Every family is its own story, what role do you play in yours?

I am a fierce romantic and love to be in a ‘love state’, blindly and experientially. This blind faith has allowed me into the depths of it. Sometimes I am swimming, at times drowning, and then rising to the surface with wisdom grooves to live by. Again and again.

In my 4+ decades of long-term relationship and romantic life, I have awakened to some naked truths about THE LOVE STATE, CONNECTION, and FORMS OF RELATIONSHIP. 

I have come to realize the need separate the experiences of Love, Connection and Relationship. Why?

Falling in love with another is God’s gift to awaken the experience of this state. We are awakened to our highest level of being and behaving when in love. It’s God’s flashlight to show what our own individual potential is when living in a state of love. In my early relationships I believed that this love only existed with the other.

During one major breakup, deep in the grief, on my knees in prayer, I asked God to show me true love within myself without another to reflect this to me. What happened was a miracle. For nine months I experienced an “in love state” that was not subject to circumstances. On a daily basis I felt in love with everyone and everything, no matter if I was dating, getting attention, or a receiving a specific kind of care. Even cleaning my toilet felt experientially as an in-love state! This awakened me to a basic truth. That LOVE is a state we can access any time no matter the circumstances.

I then realized that CONNECTION is different than the state of love. It is the unique fabric that exists between individuals. This fabric can never be broken and the experience and qualities of this connection are like a snowflake co-created between souls. I notice this most readily with friends I have not spoken to in years and, then when we “connect,” the fabric feels the same, even when circumstances or desires for relating have changed. There is an irreplaceable essence that exists and is inarguable.

And the last aspect of the triad is RELATIONSHIP. Relationship is the FORM that we take with one another, whether it is lovers, friends, co-workers, one-time meetings, etc. This form can change slightly over time in terms of how we “relate” to one another, or in some cases shift completely from lovers to friends or no relationship. 

I often see in my Psychotherapy practice working with couples, that while the connection is strong and has its own fabric, it’s the relationship that has broken down or gotten soiled. This is the relational work to be done, which has nothing to do with the impenetrable state of connection.

I often speak with clients who say, “But we were so good together and now he says he doesn’t love me anymore.” From my clinical view, I think this partner has chosen consciously or unconsciously to shift the love they are reflecting and the “form of relationship” to that person. The connection has not changed.

So I feel it’s crucial to distinguish what has happened to the relationship form and where one person wants it to go versus another. We can also clean house in relationship, so that the connection can be felt more clearly and the reflected love flow.

And most vitally, it is our gift and opportunity to individually expand our capacity to feel the state of LOVE that is always available to us, to LOVE beyond circumstance. CONNECTION is eternal. RELATIONSHIP form is a choice and can be worked.

And what’s the point of all of this? There is an opportunity to decrease emotional dependency between partners, practice deep self-responsibility and increase the capacity to feel more personal and relational vibrancy and love.

…to love beyond circumstance. 

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Valerie Tate

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