Let Freedom Ring!

Let Freedom Ring!

I was finally FREE! I had finally created a sense of freedom for myself from the bondage of my 13-year marriage. I could feel the sense of anticipation for a new life building in me as my soon-to-be ex-husband and I were sorting through our accumulated belongs; deciding what would be going to my new place, and what would remain in what used to be our family home.

Oh sure, there had been incredible moments and memories shared that I would treasure and remember forever, however the last three years of our marriage were filled with all manner of dysfunction. The physical and verbal abuse sadly got to the point that one of our children spoke to the school counselor and the counselor called Child Protective Services! Unfortunately, that is what it took for me to take massive action in pursuing my freedom, both for myself, and my five innocent children.

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?!

Dating After Divorce...Is Telling The Truth Really A Good Idea?

By Staci Welch-Bartley

“When should I tell a person that I am dating about my transgender son?” asked one of my clients.

I looked into her eyes and drew in a long breath and my client waited intently for my answer.  “Let me ask you a question.” I replied. Her shoulders dropped and she gasped as she realized I wasn’t going to just give her the answer.  “You always gotta make me work for it, don’t ya?” she teased. “Ok what’s your question?” she sighed. 

So I asked my client to imagine she was looking at accepting a position at a new company. I said, “Even if you are really excited about the work you’d be doing at the new job, wouldn’t you want all of the information and details about your potential job duties and the and details about the company as a whole before you committed? Things like your salary and the holiday, vacation, and sick pay? You’d ask what skills and duties will be required of you, what days do you’d need to work, and how many hours a day they’d need you, among other things.”

“Why yes of course.” my client replied.

I continued. “What if you accepted this job and after the first week you realize that what you have been told is not the situation or your experience at all. Actually there were a lot of details about the duties of the job, like the times they needed you and your benefits promised that were not shared with you. The job turned out to be much different than what you agreed and committed to. How would you feel about your job?” 

“Well I would probably quit!” she impatiently professed.

I asked, “Even if you were really close with your boss? Even if you had a deep friendship established between the two of you before accepting the job?”

“Yes, I probably would,” replied my client, “because I would have felt lied too.”

“Exactly!” I shouted out!

“Why then would you want to withhold details about your life when inviting another person to come and be a part of your world? Are you thinking like most of us do that you will get them to fall in love with you first before you pull the REAL you out of the bag and surprise them…Do you not think they deserve to truly know all the details necessary to make a clear choice before choosing to commit fully? Isn’t this what you hope you are getting from the man your dating? Also, you want him to commit fully if you decided to move forward don’t you, and not be in this relationship because he feels obligated…you want him to commit to you just because he loves and desires to be with you right?” I asked.

“Yes, yes of course,” she replied.

“Then share yourself so he can truly choose in and you can feel good about being YOU! Otherwise, you are setting yourselves up for a short relationship journey. After all, having a transgendered son makes you colorful, fascinating, and unique. It serves as the perfect filter for finding that special someone with whom you can deeply love and connect with and he has the desire to reciprocate.” I continued.

In business, they call this your USP or Unique Selling Proposition! In relationships, we call it your UCP or Unique Connection Proposition. Now use it to your advantage!

What is your UCP? Boldly own it, claim it, and share it with us…

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.