You may have seen this image. It looks just like an engagement, as most would assume, however, it wasn’t.
To me, it was something bigger than a proposal for “marriage”. It was a proposal and commitment to lifelong companionship, to love, honor, and respect each other through anything & everything. Why is this bigger than marriage to me? Because it does not require an absolute rigid structure to the relationship, rather accepts the possibility that at some point along this life journey one of us may want or need to go away for awhile… and it’s ok. In other words, it is a love that lives beyond expectations and knows no bounds, yet requires mutual honor and respect.
While clear expectations, boundaries, and commitments are still necessary, they are applied with flexibility, willingness to adapt and understand each other’s evolving needs. It means absolute open and honest communication, which can only happen with two individuals who truly know their heart. That is the highest love I believe in and will share with a partner who wants the same.
I remember the day I said to him “I don’t think I’ll ever get married”. Ironically, that statement prompted an eye locking connection of deeper interest. We both had traumatic experiences as children, witnessing our parents’ troubled relationships. Abuse, abandonment, chronic depression, detachment, anger, rage, anxiety, very unhealthy dynamics. I have nothing against marriage, it just didn’t amount to love and happiness in my personal experience. There is a lot of pain attached to that word (marriage), and I want to pave my own unique path of possibility in partnership.
As we climbed those final steps to the top of Machu Picchu mountain hand-in-hand, he began to share some sweet vows. I had no idea where it was leading, until he put a wooden box in my hand. When he presented the custom-made ring and posted the photo on one knee, I was surprised and impressed that he would make such a bold move. I had a tough conversation with him just the night before about his need to go experience life as he wanted, explore and discover himself on his own. He presented the ring and posted the “perfect image” the very next day. I received it as a conscious decision made after considering his options and our conversation the night before. Perhaps it was a glitch in the matrix, or a move guided by God’s hands. I don’t know.
After the photo was posted and liked a million times, he realized he had created a great expectation that was not intended. I was sure we were on the same page about what it really meant, and I told him we could write about it to clarify to everyone. I wondered why he would make that post and not back it up with his own true explanation. Perhaps he was expecting me to clear it up. We even discussed having some type of celebration, but I had no desire to focus my energy on that immediately. I’m not the type of gal who is into big consumerist experiences that are a waste of resources. I preferred to focus on our foundation.
I have been congratulated hundreds of times and still get congratulated to this day. Initially, I would correct and say, “it’s not an engagement but it’s our version of life partnership.” Then I let go of correcting people, because for me it was something deserving of congratulations. It was my equivalent to their expectation. Same but different. What does it look like? How does it work? I didn’t know exactly. It’s a process and I was excited to figure it out as we go. It’s an opportunity to redefine the idea of life partnership.
As time passed, people started asking when we were setting a date and made comments about how beautiful a bride I was going to be…. I just smiled and thought “oh well it’s ok, they don’t understand, but we’ll show them.”
It didn’t bother me that everyone misunderstood, because how could they understand something so different from the usual. However, Daniel was very uncomfortable with the expectations that he had mistakenly put upon himself. Eventually, I discovered how heavily this was weighing on him. I explained that it didn’t matter what everyone else thought or expected. All that matters is what is real and true between me and you, and we get to decide what that is every day! I told him what it meant to me... that I will love and honor him come what may, that there is no rigid form or structure to our relationship beyond what we agree upon together. I had no expectation or desire for a wedding or marriage anyway. But that didn’t settle it. There was so much resistance to any form of commitment, we were unable to agree on today much less tomorrow.
Our union slowly unravelled over the last year as I came to realize that even the most flexible form of commitment is too much for him right now. We developed some very unhealthy dynamics, and it was clear we needed a change. He moved in with me almost 2 years ago, which immediately raised concern. Living together was especially difficult as entrepreneurs with flexible schedules who work at home. I finally asked him to move out in December, so we could both have our own space for healing. My intention was to create a situation that allowed us to work through our challenges. It wasn’t meant to be a break-up, just a shift to focus on our own strengths and foundation individually, in order to restore a healthy partnership.
And just like that, he has gone away. He moved out in all the ways. Cut ties, so he can truly fly freely. I get it. I really do understand because I’ve been there. I broke things off with a really great guy when I needed complete freedom through my awakening transformation. It took me 4 years of personal growth and healing to see partnership in a whole new light and open up to the possibilities, then Daniel showed up.
I’ve been nursing a double heartbreak since my little Munchkin passed away in October, which is really when our separation began. All of this has spurred a roller coaster of emotions, grief, sorrow, and bouts of depression. He left the country for an undetermined period of time, and it feels like I got ghosted. Like, when the person who started the party does a french exit, who's gonna do the clean-up?
This is my way of clearing things up for all 1,300 people who may still think we are engaged. I want to be honest and transparent about this transition and it feels like the truth has been conveniently avoided thus far. It's been 2.5 months, and I'm sure it's not a false alarm at this point.
It amazes me that 2 individuals with such deep trauma around relationship could manifest this type of scar stabbing. I’m working through personal doubts about my ability to discern between fear and intuition. In the relationship, I often ignored my intuition by writing it off as fear. I’m also focused on releasing blame, shame, and feelings of being manipulated. And forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness from the inside out.
The love warrior in me says, “This is your chance to embody your beliefs and love and honor him through it all!” So, I am. I honor and support his healing process. I’m also making way for the voice that asks, “Am I being loved, respected, and honored through this transition?”
Letting go with LOVE. I already ran after him once. That was Burning Man.
For only those who
believe in this love, are they
who choose to have it. <3
I’m writing about it for the sake of our collective healing. I believe it may help others, because this isn’t just my story. A lot of couples have been through the same thing, working through the same traumas, and I want us to open up and talk about it. It's time to move on from blame and perpetuation of old fear based reactions in relationship and break-ups. I love you all and hope my story can help you.