4D Relationships

December 18th, 2013 by Steve Pavlina

For the past several months, I’ve been putting a lot of time and energy into exploring 3D relationships with men and women as well as 4D relationships with women. My Meeting in Person page makes it easy for people to decide¬†how compatible we’re likely to be if we ever meet face to face.

As a quick summary… in our human relationships we have 4 basic ways of connecting with each other:

  • physically (body)
  • mentally (mind)
  • emotionally (heart)
  • purposefully (spirit)

A 3D connection means that we’re connecting strongly in 3 of these areas. A 4D connection means we’re connecting in all 4 aspects.

Holistic Connections

A 4D relationship is more than just the sum of its parts because there’s a synergistic effect when you connect with someone across multiple areas. For instance, a strong emotional (heart) connection can greatly improve communication (mind) as well as physical intimacy (body).

I’ve been impressed by the depth of relating that becomes possible with 3D and 4D connections. Communication is smooth and authentic. People lower their shields and share their true selves. Trust is high. Ideas are shared openly and magnified. Actions flow with less effort. Sex is better too.

One reason that some friends and I were able to create a new audio program in only 3 days last week (9-10 hours of very powerful content) is that we have 3D friendships (mind, heart, spirit). We share ideas with each other, including masterminding together for a full day earlier this year in Oslo. We share our concerns, our hopes, our failures, and our successes. We support and encourage each other to live empowered lives, to grow, to inspire others, and to serve the greater good.

Consequently, we worked very well together as a team, and we continue to do so as we prepare to launch our new audio program. We’ve had a fairly easy time making decisions by consensus where I’ve seen other teams fall into extended debate. I think we’ve done a good job of setting aside our individual egos and putting the best interests of the team, the project, and the value we wish to share first.

I really enjoy collaborative projects. Seeing someone as above or below me in some kind of hierarchy or command structure doesn’t feel good to me. There’s a special flow that arises when everyone on a team is on equal footing. If the relationships between team members are strong, synergy is high. When the relationships break down or weaken, falling back on a command-based structure can’t quite make up for the reduction in trust and flow. Such a team can still have a leader or manager, but people will only truly give their best efforts to support team members they genuinely like and respect, and fairness is essential to that dynamic.

To create more authentic 3D relationships in my life, the #1 key was to say no to partial matches. Those 1D and 2D connections can be oh-so-tempting to accept, but when I kept allowing them in, I wasn’t able to create enough space for the 3D connections to show up. This is typical of many personal growth challenges. We don’t get the golden prize until we stop chasing fool’s gold. Look how shiny it is! It’s close to real gold. Maybe it will eventually become real gold. There’s always hope, right?

How many people still show up at jobs they dislike, waiting for something better to come along? When they finally quit, that’s when the new opportunity finally comes through. Getting clingy with partial matches is a surefire recipe for stuckness.

Most of my 3D relationships are with other men, but I’m gradually developing more of these relationships with women too. An example would be Shereen Faltas. She and I first connected earlier this year and spent some time getting to know each other in Vegas and L.A. We’ve had some fascinating conversations together (mind), compared notes on some similar emotionally challenging situations we recently went through (heart), and since we love the idea of helping people wake up from the doldrums of corporate employment, we’ll be sharing the stage together at her upcoming event in L.A. called Awaken the Rebel: Live!¬†(spirit).

4D Relationships

Even more intense than 3D relationships are the 4D ones. This means adding physical intimacy into the mix, along with cultivating strong mental, emotional, and spiritual connections.

This year I’ve only had the chance to explore a few 4D relationships, with varying degrees of depth and duration. They require more compatibility than 3D relationships, so in that sense it can be more challenging to find a solid match.

One of these 4D relationships is with my girlfriend Rachelle.

Physically Rachelle is as much of a cuddleslut as I am. When we’re together we love to touch and hold each other and share affection freely. We usually cuddle and make out several times per day. Sexually we’re as compatible as two people can get. We know how to turn each other on with ease, and we love to tease each other and play with the flow of sexual and emotional energy between us. We’re both very sex-positive people and enjoy the delightful pleasures of our physical connection without shame, fear, or guilt. We also enjoy playing with other partners now and then who have similar attitudes.

Mentally we enjoy deep conversations and extensive common interests. We’re both long-term vegans. We value service and creative self-expression more than money. We love to travel. We love exploring new museums together, going to plays, and taking long walks. We both have a quirky sense of humor and play together in the silliest ways sometimes. We like the same types of music and movies. We can be just as comfortable playing introverts as we are playing extroverts. We love sharing new learning and growth experiences together. Rachelle is my best friend, and I am hers, and we love and cherish that friendship.

Emotionally we’re deeply in love with each other. We share our feelings openly and freely, even when it brings tears to our eyes. We frequently tell each other how lucky we feel to be in each others lives. We gush appreciation and gratitude for our relationship. We avoid the trap of taking each other for granted. We emotionally comfort, support, encourage, and uplift each other. The abundance of love and warmth that flows through our relationship is just amazing. Simply thinking of Rachelle makes me feel very loved. Even when we’re in different cities, we frequently send loving reminders to each other.

Spiritually Rachelle and I came together to help each other explore a powerful and challenging path of growth. We both wanted to stretch ourselves by exploring an open relationship. We wanted to explore our sexuality in some very non-vanilla ways. We wanted to open our hearts and share all aspects of ourselves without holding back. We willingly entered into a long-distance relationship, whereby we’re together about 6-7 months out of each year and in different cities the rest of the time. We wanted to explore more of the world together. We had a strong shared purpose in coming together.

After almost 4 years in a relationship together, I feel more in love with Rachelle than ever. :)

Despite the long-distance aspect and the growth challenges we take on together, my relationship with Rachelle feels effortless. It flows so easily and naturally. I think one reason is that we both held out for what we wanted instead of settling for something else, so when we first got together, it was one of those “you had me at hello” situations. We let ourselves fall in love together with grace, ease, and lightness. We enjoy each other immensely.

One strength of our relationship is that Rachelle and I have a high capacity for forgiveness. One of us will occasionally frustrate the other, but it’s generally easy for us to let go of negative emotions and get back to love. One reason is that we enjoy each other’s touch so much that if we ever feel tempted to “punish” each other, we also have to deprive ourselves of what we most enjoy, so that doesn’t last very long. It’s pretty difficult for us to feel frustrated with each other when we simply let go and cuddle. In that sense you could say we’re positively addicted to being in love with each other; it’s like a gravity well we can’t escape. Additionally, spending time apart, sometimes as much as 2-3 months at a stretch, always gives us the opportunity to miss each other and to long for each other’s company again.

Is our relationship perfect? As exaggerated as this may sound, I’d have to say yes, it is. More accurately, it’s perfect for me. The love and the depth of connection we share is so strong and bright that I genuinely feel that what I most desire in this part of my life is exactly what I’m experiencing. Our relationship has its share of challenges, but since I accept those challenges instead of resisting them, the challenges just enhance the beauty of our connection. I have what I want here, and I love it!

4D Relationships and Growth

Since sharing growth experiences is a big part of our relationship path, Rachelle and I decided to stretch ourselves next month by doing something we’ve never done before.

We’ll both be speaking at our friend Johnny’s annual Successfulness workshop in Vegas. That by itself is something we’ve both done before. But this time we’re going to speak together about something we’ve never shared publicly before, which is the D/s play aspect of our relationship. This includes demoing some of the things we do to increase the emotional, sensual, and sexual intensity of our connection.

In a long-term relationship, there’s a tendency for intimacy to increase while intensity diminishes. To avoid that situation, Rachelle and I put a lot of energy into keeping the intensity of our connection high. We do specific things to renew and intensify the feelings we have for each other pretty much every day, even when we’re in different cities. We don’t allow our connection to become too boring or routine. We’re always spiking the energy back up. And since we’ve been together for almost 4 years, we’ve become very good at this.

Until now this has always been a private part of our relationship, not something we normally do in front of other people, except occasionally in a silly or playful way around close friends. Otherwise we’ve never shared this part of our connection in front of an audience before. Doing so will likely be an emotionally intense experience for us… and possibly for the other people in the room as well.

Additionally, we’re not planning on pre-scripting what we share, so we’ll be sharing and demonstrating whatever arises from spontaneous inspiration in the moment.

The reasons we want to lean into this experience are varied and complex, but the main reason is that we feel this would take us to the edge of our comfort zones and possibly beyond. We want to explore that edge together. Sharing these kinds of growth experiences is one of the reasons we’re in each other’s lives.

I’d also like to encourage and challenge others not to ignore the intensity aspect of their relationships. Long-term intimacy is beautiful, but keeping the passion and intensity alive can make the connection even stronger.

A 4D relationship isn’t static, and it’s not always comfortable. When you really connect with someone in this fashion, you’ll surely be leaning into new growth experiences, some of which may surprise you.

Multiple 4D Relationships

Let me also share some thoughts about another edge of my comfort zone in this particular area.

Up to this point, when I’ve explored other 4D connections, these explorations usually happened while Rachelle and I were in different cities and with women who lived outside of Las Vegas. Because of this, the physical aspect of these other connections has been temporary; it lasts while we’re in the same cities, and after that we have the option to stay in touch online… and to reconnect in person again when we happen to be in the same city.

Consider this the 4D version of the “100-mile rule”, which is a rule that some people in open relationships use. It means that you can connect with other people as long as you and your primary partner are at least 100 miles apart.

But as I keep leaning in this direction, it’s predictable that eventually the streams will cross.

On the one hand, exploring multiple 4D connections in the same place at the same time is exciting. But it’s also outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never done it before. I can’t predict how it will turn out.

The growth-oriented part of me really wants to lean into this. It seems like a significant mental, emotional, and social challenge. There’s a lot that could go wrong.

The comfort-oriented part of me wants to be lazy and just relax into the security of my wonderful-as-is relationship with Rachelle and not complicate things.

In the end I’ll choose the path of growth because it’s what I always do. It’s why I’m here.

Rachelle knows this about me. It’s one of the things she loves about me. She knows I’ll keep leaning into new growth experiences and won’t allow myself to settle for comfort and security. And she knows I want to share that journey with her. I feel very lucky to have her in my life. Not many women could handle being in a relationship with someone who lives the way I do.

Finding women interested in exploring 4D connections together actually hasn’t been that difficult. They tend to just show up in my life spontaneously, and I expect that to continue. But what woman has the courage to delve into this while Rachelle is physically present too? I don’t know, but I’d love to meet her. So would Rachelle.

Perhaps what I find most appealing about 4D connections is that they’re intensely transformational. It’s impossible to explore such a connection with someone and not emerge a different person from it. Since I love growth experiences, I’m drawn to explore 4D connections like a moth to a flame, partly because of this transformational effect. When I connect deeply and intimately with another person, I feel awake, alive, and aware like never before.

Where’s the edge of your comfort zone in relationships? Do you see value in leaning into that edge? Or would you prefer to play it safe?



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