Like I said in my last blog, my new mantra had become that nothing ever goes as expected. And with that, came the practice of giving up on having expectations to begin with. This is far more difficult that I hoped it would be. Expectations are sneaky little bastards. Making me feel the disappointment when the expectations I thought I didn’t have, aren’t met.
I had been looking forward to Charlie and me spending time together. Also, I felt that we needed to do that, since we were seeing so little of each other. The more time would pass, the further away he felt to me and the more I lost the feeling of connection with him. It also makes my mind more active and all my doubts, fears and beliefs of how a relationship should be and isn’t, pop up and interfere with the feeling of love that is actually there. And then there is also that longing that I’ve had for sharing the love I feel inside of me in an intimate relationship. Being able to connect on a deeper level than I feel is possible with friends and loved ones. I realise that, through these fears and desires, there are already so many stories sabotaging and putting pressure on something that in essence is love.
Our reunion did not go as I expected (obviously…). It was nice to see each other again, but it was very different from when I left in April. It was time for a lot of sharing of our feelings, or lack thereof, needs and wishes to find each other again. It has been and still is an investigation into our feelings, what that means and what we want to do with that.
There is a lot of love between us and a deep connection. But wouldn’t a friendship be better? Or do we want to be in a love/intimate/sexual relationship? And what does having a relationship mean? Do I need to define it? Or is that something I feel I need to do for the outside world, for them to understand?
At the moment, I feel a lot of love for him, but I have felt empty and quite disconnected from him and everything in between. And I guess that I can also switch the ‘him’ for ‘myself’ in this last sentence. How true and how related is that? Sometimes I just had no clue how I felt or what I wanted or needed.
I have realised that, relationships are something I have with everyone and everything. With some people the relationship is more friendly, with others it can be very close, with intimate conversations, cuddles, or tantric massage exchanges. For these people I also feel love, and for some more than others. Through my tantra trainings, I have learned that I can experience different kinds of connections and ways of intimacy with people. And that my desires of what I can and want to share with someone, have quite clear boundaries. As long as I don’t feel that this is a person I can see or would like as my life partner, it’s fairly uncomplicated. So, what is it that makes me make it all complicated when it comes to Charlie? The feelings I feel, what I want from him, with him, my desires, the labels I put on what we have and the expectations that come with the labels.
This past month, all my ideas of love, relationships, and what it all means, have left me utterly clueless. I don’t feel and believe there’s just one soulmate, out there. If there were, the chances of meeting that 1 person in these billions of people, would be very slim. I do however feel, that there are not that many people out there with whom I feel comfortable to intimately share a (substantial) part of my life. But for now, Charlie feels like a person I would want that with.
When the topic of breaking up came up, I felt really sad, a bit scared and confused. It made me doubt my wish to want to be in Cádiz. Not being sure I’d have a place (I’d want) to be, if I wouldn’t be staying with Charlie. And even though I was confused about how I felt, I had been in love and still felt love for him now. Which also makes me wonder about what ‘being in love’ is? I hear it so often these days, that people do or do not feel in love and that that determines whether they want to be in a relationship with someone or not.
When I was younger, being in love meant sleepless nights, insecurity, butterflies and sweaty armpits, and this desperate longing to see the person. The idea was very fairytale-like, the practice was more like a nerve wrecking drama for me. Nowadays, I do feel a longing and excitement to see each other, to spend time together and I do get a bit nervous at times. Fortunately, the ‘being in love’ just doesn’t feel so intense anymore. Relationships themselves however, have become much more intense. With less people pleasing and more vulnerability and sharing that has become part of it.
I do really feel that I would like to have him closeby. But not if either of us doesn’t want to keep showing up, for us. If he would be happier with someone else, who am I to not want that for him? If someone else I care about tells me that they met someone they have feelings for, I’m usually happy for them. Sometimes with a bit of jealousy for wanting to experience that (presumable) joy too. So what makes it so different? They’re both people I care about. And we can’t own anyone, at least not nowadays. Just because I feel and choose to want to be with him, doesn’t entitle me to anything. Especially not if he wouldn’t feel the same.
In the end, I feel that it’s about actually showing up and sharing what’s going on inside of me with him and vice versa, and genuinely wanting to do so.
And so, that’s what we’ve been doing. Showing up, sharing how we feel, relating, about ourselves and each other. Taking a few steps back, giving each other some space. With that space I keep getting back to the feeling that, no matter what happens, I’m still ok by myself and with myself. And that I still really enjoy time on my own. I just need to trust that it will work out, in whatever way, without expectations.
We also talked about an open relationship, which makes me feel really insecure on a sort of superficial level. On a deeper level I can see and feel how enriching it could be, to be able to take full responsibility for the feelings we have and share that love. Knowing that feelings for someone else, are separate of the feeling for each other. But to me, it does feel like a big practice in totally open and honest communication. I’ve always said I find communication challenging and I was never very good at it. That has changed a lot over the years. Mainly because I am much more in touch with how I actually feel now, but putting words to that and being totally honest about them, is something I still find challenging. The fear of rejection and the wish to please, are so very deeply ingrained, even though I know they’re not true. Knowing something, is just not the same as embodying and living it. I also feel very grateful for all I am learning from and with him. The mirror he is, both beautiful and triggering, and how we are opening up and getting to know each other better.
I’ve also spent a week in a sort of retreat in the North of Spain. I thought it was more of a Workaway-like exchange: working in nature, practicing Spanish and some conscious movement practices, but it turned out to be more of a personal process. We had sharings in the morning and evening and a bit of work on the finca in between. The idea was to share a few topics you wanted to work on, on yourself, in that week. I had just had had a very emotional few days with Charlie, so my theme was love and relationships and trying to make sense of it all. It felt good to have some dedicated time, space and support for this process. It was challenging too, because most of it I had to do in Spanish. The time I spent there, in nature, with a little cabin for our sharings and practices and a river to bathe, really made me feel happy. Bringing back the feeling that I do want to be in the South of Spain, working on a finca in nature, living a fairly basic life with a community of beautiful like-minded people around me.
It’s been an intense month. My meaning and feeling of love and relationships are being redefined. Practicing to let go of the stories from the past that I’ve built around it and would like to hold on to. Learning to live what I feel at a deeper level, instead of listening to the chatter of the judgemental voices in my head. I feel there is a lot I don’t know or understand. Everything needs time to play out in the way it needs to play out. The only thing I can do is enjoy the journey and make the choices that feel right to make. Choices not based on fear, but on love <3