Romantic relationships are complicated. Once the giddy newness fades, your partner quickly earns the championship belt of being the person who can annoy you the fastest. A big fight can percolate between you for days, sapping your ability to concentrate on much else. Then, you work through it, make-up, and snuggle the bad vibes away.
But what if your significant other is in another country? Slamming a door loses a little somethin’ somethin’ if they’re not there to hear its boom.
Navigating your love story while geographically separated from your partner brings extra pressures and requires a lot more creativity. So, this week, to kick off our Expert Series, I’ve brought in Christine Gerber Rutt to teach us some basic survival strategies.
In addition to her specialized background in psychology and social work, Christine backpacks 30+ years of firsthand experience. Today, she joins us to share her proven mindset and behavior tactics for managing a happy and fulfilling long-distance relationship.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Creating presence & co-parenting from afar
- Breaking codependency & redefining yourself
- Discovering your archetype & energy patterns
- Decision-making grounded in fear, love, or integrity
- Conquering the awkwardness of reunification
Listen to the Full Episode:
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Full Episode Transcript:
Hello, it is 5 am in New York, 12 noon in Johannesburg and 5 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour. This is Sundae Schneider-Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I’m a solution oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
I still remember it perfectly. I was upstairs in my house in Ouagadougou Burkina Faso sitting cross-legged on my bed. And the mosquito net was surrounding me and I had my phone in my hand at that moment kind of felt like a lifeline.
Because something happened there was a terrorist attack and it suddenly put everything into question whether this was smart to live in Ouaga and whether if I did leave was I ready to pull my children and myself away from my husband indefinitely or at least until the assignment ended.
I’ve done long-distance relationships before with my husband and I understand that sometimes they suck and I also understand that if you’re prepared for it and you’ve got the right mindset or strategies, you can really make the most of it.
So there I was with phone in hand with the lifeline. Someone who knew a lot about long-distance relationships, someone who is willing to tell me the truth about it and give me some tips along my way. Because sometimes all we need is to reach out to someone who’s a few chapters ahead of us on the topic and that can change everything.
This episode of Expat Happy Hour kicks off an expert series of some amazing individuals who might be a few chapters ahead of all of us on important topics.
Today’s topic is long-distance relationships. Upcoming is also about transitions and trauma. Having a mindset of preparedness to avoid emergencies or know how to respond when there is one. And even special situations in international schools that can help us raise our children in better ways.
So if you’re here to get very specific strategies on what works and long-distance relationships. I have a surprise for you. This episode focuses on the first step to making a long-distance relationship successful, and it has nothing to do with whether you make a Skype call at a fixed time. You’ll learn from our guest expert that it has do with something way bigger and way deeper and it’s very connected to your mindset.
It is my absolute pleasure to have on Expat Happy Hour today Christine Gerber Rutt. Someone I would consider a guide in my own expat life, and I know a guide for others.
Sundae: So Christine, you are the one who is on the other end of this lifeline and I welcome you from the bottom of my heart to Expat Happy Hour.
Christine: Thank you Sundae. I’m glad to be here.
Sundae: So I just have chills up my arms right now because Christine and I, she may or may not know this but she’s had an impact in my own journey my own expat life in so many ways, and I know that she has an impact in other’s lives.
So let me tell you a little bit about Christine besides this idea of kind of having paid her dues when it comes to long-distance relationships. On Christine’s website she says “She helps freedom seekers and quirky nonconformist, dive deep to find speak and create from their hearts truth.” I mean how beautiful is that?
Christine is an intuitive guide, which some people might not know Christine. So I wanted to tell us more about that. But before you do.
Christine is also trained as a social worker. She has an emphasis in her background with psychology. Not only that. She’s a writer, workshop facilitator and then she does things like oracle card readings. And she has this amazing series what’s called “Sincerely Your Intuition.” Which is a card deck which helps you get going in the right direction.
I can’t think of more positive things to say about you Christine. She’s also a writer that’s headed work featured in Good Housekeeping in the Middle East, The Telegraph, Timeout, Explore Publishing and others.
So Christine my heartfelt welcome again to Expat Happy Hour.
Christine: Thank you Sundae.
Sundae: So tell us more about you. I know that you are all about dumping self-judgment and shame and speaking your truth. This is at the heart of what you do. But I’m curious, you’re here to talk about long-distance relationships, and I have a hunch that those things are connected.
Christine: And are they ever, I had no idea how connected. But they were when I first started this whole long-distance relationship thing. I’ve had four long-distance relationships with my husband, boyfriend / husband later. And right now I’m in the middle of five months into our fourth.
Sundae: So tell us how did this all get started? How did it come to be that your boyfriend and you lived apart and then later you chose to continue that when you got married?
Christine: Well, he was in the United States where I am from and that’s where we met first day of college. It was one of those dreams stories we met and I was just like, you know, it was love at first sight, one of those things. And we’ve been together ever since. So we’ve been together almost 30 years, so really super long time. And when we you know, he moved back to Switzerland and I stayed in the States to finish my degree and that was the first of our separations when we were dating. So that was four and a half years that we were separated at the very beginning.
Sundae: Wow, so he’s Swiss but you met in the US. So you’re doing the ultimate, you’re doing a bi-national relationship to a Swiss German as an American but long-distance. So kudos to the 30 years. That’s amazing.
Sundae: And then what happened?
Christine: He is now living in the Middle East in Qatar. And so we’re now doing almost the tri country kind of thing because I’m in Switzerland. So I’m here as an immigrant. He’s there as an expat. So we’ve just got a whole bunch of dynamics going on.
In the middle I moved to Germany. After we were dating for a while, I moved to Germany. I was like, “I need to get a little bit closer here.” But you know, Switzerland was a little bit too much commitment. I don’t know why. So I went to Germany and I was there for a year and finished my University degree in Germany and then I moved to Switzerland.
Sundae: And how long was it until you had kids?
Christine: Oh my God. Don’t make me do the math. It was about five years after we got married that we had children.
Sundae: Okay, and then how much of your children’s lives have you done at a distance?
Christine: So for them it will have been three separations at a distance. So three months was the first one, they were really young then. And then it was one and a half years for the second one. And now again this one which is five months in.
Sundae: That’s hard. I know when we were going between Burkina Faso, Switzerland and South Africa, there was a moment when I was in South Africa and my husband was leaving back to Burkina Faso and my youngest was in the driveway as we were saying goodbye and the driver was driving off with my husband. And my son did one of those things where the child cries and their mouth is open but they’re not making any sound yet. You’re just waiting for them to inhale and actually hear their cry. And I was just like, I wanted in that moment, I wanted every single head of Global Mobility or HR Director or Line Manager to see that scene to watch the impact that distance can have on young children. Because I don’t know if everybody gets how hard that can be when your kids have to adjust to the fly-in fly-out context
Christine: Absolutely. Psychologists were my best friend when we moved back to Switzerland. He stayed in Qatar. So we had lived in Qatar all together for five years and we left. I left with the children then, it was for various reasons and psychologists really were my best friends and luckily they had really really great ones here.
Sundae: But for you or for your kids. Do you mind?
Christine: Oh God all of us. Because you can’t deny the psychological emotional impact that the separation has. We were also dealing with the trauma of re-entry as many of your listeners will probably know, or eventually will know, is really much more challenging than actually going to another country in my experience. Whole other topic there Sundae.
Sundae: Because you’re like me, Switzerland is your second home. It’s not your birth country, but it’s home home. So you’re going back home, but you’re still an else landed, like how does that work exactly?
So what made you say yes to this? You know when some people think about a long-distance relationships, whether it’s temporary or more long-term, some people decide no and some people say, yes. Why did you say yes to this?
Christine: I make absolutely, there’s two parts here. The first part is I make every decision with my intuition. And I’ve done that for so long and I’ve worked with it so long and I know the language of my intuition so well that I can really quickly tell if I’m a yes or a no, and my husband has as well. So we really made the decision for each of these moves really within you know minutes, it was very very quick.
The second one is really a mindset way of looking at the world. I just have this growth mindset. And I found this really super helpful, especially with making the decision and helping other people make decisions. It’s kind of like, if you look at life as school and you’re there to learn something, you’re there to grow. And if you’re looking at a long-distance relationship, specifically because that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about basically the school of long-distance relationships. And in the school of long-distance relationships there’s going to be classes, you’re going to have to take. These classes shouldn’t be your everyday life. And it’s kind of a question of “Do I actually want to go to this school? Do I really want to take these classes?”
Because I’m going to tell you, the teachers are really hard. I mean the biggest classes you’re going to have when you go into this school of long-distance relationships.
One; your communication is really going to have to up the standards. My husband and I are phenomenal communicators, we always have been. But this just pushes you into a whole other sphere.
And of course the second one is largely related to the first one and that’s trust. And that’s in yourself and the other person. That you can actually have phenomenal coping skills, you’ll figure it out, you can do this. And if you can’t you have to say it, which of course goes back to the first one.
Sundae: So it’s looping back. I kind of am seeing like a circle, like the recycling circle how it goes in the triangle. I’m kind of seeing that together.
Oh man. So I’m thinking also one of the hard classes is co-parenting at a distance. And I remember there was a time where I was in a temporary apartment in Switzerland. We just landed and I was having a kind of a conflict with one of my boys. And I had my cell phone in my right hand and I push it in my son’s face so he could see the screen and I’m like “Talk to your father.” So ridiculous, like I’m basically had a little tripod and my phone, that was his father at the moment. Because I wanted him to know that he and I were on the same page. So it’s not just Mom saying this is not okay, but it’s also Dad,
Christine: That sounds like a kind of science fiction movie or something.
Sundae: Totally. You know, we found a way to create presence.
I want to go. I want to go to the pragmatic side, but I also want to go so some of the side that I know that you have the most to offer on. But when people are thinking about the long-distance relationship, what I’m hearing you say is “Are you willing to go to these classes?” Do you have capacity? Are you ready to grow?” That’s what the first question I’m hearing that people should ask themselves when they’re deciding yes or no.
Christine: Yes, the other question, I think that’s really vital when we’re talking about your relationship with your partner is, do you actually like each other?
Sundae: Wow I did not expect that.
Christine: If your relationship is on the rocks, if you are not able to communicate now, if you’re struggling with your relationship. Long-distance, not necessarily, but long-distance relationships makes it more difficult to communicate, you have to put more effort into the communication. And if you’re already struggling at that, it can be more difficult.
So what we know about growth and all of this is that when you’re in a period of stress, that’s when you grow. You know how this is with the muscles, you strain your muscles, you know working muscles so they grow. It’s the same thing with anything you create, stress will create growth. But with relationships the stress will also cause weak links to break. If you’ve got a weak link and you’re not willing to strengthen it it’s going to break. So there has to be that word of caution.
Sundae: Because I was this idea of absence makes the heart grow fonder is actually a total fallacy when it comes to that.
Christine: Well Esther Perel. Oh my God. I just recently read her book “Mating in Captivity.” I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking at relationships. Because studies are showing that there has to be a balance between distance and intimacy. So distance can make the heart grow fonder but only to a certain length of distance at a certain time. So actually it is wonderful news for long-distance relationships because having some distance will cause a little bit of a longing, because you desire what you don’t have of course. So it can actually, in some cases increase your desire for your partner. But again, it’s the balance piece, you can’t go one way or the other.
It’s just like the same thing, okay maybe some people don’t, but I don’t actually want to be with my partner 24 hours a day, all day, all the time. That causes problems as well. So it’s about finding the balance between the two. And for each individual couple and each individual person it will be different. Challenge is what I can do compatible with what my partner can do and finding where it meets.
Sundae: So we’ve kind of looked at whether or not someone should say “yes” to a long-distance relationship. What about people who are already in them and want to either make it better or are struggling? What advice do you have for those who are already in it?
Christine: If you are in a long-distance relationship, the number one thing that has helped me by far is probably not what everyone else is saying. It has absolutely been seeing this as a second chance to rediscover myself. It’s not focusing on the relationship. I’m not saying ignore the relationship, please don’t misunderstand. But this has been by far a second chance to rediscover who I am outside of a partnership. Especially because I’ve been in a partnership for almost 30 years. And it’s so easy to get kind of muffled under that blanket of daily routine, that long-term things kind of get under. And it’s like that is lifted and it’s this marvelous chance to rediscover “Who am I?” Because the only way you’re actually in a partnership with someone is if you are actually there, otherwise you’re having a partnership with someone else which is just ridiculous.
Sundae: So here’s the scary part. You have on your website “More than anything I seek freedom from who I was, to be who I am now and speak my truth out loud.” But here’s the thing, the person who married you married who you were.
So what happens when you’re growing like crazy and you are rediscovering who you are and everything’s changing and they are in another country and they’re not seeing the day-to-day? It’s kind of like when you go back and you visit your parents and you’re like, “Oh, whoa, they’ve aged.” Because you haven’t seen the micro changes every day, but six months or a year goes by and you really notice it.
How do you navigate that? Because I know with a long-distance relationship myself. There’s always this, awkwardness. It’s like in the airport or wherever you see each other first after a break, you’re like “We’re supposed to be super intimate and close but like, who are you dude?” You know it’s like that thing where you’re like, “Oh there you are in 3D in front of me.”
Christine: Yeah. My husband and I are fortunate that we both have the same view of a healthy relationship. And that is that we prioritize each other’s growth and each others truth over our relationship.
Sundae: Wow, say that again.
Christine: We prioritize each other’s growth and each other’s truth over our relationship. I am not interested in being in a relationship with someone who cannot be themselves. I am not interested in being in a relationship if I am not able to be myself. And we’re all changing and we’re all growing and it’s a matter of saying “This is who I am. Where and how are we compatible? Where does that meet where we are now?”
And my husband and I have made some massive massive changes in our 30 years of being together. When we first met. I mean, I was 18. And we were both in actually really conservative Christian environments. And we have now completely come out of that. Like we’re just completely different people.
Sundae: I cannot imagine you as a conservative Christian based on how I know you now, right like that’s so interesting.
Christine: My father’s family, most people don’t know this, but my father’s family, just to give you an idea of how this transition and change is possible and it’s still able to stay together with your partner. My father’s family is black bumper Mennonite. This is like the Amish with electricity. That is how conservative I come from.
So massive changes are possible, but it’s always been this. I require my partner to be himself as much as I require myself to be myself. And then we look to see where we are compatible. And sometimes I admit, we have to get away from sometimes the question of if we are compatible when it gets really rough. And go into where.
You don’t know this, but when you were sitting there under your mosquito net and I was talking to you all of those years ago about long-distance relationships. I was sitting in Spain and I was under a blanket and I was huddled in a space heater and I was actually escaping my husband. He had just returned to Switzerland from Qatar. He had just moved back home about a month-and-a-half previously. I mean you mentioned this like, who are you at the airport? Well, they move back in and you’re like, “Oh my God.” He was having his re-entry, his transition back into Switzerland and he was not doing well with it at all. And I was transitioning. We were transitioning to being back in the same place. We were all miserable. Him and I were having the worst fights of our life. And I was just like, “You know what? I’m out of here.” I ran away I ran to a friend that was living in Spain. I went and stayed with her for a few weeks. And because we’re able to communicate long-distance really really well, we were able to pick up the communication over the distance.
And so it can be to your advantage and it can be to your disadvantage to be apart. But the point was we were always seeking to find our own personal truth and how we can live in our own personal truth together,
Sundae: That’s really big. I love this idea of where we are compatible. That’s an important question. And I think what it does is it gets you away from that negativity spiral. How you’re like, “Well, we don’t like the same movies and he doesn’t want to go dancing.” And how you can kind of start focusing on that. But instead you could look at what you have in common.
I’m going to be really direct here. This idea of growth. There are couples that I work with. I work with only one of the two. And one person is super focused on growth and is changing and moving and the other person is caught in a forward wheel, just focusing on work and the day-to-day. So one person is kind of on this sort of soul-searching, growth place and other person is just trying to pay the bills and keep the kids in school. So they’re really on different tracks. And I’m not saying one is better than the other. They’re just living on different radio frequencies so to speak. What do you suggest about couples like that who are doing that long-distance?
Christine: Well, I’ve been in that situation as well. I think I feel like I’ve been in every situation. And honestly Sundae, it keeps coming back to what is the truth of who you are? And what is the truth? What is your partner’s truth? You don’t have to convince them of anything. You’re not superior to them. This is one of the big pitfalls of people who are in the growth trajectory. It’s often unconscious but it’s kind of like this “Growth is more superior to working.” Well, the other person’s path is their path and that’s what they need to do. So there’s no need to force them. But here’s where I find working with archetypes really really helpful. Where you can start to see which archetypes are present in what is happening around you. So a lot of archetypes that are common in a long-distance relationship are the victim archetype.
Sundae: So I need to stop for a second because before I knew you I didn’t know what an archetype was.
Christine: I forget people don’t speak my language.
Sundae: I am like a nerdy scientist and I want evidence and stuff. You and I have had conversations about archetypes and it’s actually shifted energy in my business and how I approach things. So I am I am kind of someone who’s on board with it. Can you give us in the plainest terms, what is an archetype.
Christine: So an archetype, you see these in stories a lot. But I’m trying to think of how to do this in really succinct language it’s not what I’m known for Sundae.
For example, if you are if you are in a story and you’re the damsel in distress, who is going to come get you? The knight, the knight is an archetype. So you can picture the knight, the knight has a specific energy pattern. So archetypes are energy patterns. So you expect that energy, that knight to do specific things. The knight is going to rescue anyone in distress, that’s what they do. You don’t want, for example the hermit to come and rescue you. You are the scholar, so it’s like you can kind of see what the energy is based on the word that’s used. So a damsel, a hermit, martyr, mediator, a monk, a slave, a victim, an addict, your inner child.
Sundae: And this is where your background in Psychology really comes like, patterns. It’s another language for patterns that we see over and over again.
Christine: You said it’s so much better than I did.
Sundae: But I love it. So keep going. So here’s the thing though, what if you were a damsel in distress and you grow and you want to be your own knight in shining armor?
Christine: Yeah. So I mean self-reliance is a huge thing that we learn in long-distance relationships because you can’t call up your partner all the time and ask them to help you out with stuff. So often that damsel in distress will be asked to step up and become the empress. And the empress doesn’t want the knight, the empress wants the king. It’s your partner’s decision whether or not he wants to step up and be a king or not.
Sundae: So this is what I love about this conversation. I didn’t know where this would go between you and I. I probably have a hunch we would get here somewhere. But most people who are listening probably clicked on this podcast to learn strategies. Like, schedule times at dinner to have your partner join family meals via Skype. Or one other tip would be, leave room in your closet for your partner to put their clothes in the closet so they feel like they belong in the house when they are back.
These are really pragmatic strategies that when you’re in a long-distance relationship they can help. And what we’ve done is we’ve completely leapfrogged over all of those logistics and sort of practical strategies and went way deep, way way deep. Which is great to get really clear on how are you showing up for you? And how do you want to respond in this situation?
Christine: Yeah. I think that probably the most helpful mindset is really of any decision you’re going to make it’s all going to be individual. When you’re looking at the logistics and just making decisions with that, how often are you going to talk? And all of these things. It’s where is that decision coming from? A lot of people talk about this, about your “why.” I can talk about it in what archetype is making this decision? Or what part of you is making this decision? Or what need is trying to be met when you’re making this decision? These are all language for the exact same thing of why are you doing what you’re doing? Why are you wanting to talk to your partner? And how often does that then have to happen.
In my opinion. it makes most sense and is to your advantage if you make these decisions, these very pragmatic decisions, understanding the bigger picture. And I would suggest / strongly encourage that you make your decisions from a place of love and not fear. Now we’re going really big picture here. And that you make your decisions from a place of integrity. And that piece I cannot emphasize. I want to like splash paint all over it, is so important.
Sundae: Can you say more about that? You’ve got a few scenarios in your head where you know examples of when it’s out of alignment with integrity or from a place of fear. Can you give us an example?
Christine: I can give you one from yesterday, just yesterday. It was, we were supposed to talk. So we have a schedule. So we’re very pragmatic, we have a schedule, we talk every day. We have dinner together. I set up the tripod. He’s got his own little spot at the table and we sit there and we have dinner together. And yesterday I wasn’t feeling well and I could have gone into should. So as soon as you think saying that you should do something it’s a flag to say “Am I being in Integrity?” So I was just like “Actually I don’t want to, I don’t want to cook, I don’t want to talk to him. I just really, what I really want on the inside is I just need time for myself.”
So I can communicate that. And here’s another thing about the communication. We’re getting to the pragmatic like practical side, is be clear, be clear with yourself so you could be clear with your partner. So you can then decide together, where do we go from here? Where does this fit? So I could say, “I really would rather not talk tonight, I’m wiped out, I just need time for myself. Do you need to talk? Is that a need that you have?” And he could say, “I’m good.” Or “I can just talk to the kids.” Or whatever. It’s kind of like “This is what I need. What do you need? Where does it meet?” And again, this is all of life.
We’re so stuck in codependent relationships, which is a whole other language and a whole other topic. But this idea of “I have to give you what you need before I give myself what I need.” And it just doesn’t work.
Sundae: And that is pretty much every single woman I know who wants to meet the needs of their kids and their partner and the organization or whatever first before they even think about, that they dare even think about meeting their own needs.
Christine: Well, you can do that, but just like a battery that’s eventually going to go dead if you don’t charge it.
It’s really the same.
Sundae: So what I’m loving, what I’m hearing here is, let’s hold the logistics for a moment, let’s get really clear on if you’re in a long-distance relationship refocus. What do you need? What do you want? Where do you want (to go)? How do you want to show up for yourself that’s in alignment with Integrity, that is in alignment with what feels true to you, and that is from a place of love and not fear? Like those are really big and deep places to stand in.
Christine: And this is so important to do it on all levels. You do it with yourself first and you do it with your partner and you also need to do, and this is something most people don’t talk about, you also need to do it with your community, your support system, your friends and your families. And a sentence that I found really helpful for communicating this to other people is “Based on my current situation,…”.
Because it’s kind of like this reboot. It’s like a relationship reboot on all levels with yourself, with your partner, with people around you. This is your chance to get away from codependent patterns. This is your chance to get back to who you are, to get back to your truth. “Based on my current situation I’m available for dinner tonight.” “Based on my current situation I’m not going to be able to go dancing.” “Based on my current situation I can’t work later than 5:00 o’clock because I have to be home for my kids.” “Based on my current situation I don’t want you in my life. “
I’ve had to break up with friends who insisted on treating me as the victim in this situation of being in a long-distance relationship. It was like, “Oh you poor thing, do you need help? Are you okay?” And I was like after a long time, “I can’t feel this way, I’m not available for that.” And they weren’t able to shift. So it’s like “Based on my current situation I don’t have time for this.”
Sundae: Right they’re in savior mode and you were like, “No thanks. I got it.” I love that. I love that idea about the community. I know for me. It wasn’t even probably conscious. I think it was pure survival strategy when I was solo parenting in Switzerland and running my company while my husband was still in Burkina Faso. I was exhausted doing all of the things all of the time and there were times when my friends would connect and I would say very similar things like, “Here’s what I can do if you want to connect – can you please come to me because I can’t extend right now.” You know, like being really clear. I love that “Based on my current situation.”
Christine: And it really keeps coming back to this idea of “This is my truth.” “I can’t come to you but I would love to see you.” What’s your truth?
Sundae: So here’s what’s happening in me when I hear this truth business. Like I love that right and it kind of scares me because my truth and then how does that fit in then to the needs of my children and my partner or my parents or my sister or or or? Like when does my truth become selfish? When do I need to compromise? I’m being provocative here. Like when do I have to compromise my truth so that I can consider others’ truths? So it gets messy. Tell me how I entangle that?
Christine: Oh, I think it’s very clear. It gets messy because we make it messy. Your truth is your truth. Someone else’s truth is their truth.
Sundae: What if no one likes it?
Christine: But the truth is actually only the truth when it’s, this is a new understanding for me so I might not get the words exactly right and it might change tomorrow. But at the moment my understanding is, and that by the way is a really great example of telling your truth. “At the moment my understanding of this situation is… I’m willing for it to change, now, it’s this.” Now my understanding is that truth is kind of the sword of love.
So if it’s coming from love, truth only comes from love not from fear. Our natural state is not fear. Our natural state is actually love. And truth comes from that, it’s connected to that. So anytime you’re worried, and it’s also understanding that I am phenomenally capable, as are the other people. We are phenomenally capable of getting our needs met in love not in fear.
I am capable of it, other people are capable of it. I am not the only person that can meet the need of this other person. Now when it comes to children who are our dependents of us, I believe that shifts a lot. So I am willing to do much more for my children than I am for my husband. He’s an adult. He should take care of himself.
The reason I believe people are afraid to speak their truth is because they’re afraid of the consequences. It’s fear that steps in. It’s the fear that they will no longer be loved. It’s the fear they will no longer be accepted. It’s the fear that they will be alone.
Sundae: Yeah, but what if they’re not loved and they’re not accepted and then they are alone?
Christine: The truth is that if you are not showing your truth, do you actually feel loved and accepted anyway?
Sundae: What is that expression? “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.”
Christine: I have yet to meet one single person who has really embraced the concept of expressing their truth out loud, their souls joy from their from their love truth, their soul truth. Not their ego truth there’s a massive difference.
I’m not talking about ego truth. I am talking about your soul truth, your deep truth, that like that like hmm kind of truth right?
Sundae: The red velvet cake truth.
Christine: I was going to say that. It’s like that, you want to just eat that cake kind of truth. I have yet to meet a single person who has expressed that truth in love and with clarity and with no judgement of themselves or of others. With no shame. For them to not have had to say some painful goodbyes to people in their life, but that has led the way to the most beautiful hellos. You can’t have both.
Sundae: Yeah, exactly and I’ve seen that. I mean, I’ve watched that happen in my clients’ lives and my friends’ lives. I mean, you see that all around you. There’s a fiery middle in between there, between not like you said on the other side is something beautiful. So it’s really holding out your hands with trust and surrender saying “This is going to be okay.”
Christine: It’s trusting yourself that you can handle it. It’s trust in your partner that you can handle it. But again, I really want to come back to this point of where are we compatible? And not with your partner with everyone. And sometimes you find out that you are most compatible when you’re not together. Sometimes you find out we are actually most compatible when we are together.
That’s the logistics thing. But in the end of the overcompassing thing of all of this, I mean this conversation really did it go where either of us thought. But really the biggest thing of how can you stay in your love center? How can you stay aligned with that? How can you get that inner Integrity aligned with the outer world?
And this of course does come up with the logistics. And this comes up with things like, make sure you talk, make sure you create new experiences with your partner when you’re apart, make sure that you create a new experiences for yourself when you’re apart, make sure that you create community around you to support you. Make sure you get help with the daily things. All of these things are the logistics that you’ll figure out once you are steeped in that love center. It’s kind of like for me it’s red velvet cake. Yep for me red velvet cake is the embodiment of love. Like if I feel like I’m off I just think of if I was swimming in a pool of red velvet cake. Now, what would I do?
Sundae: Or how can I make this decision that feels like red velvet cake?
So what I’ve just noted here is.
One; what you’re basically saying is, do your best to make your decisions and choices from a place of love not fear. And ironically that’s a really hard thing to do because we are taught to fear.
And the other thing that you mentioned what I couldn’t help but think what you’re talking about, like working your communication, create new experiences as a partner and for yourself, get there with your community, get support etc. All of that applies to people who are just living normally busy lives.
So that has to be amplified when you’re apart. But those are the things that make a relationship successful when we’re navigating all the complexities of expat life, of working full-time, of parenting, of just being human, adulting, all of those things.
So I’m looking at our time here, and I know that we have to go soon. But I just love where our conversation has gone. And one thing I just want to say the listeners is, if you hopped on this podcast thinking you would get the tips and strategies and are now the end and are waiting for more. I really want to re-emphasize what Christine mentioned of, start from that place of connecting with yourself and what you really want, what your needs are and what feels like love for you. And then the logistics are going to be easy. You’re going to make way better decisions.
Plus, there are so many expat communities where you can quickly pop on and gets to like those logistic tips. The thing that can’t happen is someone else can’t do the work for you to get clear on where you’re coming from. So I think that was really valuable Christine.
I just want to do a shout-out. You can tell with Christine she’s got a ton of pragmatic experience advice. But all of it is deeply supported by the work that she does from her background in Psychology, social work, her life abroad and this nurturing of her intuition through her work with herself and her clients.
So I just want to give a shout out to Christine. If you want to learn more about her you can find out more at her website https://www.christinegerberrutt.com/. That will be in the show notes.
But I love watching what you do in Basel, Switzerland, your monthly soul and coffee meet ups. That’s great. So follow her on social media. She’s also on Instagram at Christine Gerber Rutt.
So I just want to say thank you Christine for sharing your perspective with everybody today and for the ways that you continue to touch my life and business.
Christine: Thanks Sundae.
Sundae: Any last words that you want to pass on to our people before we close today.
Christine: You got this.
Sundae: That’s right. So let’s hold onto love today and let go of fear when we’re thinking about long-distance relationships and deciding what makes for you knowing that when you’re really clear on what feels true to you that will be coming from a place of love for those that you touch.
So there you have it. That might have surprised you how deep we went, how connected all of this got to our core values, to our truth, to our integrity, to discovering more about what we want. Maybe you’re expecting something different. But as you can see from our guest expert this is exactly where you need to start so that you can decide which tactics and which strategies will work for you.
So stay tuned for part 2 when Christine Gerber and I also talk about the very pragmatic side. Once you know what you’re going from in terms of what you really want. Then what are the very practical things you can do to make it happen.
Thank you for listening everyone today from Expat Happy Hour.
This is Sundae Schneider-Bean.
I will leave you with this anonymous quote, “Being a part teaches us how to be together.”
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