Love As A Daily Practice
Dr. Alexandra Solomon
Want to enjoy deeper, more connected relationships, including the one with yourself?
If you’re looking to discover simple ways to help your relationship thrive, then this episode of the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast is a must listen.
This week, I have the pleasure of speaking with none other than the legendary Dr. Alexandra Solomon! She doesn’t just understand love; she embodies it, champions it, and turns it into an art form with her powerful framework of Relational Self Awareness that's touched millions of lives across the globe.
Now, if you’ve ever thought - 'How do I keep that spark alive, both with my partner and within myself?' or 'How do we bounce back stronger from those inevitable moments of disconnect?', then you, my friend, are in the RIGHT place.
Dr. Solomon and I are diving deep into her latest masterpiece, 'Love Every Day', shedding light on nailing conflict resolution, understanding relational self-awareness, and—this is a biggie—how to maintain that oh-so-essential sense of self in a committed relationship. We're not just talking love; we're talking a journey of self-love and self-awareness that translates into a richer, deeper connection with others.
Get ready to find the answers and soak up a ton of wisdom on cultivating love that is as enduring as it is joyful. This is YOUR time to explore, learn, and most importantly, to love, every single day.
Let’s dive into all the juicy deets on this soulful episode of the Find Your Feminine Fire podcast - your catalyst for all things love, connection, and intimate partnerships.
(Complete transcript below)
JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION ON THIS EPISODE AND MORE IN MY FREE FACEBOOK GROUP, FIND YOUR FEMININE FIRE HERE.
Over the last two decades, Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon has become one of today’s most trusted voices in the world of relationships, and her work on Relational Self-Awareness has reached millions of people around the world.
Dr. Solomon is a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, and she is on faculty in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University where she teaches the internationally renowned course, Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101.
In addition to writing articles and chapters for leading academic journals and books in the field of marriage and family, she is the author of two bestselling books, Loving Bravely and Taking Sexy Back. Dr. Solomon regularly presents to diverse groups that include the United States Military Academy at West Point and Microsoft, and she is frequently asked to talk about relationships with media outlets like The Today Show, O Magazine, The Atlantic, Vogue, and Scientific American.
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Amanda Testa (00:02):
Hello and welcome to the Find Your Feminine Fire Podcast. I am your host, Amanda Testa. I am a sex, love and relationship coach, and in this podcast, my guests and I talk sex, love, and relationships and everything that lights you up from the inside out. Welcome.
Hey, what's up? It's Amanda. If you're enjoying this pod and you know are ready to say yes to more pleasure and you are just wanting to know, how the hell do I do it? Well, you are in luck because as of now we have spots available in the Pleasure Foundation, which is my pleasure membership, where twice a month you get an amazing practice that teaches you how to drop into your body to become more connected to yourself and to learn the art of sacred self-care. So if this is something you're interested in, go to amanda testa.com/tpf as in the pleasure foundation, amanda testa.com/tpf, and we will see you there if you want to enjoy deeper, more connected relationships, including the one with yourself.
If you're looking to discover simple ways to really help your relationship thrive, then you are really going to want to listen in to today's episode of the Find Your Feminine and Fire podcast. I'm your host, Amanda Testa, and today I'm thrilled to be talking with Dr. Alexandra Solomon. She's a relationship therapist, a teacher, an award-winning author, speaker, and a passionate believer in the life-changing power of love. She is a powerhouse in the field of relationships and her framework of relational self-awareness has helped support millions around the globe. So welcome, Dr. Alexandra. I'm so happy to have you here again.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (01:37):
Thanks, Amanda. It's good to see you again. It's been a minute.
Amanda Testa (01:40):
Yes. I think the last time we spoke was three years ago when we were talking about sexual self-awareness with your book Taking Sexy Back and now you have an amazing new book coming out called Love Every Day, and I'm so excited to talk to you more about this and just what relational self-awareness is and thank you so much again for being here.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (01:59):
Oh, you're welcome. Thank you so much for having me.
Amanda Testa (02:01):
Yeah, so I'm wondering just even before we dive in, what maybe is the inspiration that led you to write this book and what are you most excited about and putting it out here into the world?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (02:12):
Yeah, so Love Every Day is my third book and it's really different than any other book I've created first of all, and you will appreciate this. It's like a really
Beautiful book. I know that for you, the aesthetics matter, the pleasure matters, all the sensory elements of life. I know that that's really central to you in the work that you do. And this is just a really beautiful book. It's a hard cover. The cover is gorgeous. There's a little blue bookmark to help a silky blue bookmark. So I think that it's just so delighted by how the book feels and looks because the book is hard. It's not an easy book and it's a year's worth of relational self-awareness support kind of micro doses and micro learning because one of the things that we know is that our healing journey is much more about the little stuff that we do or the little stuff that we no longer do, rather than the big declaration or the huge insight that changes everything. I think so often we crave that the one piece that falls into place and changes everything.
And I think that the reality is as somebody who's been a therapist for many years and a sort of person on my own healing journey for many years, I know that as my supervisor used to say, God is in the details, the little stuff, the little stuff that matters. And so love every day is 365 little quotes and stories and questions and prompts that you use on your own healing journey to understand yourself better and to show up a bit differently in your relationships. And primarily in the book it's about intimate relationships, but there's certainly overflow into relationship with friends and colleagues and kids that really is primarily a book about how to create healthy intimate partnerships.
Amanda Testa (04:05):
I love that so much and how those daily simple things, I mean they might not be simple, right? They're hard, they take time and you have to devote yourself to it. But I think that's the beauty of the little things that you do over time are what make the biggest change.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (04:21):
Amanda Testa (04:22):
I think everybody, like you say, wants that super quick like, ah, everything's better, but that's not really how it works. And really when we're working on healing, our relationships are getting better. We really can only go as fast as the slowest part of us wants to go. So that's why I think coming in every day, and I had the lucky privilege of sneaking a peek at the book and it is gorgeous and just the prompts and just the deepening that if you take that time to do it, that's what makes the difference making the time to do it. And I'm curious if you could share a little bit more about the relational self-awareness framework just to give the listeners a better understanding of what that means.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (04:58):
Right, right. Yeah. So relational self-awareness is basically my framework, which I stand on the shoulders of giants. I have been well-trained and have been deeply immersed in the research of relationships and the clinical wisdom that therapists over many, many decades have been honing. So I certainly exist in this matrix of the people who've come before me and all of that. So relational self-awareness is my way of sort of pulling together what feels most essential. So I've spent decades as a professor and a therapist and somebody who's really passionate about translating what lives in academia, what lives behind therapist doors and making sure that we all have access to it. It's that translational stuff that I love. So relational self-awareness is just processes by which we come to understand ourselves more deeply and therefore can show up with a bit more patience, a bit more expansiveness, a bit more curiosity for our relationships.
And so it's like this intimate journey we take on the inside, but it's ever, it's not naval gazy, it's not mental masturbation, it's not understanding what my parents did to me for the sake of understanding it. It really is about really gentle ownership of our journey so that we can continue our own process, especially, I don't know for you, but I know for me in my intimate partnership, it's very easy for me to put my annoyances with my husband at his feet. It's very easy for me to identify. If he wouldn't have said that, then I wouldn't have gotten mad. That's the easy road. And so this book is again and again, okay, what if you take a breath and look at what is going on inside of you as well? It's not about excusing our partners thoughtless behavior, but it's about really, really keeping ourselves in the ring, in the gentlest possible ways. We're not beating ourselves up, but we are continuing to commit to, okay, what's my part? What's my piece?
Amanda Testa (07:03):
I think that's an interesting point to note because it's so easy, like you say, to be like, well, of course it's all their fault. They would just be like this.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (07:12):
Right? Nine out of 10 people would agree that that was a dick move.
Amanda Testa (07:18):
You know what? It's interesting. Can I share a little one little thing that I read from the book?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (07:22):
Amanda Testa (07:23):
So I loved it because I was looking for looking through and I loved how there's one for every day, so I love how making it a daily practice is so important, but one of the things that I thought was so powerful is just these little reminders. One of the prompts that I read was around when you add a but to things, right. Can you talk a little bit about that if you don't mind?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (07:42):
I mean we like butts with two T's, but buts with one t, that's the but stuff. It is not good. The one T B U T. Yeah. I mean it is, I think as a couple's therapist, I certainly have trained my brain to listen for when one of the partners in my couple uses the "but" word, but because it is just deadly. It's just a conversation ender, and I think I'd be hard pressed to find a sentence where an and doesn't serve us better than a, but because basically what it does think about, Amanda, you tell me that I've hurt your feelings and I say, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, but you should understand that I was really tired or I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, but you've been awfully sensitive these days. But basically negates the apology and when you, my friend Tery Real describes it this way, when you let me know that I have hurt your feelings, my best and bravest move is to imagine myself as a customer service window.
You have just approached the customer service window. You have an issue, you have a matter to bring before me, and in that moment, all I am, because I care about you and I care about us, all I am is a customer service window. I am just there to understand your hurt. Even if parts of me are like, you've got to be freaking kidding me, she's so sensitive. She did the same thing last week. I wouldn't be mad at her if she did that to me. I may have all of that going on inside of me, and for this moment, if you are troubled, the only job on earth I have is just to hear you back, just to feed it back to you. Now, I may need to say to you, Amanda, my love, at a separate time, I need you to stand over here next to me and come and look at this other part of it, but I'm never going to be able to enlist your openness to looking at something bigger, your part of it. I'm never going to get you on my team until, and unless I'm able to say to you, Amanda, if your feelings are hurt, I own it. I want to understand it, I want to repair it. So that, but just keeps us from even being able to enter the whole arena of something more interesting and more healing.
Amanda Testa (10:09):
So powerful. This is the keys, these little teeny things that are so key, right? Yeah,
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (10:16):
That's right. It's like a
Amanda Testa (10:17):
One little thing to be aware of, but I mean it has a huge, huge implication or what's the word I'm looking for? It has a huge ripple effect when you can be aware and really slow down.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (10:30):
Yeah, that's literally a little one, right? That's a literal three letter word that if we could, I mean a listener could challenge themselves today and they could challenge themselves and their partner. Let's try for a week to not use the word and see what happens. Just see, because if you've banned that word, you are setting yourself up to have to be a bit different to language, something different, and language matters, words matter, and it shifts the whole tone of the conversation. If you don't have that crutch available, sure, you may still get defensive, you may still get shut down, but you're cutting yourself off from that pathway to disconnection.
Amanda Testa (11:07):
One of the things that you mentioned a few moments ago was talking about being on the same team, and I'm curious when it comes to approaching challenges around your relationship or your intimacy, how can you build that team approach
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (11:20):
So it's so essential and it's not at all easy. I think for some of, I was thinking about just a recent conflict that my husband and I, we've been married for 25 years and we're in a season of massive transition. I just turned 50, he's about to turn 50. We just sent our little baby girl off to college, so we're getting used to this empty nest, and there was just kind a growing tension. You know how it's not conflict, but it's also not ease. It's somewhere in the middle of just sort of clipped tones and I could feel myself slipping out of teamwork. It was no longer we are empty nesters. It was, I am an empty nester and he doesn't understand my experience. I was really slipping away from it and I was really wrapping myself up in this blankie that is kind of cozy, but also super lonely around nobody understands what I'm going through, and we just kind of hit a breaking point, and the breaking point was something silly.
He said something that I thought was hurtful. He did not mean to hurt my feelings, but it was like the dam broke. It was like that was enough, and in the conversation, it was in the beginning of the conversation, he was the one who had his head a little bit above water and was basically pleading the case for teamwork. We're in this together. I'm having feelings too. This is a process that we're both, we are having different experiences. He's holding a bit more of the excitement and the space and the pride, and I'm holding more the grief and the loss and the sadness, and so we were getting sort of polarized around that, and so his use of language around, we are having different experiences and we're in this together. It was like I could feel myself pulling that blanket off, stepping back into like, oh, right, I'm not alone in this and being alone with big feelings.
That was how I spent the first 18 years of my life. I know I know how to do that. I know how to hunker down, get or done, find my way through something, and I don't have to do that anymore and as much work as I've done, it's certainly helpful in a moment like that to have somebody be able to say, we have somebody be able to say, we are different and we're in it together, and I want to understand your experience, and by the way, I would like you to maybe take a moment to look out from under your blanket and get a little curious about my experience. I wasn't doing that right. I was so wrapped in my, anyway, so the teamwork really is no matter the challenge that you and your partner are facing, there is a world where the two of you are looking at this problem together, but you can't get there as long as you're A invested in your pain. B, not curious about their pain, C, sure, it's all your fault or all their fault. Those are the things that kind of keep us from getting that team approach, but there's always a path whereas, okay, what are we going to do about this problem that is before us?
Amanda Testa (14:24):
I'm curious too because I know I hear this a lot from clients, or not all the time, but a lot of times there's maybe one partner who feels like they do a lot of the repair or they are able to get in there and smooth things over, and then sometimes they feel present resentful about that, or why do I always have to be the one to apologize, or why do I always have to be the one to calm things down? And I'm curious what you can say to that.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (14:48):
Yeah. Yep. It's such a, first of all, I have not yet shared that story, so you're getting me to open up. You owe me an apology for getting all vulnerable on your show.
Amanda Testa (15:01):
Well, I just don't want to name too all that. That's a huge amount of transition and I will just share too. I recently turned 50. You did? I did in July, and it's crazy because I wasn't expecting it to be such a big, I mean, we're still very young, but it's a huge, a lot that comes up that I was not expecting, and on top of that, then your child's going away to school, and that's a whole nother level.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (15:26):
Amanda Testa (15:26):
All the things, it's a lot to hold. And then I don't know about you, but I also experiencing perimenopause and symptoms on top of everything else and
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (15:34):
Holding it all. Yeah, this is a big divine. It's a time
Amanda Testa (15:40):
Just to witness and acknowledge what you're saying. It's hard.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (15:43):
Well, yeah, when there's so much internal reorganization and internal shift to stay, how do you stay connected through that? Right. Pat and I are both turning 50, but 50 for me and 50 for him mean different things feel a bit different. The added layer of menopause, which I'm so excited that I think we're entering an era where we're like, fuck the, can I swear in your show?
Amanda Testa (16:07):
Oh, yes, everything's welcome.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (16:08):
Fuck the shame about menopause. That's really brand new. What's going to happen if the ladies of the world stop feeling ashamed and quiet about menopause? Look out, because we're about to unleash some powerhouse women who have no acts left to give if we stop feeling ashamed or silent about what this transition means. Right. 50 is, I know that's a whole nother conversation, right? Amanda is like, what does 50 mean to you? What does it mean to me? Yeah. It's definitely, it's confusing. I feel in some ways, more wise, more beautiful, more alive than I ever had, even as this number is just scary and weird. Yeah.
Amanda Testa (16:55):
Well, it's interesting. I mean, you earlier were talking about how your husband was like, well, we're in this together. But also like you mentioned too, when we are aging, it's different in our culture, specifically here in the US in a patriarchal culture where it's different if you're identify as a man or a woman as you age.
I mean, that's the thing. And then I find myself, sometimes I have to catch myself. I find myself getting mad. It's not my husband's fault that he still looks amazing at 60, and that's like a silver fox kin, right? But then the women who are old and gorgeous, they don't get that same type of acknowledgement, and it's frustrating sometimes. So just I will name that. I can feel that sometimes. It's interesting how it has nothing to do with him. It's me and I have to be like, oh, okay. This is what our culture has taught us, and it's understandable that there might be a different experience as you move through the aging process In different bodies.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (17:48):
In different bodies. Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's right. It's not his fault. How can he celebrate the affirmation that he receives, the way he feels in your body and celebrate you? How can he subvert the narratives that have been downloaded inside of his brain about you and your aging process? What a privilege that is for him to be an ally to you reminding you of your beauty, of your vitality. That's such a privilege to get to do that. But that's subversive, that's subverting the dominant paradigm, which is that right? We are becoming objectively less desirable.
Amanda Testa (18:30):
That's the dominant narrative. I do love that he does a good job of that, but that's something that comes up too. So I mean, all that
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (18:37):
Amanda Testa (18:38):
Shapes everything, right?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (18:39):
Yeah. Wait, you would just ask a really good question about getting back on the same
Amanda Testa (18:45):
Page and when you want to give back on the same team, but how sometimes it feels maybe tiring or the person who's always feels like they're the ones that repair first or that, and I think that there's a gift to that if you can view it that way. But I'm curious what your thoughts are in that kind of dynamic where maybe one person is always feeling like I always have to be the one to prepare, and I'm tired of always being the one to calm things, whatever it might be. Right?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (19:08):
I know, and I think probably I'm guessing based on your show and your listeners and just the way that the world is, I think it often in a heterosexual couple, it's her. I just read a really cool research article or academic article where this philosophy professor at Pomona College calls that hermeneutic labor. We talk a lot about invisible labor and domestic labor and emotional labor. So hermeneutic labor is the labor of smoothing things over, basically recognizing what's happening inside of me, what's happening inside of my partner, what are the words that I can use to invite my partner to self-reflect? Because if my partner self-reflect, maybe they can move from defensiveness to openness, which is good for them, but also good for me. But that's a kind of labor and that's what you're speaking to is, and so I think by calling it hermaneutic labor, we're making it real.
It's a real thing. It's a real thing, and it's real that in heterosexual couples, except for my, I think Todd is much more the smoother over than I am ironically, but there is that there does tend to be one partner who has got their nose a bit more above the waterline and can reach out more easily, repair more easily, and that's because their body recovers more easily. They don't layer shame on top of upset. They have done more therapy than that. Whatever the reason is, they're more available. And so I think there's a million differences in a couple, and so if that's a difference, I think the healthiest way to view that is this is a difference. This is one of the things that I do to make this relationship click along, and it helps me when I remember that there's also a whole bunch of things that my partner does that helps the relationship click along.
Like, yes, I do the hermeneutic labor, but whatever, take care of this or take care of this, or I never have to question their loyalty or whatever. It is really remembering that yes, you do do this part of the relational work, but they also do work in other domains. That's helpful. It's also helpful if the partner who's not doing the hermeneutic labor, if that partner can just say thank you. Thank you for initiating that repair because we got through it. Thank you for being willing to apologize because that really broke the ice. Thank you for suggesting we go for a walk, because that was really helpful. So I think that helps. I think that minimizes the chances of resentment, and I think that can be what might block that is that the other person feels ashamed. I feel ashamed that my partner had to once again, drag me out of my hole, get me out of my own way. So shame can block that, but if that person can just challenge the shame and just say, thank you. I saw what you did. I saw that you initiated the repair and that was really good for us. I think that helps too.
Amanda Testa (22:05):
Shame that you mentioned is a big thing too, because when it comes up, however it does, it can get in the way of making steps to make your relationship better. Or a lot of times people will say, well, I would love to do more things, but my partner's maybe not as open, or they'll have their feelings hurt if I suggest this
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (22:28):
Amanda Testa (22:28):
It's a lot too around, well, if I need help then there's something wrong with me, or
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (22:33):
Amanda Testa (22:33):
Done something bad or I'm wrong, or, which really, I feel like we just have never learned relational tools. We've never really had the opportunity to learn them and just making it normal that we need to learn what we never learned.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (22:46):
Amanda Testa (22:47):
Wrong with us. We just didn't have the most people out there did not get great relational skills, right?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (22:54):
Nope. You got what you saw in your house growing up. That's what you got. Maybe you had sex ed in school, but it probably wasn't very good and it certainly wasn't relationship ed. So yeah, I mean it's so exciting about this moment. I think that, I mean, I see it with my college students. I've been teaching at a university for over 20 years, and I teach marriage 1 0 1. It's a relationship class. My college students come in, they come in with relational tools. They know their attachment style, they know their love languages. They know their family of origin wounds. They know, and that's because of a TikTok, and B, the fact that most of them have been in therapy and see the fact that their parents have been in therapy. We've got now Gen X is raising Gen Z and we're making these progress. I see the progress. It's a really, I think, exciting and hopeful time around what young people are capable of relationally that certainly you and I, when we were growing up, we had Dr. Ruth, we had Judy Bloom, but I didn't have parents in therapy or parents that were talking about this stuff.
Amanda Testa (24:08):
She just couldn't Google answers or watch TikTok and figure out, all right, maybe I should try this. Right. So there are some benefits to the information that's out there for people.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (24:18):
That's right. That's right.
Amanda Testa (24:19):
So I love that. I'm curious too, when it comes to seeking support or what are the things, if someone is super excited to get the Love Everyday book and wants to invite their partner in or how, I mean of course doing it on your own is so powerful. Maybe we can even speak to that, why doing it on your own is very important, but if you wanted to maybe invite in your partner for some of the practices or if they would be willing, I'm curious, how might you approach that?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (24:44):
I think it's one of the things I like most about the book is that I think couples therapy can feel, I mean, I am here for couples therapy. I love it. I believe in it. The science backs it up. It is an incredibly powerful tool, just a marriage, a long-term relationship. It's a heavy fricking thing. And so to have somebody carrying it with you is just incredibly helpful. It's such a sign of strength. It's a sign of courage. It's a reflection of investment, and it is oftentimes a bridge too far for a partner who doesn't have those relational tools, who is afraid of getting blamed, which is not, if you've got a couple's therapist who is blaming one partner, you've got the wrong couple's therapist because that's not what couple's therapy ought to be about. The couple's therapist is not the judge. They're not the referee.
But if there's a partner who's just not there yet, I think something like the Love Everyday book, something like a podcast episode, those can be really gentle steps into the baby pool, the kind of going slowly rather than if it feels like couple's therapy is diving into the deep end, then there's little steps. And I think that it probably is unrealistic to say, let's every single day read the entry, do the prompts. And it doesn't have to be that. It doesn't have to be perfection or nothing, but I think that if one person is loving it, and for them it's a really beautiful restorative way to start their day or end their day, then maybe once a week they choose whatever entry that week really spoke to them and they say to their partner, Hey, could I read this to you or will you read it to me?
Or could we work on it together? So even if it's just a weekly and the partner who's the kind of relational self-awareness nerdy partner is like, okay, what if once a week I choose an entry and we take a look at it together? So I think that's ways that I want couples to be really permission giving about it and creative and not saying to themselves and each other, unless we do it every single, we're doomed. It can just be the kind of thing that you pick up and use as just a little conversation starter. And then to your other part of your question, I think that you're right that even if the partner won't changing, one part of the system changes the system. So if you're doing the work of the book, you're showing up differently. You are using different language and and your partner therefore can't keep doing what they were doing. So you change the dance by changing your own moves. So it's still powerful, but I know that there's a kind of loneliness that comes when you're the only person in a relationship who is curious about introspection, who's curious about taking conversations a bit deeper. I know there's a loneliness that comes with that.
Amanda Testa (27:27):
I think it's interesting too, as you mentioned too, as we transition in life and as things shift in relationships, I mean it's normal for them to differ and to change and to grow,
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (27:37):
Amanda Testa (27:37):
It can be really easy in certain seasons, maybe to put your relationship on the back burner, especially if
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (27:43):
Amanda Testa (27:43):
Have small children or you're going through something. There's times where you might find that you're not paying attention to it, which sometimes that has to happen. But also there's ways to stay connected even during those times. So I'm curious for you maybe seeing that in your practice or working with couples that have this kind of experience where they want to come back to it, but it also feels kind of clunky,
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (28:08):
Amanda Testa (28:08):
Because they haven't been connecting and they want to come back to it. So maybe how might this book or just how might there be a bridge to come back together when it feels like there's been a season of disconnect?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (28:20):
Yeah, I know that's a big theme that you work on in your show, isn't it? About how do we find our way back? And I think that is, I think, right? I mean, the way you've set up, the way you've set up the question holds houses the answer because part of it is just saying out loud, we've kind of drifted. We've drifted because I had a health crisis, or you had a work chapter, or I lost my mom, or you lost your job, whatever, just saying out loud that thing happened. No blame, no shame, no judgment, and there's relational fallout no matter what. As much as we wish. I know the thing that I hear, I know that we wish that one person I've seen over and over again, a partner who wish like hell, their health crisis did not affect their partner, that it actually breaks their entire heart that they can see the upheaval, I know I've seen makes me want to cry.
How much partners are like, don't look over here, don't look at me. I don't want this to affect you. I would like to turn away, figure myself out, get better, get a new job, dah, dah, dah, and then come back to you shiny and brand new. And that is just not how long-term relationships work. Your partner has a front row fricking seat, and so rather than fighting that, just figuring out how do you work with that? I see you. I see you without your job. I see you without your health. I see it. I see it, and it affects me and it's okay, and we're figuring it out. That's the only way to go through it, and I think it's so hard. I think it's really, really, it's hard, but there's such a crux there, and as a couple can just get to that point, then a whole new set of possibilities opens up right? Then. It's really pretty infinite what opens up from there, but a couple can't get there as long as one person is hell bent on saying, no, no, no, no, I'm going through a thing. It cannot affect you. It doesn't affect you. It should not affect you. Look away.
Amanda Testa (30:29):
That's powerful. I think it is. It's just that vulnerability to step up and just say, it's hard. No one wants to do it, but it's so worth it. On the other side, I think that's one of the things that I just want to try to encourage people is, oh, it's so hard to make that step. It's always worth it on the other side often because one way or another, there's going to be some movement, and oftentimes that's what the fear is. Maybe it's like, well, if I say something, what if they don't want to? Or what if whatever happens? It's like you have to show up for it,
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (30:57):
Amanda Testa (30:58):
Is not always, and maybe that's not the time. Maybe there is a time where you're like, I don't have the bandwidth to deal with this right now, so let me readdress this in a month or two or whatever
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (31:05):
Amanda Testa (31:06):
But I think even doing the little practices, I know, I mean, obviously I'm a relationship coach and a sex coach, so my husband is subject to many things, but he might not always be your
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (31:17):
Amanda Testa (31:19):
He's here for it, and he always says, he's like, I might be super resistant at first, but on the other side, I always appreciate it.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (31:25):
Amanda Testa (31:26):
It always brings us closer, or it always helps in some way us to be on the same page again.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (31:31):
Well, again though, there again, it's rather than him getting ashamed of his resistance or you getting angry at his resistance, I can imagine that your shoulders just drop right down the moment that he can say to you, I know I'm resistant and I know that it's good for me and I know it's good for us. You know what I mean? Just that acknowledgement, his resistance does not mean he's a terrible person or a terrible husband. His resistance just means that he listened. He was socialized with a boy and socialize with a man, and he was taught that the feelings of the business of girls and blah, blah, blah. He is a well socialized man, and so that resistance just comes with the territory. But I imagine for you, there's a relief when he says, I know I drag my heels sometimes that there's a relief for you because it's like, oh, good, you're doing it. Therefore it helps me not build up resentment that sometimes I got to drag you a little bit.
Amanda Testa (32:24):
Yes. That's making me think just of one more thing, because especially in long-term relationships, when you've been enmeshed for a really long time, and maybe you have been through chapters of challenge or whatnot, but coming back to yourself, finding you are in the relationship and loving someone else, what advice would you have around that? Really being able to be in a relationship, love someone, but also not lose yourself in that remembering who you are in all of it.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (32:52):
I think in part it is. I think in part it's not seeing yourself as a fixed identity like I am X or I am Y. So really relating to yourself with that curiosity of we were saying before, but okay, so I actually don't even know who I am at 50. What does that? Who am I at 50? What am I about at 50? What are my priorities? What are my interests? What am I no longer available for at 50? So if I can keep that curiosity with myself, then I keep finding my own touch points, and then I can keep kind of transmitting what I know to my husband. So I think that's part of it too, is letting ourselves be evolving and transitioning and being curious about that rather than sometimes I think it's like uhoh evolving. That means I can no longer be in this marriage.
I can't be in these clothes, I can't be in this house. Everything I've done is wrong. I think sometimes, I think sometimes we scare ourselves. We take ourselves right down to the nub and we think if I'm changing, if I'm evolving, if I'm growing, every choice I've ever made has got to be wrong. No, you are just thanking all of those versions of you for getting you to this version of you. You don't have to unravel everything, but you might need to say to your partner, so I'm now really into this and I'm going to be devoting a lot of my energy towards this, and how's it going to affect us, and what do you think of that? And does it kick up some fear in you? What's the fear? Et cetera, et cetera.
Amanda Testa (34:26):
The communication piece, and it also comes back to the self-awareness. What do you want and what do you need and what are
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (34:35):
Totally, yeah, and what's lighting you up now? Because when we got married, whatever X number of years ago, some different things might've been lighting you up. Okay, so what are you about now? So it's like right, getting to know ourselves and getting to know our partners because they're also changing.
Amanda Testa (34:52):
I think it can be refreshing at that same time though, right? If you can change your perspective of maybe there's some fear that things would change, but it can be refreshing
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (35:01):
Amanda Testa (35:03):
Some new energy and some new interests and things that make you feel good, because when you're feeling good, then of course
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (35:09):
Amanda Testa (35:10):
More fun to be around and you're interesting and you enjoy yourself, right? It can be monotonous when you stay in monotony, but even just taking care of yourself and remembering what do I like to do?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (35:21):
Amanda Testa (35:21):
Oftentimes people forget. I think that's the other beautiful thing of taking that time just to tune into yourself and what you want and all that.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (35:32):
One of the first things I did when we became empty nesters is I signed up for a dance class and I could have danced the entire time when the kids were really little. I danced, and then I really moved away from it as my work got bigger and the kids were adolescents. And so I think maybe the day after we dropped our daughter off, I signed up for a cardio funk class on Monday evenings, and I went the first time and I basically had tears in my eyes the whole time and a huge smile on my face, and I was like, oh, here. I'm, it's just such a reclamation of a really core part of me that actually has been pretty core throughout my life is sort of the place of dance. And I know as you're saying, I came home with some more energy, some more pep in my step for our relationship because I'm doing something that really lights me up.
Amanda Testa (36:29):
Well, I just so appreciate all the wisdom that you've shared, Alexandra, thank you so much. And I'm wondering too, maybe if there was a question that I didn't ask that you really wished I would've asked or anything else that you want to share?
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (36:40):
No, it was a fun, it was a really fun, you're a wonderful conversation partner. I remember how much I enjoyed our first conversation, so I was very, very happy. Have a chance to be with you again. So thank you so much for making the space to talk about all of this together.
Amanda Testa (36:56):
Yes, I so appreciate it, and I love the simple things. I'm so excited for your book because I've also received a lot of benefit from it just as I get to sneak peek, and I am excited to keep going through it.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (37:08):
Amanda Testa (37:09):
Like you say, it doesn't have to be perfection, but when I can get in there and do the work and look at it, it's just going to keep enhancing things. So
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (37:17):
Amanda Testa (37:17):
You for that. You're welcome. Thank you. I'd love as well if you would just share with everyone how they can connect with you and find more about you and your book and all the amazing work that you do.
Dr. Alexandra Solomon (37:28):
Sure. The best way is my website, which is dralexandrasolomon.com, and there you can find all the links to my social media, including my Instagram, which is a large, this book is a sort of solidification of my Instagram feed, taking a lot of the content I've been creating and refining there and putting it into this format where you can really touch it and hold it, and it doesn't disappear off your screen after two seconds the way that an Instagram feed does. So the website is a great place to find social media links, links to the book. All three books are available wherever books are sold and love every day. Of course, we love it when folks go to bookshop.org because then you're supporting your local independent bookseller, and there's tons of stuff there. There's blogs, there's a weekly podcast called Re-Imagining Love. There are e-course. So if you've got an inkling, there's plenty of content, there's no shortage of content in places that you can go and explore and learn more about this whole world of relationships.
Amanda Testa (38:30):
Beautiful. Well, thank you so much again, and I'll make sure to put that in the show notes as well. And thank you all for listening, and please do make that little step to do something, some little thing every day for you, for your relationship. Thank you. Thanks, Amanda. We'll see you all next week. Thank you for listening to the Find Your Feminine Fire Podcast. If you love this episode, please go ahead and forward it right now to someone who would love it. And if you've not yet had a chance to leave us a rave review on Apple Podcasts, please make sure to rate and review if you enjoyed the podcast, as well as make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next week.
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