Second Breaks 175: Working on Our Relationships and Ourselves with James and Claire Davis
February 17, 2022

“We tell ourselves that our personality, our beliefs, our self-identity, are fixed constraints. That we’ve been shaped by all the things that have happened to us. And that’s just the way it is now. We must remember that we are the masters of our destiny. We have the power to change our beliefs and our self-identity.” — James Davis

James and Claire Davis are the husband and wife team behind the multi-award-winning coaching and fitness company 38 Degrees North and coaching brand The Midlife Mentors. They leverage their backgrounds in psychology, coaching, and NLP to help midlifers make positive changes in their lives.

James and Claire were both married — to other people. They both got divorced in midlife then found each other, fell in love, built a business together, all the good stuff.

That’s a broad brush of what happened. But peel back the curtains a bit and you’ll see the personal work that James and Claire had to do on themselves to make their relationship work.

People can feel lost a little when long-term relationships end, as James pointed out. So much of our identity can be tied to the previous relationship. Rediscovering who we are (and what we want) may be the first order of business before we can bring ourselves fully into a new relationship.

We may also be taking along baggage from our past relationships if we’re not careful about it. Obviously, this cannot be good for the new relationship.

I began the conversation with Claire and James with their personal love story in mind. But it became obvious very quickly that what we were talking about was the most important relationship in our life — our relationship with ourselves.

And the quality of that relationship affects all the others.


  • The steps that James and Claire took separately and together to give their new relationship its best chance.
  • James said the question to ask isn’t whether it’s too late or not. Rather it’s, “If I don’t start addressing this now, what would it look like for me in 10 years in 20 years?” This question can be applied to so many areas in our life where we may be thinking of making a change — our relationships, our health, our goals. Anytime we’re hesitating and wondering if we can take the next step, we can ask ourselves what the cost of that inaction may be.
  • Claire pointed out that midlife can bring about stress in the relationship too. She said, “In midlife, we’re often growing, reevaluating, and reinventing. This can either bring you together or pull you apart.” One side of the relationship may feel threatened, while the other may feel unsupported. This does not necessarily signal the end of the relationship and this is when communication is extremely crucial.


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