In this episode, Lisa shares how she is processing the breakup from her partner of four years.
She talks to:
- The importance of creating space for grief
- The new family ‘breakup tradition’ that she began
- The value of female friendships
- And the importance of choosing the meaning of the events in your life.
In a vulnerable and heartfelt episode, Lisa reveals that grief is never the whole story but it can be a powerful transformer and change agent.
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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here
Hey, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising, and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life, and if you are too, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you are here. Enjoy.
My son has been pretty nervous about going on his very first ski camp. My kids haven’t even seen proper snow. They’re seen a little bit by the side of the road, but they’ve never actually been to the snow or gone skiing or even tobogganing. So there’s a lot of unknowns for him on this camp. And he started year seven this year. So the people who he’s going with, he doesn’t know super well. There are some familiar faces, but it’s a big thing to do. Three nights away, four nights, four days doing something brand, brand new. He’s worried he’s not going to be able to ski even, although he is one of the most coordinated people I’ve ever met in my life. And one night I was sitting with him and I was saying to him, listen, we don’t actually know what’s going to happen. And because it was looking likely that there wasn’t actually that much snow that was going to be available.
In fact, they let the kids sort of pull out if they wanted to and we could have gotten a partial refund because of lack of snow. So there’s a potential he might not even ski. And I was talking to him and just saying, you are now in the state where you are imagining what it’s going to be like and you are imagining the worst. You’re imagining falling down not being a good skier, everyone getting better faster than you. This was all the stuff he was telling me. And I said, but the thing is that we don’t actually know anything about what it’s going to be like. You don’t know, and you get to choose right now if you want to imagine the worst case scenario or the best case scenario, what would be the best outcome here? And we started talking about why he decided to go on this camp in the first place and the opportunities that exist for him and the fun things that they’re going to do.
And it immediately shifted his anxiety over how bad it can go. And I was sharing this with him because we all get that choice always. And I mean, we all know that we only ever actually live in the present moment and any future casting that we do, any worrying that we do, we’re trying to control outcomes and we actually have no idea what’s going to happen. We can control what we are doing right here, right now. Our choice is right in the here and now. And ultimately we have to lean into trust. And in that moment of him worrying, it was a choice that he could make, and I helped him make that choice, no doubt his mind. I mean, there’s all that negativity bias. We all know that there’s lots of reasons why our brains do that. And it’s okay to imagine what we might do if worst case scenarios eventuate.
And I just recorded a podcast just recently all about the worries that I have about our big trip away. And they’re genuine and it’s okay, and it’s good to acknowledge them but not get stuck in them because we never know what the future is going to bring ultimately do. And this is something that is important to me at this time too. I remember when my marriage ended and I can remember feeling very, very sad. It was on the back of just very, very traumatic few years. And when it ended, and of course I was sad, but it didn’t take me long actually to feel quite liberated, to feel like, whoa, I can make this what I want. Oh my goodness. I’ve had a sense of agency over my life that I hadn’t really felt before. And I didn’t expect, actually, I didn’t expect it, but I definitely felt it. And I know a lot of friends whose marriages or long-term relationships have ended and there is absolutely grieving that needs to happen. But there’s also this ultimate kind of liberation and you get to know yourself in a whole new context. It’s such a transformative experience and not easy at all. But in those moments, we get to consider how good things might become or how terrible things might become.
And I’ll always sit on the side of allowing in a sense of possibility. So I guess it’s no surprise that on the other side of a four year relationship, I’m once again sitting with a level of liberation, a level of what’s possible from here. But that has only come after allowing a lot of space for grief. So when our relationship ended, I have been so sad. Even when something is the right thing and this genuinely is it also it has been huge, hugely sad and for lots of different reasons because it’s not no baddies in the picture, there’s nothing like that. There’s love and respect and changing circumstances, I guess. And it is hard.
It is hard. And lucky for me, it has actually brought up almost like grief on grief. Here I am again without my person and having to transition into that new reality. Gee, gee, it has been just such a blessing to have been with this man over the last four years. And what a gift I really just can’t even express. He was the perfect man at a particular time in my life. And for sure it was risky bringing someone else into the fold, but I’m always be glad I did because for sure my life and the kids’ life I didn’t think I would cry is absolutely better. We are absolutely better off for having him and his beautiful kids in our life through some really tough times.
So funny. I remember being in a very long car ride with him. We were driving back from Mildura for a friend’s birthday, and we were actually discussing, I was talking about how I was transitioning the Small Steps Living podcast into conversations with Lisa and I wasn’t sure how to kind of kick things off. And anyway, we were just chat, chat, chatting, and if you listen to the first few episodes, I kind of base them on songs and what those songs meant to be. And that was something we came up together with in the car. And I knew I had wanted to share the story of Nick’s passing. I didn’t quite know I wasn’t ready to do it until I was ready. And those episodes are called The Story so far. I think they’re, are they somewhere in the eighties? I can’t remember. Well, I can’t remember which episodes they are, but if you go, there’s a story so far, part one and two. And I remember being in the car with him and just saying, oh, I don’t really want to make podcast episodes about you. And he said, I will do everything in my power never to be a podcast episode. And here we are and it’s all been so worth it.
I’m not going to give a resume of all the reasons why he was so super for us during this stage. But needless to say, there’s a big hole in our lives and it’s okay actually, even though you hear me holding back tears, it’s right. And for relationships to run their race, for circumstances to change, that mean that a beautiful love just, it can’t exist in a particular context, but is so you can know it and it can feel right and it’s the right thing and it can suck and feel so hard. And I was like, I don’t want to feel this. I don’t want to feel sad again. But if I’ve learned anything
About grief, it’s that it will come for you. It wants to be felt. It needs to be, it can actually be quite a beautiful thing. And this time I didn’t distract myself from grieving, but I also know it’s never the full story. As I’ve said so many times, you can be experiencing grief and hilarious belly laughs and so much joy. It’s just not linear or predictable in many ways. But I think with this, I knew that once again, I was also going to have to navigate my kids through grief. He has been around for a long time in the context of my kids’ lives.
And the day that it was sort of did decide that was this was going to be it. I had a sense that I knew whatever I was about to do with the kids, however this was going to be communicated and work through was going to be their example of a breakups. And I was so conscious to it. I really sat with myself to figure out and to be honest, I had been preparing them for a little while in lots of little ways. But at the end of the day, a decision was made and it had to be communicated to the kids and it was going to be a big change for them in terms of boys who felt who were stepbrothers and the person who my kids thought we were building a life together. He’d been at a constant, steady, beautiful grounding and adventurous presence in their lives.
So I shared the news with them and I was crying, they were crying and I allowed them all to share how they were feeling, talking about how when feelings come up, it’s wonderful to express them in ways that work for us. And if that’s using words right now, let’s have a chat. Let’s have a chat about the things that were amazing, the things that we’ll miss. All of that. We had beautiful time just sitting on the couch and chatting away. And then I said, you know what? I feel like our family, there are four of us and there are going to be breakups. And it doesn’t matter, even if you are the one doing the breaking up, it hurts. And if you have been broken up with it hurts. There is sadness because we are saying goodbye to something and I think we need to start a tradition.
And they’re like, Ooh, speak of this tradition a mummy. And I said, you know what? I think the deal is for the person who has experienced the breaker. We all have to be showered in our PJs under blankets on the couch in the afternoon, whenever they’re ready. And they choose the movies, they choose the snacks, they choose the dinner and dessert if they want it. And we just sit with the person and if they want to talk, they talk and we listen. And if they want a massage, we give them a massage. So they’re like, oh my God, I love this mom. Yes, they’re just getting so into it and all went off to go and have their showers and get into their jammies. And my daughter’s like, mom, I’ve, I think we should name this tradition. And I said, okay, what should we name it?
And she said, I think we should call it the single Mingle Pringle Days. I said, all right, Single Mingle Pringle. It is. So there we were on the couch. I mean we all with tears soaked faces and I put on back to the future, which blew their minds. We ordered some tie, I don’t even know what the snacks were, I can’t remember. And then we were just sort of sitting there and the doorbell rang and an amazing friend ubered us over some hot jam donuts. So they were just sitting there basically, this is the best day of our lives.
But I knew I am so glad I did that because we’re all like, this is going to be a household that experiences breakups. And I wanted them to feel like get a sense of what it felt like to support and to watch someone be supported. But the thing with us with this one was it like it’s not just me, it was my relationship, but we were all in relationship with him. It was what we considered our family has that’s changed. And obviously we’ve had so many conversations and they’ve seen me really sad and they’ve been sad. I mean they’ve been really sad and then sort of angry and then all sorts of things like it’s a whole thing.
And to be honest, I didn’t want to have to do this again. But as I said, our kids and myself know that good relationships don’t have to last forever to be good. And sometimes knowing when it’s time, maybe it’s the key. It’s hard though. It doesn’t mean that there’s no grief, but it’s like we have now also as a family experienced what it’s like to lose someone. And then also experienced someone new who brings amazing things. Like my son did say, well now you could go out with Ryan Reynolds like, mate, remember he’s married, he’s got children. They’re very, very happy. He’s like, I’m just saying mom, there’s other people out there. I know I’m not really looking for a replacement right now, but thank you and I thank you for your belief.
Oh God, it’s so fascinating. But I think that being honest with them, showing them it’s okay to feel sad and what that looks like, and I’ve spoken to them a lot about how important friends and family are in this time. One of the biggest lessons from my marriage with Nick was how we were so in our own little codependent bubble and addiction likes to be so hidden, doesn’t like to be known that those two things really distanced me from my friends. I mean we, we lived into state for 10 years and I have amazing friends always there for me. But my ability and willingness to really be open and honest and vulnerable with my friends and my family to a large extent was limited. It was really limited. I was protecting myself. I was protecting Nick four years and I promised myself I would never do that again.
What I know for sure is that my female friendships are life sustaining. I feel like the luckiest person to have extraordinary friends and I don’t see them all the time. I mean, not all of us have lives and most have kids and there’s a lot on, but I am in daily contact even if we don’t see each other in person all the time, a lot of my closest people don’t even live in Melbourne. But sustaining those friendships is everything and they’ve just been extraordinary. And I also did the same thing with my family. I was honest about when things were tricky in my relationship. I don’t have to share everything with everyone, but we don’t actually get supported unless we allow support. And giving it and receiving it is a beautiful thing. My friends have genuinely carried me through this and my family and it’s just been extraordinary to see also that the village around the kids is exists and is real and what a gift, a genuine gift. Because once again, even though it, it’s the right thing, it doesn’t mean there’s not a lot of grief. Wow, God.
But the thing is, and I will always be talking about this whenever we experience some sort of change in our lives, whenever we experience literally anything, if you did Ready for change or if you’ve done the upgraded version of that, The Change Method which I am teaching for the last time live this year, you have to get in like ASAP because that’s happening next week. You can go to lisacorduff.com/tcm or the link is in the show notes. Honestly, what I teach in that is what gets me through, you will remember if you’re a ready for changer or if you’ve done the change method that as humans we’re, we give things meaning we give E everything in our life, meaning we create it. One person can experience or observe the same thing and have a completely different interpretation to the next person. We are all so unique. We come at life with our own set of lenses
And that’s good, but sometimes when we don’t realise we’ve got them, we don’t realise that we are giving meaning that maybe doesn’t exist. And just like with my son and what was he going to imagine, the best case scenario from ski camp or the worst case scenario from ski camp, I’m sitting in the place where the meaning I have given this breakup is that honestly I have just received the craziest blessing to have this man in our lives for the last, well, I mean we got to know each other four and a half years ago. I mean, what a gift. Grateful doesn’t even come close and the future’s going to be amazing. I get to create it with every single choice I make for myself and my kids from here on out. And it’s sad. It doesn’t include him and it’s okay. It doesn’t include him. And wow, what might be in store for Lisa, I can choose to feel liberated, excited even about my future. So often we get trapped in our story of struggle and also not wrong to be there. I have absolutely been in a story of struggle like, gosh, could you eat? I did not have my three children in under four years with a man I absolutely adored and was married to and then expect him to die
And then get together with someone else. Whoa. Experience life loving and knowing and being loved by someone brand new and get some extra kids along the way and then have that end too. I don’t know why my life is taking these twists and turns. I genuinely talked to some friends and we’re like, oh God, we know we grow through hard times, but seriously enough of the growth. But I can also give this the meaning that I choose and I can imagine a future that is just
Love filled. One of the things that I say often to myself is, well, if not this, something better. And I’ve thought that in many different contexts. It doesn’t mean you get there straight away. It doesn’t mean the path each day isn’t fraud, but we get to choose the meaning we give it. And whether I sit here imagining, I mean, gosh, I don’t know, loneliness or stuff like that, I don’t feel lonely at all in my life, in myself. I think absolutely. One of the gifts this past few years I have really worked on is just cultivating this beautiful relationship with myself, listening to myself honestly, having time out and being silent with myself, tuning in. It’s all these things that have been worked on that are now I can see the work that I’ve done. Literally experiencing this so differently because of what I’ve been through for sure doesn’t mean it’s easy and this trip is not a result of the breakup, but it was a good kind because the idea had already been germinating and it was something that I wanted to do. And then I guess, I don’t know, the universe is a bit magical and things often fall right into place for us.
When something is right. I told you it’s been a magic carpet ride in the previous podcast episodes, if you haven’t listened, I really do. I have shared quite a bit in the making of Harvest. You’ll hear a lot about how this year has been quite transformative for me in many, many ways, an expansive even. Although I’ve also had to experience hard things, duality that exists in life. It’s never just one thing and I’m open for it all because I know I survive it, even if it’s hard. That’s what losing Nick has really taught me. It’s like, wow, literally the worst case scenario can eventuate and things will still be okay. I’m just taking that with me right now. So yeah, we’re going to go on this adventure. Yeah, I’m going to do it on my own with the children. And that is exactly the way it was obviously always meant to be. We get to choose the story by making different choices and when you know that, when you’re really conscious to it, when don’t, when your life isn’t just, these things keep happening to me, but wow. Yeah, life is unpredictable. Life is uncertain. That’s a given. Even if you like to think that you are controlling and calling all the shots, you are not,
But you have to choose the story for you. Not only that, then you get to action it. You get to create. I am in a creating stage right now, throwing it all up. I don’t want to, I mean, get to choose how I grieve, where I grieve and this transition period. Yeah, right. Let’s do this. Let’s do this bloody in the Greek islands, let’s do this. Looking at the fields in Norway, let’s go and introduce my kids to all of their Irish cousins. Let’s just go. Doesn’t mean I am escaping, feeling all the feelings and moving through what I need to, but we have more choice than we realise. So that’s the story of how I am,
I guess, processing this breakup. Obviously not sharing all the ins and outs, but I have had so many dms, so many comments on posts saying, where’s Party Boy, haven’t seen him around for a while, and is Party Boy going with you? I mean, I cannot even tell you the amount of dms that I have got about this and I can’t keep on responding to everyone. I mean, I have shared it obviously on the podcast, but I thought if there was just a place that I could share for the people who don’t usually listen to the podcast, you totally should. It’s good around here. I wanted to be able to direct everyone somewhere. He is an amazing man who has gifted our lives so much and is still in our lives in a new context, and that is okay. I know that so many of you, I have had so many messages about him, about our love and our relationship that was kind of, I’m so glad you got your happy ending and this gives me hope and all of that sort of thing. I was never fully attached to the idea of a relationship that lasted forever. I think that
It’s sort of hard to have that with what we know. I don’t know or I don’t know. I have very different ideas on relationships, actually wonder for our kids what they’re going to expect or desire from relationships, knowing that longevity, for me, longevity is not necessarily the aim. Genuine, true, courageous, and heartfelt can connection and intimacy is important. Growth together, compatibility, chemistry, oof important, and life is an exploration, and for some reason my life is leading me down the path of loving different men. Okay, let’s see how this rolls. I’ll tell you something very funny. When I said to mum that I, we are going to go, this is absolutely my plan, she was a bit upset and then well, I mean she was a bit like, look, of course they’re parents and they’re going to be worried about the things. But then she said to you one day, well, darling, I mean I guess dad and I were talking and we just felt like you’ll go, you’ll meet someone and you’ll never come back.
And I said, Mom, how do you think that’s going to work with me with the children to 24/ 7 for months on end? I think the opportunity for meeting and all of that is a little bit limited, and she’s like, well, I just, I’m just don’t know, but darling, you know, deserve it. I’m not saying we would be happy for you. I think it’s a bit of an unrealistic expectation. So I’m actually really looking forward to this period of exploring Lisa as someone truly solo. As I shared in recent episodes, I’ve always been partnered up and this is a hugely exciting and expansive feeling for me. The kids are at very different ages to when Nick left and I don’t know, I’m just interested to know who I am as a context of one. We choose the meaning, we choose what we focus on thinking about, and that doesn’t mean that we sidestep the grief that genuinely needs to, wants to, has to be felt. I know that now, and this actually happened, this happened a little while ago, but didn’t really feel like talking about it so soon, but wanted to let you know and share, I guess this particular breakup story.
Thank you for listening.
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