Human Stories

An intimate breakup story

Here is a break up story of 2 of the Connecting2life trainers: Oriane Boyer and Bonno Lange, who had 6 years of intimate relationship that changed 1.5 years ago. Here they share (in short) about heir separation from the 2 sides of the same relationship: the side of Oriane, and the side of Bonno. I find it nourishing to get a window to seeing how each was navigating this painful moment

Story with 2 parts, the 2 sides of 1 relation:

❀ Oriane: 
1.5 years ago I went through a painful break up with my 6 years partner- Bonno Lange (who is also a connecting2life trainer)- it triggered all kinds of intense emotions in me and resonated with past childhood traumas such as the story of abandonment and other painful stories….
I was devastated: I lost my home, my partner (who was my emotional safety, love, stability…), I lost my work for Connecting2life (as I left Amsterdam and moved back  to France). I had to change my whole life….
(Well thanks to Covid all Connecting2life courses moved to being online so I found back my work at Connecting2life! Yey !).
Anyways, I went through an intense mourning process with many layers of emotions: rage, anger, powerlessness, terror and sadness. Back then it felt like it will never end…
The layers of rage and anger especially, were very very intense. I remember having hours of strong jackals/judgments about the situation, about how it all went, about him… I saw him as an enemy.
Today he is one of my closest friends and favorite empathy resource, I speak with him at least once a week and I feel sooooo much love to him.
How is this possible?
Simply, but precisely said: Honesty & Empathy.
I shared, he listened… sometimes for HOURS. And especially, he received layers and layers of my rage and anger. Rage and anger have always been very present in my life- I somehow learned it as a child very early on- it was a way to survive, to exist and (not give up on) being heard.    I was raised in a family where I stayed deeply alone with my emotions and sensations- especially in the first 4 years of my life and afterwards too. So Anger turned to be my way to say: I am here, I exist.. Anger is my old good friend. When I can’t be welcomed with my anger I find it extremely hard to access other more vulnerable emotions such as powerlessness, grieve, hurt and sadness.
I am so grateful to:
– Myself, that I did not play more spiritual than I was and bypass the layers of jackals and anger.
– Bonno to have such space and skills to hold me compassionately in my rage.
I remember shouting at him and I remember him listening silently, reformulating my experience, my rage, despair until I would ‘finally’ break down in tears and feel my utmost tenderness and sadness. I am so incredibly grateful to him for having such patience and inner space to hold me. He did not fall into the ‘guilt trap’ and could stay with me- As Marshall used to say- “to enjoy my pain“.
I would never be as close as I am to him now if he would not have had this space to offer.
I also like that at times he would tell me “I can’t anymore Oriane now, it’s too painful for me to hear the anger… I’ll take care of myself and come back to you later“. In that way he also expressed his needs, he modeled self-care and at the same time held me by mentioning that he would come back to me.
{I am aware that many ex’s do not have the capacity or skills to be present empathically to our pains…So it might be that reading this brings pain or discouragement in you. Imagining this brings much compassion to my heart- for all the hearts that are not heard or received with the full emotional being that we are.}

And, Bonno was not the only strategy for me to process this huge change:
I had many giraffe (NVC) friends that held me in my pain (day and night!) when I was devastated. For example my friend Morgane who was calling me EVERY evening before going to bed, listening to me for at least an hour… for days….
I also want to thank myself for sometimes managing to be with my pain by walking slowly in nature breathing and sensing my pain, crying while holding a teddy bear, creating an altar with pics of me as a child and meditating in front of it…And I also feel affection for the moments where I distracted myself because I could not bear the intensity, by watching series on Netflix or eating chocolate…

This sharing is vulnerable, as it is a very tender part of my life. I choose to share it as I hope it might contribute in a way or another.
Thanks for reading and being with me in my life experience.

❀ Bonno: 
1,5 years ago I went through a painful break up with my 6 years partner – Oriane Boyer (She is also a connecting2life trainer). 

I say ‘painful breakup’- Part of the pain was to receive her pain being shared as anger. I’m so grateful for NVC bringing me the clarity that when the other is angry at me, it is because something is very important and vulnerable to them. I find it so meaningful to be present with that (if I’m available…). And I was quite available since my own pain was more related to the years before: 

7,5 years ago I fell in love with her. It came with the thought ‘this is the woman of my life’ and I was so motivated to make it work between us. I wished to spend as much time as possible with her and enjoy our connection and especially intimacy. In the six years that came after I gradually lost gradually the joy of making it work until I gave it up completely….
I’m breathing now in the pain that comes up thinking about it. I so value the setting of a couple as a potential place for so many needs to be met. So giving up, especially when I was so motivated, for me was not easy at all (and still is). It is painful to say ‘It did not work….’

So what happened? Why didn’t it work?  Two things come up in me as central:

I had a hard time having her wanting something else then I did, especially when it came to intimacy. I took it as a rejection. My thoughts were on the line of ‘she doesn’t want me’. I shut down, and definitely had no love for her NO (for her ‘not wanting’). I slowly became the annoying, demanding, unsatisfied person you don’t want to have next to you, and definitely not in an intimate way.…
I imagine it was very hard for her to be with me especially because she liked me. She didn’t feel welcomed, nor safe to say a NO (fear to loose me).

I learned it the hard way but yes it’s very clear to me now that if the other can not say NO there is less of a person next to me, less love and definitely less intimacy.
And the tragic thing is that since we broke up it’s way easier for me to be with her NO. I actually love her for all the things she is saying YES to when she says NO.

The second thing is about pain: How to be with pain? Did anyone learned this? (me I did not….)
When I heard a NO or imagined a NO, I was in pain (many times). And what I mostly did when experiencing pain was to focus on her (outward). She had to change, she had to understand…. This focus clearly did not bring me the result I wanted (intimacy). 
What I learned about pain later is so simple that I find it actually the most amazing thing on the planet. It is nothing, to do no thing. When there is pain I do nothing at all. I breathe and put my focus inward. I start with meeting the pain in relation to her, but soon after soooo many other layers of pain are coming. A whole landscape of tensions in all colors and images that had not much to do with her. I need so much time to be present with the messages of all those layers, that looking at it now, it seems, to say the least: putting the focus on her while it hurts in me is not a very effective way to spend my energy and time… All those layers are telling me important things like ‘I want softness, I want to be held with care like a little child, I want empathic touch etc.’. I did not learn how to take care of so many things- during my whole life- since I never connected with those messages that are screaming to me from within for such a long time.
For me doing nothing, welcoming my unpleasant sensations, mourning, is very much becoming part of my daily life. And especially when someone is stimulating pain in me, I’m spending a lot of time listening to layers, to messages, to sensations, to the (beautiful) needs. 
And yes it is painful indeed, but actually it brings me a lot of……….. intimacy!