♥Leaving, staying, or none of both

Submitted by fremen on
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Hi everybody

I have been visiting this site for some time, and I have been interested/practising daoist sex approaches from a long time ago. I think what Marnia and Gary are doing here is great, and a true work of love. And the community is awesome, too.

I have been a silent reader, but today I have decided to write in the hope of finding some relationship advice.

I have been in a relationship for two years with a lovely girl. There is a deep connection between us, we have been very happy together at times, but it has not been a tranquil relationship. The pattern is always the same: She feels I don't call enough, express my feelings enough; she doesn't feel secure in the relationship, she feels needy. I feel overwhelmed, lacking personal space, freedom, independence. When she's needy I want to run away. When I want to run away she can feel it and makes her feel insecure and needy. I guess we are a co-dependence example. I am the hard-to-get one, reluctant to express my feelings, afraid of being hurt, afraid of being too close to anybody, too rational. She's the one willing to work hard to get love, ready to accept anything, needy, too emotional. I am 34, more experienced; she's 27, and I am her first partner. I am European, she's Asian (so there is culture difference, also).

This has been going on for two years, and finally some months ago we have broken up (I have). That's actually the second time we break up, but got back together after a while. What is happening now is that we are keeping in touch, talking on the telephone, meeting sometimes; sometimes closer, sometimes arguing. This is obviously not satisfying for any of us, and at the same time it is preventing us from moving on. Actually she does not want to move on, I don't think she's able to, no matter how painful the situation is. I say I want to move on, but the fact is that I am still here.

I realize that the problem is both of us are immature; I realize that we are trapped in a loop. But still we don't seem to be able to get out of it, either by parting away, or by finding a way to be happy together.

Then lately I read CPA, and I thought, is there any chance that our issues can be sorted out with Karezza?

I know she would agree, as she would almost do anything to make things work; I also know she would be receptive to Karezza style love making as I have done non orgasmic sex with her (non orgasmic for me) in the relationship and she's familiar to the concept (although my approach was not slow, but "edging" and getting more and more aroused). We have also had very spiritual, intense experiences by making love without sex, i.e. during her period. And she loves bonding behaviors like those of the Exchanges.

At the same time it scares me a lot to step into the loop again, get together again, exposing ourselves to another break up. It scares me that I am using this "power" that I have by being in this side of the relationship, that I might leading her to more suffering. That I might get tired, overhemed, when things get close. Also I was thinking, doesn't Karezza require unconditional love? Can I propose "trying again" on the condition of Karezza (so then it is not unconditional)? Is it self deluding thinking that our issues (which are there and are real) are just consequences of orgasm induced brain chemistry unbalance?

Well, thanks a lot if you read this much, coments will be very much appreciated!!


Hi there, Fremen~

I am stealing this from another member, Hotspring (thank you!) :

"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky." ~ Rilke

While karezza is a wonderful way to make love in and of itself (so much more gratifying than conventional sex), I have also found how empowering it is to realize I am "whole" all on my own, as an individual, with or without my lover. I don't know that merely avoiding orgasm will bring that type of inner security to your girlfriend~~it's something she has to work on herself.

It's really about learning to be conscious and present in the moment, and that spills over into all other areas of your life. It's not just "let's avoid orgasm and we'll get along fabulously"~~it's a journey you take together and I think it's probably most beautiful when you have two fully-present people who love each other deeply.

Do you think your girlfriend would like to take that journey with you? Do you want to take it with her?


~A heart that is open to appreciate every blessing should always be bigger than the eyes that see what is missing. ~Rumi


Thank you for posting that~~I love it.

Once upon a time, I would have interpreted it to mean, "Beloved, you go play tennis (or whatever) and I'll do what I love, and that way, we're both doing our own thing and not being needy of each other's time," but now I see it as, "be grateful and happy and present, no matter where you are or what you are doing, whether it be in your lover's arms or working at your job, cleaning house, etc." Love *life* first and foremost. Only then can you begin to feel you are complete yourself.


~A heart that is open to appreciate every blessing should always be bigger than the eyes that see what is missing. ~Rumi

Two thoughts:

Would you love her if she weren’t so dependent? Or is it (partially) her dependence that makes her attractive to you?

Seems like she’s the one that needs to be considering the suggestions from time_for_a_change and Rachel.

Hey Jesse

It's in your bio. It pretty much states what I need to be working on.....with a scoreless gratitude twist.
Thank you for your presence here and all that you've given us.
I haven't been around much....feeling like I wasn't coming up with anything new.....repeating myself.....kind of ran out of karezza kontributions.

It sounds like you have

a lot invested. Probably worth trying a three-week program...assuming she's up for such a strange approach. Smile That way you'll know you've done everything you knew to do and you can move on with a clear conscience if necessary. What does the oracles say? http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/inner_wisdom_oracle

It's true that a lot of neediness is tied to hidden neurochemical ripples, so it's worth removing them and seeing what you've got.

Make sure she's well educated beforehand, or she'll inadvertently try to hook you with orgasm. (We're programmed almost as tightly as you guys, you know.)

Let us know how it goes. Start a blog if you like.

Rachel: I am all for

Rachel: I am all for self-growth and awareness; she is interested and I am sure eventually she will come this path. I can suggest, but I'm sure part of her acceptance is driven by the wish to satisfy me, to keep me. Does it make sense to "push" somebody to strive for more independence? Is that independence? Of course not, as you say it is something she has to do herself. But is keeping the relationship healthy? Sometimes I think it is keeping her stalled, as it seems to be for her the only thing worth in life. Oh, but there I am again thinking for her!

Time_for_change: The Prophet looks so intriguing, I did't know it! Thanks!

Jesse: That's a very good question, as of course our issues are not only hers. I say I want her to be more independent, but do I really want it? May be with more independent girls I get soon apart, as those girls are not willing to work "extra" on the feelings side to compensate the scarcity in me. If my girlfriend tries to solve her lack of self-esteem, of wholeness with herself, by clinging to somebody, I do it by closing into myself, frightful of being hurt, frightful of other's responses, judgements, rejections. If I felt whole myself, I would not be afraid of interacting with others. So I have a road to walk (which I am happy with, that's life and it is fun!) but, is that a road to walk by myself or can I share it with her? Sometimes I think that yes, we are the right company, as we are this "symmetrical"; sometimes I think we are just bound to hurt each other, for the same reason.

Marnia: Thanks for your support, present and past, as I have read your wise comments lots of times, in other posts. I will think about it a little before proposing it to her. It will not be easy to explain! :)



I don't think it does any good to tell someone to be more independent. People just become more independent the more whole they feel inside. Right now, she's like a kid who senses that mom and dad have left the house she has always called home. This causes panic in a tribal, pair-bonder...for good evolutionary, historical reasons.

True independence is often, paradoxically, a function of solid attachment. That's another reason to do the Exchanges (or something like them) for three weeks. It'll make the break-up easier because you'll both be feeling better "nourished." Or maybe it'll show you that she isn't normally as clingy as you think; and you aren't normally as detached as she thinks.


Hi, Fremen~

I guess I see a difference between being independent (to me, that means you don't *need* anyone) and being happy in your own skin~~from what you said, it seems like she expects you to fill a void in her life (such as texting right back, etc.).

We are all at different states of spiritual evolvement and all I'm trying to say is, if you can sort out whether or not you think things could work with your current girlfriend (with the least amount of heartache for her), the better it will be for both of you. She may be the perfect mate, or maybe not~~but I don't think that engaging in orgasmless sex is necessarily going to give you the perfect relationship you are hoping for (or perhaps it will)~~I feel there is much more to us than just our neurochemistry~~we have spirits and they evolve/change over time.


~A heart that is open to appreciate every blessing should always be bigger than the eyes that see what is missing. ~Rumi

I see your point

And I will not cheat myself (or her) thinking that this is going to magically solve our problems. At this point, I think it can be a tool to regain harmony and trust between two people who deeply love each other but are not managing things very well lately.

My expectation is not that "the source of our problems is having orgasms, that lead to neuro-chemical unbalance; by avoiding them everything will be fine", but more of "bonding behaviors might help us improve the way we interact, which might be the foundation (and just the foundation) for growing together".

If it works and we feel like going on, well, great. If not, we will have only lost three weeks (but will have learned something); I will have tried, and it will make a great farewell ritual: three weeks of love and care for each other. Hopefully.


Your post triggered a

Your post triggered a thought. Are men less emotional because women want them to be more emotional? Sometimes women want me to be more emotional, but they don't always act in a way that fosters that environment. Maybe that comes from their own need for validation. The woman needs to know she is ok and the man not being emotional with her triggers her insecurities. If she could set those aside and focus on giving, the man would share more giving her the validation she needs. This could explain why more emotional men still can't get along with some women. Perhaps those women don't want emotion, but rather emotion on their terms. Perhaps the question you should ask yourself is are you being your whole self emotionally or are you holding back? If you're holding back, why? If you try karezza, try it as a mindset and not just something sexual.

Hi freedom Yes, I think I am

Hi freedom

Yes, I think I am holding back. Why: Fear of closeness. Fear of getting too involved and thus more vulnerable. Fear also of being depended on, and having a responsibility about it.

My girlfriend's dependence finds a place to root in my fear of closeness. I am the gatekeeper, I control when and how much love can flow. She's the opposite, she has no control of that flow, she's afraid of making herself responsible for her decisions about when, how, and with whom exchange that flow, and hence clings to me, that act like the grown up that takes the responsibility.

And of course I cling to her, somebody who can accept my restrained flow, my coming back and forth, my arbitrariness, somebody that will provide me with love no matter what, so I can be reassured that I will not be rejected, turned down, hurt.

Well, this sounds pretty bad :) but I can assure that in the middle of this there is space for so much sweet love. And I am sure that it will find its, sooner or later, here or there, with this or that person.

I think to some extent,

I think to some extent, women carry all the emotional real-estate. Since we are naturally more emotional and being emotional is generally more comfortable for us, it happens that men can project onto us "emotionality" because we can embody it more easily. Ideally tho, men would be able to "own" more of their emotions, and in doing so, they would automatically empower women to be less emotional. The other factor to remember is that sex happens inside women, not inside men. I personally believe that much of what is considered to be "women's issues" is actually the manifestation of masculine issues as they have been projected into the woman's body and as she "overflows" with all of the charges and energetic tones that have been put into her body. A simple way to look at this is to see one another as a mirror. What you see emerging from her is mirroring back to you some facet of your unclaimed self. As annoying as her neediness may be, it seems to be more convenient for you to see her in that place than to allow yourself to feel more emotional, more vulnerable and delicate. All challenge is an opportunity for transformation.

But I know how that neediness can feel, as I've experienced it with a man before, who was very needy of me. I think its important to notice that this is not just about the other's insecurity when this happens, it is about what qualities and feeling tones you bring out in one another. We could become totally conscious of our need to become balanced, secure beings, from a cognitive and psychological point of view. And the stories we tell ourselves play a big part in this. But as Rachel points out, the skills we have to develop have more to do with presence than with explanations or self-help initiatives. The psychological spinoff in each situation, the psychological trip, is just a way that the mind tries to adapt to a feeling tone. So really we need to work with feeling tones, not psychological problems directly.

The feeling tone is like the atmosphere. It's communicated via facial expressions and physical gestures, breathing, and eye contact. A feeling tone is embedded in the nervous system, which has an on/off, pleasure/pain, 1/0, binary code program. A behavior in someone else can trigger a switch to off. The conscious part of this is to see if the off switch can be turned to neutral. If we can sink into a neutral space that has no craving, aversion, or expectation, we can let the relating become more natural and less forced and it can become whatever is naturally arising. This neutral space allows us and the people we are with to transform. It's like pressing a reset button. Without the neutral, there is too much effort involved, either to get away, or to "work on it." The point I guess is that if there is still a question around basic compatibility, then the place to go back to is the foundation of presence. If there is a sense that "this is the woman for me through thick and thin", then there is the foundation for "doing the work." Without that sense that this is your woman and the relationship you have chosen to transform in, finding the neutral space without projections or assumptions or the need to "decide" might provide the healing quality that you both need to move on or move forward.

It could also be that if your off switch is turned off too often, you're just not compatible. In the situation I was in in an earlier relationship with a "needy person", I ended up deciding that our tonal flow was congested and that we were not compatible. It was a good decision that I made.

It is amazing to me that I was able to come out of that relationship without being totally jaded. Somehow I managed to still acknowledge to myself that I deeply wanted to find my soul partner. I asked only that I be able to recognize him when I met him, whenever that was. He appeared shortly thereafter. The sense of rightness, of having found the one, is very solid and is the foundation for the harder work. Finding the soulmate is totally possible, if that is the level of work that you want to do. While all other learning, transformation, and relationships are also valid of course, I think that the soulmate partnership is the strongest container to be vulnerable in, and its something that you will know when you meet it. At the basic sense of the soul, there will be no doubts with that person (are they the one?? should I stay or go? all this falls away), tho many ego doubts will arise in the face of the opportunity to dissolve the ego. The soulmate easily evokes your own soul's wisdom and makes the ego's struggle more transparent and obvious.

It might be better for you to start a karezza experiment with someone else. Going back into a relationship that already has many layers of imprints/hurts/expectations/hopes, etc, is very tricky, and can be very confusing and more enmeshing. My sense is that a week of experimenting with karezza could be very helpful, but is should not be used to try to save a relationship if you do not really know you want to be in the relationship, because karezza is a slow practice that reconfigures the brain over a very long time period.

I don't want to hijack this

I don't want to hijack this thread, but I have been thinking lately about this common notion that women are more emotional than men. I'm not in the female mind-body and women are not in the male mind-body. I don't fully buy this notion. I suspect the social programming from an early age comes into play to bring about what may be the effective reality in Western adults. Men have been programmed to lose touch with the emotions they have and women have been programmed to pick up the slack. I see this notion as anti-men and thus anti-women, in part, for the reasons you note here of the sexes having the ability to bring each other into harmonic balance. To help get to that, perhaps we have to see men and women as more the same, but perhaps both out of balance in various ways.

I don't think that

I don't think that difference being "natural" or "cultural" is that relevant, as long as it is not used to dismiss the possibility of change. Natural traits can be very well changed (and deserve it), and cultural ones can be desirable and valid. I would also prefer thinking of nature/culture as a continuum, rather than a dichotomy. So I would rather point to the the fact that some trait is desirable or not, instead of discussing whether it is natural or cultural.
But I see what you mean with seeing men and women as more the same but with some unbalance. It is widely believed that in homosexual couples there is that kind of difference also, one being more yang and the other more yin (although most of them deny it, in my experience).
But then, what does it mean "harmonic balance"? Is it softening the differences? But at the same time I see around this website encouragement of some of those differences, like "the man being the pilot".
Is it bringing the two closer so as there is no big conflict, but not as close as to kill the attraction?

I think of "it"

as some kind of subtle electricity or energy current. That's what enlivens and nourishes. The external roles can be amazingly flexible if the underlying polarity is there. That seems to benefit from some "sexual energy cultivation" or "brain chemical balance" depending upon your paradigm. Smile

The why is probably less

The why is probably less important than the recognition that we choose our path.

The image of tiller ladder fire truck is coming to mind. These trucks have steering in front and back. Harmonic balance is when both drivers maneuver the truck without any snafus. The man need not be the front and the truck sometimes has to back up. Going straight is important too. Balance might be a recognition of the differences without the need to contain the other in a mold and the allaying of the fear of commonality. We can develop the ability to know that the other is just as attractive when their polarity is reversed for their own well-being at that moment. We just have to wait for them to come back around.


Check out Louann Brizendine's work: two books, "The Male Brain" & "The Female Brain". I believe her. There is fundimental neuronal and hormonal structure that makes men and women different. Her take on emotions, as I remember, is: men, once having identified an emotion and labeled it, are done with that task and ready to move on to a solution (if it's a problem), whereas women use that as a starting point for connection.
Blessed be the One

Solution versus starting

Solution versus starting point for connection might not be that different. If brains are plastic, I don't see why they can't become more similar or different based upon culture. Functional differences may reflect the pressures on the sexes and not underlying structure or limitations.

Hi hotspring

Hi hotspring

that was very insightful.
I had never thought it that way: women "owning", or carrying, the emotional real state of a couple; but it makes a lot of sense. As a man I *want* those emotions, live through them, am fed off them, but in some way I am reluctant to carry them on my shoulders. The reason is, probably, because it seems exhausting; it is easier to let her do it.

I had thought many times, though, of women desiring, enjoying the benefits of security, self-confidence, being strong, rationality(?), whatever the traits that women find attractive in us men, as some kind of unfair, irresponsible behavior. As if women could afford being more emotional, compassionate, impulsive, than men, just because men are there to do the "dirty job" of being strong, making tough decisions, etc.

Admittedly, women have worked out a lot on those issues during the last hundred years or so than we men have worked on our own ones. But I guess your reasoning still applies, reversed, or mirrored: as annoying it may be for my gf that I am too independent, too rational, less emotional, it might be that it is more convenient for her to have me that way than being independent herself, controlling her own life, being responsible for herself (i.e., accepting who I am and making a decision about it, which might involve leaving me). May be because it is easier to stick with some strong figure who supposedly knows what to do, who (ultimately) will make the decisions, who allows her to be capricious, to give free rein to her emotions, while still feeling safe.

I know that when women are stronger, more independent, I become more emotional, and that means more vulnerable, too. Less stable, and that's what is tiring for me. In my world of reason everything fits into place, I can be tranquil, in peace (but may be that means also numb?). I think there is also the idea that I have to be a man, that if I become too emotional, vulnerable, weak, I will not be that attractive to her. Which might me true for some women, but of course you cannot have your cake an eat it, you cannot strive for balance in the relationship and at the same time refuse to put your part in some core areas of it. Or rather, there is going to be some kind of balance, you want it or not, and if you are not willing to put your part in some areas, there's going to be polarization. Good old yin and yang at work.

May be you are right that I should make sure first if she's my soul-mate before trying karezza.. but I am not sure I will recognize my soul mate when I see her, because I am not feeling-tone fluent; I am feeling-tone blind. I think I need to develop that awareness before. When I am not sure if my current (ex)girlfriend is or not that one, I doubt if I'm not sure because she is not, or because I am not reading well the signs in my heart.

Anyway I have started this alredy; asked her and started planning, so I'm not backing off; it will be only three weeks, I will put all my effort (and emotion) into it and after the three weeks will check again.

That male-female polarity

dynamic can shift. Even though it seems like I've grown more feminine in some ways and Gary more masculine as we've been exploring karezza, we also seem to be able to switch gears between our male and female "sides" more easily, depending upon what's appropriate.

Personally, I think a lot of the classic "co-dependent" dynamic is just low dopamine/sensitivity...manifesting in classic male/female patterns. Once you both feel more whole inside, a lot of the role rigidity seems to melt away.

It'll be interesting to see what you notice.

I think that every

I think that every characteristic of human beings has a healthy and unhealthy expression, whether in men or in women. So it is not that being emotional is inherently draining. In its healthy aspects, feeling things deeply is what allows us to know that we are alive, that life touches us, affects us, and that we are not just machines. This is obviously important. I think that being vulnerable within the context of a healthy relationship in which that is honored and held sacred is one of the most exquisite priviledges we humans can experience - and in the safety of that container, the vulnerability is not neediness, it is delicacy and tenderness.

Playing it safe, avoiding intimacy and emotion, keeps us feeling protected but limits us to life. The balance I guess is when we can create a safe and loving context (read: committed partnership, or basic sense of self-worth) that gives us the freedom to be vulnerable without being needy. Of course this could happen in any situation, between any two people, if we are enlightened enough. Fact is though, that for women a committed relationship is the best place to do this, given that the biological vulnerability of human beings as a species when compared to other animals and their offspring is just huge - and therefore requires two committed partners to pull it off well. That's not to say there aren't some amazing single mothers out there, or some kids who turned out amazing growing up in single mother households (my husband being one of them) - precisely because of the amount of suffering they were exposed to. I feel that a culture that takes care of the most vulnerable and supports the delicacy of vulnerable states may just well see that in supporting the vulnerable, our most important human traits can be developed - those of compassion and dedication to mutual wellbeing. Women are already hard-wired for this, because our babies wouldn't survive if we weren't. My sense is that in a culture and in a relational context in which emotions are seen as draining, and vulnerability is seen as dependency, that is exactly what they are experienced as. There develops a weird double feedback loop - where the emotional and vulnerable person's need for tenderness, responsiveness, turns back on itself in the face of the numb or the rational, and then it can reinforce insecurity, because the person starts hating themselves for the dynamic they have created. But they have to stay in it to resolve it, to reclaim their sense of dignity. Who know's? Maybe your girlfriend isn't really in love with you, she's in love with the possibility of reclaiming her sense of dignity in your eyes and in her own. I know I have at times in my life mistook my desire to be in a relationship for love, when really it was only a desire to reclaim my sense of dignity and resolution.

I think there is a difference between a distorted and unhealthy dependency and a delicate vulnerability that evokes honor and respect. I'm sure it is women's vulnerability and interdependence that men are fundamentally attracted to anyway, in its healthy form. After all, the fact is, we ARE interdependent. The sense of inherent self-existence and independence that many men feel (and women too) is an illusion. It's the most basic form of ignorance in its self-centered form. But again, we CAN'T say anything too absolute. There's a healthy sense of independence too, and I would say, in its healthy form, it is the independence to feel okay with how interdependent you are with all things.

It does not matter really what you do, but it does matter what you tell yourself as you do it. What is the storyline? You have said, "I am not feeling-tone fluent." You identify yourself this way or perhaps she brings it out in you. At its most basic level, any relationship gives us the opportunity to see that we are not who we thought we were, that there was more possible, more available. We don't have to be fluent to feel tones. That sounds like a symptom of someone who needs to be an expert in anything in order to identify with it. It does not mean that because you may not yet be fluent, that you are blind. It is a matter of what we choose to pay attention to. I think tone is something different that emotion. It is like a vibration, a frequency, the way two wavelengths interact, the way many tones play on eachother. If we say the world as made up of instruments, each situation and person an instrument, how would we interact with them to produce the most beautiful tones? First I guess, you gotta get the primary instrument, the mind, in tune. Tuned in to the world. Alert. Paying attention. Spacious awareness. Leaving room for the unknown. Watching as the forms change. Watching as the navigating system becomes more porous. Watching as we are willing to see new possibilities. Seeing how this feels differently in our bodies. Fundamentally, it seems to me at least, all work needs to be brought home. We need to bring it back to ourselves and own it as an experience, stop all this jabbering about the idea of how its supposed to be, see how things really feel moment to moment as an experience, be willing to go through the full range of experience, be willing to share this. Become less fixed, less concerned with form - more spacious, more concerned with how the forms (the configuration of the relationship, the operating systems we nagivate by, the actual shapes of our bodies) transform when they are given the room to do so.

I have come to realize that commitment is just a container to explore infinity. That my most basic misunderstanding and therefore pain in being human had to do with my inaccurate understanding of the infinity inherent in all forms, the emptiness of form. We can spend so much of our live avoiding certain forms, out of a sense that form is constraining - but if we really look at the nature of things, of objects and forms, we see that they are filled with space. So how we come into relationship with the form of any thing is how we come into relationship with infinity. I hope this does not sound abstract because I think it is important. We as people mistake form and matter and a sense of solidity for something that it actually is not. When we crave a certain form, we realize it cannot be grasped, it is illusive. When we try to avoid what we perceive to be the constraints of form, we find we were running away from the opportunity for spaciousness the whole time.

A silly state of affairs, until we learn to start to trust in the Great Mystery, and become more interested in the dynamic between commitment and freedom, and the dynamic between form and space, and the dynamic between yin and yang, vulnerable and rational, mechanistic and human, sensitive and numb, sleeping and waking, sharp and broad focus.


I with Marnia; one more go around, especially armed with a fresh approach is probably worth the effort on a couple of points. While karezza is not the answer to all relationship woes it could be the tool that opens up a new pathway for you both. Second, simply making the effort to try again will only help clarify your situation, even if it ends the same way, you'll be clearer.

On another level, every life situation were in is there because we've attract it to ourselves for a reason. That reason being something we're trying to show ourselves. The question is, what am I trying to show myself, what do I need to learn here about me? Whether you stay together or not, your situation is still a gift for you, a gift of growth. Looked at this way, any outcome is a growth opportunity for you.