Question: I’ve been in a relationship for many years. The relationship went from romantic and intimate, to friend and roommate. It’s been a downward spiral and the “spark” is lost. My nature is to be caring, compassionate and loving, but it is not reciprocated. It has been extremely difficult to stay positive. It becomes painful when I see other people who have found nurturing, respectful spouses or partners in life. To fight to be acknowledged, matter, and be respected in this relationship is a sad state of affairs. My friend has taken me for granted. I wonder why I’ve stayed so long in an unfulfilling situation. I hope it isn’t too late to find my soul mate, someone to whom I will matter.
If you can offer any particular Workbook lessons or share any experiences, I will be so grateful to you.
Answer: Thank you for sharing what’s in your heart and on your mind. Much of A Course in Miracles is dedicated to relationships. Relationships offer us the opportunity for so much insight and the potential to undo beliefs that cause suffering.
First, I feel to share with you that every relationship is meant to be. A Course in Miracles says “There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.” In other words, your relationship situation is perfectly orchestrated for your highest learning. This teaching didn’t always make sense to me; I had been in multiple dysfunctional relationships and often questioned their value. But looking back, it’s clear that they were part of a bigger plan for the mind’s awakening. Whatever is coming up for you IS purposeful and provided you give it the purpose of learning, it will provide valuable insight regardless of how it turns out.
You speak of the “downward” spiral and loss of spark, for which I can relate. That was the theme in 3 of my longterm relationships. What I’ve realized since, is that the spiral usually happened because of the absence of communication…TRUE communication (a willingness to expose what’s in the mind and speak from the heart without judgement or seeking to make fault.) For me it appeared as if it happened overnight, but in reality there were a lot unexpressed and repressed thoughts and emotions that built up over time. For whatever reason (i.e. I thought they were unimportant OR I minimize them for fear I’d be rejected) I kept them to myself. And because I didn’t make the space or create a forum to hash out those thoughts and feelings, it became a block…a feeling of separation that manifested into the absence of intimacy (not just physical, but intimacy of the heart and mind.) The loss of “spark” was really a misperceived loss of innocence. The secrets, hidden thoughts, and projections served as a wall of guilt that made the separation appear real.
You ARE a caring, compassionate, and loving being…and you deserve to have that reflected. However love isn’t reciprocal. This is the biggest misconception the world has about love. If it’s reciprocal it must be conditional (with expectations), a distorted form of love often found in “special relationships.” Love has no conditions and the Course would refine that and say “love knows no bodies.” The love you’re seeking won’t ever come from another person, it can’t. It can only come from within you. That doesn’t mean you can’t share in love with another person, however it does imply that if you don’t feel love it’s because you are withholding it from yourself.
“Only what YOU have not given can be lacking in situation.”
– A Course in Miracles
With regards to your comparison of “other people,” that’s a slippery slope. No one has anything that you don’t have. The voice that is comparing, is the ego talking. Your inheritance is love and joy regardless of what your current situation looks like. There are a lot unseen shadows behind the closed doors of “happy couples.”
I don’t believe in soul mates, if I did, I would say that your soul mate is the one who’s in front of you now. For that is the one person who offers you a present opportunity to learn. This doesn’t mean that they’re the person to be with forever, only that they are the one to learn from now…a gift (although not always recognized in the moment.) You DO matter, but that’s for YOU to recognize and know. For only then will it be reflected and the “spark” known and shared. Your worth is established, not by any significant other, but by what you inherently are – LOVE.
A helpful lesson that comes to mind is ACIM Lesson 31 – I am not the victim of the world I see. It is a beautiful reminder of our invulnerability. The Lesson is a declaration that we will not yield to the idea that we can be victim to anything perceived, either internal or in the external world.
Much love, Craig