Q #622: My partner and I have been together for a while. He is a teacher of A Course in Miracles and I am recently challenged with something I need guidance with. My partner would like the "freedom" to have sexual affairs with other women because he says it is ‘his nature’ to be able to do that and not feel guilty about it. He is not willing to relinquish that freedom, and he told me so that he will not feel guilty when it happens. I love him and we share an incredible relationship in which we both have agreed to build a future together to help other people and ourselves grow. But I can’t help but feel nauseous and wonder why he would want to do this. Is this a fantasy that he can’t relinquish or am I wrong in not wanting him to explore "his nature," for I don’t have the same desire to seek out other men for sex or companionship. I am so confused on what the Course would have me do or think and can’t help but ask myself, am I wrong to want a partner who would want the same things as me. I love him dearly but I am afraid this will end us and if so — so be it — but I need to know first if there is another way?
A: Rather than focusing on your partner and his expectations for the relationship and how those may conflict with your own, the Course would invite you first to get in touch with your own ego purpose for the relationship. We of course consciously seek out special love relationships in order to have our needs met and so have implicit and explicit expectations for how we would like the other person to be so that we can get what we want. And both partners have their own set of expectations based on their own needs as they perceive them. We see our own happiness and satisfaction in the relationship as dependent on whether or not the other fulfills our expectations. This is why everyone in the world seems to enter into relationships.
However, the deeper, usually unconscious purpose the ego has for all special love relationships is to prove that love cannot be trusted and that we will in the end be betrayed, abandoned, or in some other way victimized by our special love partner. And the love will then turn into hate — demonstrating from the Course’s perspective that it wasn’t ever really love (T.16.IV.4:1,2,3,4) but dependency. And yet such feelings, regardless of how justified they seem to be, have nothing to do with the other’s behavior but only with our own deep-rooted sense of guilt and unworthiness and our overwhelming desire to project responsibility for those feelings outside ourselves on to someone else. This is the real ego purpose behind all of our relationships.
由於小我的作祟，人人都想要那些能讓自己感覺很好的事物，我們並不真的關心別人。因此，在所有的特殊關係裡都深埋了衝突的種子，遲早會發生衝突的。不論你支持或反對行為層次的忠誠，都離不開小我的出發點。(有關「忠貞」議題的進一步討論，請參考Q # 417)
Now there is nothing wrong with each of you being clear about what you want in the relationship and then looking to see if there is a match. The only mistake would be in believing that what either of you wants and would insist on having has anything to do with anything spiritual. As egos, we all want what we feel is best for ourselves and we do not really care about anyone else. So conflict is inherent and inevitable in all special relationships, and it’s just a matter of time before the conflict surfaces. Justifications for or against faithfulness at the level of behavior are all ego-based (see Question #417 for a further discussion of the issue of fidelity).
So should you stay or leave? Jesus would like you to recognize that that is not really the question. The question he would have you ask is are you willing to give the relationship a different purpose, and that would be the other way you are asking about. The different purpose would be to use the relationship as a mirror rather than as a screen, that is, as a reflection of what is buried within your own mind but projected outside rather than as a way to see the selfishness and guilt in someone else and not in yourself. And this you can do whether you remain in the relationship or not. For we are all accusing ourselves down deep of having been unfaithful to God and of looking for love and satisfaction outside of that one Relationship. And the guilt we feel over the self-accusation is enough to make anyone feel nauseous!
So be gentle with both yourself and your partner in this process of self-examination, which has been facilitated by acknowledging the conflicting aims for the relationship that you are experiencing with him. Any attempts to change another in order to find our own happiness are doomed from the start (W.pI.71.2,3). But every attempt to change our mind about how and with whom we are perceiving a challenging situation, if we are willing to release our own investment in any specific outcome, is assured of success.