Identifying Emotional Abuse before it Happens

I want to tell you an important story, and here’s why: not a lot of people will share their versions.

It’s scary. Too scary, for many.

Like for my hairdresser, whose husband was “the sweetest guy she ever met” at first, yet ended up nearly choking her to death against the kitchen wall. He didn’t spare her—she would have died if her 11-year-old son hadn’t come into the room.

Like for a friend of a friend who wasn’t able to leave her abuser until the day he popped a blood vessel in her eye.

Like for another friend of a friend whose boyfriend, for years, would threaten to kill himself with the nearby gun if she tried to leave him.

Like for my colleague whose sister died at the hand of her abuser, though he is still walking around free.

Like for the millions of women, men and children who don’t speak up every day because they are exhausted, don’t want to be reminded of the situation, or simply can’t say anything because doing so would risk their lives.

I’m doing my small part by sharing my story because violence of any kind, but especially domestic violence, is perpetuated by silence. The more we talk, the more we know, the faster we learn and demand better.

I love my bike more than almost anything in the world.

I think there’s a disease for that–object sexuality, anyone? But really, I do. There’s nothing that compares to riding, whether or not I have a destination, I’m exhausted or energized, my music’s blasting or I’m just enjoying the silence of my surroundings.

This time last year I met a boy who loved bikes, too. So we loved bikes together.

We rode our bikes everywhere and then pretty soon we did everything else together, too. All. The. Time. Every minute together.

But I was always unsettled with all this togetherness, that went from zero to 60 in just a few weeks time. I blew off the discomfort as me just learning how to be less independent and self-sufficient as if those traits could actually adversely affect my future.

So we kept riding. The boy told me some things that were massive red flags, akin to those at Running of the Bulls, waving in my face, yet I was still charging right at them.

“Don’t judge,” I said.

“He’s changing,” I convinced myself.

“I won’t be like the rest,” I lied.

Every time I said these things my standards dropped lower and lower, and I perpetuated my own lie that everything was okay. I knew that if my family even knew the half of it they would douse me in a bucket of ice water until I cycled away as fast as I could (which is pretty damn fast).

But I kept riding.

The fights got worse, the anger more explosive, the jealousy and put-downs and blatant hypocrisy so intense, only to be appeased by a shoulder shrug or guttural laughter that didn’t even sound like my own voice.

My brain felt like putty so often that all I wanted to do was sleep forever.

“It’s normal,” I assured myself, “It’s the dead of winter, who would have the energy to get out of bed?”

But I never stopped riding, and one day I rode so fast that even my bike said enough.

Though I love him to death, sometimes that carbon-fiber bastard has the weirdest ways of looking out for me.

Wake up, he said, or I’m gonna make you wake up and see it.

So he did.

My chin hit the pavement and that was it.

Well, it was more like, where the f*ck is all this blood coming from?! plus five days of hospitalization, six weeks of a wired jaw accompanied by a liquid-only diet, zero bike rides, dozens of nauseating painkillers, and two weeks of the most unimaginably inhumane response to my trauma from the “man” who was supposed to be there for me.

He took my weakened state and used it as an opportunity to yell, control, blame, punish, flees and cheats.

The cheating after my major surgery was the moment that finally allowed me to leave my abuser in the physical sense, yet it was the compounding layers of intense emotional abuse that will keep me away from him forever, along with anyone who possesses the same traits.

While I certainly don’t have everything figured out, or even know what a “perfect” relationship would look like, I have learned what relationships are most definitely not, what love is most definitely not, and that is the following abusive behaviors:

1. Frequent hanging out, right from the jump.

This intense togetherness is probably the hardest one to identify as a key sign of abuse, and I’ll tell you why.

In an age where we can deposit a check, order a burger, listen to the latest tracks and swipe through photos of potential matches all at once, it is safe to say that instant gratification has become the modus operandi. We subconsciously apply this to relationships, too, where hookup culture is expected and anything else is too old-fashioned.

Abusers, who tend to be extremely charismatic and complementary in the beginning, capitalize on this idea, convincing their partners that they need to be together all the time, and anything less is insincere. In this intense period abusers quickly establish a pattern of dependency whereby the partner begins to rely on the abuser’s opinions and habits to affirm their character and sense of worthiness as a match.

It is also common for the abuser to suggest “big steps” like moving in, taking trips alone or sharing financial resources. Because of the preexisting fast pace of everything else, at the moment it’s easy to go along with these big steps. These “suggestions” from my abuser were attempts to further control my actions, decisions, and whereabouts so that when the abuse started, my options for leaving would be more limited. Every time I voiced hesitation about moving too fast, I felt guilty.

2. Creation of isolation.

Because abusers need to maintain a strong power imbalance in the relationship in order to carry out the abuse, a prerequisite is making the partner feel isolated in every way.

Beyond physical isolation, this can manifest as threats of being alone if you ever leave him/her, verbal manipulation regarding those in your network and how they feel about you and reprimanding you for speaking to close friends and family about problems in the relationship.

“You’re missing out on a really good man,” he said one time I tried to leave. “You should be lucky to be with someone like me.”

When my family came into town after the bike crash, he got angry and resentful, calling me “spoiled” and “selfish” for being with them.

3. Extreme jealousy.

This is another hard one because I see so many people—myself included—mistake jealously for exclusivity.

When we first got together, I thought “Oh, he must be really jealous because he really likes me and wants to make sure nothing comes in the way of that.” I was unable to see the jealousy as the deep-seated insecurity that it was.

Toxic habits became the new normal. Things like looking through my phone every day, demanding that I answer if I had slept with any man we encountered who he didn’t know, and telling me not to wear certain clothing that he thought was too revealing.

He constantly fabricated stories about me cheating. He once went into a fit of rage because I didn’t introduce him to someone I had met for a few hours several years earlier, and a few weeks later did the same thing when we met someone who was an insignificant part of my past. In front of dozens of onlookers, he screamed at me, assuming I was currently sleeping with that individual.

4. Lack of respect for your property, aspirations, and values.

Because abusers see their partner merely as an extension of themselves rather than their own person with every right to their own opinions and limitations, boundaries are often blurred.

One of the first weeks I was dating this abuser, I had him drop me at a meeting on a topic that I was sure would be of no interest to him, and he immediately accused me of sneaking off to meet someone.

He often used my car and when I asked him not do things that would put me in jeopardy like smoke weed in it, suddenly I was, once again, “selfish.”

Once the relationship was over, all the money he owed me was no longer his problem.

Kind words that he had feigned regarding my job and career choices turned cold-turkey to, “You’re a f*cking lackey.”

5. Self-victimization.

Abusers very rarely see themselves as abusers, which is why they almost never stop abusing. My abuser said things like, “I only attract crazy people” or “They made me do x, y, and z,” always looking through the lens of a victim when discussing exes, family members, friends, etc.

Because of this, whenever conflict arose, I was always wrong or to blame in his eyes. He refused to utter “sorry,” claiming that using that word makes you a self-deprecating person, yet he expected it all the time from me.

6. Uninterested in self-help.

Abusers tend to find people with bleeding hearts or a savior complex, and they will allow their partner to “fix” them in order to 1) make their partner feel like she or he is different and the only one who truly understands the abuser, and 2) (usually towards the end of the relationship) use this as a threat for why the partner needs to stay (i.e. “you’re supposed to be there for me no matter what”).

At the very end of my relationship, when for the first time I saw the heightened abuse with clarity rather than just a “complicated relationship,” I suggested anger management and offered to go with him so it didn’t come across that I was singling him out. When he used a lack of funds as an excuse, I offered to pay. When he still refused, I finally saw the distinction between someone with demons who is wanting and willing to do whatever it takes to healthily work them out versus a true abuser, who would rather just find someone new who hasn’t figured out their true character yet and start the cycle of abuse over with them because it’s easier.

This list is by no means exhaustive and doesn’t even begin to get at the complexity of emotional abuse, especially when coupled with other factors like substance abuse, family history, and mental illness, all of which were present in my relationship.

But I’m not here to talk about all that, I’m sharing simply to shed a bit of light on key signs of emotional abuse, which is so damn underexposed, if for no other reason that it doesn’t bear the visible scars that physical abuse does.

I’m also not here to tell you that I’m perfect, or that I didn’t possess qualities that probably enabled the abuse at times.

There is a certain kind of gratification that comes from helping someone improve, but if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that the uplifting has to be mutual, no matter what kind of relationship it is. Anything less is a sure-fire path to the annihilation of your self-worth, and a total expending of your good energies on others, leaving nothing left for yourself.

And, please oh please oh please, don’t ask me #whyIstayed.

I did try to leave, but ended up doubting my own intuition every time.

I even called the National Domestic Abuse Hotline once after the abuse hit a verbal and somewhat physical climax. I was on hold for 45 minutes, during which my abuser insisted I was on the phone with a dude who I was making arrangements to go sleep with. But, at the time, I expected nothing else from him. It had all become normalized, you see.

I can’t reiterate enough how slowly emotional abuse can creep into your life—the first stage of complete adoration, gaslighting, and love-bombing from the abuser happens very quickly, but everything else is oftentimes so subverted you can only recognize just how bad it was once you’ve left.

Many people stay in abusive relationships far longer than they would like because they keep remembering the good times and subdue the bad. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t doing the same when it was first over. But as soon as I was able to identify the one thing we truly shared a passion for—cycling—I realized just how easy it was to replace the good feelings associated with those rides with hundreds of others in my city’s beautiful bike community, or even with the dozens of solo rides I’ve taken since getting back on my frame.

And I’ll leave you with this, only because it’s applicable to all injustices everywhere, not just the gross human rights violation that is domestic violence.

Great spirits have always encountered violent oppression from mediocre minds” ~ Albert Einstein.

If someone/thing/force is bringing you down through its weakness, flush that shit and don’t forget to wipe.

~Kendra Davisu

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The One. The one. Is there a One?

And if there is how will I know? And what if I’m wrong? And what if there’s really two or three or…

We, humans, complicate things so. There are many animals who mate for life and don’t lose sleep trying to figure out if their mate is the only one. Wolves for example. And coyotes, those wild, wild nocturnal maniacs—yes, they have it all figured out.

Owls, beavers, eagles, swans, cranes, pigeons, hawks, ospreys, geese and some apes are a few more. My guess is that they don’t spend 10 minutes asking themselves if they have made the right choice or if something better awaits them right around the next corner.

They just know.

For years I have seen articles that describe in great detail how to know if our beloved is the one. I have read articles and books that strongly suggest that if I answer, “No” to any of their questions I might be in the wrong relationship. Books that ask hundreds of questions and no matter how you answer them you put the book down feeling like you just ate rotten fish and wondering what you ever saw in this person you love anyway.

We talk to friends and therapists and priests and experts. We take quizzes online and haunt the self-help aisles in bookstores and libraries. We look for “signs” and ask question after question.

Does she make you feel…?

Does he say…?

Does he have…?

Does she give you…?

Can he read your mind?

Do you speak the same love language?

And oh my God, what do you mean he forgot your birthday?

It really is so much more simple than all of that and it all boils down to two very simple questions.

1. Do I love this person?

Not, is this person hot or sexy or fun; not, do I enjoy this person; not, are we compatible; not, is it a good idea— but, do I really and truly love this person? Would I give them half of my paycheck, the last bite, my car or…a kidney? Is it that kind of love?

If the answer is yes then you’re already more than halfway there. Real love is the motivation for growth and understanding and compassion. Real love drives us to be better people who rise above petty difficulties and fleeting emotions. People who do whatever it takes to nurture what we hold dear, kidney donation or not.

2. Are both my life and my partner’s life better because of our relationship?

Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, imagine your life without your beloved and ask yourself: How would I live without this person? How would I feel? How would I spend my time? Would I feel full? Would I feel empty? Would I sleep well or would I lie awake longing?

Who would I confide in? Who would I spend my time with? Who would lift me up when I am down? Who would be my rock? Is my love my best friend? What would I do on Saturday night or Tuesday afternoon or every day for the rest of my life if this person disappeared from my world?

A thousand questions could follow and we should be mindful of how we would answer them but not get too caught up in the details. We need to keep it simple. We need to put aside all secondary emotions like envy, put aside fear and attachment and know that no matter what happens we will survive. With a pure, courageous, open heart we need to ask the simple question: How would my life be without this person I call my love?

I’m not suggesting that we settle for an unhealthy relationship, nor am I suggesting that there is necessarily only one one. I am saying that we complicate things with mountains of questions which can create doubt and confusion. Sometimes the answer is obvious if we simplify. If we can take a step back and answer these two questions honestly and fearlessly I believe the answer as to whether we should be with our chosen one, or not, will be obvious. If we really and truly-give-up-a-kidney-kind of love our partner and we recognize that our lives are better as a team then with a little attention and a lot of commitment everything else will fall into place.

Relephant via Elephant Journal

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Being In A Relationship With An Alpha Woman

If you’re in a relationship with an Alpha woman, you can be certain of a number of things, least of which will be that things are unlikely to ever be boring.

She has chosen to be with you, so obviously you’re interesting enough to have captured her attention (and her heart), neither of which she gives out easily, so that’s already a boon in your favor.

Below are eight things that your Alpha lady will bring to your partnership, whether you’re ready for them or not. Brace yourself.

1. Zero Bullsh*t Or Drama

As has been established, Alpha women have neither the time, nor the patience for games or passive-aggressive nonsense.

As such, you know you’re never going to have to deal with her giving you the silent treatment, or slamming doors, or pulling the whole “if you don’t know what you did wrong, I’m not going to tell you” crap that a lot of people inflict on one another.

She’s also unlikely to hold a grudge, so when you two quarrel, you can resolve issues there and then and move on, as she’s not the type to keep rehashing old ugliness forever just for the sake of drama. Once it’s over, it’s over. End of.

2. Reliability

If you’ve ever been in a relationship in which you haven’t been able to depend upon your partner to really be there for you when you needed them, then it’s understandable that you might be a bit wary about truly trusting your Alpha partner.

Well, fear not: you can count on her.

Alpha women value and appreciate integrity, and often hold themselves to a much higher standard than they would others.

If you need her, she’s there for you. If she makes a promise, she will keep it unless she’s incapacitated. If it’s her turn to pick up the kids, or if she agreed to attend your cousin’s accordion recital, she’ll be there.

Early…

With snacks.

Furthermore, you can feel secure in the knowledge that if she has made a commitment to be your partner, that means she is your partner in all ways.

She will hold her own – whether in terms of finances or home maintenance – and is unlikely to ever allow inequality to seep into any aspect of your partnership.

3. Sincerity, Not Neediness

You realize that she’s with you because she wants to be with you, and not because she needs to be, right?

You may have some insecurities about being with such a powerful creature, but guess what? She chose you. She doesn’t NEED you.

She’s not desperate for a partner, she’s not settling with just anyone so that she’s not alone: she’s just fine flying solo, and would rather be alone than with someone she’s not perfectly happy with.

This isn’t a woman who’s going to whine when you go out with your friends because she misses you when you’re gone for an hour, nor is she unable to function without you being her pillar of support.

She might need you to be there for her during times of crisis, as she would be there for you, but it’s as an equal. Not a ragdoll desperate to be carried and coddled.

4. Encouragement And Challenge

Remember what we said above regarding zero BS? That includes allowing you to make up lame excuses about why you’re not pursuing your goals.

This woman is aware of your potential and knows what you’re capable of: traits that likely drew her to you, to begin with.

If you find yourself in a slump, discouraged, and lacking the motivation to pursue a dream or other pursuit, she will be the torch bearer who keeps the flame burning under your backside to keep you going.

5. Self-Reliance

If you’ve always dreamed of being the knight in shining armor to a damsel in distress, that’s not what you’re going to find in this partnership.

Your Alpha woman isn’t a princess in need of saving: she’s a queen who saves herself and will set sh*t on fire in her wake if need be.

You’re unlikely to get a call in the middle of the night because she needs you to come and pick her up from some kind of weird situation, though if she’s pregnant, she MIGHT ask you to drive her to the hospital when her contractions have started.

Her bag will already be packed, however, so you won’t need to worry about that. Oh, and the baby seat will already be installed in your car because she will have taken care of that too.

6. Awareness Of What She Wants, Plus Reciprocation

Your Alpha woman has a pretty solid awareness of what she likes, whether it’s a moderately toasted bagel with just a bit of onion cream cheese on it, or a specific position when you’re being intimate.

Particularly the latter.

Not only does this lady know what makes her squee, she has no qualms whatsoever about telling you what’s needed to make it happen.

Just as awesomely, Alpha women tend to enjoy giving as much as receiving, so you can be quite certain that if you tell her what you like in turn, she’ll oblige enthusiastically.

After all, what’s the point of intimacy if both people aren’t enjoying themselves?

8. Honesty

This one has to be said, as it’s extraordinarily important when it comes to a relationship with an Alpha female.

We’ve reiterated how much this lady values integrity, and honesty in the relationship – and with her – is just as vital.

When you’re involved with a woman like this, know that you’re not just going to find out one day that things haven’t been working for a while, or that she’s been getting jiggy with your boss behind your back.

If there are issues in your relationship that need to be worked on, she’ll be honest and forthright with you about them so you can address them properly and work on them together.

If you balk at this, she’ll bring it up again, and insist that things be tended to. She won’t just drop the subject, but will do what needs to be done in order to sort things out…

But if it turns out that she’s the only one who’s making a sincere effort to enact change, she will walk away.

It’s just as important that you’re honest with her, regardless of what the issue is. If you’re upset, or unhappy, or just have something to address as a couple, lay it out on the table so it can be dealt with.

She’s not a fragile flower who will cry at the drop of a hat: she’s with you for a reason, and will work with you to sort out what needs to be sorted to make the relationship work.

Just be honest with her, always.

She’ll know if you’re hiding something from her, and if you ever lie to her or break her trust, it’s over: not only will she lose respect for you, but she’ll never be able to trust you again.

Author: Catherine Winter


Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec’s Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn’t writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.

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I’ll Swallow You Whole

“You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.” -Warsan Shire

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Walking Back And Forth Or Passing Through

Philophobia (from Greek φίλος – filos, “beloved, loving”and φόβος – phobos, “fear”) is the fear of being in love and falling in love. The risk is usually when a person has confronted any emotional turmoil relating to love in the past but also can be a chronic phobia.

I have said it already so many times before, I have never been in love yet despite being married more than once. I had my share of flings and affairs but none of those managed to capture my heart. Speaking of heart, mine is never been broken. Not even a dent. I could say I protected it so well but that is not the case. It just happened that I didn’t encounter yet that special someone who is capable of doing the damage.

No, I don’t have a fear of falling in love, in fact, I would like to experience how it is to be desperately, hopelessly, madly in love. And I wish for my heart to be broken once so I know how it feels when others talk about heartaches, sorrows, and pain of loving too much.

Neil Gaiman said:

 Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.

I want to experience that too. To be vulnerable, to be utterly messed up by someone else, to fall so hard it feels like I’ve been hit by a truck or dropped from a thirteenth-floor window. Haruki Murakami described falling in love as intense, a veritable tornado sweeping across the plains—flattening everything in its path, tossing things up in the air, ripping them to shreds, crushing them to bits. I want that kind of feeling just once so I can relate with those who know how it is like to have your throat cut.

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The Tie That Binds

Find me at the bottom of your drink when you raise
your cup and see me
across the room through
the round film of glass.

– Margherita Bassi

We all have dreamt of this special someone whose glance will meet ours across the room full of people and we will feel an immediate connection and we know in that instant that this person is the one. The one who will make us feel like nobody made us felt before. The one who will let us taste the passion and burning desire that will consume our whole being and will make us forget every other relationship we had in the past. The one who will make us cry buckets of tears and going to break our hearts in million tiny pieces. The one who will be unforgettable. The one who will get away.

Sounds nice but the truth is not once in my life I’ve felt this way nor I have ever dreamed of a similar situation with anyone in particular. In fact, when I’ve read the above quote what immediately came into my mind is two married people who are secretly having an affair and trying to hide it from everyone unsuccessfully. Believe you me, when two people got something going on between them, they can ignore each other in public and pretend but hide they cannot. There seems to be an invisible connection tying them together. Like some sort of energy, an electric something shimmering, rippling, across the room and you feel it. They don’t even have to talk or glance to each other for the connection to show. It’s just there, crackling, reaching, linking them, tying them, binding them to each other.

Did you ever experience the same thing? Or witness it?  Am I right? Do tell.

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The House

Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women; kitchen of lust, / bedroom of grief, a bathroom of apathy. / Sometimes, the men – they come with keys, / and sometimes, the men – they come with hammers. ~ Warsan Shire

Does it sound alarmingly like this? It does to me.

A woman should be a cook in the kitchen, a lady in the parlor, and a whore in the bedroom

But then again I’m paranoid and overthinker. You know…

A person who thinks all the time
Has nothing to think about except thoughts
So… he loses touch with reality
And lives in a world of illusions
By thoughts I mean specifically, Chatter in the skull
Perpetual and compulsive repetition
of words, of reckoning and calculating
I’m not saying that thinking is bad
Like everybody else
It’s useful in moderation
A good servant, but a bad master
And all civilized peoples
Have increasingly become crazy and self-destructive
Because through excessive thinking
They have lost touch with reality
That to say…
We confuse signs
With the real world…
This is the beginning of meditation
Most of us would have
Rather money than tangible wealth
And a great occasion is somehow spoiled for us unless photographed
And to read about it the next day in the newspaper
Is oddly more fun for us than the original event
This is a disaster…
For as a result of confusing the real world of nature with mere signs
We are destroying nature
We are so tied up in our minds that we’ve lost our senses
Time to wake up
What is reality?
Obviously… no one can say
Because it isn’t words
It isn’t material, that’s just an idea
Reality is…
The point cannot be explained in words
I’m not trying to put you down
It’s an expression of you as you are
One must live…
We need to survive to go on…
We must go on.

I’m getting sidetracked again. Heard this one somewhere but I’ve have forgotten it and remember just now. It supposed to be something about meditation or something but listening to it made me jumpy and edgy and itchy. Like yoga, it makes me more nervous than I ordinarily am. But let’s go back to the topic at the beginning of this post about rooms and lust and lady and whores which put another idea in my head about a knight in shining armor that in reality just an ordinary bloke in tin foil.

In my experience, conscious or unconscious, men, in general, expect women/girlfriends/wives to be surrogate mothers if not parents, organizers, housekeepers, psychiatrists chefs chauffeurs jack of all trades and above all vessels for their lineage and co-breadwinners and a whole lot more while looking like a pin-up model 24/7 opening the door for them when they come home, a glass of something strong in hand and ready for a good tumble in the hay, all of that without complain. They never consider the possibility that maybe we want a male version of what they expect but you will never find/read/heard something like this: A man should be a cook in the kitchen, a gentleman in the parlor, and a gigolo in the bedroom plus an Onassis when it comes to financial capital  and a true blooded prince when it comes to pedigree anywhere because of what else but double standard it is.

Keys or hammers, change locks before they come and don’t let them too close if you value your core and your sanity. Close but not close enough to do some damage that could never be repaired. We have a saying in my country that when it comes to loving someone, don’t give your all. Leave/save some for yourself in case so you will be able to bounce back no matter what. And if they come as Thor, buy the biggest magnet you can find and take away their hammer, but not before you hit them hard on the head to cause enough amnesia.

Till next time.

Businessman-and-businesswoman

February – the month of love is the shortest one in the calendar.

Funny that the month we globally associated with the most powerful emotion of all featured imprisonment execution and martyrdom. Come to think of it, it sounds a lot like a marriage, don’t you think so?

If Valentine day is a place it would be Paris, the city of love with its catacombs, network of dark tunnels and more than six million human remains. A fitting allegory for the most complicated of all relationships__ romantic love.

Where everything is not what it seems and open for interpretation. No wonder there is a lot of broken out there. Broken hearts, broken vows, broken marriages, and so forth and so on.

Here is a quote I find quotable:

“February is a suitable month for dying. Everything around is dead, the trees black and frozen so that the appearance of green shoots two months hence seems preposterous, the ground hard and cold, the snow dirty, the winter hateful, hanging on too long.” 

― Anna Quindlen

There you go.

Happy Love month people.

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My Home Found A New Owner

He was the man I loved for so many years. He held up my universe inside his pocket and picked up the stars so he could light up my night. I wanted to believe that he loved me too. Because he said so, in whispers, in screams, in his sleep, in his songs, in his eyes. For so many years, I let him invade my heart. He let me love him in my own selfish ways. We have so many misunderstandings we took a few days to settle and solve. And we have past mistakes that came up whenever we argue. He barely understood my own language but he studied it so he could see which part of me was vulnerable to hold.

If we are going to talk about endings, then probably that thing has been overused and was scratched too hard I felt numb. We broke up and we got back again. We stopped yet we started again. We paused yet we decided to keep going.

Yet, all endings always had its own severe ending. The one that makes you realize that it won’t come back. The one that makes you ache for silence because you know he won’t reach out. The ending that we all fear.

But I tried to move out and tried new places, without him. Without his shadow. Without his smile and grips and his voice that calms me down. I tried moving out and started collecting scattered dust until I could have my new universe again. I searched for him in someone else’s eyes and voice. I looked for him in someone else’s skin and smell. But I realized he was the only one. He was one of a kind that no matter how many times he hurts me, I could still take it. No matter how many times he forced me to leave, I’d still run as fast as I could in his snap of wave and flash of a smile.

I realized he never holds my universe rather he became my universe. That every time I hear the words love and pain, his face will appear crystallized.

Yet he found his new world.
He found it in you.
Now that you’re with him, you got to understand that he’s unpredictable and changes so often. But as long you could stay, please do.

I might be the girl he had as his dreams form. I might be the girl he got to watch his all-time favorite movies and the first who heard the songs he wrote as he strummed his guitar. I might be his first love as what he called it but you’re with him now.

And you will have him in ways I could never have. I am now a part of the past that will one day be forgotten.

Yet here you are, the one he sees spending the future with and the rest of his life with. The woman he sees growing a family with and pajama cuddles and morning coffees and the hand he’ll hold while traveling the world. The woman he sees sharing the same water bottle and beer-stained kisses, and teases under blankets or the hair he’ll play in his finger and the head that rests upon his chest when you sleep.

And he still has me,
more like a memory,
a past,
a lesson,
a told story,
an ending example.

But he has you,
more like a dream,
a vision of wedding aisle,
a wedding dress,
a mother to his children,
a body he comes home for,
a rocking chair,
a future.

He looks at you
the same way

I see him.

So please,
take care of him.

-Mica Meñez 

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Between A Rock And A hard Place

“It can be difficult to leave a long-term relationship, even when our inner-wisdom tells us it’s time to let go. At this point, we can choose let go and endure the intense pain of leaving behind the familiar to make way for a new chapter in our life. Or we can stay and suffer a low-grade pain that slowly eats away at our heart and soul, like emotional cancer. Until we wake up, one day and realize, we are buried so deep in the dysfunction of the relationship that we scarcely remember who we were and what we wanted and needed to be.”

― Jaeda DeWalt

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Most Women Fake Orgasms Because Most Men Fake Foreplay

~by Bella Bliss via Elephant Journal

I don’t remember ever having faked an orgasm in my life, honestly. For many years I just didn’t have orgasms with lovers, but somehow it never occurred to me to fake it. However, I am realizing lately how common it is for women to fake orgasms.

Quite a few of my female clients tell me they fake it because they feel so dissatisfied sexually and just want to get it over with. This happens for many different reasons related to lack of contact with their sexual energy, low libido, insecurity, lack of connection to the body, relationship issues and not enough foreplay.

Considering our global average for total sexual intercourse time of roughly four minutes, it’s safe to say that most couples don’t spend much time on foreplay. This can be an issue since, according to Tantric principles, a woman’s body needs much more time to fully awaken and reach states of ecstasy and true orgasm. I usually recommend at least 30 minutes of foreplay, preferably more.

If you don’t believe that women fake orgasms, or that there’s a remote possibility you’ve ever been with a woman who faked an orgasm, see the video clip below for Meg Ryan’s spectacular and convincing fake orgasm. Ahem, so that’s settled then.

Even when they are having orgasms, many female clients I meet only experience short, superficial clitoral orgasms, leaving them feeling exhausted and depleted afterward. Very few women experience deeper internal orgasms or the feeling of dissolving into orgasmic bliss or expanding into an ecstasy that is actually part of every woman’s sexual potential.

A friend of mine was taught in high school sex education that 90% of women cannot have internal orgasms, so she didn’t bother even trying to have anything but clitoral orgasms. My own sex education in Australia in the 90s basically consisted of putting a condom on a banana. This kind of disempowering, bogus “sex education” makes me annoyed.

Why not teach women that their body can be a wonderland of ecstatic bliss if they’ll only devote the time and energy to discovering its secrets? Why not teach men that they can have whole body non-ejaculatory orgasms? Why not teach all teenagers that sex can be sacred, profound, loving and deeply transforming when done consciously?

Most of us are never taught that there are more than 50 different kinds of female orgasm. The clitoris is just one tiny, little aspect of female sexuality. The real gold lies buried deeper in the Yoniverse (vagina)—the G-spot, the A-spot, and the cervix are all important places to get to know better.

Then there’s also whole body energetic orgasm, orgasm from nipple stimulation, vaginal canal orgasms, orgasms that come from your lover kissing your labia, the list goes on. Women usually need long, slow foreplay to experience these kinds of orgasms. Men need long foreplay too, to build the sexual energy gradually so they can last longer, connect deeper to their partner and develop higher sensitivity.

It’s not about chasing orgasms though, the idea is to become orgasmic. We want to feel the orgasmic energy flowing through our bodies for hours on end, interspersed with more intense orgasms, rather than just short peak experiences where we feel exhausted afterward.

During prolonged states of profound pleasure and orgasm, we let go of the mind, any stress and tensions, and relax into the fullness of who we are. The more often we can experience these states with awareness, the easier it is to release limiting ego patterns, become more conscious and connected to ourselves and our loved ones and feel our blissful nature in all areas of life. Sex becomes a deep spiritual practice.

So without further ado, here are my seven essential elements of Tantric foreplay:

1. Make sure you’re in a good mood and feeling connected,

Contrary to popular belief, foreplay doesn’t begin in the bedroom. It starts with making sure you’re in a good mood and feeling connected to yourself, then and only then can you truly connect with your lover. Do whatever you need to do before to feel relaxed, peaceful and present in your body: move around, dance, do yoga, meditate, run, have a bath. Just don’t go straight from work or being on the computer to play time! Take time to prepare yourself so you feel fresh and clean and wear something you feel good in.

2. Create an inspiring space,

Dirty dishes, piles of washing or paperwork, kids toys and clutter are just not a turn-on, ever. Take a little time to create an inspiring sacred space for your lovemaking. Some people say that the difference between Tantric sex and regular sex is incense and candles. That’s not exactly true, but I do really love lighting a few candles to set the mood and transform a mundane space into something more beautiful and magical. I strongly recommend banning all overhead lighting from your intimate experiences. Think soft, gentle lamp light and mood lighting. Throwing fabric over unseemly clutter works wonders too.

3. Connect in the heart first.

Take a few minutes to just sit together and tune in to your partner and let go of any distractions from your day. Simply hold hands, breath, close your eyes and feel the connection between you. Visualise love flowing between your hearts. Set the intention to be fully present, give your best to each other and have a beautiful experience together.

4. Let go of the idea of a goal.

In Tantric foreplay, we’re not just trying to get things wet enough to go on to the main event of penetration. We focus on being conscious in every moment, taking time to really feel, going slowly, developing a more refined sensitivity instead of going for more sensation. A slow warm-up is essential and makes for more ecstatic bliss later for everyone.

Men, don’t skip straight to the breasts or genitals, but take time to caress her whole body – there are many erogenous zones to discover! Keep the foreplay going for at least half an hour, no matter how much she begs for you to come inside. Just try it. Trust me. Also, for a change, don’t end in ejaculation and feel the difference in your energy level afterward.

5. Explore orally.

Traditionally, Tantric foreplay involves the man being more active, as his body generally doesn’t need as much time to warm up. I heard a joke once: For a man, there are basically only two types of foreplay: The first is waiting to have his penis touched, and the second is having his penis touched.

So, men, it is generally better to kiss her down there first and let her warm up deliciously slowly. Take time to get to know her intimately, don’t focus on the clitoris too much. Experiment with different tongue strokes. Realise how beautiful and sacred this part of her body is. Honor every inch of her.

6. Be intuitive, follow the flow, be spontaneous.

Most articles I’ve read about Tantric foreplay say things like, “Take a bath together, touch each other in this specific way, lick her toes one by one.” In reality, there is no set formula and it can be a danger to follow those kinds of specific instructions because everyone is different. It’s just about tuning in to your partner and feeling what connects you deeper and makes you more present together.

7. Above all else, strive to be present.

Keep your eyes open and the lights on most of the time. Stay present together. There is nothing sexier than someone fully present in their body, someone so conscious they can feel even the most subtle orgasmic energy and let it fill their whole body completely.

If you’re totally stuck in your mind, you can’t feel connected to your lover, and you definitely can’t dissolve into ecstatic orgasmic bliss! To become more present, just focus on the breath and the physical sensations in the body. If your mind wanders away, gently bring it back again and again to the present moment. Embrace the sensory experience fully.

Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Do you have any juicy foreplay tips I’ve missed?
I’d love to hear them, feel free to tell me in the comments below.

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The Truth About Forever

“He wasn’t the type for displays of affection, either verbal or not. He was disgusted by couples that made out in the hallways between classes and got annoyed at even the slightest sappy moments in movies. But I knew he cared about me: he just conveyed it more subtly, as concise with expressing this emotion as he was with everything else. It was in the way he’d put his hand on the small of my back, for instance, or how he’d smile at me when I said something that surprised him. Once I might have wanted more, but I’d come around to his way of thinking in the time we’d been together. And we were together, all the time. So he didn’t have to prove how he felt about me. Like so much else, I should just know.”

― Sarah Dessen, 

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