Let’s face it, though romantic relationships can be wonderful—sometimes they are totally nightmarish.

While there are a lot of reasons romance can be tough, most of the time the chaos begins within.

As a student and teacher of the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles, I’ve come to understand how our ego (fear mind) wreaks havoc in the romantic arena. The Course guides us to see how we project our fear and neuroses onto our current partners, and it shines light on how we seek completion and self-worth in the arms of another.

Let’s demystify the ways the ego gets to work in romance—here are some of the big illusions that can really take us down:

Diggin’ Up the Past

Many people carry disastrous relationship experiences from the past into the present moment. Holding on to anger from your last relationship inevitably transfers negative vibes to the next one. This anger sabotages the possibility of creating a healthy new relationship, keeping you rooted in your history instead of the now.

Future Trippin’

Do you envision walking down the aisle after just one date? If so, trust that you’re not alone. The ego loves to future-trip when it comes to romance. When the ego runs your romantic life, it’s easy to get caught up in the belief that you’re unsafe without a romantic partner. This mentality hooks you into future tripping, because without that future plan you feel incomplete. The result? It puts tons of pressure on your partner, and makes you seem like a major head-case for planning that far ahead.

McSpecial with a Side of Fries

I’m gonna be blunt here: When your source of happiness is another human being—you’re totally screwed. The ego convinces you that all the love you need is in one “special” person—a “special love relationship.” This kind of relationship isn’t like your other relationships. You come to believe you need this one special person to feel whole. The special love relationship is exclusive, and it makes that one person better than you and everyone else.

But the ego doesn’t stop there. It convinces you that you can’t live without this “special” partner, which is the root cause of codependency. This fear-based thinking leads you to do whatever it takes to make that special person happy so they don’t leave. You become inauthentic and subservient so that you don’t lose your special relationship. You put the needs of others in front of your own and deny your true feelings. And it’s all done in the name of special love.

Sound familiar? I bet it does. Romantic relationships are the ego’s playground and, nine times out of ten, our ego will turn the chance of romantic bliss into a freakin’ horrorshow by feeding us illusions.

The first step toward clearing the ego’s chaotic perception of romance is to become brutally honest about how you dig up the past, future-trip, and make partners special. Looking at your ego head-on is a powerful way to weaken its grip.

Relationships are opportunities for awesome spiritual growth. Rather than get all heady about what went wrong in the past, let’s focus on what you can change today. Outlined below are key principles that will help guide you to release fear in romance and cultivate more love in your life:

No One is Sent to Anyone by Accident

There are “no chance encounters.” All encounters offer us the opportunity to transform fear to love and create a miracle. Accept that relationships are assignments to learn and grow. This new attitude will allow you to begin to appreciate the partner who brings up all your funky issues—because you’ll know the learning that is available to you.

Special Ain’t So Special

Ask yourself whom you have made special. It’s likely that the same lucky person is also the person you attack most in your mind. Special love makes us neurotic, controlling, and insecure. We think we love our special partner, but really we fear them and hate them for not calling back or doing what we want them to do. We feel so beholden to this special partner because the ego makes us believe that we’re missing something and that we can only feel complete in the arms of someone else. Set yourself free from your special illusions by simply recognizing whom you have made special. When you recognize this ego chaos, you diminish its power. You can see the ego in action and choose to begin the process of letting it go.

The Invisible Matchmaker

When we consciously allow our ego to run our romantic life, we stay stuck in nasty patterns. One beautiful practice is to “turn our relationships over to the care of our inner guide.” Invite the spirit of love to guide your perceptions. Simply say: “Spirit / Inner Guide / God / [whatever label you wish], I invite you to take these fears from me. Help me release my romantic fears from the past, and my need to control the future. Clear space for fearless love.


Another major tool for releasing romantic fears is to begin a meditation practice. Begin your MediDATING practice with an awesome forgiveness meditation:

Sit comfortably in a quiet space.
Breathe deeply, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
In your mind’s eye, invite your partner into your meditation.
(It can be someone you’re currently in a relationship with or someone from your past. It can even be someone you’ve dreamed of being with.)
Hold a vision in your mind of this person standing before you.
As you breathe in envision a ball of golden light growing in your heart.
On the exhale extend this light to your partner.
On the inhale breathe in the light.
On the exhale extend the light.
Continue inhaling and exhaling until all you see is light.

Whatever your relationship status—whether you’re married, single, or dating—taking these steps can be truly transformative. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so take this opportunity to release romantic fears and clear space for more love.

Want more powerful romance tips and meditations? Join me on Feb. 8 on LiveStream Video or in New York at ABC’s Deepak Homebase for my MediDATING launch lecture. Get all the details here:  www.gabbyb.tv/medidate

* The book, A Course In Miracles, Gabby refers to in this blog can be found HERE.

Featured in the New York Times Sunday Styles section as “a new role model,” motivational speaker, life coach, and author Gabrielle Bernstein is making her mark. Expanding the lexicon for the next generation of spiritual seekers, Gabrielle is the #1 bestselling author of the book, Add More ~ing to Your Life, A hip Guide to Happiness. In September 2011 Gabrielle launched her second book, Spirit Junkie, A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles. In 2008 she launched her social networking site HerFuture.com for young women to find mentors.