Our Separation: One Year Later

Erin and Steve Pavlina DivorceLast year, Steve and I decided to end our marriage and let go with love. It wasn’t an easy decision and it wasn’t without its share of hardships and emotional turbulence, but one year later I can honestly say things are going pretty well for us both and I don’t regret the decision to dissolve the marriage. Steve recently posted an article about our separation, one year later, which initiated a firestorm of communication via phone, text, email, facebook, and maybe even a smoke signal or two. I know people care about me a lot and want my perspective, so here it is.

The Danger of Compromise
Like Steve mentioned in his article, we spent much of our 15 years together compromising with each other. Everything from what movie to get at the video store to the big issues like how to raise our children. When you compromise too often, neither person gets what they want. You end up living a life you don’t desire which erodes your overall happiness. When Steve and I met, I was 24 and he was 22. Our compatibility was very high. Steve really helped to empower me, and I was on a quest to teach him compassion and oneness. As we grew and matured, and especially after we had children, we simply fell out of alignment with each other. We were both being drawn in different directions. Our love for each other was always quite strong, however, and we didn’t desire to separate, so we kept trying to find ways to walk together on a path that was quickly diverging. When two people reach a fork in the road, you have three options. Stop and stand still so you don’t lose each other. One partner gives up their path to walk their partners path. Or you let go and go your separate ways.

If you stand still, you stop growing. You set down your anchor and your boat no longer flows smoothly down the river of life. If one partner gives up their own path to walk their partner’s path, you end up with resentment and unhappiness, and a feeling of loss. When your paths diverge, you must honor the pull of your own path, and let go with love. That is not failure. That is honoring and respecting your higher self, your mission, your true alignment. This is what Steve and I eventually decided we must do in order to be happy. So we let go and began walking our separate paths. That doesn’t mean we lost sight of each other. And that doesn’t mean our paths don’t still touch in some ways. But now we are both free to walk our paths freely without compromise. It’s a liberating and powerful feeling.

The First Three Months
The first three months after we separated were really tough for me. I was sick when we decided to divorce and I didn’t actually get better for three months. The stress of separation along with the stress of moving, and the adjustment to single life obviously took its toll on me. One thing that kept me going was that I had just signed up for my CERT class (Community Emergency Response Team) and was so excited to be taking that class that it kept me from slipping into fear or depression. My friends and family rallied around me and helped me immeasurably. I felt supported and loved by my friends, and I’m positive they made a huge difference in how I adjusted to the loss of my marriage.

The first three months I spent many a night lying in bed with tears rolling down my face. I’m a very emotional person, and I was feeling so many different emotions like fear, sadness, anxiety and loneliness. For a couple of weeks I had a lot of trouble sleeping. My friend Vicki helped me see that I was grieving the loss of what I thought my life was going to be and that I needed to begin to see the new possibilities that life offered. Metaphorically, I was looking longingly at the path Steve and I had been on with all its possibilities and love, instead of looking with power and hope ahead on the path I was now on. Another friend, Todd, spent countless hours on the phone with me, just listening to my thoughts and fears and desires. He’s the most amazing listener ever. And my other friend, Dana, kept encouraging and empowering me and not letting me wallow. He helped me see my own greatness, which gave me a lot of confidence in myself.

Finding My Power
In January, I hit the ground running. I finally felt well physically, and we were coming up on our second Conscious Growth Workshop. I decided it was time to create a product. I put my head to the grindstone and created an audio program in 2 weeks with the help of several people including Darren LaCroix (who burned my CDs), Dana Richardson (who did the artwork), and Jason Ward (my sound engineer). What a reference experience that was! For the first time in a long time I had decided what I wanted to do and made it happen. I used to wait for Steve to tell me what to do because I was really good at giving him my power (don’t do this ladies!) and relied on his ability to strategize and plan long-term. So deciding upon, creating, and releasing a product that Steve had no part of was fantastic for me. I also decided it was time to take a serious look at my career and start doing all the things I’d only dreamed of. I had spent a lot of my energy helping Steve with his business, so it was time for me to help myself with mine.

In the past year, I not only released a product, I also did a teleseminar, an intuition workshop, and a 2 hour salon event. And I started up my Professional Intuitive Training Program so I could teach and share what I know with others. I couldn’t be happier with how all of that worked out. Concentrating on my career feels fantastic and I expect to continue doing that for at least another year.

The Children
I was so worried that our separation would be super hard on the kids. I can tell you that while there were some bumps, overall, the kids are handling our separation quite well. When we separated we decided I would take full custody of the children to provide them stability while we figured out how we wanted to handle custody. A year later, we are still working on that. It’s somewhat complicated as we both desire to raise the children in very different ways. As Steve mentioned in his article, I like to set down roots, foster a sense of community, and build strong family connections. I grew up in a very loving household and we spent a lot of time with relatives. Steve grew up without a strong connection to his family and without feeling loved, and I don’t think he ever really appreciated how much my family just wanted to love and accept him. Steve likes to move around and I like to have a strong home base. Steve wants to give the children very unique educational experiences, and I’m a fan of traditional education, though I can certainly appreciate the value of unique experiences. I am completely in favor of Steve taking the kids on a trip around the world, and I’m just as happy to stay home while he does it.

I believe that our children are better off with the arrangement we currently have. I can provide them stability, certainty, routine, and a strong nurturing, loving environment, and Steve can give them the support they’ll need as they grow to adulthood, and offer them guidance as they become adults. Once Steve and I stopped hoping the other partner would “come around” and we just accepted that we have different parenting styles, things got a lot better.

Currently, I do pretty much all of the childcare, and Steve pops in when he’s not traveling or spending time with Rachelle. Our son, Kyle, is a very sensitive and emotional child and he does a lot better with my style of parenting. Our daughter, Emily, is very adventurous and likes to explore. She’s strong and robust, and she and Steve get along very well. I’ll be curious to see how things go as the years progress. One thing the kids know they have is our love. We express it differently, but the kids have learned that different styles don’t mean one parent loves them any less. Because Steve and I are both happier people now that we are separated, the kids are happier kids because they have two happy parents who aren’t wallowing in resentment, anger, and frustration. It’s very challenging being a single parent though and I’ve had to call upon babysitters often so I can still have a social life and get things done.

Dating
People often ask me if I’m dating. After spending roughly 16 years with the same man, and giving him a lot of my power, I decided the healthy thing for me to do is find my strength and independence without a male partner. I don’t want to fall back into the trap of relying on anyone else to provide for me. I’ve literally had a boyfriend or partner in my life since Kindergarten (Andy, are you out there and do you remember nap time in Mrs. Lehrig’s class?) My whole life I thought I needed a partner to complete me. Now that I am without a partner, I feel amazing. My confidence and power are soaring. Until I am sure that I won’t fall back into old habits, I intend to remain happily single. That doesn’t mean I don’t long for male companionship. I do miss having regular sex, but as some of you are probably aware, I did have a lovely affair with a young man over this past year who treated me with great kindness, respect, and was really great in bed. Being with him was perfect. No commitments, no expectations, no drama, no baggage. Just fun and pleasure. I am open to intimacy with partners, but it’s not my main concern right now. Providing for my family and focusing on career are what I want now. Thankfully, my social network is strong and powerful and I get a lot of love from my friends. I’ve recently attempted some online dating and went on a few dates but find it tedious, so I’m not going to bother with it anymore.

I have begun, however, to think about what I want in a partner. I’ve started creating my list. So if he were to happen by, I will recognize him and be ready for him. I’m open to marrying again, and I’m also open to being with a life partner without marriage. The door is open to manifesting this man into my life, but I’m not hitting the pavement prowling for him nightly.

Summary
I’m having the time of my life right now, made possible by the fact that Steve and I were able to let go of the marriage to save the relationship. We got to keep the areas in which we share compatibility, while releasing all the connections that caused us conflict. It was hard in the beginning, and there are moments when I wonder if we could have somehow pulled it together, but I trust in the pull of the river, and can’t wait to see where it leads me.

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