All Posts by Tori

It’s not about being a real man, it’s about being an honourable human being

For the people who know me, follow me, read my blogs or love/stalk me in any other way, you’ll know that I’ve not long (well, a few years) ended a long term relationship. Thankfully, I’m now in the place I’ve always dreamed about. It took a lot of trust and some eye-watering faith, but I made it through.

During the process there were some difficult times with the ex and my support squad as I call them, were quick to draw conclusions. Ones such as ‘Thank God you’ve found a real man now… a real man would never have behaved the way he did’ etc.

And I’m going to admit, for the world to see, that I bitched A LOT during the tumultuous times. My inner peace was a roller coaster of ‘Fuck you, I have a right to be mad… What kind of man are you?’ and ‘Ugh, do whatever you want, I just want this over.’

Yes, I hold my hands up, I also criticised his claim to being a man. My bad.

It was my bad because ultimately – and I am going to speak more generally now – the issues we all have in relationships have very little to do with gender and much more to do with our perception of how it should conform to our expectations of it.

My current partner has been deemed ‘real’ by said support squad because of the relationship they’ve seen blossom. They’ve heard the promises he made, and seen him deliver on every single one.

On this journey however, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this…

When people are hurt, or witnessing hurt, and using gender oriented phrases, there is usually a much more fundamental quality that they’re actually referring to, and that’s the quality of being an honourable human being.

What my experience taught me, is that in human beings I’m not looking for a ‘real’ anything. I’m not disappointed that you’re not a real man or not a real woman. What I do get disappointed about is you not behaving like a compassionate, thoughtful, caring human being.

Personally speaking, I’m aware that when I’ve previously referred to someone as lacking realness, what I was in actual fact witnessing was a very real inner child. One that was fighting, expressing, needing, wanting, craving. That part that I deemed lacking, has also in other times been a misunderstood excess of something. Maybe fear, judgement, loneliness.  In those moments the other person has been all too real. Honourable? Maybe not so much.

Again, those of you who know me and have followed my career, know that I’ve spent a large amount of time focusing on male mental health, male suicide, male wellness. I’ve now diversified and invite all people into my practice, but my soul still aches when I hear negative judgements about people based on their gender.

I want us to start seeing each other for who we are, from the ground up. We are spiritual beings and we are human beings. This is all. If we begin here and aim to live in the place that connects us, it’s far more easy to spot the words and habits that disconnect us. And then to let them go.

 

He doesn’t want a baby… do you choose him, or motherhood?

Love has a strange habit sometimes, of providing us with everything we want, whilst simultaneously calling for us to deny what we need the most.

I’m talking now about when you’re in love, comfortable, in a dedicated relationship. So dedicated, that you’ve decided to spend the rest of your life with him – that partner who just so happens to want a life fundamentally different from the future your heart envisions.

When motherhood beckons, what do you if you’re in love with a man who doesn’t want to be a father, ever, again, or any time soon?

Which is it?
Firstly, you should have a very clear idea of why he doesn’t want children. Here are some:

“Been there, done that” He has kids already, has done the 2am feeds, and isn’t interested in repeating.

“I’m not ready” He wants children, he thinks, but just at some obscure time in the future.

“My childhood was awful, I would be a bad father.” He hasn’t dealt with his own childhood traumas.

“I’ve just never wanted to be a father.” He simply has zero desire to have children.

The reasons that a man may not want children will vary incredibly and it’s necessary to be clear that it’s not always because he’s selfish, immature or short-sighted. As strong as your desire is to bring life into the world, the desire not to do so is just as valid.

Be unique

I listed some of the common reasons for not wanting children to illustrate that there is nothing unique about them. I’ve done it to show that in instances like this, YOU need to be the one that is unique. YOU have to create a situation that is unique and which honours YOUR heartfelt desires.

A way you can do this is to ask yourself some serious and blunt questions:

1) If you had to go through the pain of a breakup, but were guaranteed love and a child at the other end, would you leave him?

2) If you wake up at 50 and the relationship has ended, will you resent him, or regret not having children?

3) Are you staying with him, giving up on your dream to have children, because you fear losing love and doubt it can be attained again, with someone who wants the same thing?

4) If you had known at the start of your relationship that he did not want children, would you have invested in it so heavily, or even begun it?

The choice ladies, is not between your partner and motherhood. It is between the comfort of everything you have now and your uncertainty in the belief of what might be.

Work on that uncertainty, before it really is too late.

 

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Is he right for you? 5 questions to ask yourself

As intuitive and self-aware as you may be, assessing whether a partner is right for you can be a delicate process.

Most of us can get through a few dates with someone in a fairly relaxed manner, but unless there’s definitely no chance of a relationship, it’s natural to question exactly how compatible you are.

If you find yourself unsure, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help with the decision making.

 

How does this person make you feel?

This is a slightly different question to asking yourself how you feel when you’re with them, as you may have underlying challenges with nerves or anxiety that aren’t directly related to your date.  Aside from these, ask yourself whether your date makes you feel emotionally and physically safe, whether they make you feel as though you’re important to them and as though they’re truly interested in you.

It’s really useful to put your own natural feelings aside temporarily and focus on what your date is putting out there.  You have to make sure you’re processing the right signals and that they match those you would like to receive from a potential partner.

 

Do you have the same core values?

This may seem like a big question to consider so early on and actually yes it is, but it’s a very important one.  Core values don’t always have to revolve around the big topics such as religion, politics or morals, they can come down to something as simple as your feelings about money, diet or even work.

Having core values that are misaligned is akin to being best friends with someone who doesn’t believe honesty in friendship is important.  Although you may think certain standards should be adhered to, the playing field won’t be level and you may end up hurt or disappointed.

Having different core values doesn’t immediately rule a partner out, but knowledge of the differences and how they may affect long term plans can help to assess compatibility.

 

Do you want the same things?

As blindingly obvious as this relationship checkpoint may seem, the amount of people who skip over it or ignore unfavourable signals is mind-blowing.  Sometimes we do this because we hope people will change, or we believe that situations can be dealt with later.

Whatever your reasons, you need to fully understand that if you don’t want the same things from life as your date, and there’s no cohesion between your goals or ambitions, then you’re simply not compatible to build a life together.  Short-term fun can of course be had, but at some point reality will override whatever attraction it is making you believe it could progress into something more.

 

How do you treat them?

Often, our own behaviour is very telling of how into someone we are.  Take a look at how you behave when you’re falling for a person and then compare that to how you act when you’re not particularly bothered about the outcome.

As well as this, look at how your early behaviour impacted relationships you’ve already experienced.  For example, think about whether the people you weren’t keen on in the beginning all turned into wonderful loving partners, or if the ones you fell head-over-heels for all ended badly.  Take note of any significant patterns.

 

What does your intuition say?

It can be hard to trust your inner voice when you’re aware of how influenced it may have become by your own experiences and other people’s.  To combat this, try to distinguish between how you think you should feel about someone and what you do actually feel about them.

Pay attention to the person in front of you, separating them from their potential, and focus on how well you can align yourself with who they are now.  Answers aren’t always clear, but using this, combined with the above questions, will really help get you closer to finding out how well suited you are to a relationship.

 

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I’m single, 30+, will I be left on the shelf?

I work with women who think it’s too late to find the happily ever after they’ve always aspired to.

The belief you have, is that all the guys your age are taken, that they’re married, have kids and so don’t want any more. There is also the camp of intelligent, successful, ambitious women, who have settled in a relationship, ones they possibly regret, but are too fearful to exit.

The truth is, the show isn’t over, you can have the relationship you want, you can have it with minimal compromise and this panic mindset you’re in – it can be ended, now.

Whether it’s a feeling that you have a ton of missed opportunities or poor choices, you need to understand that you aren’t alone – you’re definitely, not alone.

Yes, it’s tough when all your friends are married and your evenings are spent on pointless date after date – but I don’t want you to buy into the misconception society is selling you.

You are not broken.

You are not past it.

That shelf – you’re not going to be left on it, to get all tired and dusty.

So here’s what you need to do.

You need to refocus.

You need to let go – of something that you are firmly holding on to.

This is not an external problem, I guarantee it.

Forget the external things that are happening.

What you’re doing is dating upstream, against the tide of yourself.

This is not about being to blame, it is about being at cause.

If you want to know more, hit ‘contact’ and ask me.

 

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Why finding ‘the one’ is difficult for you

Most men and women will have an idea or image of their perfect partner, with anything outside of this being classed as a compromise or more realistic.  Regardless of whether we believe the person we truly desire is actually out there, it’s very likely we’ll compare the one we meet today with the one in our minds.

It may seem futile and unfair to have the real people we meet compete with figments of our imagination, but actually if more of us knew how to do it properly, we might reap more rewards.

While there’s no hard and fast rule to finding your perfect match, there are some behaviours and thought processes that will undoubtedly hinder your progress.  If finding ‘the one’ is proving difficult, it’s worth taking the below points into consideration.

Your relationship with yourself

The number of single people who attempt to find happy, healthy relationships without first learning how to be happy and healthy individuals, is quite staggering.  Whether we like it or not, in life we attract the type of people that we either a) most have something to learn from or b) are a match to what we’re projecting out into the world.

Ultimately, we are all ‘the one’ for someone else, so it’s crucial we also do the self-work we’d like our partners to do.  If you seek love from an already confident, grounded and emotionally stable mindset, you make better and healthier relationship choices.  When looking for Mr or Mrs Right, aim for someone to share your life, not to complete it.

Your relationship blueprint

We all have a preference, it’s simply our level of attachment to it that will vary.  If finding your perfect match follows a very specific set of criteria and this criteria has not yet yielded promising results, it’s helpful to look at the selection blueprint you’re using.

Take this practical example; if you’re trying to build a house and the walls keep collapsing, rather than repeatedly replacing them, wouldn’t it make more sense to investigate the foundations?

Now transfer this to relationships.  It may be imperative to you that your partner has blond hair and you are of course entitled to this preference.  In this case however, you must also accept that your true match, the person who could genuinely make you happy, might be the brunette you’re automatically dismissing.  Be accountable and make sure to ask yourself if this risk is okay.  If it’s not, expand your blueprint.

Your focus

As mentioned at the start, comparing the people you meet with your ideal mental picture can be an extremely worthwhile exercise, when you learn to do it properly.  People however, generally make two mistakes here, the first being that they focus heavily on what they don’t want.  They don’t want someone who is too short, too emotional, too complicated or who reminds them of their ex, the list goes on.

The problem with this line of thinking is that the minute a potential partner displays one of your ‘don’t want’ criteria, you write them off, even if they fulfil 97% of your must-haves.

Be mindful of this.  We attract the things we focus on, so focus more on the boxes someone does tick and then decide if this outweighs the ones they don’t.

The second mistake people make is that they’re not specific enough about what they do want.  Imaging, for example, that your ideal partner is always smiling and happy is not enough. What is it that makes them happy, being surrounded by people, being alone at home with you, playing with the children?  If you’re going to create the ideal partner in your mind, give them clear attributes.  It makes them a lot easier to recognise when they do show up in your life, despite any initial doubts you may have about them.

 

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Should you stay with him, or leave him?

These days our requirements for a partner can be extensive.

As we become more confident in asking for the things we want in life and as we witness the ever-growing possibilities of love, our expectations slowly begin to creep up.  Whilst there’s nothing wrong with wanting the best from lovers, if we’re prepared to be the best ourselves, it’s important to be mindful of what really matters.

If you’re single and looking for a fulfilling relationship, you may want to consider what you’d do if your special person arrives and they look the part, talk your love language, appreciate the same things as you, but hold different values or beliefs.

Different beliefs

Occasionally, what looks like a hugely different set of beliefs and motivations between two people can, on closer inspection, be a lot less significant than once thought.  When presented with a partner who seems to have differing opinions to ones that are important to you, it’s essential you take the time to get clear on what you have in common and where exactly this begins to change.

So for example, if your partner identifies as an atheist, it may jar with your religion but not necessarily all aspects of your spirituality.  Labels are a quick way to identify ourselves, however in a committed relationship where mutual respect and understanding are necessary, they can become lazy and unhelpful forms of communication.

Once you and your partner make the decision to stop being defensive and keep the focus on meeting each other halfway, it will become easier to express yourselves without fear of judgement or disapproval.

Your values have changed mid-relationship

If you’re in a committed relationship and find that your values or beliefs have changed, this can be a difficult road to navigate.  The key here is patience, patience patience.

The first thing you need to acknowledge is that it’s unlikely your change happened over night.  It may have been a slow process and whether you were consciously aware of it or not, your partner’s own life experiences may mean that they don’t immediately understand or appreciate your growth.  In fact, they may never appreciate the new you that has evolved.

What’s most useful in relationships is not each partner holding the exact same views, but each partner respecting the other’s perspective.  This means zero ridicule, maximum openness and a willingness, of course, to accept you for who you’ve become.

Your future

Once you know what your differences are, a good way to work out a plan moving forward is to establish what that difference in values or beliefs means a) for you b) for your partner and c) for the pair of you as a couple.

These are three very separate questions to ask and it’s a mistake to believe that they all amount to the same thing – they don’t.  Relationships are made up two individuals, who have two unique ways of thinking and two separate sets of needs. When you both come together it creates a new entity in its own right, which you’ll need to honour if you’re to map out a way forward that suits everyone involved.

If the change you have experienced asks too much from your partner, perhaps you no longer enjoy the joint activities you once did, or you no longer wish to have children, then you can save yourself a lot of time by being direct and dealing with it head-on.  Be honest and be kind with it, this approach will serve you best in the long run.

 

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Hey single lady, these 3 words, are f**king up your dating game!

Are you having a hard time finding your Mr Right?

Have you been single a while, in and out of relationships, maybe?

If so, check out the below.  If something resonates, get to work on fixing it.

 

1 – “Need”

You don’t need to be in a relationship, you want to be in one.

You don’t need him or her, you want them.

Whilst this may seem like a small slip of the tongue or overly pedantic, it’s actually vital you distinguish between your needs and your wants in relationships.

 

2 – “Type”

Describing someone as not your type is a careless thing to do if you don’t know exactly what you mean and what is at stake.

We go for types because it’s either what we’re used to, what we usually like aesthetically or what we think we need.

Remember this: you’ve had multiple relationships with ‘your type’ before, and yet here you are, single again and looking for love.  There might be something about your type which isn’t as important as other personality traits you’re looking for, long term.

 

3 – “Compromise”

Compromise is probably not a word you were expecting to show up here, because compromise is good, right?  Well, yes and no.

All relationships require a certain amount of compromise, because there are two people involved who will invariably want and need different things at different times.

If you find yourself continuously explaining your actions in a relationship by using this word, you need to sit down and reassess exactly how many compromises you’re making.

 

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40, single & ready for a baby

So you’re pushing 40, you have no man, and you’re desperate for a child. You’re wondering if it will ever happen, if you’re past it, if you’re asking for too much.

I’m here to let you know that ‘asking for too much’, is not your problem. If you want someone to sweep you off your feet, then you should expect it, without shame. If you want children and you’re not in your 20s, then contrary to what the media says, you should go for it, without shame.

The only caveat is, by God make sure you have your shit together first.

For single women of a certain age, no matter how positive or spiritually aligned we are, it’s really easy to become pessimistic about experiencing the type of romantic relationship we desire. Not only are we conditioned to believe what society has taught us, that we’re almost past it, that new love in our 30s or 40s is more compromise than passion and more settling than exciting, we also carry a sense of guilt for not ‘making it’ and having what everyone else has.

By the same token, when it comes to having the relationship of our dreams, to meeting the partner who will love us unconditionally and satisfy our desires, we focus way too much on the external. Whilst it’s important we visualise what he might look like, how he’s going to treat us or how magical our union will be, this isn’t the be all and end all.

When I ask that you make sure to have your shit together, what I mean is venturing internally and looking at why perhaps you are where you are, why you always attract the cheater, the passive aggressive, the distant or absent partner, the one who doesn’t want to commit or have children. And you need to look at your own relationship self too, why you reject certain men, run away from love or perhaps fear rejection.

At worst, people usually believe the patterns in their love lives are coincidence and at best, they believe it’s out of their hands. Neither are true.

So, if you’re looking for your own version of Mr Perfect For Me, then ask yourself – are you actually ready for him? Have you healed from previous heartbreak? Have you offloaded the piece of baggage you’ve been carrying since you were 23? Have you accepted that you’re not perfect and never can be?

Until we as women are making strides in our own mental and emotional health, we’re just not ready for great, truly healthy and lasting love. We are in fact blocked from it. Unless we’re looking for rescuer guy who’s going to show up and make everything okay, the task is ours to make a start on our own emotional wellness.

To be clear, I’m not saying that you need to have all your character quirks and neurosis completely eradicated in order to find love. What I am saying however, is that you stand a better chance if you come at relationships from a place of self awareness, not just with the willingness to change and heal, but also having taken some of the actions that go with it.

 

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Want a man? Then quit fearing rejection…

Although a fear of rejection can rear its head at any time in life, as we get older there is the tendency for it to become felt a little more keenly.

We feel as though there is more to lose, more at stake because our time to achieve what we want is running out. Unveiling our personality, our bodies, our beliefs is done hesitantly – we think a partner isn’t going to find us attractive, successful enough, interesting enough.

This whole train of emotion slows down our progress in love, and whether we know it or not, can blinker us to some amazing opportunities.

So let’s break it down, and let it go

 

Rejection is someone’s choice…

Rejection is merely a person making a choice about their life, a choice that doesn’t include you.

It is that simple.

It is not always about you. So get your head out of your own ass. Please, for your own sake.

It may be that their decision means you don’t get to be their lover, their life partner or even their friend, but you have to respect that it’s their life and their decision, all the same.

We all have the right to make choices and plans that we believe fit us best, we do it every day.  Allow people the same courtesy and space when they are evaluating your place in their own life.

Rejection is NOT always feedback…

Rejection is not always feedback but sometimes, it is.

For those of you that are ultra sensitive, any sort opinion or action that doesn’t immediately appear positive or is even too neutral can be cause for concern and self-doubt.

The good news is that nothing can sort between rejection and feedback faster than a mind which is confident and comfortable.

So, if you’re turned down for dates because people think you’re too needy, or that your fashion sense is too much to deal with, use this as valuable feedback and up the ante.  Maybe you’ll hold out for someone who can handle your multiple needs, or who is just as eccentrically stylish.

Rejection is your Achilles heel…

Usually a person’s fear of rejection is a tell-tale sign of where they’re least confident in their lives.  For example, if a person fears being rejected because of their income or looks, they may themselves believe that they should be earning more or be better looking to be worth someone else’s time.

Narrow down your own fear of rejection into specifics and then ask yourself how you feel about that area of your life.  What can you change, so that your attitude develops and it is no longer a hang-up for you?

Rejection is your signal to change…

It may be hard to believe that there is anything at all positive about your fear but actually, there is.  Your mind, when it fears something is usually trying to protect you.  For example, if you’re in a fearful state about relationships, then it’s less likely that you’ll put yourself in ‘danger’ by dating people or having successful ones.

Is your own fear of rejection there to stop you from being as upset as you were the last time love was unrequited, or didn’t work out?  Identify what your mind is trying to protect you from and make a conscious decision (spoken aloud if necessary) to seek help for it.

 

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Is he the love of your life?

My partner asked me, am I love of your life?

I answered him back, I don’t know yet, ask me at the end of it.

In former years I probably would have said yes, simply because I when I love, I love really hard.  I don’t waste time with men who are less than the guy before. It follows then, that I would view whoever I was dating, as the love of my life.

I am now however, far more conscious about how I describe love, how I attribute value to it, or label the experience I’m having.  I believe this happens when we know what it is to lose love, when we know the twists and turns deep love can take, and when forever turns into a quantifiable number of years, capped with the word closure.

I now live with the accepting, comfortable realisation that no matter how in love I am, however long it has lasted, or how deep it has flowed… it is possible to go deeper. Much deeper. It is possible to love in different directions, more widely, more keenly. It is possible for past lovers, in present moments, to seem an odd choice, when shadowed by the glorious glow of a new relationship.

And so I won’t fool myself or my partner. I will say that currently, you are one of my greatest loves, that this is better than what I have ever had, than what I’ve known so far.

But I don’t know how long we will remain, if we will.

I hope we do.

I hope you are my eternal sunrise.  The beautiful eclipse on all my other moons.

But if we fall, for whatever reason, I still know who I am.  And I know, that I will dive even deeper, the next time.

 

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