Earlier this month while my female lover was furiously riding my husband’s lingarn during a love-in, my body felt that old familiar pain in my gut and my heart once again. I silently collapsed in defeat. Jealousy! When will I ever be done with that ‘ol green- eyed monster?
“I can’t ever possibly compete with that,” I thought as I watched them, peeking between my fingers. “They are so involved; so wild in their passion, they don’t even notice me and how miserable I feel!”
On top of it, what was that chemistry they had, that wildness, that connection, that joy? It looks like, but no, it couldn’t be could it? Could it be … NRE?
What a minute here. My husband had been involved with “Bill” and “Sue” for – about 15 years! This was not a new relationship by any means. I met him, moved in with him, got married, and then about a month later, was introduced to his lovers, Bill and Sue. So, if anything, Sasha and I are the ones who possibly still have NRE, not Sasha and Sue!
But here it is, obviously, an energy that is still there for the m after all these years.
I had been in two long-term monogamous relationships, 12 years each, spanning 24 years of MY adult life. I know how sexual excitement fades, how lovemaking becomes routine, stale, perhaps even boring..
In those monogamous days of my life, I contemplated that “swingers” probably maintained the excitement in their love life by bringing that new, novel energy back home to their beds.
And what of my observations of Sasha and Sue, long, long time lovers? Their energy “felt” to me like NRE. I was jealous like it was, or at least it seemed he has something different with her and not with me-his wife, his buddy, his companion, his lover, his confidant. Perhaps there is a “key” here. What do they have together that Sasha and I don’t have?
Could it be because they are not cohabitating? Could it have something to do with the frequency of their encounters? And if there is a different energy for those who are infrequent lovers, perhaps we need to coin yet another phrase?
How about ERE? External Relationship Energy? Extraneous Relationship Energy? Extramarital Relationship Energy? Perhaps OPE: Outside Primary Energy?
After all, familiarity breeds contempt, does it not? I am a relationship counselor with my husband, so
I’ve heard all the stories in our practice. In addition, I’ve had hundreds of interactive conversations with people regarding their relationships on the Internet. “My spouse won’t make love with me anymore.” A common story. Traditionally, the neglected mate goes out and cheats and feels justified for their actions. “We started out so passionate, so in love. What happened?” Indeed, what has happened?
I believe we have pent up resentments that create distancing in our relationships. Resentments inevitably evolve with our primaries due to the negative bonding patterns that emerge from being imago mates. Imago mates are those to whom we are attracted and those whom we attract to us in relationships due to unresolved issues we have with our primary caretakers while we were growing up. Our imagos resemble these caretakers, not physically, but emotionally, psychologically and energetically. (Look for books by Harville Hendrix for more on imago mates.—ed.)
Our imagos are also our mirrors, and our mates reflect back to us our disowned subpersonalities and the characteristics that we need to incorporate into ourselves in order to become centered and to eventually develop an aware ego.
Negative bonding patterns result when there is a disturbing event that happens, not necessarily within the relationship, that generates a fear or upset in one or both of the partners. They react by moving into one of their defensive subpersonalities which throws the other into one of their defensive subpersonalities.
For example, if Sasha’s ex wife is suing him for possession of the house and Sasha is afraid or upset by that, he may become impatient with me if I’m taking too long to get ready to go out, and turn into “irritable father.” His impatient behavior and words may throw me into “withdrawn daughter.”
If Sasha persists with his behavior, I may eventually turn into “yelling, angry mother,” which may in turn send Sasha into “bratty adolescent.” It is a parent/adult/parent/adult vicious cycle and difficult to get out of once begun.
Typically, partners may banter with their pattern for a while, hurting one another until one of them be- comes aware of the drama, returns to center, and apologizes. And as one holds the space in the center, the other usually returns and responds. The initial destablization was outside of themselves. Nevertheless, the resultwas a drama within the relationship.
This process of being in relationship, of “doing life” together is a double-edged sword. It is my theory that the imago process and the negative bonding patterns, even though we apologize and “forgive” one another, create the distancing and the deeply seated resentments that eventually”kill” the sexual energy. It is like an internal, invisible scoring system. No one knows when the “magic” number is hit that is “one too many” and the love game is over; breakup, divorce time. On the other hand, this imago process is the road to the deepest,most incredible intimacy possible, not only with our beloveds but with ourselves. Our partners are our mirrors, reflecting back to us characteristics that we react to, that we overly admire or despise and those are issues we need to work on within ourselves. There is an old saying, “if you notice it, it is yours.”
If we can overcome our difficulties and survive in our relationship, looking at our human mirrors with fewer and fewer reactions, we discover and incorporate those disowned characteristics into our being. With this evolutionary process, we learn and grow and appreciate our mates through time and go really deep with one another. So, my questions are, “How do we prevent resenting the heck out of one another over time? How do we keep that passion of NRE or infrequent relationship alive in our primary pair bond?
After suffering many days with my jealousy bout and sufficiently torturing my poor Sasha with my rantings–including writing a 7 page “hate” letter to Sue! (how dare she, that Bitch!)–I finally came to my senses, and perhaps a resolution, at least to question number two.
During our love-ins we had a tendency to begin and end with one another, branching out to our other partners in the height of the excitement. It had begun to feel like “swapping” to me. Our intention was to always stay linked with one another. As time progressed, I noticed a sense of “politeness” had sort of set in. It was like, “oh, we don’t see the com- pany much, let’s focus a lot of attention on them.” Since they were the guests and we were focused on pleasing them and showing them a good time, we lost our focus with one another. The linkage was broken.
My idea was to consciously incorporate coming back to my beloved to connect every first or second natural break (like stopping for liquids, bathroom breaks). That way the full blown energy at the height of passion would be returned to the primary repeatedly, bringing that extreme sexual excitement back home and not just the beginning energy before things got hot and the ending energy when we were exhausted and wanting to go to sleep.
As for the internal resentments, plan on keeping the communication lines wide open with my beloved with loving, tactful, honesty. Finally, I figure if we stay orgasmic, follow our tantric practices and connect twice daily, incorporate variety into our lives by sexual diversity with our other lovers, bring home that NRE from other contacts, and consciously maintain linkage so we never feel left out and abandoned, we will feel passionately, lovingly connected and there will be never be room for resentments in our hearts.