“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu
I started writing this blog post a week ago on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Since Valentine’s is often centered around love, romance, and relationships, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share the stories of my past relationship experiences, how I became involved in the relationship I’m in today, and what I’ve learned along the way.
This following is, essentially, an overview of my journey of my long term romantic relationships from past to present. Aside from the simple sharing of my past experiences, it’s also my hope to share any insight I’ve learned in regards to manifesting the relationship (or relationships) of your desires. First, I’ll recount the path and journey that I’ve traveled up til the present. Then, I’ll share the lessons I’ve learned that led me to manifest the relationship of my desires.
My First Love
I started dating when I was 16, in the summer of 1995. My first boyfriend was a fellow high school student whom I had met nearly two years prior. He was about two years older than me but three grades ahead of me since my birthday is early in the year and his is late in the year.
We initially met at a high school Halloween dance in October of 1993. I was wearing a blue NASA jumpsuit as my Halloween costume (that I had procured from a previous adventure at Space Camp in Hunstville, Alabama), and he was wearing PJ’s with slippers as his costume, holding a big soft teddy bear. I’ll never forget the way he introduced himself to me, because he made me guess his name…. it was Adam.
Adam and I soon became friends, often hanging out in the computer lab at high school and playing computer adventure games together after class. We were also both Star Trek TNG geeks and we were both involved in the high school music program, so we had a handful of shared interests.
When Adam graduated high school in the summer of ’94 I still had 3 more years to go before I graduated. No longer going to the same school, and with him starting University in the fall, it didn’t seem likely we’d stay in touch.
We started hanging out again in the late spring/early summer of ’95 once Adam had completed his first year of University, yet it was always as friends vs “going-on-a-date”. Although I quite liked Adam “as a friend”, the possibility of dating had never really entered my mind — until one summer night I woke up from a dream I had while visiting an aunt who lived in another province.
In my dream Adam had started dating another girl and for some reason that made me really sad. When I woke up, I realized that perhaps Adam and I should try dating, especially since I was beginning to care about him a lot and realized I would miss him when we weren’t able to see each other.
After I had returned from visiting my Aunt, I told Adam about my dream. He thought it was eerie, as he told me another girl had shown interest in him while I was away, and he was considering the possibility of dating her.
I can’t recall if it was later that same night or within a couple of days of telling Adam about my dream, but soon after we shared our first kiss early in August of ’95 and soon afterward decided to date and become “an official couple” shortly thereafter.
Adam and I soon became pretty crazy about each other. We both thought we’d end up marrying each other some day, so when our 1st year anniversary rolled around we decided to exchange promise rings with each other. (For those not in the know, a promise ring is symbolic of the intent to one day get officially engaged to be married.) We later got engaged to each other on our 5-year anniversary, deciding to marry two years later on our 7th year anniversary.
My First House
We moved in together in the spring of 2001, and I had put a hefty down payment on our mortgage (I had something like $10K I had managed to save up working my part-time job in a call center while I was simultaneously going to and paying for university).
It was shortly after moving in together that I began to change a lot as an individual. As far as I’m concerned, this new spurt in personal growth wasn’t a direct result of our living together, but rather as a result of the new friends and experiences I was exposed to via my theatre classes at University.
Up til that point in my life, I was pretty quiet and shy (and still was, but to a much lesser extent than I had been in the past). All my friends were also Adam’s friends, so we always spent time together and never apart with our own separate groups of friends.
Now that I had started to have friends “of my own”, I felt a desire to cultivate these friendships and to keep them separate, wanting to spend time with them without having Adam around. It wasn’t that I no longer enjoyed spending time with Adam but more the fact that previously I hadn’t any really close friendships growing up — aside from my relationship with Adam — and now that I had new friends, I had this desire to cultivate these new friendships since I never had that when growing up. (Disclaimer: I did — and still do — have one close friend from grade school that I am still friends with today. However, she and I went to separate schools when I was growing up during my teens, and thus weren’t as close during that time.)
I was also exposed to new ideas during this period of personal growth, such as veganism. Having not felt congruent with killing animals for food since I was a teen, I decided to officially adopt veganism on December 1st, 2001. The ideals behind veganism deeply resonated with me, and as such, I was certain I wanted to permanently adopt veganism for the rest of my life.
Adam, however, was not vegan nor vegetarian. This raised a lot of red flags for me in my mind about our future together… if we were to ever have kids, I knew I’d want to raise them as vegan. How would we do that if Adam had no desire to follow a vegan lifestyle himself? I also wanted to have a vegan wedding, and both my family and his family were insistent on having meat or fish at the wedding dinner, and that didn’t feel right to me at all.
And then other doubts started entering my mind… Did it make sense to get married to the one and only man I’ve ever been with? Sure, it sounded romantic, but it also started to sound unrealistic. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have other experiences first before making a lifetime monogamous commitment? Maybe explore fantasies and get those out of my system before committing to a life-long marriage? I had also been exposed to concepts such as polyamory during this time in my life, and I was open to experimenting in this realm, but it had become clear to me that Adam was not comfortable with non-monogamy. I was becoming really stressed and uncertain about the future of our relationship.
There were other complications that came up too, but without going into too much detail, I suggested the idea of my living on my own for a little bit before getting married — something I had never done before. This would mean delaying the wedding to a later date.
Understandably, Adam felt insecure about this proposition. He essentially responded with an ultimatum: Stay living together and keep the wedding date as is, or break up and not get married at all.
My First Heartbreak
As much as I loved Adam, I just couldn’t bring myself to make a life-long commitment to a relationship that seemed so full of new-found uncertainty. After being together for over 6 and a half years, we decided to call off the wedding, sell our condo, and break up. Resolving to remain friends, I moved out on my own for the first time in my life.
In the months that followed our breakup I soon found myself in my very own cozy little apartment. I loved having my own place to myself. Before I knew it, I fell into another relationship with a co-worker. The relationship only lasted about a month, however, and in retrospect it was very clearly what would be labeled as a rebound relationship, so it’s not worth much mention here.
An Unconventional Relationship
Shortly after my brief rebound relationship I was introduced to a friend of a friend named Michael. Michael was vegan (well, mostly; I think “freegan” is a more apt term), spiritual, and had a geeky side, too. We were pretty much the same age since we were born in the same year, and it had even turned out that we went to the same school in Kindergarten. We shared similar values, and he taught me how to meditate.
Michael and I had an interesting relationship because it wasn’t your conventional type of relationship. We dated as a monogamous couple for about a year, and then after that year our relationship transformed from a monogamous relationship to an open-sort-of-relationship-but-not-really-in-a-relationship relationship; it’d probably have been labeled as “It’s complicated” on Facebook. 😉
We moved in together *after* no longer being in an official monogamous relationship, each having our own respective bedrooms. Even so, we still often shared a bed together at night, but not always. As I was saying, we didn’t consider ourselves to be “in a relationship” with each other, and instead it was more like a situation where two friends cared about each other, shared similar values, lived together, and who would sleep with each other on occasion.
Despite not being in an “official” relationship, nether I nor Michael became involved with anyone else while we lived together. We lived together for about a year and a half before we both started to realize perhaps we should move on and find a relationship that fulfilled our respective desires. I don’t recall what Michael desired in a relationship, but I know that I longed to be involved with a creative individual — perhaps even someone I could collaborate with on creative projects or endeavors of some kind; someone with drive, passion, ambition, and who’d inspire me while I inspired them.
Rediscovering My Independence
I moved out of the apartment Michael and I were sharing in the late spring of 2005, toured a solo play of mine for somewhere between 3-4 months, then returned to my hometown of Winnipeg in the latter half of September. I soon rented another apartment and resumed solo-living. I was glad to be living on my own again. I had missed having my own place.
The next relationship I become involved in started sometime in 2006. It’s hard to say when Andrew and I started dating, because there was no clear-cut date. We met on NYE, shared some passionate kisses later that night after it officially became 2006, and would continue to meet up every once in a while for a date here and there.
I liked Andrew a lot and it seemed apparent that we had chemistry, but at the time I felt hesitant about getting into another relationship. Part of me felt as though I should remain single for a while longer, while another part of me felt as though I should wait and try to find another vegan mate. Veganism isn’t too common, however, so I felt conflicted as to whether or not I should be flexible or rigid in that regard. Although Andrew wasn’t vegan, nor vegetarian, he was very open to veganism and ate little meat himself. He was also a creative individual, being interested in stories and writing. Over time, my feelings for Andrew grew, and before long I desired to experience a relationship with him. I think it was sometime late in May or perhaps June of 2006 that we started to officially date.
Andrew and I ended up living together too, yet always with a third roommate and never just the two of us in our very own place. We dated until sometime in September of 2008.
I experienced a lot of confusion and uncertainty towards the end of our relationship. We definitely loved each other — there was no question about that — yet sometimes it seemed we’d bring out the worst of each other in regards to our personal temperaments. And because of this, despite Andrew’s creative side, we never really got to the point of inspiring each other or working on any projects together. Even though we certainly loved each other, we didn’t seem to experience any growth in our relationship. I desired to be in a relationship that inspired mutual growth, inspiration, ambition, and passion.
Feeling lost and uncertain, I longed for some form of guidance. I decided to book a reading with Erin Pavlina, hoping that I’d gain some insight and clarity about my situation. During our reading, Erin was able to point out that all of the men I had been in relationships with up to this point were weak in their personal power. And then, Erin actually said, “You know, someone just like Steve would be perfect for you!” She then elaborated: the drive, ambition, passion and inspiration I had longed for in another partner would be present in someone who was strong in their personal power — someone like Steve Pavlina.
I agreed with Erin’s assessment and knew that, although I loved Andrew dearly, I’d need to move on if I were to ever experience the kind of relationship I desired.
Something else I remember from Erin’s reading was a message to open up and communicate more of my thoughts without holding back and self-censoring so much. That note of advice really stood out for me, and consequently, I tried to keep that advice in the back of my mind henceforth.
I was single and living on my own again by October of 2008. I soon ventured into the world of online dating for a while, albeit hesitantly, but never found someone I really clicked with or who was a match for what I desired in a partner and in a relationship.
Online dating did teach me something, though: it helped me to acknowledge and refine what it was that I truly wanted to experience in a new relationship and with a new partner. I essentially made myself a list. I came to realize that I didn’t want to compromise and settle for less than what I desired because doing so would ultimately prevent me from experiencing the very experiences for which I longed.
My list of qualities that I desired in a relationship partner went something like this:
- Has a bit of a geeky side (likes Star Trek: TNG, Sci-Fi, etc.)
- Ambitious and goal-orientated
- Confident and secure
- Wants to travel the world with me
- NOT looking to live the typical life of “getting married, having kids, working 9-5 and being a wage slave to your bills and mortgage”
- Growth-orientated individual
- Mutually inspire each other in our own respective endeavors
- A potential creative collaborator
- Loves sharing new experiences together
- Clean and organized
- Values freedom and independence
- Has decent skills in the kitchen
- Values health and fitness (and is open to raw food)
- Rarely drinks alcohol, save for perhaps the occasional glass of wine or spirit
- Doesn’t smoke cigarettes, pot, or do any kind of drugs
- Likes to dance
- Has a decent sense of style
- Has awesome chemistry with me (physical, emotional, mental)
- Loves to kiss and cuddle
- Open to exploring sexual fantasies with each other
- (… there might be more, but that pretty much sums it up.)
Meeting Steve & Erin
Later, in October of 2009, the opportunity to attend Steve Pavlina’s first ever Conscious Growth Workshop (CGW) presented itself to me. I had been following Steve’s blog for a number of years, and knowing we had a few things in common (we were both vegan and both into ST:TNG, personal development, etc.), I was curious to meet him and see what a workshop of his would be like. Plus I’d never been to Las Vegas before and it sounded like a fun excuse for travel and adventure. 😉
At first I discovered I wouldn’t be able to attend the workshop because the dates of the workshop conflicted with an upcoming theatre gig I had committed to. But then as serendipity would have it, about two weeks before the workshop, I was informed that the starting date of my contract would be pushed back. This meant I’d actually be able to attend the workshop! I decided to go for it.
I really enjoyed the three days of the CGW as they unfolded. I made new friends that I still keep in touch with to this very day, which I think is completely awesome. If Steve ever holds CGWs again, I’d highly recommend attending for the pure reason of having the chance to meet a lot of other wonderful people with whom you can share a path of personal growth similar to your own. The workshop itself was great, too! 🙂
Something I wasn’t expecting to experience while at the workshop was this strongly persistent intuitive feeling that Steve and Erin’s relationship with each other was somehow holding them back, from growing in ways they each needed to grow as individuals. I had a strong sense (or “prediction”) that, as a result, they would soon end their marriage no later than the end of that year.
That being said, I never witnessed evidence that the above would actually come to transpire. Steve and Erin appeared to be very caring towards each other and even shared a passionate kiss on stage at CGW. Conversely, I wasn’t trying to project any issues onto them as a couple, nor pass any judgments. It was simply a strong intuitive sense that I felt and it was coming through so strongly for me that I even shared this “prediction” with my hotel-roommate.
In retrospect, I wonder if I was somehow able to perceive and interpret the “vibe” of their relationship and contrast it with the vibes I had experienced from my own past relationships, subconsciously comparing these vibes and calculating this predicted result. …Maybe? I’m really not sure — this is just a guess as to the workings behind this intuition.
If you follow either of Steve or Erin’s blogs, then you’d already know that later that very month Steve and Erin had decided to end their relationship with each other as husband and wife. In light of the intuitive “prediction” I had earlier that month, it was a little eerie for me to read Steve’s blog post announcing their decision to separate. I started to wonder… when Erin had said someone just like Steve would be perfect for me, did she unknowingly mean Steve himself would be perfect for me? I was curious.
Broadcast Your Desires
It was in the latter half of December of 2009 that Steve and I really started to connect. It mainly started when Steve had posted a Facebook/Twitter update simply stating a statistic related to D/s play. The topic of D/s piqued my curiosity, as it had been something I was interested to explore. I thought about privately messaging Steve on the topic, but then felt maybe I shouldn’t as it seemed pretty bold to do so. I told myself that’d be too forward of me. But then, interestingly, the advice I received from Erin during my reading with her more than a year prior suddenly popped into my head: Express your thoughts — don’t hold back and self-censor.
Following that advice, I decided to be bold and message Steve on the topic. I asked him what his experiences were with D/s, guessed that he’s a “D”, and I shared that I suspected I was an “s” although wasn’t certain since I’d never explored it before, although I was curious to.
One thing led to another, and soon we were messaging each other several times a day. Without going into too much detail, we agreed to meet up and explore our curiosities, discovered we had great chemistry together, fell in love, and became involved in a loving, long-term relationship. As of the date of this article, Steve and I have been involved with each other for a tad over a year now.
Lessons in Love
So, what lessons have I learned from my relationships of past and present?
I’ve discovered that by reviewing my past I’m able to see a distinguishable pattern and path that has lead me to where I am today — very happily in love and involved in a fulfilling and growth-inspiring relationship.
With each subsequent relationship, I was able to learn, refine, and determine the specifics of what I truly desired to experience.
I discovered that I needed to be clear and specific about what I desired in and of a relationship.
I also discovered it unwise to settle for anything less than my desires; if I settle or make compromises on what I want, than I’m closing myself off to possibilities and experiences I truly desire.
If you have no idea what exactly it is you want from a relationship, I’d suggest that you imagine what it is you’d like to experience. Let your imagination guide you. If it feels good and makes you happy to imagine cuddling with a loved one, then take note and put it on your list that your future relationship partner(s) will be someone who loves to cuddle. If it’s important to you that a relationship partner share your beliefs about religion, spirituality, atheism, or whatever, then take note of that and go out and find someone who shares your beliefs.
Keep an open mind. For example, a while back I told myself I didn’t want to be romantically involved with anyone who already had kids from a previous relationship. I had felt pretty strongly about this, but I adopted a new mindset in regards to this about two years ago. See, a younger cousin of mine has a child and she is currently a single parent. Witnessing her experiences had prompted me to change my mind on the matter and as such I decided to no longer let the presence of kids from a potential partner’s previous relationship be a determining factor in whether or not I’d be interested in dating them.
If you’re someone who has absolutely no idea what you’d like to experience in a relationship even after trying to imagine what you might like, then the best thing you can do from there is to simply make a guess and experiment. Discover for yourself what you like and don’t like through direct experience… but don’t let societal expectations tell you what you should and shouldn’t like. 😉
I think it’s very important that those involved in a relationship share similar desires.
For example, let’s say A and B are dating. Person A highly values the concept and ideals behind marriage and thus desires to get married, yet person B doesn’t. First, a deeper examination of the individual stances needs to take place. If person A wants to get married and person B never sees themselves getting married to anyone, ever, then it’s probably best that those involved let go of their relationship with each other in order to free themselves to seek and fulfill their respective desires. On the other hand, if person B just doesn’t want to get married at that point in time but could see themselves possibly wanting to get married at some point in the future, then a choice must be made: person A can decide to stay in a relationship with person B to wait and see if they’ll change their mind — this option is a bit of a gamble though because it’s uncertain as to whether or not person B will decide they want to marry in the future. Person B might decide marriage is right for them after all, in which case person A’s gamble of time paid off. Conversely, person B might decide they won’t want to marry at all, in which case person A’s gamble translates to a loss of time which could have otherwise been spent actively seeking someone who shared their same relationship desires.
Either way, I think it is of utmost importance that relationship partners accept each other without trying to change each other in order to make the other into what you want them to be. Change cannot be forced on someone — the impetus to change must come from within. If change is actually desired and one person requests assistance and support from the other to help them create a desired shift or change in themselves, then that’s another story. But even when change is desired I still maintain the importance of acceptance of one’s present state before undergoing or creating a change in being.
Then there’s the realm of open relationships and polyamory. I realize each individual will have their own stance and opinion on this topic. My own personal experiences in this realm are somewhat limited, but I do have some. As exemplified by my previous unconventional relationship, I’m completely fine with open relationships and the ideals behind polyamory. Being involved with someone who is monogamous isn’t a deal-breaker for me, while being involved with someone who is polyamorous isn’t a deal-breaker for me, either. That being said, I’d prefer to be with someone who is at least open to the idea of polyamory (even if it wasn’t actually placed into practice) over someone who is completely closed to the idea of polyamory.
In my opinion, there’s no such thing as a failed relationship, with one important caveat: some evidence of learning and growth must have occurred as a result of being involved in said relationship. This means that relationships that come to an end can still be considered as successful relationships given that learning and growth has occurred as a result. On the flip side of that coin, even ongoing long term relationships can be considered failed relationships if they are stagnant and devoid of any learning and growth.
I’m delighted to say I’ve never had a failed relationship: Each and every relationship I’ve been involved in has yielded results of learning and personal growth. I’ve also remained friends and am on good terms with each of my past relationship partners, and for that I’m really glad. Consequently, the successes of each subsequent relationships has led me to manifest the experience of my current relationship. I am filled with love, happiness, and gratitude. <3
I’ve discovered in order to manifest the relationship of your desires you must acknowledge and believe you are worthy and deserving of having your desires realized.
Love yourself, and you’ll attract love into your life.
First of all, thank you so much for discussing the lessons you’ve learned along the way like this. Reading this article was wonderfully illuminating, and I suspect I’ll return to it and read parts again. Oddly “healing”…
I especially loved this part:
“there’s no such thing as a failed relationship, with one important caveat: some evidence of learning and growth must have occurred as a result of being involved in said relationship”
Exactly! You take an experience and frame it in an empowering way. Then you see the lesson within it and grow from it.
I wish you and Steve many years of happiness!