4 Qualities of a Conscious Relationship

We are approaching a period of time when relationships are going through a major redesign. The current paradigm isn’t working. People are unsatisfied in love; people don’t know how to make relationships work.

And, believe it or not, this isn’t a bad thing. Because when systems break-down, that’s when they change. I believe that’s what’s happening in the area of intimate partnership. The break-down is forcing us to move towards conscious love.

So what exactly is a conscious relationship? It’s a romantic relationship that has a purpose, and that purpose is growth.

Individual growth. Growth as a couple. Growth that makes the world a better place.

As of now, most people get into relationships to satisfy their own personal needs. This might work for a few years, but eventually the relationship fails us, and we end up unsatisfied as a result.

But when two people come together with the intention of growth, the relationship strives towards something much greater than gratification. The partnership becomes a journey of evolution, and the two individuals have an opportunity to expand more than they could alone. Deep satisfaction and long-term fulfillment arise as a result.

So if you’re someone who feels called to take romantic love to the next-level, below are four qualities that characterize what being a conscious couple is all about. Welcome to the path of the conscious relationship; this is next-level love.

1. The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship – growth comes first.

Not being attached to the outcome of the relationship does not mean you don’t care what happens! It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have fantasies about how the relationship will turn out.

What it means is this: you’re more committed to the experience of growth than you are to making the relationship “work.”

The reality is, we’re here to grow. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. When growth stops, we automatically feel like something’s gone wrong. Because it has. Without growth, we aren’t fulfilling our soul’s purpose.

Unfortunately, relationships today tend to stifle growth more than enhance it. This is one of the main reasons we’re failing at romantic love.

We want our partners to act in a certain way, we repress ourselves to please others, and soon enough, we feel small, reppressed, and confused about who we’ve become. This, inevitably, makes the relationship feel like a cage that we want to break out of. But the unfortunate truth is: we’ve caged ourselves.

The conscious couple values growth more than anything else because they know this is the secret to keeping the relationship alive.

Even though growth is scary (because it takes us into the unknown), the couple is willing to strive towards expansion, even at the risk of out-growing the relationship. Because of this, the relationship maintains a natural feeling of aliveness, and love between the couple does, too.

2. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their s#*t.

Conscious couples know that we all have wounds from the past, and they understand that these wounds will be triggered in a relationship.

In other words, they expect to feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other shitty feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person.

Most of us still believe that relationships should only feel good, and when bad feelings surface, something has gone terribly wrong. What we fail to see in this situation is that these shitty feelings stem from our own faulty patterning! These issues are not caused by our partners; they’re really caused by our internal wounds and limiting beliefs.

The conscious couple is willing to look at their past and current issues in relationships because they know that by facing these beliefs systems, they can evolve into a new relationship-reality. Dysfunctional patterns will dissolve, but only when we take responsibility for them, first.

3. All feelings are welcome; no internal process is condemned.

In a conscious relationship, there’s room to feel anything. Not only that, there’s room to express those feelings and fantasies to your partner.

This is edgy territory… it’s not easy to do. But it’s also one of the most healing things we can experience in a relationship.

It’s rare to be completely honest about who you are and to let your partner do the same. You may not like what you hear – in fact, it may trigger the hell out of you – but you’re willing to be triggered if it means your partner can be authentic.

Like I already said, we’re used to molding and changing ourselves to please people we love because we don’t want them to stop loving us! This stifles the love out of our connections.

The only option is radical honesty: revealing parts of ourselves that are hard to share, and letting our partners do the same. This leads to feeling known, seen and truly understood – a combination that will automatically enhance your love.

4. The relationship is a place to practice love.

Love, ultimately, is a practice.

A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching your heart into vulnerable territories.

Sometimes we treat love like it’s a destination. We want that peak feeling all the time, and when it’s not there, we’re not satisfied with what the relationship has become. In my mind, this is missing the whole point of love.

Love is a journey and exploration. It’s showing up for all varied nuances of your relationship and asking yourself, “What would love do here?” The answer will be different every time, and because of this, you’ll get to adventure to new inner-territories with your love … expanding and changing in mind-blowing ways!

The conscious couple is fiercely committed to being the embodiment of love. And through their devotion and practice, love shows up in their lives and relationship in ways they would’ve never imagined before.

Please leave a comment below telling us how you want to become more conscious in your relationships. I look forward to hearing from you!


Darrell Brown

Great article! This really hit home for me. The first point is very powerful. It can be applied to failed relationships as well. Even though the relationship falters, it can result in individual growth.

Shelly Bullard

Awesome point, Darrell. Thanks for pointing that out (that we can learn from all relationships… ones that have ended, too). Thank you for leaving a comment!


I am always amazed at how insightful your articles are, you are real and it’s comforting to know that relationships don’t come with a manual. Applied knowledge is power, when we know better we do better.

Love and peace


This article really hit home for me. Unfortunately, I have recently had a relationship dissolve for many of the reasons you stated above. And, now I am dealing with the struggle to figure out how to move past the missteps made in that relationship and come to terms with the fact that the relationship is over.


I am in the same place as Nickie. It has been a tough journey- going through this.
Trying to stay positive and riding the waves. This article is sooooo true.
Thank you!


I agree with all of these! The first one (feeling solely attached to the outcome of the relationship) is definitely a trigger for me. It’s difficult to step outside a belief you were raised with from a young age – that “success” in relationships means marriage. Now that I’ve been divorced and found various types of love, I understand what this means. But I do need to check myself occasionally to make sure my focus is in the right place.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE #4. Thank you for reminding me that love is not a destination point. If we treat it that way, we’ll never reach what we strive for! I believe I’ve finally found a genuinely good and open man who wants to invest consciously in an exploration of love. We’re excited to grow together in many ways through many activities. It helps to make an activity list!

To cultivate love, we must practice love everyday. I will surely ask, “What would love do?” in order to be committed to the “embodiment of love.”

Thank you for sharing what a conscious couple looks like!

G Church

Thank you, Shelly! Great timing – reflects conversations I’ve been having with my partner as we embark on a new, amazing, unexpected relationship. These are excellent guidelines for maintaining friendship, autonomy & respect.


I agree, what a great article!

But what to do if you’ve been married for a while and only one person in the couple is interesting to growth?


Thanks Shelly for sharing this important article. It really speaks to me as my partner and I prepare for marriage. It’s scary going into something that we’ve seen fail too many times and only thrive happily rarely. Going into a marriage consciously is hard work! It takes a lot of awareness and honesty and vulnerability. A favorite quote of mine from Thich Nhat Hahn reminds us that love is a practice: “you must love in a way that the other person feels free”. I believe this also applies to how we love ourself. This way of loving makes room for the entirety of each individual- the easy to love parts and the not so easy to love parts. The freedom to be our true self and to be seen in this authentic expression is true love! Thanks again! I love your vision!


Excellent article, Shelly, thank you! It’s so scary to say growth/transformation into our greatest potential is paramount. What an exciting journey ahead!


Hi Shelly, this is fantastic. And what’s also fantastic is that I get every word! It’s all about love and growth. Why else are we here?! I’ve been hanging with you for a long time, almost feel like we’re buds. Lol. I have to say it’s been beautiful watching (reading) your own personal evolution. You have grown immensely and are so helpful to so many. You just keep getting it and getting it more! And are so good at sharing your wisdom in an understandable, down to earth way. I have a few people with whom to share this article. As for me, this is the level of relationship I seek & cannot settle for less! <3


Glorious article Shelly <3
I need to not expect 'perfect' sparky moments frequently with a fantasiful destination. I need to embrace the journey and appreciate all everything xx thanks shelley


Hi Shelly I really like your article, I was thinking today before a read you article , about my relationship, everything seems so good the same everyday, nothing change , thinking something is missing I really do not know what is the problem. I think after reading your article, I always had been doing things the grow myself and I kind of stop, I feel stuck, and I think I need to find the way . So thank you I think your knowledge can help.

Amit Upadhyay

Perfectly written Shelly.Love is not destination it is growth Journey and daily Practice.i think this is Secret of Love.


Awesome conversation to bridge upon. True consciousness is so powerful in not only love relationships but even in our everyday experiences. Whether at the grocery store or on our jobs. If we can be more “mindful” of our experience in that moment, we are more able to grow, encourage others to grow & be more accepting of not only ourselves but others as well. My ultimate goal every morning is to walk in love throughout the day to the best of my ability. Encouraging myself thru those moments to heal & offer healing to others. Often times accepting someone right at that moment in turn helps them to heal & grow>

Don Theiss

Thank you for such a clear statement of a healthy relationship that is aimed at
individual and relational growth, personal responsibility and love that is about caring for our self and our partner


This is a really helpful description. I’m grateful I’m beginning to learn what healthy relationship really is – never had much of a clue before. Thanks for putting this stuff out there :)


Is your course called “How To Become the Most Attractive Version of Yourself & Be Magnetic in Your Relationships” covered in your “Manifest your Love” course? Or are they different? Thanks for your kind assistance as I’m really struggling as to which one to do. Any help is truly appreciated. Thanks and many blessings! Holly

Shelly Bullard

Hi Holly – no, these courses are different. Manifest Your Love is a highly in-depth course that will raise/shift your vibration to attract the type of relationship you want. How to Become the Most Attractive Version of Yourself will take you through a process of learning how to cultivate deep self-love, drop your insecurities, and become highly magnetic in relationships. So, they’re similar, but not the same. If you’re wanting to manifest a relationship, then Manifest Your Love is the best option. If you want to feel more attractive and magnetic in your life (but not necessarily manifest a partnership), then How to Become the Most Attractive Version of Yourself is the best option. Excited for you to join!! xoxox


Hi shelly i have a problem in my relationship. At first we love eachother but me did sth wrong.i had felt may i could lost him and that feeling made him be fed up. And wants to break down. Would you please help me

Shelly Bullard

Hi Hamideh, yes, I hear that you want help. I created my courses to do just that – courses are the best way I can help lots of people (for anyone who wants to go deeper into the practices of these principles). The best course for you to start with is my course Manifest Your Love – it teaches us how to become the embodiment of love from the inside-out (which is the most important change you can make to totally transform your experience in relationships). To learn more about it, click here: http://manifestyourlovecourse.com. Lots of love to you xo

Henrik Lindholt

What you stated about conscious relationship is simply brilliant and I have seen it shared many times on Facebook.

After having been in a relationship and marrige in 28 years, I recognize how difficuelt it was to owning you own shit…many times not knowing that it was your own shit…but it was a journey into more and more consciousness about myself…however, it seems that the real wakeup came in the breakup period and time after.

I really felt like I had grown into a we…and i took a long time to rediscover and find myself again….a process that is still ongoing…

All feelings were displayed…but not always welcome…since our conditioning was that the denser were too heavy…and disrubted the loving, family feeling.

I love your writing and send my deepest thanks to you…here standing on the edge on a new and more conscious relationship.

So Much Love


I love the point about asking “what would love do here”. I understand the point is that it shows that love acts or manifests in different ways in different situations. But I see another valuable reason to ask. It will help us to always respond with love rather than anger bitterness or frustration. We will respond rather than react. But it also means that if we are practitioner self love too, that we wont allow ourselves to be doormats. We can respond with love while respecting ourselves. This has the added payoff that we wont later feel bad for responding inappropriately or for allowing ourselves to be disrespected. That thought “what would love do here?” I am going to use to respond in a way that manifests my love for my partner and myself.

Thank you.

Greg McKim


I stumbled onto your “The 4 Qualities Of A Conscious Relationship By Shelly Bullard” through a link from MindBodyGreen and feel blessed to have discovered you. I’m a 58 year old man who has been in and out of about five significant relationships in my lifetime, with my most current one ending about two weeks ago after nearly 15 years together. It was my decision to end it.

The ideas in your piece are profound and presented with clarity and richness. You’ve expanded upon my own beliefs with insights I’d not reached, but I think were bubbling under the surface.

My email today is a robust thank you! I plan to read more of your writing, and look forward to employing your wisdom in my never ending “intention to grow”.



Absolutely love this article! It clearly depicts the humanistic responses between two individuals in love, not the flowery stuff we see on TV. This article speaks to what it really means to have a relationship that is truly and authentically “alive”.

Thank you so much!


This article is so deep and really explores the necessary foundations required to have a dynamic free flowing relationship. I want to be more conscious in my relationships by becoming more aware of the unhealthy patterns I have regarding the need to feel loved by the men I become romantically involved with that I sometimes am oblivious to the fact that they are not really a match for me on all levels.

Shelly Bullard


Thank you so much for your comment. And you hit upon a really good point: In order to create a conscious relationship, you must first become aware of your unhealthy patterns. Becoming aware of those patterns gives us an opportunity to transcend them. Thanks so much for pointing that out.

With love,

Loran G Glasco Jr

I just found this though my email box. and said he why not read this. it does hit home with me and very hard. you are correct what you think of yourself is the type of person you seem to attract to you. the one person whom really need to read this will never
ever read this article. I can how ever start to practice this and then from their I can teach my child this also maybe he will have better luck then I have not trying to do it this

G. Hollenquest

Extremely interesting and informative article; especially #1. Thanks for sharing that growth in a relationship is first and most important. I truly believe this, because it’s like you have something to look and strive for, keeping your mind off all the petty, unimportant things that break up relationships.Growth in a relationship, to me is that constant involvement to keep partners together. Thanks again for the eye-opening, enlightening article.
Gale Hollenquest

G. Hollenquest

Growing together is a way for the relationship to not get stale/old, and from ever feeling that you don’t get the attention you once received in the beginning of the relationship,’cause you’re each in contact daily, in accomplishing goals you’ve set together.

Shelly Bullard

Yes! When you grow together, the relationship is always new. :)

Maria Pappa

The point of being sincere stroke me the most. Very few men are ready to face that. I keep being honest having exactly the same result. Still not a soul mate by me for many years….


I ran across this article via Facebook the day before yesterday from a friend’s posting and it was perfect timing. My partner and I have been together for 17 years and had a rocky last 6 months, but this article showed me more about my own actions and self than I thought it would. I loved what it said, even to the point where I forwarded it to my own counselor because I think it’s brilliant. What transpired even within 24 hours for my own persona and perception of love changed….and I cannot thank you enough.


I have to say that this is very powerful stuff. I think I might be the only male poster to this point, but all of these points are so true. How can you be true to yourself if you cannot show your true self to your partner. That cage you speak of in point 1 is built so its almost impossible to escape but when you do you will look back and wonder how you got there. I have found true love and its beautiful and powerful and like nothing I could have ever imagined. Work on love and always growing are the keys to happiness…

Adam Collett

Hi Shelly, thanks so much for the wonderful piece. I work with UPLIFT, a non-commercial organization dedicated to sharing conscious, uplifting stories and information. We’d love to re-blog this piece for our audience if it’s something you would be OK with. We would credit you as author and include links back to your site, bio and the original piece and can include a short bio and any other links that would help direct people to where you’d like them to go! Have a look at our site here: http://www.upliftconnect.com and let me know what you think. Blessings, Adam

Phyllis Wilson

I am feeling a little lost because all my relationships have ended and they have been very tumultuous. This relationship I am in now for the last 14 months is different and it feels real. I just do not know how to be, I am who I am and that is fine by me. We tend to disagree on things and I am allowed to voice my opinion, which has not been allowed before. I feel really bad and I get stuck in a feeling of heaviness after we argue. I am unable to move out of that feeling which last for a period and makes me wonder about how I need to change. Is this growth or not.


Thank you, as always, Shelley. I am 13 years sober. This perfectly describes where my relationship is today. My partner of 8 years says she is unhappy and wants a break. Says, “I just need space right now.” She is advocating that I move out of our house. We have a beautiful 5 year old daughter. I am crushed, feel pushed out of my life and really want to try to work on our relationship – no matter the outcome; our family is worth it. I am trying to “stay positive/present” and “KNOW” this relationship can/does embody the love/relationship I want in my life. It’s TOUGH. Your message is perfect. I want to share it with her. But… if she is asking for space, is it more damage to share?

Shelly Bullard

Yes.Sharing it with her is pushing your agenda, and that’s not going to feel good to her. If you can truly give her the space she’s looking for you’re more likely to save the relationship.


Dear Shelly i completly new here and i am titaly impressed wirh your words. I am so happy i have found you. Thank you


Thank you for this! I absolutely believe that I want and deserve to be in a relationship that is constantly growing. I am currently going through a very hard separation after 9 years of pain and hardships, and what I thought was growing pains. And I absolutely loved this. It helped me to know what I would like more of in the future and reminded me to be open, honest and wanting that beautiful conscious relationship one day when my heart is ready.


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