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


#168: Seven Benefits of Attending a Couples Retreat

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, July 30, 2016




I’m back from running another gorgeous Couples Retreat in the Blue Mountains last weekend. I’m feeling all loved up myself from being surrounded by couples celebrating their love and honouring their sexuality as an expression of that love. It really is such a wonderful experience that I want to tell you all the good reasons to attend.

I was going to write this myself, and then I received this feedback from one couple who attended - and so I figured that rather than me waxing lyrical about it, it’d be much better for you to hear from the participants themselves!


* * * * * * * * *
Hi Jacqueline,

We want to give you some formal feedback on what was an amazing weekend.

We both feel it was THE BEST investment we have ever made as a couple.

We had so much fun on the weekend but that is just a fraction of the value as we learned tools that will serve us for the rest of our lives.

(1) We were hoping it would allow us to derive more enjoyment out of our sex lives. These expectations have already... read more


#159: Practice Expressing Your Feelings For Greater Connection and Better Sex

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 08, 2016



A key to intimacy is expressing your feelings. Not your thoughts, your feelings: being able to share with your partner how you are feeling and being able to hear what he or she is sharing with you.

It's not an easy thing to do. More commonly people hold back out of fear of a negative reaction from their partner. So they end up playing this weird dance of trying to mind-read what the other wants and feels, and generally getting it wrong.

An exercise I give couples to improve this skill is every evening to have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee and take it in turns to share how you’re feeling.

Some people are fine with that level of guidance; others struggle and need more direction. If you’re in the latter category, here’s an activity for you.

Set aside some time for a chat, maybe after dinner, or if you’ve got young children, once they’ve gone to bed. Do not do this in front of the TV. Sit somewhere comfortable, and if it feels right, have a cup of tea together. Humans have been sharing over cups of tea for centuries. It’s comforting and bonding. read more


#151: Radical Honesty

Jacqueline Hellyer - Friday, January 29, 2016

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
I'm always amazed at what happens when a couple is radically honesty with each other.

Let me share a couple of recent examples:

In one case, a young man told his wife that he didn’t find her sexually attractive and never really had. He had naturally felt he couldn’t tell her that for fear of insulting and upsetting her, but he was really finding it hard to have sex with her because of this feeling.

With my encouragement, he told her how he truly felt, which was, as expected, insulting and upsetting for her. However because they were able to have this conversation from a gentle, open, sharing place, he could give her the space to sit with the information. There was no intensity of emotion on his part, no aggression, no judgment or condescension or fear, and this enabled her to sit with the news, process it calmly and accept it.

On his part, releasing this huge burden, this terrible secret he’d been keeping, freed him up enormously.

The outcome: he actually opened up to the possibility, and then the reality, that he did find his... read more


#143: Tantra: The Art of Mindful Sex

Jacqueline Hellyer - Friday, October 16, 2015



What is Tantra?

Essentially, it’s mindful sex. Or to be a little broader: mindful loving. Loving with presence and focus, fully engaged physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Mindful sex means that:

  • your monkey chatter mind is stilled, so your brain can focus creatively and connectedly;
  • your body has heightened awareness, fully using each of its five senses, so there is great feeling throughout the whole body;
  • you’re focused on the whole body, and even beyond the body, not just the genitals;
  • there is a palpable energetic flow within you and between you, you feel connected;
  • your sexual play flows in peaks and valleys, from intensity to subtlety and everywhere in between;
  • you communicate verbally and physically with ease and understanding;
  • you feel both deep and light: deep in feeling and light in freedom;
  • orgasms may or may not happen, it’s the pleasure of the process not specific outcomes that matter;
  • the encounter leaves you feeling recharged and reinvigorated;
  • you find that the whole of life improves, you are healthier, more vital and feel a positive joyful outlook on life.
With mindfulness a quick snuggle under the covers can be as profound as hours of play on a weekend away. It’s about what’s happening in... read more


#142: Love Thy Partner

Jacqueline Hellyer - Friday, October 02, 2015



This might sound obvious, of course you should love your partner. But do you really? And if you so, how do you express that love? Are you treating your partner like your lover? Or are you treating them as your spouse/co-parent/boss/subordinate/flat-mate/carer/dependant/provider/nurturer…?

There are only two true feelings in life: love and fear. All the negative emotions are essentially some expression of fear. Anger comes from fear: so if you are narky or nagging or irritated or down right furious with your partner, you are expressing fear. Oppression comes from fear; so if you are controlling your partner, or allowing yourself to be controlled by them, you are expressing fear. And boredom comes from fear; so if you are allowing yourself to become stuck in a rut and not seek enjoyment in life, then you are expressing fear.

That fear comes from within. You are projecting your fear onto your partner in the form of anger, oppression/being oppressed and/or boredom. It comes from you.

To turn that around and allow yourself to truly love your partner, requires you to transform your fear into love. You have to own your fear and your expression of that fear, and then let it go. Allow the love in to yourself and allow... read more



#134: How to Move Forward When Your Partner Has Betrayed You

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, July 21, 2015



It’s so hard when your partner has been unfaithful.

“How could this person I love, and who I thought loved me, do this to me? How can I possible get over it? Should I even try…?”

These are the thoughts that plague you.

The first thing in moving forward is to realise they probably haven’t done it to you. Affairs are rarely initiated with malicious intent to deliberately hurt the partner, although hurt is inevitably the result. (If it was done purely with intent to hurt you, then you really do have a problem and shouldn’t be with that person.) It’s important that you accept that as hurtful as it is, the affair was not about you and not done with the intention to hurt you.

So, can you get over it? Possibly.

Should you try? Most definitely.

To deal with the affair and at least try to move forward is far braver and harder than just giving up and leaving.

There is always a reason why someone has an affair, and it’s generally because they are not happy and the affair makes them feel better. So to... read more


#105: Consensual Non-Monotony

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

 

In the last post I wrote about consensual non-monogamy. It’s an option for some people and it can work. However, it’s not for everyone. Most people prefer to be at least primarily, if not exclusively, monogamous.

But for monogamy to work you need consensual non-monotony.

Yes, it’s a play on words, but it’s also an extremely important point. A couple can only have good on-going sex if they both agree to make it good.

As I’ve stressed so often, good sex doesn’t just ‘happen’, you have to work at it, and you both have to work at it as a joint project. Otherwise you get complacency and dreariness.

You both need to agree to ditch the monotony!

This is the most common client problem that I deal with - couples who want to improve the quality of their sex life. While a small proportion are open to considering non-monogamy, most want to improve things between themselves alone.

The key to success at consensual non-monotony is openness with each other – honest, real communication. That’s what is required to be able to discuss and explore and examine and refine.

This level of openness with each... read more


#98: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, June 24, 2014



How many people are in relationship limbo, not knowing whether they should stay in the relationship or leave it? I see them all the time, mentally adding up the positives and the negatives, weighing them up against each other, hoping to come to some logical decision about whether to stay or go.

Trying to weigh up the positives and the negatives as a means of deciding whether the relationship is good or not is never very effective. Some days it weighs in favour of one decision, some days another.

It doesn’t come down to whether the positives outweigh the negatives. It actually comes down to some simple, key points.

Mira Kirshenbaum outlines these in her brilliant book Too Good To Leave Too Bad To Stay (Plume, 1996), which I highly recommend if you’re in relationship limbo, or what she calls ‘relationship ambivalence’. By examining these key points, and answering yes or no to some simple questions, you’ll get a feel for whether you want to stay in your relationship and whether you want to do the work necessary to make it better.

Some of the key points include:

Does your partner respect you? And do you respect... read more



#84: If You Want A Mature Relationship You Have To Be Mature

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, October 29, 2013



My clients are all adults, although in some cases it’s hard to believe: they come to me wanting a positive, mature relationship with good sexual relating - yet they act like kids in the playground! They bully, they whine, they play games, they lie, they ignore, they’re rude, they’re insensitive…. And they think that this behaviour will result in mutual sexual desire!?

If you want a mature relationship, you have to be mature!

Name-calling, sarcasm, rudeness, withdrawing, clamming up, insults, aggression, contempt and so forth are not conducive to harmonious relationships. It sounds obvious when you read it here, but are you actually putting it in to practice yourself?

A mature relationship is based on individual confidence and mutual respect. Consider this as love of yourself and love of your partner. The two individuals are confident within themselves, not needy of having their partner agree with them on everything or share identical views, desires and intentions. Coming from this internal strength, they can then relate to their partner with utmost respect.

Respect means two things: to admire someone for their qualities, and more importantly to have due regard for their wishes, feelings and rights.

In a mature, respectful relationship neither party will force their views on the... read more



#82: Slay the Pink Elephants!

Jacqueline Hellyer - Tuesday, September 17, 2013



That’s what a couple said to me recently: “We’re slaying the pink elephants!” These elephants had been sitting in all the corners of their relationship and taking up so much room they were feeling stifled and could hardly breathe, let alone relate.

Because the elephants were there, but they did nothing about them, the elephants grew in size and number and took up a ridiculous amount of room. The couple had got to the point where they couldn’t actually mention anything of any significance or meaning as there was so little space in the relationship. They were tippy-toeing around with shallow breath, hoping they wouldn’t bump into an elephant.

Fortunately they found the way to acknowledge that the elephants were there, and do something about them. They got out the metaphorical elephant guns and went on safari within their relationship, slaying all the pink elephants - those they knew were there, and those they discovered along the way.

It can be quite a process to do this, and rarely easy. It requires bravery and commitment. You’ll hear stuff you don’t want to hear, you’ll acknowledge parts of yourself that you’re not proud of, you’ll get a greater insight into your partner and into yourself, and you’ll learn ways of moving forward together.
... read more


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