Are you in this for God, or are you in this to gratify your ego? These can range from sexual techniques and hacks, using flowers, candles, and incense to turn lovemaking into an erotic ritual, active listening skills, and the ability to remain steady and present in the face of strong emotion.” At that moment, it dawned on Carina that James was, in fact, an asshole. All these skills can make the wrong people, very attractive prospective partners.

Only get on the intimate relationship bandwagon if you want to get to know yourself. One of the greatest myths I carried around for the first 3 decades of my life was that a romantic relationship would solve my problems and make me happy (thanks Disney … I wanted my primary relationship to give me comfort ALL the time. No connection is worth sacrificing your wildest ways; if they can’t hang with your humanness, they weren’t for you in the first place.4. And if by some miracle my soulmate does show up, and I’m still running the beliefs causing that anxiety (So if you’ve ended up with someone who doesn’t spoon you how you like to be spooned, thank them for illuminating the places you didn’t realize you weren’t valuing yourself quite enough, and go do some inner work.

Intimate relationships are an incredible crucible for experiencing the deepest life-level truths with an unparalleled intensity and immediacy. You can disidentify with your ego but that doesn’t mean it’ll stop freaking out. Someone to lean on in exactly the way I wanted to lean whenever I wanted to lean. When you’re trying to get a specific result, feeling, or behavior out of another person by being a certain way for them, you’ll probably end up disappointed. Instead of trying to mold yourself around someone else’s outlines, let the way they touch your life teach you about where your own edges live. The law of attraction doesn’t work how you think it works.

Ironically, if we were, in fact, completely detached, we would be willing to say “If you can’t keep your appointments with me, I am not willing to spend time with you.” Now, I want to be fair here…

Asshole is a strong word, and I am using it for emphasis.

After getting spit out the other side of a relationship marriage that consumed the entirety of my 20s, I’ve been on a wild ride of discovery, confusion, excitement, disappointment, bliss, and . Because I get to learn everything all at once: a new class in Life School, jumping off cliffs like WELL I WONDER WHERE THIS ONE WILL LAND ME. I thought it was going to be about meeting new people. But truly, you don’t need to make out with someone to get to know them. And more specifically, you attract how you feel about yourself.

(Side note — fuck those, I spent a month on them and it was cute, but what a giant brain suck of empty dopamine triggers)I’m kind of embarrassed to be such a beginner at all this, but I’ve decided to embrace it.

When Carina broke up with a boyfriend who had cheated on her – twice!

– she resolved not to date any man unless she was sure he had a strong commitment to ethical behavior.

Spiritual values are an amazing contribution to a relationship. The defensive use of spiritual words to avoid deep genuine connection only shows up gradually over time, often over months, or even years.

And, because there is a small element of truth in the spiritual asshole’s argument (if we were, in fact, completely detached, their behaviour wouldn’t actually upset us, after all), we focus on ourselves and our own weaknesses, rather than asserting our boundaries and our right to equal consideration in the relationship.

James was a skilled lover, and Carina discovered that there are many different kinds of orgasm, some of which took her to out-of-body experiences and sublime states of consciousness.