Recently, life hit me hard in the area I least expected to be hit in. It happened, as it often does: just when my business as a Love Coach was starting to take off, my own personal life hit a serious snag.
My boyfriend of almost a year, with whom, until recently, we were talking marriage, and who had stopped drinking when we’d started dating because he’d realised that “it was not conducive to a family environment” fell off the wagon in a big way. Though I have a very forgiving nature and a true belief in people deserving second chances, I also have two daughters who I am raising with a certain high level of values. In addition, I have my own level of standards which, like I teach my clients, are ones that a woman must adhere to no matter how difficult (and it is very difficult at times).
In my family, alcohol is something that we use socially and very much in moderation. So I trusted my boyfriend’s word that he had his drinking under control and that he was in no way “an alcoholic”. In fact, for the majority of our relationship, I had no reason to doubt him. We were very much in love and the high from that, and from our passion together, and the living out our dream lives side by side was sufficient for us to not need any other high. We spoke of being together forever and of marriage in the good days, and we were flying.
But, as often happens, life hits snags. It is in how we handle those snags that the true character of a person emerges.
Around Valentine’s Day, while on a beautiful holiday for the week, we took a big, bold step together and both decided to give up our past career lives to begin anew with the dreams we’d spoken about at Christmas. He helped me to see my true calling and said that he would always support me (which he did both financially and mentally) in my start to becoming a Transformational Love Coach for women: “you have a true gift, honey” and I encouraged him in his pursuit of his dream of having his own business in financial regulation. Everything was on the road to success. Our dreams were big and our beliefs in each other even bigger.
But then, not everything works immediately. That is just life’s little way of making sure that we want it badly enough. My aims were more tangible: I wanted to help women to find the love life and life of their dreams. His were higher: he wanted to make millions. Everything was fine until the client that he had counted on – the one that would have guaranteed that lifestyle that we’d spoken of having together – didn’t come through at the last moment. That’s when disaster began to strike.
I felt instantly that pang of something wrong when I saw his face as he was telling me about it. I could feel some dark fear inside me told me that things would begin to slide downward from there. In fact, his ego was hurt, but I did all that I could to help it come back together and we seemed to thrive even after that first crisis. Seeing just how much I supported him, and the strength of our communication, reaffirmed everything that we were good to each other. We succeeded for a while, but other disasters would follow. With each one, his desire to drink would steer up a bit, though he was still able to keep it at bay. But his irritation and his doubt was growing. Perhaps he wasn’t handling it all as well as I thought he was. My business, meanwhile, was taking small steps forward. He’d been right all along: this was my calling.
And then the difficulties with my kids began, and my own doubt in him began to surface. Even though we were great when just the two of us, he was growing more irritable with my kids, and this was something that I couldn’t accept. And then there was that day – yes during the day – that he completely fell off the wagon; a proper fall and one I could not ignore or forgive or get over. It was the most difficult thing I’d done in a long time, but I had no choice than to say good-bye.
I couldn’t have a relationship with someone who was outside my level of standards, both for myself and for what I considered acceptable to be around my daughters.
And then I cried for real.
I had really loved this man and seriously considered having a future with him. He had been amazing in the good times: generous, supportive, a true gentleman – such men were not so easy to find – and let’s not even discuss the unbelievable chemistry and passion we had shared.
But would I take it back? Would I have changed time so that I hadn’t ever met him to have been able to avoid the pain of breaking up? Of course not!
The time we had together was beautiful; it was passionate; it was intense; it was filled with love that was real and deep. Does the fact that we didn’t end up lasting forever diminish at all everything we had together? It hurts to end it and it was incredibly difficult. You’d think that the fact that I chose to end our relationship would mean that it wouldn’t hurt that much; but it hurt just the same, even despite the fact that the separation made many of the cracks in our supposedly intact foundation become much more clear. The most unbelievable clarity often comes when one is separated from the object that has served to fog one’s vision.
The pain of an ending is sharp and so intensely real that it often serves to teach us the most significant lessons, if we are open to learn from the negative.
Only in the pit of darkness does the faint glimmer of light have so much significance.
I teach women to always look for that glimmer of hope to hold onto, and I held onto that glimmer for dear life. To love is beautiful – beautiful and human. To love fully and completely baring your heart: even awe inspiring. To love and lose is no less important than to love and keep forever; not if you love and feel for real. There are lessons to be learned in both, and one is no less valuable than another.
When I think of all of the people that I know and that I’ve met who avoid that unbelievable feeling of complete and total love because of the fear of the deep emotions that come with it – all because of their fear of the possibility of days, maybe even weeks, yes occasionally months, of tears that it can bring when it ends… God, if they only knew what they were missing, perhaps they would think differently… I would tell them if I could. I would tell them I was lucky to grieve.
But the thing about describing love is that it’s like describing the feeling of sunshine on your face on that first true day of summer: you can only really understand it once you have felt it for yourself.
This is a personal guest post from Julia Keller. She is a Transformational Love Coach for Women and a DrivenWoman member. Find out more about how she works with clients on her website at www.juliakeller.co.uk