“This can’t be right,” I mutter to myself.

The man across from me glances up in surprise from his double latte and Time Out magazine.

I cast him an apologetic look — one that hopefully says, “No, I’m not crazy. Just an out of work, single actress here for the cheap hot cocoa and free Wi-Fi.”

I glance down at the list I’ve just made in my boredom at a café on 45th and 9th:

NAME             TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP                            WHY IT ENDED

Nick                 Dating: 2.5 years                                               We were 18

Jason               Dating: 6 months                                              He was a stalker crazy man

Don                 Dating: 2.5 years                                                I wasn’t attracted to him

Ken                 Dating: 2years                                                     He was a condescending jerk who drove me insane

Larry               …                                                                             He didn’t respect me

Eli                    …                                                                             He didn’t respect me

Cliff                 …                                                                              I wasn’t attracted to him

Aaron              Dating: 2 months                                              He was married…surprise!

Ryan               …                                                                             He didn’t respect me

Brian               …                                                                            I wasn’t attracted to him

Tarrell                        …                                                                 I wasn’t attracted to him

Lionel              Dating: 1month                                                I wasn’t attracted to him

Sam                 1 date                                                                     He’s a liar

Daniel             Dating: on and off 4 years                              It’s complicated…

Matt                  Dating: 1 year                                                    He didn’t respect me, he was condescending and he drove me insane…


I put my pen down to breathe. I am in serious need of oxygen here. Seeing all of this in list form makes my bleak situation look even worse. I’m turning 30 next week. 30!

What am I doing with my life? I don’t have a job. My boyfriend broke up with me over the phone a month ago, and I cry every time that song by Gotye, “Somebody That I Used To Know,” comes on the radio….

Last summer, I went through one of the most horrible breakups of my life. No. Scratch that. Itwas the worst breakup of my life. After being friends for six months and dating for almost year, I fell hard.

I had been in long-term relationships before, and I wasn’t naive. Yet, after nine months, I was ready to take the next step.

“Finally,” I told myself. “Finally, I’ve found ‘it!’ I guess sometimes you just know, you know?”

Then I got the phone call: “I can’t do this anymore. Sorry.…”


And, that was that.

My entire world flipped upside-down. I realized I didn’t have a life of my own anymore. I didn’t have any friends of my own. All of “our” friends were now “his” friends. I felt completely out of control. I questioned all of my choices. How could I have envisioned spending my life with someone who was so cold and unfeeling? How could I have trusted him? How could I have possibly thought that he was my friend?

When I was younger, I used to think about life in very broad terms: “I like this person. I don’t like this person… moving on.”

And when it came to my intimate relationships? Well, I just didn’t have time to dissect the intricacies that came along with loving someone. It was very black-or-white for me. Either I loved someone or I didn’t. Easy, right? Not so much….

As the years have gone by, I’ve realized how fortunate I was to have grown up surrounded by loving and committed relationships. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends… I grew up surrounded by people who honored their commitment to stay together. It wasn’t until I went through the dating scene in my 20s that I realized just how difficult it is to maintain a healthy relationship, and not give up.

10 years ago, I was in college and saw the film, When Harry Met Sally, for the first time. I have always been fascinated by relationships, so the interviews of actual couples interspersed throughout the film were more interesting to me than the film itself.

“Someday,” I told myself, “I’m going to take this interview idea and put it on a much larger scale. I am going to shoot a full-length documentary that includes all different types of people, regardless of race, age and sexual orientation! I am going to make a documentary about love.”

After my massively horrible breakup last summer, I finally set out to film my documentary. I was on a quest to understand what love was. I interviewed a variety of individuals including newlyweds, widows, couples who had been married for over 50 years, interracial couples, and same-sex couples. These people shared their stories of how they first met, what their first impressions of one another were and ultimately, why they decided to spend their lives together. These interviews were spun together to become, Me+You: Love & Other Various Emotions.


The interview process was simple. I asked 10 questions and let people talk. Sometimes they would ramble on for hours. Here’s what some of the couples I interviewed had to say:


“There’s no manual for marriage. There’s no manual for raising kids. You have to rely on each other and help yourselves get through things. You’re going to make mistakes. And you’re going to learn how to forgive.”

Lynne and Paul

There are things that we all bring into a relationship. I won’t say “baggage,” but it’s your “stuff” that you’ve accumulated over the course of your life. I’ll just say it: relationships are difficult! So you have to be willing to work and listen and understand.”

Eleanor and Gordon
“You grow and develop separately. It’s inevitable. Maybe every five or ten years, people need to check in with one another. Assess where they are going and if they’re going along together because you make some vows, you know? Sometimes it might be good to look them over once in a while.”
Hilary and JM
“We just accept each other for who we are and focus on all the good in our relationship. As weird and uncomfortable as things sometimes get, the good stuff is so much bigger and better than the bad stuff could ever be. We focus on the good stuff so the bad stuff never becomes big. We move on.”

I think the most beautiful similarity that I saw with every couple was the fact that they accepted one another for who they truly were — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Every couple I interviewed cared enough about the other person in the relationship to work on the relationship when times weren’t perfect. I learned that relationships are hard at times, but if you are willing to put in the work, the end result can be incredibly rewarding.

We are defined by our relationships and by the people we allow into our lives. Whom we choose to spend our time with is indicative of how we feel about ourselves. Whether married, engaged, dating, or even single, relationships mirror our basic needs — we all want to be loved. We long to be accepted by someone who will love us unconditionally, beyond our faults and imperfections.  This is a basic human desire.

This year, I started asking myself, “What does a good relationship mean to me?” I have loved. I have hurt. I have been hurt. I have learned to protect my heart. I have learned to cherish myself. And I have learned to let people go.

I am still searching for the right relationship, but I now know that I am deserving of a loving, healthy relationship. And a year ago, I didn’t think I was. I’ve realized that I don’t want my past relationships to affect my future relationships. And I am starting to leave my baggage behind.


We have all been there. We have all been with that person who brings the “crazy” out in us. We don’t know why we’re acting the way we are, but our actions and decisions are not rational. We are not ourselves. The relationship is explosive. Exciting? Yes. But ultimately, Destructive.

Can this type of relationship still be defined as love? Obviously it is unhealthy…but the love feels real. In fact, because emotions are almost always running high, it can feel more real than “healthy” love.

I recently read this on www.midlovecrisis.com:

“I will never tell someone else that they are not in love or that another person doesn’t love them. I have come to understand that love comes in two forms: healthy and unhealthy. But it’s still love. Unhealthy love tells you that you are not enough, that you will never find anyone else who will love you, that you have put in too much time and energy to find anyone else, that because of something you did, you deserve what is being offered.

Healthy love does not demand what it is not willing to do. Healthy love does not keep tabs on you, berate you, and attempt to control you. Healthy love allows you to feel like you are looking at yourself in the mirror. It allows you to be who you are, to be enough, to be worthy, to be deserving of happiness, and to deserve love, despite what you have done in past relationships, who you have loved, and the choices you have made.” —Kristen Crockett

I never thought of love in terms of “healthy” and “unhealthy.” I suppose I just assumed that the “unhealthy” love wasn’t love. But this makes sense in a way. Unhealthy love is still a form of love. It’s just unhealthy.

So, really, it is a fairly simple decision. And an empowering one: Do you WANT unhealthy love in your life? Do you gain anything from having a person in your life who makes you feel less than?



When you ask most kids what super power they would choose, they usually say, “the ability to fly,” or, “invisibility” or “super strength.” My super power was, and has always been, “to stop time, reverse it, and to fast forward…” I am sure there are repercussions I don’t see, but if I had the choice? That super power would be mine.

The idea that one could stay in a specific moment in time was heaven to me. And the idea that I could go back in time and fix “mistakes” made? Oh, how I loved it!

To this day, my memories, feelings and relationships all seem to run together.  I try to live in the moment and capture each feeling…save them…keep them.  I am a bit obsessed with hanging onto memories, or staying in a specific moment just a little bit longer, not wanting life to continue…

I guess now that I’m thirty (good god, really?) I am starting to think about life just a little bit differently. I still feel like a teenager at times, but my actions and decisions are starting to weigh on me. I long for the days when friendships and relationships seemed simpler.

I constantly look for meaning in my relationships. I wonder if I have made the right choices with what I’ve done, who I’ve been with, who I’ve let go…

Who has let me go…and how I feel about that.

And as I’ve gotten older, I often wonder what it takes to make a relationship WORK. Can one force a relationship to work? And at what point is the “work,” well…too much work?

Throughout the years I have learned that most people will float in and out of your life. They will touch you in some way, and they may even change the way you think about yourself and your relationships, but life happens. People change and ultimately grow.

And sometimes people grow together.

And sometimes they don’t…

But I truly believe that we are defined by our relationships: by the people we interact with and who we allow in our lives. Who we choose to spend our time with is indicative of how we feel about ourselves.

So, how does one make the DECISION to stay in a relationship with another person, whether it be a friendship or an intimate relationship?

Because ultimately, the choice to be with someone, or not, is your own…

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Let’s start a dialogue!



Throughout the interview process for “Me+You,” one topic seemed to surface over and over again: Many couples stated that they loved their partners so much that they “wouldn’t know where they would be without them.”

It is a lovely sentiment…but it caused me to wonder where the fine line between loving someone, and being completely dependent on another person for your own happiness, is. If something were to happen to your partner, or if your partner left you, would you be okay with being alone? How do you find the balance between keeping your relationship in tact while still maintaining your autonomy?

You can learn a lot about codependent relationships in the library, even if you aren’t in the self-help section. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the most famous romantic tale ever written, two star-crossed lovers feel that their relationship is more important than their own lives. And although most codependent relationships don’t end in such tragedy, they do keep people from living their lives to the fullest.

“Codependency, by definition, means making the relationship more important to you than you are to yourself. It is a one sided relationship. And it means you’re trying to make the relationship work with someone else who is not.”  –Tina Tessina, PhD and marriage and family therapist.

Let me be clear: I do not believe any of the couples I interviewed were codependent…otherwise I would not have put them in my book! All of the couples I interviewed stressed the importance of having their own separate lives, interests and friends:

“I think something that keeps our relationship healthy is that we have our own separate lives. I have my own friends that I do things with and he has things that he does. It’s funny, some people at work will say to me, ‘does your husband mind that you’re doing this without him?’ Number one, no he doesn’t mind…and number two? That’s not even a part of our relationship. I don’t need permission to have this other part of my life, and neither does he!” –Jean, 50, married 24 years.

“I didn’t ever feel that you ‘owned’ somebody else just by dating them…I think young girls these days get so attached. Want to get married and do this and that. Why? Just enjoy yourself!” –Patricia, 83, married 46 years to Emmitt, deceased.

“There’s so much insecurity in life. You have to find your strength and your self-esteem. You have to be able to really get a true sense of who you are and find how you fit with this other person.” –Lamont, 49, married 2 years.

There is a great quote by Thich Nhat Hahn that says, “It is not about finding the right person, it is about BEING the right person.” Feeling that you are enough on your own. Having your own separate life, with your own friends and your own hobbies and activities is absolutely necessary in a healthy relationship. After all, the individual that you are is what attracted your partner to you in the first place!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Thanks as always for reading!




From time to time you meet that one couple: “Oh we NEVER fight…” They’re so lovey-dovey that they kind of make you want to kick their teeth in. They just seem PERFECT. If only you could be in a relationship like that.

Well, their relationship may not be as “healthy” as it appears. According to Bonnie Eaker Weil, Ph.D., author of Make Up, Don’t Break Up, “arguing can actually be a sign that your relationship is strong and passionate, and that you are comfortable enough to express negative feelings without fear of losing each other in the process…”

So, how do you trust in your relationship enough to recognize what you have is bigger than what you are arguing about?

The secret to keeping your relationship strong, healthy and passionate is being able to argue “safely.” Of course you and your partner will disagree at times, but developing these skills are absolutely necessary:


Everyone needs to be able to complain from time to time. No one wants to get stuck with doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom all the time. However, criticism and contempt must be eliminated from your communication at all times. This is not easy when you are in the heat of an argument, but pay attention to your words. It sounds corny, but speak your partner the way you would like to be spoken to. Criticism is personal and often includes an “always” or “never” statement. Contempt adds an insult. For example, “You never help out around the house. You’re such a slacker.” If you do slip up and criticize your partner, apologize right away and do not try to justify your contemptuous remark.


“I think a lot of fights escalate because people don’t talk things through. Then everything sits inside of you and grows and festers. That’s when those really wonderful fights happen, where you fight about fourteen things…”

Elizabeth, married 3 years—

The bottom line? If you’re arguing about the dishes, keep it to the dishes. Argue about other issues later. And argue about issues one at a time.


If your partner is struggling or has had a hard day, delay bringing issues up until they are settled. You must value your relationship more than one single issue. If there never seems to be a good time to bring up an issue…well, then you have much bigger issues to address…


It can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that not all issues between you and your partner are resolvable. Recognizing this and respecting this fact is extremely important in a healthy relationship. Holding onto a false hope of resolution may cause more harm than good.

There are really only two ways to deal with issues that seem un-resolvable.

1. You and your partner can come to terms with and accept the fact that you disagree on certain issues. If you are able to do this and not resent your partner at all, kudos to you!

2. There is also help available should you choose to go that route. Many of the couples I interviewed in “Me+You” spoke about the benefits of couples therapy:

“There were times in our relationship where we weren’t communicating with each other, and that leads to really big problems. If you can’t talk about money or other things going on in your relationship that aren’t quite right, that can be big trouble. If you don’t get help; a mediator or somebody outside of the relationship to help you stay on track, that is what leads to a lot of people splitting up.”

Paul, married 26 years—

Sometimes getting an unbiased opinion can help you see things more clearly. Being able to see eye to eye on issues thought to be un-resolvable is key in a good, solid relationship.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you feel you have “healthy” arguments with your partner? How about with your friends and family? Do you try to avoid arguments and confrontation altogether? If so, why?


A little while ago I wrote a blog on forgiveness.  Forgiveness not only heals past relationships, it allows current relationships to thrive. In order to have a healthy relationship with anyone, you MUST learn how to forgive and release negative energy. This allows the law of attraction to bring new love and healthy relationships into your life.

I went into detail about the four types of forgiveness. There are two dysfunctional forms of forgiveness: CHEAP FORGIVENESS and REFUSING TO FORGIVE.  But ACCEPTANCE and GENUINE FORGIVENESS give you, as the violated party, the power to come to terms with your injury so you can move forward into new and rewarding relationships.

Until you truly forgive and release wrongs done to you in the past, you will never be your true self and you will not attract people who are healthy for you.

ACCEPTANCE is the most empowering form of forgiveness. It is based on a personal decision to come to terms with your injury and move on. It allows you to take control of your pain, make sense of your injury and move past that injury. With acceptance, you take the task of healing into your own hands. You empower yourself and make peace with your past.

The difficult part about acceptance however, is that your offender does not take part in the healing process…

My question in the last blog was, “How do you forgive someone who cannot, or will not acknowledge your pain?”

When you REFUSE TO FORGIVE someone, it may seem like you are punishing them. And they very well may deserve to be punished. But ultimately, the only person you end up hurting, is yourself. When you choose ACCEPTANCE over REFUSING TO FORGIVE, you give yourself the power to love yourself completely. You love yourself enough to realize that you are deserving of beautiful and healthy relationships!

If you are looking for love and not finding it, it may seem like you continue to make the same mistakes over and over again with different people. But you may be, without realizing it, revisiting and reliving a past relationship because you have not fully forgiven either yourself or your former partner.

Let’s say for arguments sake that a new person in your life does or says something that reminds you of a friend, family member, or former lover whom you have not forgiven. You begin to transfer those negative feelings about this other person onto your new relationship and sabotage the relationship before it has even begun!

With acceptance, you are able to heal yourself and your past wounds. You realize that you do not want your past relationships to affect your future relationships. And you’re able to leave your baggage behind.

I am learning that the road to acceptance is a long and arduous one. But it is so rewarding in the end!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you believe it is possible to completely forgive another person without their involvement? Is it necessary to have both the violator and the wronged party come to terms together in order to have forgiveness? Is there usually a clear violator and violated party when it comes to forgiveness? Or are the lines blurred most of the time?


“If you are looking for love and not finding it, it is no doubt because of a lack of forgiveness in some area of your life. This is true for everyone. Look at your life, your past, all of your relationships and ask yourself, ‘Where have I not forgiven?’ Myself, my parents, my siblings, my friends…When you forgive, you release the energy that allows the law of attraction to bring new love and relationships in your life.”

The Meta Secret

This year I have been reading the book, “How Can I Forgive You?” by Janis Abrahms Spring.

I have learned that holding onto anger only hurts one person: YOU. Forgiveness is a powerful tool that allows you to release, renew and sustain healthy relationships. It also gives you the strength to let go of people who are unnecessary and ultimately detrimental to your growth and wellbeing.

Spring describes four different approaches to forgiveness:

  1. Cheap Forgiveness
  2. Refusing to Forgive
  3. Acceptance
  4. Genuine Forgiveness

Cheap Forgiveness and Refusing to Forgive are dysfunctional forms of forgiveness, while Acceptance and Genuine Forgiveness give you, as the violated party, the power to come to terms with the injury and move forward to allow goodness into your life.

I’ll break it down as simply as I can:

CHEAP FORGIVENESS is a quick and easy pardon. When you forgive cheaply you do not process your emotions and do not come to terms with the injury. You are attempting to have a peaceful reconciliation, but you ask for nothing in return. When you forgive cheaply, you seek to preserve the relationship at any cost, including your own integrity.

When you REFUSE TO FORGIVE, your goal is to teach someone a lesson. Your anger is non-negotiable. Most people who refuse to forgive have negative assumptions about the meaning of forgiveness. They see it as being weak and vulnerable.

ACCEPTANCE is based on a personal decision to come to terms with your injury and move on. It allows you to take control of your pain, make sense of your injury and move past that injury. With acceptance, you take the task of healing into your own hands. You empower yourself and make peace with your past. Your offender does not take part in the healing process.

GENUINE FORGIVENESS is a transaction that requires the participation of both the offender and the hurt party. It can take years to genuinely forgive someone. And sometimes reconciliation is not possible.

When you forgive cheaply or refuse to forgive, you do not come to terms with your injury. These types of forgiveness do not lead to any kind of real reconciliation.

Acceptance has been the hardest form of forgiveness for me to understand. I have always thought that in order to have “true” forgiveness, both parties must sit down, have a heart to heart, see eye to eye, apologize, and move forward. But realistically, I can count on one hand how often I have experienced “genuine forgiveness.”

My problem with acceptance has always been this: How do you forgive someone who cannot or will not acknowledge your pain? How do you appreciate the magnitude of wrong that was done to you, grasp its meaning, grieve, and move forward?

I will be speaking about acceptance in more detail this week, but I would love to hear your thoughts on what YOUR definition of forgiveness is. Why is genuine forgiveness absolutely necessary for a healthy relationship? How is genuine forgiveness achieved?


On the Me+You facebook page I recently asked the question: “What would your definition of a healthy relationship be?” I received these answers in response:

  1. Mutual respect.
  2. A shared sense of humor.
  3. Unfaltering trust the other one will cherish your heart enough to never break it.
  4. Trust.
  5. Compromise.
  6. Communication.
  7. Forgiveness.

I’m starting to wonder if all of these words have to go hand in hand for a relationship to work. For example, can there be trust without communication? Or respect without forgiveness? Or forgiveness without compromise?


RESPECT is: A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.

TRUST is: A firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength or someone or something.

COMPROMISE is: An agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

COMMUNICATION is: The successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.

FORGIVENESS is: To stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

People often say that in a good relationship “COMMUNICATION is key.” But what does this phrase mean, really?

Yes, I agree that in a healthy relationship COMMUNICATION is extremely important…but maybe for successful communication, one needs to TRUST that his or her partner is doing the best they can, or the best they know how at the time…even if they are not communicating as well as the other would like…

I have struggled with this concept all my life. I have always lived by the rule: “Treat others how you would like to be treated.” When someone does or says something that hurts me, I say to myself, “I would have never treated someone like this…therefore this person does not RESPECT me and I need to let them go.”

But the fact is, we are all coming from somewhere else. We all have our own set of rules for what we think is right and what we think is wrong. And we all have our own expectations for how others should act.

And guess what? People are unpredictable. Relationships are unpredictable. And most of the time, people won’t act the way you want them to act.

People are human. We have flaws.

And maybe in a relationship one must ACCEPT that his or her partner is doing the best he or she can in any given situation…



This year I have often asked myself the question, “What does being in a good relationship mean to me?” I have loved. I have been hurt. I have hurt. I have learned to protect my heart. I have learned to cherish myself. And I have learned to let people go.

When I was younger, I used to think about my relationships in very broad terms: “I like this person. I don’t like this person…moving on.” And when it came to my intimate relationships? Well, I just didn’t have time to dissect the intricacies that came along with loving someone. It was very black and white for me: either I loved someone or I didn’t. Easy! Right? Not so much…

So what constitutes a “good” relationship? Is it Respect? Love? Trust? Forgiveness? All of the above? And what do these words mean? REALLY?

A lot of words are thrown around when speaking about the relationship between two people. The word “love” seems like it has lost all weight and meaning. There isn’t just one definition of love. There can’t be. The love I have for my family is different than the love I have for my friends, which is different than the love I have for someone I am in an intimate relationship with…

I’m big on definitions, so I actually looked up what the definition of the word “love” is.


LOVE IS: Adoration; or a very strong liking.

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Is there another page? Six words? That’s what we get? Hmm. That seems kind of lame…”a very strong liking…” So I’m going to spend the rest of my life with someone who I very, strongly…LIKE…?

Let’s explore further…oh mighty dictionary. Some synonyms perhaps?

adulation, affection, allegiance, amity, amour, appreciation, ardor, attachment, delight, devotion, emotion, enchantment, enjoyment, fervor, fidelity, flame, fondness, friendship, hankering, inclination, infatuation, involvement, like, lust, passion, piety, rapture, regard, relish, respect, sentiment, taste, weakness, worship, yearning, zeal.

I think my favorite so far is “hankering.”

You have a hankering for pie, or hot dogs, or some other all American food; I don’t know if that word really applies to people…does it?

This dictionary isn’t good enough. Webster’s don’t steer me wrong:


1. Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

2. Attraction based on sexual desire 

3. Affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests

4. Unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.

5. A score of zero (as in tennis)

These definitions don’t seem to get it either. Hmmm…maybe what is so infinite and wonderful about love is that it truly has no definition. It is a power that is beyond comprehension.

In these weekly blogs, I will attempt to address some of these points…and more…


As long as you focus on the past, you will never be able to open yourself up to the future…and you will never be able to have fulfilling relationships in any part of your life.


I saw this on the “Meta Secret” and it has really helped me:

“If you are looking for love and not finding it, it is no doubt because of a lack of forgiveness in some area of your life. This is true for everyone. Look at your life, your past, all of your relationships and ask yourself, “Where have I not forgiven?” Myself, my parents, my siblings, my friends…

When you forgive, you release the energy that allows the law of attraction to bring new love and relationships in your life.”

…Okay, How does one do this? We’re gonna talk about it…


We’ve all gotten one. The “I’m sorry…BUT…” How do you deal with that? How do you move on and allow goodness into your life?

…I am excited to go on this journey with you as we explore ourselves and our relationships. If you have suggestions on topics, and would like to have an open dialogue, please feel free to comment as much as possible! I look forward to hearing from you.