Podcast

Building the Relationship You Want with Kate Loree

When it comes to relationships, most of us have realized one size doesn’t fit all. My guest today is Kate Loree. She’s a sex-positive licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in the non-monogamous, kink, LGBTQ, and sex worker communities. Kate’s also the author of “Open Deeply: A Guide to Building Conscious, Compassionate Open Relationships,” which I think everyone should read regardless if they’re poly or not. 

Kate’s story is an interesting one. She spent a decade in the poly lifestyle and uses those experiences to contribute to her wisdom as a therapist. In this week’s episode, she explains how she guides people through the pitfalls of creating relationships tailored to their own specific needs. Additionally, Kate provides useful case studies to illustrate how to use her communication model to help couples manage their triggers.

Not only that, she breaks down how understanding different attachment styles or injuries, and historical trauma are valuable and relevant in successfully navigating an open relationship. There’s so much to gain from her story and knowledge and can’t wait to share it with the world tomorrow.

Show Notes

Welcome back to lead up and podcast. This is your host Charna caselle. And my guest today is Kate Laurie. She’s a sex positive Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a specialty in non monogamous kink, LGBTQ and sex worker communities and the author of open deeply a guide to building conscious, compassionate open relationships. While you may not be interested in non monogamy I highly recommend you still listen to this episode because there are so few resources out there for people who are choosing to create their own relationships outside of what dominant cultural norms define as what you’re supposed to want. Everyone can benefit from these tools. So I highly recommend you check out her book and that you listen to this little taste of what Kate Laurie is about. Welcome Kate

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bla, thanks so much for being here. You so much for having me. I’m excited to be on a podcast that’s doing such important work. Thank you in reading your book, I really felt like even though it goes so deeply into non monogamy. I was like every single person would find value anyone who wants to be in a relationship, like everything in it is relevant to all humans. Right, right. Yeah, you know, yeah. And some people, you know, have said, Hey, like, why didn’t she write this just from, you know, more like a monogamous lens, you know, because most people are monogamous or what have you. And it’s true that anybody would benefit from what’s in it. But at the same time, you know, non monogamous people don’t have the same amount of resources. They didn’t grow up watching Oprah talk about non monogamy and so I just decided to put it through this lens, you know, and I’ve been non monogamous since 2003. So it’s kind of, you know, those are the clients I serve. And those those are the waters I swim in. So, ya know, it’s, it’s totally important. And, and I’d love to hear a little bit more about for you your journey, since 2003, into non monogamy and how that had you decide that you wanted to be I don’t know if that was a part of what made you want to be a psychotherapist, but that you ended up serving this particular community, you saw certain need there? Well, you know, it’s funny, back when I was living in Denver, the strangely one of the things that made me just completely take down my life, because I had gotten my first master’s and was an MBA, you know, when I was in the business world, you know, that was a long time ago. And my late I’m 53. Now that was in my 20s. I watched the movie Fight Club, and realize that Edward Norton character and thought back to my physics teacher who said, we were the cream of the crop, and like, this is not what she meant. I, I literally kind of took down my life, pack up my little Paseo, came out to LA, and got a second master’s in marriage and family therapy with a focus in art therapy. That’s where it started out. But that was 2002 2003, I met my partner that I would be with for 13 years. And then I was married to him part of that time.

And very, very quickly, we were living together. And then he’s the one that suggested non monogamy. And at first, I was the nervous one. I was a scared one. But he was he was just like, look, you know, we’re just going to, we’re just going to explore, we’re just going to, you know, how do you feel about just having some fun, and we can stop at any time, you know, that kind of thing. He was just very gentle about it. And so we started down that path. And it was all the things sometimes it was great fun. Sometimes it was hard. But flash to the end of that relationship, I realized that throughout that relationship, I was up in my head, you know, a lot of the time. And why was it up in my head? Probably one because that’s kind of what misogyny teaches us. Right? It means misogyny says, Man, the logical good woman, emotional bad. So most women have some internalized misogyny in them. And you know, I grew up watching Spock on Star Trek. And so, you know, there’s a lot of reasons I was up in my head, you know, and then I took I through the trauma Resource Institute. I took their trauma resiliency model and started learning about that what I had learned about that when I was a little girl, but this was like just kind of gave me reconnected it

to track my body and I realized that sometimes if I was having some negative feelings, I was shoving those body sensations and those emotions down faster than they reached my consciousness. Like I started to catch them, right, or they slipped away, you know. And once I started doing that, you know, pretty soon I asked for a door of divorce, not because of the non monogamy but because of problems in the relationship. And after that divorce, I’d say that after about a year, I felt like I had aged backwards 10 years. Wow. Again, not because of the non monogamy but because of certain dynamics. And again, it wasn’t like it wasn’t a monster or anything. Like there was a lot of amazing things about him as a human. But that dynamic of human being that kind of like, I don’t even believe in astrology, but he’s like our Aries energy, like, he was just like, very big energy. And then I was kind of an over giver, right? And it just that cocktail created a lot of times that I was saying, yes, when it wasn’t a true Yes. And so a lot of what open deeply is about is creating a book, there’s a lot of intentions behind open deeply, but part of it so that other people don’t have to learn the hard way. And they can learn to track their body from the get go as they negotiate non monogamy. Yeah, it’s so essential. And I was thinking about that. It’s like, you know, if you go to whether it’s a Cuddle Party, or a sex party, or all these communities, gatherings that happen in the Bay Area, and they do a little consent conversation, they do an intro, and they’re like, cool, you know, set if someone says no, etc, etc. But you have to be able to feel your body in order to actually give consent. And you have to have, you know, have the capacity to attune to another and know what that even means or feels like in order to see if someone is freezing or not being congruent. And if you’re trained as an over giver, which a lot of women are yes, and you can’t feel your body, right, you’re dissociating from your body or you’re just living in your head, because that’s what supported by society. How do you give consent to being in a non monogamous or any kind of relationship? Like what what you want gets deprioritized? Right, when you bring up a good point, it’s funny with non monogamy they originally said they called it ethical non monogamy. Right? But then, you know, you know, obviously, there’s, there’s people that are doing polyamory in unethical ways, right. So they realized that that wasn’t a good term. So academics started calling it consensual non monogamy. But again, whether you’re monogamous or non monogamous, just across the board, consent, just because you’re saying yes. Doesn’t mean you’re really giving a fully embodied? Yes. Right. So, you know, leading to what you were saying, if somebody is complete, this is a thing. Back when I used to work in the clinics before I started my private practice that so people in the clinic in the clinics, they had some hard core issues, right, because they’re going to an outpatient clinic in a hospital at least three times a week. So these are no joke issues. And so a lot of those people would would say, when we started to try and get them to track their body, they’d say, What are you talking about, they look at us, like we were on drugs, you know, because their body was numb, because your body was symbolic of being a warzone, because of the amount of trauma that they add experience. But even with those folks, when you start to slowly get them to track lead times, you want to get people to track for the positive first. Like, if somebody makes you laugh, where do you notice that in your body?

If somebody gives you a good hug that really, that you like, and love? Where do you notice that in your body and slowly just tracking for the positive? And so what before seemed like, you know, crazy fans talking, you know, like saying that you have three heads or something that all of a sudden they’re like, Oh, I’m starting to feel it? Yeah, great, you know, and so you can build from from there, people have a tendency to want to start tracking for the negative. But you know, you have to be careful with that, because the negative sensation is mostly kind of like when you feel a hot, you know, a hot burner. Yeah, the pain that you might feel is just to let you know, to remove to make a change, right? Whereas if you fixate on the negative thing, it’s gonna get bigger. Like if you think you’re having a panic attack, and you track your body and go oh, my heart is racing. Guess what now it’s racing. Bigger, right? It amplifies.

Where you put your attention it gets it gets more intensified. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s, you know, those little those little moments like, you know, I often a client will come in and have come from a vacation or something. Or maybe they are they mentioned salsa dancing, and they really like it and, you know, I’ll call it like vacation body. How are you know, how can we access vacation body in regular life, or that moment of joy that spreads across your face when you’re talking?

Thinking about something you really enjoy, like sitting in the sun or being with your dog or you know, all of these moments? Yeah, building those. Yeah, I love that vacation body. Yeah, vacation, buddy. I love that. I love that. It’s so it’s so true, right. But you know, within non monogamy a lot of times, you know, there’s such a stance of not wanting to control another person. And a lot of times people with a non monogamy fall in love under a love language that might be called carefree fun freedom and adventure. So there’s any way to make a non monogamous person feel loved usually give them a sense of complete freedom. But the way to make them unhappy a lot of times is make them feel like their freedom is being taken away. And sometimes they can feel that way even when their partner is just doing it saying a self care ask like bury their head may know that it’s a self care ask and but their body may light up like they’re being controlled, like they might be losing themselves, that kind of thing. So when we become aware of that, then again, we can learn how to calm our body down so that we can balance the fact that yes, we are all free humans, and you can’t own another human and balance it with the need for both people to feel safe and relaxed in their body and heard and listened to and that they can voice their self care needs. And that’s tricky. Absolutely. I mean, what you’re touching into is, there are people who were really controlled by parents. Yes. And if it feels like, you know, what we know about triggers and trauma is that it’s like pressing play on a movie that’s been paused. And suddenly, that past experience is playing over the face of your lover in present time. And they’re asking for a very legitimate thing, and it feels like your mother trying to control you. Absolutely, you know, yeah, it’s like, if you have unresolved trauma, you know, like Harville Hendricks talks about it and getting the love you want, you know that you sometimes either project that story on do your partner or you choose a partner that embodies that story, or you push that partner so hard that they start to act like that old, totally, you know, and so we have to, but the more we heal the, the more we pull out of that narrative, the less patterned we become, and the more we can start to have a more open life that’s, you know, open in your body and open and connected to your friends to the collective whole to our lovers. And along those lines, you know, trauma, trauma is such a it’s so universal. And there’s a you know, there’s different degrees of it, of course, but trauma as well as attachment injuries and attachment styles is something that you talk about in your book and it What would you say the values of really being able to understand, identify and then work with, those are in your relationships? Well, first off, I just want to say is that we’re complicated humans, right one, if you see yourself in one of these attachment styles, you are not locked into it, you can heal. And if you have a partner that’s more healthy, they’ll help you kind of move towards a more healthy model. So just here that that you are not locked into any particular model. And in fact, if you track yourself over the course of all your relationships, you might think, Oh, well, I was this particular model with this relationship. And then I was more like this with this particular relationship vote. With that all said, I use the Diane pool color model, because there’s other models. And that model has four attachment styles. The first one is secure. The other three are different forms of insecure attachment style. So the secure type tends to have a backstory, especially with caregivers, where they knew that the world had their back, that they knew that their parents had their back and that things would work out. And so they project that story into non monogamy. Right? And so non monogamy tends to be way easier for them. That’s a general rule. Now you got the other three, you’ve got the the avoidant types, you have the ambivalent type, sometimes that’s called anxious ambivalent, and then you’ve got the avoidant type, they tend to date each other. A lot of times, you know, the anxious ambivalent type tends to be that hover pilot with a non monogamy What if my partner leaves me maybe I need to wear more lingerie so that they will leave me maybe I need to like watch their phone check in again, talk about a relationship model again, you know, all that. And then the avoidant type. The extreme example would be the rock star with a lover and every poured and you know, he even sleeps on the sofa when he’s home. He comes up with some excuse, and you know, it’s just not there for you. You know, that’s the extreme example the avoidant

Within non monogamy, they are better partners when they are like your secondary partner like not your primary partner. Because a lot of times, like if you break up with your primary partner and all of a sudden they move into the primary status, a lot of times whatever their behaviors are, will get worse, because now you need them more. Right? You know, and so if you read hold me tight by Sue Johnson, which is through more of an monogamous lens, she talks about how she doesn’t use this language, this attachment solid language, but she talks about how one of the most quintessential dynamics in any relationship, regardless of model is that person that gets bigger and the other person that pulls away, and it’s a chicken or the egg scenario, but she talks about how the person that gets bigger, you know, has to dial it down, and the person that pulls away has to come forward. And that doesn’t happen, that the relationship will probably break up. Right, you know, yeah. And then the last type is the disorganized type. That’s the type that tends to have the worst backstory, there’s a lot, a lot of times a lot of abuse, a lot of neglect, abandonment, that sort of thing in the way they engage in relationships is way more chaotic. And you can imagine how that might be challenging with a non monogamy that pokes that our attachment injuries more than monogamy does, right? You know, but when you’re any of these types, that doesn’t mean that you can’t do non monogamy, it just means it will be harder for you. And it probably will mean that you might need especially if you’re an anxious type or disorganized if you’re going to need something that’s way more simple, way more, you’re probably going to need a more hierarchical model not not for sure, but just basically whatever doesn’t stress you out is more what you need. Right? I mean, what your so with disorganized attachment, there’s a lot of nervous system dysregulation and so if you’re, if you’re in these relationships hard enough, often with like one primary one person that you’re in a relationship with feeling safe and secure if you have that attachment style and so then you need to have someone who’s like, really skillful, if you’re gonna step into like someone who’s experienced non monogamy before you step into that rather than like trying to initiate it with someone who has no practice with like, doesn’t know what boundaries are and doesn’t know how to communicate with me. Exactly, exactly. You know, and if we skip from disorganized attachment style to like, say borderline personality disorder, which is another thing I talked about in the book is like mood disorders and personality disorders and how they light up you know how they show up with a non monogamy you know, if you think about what borderline personality disorder, it’s kind of like that anxious ambivalent, and this the avoidant in one human, you know, where there, they are like a tidal wave. And the more extreme the borderline personality disorder is, the more that tidal wave is pushing in and out where when they come forward, they’re idealizing you and making you in the sexes, amazing, like all the things, and then when they pull back, you know, it can just, you know, feel like you’ve been knocked off a pedestal with a samurai sword and you’re on the ground, you know, it can just be incredibly painful either because of how hard they withdraw, or because they lash out, etc, and so on when it gets to be really extreme symptoms. Now,

a lot of people would say, it’s crazy talk to think about a borderline personality disorder be non monogamous. But if they just had borderline symptoms, and they’re just like, Baby, like, on the baby Berlin level, you know, it’s just like, light symptoms, then I would argue that non monogamy with benevolent partners can create a safety net. So if one person pulls away, or if God forbid, someone died or something like that, you would still have the safety net of at least one other partner that would be there for you. And that’s what, you know, folks with disorganized style or borderline need. It’s a safety net. So right, right, that that’s that the core fear is being abandoned. And that’s the operating principle. It’s like, what you want the most and what you also fear, right? Like you fear loss, and then you’re actually unfortunately, it’s that self fulfilling prophecy of pushing someone away if it’s a Rachel style, but um, that the what you’re pointing to is really important, which is, okay, so if you have multiple partners and something isn’t working with one person, you have the safety and the sense of connection with another person if you have another partner, assuming you’ve chosen Well, yes, yes. And that’s a that’s a really tricky one when you have a history of trauma and tendency to reenact and repeat past you know, past one

wounds or paths, you know, being attracted to? To what’s familiar, right? Oh, I mean, yeah, but it’s possibly it’s like we haven’t resolved or attachment injuries, we tend to be patterned. And it’s hard for us not to choose someone who in some way recapitulates that but you have to keep in mind one people with non monogamy, non monogamous relationships, do it. There are people with massive trauma histories that choose benevolent, like to benevolent partners that are just so loving and kind and wonderful. And that is part not the totality because you can’t you can’t think of your partners as is healing all things, but that is part of their healing journey. So that does happen, you know. So that’s one thing to keep in mind. When you think about it, it’s like your, your duck. On one hand, you could be doubling your chances. If you’re if you have multiple partners, like at least maybe one of them, you have a 5050 chance of picking someone who’s, who is more supportive or securely attached versus if you’re in, you know, a monogamous relationship. The reality is there are plenty of people who are borderline or have other different differ dealing with other mood disorders or issues that, you know, that have partners that are not meeting their needs around attachment and aren’t necessarily creating safety. So it’s it’s doesn’t honestly, it doesn’t really matter in one way, right? Whether it’s monogamous or non monogamous, like, your stuff is going to be brought up often.

In whatever relationship? You know, I think it depends. I mean, for me, personally, I had an 11 year relationship before I had a 13 year relationship. And in that 11 year relationship in comparison, it felt like a cryogenic state, because Because monogamy doesn’t poke at your unresolved attachment injuries, so much can end up just being dormant, just like not doesn’t even reach consciousness, whereas within non monogamy, that’s the blessing and the curse, is that it will uproot everything that’s unresolved. Yeah. And you have that opportunity for massive growth. Yeah, although it can be painful, there’s this chance for, you know, really expedited growth, like when I first became non monogamous, I felt like I

in three months, it felt like a five year relationship. Yeah. I don’t know if you subscribe to this at all. But one of the ways that I think of from a spiritual perspective, I think of when you have sex with someone you ignite any kind of past lives or like, if you believe in the multiverse, that your karma is ignited, like there can be that familiarity with someone who you have really intense sexual chemistry with.

And then as soon as the sex occurs, like things get real, can get really intense, and the emotional attachment stuff gets, you know, all those attachment wounds get ignited. And it may think about doing that with multiple people. At the same time, that’s like a blender.

of intense Yeah, yeah. Again, it’s that can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you choose. And, you know, see, that’s hard to say it’s hard. Not sure. You know, I think sometimes when I mean, firstly, in my personal life, when I think about some of the, you know, I’ve had a wide range of lovers in my life, and, and some of the folks that were the most injured, I think, in some way still helped me grow tremendously. You know, all of that is hard to say. It’s not as I don’t think that we should think that if we have, you know, sex with someone with a trauma history, that somehow we’re going to end up being worse for it like that their energy or something is going to blend in a way that’s going to make things like set us back. But I think I hear you that all that energy mixing it is something to watch and be aware of. Yeah, let me just say that that’s not what I meant when I said that I believe that most of us have trauma histories. And it’s not necessarily that there’s a focus and external any kind of external blame of you know,

that someone’s history is dependent on how they can operate in a relationship at all. That’s that’s not what I meant, because different people have totally different skill levels and have worked out their stuff and I’m meaning not from from this plane just from like a more of a spiritual lens working with karma and that may not fit for a lot of people and so we can just throw that out the window but that there’s something that can be inexplicably intensified with certain people. Yes, and even a highly securely attached individual can ignite something in you. That’s super intense. And that night for me, I noticed and I’ll just speak

For myself, that’d be it’s once sex occurs. It’s not, it’s like, you know, that there’s a different level of ease. And then when you add is known, and of course I do have a sexual trauma history, etc. But

that it’s the sex, often that complicates and intensifies the motions, and you have to be ready and willing to work with the blessing or the curse.

And not just not just really hot sex, right? Not just like, great head or something, but like, Okay, let you know. Yeah, yeah, and sometimes it can also light up when we move in with someone or we marry, maybe for a different reason, which is, I think a lot of people like, especially if you’re like an over giver in a relationship, you think, well, I’ll just, you know, heal this person with my love. And the more I love them, the more they’ll heal. And so they move in together, they get married, but maybe that person that you’re talking about, like the person that’s injured, doesn’t have the positive aspect tolerance for all that yumminess. So then they start swinging harder. And sometimes things

get, you know, get more difficult when you move in, or maybe you marry someone, you know. So it’s interesting to look at that, you know, sometimes we don’t start to project our backstory on to the partner until we move in, you know, like, everything is amplified that? Yes, well, there’s, I mean, what you’re touching on? Well, I also want to make a bookmark, because I really want you to define and explain positive effect tolerance. But what you’re also highlighting is, is boundaries, and and perhaps whatever your history was around being controlled, or ownership or safety in your home, if you suddenly move into a home with someone and you your home was not like you didn’t feel like you were at control in your own home growing up. I mean, all that stuff starts to come forward. Or, you know, there’s lots of reasons why marriage, like a contract with another person or moving in would bring up a bunch of stuff for you. Yeah, I think that’s super important for people to know, because a lot of times when I’m working with couples, they’ll say, Well, clearly, it’s your fault, because I’m good with all my friends. And I’m like, Okay, well, it’s just a whole different ballgame, ballgame when you’re living with someone or you’re married with. So you cannot compare how your dynamic is with your friends, person you’re living with and that is supposed to love you and you’re supposed to love. Right, right. Right. Well, and and so then

there’s, there’s a communication, like a ways of navigating communications and ways of navigating triggers that that you’ve come up with. Do you want to share some about that? Sure. Absolutely. So okay, so within non monogamy as sometimes we get triggered more often. And so, you know, when it’s important to, let’s give an example of when we get triggered, so like imagine two people are at a non monogamous party. Can you give me two names? Just scenario waiting, Sarah and David. Okay. Sarah, David, Sarah and David are at a play party. It’s Sarah’s birthday.

And they go to this party, they’re in the common room. They’re not where everybody’s playing. They’re in the common room where everyone’s socially socializing. And David is just flirting with everybody just flirting with everybody. And normally, Sarah’s not a jealous person. They are non monogamous, but it’s like, it’s a freakin birthday, right? So she’s getting creepy, but she doesn’t want to make a scene. She doesn’t want to be drama. And so she’s just holding it inside getting mad, or she’s getting mad, or finally they leave. And they just get into this massive fight on the way, you know, on the way home. In the morning, she wakes up, she’s been going to therapy, let’s let’s just say she’s been going to therapy with me. So I’ve been there a few things. Yeah. You know, and so she wakes up, she’s she’s able to think back on the night before and get in touch with what she was experiencing. And she knows that she needs to look and see like, does she is he What is his responsibility in it? And do I have any responsibility in that? Now let the listener who was listening to me say this would might be like, What the hell he was being a jerk. Just bear with me for a second. Okay, so then Sarah just gets in touch with just kind of the edge of what she was feeling last night. She remembers what she felt in her body and now she can feel it in the moment just just a little bit. You know, the anxiety, the anger, feeling betrayed. She can notice that she feels it in her heart like her heart areas tense her face feels hot.

And once she’s in touch in touch with it somatically. And emotionally, she bridges back to the first or worse memory that is emotionally similar. And she remembers a time she was at a gas station. Her family were about to go on a family vacation. And they literally drove off her mom, dad and her sister drove off leaving her at the gas station, and she can see them. And she could see they’re howling, laughing. She knows where they’re laughing, because they’re, they’re laughing at something Her sister said again, they’re always favoring her, she’s always there. She’s always the one in the spotlight. And she’s like, Oh, that’s what’s getting triggered. Like, that was a huge thing across my childhood. Okay, so that’s my responsibility in this is to maybe get some therapy or somehow do some work to heal all all of those injuries related to her sibling. Okay, now she can switch to David. Mm hmm. Now, David was clearly not thinking about her and being considerate. So at that point, she can think about what she wants to ask of David, for future parties, or, you know, just, she may not want to go to another party, but then that she might be catastrophizing, and a lot of people catastrophize. And they go, Well, I just can’t do non monogamy when you know, when really, they just need to dial it down. And realize that that something happened in the moment that triggered her. And she might be able to say to David, next time we go to a party, can you just check in on me more? Or can you hold my hand, she might be able to get a bid and ask and then he’s gonna have his opinion, too. And they’re gonna work it out. Right? Yeah. So there’s, there’s that part of just locating those aspects. And then there’s also a communication model that I came up with it very much is influenced by Harville Hendricks, a Lago dialogue. It also is informed by somatic work and little bit of Buddhist compassionate at the end, it’s called Epic. A is emotional piece, the empathizing piece, P is the physical piece, the grounding somatic piece, I is the intellectual piece, the validating piece, and C is the compassion piece. And that is kind of like the compassion and action piece. So when we go through it, just keep in mind, this is not necessarily sequential, the P part, the grounding piece can be done throughout. So before, during, and after. So if you have two people, again, we can stick with Sarah and David, you know, and let’s say they’ve been in therapy with me, so they know this model. And David might be able to say to her, you know, when they start talking, okay, even before we start Prosit, processing, what happened last night, I can see between your eyebrows are a little bit scrunched, I can see your shoulders are lifted. Is there anything that I can do?

I just want to make sure that we’re both grounded before we even get started. And she might say, you know, can you just put your hand on my knee? Or she might even say, can we go to the bed? And can you spoon me while I talk to you?

Let’s say they go to the bedroom. So now he’s spooning our.

And he knows that he will eventually get the emotional Talking Stick. But right now he’s just staying with her and going through the epic model. And he, she might say, her emotional piece, the E. You know, I just really felt hurt and sad and anxious. And he’s going to reflect that back until she feels seen and heard. If he starts to sense tense tension in her body, or in his own, he might say something. He might if he gets tense himself, he might say Can we can we do some deep breathing together? Let’s do five deep breaths. Or he might say I’m feeling you tense up again. Is there anything you need? Can you can you just put my head while you hold me? Yeah, I’ll do that. Okay, so now we’re moving to the I write is the intellectual piece is the validating piece. So he might say,

I can intellectually understand why you were upset. It was your birthday, you’re not usually jealous. It just sounds like you need a little bit of more attention. And I just got caught up.

You know? Yeah. Is that

does that does that help you feel validated? Does that help you feel that I intellectually get it? She might just say yes, or she might add a little bit to it. And he might and they might go through it a little bit more. Once she feels empathized with and validated, then there’s a compassion piece a compassionate action. And he might say is there anything else that would help? No, and she might say a few more things that she would like to see in the future. And and then they might wrap it up? Is there any thing we want to do just to wrap this up? I think I just want to turn over and give you a big hug because

I’ve never had a conversation that made me feel so held and grounded before. You know, obviously, this is an ideal. Yeah. But that’s important because a lot of people don’t have models for ideal. So it’s like, often as a therapist, right, you translate, and you say something you’re like, when you said, this is what I, you know, maybe this is what this is what I heard underneath how you said it, and then the partner will usually say, Yes, that’s what I meant, right? And then we need, we all need that modeling. Right? And all I will say is, even if you do a little bit of your life will get better. Yeah, and a lot of the pieces of the epic model it you don’t, you can use it in all kinds of areas of your life. Like if you’re at gal sons, and some of these bagging your groceries and you know, and you just use, they say, How are you doing? Or you say, how are they doing? And you actually empathize or validate them in some way? Yes. Like, everyone will like you better everything and your life will go better if you walk through life using even parts of this model. Yes. 100%. You just outed where you live, are you in LA, we’re skilled.

Gelson from my skull. So what I also heard in your, in the description that you gave some of the things that if they were in therapy with you that you would have taught them so reflective listening, which is this Harville Hendricks is thing so people out there can like, you know, go on YouTube or get get the couple dial a couples dialogue book or work with that, and then attunement, right. So he had to be trained and really seeing her in order to notice her scrunched face and upturned shoulders, right. So there had to be some somatic awareness and paying attention versus so often when you see your partner upset, there could already be, you know, the part of your brain your amygdala is already triggered and sensing like, Oh, here’s a fight. And then already there’s a rebuttal forming rather than being really present, and letting the person like when you actually see someone, there’s already a tiny bit of de escalation, right. It’s like, all right, oh, this person is actually here with me and they’re present. And then the other thing that was important that I heard in that was their skill level in being able to request physical touch or something that felt good to them, right. So knowing does your person want touch? Or do they want space? And what’s going to help them feel safe in that moment? Absolutely. In some people, I mean, the thing is, we want to have these conversations, and we want to take care of ourselves before it gets to the point where we’re just yelling Don’t touch me, you know? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, and that also goes back to doing a proper time out. And you know, most people, as you said, most people just immediately what I call a lawyer up, it’s almost like they have an invisible little paralegal next to them. It’s like two lawyers like fighting it out. Most people that first come to me, and then also, most folks don’t know how to do a proper timeout. What they do instead is they’re like, Screw you, and they stomp out right. Where as you know, in in that previous episode that you recently had with Marky kind of touched on it. And I’ll just say it’s so important because there’s so many people that when they’re in an argument, the other person blocks the door, when they’re trying to leave. Usually most people are not leaving because they’re disrespecting you. They’re leaving because they’re trying to manage their body. Right, you know, and so if you’re able to say, look, I’m not disrespecting you, I’m not disrespecting the conversation. I care about you. I love you all come back, and 510 minutes back, again, can be a game changer that allows people to regulate their body. Yeah. And then the other thing it that is important to highlight is when you were describing Sara’s experience at the sex party, and you were naming different feelings that were arising for her, that one of the things you talk about in your book is, is you know, jealousy has this big umbrella that all these other emotions, these complex emotions are living underneath. And we tend to kind of reduce things to You’re just jealous. And it’s like, oh, well wait a second, there’s there’s disrespect. There’s it, you know, and all these other things. And so if you want to share some about that, that would be really helpful. Sure, I mean, one of the one thing that I know about couples is especially they’ve been with each other for a while, and then they use a couple language even though I work with non monogamous clients because it comes to me even though they have quads and all kinds of configurations out there. So I tend to use that language they know how to shut the other person down. And so one of the best ways to shut a non monogamous person down is say You’re just jealous because it from an assent sense of their own view of their own character, how they view themselves, they don’t want to view themselves as that person right. And so you’ll watch you know, I’ve often watched the person that’s being told that just crumble

Like physically, they just crumbled shoulders down, looking at their feet, conversation stops, and I have to stop them and go, Okay, first off, let’s unpack that. Let’s find out if you’re even jealous. And then what’s the what’s inside your jealousy? Right? And there is a lot of times when actually what’s happened is that they feel disrespected. You know, like, like, if we go back to Sarah and Dave, at that party, she wasn’t necessarily feeling she was feeling a little bit jealous, because we discovered the thing with our sister, right. But then she was also concurrently feeling disrespected, because it’s her birthday. And she felt like she should be the belle of the ball, then you should be focused on her. Even if they’re being a little flirty with other people, there should be more of a fear feeling that we’re doing it together or that he’s with her a little bit more prioritize cherished, you know, right, you know, one of the things anticipating that and it could be that Sarah assumes it’s a given, it’s my birthday, you should know, like, I’m the priority, but then those agreements that could have been made in advance, right, like, there could have been right, this is what I need, I need to feel super special. And if there’s that was with the sister, which was like, I was never I didn’t, you know, her her light out shown mine. You know, and if hope it may be that’s, it’s early on in their relationship, and that’s the first time that wound has has come up, right. But it’s, yeah, go ahead. I’ve seen some people that are non monogamous, very compassionate, and patient with that person. Mm hmm. I’ve seen other people in with a non monogamy say not my circus, not my monkeys, you need to like work on your stuff, I don’t need to be pulled into that, you know, I would say we need to do a little bit of balance. You know, it’s like people do need to take responsibility for healing. But we also need to be compassionate of our partner and see how we can adapt in order to have the best non monogamous relationship or or monogamous relationship that we can have. And also, I’d say for the person that does notice, like she did about her sister, you do need to take responsibility for your part in it, right, because sometimes someone who’s injured, will kind of commandeer the non monogamous relationship where they end up having more partners, more lovers, and the person that has less trauma is walking on eggshells, they sometimes are even just monogamous to the non monogamous person, even though they’re non monogamous to, in an effort to take care of the person that’s traumatized. I tell, I’ve totally seen that. And I’ve, you know, I’ve even seen that with a client who’s also had a lot of trauma in their background, but there’s so much the dynamic, the power dynamic in his family was like, you don’t, don’t get any needs, and I can’t upset mom. And so that then plays out and to the point where there’s so much control, and like, you can’t take that person, you can’t take that person, you can’t take that person rather than so that instead of it just being needs, it becomes a, you know, like landmines and a certain level of manipulation, like there’s a fine line where it starts to go into that and took like controlling behavior, rather than, well, these are my needs, you know, like that, rather than these are my needs, and how can we negotiate and, and meet in the middle there and find enough safety. And on that note, let’s just at least briefly note that when you have someone with a lot of trauma, and you combine that with misogyny, or you combine that with narcissism and entitlement, that that will show up different than somebody who has a trauma history, but it’s more of an over giver, yes. You know, or, and then the third type, of course, is someone with a trauma history that’s worked on themselves and is moving towards a secure attachment style, right? Totally, all three types can show up very different. And a lot of times when I hear people talk about things with a non monogamy or just out in the world, they don’t even do that simple subdivision. You know, like a lot of therapists or thought leaders, they talk about their other partners as if all these other partners, you know, they’re that you have chosen a benevolent partner, lot times it’s not the case. Sometimes you have a partner that’s, like, if you go with somebody with a trauma history, who also has misogyny and self entitlement, it very much might show up, like you said, right now, the other thing that that I’m thinking about that was in your book, that’s really important to note here is these these different styles of how a conversation can get shut down. Right? And so, you know, one is shame, right? So one is the entitlement and the sense of like, you know, like, that’s your problem. That’s not mine, like you’re the one who’s jealous. And but then the other side is like, Oh, my God, I’m so bad. I did it wrong. And then they collapse in crying and tears. If you express a boundary or you’re angry in some way, and then they hijacked the conversation, you know, right.

Yes, that happens a lot where somebody’s trying, you know, they’re holding the emotional talking sick. And then when the person that’s supposed to be there, you know, supposed to be empathizing, validating, helping you stay grounded. Instead, they grab that emotional Talking Stick, go into a shame spiral, and now the person that’s hurting is taken care of, though. Hmm, yeah. Yeah, for problematic, right? So these it’s a tricky thing, I think the same, it’s an abuse of power, maybe an extreme way to say it, we can take the slider and put it down. It’s not like someone’s basically hitting someone. But when there’s unconscious uses of it’s like, oh, this is the way that I know how to have any power or not even consciously, right? When you go into shame. It’s like, Oh, my God, I feel so powerless to be able to make you feel better in this moment, that I’m filled with shame. But it’s a very subtle form of taking the power away when you can’t be present with another person’s experience and be able to ground and listen. Right? Yeah. And I think almost always, yeah. Like, if you say that to the person going through the shame spiral, they just be like, white, I’m trying to give them what they want. I’m trying to show them like going into a shame spiral where it’s not just I did something bad, but I’m inherently bad is self flagellating myself, I give you what you want, right? You know what it’s like, in the person that might hear that. It’s just like, that’s not what I want. I want you to be present with me. And empathize and validate me. I’m not looking for you to hate yourself as a human. Yeah, like, I, I love you so much. I can see how bad I am. You know, like, that, I feel? Yeah, yeah. And, and so, you know, I’ve, I’ve had the experience of having clients once I’m able to help them see that habit, that they can develop the ability to self to self regulate, to be able to calm themselves enough to create room for their person. Right. And, and so, you know, this brings us to another topic, I feel like there’s, there’s so much in your book that I really, I really want the listeners to read your book. Thank you. And the topic of boundaries. It’s such a huge one. I mean, we barely touch the surface of jealousy. So everyone, you’re going to have to read the book and get into how, you know, all the sub emotions inside that topic. But so boundaries, you know, we need to know how to have boundaries with ourself, as well as others when we have complex relationships or any relationships. Right. Right. You want to speak some to the importance of embodied boundaries in non monogamy?

Yes, yes. So embodied boundaries, like I, yeah, you can speak to it in any way you want. I see that I always think of the value and importance of an embodied boundary versus just Yeah, go. So let’s, let’s just see where it goes. Yes. So a lot of times when I’ve done public speaking, and it’s, it’s the type of public speaking where people just ask me questions. I’m not coming in with a speech, a lot of times people will just say, so what does non monogamy look like? Yeah, and what are the right boundaries and the wrong boundaries, and they just want something that’s like prepackaged. And I’ll just say, you know, it’s custom made, it’s like a custom made dress or suit, like, what is your dress or your suit look like? And then they’ll give me the scrunchie face, you know, like the, you know, this, this is just stressed face, because they want some kind of cookie cutter template, right? Yes. And this is the thing also, when you go down the non monogamy road, you know, most people think they know what, how they’re going to feel before they do things. And a lot of times when two people go to their first party, one person will say, I’m going to be the jealous one and other person’s like, I’m going to be the one skipping like Tigger doing backflips down the road to non monogamy. And then they go to that first party and they find out it’s the flip side, you know, there’s, you know, for the jealous one is actually like, this is freaking amazing. I love this. And, you know, another person’s like, I thought I’d have all these lovers and everyone was ignoring me and about world, you know, you know, so this is a thing, as you’re developing boundaries, it needs to be a flexible model, it needs to be a form reduction model, and it’s going to shift and change over time. If you have the kind of partner that forgets things, or twist things or whatever, it’s really good to have it written down with like little dates of when you’ve amended it. And obviously, you can beat it over their head. But just so that if you get into a fight, like oftentimes people do where they’re like, we agreed to this and another version is like, that is not where we agreed to, you know, like people get into those kind of arguments. Yes, if you haven’t kind of written down and you change it over time. That’s super helpful. And again, with the embodied piece, this is what I’d say So oftentimes, people will say yes, when it’s not a true Yes, a good way to know what you need, like say if your partner says Do you mind if I you know, Dave says to Sarah

Well, let’s switch it up because Sarah’s had a hard enough time. Right? Yeah. Come on, Dave. Yeah. So Sarah says, Dave, can I go out with give me a third name, please, Sharon. Sharon. So do you have any feelings about me going into sleeping with Sharon?

And at first, he gives his logical response. And so she goes and sleeps with Sharon. She comes back the next day, the next morning, and he’s just pissy and she can tell. And he’s stomping around the house. And she’s like, What the hell you said you didn’t have any issues with this. And a fight ensues. Now let’s do a redo. And Sara says today, do you mind if I sleep with Sharon, and this time, he notices a little knife drop in his gut. And he says, You know what, I’m having a reaction in my body to this, I don’t know what it means gonna get back to you in an hour or a day. And she’s like, sure. He goes off. He thinks about a realize as he gets in touch with that knife drop, and, and then he’s feeling the emotions, like the sadness. And when he gets in touch with the body and the emotions, then it comes up to his head. And he’s like, oh, right, are anniversaries in two weeks or? Right? She’s never spent the night maybe she could come back earlier or whatever. And then he can ask. And then again, there’s gonna be a conversation. And it may be that Sarah goes and talks to Sharon, and there’s a conversation because all these people are humans, and they all need to be respected. And then they come up with something that they can all agree on and feel good about. And then it goes way better when she comes home the next day, and they’re having breakfast together. Right. Right. And that’s, you know, in that moment, if he had immediately said, Yes, there’s a way that he’s crossing his own boundary, right, some part of him that he may not be conscious of, because he if his body is numb, he doesn’t have access to that, right? Or if that young part of him that’s like, oh, I actually have this, this need to have her come home by a certain time. Is that a conversation we can then have? And then we can discuss that? And so there’s that that delicate dance of LIS of always listening for? Where do I or? Or if you if maybe he said he makes the request for her to come home by a certain time. And then she doesn’t. It’s not just a crossing of his boundary if she stays out all night, but also the boundary of her own integrity if she agrees to something and then stays out all night, right. So there’s this thing of like, how do we

have respect for ourselves? How do we have respect for the people that we’re in relationship to? Maybe there’s even a moment where she’s like, Oh, my gosh, I really, really want to stay the night with Sharon, is that a conversation that they can even have? Or is that just going to be? It’s not worth it to risk that with, you know, with Dave, right? I mean, I mean, that’s, it gets, it gets complicated, right? And I am just here as a therapist to help people negotiate these things. I am not here to tell you what to do, or anything like that. So yeah, it gets it gets complicated sometimes. And you know, like Reid Mihalko says, state your species and he’s not just saying, if your non monogamous date and other non monogamous person, it goes deeper, like Eliza finds, two people will fall in love with each other, and they’re like, great, we’re both non monogamous. But this person is more like a swing lifestyle person that just wants to be sexually non monogamous, but romantically monogamous. And then this person is Full Tilt poly and wants to be deeply in love with many people, and they are constantly fighting. Mm hmm. And for the listeners, the distinctions between all these things, which are nicely laid out at the beginning of the book, because, yeah, like there’s there’s important distinctions there. And I think that just like there are assumptions inside of monogamous relationships, like someone who’s like, Oh, I’m monogamous. And I want a relationship to one person that means I want companion to ride bikes with into another person, that means I want to have babies with someone. And people are assuming that people want the same thing, that relationship means the same thing to the other person. Right. And I think especially with non monogamy, there can be that assumption. And a lot of couples, you know, whether they have been monogamous for 15 years, and then they decided we’re going to open up the relationship, and they’re like, We can do this. It’ll be easy. We’re good at raising the kids together, paying taxes together, this will be easy, and they just launch into it with breakneck, breakneck speed and then I’m limping into my office, or the couple that has been in the swing lifestyle. Yeah. And then they’re like, we’re gonna, we’re gonna switch over to being more poly and it’s gonna be easy because we’ve been swingers for 10 years, the same thing. They come limping into my office because it’s just another. It’s a whole nother ballgame. A lot of times. I mean, some people are able to do it easily. They’re splitting

You have people, the more emotional intelligence you have, the more you’re going to be able to pull this off. Right. But I think one of the ingredients to pulling this off is being humble and realizing that this can be challenging. Yeah, you know, one of the things I like to eat, there’s just a line in your book that was something like a surfer had a broken leg, you wouldn’t expect himself to be able to get up and surf. Right? And just thinking about, you know, the amount of patience, attunement, compassion, communication skills, all listening, all of that that is needed

to navigate relationships successfully. Right, right. And some people don’t go into non monogamy with that intention. You know, like, if you listen to the Amory podcast, it’s all about that kind of thing. Like, she even talks about non monogamy being a spiritual journey, right? And then, but then you’ve got folks going into non monogamy where maybe they’re narcissistic and entitled, and they’re hoping that non monogamy will be their narcissistic supply source.

I would love to keep going, and we’re gonna, we’re gonna start to wrap things up, is there is there anything else that you want to make sure to share with the listeners around no keys to having a non monogamous relationship be sustainable or anything else before we move towards a guided exercise?

Well, you know, as we go into the guided exercise, you know, just to lead into that, I think having a gratitude practice is important. Because, you know, like, if you read Stan Atkins book wired for love, he talks about how most of us are just kind of wired for anxiety, you know, and there’s, let’s face it, a lot of the anxious folks are the ones that survived because they didn’t get hit, they didn’t get eaten by the bear or whatever they ran first, you know, that sort of thing. And so we’ve got a lot of folks in this world, either with trauma or you know, they have an anxious personality. And so what ends up happening, if that’s the case, it gets projected into our relationship where we’re, we’re scanning for what’s wrong in the relationship outside in the world, we scan for what’s dangerous, so dangerous, so we don’t get eaten by the bear. But in the relationship, that scanning for danger translates to being hyper critical of ourselves and our partners. And that is the opposite of scanning for love, like scanning for what’s right. And so

having a gratitude practice, and I’m not talking about having 10 things on your refrigerator that you forgot to look at, I’m talking about all day long every day, not just with your partner, but as you negotiate your life. But let’s talk about our partner where, you know, you might even rigid with a tantric exercise where maybe you get seated on your bed, maybe you wrap your legs around your partner, hand on heart, hand on heart.

And just say some of the things that you’re grateful for, when I connect to you, the fact that you’re so creative, and the fact that we can imagine things together

just fills me with so much love. I’ve always wanted that in a partner, and I have that with you. And when I connect with that, I can feel it in my heart. And as I talk about my heart, I can feel that love that positive, yummy warmth, expanding out in my body, all the way down to my toes, and my toes are tingling.

I’m so grateful for you. And then the other person can go and you can go back and forth in that invite. So a lot of people do a gratitude practice, that is not embodied, right? You know, but you can connect the gratitude practice to your body, and you can connect it to your partner. Yeah, yeah. And then letting someone know, what the visceral experience in your body is, like the impact that they have. Right, the net and it can amplify whatever feelings of gratitude they have inside of them. And then that just kind of builds there can be a real sweetness and it also it anchors it in their memory, right? When you when you describe with your senses, what your experience of gratitude is to your person. Yeah, and this can be brought into like for me, sometimes I just go out onto my porch and I with my three kitties, and I just say thank you to the trees and all these things. And I notice where I feel it in my body. You know, there’s all these different ways that you can pair your gratitude. Yeah, with somatic practice, beautiful. And this can translate to sex to Yeah, where when you’re having sex with your partner and they’re doing something good. You can kind of let them know where you’re feeling that you

I mean us in your body, and it will probably build. Absolutely and, and along those lines, the value of I mean, not just it, it in, it makes you more receptive and enjoy your life in general more when you have that kind of a practice. And then there’s something very specific, there’s a really specific reason in your book that you note about positive aspects tolerance, right? If you Google positive ethnic tolerance, you might see different definitions when I use that this is what I mean by it is that we all have a tolerance level for the yumminess of life. And it’s not, it’s not all across the board, like when you might have a high tolerance for someone telling you that you’re a boss bitch at your job. And I mean that in a positive way, you know, like, they, you just gotta go in on right. But if somebody compliments you on your appearance, or something like that, it may feel like an itchy sweater that you want to throw across the room. So we can scan or life and notice where our positive aspect tolerance is weak. And we can literally lean into that like for me, when I go to agape here in Los Angeles, and that is such a loving community, and they will all turn around and just talk to new members right to you like, I would the first few times I went there, I would just cry, like in a good way. Like I was just overwhelmed with the yumminess of this loving community. And so I was like, Oh, I have to go more because it’s hitting a positive aspect tolerance wall for me. So anywhere where I feel that I’ll go back more until I build that it’s like building a muscle and then yeah, yeah, I’ll lean into that. So with a non monogamy just think about that, if if a compliment feels like an itchy sweater that you want to throw across the room, then how are you going to tolerate the big fake love from one person, let alone from several people. Right. And so building positive effect tolerance is crucial to being successful within non monogamy. Even if you’re just in the swing lifestyle, because let’s face it, you’re gonna go into a party and people that are non monogamous tend to be warmer, they’re going to compliment you a lot, they’re going to want to hug you a lot more than the general public. Yeah. And if you don’t have a tolerance for that, even the swing lifestyle is going to potentially send you into overwhelm. And when you go into overwhelm, when something is, is past your limit, sometimes it can be as kind of sweet as what happens to me at a golf A, but other times, it can make someone swing towards abandoning lashing out, like all these negative things. So it’s really important to be aware of it. Yeah, learn how to build it and learn to notice and be honest when it’s when you’re getting triggered. Yeah, 20 years ago, I saw I used to primarily date women and and I started date a man and he said something that was so straight in my mind, he’s like, I just want to see where you get to treat you like a princess and massage your feet. And at the time, I was horrified. And I didn’t grow up with a dad. And so my, what I call my love light, like my capacity to have someone’s love light shine on me. I needed a tiny aperture. Right. So to have that much focus on me was just made me cringe like that, like the itchy sweater example. Yes. And now I’m like, Yes. Anybody want to massage my feet? Yes, yeah. So it can change. And yeah, it takes the practice of recognizing what you want to build and what you want to be able to receive.

Right? And a lot of people when I first tell them this, yeah, it’s kind of mind. They’re like, why would it be hard for me to experience yumminess? And then when they sit with it, they’re like, oh, shit, I do have a hard time taking him yumminess you know? Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Feels counterintuitive at first and then all of a sudden, it feels like they’re realizing something that they wish they knew about when they were five. Totally, there’s such a nuance to pleasure. And and where can people find you? What’s your social media and people want to find out more about you? Well, my website is just my name, Kate laurie.com. So that’s L O R E.

And then with social media, Instagram, and tick tock is just open deeply with Kate Laurie.

Honestly, if you just put in calleary, I should pop up. But with Tiktok and Instagram, it’s open deeply with Kate Laurie. Great. Thank you so much. That’s so good. Getting to know you. Yeah, I feel the same. I love your podcast. I think you’re doing amazing work. And I’m I’m happy to get to know you a little bit. Thank you so much. This has been laid up in podcast with your host Charna caselle. Please join us again next week. If this show feels beneficial, we’d love

If you please rate and review it and share it with your friends so others can find us. If you have additional questions around sex and trauma you can submit them at Charna cosell.com Follow me at laid open podcast on Instagram and Facebook and read more about my work at the passionate life.org Until next time, love and more love and hoping that some of these tools help you in your own healing. Thank you

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© 2022 By Charna Cassell, LMFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFC 51238.

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