You all know I love an uncomfortable conversation, and digging into topics that are otherwise taboo, so it was incredibly enlightening to interview a love addiction coach recently on my podcast. Guys, I didn’t even know this was a thing! But it’s a thing! And you know what? It’s CRAZY interesting. Let’s dive in.
Katie Grimes is a self-confessed former sex, love and fantasy addict who now coaches other women on how to forge healthy relationships with themselves, and with others. We talked all about what to do to heal yourself so that when the right person comes your way, you’re ready for it. And here’s a hint: It all starts with you.
Yep! You read that right. Katie’s work is all about drilling down on what it is that you can do to heal yourself up, and pump yourself up, for the best relationship you can have.
In Katie’s work, it’s as simple as this: Someone who’s been there before, has been in treatment, and who has taken that knowledge and wisdom to help others.
But to understand what she’s now doing, you first have to understand where she’s been.
During the course of our interview, Katie said she had an aha moment years ago from a simple conversation with her then-boyfriend when it hit her: She was seeking validation in all the wrong places–as in outside of herself. And as a result, she says she attracted the wrong men into her life.
Having gone through a 12-step love and sex addiction program, Katie now takes the knowledge she gained there, as well as from her own experiences, to guide her clients.
You guys, I am so deeply grateful that Katie got very candid in our interview. She shared with me that at one point, she was The Other Woman–as in, seeing a married man. (No I’m not giving it all up here! You’ve got to listen to the interview to get the whole story!)
I joke during the interview that married women everywhere were sharpening their knives when they heard her say that, but here’s the truth of the matter: Stuff like this happens ALL the time. Katie recognized the decisions she was making weren’t aligned with her values, and fixed it.
Here’s my take: I’m not here to judge. The biggest lessons come from our biggest challenges, and Katie didn’t waste her opportunity to grow.
When it comes to identifying and removing oneself from toxic relationships, everyone’s story will be different. Here’s what Katie told me worked for her, when we talked during our interview:
Katie says she needed time to process the guilt and damage she experienced from toxic relationships.
And yes, she says forming a relationship with God—a known step in the recognized 12-step addiction programs—also helped her to reflect on what she did wrong, and what she wanted to change. Many addicts, or even people looking to find true points of connection as they search out relationships, “look up,” so to speak, when trying to heal.
Let’s be honest… We all screw up. Forgiving yourself is the first step, and with the help of a good coach or therapist, you can get there.
Unlike therapy, which can deal with behavior and issues in the past, Katie says her coaching deals with the present and future. The job of a coach is to listen, she says, and speak back to her clients what she’s hearing. Things like, “This is what I’m hearing; does this sound true to you?” That, and asking her clients questions like, “What type of relationship do you want?” can help her zero in on how to best help someone.
Katie coaches women on how to build more confidence and self-esteem, which are the building blocks to healthy relationships.
I love this other takeaway that Katie covered during our interview: STOP IT WITH THE NEED FOR PERFECTION.
Dating apps that force us to whittle down our personalities to bylines… perfectly-edited photos that populate Instagram… text messages you consider for 20 minutes before sending… All of this can make us all feel an unnecessary need to strive for perfection. To not show our real selves, or our big (sometimes ugly, but totally human!) feelings.
But here’s the deal: Uncomfortable feelings are a part of life… so get comfortable with them.
You don’t need to be perfect—not for your partner, and not for you! Like I always say, perfection is boring. Lower the bar, baby! Ha!
But seriously, this is how I choose to live, and it gives me so much more freedom and comfort in my relationships.
Embrace the big feelings in life—the good and the bad and the ugly—and allow yourself to show those to others so that they get an idea of the real you. Because that’s the one your partner is going to be in a relationship with, not the perfectly-manufactured social media version of you.
What I took away from my conversation with Katie was this: Are you gleaning your self-worth by internalizing what other people are saying to you, or how they’re treating you? Are you chasing relationships only for the sake of a “quick hit” of feeling loved? Or are you choosing (or otherwise ending up in) relationships with people who are otherwise committed, knowing that they can’t go all-in on a relationship with you, and you like the safety those boundaries provide? Then maybe you’re a love addict. Or at the very least, maybe you need to call Katie to ask. 😉