A relationship is an essential energy for communicating and sharing with others. It is also indispensable for the individual growth of a human being. All relationships are between couples.
A couple consists of two individuals who share their intimacy with one another in order to grow individually.
In every relationship there are several processes which follow the same pattern. I am saying in every relationship, whether in same-sex or different-sex partnerships or in family, friendship or business relationships.
1) The encounter
The two persons meet for the first time and feel a certain physical, psychological or spiritual affinity.
This could be the start of a great story.
2) The sexual relationship
The sexual relationship is not necessarily a sex relationship. Sex denominates a sensuel relationship between two human beings. The sexual relationship with a baby just means touching, affection, attention, caressing, which has nothing to do with the sexual relationship between adults.
This relationship takes place on the instinctive level.
3) The romantic relationship
The romantic relationship is the infantile relationship of adolescence (prince charming). Everything is perfect. One doesn’t see the faults of the other person, he or she is perfect, he is the man of my dreams, she is the woman of my dreams; there are no problems in the relationship. We are on a cloud (the dream).
This is life seen through rose-coloured glasses.
4) The transitional relationship
The romantic relationship is finished, the dream is over, blindness has gone, the other person is not perfect; one sees their faults, their imperfections. This is perhaps not a good relationship, future is not all that rosy and one would have to change the system in order to continue together in the future. But for that one would have to enter into the therapeutic mode and accept the other person as he or she is.
The couple accept each other the way they are or they split up.
5) The love relationship
Each person stays in his or her individual energy and surrenders completely to the other person during the moments of their encounter. The two partners stay independent and responsible.
To love means to receive the other person the way he or she is, without condition.
6) The tantric relationship
The exchange between the two partners doesn’t just happen on the physical and psychological levels but on the level of existence as a whole. Osho called this state Mahamudra.
This is the spiritual relationship as such.
The following examples of a relationship between a man and a woman help better understand the different types of relationship.
A man (A) and a woman (B) are on their paths towards their goals. When they meet they share some time of their lives and then continue on their paths. A relationship may stretch over an unlimited and variable period which can last from a few minutes to several years.
After each relationship there is always the choice of continuing one’s path with the other person or following one’s own path without the other person.
The sexual relationship: They decide to meet on a more profound level with regard to their affinity, their physical attraction, the desire and of course the sexual relation.
The romantic relationship: They are enjoying their sexual life together and fall in love. The dream of a joint future begins. Their love is blind; they are innocent adolescents in their beliefs. For them it is the perfect love.
The transitional relationship: Both begin to detect the faults of the other person, conflicts and arguments arise, non-acceptance of the relationship starts, their love is conditional. In spite of this they stay together, they want to continue with their relationship but for that they will have to make and accept compromises, question themselves, change their behaviour without changing the situation. This is the stage of self-analysis and therapy.
The various difficulties to be resolved during the transitional relationship:
Tolerance is indispensable for the viability of a couple. Tolerance just means to accept the partner the way he or she is, without condition, and to consciously find compromises. The most beautiful compromise for being tolerant is the path of the heart: receive, recognize, accept, transform.
To accept one’s own compromises means to respect and love oneself. A conscious compromise is a choice. To put up with a compromise means to disrespect and restrict oneself. If we accept to make a compromise that is our own responsibility, even if we are in opposition to this compromise. In no case may we use the chosen compromise against the other person. That is what I call a conscious compromise. In a couple’s relationship the conscious compromise is obligatory in order to establish or keep up harmony.
In a conflict-stricken relationship the two partners nourish on the negativity of the other person to keep the conflict going. When receiving this negativity the mind has a good reason for defending itself and attacking the other person.
Playing ping-pong means that I receive the ball, ping, and give it back, pong. I receive the ball a second time whereupon the ping gets stronger, and I return it a second time and the pong gets stronger again. This will go on and on until there is a real clash. The unawareness of both the sender and the receiver makes use of all the means there are to communicate and act in a hurtful and inculpating manner.
To solve the problem the two partners have to stop exerting power over the other, lay down their weapons and not use the racket again to return the ball. The adversary will soon be disarmed and deprived of any further argument. Accept the fact that the other person is full of anger or hatred. Accept what you are verbally receiving. The aggressor will either understand or flee but you will be a human being of love and understanding.
In this graph the path of A runs parallel to the path of B which is to say that A has lost his/her individuality, autonomy, responsibility and direction and will be dependent, will be the shadow of his/her partner, doesn’t do anything for himself/herself and forgets himself/herself. In many religious systems the woman is forced to follow her husband. This is the reason why women are submissive, why they lose their identity, their dimension and their creativity. But the opposite is also possible where the man follows the path of the woman.
The couple in the graph has neither decided to break up nor to continue with more commitment. They have entered into a relationship of compensation, dependency, conditioning, culture, attachment, interest… They are not willing to accept responsibility for themselves and expect their partner to make up for their deprivation. Today many people are in such a relationship where they are dependent and suffer.
If such a couple has children the two partners will also expect their children to compensate for their deprivation. Children, however, are not there to fulfil the needs of their parents. It is up to the parents to fulfil the needs of their children. But in this system the parents are so needy that they are incapable of fulfilling their children’s needs. This kind of couple system is not authentic, it creates power and submission.
This relation of dependency is the continuation of the transitional relationship. If A and B decide to question themselves they will be able to discover the real love relationship.
The love relationship: The couple discovers the relationship of real love and complementarity. They decide to share their lives more profoundly and to commit themselves; they change their initial direction in order to follow a common path but each one of them stays in his/her own individuality. They will develop individually and progress together and they will help each other accomplish their paths.
In spite of this their common path may not always be perfect. They may have to stand a few tests and their love will help them to master them more easily. That is part of a couple’s life. The ideal couple, the symbiotic couple does not exist but they may follow their common path individually.
The tantric relationship: A and B have arrived at the optimal relationship where the couple is one with existence. The symbiosis only exists in the rare moments in which both partners melt with existence, with the divine.