The word Passion has been defined as "a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone" (merriam-webster.com). We are taught to believe that this is the only way that passion can be felt in a relationship; either sexually or via some sort of romantic endeavor. The term passion often gets exaggerated in the movies and media as a constant and somewhat illusive sensual pursuit between a man and woman; all the while not taking into account other relationships, i.e., LGBTQ.
The idea of chasing sexual and romanticized passion has become a sort of obsession, preoccupation, and ritual in our culture. It is a means of escaping into a world of constant fantasy, all the while leaving behind loved ones for a quick fix via dopamine. There are now video games where intimacy with a character on a screen can feel real. Connecting has become rather illusive in an effort to experience the rush of passion at any and all costs.
What happened to passion being related to any sort of spiritual endeavor where two people connect in a way that awakens them to the possibilities of the unknown? Where by holding hands, or a gentle touch, they feel grounded in their essence; whole and complete in their knowingness as a solid couple-ship?
When it comes to healing a relationship after there has been any sort of betrayal, learning non-sexual and sexual passion,can be both a beautiful opportunity as well as a significant challenge.
The important thing to know is that it is possible.
Having the passion I am talking about begins in the non-sexual realm. Individuals must connect non-sexually in order to have any solid foundation sexually. Many clients challenge me on this; however, once they realize that their partner responds quicker to non-sexual passion and connection, they submit to working on enhancing their non-sexual relationship with their partner. The pay off for both parties is HUGE.
The question that many couples ask is, "How can we create passion non-sexually and sexually, especially if our relationship is recovering from a betrayal?"
If there has been a betrayal in your relationship, the first, most important thing you both can do is seek professional help from an expert. That way, you both have the appropriate guidance and support you need in order to heal. Many relationships can last a betrayal IF both parties do the work.
Here are some tried and true ways that with patience, practice, and persistence, do indeed work:
1. Connect outside the bedroom. In the morning and evening, it is essential to take 20-30 mins to communicate with your partner about details outside of your relationship. This creates intimacy. This may feel mundane, but it is essential (if you don't believe me, read a John Gottman book).
2. If you are the betrayer, become attuned to your partner by asking him or her what they need and how you can support them. The relationship is not all about you so you want to make sure you are making efforts to connect with your partner. They need you in this way!
3. Listen. Really take time to listen to what your partner is saying. Stop making assumptions and over-reacting. Pay attention and respond from a grounded space. If you need time to get calm so that you can listen, take a time out. By listening, you learn to respond accurately and objectively. It also increases closeness.
4. Develop your own passions un-related to anything sexual. If you used to play music, take it up again. If you love to paint, do it. Creative energy is sensual in it's own right.
5. Don't carry the weight of your spouse's betrayal. This entails letting it go. I am not saying condone your partner's poor choices and behavior; just don't hold onto the heaviness of it anymore. Take your power back! Let your partner own the poor choices and mistakes they have made. Don't carry it for them (some addicts want you to carry their mistakes by manipulating you into thinking you have to; don't do it!).
Your relationship deserves to have passion in and out of the bedroom. For someone in recovery from relationship betrayal (which includes the spectrum from one instance of infidelity to sexual addiction, and/or other addictions) this will be a new concept that takes time and practice, a lot of therapy and support. However, if you both are invested in your recovery, it is possible!!
Remember, you are worth it... and so is your recovery!
NEW GROUPS! Starting in January: We will be offering gender separate 12-step support groups on a bi-weekly basis. Investment is $10 per group, 1 hour each group. A Gentle Path Through the 12 Steps by Patrick Carnes is included. Email Candice at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on start dates. Step groups are essential for creating lasting recovery! RSVP today!
Also, the last Tuesday of every month, regardless if you are in a relationship or not, please join Jenny Jo Tuttle, as she teaches our monthly Relationship Recovery Skills Class. Learn how to improve ALL your relationships, intimate and otherwise. Stay Tuned for Location details since we have grown out of our group room space for this popular! Next Class is Tuesday, Dec 30th, 2014, from 6-7:30 p.m. $45 per individual; $65 per couple.