If you’re a reader of Conscious Dating you know that I've been married and divorced twice. After my last divorce I thought I met my soul mate but that relationship ended after 5 years. Since then I’ve done a lot of soul searching and focused on living the life I want while continuing to date around, this time with more consciousness of how I tend to settle and determined to find what I really want in a partner and relationship.
After that five year LTR (“living together relationship”) I met a wonderful woman who seemed aligned with everything I was seeking. We had a lot of fun together, shared many values and goals, yet something held me back. Though close, this relationship wasn't “the whole package” for me. I was seeking a deep emotional and spiritual connection that I did not experience with her. I broke off that relationship August 2007 and posted my profile on several internet matchmaking websites determined to find my soul mate or be alone.
November 2007 I composed the below statement of my requirements and what I was seeking and even published them in my newsletter and excerpted below:
In my life I've struggled to understand love and relationships, not having a good start growing up, which propelled me into my profession as a Marriage and Family Therapist and Relationship Coach. I’m sure you can relate.
While I’m quite competent helping others I’m still on the path of find lasting love for myself. My first marriage was doomed from the start… too young, too different in irreconcilable ways. I needed to learn that love doesn't conquer all and that not all problems are solvable.
I thought I was more conscious in my second marriage, but being in love caused me to ignore many obvious red flags. Being older didn't make me wiser, and being a therapist didn't give me an edge in making that marriage work.
My two divorces taught me that, indeed, like it or not, agree with it or not, we do have non-negotiable requirements that must be met for a relationship to work. I was determined to be conscious in my future relationships and in exploring what that meant wrote the book Conscious Dating
My next two relationships, one for 5 years, one for 1 year, were both with very good women that I respected, liked, admired, fit most of my requirements, but no chemistry for me. I was trying to be “conscious” and avoid the pitfalls of unconsciousness. That swing of the pendulum didn't work either.
Having learned the hard way about the necessity of having non-negotiable requirements, here are my top requirements for my next (and hopefully last) relationship-
1. Strong chemistry
I want to desire my partner, be excited by my partner at a chemical, physical level. I’ve experienced this before and learned that it’s crucial for a passionate, alive, long-term relationship.
2. I require to be loved, understood, and accepted deeply for who I am.
My partner needs to “get” me so well that I don’t need to constantly explain where I’m coming from, what I’m thinking, feeling, intending, meaning.
I've felt misunderstood for most of my life by the people close to me that didn’t “get” me. My best friendships and relationships are with people that are able to practically see inside me and understand where I’m coming from. My most difficult relationships are with people that see me through filters so opaque with their own stuff that my good heart and intentions are unseen.
3. I require a relationship that brings out the best in me as I bring out the best in my partner.
This might mean challenging each other a bit (I do like a challenge), but it mostly means loving and supporting each other with positive energy, believing in each other 100%, “getting” each other so that the relationship is safe and emotionally free.
4. I require positive, optimistic, joyful thoughts, actions, attitudes, and energy in my life and relationship.
I grew up with a lot of unhappiness and negativity, but my personality/nature is positive, optimistic and adventurous about life, and I want a partner that shares that so we can live in that space together. In this context “problems” are a challenge to be met with positive energy, optimism that it’ll work out fine, not as indicators that something or someone is “wrong.”
5. I require a relationship that has a higher mission than personal happiness.
Of course I want to be happy and for my partner to be happy. But I've learned that you can’t find happiness by focusing on yourself and your needs in a self-centered way. Fulfillment comes from giving, making a difference in the world, accomplishments that sometimes take sacrifice, learning, growing, stretching, etc. I don’t want my partner resenting my work because it interferes with “our time,” I want my partner’s support for my work and trust that I value and want “our time” as well, and that we both do our best as adults to balance the needs of our work, family, relationship, etc.
6. I require a strong spiritual connection
So strong that we feel connected even when apart, or one of us is traveling. When you are complete and whole, you don’t need your partner to complete you or do or say anything for you to be OK. When two complete and whole people love each other, they can be apart and the love and connection doesn’t diminish, doesn’t go away or sink into emotional deficit.
7. I require a soul mate
My soul mate will match and mirror me in some ways, complement and challenge me in others, fitting with me like hand in glove which results in manifesting all of the above. This is no ordinary relationship that can be achieved with just anyone, especially by settling. While I don’t believe there is only one specific soul mate for anyone, I do believe in a connection that goes beyond the present, sensory world and is “meant to be.”
The best evidence I have for the existence of “soul mates” are couples I’ve known that fit together so well they seem to belong together, it seems like they’ve always been together and you can’t imagine them not together. I want a relationship like that!
I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I’m aware of that I’m seeking. My commitment to myself is to not settle for less than this as I have before, which means (in my language/paradigm) they are more than wants or needs, they are requirements. I trust that this is possible, that I deserve it, am capable of this kind of relationship, that if I don’t settle for less I will find my soul mate and experience this kind of relationship.
Having settled for less in the past and having had the alternatives, I’d rather be alone than in a relationship without this. I’m complete as I am and can give myself all these things! However, I value partnership, committed life partnership, and despite all my “failures” have not given up on my romantic dream to be married for life and grow old with my soul mate. Now that I’ve put my requirements out there for you and the world to see I have no doubt the Law of Attraction will bring them to me!
Literally one month after publishing the above, December 2007, I received a match online that proved to be my soul mate. Darlene’s photo and profile were pretty ordinary, but there was something unexplainable about her that excited me and compelled me to contact her. Our first two meetings were very positive, but routine as first dates go… coffee, then lunch, but something powerful was drawing me to her that I didn’t understand. After studying dating and practicing it myself for years, this was new territory for me!
Then, after our third meeting we hugged goodbye and it was all over for me. I was in love. I had insomnia that night and couldn’t sleep the next night as well. We had arranged to get together later that week on Sunday, and Darlene contacted me to find out if I could get together on Saturday as she didn’t want to wait until Sunday. So she was feeling it too! We ended up talking for 5 hours about our Vision, Requirements, Needs and Wants, and our alignment was amazing. Our chemistry, emotional and spiritual connection was so overwhelming it was wonderful and almost too much to bear.
We've been inseparable since, and six weeks after becoming a couple we went to Carmel for the weekend, found a beautiful ring, and got engaged. Our wedding date was September 27, 2008.
I’m happier than I've ever been in my life. My kids love her, her family likes me, the fit all around is like we were meant to be together. We are true Soul Mates in every sense of the word. I yearned to find her for many years, knew she was out there, and now I feel like I am “home.”
My wish for all singles and the message of Conscious Dating is that finding your soul mate really CAN happen for you if you’re clear about who you are, what you want, become ready and available, use the Law of Attraction, don’t settle for less, and go after what you REALLY want.
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David Steele, MA, MFT, CLC is the founder of Relationship Coaching Institute, the first and largest international relationship coach training organization.