Responding to your Partner’s Charged Feedback: A Compassionate Conversation Response Process

Your partner just shared something with you that felt charged.  What next? 

(This process is not an ‘always’ and for ‘everyone’. It was one I developed with a a few clients who were intentionally exploring how to listen empathically with each other. Forever grateful for the courageous couples who never stop inspiring me.)


Step #1 — Look: Shift Your Attention to Gratitude & to the way they are being with you. 

1. Put your connection first.  Let them know you see them first. Appreciate that your partner shared and name how you see them in this moment. 

     Example: Thank you.  I appreciate that you shared so vulnerably.  I appreciate how loving and courageous you are.   

2. Share the Impact of hearing it.

     That is really meaningful to hear from you.  I want to keep learning from you.         (apology may go here if supportive-). 




Step #2 — Be curious about what is there (your own Monkey Mind might be chattering at you at this stage.  Notice it and return to being willing. 

3. Notice You: breath and also notice your own sensations and thoughts. 

Notice your Partner:  If they have more to add here let them do so.

-check for body language

-do they have more to share?


Step #3 — Tell the Truth: What did or did not actually happen in physical reality

Communicate the content you heard from them and Clarify what needs more understanding.

 4.  Share what you heard your partner say.

 5.  Check whether you acknowledged all the important parts.

Did I get it?  Is there something important that I missed?

6. Partner has time to clarify or add (if needed)

(Possibly repeat step 4 and 5 if new information.)


Step #4— Share your Takeaways & Make a Clear Promise of Your Next  Meaningful Step

7. What I’m learning/ getting from this is…   

8. What is mine to do with this information Now and/or Next Time.. ?

    What I’ll do now is… I’ll complete it by _____date.

OR: Here’s what I’m willing to try out if this kind of thing happens again.  I’ll know I did it because _____

9. Check with your Partner:  How would that be?  How does that sound? 



A few more optional questions here to consider: 


10. Ask for Support:  (from partner, from other resource, set alarm reminder… )

11. Is there a kind of celebration that could take place when it occurs well? 

12. Is there anything else needed now?  Later? Check with them.



Step #5 Close with Gratitude

13. Thank your partner for being in this process together.


The Energy of Money Brunch Club:

An empowering book study group that offers principles and practices to support you to be a “conscious conduit” of the energy of money 💰

📖 What: A 2-month/8 session online book study of Maria Nemeth’s The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment

👯‍♂️ Who: People who are ready to shift their relationship with money from scarcity and stress to abundance and ease 

🕰 When:  Next  group TBD  (please email with interest in future groups)

                     Previous group example: Weekly on Thursdays from 9-11 a.m. PST/12-2:00 p.m. EST starting                                                 Thursday,  April 16 and completing Thursday, June 4

💻 Where: Zoom (details provided upon registration) 

💸 Why: To gain the tools to observe and shift your relationship with money so that you can achieve personal life goals and enjoy financial abundance and success

👭 Led by: Academy for Coaching Excellence-trained life coaches Rachel Fryke and Alyssa Lynes

🎁 Price: Donation-based (pay what you can at the end of every session, with no one turned away!) + cost of book

Registration complete!  

Please email us at for info. on upcoming clubs. 

What if we saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to shift and empower our relationship with money for good?

Over these last few weeks, life has changed for all of us. Has that change come with moments of overwhelm and anxiety for you? Does your financial situation leave you experiencing stress and scarcity? Are you interested in seeing another way forward? 

As coaches, we know that shifting from overwhelm, anxiety, and scarcity to ease, clarity, and abundance is a skill we can practice with the right support. Due to the uncertainty of the months ahead, many of us are turning our attention to our finances. Let’s use that collective shift in attention for good! Join us for an 8-week journey to intentionally observe and change your relationship with money so that you can achieve personal life goals and enjoy financial abundance and success during and beyond this current global disruption/transformation. 

We’re offering this study to give you foundational principles and practices to be a “conscious conduit” of the energy of money — and beyond! You might be surprised to find that when you shift how you’re showing up in one area of your life, the rest of your life changes as well! This book study will support you to uncover the stories that have been getting in the way of financial and personal fulfillment, defuse your fears about scarcity, consciously focus your money energy, and develop and stay on a clear personal path to abundance. And the best part? We’ll do it together, in a supportive and empowering community. 

Who are we and why are we offering this group? 

When we met through our training with the Academy for Coaching Excellence, we immediately bonded over our love of community, support, being visionary educators, engaging in life-long learning, and showing up in our lives in ways we’re truly proud of. Throughout our friendship, we’ve supported each other to use the energy of money mindfully. (Currently, we’re meeting for weekly budgeting and business planning co-working sessions!) At the onset of COVID-19 and the resulting quarantines, we asked each other how we could support ourselves and our communities to navigate through the uncertainty with ease. We’re offering this group because we see moments of change and crisis as opportunities to tell the truth about what’s really important to us and to take courageous action. As entrepreneurs, we know the importance of being “awake” to our relationship with money. We’ve both had our own “financial freakouts,” and were able to use the principles and practices offered in The Energy of Money to move through challenging situations with clarity, focus, ease, and grace. We’d love you to experience that too. 

Why brunch? 

Is it just us, or can talking about money seem a little serious or stressful? We hear you, and we’re offering one of the best ways we can imagine to diffuse that “seriousity”: sharing brunch! We’ve scheduled our book study to take place during that magical brunch window in which fabulous people, good food, and possibility come together. Throughout our friendship, Rachel has been living on the West Coast and Alyssa on the East Coast. It’s likely we’ll have people from across the United States. Depending on where you are, you can eat breakfast, lunch, or combine them into brunch! 🙂 

We invite you to grab a cup of coffee or tea, a tasty brunch treat, your laptop, and your copy of The Energy of Money and join us for a relaxed, down-to-earth discussion amongst friends about shifting our relationship with money for good. 

What is the book?

The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment by Maria Nemeth (the founder of our coaching school) clearly articulates the core tools and principles of our coaching model. This incredible book is filled with wisdom and practices that have changed thousands of lives. By studying the book with us, we’ll help you implement what you’re learning, so you can apply the tools in your life and produce great results. The Energy of Money is grounded in principles found across spiritual and secular traditions, from ancient wisdom teachings to the latest research in neuroscience. During this study, we will cover the entire book, and ask that you read it along with us between sessions. Before we begin, please purchase online from your favorite local/independent bookstore (it’s also available in Kindle form). 

Interested? Fantastic. 🙂

Complete this registration form or schedule a 15-minute call with Rachel where she’ll answer your questions, support you to see if the group is a fit for you right now, and share everything you need to sign up. ✨

Train Your Brain Away from Anxiety: a practice with Life Coaches Alyssa & Rachel

Have you been overwhelmed by anxiety, uncertainty, and worry? Life coaches, Rachel and Alyssa, share a simple practice to train your brain to shift from anxiety to what’s really important to you. This level of conscious choice will enable you to spend more of your energy and time on what you wish.

This practice comes from Maria Nemeth (PhD psychologist and founder of Academy for Coaching Excellence.)

Interested in learning more and receiving support to continue to shift your attention and create the life you’d love to live? Check out our websites: and

Correction: The course referred to as “Money and Me” was actually “You and Money.”

Where to put our attention?

Written at end of week 1

of Coronavirus 19 awareness 2020

Where to put our attention?

Last night I went to Trader Joe’s and, along with other shoppers, was surprised to see some of the aisles empty (milk and frozen section mostly).

I was tracking my mind’s response and how my fear conversation was loudly telling me to buy everything as though it would be my last chance to eat.

I chose to shift my attention and feel grateful for how lucky I am to be able to buy and eat these foods.

I looked up and started seeing people smiling and a customer joked with an employee about how they could finally clean the shelves. I appreciated their bringing lightness into the space.

I asked the cashiers how their days were and really listened. They’d been hearing people worrying all day long.

It is important to have time to let out emotions and doubts. Set time for that if that supports you. AND let’s not ooze out energy unconsciously all day: Gathering evidence for the worst all day wears us down. (Forms of Energy: money, time, physical vitality, creativity, enjoyment, and relationship.)

Instead– I chose connection and gratitude in Trader Joe’s.

What are you going to focus on instead?

How do I set Intimacy Agreements with my partner?

Many people worry about how to set intimacy agreements with their partner/s and ask me about it.  I appreciate that so many people are looking for support around navigating relationship agreements.  It shows that they are actively seeking out more information and skills to show up well to their relationships.  This is what I love to support. 

Enough people asked that I’m now sharing these suggestions.  Whether you take these ideas and plan out a clear agenda for your conversation or you add them to the other ideas in your pocket for a creative moment of improvisation, I am thrilled you are here considering more possibilities.

Please let me know if you have suggestions or feedback.

If you’d like to read more like this: check out the book I am a co-author in: Getting Along: Skills for life-long love.  If you’d like to know more about my coaching offerings please sign up for a chat with me.

How to set intimacy agreements with my partner/s?

How can we set ourselves up for success? What does success look like for each of us? This is not about fairness. This is not a ‘tit for tat’ game. This is a game of two or more people who are in this relationship to nourish each other.  This is one conversation, probably of many, in which we practice our current level of skills to have this kind of conversation.  At least one person’s intention is to explore new things related to intimacy and we all courageously want to talk together about making agreements.  Out of this conversation, we hope to deepen our conversation skills and understand each other more.  We also aim to create a clear and specific time based agreement that works for everyone involved.    

Show up at your current best:

You will bring all that you know about each other and how you best communicate effectively so that everyone is heard and supported best.   You might know their love languages.  You might know how to observe their emotions from their body language.  You also know yourself and how you share what is true for you with your words and your body.

You might know to say back what they said or pause before you respond.  There are many communication skills to choose from and you have your combination together.  Here you are, presently on this journey of getting to know them and you and how you support each other.

The second key element to acknowledge is that you are each showing up with your current level of skills to track and respond to your internal experiences when involved in a potentially emotionally charged conversation.

Alyssa’s Story:

I know myself. I know that in conversations like these my ‘go to’ brain responses have sounded loudly in my mind saying: “I’m taking things personally” or “I’m comparing myself to others and “I often get defensive”.  I’ve learned that these responses are my version of the normal doubts or fears that humans experience when we are in situations that cause us to challenge our status quo way of living. 

I now have more skills to observe these thoughts popping up and can shift my attention to why I am in this conversation.  I am here to be a loving partner and therefore I remind myself that I am willing to put those worries to the side and hear my partner and their vulnerable sharing of desires.  What a beautiful person in front of me.  I’m grateful to be in this conversation. Tracking my internal doubts and worries is only a piece of the skill set.  What you do after you recognize how your mind is activated is really important. 

One time I was not able to shift my attention to continue the conversation.  I could feel myself freezing.  My thoughts were racing and defensive.  I wasn’t making eye contact and my breath had tightened in my chest.  I told my partner that I needed time to take in what they’d said and we could come back to the conversation in two days.  I knew that had I continued talking about the topic at that moment, the conversation was not going to end well.  I wasn’t clear at all what to say and was likely going to get defensive.  My guess is, that had we continued, we probably would have been sidetracked, frustrated, and unclear as a result.

Instead I took a shower, had a helpful cry alone, and talked about other things for the rest of the night.  In the following days I made sure to have a few calls with friends who were the perfect kind of support, journaling time, some exercise, and healthy food.  By our next date, I was ready to continue with a clear mind and was willing to be compassionate.  What a relief to know I could show up well to my partnership by taking a break from the conversation.                                                               

Thank you to Academy for Coaching Excellence & Give Yourself to Love Interested in developing these skills? Let’s chat.

Request the Conversation in Advance

1. Invite everyone. This might be a conversation between 2 loves or more people.  Let all the people who will be at the conversation know what questions or topics will be discussed ahead of time.  This way people can prepare and find support prior to meeting.  You want all of you to show up feeling empowered to share truthfully and hear the other/s.

2. Share what a successful conversation means to each of you

One example: Out of talking about our next agreements, I’d love us to:

  • Understand more about what each of us is currently interested in exploring
  • What we feel willing to try at this time
  • What feels off the table at the moment for each of us (limits)
  • Get as specific as necessary in the agreement
  • Hear how we might support each other in this next phase of our life experiment
  • Decide when we’ll next check in on how it’s going
  • Acknowledge each other for having the conversation and hearing each other at the end.

3. Set yourselves up for success.

Share what might be a sweet way to set the stage for a meaningful conversation.  You don’t want to be rushed, distracted, hungry, exhausted… etc.  How can you arrive nourished so that you can best be with whatever comes up?  Consider thinking of details such as the amount of time you commit to the conversation.  You may also pick a location that supports your focus of attention. Example:

  • Let’s set aside an hour and talk on the couch with tea after the kids are asleep on Saturday night (phones on airplane mode).  Does that work for you?

4. Prepare for charged moments during the conversation.  Let each other know what you might need to do for self-care or connection with your partner if strong emotions come up for you during the conversation.  This prepares each of you to compassionately stay present with each other when one person calls a time-out in some way.

  • If I get upset and I can’t think straight I might leave the room and take a walk alone.  I can commit to text you or talk with you in 15 minutes.  
  • If I have a strong worry come up I might need to pause the conversation and ask you to tell me something you love that I bring to your life.   

5. Share what a supportive time after the conversation would be for each of you. Be specific about how much time you will commit to do this together. 

  • Wanna cuddle or give each other massages together for 20 minutes? 
  • Could we each share how much it means to have had the conversation and what we appreciated about how we stayed with it?
  • I will take 30 minutes to be alone after. 

If one person wants to be alone and the other wishes for support, this is good to know ahead of time.  Then the person who wishes for support may be able to set up a call or meeting with another dear person in their lives.

The Arc of the Conversation:

Setting the Container:
1. Connection: Appreciate that you are having the conversation together. 2. Share desired outcomes for connection & setting an agreement.
3. Tell each other how you want to be supported if strong emotions arise. (If already discussed prior to the conversation just remind each other.)
4. Decide on what you’ll do directly after the conversation and how much time you’ll spend on it. (If already discussed prior to the conversation just remind each other.)

Getting into it:
5. Share desires and curiosities and ask each other what’s important about those.
6. Discuss details and limits to create an agreement that is meaningful, specific, attainable, measurable, and set in time.
7. Clarify when you’ll next discuss the agreement. This may include celebration, reflection, and re-evaluation.

Closing it well:
8. Discuss any support that you each see would be beneficial to set up for this timeframe
9. Share something you appreciate about how the other showed up to the conversation. Complete the conversation.
10. Do what you planned for the aftercare time.

Setting the Container:

Start the Conversation with Connection & Clarity. 

Start with a few appreciations.  What do we appreciate about each other in this moment?  Thank each other for the courage and vulnerability it might be taking to be in this conversation together. 

Share your desired outcome from the conversation in terms of connection and the practical agreement.

Prioritize connection in your objectives.  If you have a logistically complete agreement but you one of you is left feeling annoyed or resentful about the process, it wasn’t worth rushing it.  If you feel connected and haven’t completed the agreement you can set another time to continue.  Be gentle with yourselves.  

  • Do not rush to make decisions.  When we are rushed we often are not as clear.  The goal is to find clarity in the agreement.  In order to do that well it’s key to stay present with each other and tuned in to what you are experiencing.
  • You might have clear agreements at the end of the conversation or you might take a break and continue another time.  Recognize that the main desired outcome of the conversation is having had the conversation and staying in it together.  You are practicing a skill that may be uncomfortable or new for one or all of you.  Developing how you talk about this is very important for how you continue to talk about your intimacy.      

Tell each other how you want to be supported if strong emotions arise. (If already discussed prior to the conversation just remind each other. See above for more details.)

Decide on what you’ll do directly after the conversation and how much time you’ll spend on it. (If already discussed prior to the conversation just remind each other. See above for more details.)

Getting into it:

Share Desires & Curiosities:

What are you currently interested in exploring?  Set the context that the conversation will explore.  Start by hearing possibilities and acknowledging each other for sharing them.  You can discuss limits and your personal responses later on but first take this as an opportunity to connect with the other person.  

Discuss what is Meaningful to you:  What does this all mean to you or your partner/s?  This is clearly important otherwise you wouldn’t be having this conversation. Bring curiosity and compassion to how you are with the other/s.  This is an opportunity to understand a bit more about each other.

You might ask them:

  • What’s important to you about that idea? 

Or if you see them becoming tight in their body, for example, you might ask them:

  • What are you experiencing right now?

Be Specific:

An agreement might start by saying yes to a number of actions, people, and situations. Keep asking questions until all the details you can imagine are clear within the agreement.

  • Does the agreement change for you if you know the person I want to make out with, or their partner?
  • I hear that you want me to come home to sleep with you at the end of the night.  Do you have a time that you’d like to hear from me by if it gets really late?

Make it Attainable for everyone:

  • What are we willing to try at this time?
  • What feels off the table at the moment for each of us (limits).

Share what seems possible and what seems impossible for you at this time.  You want to choose an agreement that both of you can stick to.  If someone is currently needing a lot of support mentally and worried about jelousy being too much for them right now it might be more appropriate to include less in this version of the agreement while finding therapeutic support takes priority.  If one partner knows that they previously have broken agreements, maybe the timeframe chosen is one night or one week before a checkin conversation.  Together you want to celebrate following through and doing what you committed to so creating an achievable goal together is important.

Make it Measurable: Is there a way to measure that you are doing what you agree to?

As you discuss possibilities ask yourself if there is any confusion or question about the details?  You might notice a gap and observe that your mind starts thinking of how you might use that vagueness to try something you’re interested in.  Catch yourself from following any potentially ‘sneaky’ thoughts.  Remind yourself that you are up leveling your relationship by being as truthful as you can in this agreement process.  Asking a clarifying question is a way to show up as the best person you can be.

Clarify any vagueness or doubts:

  • Do we want to use barriers for oral sex with other people?  There are unlikely chances of contracting some Sexually Transmitted Infestions (STIs) from kissing.  Are we OK with taking that risk? 
  • What would you like to agree about if I walk in to the dungeon/playspace/tantric temple and see you with them?  Shall I assume it’s welcome for me to: let you know I’m there and watch, ask to join, leave the space…?

Set a Timeframe for the Agreement.

Create an agreement that we both say ‘yes’ to try out for a specific period of time.  The agreement might be completed after the party that it was created for or it might continue until a set date when reflection, celebration, and reevaluation could happen together.

  • For the play party on Saturday night
  • With Jorge until I am back in town and set up a time to meet with him.  I will email him by tomorrow to find a time in 3 weeks from now.
  • For the next 2 months. Let’s have a check in conversation on the 31st

Discuss Support:

Ask each other if there is any support that they see that would be useful during this next phase of this life experiment together. Often actively having a network of support outside of this relationship can be a great support.    Discussing this question might lead to clarity on what support looks like for each person.

  • A support request of each other
  • A decision for self care:
    • A daily woods walk, journaling,
  • A action step to ask support from community
    • To set a weekly chat with a
    • To bring the topic to therapy, a coach, or a support group of some kind. 

Close with Specific Acknowledgements:

  • “I’m so glad we did that.  Thanks for taking a tea break in the middle.  That moment really helped me reconnect to you.” 
  • “I appreciated how you asked me about the fantasy I shared? I really feel like you understand something new about me.”  

Aftercare. You did it.  Now go do what you said you’d do for aftercare.

Long distance intimacy? Want to get creative & connect?

(This is an excerpt from the Book:

Getting Along: Skills for life-long love (2nd edition),

by Christopher & Anne Ellinger & Alyssa Lynes.

This excerpt is from the section:

Out of the Box-Loving, written by Alyssa Lynes

(Link to buy book on Amazon)


Long distance relationships

Strengthening your connection with your partner when in different places can add to the beauty of the relationship and support each of you individually. One or both of you might be in a new environment and the consistency of support and of loving or sexy interactions will nourish and enable you to bring yourselves more fully to those around you.

Many couples worry if they plan to be apart for a time. While in different places, people often put their attention on longing to be together and on the frustration of being out of physical contact with their love. Instead of spending energy on what is not possible you may appreciate the unique creative ways you can learn to connect with loved ones from a distance.

This chapter focuses on how we can better enjoy the experience of being in connection while in different locations and provides tools to support intimacy from afar. You will find tips on how to use the framework of the Five Love Languages to be more present and creative in your long-distance loving. You will read about the importance of recognizing time agreements and discover suggestions for fun date night possibilities.

For the sake of clarity, this chapter is written using the partnership model of two people. These tips can also be applied to polyamorous partnerships or constellations.

Love Languages for long distance connecting

How do you and your partner experience love? What would make each of you feel thought of and cared for while being apart? Gary Chapman first wrote about the Five Love Languages in 1995, and since then it has been a useful framework that many people turn to in order to express how they can best receive and experience love. While there are many helpful approaches to refer

refer to, we will use the Five Love Language model to explore how to love long distance.

1. Words of affirmation long distance

Letters, emails, texts, and phone conversations are filled with words. People who thrive on receiving love in the form of encouraging words may feel at ease with long distance communication. Others may want to put more effort into exploring how words can support them to feel connected and loving from a distance. You may find yourself increasing words of affirmation during these times apart to fill in for a love language (such as touch) that is not available in this context. 

Get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes your sense of identity is linked to how words are used. If using words to express your connection is unfamiliar or awkward for you, be compassionate with yourself. You might consider it as a meaningful game to try out verbalizing what you are feeling toward your partner. Let them know how you feel and try exploring words together. You might find a different part of yourself can be expressed. 

Be specific. While you might not see each other and can’t touch each other, details can especially support people to get on the same page. When your partner shares a specific reason or moment they noticed and appreciated you may be more able to receive it, believe it, and take it in.

A few examples with details:

“I so appreciate how you called me right at the time you said you would! It’s really great to hear your voice.”

“I love how you tell me all the spices you are cooking with. It gives me such a sensory experience while we are talking.”

“You made the kids brownies on their snow day this week! What a loving dad you are!”

“Thanks for helping my Grandma move last weekend. I really appreciate you helping the family while I’m away! You are so caring.”

“I feel totally at home with you as we are talking. Just being with you on the phone is helping me relax after a stressful day. Thanks for making yourself available to chat last minute.”

2. Acts of service long distance

People who receive love through acts of service feel valued and cared for when the giver does so out of choice and not obligation. From a distance an act of service may come in the form of skill sharing, recommendations or referrals. Seeing these recommendations and referrals as a language of love supports connection.

Share skills

Some examples of skill sharing that can be explained via words or video are listening when someone needs emotional support, giving computer advice and providing financial planning ideas.I needed to put my bike in the back of my small car. I called my partner who directed me over the phone to remove the tire. I felt cared for, could drive home with my bike, and learned a new skill. 

Make recommendations:“Why don’t you watch this Facebook link of a short dance video?”

“Check out this instructional video on how to resolve your computer issue.”

“I think you’ll like this Audible book. Here’s the link to download it.”

Offer referrals

Support the well-being of your partner by connecting them to people who can provide local services.I suggest you go to this chiropractor who I saw last time I was in New York.

I have a great friend in Berlin you should meet for coffee. I think it’s fun to meet friends of friends when traveling alone. Have a great adventure!

3. Receiving gifts long distance

Some people thrive on the thoughtfulness and effort behind gifts. Receiving a letter in the post may seem even more special now that it is often a novelty. Some material gifts may include sweet postcards, a delivery of massage oil directly from the online store, or a copy of this book. 

4. Physical touch long distance

For the person whose primary love language is touch, it’s especially important to approach a long distance relationship with creativity and to stay open to new possibilities. It may be a process to let go of feeling shy or awkward in order to more deeply connect to people on phone dates. Here are a few ways to bring touch into the long distance experience:

Touch yourself 

Link the sensation of touch to being with your partner. This kinesthetic experience can help you receive the warmth they are sending you through your skin. This self touch can include all the varied energies that touch can explore: loving, sensual, spiritual, playful, sexual…

Simply touch yourself while connecting with your partner.I put a calm hand on my face or give myself a little caress while feeling the loving energy of my sweetheart talking to me on the phone.

Use massage. Roll on a massage ball or gently squeeze a sore muscle. 

When my husband is away on business, I love giving myself a foot massage when we talk. It is something he does for me at home so it feels extra sweet to do together while we are physically apart.

Use video

Include your partner in your touch experience by being seen on video.I felt awkward and nervous at first but now I like using video. When my partner can see me, I have more choice as to how much I use words and how much I express with my body.

Use words to connect and get creative

You can choose to tell your partner you are touching yourself or not. You may tell them via the phone or by text.

Choose who does what to whom

You can word it as though your hand is representing what your sweetie would be doing to you or what you want to do to them. You can keep it as you touch yourself while with them. You also may have fun saying what you want them to do to their own body. 

You can get creative playing with these options of touching. You may bring in a prop or toy to show how you would interact with your partner. It might be full of images and poetic or raunchy and kinky. One person may be the dominant one and say all the words or you may go back and forth. You can have different sessions of leading and following.

Choose when the fantasy happens

Get creative with your tenses and see what feels most connective and exciting in the moment.

Use words to describe what you wish you were doing right now:

  • I would love to be running my fingers slowly down your back.
  • I am kissing your right earlobe and whispering to you.

Use words to describe a memory of a sensual or sexual time you actually shared in physical reality.

  • Remember when I laughed….
  • I loved that time when you bounced up and down on the mattress and wrestled me to the floor.

Use words to create a scene that you want to enact in the future.

  • When I pick you up at the airport I’m going to squeeze you so hard.
  • When you get home to me, I will run you a bubble bath and light candles. 

Use words to create a fantasy scene that may never be enactable.

  • We are lying in a tent in a magical forest. It’s pouring outside. I am kissing your feet and removing your high heels. OMG! There’s a loud monstrous sound coming from the swamp! Did you bring your superpowers?

5. Quality time long distance

For some people, receiving undivided attention from their partner says “I love you” like nothing else. This can be spending uninterrupted time together, talking or doing an activity. When we clarify our wishes around quality time and make agreements, we can celebrate and enjoy our interactions more fully. It may take a little extra communication to get on the same page.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What are my current expectations of my partner with regard to how we share time?

  • Frequency of planned quality time or date nights
  • Response time to messages
  • Unplanned communications

Are we on the same page about our expectations or is there something to get clearer on so we can enjoy both the planned time together and the extra spontaneous communications?

Agree on time commitments

Here’s an example of a clear time arrangement.

Josh can count on having date night via video chat for 3 hours with Alex on Sunday night and a 30 minute phone chat on Tuesday. He looks forward to those times with excitement. Alex and Josh have said they will send each other one text a day to share an important moment or a silly image or photo. They understand that there is no commitment to respond right away to these texts. They enjoy getting a text back by the end of the day when possible. If they want a response by a set time or some correspondence beyond these agreements they can ask for it. All extra texts, emails, or calls are unexpected and sweet surprises.

Agree on response time to messages 

At one point, I was dating three people long distance. Each one was set up differently, and as long as I adjusted my expectations appropriately I could enjoy all of them. Jorge, I came to recognize, would respond to a text usually within 36 hours whereas Doug, within 5 minutes and Jasper by the end of the day.

One time I wrote Jorge a vulnerable text about having had an important conversation with a metamor (another lover of his). After 12 hours of no response I felt annoyed and I noticed that I was beginning to judge him as inconsiderate. In reality, I did not know what his day looked like and based on his norm of not responding prior to 36 hours, this was probably not a ruthless response. He was doing nothing out of the ordinary. The change was that I felt vulnerable when I wrote that text and wished for a faster reply. He didn’t know this shift and so I needed to be more clear and ask directly for a response sooner.

I wrote Jorge:“Wishing for a little response from u to feel complete in this step of communication. Can you let me know u received this? ❤️❤️✈️ I’m off.”

By the time I landed from my flight, he had written back:“I’m so glad you all had such a kickass, clarifying, and compassionate chat. That makes me so happy, and I’m so glad it went well.”

I was relieved and warmed by his response. More importantly, I could see how I wished to avoid judging him. I learned that I needed to communicate clear requests when I wanted a response by a specific time or for a timing that was out of our established norm.

Acknowledge a shift in timing

Imagine you are in a room together.

Your lover seductively says: I want to kiss you in the sunshine.

You promptly respond: TTYLor gotta runand leave the room.

Sounds a bit jarring, right?

This is how it might feel via text also. When a rate of communication has been established and you can no longer continue with this rate of attention, let your partner know that you have to make a shift and whenever possible leave a moment for closure.

Communicate what they can expect next from you

Write them that you have to go back to work or focus on something else. This way it is clear that the reason you are pausing your conversation is because you need to focus on something else. This may decrease the chance of them creating a story about why you stopped chatting with them. They know you are occupied and they can’t expect fast responses to further texts.

Give a moment for closing remarks

They may want to send a closing text before you put the phone on airplane mode and disappear. If you give a warning that you have to go in a few minutes you can collaborate on the closure of the conversation.

One lover and I wrote many spontaneous texts a day. Based on our availability in that moment we would establish a rate of communication. Sometimes one of us sent out a flirty comment and the other would respond 3 hours later after our work was through. Sometimes we got into chatting, sexting or flirting back and forth in that moment as though in a live conversation.

I found that if the rate of responses shifted drastically without warning or acknowledgement, my perception of the fun conversation could abruptly change so that I felt unsettled or annoyed. Now, when we are no longer available to continue at the same rate, we write something like this:

“This was so fun. Thanks. I can spend 2 more minutes with you and then I have to go back to work. Want to continue at 10:00pm and put me to bed?”

Long distance date nights

  1. Schedule the date ahead of time. Commit to be together. Know the start time and if you have a set end time or not. Decide if you are setting aside other distractions during your date. By making these agreements ahead you can anticipate having each other’s attention. You can also look forward to your date and prepare for it as you might with an in-person date.
  2. Create a plan. There are many fun things to do together. It can be great to brainstorm things you would like to do and then know which one is coming. Here are a few ideas to try:
  • Cook the same meal separately, but eat together on the call.
  • Watch a movie at the same time in your separate beds.
  • Go out to a cafe together via video chat.
  • Take a walk and show each other your favorite park nearby.
  • Take a bubble bath together via phone.
  • Turn off the lights and then say goodnight. Cuddle up to two separate pillows. Then bookend the sleeping together date by calling each other when you wake up in the morning, all sleepy sounding.
  1. Prepare your space and energy. How can you get in the mood for the upcoming date? Maybe you want to take a shower as a way to release stress from the day, put all the laundry and computer work to the side, put on sexy clothes, prepare your space with candles, etc.. Do whatever it is that prepares you to be fully present with just that person on the call.
  2. Enjoy the date.
  3. Close the date with celebration and clarity. At the end of an in-person date a conclusive moment usually happens. This might be a hug or kiss. Here you could consider using some words of affirmation instead. You might say something you appreciate about your date or something you are grateful for. You could also clarify when you’ll next connect. Ideally you leave the date feeling loved up and clear about when you’ll meet next.

I loved that moment when you told me to let my hair down and imagine you nuzzling my neck. I can’t wait until our next date on Wednesday. The cafe I’m taking you to is so sweet.

Essentially, be bold. Discover something new about yourself, and aim to strengthen the relationship despite or even because of this distance. Even though we may see some of these tools as new or edgy for us, by trying them out we get to develop together differently. Talking through love languages and exploring how to demonstrate those from a distance can set the stage for further growth and connection. Regardless of the medium you use to communicate, find ways to be present in the moment to appreciate the quality of your time together. Seek new possibilities for creative expression and discover a variety of ways to love and support each other.

If you’d like to read more like this: check out the full book: Getting Along: Skills for life-long love

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