychically putting out a call for lovers, remain passionately creative while closing gently that same channel that our lovers hear and/or otherwise sense when we are ready. Put that energy into your goals for improved physical fitness, or work projects, such as sending materials to a publisher, or finally creating that book proposal you’ve been thinking about for a couple of years. Connect with friends and family. Volunteer somewhere you’d be very needed and appreciated. And yes, while it is indeed true that doing other goals during this time may still attract lovers to you, because of where your heart, mind, and intentions are during this period, those that do find you appealing will be good and right for you. Meaning the next relationship(s) will be an upgrade in every way your previous list has shown you are ready to receive. They will be a match for what you’re focused on then. So focus on the best, and that is taking good care of yourself in other-than-romantic ways for a period of time.
e. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Remember that trauma, heterosexism, conditioned monogamy, abuse and/or addiction all did a number on your self-esteem and ability to articulate the best things for yourself insofar as romantic and sexual relationships go. Even if you didn’t have these and possibly more intense challenges to love, you would still be an imperfect humyn, being, making imperfect humyn choices. The more challenges you have, the longer it takes to make good, healthy, informed, and independent choices for yourself in seeking partner(s) in love and in life. Try to see your situation from loving, spiritual, or even therapeutic eyes, not the critical, harsh, self-judging eyes you’ve been accustomed to using for a very long time. It takes time, sometimes many years, for people in recovery from life’s natural challenges, to go from surviving to thriving. Don’t try to force yourself to go from zero to one hundred in thirty seconds. It takes years to turn a life around. You’ll do better to take it slowly and enjoy the journey, one delicious, recovery-filled day at a time. Love will be there when you’re ready. It has all ways been. Enjoy life, and remember to…
f. AFFIRM: I am lovable. I am enough.
Cassendre Xavier has been writing the "Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us" series at Wisdom Magazine's online edition since 2011. She is the author of the forthcoming book Soulmate Attraction for the Rest of Us: Dating & Relationships for the Poly, Recovering, Survivor & Tantric, and has presented her workshop of the same title at Sisterspace Weekend in Darlington, Maryland (September 2014) and the 10th & 11th Annual Poly Living Conference in Philadelphia (February 2015 & 2016, respectively). Cassendre was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at age 23. She has been a member of Philadelphia's LGBT, polyamorous, and New Age/ancient wisdom spiritual communities since 1991, and from 1996-1999 facilitated Sisters Healing Together, a peer support group for women survivors of incest with a special focus on compulsive overeating, which she also founded, at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Under her self-assigned spiritual name Amethyste Rah, Cassendre released the popular Affirmations for Survivors guided meditation audio series (“Self-Love” and “Spirituality” in 2007, and “Sexuality” and “Life Skills” are forthcoming). For more information, please visit http://cassEndrExavier.com