• Relationships

    How To Turn Conflict into Deeper Connection – Part 2: Committing to Connection

    view of two pairs of feet facing each other

    This is part two of a series of three posts about how we can use conflict to serve our relationships, instead of seeing it as a threat to closeness. I recommend reading part one first if you haven’t already done so. Part three will be published soon.  In the first post in this series, we looked at the different ways many of us avoid conflict. Whatever your particular flavour of conflict avoidance, if you want to get to a place where arguments seem like opportunities you can meet instead of threats you need to run from, then I recommend trying out a position that may feel a bit new or…

  • Relationships

    How To Turn Conflict into Deeper Connection – Part 1: Avoiding Conflict

    This is part one of a series of three posts about how we can use conflict to serve our relationships, instead of seeing it as a threat to closeness. Parts two and three will be published weekly on Fridays. A few years ago I was facing an afternoon of practising conflict at a weekend workshop called Authentic Relating Training, and I was feeling sceptical. It was my first ever experience of being in a space where we were being taught to practice conscious communication and self-responsibility in our relationships, with all the new language and different ways of thinking that involved, and it had been quite revelatory. I’d gotten through…

  • Sex

    How to Navigate Dating and Sex with Endometriosis

    I was recently asked how to go about dating and sex when PIV (penis in vagina) sex is often uncomfortable due to endometriosis. This question intrigued me because, although I don’t live with endometriosis myself, it speaks to the need for having authentic, vulnerable conversations about needs and desires with people you a) feel attracted to and b) likely don’t know very well. I had a hunch that any advice I could give would be relevant to many more folks than only those diagnosed with this specific condition. I’ve spoken with people who do have endometriosis about which challenges come up most often, where the most anxiety is, and what…

  • Embodiment,  Sex

    How To Stay in Your Body During Sex

    Do you ever feel as though you’re just going through the motions? Perhaps it’s hard to enjoy sex because you’re always stuck in your head, feeling disconnected from your body to the point where it doesn’t even feel like it belongs to you.  It can sometimes feel like a physical block, a complete dissociation from felt sensation, where you enjoy sex and intimacy on an emotional level but can’t connect to the physical enjoyment. Maybe you struggle to maintain eye contact, feeling a lack of connection to the person you’re with, unable to really tune into what you’re both feeling.  Feeling challenged by staying in your body during sex is…

  • 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…