It's decision time! Should you stay or should you go?

We’re standing at a crossroads. Red light. Green Light.

We can stay, or we can go.

credit pixabay

credit pixabay

No matter how many times we have turned this decision over in our mind, we remain stuck, fearful and confused.

One moment, every fiber in our body says ‘GET OUT’!!

The next moment, we never want to leave.

This one foot in, one foot out mindset and state of confusion, can cause the relationship to break down entirely. And the harm, the traffic buildup, can damage the entire city we live in.

And when we find ourselves stuck at that crossroads, staring desperately up at the traffic light, too paralyzed to move, it’s the obsessive questioning that is plaguing our will to love and love.

  • How long can I live like this? 
  • Does he/she love me anymore?
  • What will happen if I leave? 
  • Will I ever meet someone again?
  • How did we get here?
  • Can we get back to a better place? 
  • Am I wasting the best years of my life? 
  • What will my family say? 
  • What will people think of me? 
  • How will this affect the children?
  • Why won’t he/she listen to me?
  • Did I choose the wrong person?
  • What’s wrong with me?
  • How much crime TV does one have to watch to ensure no one finds the body? (just kidding, or am I?)

 

The above questions are valid, HOWEVER they’re the wrong questions.

They’re not making things any clearer because they’re driven by fear, helplessness, anger and resentment.

As long as we are paralyzed, unsure of which direction to go, we CAN NOT and WILL NOT invest, in either course.

credit; Unsplash/ Flo Karr

credit; Unsplash/ Flo Karr

Often, at the very start of coaching people in relationships, I ask them to commit to something incredibly scary.  To suspend all their doubts and disbelief and decide wholeheartedly, TO STAY.

It’s a TEMPORARY ask.   

We set a specific timeline, usually 90 days, for them to absolutely commit to staying in their partnership. 

Why do I do this?

Well…

1. The merry go round of indecision is exhausting.  It can zap us of all our energy. We’re going to need A LOT of energy to focus on the work to repair and rejuvenate their relationship.

2. As long as you are standing at the traffic light, vacillating between green and red, stay and go, you will undermine ALL of the work that needs doing.  I want my couples to experience results. Often that result, is, a marriage or partnership SAVED!  Sometimes that result, is finally knowing beyond any doubt, it cannot be saved.  Staying in limbo is torture. Not just for the individuals in the relationship, but everyone within a 10 mile radius.  That traffic, gets WAY backed up! (and yes, that traffic… that city… it’s YOU, your partner, your family, friends and loved ones, my dear)

3. If our heads are swirling with the tornado of questions you have been asking yourself for months, even years… you won’t be able to hear the powerful life changing questions I have to offer. AND you need to hear them, dearest one.

WE HAVE TO GO ALL IN. 

TOP DOWN, PEDAL TO THE METAL. 

credit; Pixabay

credit; Pixabay

Today, I want to offer up FOUR of these epic questions to you! 

My lovely, I cordially invite you to get into the drivers seat, take a deep breath and take your eyes off the traffic lights and put them on the road ahead of you, where they belong.

Ready?  Let’s go!

  • So why, is being in this relationship AND making it work, important to YOU?
  • If we were having this conversation 1 year from today, and you were looking back over that year, what has to have happened in your life for you to feel really happy with your progress. 
  • What are THREE actions, YOU can do THIS WEEK, that would bring you one baby step closer to results you want to see in one year’s time?  
  • What’s stopping you from doing them?  Resentment? Expectation? What conditions or doubts, spring to mind that are blocking YOU, from taking action?

Take these away with you, grab a pen and paper and dig deep.

Then, comment below or privately email me your answers! My door is wide open and I always love to hear back from my gorgeous tribe. 

 

Sending you all the love,  xx Jessica Elizabeth

 

 

#relationshipcoaching #marriagesaver #partnership #relationshipgoals #askyourself #keeplove

 

 

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Your SURVIVAL guide to The 7 Stages of a Break Up...

Breakup's are a bitch.

And recovering from a breakup, is a process. It can take weeks, months, even years!  The overall timing of the break up process, is different for everyone. 

AND, it's filled with pitfalls, relapses, resentment and pain.  Notice I didn’t say suffering?

Pain is part of life.  Suffering is optional, babe.

The similarities to ‘the 7 stages of grieving’, a well defined and researched arena of loss, prove to be an invaluable guide to making it through a breakup.  I wanted to take a few minutes of your day, to let you in on my own spin for navigating the breakup process, AND getting to the other side of it, fast AND whole!

Warning; The stages don’t always come in this order, nor do they always come one at a time! YIKES!

 

The 7 stages of a breakup;

A fierce woman's MUST HAVE survival guide!

 

Stage 1. Shock & Awe: "What the hell just happened?"

credit; giphy.com

credit; giphy.com

Shock is the body's natural protection against pain. We are foggy, disoriented at first. This is also not a natural state for the human body, so we reach out and begin to grasp onto what might steady us again.  

We become almost desperate for answers…  How did this happen? When did the relationship, turn?  Who the hell is this person? What else have they lied about? How could they do this? What did I do wrong? How can I fix it?

The overwhelming NEED TO KNOW can be all consuming. It can plague our thoughts at work, out with friends, and home alone. You fixate on things your ex said at various times that you see as contradicting the breakup, and you hold onto them now as if they are gospel. The desperation to make sense of something so jarring compels you to debate friends, family, co-workers, even strangers, about why the relationship ended, while you justify to them the reasons it shouldn’t have, as if convincing them it is equal to convincing your ex.

Yet somewhere within, you have moments of clarity, too. Which is good. We’re gonna need those moments of clarity to build our bridge to having a healed heart!

Ask yourself;

What if the NEED TO KNOW why this happened, is beyond anyone’s ability, even your ex’s ability, to explain?

What if they don’t even know what went wrong? 

Do’s & Don’ts:

  • Do journal the heck out of it, and choose 1-2 trusted ‘ride or die’ friends to unpack at nausea, if needed.

  • Do set a time limit on these thoughts. 5 minutes, 30 minutes. When the time is up, imagine an alarm dinging. Stop, and MOVE ON to thinking or doing something else. If your mind obsessively wanders back over, DING DING DING, Stop and move on.

  • Don’t just talk to anybody willing to listen. Don’t take to social media to post your musings to your 1000 Facebook friends to answer.  Hostages won’t help you get out of this alive, my dear.

 

Stage 2. Denial: "This is so not happening."

 

credit; giphy.com

credit; giphy.com

Denial is rejection of reality and a storage of feelings. The thinking is that, if you don't accept the heartbreak, then it didn't really happen, thus leaving hope for reunion. During this stage of a breakup it is common to call, email or even Instagram-stalk — anything that feels remotely "normal" about the relationship — in an effort to put dealing with the heartbreak on hold.

Denial can also take form of us running ram shod right over the pain. Acting as if we don’t care, that this doesn’t hurt. Going out on a flurry of dates the very next week, laying claim to the old battle cry “the best way to get over an EX is to get under the NEXT”. 

First off, Ewww. Second, your heart, your feelings, whilst painful and overwhelming, ARE VALID. Pay them the respect, the acknowledgement they deserve. They are infinitely patient, and will wait. Walk through them, own them, what does not kill us makes us stronger, dearest one!

Do’s & Don’ts;

  • Do visualize the waves of pain and grief you feel as if you are sitting in the shallows by the sea. Allow them to wash over you, breathing them in deeply and exhaling them, as the wave recedes gently back into the ocean. The more we fight the waves, the more likely they will smash us to bits on the shoreline.

  • Don’t minimize the situation or run from it. Pretending the breakup and the pain you feel is better off if not dealt with will create emotional numbness and leave you paralyzed and stuck.

 

Stage 3. Bargaining: Battling the IF only’s, WHEN’s, and WHAT if’s.

credit; Giphy.com

credit; Giphy.com

You are willing to do anything to avoid accepting it’s over. YOU can make this right!! We tell ourselves that being without our ex is so intolerable, that you can work harder, deal with it, even settle to win them back.  Can we get really REAL with each other?  It’s the fear of being alone, that’s kicking your ass.

The fear of that is so palatable, that we confuse the feeling of fear as a fact of life . Logic has no role in negotiations when fear is driving the bargaining. If you cave to this bargaining phase, not only will you find yourself back in a relationship that is broken (it’s called a break up for a reason!) you are placing the entire burden of repairing, maintaining, and sustaining a relationship onto yourself. It's as if the responsibility is yours and yours alone to make it work this time.

Ask yourself;

What if no matter what you did, it still didn’t work out?

If only you had gotten out of this relationship sooner, what harm and pain could you have saved yourself?

Do's & Don'ts;

  • Do go out and enjoy some activities alone. Go out and see all the movies, he/she never wanted to see with you. The long country walks they always ruined by bitching it was too rainy. We both know there are quite a few things, you LOVE to do, that have been neglected lately in favour of spending time in your relationship. 

  • Do catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Take that weekend girls trip to the spa or to the coast!

  • Don’t lose sight that there were TWO people in that relationship, and TWO people who contributed to it’s ending. One person alone CAN’T fix it. You can’t possibly take responsibility for everything. Somewhere inside, you know that.

 

 

Stage 4. ANGER: Rage, RAGE against the dying of the light!

credit; Giphy.com

credit; Giphy.com

Although all of us experience these phases in different order, anger usually comes further down the road for most of us. After fear is done pillaging our souls.  

HOWEVER oh boy, when it comes… Anger can be wildly empowering, harnessing it to fight off the temptation to call, text or Facebook stalk them. There is an element of self-righteousness to this anger, which isn’t such a bad thing. You suddenly wake up and say I MATTER TOO! I DESERVE SO MUCH MORE!  ROAR! 

As long as this anger doesn’t become drunk with rage, I say grab onto it with both hands lady!  Your anger, can absolutely empower you. Anger can be just the motivation we need to add the bite back our fierceness and wake us from the sadness that has been weighing us down.

Just don’t stay there. Feeling and accessing anger is a normal phase of the breakup AND a normal human emotional reaction.  Anger that lingers, that we store away somewhere and brandish too often, becomes bitter resentment.  “Resentment is like drinking poison expecting the other person to die.” Resentment will slow this whole grief process down to a crawl. Resentment will kill the opportunities of new love that awaits us.

Dos & Don'ts

  • Do harness your anger for good. Use that anger to propel you in making a list of all the things you want in your next relationship. All the things, you won’t ever tolerate again! When the anger comes, write that new must have list!

  • Don’t stay in anger too long. We all have the dark side of the force in us, my young Jedi, don’t let hate consume you. Even if you do look better in black!

 

 

Stage 5. Relapse AKA Nostalgia; Just one more time, this time will be different, remember all those good times?

credit; Giphy.com

credit; Giphy.com

RED ALERT! This is a BIG ONE! 

If I had a dollar/pound for every time I got a Facebook message, email or heard on a call or in a session with a client getting all ‘moth to the flame’ on a past love…

Just when we are almost through the worst of the break up, getting some real clarity and hope for the future. BAM! Nostalgia comes whispering it’s sweet nothings in our ear. 

Usually we are doing something that is predicating the relapse. We may have even been trying to sustain contact with our EX, right after the break up, in hopes we could one day be great friends one day. WE may have been going through old holiday photos or doing a sneaky 'harmless' snapchat. You may actually be able to convince your ex to try again (this may not be the first breakup with this partner) or convince yourself that meeting for coffee or one final bedroom romp is just the closure you need.  It will TEMPORARILY relieve the agony of withdrawal. However, despite your best efforts, you will not be able to carry the relationship solo. I'm sorry to say, it probably won’t end well this time, either.  

Unfortunately, you may need to go through this process of breaking up and reconciling more than once before you're absolutely convinced it's time to let go.  I too, often leave a whole lot of claw marks on the things I really should let go.

Do's & Dont's

  • Do circle back to that must have and all the reasons you would never again list you made in the anger phase, fast!

  • Do institute a zero contact rule for AT LEAST 60-90 days post breakup. I know this one is hard, however it is the absolute most sure-fire way to move on. I’m talking Tried. Tested. True. Proven. Bulletproof. A complete detox! no reaching out, no responding.

  • Don’t contact them. I mean it. Trust me. Not even a tweet!  

  • Don’t forget those 1-2 trusted friends you chose to hear all the tears. If you do opt for some more claw marks, don’t hide it from them, they love you and your going to need their support.

 

Stage 6. Acceptance; Sweet, sweet surrender.

credit; Giphy.com

credit; Giphy.com

Acceptance, when it happens early in the process, can feel more like surrender. You are holding up your end of the breakup because you have to, not because you want to. Either you or your ex has developed enough awareness, sense and control to recognize that you are not meant to be. Over time, this initial, often tenuous acceptance becomes more substantive, as both of you begin to recognize, independently, that there are boundaries that at least one of you must maintain in order for the breakup to stick, because it has to. When that acceptance deepens, it feels like the warmest kindest of embraces. It brings solace… and hope.

Do's & Don'ts;

  • Do remember acceptance is a verb. It requires action to exist in our language. Follow up your acceptance with actions that match.

 

  • Don’t believe for minute that surrender equals defeat. Laying down your arms, means not having to fight anymore. The war is over. Let peace into your heartland!

 

 

Stage 7. Hope; Walk towards the light Carrie Ann.

credit; Giphy

credit; Giphy

Breakups level us, in part because they also shatter our relationship with hope. As acceptance deepens, to truly move one, we must have hope. We must move from the belief that you can singlehandedly save a failing relationship, to the possibility that you just might be okay without your EX,  to you have all that you need within you to be happy, to YOU WILL LOVE AND BE LOVED AGAIN,  one day very soon.

Hope is a crucial life force. Hope still exists somewhere inside your heart, you will access it more and more as you continue to allow some meaningful distance between you and your ex. If you are not so sure if you will ever feel hope again… start by believing, that I believe.

Do's & Don'ts;

  • Do talk about your hopes and dreams for the future with anyone who will listen. Hearing ourselves speak our hopes aloud can help us cement them into our thinking. Put it out into the universe.

  • Don’t ever stop believing you are worthy of love. Or believe that you are alone. 99% of the human population has multiple stories of failed relationships. I do. There is nothing wrong with you! You’re just human. Welcome!

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They say, FOLLOW YOUR HEART, but should you?

Just Follow your heart, they say...

 

One of the biggest challenges we face in getting this whole love thang right, is the sheer volume of mis-matched and mix message advice floating around!

Some of the advice, simply no longer applies in our modern age of dating and love.

Some of it is steeped so deeply in patriarchy tea, you just can’t even get it down.

Some of the advice is right for us, and some of it, simply isn’t.

I wanted to take a moment to unpack one of the the most common advice tidbits, that cuts really close to my own personal bone; and how right sizing it, for who I was and where I was at, when I was single and looking for love, was so vital. 

Hold on to your floppy hat and your so on trend rose tinted oversized sunglasses, lady because THIS was truly the pivotal moment my love life started to really change for the better!

 

‘FOLLOW YOUR HEART’

image; Aki Tolentino / unsplash

image; Aki Tolentino / unsplash

Aw, so lovely, right?  I mean, who doesn’t want to take up the wholehearted torch that women as fierce and amazing as Dr. Brene Brown is channeling?  Everywhere we turn, we see this template of leading with the heart working so well…  in entrepreneurship, career changes, travel, family and general life trans-formative exploits from some of the most influential thought leaders of your time!

It’s really imperative, we zoom out the lens a bit here. 

To live a wholehearted life, one must have, well… a whole heart!   A heart that, though scarred, is well healed.  A heart that has done the work of reconciling past mistakes, learning the tough lessons and risen stronger than ever.  

In short.  A heart, that can be trusted!

 

Back in 2006, one of the hardest things I had to rumble with, was surrendering the fact my heart could NOT be trusted.

My heart was a wild, wanton crazy lady.  She cared not for reason or risk, and oh my did she the track record to prove it! 

She consistently made some really horrendous choices in love, and was so confused herself, she was speaking in tongues.

(I can’t even begin to tell you, how bad it got on the occasions my heart and vagina synched up on their quests for love, #YIKES #TITANICLEVELDISASTER #ALTERNATIVEFACTS)

Um, yeah. AT THAT TIME IN MY LIFE. we made a pretty bad team, my heart and me. She was the conductor of the train wreck that was my love life, CHOO CHOO, and I felt like I was hanging on for dear life.  And I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t living a whole hearted life where love streamed in and back out, of my every move!  

image; Muhammad Faruque / Unsplash

image; Muhammad Faruque / Unsplash

On the side of the train tracks, battered into loads of tiny bits was my confidence, trust, self-worth, self-love and integrity. 

The moment, I stopped letting my heart be the solo star of the show and cast my brain, my body, my reason and my spirit as equal players on the stage.  Things started to shift.

I didn’t forbid my heart from participating!  I just tuned the volume knob down a bit on her, so some of the other crucial elements of my decision-making process, could be heard too.

That’s about the time, I asked for outside help.  A put my faith, trust and money into a coach who could help me navigate, heal and become whole hearted.

I started to get some real clarity on what I really wanted in a partner and what I was going to NEED to ‘make a relationship work’.  Slowly but surely, my confidence and self-worth were not only re-built but soared to new heights.

 

I also faced off with my fears. 

I had no idea until then, just how much my fear of...

being alone.

getting it wrong.

not being perfect

being rejected

being made to look a fool

making the wrong choice

and that there wasn’t enough love out there for me to get my share…

WAS RUNNING MY LOVE LIFE!  

 

Mama needed a new outlook, badly.

image; James Garcia / Unsplash

image; James Garcia / Unsplash

And I needed to take charge of love, with my WHOLE self, like I was doing in every other area of my life. 

Once the heart was tamed, healed, loved by me and no longer speaking in jibberish…  WOW, she was my biggest most trustworthy advocate

Is your heart, helping or hurting your search for love?

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How she answered the call of happiness and her marriage...

Last September, l I received a call from a woman who was truly at her wits end in her relationship.

photo credit; pixaby

photo credit; pixaby

Something had changed, a shift had occurred earlier in the year and she no longer seemed to be able to make her partner happy. The tension in the partnership was escalating and she was beginning to question, if she even loved her husband anymore.

I asked her, if there were any major events that happened in the last year?  Births? Death? Marriage? Job loss or gain? 

She confided to me, her partner’s father had died in January and she suspected he was in depression however she couldn’t seem to break through to him and help.

She proceeded to list of TWENTY different very creative, furtive endeavors, ideas and failed attempts, to make her partner happy. To reach him through the fog of grief and depression that seemed to have consumed him, since his father’s passing. 

 

I asked her if she was a grief counsellor? 

NO, she replied.

 

I asked her if she was a therapist, trained to diagnosis and treat depression?

NO, she replied.

 

I asked if her husband had sought any professional help since his father’s death?

NO, he’s not willing to go, she said.

 

I asked her what she did on a weekly basis to that brought her, and her alone, happiness?

I got mostly silence and then she stuttered, teary eyed…  “I, I, I don’t know.”

 

I asked her why, without any qualifications or training was she taking on the responsibility to treat her partner’s possible depression?

She said “It’s my job to make him happy!!!”

 

No, it’s not.  AND, even if it was, it’s impossible role to fill.

 

We are not responsible to ‘make’ others happy.   I am not saying that, with our words and actions, we cannot bring more happiness to our relationships OR, the opposite, bring more UNhappiness to a relationship, but we are never EVER solely in control of someone else’s happiness. Nor or they EVER solely responsible for ours, either.

photo credit; Pixaby

photo credit; Pixaby

Someone gave me a fridge magnet, many years ago, that said...

“When we think about how hard it is to change ourselves, we can see clearly how little chance we have of changing others”. 

For a bit of a control freak like me, that fridge magnet kicked me in the stomach every time I went for milk in the morning.

In the work that followed with this client.  We got to the core of some very co-dependent mind-sets she had been carrying around her entire life. Her own mother had been an alcoholic, and she had to take over as the carer in the family, for not just her siblings but her mother as well on most days.  Her upbringing had instilled the legacy that, it was her ‘job’ to make everyone else around her okay.

AND that IF she accomplished that, only then she could be happy.

It took a few sessions, however once she came to believe that if she let go of the reigns, her self appointed position as bringer of happiness to others, we could focus on her own self worth, confidence and ability to give and receive love in a healthy, balanced way. 

We started from a place of, if we are not filled with happiness ourselves, what could we possibly offer it to someone else?

photo credit; Pixaby

photo credit; Pixaby

We changed how she communicated with her husband. The reality was, he did need help, but he didn’t want it and couldn’t hear it from her.  With every verbal push she gave to get closer, he receded back into the darkness that much more.  She was offering help, desperately attempting to make him happy again, which on the surface sounds like what a partner should do… however, it felt more like adding to his burden then relinquishing it. 

About 45 days into our work together, we succeeded in that shift. And the earth moved in her relationship.

Her husband, asked her what had changed? He also, decided he wanted to come to a session too!  That session turned into them completing the program together.  It also resulted in, HIM, taking the steps to seek grief counseling and therapy.  BOOM!

I am happy to report, that these two clients are happier individually and as a couple, then they have been in the last 10 YEARS!

photo credit; Pixaby

photo credit; Pixaby

More often than not, its in the midst of doing what we believe is the right thing, that we are causing the most damage in the dynamic.

We just can’t see it, alone. We just can’t change it, alone.  And our partners, alone, are not always the best team mates in facilitating change, cause they are cemented into their own roles too!

Please know; YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I've got you.

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9 Things Couples' Therapists Want You To Know About Marriage & Kids

First it was a team of TWO... and then BOOM! A team of three, four, five...

Starting a family, and the incomprehensible joy children can bring to our lives is an epic pivot point in a couples life.  I mean, once you get past the absolute terror of those first days (or months) of each of you doing your very best to keep them alive... AND once you learn first hand just how little sleep a human needs to function, of course!  

The moment comes for us all, the welcomed exhale as they begin to endlessly entertain us with their antics and the awe inspiring 'firsts' as they experience the world.  It's magic!

HOWEVER, many MANY couples struggle to maintain the well being and health of the original'Team of TWO'. Both individually and as a couple.  Time becomes sand, that not just slips but spills furtively from our hands, and all too often, a couple becomes two separate islands with an ocean between them. 

Date night? Sex? Quiet conversation over a candle lit dinner?  AHAHAHAHA What's that?  

One of the greatest gifts we can offer for a child's development and future emotional maturity is a love filled home.  Love that flows freely, not just to them, but between the parents too. 

The very hip folks over @ Romper.com, get it!  Romper 'chronicles that crazy adventure — its highs and its lows — in a way that’s smart, honest, helpful, and above all, fun. Raising another human is no joke, but it’s often hilarious.'   

They did us all a great service by providing this fantastic article to help YOU out with everything I just spoke about!  HURRAH! 

romper.com

romper.com

It was an honour to contribute as an relationship expert on this article, and hope you find my tips, along with some other experts, super helpful as you navigate partnership and parenting!

READ THE ARTICLEHERE https://www.romper.com/p/9-things-couples-therapists-want-you-to-know-about-marriage-kids-45082

 

What's not working for you?  Where is the STRUGGLE so very real as you try to be the best parent and partner?  xx

 

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Commonly Misunderstood Dating Signs; hear it from the experts!

Recently I was lucky to be asked to weigh in, as a love and relationship expert, by one of the online dating giants ZOOSK. 

In this article, myself and other experts, hash out what can be the absolute shit show that can be deciphering dating signal hieroglyphics today!  

Check out the whole article here.  https://www.zoosk.com/date-mix/relationship-advice/commonly-misunderstood-dating-signs/

 

Have you ever found yourself mystified by the whole 'Does he/she like me?' question?  Have any good stories to tell?  Share with us in the comments below!  xx

 

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So... who's your bad ass wing WOMan?

“Empowered women, empower women”

 
It’s my personal battle cry, in life.
 
AND, the time worn advice, of having a wing woman, a trusted fab girlfriend to hit the town with, still works.

However, it can be really easy to get it wrong.  And a night out with the girls can become the very last environment to meet someone new, let alone with the potential to become that elusive love of our lives.

Here are a few tips to negotiating the Sex In The Cityesque coup,  of having the perfect wingwoman.
 
 
Wait a minute… How about we actually use those timeless fabulous ladies of Sex In The City to break this one down!?!   Oooooh, yes please!
 

Here they are, at the beloved train wreck beginnings of finding love in NYC!

Here they are, at the beloved train wreck beginnings of finding love in NYC!

Four women, living in one of the greatest cities of the world, (who of course, cause this is make believe TV land could afford great apartments and a killer shoe collection well beyond their means, but I digress) who navigated all the ups and downs possible in their searches for love.
 
What made them a killer team?  Each one was uniquely ‘killing it’ in their own right, career wise and personality wise.
 
From uninhibited Samantha, who seized every day (and every sexual encounter) like it was her last…
 
To Charlotte, the girl next door who never ever stopped believing in the fairytale.. 
 
To Miranda the smart, cynical realist kicking ass in her career and unwilling to settle in love.. 
 
To our beloved Carrie, who couldn’t make heads nor tales of dating but wasn’t afraid to admit it every week in her column.
 
These women, took on the meanest, leanest concrete jungle of love together, and won!
 
They also, never stopped being incredibly real with each other, which always makes for the best kind of friend to have.
 
But which one makes the best wing woman for you?



 

Miranda;

image credit; GIPHY

image credit; GIPHY

Witty, take no shit, Miranda. If you’re acting a fool, Miranda will tell you, loud and clear. We love AND need that. However, Miranda’s don’t always make the best wing women for a night on the town where finding love is the on the menu. Miranda came to spend some really precious time from her busy demanding career to be with her girls. She will not appreciate you spending half the night talking to that cutie who is whispering all the right ‘smash the patriarchy’ sweet things in your ear. Miranda doesn’t necessarily live her life by the ‘see what happens, go with the flow’ rules.  

Miranda’s CAN make a great wing Woman, however, she needs to know the deal up front, crystal clear. Don’t tell her it’s a girls night out to spend quality time… tell her, you need her to go with you to this networking ‘do’ where some like-minded potential partners hang out, cause you want to meet new people and are feeling a bit too nervous to go it alone. If she knows the score, she will be epic support. Bait and switch her with a ‘girls night out’, and she will NOT be having it, and her energy will rain all over your parade that night

 

 

 

Samantha;

image creit; GIPHY.com

image creit; GIPHY.com

Sexy, swing from the rafters, fun Samantha. She appears to be the perfect, high energy, ‘let’s do this’ wingWOman… however, Samantha brings her own special brand of crazy to a night out. Samantha’s have the charisma milkshake to bring all the people to the yard AND she is down for whatever, wherever, which is a huge plus in going out on the town. Samantha’s also can get lost in their own wants and needs, she is a bit of a magpie for all the shiny bits.

If you want a solid night of sisterly support, Samantha has the potential to bail on you in the first five minutes when something sparkly catch’s her eye.  She can interrupt a really great convo you might be having with someone, asking to head out to the next party.  Samantha’s can overtake the conversation with her own heady radiance and if she finds something or someone she likes POOF, she’s gone.

Samantha just needs a firm reminder of the ground rules too and to be carefully selected for the event, itself. She operates best in the wilder party atmosphere OR something more regimented but quirky that requires her special inhibition to boost your own, like tango classes!

 

Charlotte;

photo credit; GIPHY

photo credit; GIPHY

Sweet, always there for us, glitter eyed Charlotte. Feeling like giving up on love? Been ghosted for the one thousand and eight time? Call Charlotte. She’ll lift you up to the sky with her never-ending positivity and belief in love. We all need a Charlotte in our life.

Need a partner in crime for a gallery opening? A business minded networking event? A yoga retreat? Out and about, and the negative gremlins are saying, ‘don’t even bother to go over there and talk to him’? Charlotte! Charlotte! Charlotte! 

Want to hit a dance all night party? A burlesque show? An alternative underground scene event? Um, nope. NOT Charlotte! She will spend most the night, dying to leave and bringing you down a bit with her.
 

The best thing about Charlotte's, is they're always in wingWOMan mode, tripping the love fantastic!

 

Carrie;

credit; GIPHY.com

credit; GIPHY.com

Funny, sassy, fashionista Carrie!  You need the real talk? Carrie’s got it, too! 

You need someone with a flexible enough personality (and wardrobe) to transcend the warehouse party or a trendy restaurant opening? Carrie! 

You want to try a personal development seminar, a co-ed bootcamp in the park or suited and booted business function? Carrie? Not so much.  

But here's the deal. Carrie, knows exactly what a jungle it is out there and Carrie knows exactly why this is so important to you. She’s the friend who reminds you most of you. She get’s you like no one else.  Also, Carrie is that friend that provides the relationship savvy to not just keeps the girl crew together but she actually has real experience in and out of relationships.  

Carrie has the track record of success and some pretty spectacular failures in love, which is GOLD DUST!

 

Having the self esteem to power out on a night solo is great however, HAVING FUN WHILST LOOKING FOR LOVE (oh yes, that's right... this is supposed to be FUN!)  may require some serious grrl powered back up!  Choose your wingWOMen wisely, lovelies! 

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'Should' is the scouting party of shame...


Woven tightly into the more complicated colorful fabric of communication is an all too common thread, called SHOULD.
 
 ‘SHOULD’, is the scout party SHAME sends out to see if they’re any vacancies in your mind and heart.

shame.jpeg

SHOULD’ is one my very own red light indicator words; when I hear it, I know what’s up, and I know if I don’t ride out to meet that scouting party with a firm show of force, SHAME is coming for a pillage fest.
 
When we self-talk with ‘should’, its incredibly harmful to our own self-worth.
 
When we start thinking, saying and believing what other people SHOULD be doing, we are also priming our relationships for trouble.
 
 
Where this comes up most often with the clients I work with, who are struggling to communicate AND to get their needs met in their partnerships, itsounds a little like this…

 
I shouldn’t have to tell them; they SHOULD just know!
 
He/She should already know this is important to me.
 
He/She should just do this, without being asked or told!
 
This should just be common sense!

 
 
An of the above statements, ringing any memory bells, for you?

 
No one is a mind reader.  Even that mind reading act you saw in Vegas that time, was not real.
 
When we use the above terms, when we allow ourselves to think this way, we are positioning ourselves in a place of immobility and non-compassion.  We become quite stoic in our unwillingness to aid our partners, we have no interest in ‘making things easy’ for them, in actively setting our partners up, to succeed.
 
Somewhere along the line, we nominated our self as the test facilitator, and we are not running any prep sessions, so you better figure this out or get a failing mark.
 

And when our partners do get it wrong, there is, for some of us, somewhere nestled deep inside, a pleasure button that is gleefully satisfied.

Shaming other people, consciously or unconsciously, has a dangerous feel good element to it.  

Think about it.  When we see or have experienced other people putting us down, we know that, really... they don’t feel good about themselves. People do indeed, get a short burst of comparative based self worth. Issue is, it’s not real self worth, its not sustainable, and we tend to feel even worse about ourselves shortly thereafter.
 
 

Are you taking a position of making things harder for your partner? Or making things easier for them?  
 
Are you setting them up to succeed? Or fail? 

 

You know what else shame loves?  Failure.  Mistakes.  Missteps.

When we are dogged by shame, loving someone in the best way we know how, becomes almost impossible.



 

The enemy of shame, is empathy.

 
You want to kill shame with fire?  Unleash empathy on it’s ass.


 
If we're not creating an atmosphere of compassion and helpfulness, our partners success rate drops drastically.  And when they get it wrong, yet again.  Oh why hello, SHAME. 



  

Thankfully, this particularly frustrating problem clients in relationships come to me with, is one of the easiest for me, to offer a solution. 

 
Drop the 'SHOULDS' from your vocabulary. 

Once you get some mindfulness around these bad boys, you will here a loud DING every time you say or think 'should'. Kick the ‘shoulds’ to the curb.



 
ENGAGE EMPATHY.Push your boat out a little further, by carefully considering some of these questions, too.
 
-Do you always ‘get it right’?

 
-Have there been times, when after months (or years) of doing something for your partner, they let you know that actually, they don’t even like that thing?  Were you not annoyed that they didn’t guide you sooner?

 
-When you self talk with ‘shoulds’ and open the door to shame, are you able to be and give your best in that shame ridden state?
 

- Ask yourself, Am I being helpful or am I making it harder for my partner to ‘get it right’ and meet my needs?

 
In short, my dear, so what if the schmuck needs a map?!? Who doesn’t some days in this topsy turvy world?
 

Dearest one, this is your partner, the person who you have chosen to team up with, in the game of life.

What kind of team mate do you want?  What kind of team mate does your partner need?
 
Fight the good fight, against the world, for your dream life TOGETHER… not against each other!

 

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Hello? Can you hear me? Is Technology A Relationship Crusher?

Hello?? Can you hear me? I’ve been wondering… why the heck you won’t put down your phone and LISTEN TO ME?!?!?

 

Ever been in that conversation?  You’re talking about something important, or nothing interesting at all, and your partner is glued to their phone/ipad/laptop/netlfix/iphone/fitbit???

Pssst, come here. Can I make a top secret relationship coach admission to you?  I’m the one in my partnership busy facebooking as if it’s life itself, while my partner is talking! 

I have even heard myself say, in my best teenage angst voice, ‘WHHHHHHHAATTT? I’m busy here!!!’

Hi there, my name is Jessica Elizabeth, and apparently, I’m a newsfeed update addict!  YIKES!

 

Yup. I do it too.  We all do.  Everywhere we turn the soft glow of our screens, sing it’s siren song.

 

In my defense, (or at least the one I offer up to my partner) I’m perfectly capable of doing two things at once!  Yeah!  Except, the evidence seems to prove, I miss at least 50% of what he is saying to me.  Womp. Womp.

And. My partner hates it. He really, really, hates it.

Whenever we opt out of real conversation AND eye contact with your partner, our connection suffers. We are no longer being present and available to engagement , and love.  I have heard some pretty disturbing quotes from partners on the other end of this tech obsession; and the overarching, repetitive message “WHAT’S HAPPENING ON [social media, email, television, the internet] IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ME!”.  

Sounds dramatic. But OUR actions are indeed sending that very clear message. 

 

Do you need a tech detox in your relationship?  Take the test and find out!

Here is a fun way to score yourself on just how well you might be doing AND/OR just how much technology you might need to put down in order to connect with your partner.

 

CATEGORIES;

Bedroom Tech           Dinner Tech             Tech 2 Tune out                     

 

Hi Pat, I’ll take ‘Bedroom Tech’ for 300 please!

 

Bedroom Tech, for 300;

Television in the bedroom?  Oh come on, this culprit has been around for years. Television in the bedroom is responsible for more missed conversations AND sex opportunities since 1988.

Do you have a TV in the bedroom? (add 50 points) 

Are you watching it till you are ready to sleep? (+100 points) 

Are you and your partner at least cuddling watching it TOGETHER as an act of some ‘end of day respite’ solidarity? ( deduct 100 points from total score)

 

Quick Fix = If you are still rocking that 80’s look, it’s time to dump it.  Or at the very least put in a no TV for the last 30 minutes before lights out.  Create some space for a bit of couple time.  Catch up, cuddle, or hey, maybe even light a candle or two….     

 

 

Social media before bed? Oh yes indeed,  I went there.  Are you on your phone or tablet liking, loving, emojing and commenting till the very last moment, before turning over and calling it a night? 

Not only have scientific studies shown over and over that the light of our screens is extremely detrimental to our sleep patterns, it sure isn’t good on the relationship either.  Oh, I know, your bedroom at the end of the night, once the kids are all tucked away, is your ONLY chance to be alone and catch up on these things. You are not alone, doll.  Your partner needs some attention and so do you.  + I saw you posted, like, 10 times today!  Busted. 

Are you tweeting, FBing, instagramming till the lights go out? (+100 points) 

Are you doing it even after the lights go out? (+ 50 points)

 

Quick Fix = set up all your chargers out of the bedroom or across the room, this way it’s not there next to your bedside, singing its sweet siren song of pings and beeping news feed alerts.  

 

 

DINNER TECH, for 300;

I’ll have a steak, medium rare w/ social media sauce + some work emails on the side please.

I see pics posted every day on instagram, facebook, etc... where groups of friends are out to dinner, and everyone is glued to their phone instead of talking.  And we have all seen couples out at dinner, not talking to each other, but instead on their phones swiping, messaging….

Dinner out with your partner, is a wonderful time to have the fun chats. What I mean by that, public places are never the best venue for deep conversations laced with all that needs to change in your relationship.  HOWEVER they are amazing opportunities to talk about what films you want to go see and why, what happened during your day, share a political rant and generally unplug from it all, just the two of you. 

If it’s more than the two of you, i.e. family dinners, with every moment you shoot off that next email, or escape into the virtual reality that is Instagram… you lose. We can’t rewind time; be present, engage and enjoy those dinners, one day those cute kids might well be sullen teenagers complete with one word grunted answers.  Make it last.

Are you ‘that couple’ who spends more than 30% of dinner using your phone? (Add 300 points)

 

Quick fix = A baby step, set a time limit of 10 minutes to catch up on what you need to on all things interwebs, when you first sit down.  Epic step, silence your phone, and keep  it off the table and stored away on in your pocket or bag. If you can’t see it or hear it, you won’t be tempted to pick it up.  

 

 

Tech 2 Tune Out, for 300;

This category is for those of us who actively utilize our phones as an escape mechanism. 

If we feel a bit socially awkward at an event, if the conversation with our partner shifts to a topic we are not comfortable with, if we are so stressed out in general… our phones have become our doorway to somewhere else, fast. Not sure if you are that guy/gal?  Practice some mindfulness over the next week and take note of how often, when and why you pull out your phone when with other people.

If you are doing this when the tough topics come up between you and your partner as an act of avoidance or disengagement… I probably don’t have to tell you, that by doing that, your partner is only getting more frustrated and angry, which means the tension level you seek to avoid... is just building as a result.  It’s also high time you got real with why these conversations are triggering you to find an escape route.

Do you us technology to TUNE OUT?   (Add 300 points)

 

Quick fix – Resist, resist, resist.  This detox is going to hit you in all the feels but it’s so necessary. If you find yourself picking it up, put it back down, fast.  One client of mine, silently repeats to herself “Tune in, be present” as a mantra to get her through it. Find a phrase/mantra you can use to curb the cravings, and ditch this particular social crutch.  

 

 

So, in this game, the highest score… makes you the biggest connection loser. DOH!  

How did you score? 

Where can you tweak your tech use to create more space, time and connection with your partner and improve your relationships, starting today?

 

The first week of any detox is the hardest, stay strong… YOU CAN DO IT! 

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Dating Advice We Hate; Which ones no longer apply and why?

Spring boarding off this article in Bustle last week, where my expert knowledge was used (hurrah!), AND because so many of you, emailed me with your least favorite Dating Advice in response to that article… let’s unpack this topic a bit more, shall we?

Dating advice.  Everyone has some to give. Regardless if they have tried said advice, have an experience successfully finding love or even know your first name! 

Yeah, I’m looking at you complete stranger at the Starbucks!  Did I ask for your opinion on my love life?!?! 

I’ve always been way more reliant on experience based knowledge.  If you’ve been where I’ve been, AND YOU GOT OUT, show me how it worked for you.  However, even experience has its own pitfalls. What works for one person won’t necessarily always work for the next person.  But hey, at least it’s been beta tested!

My preferred commentators in life, are people who have personal experience, have the track record helping others and have done the research across the field to back it up.  

In the Bustle article, we covered these 3 baddies;

- You got to put yourself ‘out there’.

- Don’t be so picky.

- It will happen, when you least expect it

So let’s crack on and tackle some more of the dating advice WE hate!

Eyyyyye roll, please!!

Image via Giphy.com

Image via Giphy.com

'Play hard to get'  

What dos playing hard to get even mean?

Warning; there is no clear definition of ‘playing hard to get’, which is why so many people totally screw it up. And the laundry list of advice that follows on how to ‘play hard to get’ has you staring at this whole dating thing like an epic game of Jenga, afraid to breathe wrong in case the whole thing comes crashing down!  Someone once said to me, well you can’t tell them you’re in love with them right away!  Um, Why would I do that??  As if, the only two options are gushing TMI love at first sight OR Jenga level stealthAF! 

Be your most EMPOWERED you; 100% authentic, my body my rules, independent, busy ass chica, open-hearted you!  Know your own personal boundaries, and don't throw your whole life to the wind, the moment you meet someone new you fancy. There is a whole range of vocals between desperateAF and aloofAF, find where your heart honorably sings best... and SING!

 

 

'It’s a numbers game'

No. It’s not.  

Ask anyone who’s actually played that numbers game in dating, and they will look up at your bleary eyed from the land of crushing disappointment, completely exhausted.  Some of you, have already tried this. I know I have!  It’s a little game, I used to like to play, where I joined the newest apps, went on a flurry of dates with practically anyone who asks, then finding myself back peddling into ‘what fresh hell is this(!?)’, followed by throwing all the toys out the pram, taking myself off ALL the apps for much needed ‘a break’... then after a month or two, I’m bacccck! 

And, Rinse. Repeat. Rinse. Repeat.   

The phrase, ‘QUALITY NOT QUANTITY’ comes to mind here. Big time.

There is no magic number to just how many dates you need to go on per month, it’s whatever is most comfortable and practical for you.   If you’ve been playing the NO numbers game… you do need to get out on dates, even if its just for a bit of practice.  Unless your postman is single, hot, and looking for commitment… umyeah, its high time you got out of your house girl!

 

 

'Wait at least 3 days before contact'

 

Totally, valid question; who contacts who, and when?

This is a big one. And the one that gives people the most anxiety. I mentioned the '3 day ruIe' however I've heard a whole range of day counts offered up by advice givers, from 1 day to 10 days, to 'the woman should never contact man first'! Yikes! 

I always encourage people to be as authentic and direct as they are capable of being.  If you really had a great time on the date, they should know you want to see them again before you even part ways. Yes, you heard that right... at the end of the date before you say farewell, have a voice!

You can up-level that by also setting the perimeters for contact right then and there too!   "I had a great time and would love to do this again soon. Call/Message me this week and we can sort when is best for both of us".  If you're afraid they’re not interested, darlin’ you're going to find out sooner or later anyways. Why not find out right away??  and save yourself the agony of checking your messages every day (or hour)!

 

Wanna have your mind blown?  MEN ARE GETTING HORRENDOUS DATING ADVICE TOO!  In fact, when you google ‘bad dating advice’… the first entire page is dedicated to the terrible advice MEN receive!   #mindblown

images from Giphy.com

images from Giphy.com

Engage compassion mode, my dearest ones.

It’s a jungle out there, for ALL of us! 

 
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STOP STOP STOP doing unto others as you would have done unto you!

“Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

Ah yes, this time worn rule.

It’s pretty much the oldest rule in the book.

And in general it’s a gem in living a kind, contribution focused life HOWEVER here’s why, it doesn’t always apply to love and your relationship.

 

So many couples, follow this advice to the point of absolute frustration and detriment to their own well-being and relationship’s happiness.

When we follow the “do unto others as you would have done to yourself’ when it comes to giving and receiving love, we are missing an incredibly vital trick.  How I experience, understand and feel love, is often different to someone else. Depending on my unique upbringing, my hard-won journey to maturity, my personality type and my emotional values. 

Today, I am offering up a peep hole line of sight into major categories of how, most human beings, understand and confirm love.

 

photo; Clem Onojeghuo / Unsplash

photo; Clem Onojeghuo / Unsplash

TACTILE:

If I am a tactile person, signs of physical affection via touch is EVERYTHING to me.  You can say you love me a thousand times, but nothing… NOTHING makes my heart sing, like a tender cuddle.  Our act of hand holding, the way you randomly tussle my hair whilst I'm brushing my teeth, cradling my face in your hands before a kiss,  is a transference and acknowledgment of love I value deeply.  It's this act of touch, that drive home the accompanied statement of I Love you, that seals the deal for me.

 

 

ORATORY:

Likewise, if I am an oratory by nature, the caresses and embraces are nice and all, but until you say those three words, until you declare verbally and in great detail why you love me… I feel unsure of your committeemen to our union.  Those whispered promises of love, the enthusiastic compliments, the midday random 'love u' text messages...they send me to the moon and back.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL:

For some of us, environment is where it’s at.  When our partners create a thoughtful, safe environment that is trimmed with acts and notices of love, we get the assurances and love we need.  This can range from when our partners frame and tenderly hang pictures our shared adventures on the living room wall, to when we walk in from a long day at the office to a warm meal and a smile, that we know our partner did just because they knew we were having a shitty day.  Believe it or not, when we go out of our way to cater to our partners likes and needs to ensure they are comfortable in our homes, at parties, on holidays...these acts of staging the surroundings to accommodate and acknowledge them, show that we love them more than any flowers or heartfelt card every could.  For the environmentalist, its these moments that our heart swells as the carefully and lovingly curated environment reminds us at every turn, that we are loved.  

 

 

VISUAL: 

Similarly, there are those of us that require visual acts of love. 

If we can see it, we can believe it. 

The way our partner looks at us, the level of eye contact, the softness of the gaze sends shivers down our spine. Beyond eye contact (cause oh yes, for the visual lovers, there's more!) if it’s written or a visual token of your affections, like those flowers, cards , we will relish in this act of love like no other.  Many more typically environmental acts, such as the elaborate Pinterest worthy couples picture display you did in the living room?  We almost died, from the mega burst of love that sent us and it works like a charm every time we 'see' it!

 

 

Where many of us go wrong, is we expect our partners to register love on our personal terms.  We show them love, the way we would know we were loved. And we expect them to show us love, in terms we can understand even when we don’t communicate what that really means. 

The first hurtle is assumption.  I assume, that if this format is how I know I am best loved, then surely you are the same.    Chances are, they’re not.

In Gary Chapmans book, ‘The 5 Languages of Love’ he touches on these cornerstones of how we give and receive love.

Discovering our own language of love and our partners, is the start to casting away the non functional rule book of “Do unto others…”.

 

In my work with private clients, I always start with ensuring that each individual knows how they identifies and accepts love best.   A lot of us don’t know our own truly preferred method of receiving love!  

We are bombarded daily, by TV shows, movies, internet Top 10 lists, magazines and good ol’ compare and despair, of friends and family with what love ‘should’ look like, smell like and taste like. 

Only you, can answer this for you. 

This act of self- discovery, is the first step in establishing what forms of love are most meaningful and authentic to you. 

 

If you have saved every card past lovers have given you, if you have been known to dry out valentines roses… if when thinking back to your earlier stages of your current relationship, the moments that stand out, the moments ‘you knew he/she loved you’ are memories of catching them looking at you with pride, your eyes connecting in silence while a firework finale was going off in your heart… you might just be a visual lover.

 Of course, starting by taking a look at how we show love, is always a fierce indicator for how we want to receive it.  If you find yourself being the one who bought that digital frame filled with all of your holiday pics with your partner for your office desk, or find yourselfplanning the perfect weekend getaway at the golfing resort that also has a killer spa that your partner will LOVE, you might just be on team environment! 

 

If you’re making the effort to show love to your partner,  IN ANY FORMAT, you are already on the winning team HOWEVER if you can shift that to showing love in a way that truly resonates with them, to the format they recognize and appreciate most… BOOM!  Most valuable player award goes to….

 

If you are frustrated, and starting to worry that your partnership is in trouble and are questioning if this person loves you anymore because it sure doesn’t look, sound or feel like it?   This work is EPIC!   

Once you know what you NEED to feel loved, you can communicate that clearly, instead of just throwing spaghetti at the wall with your requests i.e. “Janet's husband did this, why don’t you ever do that?” Or sighing deeply, during that rom-com in hopes he/she picks up on the clue that they should be doing what the main characters are doing?   Which by the way, is setting your partner on a seemingly endless, triathlon without a map AND they’re probably feeling so lost and overwhelmed, they may have even given up on trying to ‘get it right’, cause even when they do what you ask, it still is never enough! 

Most importantly, once you are on the up and up with what makes your partners heart tick, and they yours, loving each other becomes a much easier task. 

AHHHHH yes, please! let’s get back to those days! 

Are you a visual lovah?? Enviromental??  Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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