Is wanting a new romantic relationship okay?

Question: I have been divorced for a long time, but now find myself wanting a partner. Yet I believe the Course is telling me that I think I want a "special" relationship because my ego needs a diversion, something else to keep me from focusing my attention on the truth about myself. I feel that by even entertaining the idea of a new relationship, I'm delaying my progress along the path that the Course sets forth. What do you think about this?

Answer: My short answer is that yes, it's quite okay. True, the Course does have some pretty negative things to say about special relationships. They are "the ego's most boasted gift" (T-16.V.3:1), the shiniest lure in the ego's tackle box. Yet interestingly, the Course never tells us to give up special relationships. Instead, it always tells us that these relationships can be transformed by the Holy Spirit into holy relationships—relationships in which two people are joined in a truly common purpose. A few examples:

Everyone on earth has formed special relationships, and although this is not so in Heaven, the Holy Spirit knows how to bring a touch of Heaven to them here. (T-15.V.8:1)

I have said repeatedly that the Holy Spirit would not deprive you of your special relationships, but would transform them. And all that is meant by that is that He will restore to them the function given them by God. The function you have given them is clearly not to make happy. But the holy relationship shares God's purpose, rather than aiming to make a substitute for it. (T-17.IV.2:3-5)

The Holy Spirit knows no one is special. Yet He also perceives that you have made special relationships, which He would purify and not let you destroy. However unholy the reason you made them may be, He can translate them into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him. You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain, if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His. All the guilt in it arises from your use of it. All the love from His. (T-15.V.5:1-6)

In His function as Interpreter of what you made, the Holy Spirit uses special relationships, which you have chosen to support the ego, as learning experiences that point to truth. Under His teaching, every relationship becomes a lesson in love. (T-15.V.4:5-6)

Your special relationship will be a means for undoing guilt in everyone blessed through your holy relationship. (T-18.II.7:1)

Thus, instead of dumping special relationships, what the Course wants us to do is turn them over to the Holy Spirit so He can transform them into holy relationships. And the Course is very clear that holy relationships are the source of our salvation: "In this world, God's Son comes closest to himself in a holy relationship" (T-20.V.1:1).

The above quotes seem to be speaking mainly of already-existing relationships being transformed. What about new relationships? These too can be placed under the Holy Spirit's care. In fact, the Course tells us that the Holy Spirit actually arranges all relationships. He acts as a kind of divine matchmaker who pairs people up when the time is right, precisely because they have the potential for a holy relationship:

There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship. They are ready for each other. (M-3.1:6-8)

Of course, a holy relationship is not necessarily a romantic one—it can be a relationship between work colleagues (like Helen and Bill), teacher and pupil, family members, friends, etc. But I do think romantic partnerships are included.

To conclude: I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the desire for a new romantic relationship. I do think that our motives are almost always mixed, so there could certainly be some ego mixed in there. Given the dark things the Course says about our attraction to special relationships, there may actually be a lot of ego in there. Yet even so, it could very well be that the feelings you're having are a genuine prompting from the Holy Spirit. It could be that He has someone in mind for you already, someone with whom you have the potential for a holy relationship. I would suggest purifying your intent with Course practice as much as you can, praying about the issue, and being open to the possibility of a partner entering your life.

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