Lessons I’ve Learned from my Romantic Relationships

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How’s it going? I hope you’ve been having a great summer.

​​​​​​​I haven’t written in a few weeks, and that’s for a couple of reasons…
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First, it’s because I have been so immersed in my summer.
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Giving myself permission to relax a little.
​​​​​​​To enjoy the people around me.
​​​​​​​To be outdoors as much as possible.
​​​​​​​To just be in the moment.
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It has felt SO good.
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The other reason is that there’s been something going on in my life that has felt so significant, yet I haven’t been sure of how to share it with you.
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In fact, I have been really nervous to share it with you.
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Yet, because I am always extremely honest and transparent with you, by not sharing it, I have had major writer’s block.
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It’s like something inside me would not let me write about anything else until I talked about this.
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So rather than fight myself even more and try to force myself to talk about other things, I’m just going to get this off my chest.
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So…here is what is so close to my heart these days…
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I am in a new relationship that feels really amazing. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it grew out of a deep friendship, which I just find to be the sweetest way to enter into a romantic relationship.
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This person means so much to me and I love seeing how our relationship changes and grows every day.
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If you’ve been reading these newsletters for a while, you know that I always see relationships as our greatest teacher.
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​​​​​​​Especially intimate relationships — they are PACKED with lessons and insight into ourselves, where we are forgetting to love ourselves, where we are blocking deeper connection, and so much more.
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I am fascinated by how my relationships are such a reflection and vehicle for me to be able to grow.
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​​​​​​​As I experience this new relationship, I can’t help but think of alllll the things I had to learn to get to this point. And I still have SO much to learn.
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Every previous relationship has taught me such valuable things, and I always tell this to my clients, too. I truly believe that every person comes into our lives for a reason – we are meant to learn something that we need to learn.
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So I wanted to do a little reflection on some of the lessons that I have learned along the way. These are lessons that came out of my romantic relationships, but they’re really just about love in general: love of ourselves, and love of others (anyone, not necessarily a romantic partner).
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Lessons I have learned in love…

1. ​​​​​​​It’s okay… no, it’s necessary… to get clear that you WANT a relationship and OWN that: This is something I see all the time with my clients. There is a lot of shame around women declaring that they WANT… they CRAVE… a relationship. We try to cover it up with things like “I am fine on my own”, but for many of us, that’s not the truth. We do want it. I found that once I really owned that I wanted a relationship, and got really really clear on WHY I wanted it, more of what I wanted started coming into my life. We have to FULLY own what we want. This is true in any area of our lives.

2. ​​​​​​​Be compassionate toward your nerves and fears instead of trying to “get over it”. I am not the most confident dater. It is probably the area of my life where I get the most nervous and insecure. I used to HATE this part of me – wishing I weren’t like that, praying that I would just – poof! – all of a sudden somehow morph into a super confident, “every-man-loves-me” kinda person, and I would shame myself for my insecurities. A year or so ago, I was tired of treating myself that way. While I was marginally becoming more confident in myself, I had to accept where I was. Instead of shaming these parts of me, I started giving the scared-little-girl part of me so much love. This was a radical shift for me. Now, whenever that part of me is triggered, instead of telling myself it’s ridiculous to feel insecure, I soothe and comfort myself. I allow myself to have insecurities and by accepting these parts of me, I have the strongest relationship with myself I’ve ever had (and, ironically, I feel the most confident).

3. ​​​​​​​Men (and generally, other people) like to talk about things, too. Last summer, I was dating a guy, and about 5 weeks in, I felt like I wanted more clarity around our relationship. I debated bringing this up to him for days. My underlying belief was that “guys don’t want to talk about relationship stuff and feelings”, which I am sure I picked up somewhere along the way. But, I listened to myself and nervously broached the topic one night. His response was “I’m so glad that you brought this up, I’m surprised that we haven’t actually talked about everything sooner”. And then we had an amazing conversation. Belief. Shattered. Since then, I have always trusted myself to bring things up when I want to and I have repeatedly seen that the men I am with also appreciate openness, and they want clarity and reassurance, too. Trust yourself  — if you feel like a conversation needs to be had, the other person is likely feeling similarly.

4. ​​​​​​​It’s okay to be seen as “longing”, wanting more, or desiring more. One of my clients came to me to work on dating and relationships. Early on, we identified that one of the key things holding her back from fully being herself in love was her shame around her “longing”. She was really scared to ever be seen as wanting a relationship, or wanting more from someone she was dating. She felt safe coming off as “only kind of interested” or “only kind of wanting a relationship”. I used to do this, too, and I know I still do this sometimes. The fear is that if we really show our desire for a relationship or our longing for more of someone, that we will a) come off as desperate or b) the feelings won’t be reciprocated. There is SO much I could say on this point, but in an effort to keep this somewhat concise, I’ll just say this: we need to make peace with our longing and LET GO (this is a process). It feels WAY better to just express our feelings toward someone without holding back, even if the feelings won’t be reciprocated, than holding our feelings in and suppressing our truth. This is a game changer in relationships.

5. ​​​​​​​It’s okay for you to be different people and have different needs. One thing that has kind of turned into a joke among me and my friends is how much I am a stickler about communication (texting / calling) in relationships. The people closest to me (family and best friends) are mostly amazing communicators. When I text them, I get a prompt response. We talk often. I am just used to that. So in our texting world today, I have been known to get very frustrated when people don’t communicate in the same way I am used to. I used to feel like I had to model my communication after the way the other person was communicating, which left me feeling stifled and not like myself. The previous person I dated said something to me that really helped me shift this. In a conversation about communication and my hang ups around it, he said “Jamie, I just don’t have the same needs as you do. But I want you to just be yourself. Text me and call me anytime you want, don’t hold back, I love hearing from you.” It was like I was finally free to just be me, and let the other person be them. We are all obviously different people and it’s okay to have different ways of showing up in a relationship. This is about knowing and accepting your needs and who you are, and letting yourself be YOU in a relationship. By doing this, you’ll also allow the other person to be more of them, too.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​I could go on and on, but those are some of the biggest lessons that I’ve been thinking about lately.

​​​​​​​As I experience this new relationship, I feel so grateful for all of the relationships I’ve had up until this point. Even though some situations were pretty painful, I still learned things that have truly changed me.

​​​​​​​And I’m curious about what I am going to keep learning this time around…

​​​​​​​Like I said, I always encourage people to look at their relationships – romantic or not – as their biggest teachers. They are always showing us things about ourselves.

​​​​​​​Notice your sensitivities, where you hold yourself back and why, in what ways you’re growing and doing things differently than you used to, or how you are becoming more and more of yourself.

​​​​​​​Relationships are messy. They will challenge us. And they are the most beautiful thing we have.

​​​​​​​In the comments below, I’d love to hear…

– ​​​​​​​What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned recently in your relationships (romantic or not)?
– ​​​​​​​Did any of my lessons resonate with you? Is there anything you want to “practice” in your relationships now?

​​​​​​​Thanks for always letting me openly share parts of my life with you. I appreciate you so much and I am so happy you’re here.

​​​​​​​Love,
​​​​​​​Jamie

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  1. Brilliant, Jamie. Per usual. You are an excellent role model for those trying to live the most authentic and mindful life they possibly can. I absolutely love your stories and lessons. They are so relevant for EVERYONE. xoxo

  2. Woooo I’m so excited for you :) I got some goosebumps while reading this! It is really amazing how much work a relationship takes and how much you learn from it. #5 really resonated with me – that it’s okay to be different people. It’s kind of crazy how we need so much reassurance that in the moment we think we need to want the same things or like the same things. But when you take a step back you realize that our differences are what make us special and make the journey interesting. This sparked something huge for me a few months back. I’m not a very social person so I rely on my boyfriend to do most things with me. But naturally there are things he won’t want to do. Suddenly I realized I needed to do these things alone, or find others to enjoy them with. And this opened a whole new world for me! I realized how amazing it feels to actually have a life of my own. I still love doing things together with the 2 of us but that is even more special now that it’s not all day every day. I also learned that most of my friends were already doing this in their relationships. How did this just not naturally occur to me? There is always something to learn about ourselves and it’s fun to uncover them and get more comfy with who we are and how good it feels to nurture that.

    Another thing I’ve learned recently is that it’s so important to communicate how you’re feeling, especially when it’s difficult. Especially when we are feeling insecure. There are some really deep feelings I’ve been working with on myself that have been impacting my relationship and it’s tough to talk about, but by not talking about it, I was making it worse b/c my partner had no idea what was going on.

    And finally, I used to have a hard time understanding the line between two people just not being compatible or the relationship not working out, and just needing to work harder. With online dating being so prevalent, it’s easier to reach people all over. There are so many options. So naturally when something isn’t going well, we think, well maybe there is someone I’m better suited to (at least this is what I used to think). And sometimes that truly is the case. But what I’ve come to realize is that relationships require soooooo much work and communication and compromise. Most of the time when you think you’re ready to throw in the towel, you just need to give it a little more. I’ve never had a relationship last longer than 2 years. But with my current one, I’ve never worked so hard as I have, and it’s definitely been the most rewarding.

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  1. […] of all, thanks for all the love on my newsletter last week about my love life. I LOVED reading through all of your responses – so many of you shared your stories about […]

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