Creating a soul mate; not stumbling upon one
BY: Troy Murphy | January 2015
Attraction happens; intimacy is created. The passive participant in a relationship doesn’t earn the reward of intimacy. We create intimacy through healthy choices; not blindly reacting to emotional pushes. We have little control over attraction; biological makeup and social upbringing inspire blossoming attraction. We are attracted or repelled by an individual. Some confuse these underlying motivations, pushing us closer or drawing us away, as love or hate; they are natural preferences.
Romantic novels and movies thrive on mysterious attractions and their uncanny power to provoke stupidity. But the boring work between the glorious romance of falling-in-love and the rewarding happily-ever-after is purposely ignored. Hollywood recognizes the grind of building bonds has little romantic appeal and not conducive to a two-hour romance. The natural conflict eventually demanded of new lovers appears dysfunctional. The discomfort of the discovery of differences dislodges the idealism of perfect attraction (soul mates, love at first sight) and for the relationship to progress, it must enter the blistering work of bonding. Reality grounds ecstatic joys of a soul mate, introducing the work of reconciling differences. When the relationship morphs from fantasy to reality, we may errantly ask, “What’s wrong with my partner?”
Our response to the changing landscape of connection is critical; choices either strengthen bonds or destroy them. We may discover toxic traits that at first were suspiciously hidden. Breaking free from a destructive attachment may be appropriate when truths are revealed. While we had minimum control over the initial attraction, we do, however, have significant control over the continued direction of the relationship. We should exam new surprising revelations that come to light once the relationship drifts back to reality, revealing more of the once mysterious lover.
Romance energizes the soul, thrilling our experience. We should enjoy the flashes of exhilaration from the euphoric escapes of nagging unmet needs (I’m not suggesting infidelity). We lose when we douse the romantic flames with the coldness of skeptical fear; soon enough time will reveal whether the relationship is worth preserving or stinks of spoil. In the beginning stages, little is known, attraction is king and the relationship feels perfect. The romance feels natural and undemanding; falsely suggesting no strenuous work will ever be required. The feelings promise enduring happiness; the fairytale ending to our own story.
"Our response to the changing landscape of connection is critical; choices either strengthen bonds or destroy them. We may discover toxic traits that at first were suspiciously hidden."
Because we know little about our new partners, we fill the dark unknown gaps with bright idealistic qualities. We assume the best, assigning positive motivations, and ignoring the few blips of bothersome shortcomings. Over time, we bond, relying more on each other for security, forming connection that expose vulnerability. Character traits are illuminated, and flaws more apparent. Soon realities fill the idealistically filled gaps. The momentary illusions of stress free love dissipate with the frightening realization that our hurts, fears, and unhealthy desires still haunt our souls. Pasts still remain.
The greater the childhood hurts, and the more traumatic the suffering from passed relationships, the greater the desire for an idealistic partner who will gallantly save us from the reoccurring pains of the past. Perhaps this hope drives blind hope of a rapturous new lover, where foolishly the desperate charge across several states to meet their proclaimed soul mate, discovered over a limited number of emotionally charged e-conversations—these anxious and hopeful lovers seldom rescue the broken heart, leaving more hurt in the wake; the higher the ideal; the further the fall.
Perhaps those harboring emotionally injured souls, trying desperately to escape personal shame and deep fears of intimacy, may be less inclined to scrutinize partners who purposely project perfection while hiding serious characteristic flaws; both partners hiding their hurts, social fears, and unrealistic expectations until forging a bond of codependency. The painful cycle repeats causing further harm, dragging the couple to new depths of hell, denying the security desperately sought. Instead of healing, the troublesome relationship inflicts new injuries.
When we mindfully watch our relationships develop, attuning to the accompanying feelings and reactions, our experience may illuminate the warning signs of a distorted and deceptive beginning. We will never find perfection in a relationship; but we may discover another human being willing to co-create intimacy, working together to build foundations of trust and hope, providing the warmth necessary to begin healing. There are no short-cuts. We may experience a special connection worthy of Hollywood, but the connection needs strengthening through concerted efforts of openness, acceptance and compassion. Secure relationships, created with care, may contribute to eventual freedom from the demons of our pasts. The bond forged can weather many storms as the couple marches forward toward their own happily-ever after ending.