Emmajane Love (EJ Love) – more commonly known as -Dr Love' is a love and intimacy coach, sex coach and published author and speaker.
EJ is highly regarded across Australia for her work in helping individuals and couples to address and resolve sexual issues and improve their sex life.
Question: What have you realised by the ups and downs you've had in relationships?
EJ Love: The main thing I have realised is that the key to having a healthy relationship, is to make sure you have one with yourself first. I know it sounds so cliché, but it is so true that we must focus on loving ourselves first and foremost. We have been conditioned from childhood that it is not okay to love ourselves, that somehow it is selfish and that we must give love to get love. This is simply not true. The ups and downs are simply are reflection of what is going on inside of you. Your outer world always reflects your inner world. If you feel rejected, used, abused, lost, confused, angry, hurt, it is time look at where doe these feelings originate from? These feelings are being triggered in the present from past experiences. The downs have showed me what I have needed to look at loving inside myself and asking myself where I am not loving myself? Where I am not honouring myself? Where am I not valuing myself? Where I am not respecting myself? Where am I abusing or hating on myself? Where have I lost myself by giving my power away? Self-Reflection in relationships is super important, as this is where we grow and leads us to having healthy relationships with other people. Having ups and downs in life are normal, we are only human after all.
Question: How can women get past trust issues caused by infidelity, in the past?
EJ Love: Firstly they must allow themselves to feel the pain, the anger, the hurt, the sadness and disappointment and spend some time grieving these feelings, but not drowning in them. Finding safe ways to let them out and get connected to their heart so they do not close it. The last thing we want them to do is to hate on the person or on men or women in general, because this will only lead to more suffering and often lead to the same experience happening again. It is also looking at how we may have been the source of the experience. Trust issues usually stem from childhood where they may have felt betrayed and can create a pattern of what is called a 're-wounding' where this will keep happening until they look at where this wound came from and heal it at that level. Most of all, they need to learn to trust themselves. Most women who have trust issue, it is because they don't trust themselves. It might be that they don't trust their own intuition or they don't trust themselves to make good choices with men or in life in general. I would ask them to self-reflect and look at how can they trust themselves more? What are your boundaries and what are your red flags in relationship? Then make sure to honour these which will create more trust in yourself and in turn, others.
Question: Why are some men confronted by a strong and independent woman?
EJ Love: Men are wired to be providers, being able to provide for a woman gives them a great sense of self-worth. When a woman needs a man to help her, they feel like a hero. When is woman is strong and independent, she may not feel that she needs a man and may make this often obvious and clear to the men in her life. This is confronting because men go into wondering what they can give the woman that she can't get herself and what does he need him for?
Question: What advice do you have for men who struggle being in a relationship with a successful woman?
EJ Love: I think it is really about looking at what needs can you meet of hers, even just day to day little things. Get to know what her values and longings are and knowing what her love language is and giving to her in those ways. Be extremely present with her when you are with her, listen to her and provide a safe space for her to show her vulnerable side. There is a part of her that does need you, even though it may not appear that way, you are providing just by being there for her.
Question: What should we understand about dating apps, such as Tinder?
EJ Love: They are a great tool to meet new people and make new connections, I've made a lot of great friends through online dating and met a couple of partners also through them. I think the key here is to be really clear on what you are looking for and clearly communicate that with people so you know you are on the same page. I recommend to my clients to always have a phone conversation before meeting anyone in person. This will give you a good sense of what they may be like and let your intuition guide you. If something sounds a bit dodgy or too good to be true, then it may possibly be. Look up the person on Facebook, Google their name and phone number to make sure they are who they say they are. Be more about quality that quantity!
Question: Are there certain questions it's important to ask at the beginning of a relationship to determine compatibility?
EJ Love: Yes. You need to find out what their needs, values and desires are. Because at the start of every relationship there are a lot love chemicals that influence us and that might not mean there is actually compatibility, sometimes we start relationships based on these chemicals, attachment and an addiction to the intensity. Ask them things like, what matter to them most in life? Where do they seem themselves in five years? Ten years? Who is the more important person to them? Do they want children? What do you really love to do for fun? What are you most passionate about? How do you handle things under stress? How is your relationship with your family? Knowing your own values, needs and wants before going into a relationship is key, so that you can as them questions based around these.
If you are someone who is committed to personal development and spirituality, it is unlikely you are going to be compatible with someone who goes out drinking all the time on the weekends? Or if you are someone who values their career foremost but the other person puts relationship first, this may be difficult down the track. One of you may think you are spending too much time working and the other sees that as working towards the future for the family and lifestyle. Neither is right of wrong, just different and it is being able to understand these differences and work with them if need be. If you identify this at the start of the relationship, then you will be able to understand what the other person needs and if that is a fit for you.
Question: How can we approach the subject of defining a relationship?
EJ Love: Not quite sure exactly what you mean by this question? Do you want me to define relationship? Or do you mean about putting labels on it? Or do you mean when people are unsure of where they stand with each other?
Question: As a woman, how can we take the power out of the equation and focus on the relationship?
EJ Love: By changing our perception of men. The only reason we use power or give away power in relationship is when we are in fear. Unfortunately woman have been very conditioned to be afraid of men, or to think they are assholes, or to Many of us, including myself have experienced abuse at the hands of men which often leads needing to feel control and power out of a sense of safety. We take the power out by focusing on relationship with self and looking at how we given our power away in our relationships and where this comes from. We need to have healthy boundaries, ones that honour us and make sure that we honour them and say no when something does not serve us. When we have a safe container inside of ourselves and trust ourselves, this makes us feel safe to be in relationship and be vulnerable rather than trying to use power and control to get safety. This takes a lot of healing and hence why I developed a free healing program based around this - www.tinyurl.com/5daystolove.
Interview by Brooke Hunter