Courtly Companions

Submitted by Karezza Korner on
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Courtly traditionThis website is a place where male and female can safely approach each other and gain deeper understanding for what the "other" half of the human race has been going through...while keeping an eye trained on the goal of reuniting with a real partner.

To this end, we created a "courtly companion" concept for site members. It's entirely voluntary, a sort of safe, encouraging arrangement between equals. Companions can use their user names and contact each other through the site. They needn't reveal their true identities, as that is unimportant for this type of connection. Companions simply try to be open and accepting as they listen to and support each other.

Anyone who wants to volunteer can indicate his or her willingness by creating a user account. Then click on the "Edit" link, then click on the "Courtly Companion" link, and then click the box. Of course, anyone is also welcome to contact any other member directly and ask to establish a similar relationship. The advantage to following the above procedure is that I can make sure the other person is also willing before you connect.

I match people up at random, so there's no saying when you may be matched. We usually have more men than women, so the wait for men is longer. Please note: There is no actual "matchmaking" involved. Age differences and sexual orientation don't matter; only gender difference.

Married and partnered people may also serve as companions, just as in the courtly love tradition. However, if you have a partner, but are also considering a Courtly Companion, here are some helpful guidelines proposed by a forum member:

- establish boundaries about what you will and will not discuss
- limited sharing of personal information outside the topic at hand (karezza), ie. avoid talking about families, hobbies, likes/dislikes, and other "get-to-know-you" topics as this serves the purpose of relationship and intimacy building.
- tell your partner about your companion, explain why you are doing it, and invite them to read the correspondence
- encourage discussion with your partner as the primary form of expression, problem solving, etc.

Sharing intimate details of one's sex life with someone without partner's knowledge could be a breach of trust. There is a significant risk of becoming emotionally or romantically attached to a partner when discussing such intense, personal, emotional, sexual matters. If partners have a history of addiction, dishonesty, or infidelity, having a "secret" companion with whom you discuss sexual matters would be problematic. One might ask themselves how their partner would feel if they knew you had such a companion.

If the connection feels right to both Companions, then it would proceed for a month, at which time Companions could mutually decide if they want to continue. I will be happy to reassign people at any time. Also, communications through the site are totally private. No one can see them.

Most of us have scars from the way our biological mating programs have made love seem scary. Genuine, kindly connections with the opposite sex - without recreation or procreation as the goal - seem to gently heal that alienation. By understanding, together, that we have all been tricked by biology, the pain seems to dissipate, and optimism is restored.

Obviously, this is not a romantic relationship. Courtly Companionship is simply a comforting, healing connection between two people, both of whom are devoted to helping ease any past hurts relating to alienation between the sexes.

A word on why this approach can help:

Men often contact me privately, and really seem to benefit from having a sympathetic female ear...one that doesn't need anything from them, and isn't expecting anything. In that comfortable space they are often able to see their next step toward healing something in themselves or their relationship. More importantly, over many years of such listening, I have gained a greater understanding of the kinds of hurt and challenges with which they are dealing (a chief one of which is today's flood of intensely stimulating visual erotica which can especially affect the male brain like drugs and be very difficult to leave behind). This makes it easier and easier for me to see men's situations with greater compassion. From their side, Courtly Companionship seems to help them become more sympathetic toward women's challenges. I've also made some wonderful, trusted friends this way, whom I can ask for advice when I need it. I think that real cyberspace companions can help us to feel safe to open toward deeper contact with the opposite sex.

Please use this blog space also to suggest refinements to this effort, or share anything you wish to about the concept.

To sign up if you already have an account, go to "My Account" and click on "Edit." Then click on the "Courtly Companion" link and check the box.

Comments

Give it a try!

Hey folks,

I highly recommend this to everyone. It is like having a wonderful platonic friend. Someone you can share all your secrets with, get an honest response from, and know you are still loved and accepted for who you are.

So do it everyone! Don't be afraid. You can always cut it off it is not working. But I put my money on it working wonders in your life.

Calling all existing Courtly Companions

How is it going? What do you think of the concept? Should it be continued? Refined? Any suggestions? Any benefits to report?

Are you with the "right" Companion, or do you think you got someone else's by mistake? Smile If so, contact me for reassignment.

Thanks,
Fairy Godmother

Safety, first

I found the "brother-sister" association a bit amusing since family-boundaries have had no place in my childhood. I was adopted then sexually molested for years by various adoptive family members. [Is it incest if the so-called family member it is not a blood-relative... uh... YES!]

Somehow I have grown to respect personal boundaries very much, and feel it's critically important to link-together with like-minded people so growth and progress towards maturity can develop.

No one taught me about the sacred nature of sex. I had to learn the depravities first, and then find a way to fit them into my life in a way I can safely accept.

I like to see myself as a slowly developing mentor in sex-matters. I strongly believe respectful detached sharing is the safest way to assist those who no longer want to suffer alone with shame and guilt.

I'm very curious to learn how this Cyber Comfort Companion will work... it reads like an excellent idea!
[ok]

Welcome Newfie,

Sorry the "brother-sister" analogy didn't work so well for you, and that your family members were not able to keep their priorities straight. Sad Let me know if you think of something better to describe what we're trying to create.

Safe Study Partners

It just so happens I'm a sick pup with a very twisted sense of humour, so I don't take semantics all too seriously! I suppose my not-so-hidden intent in making such a comment was to remind others how broad and intense some emotional-attachment issues go, and even simple words like "brother and sister" can become very strong emotional triggers. (Not always being safe or good).

I believe that's the point behind the creation of "safe-companions": create a safe way and means for a person to let it all out, without there being a sexual threat, right?

If that's the case, I believe this is the right route for distance-seekers to travel safely in a course that has many difficult chapters! I know for myself, I want and need distance, but I require complete uncensored openess and acceptance.

Something similar to courtly companions developed spontaneously

on the eHarmony Advice site. A small group of men and women seemed to naturally find each other and opened their hearts to one another (in this public forum) about the divide between the genders. The exchange was limited by a number of factors (who joins, why they're there, moderation/censoring of specific topics, the intrusion on mischief-makers) but still has transformed many who participated.

I watched for a long time, commenting infrequently, devloped some friends whom I could message privately, and even contacted some of them using my own personal email, not just the eHarmony/Advice system. One morning, this tired feminist, socially raised to both compete with and fear men, woke myself up as I rolled over to sleep some more, as a completely sweet dream about a specific man I pined for ended, saying "Men are just the >nicest< people!"

Shock! Surprise! And delicious, satisfied laughter. I meant it. I had never ever said it before much less thought it -- and certainly not believed it. But I had said it out loud, and I knew it was true and delightful, right, to know this new fact so surely.

It wasn't a dream. It really happened, and it has completely changed my approach to the world. I am comfortable, open, and the guarded cloak of fear and rigidity has begun to drop away. The more I dare to hold someone's glance, to smile, to be open to possibility (instead of guarded against certainty), the more possibilities come my way. Men and women, children, storekeepers, people in cars, strangers pushing shopping carts, men holding doors open...I can't wait for what's next!

Then I "accidentally" found this website, bought Peace between the sheets...what a lucky woman I am!

M

Thanks for your inspiration

and kind words. I went through a similar shift. I had always adored men, and was dismayed when I discovered that, deep down, I feared they would always start acting weird (after we got involved sexually, of course, although at that time I hadn't made that connection).

I did a lot of forgiveness work, and I'm convinced that one of the gifts of that was this insight about a different way to use sex - and why it's an improvement. The beauty of it is that it explains so much, that both genders can forgive the other, almost without a backward glance. "Of COURSE we were all acting bizarre and defensive! And it doesn't have to be that way if we don't let biology push us around."

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you, too, have joined the "open heart" club again. It's a great feeling, isn't it?

Welcome to the site. I've enabled you to blog. Here are the instructions: http://www.reuniting.info/resources/bloggers If you can think of any way we can find some more women, let me know. We always seem to have extra men waiting...and I like the men visiting this site to feel well cared for!

keep on keeping on

Marnia I think it's a genius idea and I'm surprised I didn't think of it earlier!
We are doing wonderfully. It is evolving, but in a good way. We have a lot to share and learn from each other. It's like getting a long lost friend back. She's awesome. I encourage everyone to do this!
TLR

Ladies,

We have about five knights in shining armor (or at least princes in froggy disguises) who are waiting patiently for Companions. Could any of you find it in your hearts to volunteer to be a Companion? If not, could you volunteer your female friends by getting them to sign up?

Thanks,
Fairy Godmother

yes, I volunteer

:) I would welcome the opportunity to heal and help another heal through an open,honest, and caring conversation. I must be straight up in saying I hope to learn something from another man to bring healing reconciliation to my relationship with my beloved...in case that matters who you match me with.

I'll think it over. I don't

I'll think it over. I don't want to commit to something I have no time for, tho I like the idea a lot. I'm already behind on my posts in here (I've discovered some really fascinating connections recently that are so huge, to me at least, that I need to sit down and really try to articulate them well). Also, I'm finishing up school these next few weeks. Perhaps more time will be freed up later.

What it comes down to is that I am already on the computer a lot with my work. I don't want to live my whole life through the computer.

What about the idea of trying to bring all of this 2-D sharing into the 3-D? Not necessarily by meeting in person but rather working on other projects - for example, we could make sacred objects for one another's altar's (assuming frogs and princes have altars, which they may not but which they could easily create) - and send them to one another as tokens of support and as reminders of the union of male and female. We could write one another hand-written letters - and send them to the general post office for pickup so that the real address of each person is still protected.

Any other ideas?

I can foresee enjoying doing a ritual for healing in which I meditate at the same time as a courtly companion, or I go on a walk and write them a letter or poem, or I sing them a song for their healing and send it on tape to them. But more time spent on the computer? . . hmmmm, I'll have to think about that one.

What a lovely thought...

kind of like the ladies of old giving the knights a token to carry into tournaments. I'm sure that would be much appreciated, especially by the men waiting.

I don't blame you for wanting to stay off the computer as much as possible. Some days I think I would grow roots from my root chakra if it weren't for walks, yoga and snuggling!

I was hoping to flush some of our shyer sisters into service. Your posts serve an important function as they are.

My courtly companion is awesome!

The courtly companion experiment was just picking up around the time I joined this community, and admittedly, I was very nervous about jumping on board. However, my new friend has been nothing less than a divine gift. I reached out to him because I felt that he could use the support of someone like me, and soon after, I realized that I, too, was very much in need of personal support. I have been walking this path alone for so long, I forgot what it was like to have someone with which to share and discuss the ups and downs of celibacy and controlled intercourse. This is exactly what I needed.

Aside from the more obvious benefits of building friendship and trust with someone of the opposite sex, I have found that our exchanges have done something else for me, something very important. Talking with my friend everyday, even if our messages are brief, is a daily reminder of the work I have come here to do. Avoiding emotional and psychological wounds is all too easy to do in this world of endless distractions. Not only does my companion remind me that I have work to do, he is here to support me while I do it. I can't even remember a time when I felt so focused on my goals. It's like having a workout buddy, but for intimate healing! It's a brilliant idea, and I recommend it everyone. :)

Well William, I noticed that

Well William, I noticed that my companion and I have been regularly corresponding with each other at least a couple of times each day. We also have discussed in some way both of the problems you mentioned. I found though, that we figured out what to talk about because we both knew what we needed to talk about, if that makes any sense. For instance, I have been talking about sexual imagery as of late with my companion because it's been a problem, and trying to understand why I have these feelings and beliefs. My companion has found the things she needs to talk about and has when needed to. I do agree with the mutually agreed agenda can help, but as you may find with your next companion, William, it's going to be a different can of worms for each person, and they must contractually agree individually.

The other problem you mentioned we have, specifically the communication issue, we've both thought about a lot. We have both committed to coming up with a solution that involves some real-time solution (instant message, web camera, etc.) sometime in the near future. The specifics have not been hammered out.

I had a question: is there a time constraint to the system? I've been acting as if one didn't exist.

Thanks for your thoughts

I don't feel inspired to set any guidelines, because the chemistry will be different for each pair, as will the intensity of the issues discussed. However, if any of you develop and recommend guidelines, I will be happy to link to them from the "Courtly companion" page - as a possible option for those wondering how best to proceed. I'm sure some people will find them helpful.

I ask people to try the connection for a month, and then decide together if they want to go forward, or if they're "talked out." It is fine to ask for a new Companion. We learn different things from different people. Anyone who feels ready to move on should trust that their Companion will benefit from that as well.

My courtly companion and I

My courtly companion and I don't seem to be companions in any sense. I feel I've made an attempt to engage a dialogue but with little results. Probably he just has better things to do (hopefully not porn). Anyway, I still like the idea of it with someone who is actually willing to share themselves.

new courtly companion

I have recently begun to correspond with my Courtly Companion, and it's been lovely. We have quite a bit in common. It's great 'practice' for getting to know someone outside of a sexual or dating context, for setting up a respectful communication with good boundaries, for being authentic. It's been a great experience so far, and I would highly recommend it.
Cariad

Emotional Infidelity

Just curious--I work as a counselor and recently attended a workshop about infidelity. Emotional infidelity was one of the topics, and it is a very real and growing concern in the field--one that often leads to disintegration of a relationship. It involves couples meeting their intimacy needs outside of their relationship, rather than working through them with their partner--often leading to affairs. I'm wondering, since married and involved people are a part of this courtly companionship, how do you safeguard against this? It seems like a set-up, in some ways, for the initiation of affairs. I know I would be bothered if my partner was discussing intimate sexual practices with someone of the opposite sex--especially if we were having problems and he wasn't bringing these issues to me. What do you think about this, and how do you address the risk of "emtional infidelity"? Thanks!

Welcome to the site

Courtly Companions are specifically *not* for matchmaking purposes. They are assigned at random, and usually there are wide differences in the ages of the companions, and wide distances between them geographically. http://www.reuniting.info/courtly_companions

All visitors are presumed to be adults who must make their own decisions. Perhaps as you browse the site you will realize that its emphasis is on integrity between the sexes. To be sure, life offers few guarantees.

In any case, I believe that seeking wisdom outside a relationship can be very helpful. When we lived in tribes, I'm sure we didn't always try to resolve all our interpersonal difficulties directly as a first step. It's sometimes very helpful to have different perspectives before choosing an approach.

I appreciate that you feel differently about this.

Thanks

And I didn't intend to start off on a negative note, and I hope it didn't seem critical--I enjoy the site and just had questions about this particular thing. It's an interesting question for me--determining what is considered infidelity, and what is mentorship and friendship. Which needs are met solely in relationship, and which ones are okay outside of the relationship are things each couple has to determine for themselves, and it's remarkable how few couples have that discussion, and how much trouble can result! Those lines can blur so easily, and I've been particularly frustrated in working with people in relationships with regard to affairs and emotional infidelity. It's unfortunately common.

I think your site has much to offer my clients in terms of explaining what happens in the brain and with the neurochemistry, and I use it as a resource--so I want to express my great appreciation for you. As someone who frequently hears about people's sexual problems and concerns, I am acutely aware of how important it is to have a strong ethical code and sense of integrity and commitment--those tender and intimate issues have to be tended to so carefully, and there's so much potential for abuse of power--it's a HUGE responsibility, and one I take ever so seriously. So, I guess that's where I'm coming from! Thanks for listening.

Thanks for your kind remarks, Bay

I certainly see your point. The good news is that sometimes talking things over with a peer seems to lead to increased integrity. It's always a gamble, though.

It must be tough to be on the front lines today. This is a very difficult planet for relationships...because we pair-bonding humans have two biological programs crashing head on. I'm glad you find the material on the site can sometimes bring comfort.

Emotional infidelity

I recently became a courtly companion and I think the relationship is going well and our discussions are pretty intense. However, I am concerned with the issue of emotional infidelity brought up some time ago on this thread. My wife is not aware of this relationship and I am sure she would not approve of me discussing intimate issues with another woman. I can't decide if I am committing emotional infidelity by engaging in this relationship. I believe the relationship to be co-mentoring, if that's a word, but can it be right if I am hiding it from my wife. Guidance, please.

dilemma

The CC relationship is causing me a dilemma. Yes, it make be uncomfortable (not because the CC is saying anything inappropriate) but because I am hiding it from my wife. I think she would go ballistic if she found out. I hid the PMO for years and she never knew, so I could probably get away with this, too. But I know it's not good for our relationship to have secrets. On the other hand, I think I am helping the CC work thru some serious issue (much more serious than mine) and we are communicating well. And it helps me also to be able to tell my story one-on-one to someone who understands.

I guess my choices are:

1. Continue with the deception at the risk of causing a serious rift in our marriage.

2. Excuse myself and abandon the CC after we have built up some mutual trust.

3. Get permission from my wife to share this stuff with another woman.

Has anyone else gone the route of #3. Marnia, I know you share intimate knowledge this all the time. Does Gary have a problem with that?

Jesse, I'm not married to my

Jesse, I'm not married to my lover, but whenever I get a message or anything from anyone that I think might be considered "not quite right," I send it over for him to read and ask his opinion on how I should respond. I don't believe in hiding anything from the person you love. My ex-husband was that way and it causes so much mistrust (and therefore, lack of sex, lol).

This is not to say your correspondence with a CC is NQR--I'm just saying your wife might think so and perhaps if you *involved* her in the discussion, she would appreciate it?

Of course, I don't know your wife... Smile

rediscovered

Very timely~

Just two minutes ago I finished reading Diana Richardson's "The Heart of Tantric Sex" (bless you, Marnia, for posting the excerpt here that led me to the book--I love this book so much--I also bought the one for men and read it, too, and am giving it to my lover)--

Anyway!

On the very last page is a quote from Osho: Yoga, The Alpha and Omega, Vol. 10. He says, "Drop all masks. Be true. Reveal your whole heart; be nude. Between two lovers there should not be any secrets, otherwise love is not. Drop all secrecy. It is politics; secrecy is politics. It should not be in love. You should not hide anything. Whatsoever arises in your heart should remain transparent to your beloved, and whatsoever arises in her heart should remain transparent to you. You should become two transparent beings to each other. By and by, you will see that through each other you are growing to a higher unity."

Great words to live by, I think~~

rediscovered

amazing

rediscovered,

You are a blessing -- and your timing is amazing. I'm still debating between excusing myself from the CC and bringing my wife into the discussion. One of her friends had a very BAD experience with a man she met on the internet, so her knee-jerk reaction will be "hell no". Whatever I decide will be consistent with your post.

advice

I know this is an old post, but the principle is worth responding to.

Trust is at the core of any meaningful relationship. Partners frequently hide things from each other for fear of what the other's response will be. We don't want to hurt the people we care about. Or, more likely, we don't want to "feel bad" about hurting people we care about, so we lie and withold information.

You know you should share this information with your wife, but you fear losing a valuable resource in your CC.

You may be able to have your cake and eat it too. If I were in your shoes I would

1. disclose fully to my wife
2. admit I was wrong in witholding it from her and ask for her forgiveness
3. offer to present all the correspondence to her so she can read it
4. offer to let her read all future correspondence
5. point out the ways that it has helped your relationship with your wife
6. ask her if you have her permission to continue the CC relationship

You may find it helpful to offer additional modifications such discussing all questions with your wife before sending to your CC, and having your CC correspond via an email address shared by you and your wife vs your own private one. With your history, establishing and maintaining trust is critical. It is likely you will have to come at this from the angle that you are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure your wife trusts you, and if that means severing the CC relationship you will enthusiastically do it today.

Sharing Positive Sexual Energy

I am available as a Courtly Companion to Attractive Females in Orange County, CA. I am a handsome, passionate, and sensitive man, who is looking to share and channel positive sexual energy. I am understanding and respectful, and I wish to create a safe environment where we can explore our sexuality and intimate spirituality. Intelligent and open communication is important. I would like to work on tantric techniques and promoting each other's energy levels.

suggestion

Marnie, I think this idea is bold and could be quite helpful in many ways.

I do have one concern. In spite of the good intentions and the potential benefits, it does involve people of the opposite sex engaging in very intimate and possibly arousing discussions. I think it is likely that companions may at times feel themselves drawn to each other in a way that is beyond the intention of this "program."

People who engage in this program could face significant traps if they are in committed monogamous relationships. Sharing intimate details of one's sex life with someone without partner's knowledge could be a breach of trust. There is a significant risk of becoming emotinally or romantically attached to a partner when discussing such intense, personal, emotional, sexual matters. If partners have a history of addiction, dishonesty, or infidelity, having a "secret" companion with whom you discuss sexual matters would be problematic. One might ask themselves how their partner would feel if they knew you had such a companion.

I'm not objecting to the program. However, I do think it would be helpful if you could provide some helpful guidelines to people who are considering it. For instance:

- establishing boundaries about what you will and will not discuss
- limited sharing of personal information outside the topic at hand (karezza), ie. avoid talking about famlies, hobbies, likes/dislikes, and other "get-to-know-you" topics as this serves the purpose of relationship and intimacy building.
- tell your partner about your companion, explain why you are doing it, and invite them to read the correspondence
- encourage discussion with your partner as the primary form of expression, problem solving, etc.

Those are just some suggestions. The point is I so often hear of people who are unfaithful to their partner say "It just sort of happened!" These things never "just sort of happen." They usually start with seemingly innocent exchanges such as may happen in this program.

You may also want to do this simply for liability purposes. You don't want someone claiming your website enabled - in fact, encouraged - a partner to become romantically involved with someone else by encourage the use of a service that promoted private sexual discussions between members of the opposite sex.

Obviously for those not in a relationship this concern is not present.