Relationship Diversity Podcast

How To Live Life On Your Own Terms with Relationship Coach, Randi Robbins

February 01, 2024 Carrie Jeroslow Episode 85
Relationship Diversity Podcast
How To Live Life On Your Own Terms with Relationship Coach, Randi Robbins
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Episode 085:
How To Live Life On Your Own Terms with Relationship Coach, Randi Robbins


Have you ever felt like you're living by someone else's script, especially with your relationship?

In this episode, I talk with Randi Robbins, a therapist turned life and relationship coach. Our conversation sheds light on challenging societal norms, conquering shame, and the courage required to live authentically. Randi's own transformation—from a difficult childhood rife to living an authentic life—illustrates the power of embracing oneself, fully. We talk about the daunting task of silencing internal critics and offer a guiding hand to those considering or already on the path less traveled in love and life.

Randi and I address the complexities of 'coming out' in various life realms, and the tailored support required for individuals and groups navigating the unique challenges of non-traditional relationships. If you've ever felt adrift in a sea of convention, let this episode be your compass to a life structured by your own design, with Randi's invaluable insights lighting the way.

Connect with Randi:
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This is Relationships Reimagined.

Join the conversation as we dive into a 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.

Randi Robbins:

All the time the people who I work with are coming in with so much shame, so much sense of I should be doing this, I shouldn't be, that I'm wrong for this, and usually the why behind that is because someone told them to be that way. It was not with the best interests of the person who I was working with, but they were still carrying around this critical voice inside of them saying all of these different things that were making them miserable, locking them from tuning into what they actually wanted or from going for it when they knew what they wanted. So I embraced more and more, helping people navigate. What do you do to get out of that mindset and how do you get that life that you actually want?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from solaramary 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 guide, Kerry Jarislow, 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 Life and Relationship Coach Randy Robbins. All about how to live life on your own terms, regardless of choosing a path less traveled. But first a little about her. Randy Robbins is a therapist turn life and relationship coach. In her work as a therapist, randy saw people being held back from the lives they truly wanted by shame and the weight of other people's expectations. Now Randy helps people step fully into their authentic selves, connect with their deepest desires and live life on their own terms. Randy has been practicing polyamory for most of her adult life and has experienced a variety of relationship structures. At this time, she has a husband and a long-term partner. She enjoys crafting, gaming, reading and spending time outside. Let's get into the conversation.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of Relationship Diversity Podcast. I've got another amazing guest for you Today. I'm talking to Randy Robbins and we are going to talk about an incredible subject. We're going to talk about living life on your own terms and how to even go about starting that. If you're listening to this podcast about relationship diversity, odds are that you are contemplating, or maybe choosing, a different path to take in terms of your relationship. This brings up a whole slew of emotions, I know for me terror, fear. What are people going to think? How do you navigate living life on your own terms, randy? You are going to help us. I know you are. First, I always know that there is a story in how people get into their work. Could you share your story with us?

Randi Robbins:

Absolutely. It started when I was a kid, where I had a difficult childhood, a difficult family. I knew that the way that things were there was not what I wanted. I had to discover what is life going to look like for me? One of the first things that I discovered that was outside of what we're typically fed to be the norms is one of my sister's friends from college who would babysit me. She was polyamorous. I got to learn about that at 12, 13 years old. I entered into starting my exploring relationships with this knowledge tucked away. Going into adulthood.

Randi Robbins:

My whole adult life, my relationships have been often some kind of nonmonogamous. That's one big way that I personally have embraced living and creating my life the way that I want it, in a way that's different from what other people may approve of Now, coming at it in a different way, how I started to really branch out further is I'm a therapist. Particularly, I'm a trauma therapist, in addition to my work as a coach. All the time the people who I work with are coming in with so much shame, so much sense of I should be doing this. I shouldn't be that I'm wrong for this.

Randi Robbins:

Usually, the why behind that is because someone who was serving their best interests told them to be that way. It was not with the best interests in mind of the person who I was working with, but they were still carrying around this critical voice inside of them, saying all of these different things that were making them miserable, blocking them from tuning into what they actually wanted or from going for it when they knew what they wanted. I embraced more and more, helping people navigate. What do you do to get out of that mindset and how do you get that life that you actually want? We create our relationships the way that we want them, but why can't we do that with other parts of our life? That's my argument. Is that we can apply that to so many more things.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, I want to go back because I'm so intrigued by this story about your sitter, who introduced polyamory to you. How old were you when that happened?

Randi Robbins:

Yeah, I think I was about 12 or 13 when she and I started to get close.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Do you mind telling us what year that was, oh?

Randi Robbins:

that would have been 2002.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Okay, so how did she start talking to you about?

Randi Robbins:

that she was a big sister figure to me, almost a mother figure, and so I was around her and her family and her friends, and she was open about it as being a part of her life, and I think that I was young enough that it wasn't a huge shock where I was still developing this idea of what even are relationships, and so it was easier to just be like, oh, this is what you're doing and this is working for you. Okay, that's cool.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Well, I love that because it ties into what a lot of people talk about is like how do you tell your kids If you have children and you are experiencing a non-traditional relationship, how do you bring it up to children? And I think around that age and younger kids don't have a lot of preconceived notions about how things are and so they're more open to this. Oh okay, you do it that way. So that's a pretty big moment in your life shaping how you look at relationships. Did you understand at that time that what she was doing and what she was explaining to you and how she was in relationships was different than what was typically out there? Did you have that understanding?

Randi Robbins:

Yes, something that she talked about with me is that her family of origin did not necessarily approve of it or wasn't necessarily recognizing all of her partners, and she was also bisexual and I was very aware at that time of coming into my own sexuality, of that not being acceptable. In the area that we were in in particular, and I think, generally, in that time period the things were not going well for people in the LGBTQ world. Not that they're going super well today.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, and I know back in 2002, it was even less so in the awareness and the acceptance. And one of the other things that I want to touch on is this idea of shame and how shame can really control someone's experience in the world, how their choices, that they make in terms of their lifestyle, living in the truth of who they know that they are, and then, on top of that, when the shame is compounding and then you're not able to live the life that you really desire, how that leads to depression, anxiety and all of that. Can you speak to that a little bit more?

Randi Robbins:

So, when we are living under this shame and under these things that are counter to who we are and what we actually want in life, it's ongoing trauma, it's ongoing pain and denial of the self, and so, by continuing in that, it's not healing from the bad things that have happened in the past. It's a continued wound there.

Carrie Jeroslow:

And so how would someone just begin take that first step to reclaim their story and to reclaim their life?

Randi Robbins:

One thing I really like to start with is helping people imagine themselves in a vacuum where, stripping back okay, none of these responsibilities exist, if none of these people in your life existed, if other people's perceptions didn't matter to you. Tapping into, like, okay, if we strip all of that away, what are those things that sound good to you? What are the things that you enjoy that maybe you haven't let yourself enjoy, or the things that you don't enjoy but you make yourself do because you feel it's expected of you? So, stripping all of that, the stuff that's piled onto us, stripping all of that back to think about, like, what is really at the core of what works for me and what I want.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's quite a process, because I'm sure that I know I've been through it. All the fears just hit you right in the face and it's like, okay, I'm terrified that I won't find the support and love from others. But I think what you're saying is the first step really starts with yourself and coming into awareness of what you're doing you really want and it seems to me, at least in my own experience I had to take quite a bit of time to become comfortable with that, before I even thought about coming out or talking to anyone else about what I was feeling inside. Do you find that that is typical? Is that how most people go through the process?

Randi Robbins:

I would say that that is pretty typical, where, when we are stepping into our more authentic selves and embracing these different desires, that it can be hard to face changing people's perceptions of us, especially when we feel that maybe we're, in their eyes, supposed to be a certain kind of person or we're afraid of rejection, particularly from people who we consider the most important to us.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, do you ever work with people or have come across people who want to pay their own path and want to go through the journey within themselves and understanding that, but never really come out to anyone other than the people necessary?

Randi Robbins:

I've even seen people who really didn't come out at all and had to make the choice, because of their circumstances, of kind of walking a line and compromising what it was that they wanted. The reality is that sometimes things aren't going to be achievable or the cost outweighs the benefit and circumstances where someone might lose their housing. Some of those logistical things can be worked through over time, but there are certainly cases where it makes more sense for that person to limit what they share and who they share it with.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, because it's important that people remain safe, feel safe, and there are just. I think sometimes I have to continually remind myself that I don't have to share every part of myself with everyone, not even with most people, and in this time of social media, where people share their entire lives with others, that I think it's important to remember that it's really okay to keep life private, or to keep parts of your life private. We don't all have to go out there and just share every part of our lives. This is just something I got to remind myself with as well and that for me sometimes it just takes time. So I just lost my mom.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Well, it was about four months ago, but it took me a really long time to even be able to talk about it and to process it and to understand it and to just let it sit in my energy system and just process it all. So I think that that's okay to encourage people, but let's say that people come to you and they're like okay, I know who I am, I know what I want and I want to live unapologetically. What kinds of help or steps do you give them to move forward in this coming out process and really paving their own path?

Randi Robbins:

Yeah. So to an extent that's really individualized, of like okay, you know all of these things, you want this. What are they coming to me for support with? Are they coming out to family? Are they looking for like okay, this is what I want, but how do I actually get there? How do I get this particular goal? So sometimes it's logistical stuff, it's problem solving things like, okay, you want to live in X place, you live in Y place. How are we going to set up you, creating this in a sustainable way? I would also say it's a lot of mindset work of like okay, you know these things, you want them, you're ready to do this. What's keeping you from doing it? Is there still some mental blocks, some kind of shame or fear that's holding you back from taking the practical steps to get there? So there's a lot of digging into like, what's going on inside?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, it's a process, right, Do you find? I know that it's very individualized, but I'm curious in terms of when someone comes to you and they want that, how long does the process take? How do you work with people? Do you work one on one? Do you have a certain set of period that you work with them? How does that work?

Randi Robbins:

I work both one on one, and sometimes people will come to me where they're in a relationship and they're looking to navigate things as a couple, as a triad, as whatever kind of relationship network, and we navigate through those things together. And so I ask for a three month commitment to start with, because I find that that's a minimum amount of time really that it takes to uncover what's going on and take steps to move forward towards what they actually want and then deal with the possible fallout or even, if there's no repercussions from other people, integrating this difference of self. I was this person for a long time and now I'm embracing that I'm this person and whoa, that is mind blowing and it changes everything. So there's a lot of like integrating that new self.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yes, the identity shift because there's a grieving process when you start to move into new identity. Thank you. We often miss the grieving of the old identity and I think that that's important to close the loop and really start this new life. We all wanna jump into what we think is gonna make us happy. We don't really wanna deal with the stuff that's uncomfortable, so maybe that's why we skip over that. But I find that that's very important Because you deal with a lot of people in diverse relationships, in all different relationship structures. What do you find are some of the common issues that people have when they go from a more traditional we'll say monogamy, more traditional structure to a non-traditional structure, what do people, what are some of the issues that come up for people?

Randi Robbins:

I think a big one is the relationship escalator, where there's this idea that relationships have a prescribed path of you do start with talking or dating and then you maybe move in together, you get married, you have children and when you're looking at non-monogamy it gets very messy and complicated if you stay on that relationship escalator and so by stepping off the escalator it opens up this whole world of options, and that can be very overwhelming for people If they even notice that they're on the escalator and need to step off. It's such the norm that it's hard to even see that we're engaging in that. And another thing that I see as a big challenge is a lot of fear and a lot of those core wounds that we carry with us are showing up, or a lot of the time. It's not even just about the relationship or what's happening in the relationship. It's about stuff that happened 10, 20 years ago, feeling things that happened that made them feel not good enough, that made them feel afraid of abandonment or rejection. That stuff comes up so strongly.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yes, and it really, I think, has less to do about the relationship structure and more about what is going on within us. And non-monogamy requires, I think, almost more of a commitment to look at your stuff and commit your attention to doing your own healing work. And so when people come to you, they come by themselves or they come in couples or triads. You said do you, if people come in couples or triads, do you usually work with them individually?

Randi Robbins:

Yeah, I do a mixture of meeting together and then also having some separate conversations, because sometimes, when people are in that space with their partners, it can be hard for them to be fully open, and because that's so essential to the process. Sometimes it's really necessary to work with them one-on-one to help them feel safe and comfortable and find the words for expressing themselves more to those other people in their lives.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I find also that in diverse relationships there's not really a rulebook or like a guidebook of how to design it, and there's somewhat of that in monogamy, although I think that that could be more troublesome than helpful when you read something that says monogamous relationship, a marriage should look like this. When you get to non-traditional relationships, there are not a lot of things out there that says this is how it could or should look like, which I think I enjoy because I'm a creative person, so I like to create my own form of whatever it is I'm doing. It doesn't matter whether it's in relationships or career or anything. I like to be creative. For people who are not used to being creative and opening the doors and breaking down the walls of structure, how do you help them structure a non-traditional relationship?

Randi Robbins:

Yeah, some of that is education pointing out to them like, okay, maybe you're struggling with this part, why is it being fit into that box? Does it have to be that way? Helping them examine, like, okay, you're saying you want this, do you actually want it, or do you think that's how it's supposed to be? And those can often be very different things, and the things that are actually important to them can be very different from how they're trying to get that need met. So if it's about getting the need met, then okay, there's so many possible options for how we do that that could jive better with everyone's needs.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I bet you're really helpful in finding those creative solutions, because I know when I get really pigeonholed into this is how I can't even figure out another way to do this. To have someone else who has a little bit more of a bird's eye view to say, well, this is how you could do. It is really helpful.

Randi Robbins:

That's really one of my favorite things to do is to turn things around and look at it from all angles and try to figure out like is there a different approach that we could be using?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, do you mind sharing a little bit about your own relationship structure and what that looks like?

Randi Robbins:

Yeah, absolutely so. I am married, I have a husband and we live together. We have a child and we recently moved to be closer to a mutual partner. We don't identify as a triad, but a partner that he and I both see and we move closer to them and their family and right now there's no intention of cohabitating. You would be partly. It would be very complicated and likely very expensive to put a lot of people in one dwelling. But we live close to each other and our families are pretty integrated. Their parents and some of their siblings live in the same town and they've embraced me and my husband as family and it's a goal that we've been working towards for a long time to make that happen. So it's been really lovely to do that.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Do they have another partner?

Randi Robbins:

Yes, they are also married and none of us are close off to seeing other people. Their partner has other partners. Neither my husband or I are particularly doing much dating right now because we have a young child and that sucks up a lot of time, but it's a possibility.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I remember that time. I can't even imagine doing anything like that when the kids were small. So how long have you been in relationship with your husband and your other partner?

Randi Robbins:

So my husband and I are coming up on 10 years and our other partner we are coming up on about nine years. We all met very early into my and my husband's relationship.

Carrie Jeroslow:

But you lived in separate places.

Randi Robbins:

We started out living in the same city and then we moved to different cities, and now we've come back together.

Carrie Jeroslow:

What has been your biggest takeaway in your journey of non-traditional relationships?

Randi Robbins:

Yeah, there's been so many, especially because I've from 18 to I just turned 33, to spend all that time in and out of different relationship structures, because I've sampled a handful in that time. But I think something that I come back to a lot is just like we talked about earlier the importance of handling our own stuff Because, like I mentioned, having a difficult childhood I have attachment stuff that can make things in relationships hard sometimes. I've dealt with jealousy, which people don't want to admit to, often in different relationship structures, and had to navigate healing my own stuff and not putting it on my partners.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's huge, and that's huge regardless of what structure you're in and can serve any kind of relationship structure is to, instead of blaming and putting it all on the other partner, all of it to just go inward and look at what is going on. What is this for me? What do I have to heal? That doesn't mean staying in an experience or relationship that is unsafe or deflecting something that is unsafe that your partner is doing that. You should just look at what that is for you. I'm not saying that, but I think it is important to get yourself to safety and then really look at what is going on with me. What am I wanting to grow and heal and learn? And many times it is from our past, our childhood.

Randi Robbins:

a lot of times, and sometimes that healing has meant ending relationships that didn't make sense for me and weren't in line with what I actually wanted for myself. But maybe I was in for reasons that had to do with my own stuff and it wasn't serving me.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's a great point. That is a great point because sometimes the lesson is saying I'm not worthy of this kind of relationship, it is not working for me, it is not showing me love and this is not working for me, and so I'm going to break up. That in itself is a pretty strong and important healing process for someone to go through.

Randi Robbins:

Absolutely.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So if someone is sitting listening to this and they're thinking, I feel much more aligned with non-traditional lifestyles, relationships, and I'm not quite sure and I'm scared and I don't know how to move forward. But Randy Robbins sounds like a really amazing coach or therapist and I'd like to work with her. How would someone get in touch with you?

Randi Robbins:

One of the best ways, I think, would be my website, which is randierobbinscom that's Randy with an I and Robbins with two Bs, because it has to be complicated. And then I have buttons all over my website for here's how to contact me. I have a few offerings on there as well that people can take.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, let's talk about your freebie. You have a free gift that people can go on your website sign up for, and it's about living life on your own terms, it's a workbook. So what does that?

Randi Robbins:

entail. So it's a three-section workbook and it starts out with identifying those things that are holding us back, starting to list out like these are the rules that I have for myself, these are the things that I'm carrying around with me. Then I have a guided meditation for like, okay, let's start trying to. Let's set these things down, even if just for a moment. The idea of setting them down permanently can be very overwhelming, but let's try setting them down for a moment, just to play pretend, and then, from there, dreaming the big dream, right and just writing out you know, if we waved a magic wand and everything could just be perfect, what would that look like? And so I guide people through that process of starting to tune into what is it that you really want, because that's the first step in knowing how am I going to get there.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So important and I really love those steps that you take people through. It feels equally gentle, yet encouraging and challenging all at the same time, because forging your own path is all those things, and so I love the way you guide people through it. So please connect with Randy by getting this workbook. If you're unable to reach out to her to work with her one-on-one, the workbook is a great place to start. So, randy, thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom on the podcast, and I look forward to connecting with you more. 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 YouTube channel, where I'll give you even more free resources and information all about relationship diversity. I'm super excited to go deeper into YouTube because I'll be able to connect and have conversations directly with you. You'll find the link in the show notes.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Stay curious. 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.

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