Spiritual Friends

Is spirituality the best thing that can happen to your mate? Think again. Mariana Caplan on the unfortunate truths of spiritual boyfriends.

Mariana Caplan

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The following is an excerpt from her essay, “Adventures of a New Age Traveler.”

A few years ago, I began to attract a new breed of men that over time I came to call Zen boyfriends. I use the term Zen loosely here because a man doesn’t have to be a Zen Buddhist to fall into this category. He could be a Tibetan Buddhist, a Sufi, or even a practitioner of some obscure brand of yoga. The more rigid the tradition, the better for this type. What defines a Zen boyfriend is the manner in which he skillfully uses spiritual ideals and practices as an excuse for his terror of, and refusal to be in, any type of real relationship with a woman. He is both too identified with his balls to become a celibate monk and, at the same time, too little identified with the wider implications of them to take responsibility for them. The result: a righteous, distant, and very intelligent substitute for a real man.

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