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The tender art of breaking up & caring for a broken heart with Mel Cassidy

 

For anyone who has loved and lost you know how much it can hurt when the fairy tale ends. Neuroscience has shown that social and emotional pain stimulate the same regions of the brain as physical pain. However, while heartbreak might be the price we pay at the end of a relationship it doesn’t mean we have to suffer. The grief that follows breaking up is an invitation to mend our most primary relationship, the one we have with ourselves.

In this episode of Awake In Relationship I speak with returning guest Mel Cassidy, a relationship coach and educator who focuses on ethical non monogamy, about the subtle art of breaking up and tending to a broken heart. We also discuss how to know when it is time to end a relationship and how to exit in a compassionate and clean way.

  • To learn more about Mel Cassidy and her coaching and speaking services check out –  Radical Relationships
  • To find out more about Mel’s Monogamy Detox program check out her online course

If you enjoyed this episode with Mel Cassidy have a listen to episode 021 Great intimacy  begins with healthy boundaries

 

Episode Transcripts

[00:00:00] Silas Rose: Welcome friends. My name is Silas Rose, and this is Awake in Relationship. In the immortal words of Esther Perel, the quality of our life ultimately depends on the quality of our relationships. Perhaps this is why breaking up feels so existential.

The most intoxicating love affairs are a combination of potent biological imperatives and a generous pinch of fantasy. I haven’t tried cocaine, but I hear it’s pretty close to the rush of falling in love. For anyone that’s loved and lost, you know how bad it hurts when the fairytale ends. We don’t usually begin a relationship with the end in mind, which is what I wanted to explore in this episode. In some sense, heartbreak is the price we pay for love, but that doesn’t mean we have to suffer.

In the wake of a breakup, grief is a gentle voice in the wilderness, calling us back to our most primary relationship, the one we have with ourselves. In this episode of Awake in Relationship, I welcome back returning guest, Mel Cassidy who’s a relationship coach who focuses on ethical non monogamy.

In this conversation, we talk about the tender art of breaking up, and how to care for a broken heart. We also discuss how to know when it’s time to leave a relationship, and some principles to follow for a compassionate and clean breakup. Stay tuned.

Mel, welcome back to the show.

[00:01:43] Mel Cassidy: Thank you.

[00:01:44] Silas Rose: Yeah, it’s been a while.

[00:01:46] Mel Cassidy: It has.

[00:01:46] Silas Rose: Yeah, yeah, I think maybe it was 2021, I can’t remember when our last chat was. But it it might be helpful just for new listeners, for you just to kind of [00:02:00] summarize kind of what you do in the relationship world.

[00:02:03] Mel Cassidy: Yeah. For sure. So I’m a relationship coach and I specialize in working with people who are exploring consensual non monogamy.

I describe my work as being for social misfits and cultural rebels and most especially supporting people who are queer and questioning and those who love them. What’s, what’s been kind of fresh for you lately? I, I’ve been doing a really deep dive into trauma practices and trauma informed relating.

And I’m in the midst of my somatic experiencing practitioner training. So that’s been a big part of that. And really. leaning into curiosity about how that shows up especially in non monogamous relationships, but also how that plays out in the wider world too.

[00:02:54] Silas Rose: I imagine that a lot of people coming to see you are probably wanting to get in relationship and [00:03:00] not really wanting to have conversations about ending relationships or the subsequent heartbreak.

[00:03:05] Mel Cassidy: I mean, you’d be surprised. I find that for a lot of people, when they’re coming up against blocks to forming new relationships or dealing with struggles in their current relationships, that does have its roots in grief. Grief that has come from either past breakups or past disappointments, which is another kind of grief, which we might talk about today. And so, you know, I, I feel like grief is this unspoken piece that kind of sifts through all of our relationships. So it’s not just about the relationship breakups.

It is also about the ways in which our dreams. are dashed, which can happen even while we’re still in a relationship with somebody. Why does it hurt so bad when the relationship ends? Well, I think to understand that we have [00:04:00] to go back to what what is it that feels so good when a relationship begins, right?

And, you know, for many of us, we seek out relationships as a way to create a feeling of security and stability and safety in our lives. And there is an incredible experience of safety when you’re nervous when you’re nervous. system can feel at ease with another person’s nervous system, right? It goes back to the ways that we’ve experienced that secure attachment as infants or the, maybe the ways that we didn’t get to experience secure attachment as infants.

In Western culture, usually that’s. It’s related to one or two primary adult caregivers, but outside of Western culture, that could be a whole community of adult caregivers who are supporting an infant. And you know, when we, when we find someone that we, we feel romantically attuned to or emotionally attuned to or sexually attuned to, our nervous system gets to experience something of that co regulation that tells us ‘you’re okay right now. You’re safe in this moment. You are, you are here, you are heard, you exist’ and so forth. And the sad thing is that when we experienced that at the beginning of a relationship, we’re kind of like, it’s kind of like when you smell a really good meal cooking and you can already imagine what that meal is going to be and you start salivating.

It’s kind of like that. But what we often do is because we are so hungry. For that safety for that security for that stability, we will dive into something that I call the necessary fantasy so that fantasy is it. You know, there’s nothing wrong with having that fantasy. All of us do this at the beginning of a relationship.

It’s what we see is the possibility. It’s what we imagine that meal is going to be and it’s having that fantasy to relate to kind of creates a bit of a scaffolding for us so that we can feel safe enough to continue to explore with somebody. What is this connection? What is this going to lead to? And, you know, hopefully over time, as reality replaces the fantasy, what we’re left with is not too different.

But any time that we bump up against that process, there’s the possibility that what we find is the reality is not the same as the fantasy. And in that case, we’re going to be disappointed, we’re going to feel sad, we’re going to feel maybe a little bit isolated, we might feel some self doubt, we might feel like, oh my gosh, this is nothing of what I thought this is going to be is true, and we might want to just pull the plug, you know.

And, and there’s a particular kind of grief that we will bump up against continuously in the early stages of a relationship as we start to filter through, okay, what is the fantasy and what is the reality here? So, you know, when a breakup happens, that’s the complete shattering of the fantasy. And whether you, you know, that breakup happens early on or later on, there can for a lot of.

People feel like we didn’t get to explore all those possibilities and, and there’s that kind of holding on to the fantasy piece that’s really hard, right? There’s a sort of dissonance between I’m holding on to the fantasy of what could have been and not able to grasp the reality of what it is. And, and I think as well, you know, when we lose that connection with somebody, when, when a relationship.

Does not seem to be tenable does not seem to be able to go any further for whatever reason that is there is a sadness at the loss of the, the nervous system connection, you know, we feel the rupture of that and many of us will experience that as abandonment. As loneliness as isolation, and that can bring up very primal experiences from childhood of abandonment.

And, and, you know, when I say abandonment, I don’t mean that that necessarily has to be like, you know, a caregiver left you and abandoned you. I mean, that’s any kind of feeling of like, oh, my mother was sick for a week and I didn’t get enough care. And somehow my nervous system remembered that, you know. So any, any kind of separation, anxiety that we’ve had in childhood can come up in that moment.

[00:08:42] Silas Rose: I often feel like our biology kind of tricks us into certain relationships, that there is this kind of repeating pattern. And I don’t know, maybe it’s called trauma bonding, but how do you tell the difference that when you’re kind of drawn to someone and that’s coming from a healthy place or perhaps that kind of deeper [00:09:00] unmet need?

[00:09:02] Mel Cassidy: Oh, that’s a good question. I mean, sometimes you don’t know until, you know, a little ways in, I think, because our nervous systems are wired for safety, but our brains will interpret what is familiar as safe, you know, we will inevitably drop be drawn to that which feels familiar. And go, I, I’m familiar with this.

It may seem completely out there and, and wild and, and unpredictable, but I, I’m familiar with that kind of wild and unpredictable. And I know how to navigate that. So let’s go for that rather than the, this is actually healthy. Which I think for many of us is very unfamiliar, and so going into that, our nervous systems can be like, Whoa, whoa, I don’t know how to do this.

This feels too normal. This feels too weird. I don’t know this. I’ve never had this experience before. And and learning. You know, I think coming to grips with that in ourselves can be a bit of a journey, and learning how to navigate the unfamiliar healthy can take time. And it’s a journey that’s definitely supported with the work of, you know, therapists, somatic practitioners, coaches, whoever you’ve got on your team.

[00:10:28] Silas Rose: I’m curious what the neuroscience says. About the process of falling in love and consequently falling out of love.

[00:10:36] Mel Cassidy: I’m not a neuroscientist. So, you know, my understanding of it is a lay person’s understanding, but, you know, the, there are chemical processes that come up in our brain and hormonal triggers and bonding mechanisms, you know, they, they talk about the oxytocin and you know, we, we have Dopamine hits when we are excited about being with somebody.

And that is part of our bonding process. You know, that’s, that’s a primal mechanism that exists you know, from when we are infants and In the coming out of a relationship, even before a breakup, I think many people will experience this, that the chemical high of a relationship is not the same. And, you know, it is natural that the chemical high of a relationship is going to shift over time.

And, you know, hopefully, again, going back to that idea of the fantasy, you know, hopefully as it shifts, we have established enough foundation in the relationship that we’re able to navigate that. But some people are so used to that excitement being a marker of, ooh, this is really good, that as soon as that goes away, they think, oh, this is no longer.

Good. I, I don’t know how to be present in this. And they pull back. And I, I think in long term relationships, what you see is that, [00:12:00] that the, the chemistry changes over time, but then there are waves, there are moments, there’s a rhythm to it. It’s not a constant buzz and high. And I, and I think just like with any, good.

kind of intoxicant, you know, if we’re constantly seeking that buzz and high, you know, that could be masking something in ourselves. That could be a way of bypassing something in ourselves that is hurting. And so I think it’s really good to pay attention to that. Imagine that social media and other devices are really kind of messing with that process in some level.

[00:12:35] Silas Rose: I’m just thinking back to my first love like an in my 20s. A woman that I met at university and it was just yeah completely mad head over heels falling in love and I also remember how devastated it was when she suddenly dumped me and this was really in a time before this kind of digital overload that we’re all experiencing right now I imagine it’s a lot harder for young [00:13:00] people, the whole breakup process with all this other noise.

[00:13:04] Mel Cassidy: Yeah, I, I, I’m of that first generation that grew up on the internet and, you know, I remember being on MSN Messenger and a IM messenger, you know, as a teenager and, and flirting with friends and boys from school online. And there’s there’s something about the online world that plays into that fantasy piece. I’ve seen that happen in a lot of relationships that start online. You know, you don’t have the opportunity to be in person as much. And in that space, there’s, there’s a lot more room for projection. And that can lead to a lot of disappointment and broken heartedness when you see the reality.

And, you know, if the reality doesn’t match that fantasy that you’ve had, and you know, when it comes to the ending of relationships, I think, well, there’s a couple of different things. I mean, there’s a phenomenon that’s called ghosting, which I think is really interesting because I think it reflects the expectations we have on people you know, some people define ghosting as, Oh, we were talking online and then they just suddenly stopped replying.

They ghosted me and it’s like, well, was there a relationship there or were you just chatting with a stranger? You know, strangers are not obligated to connect, but if the person was holding a lot of expectation of what that conversation meant, then they’re going to feel the devastation of that. But if it’s like a, you know, an existing relationship that’s been going for a long time and the person doesn’t reply, then, you know, okay, that might be ghosting.

And why did they not reply? Where did they go? And I think there’s an anxiety that can come up. I mean, maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, but when. When someone doesn’t reply to me in a long time, I notice that I, I get really anxious about their safety and their well being because we’re [00:15:00] not as physically connected with people as we used to be, I realized that one of my best friends, we didn’t have each other’s phone number and we’ve been really close friends for years and we’re like, how do we not have each other’s phone number?

But it’s because all our, you know, communication about when are we going to hang out? What are we going to do? That all happens through digital medium. And so we never actually picked up the phone and called each other, not even texted each other through the phone. So I, I think the technology, it can, it can definitely be a bit of a something of a crutch at times at the same time, though.

You know, the, the accessibility of technology allows us to create more spaciousness in our relationships and to have more consistency in our connections. You know, when, when a partner has to travel, you don’t have to go, Oh my gosh, I’m not going to talk to you for forever. You know, they’re, they’re right there.

You can just FaceTime them, you can text them, you can [00:16:00] call them. There is A lot more opportunity for connection. What I think is really important for people to consider is what frequency of communication and connection feels good for them and what feels good for your partner. You know, I, I think of one person I know of years ago who you know, went away for a silent retreat for a week and their partner didn’t text them and not that they had their phone on, they were at a silent retreat, but they were devastated that their partner hadn’t reached out to them, but their partner was just like, well, you’re at a silent retreat. Why would I text you? And, and this you know, difference in expectation led to a very significant breakdown and, and you know, some repair work there.

So I think it’s really important that, you know, we, we figure out what our own relationship is to technology. And then we can communicate that to whoever we’re in a relationship with so that they understand, [00:17:00] you know, what the expectations there can be.

[00:17:03] Silas Rose: Is it fairly common for people to say breakup over text?

[00:17:08] Mel Cassidy: Yes and no. I, I think that There’s, there are some people who will gravitate more to breaking up over text I think that’s more when we’re younger, I think that’s more, you know, younger adults, when we don’t have as much what might be called like emotional intelligence, you know, we haven’t figured out those things yet.

It can be very scary to break up. You know, we we don’t want to face the disappointment. We might be worried about how someone’s going to respond. We may not feel like we have the capacity to actually get into a conversation about it. And I think You know, in a shorter term relationship breaking up over text may be a totally fine way to do that.

I think, you know, if, if you break up over text, at least make [00:18:00] space for conversation later, you know, at least say why you’re doing it by text. You know, if it really is like I’m overwhelmed right now, I don’t know what else. say, but like I could maybe talk to you about it again in a month. That I think would be a softer way to do that.

[00:18:16] Silas Rose: So when a relationship does come to an especially a long term relationship, it really surfaces a lot of somewhat unconscious emotions. It can be really surprising what comes up. You know, often it’s anger. That’s, that’s pretty straightforward. But more to the topic of today’s conversation. Underneath the anger can be a lot of grief, which is incredibly nuanced and non linear.

[00:18:40] Mel Cassidy: I mean, grief is a really profound experience. Grief is, I think, an aspect of trauma. And, and grief, you know, you mentioned anger and anger is an aspect of grief. That’s one of the things I’ve really learned in the last few years is that any time any of us are angry, there’s probably grief underneath that anger somewhere. And that grief is about loss. And many times it, it’s an experience that. Is actually we’re losing connection to ourselves, you know, there’s something about our self experience, something in our own personal relationship landscape, you know, relating back to us that we have lost. And I think there is a natural process of grieving of just feeling that loss.

And you know, Elizabeth Kubler Ross talks about the five stages of grief. Their anger, bargaining, denial, depression, and acceptance. And that’s not a linear journey. It can happen in any order. And so, all those emotions we feel at the end of a relationship, like, we may have already been in the bargaining stage before the relationship ended.

I see many people go through that. We may have already experienced some of the denial. We might also experience that after a breakup and be like, Oh, maybe we could get back together. Maybe if they just did this one thing or if [00:20:00] I could change and, you know, we try to negotiate that and there’s an emotional roller coaster that goes along with that.

Because as we go through those ideas, and we attempt to bargain or we push down the reality and we try to deny it, our nervous system is responding to that. And when our nervous system responds, we’re going to have an emotional experience. And then, you know, the, the depression, I think, is the the setting in of that loss of going, Oh my goodness, there is something that I was so used to having in my life in the shape of this person’s presence.

And I don’t know what I’m going to do without that. And when that comes in, I think that’s an invitation for us to Reimagine ourselves to reimagine our path forward. You know, I think of some of the more difficult breakups I’ve had in my life. And I had one like many people, I had a breakup during the pandemic where it felt like [00:21:00] everything in my life just kind of.

Like an earthquake went through and, and shifted everything in the land and, you know, in that space of sadness, I really had to go, okay, so where, where do I go now? How do I reconnect to joy in this? And, and a big part of that was having compassion, having compassion for myself, being gentle with myself.

I think that our culture teaches us that when we feel grief, we, we have to put it in a box, and we’re not allowed to like coddle ourselves that we have to tough it out and like get on with things eventually. And, you know, in that experience, just being really gentle with myself, being compassionate, giving myself the space and time that I needed to re envision what I was doing and how I was moving in my life was really important.

And then that was what helped me move into that space of acceptance and go, okay. This is, this is what happened. And then grief turns into sadness. You know, a grief doesn’t have to have the hold on us that it did before once it becomes sadness as a kind of inner alchemy. And it’s okay to have sadness about things.

It’s okay to look back and go, I wish that had gone differently. But I’m okay that it turned out the way that it did.

[00:22:23] Silas Rose: I recently did a retreat, sort of touching on that notion of self compassion. And, the teacher talked about being lonely for oneself. Now that’s kind of the fundamental pain.

[00:22:34] Mel Cassidy: Yeah. It was a lot about taking care of myself, you know, and, and making choices to do the things that would nurture me. I think that. You know, a trap that many of us fall into in relationships is thinking that the other person is going to complete us. You know, there’s a lot of this kind of twin flame soulmate mythology that you know, while very romantic and very exciting, I see it lead to a lot of deep heartache and rupture.

Because sometimes those bonds, they feel so good because they are a trauma bond and not a good foundation for a long term healthy relationship. And so. You know, I think cultivating a strong self relationship regardless of whether you’re in a partnership or not is absolutely vital, because if we don’t have a positive self relationship, and by that I mean that we, we know our self worthiness, we can experience our self worthiness, or at the very least, we have tools to support us to connect to that self worthiness experience, then when we meet someone else, you Who is able to reflect our worthiness back to us. If they are the only way that we know how to do that, then we’re going to become reliant on them. And so the loss of that relationship is going to feel even harder. And so that this is one of the reasons why I think so many [00:24:00] people say like, you need to, you know, have that relationship with yourself first and foremost,

That doesn’t need to mean that you have to, like, completely love yourself, there might be things about yourself that you are not so keen on, but I think connecting to that sense of worthiness, that sense of dignity in yourself, you know, that sense of self honoring. One of the questions I will ask some of my clients lately is, you know, how can you put yourself first? How can you prioritize yourself in this situation? We can get so used to prioritizing other people. What if you prioritize you right now? What would that look like? What would that feel like? And it’s incredible what comes from that. Because when we can shift into prioritizing ourselves in those moments.

It makes it very clear when a relationship is actually nourishing us or not, because if we’ve never prioritized ourself, and then we suddenly do, [00:25:00] and the relationship is no longer tenable, that may be a sign that we’ve been holding up the relationship at the cost of our relationship with ourselves.

[00:25:08] Silas Rose: That actually brings me to my next question, because I imagine when someone starts to work on that piece in their life that actually the whole constellation of relationships in their life begin to change.

[00:25:18] Mel Cassidy: They do. And that’s, that’s actually happened in my own life in a pretty big way. So the question is, and perhaps the most challenging part of any relationship is knowing when to leave or to exit or to end a relationship. Is there, is there really a magic equation? Because it’s not just, you know, our own needs.

[00:25:39] Silas Rose: To consider often, especially in, you know, marriages where there’s kids involved there’s a lot of fear about hurting others.

[00:25:46] Mel Cassidy: Yeah. I think, you know, it’s really important to keep in mind in relationships that we all have a zone of tolerance, right? You know, no relationship is going to be perfect.

No relationship is going to feel amazing 100 percent of the time. There’s always going to be times of difficulty and challenges. Especially, you know, we’re, we’re living in late stage capitalism and, and climate change and global wars and, and there’s a lot of stressors out there. And I think what’s really important is to tune into when you are tolerating something that’s not ideal for you.

What is the payoff? Right? There’s always a payoff. If, if you’re a parent and you’re like, I’m not so sure about my co parent, but right now this is what’s able to create stability and security for the children, then this is, you know, that’s a great payoff to have. But there comes a point at which you may hit your limit for what you’re able to tolerate.

And that’s when we go into a space of endurance. And the metaphor I like to use with that is, you know, when you go for a walk and you find that you’ve got a pebble in your shoe and you know, you’ve got a pebble in your shoe and you’ve got a choice. Do I stop, take my shoe off or [00:27:00] do I keep going? And if you keep going, you’re like, oh, you know, it’s fine, I’m only walking a few more blocks, it’s no big deal, maybe the pebble will work its way out, and you keep walking and you keep walking, but if you never stop to take that pebble out and keep walking, what happens?

You get a blister. And when you blister, then you cannot walk anymore. And that is what happens in our relationships, when we are tolerating something and tolerating something, we blister. And then suddenly we cannot tolerate it anymore and we go, I can’t do this. This is untenable for me. And so I think tuning into what that feels like in your body, you know, it’s going to be different for everyone, right?

Some of us have a really good ability to tolerate a lot of things. We’ve got a lot of compassion. We’ve got a lot of resourcing. We can go, yeah, this is fine. I can navigate this. And then that moment comes where it’s like, nope, that is too much. That’s I’m out of [00:28:00] here. And I, I think it’s really important to listen to that.

I think also, you know, tuning into what harm looks like and feels like in relationships, many of us have been taught to endure that, and we may not immediately be able to tune into that feeling. We, we dissociate from, from harm when it’s happening to us from a, from a partner, and so sometimes, To tune into that, it’s helpful to have a third party to talk to, to have those reflections, to help you see, like, is this harm taking you away from yourself? Or is it something that brings you closer to yourself and an affirmation of who you are and your values? So yeah, I think when, generally speaking, when we hit that point of, Okay, I’m, I’m, I’m reaching my limits on what I can tolerate. That’s a good sign that, alright, it’s time for something to change in the relationship.

And a change doesn’t necessarily need to be a breakup. A change could be, let’s, let’s reimagine the parameters of this relationship, maybe let’s not have sleepovers anymore, maybe let’s be more casual, or maybe actually we need to take this more seriously, maybe we should explore going to counseling or coaching together, right, so I think breakup is not the only, not the only pathway, I think it’s, it’s important to, especially in a long term relationship, to, to consider all your options.

[00:29:32] Silas Rose: Back to the etiquette piece, is there a clean and compassionate way to bring an end to a relationship?

[00:29:40] Mel Cassidy: I mean, the, the easiest breakups are the ones where everyone agrees this is the best path forward. And getting to that place is much easier if you have put in the work to see what can be done to shift. And you’ve considered all the options and you’ve, you know, you’ve [00:30:00] both had that journey of exploring that. That’s easier said than done because some of us are really, really good at living in a state of denial and and sometimes, you know, that, again, it’s one of those places where it can be easier to have a third party support you through that When I’m working with people who feel like maybe they’re going to break up, a lot of the work that we do is just about let’s really do our best to explore every option here, what what could be possible.

And then when the breakups do happen, they’re coming from a an embodied place of, yeah, like, we have actually tried everything we can, and this is what feels like it’s best. And then it’s about, okay, well, how do you continue to relate with each other in a kind and compassionate way? You know, I, I don’t subscribe to this idea that our society has that when you break up with someone, they’re suddenly the villain, and you can never talk to them, and you have to be angry at them.

No, like, Maybe that is the case in some, some instances, but how can you show up in kindness and compassion with each other in a way that’s mutual? What does that look like? What does it look like to respect one another, even in the midst of a breakup? Maybe there are some agreements that you do for a few months as you’re breaking up that help you with navigating the separation of anything that you’ve shared or moving out or navigating shared social spaces.

But I, I think, you know, having that intention for continuing to be able to treat each other kindly. And in some instances, it is a breakup that allows you to return to a kind relationship when the relationship has not been kind as it moves towards its end.

[00:31:43] Silas Rose: A problem seems to be that people view the end of a long term relationship as a big, big failure.

[00:31:51] Mel Cassidy: Well, you know, we’re taught that getting into a relationship is a marker of being a successful grown up, right? And there’s that idea of the relationship escalator that you have to be on this pathway. It’s this linear pathway that inevitably, you know, takes you through life. And if you step off that escalator or fall off that escalator, You’ve somehow failed as a human being, you’re failed as an adult.

And, you know, the, there’s a lot of media messages around that of like, Oh, poor you. Like, Oh, you’re a divorcee. Oh, you poor thing. Oh, you had a breakup. You poor thing. And I remember after my own divorce, I was like, I feel like I’m more of a grownup now than I did before. And, you know, I, whenever I hear someone going through a divorce, I immediately say, congratulations.

Because that is not an easy place to get to and I am so thrilled for somebody to have realized that this is what they need in their life, that to step into that agency and, and not fall into the, the kind of like martyring themselves for a relationship that [00:33:00] wasn’t nourishing them. So I think it’s really valuable that we turn that idea around and, and while breakups aren’t.

Not easy, and especially, you know, if there’s children, there’s pets, there’s all sorts of other entwinements together, that is hard. But I think it’s really valuable that we celebrate that as its own rite of passage. Your life doesn’t end. You know, you still are a worthy, wonderful human being, and there are so many other relationship possibilities that are open to you.

[00:33:35] Silas Rose: Is it possible to begin a relationship with the end in mind?

[00:33:39] Mel Cassidy: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s a really good way to start a relationship. It may not be a conversation to have on the first date. But I think once you get to like three to six months into a connection, if you feel like this is something that you want You know, has has legs that they can they can keep going, then I think it’s good to talk about, you know, what are your long term visions and how do you want to show up for each other if that doesn’t work out, you know, and and.

We can make all the agreements we want to and, and whether we can stick to them or not, who knows? But at least having that conversation. And sometimes that can look like talking about how you have related with past partners. You know, what kind of relationships do you like to have with people after a breakup?

And, and that can be challenging if it’s very different. You know, I, I, I know some people are like, I like to go no contact. I don’t want to talk to somebody. Okay. You know, some people like I want to be able to maintain at least an amicability with, with past partners. I, I would say I’m, I’m in that category.

I like to, to be in on good terms with past partners. It’s not always possible. And, and, you know, ruptures can happen in friendships years down the [00:35:00] road. But, you know, I feel like the, the compassion and the kindness that we’ve shared together in a relationship really, I’m always curious about how do we continue being kind and compassionate to each other.

That doesn’t have to mean that we continue in a romantic relationship. And so having conversations about that early on, I think if nothing else, it gives your nervous system a little bit more of a. A security of like, okay, even if this doesn’t work out, even if things do go south, there’s a, there’s an agreement about how we’re going to navigate that.

[00:35:32] Silas Rose: Well, Mel, this has been such a wonderful and I think helpful conversation. How can people connect with you and your work?

[00:35:41] Mel Cassidy: Oh, thank you so much, Silas. It’s always lovely to come on and talk here. So folks are interested in my work. You can find me online. My website is radicalrelationshipcoaching.ca, and you can find me on Instagram and Facebook at Radical Relating.

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