Natalia Juarez is known as “The Breakup Coach.” After going through a broken engagement in 2010, Natalia became obsessed with healing her own broken heart and learning to date in a healthier way. In 2013 she founded BetterBreakups, an organisation dedicated to helping men and women navigate their breakups and date better in the modern dating world. Natalia has found meaning in her heartbreak by becoming the person she wished she had had in her life when she was going through her romantic challenges.
Using a unique process including coaching, dating strategy and mindfulness practices, Natalia supports men and women to use breakups as a time for authentic transformation. She is a respected resource for those seeking relationship support due to her genuine passion for healthy relationships, her professional background, and her own personal experiences. Natalia holds a degree in Gender Studies from Queen’s University, as well as an Education degree, and is a certified holistic coach, dating coach, and yoga teacher. She has been featured in Vice magazine, The Guardian, NPR, Market Watch, etc.
So since Natalia’s services include breakup coaching, online dating strategy, and relationship coaching, we took the unusual route of interviewing her about her own sticky situations, relationship goals and if she really believes that millennial women are holding off on relationships until later in life.
Hey Natalia, how is your day so far?
Pretty great so far. In fact, it’s my birthday! When you love what you do, you don’t need to take a day off to enjoy yourself.
Happy birthday!!! Now, aside from the birthday shenanigans, as a breakup coach can you tell us what a typical 24 hours for you like?
I like to start off my day with a bit of “ritual,” however short. Whether I read something inspirational, or write in my journal with my morning coffee, or go for a walk I greatly appreciate having some time to connect with myself. From there I head over to my co-working space that I love, and I work through some emails before I start my coaching calls at 10 am. The majority of my coaching sessions are done online via video conferencing with people from all over the world. In between my sessions, I have been working on a breakup recovery course that will be out later this year. I also provide email and “text-support” to my clients in between their sessions to make sure they aren’t getting stuck on things that come up in their life.
Although I tend to have long work days to accommodate the time differences of my clients, as well as “emergency sessions,” it balances out, because as an entrepreneur I’m able to take breaks throughout my day to fit in my favourite yoga classes for example.
After work is usually a time for my partner and me to connect. Whether we’re making a simple dinner or going out, we can talk for hours and I love that.
Can you give us a little background information and take us through the journey of how you got to where you are today?
Long story short, in my 20s I had two longterm relationships that were incredibly formative. I was involved with my first boyfriend from the age of 18 to 26. I thought he was my soulmate, but our relationship was extremely tumultuous and it took us years to let each other go. Shortly after I met the man who would years later become my ex-fiance, but it was practically love at first sight when we met. He was everything on “my list,” so I believed this man was “the one.” We quickly became engaged, but over time I completely lost myself in that relationship. I had become a version of myself that I didn’t enjoy being – I was less extroverted, dressed differently, spent less time with my friends, and had stopped dancing Tango. As much as I thought I loved him, I wasn’t happy not being my true self.
In 2010, just months before I turned 30, I broke off the engagement and left him and my home. I was heartbroken, scared to be alone, and devastated to be starting over. However, at that point in my life, I accepted that I was the common denominator in my relationships and that if I wanted things to be different, I would have to do something different. So I did everything I could, I found a great therapist, started reading every great relationship book I could find and got to work on myself!
Once I had helped myself recover from my breakup, became a more authentic version of myself, and had started dating in a healthier way I felt compelled to share what I had learned with others who were struggling in these same areas. When my friends, and then friends of friends started reaching out for help, I began to wonder if I could do this professionally.
Around that same time, I started taking a business coaching course to improve my business at the time, a holistic daycare. Although I had been a school teacher for years I knew nothing about business. It was in that course that I began to connect some dots. However, I had no idea at the time that “dating coaches” even existed! So when I found a dating coaching company to train with, I was ecstatic.
When I started my relationship coaching business in 2013, it really wasn’t easy to put myself out there when I was still single and dating myself, but I felt compelled share with others what I had learned because, in so many ways, I had become the person I wished I had had in my life when I was going through heartache and felt lost in love.
How did you arrive at the point of wanting to become a breakup coach?
When I first started out I called myself “love coach” and I offered general dating coaching services, including “breakup recovery.” I personally found supporting others through their breakups and/or tricky relationship issues to be the most rewarding and as I started creating more and more content about breakups, I organically came to be known as “the breakup coach.”
Although it was scary to niche my business, especially around such a taboo topic, a couple of years ago I made the bold choice to announce the new direction my business. It really wasn’t easy to market a service most people aren’t used to paying for, and in many cases don’t even know exists, but over time I acquired some key media exposure that validated my expertise and services things naturally took off from there!
What prompted you to want to start giving others advice regarding breaking up with someone?
Although my coaching started with helping people recover from difficult breakups, a couple of years ago I started getting inquiries from people who wanted to break-up with their partners. It was a bit daunting at first, but when I started hearing their stories I realised that rather than hurting their partners by staying, letting them go was actually the most loving thing they could do. Since I had such a unique vantage point of what makes breakups so hard for “dumpees” I inherently knew what “dumpers” should and should not do. For example, not knowing a breakup is coming can make someone feel blind-sided, so I coach my clients to have the difficult but important conversations leading up to a breakup to give their partners a heads up that they are having doubts.
I guess what we all want to know is, what was the weirdest most awkward situation you have been in as a breakup coach?
Years ago, I worked with a married man who had been having an affair for over a year with a younger woman. He wasn’t sure whether he wanted to end his marriage to be with the other woman or not. Through our work together he came to realise that he was infatuated with the other woman and the newness of the relationship. He would eventually have challenges in that relationship as well, and so he discovered for himself that he actually wanted to be with his wife and work through their challenges. Not only did I coach him to break it off with the other woman, but he hired me to coach her through the transition! I’m happy to report that years later, she is also in a healthy relationship.
Whats the most common scenario you’re faced with?
Although I deal with the entire spectrum of breakups, there are two common scenarios I see. I get a lot of inquiries from people who have been through a recent breakup and they want their partners back. In the majority of these cases a reconciliation is usually not the best course of action, and so I work to help them accept that the breakup happened for good reasons and they are best to move on. However, in some cases, a reconciliation is possible with an authentic and strategic plan.
Then there are people who are heartbroken and would like to heal and move on but feel stuck. I help these clients see their relationship for what it was – the good and bad – and create a plan to accelerate their healing while rebuilding their lives and identity. Although each breakup is unique, I have written a free “Breakup Survival Guide” that’s available on my website that a lot of people find helpful.
Most complex to untwine?
The most difficult situations I deal with are with people who are addicted to “infatuated love.” All their lives they have been driven by attraction, passion and/or drama and they don’t really know what real love is. They are unwilling to be open to the possibilities that real love might look very different from their ideas of TV romance. These ideas take some work to undo because it requires a complete paradigm shift.
What about a personal situation you have been through that you may want to share with us?
On that last note, when I first started dating my current boyfriend a few years ago I wondered how compatible we could really be because I thought he wasn’t my “type.” I thought he was too analytical, he worked in tech, and I’d never dated anyone who was Chinese. Yet, I kept saying yes whenever he would ask me out because he seemed like a really great person. We dated for months and took things slowly.
Over time I came to appreciate who he really was, his kindness, and his witty sense of humor and from there I naturally became extremely attracted to him! I love sharing this story because there are so many women who aren’t willing to be open to all sorts of possibilities in love and letting things develop organically. If your type hasn’t worked out, be open to trying something different!
Can you talk us through the ‘social media strategy’ that you mention online?
The presence of social media has undoubtedly made breakups harder, as such it is critical to have a plan in place to deal with the common pitfalls. For example, I always encourage my clients to disconnect from their ex on all platforms. You don’t need to be “friends” with your ex on social media. It’s too easy to snoop these days and make up all kinds of stories that won’t support your healing. If you think your ex will be offended, that’s no excuse not to take care of yourself. Simply send your ex a short message letting them know you’ll be disconnecting from them for the unforeseeable future in order to heal and move on. Taking care of yourself is your number one priority post-breakup.
Now for the nitty-gritty, do you think you personally take your own advice?
I do now! Lol. I love this question because I am definitely a product of my work. As a result of dating in a strategic and healthy way, I am now in the greatest relationship of my life with a man who I am head-over-heels with and who is my best friend. Relationships used to be so difficult for me, albeit highly “passionate.” I never knew love could be so easy and peaceful, although it still takes work and commitment.
Why do you think that so many millennial women are now holding off on relationships until later in life?
I don’t think millennial women are necessarily holding off on relationships, but I do see them holding off on getting married and/or having children. I think some of the main reasons are that women are placing a higher priority on their careers, and it’s more socially acceptable to wait.
That said, given what I see day in and day out, I would encourage women to balance their career goals with their relationship goals, especially if they want children. It can take a few relationships to find the right one, so its best to start sooner rather than later.
Realistically, what is this teaching you about relationships?
It’s well known that the greatest source of our joy comes from the all the relationships in our lives, and yet so many of us do not equally prioritise them with our career and financial aspirations. In just the same way that we aim to invest in our professional development, we would greatly benefit from continuously developing our relationship skills. Luckily there are great resources available to support us in developing loving and deeply fulfilling relationships. On my website, I share a lot of my favourite resources in the “Lovistics Library.”
As a golden rule, can a monogamous relationship still work in this modern-day society?
Absolutely. If monogamy is what both partners in a relationship truly want, then they can absolutely create that together by committing to do the work it takes to maintain a strong connection and protect their relationship.
Ok, let’s talk business, what other female entrepreneurs inspire you?
Lately, I can’t get enough of Hilary Rushford. I have done her courses and I love her unique style and business insights. I love Taryn Toomey’s work and find her personal style consistently elegant and beautifully edgy. I did “the class” in New York in 2016, and I still feel moved. And then there is Gabrielle Bernstein, whose work I have been recently revisiting. Gabby is such the perfect blend of spirituality, vulnerability and business savvy for me! I find she helps me reconnect with living from the heart.
Do you feel as an entrepreneur you are offered the right amount of support you need in order to grow?
It has taken some time, but I have built a life that supports me as an entrepreneur. Once I decided to make the switch from living the life of school teacher to that of an entrepreneur a lot of things needed to change. I now have a great group of entrepreneurial friends, I work out of an inspiring co-working space, and I’m continuously investing in developing myself with great coaches, courses, and books. It also doesn’t hurt that my amazing partner is also an entrepreneur! #relationshipgoals
What do you think the key traits are for a great leader?
First and foremost, you need to be committed to self-mastery and learning to lead yourself. No excuses. Secondly, I believe it’s vital to surround yourself with other people who are growth-minded and holding themselves to the same standards. It’s an on-going practice to develop yourself as a leader, but it truly starts with taking full responsibility for your life and your business.
What makes a great entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and that’s ok. What I never expected when I started working for myself was how much time, energy and resources I would have to invest in developing myself as a businesswoman. When I first started out, I simply wanted to help others by being the best coach I could be for them. But as a true entrepreneur, you have to not only love what you do, but love being in the business of what you do. I can honestly say I love working both in my business and on my business.
Any advice for our other great female leaders out there?
Continue to invest in yourself – for your business and yourself. Surround yourself with great people, who are growth-minded and compliment your life. Building a business takes time, so get committed and enjoy the process!
Finally, one lasting tip for getting over a REALLLYYYY bad breakup? We NEED to know…
It may sound simple, but it all starts with knowing, in your heart of hearts, that you are going to be ok. Yes, you’re going to experience some difficult emotions and big challenges – breakups are naturally difficult – but it’s all going to be worth it. So tell yourself you’re going to be better than ok, and commit to doing “the work” that’s going to move you forward. A breakup is a tremendous opportunity for authentic growth. You got this!
Twitter: @lovistics | Instagram: @thebreakupcoach