The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!


#239: Therapy is Composting Your Sh*t

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 09, 2018

 

I was in session with a couple recently, looking at some challenging aspects of their relationship, when one of them said: ‘I guess you have to wade through your shit to get the insights to make change…’ and I responded with: ‘You’re not wading through it, you’re composting it!’.

They loved the analogy! And it’s a good one. We’ve all got our shit – defences, traumas, fears, confusions, resentments - that has accumulated over our history. If you don’t deal with it, it ferments and turns bad. But if you do deal with it, you are composting it, turning it into fertilizer for new growth.

I like food analogies when talking about sex, and I like gardening analogies when talking about relationships, because a good relationship needs cultivating. Like a garden, it needs constant tending – pulling up the weeds, pruning here and there, moving things around, adding new plants at times, and always watering and fertilizing to keep everything blooming. Otherwise it withers and dies.

Too many people put huge amounts of focus into other parts of life – work, health, friends, family, hobbies – and then wonder why they don’t have a good relationship. It has become a withered garden, dying from lack of nurturance. read more


#238: Are You Flat-lining or Surfing in Life?

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 12, 2018



You can live life to the full or you can sink into dreary monotony. You can mature with vibrancy or you can grow old and tired. You can have a relationship that continues to explore and grow or you can have one of complacency and dullness. You can see your parenting role as one of keeping under control or as growth and delight (for you and your children).

It’s a choice. There is nothing ‘inevitable’ about how life turns out. The only thing inevitable is that life mirrors your attitude and beliefs. If you believe life, relationships, anything is all downhill after the early flush, it will be. If you believe life can continue to open up and bring new and interesting experiences, it will.

So many people succumb to flat-lining, limiting themselves. Accepting the status quo means you don’t have to take risks. Low expectations mean you can’t be hurt.

Flat-lining is safe, if dull. Flat-liners live safe, dull lives and their sex, if any, is flat and dull. Sex mirrors life.

Flat-liners sit on the beach and watch other people surfing the waves. They might do it timidly, wishing they were brave enough to pick up a board and go... read more


#235: The Three Phases of Conscious Relationship Evolution

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 24, 2018



Phase One: Two Become One


When we fall in love, there is so much newness and discovery that it’s very easy to feel like ‘two become one’, you feel you have so much in common! It’s just like the fairy-tales and you feel that you really will ‘live happily ever after’!!!

This is the ‘symbiotic’ phase of a relationship. It’s a very important part and builds a strong foundation.
 
Symbiosis or Fusion?

However, inevitably, you start to realise that two have not become one, two are still two. The cracks start to appear, your differences are more obvious and unsettling. I call this the ‘aargh’ phase of a relationship.

Sometimes couples split up at this phase, thinking that they’re not right for each other. That might be true, but not always.

Others pretend it’s not happening, they don’t talk about the differences. These couples tend to lose the singular pronoun and talk about ‘we’ and ‘us’ exclusively, and their relationship becomes more and more limited. They are not game to push boundaries, make suggestions, try new things, for fear of creating ‘conflict’.

Others recognise the differences, and blame the other! These are... read more


#233: Are You Relationship-Oriented?

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 27, 2018



 At the end of my last Couples Retreat, one participant, who’d had quite a challenging time of it, declared with a big smile and evident relief that she realised that prior to the retreat she had not been relationship-oriented.

I see this a lot, in various manifestations.

In some couples, one declares they are quite happy in the relationship and so their dissatisfied partner must have their own issues to deal with. Well, no, I’m afraid that if one person is not happy then there is something wrong with the relationship not with only one of the individuals in it. Thinking otherwise is not being relationship-oriented.

I see other couples where they might both be feeling dissatisfied in the relationship, but one claims to know what the problem is, and the problem is the partner, who needs to sort out ‘their’ issues. This person is also not relationship-oriented.


And frequently I see couples where they have both done a lot of individual personal development and growth and so are puzzled as to why they are having relationship issues.

In all these cases, one or both of them is seeing themselves as two separate individuals, rather than as a two-person psychobiological unit.... read more


#226: Merge Sex & Love Energies for Potent Connection

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, February 24, 2018




The secret to a strong relationship is that you merge your love and sexual energies within you and share that constantly. This creates a unique vibration between you, like your own radio frequency. It’s a frequency that has the warmth and support of love yet with a zest, a frission of the sexual. It is a potent energy.

This frequency manifests in myriad small ways throughout the day - in looks, touches, comments, tokens (gifts, surprises, services). I’ve described this in other blogs as sharing ‘quanta of deliciousness’, maintaining the 'mmm' factor, and focusing on the 'beforeplay' .

When you keep this frequency strong it creates a depth of connection, a profound intimacy. It makes it both easier to move into genital sexual connection, as you are already so connected it’s not a great jump (important for people who have resistance or difficulty being interested in genital interaction), and paradoxically genital sexual connection becomes less important because you already have a strong sexual energy flowing between you (important for those who have a strong need or urgency for genital interaction).

Rather than sex being an ‘off or on’ dynamic in your relationship, it becomes a sliding scale. I’ve described this elsewhere... read more


#223 How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways...

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, January 13, 2018



How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways…

1. I say it with words of love and affection
2. I touch you with love and affection
3. I give you gifts
4. I spend time with you
5. I do things for you

I’m sure that Shakespeare in his wisdom about human relationships would have agreed with these five ‘languages’ of love. It’s actually the modern-day author Gary Chapman who came up with them.

All five languages are important and necessary, but the fact is that we all express love differently and we all receive love differently. It’s important that you know your own style of loving, and equally important that you understand, recognize and appreciate the style of those close to you.

If, for instance, your main language of love is words of affection, and your least strong language is doing things, yet your partner is the opposite, then you’re going to have problems. You’ll be declaring your love with words which will just brush off your partner, or even annoy them: “Huh, it’s just words, it doesn’t mean anything”. While at the same time... read more


#213: Bad Communication Styles - The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, October 14, 2017



We’ve discussed the importance of sharing before you move into solution mode. How you do this is equally as important.

John Gottman, has also identified four negative ways of communicating, which he calls the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. These might not seem as drastic as the originals from the Bible: war, pestilence, famine and plague, but these lesser horsemen can reek just as much damage on a relationship as the big ones do on a whole society.

The Four Horsemen are:
  • Criticism
  • Contempt
  • Aggression
  • Stonewalling

If these little devils are firmly entrenched in your relationship then you haven’t got a hope of having a positive one, let alone a mature one.

How often do I hear people say: “I’m not being critical; I’m being honest!” “I’m not being aggressive; I’m just getting my point across!” “I’m only being funny; not contemptuous” “I’m not stonewalling; I'm just keeping the peace…”

Criticism is not ‘helpful’ or ‘being honest’, it is judgemental and disrespectful and makes your partner defensive and/or reduces their self-confidence.

Sarcasm is contempt; it is not humour. Contempt of any kind is hurtful. Eye rolling is infuriating and has never ever induced someone to be... read more



#209: Share Before You Fix

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 10, 2017



John Gottman, noted American couples therapist, has some wonderful ideas around good communication. One I particularly like is the concept that you have to share before you can fix.

What this means is that when you have something you need to discuss or resolve, it’s important that the two of you take the time to share how you feel about the situation before you try finding ways of solving the situation.


You need to speak about your feelings until you each feel heard. You’ll know when you’ve reached that point because there will be a shift in the energy between you, you’ll feel a coming together, a sense of connection and being in sync.

Once you have that feeling, then, and only then, do you start to look at options and explore ways of dealing with the issue.

If you go into the fixing before you’ve done the sharing of feelings then one or both of you will feel frustrated at not being heard. That frustration can manifest as anger or giving up, neither of which are useful emotions to have when trying to resolve something and move forward.

It can be with the best of... read more


#202: Seven Benefits of Attending A LoveLife Couples Tantra Retreat

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 23, 2017

 

Taking a break together is always a good thing to do, helping you relax and rejuvenate and hopefully have some quality sexy time away from the stresses of everyday life.

So why would you add a couples retreat to your time away? What are the benefits to you of going to one of my LoveLife Couples Retreats?

Well, where do I start?! Feeling the love and connection in the group and seeing the couples blossom is an experience that’s hard to put into words.

But I’ll try...

1.  Learn the Tantric approach to sex, its physiological basis, and why it’s so important for modern lovers.
I love the way science is reaffirming ancient wisdom in so many ways, particularly when it comes to sex. The Tantric approach is essentially good sex - connected, erotic, intimate. It’s about slowing down so that you’re in the chill zone, as good sex is not possible if you’re stressed; it’s about ‘syncing in to sink in’ as you can’t have good sex if you’re not connected; and it’s about being mindful,as you can’t have good sex if you’re not present to the experience.

In the... read more


#198: Your Partner Can’t Be Everything to You

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 25, 2017

 

We have such huge expectations of our relationships and our partners these days: we expect him or her to be best friend, untiring provider, attentive helpmate, sympathetic counsellor, sexy lover, perfect co-parent, handyperson, master chef, fashion advisor, etc.

Then when they’re not, we’re disappointed.

How realistic is this expectation though? Completely not!

Yes, it is true that the best relationships are a combination of being friends, lovers and team mates. But best and only friend? Sharer of identical interests and dreams? Able to fill your every need from financial to co-parental to sexual?

Give them, and yourself, a break! None of us can be all that.

Your partner can’t be everything to you and you can’t expect them to be.

Nor can you expect your partner to feel that you are everything to them.

Be the best you can be, and help your partner to be the best he or she can be, with love and respect and reality.

As the old saying goes: God, give me the courage to change the things I can, the strength to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom... read more


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