Names: Blaire & Chris
Been together since: May 2016
From Heartache to Big Break-ups
Blaire: It was 2014 and I was living on a beautiful little boat in Vancouver, Canada. It was not the best of times as my long-term boyfriend and I had just broken up and I was quite disoriented. I didn’t know what I was doing with my life!
Just at that time, I got a call from my Turkish friend, Mina, whom I used to belly dance with in Koh Samui. She had moved back to Istanbul and was working in a restaurant called Cahide. It was supposed to be an up market club where belly dancers were also a part of the show. She said, “I’d really love to have a good friend with me here,” and told me about the place, which sounded pretty awesome. I was sold and told her I would be on my way.
Off I went to Istanbul hoping to heal my broken heart.
Unfortunately, the second I stepped foot into Cahide, I knew it wasn’t the place for me. I ended up going to a yoga place in Cihangir and within a couple of weeks, I was offered a job teaching there. It came in at the perfect time and teaching yoga became my reason to be in Istanbul.
The masculine energy in Turkey was very hard for me to relate to and I found Turkish men to be very challenging for me personally. There were some pretty awful days that lay ahead of me in that regard.
I had one main relationship there and it proved to be a very difficult one. It was really stormy and tumultuous with a thick layer of deceit clouding it at all times. I was puzzled about how I had ended up in such a crappy relationship.
Hindsight always holds such clarity and I now see that my predicament was a self-created thing. Going into that relationship I was still quite shut down from my previous break-up. I was not ready to fully open up my heart to closeness or intimacy so how could I expect to manifest it in my life? I always just kept him there, but safely at arm’s-distance. Inevitably, so did he. There was so much space between us.
The break up was a whole different story because he was quite persistent in not letting me go. Every time I tried to step away he would meander and sneak back in to my life. We did the back-and-forth dance for a while.
Finally in January 2016, I decided that this just couldn’t go on. I would rather be single than suffer through this so I walked away for good.
The next few months I remained completely single to process that relationship, let it go and try to purge the residue.
Chris: I was living in Boston and had gotten out of the longest and most difficult relationship I’d ever had. It was about the same time as Blaire was getting out of hers. It was a 3.5 year relationship which ended after a very difficult month, at the beginning of December 2015.
I did love my ex and we had invested a lot of time and effort into each other but we just could not manage to find a way to live together in a healthy, harmonious way.
We had broken up three or four times, twice of which we had actually moved out of the house we shared, but had always ended up getting back together. My ex also had a way of persuading me to try again.
As an added burden, I was made to believe that everything that went wrong with us was my fault and that the problems we had stemmed from me. Trying to communicate in that relationship had been so difficult that as a byproduct of that I was pretty shut down too. The dynamics were actually very similar to what Blaire described about her previous relationship.
During my break-up, I was wrapping up a chapter of my life as an employee for a large practice in the medical industry and starting a new chapter by setting up my own consulting business.
Over the years, I had done many solo long-term trips all over the world. I felt the need for another trip to honor this transition phase from my 8 to 5 life to becoming an entrepreneur. Plus, I now had the luxury of being able to work remotely.
With aim of resetting my life, I planned one more trip. And ‘reset’ is pretty much what happened between my break-up at the end of 2015 and my meeting Blaire in May 2016.
From Heartache to Healing
Chris: Europe was a suitable choice because it was possible to make the time zone difference work. My day would be mostly free and I could start working in the afternoon when New York was just waking up.
Istanbul was an interesting choice those days because bombs were going off all over Turkey. Still, there are a thousand reasons to visit Istanbul. It’s one of the most fascinating cities in the world. The culture and food is amazing and it is a stunning place. Plus, I’ve never been the type to avoid anywhere because of a little bit of danger. So I committed to Istanbul and Budapest and followed through.
Come May 2016, I arrived in Turkey and started to settle in. One of my goals was to start doing yoga again as I had tried it in the past and liked it. Looking online, I found Cihangir Yoga and started going there.
Being 6 foot 2 and weighing 220 pounds, if I had a native American name, it would be ‘Big Tree Falls Hard’. I had no illusions about handling yoga gracefully and kept telling myself I would embarrass myself, but I didn’t let it stop me.
Blaire: Disillusioned after the last relationship, for months I had been telling myself I didn’t want to be with anyone or meet anyone new. I had a lot of issues surfacing around men and I took a workshop to try and deal with them. I got really beaten up during that workshop. All of my issues around the masculine came up the surface. It was brutal. By the end of the workshop, I had cleared out a lot of stuff and felt ready for the next chapter.
At the end of the workshop, we all went to a tea garden in Moda.
I usually don’t drink Turkish coffee but I ended up having one, I don’t know why. As per Turkish tradition, I covered the top of the cup with the saucer and turned it upside down to have my fortune read. My friend offered to read my coffee cup.
One of the first things she told me was, “You’re going to have big love in your life really, really soon.”
I was thinking, ‘Yeah, sure.’
She said, “He is really tall, very handsome and has the body of a Greek god. And there is something going on with his nose; either he has broken it or it’s crooked in some way…”
I said, “Okay, that’s interesting,” but didn’t think much else of it. That happened on a Monday or Tuesday.
Chris: The first time I went to the yoga place the girl that checked me in told me they have two English-speaking classes and Blaire was the only one who taught in the branch close to my place so I took her class.
From Healing to Feeling
Blaire: Come Wednesday, I walk into my yoga class.
When I entered the class, even before I looked at the corner Chris was in, I could feel a charge in my body coming from where he was seated. In my peripheral vision, I noticed that there was somebody new that I didn’t know. I looked and saw this stocky guy in the back looking at me so I went over to say hello.
Chris was sitting on his mat so I had to crouch down.
I said, “Hi, I’m Blaire. I’ll be teaching this class.”
His crystal blue eyes got really, really big as he stared up at me and our eyes locked.
Chris: When I first saw Blaire, I wouldn’t say she walked into the room, I’d say she floated. She continued floating and stopped about 6 inches away from me. I just wanted to close my eyes and kiss her right there. It was like being star-struck.
Blaire: I smiled and went on to ask the usual pre-yoga questions about if he had any injuries then I started the class. It was one of the hardest classes I ever taught because all I wanted to do was watch him and put my hands on him. The attraction I felt was wild.
It was our little ritual to go to a juice café in Cihangir after my Wednesday morning class. Everybody was leaving and I was looking around trying to find him. All I could think was, ‘I hope he comes for juice too! Oh, he better come!’
Finally I saw him and, trying to sound nonchalant, said, “Hey, we’re going to get some juice. You should join us.”
Apparently, one of the other guys in our class had already invited him so he told me he was coming. I was delighted.
Chris: One aspect of my life path is something that I’m very open about: I’m a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. It has been 14 years now that I have been sober. I started doing yoga on the fourth year of my sobriety.
My attraction to yoga was a little bit spiritual and a little bit physical. Yoga has organically integrated into my recovery.
During Blaire’s class, she came to do some adjustments and was touching me. I was very too aware of the chemistry between us. When I was invited by her friend Marcel to go have some juice afterwards, I happily accepted.
Meanwhile, I had really been wanting to take some private yoga lessons to improve some transitions I had been working on. I mentioned this to her friend Marcel and he immediately said, “Oh, you should ask Blaire.” She was also keen so we decided to do a private yoga lesson. We were to meet in 2 days.
Blaire: When he asked me to do a private class I said, “Of course, I would love to.” He was staying close to where I lived, so it was perfect.
I agreed to do it although I knew I really liked him, so I felt a little guilty! I wondered if it would be unethical of me to go ahead and do the class with these feelings I had for him. I was wondering if I should just call him, cancel the lesson and ask him out for coffee instead.
Then I decided to hold off. See, you can tell a lot about a person in a private yoga class from how their body moves and how they respond to instruction. I thought it might be good to get to know Chris in this way.
Chris: She wanted to check if I was coachable. We did the yoga class. It was still a teacher/student relationship during the lesson. We weren’t really flirting… well not that much.
Blaire: The lesson was great, we even got him to do a headstand. One of the most endearing things during the lesson was to see how much he trusted my guidance. He was very respectful and really put his faith in me which felt amazing.
The lesson ended. We were at my place and I really didn’t want him to leave so I offered him some tea. As he paid me he said, “That’s the best 50 Dollars I’ve ever spent,” which made me smile.
Chris: After having tea I asked her out to lunch. I was enjoying her company way too much and I didn’t want our time together to end.
Blaire: We went to a cute little café called Curcuna next to this antique store close to my place. I can honestly say that it was the best lunch of my life.
Chris: Mine too!
Blaire: I don’t think I even looked at my food although I’m sure I ate. We just talked the whole time.
Chris: We were both cracked open from the yoga class so we were talking about things like our childhood very honestly. It would normally take years for two people to get to that level of openness and be so exposed and vulnerable with each other.
Blaire: I have lost a brother to drug addiction and I usually don’t share that with people but I shared it with him. That opened up another door because right away he shared his recovery story.
He held nothing back and I was really touched by this. It was so different from my Turkish ex-boyfriend who was very closed, secretive and shut down about everything. Here I was on my first meal with this guy that I barely met and we were sharing things that were deeply personal, intimate, heartbreaking even.
Chris: Throughout my recovery, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to strangers about vulnerable things. My friendships with my guy friends are such that I feel safe to be like that with them too. But openly discussing these things on my first date with a female was certainly unheard of in my history.
Blaire is a wonderful teacher. On a more personal level, she is so soft, sweet and open that it really creates a safe space for anyone to be vulnerable. Her personality and energy is very nurturing. She’s very special in that respect. And when somebody else is opening that door it’s much easier to walk through it. I hadn’t even had a lunch session like that with somebody that I have known a really long time, much less somebody that I had just met.
Blaire: We finished our lunch and he told me he had to leave as he had to work. I just kept thinking, “Oh God, I really don’t want him to go!’ All I wanted to do was be close to him.
Chris: This was Friday. The other pressing detail was that Blaire had to go to Thailand to lead a retreat on Sunday and, as per my pre-set plans, I would be gone to Budapest by the time she got back. So essentially, we only had two days left together before our paths took us to different continents.
From Feeling to Big Love
Blaire: Chris had plans that night but I asked him if he wanted to go for dinner anyway. He said, “Sure, I’ll cancel my plans.”
Chris: I canceled my plans and we met in Taksim square after her yoga class.
Blaire: We were flirting a lot during dinner and the energy was very intense.
Chris: My most prevalent thought throughout that night was that she was way out of my league. But after dinner as we were walking I reached out and held her hand and we locked fingers. That was the first time we touched in a way that signaled to each other that we might be more than just good pals. It was a very sweet moment.
Blaire: Just as I was thinking to grab his hand, he grabbed mine. We walked a little further down the road and there was a honeysuckle tree. Chris stopped underneath the tree and he asked if he could kiss me. I said, “Yes’.
Chris: We stayed together that night. We woke up to a beautiful morning the next day. She had this big, white bed. The sun was just coming up, streaming through the curtains, through her picturesque windows with big window panes. I still remember that morning very clearly, it felt wonderful.
Blaire: For me, the whole experience was very euphoric. I had only known him for two days and I was leaving to Thailand the next day. This experience had expanded my heart immeasurably in a really short time. And yet, there was a very real possibility that I might never see this man again.
That thought gave me a lot of courage and although I didn’t want to sound like a crazy person, I was really emboldened to tell him how I felt.
I said, “Chris, I’m not saying this because I expect anything from you. I don’t want you to say it back. I just need you to know that I love you. I think you are so wonderful.”
Chris: I wasn’t quite ready to say the big ‘I love you’ so I responded with something like, “I think I’m falling in love with you too,” because I knew I was over the edge, falling. So instead of 36 hours, it took me 48 hours and I said it to her the next day.
She had her yoga lesson that morning and a Turkish wedding later on that night. Her good friends were getting married and she invited me to go along with her.
Blaire: Turkish weddings are very lavish. It was two very close friends that were getting married so everyone I knew was going to be there. They were like my big Turkish family. I’d only known this guy for three days but I didn’t care, I was bringing him along!
At the wedding we shared a table with all of my bosses. These people had helped me and mentored me endlessly over the past two years. One of them asked us how long we had been together. When I said, “Three days,” they were pretty shocked. I think they assumed we had been together for a very long time as we were both so genuinely loving towards each other.
One of my dearest friends was at the table too. She was enjoying herself but was also pretty thoughtful as she was going through a divorce.
When she said, “You know, I realized that life is too short to do things that you don’t want to do and be with people you don’t want to be with,” it really struck a chord because although I was having a good time there Chris and I had such limited time left together.
I looked at Chris and said, “Do you want to get out of here?”
Just as we were walking out of the wedding, something happened and that moment affirmed to me that Chris’ heart was truly beautiful, although deep down I already knew it.
This little girl came out of nowhere. She ran up to him, wrapped her little arms around his legs, giving him a huge hug, and just held him for a few minutes.
It was funny because it was almost like she’d surprised herself. She pulled back a little looking up at him with a puzzled expression on her sweet face. By this time her parents had reached us. They were apologizing profusely, telling us she’d never done that before.
To me, that was the universe saying, “Yep, this guy has a very sweet soul indeed.”
From Big Love to Big Goodbyes
Chris: That was another magical night for us and we spent it together. The next morning, I took the short walk home knowing that we might not see each other for a very long time.
Blaire: He was such a sweetie. Being from Texas he is used to saying ‘Hello’ to everyone on the street. There were all these lovely Turkish moms with their kids on their Saturday morning strolls and he was walking down the street saying ‘Hello’ to all of them.
Chris: With me having a flexible work set-up, we had touched upon me possibly coming back in a month or her coming to Boston for a few weeks. Nothing was fully confirmed as yet.
Off she went to Thailand and I left for Budapest soon after. My father joined me in Budapest for a few weeks but Blaire and I would make time to talk everyday.
My return flight to the States was via Istanbul. I managed to change my flights so that I could leave Budapest a day earlier and spend 24 hours in Istanbul with Blaire.
She came to pick me up from the airport and the next 24 hours again were just beautiful.
Blaire: He came and left. We entered this ambiguous phase again. Maybe he would come back and stay for a month, maybe I would go and stay for a week…
Meanwhile, the situation in Turkey was unfortunately still very tumultuous. There was yet another terrorist attack in Istanbul. I remember telling one of my spiritual teachers that after that last attack I really felt my time in Istanbul had come to an end. I had learned all the lessons I needed to learn and there was a deep sense of completion.
I told my teacher, “I think I’m really ready to go.”
He said, “I think you are right but also remember that whatever decision you make, there is no wrong decision. It’s just a decision.”
That gave me confidence and I finally made up my mind to leave. I instantly got flooded with this deep sense of relief.
Istanbul had been a very challenging place for me. I was far away from my family and felt there wasn’t a proper structure that I could integrate myself into. Yet, there was a part of me that was very scared to leave Istanbul. Fear of the unknown was one aspect but the main thing was that I really loved teaching there.
Having a beautiful community, seeing the same people week after week, having a place where I could share myself and feel that I was really growing was infinitely rewarding. It was a very special experience and it felt really hard to leave all that behind.
Every time I had wanted to leave before, I used to get gripped with fear and this would underscore the hidden message that it just wasn’t time yet. So that feeling of relief I got after making that decision was solid confirmation to me that I was taking a step in the right direction.
From Big Goodbyes to Big Changes
Blaire: What would my next destination be? I wasn’t sure. Perhaps Canada, California… Maybe Boston?
But the moment I told Chris I had decided to leave Turkey he asked me if I would like to come to Boston for the summer.
I said, “Yes.”
He had booked me a one-way ticket to Boston in an hour.
I was to leave in a month.
Although we would Skype everyday, it hit me that I was about to go stay with this guy with whom I had only spent about three days in total with in person and we were going into really close quarters.
We had an earnest discussion. Yes, it could turn out to be wonderful but it could also not work out. Going into it, our eyes were wide open and our expectations realistic. Saying that, we were also very excited about the possibilities and keen to see how it was going to turn out.
Chris: Since I could work remotely, I had already made plans to travel before I had met Blaire. My travel date was around the end of August. I had already given notice on my apartment and everything was irreversibly planned.
If she got there and we just couldn’t get along or she didn’t want to be with me, the exits were already in place down the road to enable us to go our separate ways.
I was definitely worried about her not liking me because I felt she was way out of my league!
Saying that, I was also aware that you never know. Sometimes you meet people who you think are wonderful but they end up being Satan’s sister. So, I was a little concerned but definitely not concerned enough to not do it.
Blaire: With our exit strategy in place and our feelings still strong, I shared my fears with him.
I said, “What if I get there and you don’t like me?”
It warmed my heart when he told me that was exactly his worry too, but the other way around.
Finally, the day arrived and we were together again.
Those days are also very tender memories now. We didn’t know each other well at all but went directly into full partnering mode. It was literally a dream that had come true and we were living in it.
Every morning when we woke up Chris would roll over, give me a big hug and say, “I’m so happy you’re here.” Like clockwork, every single morning, he would make me a latte and bring it to me in bed.
All the little details spoke volumes of his feelings and the kind of person he was. He had made space for me in his house by rearranging his cupboards. There was even a framed picture of me teaching yoga! He said, “I want you to feel right at home here.” I felt very welcomed into his life on every single level.
Chris: Those were wonderful days. I was working from home so we were spending a lot of quality time together. We were practicing yoga and just enjoying each other and this crazy chemistry we had.
I have a really good community there with a big network of friends so I got to introduce everyone to Blaire. To top it all off, my apartment was in a really nice part of town and it was a great time of year to enjoy Boston. The trees were a perfect shade of green and the birds were chirping. It just added to the beauty of the experience we were having.
Our days were rolling wonderfully. But it was also time for me to travel soon.
I was going to be traveling with one of my best friends so it was not an option for Blaire to come along. Plus, Blaire also had a bunch of retreats already planned that she was going to have in Europe that summer.
So the whole time that we were together we knew what lay ahead.
As we spent more time together, things became more and more clear. Our experience was full of little moments that reconfirmed to us that we wanted to move forward together. We knew that after we hit the road and all the traveling was done, we wanted the road to lead us right back to each other.
I also had to get to my hometown in Texas prior to my trip but I had an apartment full of stuff in Boston. The decisions were made. I was to get rid of all of my things then drive from Boston to Texas with Blaire by my side.
Over that month, I sold everything in my place, piece by piece.
It was an interesting experience to have Blaire there with me during that phase. I was shedding all the pieces of my old life, everything that I had accumulated over the years, to head into my new life with this new person that had become such an important part of it.
It was like a transition ritual. The more I sold, the better I felt. I never looked back or thought about any of it.
Off we went to Texas. It was a wonderful trip in which we had our first argument – and our first resolution.
Blaire: I got to meet all of Chris’s family in Texas. We stayed with his father and stepmother and spent time with his mother and the rest of his family too. I had been looking forward to it so I was quite excited.
Chris: Where I come from is a little bit weird. I was a little bit nervous to take Blaire there but we all meshed wonderfully. She loved my family and we all had a great time.
Blaire: We had about a week there with everyone before we flew our separate ways. All of them are wonderful people.
Chris: I went to Costa Rica, Panama and Columbia and Blaire went to London, Spain and Turkey. It would take me six weeks then I had to be back in Austin for a conference in mid-October. Meanwhile, I booked an Airbnb in Austin for a whole month and told her she could meet me back there when I returned. Our timeline and date was set and the road was to lead us back to each other again.
While we were away we made plans about what we wanted to do next. We decided to buy a car, make another 2,500 mile road trip and drive to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico and live there for a few months.
What was interesting was that while we were away all those old worries came back and we were both concerned about whether or not the other one would still have the same feelings.
Blaire: Was this for real or was it just a summer of love?
From Big Changes to Happy Ever After
Chris: The second we saw each other we both knew that absolutely nothing had changed.
Blaire: Deep down inside, I knew from the very beginning that there was no way I could control this feeling so I had decided to just surrender to it. There was so much ‘Yes!’ to this, so much love, so much innate knowing that I felt I could really do this with him.
Chris: I already knew by the time we were leaving Boston that I would have absolutely no problem turning this into a much bigger commitment. Plus, we didn’t have the luxury of just casually dating as we weren’t living in the same city and could say, “Let’s hang out and see how it goes.”
Ultimately we decided we wanted to move somewhere and start a life together. I did not have any trouble with this decision, I wanted to commit to us.
Blaire: It was so refreshing to be with someone who was so open to everything. My last relationship was a really big teacher because it was the manifestation of everything that I did not want. Chris is the exact opposite of that. It’s almost like I couldn’t have seen him with the clarity I have now if I had not had that other experience. His sweetness, his openness, and his reflective nature, those qualities he has were so clear now in contrast after being with someone who was so starkly the opposite.
In previous relationships, emotions had always been problematic for me. I’m an emotional creature that feels things quite deeply. I’m trying to bring the culmination of experience from the past into the present in a positive way.
One of the biggest things I am keeping my awareness on is that I don’t have to love everything he says or does. See, he can say things that make me feel a certain way but it my responsibility to own how I feel in response and not project them on to him. Ultimately, it is not him, it’s me who chooses to see things a certain way.
That’s been really helpful to keep in perspective in terms of having issues or problems and I feel myself slipping into the blame game, which is so easy to do.
Chris: I’m probably a lot more aware and look further inward than a lot of other men because of the recovery path I’ve been on. I have more practice in communication and vulnerability. Saying that, I’m also a man and my knee-jerk reaction is to shut down in every situation, drag my knuckles on the ground and go into my cave.
My two past relationships before Blaire were with women who were emotional, but not emotionally available. I did not feel safe or comfortable talking about things that were really going on and being vulnerable.
There is a very sweet side of me that wants to be very loving, affectionate, sweet and generous so when I’m not getting that back I tend to shut down. Suddenly, I’m not in my natural loving state and it’s the breeding ground for resentment, anger and fear.
When that’s what I get, that’s what I give back. It’s unfair on everyone.
I see how different Blaire is from those women and how I’ve progressed. She is sweet and affectionate which is exactly what I need to also be in that state. As a result, we’re both happy. That is certainly what is different now.
Past relationships have also given me a benchmark. It’s very similar to what Blaire was describing about her past relationships.
Blaire: We had a weekend getaway and got engaged recently. Our next steps are still to be determined but first, we are going to be doing a little bit more exploring here in Mexico. We have discussed things like going to Peru, hiking the Inca trail and maybe getting married there or going to New Zealand and getting married on a mountaintop.
Meanwhile, we are both enjoying each other while also getting to know each other on many different levels. Just like any couple, we also are figuring out how to move through any issues that pop up whilst showing care for each other and for ourselves.
In all, we are always making a conscious effort to holding our love in high regard and keeping it sacred.
Chris works remotely while he searches for the perfect place to open a coffee shop. Blaire is the founder of ‘The Radiance Sessions’ – online courses and coaching that show women how to live and love like a goddess. She can be contacted here.
(Interview & write-up by Bianca)
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