Letting someone go is one of the hardest things we can experience in life. Death is that final goodbye that has visited my family a number of times in the last five years, with my mom and older brother crossing the rainbow bridge. And the closer we get to the reality of our own mortality, the more we understand the urgency of life.
Don’t Waste Time On Anyone
A friend recently asked me, “Have you been in any healthy relationships?”
I tried to count backward in time towards my marriage. “Nope. I think this is the most healthy partnership I’ve ever been in.”
What I have learned, and *am learning now,* is that continuing a relationship that is not THE ONE is a waste of time. Sure, you might get your ya-yas off. You might feel less alone. But when the real curtain call comes, you’re going to wonder, “What the fk was I doing? Why did I go back to a relationship that had failed TWICE?”
I guess I really loved her. I imagined, in my healthy loving-partner mind, that we would evolve. I continued to ask, cajole, fight, and ultimately leave, trying to move the “couple” needle just a few spaces towards a WE. I could never get there. So, it was time to say goodbye, after three tries and nearly 2.5 years.
Your Best Friend Is Leaving
I attach really well. I’m not sure it’s always a “secure attachment.” I detach less well. I still want to reach out to my former lover and give her a pat on the shoulder, an encouragement, an attaboy. I had a best friend and a young boy in my life, I was fully committed and attached. Losing that connection is a sad moment. And for me, it takes a while to defuse the emotional dynamite. It’s best for me to go NO CONTACT. Sad, but true.
What I’ve learned is to LEAN IN 100% when attempting to build a loving relationship. Don’t hold back. Don’t get too far ahead of the process. Just BE PRESENT 100%, and flexible when prioritizing your time. What you need to fathom the potential of a loving partnership is TIME TOGETHER.
Availability and Intention
The first question that comes to my mind when contemplating a relationship is availability. I’ve been burned a couple of times, now. Women who are either emotionally immature, fully overbooked on purpose, or enmeshed with their kids too much make space for another person. A relationship is a two-way street, of course. BOTH partners need to be willing, have intentionality towards building a sustainable relationship, and then have the TIME to spend building the WE.
And, no, I don’t have any of the answers. Even as I’m in my first “healthy” relationship, I don’t have a reliable roadmap for the journey ahead. Is there marriage? If so, why? Are there struggles ahead? Would getting further engaged erode the magic of our alone time, that fuels such joy when we get back together?
What I’ve arrived at over the last few months, THIS IS IT. Just slow down and enjoy every aspect of this growth and learning period you are in. Be observant. Be patient. Be open and vulnerable. And listen with all of your senses. This wonderful woman WANTS to be with you and WANTS to make it work, as well. There are traps and snares ahead, but all of my experience and efforts are paying off. I know what I want, at least in this present moment. The rest is yet to be determined.
The Journey Ahead in Love
I’d love to imagine building a roadmap for the journey towards everlasting love. What I do have is a willing and open partner, who is affirming and aligning with me every single day. From the “Hello Sunshine” texts in the morning to the Facetime kisses at night when we’re not together. Listen more deeply. Appreciate more intently. And let go of your expectations as you open to experiences that can be better than you imagined.
Let go and love with ease. If this is the right relationship, there is no hurry, only honesty.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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image: breakfast with an exhausted Minnie Mouse and Elmo in NYC with my sweetheart, 2022. @cc 2022 with attribution
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