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Big Love & the Tonic Effect of Being In a Nourishing Relationship

Happiness is better shared!

I love to be in love. And I love to build on the initial rush of love to discover even more love. And, there’s got to be a limit, right?

How Do You Sustain a Big Love?

What I know about myself, I am much happier IN A RELATIONSHIP. Now, that’s not to say, a bad relationship is better than being alone. A bad relationship, or for me, a relationship that no longer has the potential for transforming into a life partnership, is a relationship that needs to be terminated. Even if you LOVE the person, if they can’t see the value in prioritizing your partnership, it’s time to move on.

In my previous partnership, I was certain I’d found my first BIG LOVE post-divorce. I was wrong. The LOVE was big, but the follow-through on the rest of the relationship was abysmal. Not only was my availability taken for granted, my partner didn’t seem willing to make any compromises in how we would schedule time or activities together. There were three people who always took the priority: her kid (okay, that’s fine), her brother (yeah, maybe), and her best friend and her husband who began “hating” on me from week two of our relationship. (nope, time to move on)

Except, I was so in love, so ready to go ALL IN on this partnership, I was willing to tolerate some silliness while we established our boundaries. Well, the boundaries never came, and the considerations of others ALWAYS trumped any ideas I might have about the WE we should’ve been building. We were not on the same page. She was a solo mom, but she was also hyper-parenting. Beyond helicopter mom, this was mom+son=100%. More of a mono-focus. Okay, enough of my complaining, the hardest part of letting go of someone I loved with all my heart. I had to attempt the breakup three times before it took. And, even today, I want to reach out and check on her and her son. I still LOVE them dearly.

When It’s Time to Let Go

But, what I know about myself, I’m a deep connector. I wanted this relationship to be THE ONE. But my partner was unable to put any boundaries between me (what was good for us) and her other priorities (what was good for her others). She made a clear choice away from our relationship. And when I was able to see clearly, that my efforts to negotiate any flexibility were coming up empty, I knew it was time to go.

The first step for me was ending communications. It’s important for lovers who are separating to take a full break, in my opinion. I WANT to text you all the time. I will refrain from texting you at all because it only fosters further heartache and frustration. I’d love to stay in touch with your kid, but you’ve closed the gate on that too. I will do my best to shut down my side of the comms plan.

The second step for me was allowing for all of my dreams containing her and her kid to starve. No oxygen, no kind words, no Mother’s day greeting, no sympathies. Nothing. That’s the only way I can fully let the thread between us die. And that’s really how it felt. I had to kill the love between us. I had to actively NOT CALL or TEXT YOU. I had to actively refrain from reaching out to your kid, even when I had a great idea. Nope. Done.

Starting Up the Big Love Program Again

Today, I’m in an 8-month relationship, and things are going well. Sure, there are issues, there are growing pains, and there are moments where a bit more space would be good. BUT, there are zero moments when I feel she has deprioritized our partnership. For the most part, we’re still in some extended honeymoon phase, where we’re gaga about each other. Perhaps there are more skeletons ahead.

But, what I’m noticing again, that I knew before, is that I REALLY LOVE BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP. And this partnership has one ingredient that my previous failures did not: availability.

Perhaps, in the past, I have been drawn to women who were not fully available. Was there an aspect of my relationship with the solo mom that I knew was out of whack?

What I know, is that in the opening months of THIS RELATIONSHIP, I was a bit freaked out by her availability. Her kids are grown and living in another state. And she was new to Texas, so she didn’t have groups of running buddies. She has two sisters who are in town, but her time and energy is always been available to me when I ask. And it is still an adjustment. I’m still not sure how to ask for EXACTLY what I want. That’s the goal. That’s always the goal. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT.

So, even as I’m stretching towards this BIG LOVE I also still have a warning light on. I know there are bumps ahead. We’ve not seen too many days yet. And I know there’s a responsibility on my part for airing all of the “ideas” and “concerns” I have. Today, I’m happy just to be in a loving relationship. I know she loves me, she tells me all the time. But, of course, more than that, she shows me all the time. She gives me her time and energy, freely.

Just Being Together

For me, right now, just being with someone I love is enough. I don’t need to define or examine too deeply if this is the ONE. All I need to do is be honest and open about what I’m feeling and what I am wanting as we move forward.

I love being in a relationship. It’s as if my partner’s support forms a stronger platform for me to leap toward my bigger creative goals. And when I’m in need, I know I have a partner who is available and willing to apply Neosporin and fetch ibuprofen. I have a partner who may not be a competitive adult tennis player, but who will attend a tennis weekend with me and my tribe. I know today, that she is 100% available. And she lets me know that I am the lover she is seeking.

Each day, we just groove. Watching a movie, cooking dinner, walking her dogs, I am happier together with someone who is holding my hand.

We’ve got this present moment thing down. Let’s see how well we sort out the next steps and levels of being together. It’s summer and she’s a school teacher, so we’re going to have some moments of ever more availability. A chance for both of us to articulate and negotiate boundaries and requests.

Finding someone to love, via dating (online or offline) is step one. Establishing a mutual goal of relationship-building is step two. Then comes the harder work of growing as a couple as the trials and tribulations of real-life unfold. The WE is formed and forged by spending time together and negotiating the time apart. I’m not sure how to do the next part very well. My experience is limited. But, I am fully committed to giving 100% of my available energy and time to this one woman and seeing how we grow into something bigger, better, stronger, and more loving than we’ve ever experienced before.

The potential is here. Now, time is the only ingredient we need to add. Stay tuned.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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