Today we have another guest back on the podcast for a second episode, my friend and girl Habibi, the relationship expert and coach. She believes that true love and intimacy are accessible to anyone. She is a voice of compassion and what often feels like a sea of aggression for women who habitually hitched their wagons to the wrong men. Girl. you know my audience, we’ve all done that. It helps her clients identify destructive patterns of behavior, unpack them on a microscopic level and face them with fierce honesty.
Heidi was on the podcast before if you didn’t listen to it, go back and listen to the episode. It is so good. She’s so honest and loving and truthful. And she cracks my shit up. Heidi is also a published author. Her book is amazing. Her storytelling is so fucking funny. And today, we want to do a little bonus episode for the month of February the month of love. And I come to Heidi with a lot of questions and a lot of things that I’ve been thinking about and what she has been thinking about in the relationship space. So enjoy this episode. I love you guys.
REGINA: I’m so excited to have you as a part of this series I’m having this month of amazing relationship coaches and therapists come in and share their genius. So we’re so pumped to have you back again.
REGINA: What are the hot topics are the things that you are thinking about? And something that came up in our conversation with Heidi was about why settling in relationships is a bad strategy. What has been coming up for you lately or with the people that you are working with around settling and relationships?
HEIDI: Well, I think this is such a valuable thing to talk about. Because obviously when you say like, Don’t settle, everyone’s like “Duh, of course, I wouldn’t settle.” right in the most obvious sense of settling. Most of us once were beyond the age of 17, we stopped settling for someone just to have a partner on Valentine’s Day or just to have a person to be around. Once we reach some emotional maturity, and we experienced some growth, we think that we’ve stopped settling because it’s just not quite as obvious.
So one of the things I realized, as I move through this, and especially as we come upon these holidays, and having just come off of like the trifecta of Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, all that stuff. People end up in these relationships where they find themselves that they’ve settled without even really realizing it. So it’s like, it happens kind of subtly, we get afraid to say “no” early on. This will definitely resonate for my people pleasers out there, my recovering codependence where it’s like, you go on a date with a person and you’re really not feeling it, but they are jazzed on you. Right? So they’re like, “Oh, you want to go out again? I’ll pick you up on Saturday. It’ll be great.” And you’re like, “Okay, but you mean to say no. What you should say is like “I’m so flattered that you asked, thank you so much. But I’m just not interested. I don’t think we’re a match. I don’t think we’ll be going out again”. But instead of saying that, because we never practicing that it doesn’t come easily. It’s scary to say we sometimes will just go “Okay, great.” And now all of a sudden, you’ve committed to a second date with a person, you don’t really care that much about dating. And then it becomes harder and harder to break it off. So before you know it, you spent three months, sometimes six months, nine months dating somebody that you didn’t even really want to go on that second date with, but then you continue to kind of talk yourself into like, “Oh, it’s okay. It’s, it’s not that bad, right?” Like, I don’t ever want any of you listening to be dating somebody who you’re thinking “it’s not that bad.” No, you should be thinking like, “I want to get down with this guy. I think he’s amazing.” I want you to be so hyped about the person you’re dating. I never want you to think “It’s not that bad. It’s all right.” So I think that we just kind of subtly start to settle in our relationships. Because some of us struggle to say no, in the very beginning, when we should have.
REGINA: I love that you’re thinking about this. Because I’ve been thinking about this from a little bit of a different perspective. I’ve been taught that when we settle in relationships, we just take the thing that’s there not necessarily the thing we want and deserve. We are sending out an energetic ripple into the universe, which affects all areas of life. I’ve been thinking about this personally, I just ended a relationship. Actually, last time you and I podcast together. That’s right, nine months ago or so. And I told you I started dating the guy that made me dinner. And so I ended that relationship.
We ended and did the relationship because we were not “boyfriend and girlfriend,” title official, but we had the conversation, we were not sleeping with other people. We were not dating other people. That’s pretty exclusive. We were exclusive. So the title of boyfriend, girlfriend, I don’t care, I didn’t matter to me. But what I was feeling in the relationship was because I wasn’t his “girlfriend” that I was not getting the level of respect and appreciation and that I wanted. And so I met with it. And I was like, if you’re energetically accepting less and settling in a situation, you’re triggering and saying to the universe, you deserve less. You will accept less. You will accept less in your business, you will attract other areas of life.
HEIDI: Yes, I totally agree with you. I think that when we settle in one area, it’s like how we behave in one way. One area of our life is how we behave in all areas of our lives. So it’s like we settle. When it comes to love, we’ll probably settle. When it comes to a job, we’ll probably settle. When it comes to our family relationships and our friendships. And one of the best reasons I think we settle is sometimes it kind of sneaks up on us and we settle without even really meaning to. But I also think another way that we end up settling for somebody is that we don’t have a lot of clarity around what our ideals are when it comes to a partner or to a relationship.
So I think we talked about this last time, but it is a tool. I’m always banging the drum on this because it’s such a good tool. Plus, you can always revise it is I always suggest that all of my clients have an ideals list of their ideal partner before they like really get serious about dating again, because it’s like, look, if you’re just gonna date to go to dinner and get down that’s fine. But if you’re dating to be in a relationship, there’s a different strategy. And part of that strategy is having an ideals list and being committed to honoring it, right. So you know, it’s like that way it tells the universe Look, I’m willing. These are the things I’m looking for and I’m not willing to accept less. And so if somebody doesn’t meet these things on my ideals list, I’m actually gonna say, to myself, “I’m clear on what I want and this person doesn’t meet that”. So I need to honor myself and say no to this second date. And then we can say “I think we’re looking for different things. And we’re not a great match. So I don’t think we should go out again.” It just gives you that kind of decision-making tool that makes it so much clearer and so much easier to separate out who’s a good partner and who is not a good partner. And so having that ideals list as you head out to dating is really important. But I also think it’s really good to have one of those while you’re in a relationship. So not only should I do I think you should have one when you’re single. But when you’re partnered with somebody. I think it also makes sense every couple of months to ask, “What do I want my ideal relationship to look like?” And am I embodying that? Does my relationship honor that? So in the case of your last breakup, it’s like you wanted an acknowledgment or recognition of your status as a partner and I think that’s valid, right? Like, especially when it comes down to like, I don’t understand the default, the unwillingness to do that when you’re already girlfriend in action. You’re exclusive, you’re sleeping together, you’re spending a lot of time together. So why the resistance to labeling it? I think it’s important to honor what it is.
In a relationship, you got to look at your relationship ideals one of which includes being honored, being acknowledged as a partner and you found that your relationship wasn’t honoring that. So it’s like, “Okay, now it’s time to reassess this relationship.” And sometimes that means we walk away, sometimes it means we have a difficult conversation like, “Hey, there are some things that are important to me when I’m in a relationship, one of which is being really acknowledged and seen for the partner that I am. I don’t feel like this is honoring that right now. So how can we change that.?”
REGINA: And I think that when you’re in a relationship, and you’re doing that reevaluation, that is the part that people are so hesitant to do because it’s the end of the relationship and that scares people so much like I not even just with this, but any kind of change as people, people are so afraid to change or are afraid of change in their partner because they’re afraid that change is going to lead to the end of the relationship.
HEIDI: Right. And so many people stay in denial around something because once we know it, we can’t unknow it. So once you know, “Oh, I have these ideals from our relationship, or I have these standards around how I want to be treated, and the relationship I’m in isn’t meeting them.” Now we have to have a difficult conversation about reconciling those things. And people would rather just pretend it doesn’t exist. And then, you know, a year later, throw a grenade in the relationship and explode the whole thing, then, like, have that difficult. Some people would then have that difficult conversation, at the moment when they come to realize the thing that they can no longer not know.
REGINA: Oh, I’ve done that before. I’ve had the conversations through the relationship. I’ve also done it where I tried to avoid it. I was like, “I hate you!.”
HEIDI: It’s true. I call that throwing a grenade on the relationship. Because it’s we deny we deny we try we suppress, suppress, suppress. And then you explode because you can no longer deny what’s really going on. So a lot of times, if we’re willing to have some difficult conversation through the relationship or through the dating process, we get to either walk away with grace and dignity and trust that if this is meant for us, it will come back to us or we get to stay and know that we actually leveled up in terms of our intimacy because we had a tough conversation and we got through it. And that’s one other thing. I think that people idealize intimacy as long walks on the beach, picnics at sunset… It is like no intimacy. I believe that true intimacy is really built in the trenches when we are willing to surface with somebody we’re dating or surface with somebody we’re in a relationship with and say like, this is not going how I thought it was gonna go and we need to talk about this and when we can get through those tough conversations together, now we’d level up. We turned into like fireball Mario because we have a new understanding and awareness of each other.
REGINA: It’s so true. The other thing that you and I chatted about before we got on together today was practicing the things that we are learning and that we are constantly a work in progress in life. Can you speak to that a little bit?
HEIDI: Yeah, of course. So one of the things I think we’ve talked about before I wrote this book, It’s called relationship-ready, how I stopped fucking randos and start picking my soul mate. And all of my shit is on blast in that book, and I was thinking about it as we were coming on to do this interview. And I’m thinking like, I dated a guy who stole my car, got in a bar fight, and then went to jail for two nights because of it. I moved to Denver for a guy who offered to cook me breakfast once. I did men who were in relationships and I think the whole time I thought to myself, “Oh, I’m doing hot girl shit, right? Like, this kind of chaos is hot girl shit, you know,” and It’s not hot girl shit, it’s wounded girl shit. I feel like I to do a Tick Tock wounded girl shit thing. I’m not Tick Tock prominent enough to do that. But the point being that, I had some wounds that were really driving my behavior and driving my patterns around like the type of partner I was choosing, the level of availability, all that stuff. And so of course, once I got enough pain around it in the book, I talk about how I like really bottomed out with it. Of course, when I got in enough pain around it, I was like, oh, I’m going to do this work. I’m going to do all the writing. Give me all the worksheets. I’ll do the workbooks. I’ll do the class, I’ll do the thing. I’ll do the therapists like all this stuff. Now for me, I am like a recovering perfectionist. Give me that gold star. Tell me I did it.. We did a great job. Give me an A plus plus, yes, I mean, I am like on Team A plus plus.
So it’s really comfortable for me to learn. I mean, as comfortable as it can be, to learn all this horrifying stuff about the way that I chose partners, how old these patterns were, where they came from, how they serve me how they no longer serve me all that stuff. But then all of a sudden, I had kind of, like maxed out. But I have reached this point where I say, okay, now you’ve learned all this stuff about yourself. Go practice. And I was like, I’m sorry, what? I’m not better yet. I’m not better yet. And no, there is no point where we learn enough about ourselves to be better, right? The whole point of this is that we have some awareness of our wounds that we understand what kind of wreckage they create for us in our relationships and that we learn how to move forward in a different way. That is actually how we practice and become healed by making different choices. But so many of us would like to know that we’re like that we checked all the boxes, done all the work, and are now officially healed or like sanctioned to go on to this next level. And it’s not exactly how it works.
REGINA: No. And it’s also because our early experiences shape our later responses. That trauma goes really deep. So like, literally, This is so true. Whenever I start dating a new person, I have to start reading Codependent No More by Melody Beattie again.
HEIDI: Oh my god. Well, that’s such a good resource.
REGINA: It’s my Bible. And so I start to feel it in my body. I start to feel the chaos and the anxiety and the codependency and the– Wait, why haven’t I heard from him what’s happening? and then I look up stories in my brain. And then I’m like, Oh, this is a false reality you’re creating. You need to read codependent no more again. And then I have to go back and read that and journal and put my tools into action. That’s probably going to be the rest of my life, different things are going to trigger me, I’m going to probably be married and have more luck, where I’m like, “Oh, fuck, I’m taking past drama out on this person. Because I’m in this new space of life.”
HEIDI: Well, one of the things I think that you make such a good point about is being able to feel it in our bodies. Because our brains are so good at convincing us that what we’re experiencing is reality, when in actuality it’s a projection of our past trauma, or it’s something that, we’re taking out on our current partner from old stuff. So it’s our mental state, our brains convinced us that this is reality, but our bodies can remind us. And it’s you know, and it’s like, I can’t return text messages fast enough. So for me, it’s like, oh, when my body’s giving me that signal, it’s a pretty good sign for me that I need to pause. I need to pause, I need to do nothing as it relates to whoever it is that I’m having. That frenzy around and go workout or go try something new. But the thing that’s really incredible is that having these tools like Melanie babies work or you know, having done some workshop or workbook work around patterns and stuff, it’s like, I go back and look at that stuff and go, okay, how did I use to respond to this? What does that get me? Okay, what’s the opposite? Well, usually I will engage with this person over text message frantically for an hour trying to convince them of something. I’m not going to do that. So the opposite of that would be like, shut my phone off. Put it in a drawer. I mean, God forbid we shut our phones off these days, you know, but shut it down, put it away and go for a walk without it, or whatever.
It’s supremely uncomfortable. I think one of the things that are so strange about establishing new behavior patterns is, the old behavior patterns, even though they cause us a lot of pain. In the long term. In the short term, they feel really good because we’re used to it. You know, so it’s like, oh, sending those text messages back on doing something that feels good, new behavior patterns in the moment, they feel shitty, because it’s like, oh, my God, all I want to do is text them back, but I’m not gonna text them back. I’m just gonna sit here, I feel so uncomfortable. But in the long term, we usually get relief.
REGINA: Totally, I’ve gotten really better at sitting with whatever’s coming up and just being like, Where do I feel that where do I live in my body, I also have gotten really good with the texting, I will write out everything I want to say in a mess. Just an up note on my phone. Now I’ll write it out. I’ll write it a few different ways. I’ll get it all out. I won’t send it.
HEIDI: Yes. That’s a great tool. Like some therapists call that a no send letter where, it feels good to just actually like furiously, rather than pen to paper, sending writing it out in a Notes app feels good. Sometimes, like if you have a good friend who wants to know your business, and doesn’t mind holding space for you and you trust, sometimes you can send that to your friend, right? You can actually type the thing out and send it to your friends so you can get the satisfaction of sending it to somebody.
REGINA: Me and Kiki send our messages back and forth to each other. And I’ll be like, this is what I want to say. Yeah, you didn’t send that, did you? And I’ll say, No, no, just you I’m just telling you. That’s what I want to say. She’s like, I wouldn’t say that to anyone ever.
HEIDI: And I just I think that is such a valuable tool because you get to feel the self-righteousness of writing it out. And especially words but you know, you’re a lawyer. So you’re a word person. So especially those word people out there that just like feel really good when they can like kind of just eviscerate somebody with like a tirade, it feels good to like write that out. And like get that release that frustration, release that self-righteous anger and then to send it to a friend so you can giggle about later. It does get scary. Like I don’t want you to accidentally send it you know, sometimes we send text to the wrong people.
REGINA: I haven’t done that in a long time sending a text to the wrong person. But what I have done is I’ve screenshot a conversation I’ve had with a guy I went on a couple of dates with recently. I went on a couple of dates with a guy from my gym. And he ended up being like a gaslighter.
HEIDI: You know what, you make a good point which is that all of this practice of trying new behaviors of dating in new ways of all this stuff, it really gets us to this place where we can identify. I can’t guarantee that if you do all the work that’s in a relationship already. Or if you do all the self-development work, and you do all the therapy, like, nobody’s gonna be able to guarantee that you’re always going to pick great partners. Like, that would be awesome. But I can’t guarantee that.
But what I can guarantee is that you will be able to identify bad partners faster. So you can like in the entrepreneurial world, we talk about failing faster, and just like getting back up, right? It’s like, Oh, awesome. So in 10 days, you discovered that mister gym rat was a nightmare. And you’ve got to say goodbye to him. And now you get to date, somebody. You can just get over it more quickly. And in the past, you might have spent six months chasing that guy
REGINA: I would have, I wouldn’t have needed him. It was funny. The first weekend I hung out with him it happened to be that all my friends were around for the weekend. But there was also a lot of tequila consumed by the group. I thought he got really dramatic. And I said, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt because of the fact that we were drinking but if something like this happens again… And within within less than a week. I was like, Oh, there it is. Okay bye.
HEIDI: Good work, Regina. That’s growth because there’s a time where I would have chased the guy like that. I would’ve thought, I can make them like me. I can make them be different. I can fix them. We just won’t do this. I would have started doing all the manipulating all the controlling and no. This is so awesome because when I’ve done the work and gotten me a plus on the worksheet, and then I go out and practice in real life, I get the opportunity to really step into my power to go “this is what I value.” This is who I am and if you don’t align with me, I’m sorry, you can’t roll with me. By now we get that kind of confidence and that also comes from not settling right over and over again. We go, Okay, I’m going to assess how we fit together and assess our compatibility to get a little information about you to see how you are. And if you don’t fit me, if you’re not able to meet me in these places, then I’m sorry. It’s not that you’re bad, or I’m good. It’s just that we’re different. And you can’t hang with me.
REGINA: So you’ve been married for how long?
HEIDI: I’m married since June of 2018. So two and a half years.
REGINA: Okay. And then how long have you guys been together?
HEIDI: Since 2014. So six years.
REGINA: So this many years into your relationship, you find that you are ever triggered by things that make you have to go back to your old toolbox?
HEIDI: Oh, my God. Yes. Okay, so to be completely frank with you, one of my deepest wounds is, I have an abandonment wound from both my parents really. My mom had a suicide attempt when I was 17. And my dad drank himself to death by the time I was 28. So he was really never there. Never fully present. I didn’t grow up in a home of neglect, but I just grew up very over-responsible and very adult. I mean, I definitely identify as an adult child of an alcoholic. So anyone out there listening, there’s like some great literature on that whatever. So that stuff, I have done years of therapy. I’ve done tons of personal development work, it really comes back for me to this idea that I’m going to be abandoned and that no one can be trusted. That no one can be fully trusted. For me, it manifests as being hyper-vigilant, I’m very vigilant about time, I’m very vigilant about reminding my husband about stuff that he feels he doesn’t need to be reminded of. He’s like, I’m a grown man, I don’t need to be reminded about that, you know. I get very managing and controlling about all kinds of weird stuff because it’s just how I got to take care of myself. Stuff shows up. So the big practice that I’ve had to do in my relationship is to learn to trust. And part of that for me, I’ve kind of come down with this like mnemonic of things that I think a relationship is really built on long-term sustainable relationships, I think to require resilience and reciprocity. So it’s not really a mnemonic. It’s just like the two R’s of relationships.
So resilience means I have to learn that I have chosen my husband, he has chosen me, we’ve made a commitment. But even before that, when we were dating, and we were serious, we were exclusive, we were committed, I had to really lean into and start to accept the idea that our relationship was resilient. That one little fight wasn’t gonna bust us up. That a disagreement was not the end of the world because I came from a place in my own life where if we had one disagreement I would say, fuck you, and then I moved to another state. Like, that’s how conflict-averse I am. Rather than doing that somewhere, I’m like, “oh, let’s just pack up my stuff and leave the state and go somewhere.” So I really, I had to do tons of work about learning to trust a partner who was saying to me, I’m here, I’m in it to win it, I’m in here for the long haul, like I, I love you, even when you’re jealous, or when you’re feeling threatened, or when you’re feeling less than, you know, then the other thing I had to learn was this idea of reciprocity with which is, we can both come to the surface and face one another and talk about what we need to talk about. Because again, I would much rather just push it down, pretend it never happened, and do some extra chores around the house. I’ll make you a nice dinner or make sure the dishes are done, rather than talk to you about it. And be in an uncomfortable moment. We actually have to go through the love, the intimacy level up, which I’m always dragging my feet on. So yeah, that stuff still comes up for me, but knowing that I’m in a committed relationship, and really having some awareness of my own wounds, this abandonment wound and how it still kind of crops up for me. And knowing that, these two things, reciprocity, and resilience are required for this long-term relationship has helped me move through that. And then I continue to discuss with my husband, he knows about my stuff, and I know about his stuff. And we just keep having this kind of open dialogue when we have to. Honestly, for me, my ego and pride get in the way. I don’t like that.
I don’t want to have to say “well, I’ve got an abandonment wound from 30 years ago that I just can’t fucking get to go away.” But I do usually end up saying, I wish I didn’t feel like this. I’m really I’m embarrassed that this is how I feel but here’s how it is. And so anytime that I encourage people to give themselves permission to say that I wish I didn’t feel this way. But here it is. Because sometimes wishing we didn’t feel that way is to keep it to ourselves, and so if you can just use those words to give yourself permission to put it out there, like— do it.
I wish I didn’t feel like this.
REGINA: I love having you on. I’m so glad we got to do a little Valentine’s Day quickie.
HEIDI: Oh, my pleasure. You are just such a dream. This has been fantastic. I love coming to your show.
REGINA: I love having you on. I’ll have you on again soon. We can talk about more things that are coming up for you and in your coaching. Can you remind the listeners where they can find you and how they can connect with you?
HEIDI: Yes, I’m on Instagram @heidibcoaching. You can find me there when you find me there. You can click my link tree and find all the stuff but you can also find me online at htttps://www.heidibcoaching.com There are so many ways that we can work together I have a book that’s available in paperback Kindle audible. So all of those. I have an online course for $97. It’s a five-module course of the relationship-ready program. I offer one on one coaching for clients. And then I also have a group coaching container that I run with Kendall Merritt, our mutual friend, she and I run that a couple of times a year so you can always kind of keep your eyes open for that.
REGINA: If you guys love this episode, as much as we loved making it, please take a screenshot share it and your story tag me and Heidi B on Instagram. Also, if you loved it even more, please leave us a five-star review. I love having you guys and I will see you next week on the podcast.
Regina Lawrence Esq. is a former trial attorney and law school professor turned soulful business & life strategist. She has found that so many entrepreneurs have these brilliant ideas and dreams but don’t know how to take the dream and create a system or structure to make that dream & idea profitable. That is where Regina comes in. With discipline, consistency, systems & structure, we can’t help but create profit & fulfillment from our soul-driven business ideas.
Regina’s approach to coaching marries her background in legal analysis, spirituality, mindset coaching, holistic nutrition, and neuroscience to create an experience that will assist you to get into alignment, get clear on what you are here to do and what steps and systems to implement to make that dream a profitable reality.
You can find Regina on Instagram @reginaalawrence