Townsend Wardlaw is one of the smart men I know. We randomly met in Las Vegas over 4 years ago. I hung out at his table and then somehow ended up back at his room until sunrise. (That’s Vegas for you.)
Townsend is also incredibly generous with his time and is deeply insightful. He is one of the few men I turn to for advice.
Recently Townsend broke up with his girlfriend of seven years. Here is his story.
I ended a seven-year relationship with a drop-dead gorgeous woman.
She is beautiful and sexy in a way that drives men insane.
Seriously, this is the kind of woman every guy turns to stare at when she walks into a room.
I’d call her a ‘9’ rather than a ‘10’ for no other reason than, for me, ‘10’ is reserved for those rare specimens that have an unreal and untouchable other-worldly quality.
“How the hell is she with you?” is a question I am often asked.
When we met, she was 25 and I was 39. You do the math.
Being Latina, age has only made her more beautiful.
She will be drop dead gorgeous until the day she falls over dead.
Did I mention she loves sex?
How did I pull this off?
I am not unattractive or overweight. But trust me, I am no stunner.
I am confident, fun, and respectful. I take care of myself and have my shit together.
We met at a club… at my VIP table.
Of course I was concerned she was with me for my ability to provide which, in the end, everyone is to some extent.
Woman value security over freedom… men value freedom over security.
So you think you want to date a hot girl?
Guys say they want to date a gorgeous woman but most can’t handle it.
I’m talking about dating here not simply getting them in bed.
Picking up hot chicks is easy. Just follow one of those Internet douchebags and find some hot 20-something with low self-esteem and daddy issues.
A relationship with a gorgeous woman is different.
Are you really prepared for an honest and deep and committed relationship with a woman so attractive you can’t stop asking: Why is she with me? Does she really love me? When will she leave me? Is she cheating on me?
Do you know what most guys who date hot women do?
They cheat on them with uglier girls. They do this because they are insecure and afraid she will leave them and need to constantly prove to themselves they still ‘have it.’
For some men, dating beautiful women is simply another measure of status.
This is the worst reason to date a beautiful woman. Trust me, someone will always have a newer or better version. Seeking status robs you of the ability to truly appreciate the beauty you wake up next to every morning.
Did I mention we were engaged?
I asked her to marry me almost two years ago.
We have both been married before.
I never had the desire to get married again but I knew how much the ritual meant for her and I was more than willing to give up a day of my life to make her happy.
Besides, who doesn’t like a good party?
The Gory Details
Less than three months before our wedding date, I told her I wanted out.
The venue was booked, the meal selected, the cake chosen, and the dress altered.
The fucking invitations had been mailed the week before!
Was I scared to commit? You be the judge.
A year and a half ago – just four months after I asked her to marry me – I expressed my doubts.
Judgment, Blame, Shame, Gilt, Jealousy, Disappointment to name a few.
There were things that showed up in our relationship I had no place for in my life.
We recommitted to our relationship and embarked on journeys of self-exploration to exorcise these demons.
Five months ago I tried again to break it off.
I told her I wanted out. I said this wasn’t working for me (more on this in a bit.) She painted a picture of the changes she wanted for herself and it was a compelling vision so I agreed to keep going.
Trust me, this was no last minute jitters.
This is the most complicated part to share with you. I am not even sure you will understand.
When I ended the relationship, I shared three truths with her:
“I am canceling the wedding.”
“You are moving out.”
“My heart is filled with love for you.”
During the first few weeks, if you asked me why I ended the relationship my answer was simple.
Our relationship was 84% perfect.
Six days a week our lives were peaceful and connected.
But at least one day a week (the other 14%) Judgment, Blame, Shame, Gilt, Jealousy, and Disappointment showed up.
I had no room in my life for these things she brought to our relationship.
At this point, you may be saying something like ‘No relationship is perfect…84% sounds pretty good to me.’
To this I can only suggest we must agree to disagree.
I have never been an 84% kind of man.
Breaking Up Without Blame
Getting back to the question of causality, I’d like you to ask yourself a difficult question.
Have any one of your past relationships ended without someone being at fault?
Have you ever left a relationship free of anger or blame?
Most people answer no. Of course one of us was to blame.
Most indicate something the other party did or didn’t do was the cause of the breakup.
As reassuring it is to believe the end of a relationship is not your fault, I ask you to consider the one thing every one of your past relationships has in common.
Over the next few weeks I came to see and acknowledge that these were not things she brought to our relationship.
The judgment, blame, shame, jealousy, guilt and disappointment were created by me.
You see, I believe the actions of others do not hold the power to make me feel anything.
Feelings and emotions are only and always my response to the actions of others.
I own them. I choose them.
My reasons for walking away remain the same yet I no longer blame her for our relationship ending.
To blame her for my emotions robs me of my power.
Blame leaves me helpless to create a future relationship free from these negative elements. Blaming her for anything stands between me and 100%.
In accepting responsibility for my feelings and emotions I reclaim the power to create everything I want in my next relationship.
Accepting Responsibility Sucks
Over the past few weeks, I have been visited by doubt and sadness and anxiety and jealousy and grief over a relationship I chose to end.
I accept these feelings as manifestations of my fears of the unknown. My ego wants to know and control what happens next.
When I share my fears with others I expose it to the light and these feelings vanish.
Fear cannot live in the light.
In those moments when fear has been vanquished I am calm and feel an overwhelming sense of peace. In those moments I feel powerful in my ability to create the future rather than trying to predict or control it.
So Why Am I Afraid?
This is an unanswerable question.
Fear itself is irrational and Fear uses this to stay in the dark where it can control us.
What is more embarrassing than sharing an irrational fear?
A better question would be: What am I afraid of?
I am scared of being alone for the rest of my life.
I am scared of never meeting someone who is half the woman she is.
I am terrified at the thought of having to go out and meet women.
Worse, I am petrified at the prospect of prostrating myself on Match or Tinder or whatever you kids are using these days.
Deep down, I am afraid that the last seven years have been an illusion… some kind of cruel joke. Maybe all of my relationships have been a joke. My fear whispers to me: If the last seven years have been a joke then I am nothing but a fool.
I am a 46 year old man who is afraid of learning I am unwanted and unlovable.
Today I Step Through the Door
For me, the end of a relationship is a doorway.
It is a doorway to what is next.
I don’t know what is next and that is terrifying.
Will we be friends? Will we create a new relationship? Will I find another? Will she be beautiful?
My questions go on.
Instead I will breathe deeply and commit to living my Purpose and giving my Gift and creating the world I Vision every moment of every day.
Each week, Townsend sends out one email to a select group of readers. if you’d like receive his best work every Sunday morning, you may subscribe for free here.
UPDATE: In light of the comments, I filmed a response video containing some thoughts about the writing process.