This is yet another one of those posts that occurred to me late at night…
Firstly, I realised that what I have been calling “attraction” all this time has not actually been attraction – at least not for me. That is, in my posts I will often insist that “attraction” is a non-negotiable in my interaction with my husband. I finally realised yesterday/today (actually more today!) that where I’ve been saying “attraction”, what I’ve often really meant has been a profound sense of emotional intimacy which makes it feel as if he and I are existing on our own wavelength, as if there is something real and deep and unbreakable which connects our souls, literally as if we are soulmates.
In my life there has been one notable – ? [trying to find the correct word – instance, occasion, guy] example when I have experienced a deep physical attraction to a man. And it genuinely was physical. To be perfectly candid that was because he was (or he seemed to me to be) hypermasculine and I am a mere mortal woman so obviously I noticed! Ultimately nothing happened with him, but if it had, for things to have really taken off between us, in addition to the physical attraction we would have had to develop a deep soulmate bond.
Other than with him, whenever I have thought about “attraction” I realise that I have usually meant this emotional connection. Reflecting on it now, and evaluating my imagination about HW, I realise that when dreaming about HW I would often imagine an aspect of his physical appearance, like his strong arms and hands and torso – all usually wrapped around me – so I would often imagine the physical appeal too. However the main thing I would imagine would be the emotional/soulmate connection.
You know, the one single time when I let myself believe that there was some great emotional/soulmate connection between me and a man, I turned out to be wrong. So perhaps for feeling attracted to a guy, the most important thing is not that there actually is a deep soulmate connection between us, but rather that I believe that there is. To be honest, I’m not even sure what point I can deduce from this fact – perhaps I will come back to this later.
Actually, perhaps it is this: that it might be possible to enthusiastically throw yourself into a relationship, believing that the two of you have some deep soulmate connection – only to later find out just how wrong that is – when you are already tied to someone inappropriate. Once again the two year thing comes into play. I believe that to truly have a deep
soulmate connection to someone they need to have very very strong character, otherwise, “soulmate” or “no soulmate”, there is just no way I am going to sit around staring into someone’s eyes when I realise that I just cannot respect him as a person.
What I’m saying is that the soulmate connection needs to be built on a robust foundation of outstanding mutual character AND shared values. These things need to be thoroughly established before you start staring into someone’s eyes, otherwise you might need to find yourself firmly pulling your eyes away, after they have already locked with his. Trust me, I tell my younger self, you will need to evaluate this for a period of at least two years before you can allow yourself to start getting excited! That one time that I got excited about a supposed soulmate connection, I would not say that his character turned out to be a problem, actually in many ways it seemed to be better than mine, although I did not really get close enough to find out otherwise. However, that interaction was definitely lacking in shared values. I’m not going to change my values for a man, no matter how amazing he might appear to be, no matter how deep the soulmate connection between us might appear to be. Even the thought that he might try to change his values for me makes me feel a little queasy, as if he is doing it for me, rather than for himself, it does not feel authentic. Not that anything remotely happened between me and this man, nor did we have this conversation, but it was the clear lack of shared values that stopped me from trying to get closer to build on this supposed connection.
Where that interaction with that man was a clash of shared values, usually I would say it is character that is the problem. You know, in all my readings about relationships, where I have read other people’s first-hand accounts of what happened in their marriages etc, I can’t help thinking that this is something that consistently causes heartache in relationships: allowing yourself to become emotionally intimate or “falling in love” with someone before seeing their character, and then, perhaps years later, seeing that their character is poor/inappropriate, and then feeling that tension between the emotional intimacy that you have built up with them, into which you have invested so much – and the less than outstanding character that they exhibit. So the poor character might make you want to leave, but you don’t feel like you can easily walk away from the investment in emotional intimacy…from my readings, this seems to be more true for ladies.
Now let’s think about friendships!
While thinking about all these issues, I was thinking about the possibility of marrying a close friend/best friend instead. And you know what, I could marry a close friend and see myself happily interacting with him in every marital aspect but one: physical intimacy. That is, I could commit to a best friend, and live with him, and eat together, and share bills and laugh and even enjoy the hugs etc. However there is simply no way that I could touch him intimately, or allow him to touch me intimately without this “soulmate” thing existing between us. The thought of that literally makes me shudder.
[So if I have already checked out his character etc…
You know how they say “feelings grow” – admittedly I have not had much experience with this, but it has never happened with me. I honestly think I could live with a best friend for 10 years without developing any kind of feelings for him whatsoever ]
Aspects of married life I could enjoy with a male best friend, without needing the soulmate connection:
– Mutual exclusive commitment to one another, for a lifetime
– Communication: building a great foundation of communication
– Praying together
– Living together in close proximity to him, in the same shared space
– Bringing up children
– Laughing together
– sharing finances
– Other things as I think of them
Have you ever met a married couple who seem to like one another very much and yet there just does not seem to be a deep emotional connection between them? I’ve never understood how people can conduct their marriages like that. However, I am clearly a deeply emotional person. For such people, perhaps physical intimacy is largely perfunctory, rather than imbued with all kinds of “deep feelings”. Perhaps it is something that they endure to be able to enjoy the rest of their marriage? Perhaps on balance both parties think that it is a great bargain? Only each married couple would know the truth of their own marriage.
Why is this important? Initially I did not understand the importance of evaluating character in a spouse. Now I have come to understand it, I realise that there might be guys out there who exhibit outstanding character, and share all my values, but to whom I simply do not feel attracted, because of this lack of soulmate connection. For each of these guys you know that his character is robust and he would make an excellent husband. Theoretically if we could agree to a platonic marriage then that would be fine because there would just be no way I could bring myself to interact with him “in that way” although I would happily interact with him in every other way.
Practically speaking, however, I am never going to agree to a platonic marriage – let’s just take that as read!
So I was asking myself: can this thing be developed?
My [first impulse, my innate thinking] I naturally lean towards the idea, my natural assumption is that soulmate feelings either are there between me and a man, or they are not. And if they are not, then they simply are not – I am not going to force them! But then I remember that when I thought they were there, they were not, or they were easily deactivated.
Another assumption I made is that we all have natural soulmate feelings with different people. So if a man does not connect with me on a soulmate plane, then it just means that I am not his soulmate, but someone else will be. But what occurred to me overnight was this: this soulmate thing could be a language that some people speak more fluently than others. So if a man does not naturally connect with me on a soulmate level, that might not mean that there is no potential in our being soulmates. That also might not mean that he would naturally form a deeper soulmate connection with anyone else. It might just mean that this is a language that he has never spoken before.
Thinking of it as a language: there are a few aspects which I could itemise regarding thinking of “soulmateness” as a language. For instance someone who constantly evaluates himself in wanting to share who he is, or explain who he is to someone else. And perhaps there are other things too.
Above all: someone who yearns to connect with someone else emotionally. And here’s the thing: someone who yearns to connect with someone else emotionally will be constantly sending out quiet feelers to see who it is that they can emotionally connect with; looking at you, looking at your eyes. So when you are friends with a guy, and he does not seem to be sending out any feelers, that is how you just know that there is no soulmate connection between you and him.
You know, while it might be possible to teach someone the “soulmate language”, I’d rather marry someone who already fluently speaks this language, who has been speaking it for a good few years, ideally his whole life. I’m just imagining that this literally involves a fundamental way in which someone thinks of himself, relative to other people, or at least relative to his wife. Trying to teach this to someone might just seem so stilted or artificial in real life, and it also seems a little unfair to ask someone to essentially become a whole other person if that is simply not who he is, or who he has been. And then the existence of “non-soulmate marriages” as I have described above demonstrates that there are plenty of women who would be happy to marry such men, so non soulmate-oriented people can find and marry one another, and those of us who are soulmate-oriented will just have to keep holding out and praying for spouses who are holy and on our wavelength!