Maira's Story

Happily ever after with “the one”, myth or truth?

As the relationship with the father of my children shifts from a romantic partnership to a deep friendship, I find myself again and again grieving the loss of my “happily ever after”. I am terribly attached to it, maybe because I really like the idea of finding “the one” and then keep deepening. I am a depth lover and an idealist, and that’s just the way it is.

I somehow feel a resonance to this idea, and I don’t want to let it go; so I am trying out keeping it and adjusting it to my reality: instead of there being just one, maybe there are more. I have heard energy healer Barbara Brennan talk about how our spiritual evolution has sped up nowadays to such an extent that some people are experiencing more than one incarnation in the same lifetime. The thought itself is mind boggling, but if that is possible, then maybe it makes sense to walk different parts of our journey with different people.

This man was definitely the right person to walk with me for the last 18 years and father my children. And he is definitely not the right person for me to keep walking with into the future. Maybe the time has come for me to meet “the second one”. Maybe the happily ever after does not necessarily always look the same, does not mean we sleep in the same bed, live under the same roof, and eat at the same table for the rest of our lives. When deeper joy is found in walking separate ways with an open heart, full of love and gratitude for what has been, could that be happily ever after? Since love is forever there between us, even as it changes shape?

Stories often finish with the first one. The institution of marriage is till death do us part. So, if the one we thought was “the one” does not last, we believe they weren’t the real one, that we got it wrong. But I can’t see anything going wrong in our case. Our connection is deep and true, and I am sure it was meant to be exactly as it has, right up to the present, including our Uncoupling Ritual (divorce ceremony).

Maybe it is time to write some new stories that show alternative versions of the happily ever after. Our modern society is characterised by individualisation, breaking moulds, changing traditions, rapid evolution. Maybe marriage is one of those institutions that needs to diversify to encompass new ways of doing. Keeping the love, but letting it grow beyond the defined lines that have kept it the same for hundreds of years. Caroline Myss talks about the archetype of marriage changing at the Humanity energy level, an old, outdated model disintegrating and a new one forming. If that is the case, I am definitely contributing to it to the best of my ability.

How do I deal with my yearning resourcefully?

But, really, the truth of why I struggle to let go is because I don’t know what to do with my longing. How to handle my deep, ever present, soul drowning, heart-wrenching longing. I suspect longing is the reason why I move, the force that drives my every heartbeat, what feeds my dreams and ideals, my motivation to live. What do I long for is a mental, theoretical question. My guess is that I long for happiness, love, joy, peace and fulfillment like every human being; ultimately, I long for union with the divine, to go back to source, to feel within this separate body the oneness I intuitively know I come from.

But that is, I believe, irrelevant. What matters is that I feel this tsunami of yearning in my body and I am afraid it is going to kill me. Society calls that passion and tells me I should find someone to share it with. But I am beginning to suspect that this is actually an unresourceful way of dealing with longing, that it is the origin of all our heartbreaks.

Deida says that yearning is the gift of the feminine, and that there is a way in which I can embody it and express it as an offering of love to the world. Just writing this phrase brings tears to my eyes, which, to me, is an indicator of truth. But I don’t know how to do that. I have been taught to look outside, to men, to my passion at work, in order to fill that gap. Yet, it is a bottomless pit, a forever unsatisfied ache. Deida says that this yearning is an unquenchable thirst, meant to be felt and expressed. Maybe by filling the gaping whole it creates inside, we actually suppress it, like with comfort eating. Maybe, the same way that dumping our anger onto someone is unresourceful, so it is with dumping our desire.

If I manage to get anywhere near this yearning being expressed through my body, immediate dark, judgemental voices surround it. I sense the Inquisition burning witches as an expression of a disempowered masculine terror toward this mighty feminine force. I get images of my grandfather’s fear as he beat his daughters, my mother among them, and all the societal tabu around the archetype of the whore. I feel the pain of every woman that has ever been raped or abused, including the pain I experienced in my childhood.

Is there a way of feeling the agony of that hole inside and not be completely annihilated? Am I terrified of it because it is so incredibly powerful that it could be savagely destructive? Do I have the resources in me to handle this mighty power for the greatest good? If the answer to those is yes, then please dear God help me with this, because I feel utterly lost and scared.

What made you decide to have a divorce ceremony?

Several things, the most important one being that, having come to the realisation that it was best to separate, I kept watching myself going back to the hope of fixing the relationship and making it work. My current understanding of our split up is that we just have different ways of relating, different expectations of a relationship, different hopes for what it will look like and provide. And that can’t be changed; we are simply different. For years we have tried to make our differences overlap and, in doing so, we have betrayed our true individual souls. So splitting up is the best for everyone, but I am SO attached to the image I held for years of the “happily ever after with The One” that it is hard to admit that it might be a myth and let it go. I am hoping the ceremony will help me let go.

It also felt important to me in order to be in integrity with myself. We will keep living together for now, because it works well, it is mutually supportive, and it offers stability to the children. So from the outside, apart from the fact that we have separate bedrooms, which most people don’t know, we look exactly as we did 10 years ago: a happily married couple. Yet, for me, the difference is radical, and I needed to communicate this with the local community and my family at the other end of the globe. The father of my kids feels different about this. For him to be married means to be living under the same roof and having a loving relationship. But for me that is not enough, and it feels important to share that with the world the same way that we organised a wedding 14 years ago and shared, back then, what marriage meant to us. 

And I would like to help create an alternative to angry, disconnected divorces. There is a lot of that, and they get a lot more airtime than the quiet, peaceful, amicable ones. I like to share with the world that a different way is possible and that splitting up with consciousness can be beautiful, even with the pain.

Will you be including your children?

Yes, it is really important to us that the children are part of and witness this shift. They probably won’t understand all the complex nuances or realise the full significance, but as they grow up they will have a memory to refer to and distil meaning from. It will also give them an alternative to what they usually see out there around couples splitting up and understand that there are loving ways of doing difficult things, and that is so important!

Why do you think this ceremony is important?

I believe that it is super important to honour transitions in life. We definitely don’t do enough of it, yet honouring transitions helps us learn the lessons from the past and let go of any baggage, so we arrive at the present with all the wisdom but none of the emotional residue. Marking this transition after such a long time living together and sharing so much is truly worth doing, so we can start anew from a much better position.  

It’s like the shaking and deep breaths we do when we first start a guided meditation or a workshop. We are asked, with every outbreath, to let go of everything that we needed to do to get ourselves there so we can be truly present and live the moment anew. I believe this is what rituals do, and ending rituals are particularly helpful in helping us let go of the past.

Do you expect it be hard? 

I reckon the hard work is mostly done. Hard were the 3 years of couples therapy we did where I felt we made slow progress. Hardest of all was the moment we decided to stop trying to “fix” the relationship, and the grief that followed. Hard has been the year that came after that decision, the process of clarification of what we want and what we don’t. And setting a date for the ceremony, designing it, talking about it has all been very intense.

But I think we have dealt with the difficult emotions in a really healthy way, and quickly since we are still living together which means the triggers for healing are pretty regular. I am personally coming to a place of peace with it all from which I sense it is ideal to do the ceremony. I do expect to be emotional, especially when we renew our wedding vows (our original vows were a commitment to love, not to one another, so we are repeating them in this ceremony). But one of the things that transpires in the ceremony is how much we still love each other, and that makes things easier.

Maira is an Aware relating coach, find out more about her here: