January 5, 2011

Balm for my Own Sweet Self

I received an email from a male friend today, asking for relationship advice. If you are reading my friend you can exhale now, I will not share any of your story... I promise.


Having just ended a deeply loving and troublesome relationship of my own the nature of the email made my heart swell. It was the kind of email that I could imagine being sent by my past lover to a wise womyn friend, one seeking another perspective and speaking his hearts newly discovered truth. I got a little caught up in my own story, and sadness. The rejected teenager in me whined, “Why can’t my love see this?!”. Once I got over myself I realized I had been given a gift.

One of the hardest parts of this break up was how I often did not feel heard or understood. I could not find a way to convey that I could no longer accept how he was loving me and still love myself. I tried to salvage thing, we both tried, but despite our fairy tale worthy love connection it ended. We are both deeply wounded by our loss.

Now I had an opportunity to write back this friend who was saying the words I longed to hear and respond from a womyn's perspective, from my perspective, my heart felt great release. Our situations are different in many ways but the nature of human relationship is remarkably similar no matter the details. We all really want the same things, love, support, understanding, kindness, tenderness, these are fairly universal. So I took the details out and spoke from my heart. I responded to a friend, while putting balm on my own sweet self.

I know this blog is now viewed by a different audience. I saw online that it has been picked up as a travel blog in a couple of places. This entry might be really confusing as 1) it is not about geographical travel and 2) you may be thinking “Doesn’t she have a husband who she is travelling with? Did they just break up or did she just announce to the world that she had an affair?!. The answers are not exactly and no not really.

Travel happens... period. We move forward in time and space always. So while this entry does not include anything specific about Mexico it was inspired by Mexico. And my trip to Mexico is part of moving on. There is some classic advice in the Love section Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Eat Pray Love about taking a trip to get over a lost love, I took it to heart.

To answer the second part, yes I have a husband, yes I am travelling with him and my children. No I did not have an affair. ”Affair“ insinuates that the relationship was hidden. It was not.

Chris and I have been in an open relationship for over 10 years, though in that time neither of us has had many relationships or experiences outside our marriage. It was a decision we made in order to not limit each others life experiences and potential for growth. I met Michael in July of 2009 and eventually he came to live with our family for a period of time.

During the original 12days2inspire project which was an exercise in truth and transparency, I wrote openly about the experience of living with both my lover and my husband. This blog has many many entries that challenge the status quo of relationships and marriage. I will continue to speak openly about who I am and how I live because it is just easier that way.

With what you now know (or already knew for my lovely faithful reader.. gosh I am grateful for you guys!!!) you may think I am far from an authority on relationships and you may be right. Or maybe it makes me an expert. Ask me on different days and I will give you different answers. My friend who sent me the email looking for support thought of me as someone in the know about how relationships work. I will take this as a sign that someone believes I know what I am doing... and given that my confidence is a little shaky at the moment I appreciate the vote of confidence. Thanks friend for the email today, I needed it, I hope you find some solace in my words <3

"How do you love?"

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