The Soulmate fantasy is anathema to genuine intimacy.
Want a real relationship? Get over that shit. If it’s not a “fuck yes”, and it’s not a “fuck no” and you actually feel like you enjoy this person and can be yourself around them…well that’s the RIGHT foundation for a potential connection.
I personally think the idea of a “fuck yes” is a big problem. Life is completely composed of mediocre, mundane and difficult tasks and experiences. Yet it is the accumulation of the mundane, like preparing a garden bed from scratch, that leads to the flowering of something beautiful. The early stages, cutting the weeds, tilling the soil, fertilising with shit… none of that is actually very fun.
Yet… walking through an abundant garden, picking flowers and fruits and vegetables… it comes from a process of small, repeated, intentional tasks. Being uncertain, not fully obsessed with them and also not finding any real red flags is, truly, an amazingly good start to actually having some degree of authentic intimacy with another where, you know, you actually get to know somebody over time rather than the projected fantasy or anti-fantasy of them.
“The one” is an addiction embedded deep in the human psyche perpetuated and conditioned into us from everything around us. Almost every song. Almost every movie. Almost every tv show. It’s there. Once you know what to look for, it’s like seeing the matrix. Every song an anxious lament. Every heartbreak an avoidant push.
Where are all the good men and good women? They are probably right in front of you refusing to deal the drugs you are so used to getting high on.
You have read the articles about how a conscious man or woman will scare you when they show up… And yet, do you realise how that fear will manifest? Excuses, rationale, reasons, little nit-picky flaws, not having enough feelings (i.e. not being in an infatuated distress state).It’s so ironic that availability is actually the most terrifying thing to an insecurely attached nervous system. The thing we say we most want, the thing we most turn away from. It’s quite tragic. That person can’t do the work for you. They can’t hold you to showing up and staying in when you want to run. That’s what YOU have to do.
Lean in even though somehow it’s all going to be saying “run away”. Instead though so often we do end up in that running away, that endless searching for the fantasy, the one who will finally complete me, who will make me feel so high that I forget myself… that will have me fall so deeply in love that the rest of my life turns into chaos. Is that what you really want? I didn’t think so.
Life is too damn precious to destroy oneself in the pursuit of a fantasy. I truly believe that the right kind of relating, moving towards the unknown, the uncertainty, the letting go of needing it to be so clear so quickly, so yes or no, on or off… and instead tracking and tracing, exploring and regulating through the moment-by-moment unfolding of intimacy will lead to such incredible liberation it won’t actually matter whether this person in front of me ends up as my life partner or not. My life will be richer for having them in it. The gentle consistent blossoming of intimacy itself is the reward.
Look for genuine intimacy, not a drug dealer.
Written by Damien Bohler – head facilitator of Evolutionary Relating. He has been facilitating and teaching groups in intersubjective and relational practices for over a decade.