I recently gave a talk about how I met my ex-husband, Jim. As I began to develop the story it brought back an important memory which I would like to share with you.
The real story doesn’t actually start when I first met Jim. It started with the kind of young woman I was – insecure, unsure of her attractiveness and lovability.
As a result, I made some very poor choices, the worst of which was the choice of life partner.
Having made my choice, I stayed in my marriage for 37 years, despite the bitter disappointment and emotional pain, and the only way I could do so was by pretending it wasn’t all that bad.
This is called ‘being in denial’ and I became so good at it that I actually came to believe my own deceptions.
But here’s the thing.
I may have been able to deceive myself but I wasn’t able to deceive my body.
I have always enjoyed very good health but, soon after I got married, I started to experience a wide variety of health-related conditions.
Severe pains, episodes of clinical depression and comfort eating followed by making myself vomit afterwards.
As a weight management strategy it certainly worked. The weight just fell off me until I was literally just skin and bones.
Jim never noticed.
A work colleague finally persuaded me to go to my GP who explained that I was suffering from an eating disorder called bulimia and that, if we didn’t deal with it immediately, it could prove fatal.
I firmly believe that the only reason I’m sitting here today writing this article is that I didn’t want to die.
The one thing I never did was connect the state of my marriage with the state of my health.
As I’m preparing my talk about the connection between our health and the quality of our relationships for the DIVA annual conference on 25 March, I noticed that I’m the healthiest I have ever been. Not only have I’ve never felt better, I have none of the conditions usually associated with older people.
Is the fact that I’m in a loving relationship with Paul a coincidence?
I don’t think so!
And, if you think I’m unique, you couldn’t be more wrong!
There has been a lot of research looking into the connection between the quality of our relationship and the quality of our health and wellbeing.
This is what they found:
Couples in relationships where there’s constant bickering, resentment, hostility, criticism and blame produce excessive levels of cortisone which cause both physical and mental health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease and strokes, a weakened immune system, low energy, anxiety, depression and low confidence.
So, if you are in such a relationship, what can you do about it?
Obviously, dealing with your health is top priority. Doing nothing is not an option.
But this only one part of what needs to be done.
The other part is to look at the causes of your poor health or poor sense of wellbeing.
You need to figure out:
- if your energy levels are low, why is that?
- If you’re catching every bug that’s floating past from which you take ages to recover, why is your immune system so weak?
- If you’re feeling stressed, what is the cause of it?
- If you’ve put on a lot of weight, what caused you to put it on in the first place?
- Look at your environment – your marriage, your relationship with your children, your family, your friends.
- Look at your limiting beliefs.
If you don’t know what they are, look at your life and your relationships – the quality of your life is evidence of the quality of your relationships – positive or negative.
And finally, there’s one fatal limiting belief:
That being over 50 is the beginning of the end – both physically and mentally.
I’m 73! Do I believe that? Hell, no! Nor should you – however old you are!
Is it a coincidence that my health improved since I left that toxic relationship that was my marriage and found true love?
I don’t think so and, as I mentioned earlier, there’s masses of research to confirm that I’m not unusual.
As a first step I suggest you go to my website, www.sueplumtree.com and download my free e-book ‘Grow Confident And Fabulous Relationships Will Follow’.
When you feel good about yourself you will be able to make much better choices – in your life generally and in your relationships in particular – with a consequent improvement in your health and wellbeing, levels of energy, hope and optimism.
And one more thing:
Today we live longer than we ever have so the choices we make today will shape our future for years to come so I have one question for you:
If anything you read chimes with you, what are you willing to do to change your future?
And, whatever it is, do it now!
With love and gratitude,
P.S. I coach women over 50 who have not yet made the connection between love and wellbeing.
P.P.S. My third book, ‘Open Your Heart: The 7 Secrets Of Strong And Loving Relationships’ is now on Amazon and getting 5* reviews!