“You have to first love yourself completely to deserve love.”
“Only perfect people will experience the perfect relationship.”
I bet you have heard one of these remarks, maybe in other wordings, at least once in your life. “You should love yourself 24/7. Only then a healthy, soulful relationship is bound to happen.”
Let us tell you a story to explain, why we think that this is total BS. It is actually not any story… it is our story.
Priska: Before I met Bas, I was living in my chic apartment in Bern, Switzerland, together with my little street dog, and I honestly thought to finally have it all together. After many crises and a LOT of work on myself, I owned my little coaching practice where I supported all kind of people through difficult times in their lives, had a lot of good friends gathered around me, and I also got back into the acting business, after a short break. My life was beautiful.
Then… I met Bas. In a Facebook Group. Yes, online. The place where I least expected and wanted to meet my man. And this is when the trouble started. Not only was he 11 years older, living in The Netherlands, he also was married and a father of two kids. No need to tell you our romance started almost the complete opposite of all the classical love-stories we see on television and read in books on a daily base.
Things got messy, painful and, all in all, quite fucked up, even though I knew that I finally found the kind of love I was always looking for and that we both always acted from a pure heart and communicated openly.
So, I gave up my lovely life in Switzerland. Just like that. And next to that, I found myself often, emotionally and mentally, in the hip-deep mud. Believe me when I say, that I often was a bloody mess. I felt sad, hurt, guilty, ashamed, often unseen, and was struggling with patterns I thought I already would’ve left behind me ages ago.
My inner beliefs got reflected back to me from the outside. Getting involved with a married man always had been the biggest no-go in my life. But there I was, madly in love with this Dutchie, who was in a divorce after falling in love with ME. As I shared my journey openly on YouTube, my channel got flooded with nasty comments from women from all over the world, calling me a bitch, a whore, a home wrecker, and worse.
Even though I would know better, these comments hurt me, as a part of myself was judging me exactly like that.
Bas always had made it more than clear that this divorce would have happened anyway – just later, but I still felt terribly responsible for all the pain his family had to go through. And every hurtful word that got shot in my direction, I sucked up completely. Next, to being utterly in love, I swam in this lake of ugly feelings.
It’s not really cool when you have to go with your new Love through a divorce while sitting in the front row. And it was even lesser cool to support my partner through the grief of letting go of an old relationship. It was devastating. And everybody who thinks that “the new one” is just some accessory and has nothing to say in this… well, I can write a novel about it, my friends.
But let’s move on in my story. After moving to The Netherlands, I found myself a little room under a roof in a Dutch village, where I slept, worked, cooked and washed in. A place that got SO incredibly cold during winter that I couldn’t leave the bed all day long unless I was wearing my winter jacket. And in the summer, it became way over 40 degrees Celsius.
I had to use Google translator to get my Swiss ass registered in this country. And when I once got sick and had a bad fever, I still had to walk through the snow to get me some food, as no friend would have been around to do that for me. And Bas was entangled in his own shit.
Believe me when I say, that it was no walk in the park. Besides that, a part of me was also very proud of myself that I saw this all through and even started doing my online business full-time. From day one I earned enough money to support myself and even Bas, who dealt with a lot of money issues due to his divorce and the alimony he had to pay.
There were many evenings where I sat in my (extremely uncomfortable) bed, crying my eyes out and wishing I could at least call Bas to just hear his voice. But not even this was possible, as his ex-wife still lived with him in the same house for a whole year after the separation because she was not able to find her own place. I wished it would have been differently: That she could’ve stayed there and we had to move. Because you know, nobody wants to live in the house where your man lived with his ex. Certainly not me!
After 1,5 years I moved in with Bas and his two kids, which was the entrance of the next phase of messiness in my life.
Being a stepmom is nothing you can ever prepare for. Especially not, when you still are not talking their language perfectly.
But the funny thing is, that the “problems” started jumping at me from a totally different corner than expected. I won’t go into details right here, as this article here is about Bas and me and nobody else, but hey, I struggled SO badly, that we even had to get support by a relationship coach.
Not because we didn’t love each other enough or because we had problems as a couple, but the situation was so incredibly entangled, that we could only get out of it with the support of a third party. And we did.
I had to learn how to set clearer boundaries. How to control my “empath skills” and letting emotions where they belonged. I had to own my shit and had to look at my childhood wounds all over again.
And on top of it, Bas got burnout and later he had unexplainable and excruciating pain, that put him on morphine for weeks. They also found a benign tumor in his head, which in the beginning the doctors saw as an indication, that his cancer he fought in 2010 would be back.
All is good now. Luckily he is his old healthy self again, but we honestly were going through hell and back and still today I can feel this shock in my bones when I think back of this moment. Thanks to the Lord, Bas was and is completely healthy. It was just a false alarm.
My purpose was, and I think you do get my point, to make clear to you that I certainly did not love myself 24/7. And I still don’t. I felt lost, weak, fell into the victim role every 5 minutes, and had to dig myself back out of that hole every other 5 minutes. I felt hurt. Shitty. Messy. All of it. But I have developed an incredible amount of self-compassion for myself. To be kind with myself, despite all of my flaws and imperfections, And I most certainly know that I am worthy of Love, no matter what. And if I should have ever forgotten it, Bas did remember. He always did.
Bas: I have been a Drama and Dutch language teacher for such a long time. I was married, with two gorgeous kids. My life was, how shall I put it, coasting along. I was not unhappy, I was not happy. I was not bored, I was not challenged. I was, and I was not. I was actually always in between. The in-between guy, going to work and doing the things he had to do, but also doing the things he loved to do. I have done a shamanic education, a masseur education, just for the sake of developing myself. In the weekends I did the weekly groceries, went to the forest with my family, met some friends occasionally. Just…. coasting along.
And then, during the summer of 2015, I met this Swiss woman online, in a spiritual international Facebook group based on consciousness and meditation. We started seeing each other through the massive tsunami of posts (and there were a lot, I can tell you).
And then it happened. Shit hit the fan! I did not know what was happening. But this connection between her and me was…. mind-blowing. I felt I had met my equal, the woman I always had been dreaming about but never thought I would meet in real life, in THIS life, anymore. So I had given up. But there she was. And I went… to see her, because I had to find out what this connection was all about. I knew if I did not take action on this, I would always keep feeling this black hole inside.
During my childhood, my adolescent and even my adult life, I used to dream about a little brown-haired girl. She felt like this imaginary friend, but I didn’t play with her during the daytime. Nope, she came into my dreams. She didn’t speak, but she held me by the hand and took me to beautiful, peaceful places and then we would just lay next to each other on the ground, holding hands and chewing grass. I don’t remember her speaking a single word, but she always felt very VERY present. Sometimes she would appear in other dreams and would just stand there in the periphery of my subconscious, just witnessing everything. She always gave me a safe feeling.
When I was growing up, she stayed her small little self, physically that is. Because I always had the feeling that her soul grew older alongside me. And she only came in dreams after days in which I didn’t feel okay, in which I felt lost and alone. She walked by my side for a very long time.
And then, when I was 43 after I had met my big love online, without having seen her in real life yet (because she lived in Switzerland back then), I had an erotic dream. I was making love to my beautiful Swiss woman under a tree. It was not purely sexual, even if it turned me on incredibly. It was Magical. Sacred. We were melting together. I became her, and she became me. My heart beat in her chest, and hers beat in mine.
After this fabulously powerful reverie, I never have met the little girl in my dreams again. As if my melting together with my Swiss woman under the tree, made the girl dissolve herself completely.
And, a couple of months later, when I physically met my big Love, one day, she showed me a picture of her as a child.
BAM!!! I was gobsmacked.
It was the girl from my dreams! It almost felt like making contact with a prophecy of some sort. I always had been dreaming about a relationship with a woman with whom I could melt together, without losing my identity. Still standing firm in my own beliefs, but on a love level, we would become one. I met this woman, more than once. I met her long before we physically met. In my dreams.
So, push came to shove, and once I arrived in The Netherlands again after my visit to Switzerland, I filed for a divorce. And let me tell you: it wasn’t ladidee ladidaa at all. It was fucking hard and deeply painful labor. I was kaput. Having to put my wife and my kids through the excruciating pain of a breakup. Feeling so much guilt, that it almost gutted me completely. Feeling torn between the two different worlds. I think it has been the most heart-wrenching thing I have ever done in my entire life. And believe me, I have had my fair share of challenges already.
This constant going back and forth between love, hurt, shame, guilt, sexual attraction, beauty, shadow, laughter, and tears. It broke me down. It completely broke me down. It hurled me into a burn-out, into physical and emotional agony and deeply felt pain. I could not connect to my body, to my being anymore. I was not present, floating through my life like a headless ghost. And it hurt SO much! Damn, it felt like a blunt steal object twisting its way through my flesh to reach my heart for a hard, final thrust.
And it hasn’t been an easy ride since then. A beautiful one, but surely not an effortless one.
Priska & Bas: Since we are living together, it still hasn’t been easy all the time. We are not perfect, not when we met each other and fell madly in love, and still not now. Hell no! Although we both have done lots and lots of self-work, read self-development books, did workshops and educations, we still have our unsolved childhood traumas and triggers galore going on.
And we will work on them together, being aware that, despite all the “imperfections” and the parts that still need healing, we are complete and whole. Because we truly believe that you are always whole, and always worthy of soul-stirring, abundant love, no matter what.
We do not believe in the fact that people can be damaged goods. There can be cracks, yes, there can be weaker spots, of course, there even can be open wounds. But remember that cracks and wounds allow light to come in.
If we didn’t become cracked from time to time, there would be no place for the light to enter our soul. Basically, it takes awful, heart-wrenching experiences for us to see all the good in the world sometimes, and for us to go through a transformation of the soul, in order to become more resilient, powerful people.
You can’t expect life to grant you an easy ride. It’s not all sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows. If you are living in duality, you can’t bypass the hurt.
To expect your partner to be perfect sets you up to fail.
To expect to feel only fluffy, pinkish emotions all the time, sets you up to fail.
To think there is no work involved – deep, painful, “feels-like-dying” kind of work – you are setting yourself up to fail.
Because being in a loving relationship, especially one with two self-aware lovers is both the most amazing AND the most difficult thing you can be a part of.
“Love does not always feel safe, because it’s pure potential and pure presence and in pure presence, every feeling and impulse is welcome, however gentle, however painful, however inconvenient, however fierce.” ~ Jeff Foster