For the first time in my life, a few nights ago I felt unconditional love for a human being other than a relative. For context, I recently watched my partner who I had been living with for just under a year suddenly decide to walk out of my life and move halfway across the country. In my lifetime I have certainly heard what I view to be some serious misconceptions about what it means to end a romantic partnership with another person, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned through this recent process so far. Interestingly enough, I was asked this past weekend at a Tantra community event whether or not I’d ever felt unconditional love, which inspired me to write this post.
I now see that as soon as I entered into a committed partnership with my previous partner, I entered into an ‘ego contract’ and ‘soul bond’ with her. Throughout the course of our time as partners, we grew in love together creating an attachment between the two of us; the ego contract is a metaphor I’ll use to represent the shadow side [Yin] of each of our beings merging (our respective and different fears, doubts, insecurities, worries, expectations, and so on), whereas the soul bond is a metaphor I’ll use to represent the light side [Yang] of each of our beings merging (learning and growing from one another through shared experiences: love, tenderness, patience, discipline, honesty, caring, kindness, openness, respect, vulnerability, empathy, understanding, and so on).
When the two of us first decided to start living together, through challenging life circumstances with a difficult landlady I was dealing with in my life at the time, my partner ended up showing me compassion by offering me to come and live with her as a roommate in the house she was living at at the time. This was shortly after we had gotten back together after a short break up over the summer and emotions were running high; however, I was very grateful, but also worried about how fast things were moving between us, even though I felt strongly for her. Within a few months, because my move was just a temporary place to stay in the meantime while I found another place to live, my partner ended up finding a place together with me. I also experienced energetic burnout during this period of time and again, this was more pressure put on the both of us who were still early in the relationship together.
When we first started living together, it was magic. We were both so happy to have our own shared space together and happy to have the chance to be together on our own (this was the first time I’d lived alone with a partner, but not her first). For the first four months we lived together, even though we both had been struggling with our work situations and myself with finances, we were there for each other supporting one another even through the tough times. Looking back, I realized at this time that we both had enough of a foundation of trust between us in order to weather all the storms in our relationship that life gave to us.
A few months into the new year, through a difficult job loss for my partner, she really wanted to have a big experience to reflect on her life and where it was going next and so we both agreed to attend a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, where we both took a vow of silence (body, speech, and mind) and worked separately the entire time. This is where I believe that both of us encountered the biggest storm yet in our partnership that neither of us understood the magnitude of, let alone were prepared to support each other through and this was the catalyst of the division between us.
Shortly after the retreat, we started having big experiences of our own. I had to attend court with my difficult ex-landlady (I’d never attended court before), I got let go from a part-time position (I’d never been fired before) and was still struggling to get my work and financial situation back on track, as well as dealing with the aftermath of reintegrating all that I learned during the retreat into my life (which was a shit ton). On the other hand, my partner developed health problems and thought at times that she was dying, she found a new job (her options were very limited at the time) but was being treated poorly which made her unhappy there, she was mourning a best friend from her home country who had recently committed suicide, and she was really missing her family overseas who she hadn’t seen in a couple years, not to mention that she was also dealing with the aftermath and reintegration herself from the retreat. These were our individual problems which certainly put enormous strain on our abilities to be supportive of each other in the relationship and created tension between the two of us.
Over the next few months, we slowly started getting more and more disconnected from one other and started at times being emotionally unavailable and not supportive in the way that we both needed from each other at the time (I don’t think either of us understood this was happening at the time either because we both had so much on our plates individually to deal with). Eventually, the pressure was too much for our relationship and it suddenly crumbled; I covered my part in the wreckage in detail in my other article. The paths that our lives were both taking suddenly diverged and we needed to journey on separately through life.
From all that has happened between us, it was and still is extremely hard for me, but with loving support from my friends, family, community, and colleagues at work I realize now that I love her unconditionally. I discovered this a few days ago when I finally understood the commitment I made to her from the beginning of our relationship, which was much greater than my knowledge last year. I made a commitment to love, regardless of circumstances. Whether or not we ever end up together again in this lifetime, she remains a part of my being and I a part of her’s because we have a soul bond we both created through our shared experiences; we are both a part of each other forever moving forward.
I no longer believe if I’ve truly loved another human being and the partnership ends that it is about creating distance and severing ties between us, rather it is about honouring the ties we had between us, honouring what we each need now, and fully accepting how we’ve both changed each other’s lives permanently; ultimately for the better going forward. I love that she is a part of my soul going forward, and I will honour and cherish that until the end of my days. Our ego contract is now dissolving (it’s a healing process that takes time and honest evaluation) between the two of us which is causing us both a lot of pain right now. It will take time for us both to rationally sort through which pieces of our collective contract belong to us individually, and how we will each accept and reintegrate our own pieces back into our lives in order to move forward again.
It’s sad to me that sometimes human nature is to forget to cherish the one we love most until they’re gone, but sometimes it’s the only way to realize something greater than ourselves, which is unconditional love for another. Sometimes the best thing for me to do is to show love by letting the other person go on whatever journey life has to take them on, with or without me, and I need to lovingly carry on my own journey alone. I see now that love is the greatest force there is in my life, even when I fail to realize it until it’s too late. I am forever grateful to my previous partner for showing me that I am capable of feeling unconditional love.