Life has its way of giving us feedback and letting us know when we are going in a painful direction. The feedback shows up in many forms. One of the forms is a relationship crisis. Unfortunately, however, often when this occurs rather than this being seen as an awakening process, it is perceived as a relationship issue. The solution then looks like it is about fixing or improving the relationship or getting a new relationship rather than looking to the inner opportunity for growth. I have certainly fallen into this category.
The crisis is not a commentary on the relationship. It is an alarm bell for your state of mind.
Angus and I have had various minor crises in our relationship, but the big one was an affair. I found myself attracted to another man. This had happened other times in our relationship, but this time I was compelled. It looked to me that a new life was not only possible, but also that it would be better.
Looking at this situation through the lens of our rewilding metaphor, I can see the health in what happened. I had been very unhappy. I blamed Angus for my unhappiness. But I didn’t even have the energy to fight with him anymore. I had gone back to work full-time when our second daughter was three months old. I spent months pumping milk and staying up at night nursing. I was beyond exhausted. I also got diagnosed with an extreme case of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I had given up trying to change anything. I was in pure survival.
Then I started coaching with Steve Chandler. At one of the darkest points in my life all of a sudden, I started to feel hopeful. I started to see possibilities. So I went through my “Rohini Spring.” I had an inner uprising. My own rebellion. I was doing the best I could at the time.
To give me some credit, I did tell Angus about my feelings, and in his naiveté, he told me not to worry and just be friends with the man. This did not help the feelings subside. So I went to a very open-minded therapist who suggested I ask Angus if he would be willing to have an open marriage. This did not go down well. It did wake Angus up, but not in a way where he wanted to resolve things. It woke him up to how unhappy he was in the relationship and so we decided to separate.
This crisis was a HUGE turning point in our relationship. It was not the wakeup call I thought it was at the time. I thought it was a wakeup call to get out and move on. I am grateful, however, that the storm although a force 5 Hurricane passed fairly quickly. I started to get an inkling that jumping ship was not the answer. The time apart helped Angus and I both realize how much we loved each other, how committed we were to being a family, and how we both wanted to find a way to move forward on a new foundation.
I share this in the hopes of helping others avoid some of the pain and suffering we went through.
I see now that I had been living in suffering for some time. I felt powerless over it so I just did my best to keep my chin up. I let my fear drive me. Angus did not make me go back to work full time when our daughter was three months old. I did that even though it felt like every fiber in my being was saying no. But I overrode what I wanted to do because I was scared of running out of money if I didn’t go back to work. I ignored my fatigue level and a serious health issue because I didn’t have time to deal with it. I ignored my low mood and accepted it as normal. I stuffed my anger because it wasn’t nice. I had learned to not behave that way. I was a good wife. Given all of the taming and controlling I was doing to myself, it is no surprise to me now that something had to give. My psyche found a way to express my hope, love, and optimism in a way that I felt I had no control over.
The flower of my true nature found a way through the concrete of my chronically limited conceptual mind and expressed its truth. The truth had nothing to do with the other man. It had everything to do with my innate health rising in me and saying “YES!” to life.
I did not like how it came up. I felt shame around my feelings, but I am very grateful that I let this crisis wake me up.
What are you not listening to? Are you ignoring your wisdom? Rather than waiting for a crisis to wake you up, I encourage you to listen to your wisdom and act on it. Even if you are scared. I see now that things would have absolutely worked out if I had not gone back to work after my daughter was born. I don’t get those days back with my daughter, but you can choose to honor yourself and your deepest calling now.
Rohini Ross is co-founder of “The Rewilders.” Listen to her podcast, with her partner Angus Ross, Rewilding Love. They believe too many good relationships fall apart because couples give up thinking their relationship problems can’t be solved. In this season of the Rewilding Love Podcast, Rohini and Angus help a couple on the brink of divorce due to conflict. Angus and Rohini also co-facilitate private couples' intensives that rewild relationships back to their natural state of love. Rohini is also the author of the ebook Marriage, and she and Angus are co-founders of The 29-Day Rewilding Experience and The Rewilding Community. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To learn more about her work and subscribe to her blog visit: TheRewilders.org.