By: Suzanne Maiden
Sometimes we go through the motions of life and all seems well. We can honestly say we experience relative happiness, contented relationships, and what many would identify as “a good life.” What happens, then when something comes along and tips the proverbial apple cart? What now must be metaphorically picked up, examined, and kept or tossed?
What happens when ‘the other’ enters our realm of awareness and everything is somehow different. Suddenly the intensity of the connection feels palpable. In my clinical work with couples, it is amazing how often couples report this phenomenon. When an attraction is so intense, so electrified, so mind-blowing, it is seldom one-sided. Although, it certainly can be for various reasons, e.g. someone fantasizes about a movie star, or athlete… or simply, no reciprocity exists. But that is not of what I speak. What happens when, without warning, the other presents themself into your life – and the longing for the other occurs.
As a therapist, this is a common, very common situation. I’ve written about projection and how that certainly influences to whom we are attracted. Projection is the inner opposite inner gender we each have; if we cannot easily access it ourselves, we end up projecting it onto someone who holds a very good likeness to our inner opposite. But, as my beloved, late professor, Dorothy Boswell said, “Ah, but with projection there still must be a hook to hang it on.” What she meant was that the way in which we see the other, while much of it is filtered through our projection, pieces of our perception are in fact valid. For me, projection does not answer everything. Clients express longing for ‘the other’ in every possible way, sexually, playfully, heart-fully, and soulfully.
What is behind the intensity of this longing for the other? Does it result from boredom? From an existing dull or unhappy marriage or partnership? Does one long for the other so they can get rescued them from something they themselves feel incapable of doing? This would certainly provide a nice and tidy answer. And, sometimes exploring the various possible scenarios with clients, they recognize the motivation for their longing. But, I’ve experienced the opposite with clients too. What if the answer to the above is a resolute “no.” What if life seemed good, solid, secure and certain until the other appeared? What if this longing for the other is more about the soul’s work being continued? What if the Universe opened the door to the other for mutual soul growth? Possible?
I believe we always have free will and never obligated to follow an exact path. Eventually we learn the lessons we need, one way or another for the soul’s advancement. And yet, what then is the purpose of such intense feelings when one longs for the other? I do not have an answer. I only know that the intensity of longing for the other is as real as any other sense. Because sometimes when the proverbial apple cart gets toppled there may be resistance to placing the apples back as before. They no longer fit.