"I don't love you enough to stay with you".
Did he really just say this, after 13 years of relationship, a family, a home?
Those words came after intense weeks of the most truthful truths ever told between us; about all the past blows we'd gathered throughout our life together.
He was soon to realise that it wasn't ultimately true, that it was fear that made him withdraw love. But not on that day.
I'd been cracking out of my own tight shell. No longer able to deny myself I deserved better love, but also knowing it meant my whole world crashing down around me; losing my family unit, my home, my heart.
There had been pain, lies, fears, deception, betrayal, lack of nurturing; all of it surfacing up as a last gasp; a fork - either sort our stuff out for real, or separate, because I'd reached a crossroad, unable to bear things staying the same anymore.
Our old relationship was dying.
It was time. I was ready to go there. So was he.
So the journey began.
Piece by layer by fragment, we laid our unspoken truths out on the table. Grief after heartbreak after devastation after regret. For me, there were days I feared my heart literally giving out; moments of not being able to breathe properly; feeling open-hole-spinning in my stomach; times I couldn't walk, so crawled; moments of utter deep despair and anguish. He'd had his own.
Together, we fumbled, learning to bear the weight of what we'd both done and not done in our past.
The man he never fully was, the woman I never fully was. What we'd each compromised in one way or another.
It felt dangerously brave pulling out each past thorn; examining, understanding, feeling through each.
Some were easier; others, excruciatingly pulled out of deep festering wounds.
But alongside painfully shedding old skins, we started discovering something miraculous. We were actually in the throes of labour pains - Our new relationship was being birthed. We were healing. We were bonding. Holding presence with unconditional love as we confided and confessed pains, weaknesses, shames, fears, flawed-ness.
Through revelation, we cleansed and purged. Taking full responsibility, we learnt true vulnerability, restoring our own self-love, self-worth, self-trust.
Transforming more than just our past relationship - it became about holding the space to heal from each ones whole lifetime's worth of wounds.
Experiencing this together ultimately gave us sacred bond, and something we never dared we'd find. Not only reclaiming lost love, but discovering deepest love beyond words.
There blossomed moments of profound spiritual and sexual connection, awe, respect, strength, fulfilment, honour. Reverent, beautiful communion.
Our hearts had been cracked open so we could let all this in - we didn't anticipate how much was to come. We deserved this, we'd paid our prices.
I'm sitting, writing, in the same place I sat where he spoke those words, and I'm in intense gratitude for the year since then. True courage has given me the love I've always deserved.