Part 6 – Attractions and Affairs
Attractions Are Part Of The Process…continued
Hal & Sidra Stone
Sometimes the awareness that one’s partner is attracted elsewhere can act as a powerful motivation for growth. Most of us can use this motivation to look at aspects of ourselves that we would prefer to ignore, those selves that we find truly objectionable. We can even use it to help us take the next step in our own evolution of consciousness quickly, lest we end up taking it alone. This may not be the world’s most noble motivation, but it certainly works!
Cindy and Clyde are girlfriend and boyfriend. Cindy is a gifted academic student and, as we might we expect, Clyde is much more into pleasure and non-academic pursuits. He is helping to make a film and has to spend some time away from her. Cindy is very jealous and is convinced he will have an affair with one of the actresses. There is no real evidence that this is going to happen, but we may safely assume that he felt strong attractions toward some of these actresses.
So long as Cindy identifies with her academic self and disowns her own actress self (that in her which is concerned with beauty, makeup, clothing, appearance), she will always be strongly jealous of Clyde and will literally drive him to the actress type. If Cindy can become aware of the actress as a disowned part of herself, her jealousy of Clyde will change and he will feel less attracted to the actresses in his life.
From his side, if he were able to admit more openly that he was attracted to one or more of these actresses, the issue would be much more natural and neutralized between them. By not admitting his own feelings, Cindy is forced to carry them for the two of them.
Talking about attractions helps us to clarify aspects of the relationship that are not working well. If Peter were to talk to his wife about his attraction to the young woman in his office, they would most probably go on to discuss her bonding to their children and his responsible father bonding to his family. He could then tell her of his unhappiness at being neglected and his irritation at being taken for granted.
His wife might let him know that she, too, had been feeling left out, that she felt he was preoccupied with their finances and was always working, and that she was upset because they never took time for themselves, time to have fun as they had in the past. Entire areas that they had politely covered over would come to the surface for examination and, ultimately, some form of resolution. Such discussions are painful, but avoiding them gradually erodes the relationship.
So often in relationship, couples refuse to fight and show anger or upset because the children are around. If we wait till the children are not around to have our fights and display our anger, we can wait for decades before we ever get things off our chest. Strong bonding patterns invariably have strong anger underneath. We are not suggesting that the expression of anger should become a way of life in a home. We are simply saying that anger is natural and that it needs to come out when it needs to come out.
It is important to realize, too, that as the love energy disappears from the primary relationship, it can lock onto one or more of the children, and when this happens, they begin to develop an importance that does not properly belong to them.
So often in family dynamics, as we have seen, one or more of the children develops a sense of self-importance that is extreme and unnatural. Oneof the reasons this happens is that the son or daughter becomes a surrogate wife or husband for one of the parents. This can be an excellent motivation for parents to develop a more effective primary relationship or perhaps, if this is impossible, to separate from one another.
It is always frightening to the vulnerable child when we open up new areas for exploration, talk about some part of the relationship that is not working well, or discuss an issue without knowing where the talk will lead. The child is usually uncomfortable to hear about our partner’s realities, whatever these might be. But this is what keeps relationships alive and what brings about new growth.
As we have said, attractions tend to bring up our disowned selves.
In the example of Laura, the disowned self was a frightening one. She felt unable to deal with her Aphrodite sexuality in any way other than disowning it. Her inability to talk of her attraction kept her from bringing her disowned sexuality into the marriage and locked her into acting upon it in a long-term and generally uncomfortable affair. If she had been using her marriage relationship as a teacher rather than as a safe refuge from the perils of her sexuality, she might have shared her attraction to Ned with her husband. Together, they might have traced it back to her disowned sexuality and, together, they might have worked out a way to bring this into the marriage. The apparently fatal attraction might have led to a growth spurt and an enriching of the marital relationship.
There is always a risk and there is always fear when we are brought face to face with a disowned self. There is, indeed, the possibility that Laura’s husband would have been threatened by her sexuality and would not have tolerated it. This would have left Laura with the option of disowning her sexuality anew or deciding that she did not wish to live her life without it and, therefore, ending her marriage. It would force a decision from an aware ego.
It requires a good deal of courage for most of us to own up to our attractions, to explore them, and to dig down into their roots. The end of theprocess is not predictable, which is why, when we are in a bonding pattern and fully committed to holding on to the relationship at all costs, we do not like to enter into these threatening discussions.
There is always the possibility that we will discover that our differences are irreconcilable, and that the relationship must end. But it would be an honest ending that involved two aware egos, and we would each have learned something new. We would have continued our own growth process. Each of these explorations into consciousness brings its own reward by furthering our individual evolutionary process.