Relationship Diversity Podcast

Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator: A Conversation with Intimacy Coach, Daniela Stevens

October 26, 2023 Carrie Jeroslow Episode 71
Relationship Diversity Podcast
Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator: A Conversation with Intimacy Coach, Daniela Stevens
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Episode 071
Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator: A Conversation with Intimacy Coach, Daniela Stevens

Do you ever feel like your relationships are stuck on autopilot, dictated by societal norms rather than your own needs and desires? What if you could reimagine your relationships in a way that's not only non-traditional but also deeply fulfilling? This is exactly what I explore in my enlightening conversation with sex and intimacy coach, Daniella Stevens. With over two decades of experience, Daniella shares her insights on how blending science, spiritual wisdom, and creativity can shape non-traditional relationships and promote self-discovery.

Unpacking societal structures, we dive into the concept of the 'relationship escalator', a theory introduced by Amy Gahran. This idea breaks free from the linear progression of relationships, encouraging us to pause and maybe even step off the escalator at any point. We also talk about the importance of nurturing love, pleasure, and care within ourselves as a way to extend the same to others.

Our conversation further ventures into the intriguing terrain of 'relationship anarchy', emphasizing consent, communication, and freedom from expectations. We discuss the challenges of building depth in non-traditional relationships and how to create more room for love and pleasure in our lives.

So, are you ready to step off the relationship escalator and embrace a new, fulfilling approach to your most intimate relationships? Tune in and let's start the journey of reimagining together.

Join the movement to be a part of this new paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships.

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Please note: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. I am not attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue, disease, or condition. The information provided in or through my podcast is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider or Mental Health Provider. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific circumstance.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from soloamory to monogamy to polyamory and everything in between, because every relationship is as unique as you are. We'll bust through societal programming to break open and dissect everything we thought we knew about relationships, to ask the challenging but transformational questions who am I and what do I really want in my relationships? I'm your guid, Ker J, bestselling author, speaker, intuitive and coach. Join me as we reimagine all that our most intimate relationships can become. Today's episode is part of our conversation series. I'm just one voice in this relationship diversity movement and it's important to bring more unique perspectives into the conversation.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Today I'll be talking with Daniella Stevens, an intimacy coach, about relationships as an art form, relationship anarchy and how to get off the relationship escalator. But first a little about her. Daniella Stevens uses she they pronouns and is a certified sex and intimacy coach for couples and individuals of all bodies and all expressions. Her work in the world is to support people to experience deep sexual connection and intimacy with themselves and their partner by addressing the intersections of personal experience with multiple systems of oppression. For over 20 years she's worked with thousands of people coaching one-on-one teaching in college classrooms and guiding them in yoga studios, utilizing somatic attachment theory, embodied conflict resolution, somatic abolitionism alongside neuroscience, holistic healing, trauma resolution and modern coaching blended with ancient tantric and Taoist wisdom. Let's get into the conversation.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Hello everyone, and welcome to this episode of Relationship Diversity Podcast. I've got another great guest for you today. Today I'm talking with Daniella Stevens, who is a sex and intimacy coach, and we're going to go into this idea of relationship escalator. If you've never heard of this, stay tuned, because these are the kind of ideas that many of us, many people, take on as just the way it is, these default ways of being in relationship. The importance of understanding, getting information, is to be able to make a choice, to be able to say is this how I want this relationship to go, now that I know it could possibly go another way. With that, I'm going to welcome you, daniella, to the podcast.

Daniela Stevens:

Thank you for having me.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I'd love for everyone to learn a little bit about you and about your work, and maybe a little bit about your personal life that brought this desire to be a sex and intimacy coach.

Daniela Stevens:

Yeah. So I'm a sex and intimacy coach for couples and individuals and I really love to support people to experience deep sexual connection and intimacy with themselves and with a partner or partners. We talk about how, or we'll hear about how we can't really tell someone what we want if we don't know what we want for ourselves, and so it starts with knowing ourselves better, asking questions of ourselves, of our needs, of our wants, of our desires, and that is something we are definitely not taught to do. As we grow up and for me that was the case I defaulted in a lot of ways and choices and remember being at a party and the women around me talking about orgasms and self-pleasuring and I realized I'd never experienced an orgasm.

Daniela Stevens:

I was in my early 20s and thought oh wow, this is something everybody's talking about and I don't have this experience.

Daniela Stevens:

Is something wrong with me? Am I broken? And that took me on a multi-decade search and quest for orgasm and also had me questioning so many other things, because I wasn't feeling like I was experiencing this quintessential human experience of pleasure as wrapped up in the experience of orgasm. I was wondering it was having effects on my relationship and wondering is this because of my relationship, my partner started taking on some of the stress of it, which was not any of theirs to take, but it opened us up to more questions about how our lives could be, and so I've become who I had looked for for probably 25 years. I'm a former college teacher, and that began some of this research and data information collecting, mixed with the spiritual, energetic wisdom traditions that have also informed how I've gotten here To be a multi-orgasmic person, exploring all types of relationship dynamics, but choosing them from a place of what works for me and what works for the person that I'm in relationship with.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's really powerful and you're speaking my language in terms of connecting the science with the spiritual. How does that show up in your work? You talked about different traditions that you bring in. How do you join the two elements together?

Daniela Stevens:

Well, there's so much that we don't know about sexuality, about desire especially, and the research has only started within the last 30 years. It's very new, and we do want a formula, we do want a way, and sex and intimacy is much more of an art form. It's much more energetic, it's much more nuanced, and so it's so helpful when we have some things to lean into. This is why we choose monogamous. It's not even choose. This is why we default into monogamous structures because there's some rules, there's some agreements, there's some things that are commonly understood, not that we clarify them and speak into them. And when we step out of non-traditional, when we step into non-traditional relationships, it's an art form, it's a what do I feel like, what feels true to me, how do I know? And so you begin to work with the energetics of you know what is my gut telling me, what is my heart telling me, what is my mind telling me, and how do I know? That's not science, that's something else.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, and I had this aha moment when you talked about relationships, non-traditional relationships, as an art form, because I am born a creative person and I've been in theater and that's comfortable for me. So I am comfortable in creating stories and creating experiences, circumstances that are outside of the norm, although in my relationship journey I've had to question every step of the way Is that really what I want? Is that just what I was shown? But I love this idea of non-traditional relationships as an art form because it brings to me a level, a feeling of fun and creativity to designing this kind of relationship. That feels really good to me.

Carrie Jeroslow:

And this takes me back to something that you were saying about pleasure, because I think that there's this default belief that pleasure is bad and that either I have to work I mean it's not everywhere, but I have experienced, you know, whether it's sex is bad or that I'm not worthy of like feeling pleasure all the time. I had to really work through those feelings of judgment and shame about my own sense of pleasure and desire for pleasure, and I wonder if that leads into also the design of relationship pleasure and relationship fulfillment. You have any thoughts on that?

Daniela Stevens:

It's funny you mentioned that as a as a bi queer person. There's a lot of myths around bisexuality. It's like, oh, are you being selfish that you want both? Do you have to have both at the same time? You have to have one type of partner here and one type of partner there? There's this myth of having it all around bisexuality and at looking at that myth it's like, well, what would be so bad about that? What would be so wrong? Are you chastising me for wanting pleasure, different types of pleasure with different types of partners, regardless of their gender? So I think you're right that there's a certain aim or lack of pleasure that we presume we have to take on in long term, committed monogamous relationships. And there's a little bit of who do you think you are not just within us but from other people around, choosing more pleasure or choosing more love? I've definitely been in that space.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Well, I was going to say that I hear the same thing in terms of polyamory is you want your cake and eat it too? I mean, that's just so. It shames someone for wanting more pleasure in their life and wanting to enjoy life. And I believe that we are here to find our pleasure because with that, pleasure heightens our energy, brings more joy into the world. If I am allowing myself to seek and to experience more pleasure, I am going to be more loving to the people around me because I feel really fulfilled. So in my mind, that idea of claiming our pleasure will bring more joy into the world overall.

Daniela Stevens:

Yeah, more joy, more love and I've been thinking about it even more from a community care space. Why are we so isolated, with one partner, one home, one focus, one priority? When we have, if we engage in polyamory, if we engage in open relationships, any alternative, non-monogamous relationship, we're offering more care, just at the most basic level, more connection, more love, more pleasure, all of these things that are positive, all of these things that we all want to say yes to experiencing more in our lives, offering more into other people's lives. And so it is about questioning why has this been something we aren't invited to do, aren't welcomed?

Carrie Jeroslow:

to do. Well, how would you answer that question?

Daniela Stevens:

Oh, systems of oppression, I mean white supremacy, patriarchy, ableism, heteronormativity, transnessia all of these are tools to keep us within capitalism, to keep us focused on producing, excavating our labor, depleting us so that we don't have the capacity to look around our world and be like.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I think there's a little bit more care, a little bit more love, a little bit more pleasure possible, yeah, and so those are huge systems and sometimes I get into this place of, well, how can I make a difference in something that is so huge that it feels overwhelming? So if someone was thinking that, how would you encourage someone to start to shift those systems in their own, I would say little life. I mean, you know what I mean.

Daniela Stevens:

Exactly. I mean, that is where we shift them. That's the work that we can do is in the communities and circles and relationships and families that we are in the moment. We ask ourselves questions about our lives and begin to dare to wonder is there more? I call it the call to more, so, whether that's more connection or more depth, or more sex, or more love or more care or more support, it's very, you know, frozen too. It's like if you hear the call and you reject it, and it comes back. That call is asking you to ask questions. And so what is it that we want to feel? What is it that we want to experience and what's standing in the way of us experiencing it, feeling it?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yes, challenging questions, and really, though I've faced all those questions and I even feel almost a visceral response in my body, I can feel what I felt when I started to question right, it's like my stomach gets a little bit uneasy and I luckily feel like I've had enough support in my life to ask those questions, even if it's just space where no one bothers me, for you know five hours that I can kind of sit in it and ask. And this is what I love about people like you, coaches, who can create that really safe space for someone to ask the questions and allow whatever answers come up without feeling any shame. And I think that's why it's so important to find a coach who is, if you're going to go in that way, or a friend or a family member, whoever it is, who will really listen without judgment, without shaming, because that shame and judgment will be an instant stopper to looking deeper into this, because I found it's a lifelong adventure to question and be curious.

Daniela Stevens:

Absolutely, and it makes me think of how some of my favorite people to work with or over the past have been people who have come to me, couples who have come to me and individuals with questions around monogamy, and they explore various systems and structures of non-monogamy and are able to come through with more skills to relate to one another in themselves and then ultimately choose like monogamy or monogamish structures from a space of consciousness of absolute choice. Yeah, and what I think is really becoming more and more clear to me is the distinction between people who really experience and I think you talk about this really well is people who have consensual, non-monogamy lifestyles, and people who choose it, who choose various style dynamics because of the partner that they're with, and that's something that we don't have to say we are this or we aren't, and sometimes we do. Sometimes there's the relationship dynamic between two people that really clarifies what they need and want within that relationship and outside of it or and including other relationships.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I hear a lot this discussion about. Is polyamory, nonmonogamy, is it an identity or is it just what I'm choosing, a choice? And I find it a very interesting discussion because I think it really just depends on the person. I know people who definitely identify as polyamorous. That explains a lot about my life. I've heard people say that explains a lot about how I've been my entire life, but then, like me or other people, it seems to be a timing and circumstantial choice that is really working in the moment for whatever reason, all different kinds of reasons. Do you have any thoughts on that discussion?

Daniela Stevens:

There's so many elements that, bringing this back to the art form of relationship dynamics, it's about so many different things. It's about our age, it's about children or not children. It's about financial security or not. It's about love or sex or pleasure. I mean relationships are our partners. Who we engage with romantically, sexually, homestead-wise, are our greatest teachers.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So whether we're looking for that teacher in that sort of form, or if we're in school and we're like I don't have any time for any partners of any depth or degree, these are all going to inform the choices that we make Right and the painting just to bring the art symbolism back is the painting that I would paint at 25 is very different than the painting that I would paint at 53 because of everything I've learned and the path that I've traveled and the experiences that I've had and the healing that I've done. All of that gives me more skills and more attention and more information to create my perfect relationship. And really what is underneath all of that is that I've gotten to know myself more. Right, because that's, I think I feel, where it starts is to know who I am, to know what I want.

Daniela Stevens:

And I, to be honest, cringed a little bit when you said my perfect relationship, Because for me perfection feels very finite and very like if you talk to artists or writers.

Daniela Stevens:

I'm a writer. The writing, the art, the painting, it's never done Right. It can always be finessed, touched up. You see something else you want to do and we have to. We have to find a moment to stop, to pause, to call it, and in this way I want to make sure I never put my relationships into a box and say this is perfect, it's never going to change. This is what it needs to be. For me, the perfection is in the space, to allow it to unfold, to move through seasons, to assess what do we need now?

Daniela Stevens:

What's working well, what could we change or shift?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah Well, I was going to say that is my definition of perfection. I am not at all in like perfection is a house with the white picket fence, and I don't even think. For me, perfection is in a lot of the messiness. It's in living and feeling emotions, and not even always great emotions, just always growing and evolving. To me that is like perfection of what I want in my relationships, which is always to grow, always to evolve, to feel pleasure, to feel loved and secure and all of that, but also to make sure that I am always evolving and that I have the space to grow and evolve.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So I'm so glad you brought that up because it's almost like my definition of success relationship success. It's not this like cookie cutter or Disney type relationship. It's really I could be in a relationship for one week and it could be a success because, oh my God, I learned something that I have been wanting to learn for 20 years. I learned it in one week. That, to me, is relationship success. So I appreciate you bringing that up to define those terms because, again, those terms can be very default, right Default of what perfection looks like, which I think is very much a tricky place for people, especially when they are not in a relationship that brings them happiness. They think they're looking for this perfect thing, and it's this idea of maybe something that is what they've seen on TV or movies or heard talked about, but have never really experienced or watched relationships relationships are not perfect.

Daniela Stevens:

They are meant to be uncomfortable.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Right.

Daniela Stevens:

I love Rezma Menekim's book Monsters in Love. He's better known for somatic abolitionism with my grandmother's hands, and he clarifies this isn't meant to be comfortable. This isn't meant to be perfect. This is meant to bring out the best in you. Yeah, to push. Push us to grow and to become better versions of ourselves. And if that's not what you're looking for in a relationship, any kind of relationship, you're gonna be surprised.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Right, so I I love that, and I think that's a really nice segue into this idea of relationship escalator. Because, well, first I'd love for you to explain the concept of relationship escalator so that we can bring Everyone who's listening into the same place to understand what we mean by it.

Daniela Stevens:

Well, I was first introduced to the concept of a relationship escalator by Amy Garin. She's written a book about relationship escalators and the imagery is really powerful. You know, we step on to an escalator and it's it's multiple steps right, let's say 20 steps. It's taking us to the top. Once we step on there's not really a stepping off. If you've ever seen or imagined or tried yourself to turn around and go down, or even this sense of jumping over the side of an escalator, the walls are high. It's not not really a A great amount of choices to jump off of a relationship escalator or affonnet of an off of an escalator. So this idea of a relationship escalator is we all. We all know the steps from attraction and to Moving in together or getting married, having children, buying a house, retirement, death right.

Daniela Stevens:

Those are kind of the, the steps from step one on the relationship all the way to the, the final destination At the top, and the idea of getting off the relationship escalator is about more choice. Then we don't have to Follow this default path, that we can take space in between each step. We can get off at any particular point. I really like the idea of taking this escalating linear line and flattening it, pulling it onto a, onto the, to the ground, almost imagining it as a sidewalk where you still have these segments, you still have chemistry and dating and you still have the possibility of moving in together, of exchanging files, of having children, of buying a house, of retiring together, of Dying together, right, and you can step off the sidewalk onto the grass, onto a path, cross the street and you can stay In any of these sidewalk squares for as long as you want. You don't have to move to the next one. There aren't unspoken expectations Around how this has to look. Does that make sense?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Absolutely yeah. So can you give an example, with maybe a real life scenario, of what, stepping off of the relationship escalator and creating your own version of what it could look like?

Daniela Stevens:

Yes, I'm thinking about a couple I know, not a couple I've worked with, but a couple I know. Later in life, one of their spouses had passed away, the other most has was mostly single. They one of them has adult children and it's like they dated for a very long time. They moved in together and then one of them moved out. They still occasionally see one another, I don't.

Daniela Stevens:

I wonder if they would say they're still dating. I wonder if they would say we're friends with benefits or we're in a Situation ship, even though their relationship has gone through other seasons or chapters of what we would call A, a committed, long-term relationship. So, instead of these boxes of dating Situation ship, friends with benefits, relationship, marriage that they're choosing actively what works for them, and it doesn't have to be this Escalating, linear progression we live together, therefore, we will always live together. It's like, oh, for whatever reason, one of they're no longer living together. Does that mean that they're a failure, that their relationship didn't work, that they don't still have a relationship, however they choose it, whether it's Romantic but not sexual, or sexual and less romantic, they get to decide. The consent lies with the two of them and not the expectations that society has put on them to move all away all of the way up the escalator.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's a great example and I can only imagine starting a relationship With or just meeting someone and starting with understanding what a relationship escalator is and having the conversation From the very beginning.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I still think people who are in relationship you know whether they're somewhere on the relationship escalator can, with the awareness and the consciousness, step off, make different choices. But I just kind of had this moment where I went in my head and started thinking about wow, what would that would be like to meet someone and say I want to be conscious and choose what is going to be right for us every step of the way and let's open the communication lines between us from the very beginning, knowing that there may be times when we have hard conversations but that we'll always tune in with ourselves and what we want and what we need and what's working for us and what's not working for us, and that we can kind of have that communication line open and in our awareness Throughout, however long this may last, that that could create a really cool relationship experience. I don't know that I have necessarily had that experience, but it sounds pretty cool.

Daniela Stevens:

I'm. I am in the personal, I'm personally in the experience of practicing relationship Anarchy for the first time. Can you explain that for people who don't?

Carrie Jeroslow:

know what that is.

Daniela Stevens:

Yes, although I'm going to explain my version of this.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I know perfect, I know a hamster.

Daniela Stevens:

I know a handful of people who who practice relationship anarchy and I think all of us practice it very differently. Relationship anarchy Is this sense that none of our relationships or friendships, none of our connections I call them connections in our lives have an inherent value over the others. So it's not hierarchical. Some people practice hierarchical polyamory right, a primary relationship that gets the Greater amount of time, of resources. What have you, for various reasons, and in the last I don't know 10 to 15 years, we've been talking more about non hierarchical polyamory and that's very similar or could be similar to relationship anarchy Relation.

Daniela Stevens:

My, my practice and exploration of relationship anarchy has been so fascinating Because I have a connection with someone who also practices relationship anarchy, who has multiple partners, and each moment the expression of that connection could fall into any of these kind of relationship escalator expressions. So Sometimes some days, that expression is friendship, is emotional connection, is support, is how are you doing? Do you need dinner? This like Friendship, care, space, right? Sometimes that expression is sexual, like there's pleasure in my body. Is there pleasure in your body? Are you interested in sex? That sex could be. Hey, I have three hours. Or do you want to spend the night or are you open to spending the weekend together so that every one of those conversations is nuanced and there isn't the expectation that when we get together, how our connection is going to express is based off of the last time we got together? So sometimes the expression is more romantic. Sometimes it's sitting on the couch and cuddling and kissing and talking about what kind of movie or show we want to watch, and it has that kind of romantic relationship feel.

Daniela Stevens:

In explaining this to my kids in introductory conversations with them around what I'm practicing and what it looks like, I am using words like so this might feel like friends with benefits, this might sound like a situation ship, it might look like dating. It's all of these things and also none of them. All of these choices are on the menu or on the table in any moment of our interactions and expression and connection. And I don't feel pressure from myself which is something I'm questioning because I so if, if they and I were sexually intimate last weekend, I have this pressure within me that says, oh, we have to be sexually intimate this weekend, that that's the expectation and the escalating progression and I get to ask myself, well, do I?

Carrie Jeroslow:

want to have sex.

Daniela Stevens:

Do I want to be sexually intimate, and it doesn't have to have anything to do with the other person, and it also has something to do with the other person. It's a both and. So every moment of the connection and every of our connection I don't need to make it sound so distant Every moment of our connection and our expression is me checking in with myself as to what I feel open and wanting to do, is me checking in with them and us co creating daily, what that, what feels best, what feels good to us today. How does that want to express? It's very consensual. It's checking in with consent with ourselves and consent with the other person, but also checking in with kind of the cultural consent, of expectation, that is an incredible explanation of relationship anarchy.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Thank you for taking us there. And it sounds, you know there's. There's a part. I listen to you talk about it and I can sense the freedom and the attention to yourself, which is really beautiful, because many times I will say I, you know, in a, I guess, recovering people please, or I look at it as I'm an empath and I really just want everyone to be happy around me.

Carrie Jeroslow:

And what you're saying with this, with relationship anarchy, is that you're checking in with yourself constantly, you're putting yourself as a priority, which I think will make any relationship structure stronger when we're really clear with what we want, and then the next step is to communicate it and also listen to what your partner wants. And so it sounds to me like now tell me if this is true or not, but that every time you get together with this other person, that there's a moment where you come together, it seems like there would need to be some kind of communication, like every time you got together, of where are you at, where am I at, and then let's go on with our date, our moment, our hour together. Is that how it works?

Daniela Stevens:

for you, yes and no, like it's still new and so I'm still doing a lot of my work around relationship anarchy. For example, I shared with them, like I don't want to fear that if you and I are going out alone, that it's a date, because when I think about it in that way, there are expectations that the date is going to be romantic, that it's going to be kissing, that there's going to be sex afterwards, and I'm like that's a lot of relationship escalator just in the word date. So having the conversation and sharing, hey, this is the pressure I'm feeling within myself and I want to have the freedom for, when we go out, for it to be whatever it's going to be. Does that make sense to you? Yes, yes, okay, and I want to make it clear too that it's not so. So it's not so black and white with I don't want to have sex today. So we're not having sex today.

Daniela Stevens:

Like it is about me checking in with I'm not feeling super sexy today, like pleasure does not, is not my priority, doesn't feel very accessible, and maybe I share that with this person staying open to the possibility of responsive desire. So in my work around sex and intimacy, there's spontaneous desire, like a light switch either we're feeling sexy or not. But responsive desire is us responding to sexual stimulus. So if we have a partner or a person that's at the end of the bed and we're reading, but we look up and they're taking off their clothes and we're like, well, now I'm feeling a little sexy, there's the freedom for things to change, to shift, and so more often it's about knowing where I am in the moment as a starting place, and not pushing myself to be somewhere else as an expectation on the relationship escalator or on monogamy or anything else about.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's really beautiful. I'm wondering if you would share what you in your experience with relationship anarchy, what you absolutely love about it, what really feels great to you, and then also what has been a challenge for you.

Daniela Stevens:

Yes, what's been a challenge for me is or not what has been a challenge, but what I come up against is wondering about depth. So if I'm practicing relationship anarchy, how often, how deep can it go? And this is not just relationship anarchy, this is like non-traditional consensual, not monogamy. I'm a person who loves a depth of connection and monogamy offers that in that there's a singular romantic sexual focus, and that doesn't mean that I haven't or don't have multiple deep romantic and sexual connections with other people. That's about time management and communication. So that's one of the things that comes up along with trying to find the words.

Daniela Stevens:

And polyamory is great about coming up with new words. Yeah, whether it's compersion or metamorphosis, so many beautiful words to begin to get at the nuance. So I describe this person as a connection. I don't know if there's not a connector word to describe them. They're not my partner, they're not my friend, they're all of these things simultaneously, but not exclusively.

Daniela Stevens:

So language is another thing that I struggle with in communicating to myself, to this person and to other people around us, because I don't want to. I'm trying really hard not to misrepresent it. And then what I love about it is, like you said, the freedom is the lack of expectation and the constant questioning of what's happening within me that the other person is not projecting onto me. I'm projecting something onto them and then being able to ask them, hey, is this what's happening here? And they're like, no, this is not what's happening. And I'm like, okay, this is all me, this is all heteronormativity, this is all misogyny, this is all monogamy, this is all relationship escalator. And so I really need to look at this and dismantle this If I want it to be an authentic and real connection from me to this person and with this person.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's beautiful. That is what you put beautiful words into. What I love about non-traditional relationships is the questioning and the breaking down of what is that thought from? And it is sometimes really sneaky. They come in really sneaky and you're like, oh wow, that I really want to look at that. I didn't even realize that I had that understanding or belief and that I was just defaulting to it, and I take joy in that kind of questioning. Daniela, this has been such a great conversation. I would love for you to let people know how they can get in touch with you if they're wanting to connect with you for coaching, because I can feel from you that you are so accepting and caring when people come to you and they say I've got these things that I've felt so ashamed about, and that you have such an accepting, calm, loving nature to you. So how would someone connect with you if they wanted to investigate working with you?

Daniela Stevens:

Thank you and investigate working with themselves right. It's support and guidance around them, asking themselves questions and co-creating and creating a life that works for them. So your audience can go to danielastevenscom slash podcast and I've put together some wonderful practices and gifts. So, whether you're wanting to explore your own sense of self with regards to relationships, sex and love, there are two gifts whether you want to go gentle or you want to go deep. And then, if your partner is open to it and exploring some of this with you, you too can also choose something that's gentle or something that's deep. You can do it with multiple partners, but that's a great way to get another taste of the kind of work I offer. We can also move into free 15 minute phone consultations to see if we're a good fit for working together.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Beautiful. I will link all of that in the show notes and I really encourage you. If you're struggling with these questions of feeling stuck and in a box and wanting to just maybe push the walls a little bit and explore, please reach out to Daniella. Thank you so much for being a part of this podcast. Thanks so much for listening to the Relationship Diversity podcast. Want to learn more about relationship diversity? I've got a free guide I'd love to send you. Go to wwwrelationshipdiversitypodcastcom to get your sent right to you. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to the podcast. You being here and participating in the conversation about relationship diversity is what helps us create a space of inclusivity and acceptance together. The more comfortable and normal it is to acknowledge the vast and varied relating we all do, the faster we'll shift to a paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my website, carriejeoslowcom, Instagram or TikTok. Stay curious.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Every relationship is as unique as you are. Are you wondering why you never seem to find lasting fulfillment in your relationships? Or do you create the same kinds of relationship experiences over and over again? Can you never seem to find even one person who you want to explore a relationship with. Have you just given up hope all together? If this sounds like you, my recent book why Do they Always Break Up With Me is the perfect place to start. The foundation of any relationship, whether intimate or not, is the relationship we have with ourselves. In the book, I lead you through eight clear steps to start or continue your self-exploration journey. You'll learn about the importance of self-acceptance, gratitude, belief, shifting and forgiveness, and given exercises to experience these life-changing concepts. This is the process I use to shift my relationships from continual heartbreak to what they are now fulfilling soul-nourishing, compassionate and loving. It is possible for you. This book can set you on a path to get there, Currently available through Amazon or through the link in the show notes.

Relationship Diversity and the Relationship Escalator' Simplified Title
Questioning Traditional Relationships for Pleasure and Love
Relationship Perfection & Escaping Societal Expectations
Exploring Relationship Anarchy