Dating in Captivity
Forgive me for the play on words here. Taken from Esther Perels' book Mating in Captivity, which speaks to the unnatural demand monogamy puts on couples.
Well, some couples prefer to be monogamous and if you are one of those, then you may have experienced once or twice the feeling of monotony come over your relationship, you, or the other. Or perhaps your original commitment has felt like entrapment.
Granted there is a deeper conversation here to be had, regarding the whole sexual/hormonal effects of coupling but for today, we speak for the simplicity of just setting aside time to just be present.
I truly believe that monogamy and monotony do not have to go hand in hand. However, it does take, like everything, awareness and attention to continue to till the soil of your relationship so that love blooms naturally.
Parents with children are the hardest hit, when it comes to having to care for little ones, the relationship can sometimes take a back seat. Tiredness for either one is a big issue and has to be managed carefully.
I remember when my children were small, we had two businesses, and I was understandably exhausted. But we did make time to get a babysitter and go out each week. And I highly recommend doing this.
Most of us are devoted - devoted to our kids, our businesses, our work, our passions. Christmas is a time, if you are indeed lucky enough to have loved ones, to actually get a babysitter, or set aside time and put your relationship first for a night or two. And go on dates. So here are my tips.
And if you are not in an intimate relationship at the moment, try this with one of your children or good friend. As in, just be present with them - sometimes all a relationship needs is some quality time - not lots of emotional processing and deep briefings.
These suggestions may seem way too simplistic to you, and obvious, but I find in my own busy life, I need to do this myself in our relationship, to maintain an authentic connection that is sustainable.
Make a Date
Get your calendars together and set time to go out on an ACTUAL date - maybe a movie, go on a ferry ride, a walk in nature, to an elegant restaurant or one that you can afford. It's great for the man to take charge here and organise where and what and let her relax. And…. for the woman to just receive and let go of control. Sometimes we like to do that!
Face each other
You can go out and still remain disconnected. Make sure that you touch, hold hands. And face each other at some stage - as in if you are at a restaurant, sit facing the other, not next to each other on the corner of the table or sitting looking out. The whole trendy, french cafe thing of sitting facing the passing crowd might be cool, but it does nothing for intimacy! If you go to a movie, make sure that you have time before or after where you relax together face to face with a coffee or tea or meal. Time it so that you are not too tired afterwards. It can be a great thing during holidays to actually have lunch dates when your kids are taken care of by a babysitter or at some holiday activity.
The details …
Stay home in your body…. Date with awareness Drop back in and down into your self instead of being energetically over in your partner's space. It can be rather repelling to be an eager beaver and all over the over person energetically if they are not into it. Use your breath to anchor back into your heart or your belly and rest back inside. You will be far more relaxed and this creates a natural presence that can actually magnetise the other to you without it being a goal or trying to make something happen. See it as just resting deeply in you.
Smile. Smiling not only relaxes the face - it relaxes the whole body, right down to the perenium, so my midwife clients tell me!
Share what you are happy about. Shift your thinking and sharing to what makes you happy, what you are inspired about.
Share what you are grateful for. This sounds so simple, but try it and see how your heart starts to open and you start to relax more with each other.
Don't talk about kids, work or business, unless it's about absolute gratitude. If you start unloading about your day, this just takes you right back into your head.
Don't Complain about anything or the other person. Obviously if there is some big emotion going on, state it, feel it and see if it can move through. The other try and just hold the space with compassion but best to walk, move together or apart for ten minutes and meet up again.
Experiment with these suggestions. There is no hard and fast rule. But right now, if you have children, schedule your next date and book the babysitter!
And if you value your relationships, yearn for intimacy without closing down emotionally or sexually, consider joining us at The Making Love Retreat in April 24-30th. Whether you are a couple who have just started your relationship or have been together a long time, what you experience and learn at this retreat will reduce stress and give you new tools to move ahead in life and relationship.
I wish you a beautiful Christmas and Happy New year in 2016