He Wants to Break Up…

Desperate & confused about the volcanic conflict in her relationship, my client “C” recently wrote me for support. After working with her for over 2 years, she finally found her true love. But they were deep in the power struggle phase, fighting all the time. He was ready to give up, pushing hard for a break-up. She was terrified & losing faith. Here’s what I wrote back:

(btw, see my 10 Question Love Test to check if you/ your partner are really in love)

Hello C, so sorry you’re in agony.

But this is exactly what True Love looks like sometimes – messy, ugly & despairing.

Your relationship is building character right now. Matters of the heart are always complex & labyrinthine. Don’t worry about how far this seems from the fairytale. A love that has been to the edge of annihilation and back is wiser & more trustable.

True Love is the most painful education there is. Remember, it doesn’t take a lot to make love work…it takes everything. And in my research it’s worth each wince, quiver & heartbreak, if you stay with the “Initiation”.

The “Initiation” -which never ends- is learning to continuously generate faith in the success of your relationship even when you’re most scared, angry or upset. The faith comes not from your feelings, reasons, evidence or proofs, but is conjured de novo from the audacity of your imagination. It’s funded by a deep commitment to something you believe is good, true & beautiful -the partnership itself.

True Love is the strongest force I know of in the universe, but it has no power if you don’t believe in it.

I think your relationship can survive the current drama and I will help you get through. But this will take more courage, resilience and outrageous dedication than you have ever wielded before. Love can render the impossible possible, but it requires your faith.

Don’t listen to friends who encourage you to give up. Much of the world won’t support your being in love; it highlights where they may have settled. You have to be willing to walk some paths alone. It takes daring to stay in a game that others think you’re losing.

No one else can fight for your love, only you. And it’s always a private battle between your inner idealism and silent cynicism -two sides of the same coin (since all cynics are failed idealists). I’m here to reconnect you to your deep romantic dream -the part of you that believes in magic & destiny.

Here’s the deal, True Love doesn’t look any one way…just like a son or daughter doesn’t look any one way…each time love emerges between two people it looks different and is different. Yet, there are some unifying characteristics of True Love you can practice & cultivate:

1) Be willing to do whatever it takes to understand your partner’s emotions & perspective. Are you willing (like Orpheus for Eurydice), to descend into ‘hell’ & risk that horror in order to reconnect with your lover? What if you knew the development required to do that work would make you a more extraordinary human…

2) Feel all the feelings in the spectrum that arise in you -from the heights of ecstasy to the depths of despair. Learn to stay with your somatic awareness, breathe through each feeling that visits and interview it for its wisdom. Being able to stay with the intensity of anger or fear and not threaten the relationship or give up on the partnership is crucial.

True Love “is the white light of emotion” (says author D. Ackerman)…a glass prism shows light is comprised of every color in the rainbow, so too Love is comprised of every feeling in the psyche. We must learn to feel each of them in order to earn our place in the exclusive cult of True Love. All of this takes gladiator courage, plus a heart that is willing to break & heal, break & heal -over and over again.

3) No matter how bad it feels or looks right now…stay connected to the knowledge that being with your lover is a privilege and an exquisite gift worth fighting for, perhaps even dying for (ie: your protective, defended persona must die-into the raw authentic self that your partner is actually in love with)

4) Notice the parts in you that see perfection or catastrophe. Don’t trust either of them. Reality rarely falls at the extremes of ideal happiness or full on disaster, it happens mostly between, in the grey zone. You, my dear, tend to polarize and pendulum swing from one extreme to the other (happily-ever-after vs. we’re f*cked). Start tracking this ancient habit of projecting binary outcomes in black & white, good or bad and expect results in between. Reality is way more nuanced, subtle & complex…as are you.

5) Never ever give up, even when everything in you (or your partner, or the world) says so. When two people are actually in love (for real) break-up is not even an option. You know in your soul they were custom-made-by-the-universe for you and you for them, so there’s no where else to go. It’s a strange, inevitable trap.

I recommend you take some space to ground and calm yourself; use movement if you can. Dance, stretch, walk, hike. If you’re angry, scared, confused or overwhelmed with doubt it’s your job to regulate your nervous system when you’re triggered/ upset. Don’t fall into the victim-stance that expects him to rescue you from your pain & fear. It’s our responsibility as adult women (and future mothers) to practice generating safety for ourselves in our body & in our circumstances.

If your surroundings have you feeling physically unsafe, take action & change them. If you feel emotionally unsafe, use conscious breathing, meditation, stretching, yoga, visualization, dance, anything that gets you into your body & back to the present moment. Once you’re good at feeling your feelings (tuning into the physical sensations in your soma-scape) by staying connected to your breath, you’ll then become aware of your ancient wise-woman-wisdom, and it will be obvious what to do next.

When we internally regulate our emotional states first, our partner is then better able to regulate their nervous system. Remember, your man is unconsciously looking to you as a mother figure (all men do) and if mommy is not grounded, safe & calm, baby boy can’t feel safe & calm….so the woman has to lead. 

You say he wants to break up. But break-ups should only ever occur when both parties are soft, loving and deeply intimate…never during a fight. If both people are in a place of mutual reverence and still aware they’re not a match as life partners then it may be appropriate to shift the dynamic. However, the fact that your historic “break-ups” have always been driven by anger/ conflict makes them untrustable.

Know this: True Love always wins. ALWAYS, that’s a fact…and if you really believe you & your man are soul mates, then no matter what it looks like now (happy, angry, sad, fighting, together, broken up, separated, in mutual simultaneous orgasm, panic…whatever) trust you both will eventually find your way back to each others’ hearts & end up together. Your ability to lean in and trust this truth will allow you to relax about how it all looks right now and let the process unfurl organically. Let go of any time limits you are placing on the “issue”. Each love has its own rhythm and pace, one cannot rush romance.

I believe in you & your love. But you’re the only one that can keep the flame of your dream alive. No matter how dim it gets, never, ever let it go out. 

As for the pain…the heart is a muscle, every break makes it stronger. You have an epic love story in the making and it demands you keep standing for it regardless of your fleeting thoughts or feelings. True Love is a realm available only to those who believe & are willing to do the ego-transcending work it demands. This game is not for the fainthearted; it’s a gladiator sport. But, I know you can do it, you were made for this. And I’m right here at your side, clapping.

-With softness, Annie

Annie Lalla
Relationship & Love Coach
“Fear is when love stops short of infinity” 

Click here to take or download the love test. 


  1. Thank you Annie… of all days… reading your The Wonderful Pain of Love was the only thing that allowed the tightness in my heart to loosen and my soul to feel hope.

    I’m usually the bright ray of spiritual sunshine urging, egging and loving everyone on…

    But going through my very own breakup… all in love… so much love (which incidentally makes it truer but that much harder to let go)… I’ve been finding it hard to find my own words and allow them to comfort me and carry me through.

    It’s actually funny how I’m the one who tells people to revel in their pain as it’s a sure sign of payment for deep amazing love to come… and yet, I couldn’t remember that for myself until I read your words.

    You were a balm to my soul today Annie. And for that, I carry you in my heart today… it’s a little tight… but it will get better and epic love will find me once I’ve found myself again.


  2. Hi,

    It’s a great post I liked it.

    When you said about “True Love always wins”, means that in a few moments in our lifes maybe we met people that is a wrong love, but these experiences its closer the true love.

    Thanks for sharing this story Annie.


  3. This is so intense to read this. This touches to so deep, powerful and aweforces.

    Considering the situation in which I am finding myself since few months (which is different from C), this letter and the ideas it carries bring an unvaluable new perspective.

    It goes to me wondering how can you be as much certain of this, it s incredible. I didn’t know someone could believe as much as trule love, I mean when things seem wrong.

    Never have I heard/knew that true love is supposed to make us feel all the emotions, from fear, despair to joy. I thought we were supposed to never doubt when true love. So it opens my eyes. The points 3, 4, 5 are as helpful, insightful.

    Also the fact that we have to regulate our emotions, feelings, that we have to be as a mother leading for our man to feel safe and calm, is something completely new to me! I also tended to wait to be rescued. But since few days, weeks, I go look for ways to rescue myself, to fight for what I feel.

    The “it’s a strange inevitable trap” made me smile and acquiesce internally, since it s where I stand now.

    “Each love has its own rhythm and pace, one cannot rush romance.” Another wisdom. Thanks,


    Is it also difficult for you your true love journey? Do you also feel sometimes despair, anger, doubts, despite your faith? Do you know true love couples that have been together for a lifelong? Is it possible true love couples who don’t stay together all their lives?

  4. Thanks, Annie, great perspective! I wish I’d known this before because there have been times when, not knowing the “right” way to express my fears, needs, and frustrations, or how to communicate with a man, I have blown things out of proportion. This has hurt me in certain relationships where I truly wanted it to work out but it didn’t.

    This article reminded me of someone that this situation happened with five or six years ago. We had a very strong attraction but came from different backgrounds, with different values, and didn’t communicate very well with each other. Instead of fighting for the relationship, when things started to get a little bit difficult, we went into our respective defense modes and the relationship just fizzled out. I don’t know if he fell “out of love” or if I was just too busy trying to protect myself (from real or perceived rejection) to know the difference, but it ended – and I was completely heartbroken. Sometimes I wonder, if we’d had the tools to communicate better, would it have turned out differently?

    In your article, you say, “When two people are actually in love (for real) break-up is not even an option.” So I guess that answers the question: if it was meant to be, it would’ve been. He recently contacted me out of the blue, so I guess that’s what has brought up these questions.

    I know deep down that if I ever get the chance to feel that in love again, I’d take it in a heartbeat. Even though the vulnerability is terrifying. Whether that could happen with him, I don’t know, but just saying… Hopefully with your advice as a compass, I won’t make the same mistakes again!

    Thank you!

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