Ask the LifeQuake Doctor – Oct 2015
Dear Dr. Toni:
I am an educated female professional in my forties who works with women as a coach. I have been in a long-distance relationship with a man for the past year.
The plan is for me to come spend the fall with him full-time. I work by phone primarily, so I can relocate. We are both high-functioning, emotionally intelligent, and skilled in communication, but we are still struggling with some recurrent loops and we feel we need regular third party support. For me, this relationship is bringing up some very, very strange attachment issues that I haven’t experienced before.
I am finding myself feeling very insecure around him and questioning my self-worth and loveability. In the past, I have always had more power in the relationship than the men I was involved with, but this time I am exploring being in a polyamorous relationship. He has other women in his life that he sees from time to time, but he claims to love me very much.
He is a high-profile person, so I don’t want to give too many details about him other than to say that in order for him to do the work he does spiritually with his followers, he needs a variety of women who give him spiritual energy through sexuality.
I should say that my father committed suicide when I was fifteen and I loved him very much. My mother was a bit unstable for a few years but it made me very strong and self-sufficient.
I think we need to do couples counseling, but because we are both really visible in our fields, I am uneasy about seeing a therapist in the community he lives in and I am living in temporarily so I thought perhaps you might advise me regarding this plan to move there in the fall.
This insecurity that I am feeling, is it because of my father’s death so suddenly that I am feeling insecure about my partner being with other women? Should I use this relationship to work on my self-worth issues?
I can appreciate and empathize with how confusing this might be for you given the trauma of losing your father in such a traumatic fashion at such a tender and critical age. If your partner is a public figure, you might find yourself projecting unfulfilled needs for a father figure onto this man. Having worked with a number of public figures—both men and women—I know how easy it is for them to be idealized.
Having said that, even for women who have had healthy upbringings (such as with fathers who are still in their lives), entering into a polyamorous relationship can bring up a lot of insecurity. There are two types of polyamorous individuals: there are people who are part of communities where clear agreements are made to have an open relationship. When both parties agree to this and very clear rules are established about how this will be arranged, it can work. I have known couples where both have a long-time lover that they see twice a week, but an agreement was established that the two who are married to one another have first priority on time with each other.
However, both parties have to feel comfortable with one or both individuals finding intimacy with another. The second type of polyamorous individual is someone who uses it as a smoke screen for sex addiction. It sounds to me like perhaps your boyfriend is sourcing the energy of women rather than going to Source for accessing the Shakti (the Indian word for spiritual energy) You are clearly uncomfortable with your boyfriend seeing a “variety of other women” as well as you and are collapsing this with your abandonment issues from childhood.
My sense is that it is your longing for a father that abandoned you that is what is drawing you to a familiar wounding pattern, rather than the wounding from your father leaving that is causing you to react in an insecure manner. The fact that you have always had the upper hand in previous relationships indicates that you chose men defensively to avoid being abandoned again. While this relationship has the potential for you to do some deep healing work, I would recommend not going until you have worked with a therapist individually and developed a strong inner bonding with the father archetype within you.
In my work with my clients, I also bring in the divine father and divine mother to help with this repairing of the old abandonment wound. There are plenty of therapists you can work with confidentially; it is highly unethical to violate confidentiality no matter how famous someone is. Speaking from experience, in fact the therapist must be extra careful about confidentiality. I urge you to get therapeutic support. There is a great opportunity being presented here to have a tremendous breakthrough in your relationships not just with men, but with yourself.