Conscious Loving 101

July 13 2021

The following is a (long) set of quotes from the book Conscious Loving by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. To me, this is a starting point—the “ante up” to any relationship that stands a good, strong chance of success over time—and moving towards growth and not towards stalling out. I find it surprising that this does not constitute “common currency” among most people; but, well… it does not. Anyway, here it is.


This is the stage the songs are written about. It’s wonderful, energetic, humming with excitement. It’s when everything the other person does is magic, and your cells are a-buzz with the limitless possibility of life. For years your unconscious mind has been assembling expectations about what it would take to make you happy. Finally you have found someone who fits all your pictures. Sure, you may overlook a few flaws, but you’re not in a mood to be reasonable. You’re high! Your heart is pumping endorphin-charged blood around your body, and your reproductive system is saying, “This is it!” Someone asked at a workshop how long this stage lasts, and we replied, “Anywhere from six minutes to six months.”

The Inevitable

As a result of the closeness you experience in the romance phase, unpleasant parts of your personality will begin to emerge. You learned certain problem feelings and patterns in earlier close relationships, and the closeness you are experiencing now is bringing them to the surface. This is inevitable; you have no choice. Meanwhile, the unpleasant parts of your partner are beginning to emerge. Later a choice point occurs, which will determine the destiny of the relationship.

This includes:

  • Trust issues
  • Authority issues
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Long-repressed feelings
  • Sexual issues

The Choice Point

In this stage the key choice occurs, which determines whether the relationship will become co-committed or will sink into the mire of co-dependence. We will call the “good” one choice A. Here’s where you are: You have gotten close to another person, and now your problem issues are coming to the surface. If you take choice A, you will inquire into the source of those issues, take full responsibility for them, and tell the full truth about them to your partner. You will learn to see and love the previously unloved parts of yourself that are emerging. With the liberated energy from seeing and communicating the truth of your patterns and feelings, you will ride to a new, higher level of love and intimacy. That’s choice A.

Choice B is the one thing we do that creates co-dependence. In choice B, the personality issues emerge, but you keep them hidden. You don’t look at them, and you don’t tell the truth about them. Instead, you withhold, withdraw, and project.

Withholding is when you keep inside you things that should be expressed. You swallow your anger. You want something and fail to ask. You have a guilty secret and don’t confess.

  • Withdrawal is when you pull back from contact. You quit reaching out. You are lonely but you turn down invitations to go out. Someone touches you and you turn away.
  • Projection is when you attribute to another person something that is actually going on at an unconscious level within yourself. An example of projection: You are sexually attracted to another person but do not tell your partner about it. For some strange reason it starts looking like your partner is sexually attracted to others. If you want to watch choice B at work, turn on a soap opera.

They then go on to discuss what Choice A will give you, which is moving towards co-commitment, as opposed to codependence (or retreat).

Built with Hugo

© Alexander Feller 2018