relationship advice

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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bolstonrobs
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Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:06 am

relationship advice

Post by bolstonrobs » Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:39 am

I have been involved in a romantic relationship for the past six years. She has all the qualities I could look for in a woman. Our relationship is going great on every conceivable level. We talk about everything, help each other out, point out mistakes, congratulate each other on doing good. We live together with roommates, and are planning on moving together only the two of us next summer. I find our discussions enlightening. I bring a lot of joy and happiness into her life, as she does in mine. I believe we have a lot to learn from each other.

Except that I am losing interest in most of the activities that have brought us together; ie: going out dancing, traveling & socializing. For her, these are important human activities. Sometimes I engage in them because I know it will bring her joy. But I would rather spend time in silence, meditate and read about the Dhamma (this is what I spend most of my time doing, when I am not working or visiting my family) She believes sexuality is a form of spiritual practice. I understand where she comes from, but I don't believe that myself; I am starting to lose interest in sexuality.

I'm afraid of hurting her and I am not sure what to do. This has become a painful discussion subject as it sometimes implies us separating. I want to be careful. I want to care for this relationship because it is precious to both of us. I also know that my priority is meditation, and I have found dancing, traveling and socializing to be very distracting.

What should I do? Am I obviously deluding myself in some way? If you have any intuition or pointer I would be immensely grateful.
Thank you!

CecilN
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Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:31 am

Re: relationship advice

Post by CecilN » Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:46 am

The Buddha taught at least four qualities are ideally required for lasting relationships:

1. The same faith

2. The same morals

3. The same sacrifice/generosity

4. The same intelligence.

Its sounds like both of you are compatible with qualities #2, #3 and #4 but not the most important #1.

Your lady is interested in sex & dancing because most ladies are (eventually) interested in reproduction & family.

Have you discussed family & children with your partner?

If both are interested, it will probably work out since she will settle down & you will step up.

If neither are interested, your respective behaviours are incongruent, since not having children will leave empty spaces, which each fills in a different possibly incompatible way.

If one is interested & the other is not, this is likely to also be problematic.

Without a basis of long term commitment, talk of 'sexual spirituality', 'care' & 'preciousness' are in reality mere indulgence because relationships ultimately depend on long term mutual goals & compatibility.

paul
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Location: Vietnam

Re: relationship advice

Post by paul » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:03 am

Follow the Buddha's example in his own life; when he reached a stage of certain realisations, he left the family.

Buddha Vacana
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Re: relationship advice

Post by Buddha Vacana » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:52 am

You can't keep a relationship without making compromises with the Dhamma and vice versa.

If I were you I would ask myself: is this relationship worth making compromises with the Dhamma? And if so, I would just make those compromises cheerfully. She might come around over the years.

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puppha
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Location: London, UK

Re: relationship advice

Post by puppha » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:59 am

:goodpost:

CecilN
Posts: 210
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:31 am

Re: relationship advice

Post by CecilN » Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:00 am

paul wrote:Follow the Buddha's example in his own life; when he reached a stage of certain realisations, he left the family.
The Buddha had a very large & wealthy extended family to look after his (abandoned) wife & son.
Buddha Vacana wrote:She might come around over the years.
Like Sujato, turn her into a bhikkhuni. :roll:

JohnK
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: relationship advice

Post by JohnK » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:33 pm

bolstonrobs wrote:...This has become a painful discussion subject as it sometimes implies us separating....
Don't avoid that pain -- keep communicating -- it may become clear whether or not she can adjust to your life in a healthy way or not.
And the other way around.
It is generally not a good idea to make serious life choices "to not hurt" someone else.
If separating is the only way, so be it -- you may be lucky to leave with mutual respect and support.
Of course, examine your own motivation carefully -- are you perhaps avoiding relationship commitment as so many of us are famous for?
Good luck -- you have the burden of abundance in this life: the Dhamma AND what sounds like a wonderful relationship -- ironically, a tough situation!
"...the practice is essentially a practice, and not a theory to be idly discussed...right view leaves unanswered many questions about the cosmos and the self, and directs your attention to what needs to be done to escape from the ravages of suffering." Thanissaro Bhikkhu, On The Path.

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anthbrown84
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Re: relationship advice

Post by anthbrown84 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:16 pm

I'm in a similar situation, although I'm married to her, but still the attachment was to strong and I as to weak to separate when it came to crunch time.

All I have done is TRY to make peace with my decision and try to incorporate the Dhamma into my life as much as possible while still not taking to much away from our relationship.

This isn't to Say I made the right choice, but not everyone can be a monk, nor should everyone become one either. So, with that in mind I have become very passionate about my role as a supporter of my local monastery and try to live my life virtuously that way.

One thing I will say, is it was not easy trying to find balance, it will take constant effort for the rest of my life, and hers no doubt, as it will in your relationship. For me it is worth it but it's not easy.


Good luck on your journey,
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

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Zom
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Re: relationship advice

Post by Zom » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:47 pm

This isn't to Say I made the right choice, but not everyone can be a monk, nor should everyone become one either. So, with that in mind I have become very passionate about my role as a supporter of my local monastery and try to live my life virtuously that way.
I'd add that having a family is a great field for Dhamma practice as well (in certain way it can be even more fruitful than a life as a monk). Some people (mostly newcomers) think that Dhamma is only about celibacy and monkhood, while it is not. 8-)

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anthbrown84
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Re: relationship advice

Post by anthbrown84 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:13 pm

Zom wrote:
This isn't to Say I made the right choice, but not everyone can be a monk, nor should everyone become one either. So, with that in mind I have become very passionate about my role as a supporter of my local monastery and try to live my life virtuously that way.
I'd add that having a family is a great field for Dhamma practice as well (in certain way it can be even more fruitful than a life as a monk). Some people (mostly newcomers) think that Dhamma is only about celibacy and monkhood, while it is not. 8-)
:goodpost:
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

Swatantra
Posts: 58
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:56 am

Re: relationship advice

Post by Swatantra » Sun Jun 25, 2017 2:01 pm

I can't really help you here, only offer my opinion. I have been with my wife for 5 years and married for 1. She is my soulmate. I do not know if anyone else here believes in that but I do. She does not hold the same faith (s) as me but the other 3 we are comparable in, just like you and your partner.
Wrongly or rightly, she is the most important part/person/thing in my life and I would not put my (perhaps selfish) desire to obtain enlightenment before her and our marriage (that can wait for another life!) I made vows though, you have not.
However, if you are no longer feeling joy in the activities you do together, if you no longer find pleasure in your day to day life with her then I think it is clear that the unselfish thing to do would be to separate so that you both can remain happy.
If she is accepting and understanding of your spiritual path, there is no reason why you cannot come up with a compromise, so long as you are happy to do that.
Sorry that I cannot be more help to you, it really is an awful situation to be in.
You can always meditate on it!? ;)
:heart:
"One is not noble who has injures living beings.
One is called 'noble' because they are harmless to all living beings."

:heart: :yingyang:

"Silent in body, silent in speech,
Silent in the mind, without defilement,
Blessed is silence is the sage.
One is truely washed of evil."

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