I’ll admit it. Lately I’ve become a bit of a serial monogamist…and with each fleeting romance I’ve gained more clarity about the most important themes to pay attention to when searching for a lifelong partner.
When I was 29, I met a man with whom I shared the most soul-searing passion. He sashayed his way into my life at a time when I was ripe for such an experience. He fed my heart’s yearning to travel the world and the desire I felt for him was immeasurable.
I believed then that he was my soulmate.
It was exciting, titillating, and mired in immature love. He lied and cheated, and I took him back—only to be tested repeatedly by his incessant flirtations, passive aggressiveness, and shifty avoidant behaviors, each indiscretion reopening wounds that would take a better part of 10 years to mend.
When the relationship ended I was devastated and inconsolable, spending countless evenings in a gut-wrenching heap on the floor until I cried out every last tear.
Incidentally, that relationship splintered my soul in such a profound way that it led me into the arms of suitors who were neither emotionally mature nor available for a monogamous relationship.
I did discover that every single man who engaged me was ravenous for connection and had a deep desire to meet his soulmate. These men were attracted to me though each one resisted commitment. Was I the one who was emotionally unavailable and these men my mirrors? Frustrated by this pattern I set out on my own quest for healing, believing I was broken and needed to be fixed.
I devoured books on the subject of dating, neuroscience, love addiction, attachment theory and the alchemy of sacred sexuality. I started seeing a life coach, attended numerous workshops, did emotional release work, practiced tantra, worked on my limiting beliefs, and then tested the online dating landscape sampling over a dozen sites.
In the last year the trajectory of my love life would find me in three back to back unrequited love relationships. The impact of this, and all of the self-work I immersed myself in, provided the momentum for me to get absolutely clear on the qualities I require in the partner I want to call into my life. I penned my wish list and soon discovered that I, too, must embody these same qualities.
Currently I am on a dating detox and the learning to unfold, unearthing new revelations, each glimpse inward illuminating me with new wisdom and stretching me beyond my stories and perceived limitations. Here is what I’ve found must be reconciled in order to clear the path to love and qualify a love interest for soulmate potential:
1. Maintain an open heart.
We all have a history that includes some baggage and perceived failings in romance. Because of this there is a tendency to shut down or suppress our emotions when our fears and insecurities arise. The trick is showing up anyway and keeping our heart open and available for something magical to unfold. This vulnerability piece is really the entry point to a profound love opening.
2. Take your time.
Beware of rushing into an instant “relationship” and take caution of anyone who is pursuing you in haste no matter how aligned you seem to be or how intense the attraction is. Take your time discovering each other without selling yourself on the potentiality of a person. The right partner will wait and honor a pace that feels right for both of you.
A developing relationship requires a level of disclosure that is continually opening as the relationship progresses in order to prevent misunderstandings and trust issues. If your partner exhibits avoidant behaviors or deflects topics that are important to you, especially regarding the relationship, this is a big red flag. There is no blaming or shaming between two people who decide to shed their masks and show transparently. And from the space of being fully revealed and fully accepting of one another it is much easier to have fun, let down walls, and show up more authentically.
Do your partner’s actions support what is communicated? It’s so easy to want to sell yourself on those first several dates. The mating ritual is steeped in embellishment to fan the flames of attraction. Pay attention to how your partner shows up in the world and if there is congruency between their words and actions.
4. Give up the fantasy.
These days there is so much talk about twin flames, “the one,” and soulmates that we are setting ourselves up with an exit strategy at every turn. The moment we discover a flaw in our partner we are quick to pass judgement and move on to the next option in our dating queue. Because of the viability of unlimited online dating prospects it’s easy to forget a real soul-based love is not a numbers game! It takes two awake and emotionally intelligent people who come into relationship fully available and invested in developing and nurturing intimacy.
Give up perfection and subscribing to idealism in relationship. Relationship is soul work. Could you stay the course when your shadow surfaces and allow it to be fully revealed in the presence of your beloved? Would you allow the same for your partner? Bottom line is, your partner will trigger you, that is part of relationship, because at the soul level relationship is a spiritual union where we participate in each other’s healing and evolution. It’s just a matter of question whether you want to embark on the journey or not.
5. Calibrate based on emotional intelligence.
As a highly attuned and awake woman I desire to be met by a man who is emotionally intelligent and self-aware.
Pay attention to how your partner handles different situations, especially conflict resolution. Having an open dialogue on any subject should be effortless and when things get heated practicing non-violent communication is key. Is your partner able to hearticulate his/her feelings? If not, there is some growth work to do.
6. Do the work.
I have found that judgment, projections, dishonesty, ego manifestations, shaming and blaming are usually at cause for deteriorating connection. If two people want to evolve together then a shared desire to do the work in support of the health of the relationship is compulsory for sustaining intimacy.
We have all experienced amazing sex and “chemistry” in our relationships yet this is not what leads to longevity. Only a healthy attraction and polarity can do that. I’m referring to ways in which we are in awe of our partner and can teach each other new things. Finding our partner beautiful and sexy and cultivating intimacy that outlives infatuation will lead to a greater heart opening and longevity of the connection than physical lust.
8. Say yes!
In my experience I have found that romance thrives when both individuals choose to have a 100 percent yes for each other emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually in order for the relationship to grow any roots. Love is a choice. This is what I am holding out for and what I wish for you.
Author: Nicole Deserio
Editor: Katarina Tavčar