A lot of the work I do with clients revolves around being tolerant of their partner. You might think that was obvious but so many of us in long term relationships or marriages start to allow the little things our partners say or do, to annoy us.
Over time we lose tolerance with our partner. Those ‘cute little quirks’ that we once found so adorable become annoying habits that drive us mad after we have been living with them for any length of time.
So how do we learn tolerance to accept our partner, quirks and all, in the way we expect them to accept us? Or do we just decide that enough is enough, we can’t put up with the quirks any longer and that’s the end of the relationship?
It’s a conversation I have with my clients time and time again and I always ask them “Do you still love your partner?” The majority of the time the answer is “yes, but I just wish they would stop ………”.
And there’s the crux. Everything after the “but” is making their love of their partner conditional, and the quickest way to fall out of love is to make it conditional upon them being a certain way. By learning tolerance and remembering what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place, you can quickly learn to love them unconditionally.
It takes practice both to love unconditionally and to be loved unconditionally and I spend a lot of time with my clients working through this.
On this International Day for Tolerance what can you be more tolerant of in your partner that will bring you back to unconditional love?
For help working it out register to attend my next FREE live training: 5 Days to Redefine Your Relationships.
Today is 4th October 2020. 17 years ago today I got married for the second time. We were blessed with a warm, crisp and sunny Autumn day and were surrounded by family and friends in the small country house hotel we had exclusive use of for the event.
Little did I know then what experiences that marriage would bring me. I’d been married before to a physically and sexually abusive man who had beat me up for the first time on our wedding night. I was adamant that my second marriage would be for life.
My husband had quite literally swept me off my feet, carrying me in his arms on our first date when I had my leg in plaster and we had to climb some stairs. He was tall, dark and handsome and that gesture won many smiles, comments and claps of approval as he showed all onlookers that he would look after his woman.
Less than 2 years into our marriage and I was feeling that something wasn’t quite right. It would be another 2 years before I left, a shell of the woman I used to be.
At first, I shrugged off his somewhat insensitive comments about my appearance, how he would belittle me in public or treat me with complete disrespect. I thought that I must be mishearing his outdated and misogynistic comments about women being second class citizens and belonging in the kitchen or the bedroom. And when I challenged him about it he would tell me I should be grateful that he didn’t beat me like my first husband had. What’s worse is that I actually agreed with him. Over time I had been indoctrinated to believe that he was right, I was wrong and that I couldn’t cope with day to day life without him guiding me.
When he sold our house without telling me and bought a new house, 30 miles away in the middle of nowhere, far from anyone we knew, I trusted him when he said it was only a temporary measure and if I was that unhappy we could move back. I trusted him when he told me that I was an alcoholic and needed help, standing over me as I called AA in tears, because I drank one glass of wine per night and on the nights I didn’t pour my own, he would pour me a large vodka and tonic, telling me ‘I needed one’. I believe him when he told me that I was incapable of looking after our son because I’d never had children before and didn’t know what to do. I believed him when he dissuaded me from cuddling our son because it would lead to attachment issues. And I believed him when he told me that him taking family photos or videos and leaving me just out of shot was accidental. All the while I was trying to keep a business afloat and a roof over our head because he wasn’t working.
When I left, I left our son with him and I believed that was the right thing to do. I also believed that I would be free of what I now know was psychological abuse or coercive control.
How wrong I was. That was just the start. The 12 years that have followed have been the years that I have had to pay emotionally, financially and metaphorically for having the audacity to leave him. And they have been far, far harder than the years I was married to him. Two lengthy and expensive court battles to prove that I was fit to be the resident carer of my son were the least of it. The staggering attempts at parental alienation to discredit me in front of my son, the social services and anyone else who would listen. The pursuit of my destruction, whatever it takes, to prove that everything he said and believed about me was right.
The two attempts to take my own life because I couldn’t take the abuse any more were long after I’d left him. I’d reached the end of my tether and I’d run out of energy to carry on fighting. Watching his father take metaphorical pieces out of me was damaging my son and I wasn’t prepared to put him through anymore. Thankfully, I didn’t succeed in my attempts but I was far from out of the woods and headed down some dark and dangerous paths before eventually I was fortunate to find a fantastic therapist adept at working with survivors of abuse. I met a partner who had first known me long before I met my second husband and who supported me in working through the abuse I had endured in both marriages and a subsequent financially abusive relationship.
Working through everything I’d endured gave me strength I didn’t know I had, it helped me to re-evaluate my life and redefine my relationships not just with myself but with my partner and my son who now lives with me. It gave me the courage to believe in myself and embark on a six-year psychology and counselling degree with the Open University. It opened new doors of opportunity for me as my self-belief, self-confidence and self-esteem returned. It made me determined that I would do whatever I could to try and ensure no-one else, regardless of gender, ended up an abusive relationship.
That’s a huge undertaking. There will always be those who abuse others. But if sharing my experiences and learning helps just a few more people, who go on to help others by modelling strong, healthy and robust relationships, then it will all have been worth it.
Change is scary, leaving your abuser is scary, the abuse never stops it just changes. It’s how you respond to those changes that matter. I still get ‘abuse’ every day, these days it’s usually sad attempts to discredit and belittle me in front of my son. I spend many days worrying about when ‘pay back’ is going to happen but these days I know I’m strong. I can take on any of the attacks that are coming because now I have a solid foundation built on trust, love and self-respect; all of the values that eluded me in my marriage.
Now I truly am FREE.
To help me share my story and give hope to millions of domestic abuse sufferers and survivors around the world please register to hear me speak at the Introbiz Global Summit alongside greats such as Les Brown, Brian Tracy, Sharon Lechter, Rob Moore, Lisa Johnson.
To learn more about my work please register for my FREE live training, 5 Days to Redefine your Relationships
Or join me in this workshop ‘From Surviving to Thriving’ on 19th November which I’m hosting with Suzanne Smart of Positive Imprint and Rachel Earing of Live 4 Energy.
The first mile of any run I do is the hardest. It’s the time when I’m most likely to turn around and head home. Why?
It’s the time I need to find my pace, my stride, my groove. I need to give my lungs, my legs, my arms and my feet time to adjust to the shock of getting out of bed and into the cool morning air. And I need to tune in to the voices of my running coaches, mentors and physio; “breathe 2, 3, 4” “pockets to socket” “lengthen your stride” “lift your feet” “engage your glutes” “engage, engage, engage”.
Running to train for an event (half marathon in my case) isn’t as easy as just simply running. I need to train to ensure I can go the distance without injury or damage.
And relationships are like that too. We start off a little apprehensive until we find our groove and then we settle into it. But what happens when we receive an injury or some damage? Life throws us curve balls all the time and how we respond to them can determine the longevity, or not, of our relationships.
Asking for help from a Relationships Expert isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you want to go the distance and have strategies in place to keep you strong and able to withstand the curve balls.
It’s knowing that even when you have to run up a hill, as long as you keep running, no matter how slow, you’ll get to the top and then it gets comfortable again. It’s about remembering what you’ve learned so that you don’t cause yourself an injury and it’s about applying those lessons, time after time after time.
If you really want to go the distance, an expert, coach or mentor is worth the initial discomfort.
The first mile really is the hardest.
Join my FREE Live Training for help to get beyond the first mile: 5 Days to Redefine your Relationship. Register here.
If the answer is “Yes” then I’ve got news for you. You’ve been spun a thousand yarns about what relationships should be like when the reality is far from Hollywood, Disney and Fairy Tales.
Far too many of us of a certain age, grew up with the subliminal expectation of being rescued by a knight on a white charger, and when that happened life would be perfect and we would live happily ever after. So all we had to do was act like a princess and wait for our prince.
Did that happen? I’m guessing that it probably didn’t.
So why is that?
REAL Relationships aren’t perfect, they don’t have you disappearing into the sunset every evening to live a blissful, satisfied and perfect life.
REAL Relationships are messy and dark and dirty.
REAL Relationships are fun, fabulous and flirty.
REAL Relationships take hard work and effort, and that includes compromise from both parties which is usually when arguments happen as couples try to work out the middle-ground that they’re both happy with.
REAL Relationships toss and turn with all that life throws at them; illness, financial instability, pandemics, job changes, job losses.
REAL Relationships are strong, healthy and robust enough to cope with the twists and turns of life.
REAL Relationships ebb and flow like the tide with each partner unnoticeably taking turns to take responsibility, take control, look after each other.
In a REAL Relationship that is strong, healthy and robust the ebbs and flows, twists and turns of life are just events that are overcome, some more easily than others, but never with a fear that the relationship is about to end.
Is yours a REAL Relationship or are you still hoping for your Hollywood romance?
How often have you met someone who seemed perfectly lovely but left you walking away thinking ‘They seemed very nice but, I’m not sure, there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on’?
And how often do you ignore that feeling?
I can think of at least four occasions where I felt like that, ignored the feeling and it cost me dear. Twice it happened to me in business and in relationships I ignored that niggling doubt because so many other people were happy to associate with the individuals involved, so I carried on and just hoped that the feeling would go away, thinking ‘it’s just me’. The feeling didn’t go away and unfortunately, years afterwards I was proven right each time. I write about the impact of ignoring my gut instinct and suppressing my authentic self in my books (available here).
I’ve learned the hard way that when you get that niggling doubt about someone, no matter how lovely they may appear, it is usually because they are not acting with integrity or they are not being their authentic selves. It could be said that they are hiding behind a mask.
Many of us wear masks in our daily life, we’re not the same person in work as we are at home and vice versa. I’m not advocating that we should all go around wearing our heart on our sleeves and spewing forth all of our innermost thoughts or secrets to everyone we meet, unless of course you choose to do that and are entirely comfortable with doing so. Most people are not and that’s perfectly fine.
The term ‘authenticity’ has been bandied around personal development and coaching circles for a long time and it is no longer as effective as it once was. Many people now believe that if someone has to tell you they are being authentic, then the likelihood is, they are not. Just as many people start a sentence with “no offence” when they’re about to say something offensive, when someone tells you they are authentic it is often because they are trying to convince themselves that it is true.
It is human nature to present ourselves slightly differently in different environments. We wouldn’t turn up at the office in the same mindset as when we’re relaxing at home on a weekend. That doesn’t mean we are being inauthentic it just shows that we are aware of the ‘rules of engagement’ in those different settings.
However, what happens if you’re not being authentic in a relationship? What happens if you’re not allowed to be your true self in a relationship? What happens when you find yourself wearing a mask more often than not?
Suppressing your authenticity, or having to suppress your authenticity, for any length of time is detrimental to your mental health. It leads to frustration, resentment and anger and in the worst instances can lead to depression and significant other mental health problems. Hiding your real self behind a mask for a prolonged period of time is also exhausting.
In the work I’ve done with survivors of domestic abuse, very often they have lived in an environment where their real authentic self has been suppressed for a significant length of time and it can take many months or years for them to rediscover their authentic self but when they do, the transformation is incredible.
They report feeling much happier and more content than they have for a long while, they have a confidence and inner strength that makes them seem taller. With further work they go on to develop strong, healthy relationships where their authentic self is not only loved and cherished but allowed to flourish.
You don’t have to be a victim of domestic abuse to suppress your authenticity. There can be many, many reasons for believing no-one wants to know your authentic self.
Whomever and whatever your authentic self truly is, embrace it, enjoy it and bring it to the fore. The right partner will love you in all your authentic quirkiness and recognise that it’s what makes you, you. This applies to all relationships, not just survivors of domestic abuse.
If you need help to rediscover your authentic self why not book a no obligation discovery call with me to see if I can help you? You can book a call here: https://www.notarehearsal.co.uk/apply
I look forward to speaking with you.
You would think by now that I would stop being surprised by the conversations I have. Let’s face it, I’m a Sexpert.
A lot of my conversations revolve around relationships and sex, and quite often they can be pretty explicit. I have no problem with that, sometimes the only way to describe something is to describe it as it is and that often means using language that my clients are comfortable with to save them worrying about any sensitivities I may have.
Sex is sex, it can be beautiful and glorious, romantic and perfect, and equally it can be downright dirty and disgusting, depending upon your particular proclivities.
None of that surprises me.
What does surprise me, however, is the number of clients I work with, and women I speak to, who don’t ask for what they want in the bedroom.
These are women just like you and me.
You ask for what you want in a bar or restaurant, or even when you go shopping. You know what you want to drink or eat, you know what brand you want to buy and you even make a choice over how much you’re prepared to pay for something.
If you’re in business, you ask for the sale and ask for payment. At the top of your career you’ve asked for promotions and pay rises.
Even in a https://amzn.to/3kcLJx0burger chain you ask for your burger, your way.
So why do so many women avoid asking for what they want in the bedroom or in a relationship?
The answers I hear most often are;
“It seems wrong to ask for what I want.”
“ It’s embarrassing to ask for what I want.”
“Women aren’t meant to ask for what they want.”
The over-riding theme is ‘nice girls don’t ask for what they want in the bedroom’.
And I understand that, for so long women have lived under the constraints of a patriarchal society dictating what is and isn’t acceptable and reigning shame on any woman who dared to suggest that she had rights not only in the voting booth but in the bedroom too.
We don’t even have to look to history for examples of this shame. Any woman deemed to be selling herself, leading someone on or just making her sexual desire known is labelled anything from a common whore to a slut or slag, whilst men are allowed to sow their wild oats and enjoy the adulation whilst boasting about their conquests in the bar or club. Men aren’t judged for literally buying sex but women are judged for selling sex.
But this is a weary argument and one that I don’t intend to resurrect right now.
In my opinion, women have a right to ask for what they want, just as men do and the sex industry is nothing more than a service industry with entrepreneurial women using what they own to fulfil a market need. That is the very premise of business. And is another debate for another time.
But therein lies the answer to my question. Women don’t ask for what they want in the bedroom because they have been conditioned to believe it is shameful, dirty and degrading to do so. Yet the quickest and easiest way to get exactly what you want and alleviate feelings of dissatisfaction, un-fulfilment and frustration is to ask for it.
After all, you wouldn’t put up with the wrong meal or wrong coffee every single time you ordered it, you’d ask for it to be changed and served just as you like it.
Asking for what you want in the bedroom or in a relationship is no different. The words and terminology change but all you’re actually asking is for the provider to fulfil a need, just as food fulfils hunger and water satiates thirst.
How do you or your partner know if boundaries have been crossed?
A lot is said about the importance of boundaries. We live our lives within the boundaries of the law, we understand the societal expectations of how we should behave in public spaces, we raise our children with boundaries around bed time and how far they’re allowed to venture on their own. In school we have rules and regulations and likewise in the workplace. So why do so many of us forget about the importance of boundaries within our relationships?
Without putting boundaries in place, we set ourselves and our partner up to fail.
Imagine trying to play a game without knowing the rules? How could you possibly know if you were doing the right thing? How would you know who won?
In entering a relationship and not having a mutual understanding of each other’s boundaries, you are setting the relationship up for failure. That failure may not manifest in a break-up or divorce, but it will manifest some other way. Resentment builds, the couple drifts apart, resentment builds even further, you find fault with each other and start to despise each other, wondering what on earth you even saw in each other in the first place. One or both partners may start to look elsewhere for fulfilment, not just sexual fulfilment but emotional attachments, someone that understands them.
Yes, that classic line ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’ isn’t a cheesy pick-up line used by men just looking for a bit on the side, it’s a plea for attachment and fulfilment that is missing from the relationship and is equally applicable to women as it is men and to heterosexual and same-sex couples.
So, what are your boundaries? If your partner isn’t aware of your boundaries it is unfair to expect them to know when they have crossed them. It’s equally unfair to expect your partner to understand why you are so angry with them when they cross your boundaries, if you haven’t told them what your boundaries are.
Just as we live surrounded by the boundaries of law, rules and regulations with very clear consequences of what happens when those boundaries are crossed, so we need to create those boundaries within our relationships. Think about those little things that really wind you up and start to put boundaries in place to rectify them. It could be something as simple as asking your partner to put their dirty laundry in the laundry basket rather than leaving it in a pile on the floor or it could be that you have an open relationship but the boundaries have been crossed.
Whatever your boundaries, share them with your partner. When you both know and abide by the same rules of engagement can you have a truly equal relationship.
Book a call with me if you’re struggling with having a conversation around boundaries or if you need help to work through boundaries that have been crossed.
Book a call before you end up in the divorce courts. Let’s work out what’s not working in your relationship and why and create an action plan to get it back on track.
I know that’s quite a forward question to be asking, particularly if we haven’t yet met or spoken but it’s something I’m interested to know. How kinky are you in your relationship?
A general definition of the term ‘kinky’ refers to anything that is quirky, a bit different, offbeat but more usually this refers to sexual acts or practices that are seen as weird or odd. For example, many would consider a foot fetish to be kinky but to others that is perfectly normal. Many people believed E L James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” Trilogy promoted kinky sex but many others found it just too tame and ‘vanilla’.
From my point of view kink is a perfectly acceptable part of any consensual relationship and kinks are as wide and varied as us humans. As long as both parties are comfortable with the kink then that’s absolutely fine.
However, when I ask the question ‘How Kinky are you in your relationship?’ I’m not actually talking about sexual kinks here. When I’m coaching I use the acronym KINKY to identify areas to work on when establishing or re-establishing a robust, healthy relationship. Here’s what the acronym stands for;
Kindness – how kind are you to your partner?
Interested & Interesting – how interested are you in your partner and how interesting are you?
Nurturing – how do you nurture your partner and your relationship?
Keen – how keen are you in your relationship?
Yourself – how much of yourself do you bring to your relationship?
These may seem really simple questions at first glance but delve a little deeper into the world of kinky and you’ll be surprised at what comes up – every pun intended!.
Over the coming weeks I will be exploring each of these questions further and elaborating upon them and the impact they have but, in the meantime, I ask again, How Kinky are you in your relationship?
I’ve always had mixed feelings about International Women’s Day. Whilst I love that it’s a celebration of women and all we have achieved, I also recognise that it’s a time to reflect on what still needs to be done to create true equality.
And it’s this reflection that bothers me. I see so many women who appear to be blinkered to what I believe true equality to be – everyone having the chance to pursue the same opportunities regardless of age, gender, religion, race but at the same time acknowledging that we aren’t all equally capable of the same thing due to limits in our physiology, psychology and genetic make-up. To me, true equality is about celebrating the individual as they are, with all their strengths and weaknesses and enabling them to do whatever it is they wish to do whilst recognising their limitations.
Yes, there is a lot still to do to ensure equal rights and equal pay and I’m all for that but not at the expense of men and that is very much the tip of the iceberg.
I see too many champions of women’s rights creating forums for man-hating and that’s where the problem lies.
I’m a huge advocate in raising awareness of domestic violence and too many of the online communities I have entered are little more than platforms to belittle men. Yes, it is a fact that more women than men are the victims of domestic abuse but this doesn’t mean all men are abusers.
The instances of men being victims of domestic abuse are increasing. Some of the stories I have heard are awful and make me feel ashamed to be a woman.
So celebrating International Women’s Day has a bitter taste for me.
I’m also an advocate of supporting women who are or have been sex workers. Because the sex industry isn’t going away, it is first and foremost, a service industry and the majority of its workers are there through choice.
In my opinion, true equality will be created when we have developed a culture that respects the individual and his or her right to be who or what they please.
Do I have an issue with women who choose to flaunt their naked bodies in order to gain wealth and fame? NO – it’s their choice.
Do I have an issue with women who work in the sex industry because they choose to? NO – it’s their choice.
I do however, have a massive issue with other women who decide that these women need saving because they are being exploited by men. They don’t and they aren’t.
The women that need help are those who are forced into the sex industry as a result of abuse, those who are threatened with all sorts of horrors if they don’t pose for the camera, if they don’t ‘put on that red light, if they don’t put out but ironically, campaigning to help these women in the seedier side of the sex industry isn’t as sexy or headline grabbing as a scantily clad woman only too happy to flaunt her assets for the camera.
It’s those women, forced to do things that no-one should have to do without consent, that need to be helped and celebrated on International Women’s Day. Help them to understand they can change their lives, help them to understand that there is no shame in having gone through what they’ve gone through, help them to understand that it’s not their fault. But also let them celebrate the fact that they’re still here, they’re alive and they can get through this.
It’s time that we as smart, intelligent women of the world who have the means and ability to create change start to make change where it matters rather than trying to create headlines and jump on the bandwagon that the sexualisation of women is a bad thing. The sex industry isn’t going away, it’s nothing more than a service industry with an incredible business model – I know, I’ve worked in it and I’ve researched it extensively.
Change needs to start taking place in our homes and our schools, where we learn to challenge unacceptable language and behaviour and respect that we all have equal status despite our very real physical differences.
Only when we can create equality in the home, which then extends outward into our society will we be able to say we are truly equal. When we as women allow our men to be men, our sons and daughters to follow their own path regardless of whether they like blue or pink, football or dolls, regardless of whether they prefer girls or boys, regardless of their gender or sexuality without worrying about what the neighbours will say, only then will we be truly equal.
And then I’ll feel happy about properly celebrating International Women’s Day, knowing that as a society we can all truly celebrate the fact that we are all equal and have access to the same opportunities should we CHOOSE to take them and that we don’t judge those who make different choices tot hose we would make for ourselves.
Whatever your opinion of International Women’s Day, I applaud it. Without an opinion we would not be able to bring about change.
To all of the incredible women I know, and those I don’t, who are getting on with their lives in spite of or despite appalling adversity, I salute you. And to all the men I know who support those women – thank you.
Happy International Women’s Day
Don’t you just love books? Try as I might I can’t quite get as attached to my kindle as I do to books. I love the convenience of my Kindle for travelling but nothing beats the smell and feel of books, old or new.
World Book Day always excites me. It evokes memories of books long since destined to the great library in the sky, books that sit on my bookshelf unread since the first time but too valuable to pass on, books that have helped me through some tough times, books that have educated me about subjects I’m passionate in, books that create wanderlust, that make my mouth water, that help me escape.
I’ve often said that I can live very easily without a TV but I can’t live without books and that’s true. In fact, I remember moving to London to take a job 20+ years ago and my parents buying me a small portable TV. I knew no-one and they were worried that I’d feel lonely so bought me the TV to keep me company. I switched it on once a week to watch BBC Question Time in bed! These days, I watch so little that I don’t have a subscription service to any of the satellite channels or Netflix and yet again, it gets switched on only a couple of times a week, usually to find a family film to watch sometime over the weekend.
But I can’t live without books. It was heart-breaking when I downsized a number of years ago and had no choice but to reduce the number of boxes of books I was taking with me. The decision over which books should stay and which should be donated to charity took much longer than packing down the entire house!!
We now have two full book-cases in the house but that’s nowhere near enough for me. My dream is to have a house large enough that I can have a study where one wall is completely full of books. A girlfriend of mine has an entire reading room of which I’m inordinately envious but I know that if that was my room no-one would ever see me in any other part of the house and I’d never get any work done.
I get completely immersed in books and it’s the only time I’m totally able to block out everything else around me. I can remember as a teenager being told off by my father on numerous occasions because I hadn’t heard the call in to tea or to get ready to go out because I was curled up somewhere with my nose in a book, in my head I was a million miles away from the sofa or the garden or wherever it was I was reading. I even used to sit and read in a tree outside our house, two of the branches were very old and thick and the exact size for the 13/14 year old me to lay back in and read for hours on end. Nowadays, the fact that those branches were directly over a very busy main road would undoubtedly mean children would be banned from enjoying them! Yes, I had to climb about 15ft up the tree with a book tucked under my arm, held between my teeth or shoved into the back pocket of my jeans in order to sit on the branches.
But I digress, are you a bookworm or do you prefer TV?
I also have a confession to make; if I walk into a house where there’s no bookcase, I get ever so slightly disappointed and sad. I worry about how the occupants have coped without having books as a focal point of their lives. To me a house with books is a home, a house without books is just a cold empty shell.
And now, even my own published books adorn our bookcase. I don’t think I ever expected that to happen.
Do you have a bookcase or do you prefer to keep everything electronic?