Break-up stories needed

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My layman's amateur theory

I've got this hunch slash theory. We're primed by Disney stories at a young age that love is forever. In most of those stories it's super young love too. This lays an impossible foundation of what our real life love lives are compared to. 

I am heartbroken every time I hear about break-ups ending in violence or murder. Part of my hunch goes like this, if only we taught kids younger that love and relationships fail. And by teach I mean not necessarily first hand when we're going through a bust up. I mean by surrounding kids with stories and movies about characters who embody this stuff.

Attempting to get good at something we don't do often

The heart of my theory is that we can never get good at breaking up with someone, either accepting someone no longer wants to be with us or us telling someone it's over, because we don't do it often enough to get good at it. We know that practice, practice, practice helps us master something.  As we age and get into more serious relationships with complexities like children and property, breaking up becomes an emotional minefield.  We have all heard the bad stories from friends, family members or lived them first hand. 

How you can help

So what I want to do is get a sense of what your first break-ups were like, the early ones, not really the messy mid-life adult divorces. I'm looking for early behaviour, the teen and early twenty bust ups. But if you have some good insights from an adult divorce or break-up please feel free to share.  This crowd sourced bust-up experience will help give the next generation some better insights and understanding around a really tricky part of relationships that no one likes to talk about. 

I'd also like to be able to use some of your stories for the basis of articles or podcasts, which means I'd like to be able to contact you, so make sure you leave me your email details. I have a Skype phone number so I can make local calls globally.  Thanks for your help.

Your name
Your name
You don't have to give your full name. Up to you, this field is not a mandatory.
How old were you, how long were you together, what made it special
Who ended it? Why? When was it? How did you handle it? How did they handle it? What made the break-up memorable for you (good and/or bad bits)
Think about someone young going through what you did. With the wisdom of time and age, what advice would you give to help them handle a break-up.

Incredible love and happiness wisdom for boyfriends, husbands & dads.

Incredible love and happiness wisdom for boyfriends, husbands & dads.

A blog subscriber offered this incredible note full of relationship gold for boyfriends, husbands and dads.  

These are gifts my husband gives me. Instead of being threatening and controlling because he was afraid I might leave him, he has cherished and encouraged me, so why would I ever want to? Instead of yelling and complaining because the dinner is not ready, he joins me in the kitchen and helps finish it. Instead of cutting me down so he feels mighty, he lifts me up so we both are strong. Instead of treating his children like objects, he knows them, and spends time with them and does the things they like to do.

Dear Men of Tomorrow

 

I'm reading a book called Crucial Conversations and it's helping me really understand a lot more about communicating and dialogue. When I see a post like this I think there's several ways you can interpret it. The partner in question could be making a judgmental body image statement asked as a pointed question. Or they could be like my wife who knows that eating sugar or crap food feeds my spiral of down moods and lowered self esteem.  This is where the essence of crucial conversations is helpful.
 

Let’s say their motives were health based like my wife, they'd clarify what they want out of the conversation. In my wife's case she wants me to be healthier and not go on a downward spiral which isn't good for me, the kids, her and our relationship. She also knows the kids need to see a good healthy role model dad to copy behaviors from when it comes to eating. Our eldest already has a sweet tooth and is clearly mood affected by eating sugar.  
 

The book talks about not giving either or options but instead try to ask yourself a harder question before you enter a crucial conversation, for example she could ask herself “Is there a respectful way I can discuss with Andrew how his food choices impact him and us poorly and not make him feel like I'm calling him fat or denying him life’s little pleasures?"  This avoids the fools’ choice either/or solution and introduces the "and" question.  This kind of “and” question forces the brain into complex action, which moves the blood away from the fight or flight area of the brain and into the complex problem solving area. The shift away from silence or violence and into problem solving dialogue.  
 

If the person saying "Do you think you should eat that" motive was around judging them on weight, then that’s all on them. It’s their own opinion, it’s unhelpful and doesn’t make the person hearing it feel safe or respected. So keep it to yourself. In fact I think guys need to understand that they might not be able stop judgmental thoughts straight away but they can keep it to themselves, no words or actions. This applies to so much disrespect of women. If you’re feeling the urge to comment or act just sit with it and don’t. This will stop crappy behavior immediately.
 

I can’t recommend this book enough. Here’s a pdf summary of Crucial Conversations.

 

A letter from my mum about dad

A letter from my mum about dad

"He punched me once, giving me a black eye and whiplash as I spun around and landed on the bed.  It was my fault apparently because I lost it and thumped him on the shoulder.  Our neighbour’s young sixteen year old boy had died the day before so I cooked extra roast lunches and my daughter and I carried them into the grieving household.  He was well aware of what we were doing but on our return he demanded to know why I was not ironing his shirt for work.  I had no words for him - I saw this big ugly uncompassionate lazy lump lying on the bed and before I knew it I thumped him on the shoulder and as quick as a flash he sat up and punched my cheek just below the eye.  The doctor recorded the circumstances and shaking his head informed me the wrong person was sitting before him."

I am free


I thank Margaret for the bravery of sharing this in the hopes that even one man of today out there will see it and be determined to make changes to ensure their own relationship is full of attraction, compassion, respect, love, life and laughter and they become traits their sons inherit. 

It's not about others judging what she "could of" or "should have" done, it's about us men, who want a better world for our sons and daughters, being determined never to treat someone how Margaret has been treated. It ends with me.

People don't leave relationships for a lot of reasons. One of them is because the abuse sneaks in over a long period of time.  Rather than make comments about why didn't she leave, make a comment about the behaviour you have experienced first hand that made you leave a relationship. Margaret is trying to help the next generation avoid the pain she experienced. If you want to help the next generation you can help me  by highlighting the kinds of disrespect women face in relationships.  Please finish a letter to man of tomorrow at http://dearmenoftomorrow.com/

 

 

Starting out

I mapped out this project back in May. I was walking along the beach with my 10 year old daughter Hudson talking about it. She instantly got it and gave me some examples she's seen between parents of friends, from the dads to the mums. I drew a spectrum of disrespect in the sand, added the suffix 'rum' to it, and the project kinda came to life. The idea being to map the entire spectrum of actual real ways guys disrespect women (from silence to violence) and to use all that data to build programs and projects to change male behaviours. 

 The first project is Dear Men of Tomorrow.  It's been whirling around in my head in different forms. After meeting some very successful and values based entrepreneurs over the past 4 months, I've decided to put it out there. I'll publish the stories as they come and figure out my voice as I see the responses. 

In phase one I'm purposely curating the negative stories, so the community can then start a discussion around the positive behaviour antidotes to each. Phase two is to get this under the noses of men who influence boys. Not sure how yet, I imagine an awesome art directed book given lovingly to teenage boys as they enter those powerful adolescent years. This way we might be able start discussions about topics between men that have gone unspoken.

It's an evolving project so please leave any suggestions or comments. I want this project to work so anything you can say or do to help is very much appreciated.

Thanks again for helping get this out there.