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Big WIN!! 🥰  We’ve been on holiday!… which is amazing given Pete is, in his words, ‘not designed for holidays’!

In the fifteen years before we knew that neurodiversity was a part of what we were navigating in our relationship and family, holidays were a complete nightmare. In the end I took my children away by myself which wasn’t what I wanted. Once we very nearly came home a day early because I was so angry and upset at how Pete was behaving. It made no sense to me at all.

Now I know Pete was drowning in anxiety, overwhelm, sensory overload, change traumas… so many things. It was all a disaster waiting to happen every time and we had no idea. My children were also struggling with their own challenges and we had no idea about that either. All in all we had loads of evidence over 15 years that going out for the day or away generally wasn’t a safe or happy thing to do together. There were some good times but overall they were flavoured with discontent and resentment on my part.

Fast forward to now. We have so much more understanding. We’ve step by stepped to restore safety and trust. We’ve tested and found new ways to spend time together that work for us. They are beautifully unconventional.

Here’s a story of how we did our kind of holiday together recently!

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We went to Florence…… (aka Winchester!)

I suggested going to Florence for our anniversary a year ago and Pete said ‘I don’t think we need to fly anywhere’ 🤦🏻‍♀️ then we watched a programme about eating in Florence and this amazing place to have coffee and cake – something he likes and could now imagine because he’d seen it on TV (not knowing how something will look or how it works is a big anxiety trigger). So Pete said we’d go when he’d reached a special interest milestone he had in mind. Well he just recently reached that milestone but then he still couldn’t take me to Florence.

Anyway, we can still do cake/coffee so we planned a ‘holiday’ to walk some of the River Itchen in Winchester plus coffee/cake and dinner at an Italian. I said I wanted boarding passes and time in the VIP lounge before we went so he booked dinner at one of our favourite restaurants on Friday and we stayed in the airport hotel chez Home… love him for trying sooo hard right now when I’ve been struggling to fill my bucket in the constraints of pandemic restrictions.

There’s a comfort zone formula to our days out AND we both felt some adventuring spirit – sparkle might finally be rubbing off a little; pace of a snail and all that 😉🐌  There were laughs along the way about carry-on baggage only and a smattering of Italian words, mainly the names of pasta and the Cornetto song 🤣

Pete said this week he’s realised that being more isolated at work, now he’s in his own office and most meetings are online (again because of the pandemic constraints) means he’s definitely got more energy for us – the balance is better. I realise even more than I already did that he couldn’t do it before because he’d used up all his energy on other people! Finally time with his wife has made it onto the agenda – only waited 22 years and for his anxiety to be at an all time low!

That’s why we do the step by steps… I’ve kept doing what I need, kept becoming the best version of me for me, then something shifts and we can step by step find a new way.

Hang in there, be YOU, be open, let go of what it should look like and magic can happen! 🥰

ps. we even managed two detours to the plan 😲 We walked across an old railway viaduct and Pete said he could do that because it was train related, there was brickwork to look at and interesting stamps on the bricks about where they were made.

In my journey this is what I’ve named Spontaneity in the Comfort Zone – enough spontaneity for me inside of enough comfort zone for Pete!

Even better, at the end of the day he asked ‘where next?’ so there is appetite for more adventures now we know even more how ours work! – maybe India (..near Winchester) is next on the itinerary!! 🤩

I’d love to hear what your ideal kind of holiday would be as that’s a great place to begin!

The other great news is that I know I could go to Florence anytime if I wanted. I go away regularly on my own and with friends for more of my kind of break, with no plans, more adventure. Pete’s step by stepping in his own time towards some of this now there is more safety and trust for him with these things. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing what I need so that I’m fulfilled and happy.

If you’re navigating different needs and capacity for spontaneity and comforts zones in your relationship and would like some support with that, book a complimentary call to discuss how private coaching can assist you to make the changes you desire or access support from me and other travel companions right now via Coaching in Community, with transformational and surprisingly fun coaching adventures that support your step by steps to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity, be YOU again and flourish – in your relationships and your life.

With love for the sparkly and the safe…

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Natalie Roberts

Author Natalie Roberts

Natalie Roberts is an award-winning Master Coach and Mentor supporting individuals and couples in neurodiverse relationships in the UK and around the world. She coaches individuals and couples to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity and thrive so that they can be true to themselves and feel empowered to make decisions about their present and future that are positive and hopeful.

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