Q. I have had a very strong spiritual inclination for the past few years. However, my partner does not understand it. He has carried on with the same lifestyle: meeting friends, drinking and eating non-vegetarian food, while I don’t enjoy those things anymore. I prefer to be at home or with my spiritual group and meditate, read and live a more wholesome life. Intimacy is also an issue. I don’t feel like it, and he does. How do we make this work? And can we?
A. It’s very normal for two people to drift apart when their priorities and needs change, but that doesn’t mean that you need to end the relationship. Things will work out if you follow certain conditions. You will both have to accept and respect each other’s needs. Remember that you are not standing on higher moral ground just because you have become more spiritual. Good wholesome spirituality of any form teaches us to live by empathy, compassion and kindness.
This is an opportunity to practice your newly found spirituality and connect deeper with your partner. Go easy on yourself and not just him: acknowledge your vulnerability, embrace your imperfections and practice compassion. Meeting friends, drinking, and eating non-vegetarian food makes him happy. Rejoice in that. Be also grateful that he is giving you a chance to practice what you preach. Remember that all triggers in the external world are opportunities to do deep work in your inner journey.
Another very important condition is to let go of puritanical spiritualism that disconnects you from your body. How can intimacy be an issue when intimacy is part of the same spiritual journey you are on? The path of self-discovery doesn’t end with meditation or giving up animal products. The path is about integrating our physical, psychological and spiritual worlds. Explore the spiritual dimension of your body, connect to it. Your body is not a punishment or a test to spirituality. Your body is what allows you to think, feel, connect, and love. Without your body, you would not even be able to conceptualise spirituality. Respect and celebrate it in whatever it can do. Your body and its needs are as spiritual as your mind and your soul.
The writer is an Intimacy and Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual well-being (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)
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