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May 5, 2022

Raging Gracefully: Things No One Tells You About Dating Women

A Conversation with Ruth L. Schwartz, Ph.D., the Director of the Conscious Girlfriend Academy

Ruth is the author of eight books, including the Amazon bestseller Conscious Lesbian Dating & Love: A Roadmap To Finding the Right Partner & Creating the Relationship of Your Dreams.

Jenny Douglas hosts a conversation with Ruth L. Schwartz, Ph.D., the Director of the Conscious Girlfriend Academy.

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About Ruth:

Ruth is the author of eight books, including the Amazon bestseller Conscious Lesbian Dating & Love: A Roadmap To Finding the Right Partner & Creating the Relationship of Your Dreams. She has taught at six colleges, including Ashland University, Mills College, and California State University Fresno. Ruth's degrees and certificates include a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology, certifications as a Somatica Method Sex & Intimacy Coach, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Applied Shamanism practitioner, and coaching training with Gay & Katie Hendricks, authors of Conscious Loving.

Ruth co-founded Conscious Girlfriend with Michelle Murrain in 2013, after ten years of coaching individuals and couples in her private practice, and she has run CG on her own since 2017. She founded the Conscious Girlfriend Academy in April 2020, and these days, that's where most of her time goes. Ruth has traveled widely, and is fluent in Spanish. She lives in Oakland, California with a handsome orange cat, Mr. Yellow, who often jumps on her lap during Zoom calls.

Transcript:

This transcript was auto-generated and has been lightly edited, please excuse errors in spelling or grammar.

JD: It is a thrill to be in conversation with you, Ruth you, and I was just thinking this morning about, I think we both ate burritos together in Santa Fe New Mexico as part of um, a writing retreat that we were about to embark on or had just embarked on. I forgot before, or after and um. I do want to also say to those of us who are joining us for this event, and then we um you. You can't see each other on the screen, but we can see your questions and we invite you at any time to ask a question in the chatbox, because the name of this event is Things No One Tells You About Dating Women, on which Ruth is a total expert, and I guess I just want to ask to skip the foreplay Ruth as a straight woman straight 58 year-old woman who's certainly been curious and is fascinated by the events that you've already offered on Revel to wild acclaim from what I understand um, maybe you can tell us and also feel free to give us a little background about you. However, you want to jump in. I really see this as a kind of unagenda-filled, uh conversation and inquiry about this idea of women dating women and what there is to know and learn so great to have you great to be here. 

RS: Thank you so much Jenny. Yes, I remember driving through New Mexico with you, and I love the way that you introduced yourself as a 58-year-old Brooklyn resident with you so much more of life ahead of you and that's very much how I feel I'm a 60-year-old, California resident and I feel like life is just getting better and better. You know it's like finally, I know myself well enough to have a good life that I couldn't - I was because there was too much I didn't know about it. 

JD: I totally agree - and I remember when we were young and people would say: oh just be yourself or follow your heart you're like it's, so it's so unhelpful because I mean it's well-meaning, but we haven't lived enough. You know to have made decisions that work for us in decisions that didn't so. How can we know - and my feeling is at this stage in our lives like this - is the sweet spot for as long as between now and when senility kicks in. We get to mine everything that we've learned and and put it in the service of what's important to us. 

RS: Absolutely that's how I see it too, and love and sex have really been the most important things in my life and, I think, are the most important things for, for so many of us. There are these divine mysteries that are so incredibly compelling, and sometimes so, incredibly painful and difficult and shattering. And yet then we, you know it's like we. We go back to the well to drink some more most of us over and over and over again, because it's also, as far as I can tell the best thing on earth is - 

JD: I love that you're characterizing, sorry to interrupt it. I love that you characterize relationships as divine mysteries because that feels so apt and I think in a culture that is often trying to for the sake of whatever delivering on-target messages. You know there is a reductivism in our characterization of relationships and maybe a pathologizing of when it hurts and rewarding of when it feels good, and none of it is in the service of understanding deeply, and that really that the results in understanding and wisdom. So thank you for, for using that term yeah - 

RS: Absolutely I mean one of the things I say on my facebook page is that i am a lifelong student of love and mystery and um and, at the same time, a lot of the work that I do now through The Conscious Girlfriend academy is an attempt to demystify some of these things, especially for women, loving women. It's not like the mystery will ever be gone, but I feel like I mean it's amazing to think I came out 40 years ago. You know it's such a cognitive dissonance, but I feel like for so long I was wandering around in the complete darkness, really, not understanding. You know so compelled to try to love and connect and bond and really clueless about what made it work. What made it not work? Why I kept ending up in these incredibly painful heartbreaking situations, and - and I do have a lot to say about women with women, whether people identify as lesbian or queer or sexually fluid or gay or bisexual, or you know, whatever the label. Because I think that we have very special opportunities and challenges as women with women and I'll just default to the word lesbian. But please know that I mean everybody, any self-identified woman who loves women or wants to. 

JD: I love that. So what? If, if we could say like, would you do, would you would this be a good time to share about what the opportunities and what the challenges are specific to women, loving women? 

RS: Absolutely you know - and I think there may be people listening to this - who are women who have not been with a woman before and other people who have been lesbians or queer-identified for decades. So I'm going to try - and you know, speak to everybody here. I think most of us know that in general, women seem to be more emotional creatures than men more emotionally attuned. We bond in different ways so often for straight women they have tremendous emotional intimacy with their female friends. Often I hear straight women saying you know much deeper intimacy there than they have with their male partners, so they kind of divide it up. It's like okay, I'll, have sex with the guys over here and love relationships for sure, but there's a different level of subtlety and nuance and intricacy and connection often that women have with women. 

JD: yep. 

RS: And so, when you're, a woman having romantic and sexual relationships with women, you put all that together and we're women squared and so - 

JD: I've never thought of it that way. 

RS: Yeah, yeah, so you know exponentially all of the things that are amazing in female friendship, female connection, female bonding somebody I know said that women have 150 000, more neurons devoted to bonding than men do wow, which is sort of staggering yeah. 

JD: It's fascinating and I think in part because I have always been um identified myself as a straight woman who is romantically attracted to men and to your point have had I mean I just feel like the women that I know I can count 99 fascinating, engaged searching, soulful women for frankly not to be male-bashing every one male 1 and - and so I have sort of thought - oh, if only I were attracted to women in that way, it would be so much easier for me. I guess to your point of women squared my if I follow the math equation it might be yes and and and that women's squaredness can be both incredibly juicy and soulful and complex in new ways in a relationship with a man. Perhaps 

RS: Right - and I really like to say that i believe lesbian relationships can be the best relationships on the planet. If you want closeness and intimacy and intensity and just profound levels of connection, but they also are more challenging and take more skill, because all of that profound, bonding and connection means that we have incredible opportunities for that thing, that human beings do with each other anyway, which is trigger each other misunderstand, each other feel hurt by each other. You know feel slighted or angry or you know, have our buttons pushed and push each other buttons, and so, when you have all of that extra intensity between two women I mean for me its the most wonderful thing that there is, but it also means you know it's like you're at a higher height, you have further down to fall and you break your bones harder and you can't mail it in perhaps I mean I'm not - you know I'm not suggesting that men and women do that necessarily. But because to your point - and this is these are wildly wild generalizations, but we can kind of understand that we're making generalizations and still kind of make them to make a point. You know because men and women can be so different from each other right might be ways that we give each other a pass. Those of us who are in heterosexual relationships because we don't have the kind of expectations of deep bonding that women on women or women in women, whatever it is related might - the expectations and it's the realities both and so I talked to a lot of women coming out later in life, and you know for the Revel audience coming out over 40 or over 50 or over 60 or over 70 um, because the world is so much more Open these days, thankfully, and some women at some point from some of the phenomena you're talking about get kind of disheartened by relationships with men discouraged, so that's part of it, but also the world is more open, and so, regardless of you know what men are like, I think there's just more room and, as we know ourselves better, we claim ourselves more as we age a lot of women are saying wow. I never thought I would feel this way about a woman, but I do you know.

JD: So interesting, because I was going to ask you since we are Revel, and this is a platform for women in midlife and beyond. Are you seeing either anecdotally or even quantitatively that there is something that is real about women who may have identified as heterosexual reinvestigating that or reinterrogating that assumption about themselves in midlife? Specifically. 

RS: Absolutely, I think there is a ton of that happening and I run the Conscious Girlfriend Academy, which is a global platform offering classes and groups and connection opportunities for women who love women from all over the world. We don't have the you know, 40 and up limit, but in practice most of the women who come are over 40., and so it is an amazing kind of laboratory. Over these years, I've had the opportunity to teach and work with thousands and thousands of women. So I feel, like I have this bird's eye view of what happens between women. I would say that about 20 of the people who show up are newly out or newly exploring, and so some of them, you know, were in heterosexual marriages for a long time and then realized they wanted something different. Some of them didn't know they wanted something different, but they just found themselves falling in love with a woman, sometimes a friend. Sometimes that worked out. Sometimes it didn't you know. Sometimes their friend was not open at all, but they realized - oh, my god, there's something here. I need to explore more.

JD: So interesting and you're talking. I think you alluded to this, but I'm just thinking. As a 58-year-old woman, I went to college in the early 80s and you know and I was going to Sarah Lawrence and there were a lot, there was a whole range of experiences there, but I remember just feeling like I had, I was so scared that if I allowed myself to experiment, I would turn into something I didn't recognize, and also the times were different then you know, I feel, like a person saying that, but I think I would have had more - I would have given myself more room to maneuver. I know that you know my mother, a born-again Christian. It would have. There would have been implications. I would have been if I was afraid that I just would have turned into a being that would have been too scary for me to imagine yes and I feel, like the times, are different now for all of us. My two daughters identify as gay and um in a way that i wouldn't have given myself permission to even know it was an option true option for myself and also to your to the point we've been talking about when you reach a certain age in life, and you see that, like death is actually within sight, even if it's 30 years away it's inside in a way that It wasn't in our 20s, there's no more time to waste to wrong decision, making.

RS: Absolutely yeah, and so I have had the privilege of working with you know so many women. I can just tell a few brief stories. There was one woman who showed up a couple years ago in a Conscious Girlfriend class. She was 62. She had always had relationships with men, but she had just cared for her mother through her mother's long illness and death, and while she was caring for her mother and also being in her 60s herself, she was like what really matters to me and she thought I'm done with men, I want to have a relationship with a woman and she was so brave she showed up in the 12-week class I was teaching at the time called the road map to conscious lesbian, dating and lasting love. She was like, I don't know a thing about it: I've never been with a woman, I don't know any lesbians, but this is what I want.

JD: Fascinating.

RS: Yeah it was. It was such a beautiful privilege to witness her um and unfortunately when she showed up in the class it was two months before covid started, and so here she was like getting all her lesbian education ready to go out and date, women and then lockdown happened and she lived in a remote place in a not very well populated state. She didn't live in some big urban lesbian mecca, but she was so determined and she dated online and she had a few mishaps and then she met somebody and they did all the stuff that I teach, which I have not always done myself. But I teach it about, you know, going slow and really finding out who the other person is and assessing compatibility and um, and then they got in an amazing relationship and the last I heard from her -  you know she's super happy and she said yeah we're living the dream and it's everything you ever said it could be and because she followed - 

JD: it's so interesting - that it was in the course of caring for a sick parent yeah that it could have felt like And I feel like we, we see this at this realm of our lives like there's - there are shakedowns afoot, you know whether it's parents, aging and dying, or watching our own bodies and possibly dealing with sickness or relationship shifts or children moving out of the house and really having to look at what's important to us. So the fact that that light bulb would go off in her mind and heart. At the time she was preparing to say farewell to a parent is probably it makes sense right that she wanted to live for herself. A question that i was just looking at that - 

RS: Yeah. I would love to address that. 

JD: So we have um a Revel member named crystal and she says I i identify as biromantic gray sexual. I love that. Since sex is not something I'm really interested in, how do i tell the difference between a close friendship and a possible romantic relationship with a woman? 

RS: Thank you for that question Crystal it's very interesting yeah, it's a great question and I think it goes to the heart of you know what is romantic relationship about, because it sounds like you're saying crystal that you are interested in a romantic relationship, but for you that Doesn't include sex and fortunately you are in good company um. You know as women as you know, all beings, but certainly among women. We have a tremendous range of how interested we are in sex. How important sex is to us, and certainly also many women find post-menopausally that the importance of sex diminishes and other women, don't I mean, I'm frankly, a woman for whom it has not diminished at all, but um some for some women you so whether you were always gray sexual or whether this is more just what feels true to you now either way there are many other women that feel similarly. So I do talk to many women. You know, especially over 50, who say: yeah, it's not so much about the sex, but I want the cuddling and I want the physical affection and I want the companionship and I want the support I want to share my life with somebody in a deep way. So what I would say to you is that you get to really think about what it is that you want and don't want, because the clearer you get about that and the more able and willing and courageous you are to articulate it the more likely it is That you'll find somebody else who says yeah that really fits for me too. There's this movement, which you probably know about Crystal, relationship anarchy which is really aimed at um. You know just bringing everything into question like like this sort of nuclear family model that we have of you know you have your partner and they're the most important person to you, and then you have some friends and kind of like your friends but they're not all that important, you know we don't have to have that model. We can't you can have that model if it works for you and you can have any other model under the sun that works for you. So so for me, the question is um. You know what is it that you would like in a romantic relationship with a woman um? What does that mean to you since it doesn't mean sex but there's still a whole world of things? It can mean living together, not living together. You know, are you exclusively romantic with each other or are you polyromantic um? You know, do you both have other romantic relationships with other women or with people of various other genders. You know it's like and then what does that look like in terms of spending time together apart socializing, you know: what's your vision, so um, what I hear you thinking yeah is this idea that um, because I think crystal's question was excellent and also what I hear You saying is really the answer that there isn't really necessarily an exterior answer that it's about listening, deeply to oneself, maybe for the first time and hewing to that, even if that might mean creating a form that we don't see out there like a crystal, gets to Decide what is during her and kind of following from there? Do I exactly and the really interesting thing is, since sex isn't part of the picture for crystal or for many other people in a way it changes even the definition of what is lesbian because I know lots of straight-identified women who have romantic friendships with their female friends just so much intimacy and cuddling and closeness, and you know, being together even in physical ways, although not sexual, so um yeah. There are so many worlds of possibility. 

JD: That's so interesting! I've never thought about that Ruth. The idea of having romantic relationships with our friends, even while identifying as heterosexual and possibly being partnered with a man that um I mean it's just - it makes me step back and look at all of our qualifiers and descriptors, and that goes back to another point of view is like just reinterrogating everything like start from the ground up.

RS: Right. Don't worry so much about categories maybe or like what we should do or how we should uh orient ourselves right and that's why it's that's why my work is called Conscious, Girlfriend and Conscious Girlfriend Academy, because to me being conscious is, is getting to be curious And to wonder and to self-observe, you know that, mindful witnessing presence where we can say, oh what do I like? What do I not like? Where am I drawn? What scares me? You know what excites me: what thrills me, what turns me on you know both sexually and emotionally, like what makes life worth living? And the more conscious we are of that then the more we can, we can create lives that really are ours. 

JD: It sounds so exciting. I love it um. I have a question for you, since it sounds like you identified as straight. Is that right? For a certain period of your life until you came out, I don't know how old we were when you came out. 

RS: Yeah yeah. I came out when I was 20. Um, I identified as bisexual kind of starting as soon as I knew that was a thing. But I started having sex with men when I was 13. and - and I liked sex with men, and it wasn't really that I identified as heterosexual. I was just a girl and I wanted sex and I wanted a larger world than what was available elsewhere and sex seemed like the way to get it. And so I had lots of sex with boys and men and you know enjoyed it. But then there was like something: there was something more that I wanted, and so when I was 17, I met the first woman who I knew was identified as a lesbian, and you know I thought to myself at that time like oh, would I want to have sex with a woman - and I thought oh yeah, that sounds good. You know that sounds interesting, but I can relate to what you were talking about, even though I went through this process at a very young age, it still felt like an enormous chasm to cross, because even at 17, the whole world I knew was women with men. And the whole way that I had been socialized as a girl was to think about my attractiveness to men, how to flirt with men how to seduce men, how to you know like all of that, and so part of, I think what intrigued me, but also scared me about the idea of being with women was -  I have no idea what the rules are right? You know. I have no idea how that works

JD: So how did you navigate that at a pretty tender age and at a different time than we're in now? 

RS: Well, I was fortunate to have the lesbian feminist context. So my last year of college I was 20 and I moved into a 12-woman, collective household called feminist house and we were all kind of turning everything upside down and I was also fortunate to hear your story. Um, I did not come from a conservative Christian family. My parents were both rabidly heterosexual, but they were very sexual uh-huh there that they gave you just by claiming their own sensuality and sexuality. Yes, yes for sure, um and then in the context of feminist house it's like a whole lot of my roommates came out that year, and so did I because it just felt like wow. This is possible. The early 80s, which you were talking about too, was really such a magical time in the lesbian community. We didn't even have the word queer, then um, but it was magical because we felt like we were reinventing the world and the feminist movement of that time had so many idealistic principles around. You know overturning capitalism, and you know completely abolishing racism and economic justice and inclusion, and we did all those things very imperfectly, but it was a really beautiful moment. And so I think part of what helped me come out was that it wasn't just a new sexual identity. It was an entire whole wave yeah of taking on and kind of yeah. 

JD: You know I keep using the term reinvestigating or reinterrogating. Maybe reinterrogating is too harsh a word, but it does feel like um. The overall picture that you're communicating is one of reengaging and reimagining and putting forth the hard work of creating a new vision in the place of all of the assumptions that you and the culture had been living with yeah yeah. 

RS: It was really amazing and I moved a lot as a kid, and I also you know, had boyfriends from very early on, and so I didn't even really understand what female friendship was. So I started learning about that at the same time as romantic relationships because we would sit around on the kitchen counters of feminist house and have all these conversations that I didn't even know it was possible to have yeah sex and love and dating and mastubration and our bodies and orgasms - and you know so um, so it was all it all really came together for me like it sounds like you want this yeah right - 

JD: I mean it sounds like that was a real turning point for you and then and you've just gone deeper since.

RS: Yeah, so I want to turn this toward what might be useful to the audience because the people who are listening, who haven't you know, maybe you've, never dated a woman and you're curious about it. Or maybe you have dated a woman a few times and it didn't go well or it was confusing. So some of the things people talk to me about over and over are this thing of you know when your friendship pool and your potential dating pool are the same pool. How do you know who makes the move? How do you interpret what kind of interest the other person has? How do you even know what kind of interest you have um and so oftentimes? I hear women saying like how can I tell how she feels about me? I always like to turn that around and suggest that you ask yourself how you feel about her. So you know to see, is the reins and to think about hey if you're opening this up? For yourself or you have opened it up um, you know what does this mean to you and you know, could you feel around with one of your female friends if you feel some attraction or potential attraction or, however, that reads for you? Maybe it's a romantic attraction. Maybe it's sexual attraction, maybe it's both um, you know, and that makes it sound so binary. You know I mean we have spiritual. We have energetic, we have so many different kinds of attraction, but if you're interested in kind of taking it a step beyond what it is now um, how do you initiate that kind of conversation with somebody, and so in the academy, we actually do role plays about These kinds of things, as well as lots of other things. 

JD: And how do you I'm so curious, and I love that you made that pivot, because I just again couldn't I'm putting it through my own prism of just you know, being a younger woman when I was And so much of the focus was on you know, I think it's betty frieden used to call it the male gaze. So how do you take the onus off? 

RS: Does someone else find me sexy right? Do i find them and then what do i do about it? 

JD: Exactly that's yeah! 

RS: Well, so what I would suggest is if these kinds of feelings are coming up for you, you could either ask her a question or you could reveal something about yourself. For instance, you might say you know what, like I've, had a lot of relationships with men at this point in my life, I'm wondering what it might be like to have a romantic and maybe even sexual connection, with a woman. How about you have you ever thought about that? 

JD: Wow. That's sexy, it's flirtatious without being, hopefully threatening. 

RS: You know well because my aim is to keep that abstract enough that you're not saying I'm thinking about that with you right. It's just like - have you ever thought about that? Would you know if the person says no, I'm 100% I would never think about it. Then you know you don't go further, at least at that point. Maybe she changes her mind somewhere down the line. 

JD: It's so smart Ruth. I love that.

RS: And you know if she says yeah I've thought about that too, or that's an interesting thing to think about. You know I mean because this is what I actually suggest, even if you both know you're interested in women, that you have conversations about well, what is it that you want at this point in your life um? What would compatibility consist of for you at this point? In your life and what would it consist of for me, what do I already know doesn't work for me, or maybe it did work for me at some point, but it's not what I want now um and it's all part of the same thing right i mean Exactly earlier point about this rich web of friendship and connection that many women and many women in particular of our age have developed or want that. 

JD: That its part of the same movement in the same way that you were part of a larger movement. When you came out that wasn't just about sex, so everything is connected. It's women. What did you call it? Women, squared or sex square yeah, women, squared yeah  -

RS:  Yeah - and you know so, this is like a hypothetical conversation between two women who, neither of whom has been involved with women before you know, there's of course, another phenomenon where, if, if being with women is new to you, you may have bisexual friends, lesbian friends, um, they might have some interest In you but think you're off limits to them, they might feel like you need to bring it up first. Another woman I worked with was a long long time, lesbian, also in her 60s, and she met a woman that you know they just had tons of things in common. They were both super into horses and land. You know and um. You know they really liked each other. They developed this very strong friendship and, and she kept thinking it feels romantic to me but she's straight. It feels romantic to me, but how can I bring that up? What if I shock her? What if she doesn't want to be my friend anymore, once I clean it up, you know so um if you're on the other side of that, as somebody who's having feelings for a bi or lesbian friend, know that she may be really scared to explain that with you and so, if you can say to her, you know I've been finding myself thinking about my life and my relationships, and i realize I'm kind of getting open to to the potential of having a relationship with a woman. 

JD: Oh, that's so interesting because I've heard on a related note, I've heard - and I and I'd love you to tell me if this is, if you know anything about this, that uh women who have you know strongly identified in a solid and long-term way for being lesbian or possibly being bi are not that necessary if, if a woman who's always been identified, as straight suddenly says, oh my gosh, I might be interested that there may be like a disinclination to want to kind of like be the first person, the first woman for somebody who hasn't had that before is there any truth to that? 

RS: Yes, yes, I mean what I would say is obviously people are different. You know and different lesbians are different from each other. Just like different straight women are different from each other, so there is certainly a sensitivity and a mistrust in some lesbians about dating somebody who is either bisexual or who is newly out, because there is sometimes a fear or even a past experience that maybe this person is just experimenting - maybe she just kind of wants to use me as a girl toy, but she's not really serious. She wouldn't actually fall in love with me or have a relationship with me. She just wants to fool around, and so some lesbians feel like they're, going to get their hearts broken. That way makes sense. So that's where the mistrust comes from. I i also know, though many lesbians that have been and are completely open to the possibility, because love is love and connection, is connection right and to your point, there's no one-size-fits-all for any of us we're all individuals.

JD: right. so interesting Ruth. We have to close pretty soon, but I want us -  I want you to tell us how we can contact you and Conscious Girlfriends Academy, and I really also want you to share the book that you're writing. I love anything else that you would like to share uh before we have to send each other on our merry way, because this has been incredibly illuminating and I could easily speak with you for another hour. I find the whole topic so fascinating. 

RS: Thank you, Jenny. Well, I could speak about all of this for hours and hours and hours more, and I do speak about it for hours and hours every week in the Conscious Girlfriend Academy. So for people who are just kind of getting you know just getting more interested, definitely come to the consciousgirlfriendacademy.com um, there are tons of recorded classes that you can purchase. There are live gatherings that how we have at least once a week that you can attend. They go over loosely the material in this book, which is Conscious Lesbian, Dating and Love: A road Map to Finding the Right Partner and Creating the Relationship of your Dreams. And I have had women, I literally one woman, wrote me and she said you know she was getting out of a relationship with a man. She never really thought about being with a woman. She was feeling hurt. You know, she'd gained some weight. Her guy didn't find her attractive anymore. Her self-esteem, was low, but she, a friend said: read this book: conscious, lesbian, dating and love, and and then she got to know a lesbian and she, you know, was sort of curious and this particular lesbian was open. Even though she had never been, this woman had never been in a relationship with a woman before she's writing me all these emails all the time now about how your book changed my life, and this is the best sex I've ever had, and this is the best emotional connection I've ever had and I never knew it could be like this, and I never thought I would find love with a woman so um? You know some of us just plunge right in, but some people, especially as we get older. You know you like to know that you're on a path that that there are some guideposts on. 

JD: I love that. We've been talking a lot at Revel about how what we as a community do is help women in midlife and beyond, around the various transitions that a lot of us find ourselves in at this stage of life, whether it is aging or sick parents. Our own aging bodies moving to a new city, downsizing, empty nest, reinvestigating career retirement money and and and - and I just feel like as part of that kind of transition I love the services and wise gentle counsel that you're offering uh women who either may be in a transition of their own in terms of thinking about entering into this fear if they haven't before or those who are already in the sphere of dating other women, how They might be more mindful and deepen their own experience to that situation. 

RS: Absolutely I mean that's the other side of the coin is for women who you know are already having relationships with women and dating women what I teach about a lot in the academy, in fact, what I teach about most of the time is: how do we have our relationships with the skill that we really need to be able to keep them happy and healthy and harmonious? Because there's often this phenomenon, of course this happens between people of other genders too, but it's a really common thing between women, where we will come together and have this incredibly blissful honeymoon period. You know it's called limerence where we're like. We just feel like. We are perfect for each other, we have, you know the best sex, the best connection and then, after a number of months, our brain chemistry resets to normal, and then it's like, oh my god, you're just a regular person. So am I, and a lot of us can relate to that, yeah and that can be deeply excruciatingly, painful, confusing disappointing, where all of a sudden, this person that you thought was your dream come true, is now pushing all of your buttons, and so so much of my work is dedicated to helping women see that actually, this can be the beginning, not the ending. I mean it's wise to choose wisely from the beginning, so you don't just go into limerence honeymoon with just anyone, but then once you start, you know the honeymoon stage wears off and you start getting into reality. What are the skills that you really need so that you can keep recapturing that incredible potential that you felt at first? 

JD: I love that, and I want to remember that word. What is it limerence, limerence? 

RS: Yes, it's the technical term for the honeymoon state and that state is actually a brain drug state where our bodies are pumping out endogenous opiates. We are stoned on love or pre-love. We think it's enough. 

JD: Well, I've always thought, like the real games begin after that period, which I never even have heard that word in all of my 58 years, but it's a great one to know after that ebbs, then the real opportunities begin. 

RS: If you choose to see it absolutely the real adventure of intimacy which, with women with women, women with women that adventure of intimacy, can be so deep, so profound um. You know, I think it's the best thing on earth, I'm biased, but it also really requires us to know ourselves and communicate skillfully and be able to work with our triggers and, and you know, generate compassion and curiosity. So that's the work of conscious relationship.

JD: And so that's fantastic, well you've given us all so much to think about Ruth. It's been such a treat to be in conversation with you. I feel, like I've learned a lot over this you know past 40 minutes and just want to thank you so much Ruth Schwartz, founder of Conscious Girlfriend Academy. You can find her on -  I think it's a conscious girlfriendacademy.com, and on Revel where you've been offering fantastically popular events, which I hope you will continue to do, um, and just thank you so much for being our guest on Raging Gracefully. 

RS: It's been my deep, deep pleasure. Jenny, I'm so happy to get to spend this time with you. Thank you for everybody listening. 

JD: Wonderful, okay, take good care ruth! Thank you. 

RS: Thank you.

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