• Relationships

    How Can I Know When it’s Safe to be Vulnerable?

    Being vulnerable with someone you care about, for most of us, feels a little uncomfortable. When we share what’s really on our minds and hearts, when we talk about our fears and resentments, when we ask for what we really want, we’re opening up to the possibility of being hurt, rejected, or laughed at.  For some people this can feel unsafe to the point where it becomes difficult to trust your own judgement at all. Is the discomfort you feel when you share your vulnerable parts a sign that you’re finally opening up and allowing deeper intimacy? Or is it a sign that your boundaries are being crossed and, well,…

  • Relationships

    How To Feel More Brave in New Relationships

    It feels sometimes as though new relationships are where the most difficult feelings come up.  You know the other person well enough to really care, but you haven’t yet built a foundation of trust that allows you to feel really secure in the relationship. Perhaps you find yourself anxiously waiting for them to return your messages, wanting to know when you’ll see each other next, preoccupied with wondering where they are and what they’re doing.  Or maybe you experience what feels like a physical barrier, or wall between you and the other person. You long for closeness and contact, but something stops you from really allowing them in and telling…

  • Personal Growth,  Relationships

    How To Stop Being a People-Pleaser (for good)

    Ok, so you’ve identified that you’re a people-pleaser. You’ve noticed a pattern of feeling frustrated in your relationships (whether romantic or platonic – it can show up everywhere) because you fail to communicate your wants and needs early on. You go along with it, telling yourself it’s not so bad, until you reach breaking point… which usually ends in an emotional blowout or simply giving up and cutting the other person out entirely. Either way, there’s a lot of resentment that slowly builds and it’s really, really draining. It feels impossible to put yourself first – what if your requests are too much? What if you hear a “no?” It…

  • Relationships

    How Do You Set Boundaries Without Being Mean?

    This question comes up a lot. You know where your boundaries are, and you know when someone has crossed them… But how do you tell them that it’s happened without seeming angry? How do you ask them to change their behaviour without causing an argument? Why is it Hard to Set Boundaries? I think this is a particularly common challenge for women because, within many western cultures at least, we’ve been socialised to go with the flow rather than rock the boat. Personally, I remember being told that I was ‘bossy’ when I was a kid. I can’t help but wonder what lessons I learned – that I had to…

  • Relationships

    How To Overcome Jealousy

    In my experience of open relationships, jealousy often stems from comparison. Do you find that you compare yourself with your partners’ exes, other lovers, or even their friends? Does it bring up a feeling of competitiveness, fears of not being enough, and maybe even of being abandoned? If so, I have something that might help. (And this applies to monogamous folks too – jealousy is definitely not an issue that only crops up in polyamorous relationships.) The first thing to know is that comparing is a very human thing to do. It’s how we understand who we are and make sense of the world, by being able to identify the…

  • Relationships

    How To Say No (After Saying Yes)

    Do you ever end up in a situation where you’ve agreed to something that isn’t feeling good any more? Maybe you said yes because you thought it’s what you wanted, or because you thought it’s what the other person wanted. Maybe you didn’t want to cause an argument or upset anyone. Now, however, you’re realising that your body doesn’t feel great about that decision. It’s more than you’re willing or able to tolerate, and you know you’re no longer a ‘yes.’ Perhaps you’ve been working on being more clear in your communication, and you don’t want to ignore those signs any more. For people who have been socialised not to…

  • Relationships

    The Ultimate Guide to Setting Boundaries in Relationships

    Maybe you’ve heard that having boundaries in your relationships is really important. While this is good advice, it doesn’t begin to explain exactly what boundaries are, how you can find yours, or communicate them to the people you’re in relationships with. In my intimacy coaching work, boundaries are often among the first topics I address with my clients, as so many of us didn’t grow up learning how to feel our boundaries – let alone assert them. In this post I’ll cover what boundaries are, what they’re not, and how to start finding and communicating yours. Let’s start with the basics. What Are Boundaries? Boundaries are limits that anyone can…

  • Personal Growth

    What Is Psychosexual Somatics Therapy (PST)?

    So many of us are in our heads most of the time. Our minds are useful for thinking about the future or the past, whether remembering, fantasising, planning, or ruminating. Whether anxiously going over the last conversation to figure out whether you said the ‘right’ thing, or imagining all the possible outcomes that could happen just in case. What our minds are not so great at is being present. Being present in the here and now requires us to bring our awareness more into our whole body: the experience of being alive, right now, with all its associated sensations and feelings. The thing is that this can often feel scary,…

  • Trauma

    What Happens When We Get Triggered?

    Arguing with someone I care about is one of my clearest triggers. I’ll start out fine: I’ll stay rational and reasonably calm. I’ll be able to remember to have compassion for their alternative view. If the argument continues and I feel unheard, I may start to raise my voice and feel myself getting frustrated. But there’s always a very obvious point at which some little switch flicks in my brain, and I totally lose the capacity to engage with the other person. I’ll feel myself quite literally freeze; sometimes I’ll notice that I’m opening my mouth but I have no idea what to say. I won’t be able to follow…

  • Relationships

    How To Change Your Mind

    This is a big topic for me. Not because I have an awful lot to say about it, but because the resistance I feel to changing my mind is colossal. For a whole bunch of reasons, some known and some unknown, I have reached adulthood with the belief that to change my mind is to be flakey, inconsistent, and unreliable. Sticking to my word, on the other hand, means I am deserving of trust and love, and so being dependable is something I often strive for – at the expense of taking care of my own needs. Naturally, this comes up most acutely in relationship. Open relationships in particular require…