Temenos Journal II

June 6, 2013

On Relationships and Entwinement

Filed under: Spiritual Activism,Temenos Journal — by Genie Webster @ 4:13 pm
Tags: ,

monkey love

What differentiates a relationship from a love affair or a friendship?

You know you are in a relationship when some aspect of your life is entwined
with another person’s. (Thanks to my friend and fellow writer John Haynes for the
perfect word — entwined — to describe this condition.)

For the purposes of this exploration, let’s set aside (for now) the business
relationship — such as coworkers, vendor/customer, teacher/student, doctor/patient, boss/employee, etc. The people involved in business relationships are indeed entwined, but their agreements are mostly spoken or written contracts with one another.

For the purposes of exploring this idea, let’s think about relationships where there
are no contracts, just entwinements.

If you are lovers with someone, then you connect with one another when you want
to, and leave when you want to. The same applies to friends,

If you are in a relationship with someone, then your Saturday nights (for
example) are entwined with theirs. Your holidays and vacations are entwined with
theirs. Perhaps your finances and book collections are also entwined with theirs.

If you are in a relationship with someone, you celebrate holidays and birthdays together. You call because you are expected to call. You feel obligated sometimes. There are expectations.

You don’t necessarily have to be romantically involved to be in an entangled relationship. I have a friend who denies he is in a relationship with a woman who calls him nearly every day… sometimes at 1:00 am…  and with whom he goes out regularly. She depends on him for companionship. He feels obligated sometimes, but he goes along with her. They are in a relationship because there are expectations, and an ongoing social entanglement.

Relationships can be healthy and can be a source of great joy, spiritual growth,
and comfort in a sometimes unfriendly world. But when relationships are not
healthy, they can kick yo ass.

I’ve been in four long-term relationships in my life, each one lasting about
five years. In one case I was the dumper and in the other three cases I was the
dumpee. In all cases I had to take some time to recover in between

Some people hop from one relationship to another, never pausing to assess the
damages and repair whatever has been broken or weakened. Some people come out of a broken relationship bitter, jaded, and with low self esteem. There is spiritual and emotional work to be done — without the distraction of a new relationship — before you can possibly make a responsible and clear choice about a new partner. In fact, if you are broken or unhealthy yourself, you are likely to attract a broken and unhealthy partner.

Everyone goes through phases in life when they are wounded from a big loss or a
health problem or any other aspect of human suffering. Hopefully, if we are in a
healthy relationship when hard times hit, our partner has the strength to pick
up the slack and hold us up while we are knocked down. That is one benefit of
being emotionally entwined with a strong and whole partner. Where relationships
fail is when both partners are wounded, or weakened, at the same time. Then the
relationship can endure only through a miracle, or by pure faith alone.

Relationships are like anything else organic: They have their seasons. They
start off in the springtime of the honeymoon infatuation, and often make it
through the sunshine of summer. But things start drying out and dying in the
autumn, and they appear to be dead in winter. And autumn and winter are
inevitable in the wheel of life and in the course of a relationship.

The trick to sustaining a relationship through the wintertime is to prepare for
it and to simply endure it. Prepare for it by keeping photos and memories of
summertime happiness and storing those up to help rekindle the flame in winter.
That way, when you think things are dead, you can endure by having the wisdom
and faith to know that it is only winter, not the end.

Of course, if one person decides to kill a relationship, and their mind is made
up about it, there is no hope of sustaining the relationship, so you might as
well let it go.

I have come to the conclusion that it is our responsibility, as adults, to find
out where we are wounded and to tend to those wounds before bringing them into a
new relationship. And if you fall in love with someone and want to enter into a
relationship with a partner who is wounded or weak or unhealthy, encourage them
to heal and get whole… before you get entwined. Ultimately, that is the most
loving and the most human thing we can do for one another.


  1. Excellent, excellent post, Genie. Thank you for posting it. Most valuable, I felt, was your advice to heal wounds before taking them into a relationship. We should each own our own wounds, I agree, and not make them a part of a partnership or relationship or marriage or affair…or whatever label you want to place on it when two people are, as you said, “entwined.”

    What do you say about two people who are in a relationship but miserable…and stay in the relationship anyway? I’ve never been the type to stay in a miserable relationship, but I know people who are. Miserable, hateful toward one another.. frequently fighting…suspicious…checking up on the other one….never saying anything good about the other person….even vilifying the other sometimes. I’ve not been able to figure this one out. Why even be in a relationship if it is not fulfilling and happy-making? What’s the point? I don’t get it.

    Comment by Stacy Alexander, Writer/Artist — June 6, 2013 @ 4:22 pm |Reply

    • I would say that they are probably both miserable and unhappy as individuals… like attracts like. It’s doubtful that the relationship itself causes the unhappiness. If a person is unhappy and distrustful as an individual, then they will find a partner that reflects that back to them so they can blame someone else for their unhappiness.

      Comment by Genie Webster — June 6, 2013 @ 4:30 pm |Reply

  2. Yes, now that you mention it, I don’t think I know anyone who is involved in a miserable relationship who I could categorize as being happy and whole, with or without the relationship…. so I suppose you’re right.

    Comment by Stacy Alexander, Writer/Artist — June 6, 2013 @ 4:33 pm |Reply

  3. Very nice Genie.

    Comment by cathryn kapp — June 6, 2013 @ 4:45 pm |Reply

  4. […] On Relationships and Entwinement (temenos2.wordpress.com) […]

    Pingback by After Making Love | Primal Night's — July 11, 2013 @ 12:28 pm |Reply

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