Know Thyself and to Thine Own Self Be True

Jeff and Rita

Victoria, BC

Five years before their first date, Rita met Jeff at a social gathering.  They had known each other professionally as they are both in the construction industry.  Rita is a designer and had used Jeff as a supplier for her glass.  They found each other easy to talk to and had a great conversation which ended when Jeff’s girlfriend showed up.  They had a connection—not a physical attraction but more like they understood one another.  Rita lost touch with Jeff as he missed a couple of quotes and was no longer her glass supplier.  Jeff was with his girlfriend for another five years.  Then one day they met on Tinder.  Jeff recognized Rita but she didn’t recognize him. 

When they began talking about their backgrounds, they realized how similar they were. Their fathers were both in the oil exploration business, so they moved around and lived in many different countries.  Sometimes it was glamourous and sometimes you were in the middle of the Arabian desert without air conditioning.  They both went to boarding school and had lived in similar countries while Jeff was in Tunisia, Rita was in Libya—they had lived parallel lives. As Jeff explained,

When you are in your formative years, it influences who you become.  You have a broad perspective on life, but you never grow any roots.  When it comes time to settle down and live with someone in one place it’s difficult.

Jeff

Rita had a fear that a partner would take away from her freedom to travel and to live wherever she wanted in the world.  She still has a hard time putting down roots.  Jeff understood this and was patient and didn’t react when she said she was moving to Spain in eight months shortly after they met. 

They had planned to get together in August, but they were both busy and the meeting was postponed until September and in the meantime, they got to know each other through text and calls.  Jeff had a Thai massage booked in Chinatown in Victoria which happens to be the oldest in Canada and one of the oldest in North America and they agreed to meet afterward.  Incidentally the masseuses name was Love.  The walls are paper thin, and he could hear Rita come in and say to the receptionist that she was waiting for Jeff.  He walked out of his massage and was bowled over—it was a magical moment he will never forget for the rest of his life.  Time stopped–the chemistry was so thick in the air he knew immediately he was in love.

As they were walking down the street, Jeff reached for her hand to hold.  Rita thought that was a forward move and at the same time it felt right for him to hold her hand.  Not only did he hold her hand, half a block from the Thai massage place he kissed her—he felt he was walking on air and he couldn’t help himself. Rita was concerned that he’d just broken up with his girlfriend and people would see them together.  Just as she voiced this to Jeff, his best friend drove by, pulled up beside them and asked “Who’s this?”  Victoria is a small town.  Before they went for dinner, Jeff asked Rita if she would like to see a project he was working on that was a couple of blocks away. He wasn’t expecting his team to be there but there was a push on to finish the project and they were working late to finish things.  Rita found herself thrown into the spotlight with a team of guys he’d been working with for years.  An interest in innovative construction projects became just one more thing they had in common.  Their second date had already been arranged—they went dancing at a night club on the water with a live band.  Again, Jeff was totally smitten and was waiting on the street for her taxi to arrive.  Rita met some of his siblings and friends that evening.  They spent the next four months travelling and having fun together and Jeff fell deeply in love. 

Shortly after they got back together because they did break up as love is never that simple, they were on a hike. Rita and Jeff stopped in a clearing after a couple of hours of hard slogging on the trail.  As they looked out over the landscape they kissed, and it was a spiritual and ethereal moment—they both felt transplanted to another space and time.  They looked at each other and wondered what had just happened.  It was after this moment that Rita said she knew, Jeff was the one. 

However, Rita did not go down without a fight. Rita has always pretended to be someone else in a relationship and being with Jeff was the first time where she could be completely herself.  It took several uncomfortable moments but now they both feel they can be raw and expose themselves honestly. Rita has gone from a space where she didn’t allow herself to fall in love or even say the words to a place where she can honestly say that she truly loves Jeff. Rita calls Jeff her oak and herself a river where she flows all over the place and he’s steadfast–they even have a painting of a river and an oak.

Jeff’s steadfastness is what has allowed me to open up and feel secure.

Rita

Rita still needs her space—she spent years living on her own and raising her three children and travelling from Quebec to Mexico and then to BC.  She felt a relationship would make her half the person she was and realized she had some issues to deal with.  Rita still needs three nights a week at her home.  Rita suspected she was hurting Jeff’s feelings when she would say certain words like “needing my space” which he interpreted as not wanting him around.  Rita had been reading about her enneagram because she was searching for ways to speak to Jeff about her needs without hurting him. The enneagram is a personality test that describes nine personality types. It was on the coffee table in her living room and Jeff flipped through the book and once he read about her enneagram, he understood what was behind her request for space. “I love that our relationship exposes so many parts of ourselves including parts of ourselves that needed to heal.” 

Jeff teases Rita that she is Little Miss Sabotage.  On New Year’s Day, four months after they met, Rita broke up with Jeff.  In her words, she picked apart everything and found little things as reasons why their relationship wouldn’t work. 

Jeff was devastated and confused.  Jeff described the breakup as having a supersonic missile that came in and blew down the layers that he had built up over his lifetime to protect himself.  He had to deal with the fall out.  One night, a couple of months after they had broken up, he had this spiritual experience which was quite new to him.  He was lying in bed reading and he felt this presence swirl around him.  He knew exactly who it was—it was Rita’s heart telling him not to give up on her.  Jeff replied out loud “What the hell are you doing here?  She doesn’t want to be with me.”  This experience as strange as it had been for Jeff, gave him hope. 

While this was happening, Rita was across town feeling very confused about whether to listen to her heart or her head.  They were apart for three months and during that time Rita realized what he meant to her. Her heart was telling her she missed him and should be with him and her brain was saying, “No, No, No.” Ultimately her heart won out and Rita made him cookies.  She dropped them off with an apology note as she had blamed him for everything, and she realized it wasn’t all his fault.  As Rita contemplated their relationship, she did a lot of reading and some inner searching. She realized her fear of commitment and her relationship with her narcissistic mother and not being able to attach herself to a loving relationship might have had something to do with the breakup.  Rita asked if they could go for walks together and get to know each other as friends.  Jeff told her he was never going to be able to be just friends with her nor would he be able to wish her well in another romantic relationship, but he would certainly go for a walk with her. Of course, by the end of the walk they were holding hands.

It’s been a year and a half since they started going on walks and they have never been happier together.  They describe their connection as spiritual and people see their connection and it makes them smile and maybe gives them hope to find their true love. Every morning Jeff wakes up and thanks his lucky stars because he is so happy. 

Rita would say “knowing that relationships are always going to expose both the good and the bad in each other, allow the grace of time to learn from it and learn that life isn’t always comfortable.  The beauty of these moments is that you can get through them and grow stronger.  Don’t throw in the towel when it goes awry as maybe there are lessons to be learned.  Allow yourself to explore a little bit more.”

Jeff quoted Shakespeare, “Know thyself and to thine ownself be true.”  It’s very important to know who you are and be comfortable with that person because if you want a relationship to succeed you must be that person.  You can’t hide out or have elusions out there because you’ll never be happy, and neither will your partner be truly happy.  You can fake it and make relationships last and for long periods of time, but it doesn’t mean the relationship is working—the way relationships should work.  

“Love expressed from yourself in its most genuine form is the most satisfying thing you can do in this life.  I think we are all here to find that experience.  This experience is not meant to be easy it’s meant to have lessons and trials and tribulations and tragedies but ultimately you want to find that moment where you get the love experience.  When you do, your heart will be free and open and soaring and you’ll feel nirvana. To get there you have to be honest and willing to accept that you’re not perfect and you’re in an imperfect world and there will be obstacles that are thrown your way that hurt you and damage you and realign you in ways that aren’t always good for you going forward.  Somehow you need to grapple with the fact that all of that is okay if you learn from it.  If you still go back out there and are willing to love yourself and that other person you will find your true love—someone who accepts you and can bring out all of you.”

Broadcast Love wishes Rita and Jeff many more years of adventures as their love for one another continues to grow.

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