What to do when it’s all about them

Have you ever dated someone and they seem to be all about themselves? What they want to do? When they want to see you? There’s no compromise?

These irritating little quirks often appear towards the end of the first month or near the beginning of the second month of dating.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if someone is truly into you. On one hand they call you all the time and seem to enjoy talking to you. On the other hand they may seem unable to regularly commit to catching up in person. Perhaps you’re dating someone who just doesn’t seem to be able to give up time with their friends.

This person is possibly still fitting you into their values spectrum – they’re not sure if it will work out or not – and they don’t know whether to prioritize you or not. It’s not something you need to worry too much about in these early stages of dating.

But it can be frustrating!

So what can you do? How can you play it cool?

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Why I no longer have a profile picture on Facebook

I’m not protesting against Facebook having rights to my photos.

I don’t care that people can find me more easily.

I am taking a stand against judgement.

Judgement?

Think about it!

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Keeping your love alive at a distance

No couple is together ALL the time. Distance relationships may or may not be your thing. Reuniting can be awkward. It can be really hard – particularly when people are falling in love around you and you see them hanging out all the time.

DISTANCE DOESN’T MEAN IT’S OVER!

If the love is truly there, don’t give up!

So how can you keep the love you have alive with someone at a distance and still feel excited about being in a relationship with that person – even when they’re on the other side of the world? Celebrities do it all the time and Sarah Webb, the Director of Relationship Free offers these amazing tips from her own experience!

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Asking the alternative question to confront the real fear

I haven’t posted for a little while because I’m currently getting set to go to America for two months! My motivations for my trip are mixed – I want to network at various events and in each city I visit as much as I can and get my business name (Relationship Free) out there; and I also want to relax, have a holiday and see this country that I’ve been trying to get to all my life.

The thing is … a few weeks ago I met the most amazing guy. That’s how it always starts, but he really is pretty cool – and it’s not just the surfer façade, though I’ll be honest, he is in pretty good shape! Since we only just met and I have these checklists of coaching-related things I want to do (that wouldn’t spark his interest at all) he is not coming. And I’m not putting the offer on the table.

This is the first thing in my life I really want to do on my own. Though, ask me any other year before this one – I had a fantasy of falling in love with someone (else) and travelling the world with them. I’m glad it happened this way. I fell in love with myself, I got my back completely and I’m set to travel America on my own. Leaving all the excuses, blame and tension fights far away. I’ve got this! So while it’s not how I expected my fantasy would be, it is still exactly as it was meant to be!

So what came up for me as I started packing the other day was some thoughts. I was sitting around thinking about it (aka procrastinating) and I thought to myself: “I’m going to miss Ed so much…”

Quickly following was another thought which surprised me…

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How long should the polite phase last?

Some of my girlfriends hold back from being completely honest with their partner for six months, until they truly know them, others reveal everything upfront and are more comfortable with being vulnerable. Me? I think it’s up to the individuals in the relationship and dependent on how you feel in the relationship. How long is a piece of string?

The “polite phase” can make some people crazy, particularly if it stretches out endlessly. I don’t mean polite as in the ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ pleasantries – they should stretch out forever – no, I’m talking about that uncomfortable ‘Should I ask before I steal their food off their plate?” kind of polite. This week Relationship Free explores four things you can do to fast-track your polite phase in your relationship.

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What dating beliefs are you holding onto?

iStock_000033012016_woman-heart-hands_452x325pxI caught up with one of my newest and most amazing girl friends for coffee today, Nat, and I was telling her about another friend who had a terrible dating experience with a girl he met from an online dating site.

I live in a world where it’s not too difficult to date: You meet a person, you like them, you hang out.

Dating. Simple.

This man shared that sentiment – because he’s gorgeous and dating had previously never been hard. He always dated the most beautiful, intelligent girls. But now he finds himself in his 30s, unsure if he wants to settle down and most of his friends have families.

On this particular date, the girl first showed up out of nowhere and then started ranting and raving at him – who happens to be particularly shy – because he hadn’t allowed her to stay the night.

It was only the second time they had met.

“So of course my next question is…

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Fear of FIL

Have you got the fear of FIL (Falling In Love)?

Fallen only to get hurt one too many times?

Perhaps getting hurt is all you’ve ever known so as soon as the other person shows signs of insecurity – no matter how well it’s going – you push back with significant force to protect yourself. Maybe you cut communication with the other person to avoid getting hurt.

Have you ever just woken up one morning and the fear of FIL was clouding your mind so much you couldn’t think? You’re lying next to the other person and they’re talking about the future or making plans and you feel so flat you can’t decide what you want to do in the next five minutes? The fear of FIL is energy sucking and exhausting. And although the acronym is mine, there is a condition called Philophobia which is a fear of attachment and falling in love.

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Releasing the butterflies: how to have a successful first date

A lot of people in the Fresh Start phase come to me and say dating isn’t fun and they want to opt out. There’s no doubt dating can be challenging and – at times – painful but over the years, I’ve noticed that generally when I’m not that into a person – they’re probably not that into me either. I’ve also discovered some great ways you can date in a way that preserves your heart, until you’re ready to take that bigger step.

I went on a first date not too long ago after several years of being single following an abusive relationship. I remember telling a client, who was also in an abusive relationship, that I was still dating and she got worried “that would be her” and I explained that I’d rather continue dating to find the right one, than stay in my abusive relationship – any day. Because dating after abuse or even a toxic relationship can be very different to ever before if you put the right groundwork into yourself.

So something I noticed on this date – one of my first back in the dating game – was that I was a lot more confident, a lot more fun, a lot more outgoing – and a lot more successful in attracting the right person for me, seeing them again and earning their respect and appreciation.

I’ve narrowed it down to a few crucial elements that I want to share with you – so I’m going to bring you inside my first date.

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A tribute to the lady who changed my life

Warning: This is one of the most personal and moving pieces I have ever shared.

10400212_41193386586_5249_nToday I want to tell you about one of my best friends…

I have quite a few friends and a special circle of girls who I consider my best. But someone who sits outside the circle, and still remains one of my best, is Lara-Jane (Lara) and I wanted to talk about her today.

Lara and I met in school when we were 11 years old. I don’t remember the day we met but I remember the day we became friends. We were sitting on a bus – and no one would sit with her (I think because she was an only-child – we went to a posh all girl’s school with quite a few judgemental kids) and we were off to the Microsoft Expo for our computer class in Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

At the time there was a really popular game show and Tim Bailey was the host – I think he was working on Totally Wild or for some kids show. We became friends the moment we both agreed he was hot … and we’ve (thankfully) never agreed on the same man since.

At some point during the Expo, we became separated. But sure enough, Lara found her way back to me on the bus, sat next to me and pulled out a poster with a giant smile. I’ll never forget what it looked like, and I’ll never forget receiving it. “I have one,” I told her.

“Yeah but –” and she went on to explain how she pushed her way to the front of the line to have two posters signed – one for him and one for me. I’ll never forget the 11-year-old enthusiasm as she told me he journey to get to the top!

Needless to say, I have always known Lara to be very generous. And there’s been so many examples of that. No matter what Lara has been going through, she’s always been there for me. ALWAYS!

I’ve also always known Lara to be a massive over achiever.

When we became friends as kids, she lived in a country-style mansion, had her own dog – Larson (Lara’s son) and a gorgeous photo with Rebekah Elmaloglou. I was SO jealous!

She won a crown for the charity work she had done and had been a model contestant for something, she was on TV, she sung in the choir and she went to school – the same school as me.

I was lucky if I could just make it to netball practise!

And over the years nothing has changed. She has risen to the top of the finance industry, started two highly successful recruitment companies and every single day she inspires me and blows me away – in the same way she did when we were children.

I have never met someone who can do as much as Lara and keep it together.

We lost touch in school – eventually we both went to different schools, and Lara jumped through many battles without me. But she always made it through!

We became close friends more recently when we reunited through Facebook. And we quickly became the kind of friends who talk on the phone every single day without fail. I’m not going to lie to you – we’ve had our ups and downs – but at the end of the day, we agree on one thing: we’re sisters! We go through the ups together and we go through the downs together. We even fight like sisters. But we also laugh like sisters and feel like (twin) sisters. If one feels lousy – so does the other, but we always try to help the other out. If one is on the up, so is the other and we come together and celebrate … generally with sushi and red wine.

28807_101546953223453_1368194_nThroughout our friendship, Lara battled lymphoma. She did it in her usual over-achieving style in full dignity. You never would have known she was sick. She always kept her brave face. She always had time for you and time to go out and live life to the full. She was always positive.

In fact, really, the only way I could tell Lara was sick at the time was – like me – she would fall asleep on the couch by 8pm most nights. The difference is I’m completely healthy.

So we embraced being morning people together. And that’s carried on throughout our friendship … I’m not sure how many people I could call while stumbling my drunken butt home at 2am or 3am through the streets of Sydney, just “in case” something happened.

And she still never complained. She always welcomed my calls, no matter what hour I woke her or what she had on the next day.

The long-running joke is that Lara and I can’t talk for 10 or 20 minutes, our calls go for minimum of about an hour to two hours each call. We always have something to say!

If it wasn’t for my friendship with Lara, I would never have gone out and got my first puppy – Diesel Bean, who I love with all my heart and soul. She got her puppy at the same time: Basco Jackson. And together they were rascals.

Our favourite way to spend the day was always a trip to the dog beach with our little men. They were hands down the best men who have ever come into our lives.

So Lara really taught me how to be free – be an adult – embrace my independence. To not wait for permission, but to go and get what I want. And even when I had a puppy that howled every night for months, she taught me to stick with my decision and to look at the positive: I still had the dog I wanted – I chose him and I paid for him. And she became the puppy whisperer – Diesel Bean loves his aunty La, and she knew exactly what I was meant to do with him. I now own the best-trained, most loving animal I’ve ever had in my life. With a real soul connection.

There’s no doubt Lara has always been my greatest cheerleader.

And as you can see, she has always been there for me.

If these examples weren’t enough of where Lara really proved her friendship was above and beyond any friendship or bond I’ve ever made with another human being – there’s one more example.

It was when she was pregnant with her first child and I was in a dangerously abusive relationship. She never liked him and I never listened. In fact, Lara hadn’t even met him before! So what would she know? But she knew not from him but watching her friend fade and fade as he stole more of my spirit and crushed my soul.

Every day Lara would call to check in to see if I was ok and hear the latest update on my situation, if she didn’t hear from me, she would contact me until she did. Somehow, she knew my situation before I did.

And she loved me the whole time.

307612_256458147732332_570583788_n2When she was nine months pregnant (literally), my ex-partner decided to take me to court after months of abuse and in her true triumphant spirit, Lara called and told me she was thinking about flying interstate just to be with me.

I literally had visions of her having a baby in the courtroom…

She still tells me she was waiting for the call telling her that I had been murdered. And then, there she was, even the day she had her baby, helping me to rebuild. She gave me courage and hope when I was all out. She relentlessly and persistently mirrored me until I remembered who I was and found my strength again.

And when I lost it for six months and stopped talking to everyone (including my family) because I just wanted to heal on my own – she waited patiently for me.

When I called her … six months later, she acted as though we spoke just yesterday.

Needless to say, I’ve always known Lara to put others first. Well beyond herself. At all times.

And I’ve known Lara to be the most forgiving person – not just with a heart of gold but a spirit of gold.

So how do you repay someone that’s always there for you?

Maybe through ongoing friendship and loyalty … maybe just keeping the friendship as it is.

I don’t know if I’ve worked it out yet…

The thing is … I’m running out of time.

One day Lara called. This wasn’t any ordinary call.

She had mentioned health issues and I’d been well on her case to get them checked out – I felt like her mother – and she refused, just getting on with it.

Despite being aware of what this check up may mean – this was a phone call I didn’t expect.

She told me she’d been diagnosed with lymphoma again. That was a shock.

Then she called about a week later. Without telling me, she went and got a second opinion.

It was worse than they thought. It’s terminal. She was given three to six months.

Without doubt, that is the most devastating news I have ever received in my life.

Not long after I received her call, I was hit with a horrendous flu and I’ve been sick for the last four weeks solid, which is why I’ve not been posting as much and it has also stopped me from traveling interstate to see her immediately, particularly now that her treatment has started.

I don’t know what I would do if I was told that news about me. I don’t know how I’d cope.

I would probably fall into a deep depression – talk to Lara only – and barely surface from my room, except for treatment. This coming from the person who has kept a blog for the past three and half years about overcoming adversity and maintaining happiness throughout. Lara is the reason I know how to overcome adversity, and even with her by my side in this instance, I think I would fall into a heap.

But not Lara.

She’s got her treatment started in the best facility possible. She’s eating all the right things. She’s putting in every effort to beat this round. She even found a song to help her through. We have always loved our music and we’ve always loved the same music. Her choice this time was: Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

She’s the bravest person I know.

And – to be completely honest – I’m having a lot of trouble accepting Lara’s news. Although it’s only been a thing that started over the past couple of years, I can’t comprehend a single day without speaking to her anymore. I don’t know what that will look like.

Even when we don’t talk … I text – every day.

She’s always there.

10403337_890944194283721_6934708618358856233_n10945588_891165444261596_4271589955119501918_nDoes that mean I will just keep texting her every day right until the day I pass away?

I remember the last time she had treatment and we made a pact that we would be in a nursing home together – creating all hell – being non-conformists with dignity, as we are.

We were always going to be side by side.

Now that our plans may not work out – I don’t know what the future will look like and people ask me how it’ll be. And I just say – I know, if Lara was to cross over, that it just means we’ll be together all the time. And it’s something to be celebrated, not be sad about. Call me delusional, but I actually believe we have that kind of friendship that she could be me for a day, and I could be her for a day, and we’d still live the day, exactly as we usually would.

We make similar decisions.

We have similar mindsets.

We’re not afraid to take risks.

We’re not afraid to let go.

Sometimes … it just is what it is.

The hardest part for me at the moment is to know that while I’m in America, she’ll need me. And I may not be here for her. But she’s never told me not to go. Or that she’s afraid. She knows I’ve wanted to do this trip most of my life.

We even spoke about doing it together when she had her beautiful girl.

This is the girl I’ve come to know and love as one of my best friends and my only sister.

At the moment her ex-abusive-partner – who I never liked, and Lara wouldn’t listen – is doing exactly what my ex did to me: trying to take her for everything she’s got. Only she’s sick and only just started treatment, so he’s literally kicking her while she’s down.

It’s overwhelming how out of control I feel.

There’s nothing I can say that can comfort her.

There’s nothing I can do to make it better.

I can’t even join her so she’s not so alone.

553258_505121466199331_2012388966_nAnd I guess ultimately the entire friendship and this experience has made me realise that we all walk our paths alone. We’re all born alone and die alone (unless by some terrible tragedy, generally). It doesn’t matter how this story ends, because she will always be the one soul who I know I was meant to meet. She always showed up in my life and she never left.

Finally – I just wanted to say thank you, to the beautiful soul who has come into my life and shared these ridiculously awesome memories with me, given me strength whenever I was weak, shown me who I was at the times when I had forgotten, and made me feel secure when I was at my weakest.

Lara is one in a million.

And I don’t know what the future brings, but I know we’re going to be friends forever, through many more lifetimes to come.

I love you, my sister :) xx

Should you stay or should you go?

I Love YouWhen one person wants space in a relationship and the other one doesn’t it can create enormous tension in the relationship and raise the question for both people: should I stay or should I go? Should I put space between us or should I communicate more?

When the desire to love and be loved is biologically driven – how are you meant to know the right way to respond to this situation?

First, it is important to be aware of and understand the Love Addict/Love Avoidant scenario so you know where you sit and can understand your own actions. Although both titles may appear confronting, when you understand how they show up, you’ll also understand just how common these categories are and the essential need to make it right.

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