How to integrate integrity, authenticity and freedom in an intimate relationship?

Written by Sophie Nusselder

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I am 35 and single. Around me people seem to find life goals as finding a suitable partner, marry, buying a home, have kids. When I tell them I am single after having a five-year relationship, they sometimes look apologetic. Some of them politely are comforting me with things like “you will find the one”. The truth is that these five years truly were one of the most beautiful and difficult years of my life. It was a rocky, pretty dramatic long distance relationship, with many highs and lows. There was a deep fascination and admiration for one another’s personality, but our daily lives were undoable combining. We tried and tried but had to admit we worked too hard and had to let go.

After a few weeks on my own, I realised how lonely and disconnected I had felt. My whole system had been focused on my partner. I almost fully forgot about my own needs. I had painted myself a picture in my mind of “making this work” for way too long. It was a disappointment and a valuable life lesson. My ego didn’t like my newfound freedom at first. I felt fears overcoming me: rejection, loneliness and incompleteness. Now, more than two years later, I thank my intuition for having build up the strength to break free and rediscover myself. The yoga journey I had already started years ago continued and helped me through the transformation I was experiencing. I also did a ten-day Meditation Vipassana course, which helped me realise the only important relationship in life, is the relationship with the present moment.

The way of the superior man After some months I started “dating” and also experienced the whole left/right swipe hype on the Tinder App. I have met some interesting people on my way and had a passionate connection that fizzled out because our wants and needs weren’t aligned.

I love to philosophise about intimate relationships, and especially a conscious one. On one of the dates a funny thing happened. When I said goodbye to my lover I slightly felt a feeling of attachment coming up, when I found myself, tenderly cuddling him. Uupppsssss should this be the first sign of loosing my individuality, strength and freedom? Nooo….I didn’t wanted to fall in my old pattern. I shared this with him and he advised me to read a book of American writer David Deida, who wrote “The way of a superior man”. The book is about facing men and women or, as Deida might say it, those with “masculine” essences and those with “feminine” essences in these modern times.

The book was launched in 1997. It’s a relative oldie, with a contemporary subject. Originally written for man who want to live a life of integrity, authenticity and freedom and also very suitable for woman who wants to live and enjoy life same-same! Who was in for reading this? Yessss! Me!

What is the ‘something’ we are we searching for? We all spend our lives searching for “something”. Men, and women, in general, approach this “something” in different ways.

According to Deida women, or people with more of a “feminine” sexual essence, search for LOVE. When “the feminine” aspect of a woman’s nature is not filled with real love from a real man (and how often does that happen?), they often then move on to “man-substitutes” – they fill themselves instead with soap operas, fantasies, romance novels, food, worry, cleaning the house or a conversation. Men, or people with a “masculine” sexual essence, search fundamentally for FREEDOM. Their fundamental drive is the dynamic behind football, sports, war movies, philosophy, sex, beer, cars etc. These fundamentally different strategies between men and women, when not understood, breed a swarm of inevitable misunderstandings and conflicts. Both aspects of love and freedom are essentially a state of fulfilment, pursued and experienced in different ways.

Living your mission Besides this, Deida talks about something we all have to live. We have to live our personal “Mission”. According to positive psychologists, this is what you love to do (your strengths) with something that is meaningful to you.

Evaluating this, I can say I am a 100% self-sufficient girl. My work fulfils my heart & soul, I have friends that I love like family and financially I am independent of a partner. I am super happy with myself and in fact don’t need anyone to feel complete. I am complete anyway. Still, I would like to have an intimate relationship. Why? Because I love to be intimate with a soul who’s spirit inspires me!

So..what could be tools to integrate integrity, authenticity and freedom in an intimate relationship?

Here are some ideas, inspired with input of David Deida

1.Intention of growth  Once, one of my teachers used the a seed of a beautiful flower as metaphor for any relationship. We can neglect or mishandle that seed, in which case we will never enjoy the glory of that plant in full bloom. Or, we can take that seed, water it, feed it, and care for it until that seed becomes a strong plant, blossoms, and makes gorgeous flowers with a beautiful scent. So…day to day, continue to learn from each other and grow together. Discuss goals and desires for your relationship. Acknowledge anniversaries and celebrate your love.

2.Take responsibility for your own wounds We all have wounds from the past. These will inevitably be triggered, especially in a relationship. Feelings of abandon, trap, rejection, overlooking and any other feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person will arrive. These issues are not caused by your partner but caused by your own beliefs. Dysfunctional patterns will dissolve, but only when we take personal responsibility for them.

3. Keep on spending time alone

It’s super healthy to have different interests and independence is so good for both of you. Personally I experienced and have seen around me too often people give up a favourite hobby, sport, etc in a relationship. I think this is so important to keep on doing. Cause, what happens down the road when one or both partners realize that they are terribly out of balance and not taking time for themselves? Relationship stress, miscommunication and/or emotional pain.

4. Communicate your wants and needs

Make room to feel anything. Be honest, reveal parts of yourself that are hard to share, and let your partner do the same. Telling your partner what you like/need can go a long way towards making everyone happier and more satisfied. You don’t have to please your partner. Don’t be afraid your partner will stop loving you. Instead: create room to express your personal needs, feelings and fantasies.

5. Create rituals for love

Physical contact is essential for achieving and maintaining a sense of connectedness. So touch and kiss each other each and every day. Do what you love to do together. Paint, make music, do yoga, go dancing, go to a concert, go biking in nature, take a long walk on the beach, or …???


I think real love; real connexion has to come from a place of not needing or wanting, no judgment and no expectation. I do not want to make my next boyfriend become my “want or need” nor I want to be this person’s ‘want or need’. I simply want to enrich someone’s life by being who I am and have someone enrich mine by sharing the present moment. Love, ultimately, is a practice: a practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness and stretching the heart into vulnerable territories.

Ps: I am a native Dutch speaker; so forgive me for any languages mistakes. I love learning, so teach me. Feedback is welcome:

*** Peace, love & freedom hugs – Sophie -***


Finding God Through sex – David Deida

The way of the superior man – David Deida

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