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One Big Love: A Quest Fulfilled

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I’ve written a lot about this idea of “big love.” A love that transforms. A love that heals. The love that rebreaks your broken parts so you can rebuild with trust and closeness. The BIG LOVE is a concept, but I’m going to outline how it’s also a process for finding the BIG LOVE in your life. That’s my goal. Let’s go!

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to define BIG LOVE

Seeking Bigger Love

My marriage was officially terminated in August of 2010. My son was nine and my daughter was seven. And since that day I have been seeking a relationship with a healthier and more compatible partner. It has been a long quest with many false starts, a few near misses, and one YES that has lasted almost two years. As I was defining BIG LOVE and regular love my journey into dating again, after divorce and with kids, I continued to examine and explore my own process and experience. And it seems that the narrative, of a man on a mission, has been what grew the reach of my writing overall. It seems, there are not a lot of men willing to expose the white underbelly of their fear, their sadness, and even their triumphs along the way. It has been like a spiritual quest, a vision quest, to find a lover capable of matching my level of energy and my joy setpoint.

The idea of BIG LOVE came from an earlier attempt at a relationship. I began to understand that my healing, my own recovery from the divorce, would not be complete until I reestablished a loving and healthy relationship. The problem was, I didn’t really have any good examples of “healthy.” So, I started making up my own rules, my own goals, and my own boundaries around what makes a healthy and compatible relationship.

Attempts At Big Love Sync

Start with Brené Brown, add two parts Penthouse Letters, and two parts Gottesman. I told that woman, the one who ghosted, in some of our early phone calls via, “Let’s fk our way through Brené Brown’s books.” It was a great idea. She, however, knew more about the BRAVING memes than actual practice. And in the end, I was firing off warning signals, that unless she learned to contain some of her blowback, I would need to move along. No Braving seemed possible with a woman who was disconnected from her own trauma and aspirations.

In another attempt, I mated with a younger woman who had an eight-year-old son. It was a stretch. I wasn’t sure I wanted that extra role. As I leaned in, however, I became committed and attached. The single solo mom could never quite trust that I was for real. Her experience with long-term relationships was very limited. Previous attempts had failed within weeks, as potential partners discovered that there was very little space for an adult partner to compete with the devotion she had to her son.

I never made it beyond a “nice to have.” She would make plans and tell me, “You’re welcome to come with us.” And that was it. It was always “US,” meaning her and her son. And then me and my needs. There simply was no room for another person in her life. After two breakups and reboots, I had to admit defeat and move on.

When Big Love Fails

When you lose a lover there is a moment of clarity. You can stop and examine how things failed. You can reset your priorities. And take a rest before restarting the dating ritual.

The door has closed. It is important that you reset your own internal goals and priorities before restarting the Bumble/Match gauntlet.

My BIG LOVE Adventure (NOW)

Today, I’m experiencing the BIG LOVE that I have been seeking for the last 13 years. We match up with all the criteria I imagined. In reading back over some of the BIG LOVE posts above, I can see even more clearly how this woman, my woman, has arrived ready and willing to join on the journey of a lifetime together.

The BIG LOVE can and will transform everything you thought you knew about love. You can be flexible with your goals and ambitions. You cannot settle, however. Your BIG LOVE partner must be

  • all in
  • all that
  • all time

The hard part is finding someone willing to stretch and grow together. There is no arrival. There is no soulmate. There is only our current and constant commitment to making our relationship and our lives together the focus of our energy and attention. The mother of the boy had nothing left to give. She was taken. It was an unhealthy and untenable future. One that I am no longer a part of.

Find out what your goals and aspirations are. Align with each partner and see how things evolve. As BIG LOVE warms up all your objections and worries will melt.

Today, I am happier than I was yesterday. Nothing particular happened. The love I have established fosters hope and energy. I feel more loved each day we are together. There is no doubt. There is the unknown of the future, yes, but our efforts are already aligned in staying close and connected with each other.

Don’t settle. Don’t accept insecure attachments and bad behaviors. It’s sad and frightening when a relationship ends. But it is more frightening to think of staying even after the red flags have been raised and lit on fire. Time to move on.

When you are in a BIG LOVE you will know it. If you can stay committed to making it last, to supporting your partner no matter what… Well, that’s where I am right now. I’ll let you know how things go.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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