My boyfriend, Paul, and I recently reunited after separating a few months ago. I couldn't be happier. Since I did not want to make the same mistake twice, I've given a lot of thought to what happened to break us apart the first time.
When we originally started dating, I had only been divorced a few months. My ex-husband and I were still sorting out our post-marriage relationship. Although Paul and I tried to venture slowly into our new relationship, we didn't succeed.
Our relationship moved ahead very quickly. It wasn't a conscious act on either of our parts. Falling into a deep relationship happened quite easily because we cared so deeply about one another.
However, after a few months, I was emotionally overwhelmed. The stresses of still doing my ex-husband's bookkeeping, raising my daughter alone, running my business, and starting a new relationship, spread my time and energy so thin that I wasn't giving anything or anyone my full attention. Everything and everyone suffered as a result.
I may be a Love and Relationship Coach for other people, but it doesn't mean I can always see my own stuff. That is why coaches have coaches. And thank God, I have mine.
Unfortunately, I didn't realize what I was doing until the damage was done. Paul received the brunt of walking through the minefield of my emotions. I realized I had two choices. Either end our romantic relationship, or continue trouncing his feelings because I was so emotionally ill equipped to be seriously involved with anyone.
The last thing I wanted to do was hurt Paul any more than I already had, so we ended our romantic involvement. He understood. He could see what was happening to me. It didn't end my feelings for him, however. In fact, they only grew stronger the longer I was away from him. I realized more and more what a wonderful man he truly was.
I dated a few nice men who I enjoyed very much, but truthfully, no one compared to Paul. Besides missing him in general, I also really missed dancing Argentine Tango with him, which he had taught me when we were together.
I asked Paul periodically during the time we were apart if he would consider dancing with me as a friend, but his emotions were still too raw for comfort. This time, I understood. It's not fun when you hurt someone you love. I had hurt Paul and it hurt me just to think about it.
But think about it I did.
It's very true that how we do anything, is how we do everything. I didn't particularly like how I was doing anything. It all seemed very scattered. I was distracted most of the time, and there wasn't any depth to anything I was doing. Everything felt shallow.
I knew that if I was ever going to have a great romantic relationship, I had to look at myself and how I related to everyone. I wanted to learn how to become present in everything I did, but especially in my relationships.
I started by de-cluttering my life. I quit doing my ex-husband's bookkeeping (too many ties to the past, something my coaches had been telling me for months), narrowed the focus of my work and, most importantly, took my own advice.
I learned how to pay attention and stay present to what I was doing and who I was with. I forced myself to do just one thing at a time, which truthfully I never thought I'd be able to do. It always seemed like there were way too many things to do and not enough time to do them.
But, I learned that by focusing on only one thing at a time, I did everything better. My relationships improved. Instead of trying to rush through conversations with my daughter or my mother, so I could move to the next thing on my list,
I stopped whatever I was doing and listened. I stopped interrupting, because I wasn't always jumping ahead to what I thought was coming next. I paid attention to what was being said, gave the other person time to finish their thought, and then responded.
My life transformed. I was more relaxed. I was happier. This translated to my not only doing better work, but also getting more work done in a shorter period of time.
Weeks later, Paul and I went to lunch. He noticed the difference in me immediately. He said there was an openness and generosity about me that hadn't been there before. ‘A generosity of spirit' is how he described it.
That's exactly how I felt. Open and generous... to life, to Paul, to everything. This time, my heart was completely open and ready to share.
A few days later, Paul and I danced together. It was as if we were transported back to the very first time we danced... every magical, passionate feeling we had for each other came flooding back.
After we danced, Paul took my hand and we sat down. We talked about what we had both learned while we were apart. Then, he asked if I might like to date again. After I said yes, we talked about what we would do differently this time.
As I jabbered on about how happy I was, Paul mentioned I should probably stop talking because he had stopped listening to me about five minutes earlier. He leaned over and kissed me. It was as if time stood still. There was no past. There was no future to worry about. There was only that moment to be cherished, treasured, and enjoyed.
John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." Don't let life happen to you. Live each moment in the present, and watch your life and relationships magically transform. I wish you a life filled with many, many magical moments to be cherished, treasured, and enjoyed.
~ 2009 Feb. 27th ~
shared and written by Love Coach Dawn Allen.