Author Topic: Should I leave a 7 year relationship for someone I'm more spiritually connected  (Read 2297 times)

Offline sellahremy

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I was wondering if someone on this forum could give me some advise on something that has been bothering me a lot. I have been in a relationship with a woman for 7 years, we have a good friendship but we differ with respect to the fact that I am a very spiritual and consciously aware person and she is not. I love and care for her deeply but I feel like I cannot grow spiritually with her. I have tried to introduce her to a spiritual path, and path to pursue higher conscious. but you can't change people, they have to want it. I feel like part of my aspirations to achieve higher consciousness and awareness is held back by my relationship with her. I have met a woman who I have great spiritual chemistry with, she eats very healthy super foods and she has influenced my diet, and the connection feels very deep and I love her as well. I have learned so much in the world of spirituality and higher self through her. I am torn between leaving this long relationship for the woman who is more spiritually aware, or spending more time to work on my relationship and just trying harder. The relationship isn't going downhill, it's just not ascending, it has somewhat reached it's peek. I feel guilty about leaving my 7 year relationship to start a new one with the woman who I am more spiritually in tune with. I feel like this is a selfish act to leave someone who I have been with for such a long time for someone that I may have more personal growth with. It defies the notion of commitment and loyalty. I am deeply troubled by the possibility of hurting her feelings and finishing such a long relationship.

Offline Madelyn

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I believe that if you can even fathom leaving a relationship, it's time to leave. If leaving seems like an option, then the relationship is no where near its potential.

I've spent years thinking 'Should I leave? This relationship is pretty good, I love him, there's no real reason to leave' and seeing others do the same. It all seems fairly sensible until you see the other option. After leaving these relationships, people (including me) grow, learn and find a totally different level of connection.

Example:
My previous long term relationship:
- felt longer than it was
- had many small flaws
- included arguments, sometimes tears, rare nights on the couch
- felt like hard work at times
- seemed pretty good, far better than being single
- was very loving

My marriage:
- never gets old, never gets boring, never needs 'spicing up', after five years together, we're still constantly amazed we have each other
- has no real flaws, simply because we connect and communicate about everything, all the time. Every possible problem is nipped in the bud and quickly healed before even being noticed.
- has open debates which never have negative emotional consequences
- feels easy and natural 24/7
- is a constant unbelievable blessing
- is a whole new definition of love for both of us


I've seen many people go through this transition, generally after their children have grown up and moved out.
All that Disney magic Hollywood romantic comedy crap about perfect love and living happily ever after without ever fighting or 'working at' anything or being distracted by other options... It actually exists! It's not about 'finding the one' it's about developing the right mindset.



Offline Dharmakara

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Hi Sellahremy and welcome to Free Sangha.

A couple questions come to mind, things for you to reflect on in regard to your current situation and the decision(s) you're about to make.

First of all, what comes around, goes around... if you leave your current relationship for this new woman, what would happen if she would later come to the same conclusion, that one day she might decide that you're holding her back or that you've become a hinderance to her own spiritual progress? Are you not setting yourself for the same thing to happen to you down the line?

Second, does this new woman know that you're currently in relationship? If she does know this, what does it actually say of the quality of her spiritual practice if she would even consider entering into a relationship with you? What of respecting one's own relationship and the relationships of others?

Also, re-examine your statement below and be prepared for issues of ethics and morality in the decision(s) you make, as well as the karma that you will be setting into motion:

Quote
I feel guilty about leaving my 7 year relationship to start a new one with the woman who I am more spiritually in tune with. I feel like this is a selfish act to leave someone who I have been with for such a long time for someone that I may have more personal growth with. It defies the notion of commitment and loyalty. I am deeply troubled by the possibility of hurting her feelings and finishing such a long relationship.


Offline ZenFred

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Madelyn,

 I would disagree with you. It seems there might be justification for leaving an "pretty good" (aka not abusive nor exploitative) with no children to support on grounds that you are renouncing all romantic relationships in order to deepen your commitment to a life of contemplation and compassion. However you should not leave to switch to another relationship. Doing so assumes the following:
1. Relationships exist to make you happy and your contentment depends on one
2. Your "spiritual advancement" or own happiness is more important than your current partner's
3, all life is suffering, except this new relationship which will meet your expectations despite evidence from all previous relationships which by definition of being previous point to the contrary

Instead. I think a key part of my practice (being married myself to a non-buddhist) is to embrace and find joy in the marriage I have, just as it is. Nights on the couch and all.

Namaste and wishing you true contentment

Offline nightowl

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Hi sellahremy,
I was trying to avoid answering this thread because I was so sensitive about a “cheating” relationship. Besides, it’s your life, so your decision, right? (I meant I really don’t know its details.)
Anyway, the most practical answer to your situation should be, “if your relationship doesn’t work, then you should end it  (for example, your partner is so selfish, always a money grabber etc. and no way your love could change her) but you should NOT start a new relationship before your end the old one.”
Consider this, if you could not handle one relationship well, how you could handle two? If you end your old relationship now, it only means you cheats on your partner. And after you have been with your new partner for a while, one thing she will never forgot about you is if you could cheated on your old partner after you had lived with her for 7 years, then, how can she ever trust you faithfulness for her?   
Ok, it already happened, what you should do now?
I really don’t know the answer. This is some kind of a Zen’s riddle/koan. If you could find the right answer in this dilemma, your spirituality will be so sharpened without depending on any relationship any more.   

Offline Purity

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Well, you are correct. It is indeed a selfish act to leave your current partner for this other one.
Personally, I feel if you truly love and cared for this woman as you say you do, then you would not leave her after she gave 7 years to you.
If your currently lady made you unhappy, that is one thing, but you say you have a good relationship.
Spirituality is something you can grow on your own or with others, or even with this second girl, without having a relationship with her.
What I am saying is, you do not need to have sexual relations with this second lady in order to grow spiritually and I am confused why you would even think that in the first place.

If the only problem with your current relationship is that she is not very spiritual, then I say count your blessings man, your likely to have some sort of issue with this other girl as well once you get to know her if you are that knit picky, you know?

This sounds to me more like lust then anything.

Offline Madelyn

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I honestly believe that leaving a relationship like this, one in which you do not have a connection that allows you to discuss all this, is a mercy to everyone, especially your partner.

She deserves the chance to find the perfect relationship, rather than one where partners communicate more deeply, honestly and completely with a huge community than each other.

There is inherent narcissism in believing that by leaving a person's life, we will cause greater pain than benefit.

If you are both disinterested enough to avoid communication and search for intimacy elsewhere, I think you will both be far better off apart.

Yes, she gave you seven years, yes, you should count your blessings... And hers. You could let her give you another seven years before finally totally losing interest, and that would be so very much more unappreciative.



Offline dhammaseeker51

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There's an old saying " The grass is always greener...".
Despite all the well-meaning advice, only you can make the decision.

with Metta

Offline Purity

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There's an old saying " The grass is always greener...".
Despite all the well-meaning advice, only you can make the decision.

with Metta

Yes, the grass is always greener, but sometimes much shorter, or even longer. :teehee:

« Last Edit: May 14, 2014, 03:05:21 pm by Purity »

Offline Dharmakara

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I honestly believe that leaving a relationship like this, one in which you do not have a connection that allows you to discuss all this, is a mercy to everyone, especially your partner. 

Hi Madelyn.

I guess you and I will have to "agree-to-disagree" on this particular topic --- although I'm sure your heart was in the right place, the advice you've offered doesn't appear to be skillful or appropriate in its application, especially if one were to examining this strictly from the Buddhist perspective.


She deserves the chance to find the perfect relationship, rather than one where partners communicate more deeply, honestly and completely with a huge community than each other.

I could be wrong, but no one mentioned anything about the woman herself being dissatisified with the dynamics of the current relationship, long enough that there was even any desire on her part to find a better or more perfect relationship to begin with.


There is inherent narcissism in believing that by leaving a person's life, we will cause greater pain than benefit.

Yes, it's true that a degree of narcissism can occur in such situations, but it also needs to be stated that the potential manifestation of that "greater pain" has never been taken lightly within the life and practice of the Buddhist tradition --- for example, there's a precept that's related to it and best described within one of the mindfulness teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn:

Aware that sexual desire is not love and that sexual relations motivated by craving cannot dissipate the feeling of loneliness but will create more suffering, frustration, and isolation, we are determined not to engage in sexual relations without mutual understanding, love, and a deep long-term commitment made known to our family and friends. Seeing that body and mind are one, we are committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of our sexual energy and to cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness for our own happiness and the happiness of others. We must be aware of future suffering that may be caused by sexual relations. We know that to preserve the happiness of ourselves and others, we must respect the rights and commitments of ourselves and others.

We will do everything in our power to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. We will treat our bodies with compassion and respect. We are determined to look deeply into the Four Nutriments and learn ways to preserve and channel our vital energies (sexual, breath, spirit) for the realization of our bodhisattva ideal. We will be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world, and will regularly meditate upon their future environment.


The only advice that should be offered is this particular mindfulness teaching,  in and of itself alone.

 :namaste:

Offline Dharmakara

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There's an old saying " The grass is always greener...".
Despite all the well-meaning advice, only you can make the decision.

with Metta

Yes, the grass is always greener, but sometimes much shorter, or even longer. :teehee:

A word to the wise: you don't need to live in Florida to quickly find out that "the grass is not always greener" --- instead, sometimes you'll find yourself swallowed up by a nasty sink-hole.

:teehee:

Offline nightowl

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Hi everyone,
Hmm….this brings me to another question, is there any good/reasonable divorce? I meant in a spiritual sense.
There were many cases that some wife who could not have sex with her husband after her operation (because of her sickness) allowed him to have “temporary” sex with another woman (including prostitute) just because she loved him and didn’t want a divorce. After many years of marriage, and his wife was so sick like that, why sex was still more important to him than her, and he still could have sex with another woman? Who was selfish? A wife who didn’t want a divorce? Or a husband who could have sex with another woman (even his wife allowed it)? Was that the way he repaid her kindness/sacrifice?
Or a couple divorced because one of them is workaholic.
I know, in the worldly/psychotherapeutic sense, the answer would be different.   

Offline Dharmakara

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Buddhist Views on Marriage

Marriage is a social convention, an institution created by man for the well-being and happiness of man, to differentiate human society from animal life and to maintain order and harmony in the process of procreation. Even though the Buddhist texts are silent on the subject of monogamy or polygamy, the Buddhist laity is advised to limit themselves to one wife. The Buddha did not lay rules on married life but gave necessary advice on how to live a happy married life. There are ample inferences in His sermons that it is wise and advisable to be faithful to one wife and not to be sensual and to run after other women. The Buddha realized that one of the main causes of man's downfall is his involvement with other women (Parabhava Sutta).Man must realize the difficulties, the trials and tribulations that he has to undergo just to maintain a wife and a family. These would be magnified many times when faced with calamities. Knowing the frailties of human nature, the Buddha did, in one of His precepts, advise His followers of refrain from committing adultery or sexual misconduct.

The Buddhist views on marriage are very liberal: in Buddhism, marriage is regarded entirely as personal and individual concern, and not as a religious duty. There are no religious laws in Buddhism compelling a person to be married, to remain as a bachelor or to lead a life of total chastity. It is not laid down anywhere that Buddhists must produce children or regulate the number of children that they produce. Buddhism allows each individual the freedom to decide for himself all the issues pertaining to marriage. It might be asked why Buddhist monks do not marry, since there are no laws for or against marriage. The reason is obviously that to be of service to mankind, the monks have chosen a way of life which includes celibacy. Those who renounce the worldly life keep away from married life voluntarily to avoid various worldly commitments in order to maintain peace of mind and to dedicate their lives solely to serve others in the attainment of spiritual emancipation. Although Buddhist monks do not solemnize a marriage ceremony, they do perform religious services in order to bless the couples.


Divorce

Separation or divorce is not prohibited in Buddhism though the necessity would scarcely arise if the Buddha's injunctions were strictly followed. Men and women must have the liberty to separate if they really cannot agree with each other. Separation is preferable to avoid miserable family life for a long period of time. The Buddha further advises old men not to have young wives as the old and young are unlikely to be compatible, which can create undue problems, disharmony and downfall (Parabhava Sutta).

A society grows through a network of relationships which are mutually inter-twined and inter-dependent. Every relationship is a whole hearted commitment to support and to protect others in a group or community. Marriage plays a very important part in this strong web of relationships of giving support and protection. A good marriage should grow and develop gradually from understanding and not impulse, from true loyalty and not just sheer indulgence. The institution of marriage provides a fine basis for the development of culture, a delightful association of two individuals to be nurtured, and to be free from loneliness, deprivation and fear. In marriage, each partner develops a complementary role, giving strength and moral courage to one another, each manifesting a supportive and appreciative recognition of the other's skills. There must be no thought of either man or woman being superior -- each is complementary to the other, a partnership of equality, exuding gentleness, generosity, calm and dedication.

Source: What Buddhists Believe
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/whatbudbeliev/237.htm

 


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