Relationship Advice from a Relationship Coach (in an Imperfect Relationship)

I heard that dreaded bling, and I knew it was not good news.

I could feel the tension in my stomach and the messages said, “I don’t think we should be in contact anymore.”

I wanted this to work out, since we felt a strong connection.

As a relationship coach, people think I am perfect in relationships.

I want you to know I am not, far from it.

I am human, and I have my triggers and wounds that make me act like a hurt child at times.

My expectations and needs are not always compatible with my significant other.

And I make plenty of mistakes and mess up like everyone else.

I want to share with you a recent dating experience I had.

I meet a wonderful woman; let’s call her “P”.

She is an incredible loving soul, but sometimes the timing just does not fit well. 

After 17 years in a relationship, I separated in May this year during the lockdown as the isolation and anxiety triggered my partner’s borderline personality disorder, and she turned abusive.

It was a shock and traumatizing in many ways. The woman I knew and loved was gone from one day to the other.

In the morning she told me she loved me and wanted to marry me, and, in the evening, she said it was over.

There was no explanation, just an email the next day saying she was so happy with a new man.

So, for the first time in my life, I felt some anxious attachment and needed stability and someone that would not run away at the first sign of tension and could give me stability and clarity that I needed at this moment in time.

P had also just come out of a tough relationship breakup, and she was highly sensitive to abandonment.

He left her just before their wedding this year.

She told me she felt low self-worth and that she had abandonment anxiety.

Here is what happens when two brains operating from fear meet each other.

Remember, from a triggered place; we can’t hear each other.

We lose our empathy, self-reflection, and perspective to make good decisions.

Here is the story…

We had three dates, and the connection was great.

She expressed that I was one in a million, and she was so happy to have me in her life and getting to know me and that she wanted to take it slow because of her past experience.  

Suddenly out of the blue, I got a message that rocked me.

She accused me of being dishonest, and I felt confused as it came out of a connecting conversation.

I get now she was just projecting her abandonment anxiety of me deceiving her as she felt deceived by her ex-partner that pretended, he wanted to marry her and then left.

It was not about me but in the moment, it triggered me, and I went into my hurt child brain. 

I felt upset she would accuse me of being dishonest with no explanation.

I felt she should have called me or told me face to face and not by text.

I felt she should make an effort to repair the damage she caused.

But none of that happened, and she retrieved after that text.

I realize now that I projected my expectation of how people “should” act on to her as the only right way of doing things, which caused me to feel even more triggered.

We do this frequently and unconsciously project our idea of how people should act and then get upset if they deviate without considering they have their own unique experience and background.

The way to relate is to try to understand each other’s stories.

She retrieved and stopped communicating, and that triggered me because of my recent borderline experience.

I felt anxious and shut down to protect myself from the discomfort of rejection.

I texted her that it was not ok to treat me that way and then go silent, and if that is how she communicates, then I can’t see us being in each other’s lives.

In the moment, I felt I asserted my boundaries, and it felt empowering. But I messed up and could have dealt with it much better. More on that later.

As you can imagine, that triggered her abandonment anxiety, and suddenly, a beautiful connection that we cultivated over months of getting to know each other was destroyed in a few seconds it took to write our texts from a triggered place.  

Our reptilian baby brains were facing off, both feeling unsafe, and we could no longer hear each other.

Coronavirus did not allow us to meet up, so we were stuck with the worst form of communication, mobile phones. 

I wish I could sit with her face to face and tell her she is safe and that I never leave I just felt triggered and that I am not perfect and like her, I can get scared.

Her fear of abandonment made her ghost me and reject me before she felt she could get rejected.

Here is what I learned from my mistake

  • I projected expectations of how she should act and then got upset that she did not do as I wanted. This is not an excellent way to relate as no one can match our expectations, and forcing our way is not connecting. Next time seek to understand her experience by asking questions.
  • I acted and texted from a triggered place, making me use the threat of abandonment to get what I wanted. That is a bad idea. Never threaten the connection. Damage to trust is colossal when breakup or abandonment threats are used.
  • Never communicate when you are highly triggered. Regulate yourself down first. Journal speak to friends or a therapist, exercise, meditate. Whatever calms you down, so your higher brain comes back online.
  • Never text about issues, conflict, or tension as misunderstandings are much more likely by text when most visual cues are missing. Only talk about these faces to face with eye contact or as a minimum on a video call.
  • I want someone that can accept me in my messiness and mistakes, so I don’t have to tip toe or be a relationship coach in my relationship.
  • I want someone that does not run away when triggered and turn towards me to repair, learn and grow together.

A moment of our primal fear taking over can destroy something that could be great.

I very rarely share snippets of my diary, but today I will share with you what I wrote down last night so you can see some of my self-reflections and what I learned.

“My lesson has been that when triggered, anxious, or fearful, don’t communicate. Journal my thoughts, emotions, and sensations and look at the story and my hurt inner child. Don’t text.

When I am calm and clear, then meet or call the person. DON’T TEXT. If waiting makes me anxious, then journal some more and let the emotions flow on to paper so you can see what is real and what is the past overtaking the current moment.

Then express in person or phone how I feel and what I need. I wish she would have been willing to have a conversation with me, but here is what I would have said.

“I felt anxious when you retrieved and stopped communicating, and I need clarity. I need that we both try to listen, acknowledge, and understand each other without judgment.

I need you to make an effort to reach out and solve tension or misunderstandings to show you care and value the connection. I have spent my entire life being the one initiate repair, and I would like it to be something we both do.

I want it to be ok that I am not perfect and that I can be triggered and make mistakes, feel anger and be upset and that you still come back, and we trust we don’t leave each other, and all emotions are welcome.

And I want to hear and acknowledge your experience and understand you better and also be able to help you feel safe because you matter. Because I care. Because you are worthy.”

See how we often attack, blame, criticize, or withdraw from a triggered place, causing a fracture in the connection, but when calm, I could express how I felt and what I needed.

That would have caused a very different outcome.

I never got to say any of this to her because she refused to speak or communicate with me, so I got to say it to my diary. 

Every loss is a lesson that can help us grow, and it takes two to connect and grow, and sometimes I have to learn to respect that the others don’t want that.

Please remember to be kind, gentle, and compassionate towards yourself.

No matter how much emotional intelligence and relationship skills you have, remember that it takes two to dance, and it does not matter how well you can dance if the other person refuses to move their feet. It will not be a pretty dance.

Relationships are a dance and require two people with the emotional capacity and skills to make it flourish.

So, don’t blame yourself, but find learning and growth so your next encounter will be more nourishing for you.

It’s ok not to be perfect and mess up. Sometimes I do it too.

You are worthy of love and kindness in all your messiness and mistakes.

Thomas is the Founder of the leading institute for relationship intimacy.He is the author of two books and the host of the Zensensa podcast. A dating coach, relationship coach, confidence coach & sex coach. Provides premarital counseling, couples therapy, online marriage counseling, relationship counseling & marriage therapy. Marriage counseling near you.

Trained in Somatic relationships therapy.Created the 3-step love model, end people pleaser syndrome.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

35 Responses to Relationship Advice from a Relationship Coach (in an Imperfect Relationship)

  1. Leslie Barnett says:

    Dear Thomas,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and real, raw, intrinsic depths of your heart and soul. As a fellow, flawed human myself, I can relate to many of the themes in your article. Just yesterday I was thinking to myself how Vulnerable we must be in various situations to be able to have outcomes that are not only desirable, but also healthy for us in relationships. As a Therapist, often times our ‘people’ or clients think we have ‘figured it all out’, or just have no clue about how pain, trauma, lack of attachment, and fears feed into our own insecurity as a delicate human being. We won’t even get into our own history of mistakes and failures that have contributed to the formation of our concept of ourself and the World around us. #EvenTherapistsNeedTherapy, is how I prefer to phrase it, and just as I have done things for the good, there is a dark, hidden side to all of us that does not come to the surface very often, usually until we are triggered. Your brave words are beautifully crafted and I just wanted you to know that the anxious, insecure and fearful little girl in me wants to befriend the anxious, afraid little boy in you and let you know that everything may not be okay today, yet it will be okay one day. Keep writing Thomas. With Love, Leslie B. from Louisiana

  2. Albertofed says:

    Смарт деньги киевстар

    [url=перевод-денег-с-водафон-на-карту.html]МТС – Перевод на карту[/url]

  3. Brantswy says:

    Compare gaming console

    the game console.sWhich is the best gaming system to buy? How does the Sony PlayStation 4 match up against the Microsoft Xbox One? Or how does PS4 look when placed against the PS4 Pro? You’ve come to the absolute right place to find out the Gadgets 360 gaming console comparison page. this, You can compare gaming consoles available in India and around the, To get a better idea on which is the most suited for your needs.With the Gadgets 360 gaming console comparison tool, you can still compare game consoles prices, specs, And needs. We update our databases as soon as a new console is launched, So if you were planning on trying to compare gaming consoles 2020 Gadgets 360 is the place to be.It is very simple to use the Gadgets 360 gaming consoles comparison tool. All you need to do is start typing the name of the first console you’d like to compare, In the sector above. The tool will then show matches in our database, you’ll also find to tap on the correct match to select it. Repeat the process in the remaining fields for the other consoles you want to compare with. The evaluation tool lets [url=]cookie jarring dating[/url] you compare up to four gaming consoles at a time. Nvidia Shield mobile or portable vs Nvidia Shield easily portable vs.

  4. Ирина says:

    Now, I’m not saying that all women should live in squalor and depend on men to feed and protect them (although, arguably, that was a possible situation we evolved from). What I am wondering is whether the feminist notion of making women completely and totally independent and sovereign is always socially-desirable, feasible, truly equal, and fair. Yes, there should be rules, regulations, and support so that no one is overpowered or at the mercy of the other. But, if only women are truly “independent”, with men still dependent on them, doesn’t that then put men at their mercy? If women no longer need men, then how and why are relationships formed? If men have nothing to offer, no power or value in the exchange at all, then how do they get their needs met?

  5. porno says:

    Hey There. I found your blog the use of msn. That is an extremely neatly written article. Berget Basilius Chip

  6. erotik izle says:

    Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post. Many thanks for supplying this info. Kellia Brendan Akeyla

  7. erotik says:

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was once a entertainment account it. Florence Waverly Redman

  8. hotel gym says:

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may come back yet again since I book marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide

  9. bookmarked!!, I like your website!

  10. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions.

    Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read even more things about it!

  11. read detail says:

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s
    really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels.
    I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Lots of people will be benefited from your writing.


  12. Amazing website, Love it. Great work done. Love the way this website has been done.

  13. Finding the best English paper writing services and English Language Writing Help is not easy unless one is keen to establish top ranked english language essay writing service provider & English editing & proofreading services.

  14. Amazing website, Love it. Great work done.

  15. blog says:

    Great delivery. Great arguments. Keep up the good work.

  16. pin says:

    If you are going for finest contents like me, simply visit
    this web page everyday because it presents feature contents,

  17. I have been surfing online greater than three hours today, yet I never discovered any
    fascinating article like yours. It’s pretty value sufficient
    for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers
    made good content as you probably did, the internet can be a lot
    more useful than ever before.

  18. porno says:

    You made some nice points there. I looked on the internet for the subject matter and found most individuals will agree with your site.

  19. porno says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  20. porno says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  21. porno says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  22. porno says:

    You made some nice points there. I looked on the internet for the subject matter and found most individuals will agree with your site.

  23. porno izle says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  24. abdul wahab says:

    The next seems to be such as undoubtedly wonderful. Each one of these small factors are made by utilizing quantity of basis attention. I like all of them substantially. Outdoor CBD Flower

  25. click says:

    Great blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any message boards that cover the
    same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like
    to be a part of online community where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thank

  26. abdul wahab says:

    Such a appears to be fully very best. Each one of these very little facts usually are constructed combined with many qualifications facts. I prefer of which a whole bunch. Outdoor CBD Flower

  27. website says:

    What’s up, I read your blogs daily. Your humoristic
    style is witty, keep up the good work!

  28. porno says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  29. valmentaja says:

    Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to tears at work
    so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the info you present here and can’t wait to take a
    look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog
    loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just
    3G .. Anyhow, good blog!

  30. gogo anime says:

    You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really one thing which I think I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and very extensive for me. I am taking a look ahead in your subsequent put up

  31. What’s Going down i am new to this

  32. porno child says:

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  33. profile says:

    I absolutely love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting to create my very own site
    and would like to know where you got this from or just what the theme is called.
    Thank you!

  34. izmir escort says:

    This site is the site of the best ladies in the city

  35. The site where you will watch the best movies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.