DATING AND RELATING
Epiphany made CFL linebacker Emry a better person
Vancouver native Shea Emry, a CFL linebacker with the Montreal Alouettes who is engaged to local entrepreneur Devon Brooks, says men need to open up about their feelings to strengthen the connection with their partner. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
What do happy couples know? It seems a lot. We ask local people to share their wisdom and lessons learned on life, love and secrets to a healthy relationship.
Name: Shea Emry
Occupation: Football player
Relationship status: Engaged to Devon Brooks
How did your challenging history shape you?
When I was younger I was subject to extreme bullying. It created a mindset personally where I was always questioning my self-worth. I was depressed and escaped by using drugs, alcohol and women. Then, when I was 25, my mother opened up about some of the serious health issues she had been facing. This sort of conversation was all new to me as our family never discussed deep issues. This is when I had an epiphany. I realized how much my parents went through in order simply to give me an existence, and it was time I honoured that. I made a decision to be a better person. I wanted to give back to the community that gave me so much. My life started to change from there.
A lot of men find it difficult to talk about feelings openly. Any advice?
Don’t be afraid to be open. There is strength in the vulnerability of that, manning up and talking about your feelings that won’t make you look weak. It will strengthen the bond with your partner, and, in turn, the connection to your soul.
In pro sports there are always women and temptation around. How do you handle that?
It’s not difficult, as I don’t put myself in a position to have that temptation. I have this great woman that I feel doesn’t compare to any other woman I’ve ever met in my life. It would be a waste of time to even entertain such ideas. Devon (Brooks) and I have a strong bond that has been cultivated from openness and honesty. Getting into a situation that would jeopardize that trust is not worth it.
What advice do you have for singles out there?
Don’t try to be someone you’re not to pick up a girl you think that you want. You’re presenting them with someone who is not you. The act can only last so long. I don’t believe in putting your ‘best foot forward.’ I believe in putting your authentic-self forward, that way you filter out the ones that aren’t the right fit and eventually attract the person who will accept you and love you for who you really are.
What would you tell your younger self?
Recognize when you’re not happy in the relationship, and when you conclude you are not with the right person, move forward and don’t feel bad about it. Instead of dragging it out, honour the fact that the person has a life to live and a love that’s waiting for them.