dating // relationships // connection

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Opening Up: Lessons Learned From Polyamory


I was honored to be a guest on to the Normalizing Non-Monogamy podcast and share my first experience with polyamory, as a third person entering into an existing couple’s dynamic.

I spoke about how it feels to navigate the strong emotions and fears that arise in the established couple as they sense their dynamic forever changing, as well as the importance of having strong boundaries, deep self-awareness, and consistently showing up for yourself.

“As painful as it can be to feel the sense of loss of someone who’s exploding your world, there’s no better feeling than honoring yourself and your needs and not self-abandoning to save a connection that’s really meaningful for you. I would say to anyone who’s going through a similar situation, there’s so much value in being aware of your needs and showing up for them.”

~Leah Marshall, Normalizing Non-Monogamy podcast

If you’re exploring opening up and are curious to hear what it can feel like to experience a couple’s rules, hierarchy, privileges, and fears, I share candidly about all of the above and more in this episode.


Leah is a relationship junkie and the founder and leader of the Esther Perel Discussion Group on Facebook, a community of almost 12,000 members from across the globe who regularly discuss relationships, intimacy, sex, desire, and infidelity. And she’s the creator of Song Therapy, a video series which breaks down the relationship dysfunction in popular songs. You can connect more with Leah on YouTube Channel and through Song Therapy.

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Relationship Endings with James & Riya

James and Riya are the creators of the Open Lifestyle channel on YouTube. After a 7-year relationship, they recently uncoupled and were generous enough to share their journey and their process.


We touched on:

  • How and why they decided it was time to end their romantic connection
  • What conscious closing rituals they incorporated
  • How they each process and move through grief and loss
  • Their core relationship needs
  • The difference between love and attachment
  • Why shared interests and love for one another sometimes isn’t enough
  • What they each see as the purpose of relationships


“There is an aspect to an open relationship which can get in the way of growth. We both knew the truth that we weren’t meeting each other’s core needs. An open relationship can give you the excuse of, “I can get those needs met elsewhere” which is true, but for the core values that you need in your life, it’s not true.” ~James

“The last act of pure love we can have for one another is to not hold on to what was but look at what is and what needs to be. The breakup can be the last act of love of setting each other free. This is attachment versus love- I love you but I’m not attached to having to be in your life. The love I have for you means that when it needs to end, it can end.” ~James


“The way people leave the previous relationship, the quality of the breakup, is really at the heart of how people start their next relationship- how much they will trust, how they will collaborate, how they protect themselves, how they anticipate what will happen, and how much they bring these invisible exes with them. A meaningful closing might be sharing:

  • Here are the things that I take with me from what we have lived together
  • Here are the things that I hope you take with you from what we shared
  • Here is what I wish for you
  • Here is where I think that I could have done better

How people start and end relationships are incredibly important psychological bookmarks of their relational life.” ~Esther Perel

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Navigating Jealousy with Kitty Chambliss

Click the image above for the full interview 🎧

Kitty Chambliss is the author of the Jealousy Survival Guide, where she offers insights and techniques for managing jealousy with grace and self-compassion. Kitty joined me for a candid conversation on navigating the feelings of jealousy, envy, fear, insecurity, and loss that arise in our relationships, both monogamous and polyamorous. You can learn more about Kitty and her book at: https://lovingwithoutboundaries.com/


Here’s the processing model we discussed to get beneath the jealousy to the deeper feelings causing it: “When ____ happens, I make it mean ____________. My fear is that means I am ____________ and that eventually __________ will happen.” Example: “When my partner dates and emotionally connects with another person, I make it mean _____ and _______. My fear is that means ______ and that eventually _______ will happen.”

Source: http://polyweekly.com/jealousy-toolbox-and-then-what-exercise/

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Why I Choose Polyamory ❤️

Honored to sit down with Freja Njorden and Steve Makohin to dive into my ever-evolving journey with polyamory. We covered:

  • Common mistakes couples can make when first opening up
  • Belief systems normalized in monogamy that need to be released to embrace polyamory
  • Poly rules 
  • Is “don’t ask don’t tell” ever a good idea?  
  • Leaning into jealousy and the fears beneath it
  • Privacy concerns
  • And more!



Processing model to get below the jealousy to the fear underneath:

“When _______ happens, I make it mean __________. My fear is that means I am __________ and that eventually ________ will happen.”

EXAMPLE: “When my partner falls in love with someone else, I make it mean she will love me less and eventually leave me. My fear is that means I am not enough and that eventually I will be alone.”

Can be powerful to complete solo and then talk through it with your partner. Source: http://polyweekly.com/jealousy-toolbox-and-then-what-exercise/

Closing Quote by Esther Perel:

“We sometimes will give up discovery, novelty, or passion for a permanence that may not really exist. In our efforts to secure love, we sometimes will sap the very erotic vitality out of our relationships. We will, when faced with the persistent mystery of the other, react not with openness, surprise, or joy but with anxiety and want in some way to narrow ourselves and narrow our partner and make them known predictable entities so that we don’t ever have to be too surprised. But in the process, we will lose the very mystery and erotic vitality that drew us to them because in order to see your partner in their element, you have to be able to tolerate that they’re not there with you, giving up their freedom for your security.”

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Understanding Polyamory & Open Relationships with Dr. Eli Sheff

Dr. Elizabeth Sheff is a pioneer in the study of polyamory and the author of The Polyamorists Next Door, Stories from the Polycule, When Someone you Love is Polyamorous, and Children in Polyamorous Families.


Polyamory is the practice of more than one intimate relationship with more than one partner, with the informed consent of all partners involved. It’s also referred to as consensual or ethical non-monogamy. It’s a life philosophy that love is not zero sum- that me loving one person doesn’t necessarily detract from my ability to love another, and may even amplify my love for everyone involved.


  • Common poly types and structures? How is poly different from open relationships or swinging?
  • Knowing your poly “why”
  • The difference between rules and boundaries
  • Mono + poly relationships
    Navigating feelings of jealousy, envy, insecurity, + fear of loss
  • Processing model to get below the jealousy to the root fear: “When ____ happens, I make it mean ____________. My fear is the above means I am ____________ and that eventually __________ will happen.
  • Triads, unicorns, + unicorn hunting
  • Don’t ask, don’t tell?
  • Disclosing polyamory to children



“We now come to one person and ask them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, give me security, but give me excitement, mystery and adventure all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think that sex toys and lingerie is going to save us.” ~Esther Perel

“Every organism & every company knows it needs to reinvent itself continuously or else it fossilizes but the notion of flexibility, fluidity, & adaptability in relationships is more unusual.” ~Esther Perel

“Open relationships make a lot of sense but they’re not for everybody- they demand a massive amount of egalitarianism. They requires two people who are sovereign, who can choose for themselves and not one person imposing it on the other. Cheating happens all the time in open relationships. People will always cross boundaries. Transgression seems to be part of relationships period. Consensual non-monogamy is not a protection device against transgression. It’s a philosophy, a way of thinking about sexuality and freedom and the centrality of the individual within a relationship. We need multiple models- there is no right one.” ~Esther Perel


Leah Marshall is a relationship junkie and the founder and leader of the Esther Perel Discussion Group on Facebook, a community of almost 12,000 members from across the globe who regularly discuss relationships, intimacy, sex, desire, and infidelity. She’s also the creator of Song Therapy, a video series hosted in partnership with the hiitide app which breaks down the relationship dysfunction in popular songs. You can connect with Leah on her YouTube channel and on Song Therapy.

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Dr. Justin Lehmiller is the author of Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and the researcher behind one of the largest surveys of sexual fantasies in America. Join Justin and Leah as they unpack sexual fantasies including:

  • What happens in the brain during a sexual fantasy?
  • The most common sexual fantasies and differences in what men tend to be drawn to versus women?
  • When to keep a fantasy just a fantasy and when to act on it?
  • When’s the right time to start sharing a sexual fantasy with a partner, how do you even start that conversation, tools for discovering your sexual fantasies, and tech tools for sharing sexual fantasies?
  • BDSM- what draws certain people to it?

Watch Episode 004 HERE.

Song Therapy is produced in collaboration with hiitide. Join us as we playfully discuss the relationship dysfunction in popular songs 🎤

Watch past episodes at hiitide.com/song-therapy 🎧 and follow @song.therapy on IG for updates.

Episode 1: Wrecking Ball  by Miley Cyrus 💣
Episode 2: Black Widow  by Iggy Azalea 🕷
Episode 3: Ex-Factor  by Lauryn Hill 💔

Watch Episode 004 HERE.

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Thais Gibson on Attachment Theory & Conscious Relationships

Another bucket list moment: getting to interview the fascinating and wise Thais Gibson! 💗  Thais is one of the leading experts on attachment theory and has a gift for explaining how our different attachment styles impact our romantic relationships. For anyone who’s unfamiliar, attachment theory is the science of how we respond to romantic connection. Generally people fall into 1 of 4 categories and it profoundly shapes how we experience love and connection. Join me and Thais as we delve into topics ranging from break-ups and boundaries to changing who we’re attracted to, healing inner child wounds, shadow work, trauma bonds, limerence, and meeting our needs. Would love to hear your thoughts & what the conversation brought up for you in the YouTube comments!


Topics covered:

Overview of attachment theory, the 4 types, how they form, and how insecure can move towards secure

What are core wounds and how do they affect our relationships, what are common core wounds and are certain core wounds associated with certain attachment styles, what are some examples of healing using the conscious mind versus actually reprogramming the subconscious mind, and what’s the difference between pain and suffering?

The 3 things that create attraction, what might cause attraction to become limerence or rumination, what is intermittent reinforcement and what affect does it have on attraction, & what is the connection between our attachment style and our propensity to be in limerence?

What are our 6 basic needs and our 45 core personality needs, what is the role personality needs/unmet personality needs have in creating attraction and healing from break-ups, and what if I have no idea what my personality needs are?

“When our needs aren’t met, we obsess about the past and imagine the future.”
What is the path to healing from a break-up, why are people so often drawn to return to the painful experiences and people they broke up with, and what are trauma bonds/subconscious comfort zone bonds?

A group member shared she doesn’t have trouble expressing her boundaries but she does have trouble enforcing them (meaning following through with consequences) and that she has more trouble expressing and enforcing them with certain people (i.e. in the workplace and in professional settings versus in romantic relationships.) Why is this and what is the path to healing?

🔸 Anonymous group member question: After reading the book Attached, the authors appear to take a strong view against DA’s (dismissive avoidants), really hammering home that they are not ideal relationship partners and that to make it work, you need to sacrifice a lot. Thais seems to take a more compassionate view towards them. Why is that?
🔸 Anonymous group member question for live coaching: Delia was in an abusive relationship for several years and knows her ex is toxic and harmful, yet she still misses and is attracted to him. How can she reprogram her attraction to abuse?

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Live Q&A Interview with Esther Perel

Last month, I got to interview one of my heroes, the luminous and profound Esther Perel. Esther joined me & the online community I formed, the Esther Perel Discussion Group, for a live, interactive discussion of the latest episode of her Where Should We Begin podcast.


Listen in for Esther’s perspective and insights on the line between separateness and togetherness in a relationship, and her responses to group members’ questions. I also shared personally about a tricky & painful relationship challenge I’m navigating. Would love to hear your thoughts & what the conversation brought up for you in the YouTube comments. ❤️

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Song Therapy is the video series I’m producing in partnership with hiitide.com where we playfully unpack the relationship dysfunction in popular songs 😏 

🎧 Episode 003: Ex-Factor 💔 features therapist Kine Corder.

View all episodes at: https://hiitide.com/song-therapy

🎧 Episode 1: Wrecking Ball 💣 by Miley Cyrus
🎧 Episode 2: Black Widow 🕷 by Iggy Azalea
🎧 Episode 3: Ex-Factor 💔 by Lauryn Hill

Watch Episode 003 HERE.

Follow @song.therapy on IG for updates

DM your song and guest suggestions to @song.therapy

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💥 The 3 Choreographies of Arguments 💥


According to the famed psychologist Esther Perel, within couples there are three primary choreographies of arguments: fight/fight, fight/flee, flee/flee. The choreography of the arguing is way more important than what sparked the argument in the first place. Change happens in a relationship when each person is willing to do something new, non-contingent on what the other does, because if you consistently start to do something different, at some point the other person has to adapt. It’s like tennis- if the ball goes to a different corner, your partner can’t stay standing on the other side. If they wish to stay in the game, at some point, they have to adjust.

Which choreography pattern can you most relate to?