I recently wrote a blog post called “Cruisin’,” in which I discussed vulnerability and disappointment over the patterns my relationships have taken since my partner died. They replicated our history to a frightening degree.
Simply put, I attracted three more people with similar proclivities.
Of course, it was hardly my intention to do so, especially after spending most of my life immersed in healing studies, psychology, and metaphysics. And, by this time, I also had spent 18 years absorbing the explanations of Three Principles from master teachers. But… we all make “mistakes.” That’s how we learn!
According to what I understand so far, it is best to live in the present; to know that life is an illusion and that our previous experiences no longer exist except when we allow thoughts of them to crop up and make us feel them again.
Most of us have at least heard that we can create whatever we want to in life, and that every situation we got, or get, into is our own doing and that we can’t blame anyone. It’s all thought and illusion.
That’s great, intellectually speaking. But, it takes a deeper, more spiritual awareness or understanding of those concepts to keep us from all missing the boat and continuously rowing against the current.
So, with that in mind, I am going back to re-examine my first days with my partner to see just how much I’ve learned since 1995 when I was introduced to the Three Principles, so that I don’t make the same mistakes again. Except that I’ve made the same mistakes again three times now inside of three years of her passing. So, I am going back to the beginning… to 1984, when we first met, to examine what my part in that mistaken match was – if you believe there are such things as mistakes.
In other words, what did I do then that I wouldn’t do again today? What do I know today that I didn’t know then, which would’ve quickly dissuaded me from continuing on with her? Have I learned anything?!?
I am stepping out of the present to examine just exactly what I got myself into and how I did it, so that this never happens again… “this” meaning me unconsciously presenting myself as fresh meat for a smooth sexual predator.
I want to do a quick analysis of what was allowed into that relationship at the very beginning that I’d never allow today. Granted, there’s much more information available about sex addiction today than then, so we may not have known what it meant anyway.
Another area I want to look at is what I assumed about her just because we were intimate. What ideas did I assume would be true of our relationship just because…?
The information she gave me about her formative years alone in a sexually abusive, violent household should have been enough reason for me to consider moving on. She’d had no therapeutic intervention. Additionally, the history she painted for me of having an active sex life since she was a young child was another red flag that went over my head. And the sexual behaviors she was still engaged in when we met as adults should have been another warning sign that she couldn’t possibly be expected to share in a committed, monogamous relationship. Yet I assumed she would.
Why didn’t I move on?
Part of my innocence was that when she told me her life story and troubled sexual history in the first two weeks of our meeting, I thought I’d “help” her. I didn’t yet know that we don’t start off new relationships “helping” someone. The purpose of a relationship is healthy enjoyment, not fixing the other person.
I considered myself well-schooled in psychology, the Enneagram, metaphysics, spirituality, and Eastern masters (for example Yogananda and Mother Meera). Those interests began when I was a preteen. Yet I had no clue as to the seriousness of the issues I was blindly walking into. I couldn’t have fathomed the long-term effects that her childhood would have on her life and our relationship, even if someone had sat me down and listed them. And, likely, neither can you.
Why am I bringing up the past?
First of all, to simply share that not a lot has changed in the last three decades.
People, in general, still do not know how to analyze or “read” the family history or present sexual activities of the people whom they date. Or they don’t ask enough questions about family of origin, nor do they know how to interpret the answers if they even did ask the right questions. All too often this topic remains shrouded in the dark secrecy of 12-Step meetings or behind the confidential, closed doors of psychotherapists’ offices.
However, we don’t need to know what sexual addiction is to sense that a new person in our lives may not be a healthy candidate for long-term intimacy – either as a friend or a partner.
We are still innocent as a society about how a child who has grown up in an abusive household is likely to evolve, especially if he or she has not sought therapeutic intervention somewhere along the line.
In my next blog post, I want to tie things together with what I’ve learned recently about how and why — three times since she died — I ended up being drawn into similar quagmires. And the choices I now realize are always available to me if I see that freight train coming again.
Why am I sharing these things?
So that others don’t feel badly when they have to look back and examine signs that they too missed along the way, when they didn’t take action, when they have to dredge up their part in the play.
I could not see, until recently, how I contributed to these relationships…. To put it another way, to finally see my part in the lie.
I am sharing these things for us to keep in mind as we try again to build new relationships with either our recovering sex addict partners or look for new partners to date.
It is only now, 32 years later, that I can see I had many signs and reasons from the day I met my partner to withdraw from that relationship. I lowered my standards for honesty and certain moral standards I valued, not all of which had to do with sex. Often it wasn’t anything I could put my finger on, but a strong instinctual inner battle to pull away. Like most partners of sex addicts, I did not follow through on my instincts.
Now I know that I don’t have to know why I need to leave a relationship. Having an instinct about something is usually a satisfactory reason for us to take action. I’ve learned this almost too late in life. But I’ve learned it. And, truly, it’s never too late!
When you feel strong and healed enough inside, you too will be able to take this step and reach a new level of peace and relief as I have come to.
Predators are very charming and subtle. Their ability to make one person feel important and to make life interesting and exciting is well developed. These attributes are a huge distraction that hinders us from invoking the discernment so crucial early on in any relationship.
Next week, I will shed light on how, today, I would handle those three worrisome, painful relationships that followed the death of my partner. And I will offer a more profound way around and through the devastation which seems to linger “forever” after we discover their betrayals.
Do you think society, as a whole, is more aware of the prevalence of sex addiction today than 30 years ago? What do you think about the importance of being able to objectively explore your past in order to make the unconscious conscious and understand your role in your present relationships? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave your questions and comments below!