Intimacy prompt

Intimacy, Boundaries, and the Self

Elle Beau ❇︎
Feb 21 · 6 min read

I found all three in a new way when I risked everything and created Home

Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

I was talking to a friend the other day and the subject of finding and creating Home came up. I have a house that I love, I have a life that I’ve long shared with a husband and a son, but the search for Home is greater than just the traditional Norman Rockwell manifestations of that word. What is Home to me has also shifted in the past several years to mean new things and to include other people. How I relate to myself and the Home within has shifted as well.

Some of that comes from going more deeply into what I truly want and need, and some of it is related to standing firm in boundaries — even some that conventional society says I have no right to maintain. Maintaining them anyway is a part of how I create an authentic life and true sense of intimacy with myself and others.

A few years back I went through a crucible, a trial by fire wherein I had to learn to trust myself and no-one else. I had to listen to my own inner voice and my own soul in the face of zero support for that. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and also ultimately one of the most beneficial because I learned to trust myself on an entirely different level. I also created a new level of intimacy with my deepest self.

What set this all in motion was that I met someone other than my husband that I realized I loved as well. I didn’t so much fall in love with him as I peeled back the layers of societal indoctrination to accept that I had strong feelings for this person, whom I’d only recently met, but who I was deeply attached to on more than a romantic or sexual level. It was like unexpectedly coming across a long-lost member of my family and finding him again, all the while, still committed to and loving my husband James as well.

I won’t say there is no precedent for this, because there is, even though I didn’t know that when it first happened. It’s called a Twin Flame relationship, and it is a well-documented dynamic with a lot of specific features which perfectly fit our situation, but it certainly didn’t fit into any scenario that I was familiar with at that point because I’d yet to learn about Twin Flames. It was only years later that I could finally say, “Oh, that’s what’s been going on. This is a thing. We aren’t the only ones.” But because I didn’t know about any of that when it was first happening, it took me by complete surprise and reordered my life in ways that dismantled much of what I’d always believed about love and commitment. It was a very disruptive and scary time.

However, in the process, I learned to trust myself in a new and profound way. I found greater intimacy with both myself, and with my partners. I learned to hold the boundaries that my soul demanded, in spite of “reasonable” challenges to them from consensus reality and society at large. And to do this, I had to risk everything that was important to me — my marriage, my family, the life that I had always known.

James did largely support my relationship with Nat, since we had recently opened up our marriage, but as the depth of my feelings become more and more apparent, it grew more difficult for him to deal with the fact that I loved someone else besides him. Sex with other people was one thing, but love and commitment were another.

“Every time we see him, your feelings seem to deepen,” James said to me once, although I told him that this actually wasn’t the case.

“It’s not possible for me to care about Nat more than I already do,” I told him in reply, which wasn’t really the kind of reassurance that James was looking for. “What you are seeing is just me coming to terms with that, and allowing myself more and more to experience what is already there.” How did I know this? It was just a truth that was clear to me, even though it didn’t really make sense by conventional metrics.

To his credit, James tried to understand, and so did Nat, who was also feeling overwhelmed by strong emotions that he hadn’t planned on having either. In some ways, we were all in this together, and in many ways, I felt like I was the only one who just knew in my gut that it was right. Some days, I felt like I was dragging them both, kicking and screaming, into a vision that only I could see. It was a lonely time, but also an exciting one, as a new life was being born.

As I told my friend, “I really, really didn’t want to lose my marriage, and I’m very grateful that I didn’t, but it got to the point where the choice became clear. If I tried to go back and do what I was “supposed to” by societal metrics, I was going to have to sacrifice my own Self to do it. I knew what was calling my name, and it turned out to be the right thing not just for me, but for all of us. But before that got vindicated, I had to walk in the dark a lot, with only my own sense of truth to guide me.”

Not very many other people in my world knew about all this as it was first happening, but the undertone from the few that did, and from my own internalized societal monitors, was pretty clear. “You’re breaking your vows, hurting your husband, thinking you can have your cake and eat it too. It’s just not done, and you are crazy to think you can pull this off without destroying everything and everyone.”

And yet, my soul told me to hang on, and that was the voice that was the strongest. There were days when I wondered if I was fooling myself, and many, many days where I had fear and doubt, but whenever I turned inward, the same truth was always there. This can work. I can have a deep commitment to two different loves. There were more ups and downs to come, both in my relationship with James, but also in my relationship with Nat as well, but for the past several years, it’s been good — for all three of us.

James is my life partner, my family, but Nat is my life partner and my family too, albeit in a slightly different way than James is. Life with them both in it is where Home is for me even though we don’t all live together. And having come through this crucible together, we now have a deeper sense of closeness, trust, and intimacy. There is nothing that I can’t tell them. There is nothing that I have to hide or keep pretense around, and they view each other as a kind of extended family as well.

Occasionally there are still places that feel a bit vulnerable or that need to be worked through, but because I now trust myself even more than I trust James and Nat, I let my own inner knowing guide me around them. There are still places where there’s room to strengthen my boundaries and to continue to give myself what I truly need, but having gone through the fire on that once before, I believe that I have what it takes to keep building that muscle.

Home isn’t what the world tells me it is, it’s the one that I co-create with those I love. It’s also the place inside me that listens deeply to my own voice. Five years ago, all I had been before and all I had invested in was dismembered, but eventually, it got remembered in a new and more powerful way. And for that, I am truly grateful, but in many ways, I have myself to thank.

I was the one who believed in myself, and in this atypical relationship when no-one else did, including the other people who were involved in it. I was the one who put everything on the line to follow the direction of my soul. When I went with what was calling my name and felt like Home, it resulted in a win-win scenario. Even though it felt like it was going to bring destruction — it didn’t, it actually built a new Home for us all — one that is filled with loving intimacy. Whew! What a ride…

© Copyright Elle Beau 2021
Elle Beau writes on Medium about sex, life, relationships, society, anthropology, spirituality, and love. If this story is appearing anywhere other than Medium.com, it appears without my consent and has been stolen.

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Elle Beau ❇︎

Written by

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

Queen’s Children

Welcome to wisdom, diversity, beauty and love. Goddess connection, spirituality, politics and action for women, celebration of beauty and diversity are the various themes

Elle Beau ❇︎

Written by

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

Queen’s Children

Welcome to wisdom, diversity, beauty and love. Goddess connection, spirituality, politics and action for women, celebration of beauty and diversity are the various themes

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