Monogamy, Polyamory and Relationship Anarchy on the spiritual path

Hello Openhanders,

I am in awe of the power of letting go, asking "show me", and remaining open to the external conditions my soul guides me to. It has been a journey in itself to release judgment towards the events, situations and circumstances that manifest as a result of living from my soul.

Five years ago I left a 30 year monogamous relationship to a wonderful man. We remain good friends, partly due to the fact that our relationship was based on mutually shared strong values. I opened myself to the possibility of a new monogamous relationship 18 months ago. It's true that relationships can be one of the most challenging aspects of our spiritual path, for it is here that our deepest fears and insecurities often arise. This was the case for me as I witnessed a pattern of distortions; fear of abandonment, rejection, not being chosen and not being seen. I deeply desired a relationship with what I called "the man I am to walk in spirit with". Even though I knew every relationship was serving as a mirror, I longed to find that special man whom I would move into a loving and supportive monogamous relationship with.

Earlier this year after a 5 week relationship concluded I looked at how I was approaching relationships with deep and profound honesty. I acknowledged that I was attached to finding my soulmate. Alternative models of relationship were not evident at the time, but I knew deep down that my attachment had me continuously cycling in something that wasn't working for me. So I let go of my vision for spiritual union and asked "show me". Within days I met a man who lives a polyamorous lifestyle. Polyamory translates to loving more than one. It is often perceived as indiscriminate promiscuity which it definitely is not.

Polyamory invites compersion, the feeling of joy in a partner's new relationship. The most distinctive difference I have observed between people who are polyamorous and people who are monogamous is not the amount of intimacy they have, or the kinds of relationships they have, or even the ways in which those relationships develop, it’s in the willingness to talk about relationships; what each person requires from them, tools for building them, and ways for letting them grow in positive directions. So down the poly path I traveled because after all, I am an explorer who is open to endless possibilities. I experienced some challenges as I entered this new lifestyle, the most significant being the realization that I was often efforting to make myself fit, and there was a hierarchy structure present that did not resonate me. Polyamory didn't feel like the right fit so back to letting go and "show me".

Within a short period of time something called relationship anarchy was introduced to me, an approach to relationship that I had not heard of. And then it kept showing up, again and again - of course it did! I'm not partial to the term "anarchy" and have redefined it for myself as relationship authenticity. This approach to relationship questions the idea that love is a limited resource that can only be real if restricted to a couple. We have the capacity to love more than one person, and the love felt for one person does not diminish when love is felt for another. There is no ranking and comparison of partners or relationships in RA, because each individual is equally cherished as is the connection you have with them. Each relationship is independent, and a relationship between autonomous individuals.

I feel called to bring this into the forum because a) it is new for me, b) I am sure there are other Openhanders who are being guided to explore relationships outside of monogamy. I am curious how polyamory and relationship authenticity has melded with the spiritual path of other Openhanders. I am also curious if Openhanders in monogamous relationships are feeling guided to explore a different approach to relationship.

Much love to all,

Sandra

Comments

It's a fascinating topic Sandra. Thanks for bringing it up.

I think yes, generally there is this idea that many are looking for 'the perfect soulmate', to walk side by side with. And that will be right for some. But what I can personally say is, that's only ever going to happen (in truth) when there's absolutely no neediness in looking for it. When there's absolute completeness, to the extent that you'd be happy to live alone, then such a relationship can effortlessly arise.

The idea of polygamy raises some interesting points.

I actually consider myself in relation with my Twin Flame, internally. And 'she' (sometimes she has a gender, sometimes not), manifests in the world around me in all things: it could be the song of a bird, the movement of clouds, the feeling I get from a tree. However, in my own relationship with my soulmate, she's been the only woman to embody this reflection, and I have been monogamous in that. Although as I said, I do see this reflection all around me.

I think a lot of these relationship questions would probably fall away when someone truly unifies with their Twin Flame, to the extent that they don't need the relationship to be actualised in a particular way. ie with a soulmate.

But there's lots of subconscious neediness to overcome to fully get there.

Open

Hello Open,

Thank you for your heart felt response. You reference polygamy if your comment, which I feel to point out is very different from polyamory. Perhaps this was auto correct at work.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be exploring relationship lifestyles outside of monogamy I would have highly doubted this. Liberation resides in places unknown to us. It took courage to let go of what I considered "the norm" and open myself to new possibilities in support of my evolution.

Yours and Trinity's relationship is one I greatly admire. To be in union with your Twin Flame is to be in union with The Divine. Is it possible to be in relationship with one's Twin Flame prior to working out their distortions? Could a Twin Flame union support one another to confront and dissolve false beliefs and identities?

There are endless possibilities for external conditions to manifest in support of our evolution. Paramount is that we do not overlay situations from our past onto the present moment. What felt safe and supportive then may not be what best serves us now. There are also the conditioned beliefs and structures within society that we feel we must conform to. I believe there are many people who are in monogamous relationships based on compliance with the social system of marriage and monogamy. Divorce rates continue to rise as people seek "the one" who completes them and provides them happiness. The thought of being alone generates fear of; lack of support, lack of intimacy, lack of love, lack of safety, lack of financial security, and lack of companionship. It's important to deeply inquire within oneself their relationship with being alone. Some choose it to hide, some for protection from emotional pain, some to take a stand against the institution of marriage and coupling, and some choose being alone as a form of sacrifice, which often shows up in spiritual circles.

The synchronicity of a post I wrote on social media a year ago popping up in my feed yesterday did not go unnoticed. "If we're not able to be alone, we're only going to know how to be lonely." I feel that at this time my path is one where I am continuing to deepen into the perfection of being alone. I live alone, I sleep alone, I eat alone, I work alone, I hike alone - I have become comfortable in the silence and peace that resides in BEing alone. But my soul is guiding me to external circumstances that invite me to be in relationship - autonomously and sovereign to myself. Relationships are where I am confronting my karma. For me there is a greater sense of freedom and inner peace in being open to more than one relationship. I value my friends the same as I value a romantic partner, one does not take precedent over another. I bring my sacred self to each relationship and I pay close attention to the underlying motivation in my words and actions. I have yet to meet my Twin Flame and I am accepting of this. I am simply - open.

It's not what we do, but why we do it. In discussing alternative relationships I feel it important to highlight one's underlying motivation to explore polyamory or RA. I often hear the term "I have embraced and own this lifestyle" which for me is attachment to an ideology. Therein lies the hook. Open relationships have also become quite trendy in North America and Europe with many young people in their 20's adopting these types of relationships. Most significant to me is that people often choose polyamory because their marriage is unwinding and they're not able to let go. During a recent trip to Alaska I witnessed this first hand, along with the aftermath of a tragic suicide. The female partner I was staying with was embracing polyamory however her husband was deeply struggling. I could see this. He chose to go along with the arrangement in order to remain married. On the surface he appeared OK with an open relationship, however just below the surface jealousy and other painful emotions were "killing" him.

I feel it important to support one another as we venture on our soul guided path. The recesses and tunnels in the rabbit hole will take us into external conditions that we may not fathom. I know this has been the case for me beyond alternative relationships. It's not always going to "look" spiritual, and at times I feel people hold back from sharing their life situations and challenges because of this. Following one's soul does not always guide them to external conditions on the back of a unicorn following a rainbow path. One's soul can take them into what feels like the bowels of humanity. Shakespeare wrote "all the world's a stage". When we grasp and understand this deep within our being we are able to let go of the judgement we hold towards external life circumstances. This allows us to move more freely and with expanded consciousness into the relationships, situations and conditions that arise. For truly, the only thing taking place is self realization. Thank you Open for introducing this life altering and life affirming awareness. Actually more than an awareness, it lifted the curtain for me to truly witness my life through the eyes of my soul.

Much love to all,

Sandra

Hi Sandra,

Deep explorations and wise words indeed *OK*

Yes, didn't I so easily mistranslate polygamy with polyamy. And it's in the words that might seem inconsequential, where we each need to explore and look deeper - for these are the touch points - aren't they?

You said...

    For me there is a greater sense of freedom and inner peace in being open to more than one relationship. I value my friends the same as I value a romantic partner, one does not take precedent over another. I bring my sacred self to each relationship and I pay close attention to the underlying motivation in my words and actions. I have yet to meet my Twin Flame and I am accepting of this. I am simply - open.

Are you perhaps misunderstanding the nature of the Twin Flame relationship? Is that what you see in myself and Trin? That she is my Twin Flame? Because she is not.

The Twin Flame relationship is an internal one. It's the mistake that many are making in spiritual circles when they speak of it being manifested in some particular form. A soulmate will likely manifest yes. But the Twin Flame is the other part of your soul, close to the source, that does not manifest.

Building a relationship with ones Twin Flame is likely to be the most rewarding experience of life itself. You get the sense that 'she' (for me I use the word 'she' because I am her compliment in masculine form) can effortlessly shape situations and circumstances around you, to reflect to you, the majesty of true, unconditional love. She just appears all around me in the experiences of life.

It seems to me, that indeed you have met your Twin Flame, in life all around you. But is there still something looking or needing it to be in a particular form?

When this began for me, a few years before I met Trin, a flurry of potential partners suddenly appeared in my landscape. But we were separated by geography. Rather than simply overriding this however, by catching the next plane out to see them, I asked why? Why would the universe manifest the seemingly ideal partner, yet for the most part, they were unavailable?

The question guided me to the local HMV store at the 'Oracle' shopping centre (I'd gone to meet the Oracle!). The pull guided me around isles into the video section, where one nearly jumped off the rack - it was the film Ghost. In it of course, a couple are separated by death, but discover each other again 'through the ether'. It's then that the penny started to land for me - my relationship was to be 'through the ether'.

In the film, when one tells the other 'they love them', the endearing response is 'ditto'. That very evening, on the phone to this particular person, at a key moment, she used the word 'ditto ' - which she'd never previously done. I instantly knew what this was all about...

    I'd needed the relationship to be a certain way - to have it physically embodied in a particular form. And I was subtly projecting that form onto the potential partners I'd met. I could now touch that (understandable) neediness inside - even though I too lived alone and was very comfortable doing so.

In that moment I was able to let go of the neediness, and so began, the most incredible period of my life, witnessing and experiencing my Twin Flame all around me, in just about every situation and circumstance.

It taught me to walk the blade edge of life, in it, but not of it. And it prepared me to meet my soulmate. Without which, wouldn't truly have been possible.

Open *OK*

Hi Sandra,

Very deep exploration. Not something that everyone can explore so deeply in themselves, much less have the courage to post on a public forum. I salute you!

I'm rereading a book by Scott Peck at the moment. He is a Psychiatrist who also writes a lot about spiritual growth based on his own experiences. His definition of love is an interesting one and, with the knowledge that it is not a complete definition, one that I resonate with: 'Extending oneself for the purpose of nurturing ones own or another's spiritual growth'.

So, looking at this definition I observe that I am regularly extending myself to BE with other people, animals and plants.

It even extends to certain energies. Open has been talking about the twin flame, and I regularly meet mine while playing or listening to music. It's like a dance or conversation of feelings like I'm am playing the melody of my life and my twin flame plays back-up, keeping the beat going for me, or playing a counter melody as a compliment to mine.

So, in regards to relationships with other people, my feelings right now are that extending myself happens with friends just as much as with a partner. I feel affection, joy and a desire to explore both of our growth or self realisation through sharings. The difference with a life partner is that you are sharing so much more of your life together - probably living together, supporting each other and maybe even having a family together. For me there is a complete opening. And extending myself into my partners energy, exploring hers, helps me to explore my own. It may take time but I feel there is no stone left un-turned. Its vulnerability at its purest. But this is not because I chose to be more open with her than my friends. It seems a natural result of simply spending more time together. And for me the other difference is that I have a sexual relationship with her, which I don't have with anyone else. I guess sex is an exploration of the physical aspect of love, and whether one chooses to do that with many or one person is entirely up to them.
So, baring in mind the differences between 'friend' relationships and 'partner' relationships, for me, in some ways, a monogamous relationship is there because otherwise it may get a little crowded ;).

with love
Richard

Thank you Sandra, Open and Rich for this post. A lot of which I am working with presently. As I realize how nostalgia and attachment masquerade as love, how expressions of love, compassion, support can be expressed and felt as a reflection of the inner relationship without attachment to the outer or used to meet internal neediness. It's quite interesting to watch how the other is affected when I pull off of engaging in this way - allowing myself to just feel the urge to satisfy the internal longing with an external fix and instead open up inside and be with it. It stirs up in the other anger, frustration, sadness, apathy and probably lots of other emotions. In me it stirs up the unmet desires and needs - all the "lacks" that Sandra mentioned and at the same time it is incredibly liberating as this energy is brought back within and the opportunity to feel my own completion arises.

It's very delicate to be in a long term relationship and unravel it from within - though this feels like the way for me right now...it's taking a great amount of discernment and self-honesty to not just go 100% on either side of the edge, but to walk along it, releasing the threads that don't serve and feeling for authentic reflections of the inner relationship - and open to an authentic expression of that in the outer. It all feels very shaky and it's quite possible that it may all crash down without a full transformation reflected externally in this particular relation. Keeping an eye on the inner transformation as the guiding force and watching at times with a heavy heart.

As a poignant reflection of this, I have been having warnings on my laptop that "my start up disk is full, delete files to create space"...I was referred to a tech company called 'Ray's Connecting Point' who advised me to not rely solely on the external hard drive, but to get a larger internal drive and just have that one as a back up. That pretty much sums it up!! =)

Thank you all for your amazing sharings!!

Much love,
Jen

Jen - what a powerful exploration. You're touching something deep and fundamental....

    "As I realize how nostalgia and attachment masquerade as love"

Many people fail to realise that all manner of things masquerade in their consciousness as love. Nostalgia is a big one - you relate to the person and the relationship as it once was, rather than what it currently is.

Compassion masquerades as love - not wanting to hurt the other.

Companionship masquerades as love - feeling an amazing sense of friendship, that once was love, but (for one at least) has now morphed into something else, beyond the intimate boundary of partners.

Doubt and insecurity masquerade as love - the sense that each should help the other and provide for the other (which has truth in it), glosses over the fact that there might be a deep connection, but is it really inloveness?

So what tends to happen between partners, is that people heap layers of expectation and neediness onto the relationship concealed as 'love'. And when you pull apart to a degree (which I would say is healthy for all relationships), then you start to confront, and work through, all of these veils to get to what is really the truth now.

It can be really painful. One of the most challenging going. Sometimes I imagine it would be easier to accept even the death of a partner, rather than having to confront the veils of your own illusion, that you've projected onto them, as you work to peel them away.

It can be excrutiating. It's like pulling layers of your own skin off. But it is also mastery. It causes you to keep focusing on what your real vibe is and who you really are.

There'll be many half truths encountered on this journey. I suspect polyamory can often be a convenient veil for not having to go there.

Open *OK*

It might be worthwhile considering here exactly how light beings make love. Because in all, the soul is striving for higher realisation - actualisation. Bearing in mind, that we are incarnate, and therefore have a unique experience as humans - not to be denied. Nevertheless, I think a higher perspective might shed some light on the kinds of conflicting impulses we might feel in human form.

So in higher densities, when two light beingness meet and there's an inloveness attraction, which wants to be satisfied, each provides a reflection of the others Twin Flame - that aspect of themselves which is not embodied or actualised.

The mirror resonates a vibration, which causes the light being to resonate a similar frequency, but one which is entirely their's, and mostly that aspect of themselves which tends to be in the background of their experience. For a light being expressing more the ray1 divine masculine energy, it will likely be the ray2 divine feminine, and vice versa. The dynamic continues to exist, even though light beings have no gender.

Crucially, in the 'love-making', there is no exchange as there is within human intimacy. But then when you actually explore it at a human level, there's actually no soul exchange going on either (at least not in the fully realised state where there's no losing of consciousness). Each has a separate experience within their own consciousness, but supported and activated by the other. It just feels like exchange happens because juices are exchanged. But if you think about it, the juices don't actually become a part of the other - a third party may be created, but that's an entirely different thing.

So where two deeply resonant light beings meet, there can be a mutual activation, which will feel very much like love making. However the vibration is ones own vibration, activated within oneself. For both partners.

And there's no attachment. There's no blending of energies. Maybe the two will walk side by side for a while, possibly even a long while, but still, each is whole and complete having their own experience.

Paradoxical isn't it, that here we are, in these dense, physical bodies that are very separate, and yet all-too-easily, psyches get blended for the various reasons expressed in my 'close encounters' post above.

Open :-)

Hi Open
Out of curiosity in what ways are you and Trin close in vibration? I read a long time ago you mentioned soulmates are two souls that are the closest in vibration in a soul family, yet you two seem to have quite different vibrations (one's from anglic realm and other is of higher density), or that I've not truly felt your soul vibrations.
Lei

Hello Folks,

Thank you all for engaging in this conversation. There is much here to support me moving forward in this new place of exploration. I'm a bit slow to respond as I'm travelling.

Ah yes Open, my internal auto correct had me writing Twin Flame rather than Soulmate. Interesting as I have previously discussed Twin Flame with you during Openhand coursework. My experience with my Twin Flame is that of my higher self. There are many definitions in spirituality for Twin Flame and Soulmate which can leave people confused. What you share resonates with me, and I am happy my internal auto correct initiated your explanation of Twin Flame and Soulmate for others to read.

You wrote, "I'd needed the relationship to be a certain way - to have it physically embodied in a particular form. And I was subtly projecting that form onto the potential partners I'd met. I could now touch that (understandable) neediness inside - even though I too lived alone and was very comfortable doing so. In that moment I was able to let go of the neediness, and so began, the most incredible period of my life, witnessing and experiencing my Twin Flame all around me, in just about every situation and circumstance."

This is gold Open. I have recognized the neediness you talk about in myself and it always leads to some degree of suffering. It is yet unclear to me why I feel guided to explore alternative relationships. As I mentioned previously, there is significant karma arising in the few connections that I have made. I am exercising discernment and paying close attention to what arises. There has been a significant shift where I am feeling a greater sense of autonomy, where I feel sovereign to myself, and that I do not need to take from another in order to experience the depths of my being. Yes Open, I can see how multiple relationships could easily cloud one's ability to confront the veils of illusion that are projected onto a partner. When there are numerous partners satisfying the manifestations of neediness, one does not have the opportunity to explore the truth beneath their need.

Richard ~ Thank you for your lovely share, encouraging words and continued support. Our path can look and feel rather unconventional and at times messy. Often we feel inclined to hide this, particularly in spiritual circles, which is our judgement projected onto the very conditions we have created in support of our evolution.

Jen ~ You touch on so many valuable points, thank you.

Again, with all my heart, thank you!

Love,
Sandra

Hi Sandra,

It's a very evolved exploration - awesome *OK*

You said...

    "It is yet unclear to me why I feel guided to explore alternative relationships. As I mentioned previously, there is significant karma arising in the few connections that I have made. I am exercising discernment and paying close attention to what arises."

Indeed, we can't buck karma! I've experienced in the past, where the main stream of me, absolutely knew it wasn't right to take a particular course of action. But it's senseless to try to override karma - it'll always 'get' you in the end!

And I'm certainly not against the idea of polyamory. I think it sounds interesting. At times, I've considered myself in that, where the love is being reflected back from all around, in everything and everyone. Although to me, it's always been a reflection of the divine relationship within. So I don't consider myself in relationship with other things and people.

They're reflections to the primary inner relationship.

Open