Category Archives: Relationships

Advice on everything related to love and relationships.

51. Trauma Work

While I was doing trauma work, the counselor brought up two volunteers to give an example of how people will share “crumbs” from their lives. These crumbs come from our past traumas and experiences. When I visually saw this example, it was powerfully revealing. I had not thought of it that way. It got me thinking—how many times in my past relationships was I giving only crumbs?

Pillows and Trauma Work 

The counselor during our trauma work shared another example: two people piling pillows into each other’s hands. The pillows here represent past hurt or scarring from childhood. Even a teacher yelling at you in the seventh grade was an example of a pillow. How many times have we unconsciously asked people to hold our pillows? When a person doesn’t hold our pillows correctly, we move the pillows over to someone else who possibly might hold them better for us. Interesting example, right? This also made visual sense to me. 

We ask a person, “Here, hold this pillow very straight—nope, to the left—no wait, a little more to the right” and so on. The expectation that someone would hold our stuff just the way we want is absurd. And we shouldn’t be holding other people’s pillows either! The best we can do for each other is to hold space. The minute we expect people to take on our trauma or pain, we find ourselves in trouble. 

Using Therapy during Trauma Work 

While I was watching these examples play out, I realized that to be free in any relationship, we have to spend time working on our own crumbs, our own pile of pillows. The trauma work will not be easy at times. But in my experience, it is worth it. Being able to show up in a relationship with zero expectations and instead total love and gratitude is the goal today. Mel Robbins says it best: “No one is coming!” Nobody will waltz in to do your healing, so stop looking outside yourself. 

I listened to Mel every day when I went through deep recovery. Hearing her say that over and over helped me learn how to take control of my own healing. I finally started to take matters into my own hands. 

Therapy is great and often necessary, but it is not the whole pie. Therapy can cost thousands of dollars, and if you don’t put in the extra work, it is just an hour of therapy. You need to put in the trauma work to start healing. I have many people in my circle who created a space for my recovery. My people are my additional support as I do the work of healing. 

Cakes Instead of Crumbs

To avoid receiving others’ crumbs and scraps as well, we must build our cake of healing using as many ingredients as possible that work for us. We should also remove ingredients we might be allergic to. We get to build the cake, use all our favorite ingredients, and follow the recipes and advice from any number of the available programs and teachers out there. There are endless possibilities in the forms of help.

Whenever I’m in a rut, thinking I have exhausted all my tools, I remember to search for a new one. Being stuck means I have moved on from the lesson I was learning. My growth is moving and shifting. Now I need a new ingredient. It’s time to move to a new level. Maybe I should pick up a new book. I am listening to Untamed by Glennon Doyle at the moment—another perspective, another ingredient to my healing. I highly recommend this read! 

Do Your Own Trauma Work

I want to be the type of person who holds my own pillows, takes responsibility for my own healing, and shares more than crumbs with others. I want to do my own trauma work rather than pass it on to others. 

This journey has been worth every step. I now wake up less anxious, and I’m not as disappointed at the time. A feeling of calm has come over me, and when it does I say, “Thank you.” I am grateful for my healing process, my life, and all the experiences that have gotten me to where I am today. I believe that all my life experiences have been gifts, not crumbs—the good, the bad, and the ugly. 


43. Honeymoon Phase

Most relationships start out hot. The chemistry is there, and everything feels amazing in the beginning. People call this the honeymoon phase: for the first one to three months, everything is amazing. During the next three to six months, the feminine energy within the couple starts wondering, “Where is this going?” Then in months six through nine, the relationship begins to fade. The feminine energy becomes focused on time. Thoughts like “It’s been nine months, where is the ring?” start to crop up. While this doesn’t happen in every relationship, this pattern emerges frequently. 

Avoiding Honeymoon Burnout

To avoid this fate, you need to do one thing before the hot sex and chemistry takes over: explore each other. For the first one to three months, try to refrain from being too intimate and instead use this time to explore the other person from the neck up! I have found that at the nine-month mark, the honeymoon begins to dwindle. Want the good news? It’s supposed to! The honeymoon is not meant to last forever, but you do have forever to practice. See the difference? 

Here is the deal: the honeymoon phase doesn’t even come close to the next phase. The next phase involves co-creating and committing to do the work. All relationships are work, so before you pack up your bags and move to the next hot nine months with someone else, stop! Ask yourself, Is this the person you want to walk through fire with? And then look for a definitive answer—not “Well . . .” Look for the yes!

Relationships that start off hot with lots of chemistry and no exploring fade out. To explore, find out more about each other: do you have similar interests, do you think of money in the same way, do you like to have adventures and travel, do you want kids, how do you see yourself raising the kids, are you religious, what does your spirituality look like? Exploring takes a good one to three months because whomever you end up with, you really want to enjoy your partner’s company, conversation skills, and ideas. Maybe something he or she does might get on your nerves. Before things get hot and heavy, get to know each other so you can see if this person is someone you might want to have around longer than nine months. 

Define the Journey

Some of you might just be looking for friends with benefits at the moment and you’re not looking for anything serious. I encourage you to be honest about that. Make sure the person knows ahead of time before he or she starts bonding with you. If you take a partner on a trip for more than a weekend getaway, you are most likely in a relationship. In the beginning, keep it to weekend getaways and vocalize that you are not ready to be serious. Women need to be vocal about this. When you start having the relationship conversations, the honeymoon is over, and both men and women can pull back at this point.

It can take many years to work through all the childhood issues, so when you do meet someone who has your back and you trust, then at nine months let the work begin! Do not throw in the towel so easily. I think most people know if they want to be in a relationship or not. I think we are tested right around the six- or nine-month mark because the universe wants you to be with your soulmate. We can feel this push and pull. Sometimes women test men subconsciously; some want to know their partner will fight for their honor. Others want to know they can be free with their feminine energy and not hold back.

If we do not make it through the power struggle phase and the relationship ends, then take the time to heal that energy before jumping in with another soul. That energy is in your body and your space. I know after my divorce I struggled with the idea of taking down all the photos with my ex and the kids. I worried about how that would look. I ended up leaving the ones with him and the kids but took down anything that had just the two of us. I had to let go of that energy. 

For the couples who stay in the game and realize, “We got this, we have each other’s backs,” and feel beyond grateful to have found this person, they get the connection has nothing else to do but get deeper. This relationship only gets better with time!

Love Ourselves and Our Partner

Remember, new love can be exciting. The nine-month mark will hit everyone. The most loving thing we can do with another human that we want to connect with is to be truthful and honest about what we need. If you are looking to go deep and find the person you want to go to any lengths with, then you must give yourself ninety days. During that time, clear your energy and space, spend time alone, gather your thoughts, write about what your past relationships have brought up for you, and love yourself. This is the best investment you can give yourself. 

When this work is done fully, the relationship evolves into something truly magical, beyond what could have been imagined in the first nine months. The most beautiful relationships are the ones when the partners walk through the fire together. Partners need to put in the work, grow together, and offer each other complete devotion. They will go to the depths of any situation and will work through it together. Nothing gets in the way of this power couple. Here is to love!


New relationship? Watch for these subtle early red flags

You likely know that gaslighting, uncontrolled temper, any form of abuse and contempt are bright red flags when it comes to dating. Because these behaviors are so obvious and toxic, it’s easier to end things before your relationship gets worse.

But what about the subtle red flags when you first start dating someone? 

These are behaviors that you might not like but aren’t sure if it’s worth walking away. In the throes of infatuation and when you start falling in love, it’s easy to overlook or minimize certain behaviors. After all, when you find someone new, your body is hijacked by hormones that push you to ignore your date’s…not-so-stellar actions. 

I want to save you time and heartache from being with the wrong fit, so before you find yourself deeply attached, watch for these subtle signs that show themselves early on:

1. They engage in double standard behavior. This means that their rules and beliefs apply to you—but not to them. They don’t want you to stay in touch with exes, but they think it’s okay for them to text their ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend. They expect total honesty from you, but allow themselves to bend the truth or omit important information. They’re allowed to cancel plans if they need a night in, but if you do it, they guilt trip you. They give themselves the freedom to act however they want to act—but try to suppress your freedom. Since you’re held accountable but they rarely are, you’ll feel resentment and distrust sooner rather than later. 

2. They’re critical. You get criticized for even the most basic of things, like the shirt you picked out, how you chop a vegetable, or that you’d prefer to binge a Netflix show rather than take part in an activity. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells like you can’t do or say anything right, and that your every movement is being looked at under a microscope. When you see criticism early on, it can be a sign that they have high anxiety, control issues, or really expect you to be someone else. Whatever the reason, they probably won’t ever be satisfied with you. You deserve someone who will accept you and appreciate you for who you are. It’s one thing if someone inspires you to grow in a better direction, but it’s another thing entirely if they point out your flaws, make you feel miserable, or want to change you. 

3. They refuse to understand your perspective. If a relationship is going to succeed, it’s important that both people feel validated. In other words, they need to feel that their partner “gets them.” However, if you find that you’re sharing your feelings and experiences, and they never attune to your needs, you’ll never feel emotionally safe. If they routinely dismiss, minimize, or ridicule you, it’s simple: they’re not ready to be with you. Inevitably you won’t feel comfortable sharing your innermost thoughts, and then what’s the point? Find someone who wants to hear about your colorful inner world and validates you. This is what makes intimacy happen.

4. They’re unwilling to put in the effort. You’ve expressed your needs—but your new partner isn’t meeting them. They say they’re going to take care of something, and then they “keep forgetting.” You tell them something is important to you but they don’t do anything about it. In essence, you feel like you’re carrying the relationship. If you don’t see effort in the beginning—during the time that most people go over-the-top to impress their new significant other—don’t expect things to change. If they’re not interested in putting in the effort now, they’re not going to put it in later, and you’ll never be able to rely on them or feel like you matter—and you should feel like you matter.

5. They don’t show appreciation. You went out of your way to buy them a thoughtful gift and they responded with “cool.” You worked overtime so you could spend a day with them—and they don’t acknowledge your efforts. You read the book they’ve passionately talked about, and they give a shrug when you share. Appreciation acts as a buffer against negativity, and without it, a relationship can head toward a downward spiral. Appreciation also increases the amount of respect and affection in a relationship. It doesn’t always have to be expressed verbally, but you should be consistently building a culture of appreciation. And again, in the beginning, it should be easy to point out all of the wonderful things about you. Without consistent appreciation, you’ll miss out on the surplus of positivity that’s needed to roll with the inevitable ups and downs of a relationship. 

So here’s the deal. Sometimes, even the best partners occasionally raise a red flag. They’re human. We’re human. Sometimes we forget to compliment our partner. Sometimes we really do forget about something important. We’re imperfect. They’re imperfect. However, these red flags should be few and far between. If these behaviors seem to have taken up permanent residence in your relationship—and they’re the rule, not the exception—proceed with caution, and think about what you’re putting yourself through. You want to be in a healthy relationship that is generally free of these five red flags.

41. Heartbreak Recovery

The loss of a love can bring up other old losses. Recovery after one heartbreak gives us the time to recover from those other ones too. We can be in excruciating pain, and we might want to stay in bed and pull the covers over our heads. Sometimes we can actually feel physical pain. It might feel like the heartbreak is never going to end, but it will. 

My Big Heartbreak

In my fifty-seven years I have been through some breakups. Of course, none was harder than my divorce. It actually brought me to my knees in a department store in Salt Lake City. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was at the furniture store RC Willy, and I literally lost my shit. I fell to my knees hysterical, and thank God I was in a furniture store and near the bed section so I could lay down and pretend to try out a new mattress. 

Often looking back, and even as I write this, I laugh at how funny it sounds. But at the time it was not funny. I was so incredibly sad. I went through all the stages of grief, and then some. I was sad, then bitter, angry, back to sad, really angry—I felt I was on a never-ending roller coaster. 

The phases of pain do eventually stop, though they can reappear during your next breakup. You might go through what you think is the worst breakup ever, and you finally get relief—only to relive it again during the next breakup. Talk about a roller coaster! I certainly went through that cycle. I had another relationship that ended, and my mind took me right back to the RC Willy bed section, crying my eyes out. It took me years to figure out why I came back to that heartbreak while experiencing a new one. 

Any Chance of Recovery

The end of a relationship can bring up so much from the past. I did not realize this could happen. What made it worse for me is I never took the time to do the things I do now: 

  • Journal about the pain. 
  • Sit in silence. 
  • Do nothing until the pain somewhat passes. 
  • Stay close to family and friends and not isolate. 
  • Talk openly with a few trusted people about the pain. 
  • Recognize that this is grief and not depression (in most cases, at least). 
  • Go thirty, preferably ninety, days without contacting the ex (it would be too triggering). 
  • Get into hobbies. 
  • And most importantly, accept what is. 

I did none of these after my divorce. I went full throttle into working, taking care of the kids, and trying to figure out my identity. I kept asking myself, “Who am I if I’m not Mrs. So-and-So?”

I never did heartbreak recovery for myself. I also was shocked at how quickly my ex moved on and got remarried, which added more to my plate of grief. I kept saying it was too soon and too fast. I felt like I was stuck in a whirlwind of events, and I had no tools to deal with any of it. At the time I took it so personally, thinking, “How could he move on so fast? Why isn't he grieving?” 

Isn't that interesting? I thought he should be suffering as much as I was, which is not unconditional love. The very essence of unconditional love is just that—to love under any condition. 

The Many Faces of Heartbreak

Heartbreak recovery is different for everyone, same as grief. Loss has no timeline. We all have different pasts and triggers that will pop up when we experience losses, breakups, or anything else coming to an end. Separation anxiety can hit after a ten-day vacation, which while not as severe is still real. The same goes for leaving a job, home (when you move), relationships, marriages, and even death. We all will deal with these losses differently. For some, they will jump into another marriage while the ink is still wet on the divorce papers, and that is okay. That is about them and their lives. You just work on you.

Of course, that is easier said than done. When you are in a situation like that, you cannot see straight. You’ll fumble and drop the ball. You might say something you cannot take back that came from a place of anger. Yes, anger is a part of heartbreak. But when you have a good toolbox full of useful therapies, you can reach in and say, “Okay, I have this tool, and I will use it on me, not them!” 

Do not judge others for how they move on after a breakup. They are just doing the best they can with what they know. Our job is to work on our self-love. I highly recommend therapy if you can afford it. But we live in a world nowadays where so much is accessible for free, such as this blog. After my divorce I would have devoured this blog and searched for more. I was stuck. If you are feeling stuck and looking at what your ex is doing, stop. Immediately get into your own heart and protect yourself. 

Some people will try to make you feel better by saying, “You will look back and see it is all okay.” But when you’re in it, you don’t see or feel that way. I look back on my RC Willy episode and laugh at how completely lost I was. More importantly I cried for days. But it ended up all right. 

Cry your heart out, cry your anger out, just cry it out, and focus only on you, not them. Spend your time and energy on you and find out more about yourself so the next person or partner that comes along will be with someone who is doing the important self-work.

How to Recover from Heartbreak

Heartbreak recovery has no time limit. For me, after something comes to an end and I feel heartache, I spend time writing, meditating, doing yoga, and getting in touch with myself again. I cannot date right away, at least not for ninety days. I believe in cleansing the energy and space and clearing my head. I want to be ready for whatever is going to come my way. 

Taking time for yourself is the best recovery. A lot gets revealed during that time of being alone with yourself—being alone not in a lonely way but as self-care. Your heart will open even bigger to all possibilities available. Your ex quickly moving on isn't bad; it is just the Universe saying, “See? Anything can happen!”


First Date Anxiety—the Do’s and Don’ts 

So you have a date! Maybe you swiped lucky, maybe an awesome friend set you up, or maybe—just maybe—you read my 9-step guide and are now getting more new matches. Whatever the reason, if your excitement is paired with a rush of anxiety, you’re not alone. 

While some of us can roll with dates like it’s just any meetup, some of us can’t. Some of us have so much anxiety that it’s actually getting in the way of a second date.

If this sounds like you—read on. If it doesn’t sound like you—also read on, because when the time comes, you’ll be able to give your friends a pre-dating pep talk. 

First, the Don’ts:

Don’t have a pre-date drink or shot. I get it. A quick one for the nerves, right? The problem is, you don’t want to risk getting drunk. You may think, “Oh, but I’ll only have one or two on the date. I’ll be just fine.” But what if it’s a really good date? What if it’s one of those dates you don’t want to end? You risk over-serving yourself, which brings me to #2…

Don’t over-serve yourself during the date. It’s common to be overly concerned with wanting your date to like you. And, you think, the more you drink, the more carefree you feel. The thing is, people can be super dismissive about drinking habits early on, especially when they don’t know you just yet. You risk your date assuming getting drunk is a regular thing for you, and won’t give you another chance. You’ll be better off telling them you get a little nervous on a first date but that you’ll warm up when you feel comfortable.

Don’t futurize. I know this is a hard one. As conversations unfold, and you’re vibing pretty well, halt that imagination! Don’t start thinking about what it would be like to bring a plus-one to your friend’s wedding that’s happening in two months. Don’t think of finally having a date for Valentine’s Day. And for the love of God, don’t even think about your wedding day hashtags. When you futurize, you can put pressure on yourself to make a relationship work, and this allows us to start falling in love with the fantasy—which usually blinds us to the reality. 

Don’t take it personally. I saved the hardest don’t for last. To put this in perspective, you don’t know the emotional, physical, or mental state that your date is in when you meet up with them. They could be pining for an ex, nursing a bruised ego, bored AF, searching for the ever-elusive spark, hoping to get laid, etc. If you don’t hear from them ever again, don’t overanalyze. This really isn’t about you. Instead, focus on the next first date. 

And now, the Do’s…

Do remind yourself your date is a stranger. Say it with me: “My date is a stranger.” This is a mantra I teach my anxious clients to say to themselves before they walk into a date. Even if you had a strong online connection before meeting IRL, you still don’t actually know your date well enough to know if they’re going to be a good fit for you. Your date could be super charming…but what if they have a temper? Or they have a history of cheating on every partner they’ve had? Don’t get anxious over someone who could be a terrible fit for you. Remind yourself that you’re having a conversation…with a stranger. So say it with me again: “My date is a stranger.”

Do remember that your date is not—and will never be—perfect. Your date may look great on paper, and this might trigger anxiety because “someone like that” shows interest. This is a problem because you’re already putting your date on a pedestal, which puts you in a one-down position. Usually this causes people to work too hard, as they feel like they need to go the extra mile to impress. This also causes people to miss red flags. So ask yourself, “Do I like them? Can they meet my needs?” 

Do be prepared with stories. Common dating advice is to be prepared with questions. And yes, you definitely should have some good questions. But stories are also crucial. Because when people share stories, they come alive. So think about something funny that’s happened to you, so you can show off your humor. Or share something that is meaningful, so your date can see some depth. Some of my clients get the message from dates that they’re hard to read, but when they were prepared with stories, their personalities shined through. Again, questions are great, but make sure it doesn’t sound like an interview. Telling stories is how we connect, and sharing is sexy, so do it. 

Do practice with the maybes. Do you prefer to find someone who is Jewish, but you see a cute Catholic? Swipe right. Have you never dated someone with children, but see a pretty mom? Swipe right. Instead of exclusively going for that hottie who checks every single box on paper, go for the maybe. It’s low-pressure because they may already come to the table with a deal breaker. And one of the best ways of working through anxiety is repeated exposure. You’ll be reminded that you can be engaging, you do have a fun personality, and you can survive a two-hour date…and who knows…maybe you’ll find that your deal breakers aren’t really deal breakers after all. 

36. My Heart’s Desire

We’re all looking for something different, but it’s important to listen to your heart’s desire above all else. But it’s so difficult to do sometimes!

Love Languages

We all process emotions differently. That is why there are lots of different love languages. Gary Chapman wrote a great book called The Five Love Languages, which was published in 1992 and is still popular today. We are all on this mission to understand each other. We want and desire to give love and be loved on a deep level. I believe that to be loved is the strongest universal desire. 

Hundreds of books have been written to teach us how to love and be loved. You might think these would be so simple, and yet they are so complicated, and we overthink them constantly. It can drive the sanest person absolutely batshit crazy! Even the smartest person will say, “I just do not get it. What am I missing? Why is this so complicated?” Love will bring us to our knees. It has that impact. Our desires and needs to be wanted by another human being are baffling at times. 

Types of Love

It is so beautiful when two people share a deep intimacy. We desire those moments when it feels as if nothing else exists but the two of you. It can be as infatuating as a drug. In fact, love is a drug! Yet some people go their whole life and never experience this type of love. If you have had this experience, then consider yourself lucky. In my fifty-seven years it has happened only a few times, and in different ways each time. 

There was my first love, puppy love—the playful, no-one-in-the-world-understands, you-wouldn’t-get-it type of love.

Then if you are lucky, you find your soulmate—the one you cannot live without, the one you will probably marry and spend the rest of your life with. 

For some, there’s the convenient type of love—the one that just fits perfectly in your life. Maybe you had your heart broken in the past, so this convenient, safe-love category just fits. 

Maybe you want a simpler partnership and you are looking for a friend with benefits to travel and explore with—nothing too deep, just enough to get by without any heartache. 

And some of us have given up all together and decided that it is too much work and it is better off being alone than dealing with any of it. 

Listen to Your Heart’s Desires

My question is, What is your heart’s desire? Get out of your head, place your hands gently on your heart center, and close your eyes. What is in your heart? Our minds will make pro and con lists, look at every detail, and give us reasons to not listen to our heart’s desire. I know this because it has happened to me. When I listened to my head, I found many reasons to end a relationship, which at the time seemed to be the right choice. 

But when I listen to my heart, it feels different. This is why I said in the beginning to listen carefully—carefully being the key word. What does your heart’s desire tell you? What do you hear, see, or feel when you listen to your heart? One of the best questions I ask myself now is, Who do I want to wake up with every day? As I have gotten older, it is not so much about sex as it is about intimacy and playfulness. Whom do I want to laugh with? Whom do I want to share my secrets with?

Your heart’s desire is incredibly powerful. No matter what category of love you’re looking for or have right now, do not settle! Whatever type of relationship you are in, if it works for your heart and not just your head, then I think you are in the right place. But if it does not feel right in your heart and you are instead planning your escape or thinking of someone else or a different type of relationship, then you must listen to your heart. Life is too short to not be with who or what you desire. 

Love is a risk, and you will get hurt at times. It is a powerful muscle that creates all sorts of emotions, but it is so worth it when you find the right love. Most importantly, your heart center is about loving yourself first so you are available to love another. Then go find the love of your life, the love you desire the most. True authentic love is to be able to say to another human, “I desire you on the deepest level.” Desire is powerful, and it is worth it! 

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