When I was 20 I met my now ex-husband. I’m now 45 and divorced one year. We were together a total of 24 years before divorcing. We were best friends, but we didn’t find lasting love. The problem was that we lived conditional lives and held each other responsible for our own happiness.
He lived to make me happy and lost himself. I saw his love for me as validation of my self worth. It was a codependent mess.
We got along great, laughed a lot, lack of physical chemistry was not a problem. People were shocked that we were having problems. It took us almost 5 years to divorce, and not because we had major assets to divide and crazy lawyers wanting a chunk of the fortune. We simply could not sever the bond. We were attached to one another and couldn’t let go. Standing where I am now, a year after my divorce with time to process and heal I know growing apart was inevitable. Humans cannot ignore their true inner being. They cannot live to please their partner.
People can’t look outside themselves to justify worthiness.
His inner being screamed “dude, love yourself first. If you don’t you’re not good for anyone!” My inner being screamed, “stop looking for others to love you more than you should love you.” This relationship was 24 years of my life, half my life! It had a profound impact on me.
As a way to heal, evolve and grow, I decided to make my mess my message. These days I share all of my wisdom and lessons learned to help others. I call myself a Love Strategist (a fancy marketing spun title for a Relationship/Dating Coach). In 2015, I founded LoveQuest Marketing offering workshops in Miami, Florida and remotely via Skype. My mission is to help people find, give and keep love starting with love of self. I work with single people trying to navigate the dating scene. Couples trying to stay connected and accomplish goals also work with me.
Wanting to find, give, and keep love is the very core of who we are as humans.
The key however, is to truly begin with a commitment to loving oneself unconditionally. Understand that you will never leave you. You could never be abandoned or without love. Connect with the deepest divine “Source” within you and commit to making your own happiness your responsibility. Do this and watch how your life transforms.
When I started to focus on how I feel and what I want, as opposed to what I don’t, things shifted in my life. I stopped beating myself up for past mistakes, and started to embrace the valuable lessons learned. Once there’s a true commitment to unconditional self love, the real magic happens. You come to a place of peace and acceptance. You start to truly forgive yourself and treat yourself with kindness and love. Then boom! You attract love again.
Instead of replaying a 24 year relationship in my mind; now I find myself thinking about the wife I was, who I am now, and who I want to be. I created this list of things to do for lasting love. I wish I had a list like this in 1998 when I was 27 promising another human that I would be with them until death. Any couple, regardless of whether of how long they have been together, should do these things to ensure their relationship continues to go evolve and grow.
Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” It’s one of the most loving and kind things you can tell yourself and others. I look forward to my future and I feel thankful for the lessons the led to this list.
20 Tips for Lasting Love
- Love yourself first and foremost. Don’t expect anyone else to behave in a certain way in order to “make you happy.” That’s conditional love and it’s a trap. Love is freedom, never bondage.
- Have hobbies and things you like to do alone. You like to hike? Go hike!! They like to hunt for antiques. Wish them “happy hunting.” Inspire creativity by encouraging your partner to explore his or her own passions and interests.
- Have common interests and find new ones. Make a list of things you want to experience together. Then commit to doing those things.
- Travel! Even if it’s a road-trip, new surroundings and getting away from routines is a healthy way to bond.
- Really really explore parenthood before getting pregnant to see if it’s a lifestyle you truly want as opposed to one that society pressures you to have. Not every couple wants kids and that’s okay!
- Have a spiritual practice and connect to your inner self as frequently as possible.
- Meditate either together or alone. Silence your mind. Meditation could come from cycling, running, hiking.
- Read books and discuss them together. Always learn.
- Go for 30 minute walks after dinner. You’ll bond and will lose weight.
- Commit to open, honest, loving communication.
- When you mess up, fess up. Apologize and make good. Don’t justify your actions. Just apologize.
- Forgive swiftly and lovingly.
- Seek to be happy, not right.
- Never stop working on yourself. Attend seminars, workshops, read books, and watch lectures on YouTube.
- Set goals together and be a team towards accomplishing them.
- Make kids a part of your life, not your whole life.
- Dance! Sing! Laugh! Be silly and be friends.
- Always say goodnight. Something so simple, but really important.
- Embrace traditions but reject routines. Eating pizza every year on the date of your first date is cute. Celebrating the day you shared your first kiss is sweet. Cherish this! Watching the same shows, going to the same places, making every Saturday errand day and every Sunday laundry day makes your life dull.
- Kiss, hug and hold hands whenever and wherever you want. Initiate affection and never reject it… ever. That shows lasting love.