How To Make Your Love Last Long (Part 2)

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‘He believed in me, when I didn’t’

When Janette Brazil, 53, met her second (and younger) husband, she was a divorced mom with two children, including a daughter with severe disabilities. But her new man remained undaunted – and has helped her to find her true purpose in life

‘When I met Raphael through a friend, I never thought it would become a serious relationship. I loved spending time with this funny, handsome young man – just 32, six years younger than me – but I was divorced and had two children, and my daughter Billie uses a wheelchair and needs constant care. I was terrified he’d think, what have I got myself into here? But I soon realized that if I’d had one eye and three legs, it wouldn’t have made any difference to him. He came into my life with his lightness, his spontaneity and his love for me and my children, and he stayed.

Description: Raphael was just 32 when they first met

Raphael was just 32 when they first met

I never doubted our relationship, but the first years of our marriage were really tough.We went on to have two more children, and when I was 45, I felt I couldn’t handle it any more. For years I’d been on autopilot, firefighting everyday problems and managing to stay positive, but now, the mayhem of my daughter Billie’s needs and daily carers’ visits were overwhelming me. I felt panicky and unhappy, and like I couldn’t carry on.

What kept me going was one hour every week, when I escaped to a safe haven: my yoga class. I felt I had a natural ability – it was a space where I could heal. When a friend suggested I qualify to teach by studying in India for a month, I felt sheer excitement and panic rise in my chest. It would be life-changing– though with four kids at home, I knew it was impossible. But when I told Raphael what my teacher had said, he said he’d be the happiest, proudest husband in the world if I did this, and that we would find a way to make it happen. This wonderful man was going to help me make my dream come true.

Janette Brazil’s family

After three months of research, problem-solving and pep-talks from my husband, I found myself alone for the first time in two decades, on a plane to India. I called him every day of the first week and cried down the phone that I wanted to come home, I couldn’t do it, I wasn’t strong enough. But Raphael believed in me when I didn’t, and he gave me the courage to stay and finish what I’d gone to do. So, while he battled with school runs,making dinner for five and a full-time job in property, I was forging a new part of my identity. I ate sitting on the floor with 250 people, using only my hands. I took lessons in anatomy and physiology, and found a way to calm anxious thoughts with meditation. I spent a month without television or the internet, taking the time to stop, read and breathe. Taken out of my reality, I saw I wasn’t as trapped in my life as I’d felt – things could be another way. And with the support and love of my husband, I knew we could build a new life together.

When I came home, I was a different woman. When I think back to the sacrifice that Raphael made for me, I feel so much love and respect for him. The first few years of our marriage were really tough, but we stuck together and made it through, and when we celebrated our 10th anniversary this year, we’d never felt so close. What we have is so much more beautiful for the difficulties we’ve faced, and now that we’ve made it through the darkness and into the light, we’re relishing every moment.’

‘He believed in me, when I didn’t’ says Janette Brasil

Janette’s mantras

You have to make yourself happy

It’s not your partner's responsibility – it’s yours. You have to sort that out for yourself, and then enjoy sharing your happiness with him.

Never give up on love

A relative once told me I was too old and had too much baggage to find another husband when my first marriage ended. But I always believed I’d find someone, so I never gave up looking, and when I met Raphael it was with an open heart.

Feel the fear and conquer it with love

I was terrified when I met Raphael – afraid of breaking out of the routine I was so used to, that I knew I could handle. But I leapt into the unknown and it was the best decision I ever made.

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