My First Relationship
During my life, I’ve had four major relationships with women. My first relationship was at high school when I was 18 year old and I got involved with a young woman. In the beginning, everything was great, we’d laugh and talk and generally have a great time together. However, I was always sick. I was vomiting a lot, not really sure of what was going on. The relationship lasted five months.
My Second Relationship
My second major relationship was during and after university with a young woman from Vietnam. She was gorgeous. Again, in the beginning things were great. We’d laugh, talk, have fun – you know the fun I mean – and generally hang out with each other. But again, I was sick all of the time. Over time, I noticed that I was far less of myself than I was when I entered the relationship. I had divorced parts of myself in order to make her happy. However, there was so much that she wasn’t happy about that I ended up divorcing most of myself and, in the end, there was little of me left. There was, I guess, just a shell of myself left behind. She’d ridicule me over this. She’d ridicule me over that. She’d ridicule me publicly as well as privately. There was nothing that was right about me, from her point of view. I guess I was just a wrongness, a wrongness that needed to be fixed. With just the shell left behind after I had divorced so much of me, I had the point of view that I had few options but to stay with her. A bad relationship was better than no relationship. But this wasn’t just a bad relationship. It was a downright horrible relationship as the daily ridicule and criticism that was constantly being thrown at me was horrendous. It felt as though I was stripped bare every single day. This relationship was killing me.
For some reason, we had bought a house together and were setting up ‘a life.’ I knew it wasn’t going to work but I did it anyway. Over time, I began to gather strength and ‘fought’ back. I was no longer the little puppy that get’s kicked when the owner is displeased. She fought back harder, to retain control. I resisted but still stayed in this messed up relationship. I reasoned that if I ended the relationship, I would lose the house, I would lose my friends – not that I had many – I would lose all that I had worked for. Looking back now, I had nothing to lose but everything to gain for this relationship was truly terrible. We were a on-again off-again relationship and she finally ended the relationship some six years later. We went through the settlement process but I effectively gave her everything. I didn’t wish to have anything to do with her any longer. My life at this point was a sheer wreck. Nothing was working for me and, I reasoned, I had little to offer anyone, especially myself. I stayed at friend’s house for two weeks (very grateful for that), in hostels, house sat and, eventually, found a share house with two other men. I was 25 years old by now.
Time for Me
I spent the next 18 months re-building me. I gained new friends. I had lots of fun. Learnt to dance, played sport, played games. I did all the things that I enjoyed so that I could feel a presence of me again. But, in those 18 months, I didn’t enter another relationship with anyone. This was time for me, whatever that meant.
My Third Relationship
After the 18 months had passed, a young woman showed up who had been previously married and had a child. I wasn’t sure about this but, I reasoned, well why not. She lived some distance away so for the first 18 months, I travelled each weekend to see her and her daughter. In those 18 months, I only missed one or two weekends. I adored her and she adored me, or so I thought. She moved to Canberra after the first 18 months. Not so long afterwards, we had a son on the way. I was a proud father, displaying my son (now 15 years old and not so little). I adore him. He’s just awesome, this dude. I was working lots and studying at the same time and was just exhausted most of the time. I began drinking lots, making my own beer and such. I was also putting on weight.
I gave up the study as I wished to spend more time with my growing family. I used to be sick a lot. There was one period where I was having one to two weeks off work each month with some mysterious illness. The doctors began to explore autoimmune disorders but essentially found nothing. I started looking elsewhere for answers. I explored various alternative health systems but none of them really worked. I eventually found an energetic therapy called Reiki and upon my first experience of it, my illnesses began to go away. I was starting to feel alive again. With this, I explored more of these energetic therapies and started to get into all sorts of different spiritual pursuits. Each spiritual pursuit was more esoteric than the previous. My relationship with my partner was getting more and more strained as she had been brought up in fairly rigid religious teachings and, although she said it was okay that I pursue these things, it wasn’t. We were beginning to drift apart. There’s more to it than this but the result is that we were drifting apart. I started to explore alternative health therapies but my main focus was with kinesiology and polarity therapy. After studying these systems for a couple of years, I left my job to start a natural therapy practice. A few months later, she ended the relationship. I was devastated. I had invested all this time, all this effort and all this and this and this, only to be told to piss off.
Intensity of Pain
I struggled with the recovering from the break up to no avail and my natural therapy practice fell apart. The world that I had created around my family just wasn’t there anymore. I was alone, very alone. I often contemplated suicide. I was looking up statistics on suicide. I was planning it. I was seeing a counsellor but it just wasn’t working. I attended a couple of support group meetings but I was so distraught that I simply never went back. Each time I saw a movie or television show with people breaking up, divorce, or single fathers, I just couldn’t handle it. I would run. This was the most terrible time of life.
My handsome son was six years old when all this happened. My stepdaughter was 16 years old. She came to see me every week (so grateful for that). I house sat at various houses for the 13 months, sinking deeper and deeper. I was on the dole. I started the NEIS program (a business course for low income people) but none of it worked out. I ended up returned to a paid job to rebuild my life.
I had friends who were attempting to assist but I simply wasn’t in a place to receive any of it. I was a mess. The pain was so very intense.
It was just after Christmas and I knew I had to make a choice. I saw two choices in front of me: suicide or move on. Obviously, I chose to move on. I said to myself, “right, that’s enough; I’ve had enough of this crap, time to end this pain…NOW!”
Two weeks later, another woman showed up in my life. I was running a workshop on spiritual development and she was one of the participants. I had offered everyone in the class a free therapy session as a thank you. She was the only to take up the offer. She worked full time as did I. I did the therapeutic treatment after work, which ended up being a long session. Neither of us had eaten so we decided to find a restaurant nearby just to enjoy each other’s company and talk about our experiences during the workshop.
A few days later, we were a couple. She was previously married and has two daughters. Two weeks into the relationship, we both knew that we were getting married. It just felt ‘right’. We never told anyone about our ‘knowing’ until six months later when we announced our engagement. In the March of the following year, we were married.
We have now been married for nearly eight years and it’s been the most wonderful, expansive relationship we’ve both experienced. She commented that with her previous relationships, there was a period of “will I or won’t I” enter the relationship but with this relationship, there was none of that. It was simply correct thing to do, no question. My dear lady, Eri, is such an awesome lady. There’s none of the ridicule or criticism I used to receive. There’s none of anything else. There’s just acceptance of whom or what I be. She allows me to show up, or not, as I wish. She has gratitude for me as I am and for what I do. She trusts me. She has encouraged me to grow as I wish.
What I learnt
What had happened in my relationships prior to Eri was that I had divorced parts of myself to make it work. I had allowed others to have control over me. I had allowed things to drift apart. I had separated myself from me, from my partner and from everything else. Obviously, there’s more to it than all of this but there’s no real need to go into it.
What I’ve learnt is that for a relationship to grow, a person doesn’t need to divorce parts of them to make it work. People need to have true allowance for the other person, regardless of what occurs. People need to have gratitude and trust for the other. People need to honour each other and allow each other to be vulnerable, without judgement.
I’ve learnt that with these things, a relationship can grow. Without these, the relationship will eventually die regardless of whether the couple stays together.
With Eri, we have allowed each other to grow as we wish and have encouraged each other to continue to grow. We have had tough times from time to time but they are so few and far between that they are hardly worth mentioning. We view these things now as opportunities to grow.