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


#265: I See You as Lover - the importance of attention in loving well

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 22, 2019

Our brain is such an interesting thing. It stores away memories and impressions, and then when we are met with a similar situation, it immediately goes ‘oh that old thing’ and presents a pre-formed idea based on the past. Which means it’s easy to get complacent in our experiencing of life, including our experience of our partner.

When we first meet there is so much newness and excitement – our brain is bedazzled by our new object of interest, we find this person fascinating. Our brain is engaged and releasing lots of dopamine and the endorphins and oxytocin are flowing in our body. It feels sooo goood! Often this is fuelled by pre-existing beliefs around ‘happy ever after’ and ‘finding one’s soul mate’, which enhance the interest and positive feelings.

But, over time, that person is no longer new. They become a bit ‘same old same old’. Our brain gets used to them, we no longer see them as new and interesting, and often this is exacerbated by beliefs around sex and love getting boring with time, and maybe memories of our own parents’ complacent marriages mixed in. We go into automatic mode with our partner, with our impressions and expectations of them. We get... read more



#260: How to Stay In Love

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 07, 2019



So often I hear my clients say that they still love their partner but are no longer in love. Often this is given as the reason for wanting to end an otherwise good relationship. These clients always make this claim with some despondency and with a sense of finality, as though once it’s gone it’s gone.

This is understandable, as it’s a common belief that there is the exciting, passionate ‘in love’ honeymoon period and then there is dreary ‘loving’ companionship ever after. But is this fact or myth? Is loss of ‘in love-ness’ inevitable or can we keep it going?

Well, it’s a huge topic and I’d need more than one blog post to go into details, but essentially the answer is yes, you can cultivate that feeling. The key word here is cultivate. It doesn’t ‘just happen’.

Nothing good in life ‘just happens’, nothing good lasts without focus and attention. You don’t stay fit and healthy if you don’t focus on it, you don’t become wealthy if you don’t pay attention, you don’t develop a good career or business without on-going intent to do so. Yet for some reason when it comes to love and sex, we think it... read more



#246: The Fairy Tales Got It Wrong

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, December 15, 2018




The fairy tales got it wrong. Two do not become one and live happily ever after. Two halves do not make a whole. Rather, two complete people come together and form a third entity, their coupledom. You, me and us. Not just us.

'Two becoming one' is co-dependence. Two becoming three - two self-reliant individuals and a strong bond as a couple - that's what gives security and freedom in life.

It's so important in life to know yourself, respect yourself and nurture yourself. I call this selfless selfishness - putting yourself first so that you can do your best for others. That applies to relationships as a whole, and also to the act of sex, where you need a ‘selfish’ approach to be real and connect from deep within, rather than from a head-orientated performance approach focused on whether you’re doing it well or not.

That requires self-reliance, the ability to self-validate, not requiring others to judge you from their own worldview and to decide if you’re right or wrong, good or bad. In intimate relationships in particular, people too often require the other person to make them feel good. They get into the relationship through their own sense of lack and needing the other to make them feel... read more


#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



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