The theme of space within relationships has been recurring. It’s been interesting to go through in my own relationship and also to examine from the perspective of a student as I learn about the science of relating. My own lessons are up close and personal and hold more meaning for me. But to see the affects on others brings the lessons full circle in a more complete way. In a generation that values a timely text back and measures love in constant communication, it’s been intriguing to observe.
The most notable thing about the space I’m experiencing in my relationship is the way I feel about it vs the way I think about it. On the surface, experiencing space this way has been a bit difficult for me to reconcile as I’ve project certain thoughts and beliefs on to it. The key thing here is that the discord surrounding this experience stems from my mind. But the way I FEEL about the space is…serene. It feels like the right thing. It doesn’t feel like a bad thing. Transcending co-dependency where the space would have brought up anxiety and fear has allowed me to actually deal with my real feelings about it, which surprise even me.
Fire needs air. Desire needs space.
I listened to this TED talk about desire in relationships by Esther Perel and what she said really resonated with me. She talks about how the key to reigniting desire in a relationship is space and balancing that with the dependability and security of being in love with someone you know and trust. Someone has to be away in order for them to be missed. There has to be space in order to give us a new perspective on our partner and co-create love in more sustainable and relevant ways in our lives.
On a superficial level, this is definitely true. We miss what is gone. But beyond the surface, it is even more true. She also speaks on how we rely on our partners for what we once depended on an entire village or community for, which is a central theme in the book The Spirit of Intimacy where Sobonfu Some talks about intimate relationships being an avenue for our purposes to be expressed in order to enrich the collective community. It is imperative for us to fulfill our purpose, which often will separate us from our partners.
This is the same separation that is necessary for us to gain perspective and desire for our lover, like I mentioned above. It also gives us the opportunity to observe our lover as they fulfill their purpose and engage in what they are passionate about. This sparks a fire in us and inspires us to do the same and then our partner gets the opportunity to observe us in this light as well. It is cyclical and when the cycle ends and we reunite, the passion and desire has once again been ignited. It all works together. But if we are constantly in close proximity, primarily focused on one another, it’s imbalanced.
When my dude and I first started on our journey together, one thing we agreed on was that we both needed to be living our dreams in order for the relationship to work. That personal fulfillment has always been a very important stone in the foundation that we built our relationship on. We simply don’t have anything to offer one another if we are not doing what fulfills and excites us on a individual level.
So the space between us feels more like a gift than a threat to the relationship. It feels right. And that feels weird because the ideas of how relationships should be that I’ve been programed with don’t really match this. So it’s challenging a belief that is familiar to me, but it’s resonating with what I know feels right to me.
It’s been a very interesting experience. To face this space feeling resonance instead of abandonment or betrayal. Ego has definitely reared its head to make the point that I should feel abandoned and betrayed & admittedly, I’ve played into that as well because it felt more familiar to invest into ego than spirit in this sense. But that just simply isn’t how I FEEL since I know my partner, and I know myself, we’ve talked about it so extensively and I know that if something were amiss I would feel that and know that. It took awhile for me to understand that the space wasn’t a personal affront or a cue to run away from the relationship, but rather an opportunity to us to channel our energy the way we are being led to individually and observe one another from a distance to gain a more updated perspective. So many times when we don’t feel the need to be close, we think that means we need to cut people out of our lives in order to find someone who we can experience that kind of closeness with. When it is simply the season or cycle in our relationship that allows us to have somewhere to come back from in order to witness our lovers growth and re-create love anew.
In relationships you need distance, just as you need closeness. It’s balance. Integrating both these things are necessary and when you realize that the intimacy doesn’t end when you aren’t close or talking all the time, you can respect it. We fear separation so much because we think it means the end of something. And it does. The end of one cycle marks the beginning of another and when we invest more in the fear and attachment than the faith and freedom, we rob ourselves and our partners of experiencing the full spectrum of the love we are sharing.
When you gaze in wonder at the stars, become enthralled with the vast spaciousness between them. Space is an incomprehensible being, an invisible presence, independently wealthy, without beginning or end. And giving. Space bestows an unbounded theater for suns, planets, constellations to dance their graceful orbits. Space offers you an infinite arena to play, explore, and experience. Receive this gift of freedom. – The Radiance Sutras, 105
In conclusion, I invite you to think about how you tend to respond to space within your relationship. Do you react from a space of fear? Is that fear more real than the love that you share? What is the space rooted in and what energy is your response rooted in? I’d love to hear what you took away from this.