What a rich and courageous path you've taken Marnia and Douglas. You've brought me here with virtually everything you talk about in your book and interviews. The teachers show up when the student is ready.
I'll make a long story short in the hopes some of you will comment and begin a conversation. My 20+ year marriage to a woman I always knew as my best friend, lover, wife and work collaborator took a sharp turn and shattered three years ago. Ours was deeply bonded (oxytocin-esque) with a moderate dopamine-oriented reward-based dimension. Such a rich life with one another brought feelings for me each day of thankfulness. Like more in love each day.
Something began to shift about 3 years ago; menopause, my sense of her moving away emotionally, sought counseling, transition, etc. Bonding behavior and time together shifted more all the time. On my end my life's work and practice is teaching mindfulness for those referred by clinicians or tailored to organizations. More sensitivity all the time to those around me and myself; compassion, presence. So quite away of the shift and offering what I could for both of us.
Sexuality became a problem for here and then of course for me. It was as if things shifted for her to the more dopamine, goal-roeineted and even hyper-focussed on getting more. Even seemingly insane urge to seek our 'fuck buddies" for brief encounters to fill the urges (never an option for me while we were together though I think she might have been doing so). I could never make sense of this and regardless of the shattering of our marriage I loved and honored her need to leave and find a new way of life. Leaning deeply into grieving and open to a new life that is full and profoundly rich I puzzled deeply about the 'why this happened.' We are cordial and I periodically ask her 'what happened to have things turn that direction' and always the answer echoes something like "I changed."
With your book and the superb research and deep personal work you've done Marnia and Douglas I now have an understanding of what happened that makes sense. This natural addictive way our neurological rewards system we have approached sex went full on with neither of us knowing what was happening. It's the missing piece that allows my intellect to follow my heart's path of forgiveness for both of us during the shattering of such a lovely relationship.
There are many other details of that journey but don't want to bore those of you who might read this. Just wanting to put the story out there to see if you have parallels that may be helpful encouragement for me and others on such a path. BTW my relationships in the arena of possible future couple are so very rich, loving and non-goal oriented. Your work is a blessing to so many and I am sure it will grow wonderfully. There is such a hunger and need for this work.