EPISODE 13: Dating a Man with Kids / And Dating Fun with Waylon
Originally Aired: May 9, 2017
TODAY, OVER FIFTY PERCENT OF U.S. FAMILIES ARE REMARRIED OR RE-COUPLED AFTER A DIVORCE. THE FAMILY STRUCTURE IS CHANGING. AND THE EXPECTED “BLENDED FAMILY,” OR STEPFAMILY, HAS BECOME THE NORM.
Stacie Taking on kids, and a 14-year age gap in the relationship and all this stuff and people like asking constantly, “How’s the kids’ mom?” Just like all the expectations about it. I think I let it get into my head sometimes,
Kenyon What you expressed to me was the hurt in the fact that it wasn’t your decision, like you felt helpless because you were like it’s not my decision whether I want kids or not. You felt like I was making the decision for you.
Stacie Yeah, but I also was like… but I’ve made the decision to be in this relationship.
DATING SOMEONE WHO HAS KIDS TENDS TO INTENSIFY THE QUESTIONS AND CONVERSATIONS AROUND BOUNDARIES, INTENTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS.
IT’S DIFFICULT IN ANY RELATIONSHIP TO BE WILLING TO BE VULNERABLE AND OPEN REGARDING ONE’S EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS.
WHEN DATING SOMEONE WITH KIDS, THE CHILDLESS PERSON MAY TEND TO FEEL MORE LIKE A SECRET THAN A PARTNER, BECAUSE OF THE BOUNDARIES AROUND PROTECTING THE CHILD, OR PROTECTING THE EX.
I’VE SEEN PEOPLE REFRAIN FROM HAVING THESE IMPORTANT CONVERSATIONS ABOUT FEELING LIKE A MISTRESS OR SECRET LOVER, BECAUSE OF THE FEAR OF NOT BEING VALIDATED BY THE PARENT PARTNER. IT’S AWKWARD TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP AND NOT FULLY EXPERIENCE THE OTHER PERSON’S LIFE. KIDS ALWAYS COME FIRST. SO, HOW DO WE APPROACH THESE DIFFICULT DISCUSSIONS?
IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SHOW I TALK WITH WAYLON LEWIS, FOUNDER OF THE ONLINE MAGAZINE ELEPHANT JOURNAL AND HOST OF THE LIVE WEBCAST SHOW “WALK THE TALK.” WE DISCUSS BUDDHISM IN RELATIONSHIPS, DATING LIFE, AND HOW WAYLON’S MOM IS READY FOR HIM TO GET MARRIED.
Waylon I think a lot has happened in the last hundred years in relationships. Marriages have gone from practically being arranged, just living them, they’re good or they’re bad. To really us, really only being willing to settle for romantic love, which last approximately eight weeks, and then you have to deal with reality.
MY NAME IS ANDY HORNING, AND THIS IS ELEPHANT TALK. IT’S ABOUT ALL THINGS RELATIONSHIP – THE SOULFUL, THE SILLY AND THE SEXY.
Stacie When we met, you were 42.
Stacie Forty-two. So then I was 28. And immediately I was like, “Oh gosh! Fourteen years of an age gap. That’s a lot.” But you didn’t seem like it. You seemed like you were 35 because you’re an adventurer. You work out. You’re very fit. The fact that you have your shit together that’s what a 40-year-old would typically have. And so I think that was part of why it made it so much easier to get to know you and to decide to take that step. When you told me you had kids, and I was like, “Oh God! No.”
Stacie I was thinking in my Midwest conservative mind of like, “Oh God! What is that mean?” I’m not doing the 2.5 kid thing and getting married after college. I’m not on the typical path, right? And that was huge. So I had my stereotype and my own expectation and you were breaking that, but that’s why you made me so curious about who you actually were.
Kenyon You weren’t a hundred sure when you said, “So are you a hundred percent done with having kids?” And that was a big question for me because it had been a question that had come up time and time again since the kids’ mom and I had separated which was half dozen years prior. In each of the relationships I was having or even dating, that was the most common question and the most common deal breaker. So it wasn’t anything new that the question came up. What was new was that I stood strong in a place I wavered in the past even though I knew that it might mean losing something that I thought, “Wow! This person is amazing. I think this is a good fit.”
Stacie I didn’t really have a reaction. I just thought, “Okay, this is something that I’m really going to have to think about.” It didn’t necessarily deter me in the moment from hanging out with you. It wasn’t something that moved me deeply inside and was like, “Oh gosh! I can’t see this guy again.” But in the moment, I love being with you. And there was a connection I never had before and you are an extraordinary human and so I thought, “Okay, my life would be better just being around him anyway.” So I thought, “I’m just going to run with it.”
Stacie So it’s been a year and a half that we’ve been together.
Kenyon Yeah, coming up on two years.
Stacie I met the kids right away. I moved in within two months because I also felt like I knew you so well after getting to know you for six months and then dating for a couple and then we were just like, everything just like match so well. And so we just went for it. Remember we both looked each other, we’re like, “You want to do life? Yeah, let’s just do this. Let’s just jump off the cliff together.”
Kenyon Yeah. Yeah.
Stacie Taking on kids, and a 14-year age gap in the relationship and all this stuff and people like asking constantly, “How’s the kids’ mom?” Just like all the expectations about it. I think I let it get into my head sometimes, but something would always bring me back. You were always so communicative about things. You would let me just talk to you about it, which was so helpful.
Kenyon I always forget that we have a 14-year age gap. It’s not something that’s at the forefront. It’s almost perfect in terms of just how mature you are and the connection is there.
Kenyon The last relationship I felt was detrimental to the kids and bringing in someone else to live in the house again.” I was very protective of them. And so I was like, “Do I really want to A, get back into another relationship long term then introduce you to the kids? And then say, ‘Guess what. She’s moving in.”
Kenyon It wasn’t about if I like this person or love this person, really what I had to see was that the kids like this person, the kids love this person and that they love the kids. So when you were like really showing that you had an interest in them and that you like them and that the potential that you could love them, when I saw that and felt that, that’s when I knew that it was going to be okay to say, “Here’s the key of the house. Come and go when you want. Move in. It’ll be amazing.”
Stacie I’m adopted and so I think I have a different perspective on bringing children or other beings into your life and loving them.
Stacie Because I’m adopted and my family took me in lovingly unconditionally. I think it’s so much easier for me do that. And I grew up always saying I’m going to adopt someday and I absolutely knew that. I never said, “I have to have 2.5 kids.” I said, “I’m going to adopt.” And I’ve basically adopted them. I’ve adopted them into my heart and into my life. But it was a process and there’s a lot of scary moments or times where I was unsure or times where I had to really sit and think about things And adjusting too because here I am late 20s, I still want to go and be a 28-year-old. Now I’m 30. I still want to go and do things that 30-year-olds do and you’re kind of like, “I’ve done that.” But you would just let me go and do my thing which is so awesome.
Kenyon What’s really, really important to me is that everybody has the best possibility to have the best possible experiences. I believe that especially in relationships, a lot of people shoot themselves in the foot because they don’t allow the other person to be who they are.
Stacie Well, it lets me spread my wings instead of you putting me in a box, which what I think a lot of us do in relationships…
Kenyon You can’t put baby in a box. [Laughter]
Stacie This is everyday life with you. [Laughter] We definitely laugh every day.
Kenyon Yes. Yes, indeed.
Stacie Our relationship with the kids’ mom and your family and my family and our relationship and how we relate to the kids, it’s totally atypical. Like, I hear it all the time from people who are dating someone with an ex and it’s usually a train wreck. And I feel so grateful that we have what we have but I also want to acknowledge that it’s not always this way. It’s actually more so not this way. I think it does kids a disservice. So I feel so grateful for it. I think it should be like this more often. I don’t know.
Kenyon That’s right.
Stacie It’s just my thought.
– BREAK –
Kenyon And then the one thing that I know in our relationship that I would say for the next at least ten years of our relationship and it could be longer, it could be even lifelong, will always go back and centered around the kids’ scenario and I think that’s the one thing that you and I… it’s resurfaced. Additionally, it’s also the one thing that we also check in with each other on.
Stacie It’s something that I’ve struggled with and really had to just continually check in with myself about probably on a daily basis. I was struggling internally with I will never have my own kids. I will never have my own baby. I knew how good of a dad you are. And for me, I was like, “I don’t want to have a baby with anyone else.” I just think it’d be amazing to be parents of our own and the kids would be such good brother and sister and it’s just that whole thing and I was looking at it from a perspective of like loss and grief and grieving. Instead of just shutting me down, you let me just talk to you about it. I know you felt completely helpless in that moment too.
Thinking about not being with you just like ripped me apart. And I couldn’t do it, like I could not say the words of like, “Okay, this is it. This is the end,” and part ways. But then I also didn’t have the strong desire to push one out myself. I wasn’t having baby fever. I just was thinking like I will never have my own and grew up thinking that I was going to be a princess and get married in a ball gown and have a baby right after and that’s not how my life is going, right?
Kenyon No. No. It was completely different.
Kenyon What you expressed to me was the hurt in the fact that it wasn’t your decision, like you felt helpless because you were like it’s not my decision whether I want kids or not. You felt like I was making the decision for you.
Stacie Yeah, but I also was like… but I’ve made the decision to be in this relationship. It’s like, “Okay, I could break up with him and then go find some else. I hate dating. I see my friends dating. And then what if I find someone else and then we can’t have kids or whatever?” But I’m like, “We stay together.” I was like going through all these options and that’s where I came to the conclusion of like, we have no idea what’s going to happen.
Kenyon No idea. I mean it wasn’t just sadness. It was pain that I saw. As a man, I want to fix it. I mean subconsciously, I want to put on the tool belt, I want to fix it, and be like, “There it is. Honey, look. I fixed it. No more issues.” But this is something I couldn’t fix.
I’ve said it to you then and I’ve said it many times since that because I believe so much in experiences and the fact that you as a woman can have an experience that as a man I can never have. I cannot create a human being inside my body and if you decided at any point whether it was then, today, or any time in the future that you feel that you have to have that experience as a human being that I would come from a place of love and compassion and say, “Yes, I am sad that our relationship is going to change, but I am so happy and excited for you because you know that you’re going to go and find that experience and have that experience and I would support you a hundred percent with love and compassion.
Stacie And I’ve never felt that deep movement inside of myself. And I don’t know if it will in the future because we’ve talked about this. We want to get married. I want to celebrate how amazing we are. But we have to know that this is clear or somewhat clear before we take that step.
Kenyon Yeah. It will never be a hundred percent.
Stacie I don’t think it will.
Kenyon It’s never going to be like, “Oh, that’s thing we used to talk about.” It’s the elephant in the room.
Stacie It is.
Kenyon Right? It’s the elephant in the room that’s the thing that’s like we could be watching a movie or you could see a photo of your sister and your niece and have a moment like, “Wait a minute. That’s a moment I won’t have because I’m choosing this path.” But what if I want to choose a different path? Or if I’m watching you and I’m questioning, “Is she having one of those moments?”
Stacie And just being able to communicate about it makes me feel so much better. So I don’t have to hold on inside and keep it in because that’s when the toothpaste cap happens when I’m holding it inside and I get the animosity and then all of a sudden, I’m like, “You have the toothpaste cap off!” I hate you because of that, but really it’s because of this deeper stuff. That’s totally off the table because we talk about it and you let me just be like say, “I’m kind of unsure. I don’t know.”
Stacie By not having my own, I think about the opportunity of how I can mother in other ways whether it’s to many sister’s kids or to my friends that need a motherly figure or to whoever, the kids when they have kids, but also the capacity that I have now for being able to give my love in other ways and be there for people in other ways instead of being tied down or being… you know like you give your life to these kids.
Kenyon Let me just say. You’re an amazing stepmother. I wish there was another term because I don’t feel like stepmom does just this to what you are in the family, but there’s not. So we’ll call you super stepmom. The toughest arc is us always recognizing that one day it could change about how we feel about having a different type of family dynamic.
Stacie Well, but we also get into our own ruts, right? I don’t feel connection in those moments, like brushing our teeth and I’m just like, “We haven’t even like sat down and cuddled or hugged or kissed or anything today.” When you live with someone, when you have kids with them, you have a dog, when you work in the same space, you break down all the romantic parts of the relationship and you’re like running a business together. That’s been a struggle for me where I try to spice things up a bit. That’s why I love creating dinners where it’s an experience for the both of us or we’re like, “We need a date night because it gets hard. I just want to make sure that doesn’t ever fade and then I start to get worried about like, “Oh, God! Is it fading? Oh, God! Is this the moment?” You know? And then I’m like spiral downward. And I think a lot of people do that.
Kenyon And then I come give you a hug.
Stacie No. That’s the moment when you walk by crunching on something and then. Do something to piss me off or that irritates me.
Stacie Like we fit so much stuff into a day and at the end of it, we’re both just exhausted and we don’t have time to look each other in the eyes and kiss and be all lovey-dovey and everything because we’re just like doing so much other shit. It’s hard.
– BREAK –
Kenyon Around the whole elephant in the room, that whole with the kids is the part where like you’re thirty now and let’s just say, okay, so they’re up to forty. So there’s ten years there where there’s that open window for you to potentially have a child. If I understand who you are and then it can just roll into, “Okay, I can’t physically have my own child, but now I need to adopt because I was adopted so I want to adopt. I think we’re in a great place. Financially, there are no issues, and the time in my life.” And I understand that that could come up too.
Stacie But that’s not the same thing.
Kenyon Look, I get it. I understand it.
Stacie Because I’ve already adopted your kids pretty much like into my heart. It’s just I didn’t sign documents.
Kenyon So I understand in a sense I could say, well, you know what? Committing to you is also understanding that that’s in a sense just say could be nearly lifelong because it even could get to the point in your life where you’re sad, you didn’t.
Kenyon But nobody knows the future, right?
Stacie I have no idea.
Kenyon Let’s say we have an amazing ten-year run from now, right? Now you’re forty. And then the connection is not there anymore for other reasons and we decide to part ways. Now is there an animosity because wait a minute, did I just wasted those ten years? I could have been with somebody who I could…
Stacie But I don’t feel like this is a waste.
Kenyon So the turning point said, what do we got, five years, the thirty-five? That’s where the decision has to be made.
Stacie I don’t know. I think about that. I don’t know. Again, how are we feeling today?
Stacie And isn’t that funny being in limbo? Most people would be like, “Oh God! It’s not perfect. I got to get out of this.” And we’re like, “We’re cool. Just being right here where we are.” Somebody said the other day like, “Well, if you don’t have your own kids, then who’s going to take care of you when you get old?” And I’m like, “If that’s the reason you’re having kids, it’s a really bad reason,”[Laughter]
Kenyon This conversation was amazing for me because I was able to sit and be a hundred connected to you. Now I say we show up every single day and we’re connected or we are giving our hundred percent. But in this moment, it was almost like a date where we got to be able to connect and chat uninterrupted and we didn’t talk about work and we didn’t talk about all the things that we have to do.
Stacie Yeah, definitely. And I love telling our story because I think it is unique and I also think it could maybe help other people who are in similar situations or who are in the scenario but could see it from a different perspective. It’s part of the bucket list life that you created. It’s like you share stories with people and you connect on a very human level.
STACIE AND KENYON BRAVELY EXPRESSED THEIR AWARENESS OF THEIR ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM. YET, THEY ARE BOTH FULLY AWARE AND MINDFUL OF THE UNANSWERED QUESTION REGARDING ADDITIONAL KIDS.
WAYLON LEWIS FOUNDED THE ONLINE MAGAZINE ELEPHANT JOURNAL, A GUIDE TO THE MINDFUL LIFE. WAYLON’S MISSION IS TO HELP CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER AND HAVE FUN ALONG THE WAY. A SELF-DESCRIBED “DHARMA BRAT,” I TALK WITH WAYLON ABOUT BUDDHISM, DATING, AND INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS.
AH One of the things I love about intimate partnership is its ability to humble us appropriately.
Waylon And inappropriately.
AH And inappropriately. So I want to ask you about your book
AH Things I would like to do with you.
Waylon I started the book when I was 39 and I was coming up on 40 and I was like, “Okay, Elephant is relatively successful. I have some ground underneath my feet.
Waylon So I have my life sort of together. And I was looking to what kind of relationship could make sense for someone like me but also I think for our generation, by our generation that’s obviously very nebulous term. But I think a lot has happened in the last hundred years in relationships. Marriages have gone from practically being arranged, just living them, they’re good or they’re bad…
Waylon Yeah. To really us, really only being willing to settle for romantic love, which last approximately eight weeks, and then you have to deal with reality. The Buddhist notion of love, which is mainly what I wrote about, is that love is sort of like a dance. It’s not a fixed solid thing. There’s a lot of movement. There’s space. It can get very sexy, it can get very hot. There’s an ebb and a flow to it and there’s some independence in it. And that the purpose of relationships…
AH So when you say independence in it, I imagine some space between.
Waylon Yeah. And that’s fun for a period of time when you’re in the hot, sweaty honeymoon of the soul, but you want some space too. You want to be able to hang out with your friends. You don’t want jealousy. You want to decide. So basically on a grounded level, I was thinking, how can I possibly say ‘I do’ and mean it for life?
Waylon Because what if my wife 10 years in and says, “I want to go be a ballerina in Paris.” Do you suppress that desire in her?
AH Well, how do you?
Waylon The book was written from an experiential point of view, not in expert’s point of view. I literally wrote about my relationships good and bad, happy and sad, and kind of took from each one what I could learn and what I had learned and kind of offer that up to others.
AH I remember when in my twenties I thought so much about intimate partnership. I was so looking forward to it in my life. And one of the things that ended up happening is that it became a clash of that dream and the reality of how challenging relationship could be at times. So I’m just curious about you. You’re not in a relationship, but you want to be. Do you like relationship?
Waylon We all have these huge ideas and romantic notions whether we’re guys or women, we have our ideas of what that is.
Waylon My experience in relationships being a workaholic entrepreneur for twelve years now, fourteen – So there was this quality in relationships where Waylon was kind of fun and Elephant was sort of a cool thing and then a couple of weeks in, you know reality and truths. And Waylon is actually the most boring person you could ever imagine.
AH He works too much?
Waylon Yeah. He’s on his laptop and that became the sort of rivalry between my work and most relationships, not all.
AH It was like the three of you.
Waylon Right. Yeah. And I would kind of have a disclaimer –
AH Sign this before we get in relationship.
Waylon Yeah. And I would say I really want to be a benefit to the world. Life is kind of short. And this is what’s most important to me quite honestly. And that could change but right now if you don’t want to be with someone who – and I would talk about how boring I was. Even in that first time when you’re getting together, we would have that conversation.
AH Wait. Wait. So let me just kind of jump in here because it’s interesting. Early on you’re telling these women who you’re dating when people don’t necessarily reveal their negative qualities, you’re saying, “Wait a minute. I know this is looking kind of good now, but I can be really boring at times.”
Waylon Yeah. A friend of mine actually had this idea to have like a dating contract where you would just say all your things and all your weird expectations or great expectations.
Waylon Before you made out, like right away or maybe right after you made out so you know you’re at least into it. If someone turns out to be a horrible kisser, maybe you don’t need to go through the contract.
Waylon I mean from an ex-girlfriend’s point of view, I’m an incredibly self-involved, boring workaholic person or I have been the last couple of years.
AH Yeah. So you know there’s so much research about people getting married later in life and I’m just sort of seeing it with you in the sense that oftentimes people get married and then they’re building their career, they’re in the midst of their marriage and then at some point there is this midlife crisis in the relationship where it’s a come to Jesus moment where you have now gotten to a place where Elephant Journal is successful and you can step away from it even a little bit enough. So it sounds like you’re creating space for this relationship.
Waylon Yeah, very much. I am very much like making the bed or tending the garden, whatever it is. Yeah, I think two things. The relationships I really learned that at least who I was meeting were rarely interested in seeing how the sausage was made, rarely interested in seeing me work literally seven days a week as many hours as I could be awake.
AH They were like, “I don’t want that Waylon.”
AH I want the other Waylon.
Waylon The later Waylon, yeah. They wanted the guy who’s going out into the mountains and like doing cool stuff, skiing and going hut to hut and rafting and like YOLOing around the world.
AH How’s a 42-year-old guy meet people in terms of possible partners?
Waylon Well, you’re going to get me into trouble. That was the other part of why I didn’t settle down was because dating is so fun. Dating has such a bad rap I feel like with most people. People were like, “I don’t want to date anymore. I want to just find somebody.”
AH It does. Dating sucks.
Waylon Dating is awesome.
AH So why do you like it?
Waylon It’s great because it has built-in freedom.
AH It’s like being a grandparent as opposed to being a parent?
Waylon Yeah, exactly. You’re the cool grandparent that kids visit for a weekend a year or whatever, however long.
AH And then you send them back to their…
Waylon Yeah, and you’re like, “I’m tired.”
Waylon Dating is like all of that honeymoon stuff and then it Thelma and Louise’s off the cliff and you’re like, “Okay, I guess that didn’t work out.”
Waylon And the art is like can we be friends. If you can maintain friendship after that, which is actually really not that hard, you just have to be respectful. You kind of have a community of sisters or something who have tried to teach you to grow up and given up on you, you know, but they care.
AH And they’re still willing to hang out with you.
Waylon Yeah. The friendship is really like that wonderful core of any relationship and if the sex or the honeymoon or whatever falls away at times even when you’re young that can fall away at times, you better have that friendship. You better enjoy going to do some mundane thing with them. You better respect their opinion and want to talk to them about your day.
AH So what about dating sites,
AH Have you given that a go?
Waylon Dating sites, here’s a tip for dating sites. They need like 500 photos.
AH Not just that one or two?
Waylon So there’s this process, at least for me, with the online dating where it’s like some sort of like snake oil salesman kind of thing. It’s like, “Come buy this gorgeous house,” and then you get there and looks like condemned or something. Maybe I’m old fashioned being an old man. I like meeting people in person. You’re picking up like 8,000 visual and emotional and manner cues in the person.
AH Do you put it out there to your friends to say, “Hey, you know of anybody?” So do you have friends who were trying to set you up?”
Waylon I don’t really. I’ve been set up a few times and it’s like online dating. I’m kind of picky, but I think most people the first five seconds they’re like, “No.”
AH So you know right away?
Waylon Yeah. But that probably is getting into the parts of me that women don’t like. I don’t like a lot of makeup, you know, I can’t stand – I don’t want to make out with makeup.
Waylon So right there you lose like 50% of all great women because so many women wear makeup.“ Just stop. You don’t need it. You’re beautiful.”
AH What do you notice about being a man and being vulnerable and being emotionally available while still being masculine that those two things aren’t opposite?
Waylon For sure. I was raised by a single mom. So I’ve always been choicelessly vulnerable and kind of romantic and emotional. I’ve been told by women to act like more of a man in my past.
AH No way!
Waylon So the patriarchy can come out of a woman’s mouth as well.
AH Act like more of a man?
AH In so many words?
Waylon Yeah. Don’t be emotional. Don’t be sad. Don’t be brokenhearted. But the fact is men have hearts and they break as well. If you’re okay with your own vulnerability, it’s actually really grounded and really powerful and comforting because a man who has to throw a football or beat someone up after expressing any kind of vulnerability accidentally for half a second is not strong.
AH I love that you just said that because what is traditionally seen as strong is actually a sign of weakness. It can be.
AH I mean I think you hit something there about being hurt.
Waylon Right. From a Buddhist point of view, that’s where the practice starts, that feeling of broken-heartedness. Pema Chödrön talks about is your bodhicitta. Bodhi means Buddha basically, is your awakened human nature. So that feeling of pain is in itself your heart waking up, your nature waking up, and it feels horrible and that’s why people will suppress it with alcohol or Netflix binges or whatever it is.
AH A lot of numbing. A lot of –
Waylon But if you can actually breathe through it, yoga style or whatever, running or meditation, then you can kind of relax with it. You can be okay with it.
AH Somehow we pathologize it or make it like, “Oh, that’s not okay or that’s bad.”
Waylon Well, because it feels bad. And there’s this whole positivity culture that drives me crazy where if it feels good, it must be good. And if it feels bad, it must be bad. Therefore, you should keep anything uncomfortable out. I call it gated community spirituality, you push everything out there, and basically all you do is you eat Twinkies and ride around on unicorns all day and that’s positivity.
You know, like grow up. You got to face the music, like in the immortal words of Michael Jackson. You got to face the man in the mirror once in a while or the woman.
AH So I have a question about Buddhism in relationships.
Waylon Yeah. The whole purpose of relationships from the Buddhist point of view is to be a benefit. I wrote a blog on Elephant called “Love is Selfish.” It started with this lady I was kind of hanging out with at the time. She said this beautiful thing that inspired me.
She said I don’t want to go on a permanent love picnic for my whole life. I want to actually do some stuff in the world. And that’s so attractive to me. Someone who sees love as part of a greater path of service and joy and benefit and then you die. So in the Buddhist point of view of relationships, a spouse or a partner is one of those aspects. I can’t remember how many there are. I think it’s like there are six aspects to a kind of a functioning enlightened life and spouse is just one of them.
Waylon Trungpa Rinpoche called it, “Your spouse or your love is the messenger for the phenomenal world, for the rest of the world to you.”
AH I love that. In working couples over the last fifteen years, in nearly every session I had with couples, one of the partners would turn to me and say, he or she says stuff to me and stuff happens with me that doesn’t happen in any other relationship I have.”
Waylon Everyone else likes me.
AH Yeah. Right. And I want to say, “Well, of course.” Because the nature of intimate partnership is that it will bring out that in you and in them and it will expose what’s not exposed in any other relationship, great friend or casual friend, it won’t take you there like intimate partnership does.
Waylon Well said. Well said. Yeah, there are so many moments in a relationship where I’m like, “Who am I? I am such an idiot.”
AH What’s happening?
Waylon So humbling. It’s like humbling doesn’t cover it. You’re like, “Wow! Okay, I have some work to do.”
Waylon I thought I was kind of cool and together. Things were okay.
AH Yeah. I mean that’s what I noticed as a therapist too and when I was single it was like, “Oh, I got this down. I know it.” And then I got in partnership and I was like, “Oh, I suck at this.”
Waylon Yeah. And we all do. And you can have a sense of humor and that again is that spaciousness. You don’t expect everything to be perfect and it’s like fix. There’s no humor. Again, this is a Buddhist thing. There’s a whole chapter in this Buddhist book I’m reading right now about humor. I love that. It’s like we don’t want to make humor a serious thing either, but we humor is really important. You got to have it.
AH So one more thing. You just got me going on this, single mom only child. Is she open to, like, does she want you to be married?
Waylon Yeah. I mean she’s given up a little bit. Everyone wants me to be married. But I think a year ago for the first time, she was like, “Oh, you’re not going to get married.” And I was like, “Mom! Of course I am.”
AH Don’t say that.
Waylon Yeah. Yeah. I’m just taking my time.
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