dating // relationships // connection

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Real Talk on Love, Sex, &, Desire

So honored to be interviewed by Dawn Richard and have the opportunity to dive deep into my favorite topics: relationships, intimacy, love, sex, and desire. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN IN.

Dawn and I covered everything from:

Leah Marshall leads influencer marketing for a national marketing association. Outside of work, she’s a human dynamics junkie who’s authored dating and relationship content for media outlets including YourTango, ManTalks, Mend, Daily Urbanista, and more. She’s also the founder and leader of the Esther Perel Discussion Group on Facebook, a community of over 7,000 members from across the globe who connect regularly to discuss relationships, intimacy, sex, desire, and infidelity. You can connect with Leah on Instagram at @msleahmarshall, through her YouTube channel, and through her blog https://leapcastlife.wordpress.com/.

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What To Do If You’ve Been Ghosted 👻

Ghosting. Why do people do it? And if you’ve been ghosted, how do you move on from the experience and evolve?

In this episode of The Way We Connect podcast, I spoke with host Gwyneth Jones about my experiences with ghosting and how one was a massive springboard for my growth and evolution. We also talked about the critical piece that’s missing from so many dating experts’ advice on ghosting. Learning about it was game-changing for my healing so turn up that volume at 23 minutes in 😉.


“It’s so easy to wear the cozy cloak of victimhood when we’ve been ghosted but if we dig deeper, we can often find moments during the relationship where we co-created the dynamic that allowed it to happen.”

Leah leads influencer marketing for a national marketing association. Outside of work, she’s a human dynamics junkie who’s authored dating and relationship content for media outlets including YourTango, ManTalks, Mend, Daily Urbanista, and more. She’s also the founder and leader of the Esther Perel Discussion Group on Facebook, a global community of over 6,000 members who come together in person and online to discuss relationships, sex, dating, desire, and infidelity. You can connect with Leah on Twitter at @LeapCast and on Instagram at @msleahmarshall.

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Ask Me Anything About: Sex w/ Chris Maxwell Rose

So many of the messages we receive about sex are rooted in performance and shame.  I had the honor of speaking with Chris Maxwell Rose, the founder of the Speaking of Sex podcast, about how we can move towards sex that’s rooted in connection and authenticity. She answered questions about porn, sexual fantasies, healing from sexual trauma, sexual incompatibility, and why it’s so much easier for people to have sex than to talk about it. Click the link below to listen in! 🎧 Tune in to the Speaking of Sex podcast and download their free online Erotic Essentials course at: https://www.pleasuremechanics.com/

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A Conversation with Dr. Shefali Tsabary on Conscious Relationships

I first came across Dr. Shefali Tsabary, best known for her provocative appearances on Oprah, on several favorite podcasts including The School of Greatness and Impact Theory. But it wasn’t until I saw her live at the 2018 Summit of Greatness that I was blown away and completely hooked! In my opinion, she’s one of the most paradigm-shifting voices on self-awareness and human behavior I’ve encountered.

Dr. Shefali at the 2018 Summit of Greatness

Starting March 6th, 2019, Dr. Shefali is offering a new course on conscious relationships called Free To Be. Shefali believes that our relationships are mirrors to our inner selves. We attract just the right people into our lives to ignite self-work and evolution. But because we often look to relationships for social status, for validation, and to make us feel whole/complete, when the relationship inevitably ends we feel empty.  The solution?  Dr. Shefali’s paradigm-shifting approach that doesn’t look to the outer or to the other to meet our needs but rather to the self. 

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes us feel romantic love with someone or feel loved? Dr. Shefali says it’s the re-creation of old patterns from our childhoods. Specifically, the other person evokes a familiar template from our childhood experiences and in that moment, we either use the relationship to awaken to the pattern, decode it, and heal ourselves or we numb out with alcohol, distractions, or avoidance— whatever’s our drug of choice so that we don’t have to expose our wounds. Yet in doing so, we stay blind to who it is we are. Our relationships, she says, are calls for us to wake up to who we truly are. Dr. Shefali and I cover these topics and everything from co-creative responsibility in infidelity and how our childhood experiences shape our adult choices/reactions to the constructs of marriage, and (most provocative) why no one can truly betray you in our February 2019 interview, below.

Click HERE to watch the interview.

Interview Highlights

*(6:45) Why pain alone can lead to our awakening 

*(6:55) Where the masks we wear (the perfectionist, the athlete, the victim, the over-achiever) originate from and why we bolt or sabotage when we feel truly seen in relationships

*(9:53) The reason we stay stuck in our lives, repeating patterns, and feeling victimized and wounded by them

*(10:50) The difference between owning our part versus letting the other person off the hook

*(12:05) Why betrayal is a blessing 

*(12:45) Why Shefali believes the construct of marriage is flawed and how to design more conscious unions

*(17:10) Shefali’s advice to singles about dating

*(18:35) The real purpose of relationships

*(18:45) Why so many people don’t show up authentically in their relationships 

*(21:00) Why no one can betray you 

*(23:25) Why we stay so long in relationships and situations that aren’t serving us

*(24:55) Why so many people choose to cheat or enter into an affair rather than having a conversation with their partner first

*(25:35) Dr. Shefali’s new course starting March 6th on Conscious Relationships

Want more? Here’s the link to learn more about Dr. Shefali’s 20-week Free To Be online relationship course.

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February 1, 2019

Day 1 of #InfidelityStories is about forgiveness:

I could forgive the sexual betrayal. I am not able to forgive how he tried to put the blame for his affair on me.  It was the betrayal of being with someone for 15 years and them making you feel that the failure of the marriage was all your fault. That betrayal is the one I couldn’t forgive.~Caterina, Age 44

February 2, 2019

Day 2 of #InfidelityStories is about honesty:

“The biggest aspect of the betrayal wasn’t the sex or the emotional infidelity, it was the discrepancy between her words and her actions- what she said she wanted and what she was doing. She would say she wanted to work on our marriage and that she didn’t want to stay with her lover, yet all of her attention was focused on them. It would have been easier for me to hear the conflicting truth: “I want to stay married AND I want to be with my lover.” Then we would have had an honest to foundation to build from. But it’s hard to move forward when someone isn’t being honest with themselves.” ~Peter, Age 41

February 3, 2019

Day 3 of #InfidelityStories is about the end:

“I often get asked when I knew it was over. Because he had multiple affairs, people are curious what my breaking point was. The last affair was one when I realized his apology wasn’t for what he had done but rather, he was sorry that I was hurting. I turned to him and said that I didn’t need him to apologize for my feelings, I needed him to apologize for what he had done to cause me to feel that way. He responded that he was not responsible for my feelings and that all of this could be avoided if I would just let it go. For him, the issue was that I wasn’t properly managing my feelings. He saw no need to take responsibility for or alter his behavior. That’s when I knew that my feelings would never really matter to him and that it was over.” ~Jennifer, 41

February 4, 2019

Day 4 of #InfidelityStories is about growth:

“I think the affair happened when it did because we were caught up in a classic conflict of attachment styles. I was the more needy one, she the distancer. This led to sex problems. I assume her infidelity was a natural outgrowth of her distancing.

Did I discover anything new about myself or my partner as a result of the affair? It was a very delayed reaction almost 30 years later but I believe it led to my current attitude that if my now wife wanted to be sexual with another man and didn’t try to hide it, she would have my blessing. Part of this is perhaps a feeling that with this arrangement, the infidelity could be defanged– I could escape the devastation that I experienced originally.” ~David, Age 74

February 5, 2019

Day 5 of #InfidelityStories is about healing:

“I’ve been surprised to learn how common infidelity is, and that it can actually be a good thing for a relationship. Don’t beat yourself up for how long it takes to heal. Don’t feel pressured by your partner to “get over it” before you’re ready to. Do I think the affair will hang over the relationship forever? To some degree, yes. There will always be a small part of me that wonders if he’ll do it again, I don’t think that will ever be completely erased. I hope to some day talk about it more publicly with family and friends as something we went through rather than something that defines us.” ~Chelsea, Age 33

February 6, 2019

Day 6 of #InfidelityStories is about hindsight:

“My husband’s affair broke us all. My children and I were passengers in the drama he brought to our family. It’s now been 3 years since our separation, after I stayed for 5 years following the affair and tried to work it out. I’m more content now than I’ve been since I discovered it. With this hindsight, I wish I had made him leave the day I found out. But I allowed him to stay because of my fears about the loss of our family, the loss of our lifestyle and loss of our future. I regret not listening to my gut. Had we split immediately, I would have had time to think and regroup; we might still be together today. I believe that the first time I discovered his affair, it broke him as much as it did me, and he vowed it was over. Each time after that he was discovered in new affairs, it was less painful for him and it mattered less that he’d lied and hurt us again. It became a cycle and in the end, I realized I had the power to break it, but it took a long time. I wish I’d ended it on Day 1. My husband’s affair made me question my sanity. We were happy, we loved being together, and we had so much fun. We had what so many people didn’t, so why the affair?  Have I been deluding myself?  Esther Perel’s book, The State of Affairs, freed me from the torture in my head. I learned that happy people do have affairs.”   ~Tracey, Age 51 

February 7, 2019

Day 7 of #InfidelityStories is about perception:

“When people look at us, they see the ‘perfect couple.’ It’s laughable because we’ve been to hell and back. What they don’t realize is that it takes consistent effort every single day, and raw and sometimes painful communication to get the best out of a relationship. I don’t recommend infidelity, but sometimes it can put back together what taking each other for granted broke.” ~Gina, Age 43

February 8, 2019

Day 8 of #InfidelityStories is about when a child results from the affair:

“There isn’t much spoken about a child resulting from an affair and how that significantly complicates the situation. My feelings towards it all are very confusing. I still struggle with whether or not to stay. Dealing with the other woman is something I never want to do, yet my boyfriend hates what he did and has been devoted to me and fixing our relationship since. More needs to be talked about how the betrayed partner is supposed to regain their self esteem and how they’re supposed to move on, if ever, from it.  This is something I still have significant daily struggles with- what to do and how I feel.” ~Desiree, 32

February 9, 2019

Day 9 of #InfidelityStories is about evolution:

“I have years of love letters that he wrote to me during our courtship, and correspondence between his lover and me after his death. Letters that I wrote to myself, letters I wrote to my former self, to him, and to my daughter while I was recovering. I have all of this written documentation of what happened and what I learned. One thing that stands out is the opportunity his affair gave me to connect with the woman he betrayed me with. To forgive, to empathize, and to eventually respect and love her as part of our journey, in a way that I never could have imagined.” ~CJX, Age 44

February 10, 2019

Day 10 of #InfidelityStories is about finding the gifts in our grief:

“His affair and our divorce was the most painful and difficult thing I’ve ever had to overcome. There was a long time during which I wondered if I’d ever get past the anger and the grief. I’ve finally reached a space where we can talk without tension or awkwardness and I sincerely wish him happiness. I’m certain that I will have a more fulfilling relationship now than I could have ever dreamed of before. I found my voice during the affair and our divorce. It truly was a gift.” ~Paula, Age 50

February 11, 2019

Day 11 of #InfidelityStories is about responsibility:

“The affair wasn’t a result of any lack in my relationship.  In hindsight, I can point to problems, issues, and concerns that undermined my ability to be vulnerable in my relationship, to take risks, to face uncertainty, and to be emotionally transparent. However, none of those problems were at the root of the physical act of betrayal. I cheated specifically with the woman I chose out of avoidance, pride, and opportunity.” ~Sean, Age 50

February 12, 2019

Day 12 of #InfidelityStories is about fault:

“I want my partner to know that my cheating was never about anything she did or said. It was never about how I felt about her or our life together. It was never about her. The physical act was simply a selfish act. I want her to know that the secret-keeping and escalating series of lies was not to continue the behavior but to hide it. I wanted to hide it out of shame, guilt, and a prideful desire to remain her hero and her partner.  I want her to know she was the one. She was always the one.” ~Sean, Age 50  

February 13, 2019

Day 13 of #InfidelityStories is about secrets & loss:

“I hate that my lover called my partner and told her about the affair but I am eternally grateful that the secret and lies came out. The shame and humiliation were killing me. The moment the secret came out I was able to take my first full breath in years. I am a more complete man and I know that that is only because of my losses. I lost the things that were no longer serving me and my life. I am a better man than I ever was before. And I discovered a deeper and more meaningful way to love someone.” ~Sean, Age 50

February 14, 2019

Day 14 of #InfidelityStories is about trust:

Q: In a relationship where trust has been betrayed, how/when do you decide to leave or stay?
EP: “If you think that ‘trust’ is knowing ‘it will never happen again and until I know that, I can’t trust you,’ you will never trust again. Trust is an active engagement with the unknown. The most important thing when you have been hurt is that the person acknowledges they have hurt you. Nothing is more important to healing than that they recognize it and that they acknowledge the remorse they feel for having done it. Even if they thought they had good reasons to do it, even if they don’t feel bad about what they did, they must feel bad for what they did to you. That duality and acknowledgement is essential.” ~Esther Perel

February 15, 2019
Day 15 of #InfidelityStories is about personal ownership:

“I was betrayed in my marriage.  His affair was both emotional and sexual.  I thought at the time that the sexual side was going to be the deal-breaker but I realize now that the betrayal and his lies were a bigger deal for me.  I think it happened when it did because of the pressures he felt from finances and work. I can now see the role I had in the relationship dynamic that led to the affair: I knew how much he loved me and at times, I took it for granted. I didn’t realize how insecure he felt in the relationship. And while I thought the affair would hang over our relationship forever, but I now know it won’t.” ~Moisy, Age 55

February 16, 2019
Day 16 of #InfidelityStories is about affair contradictions:

“I felt a range of contradictory emotions all at once regarding the affair and my partner: vengeful, ashamed, humiliated, sad, hurt, angry, and scared.  I also felt a range of conflicting feelings: leave but don’t go, love me and I hate you, touch me and get your hands off of me, stay and go away.  I felt moral superiority, which I held over him. I was curious if my partner still thought about the other person, and I even felt a renewed sense of sexual desire prompted by the fear of loss.  Yet, the affair did not change my views on monogamy. For me, faithfulness is still necessary in a relationship.” ~Moisy, Age 55

February 17, 2019
Day 17 of #InfidelityStories is about reinvention:

“My husband’s affair was very public in our community, almost like a soap opera. Friends responded by offering advice: “Take off your ring.”  “Are you going to let him stay?”  “How do you know he won’t do it again?”  “How will you ever trust him again?” “Call a lawyer.”  It was overwhelming.  Why do I think the affair happened when it did? We have young children and they became my priority. He stopped growing in the relationship and at times, I felt like the only adult. It was lonely for me and I’m sure he felt that loneliness too. He yearned for outside attention and someone was willing to give it to him to escape her own failing marriage. The affair meant we needed to recreate our marriage because our previous one was dead.” ~Anonymous, Age 37


#InfidelityStories is a creative project of the Esther Perel Discussion Group on Facebook to bring more infidelity stories into the light for greater healing, understanding, and growth. Our goal is to challenge the stigmas around infidelity and the associated silence and shame. Infidelity is universally forbidden, universally practiced, yet it is still very much hidden, a source of shame, and deeply painful for many. Our goal is to change that. ❤️

#InfidelityStories shares the inner experiences of the individuals from across the globe who have been impacted by an affair, focusing not on the facts of the affair but rather the stories behind the statistics, the aftermath, and the process of repair.  

During the month of February 2019, we’ll be posting a quote from a group member’s infidelity story to the hashtag #InfidelityStories.  Join the conversation at #InfidelityStories on Facebook, @LeapCast on Twitter, & @msleahmarshall on Instagram.

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TREADcast with Austin Head: Your Holiday Workout Rx

Treadcast: Season 2 cast

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” ~Jim Rohn

This is why I spend as much time as I can with my trainer, mentor, and good friend, Austin Head. Austin’s hard to capture in words- I’ve never met anyone who could be so damn motivating while simultaneously making you sweat buckets. His jokes are 10% bad, 90% hilarious.  He has the highest standards for himself as a coach, and he demands just as much from us.  He packs out his classes til they’re standing room only and you need to get there 30 mins in advance to even get a spot!  He’s super passionate about building community among his students, which he does expertly. He gets everyone jazzed about 6am charity rides and races, fundraisers and service projects, holiday themed classes and friendly competitions.  He even coached me through a 5 min burpee battle against Jesse Itzler!

Several months ago, Austin approached me with his goal of starting a Tread podcast and asked if I’d help.  Tread (speed and incline intervals on a treadmill) is one of my hardest workouts but for Austin, it’s ride or die.

If you’re just starting out as a runner, working towards larger race or endurance goals, or just trying to up your fitness game, you’ll love this!

What you can expect from the Treadcast:
1. Explicit directions for interval and speed training
2. Verbal cues about running form
3. Nonstop motivation, pushing, and encouragement


Take 40 mins and let me know how much you sweat.  PS- I’m a quote fanatic… below are the ones I apparently shared during the workout, all 3 by David Goggins, a retired Navy SEAL known as, “the toughest man alive!”

“I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done”    

“When your brain says you’re done, you’re only at 40%.”  

“If it sucks, we’re doing it.”

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How To Mine the Gold in Your Break-Up

G4G_Logo_Delia_1400x1400_JPG-1“There’s nothing like returning to a place you’ve been before and seeing how much you’ve changed.” ~Nelson Mandela   

Big thanks to Delia Perry, host of the Girls 4 Greatness podcast, for giving me an opportunity to do this recently. We chatted about a super painful dating experience I had last year (which I first shared about at a storytelling event: https://youtu.be/gF6JI271tdo), how it shaped me, and how much I’ve grown as a result of the heartache. We also covered:

  • How to mine the gold in your break-up
  • How to forgive the other person (and ourselves)
  • Why we often miss the greatest lessons in our lives.

I got super vulnerable and real… and had an absolute blast! 😊 This is for anyone wrestling with heartache, a break-up, navigating dating, or a big life transition- enjoy!

Listen in at: http://girls4greatness.com/episode19/ 💞