The Simple Sophisticate - Intelligent Living Paired with Signature Style (relationships)
~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #179
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio
The desire to share our lives with a partner can be a different vision in each of our minds, but at the core of a strong, healthy, worthwhile relationship is something that is often dismissed as important, but not vital. Too often we are looking in the wrong place, seeking out the wrong traits and even presenting a false self in order to be chosen or to choose a person to potentially be our partner. With the inspiration of Susan Quilliam's book How to Choose a Partner, we dive into to part deux today (check out part une here) regarding how to choose a partner. Sometimes, at least for me, it feels as though there are a multitude of mixed messages of what should or should not be considered when choosing a partner. And as I shared with an acquaintance recently, I can honestly say, the individuals I have had the opportunity to get to know and consider as potential partners continue to be more impressive people, but at the same time, I am more and more aware of what I need and what I can be flexible about. Now the benefit of this reality is that the decision is easier, but the saying goodbye (or no to an intimate relationship, but perhaps still acquaintances) is difficult initially. However, upon reading Quilliam's book, she shares clearly how to live and welcome a partner into your life that will elevate both of your lives and leave no doubt (even when situations down the road aren't perfect) that you are indeed with the right person.
1.The ideal everyday
Living simply luxuriously is ultimately about elevating the everyday and create the extraordinary. An extraordinary that a passerby without deeper insight may not observe, but we, the person living the life we've created savor with deep appreciation each and everyday. While it is important to understand what your dealbreakers are and what you most desire in a partner, a simple check is to "imagine the rest of the day —not special, not peak experience, just normal, solid and satisfying". Since I have a feeling many long-time readers/listeners of TSLL/podcast have constructed and curated everyday lives they love (find out how to do so here and here) already, imagine how a partnership exists within your ideal everdyday. Can you see that person (whomever it may be that you are involved with or considering dating) intertwining well with your ideal everyday? Would you interwine well into their ideal everyday? And perhaps you are still cultivating your ideal everyday, which is most likely the case, even for me. I am always striving, adjusting, improving, learning, and yes, I would love to share my everydays with a partner. So a better question to ask is "could this person help us create the daily life that we want forever?" If you are shaking your yes, even if ever-so gradually, continue to get know the person you are thinking about at this very moment.
2. The truth about chemistry

"Perhaps the only thing that chemistry guarnatees is chemistry. If so, then maybe instead of demanding it as a prerequisite for a relationship, we ought to be seeing it as a distracting delusion."

Sometimes you just wish you'd been given certain advice when you were young and had it tattooed on your palm to read again and again until you understood its truth. Such is the case with #3. Case in point to what I shared in the introduction, I have had dear friends tell me that "chemistry must be there . . . I don't care what anyone else says." And to be clear, we're talking a physical attraction when we say chemistry. But after nearly twenty years of dating, I want to say for the record that I know this to be false. This is not to say I haven't had good chemistry with individuals who I have been in healthy relationships, but it wasn't always the case. And case in point on the flipside, I have walked away from individuals after one or two dates because I felt no chemistry who, upon reflection, were lovely people and possessed the crucial detail I will mention below. The key with chemistry is that it isn't bad, but it shouldn't be the only thing, let alone the most important factor, when choosing a partner. Knowing what is going on within our bodies and why when chemistry occurs is important. However, it is important to note that research even finds it diffcult to "pin down what exactly chemistry is, let alone what causes it." So for us, mere humans, to say without chemistry a partnership cannot occur, is a logical fallacy.
3. Knowing our comfort level
The debate about whether it is best to choose someone who is similar to us or to choose someone who meshes well with us or someone who is polar opposite will forever continue as each human being has a different level of comfort with similarities and differences. The key is to know your comfort level, know what you need and what you can be flexible with and be clear. In other words, knowing thyself is vital.
4. The truth about the differences between men and women
Culture has nurtured individuals within a society to ascribe with certain stereotypes regarding men and women, but the truth is, as biology has proven, "men and women are actually quite similar". The skills each of us learn as we grow up can be attributed to nurture, and thus we can change, we can adapt, we can reflect on what works for us and what does not, and if we choose, step away from from hindering behaviors and thought defaults.
5. The most important must-have

"Emotional responsiveness — a partner's ability to pay loving attention to our emotional needs, and our ability to pay attention to theirs. Note the reciprocity. As well as needing to choose a partner who values our feelings, we need to choose a partner who motivates us to value theirs."

No matter how compatible on paper two individuals may be. No matter how electric the chemistry, Quilliam argues that a relationship without emotional responsiveness is not a relationship you want to be in. A few weeks ago I wrote about the truth regarding compatibility, and shared a list of components that are part of being emotional responsive. The underlying detail is that we have to want to be emotionally invested, we have to want to step forward and love in a way we may have never loved before and on the flipside, we need to see and feel our partner doing the same.
6. Discuss love languages with your partner
In Gary Chapman's best-selling book The Five Love Languages, he shares the primary five ways each of us may feel loved by someone else. Just as with any new language, it is something we have to learn about our partner. How do they feel loved? What actions, when I partake in them, communicate my deep affection for them, and which do not? I broke down these five langauges in episode #87 of the podcast, and I encourage you to take a look because as important as it is to know the love language of our partner, it is just as important to know our own love language. And to know how to communicate what we need to our partner.
7. Understand attachment tendencies
It is human nature to have any one of the four attachment tendencies throughout the duration of our days and lives and thus with our partner as our relationship is growing. Introduced by psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth as they studied child development, time has also revealed we carry attachment tendencies with us into adulthood as well, and it makes sense. We are looking for connection, security, love. What are the four attachment tendencies? Secure, Anxious, Avoidant, Attacking. Examine yourself and see where you fall primarily, and then examine when or if you fall into the other categories. Ask yourself, what occurs to make me feel anxious, avoidant or the need to attack? The ideal as you might have already guessed, is to feel secure and to find someone else who is also secure, which leads me to #8.
8. The ideal: Tranquility and Simplicity
Quilliam pointed out that we rarely see a "secure" attachment in the dramas or comedies we view on television, read in books or see on stage. Why? As critics would say, it would be boring. No drama. To me, that sounds perfect, and it truly is what we should aspire to in order to be a good partner and what to seek in a good partner. The outcome of two individuals who are primarily secure individuals with regards to attachment (admittedly, life has its unexpected moments when we stagger and fall back into one of the other three), is a feeling of calm. And this is where some of us mistake our potential partner who makes us feel calm, as boring and not right. This would be a mistake, as Quilliam points out. Calm is secure and content. A turbulent, up and down relationship is not healthy or foundation building that will last. Seek out the calm and be the calm, and you will have a beautiful partnership.
9. The importance of self-love along with loving our partner
In points #8, #6, #3 and #1, a primary and thus necessary component is knowledge of oneself. And along with this self-knowledge is the knowledge of how to love ourselves. How to be kind and gentle with ourselves, how to eradicate the negative voice, to refuse to let others bring us down and respect the boundaries we need in our lives. As Quilliam shares the insight from relationship psychologist David Schnarch "We need to feel 'at home' in ourselves in order to have 'a good place to invite a spouse to visit'". In other words, finding the right partner begins with understanding and then loving ourselves because when we embody love for the life we live, we are then truly able to give it sincerely to others. We may not know when we will meet the right partner or potential right partner, the good news is there are plenty opportunities to do so should we choose to live in accordance with our unique compass and temperament. Quilliam does go into great depth about how to meet potential partners that are best suited for us, and if this is interests you, I would encourage you to pick up her book. Largely, why I enjoyed the book so much was that the truth is if we have the wrong map, we'll never find what we're looking for. And her book is a simple, direct road map that is full of common sense if you are looking for a partner that you want to enjoy your everydays with and build a life together in which both individuals are respected, loved and supported.  

Petit Plaisir:

~A Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking on PBS
The Emmy nominated food feast show which airs on PBS and is hosted by Pete Evans, Australia's top celebrity chef is in its fifth season. Currently season 5 is running on PBS, but you can view the past four seasons via Amazon Video. Click here to take a look at the previous four seasons and check your local PBS listings to see when A Moveable Feast airs in your town. ~Subscribe to Fine Cooking magazine here  
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~Mark your calendars Foodies & Francophiles! World renowned chef and top food blogger and cookbook author David Leibovitz is stopping by The Simple Sophisticate on Monday November 6th (episode #182) to talk about his new book: L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making Paris My Home. I am so excited I am pinching myself!!!  

Image via TSLL Instagram

Direct download: 179ChoosingPartner.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #170
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio

{As always, I encourage you to listen to the audio version as much more is talked about beyond the transcript below: more anecdotes, examples and ideas about how this episode is really about enjoying our time alone whether we are coupled or single.}

Having lived on my own most of my adult life, but significantly so these past five years, without hesitation I can say, I've loved every minute. Some people scoff in disbelief, but it was this time alone (not being lonely) that enabled me to cultivate my dreams and gradually turn them into my reality. Even if you are not single at this moment, I would encourage you to listen/read this post because the more we understand any individuals choice, the more at peace we can be with our own. Inspired by Mari Andrew's recent illustration on Instagram synchronized with the return of my partner who has been working abroad for nearly six months, I have been contemplating the single life and then the life one shares with a partner significantly more than I have in the past. In many ways, I have felt single these past 5-6 months with regards to how I go about my days; however, my heart is partially here in Bend and partially where he was temporarily working which meant my mind as well as my scheduling in order to communicate, definitely did not feel single. But as he returns home, I am grateful. Of course, most importantly grateful for his return, but as well, grateful for the time I had being single and the fact that I sincerely savored these past five years. As I mentioned in 2011 in this post, and went more in-depth in TSLL book, being single is a beautiful opportunity; not something to run from. But rather directly into, embracing every moment. In fact, in my case, I wholeheartedly agree with Elizabeth Gilbert's quote,

"Avoid romantic entanglements in your youth and focus on yourself. The amount of hours of time I spent with boys and men that I could have been ... I could speak fluent Mandarin now in the amount of hours I spent . . . I wish that I had spent those youthful years just feeding this mind." 

It was my twenties with regards to love, which I have shared in my first book that I wish my focus, my priorities, due to societal expectation and pressure and due to my ignorance until I rid myself of that ignorance, had been on myself and my journey, which is what being single (no matter what your age) enables you to do at a much deeper and more independent level. Let's talk about the luxuries of being single and demystify the derogatory notion that being single is a stigma. This stigma has been loosening its grip a bit as fewer women (53%, 18 or older are not married) are married than those that are single in the United States according to a 2015 US Census Report. And of all people 18 or older, 45% are not married. However, the media, communities and the online dating businesses would prefer if you sought out a partner to wed. After all, there is money to be made if you feel you are missing out. You will subscribe to their services, you will purchase their products in order to enhance what we all know doesn't need enhancing (you are enough just as you are), you will fork over money for weddings. Now, I am not advocating for single life and against being married, but I am jumpstarting a conversation about where the pressure to marry is coming from. If it coming from a sincere love and affection for your partner and they for you, beautiful. Dive in. But if the pressure is coming from an external force, inflicting guilt that you wouldn't feel if society didn't apply the pressure or expectation, then step back and recognize how luxurious living single can be. Neither lifestyle is better than the other, single or coupled or married. We each make it simply luxurious based on how we structure our days, our time, our thoughts, our conversations and our priorities. But today, I want to pay homage to a lifestyle that has served me very well and a way of living that provided a haven for my dreams to materialize.
1. Fleshing out your dreams
Since I mentioned it in the introduction, I wanted to start with this benefit of being single: you figure out what you truly want. As you go about your life as a single person, you have the time to listen to yourself, focus on yourself without balancing your pursuit with another's. And upon coming to better understand yourself, you begin to navigate a journey that leads you to new experiences, new people that are more in alignment with what you value, whether they will become a future business partner, a new client or a life partner potentially.
2. A trust in yourself is strengthen beyond expectation
As Mari mentions in her illustration, I couldn't agree more. You begin to recognize how resourceful you actually are, perhaps more than you realized. Need to know how to handle a-locked-out-of-the apartment/house situation? You've done that, figured out a plan B for the next time that it happens, and brought yourself peace of mind in the process. Need to tighten your budget to save up for that dream of investing in your business? You've done that, been disciplined and found out you could live without so many dinners out.
3. Fewer heart worries
What I mean by this is as I have been going about my days these past months, I have been comparing how I felt this year versus last in which I was single. And one of the differences is in moments of worry that are completely out of my control, my heart aches. When you are single, your focus is on yourself, your projects, your job, perhaps more remotely your family, if you have children, they receive more of your time, your pets, and any idea that tickles your fancy. The unknowns are fewer, not entirely gone, just not matters of the heart, which we know are intense when we care for someone deeply and have made ourselves, and they to us, vulnerable with what we've shared. Put succinctly, more of your energy (because emotions are energy) is free to use as we wish.
4. Meal time is anytime you need it to be
As someone who is a very regular breakfast eater and eats the same thing, I never think twice about what I will have because I know I will always have what I need, and I need it as soon as I wake up. When it comes to dinner, I eat when I get home from school or when I am done with a project with the blog. That time shifts and changes, but when I am done, I am hungry and I eat. On the flipside, when you dine with your partner, you want to share the meal with them, so your schedules need to be flexible, patience is sometimes needed, but it is certainly worth it.
5. Bedtime and wake time are yours to choose
Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, your day ends when you say it will end and it begins when you throwback the covers. No need to worry about being quiet, or keeping the lights low or off, the house awakes (if you live alone) when you awake and the day begins.
6. Vacations happen when you are able
With no need to check more than one schedule, when you are available and you have the funds, you can enjoy a much-needed getaway. While traveling with a partner is something I now eagerly look forward to, I also loved the flexibility of going when I needed to recharge. I would just look at my dogs and ask them if they were ready, and they always said yes (I think . . . I hope!) and we were off!
7. Change of plans can happen at the drop of a hat
If you are eager to see a movie, but at the last minute, you're not feeling up to it, no worries, just don't go. If you want to leave the party at a certain time or earlier than you expected, you don't have to check with anyone, just leave.
8. You can be as frugal or as lavish with your money as you please (within your means)
Money is a funny and integral part of any chapter of our lives, but when we are single we are the sole captain as we don't share a mortgage/rent, bills, investments, etc. Some may see this as a drag as we have to foot the entire amount and not split it. But I rather like knowing and have having complete control over my money (not to say you have to relinquish this when/if you become involved). As well, being secure in your money handling skills is a very attractive quality and something to look for in a future partner as well. After all, you can choose the size and location of the house/apartment you want based on how much you want/are able to pay without agreement with anyone, you can splurge one a dress from the fall collections, but trust yourself to skimp on the money spent on an upcoming vacation. You get to make these decisions without explanation. Now there is a flipside to all of these luxuries when we find a loving partner who just walks well with us through life. Each of these positives becomes heightened in a manner that often (at least for me) I didn't expect but wholeheartedly appreciate and savor. The gift, of which there are many, of being single is that we give ourselves time to fully become fluent in the language of ourselves so that we can then be the translator in the world as we work with others. Not only does our time alone enhance the quality of our lives professionally and platonically but when we do, if we do, meet a potential partner, we are more likely to find someone who enables us to keep the luxuries of the single life that we just don't want to give up as well as reveal to us that the luxuries of being part of a couple are pretty amazing as well. From my experience, having a positive experience of living single, embracing it completely, has enhanced my appreciation for the journey I have just begun with my partner. First of all, it was a choice of desire, fondness, affection and respect rather than an act of desperation, resignation and acquiescence. And secondly, I wasn't looking for love, I was already in love with my life which is how we met, doing, seeking out what we each love about the life offered here in Bend.   ~SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~The Truths and Myths of the Independent Single Woman, episode #94

~Why Not . . . Be a Confident Single Woman?

~How to Live Alone Well

~Why Not . . . Live Alone for a While?

  ~The Audio Book is Now Available of Choosing the Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman's Guide (Audible, iTunes & Amazon), learn more here ~Subscribe to the weekly TSLL newsletter here ~2017 TSLL French Week Round-Up

Petit Plaisir:

~Headspace Newly updated with more series options and mini meditation options when you don't have a full 10 or 20 minutes to meditate but want to keep the daily practice. ~On August 4, 2017, Andy Puddicombe (the voice you hear on the Headspace app), sat down and meditated for 2 minutes with Jimmy Fallon and his audience. https://youtu.be/kP_EY7pdTJY SPONSOR of today's episode: KIND bars ~To pick up a free sample box, go to KindSnacks.com/tss ~Join the Snack Club
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Download the Episode
Direct download: 170Single.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #166
~Subscribe to The Simple SophisticateiTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio

"If you want to change your partner, change yourself." —Esther Perel, relationship psychotherapist and best-selling author

~Enjoy TSLL's first book Choosing The Simply Luxurious Life: A Modern Woman's Guide in audio format on Audible, iTunes, and Amazon. The unexpected adventure you embark upon when you step into a relationship with a potential life partner is that you embark on a journey of self-discovery. Of course, we can and should go on sojourns of self-discovery before we choose to step into a relationship, but because of the nature of a romantic relationship, often our less developed and tender spots don't fully become exposed. After all, when we care for someone and see potential for spending our future with them and they with us, we experience emotions at a more intense level than we may have before and perhaps emotions we may had never experienced before. Whether you are in a relationship that has been seen years together, are just beginning to get to know one another or not in a relationship at all except the one with yourself, understand what Esther Perel reminds us all of above. If we enter into a relationship in hopes of finding someone who will fill a place in our lives, do what we need them to do and forget that a relationship involves two human beings made up of emotions, aspirations, perceived as well as real limitations, than we need to step back from stepping into a relationship in order to have a healthy relationship down the road. A simple understood truth that most people accept is nobody is perfect, but sometimes we skip over this truth and jump to assumptions and high expectations rather than coming to understand the person we are involved with and finding the strength to truthfully express who we are and our curiosities as well as our boundaries. Let's take a look at at what love, real love unveils and asks of us as well.
Truths to understand
1.You must become a good partner in order to have the opportunity to find and begin to grow a healthy relationship. I must first say, you do not have to have it all figured out when it comes to relationships, what improvements you need to make, etc., etc.. What I mean is that you must come into a relationship as someone who is content in their own company. Someone who is self-aware and therefore also aware of who might make a good partner. Your ability to communicate clearly, as well as be willing to be vulnerable, but also confident and assured so as not to be taken advantage of. 2. A healthy relationship which requires being involved with a secure partner, will provide the opportunity to see faults in ourselves While we are imperfect beings, the truth is when we live on our own or we live in relationships that are not truly intimate, we can refrain from confronting what is obstructing our path to reaching our fullest potential. However, when the carrot of a loving relationship is set before us, we will have moments of opportunity to recognize where can do better. In those moments, take time to reflect, and if necessary, communicate with an objective or trusting third party that will give you tools to shift or change what is no longer working. 3. From time to time we will fall back on defaults that are unhelpful However, the key is recognize these instances when they occur, and gradually with mindful attention, understanding why you do so, choosing a new action that is helpful and healthy rather than hurtful and destructive. 4. High emotional intelligence will not only help you but your partner, and visa versa Becoming someone who can accurately identify how they feel and why they feel the way they do is a step in the direction of refraining from acting unnecessarily on emotions that will soon pass or you are feeling based on past experiences and not due to what is actually and who is actually with you in the present moment. Similarly, when you can do this for yourself, you can then begin to better accurately observe those around you and while not always telling them you know what and why they're doing what they are doing, knowing when it would be helpful and when it would not be. 5. Courage & bravery are required Initially, these may be viewed as the same skill, but the repetition is necessary. We will need to be courageous to reveal who we truly are, what we actually need and be honest about where we can let go. And we will also have to be brave to open our lives up to an individual who is not as well known to us as we know ourselves. 6. It's easy to react. It's more difficult to respond.  However, with thoughtful practice, responding can become your default rather than reacting. It just takes conscious effort. Learn more about the difference between reacting and responding here.
What the journey will involve
1.Both partners consistently choosing to figure out how to best make the relationship work and work well for both individuals involved, as well as for the relationship they want to build together.  What do you want? What does your partner want? What do we want as a couple? Have these conversations, don't be shy. Talk calmly and when you're ready. Explain what makes you feel loved, explain what makes you feel anxious. Talk through it and work through it. Time is often needed as you begin to mesh and move together through life, but communication of what works for you, where you can compromise and where you cannot is the only way to best make a relationship work for both individuals in a partnership. 2. A choice to love beyond the surface  Exterior appearances can be beguiling, enticing and eye-catching. However, as adults, we can appreciate beauty from afar because we recognize that the beauty we see with our eyes is not the only nor the most significant beauty one can possess. 3. Choosing to treat your partner lovingly even during frustrating times It will take a conscious choice to respond rather than react. Being aware of how we are feeling, why we are feeling and not being led around by our emotions is key to maintaining and growing stable, healthy relationships. 4. Moments of deep breaths and time on your own to work through new feelings, circumstances, conflicts, etc. Everything that isn't working out in this moment doesn't need to be solved in this moment (even though we might want it to be because of the uncertainty and anguish it is causing). When we understand our emotions, when we understand ourselves well, we will also be stronger to step away from a conversation that may be highly charged due to a variety of reasons, respectfully explain you need a walk, or some time to collect your thoughts or something to indicate, that you will not move on for good, but you need to step back for now to gain some perspective and come back with a calm and clear head. 5. Understanding that our partner is not perfect We know this logically, but when we meet and begin to build a relationship with someone, it's natural to have high hopes. The key is to have hope rather than expectation. If we default to expectations, we set traps to fall through and get caught. But if we have hope, we are remaining optimistic while being open to what may be. 6. Perspective of what is truly important There will be moments during a relationship when things don't work out as you had hoped and disappointment arises. Perhaps not because of anything either partner could control, and while it is okay to express disappointment, it is also important to put it into perspective with the entire journey you are on together. Will this matter 1 year from now? Will it matter 10 years from now? Simple questions to ask yourself to enable you to not blow small hiccups into ginormous struggles. Sharing and feeling love with another person is a journey, none of which are exactly alike. And I think keeping that fact in mind is key. Key as well is understanding that your vision of a healthy, happy relationship may be slightly or drastically different from your partners and the only way to discover this is to communicate and begin to reveal your lives together, your real selves, yes, your best selves, but knowing that we will have off days and even in those days our best selves will be different. Love asks us to look within and examine ourselves. This can be scary, but often when something is scary it is life's way of saying, look a little closer, examine what is really going on because in so doing, you will set yourself free.   ~TSLL's Audio Book is Now Available: What a Worthwhile Journey

Petit Plaisir:

~Homemade Ricotta Mousse & Fresh Berries
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Direct download: 166loveselfdiscovert_.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #147

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"And you, you scare people because you are whole all by yourself." —Lauren Alex Hooper

The twenty-first century woman, she has been called on this blog the modern woman, is an independent woman. And while there are many different shades, rhythms and ways of living independently, there are also many similarities. And some of these similarities are misunderstood by outsiders as they expect the traditional response when it comes to the arena of love or they have a misconception that because she is independent she must not want love in the traditional sense. Today I'd like to share 10 truths about independent women and dispel any innocent assumptions that simply aren't true. Love, whether it be romantic, platonic, a love for a passion that we pursue doggedly and without apology is an electric force that provides infinite fuel for life. Love is a necessity when it comes to living a life of fulfillment, contentment and reaching our full potential. And it is the goal of reaching our full potential that is solely at the core and what drives women who are independent. Because reaching our full potential is a unique and original pursuit, what we are looking for when it comes to love, romantic love especially will also be unique, but generally, these truths need to be understood by anyone wanting to be involved, currently beginning to date or having been intimately partnered for quite some time with an independent woman. 1. The enjoyment of her own company is real, but that doesn't mean she doesn't enjoy the company of others Alone time, great amounts or small is a absolute feast for her being. She revels in it, finds immense pleasure in it and doesn't need someone else to entertain her or keep her company. When she shares she will be spending the evening by herself, she will be spending the evening by herself because she wants to and her very busy schedule has bestowed upon her an opportunity that she is ready to savor. Introvert, extrovert, it doesn't matter. 2. When she gives or expresses love or affection, it is real Why? She won't waste time with games or ego-lifting flirtations. She is secure in who she is and doesn't need to drum up interest from others to reminder her of her worth. She knows she is worthy, and more importantly, she respects the feelings of others and doesn't want to lead them on. Because an independent woman relies on herself for her income and fulfillment, she is busy, she is driven and when she welcomes the possibility of a relationship into her life, she has done so thoughtfully. 3. Asking for help is difficult, but when she says she doesn't want it, listen to her An independent woman is willing to figure out her path and then get busy completing the tasks on her own that need to be done. She doesn't reach out and wait around for help. She may pay a contractor, a plumber, an expert in the field she needs assistance from, but rarely does she ask for help from others as she assumes and respects they have busy lives of their own as she does. However, don't be afraid to offer help. The primary reason, as mentioned above, she doesn't ask is because she respects your life and your schedule. She doesn't want to add one more task to your list, just as she doesn't need one more task on hers. Lastly, if you do ask, and she says no, she means it. She's okay with honesty, in fact she demands it and therefore, she practices it as well. 4. She is self-aware and therefore, will not hold on to a relationship if she doesn't see a future or it is a fit that simply won't work Speaking of honesty, she knows what she wants to accomplish. For the most part, she knows what it will take and what she can do. She also knows at this point in her life what works and very clearly what doesn't. And if the fit isn't right, she won't beat around the bush, hanging on to see and hoping that it will iron itself out. In other words, if you are in her life, she appreciates the connection and the partnership that is unfolding and sees potential for both parties involved. 5. Reaching her full potential is always at the core of her being As mentioned above, every woman's full potential will be different. The key is to not to assume anything. Have a conversation, have many conversations. Ask the questions, don't place the stereotype crowns on her head that Hollywood perpetuates. Ask her, does she want to become President, does she want to be a mother, does she want to travel the world helping those in need, does she want to become the next Oprah, does she simply want to write books, walk her dogs and revel in the love she has with her partner? Ask her what reaching her full potential looks like. 6. Friends may be few, but they are mighty The planner is full, goals are clear and days are often long, but she sleeps well and she is excited when she wakes up in the morning, thankful for the opportunities she has in front of her. Because of her full life, the friendships she builds are strong and provide support in one way or another. Quality over quantity as the need for strength is important, the need for trust is vital and with time on short supply, she wants to give fully to those she cares about. 7. Looking for an equal partnership Any relationship will ebb and flow based on the needs of the individuals, but the partnership an independent woman is looking for is not about fulfilling traditional roles. No. It is about setting each other in the relationship free to be themselves. A knowing by one another that there is a level of respect and appreciation for whom each is as an individual and a desire to help each other attain their fullest potential, knowing that the support the relationship provides is part of the equation. Thus, investing in the relationship is crucial. 8. Drama is for television shows and the theater The independent woman, if and when she has time, may watch House of Cards, but she doesn't engage in drama. She may enjoy the reprieve and escape momentarily, but she recognizes the unnecessary burden one puts on their shoulders when they involve themselves in drama with friends, family members and at work. An independent woman seeks to be productive, honest and clear. While she knows how to negotiate, she also understands that people have feelings and keeps this in mind when working with them professionally and personally. 9. Living together isn't off the table, it simply must be with the right person As someone who has never lived with a partner, my reasons were never due to statistics (read this article from The Atlantic), but rather because I simply didn't want to live with them which is probably why the relationships didn't last. Living together is an opportunity to connect more intimately, but only when the independent woman can trust her partner will be her partner, not her roommate, not someone who will add more tasks and chores to her list. In fact, living together, just as finding a partner that meshes well with you, should be an enhancement, not a burden to the life you already enjoy living. 10. We are looking for real love Living alone is a wonderful experience, and once this truth is realized, it makes it easier to determine if you truly are interested in someone. Why? To change or tweak the life that works exceptionally well for you is a significant decision. Needless to say, the person who provoked such contemplation must be someone unlike most others you have ever met. The key to living well no matter where you find yourself in your life is to enjoy your own company, and that is something independent women do exceptionally well. And when you enjoy your own company, you are demonstrating you are secure in who you are, your strengths and while you may not applaud your weaknesses, you are aware of them and don't let them hinder your progression (in fact, you may take time to address and improve them). And because you are secure and therefore self-confident, you are better able to recognize the same characteristics in others and quickly dismiss of those who are not, and therefore would not be compatible or able to be the partner you are seeking, if your are seeking one. The funny truth is, get on with your life. Get on with pursuing your goals and reaching your full potential. Get on with living and living well. Whether you intrigue someone or not shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be internal. Julianna Margules famously shared on CBS Sunday Morning that at the age of 35 she told her mother she didn't want to get married or have kids because she loved her freedom. Epitomizing the independent woman, she lived her life and in so doing she met her husband at age 39 as she was going about living the life she loved, never with the goal in mind to meet him. Real love enters our lives in a variety of ways: through our careers, children, pets, hobbies, service, families, our partner, etc. But it should always begin with having sincere love and appreciation for ourselves. And independent woman understands this. She may struggle with who she is becoming as it is new and seems to regularly be changing as she grows and strives, but once she figures out who she is at her core, that truth doesn't change. And knowing that truth brings a comfort and a sanctuary that nobody can take away.   ~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~How to Become a Woman Comfortable in Her Own Skin

~Why Not . . . Live Alone for a While?

~Why Not . . . Revel in Being a Woman?

~View all FEMININITY Posts in TSLL Archives here.

Petit Plaisir:

~Radishes with Baguette, Butter and Salt - click here for the recipe

Download the Episode

Direct download: 147IndependentWomanLove_-_31917_1.41_PM.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

We are not born knowing how to love well. We learn by observing those who raise us, observing the world we are born into and by what we read, view and absorb. The catch is not all of us are watching how to love well. Some of us will have a distorted view, some of us will be limited by what we see while others will observe healthy, kind, thoughtful ways of loving. While there are many wonderful ways to express love, there are essential components, and that is what we'll be discussing today. And if as an adult you have come to discover the models you observed were not healthy, you can absolutely change and become a student again learning how to love well, and thereby enriching your life moving forward.

 

In this week's Petit Plaisir, a wonderful newly released book by best-selling author Will Schwalbe Books for Living

Direct download: 13626WaysToLove2_-_1217_9.45_AM.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 10:02am PDT

"We need to replace the Romantic template with a psychologically-mature vision of love we might call Classical, which encourages in us a range of unfamiliar but hopefully effective attitudes: - that it is normal that love and sex may not always belong together - that discussing money early on, upfront in a serious way is not a betrayal of love - that realising that we are rather flawed, and our partner is too, is of huge benefit to a couple increasing the amount of tolerance and generosity in circulation. - that we will never find everything in another person, nor they in us, not because of some unique flaw, but because of the way human nature works. - that we need to make immense and often rather artificial-sounding efforts to understand one another; that intuition can’t get us where we need to go. - that spending two hours discussing whether bathroom towels should be hung up or can be left on the floor is neither trivial nor unserious; that there is special dignity around laundry and time-keeping.

All these attitudes and more belong to a new, more hopeful future for love." —Alain de Botton

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #128

As young children many of us were told of a Prince Charming and a damsel needing rescue.  Perhaps we were babysat by one too many viewings of Cinderella, the Little Mermaid or Snow White, and as we grew, the bombardment of the idea that of being incomplete, incapable and reeking of subtle desperation until that one special person found the young woman in need of assistance (in modern movies consider Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing, Jerry Macquire, The Proposal, The Holiday, the list could go on forever) continued to viewed, digested, absorbed and unconsciously accepted as "how it will all someday work out if I am to be truly happy". While indeed times and some films are trying to make a shift, think Frozen, the reality is, the myth of a soulmate continues to be peddled, sold and accepted as the one thing, if we haven't found, we need to in order to realize true contentment. The funny thing is, or should I say, the breath-of-fresh air that I hope to share with you today is actually to become your own soulmate. And what I mean by this is what I will explain below. Believe it or not, I am absolutely a romantic, but there are some things, as I have discussed before, that must be de-romanticized. The soulmate myth is one of them, and it is the primary reason your love life, and your life in general, has been hobbled. Even if you think your love life is flourishing and you believe you've found your soulmate, believe it or not, this relationship you adore and treasure can be strengthened even more by letting go of this cultural, marketing myth. Earlier this year, best-selling writer Alain de Botton published The Course of Love: A Novel which I read and shared my thoughts on here. The gift of the novel is that it walks readers through the reality of two imperfect people, not unlike many of us who are searching and learning as we love about ourselves, about our lover, about life, etc. And as it walks through years of a relationship it reveals more of the truths that movie producers don't want us to consider: the boring but necessary parts. For example, recognizing that “Love is a skill, not just an enthusiasm.” I often discuss the power of getting to know ourselves on this blog, but the dirty work of getting to know ourselves and the evidence that we have been successful is when we understand the science as well. Such as hormones and in which instances they are released and what they can do to our moods and therefore our actions; willpower - understanding its finite nature and how to conserve it as much as possible; and emotional intelligence - being able to remove ourselves from emotions that appear seemingly instinctively and having the tools to investigate why we are feeling the way we are feeling in certain scenarios in order to move past them successfully. Often we may presume that our partner needs to fill our voids, fix our hurts and protect us from the parts of the world that scare us, but the reality is when we seek this solution to our woes, it's just a bandaid covering a wound that hasn't been tended to properly. Therefore, it will never heal as well as it could. How can we heal the parts of us that seem impossible to fix? By addressing them. By doing the dirty and seemingly difficult work of understanding why certain things in our lives aren't working as we would like them to. Having trouble financially? The solution is not to find someone who makes money, but to figure out how to manage the money you do have well and begin to be the master of money and how to earn the living you seek or live within the means you already have.  As Lisa Martinez pointed out last year in an article for Verily, "invest more of [your] time in becoming a better version of [yourself]". Why? Investing time in winnowing away the aspects that are no longer serving you, coming to better understand how to handle your emotions, recognizing barriers you have in your life and then discovering the tools to work around them, as well as learning how to effectively communicate with others is a gift not only to anyone who you are in a relationship with, but a gift to yourself as well. Once you invest in yourself, you will find you enjoy your own company. You will no longer need to fill your life with appointments, responsibilities that don't support the life you wish you live, and anything to busy yourself so that you don't have to sit quietly with yourself from time to time. You will bring yourself a peace that multiplies your comfort, contentment and therefore your happiness. And who doesn't want to be around someone who is at peace with themselves and doesn't project or throw their pain onto others? The person you need in your life is your best self, and that self is in many ways your soulmate. But why not get rid of the word all together? As Alain de Botton points out "Our strongest cultural voices have - to our huge cost - set us up with the wrong expectations." Love is a very good thing to welcome into our lives, but it has become distorted in part because of the expectation we have brought into our vocabulary with the term soulmate. And it is up to each of us to recognize the perversion of love that is portrayed in media and the culture of which we are part of and come to understand what a loving relationship truly is while removing the need to label the person we would like to welcome into our lives, into the most intimate part of our lives, our soulmate. Because the truth of the matter is there is no truth to the existence of a soulmate. Yes, the dictionary defines it as the a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner, but do you know how words come to be Webster's Dictionary? Consider the word "selfie" which was just added to the Oxford dictionary in 2014 and Webster's in 2013. Words are added to the dictionary as the culture begins using it as a common colloquialism, and therefore, a need arises to define it for the broad populous. The term "soulmate" purports to assume that we are one half of a whole as it originated from the ancient tale of Aristophanes involving two-headed hermaphroditic giants who were cleaved apart by a jealous Zeus, fated thereafter to forever seek their other halves. But here's the part where we need to pause, take a deep breath and think rationally. Growth is a choice. And some of us will continue to choose to grow and learn and progress, while some will embark on some growth and still others will be quite content to remain stagnant (ironically, even by staying stagnant, we are changing, just not in a beneficial manner). The soulmate theory is fallacious because it presumes we are fixed entities, never-changing and always remaining the same and as well the other half that we seek will be stagnant too, never having changed since being born. As discussed here in Psychology Today, "growing apart" in marriages is a common reason for a union's dissolution. Humans are, just as the world is, forever changing, learning new information about themselves and the world and choosing different ways to move forward through life.  It doesn't mean that a relationship cannot endure, it just means awareness of this life truth is crucial, and to return to Alain de Botton's words "love is a skill". The story of a relationship, when the two individuals meet, connect and seem to speak the same language, is only the first chapter. The rest of the story is a conscious choice to invest, learn, listen, communicate, to express kindness and recognize within ourselves the truth behind what we feel when something new arises. The term soulmates limits us, confines us and keeps our feet in cement deterring a relationship from truly flourishing. Yes, it requires the two involved to be present, attentive and brave, but much like choosing to make the most out of our one and only life and reach our fullest potential, the path to a relationship's fullest potential is one with two people who are aware of the truth and open to learning, listening and finding strength to do what is best for both themselves and the person they are in a relationship with. So, the word soulmates? Let it go and liberate yourself whether you are in a relationship or not, seeking a relationship or not, because when you do, you open the door to yes, more responsibility on your part, but as they (albeit in reverse), when you take on the great responsibilities, you give yourself so much more power in living the life that will bring you true contentment. ~SIMILAR POSTS from the Archives you might enjoy:

~Why Not . . . Stop the Pursuit?

~To Complement, Not Complete

~The Prerequisite for a Healthy Relationship

~The Important Ingredient in a Healthy Romance

Petit Plaisir:

~In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Grace Bonney

~blog Design*Sponge

~Listen to Grace Bonney with Garance Doré on the Pardon my French podcast here

thesimplyluxuriouslife.com The Simply Luxurious Life

  Download the Episode
Direct download: 128SoulmateMyth.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

The importance of a healthy social well-being involves three primary components: the relationships we have with ourselves, our community and friends as well as our significant other, but how do we go about building one that works for us? That is precisely what we will discuss in this week's episode.

In this week's Petit Plaisir, a new podcast to add to your weekly listening! Pardon My French from Garance Doré. 

Direct download: 92SocialWellBeing.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

Often while it can be easy to see the weaknesses or strengths in others' relationships, it can be hard when we're in the middle of them. As a way to develop an intuition about red flags we should heed, tune in to today's podcast to discover 18 red flags that you should take notice of and not ignore.

In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple, classic French lunch that took me back to my summer of studying abroad in Angers, France. 

Direct download: 8918RedFlags.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

Inspired by Gary Chapman's #1 New York Times best-selling book The 5 Love Languages, discover how to effectively communicate your love for you partner to them, but as well, understand how to know if whom you are with is someone destined to be your life partner. In other words determine if you are merely "in love" but not experiencing real love.

This week's Petit Plaisir, TSLL App is now available for Android users! Discover all of the new enhancements and capabilities on The Simply Luxurious Life app that has been available to iTunes users for some time, but now is available for free on Google Play as well.

Direct download: 87romanticlovelovelanguages.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT

Even when we can identify a toxic person a mile away, we will still will have to deal with them from time to time. Whether it's in the workplace, at home or out in the community, there will be moments that can either leave us deflated if we don't know how to handle them or conversely simply be a minor road bump when handled effectively. 

While we can limit our interactions, we'll talk about how to do just that as well as how to deal with toxic people we may encounter from time to time. 

In this week's Petit Plaisir, a simple touch you can bring to your home to brighten the mood of the space without breaking the bank. 

Direct download: 54toxicpeople.mp3
Category:relationships -- posted at: 1:00am PDT