Part 4 – Attractions and Affairs
Everyone Has Attractions…continued
Hal & Sidra Stone
Laura had lived out her Aphrodite, her sexual self, during her adolescence. She was sexually active, and she loved to take drugs, dance, and stay out all night. However, the disapproval that this elicited from her classmates was distressing to her basically sensitive nature. After graduation, she left town, another self in her took over, and she disowned the Aphrodite self that had been such a major part of her life.
Laura, or more accurately the proper woman in Laura, married a quiet, sensible man who was completely out of touch with his own sexuality. They lived a life devoid of the excitement of her past. She was able to maintain this lifestyle for a number of years until she met Ned, her tennis teacher.
Ned was the disowned self that she had left behind. He romanced all the ladies, drank, took drugs, and generally acted the tempter. Laura found herself hopelessly attracted to Ned. She began an affair with him even though this put her marriage and her hard-won social status at risk. She found herself taking drugs again, and she found herself sneaking money away from the household accounts to give to Ned. Although she kept trying to break the relationship and to “reform” herself for a second time, the pull to this disowned self was irresistible.
When we look at marriage relationships in general, we often discover that it was a particular self in a person who got married. Sometimes the man or woman is aware of what is being sacrificed or disowned. At other times there is no awareness on any level, and the disowning is complete. The more extreme the disowning process, the more extreme is the attraction likely to be to someone who carries the disowned energy. These kinds of attractions happen as a way of forcing us to meet, and eventually embrace, our disowned selves.
Let us contrast this particular attraction and affair with the attraction that Henry feels. Henry is a strongly sexual man who is in touch with this sexuality. He is like many men: he loves women. He notices attractive women wherever he is, and he feels a thrill and a desire to have sexual relations with them. This attraction is non-specific but strong.
From time to time Henry experiences discomfort with these sexual feelings because he knows that his wife feels very vulnerable with them, but he knows that if he tries to deny them, all the sexuality disappears from his life. Henry walks the line between honoring his attractions and acting upon them. Because he does this, they do not gain power in his life. His sexual self is a part of his life and a part of his relationship to his wife. Unlike Laura’s, it is not disowned.
Henry relates to his wife from an aware ego, honoring his sexuality but protecting their relationship and staying related to the needs of her vulnerable child (and his, too). He enjoys the feeling of being attracted and does not feel compelled to hide it, but, at this point in his life, his choice is to remain monogamous.