“There is a tendency, when people go into a relationship, to ‘go limp’, the way an animal goes limp when caught by a predator. There is a kind of ‘false surrender’, a giving away of one’s power to the other person. This sets the stage for later violation.
I urge you to go slowly and consciously into relationships so that you do not give yourself away. The desire to please the other, to be liked and accepted, to be loved and adored easily and quickly crosses the line and becomes self-betrayal. You must realize that relationships can be addictive. They can offer you the opportunity to escape from self, to avoid feeling your feelings.
If you are unhappy with your life a relationship may provide a temporary escape from your troubles, but sooner or later, your problems will return. And they will be exacerbated by the demands and expectations of your partner. When your ego agendas emerge, both of you will feel disappointed, if not betrayed.
The emotional high of a new relationship promises more than it can ever deliver. If you experience ‘falling in love’ you can be sure that you will experience ‘falling out of love’. The whole romantic tradition is a socially acceptable, nearly institutionalized form of self-betrayal.
Just as the child creates a false self to cope with the unreasonable demands and expectations placed on him early in life, so does the adult create a ‘false surrender’ to a lover to ease the pain of personal and social isolation. No foundation for the relationship has been built and so it cannot withstand the eruption of the dark side. As soon as the unconscious fears arise the balloon bursts.
In true surrender you do not choose the partner because he or she makes you ‘feel good’. You choose the partner because there is a shared vision and a mutual commitment to growth. The partner helps you to create a healing environment, in which both of you are nurtured and challenged to evolve. You have a mutual commitment to be present with each other throughout the ups and downs of the experience.
Most relationships fall apart as soon as trouble comes along. The promise ‘to have and to hold, in sickness and in health’ is, for most people, an exercise in absurdity, for many people go to the altar without even taking the time to get to know each other. For this reason, formal marriage should be discouraged until couples have lived together for at least three years. Most relationship will not survive the period of mutual exploration because, for most people, they are a form of addiction. They are initiated by a mutual desire to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
However, when people fall out of love with each other their repressed pain surfaces with vengeance. And the person they once looked to as a savior becomes their arch enemy. The whole thing is a big set up.
A relationship can never be a panacea for the wounds and traumas of the individual psyche. At best, it is an incubation chamber. Hard as it is to admit, emotional safety is not to be found in most relationships.
How do you avoid betraying yourself? Not by refusing to fall in love, but by learning ‘to be present’ with the one you love, even when his or her dark side rises up to meet you. You notice the judgments that come up, the desire to please or to be taken care of. You see when you feel accepted, rejected, trusted or betrayed. You don’t go into he relationship seeing only what you want to see. You look at everything and you communicate honestly.
If you can keep your eyes open as you explore an attraction with someone, you avoid the inflation and deflation of falling in and out of love. By staying awake through the process, you can avoid the disappointment of discovering, after a month or two, that you and your partner have very little in common.
It all comes down to one question: “How honest are you willing to be?” As long as you have something to hide, there will be deceit operating in your life. Part of you will be visible and another part of you will be heavily disguised or missing in action. Where did it go? And who are you without it?
All masks must be peeled away if you are to stand face to face with each other. Until then, this is just a carnival, a public rite the meaning of which has been forgotten.”