How Our Lover's Arms Bring Us Back Home to Ourselves

March 26, 2019


Many of us expect our partners to feel like a sort of emotional "home". The feeling of having a home in another person is powerful and intoxicating; we often interpret this feeling to mean that we've found the "right" person. But the right person, someone who is aligned with us and our vision of life, is not so much a person we find as much as it is an idea of a relationship.  At it's heart, it speaks to how we want to feel about ourselves, not how we want to feel about someone else. 


The problem with feeling at home in another person is that this feeling in and of itself isn't an indicator of anything significant. It's associated with various bonding neurochemicals that have been selected for to ensure we procreate (this applies to the neurobiology in both heterosexual and homosexual people, regardless of the ability to have children). I know this is the least possible romantic perspective to take, but hear me out: without situating this feeling in the appropriate context, we escape into it and deny our partners the opportunity to freely be who they are and in turn, trap ourselves within an illusion. 


Do we really want our partners to take on the responsibility of being our home, a desire that stems from our inner child wanting to feel safe and loved? Is it even possible for our partners to do this for us?


In moments, it certainly feels like the answers to those questions are yes and yes. But I would argue that the feeling of contentedness in another is often an illusion - merely a projection of our unfulfilled desires onto the screen of someone else. What we are directly experiencing is an aspect of the indirectly communicating unconscious mind. This particular feeling of home is rooted in the infant-mother relationship, whereby the pain of separation at birth is remedied by the comfort found at the mother's breast. Few of us have any clear memory of this, but it is hard-wired in the infant brain to seek re-connection with its "source", i.e. home. The brain of the infant is wired to sync with the mother's brain, and bonding is associated with these feelings of comfort for both mother and child.


Instead of correctly situating our adult sense of being at home with another in the perspective of the inner child, we attribute it the rightness of romantic love. Of course none of this is intentional; the pleasant sensations and experiences in our relationships often arise on their own, but they don't last long on their own either. Not unless an awareness is brought to the relationship alongside the pleasant feelings can we even understand that there is an element of projection involved. 


By accepting this, we up-level our relationships. We get to enjoy pleasant moments together as well as to work through conflict productively. It's the latter point that I think is so important to keep in the forefront of one's mind when they enter into romantic relationships with others: being able to navigate conflict with each other is the true sign you have found the "right" person. Anyone can feel pleasant sensations, including the feeling of being at home, with another person in peaceful moments. The question becomes, do you feel at home with them when you're upset? Are you able to stay vulnerable with them enough to keep the door of communication open rather than blocking their access to your heart?


The process of finding a home in another is a constant building of trust and returning to what is sacred; but ultimately, it is in being returned to ourselves when we finally know that we've arrived. 




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