“…a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

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The word “soulmate” kind of makes me cringe. So does “twin flame”.

It seems like these words are designed to make us long for the unattainable, perfect relationship. But the concept behind the word is something I kind of love.

A unique bond, individual in this world. Something set apart from any other kind of connection. One person who is yours in a way no one else has ever been. Someone who was destined to get you. Get your jokes. Someone who always knows what you mean. Someone who can read your expression from across the room and understand everything…


“I will never regret you or say I wish I’d never met you. Because once upon a time you were exactly what I needed.” — Bob Marley

Photo by Felipe Galvan on Unsplash

We think we know what it means to be in love.

But when a relationship ends, we tend to question what it was all about. Was it ever love? It is one of the hardest questions to answer. Being swept away in the chemical cocktail that is attraction can mask a whole host of problems.

No one outside a relationship can ever really understand what you feel being in it. That leaves each of us to individually sort out if we believe we are truly in love. But true love can be defined…most accurately by what it is not.

1. It Moved Too Fast

Infatuation…


“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” -Steve Jobs

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Relationships. Sigh.

Is your mission in life to find “the one”? Or are you questioning if your partner is truly the one for you?

When we are dating, there are so many red flags to look out for, so many toxic qualities to avoid. Feel a connection too fast? It might be love-bombing. Watch out. Trying to figure out if you have a future? Don’t push too hard, you are supposed to be leaning back. Everything should happen naturally.

Instead of trying to diagnose every problematic relationship quality, let’s talk about what we should be looking for…and it is actually…


“Nice people don’t necessarily fall in love with nice people.”
– Jonathan Franzen

Photo by Itay Kabalo on Unsplash

The term “narcissist” is thrown around quite a bit. It conjures an image of a completely vain and arrogant individual. You may think of the loudest, most obnoxious, most confident person in the room. While grandiosity is the hallmark of a traditional narcissist, there is another version that may not be so easy to recognize.

A covert narcissist may actually come off as an insecure person who has been victimized by other. They lack the charisma of a textbook narcissist. You may begin a relationship like this one by actually feeling bad for this person. …


“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” — Henry Ford

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I watched a Tim Ferriss Ted Talk a few years ago. There was one line that I can’t seem to forget…

“Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.” Jersey Gergorek

Most people give their lives no thought. Life just happens to them. They do no self-discovery and little thinking. That’s not you. You are here, you are a Medium reader, a seeker, looking for the real answer backed by some level of thought and data.

For those of us who are actually awake, the hazard of thinking deeply is overthinking. …


The path to lasting love and a true happy ending.

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I am a romantic. There is no denying it.

I was raised in the 80’s on a steady diet of John Hughes romantic comedies, Sweet Valley High novels and power ballads. It was dramatic. We were dramatic. The expectation was huge romantic gestures…John Cusack with a boombox standing outside my window…and only happy endings.

I thought for so long that it was all about falling in love. It was about the beginning. What happens next? Who cares. We are in love and the rest will sort itself out.

Roll credits. Ride off into the sunset. Mission accomplished. Right? Nope.

What it Means to Fall in Love

Falling…


Are we giving up on our relationships or finally getting real?

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The year 2020 has brought challenges no one expected. The global pandemic and its effects on our finances, our family life and our health has rocked our world. Those of us lucky enough to skate through without getting sick (yet) have been faced with a new and radically altered reality.

Divorce rates have skyrocketed during this year. In the months of March through June, couples have filed at a rate 34% higher than the same period last year. Just three weeks into the lockdown, there was a 57% spike in divorce filings.

So did the pandemic kill the relationship? …


The most important conversation right now is the one you have with yourself.

Photo by DDP on Unsplash

Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true.

Cheryl Strayed

Overcomplicating is something I am very good at. I can rationalize with the best of them. But at the end of the day I know I am a seeker of truth. I don’t ever want to be scared to look away.

Relationships are one of the hardest places to experience clarity. It is nearly impossible to have a clear perspective when you are inside one. So often, it is after we get out that we see how unhappy we were.

Choosing to open your eyes, to…


“You are going to fall, you are going to fail, you are going to know heartbreak.” -Brene Brown

Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Brené Brown didn’t plan to become this famous. In fact, she resisted anything that would bring her further into the spotlight. She feared the potential repercussions that could come with going big.

After 20 years as a graduate professor and researcher specializing in the study of shame she suddenly found herself on the world stage.

As a specialist studying shame and vulnerability, she knew she had the skills to handle the onslaught of attention from her viral Ted Talk. But the cruelty of the comments on social media challenged even her expertise.

While she was experiencing success on a level…


A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. – Andre Marois

Photo by Andreas Rønningen on Unsplash

Have you wondered what it means to have a good marriage?

There are entire industries built around creating the perfect wedding. Look no further than the endless racks of magazines on a newsstand. Flash forward a few years and you will find entire industries built around understanding what is wrong with your relationship. Look no further than the self-help section of the book store. Or most of my articles.

But I am in my 40’s. When I got married, I followed the script. Dated for two years, got engaged, dutifully planned the perfect wedding for our families. I yielded want…

Colleen Murphy

Writing about the beautiful journey of life and love. We are all figuring this out together

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