This is the advice my college therapist gave me after listening to me cry in her office about unhealthy relationships I had no plans of abandoning.
That one phrase made something click that changed how I view my previous painful relationships and how I navigate current ones.
My previous relationships were riddled with a dependence that I had failed to recognize or acknowledge. My feelings relied on my partner’s performance in our relationship.
Being the unhealthy relationships they were, I was permanently sad and exhausted because my needs weren’t being met.
I thought it was more important to meet their needs than honor my own. If I became their ideal girlfriend, if I made them happy, everything would be perfect. …
“Intimate relationships are contingent on honesty and openness. They are built and maintained through our faith that we can believe what we are being told.”
Trust and honesty are the glue that holds a relationship together.
Trust goes hand in hand with other elements of a healthy relationship, like respect, security, and openness. Without it, the foundation of a relationship becomes weak and unstable and can easily crumble under pressure and animosity.
There are a lot of different reasons why you may fail to trust a partner and vice versa:
My maternal grandparents lived a captivating life.
My grandfather, an Ashkenazi Jew, lived through Nazi-occupied Romania during World War II as a child. He also fell off an icy mountain twice and lived to tell the tale. My grandmother was a chemist and a damn good one. They escaped communist Romania when my mother was 12 to give their family a better life.
My grandmother passed away seven years ago from Alzheimer’s. My grandfather is still alive and is working on his fourth book. He is an active and intelligent 87-year-old who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
My grandparents taught my mother four principles of living well that she’s passed onto me. I live by these rules with fierce devotion, and they have changed the way I take care of my mind and my body. …
For the first 21 years of my life, I was unaware of a wave of silent anger building inside of me.
I thought I had a lot of reasons to be angry. My family life was tumultuous. I was in and out of unhealthy relationships filled with manipulation, infidelity, and sexual abuse. My sister was in and out of rehab with a destructive heroin addiction. My emotions were a rollercoaster. I was sad, confused, frustrated, heartbroken, bitter, but never angry. Anger’s absence was so noticeable I started to question my own sanity.
Witnessing fits of rage in my family lead to an unhealthy suppressive relationship with my own anger. I was afraid to feel it and express it because I didn’t want to be like them. It’s not that I never felt angry, but I pushed it down so quickly that it had no time to bubble to the surface. …
I faked orgasms for years because I didn’t think I was capable of achieving an orgasm.
I started having sex when I was 16, and, like most teenagers, my adolescent ideas about what sex was supposed to be was immature and narrow. I was having sex often, but I was never cumming. In fact, I didn’t have my first orgasm until I was 18.
Now in my 20s, I’ve learned that anything beyond a clitoral orgasm is unlikely for me to achieve if I don’t feel a deep connection with someone or if I’m not being stimulated in at least two areas. …
Whether you’ve been together for a few weeks or a few decades, in a committed relationship or enjoying casual sex with fuck buddies, monogamous or polyamorous, explorations of our bodies, our relationships, and our sexuality never end.
This list of games and activities go beyond sex. Use them to get to know each other better and traverse different kinds of intimacy.
Before we get into the good stuff, it goes without saying that consent and clear boundaries are significant regardless of your relationship status. No one has to do anything that they don’t want to do, or that makes them uncomfortable. …
I grew up in the Bible Belt, so naturally, my sexual education was formatted within a religiously-charged context.
I started sex education in 5th grade when I was 10. I was an unusual case because I was a clean slate. I knew nothing about sex or my own anatomy. My parents never talked to me about sex or relationships and were never planning on it (I’m 23, and we’ve still never addressed it).
Being in a conservative and Christian town, sex education was almost exclusively factually and medically based and religiously biased. …
My college boyfriend cheated on me with my roommate.
It started out as an innocent friendship that quickly evolved into an inappropriate relationship. They were together all the time. Watching movies in my bed while I was at work. Hanging out in her bedroom with the door closed for hours, refusing to come out. You get the point.
I don’t mind my boyfriends having female friends. In fact, I was relieved he had a new friend that wasn’t me. But, back then, they crossed the boundaries that I wasn’t comfortable with.
When I raised concerns, he was more interested in taunting me for my apparent jealousy than acknowledging or resolving the issue. He loved that I was jealous, and he wanted to make sure I knew it. …
This article changed my entire outlook on sex and sensuality. I’d never heard of a penis massage up until that point, and let me tell you, it is worlds away from a hand job.
I had never truly considered embarking on a sexual journey with no intention of one of us orgasming. …
Everybody ages, and everybody dies. It’s a certainty that we’ve accepted as a fact of life. If something doesn’t take me out earlier in life, I’ll eventually start noticing wrinkles in my skin, my hair will begin to turn grey, my muscles and joints may ache, and my heart may stop working like it used to. No magic elixir or perfect lifestyle can outsmart aging.
But have you ever wondered why our bodies start deteriorating as if automatically programmed? Has aging always been inevitable?
As Peter Godfrey-Smith ponders in Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, aging and death don’t naturally make sense. If our cells are continually renewed and replaced, why do our bodies suddenly start breaking down as if on command? If our ‘parts’ are always being updated, are we not machines that could theoretically function indefinitely? …