“If You Love Someone…DON’T set them free, but…”


“If you love someone, set them free.   If they come back, they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.”  Richard Bach

Not quite what I have in mind.  But almost.  Let me explain…


Seth Breidbart said:   “At Detcon, at a room party. Someone asked you for dating advice, and you told him to treat every woman as if every other woman he’d meet would ask her for advice about him.

Felicia (his current wife)  was sitting on the bed trying not to die laughing, because before she agreed to go out with me that’s exactly what she did. She asked three of my exes if they thought she should, and four of them said yes.


This is so cool (and yeah, I wonder about that math…).   We did one simple course on “The Soulmate Process” which is a branch off the “Lifewriting” tree: the assumption that the Hero’s Journey, examined, will reveal successful patterns of behavior.  That if you identify people who have achieved the goals you seek, if there is a consistent difference.  And it was by talking to hundreds of people who had been married over 20 years, and listening carefully to what they said, that this particular tactic arose.


Why?  Because so many people met their partners by being introduced by friends, often friends they had dated who had “friend zoned” them (and yes, I’m using this in the neutral sense: one person wants a romance, but the other wants only friendship.  Happens all the time, and mature people roll with it.)


But…there is also another way to look at it: It gives each partner a chance to evaluate the other BEFORE the relationship begins, based on opinions of other trusted people.   People who (you hope) will tell you the truth:  Is this person honest?  Do they have a temper? Are they loyal?   Do they bad-mouth their exes (fail to take responsibility) and on and on…all the way to “are they emotionally stable?”  “Are they possessive?”  “do they respect boundaries?”  and the all important “are they violent?”  “are they bat@#% crazy?”


Things that are good to know in advance.  (and yeah, the notion that people are doing this does keep you mindful about treating people well.  In a way, it is acknowledging that in days gone by, we usually married people deeply embedded within a web of family and social relations, often people who grew up in the same village or neighborhood, whose histories it was easy to determine)




I was shattered after my first marriage died.  Knew that I’d made mistakes, and vowed to correct them.   It was in that painful process, throwing aside everything I thought I knew, that it was politically “correct” to believe, and actually WATCHING human mated pairs as if I was an anthropologist from Mars, that I noticed the things that became the core of the “Soulmate Process.” It was in practicing them and getting a thunderously positive response (it was actually frightening how easy it was to attract women once I made a few tweaks.  Jeeze.) that I realized I’d touched something real, and that I was at a crossroads.  I could use what I’d found to be the biggest Playa I’d ever known…or I could channel that energy appropriately (given my stated values and desired outcomes)  and find a life partner.


And I clearly remember the night I got on my knees and prayed that I would find that partner, and expressed my willingness to wait for her as long as it took.


The next morning, I met Tananarive, and 2  1/2 days later we were effectively engaged.  Bonded.  Neither of us have ever looked back.


But…there was a problem. I trusted my instinct about her quality.  But I wasn’t totally certain she could trust hers about ME.   It wasn’t whether I was a “good person”, it was whether we were a match.  She was making a BIG decision.  Maybe the biggest of her life.  If I really, really loved her, I would want her to have all the information she needed to know for sure.  How could I do that…?


A plan occurred to me. At the time, I lived in Vancouver, Washington, and she lived in Miami. Our social circles didn’t overlap, so there was little help there. But she was doing a West Coast tour for her novel MY SOUL TO KEEP, and we decided I’d drive down to San Francisco, and drive her up to Vancouver to spend some time together.


It was a great trip, driving up the 101 along the Pacific Coast.  When we got to Vancouver the game really began. At the time I was separated from Nicki’s mom, and we lived in a side-by-side duplex, so that when Nicki came home from school she would come to my side of the house, and when Toni came home from work she’d go over there.  We were on very good terms, and I often ate dinner over there.


Well…when T and I arrived, to my absolute delight, Nicki greeted her with a great big warm hug. Wow. I hadn’t set THAT up.  And I’ve never exactly asked Nicki why.  I suspect it was because my little girl knew I’d been unhappy, and now Daddy was happy, so she assumed T was a nice person, and was grateful and happy to meet her.   But…all I know is that I went “Whoa!”


But the next thing was what I HAD planned.  I walked T over to Toni’s side of the house, sat the three of them at the living room table, and said:   “You guys talk about whatever you want” and LEFT for two hours.  To this day, I don’t know what was discussed.


But here was my thinking: this could only be good for T. 

  1. She would get a sense of what attracts me in women by meeting Toni.
  2. She would sure as hell get to know what Toni thought of ME.
  3. She would also probably think “this guy is confident!”  and that is NEVER a bad thing.
  4. IF there was bad mouthing from Toni, then no matter WHAT that would be a warning sign.  If she was telling the truth: run. If she was lying, that calls my judgement into serious question, both in terms of marrying the wrong woman, and in terms of being over-confident and putting them in the same room.
  5. She could, if she wished, get a sense of how and why things had gone wrong, a chance to make her decision about whether similar things might happen to her.
  6. And…there were doubtless things I never thought of, and maybe even things I won’t say publicly.


But no matter what…I felt that whatever happened in that conversation WOULD BE GOOD FOR T. It would allow her to make an informed decision, and I DESPERATELY wanted that.  I knew from the first 12 hours I was with T that she was exceptional, a woman of intelligence, beauty, skill, and power.  She had her own destiny.  I would have cut my arm off before voluntarily doing ANYTHING to harm her, or take from her one atom of her potential, or do a damned thing to diminish her spirit. No.  ONLY if I could be good for her and help her reach her destiny did I want her to make the decision to be with me.


Otherwise?  I would have gladly turned her into a Little Sister, shared everything I could about the writing business, and been as much friend and confidant as she needed.  Why?  Because due to the “Soulmate Process”  I was 100% confident that if I was a woman, I’d want to be with me.   And have no reason to believe I’m all that unique in terms of values, actions, energies, and direction. Which meant that yeah, I’d find someone.  After all, the MORNING AFTER I had made my decision, I’d met T.  Life was going to be great.  No need at all to obsess.


Would it have hurt if we hadn’t worked out?   Sure. But less than the eventual pain of a shattered life and precious lost time.  I can handle pain.  No problem. I ain’t made of glass.  And much less than the guilt of harming someone I already loved.   So the conclusion was: if I loved her, I had to be prepared to let her go. 


I had to be WILLING to lose her, in order to know she was mine.


How does this all sort out?

  1. Be willing to let your intended meet your friends and family. If you are really courageous, be willing to let them meet your exes.  If not, ask yourself why?  What does that say about your judgement?  Or your perception of the Intended’s judgement?
  2. Be insistent about meeting your intended’s friends and family.  And Exes.   If they put up barriers or bad-mouth them, factor that in to your decision making. Be careful: this is your life, and your heart is owed to no one.


What if it is IMPOSSIBLE to meet friends, family (and especially) Exes?  Be cautious.  Let a caution light burn in the back of your mind.  Pay extra careful attention to how they treat children, animals, waiters and service people.    Listen to what they say about their exes, and remember they are talking about THEIR judgement.  Note if they tell crazy stories about family, and ask if you want to be in that web.  Pay extra attention to how they behave when stressed: tired, broke, intoxicated, whatever.


Don’t rush into things. And if you do…and things go wrong…it was NOT their fault.  YOU  are the one who misjudged. They were just being who they are. You MUST take responsibility (literally “the ability to respond”) for your actions and decisions, or you are SCREWED.  If you cannot take that adult responsibility, you should not be having sex.

Yeah, I said it.


I’ve used this with same-sex friends as well.  I remember being at a guy’s house once, and something seemed…a little off.  So when he was out of the room, I FLINCHED at his dog…and the dog cowered.   Oh crap. I learned later than he was a rage-aholic who had abused his kids.

I remember being at another guy’s house, and I flinched at HIS dog. The pooch stared at me as if I was crazy, and just panted.    Love that guy.

Just some thoughts about a sliver of the SOULMATE PROCESS, how and why it works, and how you can apply it.  More to come…





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