#ELEVEN. LOVE. CHOOSE LOVE.
It’s Pride Awareness Month in America and I know a lot of British companies and people are celebrating it too. So, what better time to talk about love than in the month where the awareness of inclusivity in LOVE is celebrated. That said, it should be celebrated every single day of every single month; because love is what makes the world go round.
I can’t speak for anyone else when it comes to love; we all have different values, different levels of love, different capabilities when it comes to love. Most of us have several long term or meaningful relationships in a lifetime. They tend to end when one or both parties realise their values, their desires, their dreams are different. One person may stray, another may just check out, some may continue in an unhappy relationship for fear of making that change. It’s such a hard topic to navigate; especially when children are involved.
So, if I can’t speak for others, I am going to talk to you about MY heart. It’s been through some battles. I often wonder when my soft and loving heart will harden. During times of heartbreak I want to lock it in a steel cage and never let anyone in again, but I also made a promise to myself many years ago that I wouldn’t let the actions of another change what makes me, me. I wear my heart on my sleeve; it’s there to love unequivocally.
I was in an emotionally abusive marriage; I don’t speak about the details publicly, for many reasons, but it’s important you understand that this is in my history if you want to understand my heart. It was after this marriage breakdown that I promised myself never to let someone else ruin the love that runs through my veins. I don’t want to harden to love, I don’t want to hold resentment and be scared of love, I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that love only ever causes trauma; and most of all I don’t want the painful words and the punishing actions of someone who made vows to me, to change what is at the core of me; LOVE.
I’m not an advocate of divorce. I’m not an advocate of giving up on a relationship without trying when problems arise. By trying I don’t mean just going to bed each night, waking up and doing the same thing each day and expect time to change the problems. By trying I mean talking, communicating; both with another and sometimes with a neutral third party. Couples counselling seems to get such a bad press; people think it’s shameful to need to go, but actually I think to be able to step into a room with a therapist and your partner and say ‘I love this person, I don’t want to lose what we have, but we need to figure out our differences if we have any hope of future happiness’ shows strength and commitment to one another and actually is admirable. You can’t expect change if you don’t make change. It’s like anything in life; if you want it you go and you get it.
What I am an advocate of is happiness and sometimes, sadly, divorce and separation is the answer. Not just for our own happiness, but for our children’s long-term happiness. I don’t think anyone ever goes into a marriage or a serious relationship with the intention of it not being forever. Therefore, when it does come to the crunch and divorce or separation is on the cards there is definitely a real sense of failure. You worry about what impact this will have on your children, you worry about what family and friends will say. You worry about finances, and if it’s one person wanting to leave and the other wanting to stay you worry about what sort of disagreements will ensue. And ultimately, even when you’re separating from a long-term partner, even for all the right reasons, you most likely still care deeply about their feelings and how they will cope. It’s such a big change for everyone. But if two adults aren’t creating a happy loving relationship for the children to watch and learn from then we aren’t acting in their interests if we are really truthful with ourselves. I have always said that if you nurture a relationship first and foremost; your children will naturally be surrounded by love and grow up with a healthy loving example of marriage and family life. Obviously, if the house was on fire, I would rescue my children first, don’t misunderstand me when I say that your partner and relationship should come first. I simply mean nurturing the relationship results in a happy home.
My children were one and three when my marriage ended. I was devastated. Not even because I was losing my husband, I think enough had happened to make me know it was the right move. But I was embarrassed, I felt like I had failed the children, my parents, my friends. It was such a difficult time. But I look at myself now, almost four years on from when we first separated and I can say with total honesty that I have never been happier; the children have a better version of me, and I imagine a better version of their dad than they would have if we were still together but at war. Of course it isn’t, and it wasn't, ideal to have to separate a family but if you look at the long term goal which is for all parties involved to be happy; sometimes parents being apart is the answer. I know I have two happy children who are showered with love, and exude love in everything they do and I truly believe this is because, even as a single mother, I tell them how important love is, I advocate for love and happiness, we talk about what is a happy and healthy relationship between two friends or between two lovers (age appropriately of course) and they are now five and seven and they share my love of love.
I hear of so many people saying their relationship is hanging on a very thin thread and it makes me sad. But ultimately if a couple have TRIED and they still can’t reconcile their differences for whatever reason, then parting ways may well be the right long-term solution. It is important for me to say right now as well that if a couple can’t figure out their differences it doesn’t always mean someone is to blame. We are all entitled to feel how we feel. It is not fair for one person in the partnership to tell the other that their feelings are invalid and I think this is so often where it goes wrong. We expect our partner to be on the same page and if they aren’t then we think they are wrong. Sometimes it’s okay to be on different pages; just make sure you’re reading the same book. There’s a cheesy quote I always love that says love isn’t about sitting and staring into one another’s eyes, it’s about sitting together looking in the same direction. I think that is pretty spot on.
I look at my parents who have been married 34 years and they still find fun and love in every single day. A few weeks ago, I caught them racing each other in opposite direction round the house to see who could arrive at the front door for the Amazon delivery first. They dance in the kitchen, they cook together, they take the mick out of each other’s little flaws, but most importantly they are a team, they stand as a unit at all times. I hope that when I finally find my true love, I’ll grow old in love in the same way my parents are.
Moving back to pride awareness; I think it’s pretty simple. We humans all have different preferences in every possible area; including the people we are romantically and sexually attracted to. As a society I don’t understand why it has been so unacceptable and it is wonderful and empowering to see so many more people being able to embrace who they are, love who they are, and love who they want. We don’t make a fuss because one person prefers a gin and tonic above a pint of Guinness, or because someone prefers to holiday in the snowy winter Alps above a Caribbean Island. Why oh why do some people find it so hard to accept people who are bisexual, gay, pansexual, transsexual or any other sexual and gender related preferences. It shouldn’t bother any of us what goes on in someone’s love and sex life if it isn’t affecting or hurting others. What we should all be concerned with is happiness; is knowing that every human is able to unapologetically be themselves. If everyone was happy in their own lives, imagine how happy the world could be as a whole?
I recently asked a friend of mine, who is a barrister, whether he celebrates his ‘wins’ in court. His answer was ‘no, it’s my job. It’s like asking a postman if he celebrates every time that he posts a letter’. I realise he was being a bit tongue in cheek but actually can you imagine how happy the world would be if your postman really did celebrate every letter he posted. Happiness is infectious; and I challenge all of you to tell me something that feels better than genuine true love?
Find your person, and nurture that love, no matter who it is; love is love and love is f*cking wonderful.