A question I get asked a lot is: Why did I end my marriage if I still love my ex-husband? And how was it I came to the conclusion, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was not a phase or merely a five-year itch?
Well, the answer is simple. It came to an end because it had to because it was never designed to go the distance in the first place.
But let me break it down, my ex-husband was a great husband and is a great ex-husband too. So...... what the heck happened? ......this happened....
We had been married for years, we had a baby girl, we got along really well and we enjoyed the same things. We both loved hitting the dance floor and both enjoyed being the life of a party – we were up for almost anything new!
We were awesome together and he was a fantastic partner. He grew up with five sisters and also ended up surrounded by plenty of sister-in-laws, so he had a fairly good understanding of how women operate. Nothing was too big an ask, he has such a willingness for life. Our wedding even made a double page spread in the Fiji times! Whooo Hooo. I can cross that one off my bucket list… ha!
We were rocking it! A match made in heaven. He laughed at me and I laughed at his hilarious rationale for everything. We really did laugh together about anything and everything.
At night when we were lying in bed, just before falling asleep, he would tell me stories of his village and his family. It was fantastic to learn about what life was like for him growing up in Fiji, just as my eyes would close over he would shout 'Cristina are you listening?'.
He has a gentle heart of gold and the strength to rip out a fully-grown tree, roots and all, with his bare hands - all Hulk style! There were plenty of happy times but as in most relationships, there were also not so happy times. But for me, this looked more like my issue than his, or more than OURS even. Being in an inter-cultural, inter-religious, inter-racial relationship brings its own set of challenges and these were unique challenges that no amount of Kava and Fiji-time could have prepared me for.
I had an awesome companion, best mate and fabulous husband. So... why did I end my marriage?
After the birth of our daughter life started getting hard for me. On the surface, it would appear nothing was wrong. We certainly looked to be the textbook definition of happy. Even I thought I should have been the textbook definition of happy and this incoherence created an internal niggle inside me. I ignored it as much as I could, but it eventually took over my life. It became turbulent. I was stuck in a storm of unhappiness that lead to massive weight gain, depression and what felt like a life sentence in ‘stuckville.’
It felt like life had stopped flowing and I felt this way for quite a while before I came to understand what was really wrong. The reasons behind all my external symptoms sent me packing on a road trip to find answers. I wanted to know what the hell was going on.
But, even though I had decided I wanted to know what was going on and that I’d do what it took to get there, it still felt like the fog would just thicken. It got bad. Real bad. I thought I had tried everything – people kept suggesting I meditate but I kept resisting it. I thought I was meditating plenty. I sure pretended I was meditating plenty, but really, I was giving it a half-arsed attempt. If you know anything about my story though, you’ll know that I did eventually come around. I did surrender to the meditation. Kicking and screaming, I’ll admit. But I surrendered and it was the best thing I could have ever done.
Something I’ve learned on this journey is, that most often, the things that can help us the most are the very things we find ourselves turning from and resisting. It is like we know exactly what we should be doing, what we need to do, what will be the best for us, but we keep ourselves from it. I had vowed I would never engage in this practice as it used to bore my brain to mush. I then stumbled across the practice of Heart Conversations and started to regularly practice them. And it was through this practice that I was able to identify what was REALLY up with my relationship.
As it turns out my marriage to this amazing human had reached its expiry date and was no longer working. I realised that the love I had for him was similar to the love one would have for a sibling or best friend, platonic in nature. Once I realised this, everything else slotted into place. I came to many conclusions, also through practicing Heart Conversations, but the particularly important ones were that I could not stay married to someone that I loved liked a brother, that I deserved a relationship with a life partner that was based on romantic love and that he equally deserved someone who would love him as a husband.
As hard as it was to accept this (and even harder to action), I knew in my heart it was the right decision. My heart’s voice spoke to me firmly and over a loud speaker. I could no longer ignore the thing that started out a slight niggling. It was directing me to remain in the flow of life and in order to remain in my own truth; I had to end my marriage.
Sometimes, decisions like this one (massive life changing ones) also ripple onto our relationships with others and tend to stir the pot a bit. I did have certain family and friends question me and not like the decision I had made. Realising that my actions had triggered something inside them and that it actually had nothing to do with me helped me get through hard times when I questioned what I was doing.
Continually listening to my heart and speaking only my truth lead me through the secondary phase of split ups, which was a ‘thing’ I didn’t even know could be a ‘thing’!
There were plenty of times that I received puzzled looks from folks that just didn’t ‘get’ that listening to your heart’s advice was actually important. But again, this ‘thing’ that I didn’t know was a ‘thing’, was there to teach me that even though I was met with resistance from not only myself but also others about my decision, it was more important than ever to follow through with the directions my heart had for me.
Now of course, it was hard, all endings are. But I found a way to turn the sadness into gratitude; gratitude for the times we shared, for everything that that relationship taught me, and gratitude toward him for being an excellent father to our daughter and an excellent human being with a heart of gold.
The message is quite clear isn’t it? The heart’s voice is there, guiding us, helping us, and leading us to remain in the flow of life.
Sometimes stuff has to get really bad before we decide we will give our heart the pair of ears it needs, as long as in the end, we listen and follow through with its advice, life can only get better!
Today, I follow my heart’s voice with ease!