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Here’s How Breaking up and Reuniting Taught Mark Groves and Kylie McBeath a Whole New Paradigm for Love

Here’s How Breaking up and Reuniting Taught Mark Groves and Kylie McBeath a Whole New Paradigm for Love

By Stacey Lindsay
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Deep soul-stretching love, where we can fully be ourselves in partnership with another, is one of the greatest things we all want. But so much gets in our way from having it. We have wounds and fears, outdated tools for connection, and, according to Kylie McBeath and Mark Groves, draining relational dynamics and codependent patterns. Married couple McBeath and Groves struggled with all these things, ultimately leading them to break up. Something magical happened, however. Or, more aptly put, something intentional: McBeath and Groves looked closely at what wasn't working and created a new template for love anchored in choice, reverence, safety, and truth. 

Liberated Love, McBeath and Groves' new book, tells of the couple's journey from breaking up to deep personal excavation to reuniting. The positive philosophy advocates guide us with grounded practices and honest stories on cultivating a deep, sustainable connection that is healing and soul-stretching. It's a spotlight on how and why "what we've been taught about love doesn't work," as Groves tells us, and toward a path that allows us "to come back home to all of who we are," says McBeath. 


Let's start with a quote from your book. You write, "if there's one thing that's true about humans, it's that humans need one another." What does that quote elicit for you both? 

Kylie: We need one another more than ever. We're going through such big times and big shifts. There's this rugged individualist narrative that's been propagated for decades. This idea of 'you should be able to do it all on your own.' We see that badge of honor touted everywhere in our society when that's not sustainable, and we're not doing well. That narrative does not help us at all to live well. We're seeing burnout, autoimmune, all these different things happening in our bodies, and we're wondering why that is and what we've done. Thanks to the narratives in our culture, we've internalized that there's something wrong with me or that I need to fix something that's broken. When really, we need to come back to what matters most, which is connection: connection to self, connection to the earth, and connection to one another.

Mark: In the book, we talk about misconceptions. Being in a relationship with someone at the cost of your own needs is unhealthy. But not needing anyone is just as unhealthy, and as Kylie was saying, it has been romanticized. The opposite of a relationship that experiences a codependent dynamic is not to never enter them or never be available to them. Really, it's about: How can we be interdependent? How do we trust one another? How do we create space in a relationship for both people's needs? It's something we all crave, but pretending we don't care or pretending we don't want to be in relationship with one another is not real.

How are our templates and models for relationships lacking?

Kylie: There hasn't necessarily been a model of liberated love or of two individuals who are whole, individuated, and rooted in their self, their soul, their desires, and their core values and needs. What we've seen is a codependent template. In the book, we define codependency as any relational dynamic where we outsource our safety and security from someone or something at the expense of our well-being, our needs, and our wholeness. The keywords I want to bring to the front here are: at the expense of. We see that relational template everywhere where we think, I'm going to get this connection, but I'm going to get it at the expense of this desire of mine or this core need or what I truly want. We're reaching this point in our collective consciousness where the survival programming of I need to stay small, quiet, stuck, stagnant in this mask of people-pleaser, caretaker, perfectionist, workaholic—all this armor that we've developed over the last hundreds of years—is no longer sustainable for us. It's time to do the work to metabolize the grief and pain we carry from not having the permission or the environments we've needed to be all of who we are and to come back home to all of who we are so that we can bring that forward in our relational dynamics. 

What is 'liberated love'?

Kylie: Liberated love is being able to access choice in our relationships where there is no exploitation, no covert manipulation, no covert expectations, no unclean energy. It's about 'I'm choosing to be here. I don't need to be here. I'm choosing to be here.' That's the key distinction with choice. I know I'm okay on my own because I'm resourced with community, sisterhood, et cetera, and I trust in my body and being in my soul's path. But I'm choosing fully to be here in this relationship with you. To me, that choice allows for liberation to exist. 

Another big component of liberated love is centering and honoring truth. Mark and I are always honest with one another. I'm honest in all of my relationships because truth is always the last thing standing. So liberated love is a space for truth to exist and for reverence to exist, where we hold our partner with reverence and ourselves with reverence and everything they have to bring forward about who they are, their desires, and their path on this planet. 

You punctuate your book with three main sections—Relationship 1.0, The Sacred Pause, and Relationship 2.0. Please walk us through those.

Kylie: In the first, Relationship 1.0 is all of these relationships we have in our lives where we're in a relationship, and it's costing us something that isn't in service to our well-being. The Sacred Pause is about returning to yourself, your center, and your roots, and building that inner foundation so that you're not reliant on an external source for validation, safety, or security. It's about being able to resource in unconscious ways, I should say, so that we can move out of those survival responses and into more nourishing, life-enhancing responses that honor all of who we are and honor the individuals with whom we are in a relationship. That's then what Relationship 2.0 is really about: Once we gain the skills and that internal foundation, we can go back into the world in our relationships as somebody who's more connected to themselves. 

This is all anchored in your relationship: You were together, you broke up, and then you got back together. You're honest about the codependency and denial you each experienced the first time around. How does it feel to have your history so raw on the page?

Mark: We lived the breakup pretty out loud, or I did. Kylie went into a little cocoon. But it feels good. We thought, if we can walk through this and create tools, strategies, and insights through our own experience—because humans learn through narrative through story—perhaps it would give other people this opportunity to see all the blind spots and masks and even codependent hooks. We believe these are concepts that are not really popularized or normal. We saw these subtle ways that codependency was showing up in our relationship, so having it all written out and formulated has been really beautiful. 

Kyle: To go full circle on where we started our conversation now with the connection piece, I think about the book as a guide of reconnecting to what matters most. I believe, in my experience and in our work together, that the body is the way home. We need to reconnect to our bodies, to our hearts, to our feelings and our emotions, all of these things that we've had to push aside. So, to be able to share that in a wish and hope for more people to come back to their bodies and their hearts makes me tender. So many things are calling for reconnection right now. My prayer is that by sharing our story and our work in the world, we offer a pathway back to ourselves and to one another. 

Mark: So much of this is about untangling that story—the story we've been and witnessed in childhood and in movies, culture, and religion—from the story we're trying to create. So we have this desire and yearning to create relationships where we get to feel like and be ourselves. How strange is it that it's strange for the relationship to be the container, space, or vehicle that allows you to step fully into yourself and your dreams? Those are things we do when we break up. Why wouldn't it be in our best interest to fully access those things in a relationship? Where the frictions that the relationship has are an invitation to heal and stand in our truth?

You write that "the journey home to ourselves, our bodies, and our souls requires deep excavation." You're forthcoming that liberated love takes work. Yet, today, there's a tendency to seek quick fixes. What if somebody was intimidated or scared to dive in and do that deep work? What would you say?

Mark: The first thing I would say is that fear is an appropriate response. They're valid in their fear. Usually, what we're afraid to discover is something we already know. It's being in the truth of what we know, being with our pain, and the challenges we've had growing up or in the world. We make the case, and this is my experience, that fear is the emotion that's required to crack open. I used to be so afraid of grief, sadness, and anger, but now I see that they are just as important as joy, excitement, and curiosity. When I think of someone [being afraid], the grief that is probably associated there is around the fact that what you're going to find is more of you. There's almost a grief that accompanies I've always been there, but I haven't attended to myself, and I haven't attended to my needs. Those are big truths, and they're usually generational. So the fear is totally normal, but it is not an indication that you shouldn't walk toward it. When someone is trying to figure out a choice. I say, which one are you most afraid of? 

Kylie: We're shifting out of patterns, identities, and strategies that our nervous system has relied on to keep us safe for a very long time, so the fear response is incredibly valid. Because our systems don't know that there's a different possibility, a different way of orienting to the world in relationship to other people. That's why Mark and I talk about resourcing. How do we adequately resource to create the safety our systems need to thaw and move into these tender spaces? That's also where we bring in conversation around ceremony. Our ancestors who were connected to the earth utilized ceremony to process emotion and move into these sticky places, and we've lost that technology that really allows us to feel held. Francis Weller, a therapist and a social activist, would call this an uncontained initiation, which becomes trauma because it's not being contained. There isn't somebody holding the container with us. So, we need to start creating containers to be held through the process, which is the most deeply loving way to move into these spaces of fear and we can feel safe to move into those tender places that might feel scary. 

Mark: And when we say resources, that can be people, therapists, mentors—a book club can even be a resource.

Kylie: We have a whole list of resources at the end of the book.

With the understanding that each of us is going through unique journeys and therefore needs unique resources and pathways, what is one thing we can all do to move toward liberated love today?

Mark: We have to start tiptoeing our way, if we haven't done it, back towards what's real and what's true. For me, that first point of inquiry is asking: What's true for me right now about my relationships, my life, and what I tolerate from other people and myself? Do I miss me? Do I know me? Do I compromise aspects of myself for relationship? Do I not honor what I truly desire? Do I minimize my voice and my wants? Do I think I'm too much and too emotional? It's starting to do these points of inquiry, of checking in on how disconnected I am from what is real. We have a whole chapter in the book called Getting Right with Reality. Everything else after, in any form of change, requires that first part. So, if there's one thing I would say, it's to start confronting what is true.

Kylie: In addition to that, I would say to bring an inquiry into your nervous system and your nervous system states throughout the day. It's about starting to become aware: Am I activated? How do I bring myself back into more center? A key starting point in returning back to the body is: How am I responding somatically in this moment, in this dynamic, in this conversation? And how can I begin to practice to come back into center? That may be restoring a connection with breath. I'll never forget the first time I went to a yoga class when I was at university. We did a Pranayama breathing exercise, and I said to myself, I've never felt this calm in my whole life. I didn't even know that state was possible. That was a lightbulb moment to see how a different way of orienting our being is possible. And a lot of that is coming back to breath and coming back to body. This could even be placing our hands on body throughout the day, setting a reminder, and saying, 'I'm here, I'm listening, I've got you.' 

In my experience, coming back to all of those sensations allows me to increase my inquiry with myself and my self-trust, because I'm slowing down enough to listen. Then, I can nourish and nurture this nervous system of mine so that I can be more present with the truth, and act on it. 

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Kylie McBeath is a certified health coach, host of ‘The Journey Home Podcast, co-founder of Zura Health, ceremonialist, and writer. She guides women through life transitions and supports them through the process of self-discovery. Learn more at

Mark Groves is a human connection specialist, host of ‘The Mark Groves Podcast,’ speaker, writer, motivator, creator, connector, and the founder of Create The Love. He invites people to explore the good, bad, downright ugly, and beautiful sides of connection. Learn more at


Stacey Lindsay

Stacey Lindsay is a journalist and Senior Editor at The Sunday Paper. A former news anchor and reporter, Stacey is passionate about covering women's issues. Learn more at:

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