Infidelity. Isn’t that almost as dreaded and toe-curling of a word as that ‘C’ word none of us ever want to hear? (Shhh… that ‘C’ word is cancer).
Unbeknownst to her, my mom set the stage for me to wonder about infidelity when I was still just a little girl, and way too young to have any idea at all what it meant. I was only five years old when my dad died and, although mom seemed very sad and heartbroken at the time, it would be many years before I could have any grasp of the bigger picture of what had been transpiring between them.
You see, my daddy was an Irishman. During my teenage years the stories that would creep out when mom felt like sharing a bit of her personal history, characterized my dad as a gregarious, life-of-the-party kind of boozer and womanizer. And as a young teenager, I let myself accept her characterization of him to a point. But later on, a deeper layer of questioning crept in, and I began to wonder just what was really true about it all.
The blossoming of my own sexuality was a huge ’spiritual’ game-changer for me.
It ushered me into the realization that the religion of my childhood was really fostering a sex-negative perspective on life. And I began to wonder, what does that commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery” really mean in the grand scheme of things? Does it have any real relevance outside of the realm of religion? I was the kind of kid who questioned everything, but only very quietly. When I questioned openly, it seemed to make everyone around me very irritable and nervous.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m getting married to a guy whom I had only known for eight short months. We seemed like good friends at the time but what did we know? I was barely 22, and he was 25, and now (Yipeee), we can have sex anytime we want to. But we didn’t.
It wasn’t long after that, it dawned on me that my then husband didn’t realize that when you get married, you stop dating. So, naturally, my attention was going elsewhere too. And to make a long, ugly story short, we divorced 7 years later.
And, I still wanted to know:
- What are the stories people have invented about the world?
- What is the truth about the world?
- What are the true laws of nature?
- What is REALLY true about monogamy and commitment?’
Is there anyone on this planet shining the light on this? “Ask & Ye Shall Receive.” And, Voila! There was. At the time I found him, his name was Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and he is now known throughout the world as Osho.
I met my soon-to-be tantra lover and partner on the very first day I arrived at Utsava, the Rajneesh ashram in Laguna Beach, California. We stayed together and laughed, loved, argued and cried together, almost joined-at-the-hip, for six ecstatic, adventurous, and agonizing years. We met in a different context though than the one in which most ‘intimate’ partners meet.
This was an exploration of what is real and true in sex, love, and relationships.
A prime example of “Be careful what you wish for.” Yes, indeed it was.
As I was getting to know Dwarka (a spiritual name), he shared with me, “I don’t think I can make a monogamous commitment ever again.” And at the outset, I had no real idea about the emotional hoops that journey would have me jump through. I did, however, respect his honest self-assessment around this. It felt better to me than the hurtful and convoluted shenanigans that took place within my previous marriage.
So, here is what I learned in that journey:
- We, humans, are energy seeking creatures.
- This is built into our DNA as a mechanism for species survival.
- Most of us do not have a clear perception of what we need relative to energy, intimacy, and sexuality, until we get knee deep into situations which reveal that to us.
- Because of the multi-faceted pressures of religion, culture, and conditioning, we make and/or assume agreements that have not been exceptionally well thought-out or deeply considered and agreed upon by both partners.
- Many, if not most of us, dare not share how we really feel about these things with our partner. This is out of fear of either being judged for any unconventional needs and desires, or for fear that they will leave us if we do share them.
I have come to feel that marriage and monogamy is a very high and advanced spiritual sadhana, or discipline, which when understood and embraced consciously, can lead a couple to the deepest levels of love, wholeness, and holiness that two people in love can possibly imagine.
I also believe that to get there and sustain that depth of love and commitment, takes both work and wisdom and is not be taken lightly. It’s a mature and conscious choice taken on for the sake of a deeper, richer kind of love.
It is also my belief that a couple can fall back into a totally fulfilling love after infidelity if they choose to see their partner as a person who is struggling to understand him/herself. Not as someone who has deliberately hurt them, who has “done them wrong,” who now is a bad person, or the relationship/marriage is a ‘bad’ relationship.
When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. – Wayne Dyer
If a couple can make it through this passage, their relationship can become stronger than it ever could have before because their relationship will be grounded in reality, and not in an unrealistic romantic fantasy.
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow… if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky. – Rainer Maria Rilke
Here’s to you feeling love again, after infidelity.