The New Intimacy


Finding a Soul Mate

Last week we began an exploration of what love and relationship would be like if we changed an ancient assumption about life: that is, if we chose to see existence primarily as a lacework or a network, connected and interwoven, rather than as an aggregate of separated, unrelated beings who must navigate life as though essentially uncoupled and estranged. While we know what that sense of distance is like, we fantasize about finding someone, a soulmate, with whom we can transcend the gap and somehow feel whole. And we invest our hope for that connection in the notion of love, which we hope, often desperately, has the power to bring us together.

But even love cannot overcome our priorities. If we worship separation as real then separation we shall have, love in all of its glory notwithstanding.

You've heard the phrase, "look out for number one." Why would that point of view carry such emotional and even moral weight? Because, if this is a world of isolated objects banging around and into each other, with little or no appreciation of the underlying unity, what else is there but "number one?" I am the only one I have to be concerned with. Why? Because if, in my experience, I rarely if ever feel a meaningful connection with anyone else, a connection that takes me beyond who and what I am into the experiential world of another, then, psychologically, as well as for all practical purposes, no one else exists but me. That's called narcissism: a self-involvement that, at the extreme, precludes even the possibility of recognizing the existence of someone else. In that kind of world, a world of alienation, the only available sense of connection is expressed in the constant longing for something I cannot define and can never seem to find. And to that longing we often give the name of love, unrequited, but love nonetheless.

Is that what we want for our world? One in which the only satisfaction available to us is in the longing for something we can never have? Unfortunately, that is what we have had for our world since recorded history and beyond.

One more point. Many of us yearn for what we call "wholeness." Some search for it through religion, others through drugs, still others through work, sex, danger, and any number of other strategies. But what exactly are we looking for?

If we assume we are irremediably distant from one another, eternally alone in the cosmos, than wholeness can only have to do with what goes on in each solitary individual. I can only be whole within myself. And that takes us right back to the "number one" stance.

But yet, there is such an immense hunger for something more. We know you feel it, as does everyone. What causes that hunger? From where in our experience does that drive originate? Is it just a lunatic fantasy? If so, we ask again, how could such a fantasy even come to be?

Why? Because there is a natural, reasonable and rather obvious source right in front of our eyes. That is the deep connection we have to one another to the wholeness of all being--that resides at an even deeper and more primordial level of our psyches.

However, as a species, we have had to evolve to a point where we could not only recognize the possibility intellectually, but feel that connection in the very daily and mundane moments of our lives.

Love, which is about connectedness, has been pushing to the surface, slowly transforming our capacity to see--so that we can see that the love we so dearly desire is, indeed, available .

© 2005, The New Intimacy

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf


Husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski, are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at

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