Learning to Love without Labels

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I am in a relationship with someone who is not my boyfriend. Or my husband. Or my partner.

At least, I don’t call him any of those things. I don’t call him anything, in fact. The closest thing I have gotten to a “label” for this person is that he is my essential human. My calming lavender oil. My sage cleanse. Life is so much more delicious with him around, but I can live and thrive without him.

That’s not to say it isn’t the deepest, purest and truest of loves. Because it is.

We’ve been together for about 8 months now, but we have never DTR’d (defined the relationship).

We haven’t committed to each other.

We are not monogamous.

This is a first for me.

I like order.

I like certainty.

I like knowing.

In relationships, I have always needed to know exactly where I stand with someone at all times. Are we exclusive? Can I call him my boyfriend? When can I meet his parents? Does it mean something that we aren’t Insta official yet?

After legit YEARS of therapy, I’ve learned that this need for control comes from a fear of abandonment. I have spent my life wanting men to tell me that they are mine and I am theirs and that they will never leave me. And then I like to test this resolve, to make sure it’s really true.

And here’s the kicker. No matter how much someone promises they love you and will never leave you, that doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Because we cannot predict the future. We are not in control. As much as we might mean what we say in the moment, we truly do not know. Especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

My fear of abandonment led to some fucking disastrous and heartbreaking relationships for me. Relationships that I believe could have actually worked out if it wasn’t for this fear.

For as long as I’ve been dating…a good 20 years now, I have fallen in love and then immediately become fearful that they will leave me.

The thing is, my parents are divorced. And it was a bad divorce. Like, really bad. What I learned from it was that people leave you. No matter how perfect you are. No matter how much you love them, cook for them, clean for them, have sex with them, create a perfect life for them. They will leave.

And because people who love you will leave you, you are never safe.

This is the belief I took with me into the dating world as a teenager and carried with me into adulthood.

Yeah. So you can imagine what a shitshow it’s been.

I fell in love with men and then immediately feared them leaving me. So I tested them.

I screamed. I cried. I said the most cutting, hurtful things I can think of to say. I used what they told me in confidence against them.

I tried to push them away.

I showed them the most monstrous, hideous version of myself to see if they would still stay.

It was the only way I could feel safe. If they could see the worst of me and still love me, then I would really know they would never leave.

And it got bad.

I locked myself in a bathroom and screamed hysterically, threatening to kill myself for 6 hours because my college boyfriend wanted to go to a strip club during a bachelor party.

I poured nail polish remover all over the carpet in the bedroom I shared with my ex because I was mad he cancelled dinner in order to work late.

I was so insecure when my ex was on tour as a musician that I demanded he come home early or else I threatened to leave him. When he couldn’t figure out how to get out of his contract, he resorted to blowing his onstage performance so badly that he got fired. And when he came home and told me what had happened, I was still angry that he hadn’t done it sooner.

In fact, I was angry all the time. Anger was my sword. Anger was my shield. Anger kept me safe.

If I was bigger, scarier, angrier, and hurtful to my loved ones then they could not hurt me. Being a monster was the only way I felt safe. And love from a place of scarcity and fear was all that I knew.

You know that darkness you feel inside of you? That shadow side where you think if people knew what went through your head sometimes they would think you were a monster? That darkness exists so that you can survive.

You are not a murderer, but if you had to kill to save your family, you probably would. But until you are in that situation, that darkness can stay safely locked up inside of you.

Unless, like in my case, you feel like your survival is threatened. So you develop anger as a survival skill, to keep you safe, to keep you alive.

What this means for me is that if I were being chased by a bear or found myself in the middle of the zombie apocalypse, I’d be fucking set and ready to rage and survive.

But the reality was, the reaction of anger to keep me safe from abandonment inside of love was a misguided coping mechanism.

Because the reality was that I was never safe.

All of the men I loved ended up leaving. Some physically left. Some emotionally left. I manifested my own fear of abandonment each and every time.

I reached a breaking point when I found myself in a toxic and abusive relationship. I realized that I was in that situation because that was the love I believed I deserved. I was a monster. So I was with a monster. And it was volatile as fuck. My life spiraled out of control. I lost my job. I missed my best friend’s wedding. I cried all the time. He routinely threw me and my stuff out on the street.

I started going to therapy. At first, I was going in order to fix my relationship. I believed that I was the cause of the volatility and I thought if I could just fix myself, then the relationship could work. It took me a really long time to accept that I was in an abusive relationship. And though I contributed to the chaos in other ways, those were his demons to bear.

Once I got out of that relationship I started to find myself again. Actually, looking back on it, I’m not sure if I ever really knew who I was. I think I was in hiding. I had emotionally shut down after my parents divorce and never opened back up again. A demon monster who operated out of fear had taken my place.

I went deep into this. For 7 years I went to therapy every week, digging up and facing my demons. It remains the hardest thing I have ever done. It may in fact be the hardest thing I ever do. I learned the psychology behind all of my coping mechanisms. I forgave those who had wronged me. I accepted my parents and their imperfections.

I learned to recognize my anger for fear when it was happening. And to go deeper than the anger to tune into what was really coming up for me.

Then, I learned to communicate those fears with the people I loved. I learned how to speak about my needs in a constructive, respectful way. I learned how to get all of my needs met internally, and not to place that power in someone else’s hands as I had done for so many years.

I learned to quiet my mind through meditation. Which, by the way, I hated at first. My therapist gently suggested meditation to me during every session for 2 years before I gave it a try. And I still hated it for years after that, thinking for sure I was doing it wrong.

Eventually I softened. I surrendered to all of it. I began following my heart and intuition with a quiet confidence. I let go of people and things in my life that were out of alignment and began attracting people and things that lit me up.

I spent 6 months preparing to quit my job in the most loving, abundant way possible. Communicating gratefulness for the opportunity and all the growth I experienced, while clearly setting my boundaries and staying in integrity with myself.

I started a business creating brands & websites for women entrepreneurs and I began traveling. My heart was full and my head was clear. I was faced with all kinds of adversity traveling alone and I handled it all from a place of abundance.

We’re talking a scooter crash and 5 stitches on my 2nd day traveling alone to Indonesia. Unable to walk or shower for weeks. Bed bugs. Getting trapped alone in an empty building all night during a monsoon rainstorm. Locking my laptop in a safe and having to smash it to get it open. Working 16 hours a day in my fledgling business with no team. All alone. All in foreign countries where I didn’t speak the language. It wasn’t easy, but this new Mel felt like she had superpowers to handle anything. Because those powers came from within.

After about a year of traveling solo, and 2 years of purposefully abstaining from dating, I met him.

I had actually just resolved that relationships and men probably weren’t for me. 2 weeks before we met, I wrote a list. A wrote out 6 pages of everything a person would need to be in order for me to want to trade in my fabulous solo travel lifestyle for a partnership.

After I read through my list, I laughed and peacefully accepted that this person did not exist. There was just too much on that list. I wanted everything. And I wanted it in a very specific way. Because now, I knew myself deeply. I knew every part of me and I knew exactly what I wanted and needed in order to share my divine energy with another human. And I felt so much joy in creating that list. In knowing that I am worth nothing less than the love that was contained in those 6 pages.

For me, that list was a moment of choosing myself. Of refusing to settle. Of knowing the kind of love I am worthy of and being excited to spend my life without a partnership, taking comfort in my own boundless self-love.

I folded up the list and put it out of sight.

Two weeks later, I met him.

I met the man from the list.

I shit you not.

Every. Single. Damn. Thing. All of it.

I didn’t know it at first (you can read more about how that went down here).

But in the end, it was him. He was the exact person that I wanted to pair my energy with. Abundant, loving, joyful, kind, fascinating. He gives me everything I want and nothing that I need. Because I give myself everything I need. And he is the same. So that when we are together, it is absolute bliss.

So back to the labels thing. Because as I said earlier, this guy, this absolute dream person, is not my boyfriend. Or my husband. Or my partner. Or my anything.

He is a person. And though we choose to spend pretty much every second together, he doesn’t belong to me. And I don’t belong to him.

At any moment he could decide to go spend 6 months trekking in Antarctica. He could meet a beautiful, fascinating woman tonight and go have a romantic weekend with her. He could then introduce me to that woman and invite me on their next weekend together 😉

And after he does those things, he could come back to me. Or not.

And all of that is perfect.

Because it creates space for us both to be unattached and fully embodied, fully expressed and in complete alignment with our truest selves at all times. This is the source of true and pure joy. Being aligned with your desires at all times and purposefully cultivating a pleasure practice to support this.

This is what I want for someone that I truly love. I want him to have constant, unbridled joy. I want him to follow his heart and be in alignment always. And I want that for myself as well.

When we are both in alignment, we can show up so fully for each other. We experience each other in such a powerful, intimate way because we are approaching each other’s energy from a place of abundance, of overflow, of joy. We don’t need anything from each other because we are both whole. And therefore we are magnetized to each other’s presence because it creates an infinity mirror for our profound self-love and joy.

It is nothing short of a true, blissful, empty mind state of absolute love and acceptance.

And this is only possible because we have not placed attachments on each other. There are no expectations. No limitations, no labels, no boxes.

So I bet you’re wondering then, don’t I get jealous? And the answer is simple. Yes.

Of course I get jealous.

I feel a lot of things when I think about my love with another woman.

Sometimes I feel fear. I wonder if she’s prettier than me. I wonder if he likes her more. I wonder if the sex is better. Sometimes I think that I need to try harder, or be sexier or do something so that even though he can, he never wants to sleep with another woman ever.

And that is the truth. Those are the thoughts that come up for me. And those thoughts are completely normal, most people think those kinds of things.

It’s not those thoughts that are important, it’s the thing that you do with those thoughts. So, when I have those thoughts I accept them fully. I let them come up without judgement or attachment. I let them play themselves out. I do not give them power, I just watch as these thoughts exist.

And then I tune into my body and go through each thought. “I wonder if she’s prettier than me.” Okay, what does that really mean? That means that I am feeling like I am not good enough and seeking outside validation for that.

That tells me that I am needing to fill my internal worthiness bucket so that I am overflowing with enoughness.

And there are a lot of ways to do that, filling your worthiness bucket will look different for everyone but it is all centered around a self-care practice. So I’ll exercise, I’ll change out of sweatpants and put some lipstick on and smile at myself in the mirror. I’ll get a massage. I’ll do some Sudoku. I have a list of things that I do for my own internal self-care that remind me I am worthy.

I could call this man my boyfriend at any moment. And sometimes I think about that. Especially in functional situations like when we check into a studio airbnb with one bed while holding hands while telling the airbnb host that we’re friends, lol.

Or when I’m building a website for a client that helps people learn to embrace a sugar-free lifestyle, I excitedly say “oh I have a really good friend who also doesn’t eat sugar!” What I’m really saying is “this person that I spend every second with that I love so deeply has given up sugar and it’s changed both of us and our health forever” – it’s hard to express the true weight of it when you say “friend.”

I’ve also become acutely aware of other people’s needs to label us and put us in a box.

We met a woman on an airplane who said to me “Oh your boyfriend is very well-traveled.” I didn’t correct her. But I did think about how much more comfortable it is for all of us to feel we have certainty about people’s relationships, even strangers.

And I wonder, what would functionally change if he was my boyfriend? And the answer is nothing.

Because the peace of mind and sense of security we derive from labels, from feeling like we “own” someone, that is a false perception of control.

It’s not real. It just makes us feel safe. And when you need a false sense of security to feel safe, damn are you in some fucking trouble.

Now, I don’t seek out safety in love. I seek out safety within myself.

I am my own safe harbor. I face everything with love and compassion. Learning to love without labels has cured my fear of abandonment. And allowed me to love with absolute abandon.

This whole time I thought my journey was just about romantic love, learning to function within relationships. But what I’ve realized is this feeling of being in alignment, of having absolute freedom to do what feels right for you at all times, this is the secret sauce in life.

As soon as I got a handle on this in personal life, I saw myself upleveling other parts of my life as well.

My surface-level business was no longer enough. I started applying this philosophy of alignment in my business as well. I only posted on social media what felt freeing and good.

I stopped censoring myself.

I broke all the rules of marketing. I threw frameworks in the trash, wrote IG captions that were too long and posted stories that were “off-brand.”

I talked about my period during coaching calls. I wrote a list of all my dirty secrets and shared it with my business partner. I told my lover that I planned to speak openly about our intimate life to strangers on the internet.

In short, I cultivated a pleasure practice in my business that didn’t follow any of the rules. And just like how I magnetized my dream man with that list, I magnetized my dream business. The more I spoke about my vagina online, the more women wanted me to build their brand and website for them.

My business has exploded and I’m loving every fucking minute of it. My vagina in fact has NOTHING TO DO with building brands and websites, but these women want to hire me because they know me. They know I’m real. They know I have problems and hopes and fears just like everyone else and so they trust me with one of the most important aspects of their business and livelihood.

And I get to do all of this from a place of absolute joy, bliss and let’s be real, profitability.

Because BEING IN ALIGNMENT IS YOUR HIGHEST CALLING. For your relationships, for your business, for your life.

Someone else’s strategies and frameworks will not work for you in business any more than they will work for you in the bedroom.

You need to do you. Literally and figuratively 😉

That is the ONLY way for you to cultivate this joyful, easeful and profitable business where you can show up fully in your highest service which is what I know you are here to do.

And I am here to help.

The doors have officially opened for the movement that is The Seductive Business Embodiment Program.

A 3 month portal of sensual self expression, seductive copywriting, and embodied branding so that you can show up for yourself and your business with absolute fullness and alignment.

During this live group mentorship program, we empower you to reconnect with your pleasure + use it as the pathway for success in your business.

You’ve heard my story. You know my heart. You know that it’s time for you to face those demons.

So lean in, deeper…

Our portal begins August 19, 2019.

See you inside 😉

Click here to learn more about SBE

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