Sex With Friends

I have promised in the past that I would explain how you can “hook up” with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship.
Finally I’m delivering…

First, is it possible to date, make out with, or sleep with a friend and not “ruin” the friendship? Sure! Anything is possible. Do I recommend getting skin close to all your friends? No. But the reality is: you probably will, and I want you armed with the tools to enjoy it before, during, and after.

A few disclaimers:
1) just because you “hook up” with someone, a friend, stranger, or date does not a relationship or commitment make.
2) if you “fall” for every person you flirt, kiss, text or sext (I have opinions on this stay tuned on my sexting blog another day) then diving into your pool of friends is not the best idea. In fact I would tell you absolutely not. You’re not able to handle it.
3) if the lack of communication from someone you sends you to the fridge, bar, or any other binge…you’re not ready (for dating of any kind, and definitely not dating a friend).
4) if you don’t have all the self love we coach/talk about here at Live ClareLesley…you’re not ready.

If you fall into the “not ready” category this doesn’t mean you have to hide in a closet. I don’t want to make a hermit-nun out of you. Quite the opposite, actually. But your focus shouldn’t be on dating anyone, especially your friends. Your focus should be self love, self respect, self growth. When you’re the person you want to be, then go enjoy the fruits of your labor. If that means hooking up with a friend, cool.  You will have our glowing permission. Get yourself to be your WHOLE self first. Then another Whole self will find you. It may even be a friend.

Ok, now that the disclaimers are out of the way lets get dirty, in a friendly way.

Why are friends with benefits a good idea? Think about it! You pick your friends based on things in common. You spend time together, talk about things you like, don’t like, want in life…sounds a lot like dating to me.

There’s nothing awkward about a friendship, no games being played it’s easy-peasy, my dears. So, it makes sense if you and a friend find your way into each others arms. In fact, in most of my coaching on relationships my clients wish they could find a partner they are best friends with. Again, why not dip into the friend pool?…you want your partner to be your friend. Your friendship foundation is already set. Try the dating thing. It might just be the door to a fantastic relationship.

Can you just be friends with benefits? Sure!  Again, anything is possible and it really depends on the two (or more in some cases…my sweet friend, you know who you are) parties involved. Again, you must be able to get past all four disclaimers above and you must truly know and love who you are. The other parties have to also be the same. It won’t work if one of you is a rock star in the self growth category and the other is starving for love, attention, and a partner.

Remember sleeping with a friend does not a partner make. Just because you and your friend cross that clothing barrier bridge, doesn’t mean you are an item. It means you slept with your friend. That actually is worth repeating! Anyone and I mean ANYONE that you kiss, sleep with does NOT a Relationship make. Partners take time. Just like friendships take time. They deserve to take time. Like a fine wine, tea or beer…fermentation is a good thing.

So, How do you start? Well one of you has to make a move, start the conversation. Is the thought of making a move freaking you out? Then, you’re not ready for this. In my past dates with friends, it’s not so black and white. The line from planning, to hang out as friends and going “out” is blurred. In fact, looking back I can’t say at the time I knew we were “crossing the barrier.” It was more like, I hoped we might.

The Comedian: He was more of an acquaintance. We would see each other out with other friends. The two of us were connected via the benefits of twitter and Facebook but we had not exchanged digits. We had lots of things in common. Eventually, he reached out to me personally. He heard I was single and we took our fringe friendship to a direct one. Texts became more frequent a date was planned and a dinner an kiss were enjoyed. There were no fireworks. We had a great time. We have hung out since even. Celebrate the successes we’ve achieved individually. We are closer friends now because we tried to take it to the next level.

Those of you who understand this, are ready for the dating world and even the dating-your-friend-pool world. Just because we didn’t fall madly for each other, does not mean we can’t be friends still. None of those things changed.

The Yogi: I do not recommend you fall for your Yoga, Pilates, Personal Trainer, EVER! If things get weird you will be the one to find a new teacher. They have their classes, their schedule set. In my case as a Pilates Instructor I know many other instructors so me dating a Yogi friend…well I have plenty of them. We had been friends for some time. Our clients and surrounding acquaintances often overlapped. Finding out we both were single at the same time, we set up a time. Again, no definite plans for the long term, but there were hopes. Wishes do come true. We had a great date, awesome convo, and an enjoyable night. We even wanted to go out again. But timing is everything. In the end we went back to being friends. We still are. We both have found wonderful happiness in other relationships. Turns out, now both of us  are dating someone we were friends with before.

My Love: We were introduced by a mutual friend. We had the best time together. We talked for hours. Then because timing is everything. We did nothing. Over the course of the next 4 months we spoke, even hung out once. We got to know each other. Then logistics in our lives made it easier to hang out. So we did every week. We talk about our pasts, past relationships, breakups, desires and dreams. Then we decided to give it a go! Best decision EVER. Dating one of my friends means I always have someone to talk to about ANYTHING. No games. Just love, kindness and respect.

What do each of these scenarios have in common?
1) COMMUNICATION.  In person, or over the phone. The good, old fashioned conversations. Between each other, not other people.
2) NO BIG DEALS.  We didn’t make a big deal about the event, we didn’t get lots of people involved. We just did our thing.
3) WE ARE STILL FRIENDS.  Friendships don’t end because you kiss. They end for other reasons. See “Growing out of Friends

Each of you reading this will have a different experience. I am not going to sit here and tell you go slow, go fast, do this, or don’t do that. Nope. You have to choose your own adventure. I won’t be there every step of the way. All I can tell you is what I have already: you must be your whole self before you date anyone. Especially your friend.

Have a friend crush? AWESOME maybe that’s the love of your life waiting for you to be ready to give it a go.  As someone who has their best friend as their partner, I will give you my blessing.  Every time.

Self Love first, Date second, and always Live ClareLesley

LL

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below (or up, if you’re on the main page), or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for DAILY inspiration!

Advertisements

Red Flags: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

“In the beginning, what red flags did you ignore?” My therapist asked me in my second session post break up. I sat there speechless for a moment. At first, I wanted to get defensive and say there weren’t any.  Then as I opened my mouth to say so, I realized it was probably not true.  She told me that there are always red flags, some flags are redder than others, but there are always red flags.  She sent me home with homework: I had to think back and spot all the red flags that I ignored.  What were they?  Why did I excuse them? How red were they?

Sitting in that office on that couch I just couldn’t admit to myself that there were red flags in a relationship that seemed so perfect.  After being out of the relationship for more than a year, I can tell you every red flag and how red it was. I can even tell you the day one flag was waving, so bright and shiny like it was waiting for a bull to come charging, and instead of paying attention, I brushed it away. Actually, I rolled it up so quickly and shoved it in a trunk and put that trunk in the back of a garage and then put things in front of that trunk hoping to pack away the existence of the flag.

Of course that never works. If you’ve been in a relationship that didn’t work out you too can look back and see the signs. If you can’t I beg you to go back. Like Clare says in Patterns Versus Change  we’ll continue the same patterns until we learn from them.

I am not saying that any of us are free of flags. I think that we all have our own flags in a variety of colors and that’s what makes us unique. But some flags should be hints while others are red alert warnings. Not every person you date will be the right match for you. My last relationship was the picture of perfection. What every girl is supposed to want. I ignored the flags because society’s idea of “perfect” trumped my idea of “perfect.” Working on my therapy homework, I unpacked the garage after leaving my session and started looking at the flags I ignored. What an eye opener that was!

What happened next? My confidence in dating, trust within myself, my own choices, and eventually, love. I grew up, grew strong, and got honest.

As a coach for relationships and goals there’s often lots of red flags that I hear about.  My Duty Dating was the perfect red flag training ever for my life. As I listen to friends, clients, people at coffee shops (I do eavesdrop, but it’s all in the name of research), I ask myself “how red is that flag” for me?  As an outside observer, things look different.  Flags that are really really red to me, might be orange to you.  Its not my job nor my place to interfere or interpret your flags. Side note: friends want your advice that doesn’t mean you can judge their flag coloring (see No More Projections Please). However observing others is a good and less invasive beginning to viewing your own flags. I want you to practice recognizing the red flags that pop up or stand out in your life and in those of others, and then also observe what patterns or feelings arise.

Lately there’s been some sadness and disappointment in the dating world with my friends, clients, even from some of you readers. You meet someone, there’s excitement, smiles, something to look forward to and plans for your weekend. Then a few dates later, combustion!  Or worse: silence. We’ve all been there, I’ve been there. Can you get upset, sad, disappointed and or stab a voo doo doll?  Sure, for a moment.  Maybe you give yourself a day; mourn the loss of “what could have been.” Then pick yourself up! Dust yourself off, and ask yourself the tough question. The honest question. What Red Flags did I ignore? What behaviors did I pay no attention to or excuse away?

Dating can be hard. Life can feel lonely. But do you really want to be with someone just so you’re not alone? I didn’t think so! Get excited about a date but remember while you’re hoping their into you make sure you’re into them! Show off your colors and take a look at all of theirs. There are two people in a relationship. Even if one of you walks away, or stops calling you, at least you will not have been a participationless bystander. You were a an equal partner in the relationship (again at least should have been). Not that I want you to think that if something didn’t work out its your fault! I am absolutely not saying that. We all have choices. We choose what to pay attention to, who to give our attention to, and how we deserve to be treated.

On your next date, instead of excusing the guttural reaction because someone is cute, your type, the first date in five years, dig deeper.  Ask the tough questions. You may be surprised. Something you thought was red is orange. Something you thought was yellow was bright freaking RED.

We have no control of others actions. We can only control our controllables. If you are honest with yourself, totally love and value yourself, those red flags will stand out like a Viking at the Art Museum (not that Vikings don’t go to art museums just that Vikings stand out pretty much anywhere).

You won’t “fall” for every opportunity…not because you’re pessimistic but because you’re in control of your ship. You have awareness of your wants, needs and desires. Red flags just get in the way of those things. They delay your happiness. Why oh why, my loves, would you let your own self get in the way of your own happiness?

Shed those red flag preventing glasses and see your own wants, desires, happiness. Let those in who support you. Show them who you are and see them for their true selves. See the red flags. See the other colors of them. Make a decision, and try it out. If it doesn’t work with this person, at least you were honest. Try the next person; maybe their flags are the right colors for you! Then you two can roll around in your other colored flags and run off into the sunset holding your sans red flags hands high!

Xx~LL

Valentine’s Survival

I wrote this January 10th and while starting thought: I’m writing, ugh, a Valentine’s Blog. (We’re trying to get ahead so we can spend more time editing the book…yes, its coming. Get excited. Stay tuned!) Just to think about Valentines so far in advance makes me take deep breaths, and requires me to relax my shoulders.

I’ve been single every Valentine’s Day of my adult life. The rational part of my brain says, “its just another day.” The anti-greeting-card-gal thinks, “there are 364 perfectly other good days of the year to say ‘I love you’ so why are you all doing it today?” The 10-year old inside urges me to buy the kiddie valentines and give them to my friends when I see them. I’ve spent a few sad Valentine’s Days feeling sorry for myself for being single, but I refuse to do that anymore. Instead, I choose to give and observe, love and caring instead. I know it sounds cheesy, and I’m still fantastically single, so I totally understand if this statement makes you cringe. Nevertheless, here is my recipe for a sorrow-free or at least a sorrow-less greeting-card-holiday.

1) Screw the red and pink hearts/flowers/balloons! Unless you like it all… then share it, respectfully! Reach out to those closest to you: Mom, dad, best friend, lover, child, roommate, pet, music teacher, bus driver, barista, writing partner. Tell them in some way you appreciate them. Feel free to make a monetary gesture if you feel it necessary, but love is best exchanged in heartfelt words.

2) Make your own damn plans. If you have a significant other or not, if you have friends, children, pets—if this is your holiday, go make your own plans. How do you want to spend the evening? With strangers at a bar? With friends around your own home cooked meal? Serving a meal to the homeless? With family members cuddled on the couch to watch a silly movie? Drinking a bottle of wine while on the phone with your mom who has a similar bottle of wine at her house? Don’t wait around to be picked—no one EVER liked being the last one picked in kickball at recess… screw that feeling. Do what will make you feel the happiest on this day. Plan it early, plan it late. Answer this question now without thinking: What will make you the happiest? Do that.

3) Don’t put so much damn pressure on your plans. I cannot begin to tell you how many Friend-en-tines parties I’ve thrown or attended, or even just made dinner plans, and put so much pressure on them that they were doomed from the beginning. This holiday should be about appreciation of relationships you share. Its been 6 weeks since our last major holiday to get together… relax and remember that you enjoy the people in your life. Spend the evening with people that make you laugh, food that makes you happy, and go places you won’t feel lonely.  Keep the day free of expectations!

4) Be prepared. If you throw a party, there might be a crier. There will probably be a few engagement announcements the following day. You might or might not get laid. Someone might give you a heartfelt something, making you realize that if they were picking kickball teams, you wouldn’t be last.  If any or all of these happen, take deep breaths and roll with it. February 15 is a day away. All will go back to normal tomorrow.

Valentine’s Day isn’t my holiday. Some years I get into it, and others I don’t. I’ve found that the best, and most memorable (or least memorable, depending on your perspective) Valentine’s were low key and spent with people who love me. I am so incredibly grateful to have so many incredible friends, most who would drop everything when I’m in need, to text me and tell me they’re available in 5 minutes. Just kidding—most would drop everything and run to me in a heartbeat.  (I love you all so much, and am infinitely thankful we’ve found each other.)

In every tribe there is a gatherer, a shaman, a group leader, a healer, the mama. I’m that person, in most circumstances. The hard part of that is not the being needed, instead it’s the asking for help and love when I need it. When I’m truly hurting, it hurts even more to ask for love. I’m telling you this because I understand the depths of despair and loneliness that holidays bring. I also understand that once I get over myself, and just ask for care that I want or need, it is given. Immediately. Wholeheartedly. Without hesitation. Don’t be afraid to ask for love.  Especially on Valentine’s Day.

I found my soul mate at the end of last year. Its kind of ridiculous, because its nothing like I would have assumed or expected. Its not storybook, or text book, and there isn’t going to be a traditional happy ending with us riding off into the sunset to a picket fence and kids and dogs… which I’m actually joyful about. It’s actually less pressure to know that someone who makes me immeasurably happy, and a better person just by standing near me, isn’t someone I have to be romantic with, but that I can just love and appreciate for everything he is. I’ve always known love comes in different forms, shapes, colors, and speeds. I appreciate and try my best to adequately reciprocate any love that comes toward me. That is the ultimate challenge, and goal: to simply love and be loved in return. Love might not be in your life in the picture perfect vision you seek, but I’ll bet you that you receive more love than you realize. I believe that love, like matter, cannot be created or destroyed, but it instead changes forms. I believe that all the love you want or need comes at you at any given time, it just might not all be from one direction, or from the direction you would prefer. But like my handsome soul mate is for me, love will be there for you, when wanted and needed.

So, my dear ones, as the cardboard hearts, flowers, and balloons flood your visions this Friday (and probably all weekend), remember that love begets love. The more you open your heart and share, the more you’ll find in return. I KNOW it sounds new agey, and dumb… but its true. Spend the day with someone you appreciate, and will appreciate you. If you can’t find a human, find an animal; find a view; find a park. Breathe it all in and know you are loved. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t.

LOTS OF LOVE from both LL and I!!  Go, Love ClareLesley!

–Clare

If you have a comment scroll down past the tags below, or email us at liveclarelesley@gmail.com We LOVE your feedback!!

In Your Social Face

It’s happened to many of you. You open your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc app and the universe and filters magically put your Ex’s status front and center.

Not just any old status either. Nope, that would be too fair. In fact, if it did that everyday you probably wouldn’t notice their status, tweets or #tbt! Nah, inevitably when their post catches your eye it’s the “kissy face”, “relationship status change” or in my case “She THE ONE”.

Before you feel sorry for me: stop. This post is not about how I felt punched in the gut, cried, ate a box of cookies, or how it sent me into a spiral of drinking and sleeping around to avoid feeling lonely or jilted.  Actually this post is the opposite! Why? Because we all need to stop the jealousy, stop the whining and the freak outs that ensue when the Ex moves on. Jealously works the opposite way you want it to.

See I left my Ex. I left because after 5 years we just weren’t right for each other. He “wanted to want to marry me” (stay tuned for the Live Clarelesley book that goes into all the details of my break up). So, I left. A year and a half later we are both in different relationships. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in a relationship.  Then one day when I opened my Facebook and there it was. A status from my Ex. “She’s THE ONE”. I actually out of habit just scrolled right over it.  When my brain caught up, I scrolled back. Did I really see what I thought I saw?  Yep!  There it was.  I was thrilled.  Seriously very happy for him.  He had never “professed” like that about me.  I knew he meant what he was saying.

The other day another “profession” came through my newsfeed. Side note: somehow FB knows when something is unusual or a big deal since I never get the general, uneventful posts by my Ex. He proposed! Interestingly enough, I sat there feeling very proud of him.  I know that my reaction can be hard to believe. He’s my EX after all and he’s moving forward and is happier than ever. How can I be excited and proud for him? Simple I am excited, happy and proud in my own life.

I try to focus on living my own authentic life. One with love for myself. Not in a narcissist way. Just in the normal “I deserve to be happy and loved” way. I didn’t spend an ounce of time on jealousy of him or anyone for that matter.  I also kept in my mind all the reasons We didn’t work in the first place. How can I be jealous?

Why am I telling you all of this? Because you need to hear it! Your Ee boyfriend, girlfriend or even ex friend will pop up in your newsfeed when you least expect it! It will happen at the most inopportune time. Ready to literally “ruin” your day.

If YOU let it.

Yep, you have all the control in the world to how you react to a situation. I realize it can be an unexpected shock. But is it? Even if it is does it even really matter?

I began writing this post because my friend who left her ex a few months ago opened up her newsfeed and there it was. The kissy face picture. Her Ex with a new girl.  Kissing.  Of course she was shocked. They had  just broken up. It really opened up freshly healed wounds. Break ups recovery time, even if you were the one doing the breaking.  However, that kissy pic really took over her day. Did it deserve that much of her time?  Her thoughts?  Her brain space?

I’m not saying she or you shouldn’t deal with the feelings that these posts bring up. I’m saying ask yourself what is it that bothers you most?

  • Is it that they’re happier with someone else? Then perhaps do a happy check on yourself. What would make you feel happier?
  • Is it because they’re moving on? You broke up for a reason or reasons! Review those. Also, just because someone posts something doesn’t mean it’s honest. They could be posting to get a rise out of you. They could be posting to make people think they’re happy.
  • Is the post bothering you because they have “something” you want? Remember what I wrote earlier: “Jealousy works the opposite way you want it to.”

While you’re sitting there stewing, they are off living their lives. In fact, while you’re busying your mind on them the whole world is moving forward.

Get off that “woe is me” train! Grab you happy side up ticket and drink a glass of Self Love.

If you do this, you make a habit of doing this. I promise those statuses won’t even catch your eye. Like I did you’ll scroll right on past. Then if you do happen to take note. You too will smile and be excited for their new life.

Here’s some easy tips:
1) Self Preservation
you can “un friend” anyone, “hide” or even “block”. Do what you need to do to keep you from becoming a “green eyed monster” or sad all together. You can always change that when you’re ready

2) Remember Remember
Why you split in the first place.  Why you’re in a better spot NOW.  There were good reasons that the relationship ended.  We always tend to remember the good stuff, but keep yourself in check by remembering the reasons you walked away from that relationship.

3) TAB (Click to see our blog on this subject!)
Not to complain but to reach out to someone who loves you and can turn that frown upside down. War in do not call the friend who will get angry or jealous and frenetic. Call the stable, “bright side up” friend.

4) SELF LOVE
I will never stop telling you to love yourself!

Xx~LL

 

Because He ASKED!

Ever wonder how “that guy” got “that girl”? Come on, you know what I’m talking about here. Those stunning girls and those “average” looking guys. My opinion…my hunch…my gut tells me “those” guys manned up and asked her out!

A guy and I were chatting about how so many couples in LA don’t “match” up. Rarely do you see two good-looking people together. He had opinions about money, fame and sex. I’m sure there is some “right-ness” to his theory. But, as someone who is strong, successful, independent and good-looking (if I do say so myself), I can tell you how many times I’ve been asked out in the last 6 months: Once! Only once…

No, it’s not like I don’t put myself out there. By now you’ve ready plenty about me. I am out there. I put myself out there. I flirt with many a man, I make eye contact. Yet, no actual dates in my schedule. Just because I’ve only had one request for a date doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed a regular male companion from time to time. In time, I’ll explain how to set one of those up for success. I refuse to believe chivalry is dead. I have a slew of texts, Facebook messages, tweets and even Instagram photos of men sent to me, good looking successful and HOT professing their attraction towards me yet no date. They’ve told me they want to hang out. I ask: when? Crickets… Well guess what “good looking” boys? (Yes, boys. Men ask women out; boys cannot.) I refuse to pine for you, emasculate you, or need for you. I make my own happiness so you not asking doesn’t affect me. In fact, you’re not asking is more of a bullet dodged.

Why? Because while you’re attractive to first glance you would be a boy who would eventually annoy me thanks to my time Duty Dating. You might be great to have as a memory, a notch in my “hottie” belt. But, in the end a waste of time and disappointment. So, thank you for doing us both a favor. We didn’t waste a precious Friday night, a good table reservation, or even a condom.

Men: you want a woman? You have feelings for a woman? Ask her out! Seriously, pick up the phone (yes, I said pick up the phone), dial her number, and ask. What’s the worst case scenario? She says no? Ha! Unless she’s tied to someone else, that’s doubtful. Besides, no one died of rejection. Manliness, confidence, and ambition make every man sexier.

Ladies: stop wallowing when “the guy” doesn’t ask you out and take notice of all the options. Make the eye contact and see what happens. If the young version of Steven Spielberg asks you out, say yes! What if we banded together and stopped throwing ourselves at boys, and waited for men?

Guys, what if you stopped playing cool, got a little vulnerable, and asked the girl out?

What would happen? How would that look?

At Live ClareLesley we are all about growth. Here are some ways to change the way dating works in this world:

For my males: I know you seem cool on the outside and are sweet in the center it’s time to express yourself. You say you’re not mind readers. Well, news flash, ladies do not have superhero abilities either. We want to read and analyze everything, but the truth is we are usually way off on what we think you meant when you said “Hi, how are you?”  In fact, without your obvious intentions we just don’t know if you’re “into us” (and sometimes even with…ladies we do need to work on this). So, while you might be afraid to ruin a friendship, walk up to a stranger or send that text. YOLO just go for it. What if she actually says YES?  Stick Your Neck Out and see what happens.

Ladies, want to catch that guy’s eye? You have to look at them. Yep, eye contact and smile. Online, pics cannot have sunglasses. And your friends rock, but they take away from the beauty of the rock star that you are. Also, it’s time to stop pining for the boy whose not asking you out. He’s not asking for a reason. Who really cares what it is?  The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. I know. Had I pushed a year ago to be with the man I am with today, it would have gone all wrong, quickly. So, as we have said before, work on your self love, your self growth. Work on Living ClareLesley and becoming a WHOLE person. Then you will attract another WHOLE person. Can you picture how amazing that will be? I can. It will be worth the wait.

Everyone, the excuse “he/she is not my type” is out the window. If you’re single and alone, its obvious your type hasn’t exactly gotten you a home run. So, try on a different pair of jeans. See what happens. You like someone? Ask them out! What if they say no? Ask anyway…who cares! At least you know and can go about your day. What if they say YES? Isn’t it worth the risk?

My challenge to you is to love yourself, smile at strangers and have fun everyday. Flirt. The dates will come when it’s time. I promise. It has worked out for me, it’ll work for you!

LL

The Best S-E-X

Sex
SEX
Sex
I’ve been trying to write about sex for awhile now. I actually have a couple rough drafts sitting in my inbox marked “unread” so that I will go back, edit, and work on them. Clearly, that hasn’t happened.

It’s a funny thing wanting to write about a topic yet having nothing worth posting written. How can I write about sex? I’m not a sex-pert (I’m ok with not having that title, by the way). My family could read this….my lover could read this…clients and coworkers…well you get my point. So instead of writing about sex I decided to just write

Just kidding!  Ok, in all seriousness of Living ClareLesley, I am actually excited to broach this topic. Why? Well, I happen to think that too many people are having sex for all the wrong reasons. Too many people are not enjoying sex and too many people are not vulnerable enough in the bedroom to really, fully enjoy themselves and their partner. Being vulnerable gets a bad rap. By definition “weak, defenseless” but in love vulnerability takes the walls down. It requires you to be your authentic self. In a relationship, shouldn’t you want to be authentic? We as humans fear that if we let people in and reveal our true self that they’ll run. I say: then run! Take me for who I am, and if not time saved. A great article on being vulnerable in relationships is here for your enjoyment.
Seriously, if you cannot be your authentic self, it will be difficult to find an authentic relationship. They kind of go together.

So now, with a twisted arm I’m here writing about SEX–it’s a popular subject, and Clare said that I have a distinct point of view on the topic. I was raised to wait until I was married. Spoiler alert! I didn’t. Then one day my mother told me not to wait until I was married. Her virgin friends were getting divorced. My parents didn’t wait they’re divorced. Clearly, this is not exact science. I already had broken the wait until my wedding day when she retracted her parenting on the subject. But, at least now I wouldn’t have to pretend.

In my years of rule breaking I learned and observed some interesting things. Today let’s go over (briefly this is a blog not a novel) vulnerability in the sack. Now by “vulnerability” I’m not suggesting you cry during the act. Although who knows you might. I’m speaking about you letting your guards down so that you have the freedom to be you: feel what you’re feeling in that moment; have the confidence to share your needs, wants and desires! Seriously, if you guard yourself you can still have S E X…but with your guard up you can also spend your time having a latte, reading a book or catching up on your sleep—none of which need a shower after.
My dearest yoga buddy and I were juicing, post corpse pose. I was telling her about my ideas for this first SEX post. She shared that now that she knows exactly who she is in the sheets and what she wants and desires it makes it easier to decipher if she wants to keep the suitor around. Moral of the story here: if you aren’t yourself how will they know if they enjoy you and you enjoy them? If you’re absolutely your true self then you’ll know (and attract) your best mate! Know WHY you’re doing it. Simon Sinek wrote “Starts with Why”. It’s a fantastic read for all aspiring entrepreneurs but it works for your sex lives as well. Ask yourself: do I want to do this? What do I want to happen after? Am I scratching an itch? Landing a partner?

First, super important if your answer to the first question isn’t a F*ck Yes it’s a huge no and walk away.
Second, are you 100% ok if nothing happens after? Seriously! If you cannot promise yourself zero disappointment then wait. Sex one time or multiple times does not a mate make. If you’re having sex to land a mate…well you’ve heard the saying you get what you pay for. Build a strong foundation before you build the house.
Third, if you do not know what turns you on/off then no sex. You’ve gotta tell your partner what you like or want. If you cannot do this because you’re embarrassed or haven’t taken the time to discover. Wait. Take the time and then proudly share it with your person!

If I’m making you blush or feel awkward then quite honestly it’s not time you’re that intimate with another person. My favorite movie is Pretty Woman. I love Julia Roberts. As a teenager I remember the line where she says “I don’t kiss on the mouth…too personal”.

Well…for crying out loud sex should be personal! You and the person you’re taking to the mattresses or outside or in the kitchen should be this incredible personal moment! It shouldn’t be going through the motions and doing what you think they’ll enjoy or what you think you should be doing. Sex should be this personal time spent together pleasuring each other the way you each enjoy!
For my lady readers it’s not all about them and hoping sex equals a relationship.
For my men a little secret…find out what makes her jump and she’ll never “be too tired” or have a “headache” again!
It’s time we all enjoy sex for what it is, not what we think it should be. Go get vulnerable, readers!

LL

Professing

In my first weeks of post relationship I read dating books upon dating books! Ok, that’s not the point of the blog,its just my disclaimer (Men…Don’t skip this post there is some tidbits just for you) . When I first became single I read Steve’s book “Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man” and “He’s Just Not That Into You” by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.   Both contain the absolute truths to dating. When you read them you will have many disagreements with them, you will love parts and hate parts (Clare read He’s Just Not That Into You and threw it across the room in exasperation). You will question, doubt and become annoyed. But, their advice is spot on. Sorry. You WILL probably date LESS. This is because you will be dating SMARTER. But, I am still digressing.

So, I read both of those books back to back and it was as if someone had given me the keys to the kingdom of my dating life. There will be more examples of this in future blogs and the Live ClareLesley book. But, today I want to talk about Professing. The first time I heard about this and realized how important it is in a relationship was in Mr. Harvey’s book.

In the past, girls would get “Pinned” or wear their boyfriend’s letterman’s jacket. These were symbols that they were someone’s girl. I know that are opinions that these could also be symbols of ownership, claiming etc. But, for the purposes of this post, let’s look at them as signs of love and endearment. Of a man Professing his relationship and commitment with the one he wants to be with.

Once we left high school there are no iconic ways to claim and be claim. No letterman’s jackets. There are no pins. So, how do you know a man is Professing that you are the one he is proud to have on his arm? (Men, how do you prove that the person you’re dating is yours, to others?) There are the signs, including being introduced as his “girlfriend” when you meet friends, families and co-workers. By the way, this means if he is introducing you only by your name and/or as his friend, then your name, he is not Professing you as his. He’s fine to be seen with you, but he’s keeping his options open. If you don’t like it, don’t date him. I know you’re thinking “But Lesley…” Do not “but” me on this. Clare will tell you, I won’t listen. Walk away and find a real man who is proud to Profess his commitment to you.  Back to the point: There is also the new way of Professing with the “in a relationship” relationship status change on Facebook. My ex and I in the 5 years we dated, never had ourselves as “in a relationship.” His reasoning was for work. Hmmmm…and somehow we didn’t work out.

But, what if you don’t want to make a beeline for the relationship status change? I will be the first to tell you: do not make a beeline for the relationship status change. I will go into this status change more below. Well there are other signs to be aware of:

1) How are you being introduced? Are you being introduced at all?

2) Whom are you being introduced to?  Close friends, acquaintances, co-workers, family? If you are not meeting anyone in his life, well that’s a BIG neon sign, my friend.

3) Are there posted pictures of you on social media (if they have any pages)? If they have social media and they actually use it yet you’re nowhere to be seen on it, again, it’s clearer than water that they’re not Professing. A change in profile pictures is a pretty good sign you’re in!

It’s wonderful if they call, it’s great if they take you out, but if you’re not being introduced to friends or other people in their lives after a month or so, there is a reason. If you don’t want to call them out on it, you don’t have to today. Just be aware. If you want to be the Girl Friend and not the Girl Friday, check out the signs he’s sending to the world about you and the two of you. This is not to say that after the first date you should see yourself being announced from the status bar, tagged in every check in. Professing is gradual. It should be. Dating is a two-way interview. You should probably want to make sure you want him to Profess about you in the first place. I know no one wants to be single but don’t be so desperate to be a “We” that you change your relationship status for the first guy who winks at you.

Now, the relationship status change. Ok, I have not made a clear stance on this yet. Part of me thinks it’s sweet and a great way to announce to the world that you and your guy are a “We.” It also definitely keeps those online lurkers moving onto the next profile (or at least it should). For me, I have never changed my relationship status. I know I would if I were engaged and married. I think that changing it for a boyfriend or girlfriend situation is personal, and there are no hard lines for me on this. I think it’s more important to the relationship that the couple have clear communication with each other on what their status is. Meaning: are they open to seeing other people? Committed to only each other? We put so much of our personal lives out in the world via so many social media handles. The relationship status change to “in a relationship” is not as important to the “Professing” as Facebook would like us to believe. In my opinion, it’s the in person, in public (real public) and close circles of friends and family that’s most important.

Guys, as promised. Here’s why from a Lady’s perspective Professing is NECESSARY: If she knows who she is to you and your life she will:

1) be proud to be by your side

2) support you, massage you, (ahemm) you and make you look like a rock star

3) will have your back more than anyone will

4) is loyal to the core to you

5) love you, get excited for you, get you excited and…more

No girl likes to feel used. The limbo, purgatory, in between time is important. Women—if you’re not sensing Profession, demand it or get out. Men—if you like who you’re dating make it known to those who matter in your life. If you don’t, that’s ok, too. Let her go sweetly, to find the man who will.

Like life, nothing is black and white. There is the gray that is personal to each individual. But, The Steve’s, and Greg’s, and Liz’s have written it. I have read it, lived it, and am here to say to you men and women: it’s time to take notice, be present in the relationships you are in. Life is too short to be anything else than present.

LL

Am I An “Amy”?

I’m reading Gone Girl, and I’m almost done—don’t worry for those of you who are reading it or have plans to see the movie, I’ll talk about the book some, but nothing that gives away any spoilers. I have to admit the book was really difficult for me to read for the first section. I grew up in a small town in Kansas, and I know where North Carthage is. I have been to North Carthage. My Midwestern town seems grossly similar. I also now live in New York—and although I’m not the heiress and namesake of a popular book series (yet), I was feeling a lot of parallels in my own life. Which I’m sure is a point Gillian Flynn is trying to make—are you like Amy?

This fact is almost as terrifying as some of the twists in the novel. Amy talks about being a “Cool Girl” and makes herself a blend of what men think they want—the thin girl who isn’t afraid to eat, likes to be adventurous, and isn’t upset if a guy goes off and does his own thing instead of premade plans with her. There are a few articles out on the subject like this one, that state their viewpoints on “Cool Girl” status.

In the shower, I was thinking of this—I seem to do a lot of deep thinking in the shower, which is a pain in the ass because by the time I get out, I forget the amazing topics I had just brainstormed.  In the shower I wondered if I should shave my legs, but shrugged it off thinking: I’m not sleeping with anyone at the moment, so…why? After the shower, I was thinking about my last few weeks…I’ve been occupied by a relationship of sorts with a man and it wasn’t as engaging as I would have liked it to have been, so I’m moving on. But before it turned the corner, I was out shopping and planning. I bought new razors, thigh highs, and the pretty kind of panties—the ones that after you wear a couple of times just get all frizzy, so you save them in the back of your drawer for “special occasions” and then in a few years clean out said drawer, and end up throwing them away because they’ve somehow ratted up in the back of the drawer, even though they were never worn—yeah that kind. I have all of these things, and am ready “just in case.” Lesley and I had a conversation about this blog, and she brought up that a common complaint people have when dating is that the other person changes after three months of dating, and it isn’t true. People don’t change, they just relax back into who they really are.

I’m a comfort woman, not that I am lazy, but there are things that I don’t care to do, unless its for show. That being said, there are several things I do for myself regularly like wearing pretty smelling lotion, daily mascara, and blowing out my hair. But the myriad of things that I list to do when I think I’m about to hop into a relationship is a bit mind blowing for me. Partially because the list is seemingly long, but partially because I’m so easily willing to slip into a vaguely different version of myself, a better groomed, slightly more sexy, taller (the heels come out) version of myself. Because, in a way, this is what I think I need to be in order to start a relationship. Again, not major changes, but I don’t show up to a first date like I do to daily things.

I’m not just a heightened version of myself only when dating. We all go into different situations where we are a shinier, better, improved version of ourselves. There is a different me at work, there is a different me with certain friends, there is a different me at a networking party. It just happens. It’s when we play into this persona and create even more heightened versions of ourselves that it becomes an issue.

In Gone Girl, Amy confesses that she hates this person who she has made herself out to be, this perfect version of a wife for Nick. The perfect version of a daughter for her parents who are in a cookie cutter relationship. She hates it so much that she doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t even know what it is that she likes. Because she has created this character, partially out of fun and partially as an experiment, Amy makes herself out to be likeable (to which at one point she asks the reader if “likeable is a compliment”) and therefore makes fake relationships with people by being an amalgam of the things she thinks people want to see.

One of my favorite quotes is: “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ee Cummings nails humanity on the head with that thought. What is the better choice: to be yourself, or to take on who you think people want to you be? Amy says it’s a game for herself to step into these people, these different stereotypes to be more likeable. Feminism says you should stand up and be different than the stereotypical woman. I say: I like fancy undies and heels when I’m out on a first date—heels for the first impression and to give a glimpse at how intimidating I actually am, and fancy undies so if my first impression of you is a good one, I can know that I have a secret I’d like to share—maybe not tonight… but sometime.


I’m not a feminist. I’m an equalist. I think that if you want to let your freak flag fly, then do. If you don’t, well… don’t. Your choice, just don’t hurt anyone intentionally. I think that its fine to be who you want one moment and try on someone else’s skin the next—just don’t get so deep in a lie  that you hurt someone, or worse hurt or confine yourself. If you want to buy fancy undies, or fancy wine, or have a fancy shave, do.

Plans to see the movie tomorrow with my book club, are urging me to finish reading Gone Girl even though my inner voice keeps comparing me to Amy. I think, even though the comparisons terrify me, I know that I’m not like her. Yes, I do try on different versions of myself, but all of them are rooted somewhere in me—I would wear the fancy undies and heels more often if they were more comfortable. But ultimately its not the true me. And when I do put on these personas it is for me—possibly driven by others—but in the end, for me. I’m going to go finish the book now… maybe you should go check on yourself and see how much of your outward self is for you, and how much is for the world… We’d love to hear your thoughts below! (Oh, and I JUST finished the book… I’m NOT an Amy.  Not even close.)

Clare

What’s In A Name?

From the start of our lives, actually before you breathe your first breath, someone (or someones) were putting thought into your name. The importance of your name is bigger than I think we give it.  Your parents spent time, had conversations even arguments if you had my parents (who almost got a divorce …) about what your name would be. Your name is the beginning of your identity, whom people will refer to you as, how they will Google you.  Your name makes you Unique and Real over simply just: girl, boy, she, he, that person, etc.

I know you’re wondering about the divorce about my birth certificate so I will digress now and come back to my point in a minute. I am the first born in my family. The first grandchild as well. My name was the topic of many discussions before and after my birth. My mother will readily tell you she wanted Margo Jacqueline, hated the name Lesley Michell (pronounced “Michelle”).  Longer story about that, too long for this blog, but after much discussions (probably louder than the neighbors preferred), they settled on Morgan Jacqueline Logan. The naming of me was a way for them to connect to me, their unborn child. After a very long, hard, grueling labor (as my mother would tell you) I was born. After days, my father signed the certificate while my mother was still recovering. Lesley Michell Logan. You can imagine my mother’s surprise and desire for separation at the sight of my birth name.  To this day, she still reminds me that I can change my name at any time. (Side note: I happen to LOVE my name.)  But, I can see how my mother had a hard time connecting to a name she didn’t like. Her connection to the name Lesley wasn’t positive.

When we are dating, hopefully you are having fun and are dating around (note I said dating—not to be confused with sleeping, schtupping, or whoring around). Dating is a two way interview. You are trying your dates on as a partner in crime.  Date one, two, five…you are getting to know them, their goals and if they are worthy of calling you their partner. In Sex and the City Carrie used to call her love connection “Mr. Big”.  It wasn’t until the very end of the series that we learned his name. We laughed and or made fun of this whole “pet name” for him. But really it’s a useful tool in the dating world. Lady Gaga even named a guy “Nebraska” in her song You and I to keep him anonymous. When you are doing these “first interviews” I feel its important to keep yourself light and having fun. Not immediately connecting yourself into a full on relationship with someone after the first date. Also, when giving the run down of your date/s with your friends a “pet name” is a great way to keep them from being to involved, and you from attaching too much too soon.

My friends growing up had lots of animals on their farm. None except the dogs and cats had names. Why? Because the chickens could become dinner someday…Not that your date is a chicken that could become consumed post date—just that not every date will be someone you want to date again. It’s nice to set boundaries until the date becomes the partner.

How does this work. Well, in my Duty Dating  period there was “The Young One”, “The Structure”, “The Lawyer”, “The Comedian”, “The Pilot” and “The Musician”. When I was chatting with my friends, I would use those “names” to refer to them. This kept them anonymous as well. When you’re in the beginning you’re still figuring out how you feel. You are weighing it all out. Nicknames keep it light, fun and take the pressure off. The importance of a persons name makes the relationship more real. Save that for when you want the relationship to be real.

LL