What Do Relationship Experts Do When Their Relationship Isn’t Working?

today, i’m the bee

Yesterday, when I was sitting out in the cold and fierce wind, a bumblebee landed on me and tucked itself into my warmth out of the wind for a little while.

At first I was mildly alarmed that I’d squash it, then I was curious about what it was doing, but finally I settled into an amazing feeling of warmth, tenderness and protectiveness as I watched it moving around, grooming itself and settling in for a rest. I felt honoured that this little bee felt my energy was safe enough to snuggle into and find some relief from the elements with me for a while.

Sometimes, I’m the place that bee crawled into, safe and warm.

Sometimes I’m that bee, buffeted by storms out of my control, needing a moment’s respite to re-centre myself and gather my strength for going back out and doing what needs to be done.

Today I’m the bee.

And my relationship with Jol is the fierce wind: relentless, exhausting, fiercely buffeting me.. and I need to find a safe place to rest while I decide what to do.


what does a relationship expert do when her relationship isn’t working?

What does a relationship expert do when her relationship isn’t working? When her partner betrays her? Betrays himself?

Well, I don’t know what other relationship experts do, but first I go inwards. I look for my centre and I do my best to connect with the parts of me that are truest. And I connect with my spiritual practices and surrender to a force greater than me to help me in whatever forms I’m open to.

And I write. Sharing, however, is something I tend not to do as I feel safer and free of being judged for not being “perfect” and not “having it all together” (yes, I know, that’s my own projection.. I doubt you really expect me to not be human and flawed). So, I usually isolate with my pain and my fears and my anguish and my anger until it’s all passed and I have a resolution of some sort to share with you. Ta-daa.

But that’s not how it is for me today. And maybe never again going forward.

Transparency is such a vital part of authenticity for me and I value them highly. I value integrity and compassion, and I’m digging deep to stay true to all of those qualities today.


my partner

My partner has a difficult past. What was normalised for him growing up was far from healthy and it’s left deep scars on his psyche and his ability to have healthy adult relationships. Scars he’s tried to work with over the six years we’ve been together, but that just seem to have a greater hold on him than healing or sovereignty do. Going back into what’s comfortable for him is a well worn path and he finds it easy to slip back into it. It doesn’t take a lot to trigger that backslide, but some of those triggers are cyclical, like every year in the run up to his birthday, which was this past weekend.

And while he’s been there, in what he describes as his “narcissist bubble”, a firewall that comes up inside of him, held there by grandiosity and righteousness (his words), he’s not able to feel his heart, nor mine, and the behaviours he enacts from inside that place often have a devastating impact on me and on our relationship.

They used to have a far more devastating effect to be honest. I’d be floored for days, Not sleeping, barely able to eat, unable to be present for my children, and completely unable to work. I would become severely emotionally dysregulated until, eventually, he’d come riding in on his white horse to rescue me, apologise, and we’d reconnect and all would be OK until the next time.


slowly, i began to heal

It took me years and a phenomenal amount of inner work to overcome my side of that dynamic. To not chase him when he walked away. To not fight for him to see me or feel me. To not let my own world collapse around me, abandoning myself harder than he’d abandoned me.

I learned first to not accept the “rescuer” he offered any more and I learned how to regulate myself again.
I built a healthier self esteem. I built healthy boundaries. I learned to become my own best lover, partner, and friend.

And slowly, over time, our relationship improved.


trip hazards

But the trip hazards are always there for us: me being too generous or kind to him when he’s feeling “not enough” can set it off, us being in too good and connected a space for longer than he can hold without the overwhelming fear of losing me kicking in and him trying to avoid it by pushing me away first, my stepping up and progressing in my work and his fears that I won’t need him any more.. and many others.

I love this man, and it’s never felt right yet to say, well, that’s it, I’m done, despite how painful it’s been at times.


my own shadows

I’ve had plenty of my own shadows to deal with, my own interlocking patterns that subconsciously attracted me to him in the first place. My own inner child wounds hoping to be seen and redeemed in the container of this relationship in the ways they hadn’t been in childhood.

And honestly, many, many of them have been. And I’m so grateful for that. They have been some of the most valuable lessons that have fine-tuned and shaped my work for the past six years, helping me understand women like me, and men like him, in ways that I’ve been able to articulate and share. I hear over and over again how healing that’s been for people who read my writing or who have been my one-to-one clients.


i’m reeling and healing at the same time

And yet, here I am today, reeling from the past week. Reeling from watching the huge dissonance between how this man that I love has been behaving in our life, in his life, and how he’s been portraying himself on social media. Reeling as his lies have come to the surface. Reeling as he’s been crossing my boundaries, escalating the ways he did so until I threw him out. Reeling as I witnessed his lack of integrity in so many areas of his own life, in ways that matter to me.

And somehow, alongside that reeling sensation, running at exactly the same time, has been my own reconnection with Spirit. Have been some of the most sacred experiences I’ve had in years. Has been incredible sexual and emotional healing, and a feeling of being lifted up by an unseen, deeply loving force.

Something that’s carried me through some difficult choices and challenges this past week. In my parenting, my business, and my friendships.


at the edge of a precipice

And here I am now. At the edge of a precipice. I’m definitely done with the land that I’ve walked across to get here. I’m grateful for every single step I’ve taken. The journey has been profound and challenging and joyous and lonely and connected and filled with curiosity and delight and tears of every flavour.

And I’m done with that leg of the journey. I can feel it in every cell of my being.

So here I stand at the edge.

I’m about to step forward.

What will happen?

I don’t know.

Who will travel the next leg with me?

I also don’t know.


what do i know to be true?

I do know who I am.

How to stay connected to what I value most.

And the standards that will determine everything and everyone that travels with me.

And those standards are high. And they come from the truest, most deeply loving, most divine spark at the centre of me.

I’ll be on this path.

I hope I’ll meet you along the way.




Sharing is sexy!


  1. Sarah

    ”And the standards that will determine everything and everyone that travels with me.
    And those standards are high. And they come from the truest, most deeply loving, most divine spark at the centre of me.“

    This is beautiful. Sending love and strength your way.

    • Natalie Chalmers

      Dang – I don’t know how I missed this, Sarah! Thank you for all your love and strengthening thoughts. And for reading and commenting here 😍


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