Back in my journalism days I wrote a weekly relationship column for the local newspaper called Fun City. It wasn't really billed as a relationship column at that point. The editors just thought it was a fun way to highlight entertainment and dining choices for the weekend, basically, a here's-what-to-do-on-a-date column
Little did they know it was a way for me to disseminate my spiritual take on various aspects of dating and relationships, from Mother Teresa to Lorena Bobbitt. They probably didn't notice because I couched it in self-deprecating humor. Or more likely because they never read it.
But I developed a small cult following among the locals and my immediate editor once told me that a psychiatrist she met at a party desperately wanted to get the anonymous writer (me) on his couch to analyze me. I think he really meant analyze, for those of my creations with dirty minds.
Those were fun times, and the writing was a marvelous outlet for me, then living my post-divorce life with nary a clue as to what I was doing in the relationship game.
I continued playing the relationship game at full tilt through the 90s and into the 00s, getting involved with many wonderful women, experiencing short but sweet romances, then usually being dumped. I took something important from each experience, but mostly, I repeated a lot of self-defeating patterns and wore the victim role like a cheap suit. I spent a lot of time obsessing about relationships. I wrote volumes in my journal. I could not figure out what I was doing "wrong."
It was uncomfortable sometimes, but it was a role I knew how to play. Then I met a woman, who my friends know, but shall remain anonymous for the purposes of this column. We'll call her Liz.
Liz and I met in church, the last time either of us has been. We fell in love, slowly, but steadily. We connected immediately on a spiritual level in a way that I had never done, at least with a romantic partner. A year later, she asked me to move in to her house. I did, after we agreed on some ground rules that we thought would help it work, based on our myriad experiences.
The details of the arc of our relationship are not important. About a year ago things had gone stale, but it was Liz who first realized it was time to shake up our lives, and she who had the courage to suggest we take a break and I move out of the house.
Oh, the horror.
The stories, the guilt, the terrible visions of relationships past flooded my mind.
Fast forward to the new year. Liz calls and says she has a belated Christmas gift to give me. I'm not so hot on this idea, but I meet her for coffee. It's Robert Scheinfeld's "Busting Loose From the Money Game." You can read about this experience on the home page.
Now, I understand the break up was all about me and my unique journey through life. Liz was just the actress chosen to play this out with me and give me the lines I was supposed to hear. She has played the role to the hilt. I've played it for her in her hologram.
Once, when someone asked what our relationship was, I responded by saying that Liz was in my hologram to cause me discomfort, thus allowing me the chance to reclaim my power. I was only half joking, but she got it. We still have no definition of what our relationship is, but it's different, that I can assure you. Something like friends, but different.
It has been a challenging, but rewarding experience reclaiming my power with Liz. Instead of just feeling sorry for myself, holing up for a few months, then venturing wildly back into the dating game, I have worked the Busting Loose process with her for the last several months, and while there is still plenty to reclaim, I feel as if I've come light years in my understanding of what relationships are not. What they are is the key question I'm asking.
So starting from the premise that "relationships" are yet another Phase 1 game we can't win, what does "romantic" relationship look like when we are fully playing in Phase 2?
What is relationship when all the beliefs, obligations and b.s. we have created around relationship disappear? What is relationship if we are living in reactive mode and being supported in our joyfulness? What happens when we remove the limitations of "future" and form from our relationships? I'm pretty sure the only thing we know is that when we are expanded in Phase 2, we are happy whether we are in a "relationship" or not. We do it only for the enjoyment. We can choose to play the relationship game, but it's not necessary, like everything else in Phase 2.
I'll be writing more, but I'd like to hear what you have to say. Is anybody out there living a true Phase 2 relationship?