Conscious Relationships: What Is It?

When I was young, I used to imagine my perfect man and intimate relationship. He knew me o well I did not have to tell him what I needed… he simply knew. And he was so loyal and faithful, I did not even think he could hurt me or let me down in any way. And he was so affectionate and verbally communicative, I just knew how much he really loved me … And then I grew up and experienced Real Life!!!

The Cold Hard Reality of Relationships

The childhood romantic dream often becomes shattered and annihilated through life’s all too real experiences in intimate relationship. So many people are then left bitter. They sometimes blame their ex-partners for destroying their lives and devastating their hearts decades after separation. Some people never recover from some relationship breakups, other try to piece their lives together and prepare themselves for their next relationship. Some people turn their backs on intimate relationships altogether and decide to live a peaceful life alone.

The drive and motivation for relationship is extremely strong for a lot of people. It is not so much a consciously thought out drive, but rather more like an emotional magnetism. Rationally, a lot of people acknowledge the difficulties and challenges of intimate relationship, especially after they have tried it a least once or twice. Healthy relationships are found to be generally positive for people’s mental and physical health, however, unhealthy relationships can have the opposite effect. But it is often not reason that drives us… instead it is ‘chemistry’ (or maybe karma)! And the casually? Everyone, especially our hearts!

The Real Reason Why Relationships Don’t Work

As hard as it is to acknowledge… the reason our intimate relationships often fail is not because our ex-partners are idiots, but rather because working through unconscious patterns is legitimately difficult! Relationships commonly bring up emotional wounds and reactivity from childhood that we thought we had outgrown. As a couples counsellor, it is amazing how couples behave towards each other that they would not otherwise be seen acting dead towards anyone else in the same way. It is like all normal respectful ways of relating to other adults goes out the window when you are sleeping with that person.

In a previous blog on unconscious relationships, I described how childhood patterns and emotional memories can keep us bound in unconscious painful dynamics. I also explained how these unconscious reactions usually begin to surface in the second stage of the relationship. Click here to read more about unconscious relationships. The answer to escaping from these unconscious relationship dynamics is to become conscious of our own emotional patterns. This is the art of conscious relationship.

Conscious Relationships

Conscious relationships do not guarantee that a relationship will last. However it is a conscious practice that significantly improves the chances that it will last or at least will be respectful. It does not mean that unconscious patterns and emotional memories will not raise their heads… they will! What it does mean is that there is a process that people can work through their emotions and gain self-awareness. In turn, this increases the chances that a couple will not separate because they could not work through the pain and aggravation of their patterns being triggered by their relationship.

Conscious Relationship is first a process of knowing thy self! The more aware of how our childhood conditioning results in our reactions to current life events, the more we can take our power back from the patterns. Mindfulness practice is a great way of discovering what these patterns are about. If we witness our thoughts, feelings and actions we gain clarity of ourselves and our choices. In conscious relationship, the trick is to communicate your awareness of your own patterns with your partner rather than believe your partner is the cause of your pain and then blame them for it. This last sentence is the key to conscious relationships… so read it again slowly and carefully…

In conscious relationship, the trick is to communicate your awareness of your own patterns with your partner, rather than believe your partner is the cause of your pain and then blame them for it.

Over the next few blogs I am going to cover a range of different topics about conscious relationships. These blogs include:

Conscious relationship is a beautiful process of self awareness in context and the reflection of another. It is in intimate relationship that we can learn our toughest lessons, and that we have the opportunity to look at ourselves with the eyes of truth, where before we wold not dare.



How could your intimate relationship benefit from increasing self awareness with your partner?

10 Responses to “Conscious Relationships: What Is It?”

  • Fantastic post Vanessa. You hit the nail right on the head to use well worn cliche.

    A conscious, connected relationship is the only only worth having.


  • I have one question: Is the commitment to stick together stronger in conscious relationships?: I mean, are the couples more conscious also about the sticking together?

    • Hi Armi, that is a great question! There would be several parts to it. In conscious relationship, each partner is working through their own patterns and are more mindful of there reactions and what is happening within themselves. If the shared intention in the intimate relationship is a solid commitment then they would be in a better position to actualize that commitment. A lot of people in unconscious relationship think they want to commit, but would rarely openly discuss what commitment means in their relationship (and there are many versions of commitment) and would not know how to “do” commitment. They would be unaware of the “inner process” that commitment may demand in their relationship.

      I love this question and will write more on commitment in conscious relationship later in the blog series.

      Have a fantastic day
      Lots of love

  • I enjoy your blogging. You are a very good writer!
    When are you publishing your book??

  • Hi Vanessa, that last sentence is definitely key, but I find it helps immensely to have a partner who understands this principal as well.

    I find it difficult to remain mindful, or consciously aware, all of the time, and it’s those times when I slip into non-awareness that are the most crucial to have a partner who doesn’t “buy my bull****”, that keeps our relationship healthy and happy.

    I also have to be mindful when my partner is having a moment of non-awareness, and realise that it’s “not about me”, and just have love and compassion and understanding for what she is currently going through.

    Keep up the great posts…

    Cheers, Wayne

    • Hi Wayne, I really appreciate your comment and you are so right! Eckhart Tolle also talks about this concept when he talks about pain bodies in intimate relationships. As you have said, if each partner is practicing conscious awareness and mindfulness in their relationship, they are witnessing their own patterns and reactions emerge, and they can pick up when their partner slips into unconscious reaction (which we all do). Often one will become unconscious and if the other can remain conscious, they can help by being in a loving space and simply maintaining their conscious awareness, and visa versa. What a great symbiotic process and enrichment of both mindfulness practice and intimate relationship!!!

      Loved your comment!

      Lots of love

  • Great article, Vanessa. In any relationship it’s important to be self aware and to “stay awake”. Noticing the impact of our words & actions. Naturally, we’ll dip in and out of that state, however this is the “work” required for successful partnership.

    I love this quote by Kim Eng [Relationships – True Love and the Transcendence of Duality] … “As long as I have the idea in my head “I have a relationship” or “I am in a relationship”, no matter with whom, I suffer. This I have learnt.

    With the concept of “relationship” come expectations, memories of past relationships, and further personally and culturally conditioned mental concepts of what a “relationship” should be like. Then I would try to make reality conform to these concepts. And it never does. And again I suffer. The fact of the matter is: there are no relationships. There is only the present moment, and in the moment there is only relating.

    How we relate, or rather how well we love, depends on how empty we are of ideas, concepts, expectations.”

    Plus, the quote from Candice Bergen, “I used to believe that marriage would diminish me, reduce my options. That you had to be someone less to live with someone else when, of course, you have to be someone more.”

    Cheers, Thea

    • Hi Thea, great comment!!!

      I Love the way you phrase “The fact of the matter is: there are no relationships. There is only the present moment, and in the moment there is only relating.” How beautiful and how true!!!

      Have a great day
      Lots of love

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