I was livid.
My wife returned from a 16 day retreat in Peru, a hugely powerful transformational program, while I had held the fort at home with our two young kids, our son not yet one.
And she had the audacity, after all this, to break the news to me that ‘we’ weren’t working. She wanted us to separate, to call a halt to the conflict we were constantly engaged in, in our relationship, which was detrimental to each of us, and to our family.
I was angry, but deep down I knew she was right. I was screaming for separation myself, for space to connect with who I was again, outside of this relationship which was draining rather than nourishing each of us. Fortunately, I was able to find a room with friends down the road, with people who understood that relationships and marriages can be hard, and refrained from taking sides or drawing conclusions. Who understood, as we did, that separation can be an important and constructive step to take. The space and support it provided was immense. I managed to maintain contact with my children and family while also immersing myself in Animas training and establishing a fledgling coaching business.
At times I questioned what I had to offer, when my life would hardly appear to be ‘on track.’ I went through moments of real desolation and despair. And, we got help – separately, and together, to shed light on the dynamic at play, the shadows we struggled to break free of in relationship. We also had to let go of any ‘hope’ of getting back together. We had to let the relationship we had created together die, with only a remote possibility that something else could emerge. We had to give space to the hurt, anger, pain and resentment each of us felt, about what had occurred. Only then, could we begin to see each other beyond this, with fresh eyes. And to reconnect with the domain of love, and make a commitment to live from there.
Flickers of light emerged, along with possibility for us again. Though still fragile, We decided to embark on a planned holiday to NZ and Australia – with an agreement for time spent together as a family and separately, to give all of us what was needed. It was during this time (in itself a journey) that we held a vow renewal ceremony, and recommitted to each other, and to a partnership which was conspicuous by its absence during our first phase – and always seemed to come into question. I wrote a piece about this, entitled ‘Conscious Coupling.’
And then, we returned to London, to lockdown, and enforced cohabitation which would have been the end of us less than six months before. We were blessed, to complete our relationship overhaul prior to this.
And now? My long-held desire to relocate to New Zealand with my wife and children is coming to pass. Her Visa has come through, and we are taking steps to get there by Christmas, and we can start building the life we dream of for ourselves and our children. And the long-held belief in me that my dreams cannot be realized, especially in partnership, is being seriously disrupted.
The emotion when news of the Visa came through was panic. I was swamped by fear, and could not breathe. The refrain was: ‘Something’s going to go wrong.’ It’s not going to happen.’ ‘I can’t do it.’ ‘We can’t do it.’ All indicative of a fear I carry from my father, my family, a fear of risking myself, a fear of failure, which is no longer congruent with who I am and how I wish to live.
It’s what inspires me in the work I do with Men, like me, who have struggled to connect with who they are, and find their place to stand in the world. Who wish to live a life of value, offering their gifts, and living a life of joy, excitement and adventure they undoubtedly felt as boys, as I did.
BTW. I am grateful for my beautiful, courageous wife Nicky, who made a stand for herself, for our family, and for us, and opened up the possibility for us to enter a domain of love and partnership, and to realize our dreams together.
Previously Published on kevinhelas.com