S2 E2: Love should NOT hurt. Period!
Hey it's Kanu with Real Love Real Stories TV and Podcast, thanks so much for tuning in. Today my guest is Francesca Anastasi, she is based in Vancouver BC Canada, she's the founder of the Shimmy Mob which is a belly dance flash mob held every year in support of victims of abuse. She's also a business consultant whose mission is to inspire women.
In this episode we're going to be talking about how to trust and love again after being hurt. Here’s a question for you; have you ever been in a relationship where trust was broken? How did you learn to trust again? Let's hear from Francesca’s story.
Kanu:Welcome Francesca to Real Love Real Stories.
Kanu:Yeah I'm so glad you're here. I know that right now you're married, is that right?
Kanu:Yeah and today it's kind of a heavy ish topic but it's one that we need to talk about. So we're talking about how to trust again after being heartbroken, after you know whatever love sometimes those you know adversities that love brings our way. So maybe to start off with a little bit can you share you know what has your experience been like in terms of trust and how that sometimes can be damaged?
Francesca:Well, I was married previously, this is my third marriage so you think I actually do have a lot of experience and yes heartbroken in the ways that you know, you have certain expectations when you get into a relationship and you think it's going to be “and they lived happily ever after” and then things don't go the way you thought they would for different reasons and you find yourself being hurt.
My first marriage was 14 years, for 14 years, my second one was for 10 years and both were devastating in the end you know. The divorces and it was very, very difficult to even consider wanting to be in a relationship after that. I was so done, I had been hurt deeply and I remember being so as people say broke and I don't really like to use the word broken because I don't believe we break, I believe we’re resilient, we can be bent, we can be pushed down but I don't think we actually ever are broken.
That's how it felt though, it felt like I was in a million pieces, I felt like I was shattered and there was no way I could ever trust again. I remember going to counseling because it totally messed me up; I had lost complete trust in being in a relationship, how can I ever trust again. I remember my counselor saying to me, I said I'm done, I don't want anyone in mind like I'm so done I don't need a man, I can just do it by myself which I think that was key # 1.
Kanu:So you were done with love?
Francesca:I was done in being in a relationship and feeling like I was just you know either the trophy or just there to be for the financial supports and other things were going on in the background that I wasn't aware of; there are a lot of things. I felt used really and I have to say both marriages I felt used and it was just like I don't need this this is too painful like I was so done.
Like I was saying, I was talking to my counselor and she said to me why would you deny yourself the chance of happiness if the right person comes along? And I said I said to her how do I know I am not going to be hurt again, how in the world am I going to know? Like I can't take it anymore, I cannot mentally take any more of this and she said you look for the flags, you look for the red flags and when you see a red flag you address it and then if there's another red flag you address that too. And you start seeing a pattern and when you start seeing a pattern that's when you say enough if the pattern is not in the direction right.
Francesca:And that's exactly what happens and you know, you kind of go cautiously and you really approach a relationship from a completely different angle without being, why did you say that, why did you do that but it's really about paying attention. I think the other part is paying attention, addressing the issue; if you see anything that you have any questions about and also I think the most important one I think is that not having to need to be in a relationship.
Kanu:You not having the need to be in a relationship?
Francesca:Not having the need to be in a relationship I think that's key.
Francesca:Because if you don't it's easy to kind of end it right because yes, it will still be a little painful but it would be easy to say I don't need this so you don't invest so much into it that then your trust is broken because then you can see you treat your relationship differently. I think what it boils down to, based on my experience, I’ve been now with my husband for 6 years and today is better than the first day.
We literally look at each other we go we don't know what happened but this is almost like the dream relationship.
Francesca:We wake up in the middle of the night we're holding hands you know, it's that kind of relationship like every day is a fun day; we've never had an argument even though we may have different points of views. I think the recipe if you will, I think the ingredients because I have been really looking at it like after you know two failed marriages, after having had other relationships that were just complete disasters and very hurtful, what are the ingredients, what is it that makes it work, right? It's that deep respect that we have for each other that no matter what the other person does that we may not necessarily agree with, there's so much respect that it overlooks anything else.
Francesca:We have that in a mutual way at the same level I think and that's what I think is the basis of it. So I think it starts with the respect, you see if the other person respects you all the time and you do the same in the opposite direction. There is no going wrong, I think the foundation of love really starts with respect; the moment there's no respect there's no love.
Kanu:What happened in the other relationships because you say this is your third marriage? Are you comfortable sharing like why was that trust broken in those two?
Francesca:I was only 21 when I got married, actually I don't even think I was 21 yet. I think I personally married for the wrong reasons to start with, I wanted to feel like someone cared for me, they actually cared about me and I think that's the wrong premise to get into a relationship in the first place. In my case I was very needy, I wanted to feel like someone. I didn't feel like I was worthy of love so if somebody showed me that they were interested enough in me to get married that you know then I was worth something.
I wanted that affection and you know my ideal relationship at the time was you know husband comes home, hugs you, kisses you, cuddles you and he wasn't like that at all. He was very distant, he had his own hobbies, he had his own way of, he had his own things and you know so we were very different let’s put it that way, we were very, very different. So I felt that that was you know, it wasn't the kind of relationship I wanted; I wanted the affection and I didn't feel like I was getting that. That I felt betrayed because when you marry someone and they tell you they love you, you expect to have more affection and I didn't feel I was getting that.
So that was with the first one. The second one, he had addiction problems which you know kind of came to the surface after the marriage and that was a big, big break of trust for me because he told me he didn't have those issues and then he did. It was just on and on there it was just like a whole list of 10 years of.
Kanu:So these were two very difficult sort of relationships. So how do you then overcome the stress to get into this beautiful relationship that you have now that is you know respect being the foundation of that relationship where you know you talked about even you wake up in the middle of the night in your holding hands. I think that's just so beautiful but how do you get to that point after trust has been broken?
Francesca:I think it has to be equal and it was not easy. It was not an easy all of a sudden I trust this person; I was terrified when he asked me to marry him, I said no.
Kanu:You said no?
Francesca:I said not going to happen, no, ben down that road before, not doing this again. So I said we'll live together but I won't get married and he kept saying let's just make it legal it's going to be fine and I'm like no, how do I know you're not going to turn? Right now it's wonderful but how do I know that this is not going to be another one, another relationship that as soon as we get married things are going to change? How do I know? And I think part of the reason that I end up saying yes eventually is because I had met him a long time before, he was a reconnection so it wasn't a brand new person that I just met off the street. It was someone that I had known from previous years through a business course that I was taking.
We were in the same class, we did homework together back then only at business relationship and that's all it was. He had always been very kind and that was the one thing I remembered about him. When we reconnected he was always so kind but he wasn't just kind to me. Like my counsellor had said, pay attention to the flag so I was looking for any sign that would tell me run the opposite way.
Francesca:So I was actually looking for give me a sign so I go. I wasn't looking for the sign to stay, I was looking for the sign to go and I could not find any. And then anyone that knew him that would meet me would say oh he's such a kind person, he's such a nice person and I’m like okay.
Kanu:Where is this red flag, I need it.
Francesca:Yeah and I was like okay who are his friends. That was another thing, I wanted to you know where are your friends, do you have any friends? That was the other thing because you get to know people around their friends, how they treat people around them right and how they talk about other people. He was always kind about everyone so that was the foundation for me to see how kind he was with everyone and with me and at the nut of it it's genuine, it was not fake kindness and you can tell. You could totally tell that it was not made-up kindness.
And slowly, slowly I kind of started to be like okay but it was terrifying. I'm not going to say okay then I trusted him and I married him. If you saw me the day we got married I looked like I had Parkinson's disease from how hard I was shaking.
Kanu:Oh no, what was going on?
Francesca:I was terrified, I was still scared. Even though there had been no flags and I really cared for him and I loved him and I respected him and he had not done anything to give me any reason to be afraid, I was terrified. I was so scared but you know what my thought was, I've done it twice before, I know where the door is, I know how to exit. So at that point that was my reasoning, I'm like I know how to exit this time, I know how to exit quick, I'm not going to let it be 14 years, I'm not going to let it be 10 years. If I see something happen, I exit.
Kanu:I'm out yeah.
Francesca:I kind of had to give myself the courage to go through with it and trust that what I was seeing was real and that it would last.
Kanu:So did he know that this is what you were going through?
Francesca:Oh yes, he knew all my fears. I was going through nightmares he knew it all, he knew it all yeah and he was there to take care of me and he was awesome.
Kanu:Now you said you're 6 years into your marriage?
Francesca:Yes we've been 6 years together, we've been married 4 ½ years.
Kanu:Oh 4 ½ years okay.
Francesca:But we've been together for 6 years so we've been together every day for the past 6 years.
Kanu:Oh that's nice. For somebody out there who you know, whether he or she, their heart has been broken and they want to get to a point to where they can trust again and open themselves to love or maybe they are already in a relationship and they still have the blockage, kind of like what you were going through. What would be some tips and you know advice that you can give that person who's listening, who might be going through what you were going through before?
Francesca:I think my biggest tip would be take it slow. Take it slow you know, really get to know the person under different circumstances and around people. How does the person react in traffic? How does the person react if the food at a restaurant arrives late? How does the person react if somebody's rude? All of those little things will tell you a lot about a person.
Kanu:Sorry to cut you off but that is a good point. You’re stuck in traffic with someone and they have road rage.
Francesca:Right whether they have road rage or they just curse somebody off. If they're going to do that with a stranger they're going to do that with you when they get very familiar with you.
Kanu:That is a good beat.
Francesca:You will see a lot about a person under different circumstances and getting to know their friends and what they're like around their friends or their family if they got family around as well just to see how they interact with people that they've known for a long time. I think that's definitely one of the things that's very important so taking it slow, really getting to know the person, don't rush it, don't.
I would say any relationship where the other person wants to oh this is love let's seal the deal right away run.
Kanu:You mean if they like propose early?
Francesca:When they want to get married right away or move in right away like when everything is too quick, I think it's a sign that it's going too fast and you don't have enough time to really get to know the other person. It's better to take it slow no matter how your hormones are going and the whole chemical chemistry is going on but to give it that time. I think that's probably the biggest tip I can give and it's the hardest one to follow because when you feel like you're head over heels up first and all you can do is think about the person and you can't wait for the text, take it slow.
Francesca:What's the rush? In the end what is the rush? Why rush into something that could turn out to be a complete disaster why not take the time for something that could be potentially wonderful right so those would be my tips.
Kanu:Yeah, thank you for that but you know when you're smitten and you know I think sometimes that kind of clouds your judgment.
Francesca:Yes it does, of course it does. You're smitten but don't commit to anything, that's all I'm saying. You can stay smitten and you can still hang out with the person, I'm not saying not to do that, I’m just saying not to commit to anything too quick, too soon like moving in together quickly or getting married too quickly. Really get to know the person first in all the different aspects as many aspects as possible.
Like I said earlier, see how they react, what are they like around people you know are they going to pick a fight just to prove that they are you know to show that they are protecting you so they're going to pick a fight? Are they that kind of person? So you want to be around that kind of person or does that make you feel protected? I don't know, you decide for yourself the kind of person you want and I think then that's easier to trust in that direction and that way.
Kanu:Sometimes we see these red flags right because they don't all happen at the same time you're like huh you know. I would have been mad too maybe he was hungry or maybe he was this and then another thing happens or maybe he traffic was just so horrible and this person did cut him off you know but they're little nuggets of like all these red flags along the way.
When we think we're in love we tend to overlook all those and then like you say that feeling subsides and then BOOM they just explode to you as the partner and then it just becomes this really horrible relationship. And sometimes it's even too late then right because you feel like it's too late, you're married and maybe you have had a kid or maybe you’re pregnant and you know then you kind of feel stuck.
Francesca:And that's too common of a story.
Kanu:Oh yeah sadly.
Francesca:Most marriages are like that. Most marriages are like okay I'm in a marriage that I'm not happy in and why did that happen? I think that when you are with the right person and there is that mutual respect because it really goes back down to that; when you respect the other person you'll never do anything to hurt them. # 1 love doesn't hurt – end of story.
Kanu:It should not.
Francesca:If it does, it's not love; if it hurts, it's not love. So like the expression, “I love you so much it hurts” NO.
Kanu:It does not hurt.
Francesca:It should not hurt because if it's hurting, there's something wrong there, there's something imbalanced.
Kanu:So how long did that go on before from the time he proposed and said let's get married to the time [Inaudible: 20:49]?
Francesca:It was almost a year and a half. He proposed right away fairly quickly and I'm like no. Remember though that I had known him from before though, he wasn't someone I had just met. There was an established, we did know each other even though it was not in a romantic level. We did we did have a certain level of trust already established from before.
Kanu:Yeah and I think you mentioned that you already knew that he was very respectful I think is the word you sued.
Kanu:What are some of the ways that you guys do now to keep your marriage fire burning?
Francesca:You know what, it's actually effortless.
Kanu:I love that.
Francesca:Sometimes we look at each other when we hear people say marriage takes work because we look at each other we go well then that's the wrong marriage; why should it take work? It does not take work, it's just a natural thing. We do things for each other just naturally like he'll bring me a coffee or I'll bring him something like it is just automatic. We don't think of what do I have to do so that my marriage is going to work? Do I have to go up to him and kiss him 30 times so that our marriage is?
We don't do any of that, it's just who we are. We just do things for each other constantly; we go for walks together like if I want to go for a walk just because I need the exercise I say I’m going for a walk, do you want to come? Sure I'll come with you. That kind of thing, so it's not I can't give a tip on how to make your marriage better, how to work on it because we're not working on it, it's just natural for us.
Kanu:Oh that's beautiful.
Francesca:We hug a lot but that's spontaneous, it's not because you know it's just a spontaneous; I think we probably hug 20 times a day if not more and it's spontaneous.
Kanu:That's awesome yeah. No, I mean you're right, if it's you know when I asked the question of what do you do to work on it you know and maybe that kind of denotes a feeling of like something is broken. But you know like you just shared right now you hug a lot that's how you guys sort of stay on that track of keeping the fire burning. And I love that you're saying it's effortless because that's when you know it's the right thing.
Francesca:Yeah and we want that for everybody else. Sometimes we wonder is it because we've had a lot of experience, we've been hurt, he's been hurt too so is it because of that, the willingness to both trust again maybe? There's also that.
Kanu:Yeah, wow. Well, that gives me hope for sure.
Francesca:There is hope.
Kanu:I do want to one day say that you know I am with somebody and it's effortless because oh my God, there’s just a feeling of freeness to that actually, me saying that out loud. Something that's effortless you know, you don't have to put a whole lot of work and when you're working on it too hard it’s not the right thing.
Francesca:There should not be any work at all.
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