A Namaste Break-Up: How to Consciously End a Relationship
The theme song for this blog post: Qveen Herby - Wifey
Hey, speak to me kindly
I'm the type of girl you call "Wifey"
I ain't no side piece
I'm the one you takin' home to Momsies
I broke up with the man from the plane.
I'm very proud of myself.
He couldn't give me what I needed, and I couldn't give him what he needed. In a situation like that, the kindest thing to do is walk away.
Let me explain.
Hmm...where do I start?
Well I like simplicity, so here's the simple explanation: he was emotionally unavailable.
Totally understandable; the ink had not even been applied to the SEPARATION papers when we met. (Notice I did not say DIVORCE papers.)
Normally that would have been a RED FLAG - I mean hello, still married...!!
But instead of listening to my gut, I listened to him. "It's been over for years..."
(Wah wah wah...how many of us have heard that one before?)
What I learned - which I already knew - is that no matter how over anyone says it is, until the ink is dry on the DIVORCE papers, until the couple has been living separately for AT LEAST A YEAR (a full cycle of holidays, birthdays, etc.), until the terms of shared custody for the kids has been determined (and has been working well for that same year), then IT AIN'T OVER YET. Period.
Still, despite all that, if I had to do it all over again, I would, because I got so much out of the two months him and I spent together.
Air Canada flight 889 was scheduled to leave London Heathrow at 12:05 PM on Saturday, February 16, but it was delayed for take-off until approximately 1:20 PM. By 2:00 PM, the man in seat 18K had already turned around several times to smile at the woman in seat 19K. She thought it was funny, because the look on his face when she smiled back at him was one of slight disbelief, almost as if he was asking "Are you really smiling at me?" She was.
That day, he started winning her heart in unexpected ways; he turned around at one point during the flight with an apple in one hand, and a banana in the other and grinned as he offered her the fruit. She thought he was a goof right from the start. (As luck would have it, she had a thing for handsome, goofy men.)
When they got off the plane, she lost track of him. But when she walked into the airport, she saw him standing there waiting for her. She didn't know why it touched her so much. Maybe because she'd walked off countless planes, always alone, to the point where she didn't think about it anymore.
Him standing there looking for her did something funny to her heart. She hadn't realized until that moment how much she'd been longing to be the face that someone was looking for in a crowd; not until she saw him there, looking for her. He was standing there as though it's where he'd always been. Him.
She wondered if she would ever get the opportunity to tell him what that moment meant to her. Even as she wondered, she knew that time and fate would decide, as it always did.
I'm not sure how meeting someone on a plane (and then spending hours standing in the galley talking thereby causing the flight attendants to start taking bets on who was going to ask who out - he asked for my number, I suggested the drinks), could not feel like the start of something pretty magical.
I'm going to sound like a great big cheeseball when I say this (or worse - a Harlequin romance writer - if I haven't already done that with the above):
When we looked into each other's eyes, it was like two souls reuniting.
Hey! I did warn you.
That feeling doesn't happen everyday. I'm 38-years old, and this is the second time in my life that I've experienced this. (The last time I was 25. So yeah, 13 years is a long time to wait.)
I think that's the biggest part of the explanation as to why I ignored my gut. That and I broke up with my ex three years ago and haven't dated anyone since. (I've seriously been living like a NUN because casual sex is just NOT MY THING. I've found that soulful sex versus casual sex is like comparing Ossobuco to a McDonald's hamburger patty.)
A girl can get pretty lonely in her self-imposed cloistered life, so when a handsome man on plane asks for her number...well she gives it, emotionally unavailable though he might be.
I want to make it clear that I wasn't a total Bambi in this situation. A month into it, I thought to myself "This guy has got a lot going on...he's way too busy and overwhelmed for a relationship, and there's no space for me in his life."
So I sent him a text. I said we should hit to pause button so that he could go take care of what he needed to take care of. If we were meant to be together at some point in the future, then our paths would cross again, and if they didn't, then I was still glad we'd met because I'd felt more with him than I had in a long time.
I thought that would be the end of it. In my experience, men don't take kindly to any kind of rejection, as sweet and gentle as the delivery of it might be.
His message back was long and included the following: "For the first time in years, I have felt something... My heart is awake and open... If we go through life looking for the perfect moment we might realize that the moment has passed and we then need to wait for the next lifetime again."
I didn't even have time to answer that text before he called me. He wanted to make sure I wasn't going anywhere.
So for another month, I didn't.
And then...it didn't feel right.
When we feel anxious, it's usually because there's something that we're working really hard not to see.But once we see something, we can't unsee it.
That's the best and worst thing about TRUTH. That's TRUTH with a capital "T" and it means we can't hide from it because it hits us in the face like a two-by-four.
It hurts like hell. But it sure shakes some sense into us.
Often when we see a truth that we don't want to see, we start bargaining. We enlist other people to give us their opinions.
Let's be honest with ourselves folks, when we start polling the audience, we already know the answer, we're just looking for someone to give us a different answer.
When I started asking everyone what to do about the situation, it was because I already knew what to do, I just didn't want to do it.
I didn't know how I was going to end things. Should I wait until we saw each other again? But we saw each other so sporadically, and I couldn't sit on my truth because it was eating at me, and I wasn't sleeping. Maybe a phone call? But he was always running from one thing to another, so how could I ask "When do you have time for a call so that we can have a proper conversation about the end of our relationship?"
(Although I couldn't even call it a relationships because he was so terrified of commitment - again, understandably so - that he referred to us as "friends." Listen, I do not make it a habit to hang around naked with any of my friends - so I don't know what we are, but we are definitely not friends.)
Him and I were e-mail people, so the break-up conversation would have to happen over e-mail. Let me explain that statement.
Two weeks after we first met, he was scheduled to travel.
The day before leaving for his trip, he asked me for book recommendations. He said "I want to get to know your soul better through the books that have touched you."
(So you can see why I hung onto the hope that my gut might be wrong about him and his situation?)
I was surprised because honestly, I've never had anyone I've dated ask me for book recommendations. And with that as a reason why: someone who was interested in getting to know my soul. What a novel idea, pun intended.
I recommended what are now my core three; books that if you haven't read them and want to change your perspective on life, then you need to read these, in this order:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
I sent him the list, but didn't think much of it. As beautiful as his soulful sentiment seemed to me, another part of me thought that maybe he was just trying to impress me by asking.
He immediately purchased all the books for his Kindle.
(Hmm... Interesting. But again, I dismissed it.)
Two days later, I got an e-mail from him.
I hope you're well... I am lying in bed smiling...
I am reading The Alchemist.
How do you do this? Who are you? How did you know I had to read this? How did you know my truth and who I am?
His e-mail was long.
(He got me right where where it counts the most - my heart, my soul. He went straight in there like a missile.)
My response to him was longer.
And that's how we started writing to each other.
It would never otherwise have occurred to me to send long, deep, esoteric messages to someone I had just met.
But like I said, he started it. And I answered back.
So when it was time to break-up, e-mail seemed like the best medium.
This email is my parting gift to you. I hope you will take it as such.
A part of me wishes we could have had this conversation in person, but I'm uncertain of if and when we might see one another in the near future. And perhaps e-mail is better. It's easier to "hear" everything. So often in a conversation, we don't remember what was really said, but with an e-mail we can go back and re-read and reflect. Also, this helps me because there are things I need to say, and writing down my thoughts ensures that I can say everything.
Last Monday was the first night I felt sad after being in your presence. Every other time I have felt uplifted, happy, hopeful. But Monday, I saw the truth of both of our situations, and as is often the case with profound truth, it kind of hit me in the face like a two-by-four.
When I said I liked you, and allowed myself to be vulnerable, the look on your face was one of... Discomfort? Fear?
That hurt. I'm not taking it personally though. It's about you and where you're at, and not about who I am.
Any man who is in my life should feel lucky to be with me, to feel like he's won the lottery to have a woman like me say to him "I like you." I deserve a man who can think of nothing better than having me want him because he wants me just as much.
Right now, you are not that man.
What I know for sure: I deserve better than what your current situation allows. I deserve a man with an open heart ready for love. I deserve a man with space in his life for me. I deserve a man with the desire to build a life with me, whatever that construct ends up looking like. I deserve a man who will have my back the way I will have his. I deserve a man who will be my teammate in every sense of the word. I deserve all those things because I give all those things and more.
I am the kind of woman who deserves to be centre stage, not on the sidelines.
I want to make it clear that I'm not angry with you, or upset with you. You are where you are in your life. It is what it is and I understand that it's not about me, it's about you and what you've been through.
You ended up in a marriage you didn't consciously choose, and where you sacrificed so much of yourself that you now no longer know who you are.
Why do you feel as though love means sacrificing to your own detriment? Why does "doing the right thing" mean putting yourself and your needs aside? Where does this conditioning come from? Who or what in your life taught you that? If you delve into that question, you will find a release, you will understand your patterns so that you can break them and maybe live a happier life.
This is not a question I need answers to. This question is a gift to you. Because I am on the outside looking in, and because at this point, I have nothing to gain or lose by pointing these things out to you. I'm just the messenger making gentle observations. Life is inviting you through me to look at yourself.
You and I both agree that life is what we make of it. Well I choose to believe that true love means everybody wins, that there is no sacrifice that goes to the point of destroying one of the people involved. If it does, that's not love.
I don't know if you can find yourself while having a woman by your side. I only know that I cannot be that woman.
I thought I could be. And in the two months since we met, I've done my utmost to be kind, understanding, supportive, and to give you space. But I hit a wall last weekend. I felt...spent and emotionally exhausted. I didn't fully understand why until yesterday. (It takes me time to process.) I should not have to constantly reassure the man in my life that I won't try to hold onto him, to feel as though I need to convince him to stay by asking for nothing. That insight hit me so hard because I realized that in trying to give you what you needed, I had devalued myself. I felt sick when I realized that.
When I told you that I had asked you for nothing, you countered with "I haven't asked you for anything either." Although you may not have asked directly, the situation you are in asks a lot of the person in it with you. There is no denying that.
So this is a gift - I'm letting you go for both of us - so that we each have the space to honour ourselves. You need to find yourself, and in honouring that need, you cannot give me what I need. I need to be able to love fully and bravely, and in honouring that need, I cannot give you what you need. If we stay together now, we will hurt each other by each trying to get from the other those things we need which the other cannot give. Let's not do that to one other, ok? Parting ways is difficult, but it's the kindest option.
I'm so grateful for our story, and our time together. Talk about a bit of magic huh? Just wow. Awesome. Meeting on a plane? Everything we've talked about and shared? There's been so much good in it.
I needed the breath of air that you and us brought into my life. You know what one of the funniest takeaways is that I have? Before I met you, I thought "I'm never going to meet a man who goes to bed as early as me, and gets up as early as me, who doesn't drink, smoke, or party, who thinks that spending money on experiences is more important than spending money on stuff, and who will eat dinner with me at the geriatric hour of 5:30." Well didn't you prove me wrong about all of that! It's kind of like finding out that Santa Claus exists. Haha.
I know I'm making a joke about it, but as I've gotten older, I realize that life isn't about the big things, it's about the little things. The little things can be the glue that holds two people together, the same way that they can be the things that tear them apart (the same way that termites can eat through a whole building - it's the little things). The little things matter more than most people give them credit for which is why most people don't bother with them. If only people would learn to take care of the little things, then the big things would take care of themselves...Anyhow, I digress.
I'm going to miss your presence in my life. Cuz...I like you...MORE THAN SHRIMP!! I was making curry a week ago and thought "If he was here, I would need to put chicken in this instead of shrimp since he's allergic - or beef since we both seem to like it best - but that's ok because I like him even more than I like shrimp. And I like shrimp A LOT" ;)
I'm trying to make each of us smile right now, in this emotionally challenging moment... It's working on my side, I hope it's doing something on yours.
I like who you are and I like who I get to be when I'm with you. You brought out the best in me. Thank you. You showed me how ready my heart is to love and care for someone. To connect.
When I sent you a text a month ago offering to give you your space to figure things out, one of the things you said in your response was "If we go through life looking for the perfect moment we might realize that the moment has passed and we then need to wait for the next lifetime again." I kept that message. I have read it many times.
We were meant to meet, you and me. We were meant to touch each other's hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. But we must part ways now. Not because we are searching for the perfect moment, but because we each need different things in our lives right now. We cannot journey together. I don't know how to say this without sounding presumptuous...but I feel as though I know the journey you're about to embark on better than you do because I have walked that path already. I read The Alchemist in 2005. My journey of "getting to know myself" has been happening ever since then. It's not a short journey. It's not an easy journey. But the gifts are worth it.
Will our paths cross again? Will you get to a point in your journey when your heart will be ready for love, and will you in the moment think "I wonder what that beautiful soul Jasmin is doing?" Will I still be here then, with an open heart? Who knows? God knows. I have faith in this. I have to have FAITH in this otherwise I would not have the emotional strength to walk away from you and us right now. But I have to respect my process as much as I respect yours.
Your job is not to seek for love, but to find all the barriers you have put up against it.
What are the barriers you have put up against love? Again, this is not a question I need answers to. This question is a gift to you.
I know that for me, you helped bring my barriers down. I was scared to allow someone to come close, but then I've had too many unkind men in my life. You made me realize that, with a good man, my heart can open. You opened my heart for love. Thank you. It's ok that you can't be the one to love that heart.
You know what one of my friends says about love? She says "You can never be wrong for loving." I'm so glad I opened my heart to you.
Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire.
That's a quote from Viktor Frankl. He wrote a book called Man's Search for Meaning while he was living in a concentration camp during WWII. Add it to your reading list. Another gift.
If you haven't seen it already, watch a movie called Into the Wild. It's based on the true story of a man who goes into the wilds of Alaska alone in order to find himself and the meaning of life.
There is so much I still want to share with you, and maybe someday we can be friends. That day is not today.
I will miss you very much. I will think about you and about how your journey is going, and I will send you love. Because love is what I am, and love is what we all are.
You said "If we go through life looking for the perfect moment we might realize that the moment has passed and we then need to wait for the next lifetime again." Maybe this moment that just passed was the only moment we were meant to share in this lifetime. Maybe our souls will need to wait for the next lifetime before being able to unite again. I'm trying really hard right now to focus on being happy that it happened, instead of sad that it's over because I see our time together as a gift from the Universe.
I kind of wish that I'd know that the last time we saw one another might be the last time. I might have squeezed you a little harder, held on a little bit longer, and made a point to look into your eyes. But that's just a reminder that we must always enjoy every single moment that life gives us because there is never a promise for tomorrow. The present moment is the only thing that's real.
Have you ever heard the Sanskrit word Namaste? It's a word said at the end of every yoga class, but I think most people don't know what it actually means.
Namaste: My soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire Universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.
Namaste. Be free.
And that is how I chose to kindly, gently, respectfully, and CONSCIOUSLY walk away from someone who touched my soul. Someone who, had he been in the same emotional place as me, I might have fallen deeply in love with.
I have to be honest, despite everything he and I had shared, I didn't think I would get a response. As I said, in my experience, men don't take kindly to any kind of rejection, as sweet and gentle as the delivery of it might be.
He called me the next day.
"I loved your e-mail. It was really beautiful. I've been struggling to find a way to respond to it."
I told him I was glad; that I had actually been concerned in sending the email because I was worried he would think that I was preaching at him.
"Listen, all I saw was a package of love. It made me smile the whole time I read it because of the fact that again, we're on the same page. Because you're right, you deserve better than me."
I asked him why not change that to me deserving better than his situation? He appreciated that.
"It's a kinder way to look at it."
Then he said something that I will never forget; I'm holding onto it like a life raft. Ironically, his words are what are giving me the FORTITUDE not to reach out to him, because what I want to do more than anything right now is to call him and wrap myself in a blanket of us.
"I admired you before, and I have even more admiration for you now. You had the strength to do what I couldn't do."
I felt validated.
I was right.
Not about the situation, but about him and the man that he is.
Which made all of it even harder.
I've dated men who I truly believed were well-intentioned only to find out that they were actually...slime.
Those situations made me doubt my instincts about men. It's caused me not to trust my choices. It's made me scared to hope for love.
But his reaction made me feel right in my instincts about him - he is a good person - I didn't pick a jerk.
Now, I did pick another emotionally unavailable man, so I still gotta look at that shit, but I picked a guy with a good heart.
This is a win.
Because I was right about him.
And through this break-up, I feel stronger within myself, and I trust myself that much more to stand up for my needs and wants.
I truly believe that I deserve the best. This is the first time in my life I've said that and really felt it.
Like I said, this is a win.
As I'm writing this, it's been six days since I sent you that e-mail. It's been five days since we talked and let each other go in what has been the kindest and most respectful break-up I've ever experienced.
I've cried everyday.
Today, Day 6, I cried so many times I lost count. There were those two times at work, then once on my lunch break, once on my way home from work, once on my way to the grocery store, then again on my way home from the grocery store. I'm feeling pretty shaky right now, so realistically, I'm probably going to cry again. (To be fair, I haven't slept in a week and I have my period, so that's also contributing to the fact that I'm a hot mess right now.)
One of my friends says that the first 10 days are the worst. I guess that means I'm about halfway through, if she's right. I hope she is.
I called her today on my lunch break.
I asked her "Why does it hurt this much? We were only together for two months."
She said "The amount of time you spent with someone doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it. Some people break-up after years of being together and don't feel anything. It's about the depth of the connection you had."
I felt more with you than I have in a really, really long time. Letting you go is difficult. It's taking every ounce of my energy not to call, text, e-mail. Maybe that's why I'm so very tired. Trying to let you go, trying to move past this, well it's really exhausting because I'm fighting the part of me that desperately wants to hold onto you.
I'm learning the meaning of the word discipline through all of this. It's taking discipline not to reach out to you, but I'm not because the man I'm trying to get over can't help me get over the man I'm trying to get over. That's not how this works.
When I think about you, your smile, your laugh, the way you smell, I miss you so intensely that it feels as though the air has been sucked out of me and I find myself gasping as though I'm drowning.
That's usually the moment I start to cry. Like now.
I wonder how you are. I want to ask you, make sure you're ok. But the woman you're trying to get over can't help you get over the woman you're trying to get over. That's not how this works.
I hope you miss me as much as I miss you. Forgive me for that. I don't want you to be hurting, but I need to know that I mattered to you.
If it makes me a bad person to hope that you're struggling just as hard as I am not to reach for the phone to call me, then so be it.
But I think if you do miss me as much as I miss you, I think you're not calling for the same reason I'm not: respect for the other person and where they're at.
The problem between us wasn't chemistry, attraction, lifestyle, etc. (Honestly I don't think I've ever met a man that I had so many of those little but big habits in common with. Remember that 6:30 AM phone call? You were on your way to work and I was already at work? Who gets up that early? And remember Thai Express Pad See Ew - Beef - Medium Spicy? You and me, we were same same but different.)
It was about you, and where you're at in your life, and how that's not the same place that I'm at in my life.
So maybe you're spinning in the same circle as me - on the one hand, we have so much going for us, but on the other hand, the one thing that matters the most isn't.
WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE:
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in a relationship is TIMING. Both people have to be in the same emotional place at the same time for a relationship to truly work out. Heck, I bet that two people with very little in common can actually have a relationship just because of timing. But two people with everything going for them EXCEPT timing, well those kids don't stand a chance.
We never stood a chance babe.
So every time I think about picking up the phone, I remind myself: the situation is still the same. Nothing is different. Us both missing each other like, A LOT A LOT, doesn't change what is - namely that you are not ready for a relationship, and I am.
If we connected again right now, it would FEEL SO GOOD...for a little while. Kind of like eating cake for dinner. In theory it's such an alluring idea. But in practice there would be uncomfortable consequences.
So I'm not going to call, e-mail, or text you. It's called emotional maturity. And it stinks. (Frankly, this whole being a grown-up thing is a racket. I want my money back due to unsatisfactory user experience.)
So the time passes and I don't call you.
I had to walk my talk by letting you go. I'm saying that I deserve more, I'm trying to inspire other people into feeling worthy and asking for more, so I can't then turn around and accept so very much less than what I want, need, and deserve and expect to have anyone take me seriously.
Because I've eaten cake for dinner, and the stomach ache is never worth it.
I waited for a year for him to make space for me. I cried for that whole year when he wouldn't, couldn't. I waited for a year for him to suddenly become emotionally available.
After I broke up with him, I spent another two years crying because I couldn't understand how if two people love each other that much, that they just can't make it work.
Timing baby. It's all about timing.
So the timing of this is why I'm proud of myself. I didn't spend a year crying and waiting. It took a month, and I tried to let go, but then he wouldn't let me let him go. So I gave it another month. But then I saw the elephant and I couldn't unsee it.
"Aww hell. There's that fucking elephant again. Gonna have to do something about that."
And it's not going to take me two years to get over this. Because I get it. I get that it's about timing. And I understand that this is life and that sometime situations are what they are and that's it, there's nothing to be done. The faster we get to acceptance, the faster we can move on.
That e-mail to him was my way of saying "I see your situation and because I accept it and you, then I gotta go."
As Eckhart Tolle said:
Thirteen years ago I allowed the systematic breakage of my own heart and the erosion of my self-esteem by staying with a man who showed me from the beginning that he had nothing to give me.
WE NEED TO CUT THAT SHIT OUT.
When people and situations show us that they cannot give us what we need, then we need to GO.
When we finally stand up for ourselves, then we can take the burden off of other people needing to do it for us.
And that freedom is a beautiful thing.
I told him about the break-up.
I'd barely even finished speaking when he said "Oh he made a terrible mistake letting you go."
I adore this man.
He said "You know I had a funny flash of a feeling a few months back that you'd met someone. I was happy for you. I felt insanely jealous of course, but I was also happy for you."
He continued "You know if the situation were different, I would camp outside your apartment in a teepee or wigwam until you let me in."
I said "Mr. Gold, if the situation were different, I wouldn't let you camp outside my apartment, I would just open the door and let you in."
(Mr. Gold is in his 60's, married, with kids in their 20's. He's also a raging workaholic, and on some days he admits that he's also an alcoholic. Despite all this, we do actually have a lot in common, and we get along like a house on fire.)
He said "You sound really good about it though. You sound positive."
I said "I am. You know Mr. Gold, with the childhood I had, no one stood up for me and I haven't been in the habit of standing up for myself. But I'm not a child anymore and it's my job to stand up for myself now. And that's exactly what I did."
Real Life Zen Training baby.
This is it.
It's not at a fancy beach-side resort in Costa Rica.
This. Is. It.
Hey, speak to me kindly
I'm the type of girl you call "Wifey"Yeah
I'm such a dime piece
Bag me, and I'll never leave yo' side, Babe
You know I'm gifted when it comes to havin' loyalty
But don't get it twisted, I don't take no shit from nobody.
Qveen Herby - Wifey