We want to thank Mali Apple and Joe Dunn for sharing an excerpt of their book, The Soulmate Experience with us.
CONNECT THROUGH YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES
Our past experiences have the potential to greatly contribute to our relationship. Many of us, though, are uncomfortable hearing about our partner’s previous lovers and sexual encounters. We may be inclined to judge our romantic and sexual experiences against theirs or to compare ourselves to their past lovers. We may be concerned if our partner expresses appreciation or affection for a former lover. Many couples, usually through an unspoken agreement, simply avoid the topic altogether.
Some people, while intrigued by their partner’s previous intimacies and the idea of sharing their own, have either been conditioned to stay clear of the subject or don’t think their partner would be receptive. Other people would be comfortable relating their own stories, but would rather avoid the insecurities that would surface if they listen to their partner’s.
Because many of us tend to experience jealousy in these situations, we’re often advised to be cautious about which experiences we share and how much we reveal. We’re warned not to say anything that could make our partner feel inadequate or insecure. But if we set up our relationships so that we must censor ourselves and try to anticipate and avoid whatever might trigger our partner’s jealousy, we may never know the profound intimacy that’s at the heart of a truly connected relationship.
When we have the tools and the intentions in place to heal any uncomfortable feelings that surface, sharing our past romances and sexual encounters with our lover can be a path to deeper intimacy. Revealing aspects of ourselves that we normally keep hidden, and exploring them with the person we love, is true intimacy. A safe, loving space is also an ideal environment for investigating and beginning to heal painful memories or lingering wounds from sexual experiences that were embarrassing, diminishing, or traumatic. Through this process, you might also be inspired to investigate them further with the help of a coach or counselor.
If you and your partner decide to try sharing your memories and experiences, it will be a very personal process. When you’re the storyteller, you might paint a scene for your partner by describing the setting and how you were feeling. When you’re the listener, you might just offer your partner your loving presence, listening fully and letting go of any opinions, judgments, or agenda. Or you might ask questions that encourage your partner to explore the memory more deeply. Whatever approaches the two of you take, have an intention to stay completely connected. If uncomfortable feelings are triggered, turning your attention to exploring and healing them can be a truly loving experience.
As you connect through your intimate stories, your relationship circle will expand to embrace your previous experiences. Instead of feeling separate from each other’s past, you will be drawing on those pasts to contribute to your present—together.
Excerpted with permission from The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships by Mali Apple and Joe Dunn. This bestselling book won a 2012 International Book Awards gold medal and a 2012 Living Now Awards silver medal. Mali and Joe are currently deep in the creation process of the second book in “The Soulmate Experience” series, The Soulmate Lover.
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