Love, finding love and navigating the complexities of entering into an intimate romantic love relationship has been top of mind of late, to say the least. I’ve listened to many hours on relationship coaching and finding happiness in love (intimate relationships in particular) and several books over the last few months. It’s made me realize how important it is to come from a place of grounding within myself so I can be truly open to the man I hope to share my love with. Both of us need a sense of safety to be vulnerable. So as I invite him in, he responds with interest and the dance begins. It may stop and start a few times before we find our footing and find out if we are going to be partners.
My first impulse is to reference classical literature and myth and this takes me back to the story of Eros and Psyche and the foundational story told by Apuleius from the second century. According to this myth (which you understand is a metaphorical tale representing cosmic truths) Eros, a young God of love forbidden to love a human) cloaks himself in invisibility and naturally falls for the human woman, Psyche. He was only fooling around but you know how that story goes.
Keep in mind that Psyche is cast as feminine because “she” is mortal in relation to the powers of the gods and actually represents any gender who falls under the mysterious spell of Cupid’s arrow. When the stubbornly single Psyche seems enchanted by an unseen force, her parents consult Apollo and get the garbled message Psyche has been seduced by a monster (more interference from the gods) and abandon her on a mountain to to die. Does this resonate with you? Have you ever felt alone in facing the alluring but baffling possibility of love?
The bottom line is, these events lead to a temporary loss of Psyche’s connection to Cupid (aka her one true love) and Psyche must pass a series of near impossible tests to see her love again. Psyche is completely abandoned at this point and must navigate dark and dangerous territory alone if she is to reunite with her love.
Though Psyche fails the last test, the Gods take pity on her, capitulate, make her immortal and allow her to reunite as a goddess with the flirtatious god Cupid. This establishes our overall view of romantic love as a journey of deep emotional challenges that force us to grow past limiting beliefs/fears to secure and hold the love we wish for.
One of my current favorite love and relationship coaches is Esther Perel (http://estherperel.com) who is known for her public dialogues about the added complexities of modern romantic relationships. It would be impossible to summarize her point-of-view here but she has a knack for articulating categories of conflict between couples and helping them navigate their way through troubled waters. She is especially wise when it comes to the importance and maintenance of a satisfying sexual union.
Today Esther tweeted this bit of sage advice . “The tricky part of early dating is that we don’t have any way of knowing which way the relationship is going to go.” That’s why it takes courage to offer our love, especially as we get older and have had our hearts broken. The question is then, is taking a chance on love worth it? I think so. Interestingly enough, Esther does not advocate holding oneself out of relationship while we work on ourselves because it is only through relationships that we learn to love well.
There is no love without the threat of loss.Esther Perel