Almost a year ago, as I write this, I split up with my girlfriend of nearly 2 years. Prior to that we had been friends for 3 years, getting to know one another. During our nearly 2 years together as a couple, we had plenty of amazing times: road-trips across Europe, her visiting me in Australia whilst I was doing an internship in Sydney, my spending days in Amsterdam with her during her placement year and naturally numerous wonderful dinners, walks and musings across London Town, where we lived together.
When the time comes in any type of relationship for it to change or move on, we can get hurt, build bitterness, experience resentment or even go as far as taking revenge, particularly when the relationship is romantic – something most would say we hold as being very precious to us. As a 21 year old man, I have seen too many of these instances to count, all the way from primary school till now, with school friends, colleagues, relatives, people in my life in general and even what comes up on social media where it’s as if there’s a rule that where there is a break up, there is a drama. Insulting names get hurled around, accusations, blame, fury, rage, friends/families split sides, so called ‘evidence’ ends up being posted online and what not.
What’s interesting for me was that for many years, this was all I saw, so this was part of the package, i.e. ‘normal.’ When my first girlfriend and I broke up, it was arms up in the air ready to blame, shoot threats, lie about her/the circumstances/events and at the same time do everything to get back with her (seems crazy I know!).
I had the same experience with my second girlfriend. I made it clear that there was no contact to be made, let alone friendship to be had. I made the same clear to all her friends, some of whom with I used to have lovely, close relationships. All that just because they were involved with her and part of her life in one way or another. Seems mad when I look back now at how many wonderful human beings we can cut off from our lives just because of one hurt, allegedly from that one person. I say allegedly deliberately, because life experience has shown me that we get hurt by ourselves, not by others.
For me to look back at this and see the unfounded behaviour with clear eyesight as I do now, may make you wonder if I have had some sort of a wake-up call or a revelation as to the fact that this was not the way I knew we should respond when our relationships came to an end.
So, if you are wondering – the reply is a resounding Yes.
This moment came when I travelled to the little town of Hoi An on the East coast of Vietnam. It was there that I was invited to be part of a family dinner with Serge Benhayon and his household and had the most magical dinner that would completely transform my perspective on relationships. The dinner was full of the freshest fish, greenest veggies and most delicious desserts. However, it was not the food that would hallmark this assemblage for me: it was the interactions instead.
Gathered around the table were Serge Benhayon, three of his four children, Miranda Benhayon (Serge’s wife) and Deborah Benhayon (Serge’s ex-wife). The very scenario of a current and an ex-wife sitting at the same dinner table could well be (and I’m sure has been) the basis of some comedy sketches. However, in this instance it was more of a parable than a comedy, although there was plenty of hearty laughter at the table too.
What I witnessed at that dinner table was beyond what I could even take in at the time. Here was a family who by all laws of societal norms should have had a great big division sign down the middle with children choosing sides and their favourites, wife and ex-wife bickering, hostility, disparaging remarks towards the husband from the ex-wife, jealousy, comparison, envy… the list goes on and on. This family however was clearly bucking the trend. This is a family where it didn’t matter what their titles were within the family unit – mother/daughter/ex/present/father/sister… irrespective of all the circumstances, there was not an ounce of undertone in the conversation, not a sliver of jealousy, nor looking down or up at any other member. To see that this was possible, let alone a reality lived with such ease, was a mind-blowing experience for me.
So, what was my take away from this dinner? And no, it wasn’t the left-over fish or the most amazing desserts – those I managed to polish off there and then. My take away takes us back to the beginning of this blog and to my most recent girlfriend.
The process of the romantic side of our relationship coming to an end took a few months and many heart to heart conversations. At times we stumbled across a few challenges and frustrations, yet we never completely abandoned our sense of humour, or the knowing that we were merely learners and teachers of our own life stage. We continued to live as a family, sharing meals together and supporting each other where and when needed.
Even after we both agreed the time had come for the romantic side of our relationship to end, which included physical intimacy, we carried on living together for the next 8 months. I worked on holding nothing against her and to continue to love her as a friend. We went on weekend trips together, shared conversations and cooked for each other. During this time people around us gradually became aware that we were no longer ‘together’ but still living together, and some of the remarks I heard during conversations made me stop and consider how rare our situation actually was. How rare it is to continue to love one another, when the access to bed chambers has been closed off. Remarks that came were: “She’s still living with you? Doesn’t she have her own family?” and “That’s so weird!” “Must be very tense?!”
I couldn’t help but appreciate the role models in Serge Benhayon and his family and how they had inspired me at a very young age (I was 13 on that trip to Vietnam) to take the same/similar steps years later and to walk through the whole process of my own separation from a girlfriend with greater ease, dignity and LOVE. Based on what I have seen in society, it is blatantly obvious it would have been much more ‘normal’ and socially accepted to go the usual route of hurt and all that accompanies it: resentment, bitterness, blame.
Thank you Serge, and thank you to the entire Benhayon family for showing me that we are all human beings, that we are all forever learning and that we are all deserving of nothing but Love.
Published with permission from the Benhayon family and my ex-girlfriend.
By Michael Brown, Maths Student and Manager in Retail
End of a Relationship and the Expression of Love
What is the Science of Appreciation and how does it evolve all of our relationships?
Relationships are about evolving – the key to making relationships work
Understanding how we can come to appreciate another with true-intimacy as we can not but always hold another in the same appreciativeness, as intimacy (letting another in) and appreciation (the relationship we have with our essences) are like twins you can not have one without the other, so deepening our relationships with another is evolutionary.
The magic is in the appreciation and learning from the Benhayon family for you to then reflect this to others.
When the communication is open and transparent, when we take the responsibility in looking at what interferes in the connection between us there is no one to blame but very much to appreciate.
Michael the way you ended up this relationship feels very honouring and supportive. Your experience makes me realize about that loving people equally is natural for us, no matter the situation we are in and how far away we seem to be from each other, at the end we are one.
Before I met Serge Benhayon and his family I never knew the power each person has on others. On one hand, I did because I had spent my whole life learning from the way others lived but it was only after I met them did I understand it consciously. When ones living way is based on love that effect of others is truly amazing.
“life experience has shown me that we get hurt by ourselves, not by others.” What a great line, and what a gem of wisdom to live by which would totally transform all relationships.
To have the role models of Serge Benhayon and the rest of his family is incredible, to know that life can be lived with a level respect and dignity towards one another which is almost not heard of or seen is reassuring, refreshing nad something which has the power to inspire.
How dreadful is it that the vast majority of us can’t afford everybody in our lives a very basic level of dignity and respect? But we can’t. Not only that but most of us are outwardly hostile to at least a few people in our lives, either that or we simply cut them out completely. This is what happens when you step away from love, you make room for another energy to come in and come in it does, in fact it rushes in, glad of the opportunity to derail us further and create even more separation.
‘all the way from primary school’ bitter break-ups and resentment in primary school!!!! Oh boy do we need to work on our relationships! ? Great to hear that you are genuinely living and reflecting something different to this.
It is such a shame that it has become the norm that when there is a romantic breakup the relationship ends completely and that person whom you previously had a very intimate sharing with no longer occurs in the future.
The Benhayon family are a prime example that love is the foundation for all relationships whether it is a romantic one or not.
We make it so easy to blame another when things don’t go the way we expect them to, far better to reflect on our part and learn rather then blame and remain forever stagnant.
‘We get hurt by ourselves and not others,’ this was such a confronting statement to me but one I’ve really allowed myself to be open to and discover is true.
No-one but me can take me from knowing and feeling the love I am within. When I am connected with this love whatever awful harm comes my way I can see the other person isn’t themselves, they’re hurt and what comes through them is that hurt. This is why people say terrible things in arguments. That’s not to say they are not accountable or that I tolerate abuse. It’s to bring understanding and love so all parties can be reminded of who they are and return to that.
Life is all about relationships, when we take that opportunity to connect with one and other we have the opportunity to confirm who we really are and where we are really from.
Its easy to stay in the hurt at the end of a relationship, but here Michael you present another way. A way that doesn’t involve operating from our hurts from the end of a relationship but from going beyond to a connection with each other that is not defined by romantic relationship but by something much greater, the oneness we are all from
I have often pondered on the love and adoration couples share when they are together, only to let that go at the end of the relationship. The love and experience that was shared always remains even if not always expressed.
Open or closed, big picture or small picture, Mini Me or Expansive Me, the choice is always ours.
Absolutely amazing, I too have been deeply inspired by the dinner table sitting and it is a pretty amazing occurrence to bare witness to. My seen occasion was at a event held at Lennox Head, and my mouth fell open with what I could feel from the whole family and how they conducted themselves in a way that was so beauty-full and deeply meaningful.
I’ve had my own break up, actually with this one there were a few makes ups and now a break up. The usual is to cut that person out and I did try this but it felt petty and mean and I felt less about myself. I realised why not have an openness with him – even if I never saw him again. I have not shut him out, we are good friends, there is a respect and love there that serves as a beautiful foundation if either one of us choose to start a partnership with someone else. My love for him won’t diminish – I don’t fall for the lie that there is only so much love to go around!
So, so different to what I see portrayed in the media and how I’ve witnessed the hate of an ex and the taking sides.
Serge Benhayon continues to be an amazing role model for all, he sets a marker for what is true family and what are true relationships.
This is so far removed from the breakups I used to have with a boyfriend; all emotional and drama to the max. With an unhealthy dose of feeling sorry for myself and blaming the other. It just goes to show that relationships and breakups can be a responsible grown-up affair.
When life is made about love first, we are open to learn from every occurance.
I’m with you there Michael – I’d rather have the break up than sell myself for a relationship that is not evolving.
So incredibly, this is a beautiful example of how unity and developing a depth of who we truly are can really hold everyone and all within our loving grasp. Truly beautifully explored.
Beholding has no condition or expectation – just space to be and breathe.
I find it quite shocking that it is possible to have a relationship with someone where we can appreciate their many amazing qualities, and the next moment there can be such an animosity. I have witnessed this not just in relationship break-ups as discussed here, but also in political situations when all of a sudden there is a turn and all the amazing things the person might have contributed gets dismissed and forgotten.
To me both of these scenarios show how we choose for whatever reason to close down our heart, there is a a host of negativity that is ready to flood our mind. I have learned from personal experience that it IS possible to keep an open and loving heart regardless of the changes in life, and Serge Benhayon and his family are such a great example always.
Serge Benhayon has taught me too -that we are all deserving nothing but love, and that we are all from a divinity that holds vast wisdom.
It is interesting that our ‘normal’ in society is for breaks ups to be bitter, unloving, emotional and upsetting. Reading your article makes me realise that it doesn’t have to be this way and that there is no reason why we can’t hold each other in love, care and understanding and make the whole process much more loving and simple. I know when I have broken up with partners in the past that I have thought that it needs to be emotional and dramatic – I’m realising that this way really isn’t supportive for anyone.
This is really lovely; ‘This is a family where it didn’t matter what their titles were within the family unit – ‘mother/daughter/ex/present/father/sister,’ Reading this makes me realise that the labels we have can cause division and that if we saw each other equally and not in these roles then we may not have the ideals and beliefs and pictures and we could relate more to each other more as human beings rather than ex/present etc..
‘Seems mad when I look back now at how many wonderful human beings we can cut off from our lives just because of one hurt, allegedly from that one person.’ this is a point that we can all ponder on to more deeply consider the effect of our choices to have protection in our lives.
Deserving of nothing but love… yes… and it is up to us to know this and therefore be able to set the standards in our relationships with everyone.
We often can wait and wait for others to show/give us love before we return it… what if we were the ones to show love without measurement, without conditions and without holding it back?
“Break-ups are not always about relationships break-downs, but moving on, evolving and freedom to choose.” Beautifully expressed Richard and wisdom we would all benefit from bringing into our lives, and into our relationships. Too often I have seen couples staying together when the most loving move to make would be to end the relationship. And the longer they stay together the further away from love they move and the harder it is to move on, in any direction.
The wisdom with which you write Michael, certainly offers a whole new view on what a relationship breakup could be, and in my view, should be. But most relationships end very acrimoniously, totally overlooking the fact there would have probably been a loving beginning to them. Unfortunately many of us allow the hurts, anger, sadness etc get in the way of bringing the relationship to a loving close so then we are free to move on in our lives, allowing the hurt free space for another relationship to grow, if that is what we choose next.
Serge Benhayon and his family are certainly breaking the current trends in more ways that we realise – This amazing family treats all as equal and holds everyone with the same love, something to be deeply inspired by, as it is much needed in our world.
I do not fully realise opportunities to treat everyone as equals. It is a work in progress and one that I know starts with seeing myself alongside and equal to everyone – no more or no less – simply and beautifully equal.
Thank you Michael for your heartfelt sharing about separation and how indeed it can be possible to hold a beautiful relationship with the other despite not being together any more. Separation does not have to equal loss of love and being loved.
A loving relationship is not defined by outcomes or activities but by consistent quality.
And I know from my own experiences that a relationship that is defined by outcomes and activities lacks quality.
This is a role model for the future. A great example of how we don’t have to have such disharmony between 2 people who once felt love between them.
I wonder how much the fact that you had built your relationship on a friendship over a few years had to do with the fact that you were able to part amicably and stay friends.
Your wisdom in what you have shared Michael is not only inspirational but belief breaking, breaking down the aged old belief than when a relationship is ended, that it is, no more contact, no more loving interactions and often a huge amount or acrimony. I would have loved to have had this wisdom shared with me when I was growing up; a huge amount of tears and the pain of ‘heart-break’ would definitely have been avoided.
I love what you share Michael and can so relate with what you share – I have a great relationship with an ex-partner, and his new wife, and this to me seems perfectly normal. To me they are family and that will never change, even if we don’t see each other for a while. Perhaps it is because I have the same role model as you do in Serge Benhayon and his family or perhaps it is because I have woken up to the truth of how life could be when lived in equality and harmony with everyone, whether they be an ex-partner or not.
It’s so beautiful when need drops out of a relationship and we come together as fully loving human beings to share together without agenda or investment but with the beauty of ourselves,.
It is so common to blame one another when we break-up. I’m impressed Michael, what you show to the world. You are a role model as well.
The breakup you have Michael from what you share isn’t a break up but a break-through to more love.
Beautifully said Zofia! It is a ground breaking break-through that is testament to the maturity and responsibility that can be lived by us all.
How inspiring Jane. If we subscribe to the cut people out of our lives model we run the very real risk of re-creating all the same problems again with someone else.
If we were open to this model of relationships we would have a far more harmonious community with a commitment to understanding and a standard of respect.
It seems that we like to play the blame game rather than staying with an open heart and taking full responsibility for our part in any relationship break up.
Very true Rachel and this seems to be the case for most things in life it is far easier to blame another than take responsibility for our own part in it. After all a relationship is 2 people, it is never just one!
It is correct that we often think that we are entitled to go into blame, hurt and anger when we break up with someone, just the one two words say it all, break up, to become separate, rather than lovingly bringing to completion our intimate relationships. We end up walking around with unresolved, incomplete relationships, that we use as proof time and time again for the reason why people can not be trusted and it is not safe to have an open heart. I agree, great to resolve and complete our relationships with Love, I have not managed this in person with past partners, but I have in my part resolved it and hold no animosity, but Love for them. This feels great.
There is much more space and grace in observing and appreciating the love that is there rather than blaming another for no longer fulfilling the role that we have assigned them.
When we make it about love and not need then we form unbreakable bonds with each other instead of suffocating attachments that leave us feeling broken and lost when they eventually fall apart.
Yes, Liane, those unbreakable bonds are formed when we relinquish our hurts and make our relationships about constantly learning and growing together.
The ironic thing is, we are all naturally bonded together already. A bond that it is impossible to break because in truth we are one united whole.
We seem to have somehow glorified a propensity to not embrace a change of relationship and to play a victim if it happens. I have noticed how people are more than eager to side with one party and feed such an outlook.
‘How rare it is to continue to love one another, when the access to bed chambers has been closed off.’ – How true Michael, we choose to make the hurts more important than love.
Eva, Michael – I agree and yet how often then are we shutting down the depth of love that has the potential to increase even if the type of relationship changes. After all the basis of all relationship can be love so why limit that love.
Very true, I know for myself just because I am not physically intimate and living with someone does not mean I do not love them anymore. Love is not a switch we can turn on and off. Yet it can be so easy to go into the hurt and blame at times that the love is ignored but overall it is always there and never goes irrespective of whether you ever see the person again or spend time with them.
Serge Benhayon, his wife Miranda Benhayon, his ex -wife Deborah Benhayon have all taught me that it is not only possible to get on with ones ex, but still love and respect them without any awkwardness, misplaced emotions, resentment, jealousy, competition, insecurity etc. I have to say it’s been astounding as I never saw this reflected before. What’s lovely is how open I am to past relationships – it’s not about getting back together or anything like that, but for appreciating them for who they are. It always seemed crazy and sad to love someone and then declare forever you hated or despised them. Much wider to see the hurts and protection that got in the way and let that go so you can be free to continue loving people unconditionally.
Beautiful separation Michael. A paradigm shift. One of the many paradigm shifts Serge Benhayon is presenting, Separating in love, unheard of in society. Just like the paradigm of dying, which can be a very beautiful proces to go through, if we choose to make it about love.
Divorce courts would be transformed were this approach to life understood and adopted.
Or perhaps instead of transformed, made redundant all together!
Very inspiring blog, and is a great example of how break-ups don’t need to be heart-breaks, with just a common sense approach that things are not working, and still being able to respect one another and remain friends, it certainly is a different way to the normal style of break-ups, which involves lots of drama and emotions.
True appreciation for ourselves and others brings the truth into our relationships and the fact that we are all love and nothing can change this. A beautiful sharing and knowing of how life can be.
Michael, I have noticed that this seems to be considered ‘normal’; ‘as if there’s a rule that where there is a break up, there is a drama.’ reading your article I can feel how different break ups can be and that there can be love and holding and support of each other and what a difference this would make to all involved – friends and family alike, as many people get affected when there is a break up.
When we truly begin to appreciate our own beauty and amazingness we can appreciate this in others, and then all relationships are honoured from this platform with no need or possessiveness.
What I read here is actually a deepening of relationship after two people decide that their relationship no longer is an ‘intimate one’.
If we can have our living standard as love (for ourselves and others) then so many of the perceived norms (acrimonious splits ups, family conflict, sibling rivalry etc.) would be exposed for the abuse and devastation they are.
Why isn’t this normal? Is it possible that we actually like the drama and the wounds we walk around with – rather than accepting the responsibility that we can be totally loving with each other all of the time. Perhaps if we were living with others all the time then we would have to look at being loving toward ourselves 24/7
This just shows the relationship potential we are all walking around with. We are capable of being purely loving and can completely turn our ways of being in relationship around.
We often compromise our own feelings when it comes to any relationship and do not stay to what feels true to us, this then builds resentment and complication. I have found the more honest I am how I feel in any given situation the clearer I become how things are for me and am then also able to express accordingly.
I know when I have finished a relationship the thought of staying in touch wasn’t on the cards at all. I knew I could walk away and forget about it and not take any responsibility for the part I played in it, convenient really.
There would be no drama shows left on TV to watch if we were living in true relationships based on love as described in this blog so beautifully. What part of us wants the drama? The part that wants to be seen as right and another person wrong.
At times I notice that people go through life often repeating the same drama or issue again and again. I used to feel sorry for such a person (at times myself) who seemed caught in what I considered as ‘bad’luck’. But now I know it is nothing to do with luck, it is the outplay of our refusal to learn the life lessons presented to us and also the love we are held within bringing the lesson round and round until we finally do get the message.
I always thought that if we leave a relationship on bad terms we will have to at some point come back and revisit that relation ship to right the wrongs even if it is in the next life time or the one after that, so what you have done here Michael is how it should be done as we should never move on without tying up loose ends.
It is possible that if a relationship does not end in this way that if we live it ourselves when we meet again we offer the same quality of relationship without having to do or say anything, it is the quality of relationship we choose which others will feel and have the choice to live or not.
The truth is no matter what happens in life it is always an opportunity to love deeper and that is the preciousness that cannot be ignored.
Yes this is true. The lesson is always offering us more love and to be more loving with ourselves.
Yes, Michael. Spending time with the Benhayon family is like a living parable, for they reflect true love, brotherhood and uncompromising dedication to humanity with every word and gesture.
It’s not uncommon to end a relationship based on there being ‘too much drama’, and yet the breakup can exactly mirror the drama experienced beforehand. The conversations we have to do with how we feel in any relationship, whether we’re talking to our partner, sister, dad or friend are so important and we should always address changes eg possible breakups with integrity and understanding, rather than drama and emotions which can be toxic.
Yes, this makes sense. Why would we choose drama, emotions and conflict?
Turning our back on another never works and anything less than Love will always place a not so loving energy on the relationship we have with every other interaction so our love-less way has a detrimental effect on us and all our relationships. Simple, Be Love and all relationships will reflect that as you have shared Michael.
What your blog is asking us to ponder, and I love this question, is what is actually possible if we put another human being above our hurts? Could it be possible that we’d make different choices and different actions to ensure that both people walk away as unscarred and complete as possible?