What do you do when you wake up beside the man you love, the man you married, the man who not only fathered your child but lovingly participated in her birth, and realize that you are trapped? That you feel anxious, desperate, sad, and gradually like you are fading away? That you binge eat as a way of suppressing the ongoing feeling that something is not quite right and you have a horrible feeling it might be you?
When you are committed to a spiritual path, you come to joyfully welcome awakening to the truth, or so you think, until the universe throws one of these in your path. It wasn't all at once, but gradually I discovered that I didn't belong in traditional marriage. I realized that I had spent 10 years negotiating myself away in order to maintain the structure of marriage, security, and safety.
Gary Zukov is well known for his work on Spiritual Partnership, and he says, "Just as external power is no longer appropriate to our evolution, the archetype of marriage is no longer appropriate. This does not mean that the institution of marriage will disappear overnight. Marriages will continue to exist, but marriages that succeed will only succeed with the consciousness of spiritual partnership. The archetype of spiritual partnership—a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth—is emerging within our species. This is different from the archetype of marriage which was designed to assists physical survival, and in which the partners do not necessarily see themselves as equals."
You know any idea's time has come when it shows up in the fabric of society from multiple perspectives. I came across the Revolutionary Lovers Guide, and admired the founding principles one of which is:
"Revolutionary and aspiring revolutionary lovers must work to ensure their intimate relationships do not begin with an oppressive dynamic. A fair amount of self-knowledge is required in order to unlearn the behaviours we have been socialised into by the dominant white male heterosexist power structure. Unlearning involves becoming familiar with your own subconscious patterns of domination and personality flaws, acknowledging and openly addressing the ways in which you typically dominate others or allow yourself to be dominated. Accept the challenge to actively deprogram yourself from these negative patterns while learning to replace them with more loving ways of being. "
As I have wandered my path, trying to understand what I want in relationship, I have examined monogamy, polyamory, open relationship, non relationship, and variations of all of them. None of them feel right. I feel limited every time I try to put a label on any of my co-creation relationships with men. I simply want to be me. The relationship I most want is the one with me, at my most conscious expression of self.
What I like about both Spiritual Partnership and Revolutionary Lovers is the idea of moving away from the self that is constructed to the expression of the true self. One version takes a socio-political approach, the other takes a spiritual evolution approach. I find myself turning to Tantra for my own personal answer.
I find it ironic that today, among some circles, it is becoming unacceptable to be monogamous. In fact, I wrote a blog defending monogamy! I don't think monogamy is a problem, nor is polyamory, or non-traditional relationship. I find that the answer really is in understanding that we are consciousness experiencing itself in our individualized expressions and in a larger collective consciousness. That consciousness accepts all that is, and does not judge. That is not to say that the tantrika does not act from a form of a moral imperative. If one is in a state of true consciousness and sees a child being beaten, consciousness will of course drive us to action in whatever form seems like right action. Rather than seeing the abuser as evil, we see the abuser as an expression of consciousness that is concealed.
So, when we encounter a social construct such as the conditions of control and expectation that are part of traditional relationship, and see it as limiting, we shift consciousness to reveal a deeper truth. There is no relationship form that is more right than the next. Any form can reveal deep love and commitment, just like any religion, even fundamentalist ones, can lead an individual to an ecstatic knowing of the divine and the experience of Oneness.
I am still shaping the nature of how I show up in relationship. There may be form, and there may not be. It will be something like Spiritual Partnership, and something like Revolutionary Love. It will be rooted in my understanding of tantra, and of spiritual law. But more than anything, it will be a full expression of ME.