When a man is not in touch with the Lover in his mature form, he is controlled by his archetypal shadows, unable to be the master or his own fate.
The Addicted Lover is the active pole of the Lover archetype. The Addicted Lover becomes lost in an ocean of the senses, a victim of his own sensitivity. Lacking discipline, he can’t stop eating, drinking, using drugs, using women, seeking the ultimate orgasm, the ultimate high. He lives for the pleasure of the moment only. He is eternally restless, always seeking something he cannot identify. He traps himself in his own web. What he thinks is the way out is in fact the way deeper in. When a woman confronts him with her own mortality, weakness and limitations, she shatters his dream of finding the orgasm without end.
Jon is young, popular, “successful", good looking, fit, self-absorbed and addicted to porn. There are only a few things Jon really cares about in life: “My body. My pad. My ride. My family. My church. My boys. My girls. My porn.” Having lost the ability to be truthful and to connect intimately with a woman, he finds excitement, release, and ultimately escape in watching porn: “For the next few minutes, all the bullshit fades away and the only thing in the world is those tits, dat ass, the blow-job… the cowboy, the doggie, the money shot and that's it. I don't gotta say anything, I don't gotta do anything. I just fuckin' lose myself.
Jon loves going to night clubs and puling beautiful women for one-night stands. His buddies, as emotionally immature as he is, admire and support the image of success he is projecting, with the unspoken belief that the number of women a man can conquer is indicative of his level of manhood. One night, Jon meets Barbara, the beauty in red. She is, by Jon’s standards, a “perfect 10”. His plan to pull her in for a one-night stand fails because Barbara wants to live the Hollywood romance fairy, and does not fall prey to Jon’s charm. His house of cards falls little by little, as he plays according to Barbara’s rules. Living in the shadow of the Addicted Lover, Jon does not have the power to withstand her charms, and instead becomes controlled by her. He is now controlled both by his girlfriend, and his own addiction to porn.
His addiction also turns him into a liar. According to psychologists’ definition, everything we need to lie about is cheating. John cannot stop, and, when confronted, he cannot admit to Barbara that he watches porn. “It’s not like I’m cheating”, he rationalizes. When he says “Only losers watch porn”, Jon creates a split and conflict in his self-identity, losing self-respect and integrity with himself.
Jon doesn't get true satisfaction from sex. The Addicted Lover in him does not deal well with the limitations of a real, mortal woman. His porn addiction has wired his brain to want sexual acts that look great on camera, while real women like intimacy and the missionary position. The sound of his computer starting has become more of a turn-on to Jon than having sex with the “perfect 10” hot girl he fell in love with. When his hysterical mother pressures him to find a girl to marry, Jon speaks his truth: “I don’t know if I want wife and kids, maybe I’m not a man.” He knows that he has not yet transcended boyhood into mature masculinity, and his aggressive father is not exactly a role model.
At the university, Jon meets Esther, not his type of “dime” with a "perfect 10" body. An unlikely relationship develops, and after Barbara breaks up with Jon, he stops watching porn, and starts sleeping with Esther. Barbara did not have the emotional maturity to challenge Jon about his porn, but Esther does. Having experienced the tragic death of her husband and son, Esther brings humanity and vulnerability to the interaction. She has the courage to speak a universal truth: “You have to lose yourself in another person, and she has to lose herself in you.” This modest, vulnerable woman ends up opening up Jon in ways he had never experienced before. Jon experiences authentic love and connection, and true sexual pleasure for the first time in his life. He is stepping out of his archetypal shadow, and into a more mature Lover:
“This fuckin' lady! Now I don't usually like it when a girl looks me right in the eye, and this girl does that a lot. But I don't know what it is about her… When she does it, I don't mind. I just look right back at her, and pretty soon, I'm hard as a fuckin' rock. It's like she knows what I'm thinkin', or I know what she's thinkin'. I don't know, it's a two-way thing. Fuckin' love it! And I don't mean love like: Oh, I love her, or wanna marry her. Definitely not thinkin' about all that shit. And she's not either... She can't. I guess I just mean love like… you know, like... we're making love. And while we're doing it, all the bullshit does fade away, and it's just me and her right there, and yeah, I do lose myself in her. And I can tell she's losing herself in me. And we're just fuckin'... lost together.”
The Lover is that deep part of us that longs for pleasure, connection and a loss of Self in the Other, the part that has deep appreciation, compassion and empathy for himself and others. Addiction only grows out of a deficiency of love. In order for a man to fully step into his mature Lover, connect with and penetrate a woman, physically or emotionally, he has to fully accept and love himself first. He has to heal his past trauma, cut his ties with the Mother, and learn to find validation internally. Without a fully integrated Self, there is nothing to lose in the Other. When a man has finally found his mature Lover, he can then lose himself not out of pain, but into love; not out of loneliness, but into communion. This is the gift that Esther gave to Jon, the gift of healing his own wounds.
How to get in touch with, and balance your Lover:
Spend time, at least twice a week for an hour, engaging in a hobby that brings you joy (e.g. drawing, painting, reading, writing, chess, photography, cooking, dancing, woodworking, playing an instrument, gardening, mechanical work, camping, fishing, sports).
Less is more: cultivate the virtue of moderation. Choose 5 things that bring you great enjoyment, and focus on them for the next two weeks. Commit to discovering aspects of them you never saw before.
Set an intention for one week every month to use no coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, or other mind/ mood-altering drugs. Use the senses that God gave you to experience your life.
Eat slowly, tasting the unique flavors and textures. Reconnect with your senses, rediscovering the hidden layers of ordinary experiences.
Read a good, long book.
Immerse yourself in literature and writings on a variety of subjects to stimulate your brain and provide it with something to ponder other than whether to have a ham or turkey sandwich for lunch.
Read biographies and study the work of great artists you admire (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci, Hemingway).
Read: “Wanting More: The Challenge of Enjoyment in the Age of Addiction” for example.
Take Tai Chi classes. They will make you realize how fast your mind moves, and how difficult it is for you to calm it down and be present with our body and the moment.
Look at the night sky, and ponder on the immenseness of the universe, and how well-orchestrated everything in nature is.
Get lost in nature, to gain a sense of perspective. Nature puts us in touch with the mysterious forces of life. In the large scheme of things, your problems are not as big as they are.
Go on a hike: the physical exercise, the fresh air, the sun, the inspiring scenery will invigorate your body and spirit.
Go for a run outside, in a park, without headphones on. Focus on your breath, feel your blood pumping, and your sweat dripping.
Go camping. Touch real dirt, sit by a real fire, sharpen real wood, and listen to the pure sounds of running streams and the wind in the trees. Surround yourself with matter that doesn’t exist solely for human consumption. Experience things that just are.
Practice where in your body you feel pain when you are uncomfortable with or bothered by something/ someone. Identify that feeling by using an emotion label, not a thought. Write it down, or express it to someone else.
When at a party or social event, leave your phone in the car. Be fully present with the people you are with. Look into their eyes, and watch their bodies. Feel how it would feel in your body to be them.
For a month, do not share your daily life over social media. Post only inspiring or interesting information that does not directly relate to what you are doing with your personal life, or who you are as a person.
Plan a surprise date for your partner. Plan ahead, and pay for it.
Write your partner love letters, or a love poem.
Pay attention on how touching your partner’s skin feels.
Twice a week, fully immerse yourself in the enjoyment of your partner’s body and the beauty of intimacy for 30 minutes, without allowing yourself to reach orgasm.
Lover and Warrior working together:
Use the next time your partner is overwhelmed or angry as an opportunity to practice being a rock, or an oak tree. Anchor you energy into the ground using your breath, and allow your woman to unload all of her emotions on you. If you find yourself running away or shutting down, breathe and focus on your roots going even further down to the core of the earth.
Talk to your female friends. Ask them for feedback on how present they feel you’ve been with them during a conversation. Women are natural “presence detectors”.
Choose one day of the week to do only one task at a time. Concentrate your senses and focus on that one task. When you get restless, take a deep breath, and connect your feet to the ground like a tree that grows strong roots. Stay with your breath.