The Same Ol' Relationship Answers & Advice

the same ol' relationship answers and advice

"Because that is the way it is!"

I have always hated that as an answer! I got it a lot when I was growing up. You have to admit that it is a pretty bad answer to common questions…especially when it comes to familiar questions we ask about love and marriage.

Have you ever asked these things?

Why can’t I be happy with a partner that is not my same religion, culture, or race? Maybe I want to expand my understanding and possibilities…

Why is wondering if I am gay something to be ashamed of? 

Why am I not taught how to develop my sexuality when it clearly becomes such an important part of my ability to create physical intimacy with my special someone?

I have said many times we should be talking more about sex and poop, for these are the things that create a long and happy life! “STACI, for heaven sakes,” my mother would sternly say. “Don’t say things like that!”

“Why?” was my reply.

“Because that is the way it is!” she answered.


And…why is it not ok to speak up for myself, and ask for what I want, and express myself fully?

Why must I hide my true feelings? And what about when you attack me, why can’t I stand up for myself?  Why must I sit there and take it or try to make the situation better?

Does not sharing my feelings make relationships work better?  If so, then why do I feel so empty?

And what is this "commitment" thing when it comes to love…

Why do we need to get married? Does getting married create more love?

And why do we measure the success of a marriage by how long it lasts, does that really matter?

Is it more important for me to be in a committed relationship for time or for happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction and joy for however long it lasts?

Why do we treat people who have children out of wedlock as bad and wrong?

Isn’t it more important to focus on their ability to love and support those same children into becoming extraordinary, loving adults?

Why is commitment so scary?

Why do I feel trapped?

What if I feel I choose the wrong partner, or I change my mind, or really screw things up, does that make me a horrible person or a failure at love?

“Many of us are pawns in a game of love we don’t understand.” – Leo Buscaglia

And when someone asks me how many relationships I’ve had, when do I start counting? Do I begin counting with my first grade school crush, or my first kiss? The first time I went steady with a “real” boyfriend that walked me home from school in seventh grade? Or my first actual date in high school? (Man he was sooooo cute!) Or do I begin counting from my college days when I sensed I was truly in love for the first time?

Or am I to count only the times I was actually married? Or only the men I had children with? Or just my “serious” relationships after the age of 30?

How about this…

Why do we count at all? What is it all supposed to mean when I come to a final tally, anyhow?

Aren’t we all just growing and learning about relationships anyway, and with each relationship ultimately contributing to who we are becoming now?

Have you ever noticed that there are no formal studies when it comes to love and relationships? Mostly just opinions, attitudes, and judgments?

Haven’t you just been told many times, “Because that is the way it is..."

What do you say we change that?!

How many failures does it take to find happiness in relationships?


By Staci Welch-Bartley


Another round of those deep sick feelings began to build in the pit of my stomach, along with the need to crawl in a hole somewhere quick. And then came the sleepless nights as my mind refused to shut up with thoughts of “how did this happen?” and “I thought this one was different?” What was wrong with me? Would I ever get this love thing figured out? And then the original thought of emotional escape came to me. Maybe I should call that guy I met at the coffee shop…he said all I had to do was call. No no, bad idea! So I decided to just give up, and forget about relationships…they never worked out anyway.

I took a breath, closed my eyes in spite of the tears, and attempted to re-gather my thoughts. I asked myself what each of my relationships had given me, was there anything more than the pain that I was feeling?

Here is the conversation I had with myself:

“OK. Well there is Rex, he gave me a place of refuge and a sense of belonging when my sense of safety at home was compromised, so grateful… And let’s see…Quinn taught me about the different levels of passion, when I kissed him it was like kissing my brother and I finally called it quits! Dale was so extraordinarily different he expanded me physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and gave me incredible children. He is also the reason that I was not allowed to stay in the safe cocoon of my religion.  Shit it use to piss me off when he would come home after a few day binge and blow my perfect happy religious family paradigm sky high! Because of your contribution to my life Dale, I finally realized I had a choice…GROW or DIE!  Thank you, thank you.

Shane, blessed me with humor, connection, and showed me I had value and worth. He would tell me, ‘You’re a princess, don’t you ever let anyone mistreat you!’

Oz gave love and support to me and the kids when we needed it most. Oz also taught me so much about business and life…oh and then he gave me a beautiful son. I had expanded my capacity to love myself and others.

Troy showed me what unconditional love feels like, and was masterful at creating fantastic adventures for us to explore and experience. I was finally able to embrace and express my creativity and accept all of me. All my good parts, all my messy parts, and let go of the greatest parts of my heavy and cumbersome baggage. How lucky was I to have something that made saying goodbye so hard.”

Oh hey wait, I was beginning to feel better, I saw that I didn’t have any failed relationships just a personal journey that created me.

And my next partner who you will all know as Tom…he takes my breath away and is the pinnacle of my life’s work!

The Intersection of Religion and Relationships

The intersection of religion and relationships

By Staci Welch-Bartley

“I have been stuck in a toxic relationship for years because of my religion,” said a courageous woman attending our webinar. I immediately began to feel tears well up in my eyes, and my heart experienced a tug of major deep emotions. You see those are familiar feelings for me. I too was that woman trapped in an unhealthy relationship because of my religion more than 15 years ago.

I grew up in a Mormon household where thankfully, there was much love and support present. Home was always a place I loved to be.

My father died when I was 7-years-old, leaving my mother with me and my four older siblings, a mortgage, and no life insurance.

In the Mormon faith, when you marry it is not just for time, but for all of eternity IF you remain faithful throughout your life. As a family, we clung to our religious beliefs because they were all we knew, and they worked to ease the pain of it all. I remember specifically the feelings of assurance I felt as a child being told that I would see my dad and we would all be a family again. Beliefs like these comforted not only my heart, but the hearts of us all. I promised to be faithful FOREVER!

At the age of 20, I married according to the tenants of my faith; i.e., I was committed to living righteous, virtuous, and ensuring that I raise my children in a faithful home. Within the first 6 months of my marriage, I had that sick feeling inside with a voice deep inside asking, “What have you done?”  However, this thought was countered by, “You married for time and all eternity work it out!” and “Don’t screw up your life forever!”

Over the course of the next 15 years, my husband and I had a total of five children and the marriage had become more and more volatile in spite of me following the tenants of my religion. Attending the temple regularly, fasting and praying reverently, serving my fellow man, and attending to my family and church duties like a champ. Oh, the hours I spent pleading with God to please save me from this situation I found myself in. I was paralyzed by the fears and beliefs within me, the longing for answers and peace were at times unbearable.

Then I met a man I owe my life to…Gary Acevedo. Gary facilitated courses and workshops around personal empowerment. One day as me and about 20 others sat in a circle, and Gary said something that became a huge epiphany for me. “We believe what we are taught,” he said. I instantly felt defensive in response to this phrase. “If you were born in India, you would believe the cow to be sacred, and you certainly would not be making a burger with extra cheese out of it!” “If you were born in parts of Asia you would believe in Buddha.” Gary went along this track of thinking pointing out many beliefs that we hold because they have been taught to us. And then the phrase that made me feel free…“Religion should add to your life, not hold you prisoner. Be brave enough to challenge your beliefs and honor what you know in your heart. For this is where creation shares with you who you really are and opens you up to the potential that you contain within. When you follow this path of truth, there will be no conflicts only internal peace.”

I ended my marriage over the next 18 months. I discovered that God loved me because I am me!

I have no regrets or upset about my upbringing. It is all a part of who I am and have become. And I am so grateful I mustered up the courage to challenge my deep religious prison I had built around my life and embraced my life’s work, Lease On Love. It would have not happened otherwise. The universal teachings of love, family, honesty, kindness that were taught to me as a child, still bless my life to this day. Good is always good!

Courageous soul, if you are feeling like a prisoner, go within and listen to the musings of your heart. Take BOLD action based on what you KNOW. The rest will take care of itself.

13 Ways To Move On From A Breakup

13 Ways To Move On From A Breakup

By Staci Welch-Bartley

When it comes to breakups and broken hearts, the quote that I love and share with my clients to help calm the stormy feelings is:

 “As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I, in a love relationship, do not lead the other person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love and is best let go of.”
- Leo Buscaglia

Real love is dedicated to a continual becoming of the self (YOU), and when for any reason this process ceases, love becomes tedious and listless, and is doomed to fade, decay, and destroy itself.

True love should never ask us to be someone or something that we are not. EVER. And conversely, we should never ask someone to be with us when the relationship impedes him or her or forces our partner to be someone that they are not. When this happens, it is the beginning of the end.

I thought it might be helpful for those of you that find yourself realizing that its time to breakup or are recovering from a recent breakup, to know that love ceases when it does not lead us back to expanding ourselves. Chances are, this is probably why your relationship is ending right now (or has recently ended). Although it does not feel like it in this moment, this realization is a good thing. Love awaits you again when you’re ready. I promise.

Below is a list of 13 things you can do right now that will help you begin to mend your broken and disappointed heart. These activities will also help you to see the gifts that your love has left for you to discover and unwrap. 

Let’s search and find the gifts your relationship has left you. (I promise, they are there!)

  1. Don’t be afraid of your feelings, if you allow them, they will guide you to a better place.
  2. Create a list of things that you are angry about.
  3. Create a list of your disappointments.
  4. Create a list of things you wish you had done differently.
  5. What can you do to implement these changes NOW in your life?
  6. Create a list of things you admired, enjoyed, and miss about your past partner.
  7. Write a letter addressed to your past partner (or partners) sharing with them the contributions you are aware that they gifted you and express your gratitude for their contribution to your life.
  8. Read the same letter to yourself, substituting your name for theirs.
  9. Create a list of all the things you want to forgive yourself for.
  10. Create a vision board with all of the new things you want in your next love creation. (This is what we call relationships at Lease On Love.)
  11. Take massive action towards three things you want to develop for yourself that you added to your vision board.
  12. Cry when necessary. (It “cleans out the pipes” as my mom used to say.)
  13. Breathe and move your body often. (At least once a day.)

Can you see the amazing and beautiful YOU yet?

What shade of grey are you?

fifty shades of grey

By Tom Bartley

A couple Friday nights ago Staci and I stepped into the highly charged waters surrounding the new movie Fifty Shades of Grey. We arrived early in time to purchase Staci’s large popcorn and Coke (a movie only tradition in our house). To our surprise, the audience at our showing appeared young, and with a noticeable amount of what seemed to be nervous energy and laughter before the movie started.

I have not read the book the movie is based on, nor do I profess to be a go-to person regarding the movie or book. This movie seems to have stirred a significant amount of conversation and emotion, and my sense is due to its sexual nature and message.   

As I left the movie, I was surprised about all the intense media and social network conversation associated with Fifty Shades of Grey. My movie experience was a confirmation and knowing of two of the most important tenants of love and relationship from my vantage point and experience.   

  1. Love is the largest experience in life as a human being.
  2. Love has a need to be physically expressed.   

I have always found it most beneficial for myself to look within rather to judge a situation, especially when it’s centered around a subject where there are so many varied opinions. I’m confident the topics of love, sex, and intimacy definitely evoke many varying opinions, feelings, and experiences. And the amount of intense conversation seems to confirm my thesis.

Christian and Anastasia, the two main characters in the movie, come from very different backgrounds and life experiences. Anastasia meets Christian unexpectedly, as Anastasia steps in for her sick college roommate and interviews Christian, a very wealthy and successful businessman. 

I’m confident most of us would be excited with the many first experiences a wealthy partner may offer us when starting a relationship. I myself have been blessed to take two helicopter rides in my life and they both were fabulous. The movie progresses, like things also do in real life when two people continue in a relationship, more of their entire and whole person emerges.

Our needs, wants, and preferences being revealed and exposed to our partner is a very vital and important part of the chemistry for sex and intimacy. The finest definition I have ever heard for intimacy is “into me you see.” While partaking in intimacy, you are hopefully allowing your partner a window and deep view into the depths of your total being.   

As the movie progressed, it became clear for me that Anastasia and Christian were seeking very different experiences and connection, certainly at the sexual and intimate level. I feel it’s important to remind ourselves the importance of clarity. Regardless of what the initial outer picture may suggest, we need to ask what have we clearly defined for ourselves? Aligning with a partner where there is mutual agreement in these very crucial areas of a relationship is very important.

There are no shortcuts to this process, no matter how hard we have all tried to seek first the partner with a beautiful car, an incredible home, successful career, or model looks and appearances. These attributes may or may not align with your non-negotiable relationship needs and wants. A much more important question and conversation for all of us is truly what shade of grey are we?