Cover image for Break up or break through : a spiritual guide to richer relationships
Break up or break through : a spiritual guide to richer relationships
Evan, Dina Bachelor.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Los Angeles, CA : Alyson Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxii, 350 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL625.9.G39 E93 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A warm and accessible guide to creating and maintainng long-term relationships for gay and lesbian couples, written by a psychotherapist with 16 years of couples counselling. It compensates for the fact that many gays and lesbians lack the tools to attain relationships, and also lack the role models, or a therapist versed in gay and lesbian couples' unique issues. Helpful principles are outlined through exercises, meditations and personal inventories, in order to heal emotions and remove barriers to imtimacy, and to elevate gay and lesbian couples to strength

Author Notes

Dina Bachelor Evan, Ph.D., MFCC, is a licensed marriage, family, and child therapist

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Psychotherapist Dina Bachelor Evan claims that 98% of the couples who come to her for counseling stay together giving credence to the advice she offers in Break Up or Break Through: A Spiritual Guide to Richer Relationships. Written specifically for a gay and lesbian audience, its rules for good relationships invoke universal self-help themes such as respecting boundaries, overcoming personal limitations and creating intimacy. With its breathing exercises, "Spiritual Relationship Personal Inventory" tests and upbeat chakra-talk, it should appeal to New Age couples gay and straight. ( June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Although this book is specifically aimed at a gay and lesbian audience, there is nothing in it (aside from a few pronoun references) that would preclude heterosexual readership. Psychotherapist Evan agrees with Paul Pearsall, author of Partners in Pleasure (reviewed below): too much unnecessary breaking up is going on. However, in stark contrast to Pearsall, she asserts that there can be no "we" until the "me" gets its act together. The majority of this work instructs readers how to let go of outdated emotional responses and live in the here and now. "Living in the Present," "Be Honest," and "Act Out of Love, Not Fear" are Evan's three rules for making relationships work. She explains that there is One Spirit, of which each of us possesses a little and which connects us to the Universe. Evan also offers exercises for single or dating readers. Hampered by a fuzzy and somewhat repetitive style (readers will wish they had a nickel for each time she proclaims that she's never had a patient die owing to an emotion), this book is a marginal purchase for most libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Who Are You? I have gone from spark to reality from infant to adult from shallow to deeper from knowledgeable to wiser from a person to a presence from student to teacher to student. Still, I know I have only begun and am not yet being fully who I am.     You believe who you already are is not enough. Society's messages and judgment has not helped that perception a great deal. Still, we can't continue to blame society for our own failures. Not being enough is your biggest fear and the motivating force behind all your efforts of trying to be someone you are not. As long as you hold on to this false belief, you won't be real. And as long as you are not real, you can't be present with yourself or your relationships. This lack of presence becomes a vicious cycle and ultimately a lifestyle.     You're a priceless reflection of Spirit, and there's nothing you need to hide or lie about. But you continue to hide, pretend, and act "as if," and as long as you do that, you will not find yourself or your beloved. The real you is behind all that camouflage, behind sexy sound bites and false selves. When you are both being real, you and your partner could sit across from each other for the next million years and there would still not be enough time to know all the wondrous qualities there are to know about each other. Take a Look at Who You Really Are     Remember the last time you looked upon a newborn infant in awe? Here was this tiny, helpless creature, filled with wonder and openness, and unable to do a single thing for him or herself except cry to be fed or changed. Did you not feel overwhelming love for this little person who had not yet amassed accomplishments, credits, "somebodyness," or wealth? Did your heart not open to this innocent creature who was neither sexy, nor slim, nor dressed to the nines? Did you not feel this being was already worthy of being loved completely without needing to do a single thing? The miracle of this child's being is quite enough. That is how Spirit feels about you. And that is how you can learn to feel about yourself and those you love; total unconditional love for the precious being inside, not the outer accoutrements.     But instead of going inward to find the truth in ourselves and then outward to offer that truth to each other, we hide behind facades, roles, rules, codes, and separations that prevent us from knowing our true selves or sharing that Self with our beloved. These are all games and techniques. There is no game or technique under heaven that works. There is only the truth and love. You can't have real relationships unless you are willing to be real.     You don't have to pretend to be perfect to find a mate. Underneath all those lies that your mind or ego tells you, you are already perfect and there is nothing to pretend about. You're perfect if you are in the process of becoming a more spiritually enlightened human being, because that is all that is required. You even get to choose when and how you will do that. That is your only job , and it's ongoing. There is no such thing as perfection, because there is no end to this process. Just as there is no such thing as spiritual perfection, there is no state of perfection in reference to your physical body either. There is not just one kind of ultimate human that the rest of us must strive to become. One look. One personality. Not true. The closest we can come to perfection is when we are being all we can be with all our individual uniqueness. Even then, since we can always become more of who we are, how could there ever be a final state at which we could arrive that could be considered perfect? Look around you. Are those people whom you love, respect, and envy, and who are in meaningful relationships perfect? I don't think so. They are every size and kind and body shape and hue, but none of them is perfect. If they are in a successful relationship, what they are is real. Authenticity means not being willing to compromise who you are in order to be what someone else wants you to be.     If you want successful relationships, you must be real. But before you can start being real, you need to ask yourself what is stopping you. The teachings in this book are based upon spiritual truths, all of which can bring you a profound sense of realness. If you use this information, you will create ecstatic, meaningful relationships that last because you are having fun learning about yourself and growing with each other. This is the purpose of relationships, to learn about yourself and your capacity to stay present, be compassionate, and see the Spirit in yourself and in each other. Spirit designed relationships and gave us all the tools necessary to get the most from them. Together let's look at this perfect prototype. The Truth About Relationships     In the beginning Spirit was all there was. In order to know Itself better, Spirit--the Divine, the Source, the Universe, the Divine Mind or whatever you perceive that energy to be--created from Itself an other with which it could relate. It created you and me. Thus, the sole purpose for the original relationship was for Spirit to know Itself better. And the sole purpose for our relationships is that we might know ourselves better. The moment you begin to long for a relationship, enter into one, or embrace the one you are in, you must understand the real purpose--that your unconscious need is solely to know yourself better. To discover the real you. This is why Spirit created a relationship with us. This is why we create relationships with each other. This discovery requires being real, honest, and emotionally courageous enough to examine the truth of our being. Relationships Are About You     As I said, I can sit on a mountain and get enlightened, but until I come down from the mountain and enter a relationship, I have no way of knowing who I am or how well my soul has evolved. I have no sense of my willingness to be vulnerable. No sense of my capacity for compassion. No sense of ability to be truthful. No sense of my willingness to honor the Spirit in another. Contrary to what many self-help books will tell you, relationships are not about what you can get from your mate or partner. They are about you and who you are willing to be and what you are willing to give as a mate or partner.     Getting a mate is not nearly as important as knowing what to do with one after you have found him or her. And if you get a mate based upon what you think he or she wants you to be, you have started your relationship off with a lie. Soon you will start desperately looking for Mr. or Miss Right again, and you will know in the deepest recesses of your heart that something is off. Something will still be missing. Not only are you missing the point of relationships in the first place, but you are also missing. And where have you been? Sadly, we have been hiding behind illusions.     Out of fear, you have been hiding in your own self-created hell. You have been hiding behind the judgments of your parents, the judgments of society, the trauma of your abuse, or your need to be in control. You have been hiding behind your fear of intimacy, your false values and ideas about sexuality and your body. You have been hiding behind your need to be right, your self-judgments about your lovability and worth. You have been hiding behind your lack of emotional courage and the lie that you can somehow be destroyed if you are real. You have been hiding behind a selfishness that says, "If I give you what you want, perhaps I can get what I want from you." All of these are lies that your mind or ego has created. Aren't you exhausted from hiding? Doesn't your heart long to stop hiding and discover who you are? Why have you been hiding? The bottom line is that you're afraid that Spirit has lied to you and that you are really worth nothing. Unlovable.     Spirit has no concept of judgment or punishment. You are punishing yourself with your own judgments. Ask yourself this simple question: Why would Spirit create you, give you the task of evolving your soul through your own challenges and life processes, and then punish you for doing exactly what It has designed you to do? There is no such thing as failure. You get to drag out this painful process of pretending to be someone you are not as long as you wish, or you can remember in an instant, or in many lifetimes, what you already know to be true. There is no doubt in the Creator's mind about you, because there is none about Itself.     When Spirit, the Universe, the Source, Presence--whatever you wish to call that Divine energy--created you, It did so from Itself. You are already Divine, and underneath the false ideas you have about yourself, you're pure, radiant spirit. Pure, radiant gay spirit, and the world is waiting for you to step into your rightful place in it. In this instant, right now, you are manifesting as Spirit, diminished only by your own fear . You are the Divine, experiencing Itself with all your judgments and limits. This is not what Spirit wants from you or for you. This is not what your beloved wants from you or for you. This is not what you, in the deepest recesses of your heart, want from or for yourself! But this is what you continue to do to yourself.     It's time to start being real and honoring yourself and your relationships as a sacred process. Don't be afraid. You have nothing to fear; in this journey to yourself you will find that you are all the things you'd hoped. You will also find that who you are is more than enough not only to find your beloved, but also to keep him or her fascinated as long as you both live. Aren't the most important people in your life right now the ones who are real? The extent to which you're capable of being real and willing to use spiritual principles in your relationships directly reflects your ability to create and maintain successful relationships. If you've used these simple principles a little , no doubt you have been a little successful in relationships. If you use these principles as the basis and foundation in your process, your relationships can not help but be successful. Stay Present Be Honest Act Out of Love, Not Fear Stay Present     There has never been an instant since the moment we were conceived that Spirit has not been profoundly present with us. It's impossible for that source to have left us because we are a part of All That Is. That would be tantamount to my body disconnecting itself from my hand. There may have been many times when we were not able to experience that presence or felt lost and abandoned by it because of our own judgments. But in the darkest moment when you let go and once again were able to feel the love that had always been waiting for you, did you not realize it had never left you? Self-judgment is so powerful that it has the capacity to cut us off from our self, each other, and the energy in the universe. This is why we must resolve this issue of internalized shame. In truth, it's impossible for us to be left, for if Spirit were to leave us, it would have to leave Itself. If you just become still, feel yourself quietly let go of all those things you think you need to be and do, you will find the truth of your being. When we are not there for ourselves, it is impossible to know Spirit is there for us.     Spirit just is ... ever present, ever loving, and ever wanting you to know more of who and what It is by knowing more of who and what you are. Exactly the same principle is true in relationships. It's critical for you to understand that the more present you are to yourself, the more present you can become to your partner. The less present you are to yourself, the less present you will be to your partner. The more you know and trust yourself, the deeper you can move with ease and safety into the essence of your partner and the deepest intimacy you both are able to create.     When you understand this principle, you begin to also understand that what you do to your partner you also do to yourself. What you do for your partner, you also do for yourself. This sacred principle teaches us that the more we embrace the love and Spirit in each of us, the more love and Spirit we have in our lives. The more we allow for separation, the more separation exists. It's all one. Our task, then, is to remove the barriers in each of us that prevent us from loving and being loved fully. This state of becoming one with your partner results from becoming one with yourself and one with Spirit. We will talk more of this principle in the following chapters. How Much of You Is Present?     When I speak of staying present, I am not talking about just hanging out or spending time together. I am not talking about those of you who respond, "Well, I'm here, aren't I?" when your partner asks if you love him or her. I am talking about being present to life, to yourself, and to each other with impeccable integrity and a commitment to your own soul's ongoing growth and increasing aliveness. I am talking about being present to yourself in a way that ensures your personal and spiritual growth. A world event takes place when we stop trying to change others and begin to change ourselves.     How to be truly present with another or with yourself is an art, a Zen dance and process that requires a willingness to view life and your priorities a bit differently. Do you know how to balance being present to your own needs, those of your partner, and those of a new relationship at the same time? Do you know how to be present to your beloved even when he or she is not with you? Is every part of you present to your beloved when you are making love? Do you know how to protect the love you share and intensify the depth of it, just by being more real? Is there anything in your life more important than the spiritual work you do with your partner? At some point you must become willing to ask yourself, Why am I really here and what do I most want out of this life? We will find those answers together. Be Honest     Our words and the intent behind them are incredibly important in relationships. The Torah, the Bible, all far Eastern and metaphysical teachings tell us that the words we use and how we use them are a direct reflection or expression of our inner essence. Words create our reality. The process of creating reality goes from idea-thought-image-word-concept and then to reality. Then we react. Think about that. Is there a single thing you can think of that was not first conceived in mind and then spoken? Reality is not created randomly. We create our own reality by what we think and say. The old adage "What you concentrate on, you become" is true. By making conscious decisions about our speech and increasing our ability to be honest, we take control of what we manifest in our lives and the levels of love we reach in our relationships.     Words can be used to enhance and enliven a relationship, or they can be used to create deception and fraud. Words can be used to deepen a process of connection or detract from it. Words can invite another to sit in the stillness and protection of our heart or push away a beloved one out of our own fear and denial. Words can take us deeper into our healing process and help deepen the healing of our partner or can distance and remove us from the process. We have a responsibility to use words consciously and in alignment with our true intent. We each have a spiritual obligation to speak and live the truth to the extent that we know it. When we do not do so, we send a clear message to ourselves that who we are and what we believe is not worthy of respect.     Do you know how to ask for what you need in a nonthreatening way? Do you know how to assist your partner in deeper healing? Do you find yourself confused about issues and responsibilities? Do you get lost in the words that cover your real issues? Do you believe that asking for what you need is being too "needy"? Are you afraid to hear the truth? Does telling your truth mean leaving or being left? Individually, our duty lies in living up to whatever amount of truth we know in any given moment.     When we are still and aware of our connection to Spirit, we have all the answers. When your ego takes over and you move into your head, everything you say and everything you do is distorted by the past. When your ego is removed and you move back into your heart, there is nothing you do not know, and all of its truth. Together we will explore why telling our truth has become so difficult and what we can do to move back into alignment with ourselves and Spirit. From that aligned place, our choices and words are inspired, guided, and we are assured of having fulfilling and enduring relationships. Act Out of Love, Not Fear     What a wonderful experience that would be. In 15 years of counseling as a minister and a psychotherapist, I have never seen a single instance when a choice made out of love for oneself or another did not result in healing. And yet we are so afraid to choose that which is loving. Society tells us we must instead play games, give ourselves up, be phony, lie, and cheat to be fulfilled. And still we are not fulfilled. All we have accomplished is to step away from being the truly spiritual human beings we came here to be, and we have lessened our own sense of personal empowerment. Denying our own needs never fulfills us.     Opting to make choices out of love for ourselves and those we love is a quantum leap in trust. This is the key. If we make choices about the planet out of love, about our children out of love, and about one another out of love and not fear, we may survive and flourish rather than become extinct. Anything other than love is fear.     We must move back into harmony with ourselves and the Spirit within us if we are to survive. There is no other way. Together we will examine why this process feels so unfamiliar and how we can make this critical and incredibly joyful life change.     Let's begin by finding out what your personal fears are and why they motivate you to play games or be someone you're not, especially when you're already so much more. Let's find out what motivates you, and how to improve these skills to create the relationships you desire. Take the following test and see how you fare. Spiritual Relationship Personal Inventory Answer Each Question Always, Sometimes, or Never 1. Do you ever physically leave the premises in the midst of an argument? 2. Do you ever emotionally leave or space out during an argument? 3. Do you ever pretend to be someone you are not, to satisfy your partner or date? 4. Do you agree with your partner to avoid an argument rather than state what is true for you? 5. Do you feel "less than" your partner? 6. Do you worry that your partner will find someone else and leave? 7. Do you wonder how you feel or what you think? 8. Do you get confused about who's wrong/right? 9. Do you feel your partner fails to get who you are? 10. Do you feel there are parts of you that are unlovable? 11. Do you feel your partner lacks appreciation for your talents and abilities? 12. Do you feel confused about what you believe spiritually? 13. Do you feel betrayed if your partner feels differently or has a different opinion than you? 14. Do you expect things from your partner that you're not willing to give in return? 15. Do you anticipate crisis in your relationship? 16. Do you withhold information from your partner? 17. Do you use blame or shame to get what you want? 18. Are you critical? 19. Do you stockpile issues or problems and dump them on your partner all at once during arguments? 20. Do you think you have the answers for how your partner ought to be or act? 21. Do you feel betrayed if your partner needs time alone or with friends? 22. Do you feel afraid when intense feelings surface? 23. Do you fear engulfment or abandonment? 24. Do you worry about being embarrassed by your partner or his or her way of being? 25. Do you avoid talking about issues that may cause your partner to feel pain? 26. Do you use name-calling, labels, criticism, or threats when you're angry? 27. Does your partner use name-calling, labels, criticism, or threats when he or she is angry? 28. Is verbal, sexual, or emotional abuse a part of your relationship dynamic? 29. Is substance or food abuse a part of the dynamic in your relationship? 30. Is it difficult for you to acknowledge your love for your partner to friends/relatives? 31. Do you believe it's your job to make your partner happy and satisfied sexually? 32. Do you talk to others about your relationship before or in lieu of speaking with your mate? 33. Do you make disparaging remarks about your mate or his or her character flaws to others? 34. Do you divulge private intimacies/sharing to others? 35. Do you use omission to create room for doubt in order to get control? 36. Do you withhold safety with words and actions? 37. Do you answer questions with a question? 38. Do you respond to deep feeling by changing the subject? 39. Do you respond to anger with anger? 40. Do you feel anger is an unhealthy emotion? 41. Do you feel your feelings are facts? 42. Do you feel it's demeaning to apologize? 43. Do you feel you lose power, ground, face if you discover or admit you're wrong? 44. Does being wrong equate to being bad? 45. Does allowing for change equate to a lack of perfection? 46. Do you solicit information even when your partner has said he/she is not ready to talk? 47. Is it hard to take time out while feelings cool down or get clarified? 48. Do you have a friend/s who know more about what you're feeling than your partner? 49. Do you make "innocent" remarks that often hurt your partner? 50. Do you often speak of "all the others" who agree with your point of view? 51. Do you have a pattern of leaving relationships about every three months or three years? 52. Does the presence of fear mean something is wrong or you should leave? 53. Do you have feelings that appear to be too big for you to handle? 54. Do you have feelings/thoughts that you would not feel safe to share with your partner? 55. Does giving praise or encouragement to your partner make you feel sad or diminished? 56. Are you cynical about your mate or your relationship? 57. Do you believe your mate lies or has lied to you? 58. Would you believe a friend or family member instead of believing your mate? (Continues...) Excerpted from BREAK UP OR BREAK THROUGH by Dina Bachelor Evan. Copyright © 2001 by DINA BACHELOR EVAN, PH.D., MFCC. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. ix
Part 1 Stay Present
Chapter 1 Who Are You?p. 3
Chapter 2 The Freedom in Staying Presentp. 53
Chapter 3 The "B" Word: Boundariesp. 105
Chapter 4 Boundaries and Communicationp. 158
Chapter 5 Don't Jump Ship--Go to Work Insteadp. 182
Part 2 Be Honest
Chapter 6 Resistance: The Door to Growthp. 229
Chapter 7 Be Honestp. 242
Chapter 8 You Get Immediate Giftsp. 265
Part 3 Act Out of Love, Not Fear
Chapter 9 Acting Out of Lovep. 275
Chapter 10 Special Relationships and Spiritp. 290
Chapter 11 Finding and Maintaining the Ecstasyp. 322
Chapter 12 The Hope and the Promisep. 331
Seven Steps to Creating Conscious Relationshipsp. 340
Conscious Connecting Exercisesp. 343