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A variety of relationship experts are counseling men to pump up their masculinity and women to return to their softer feminine sides, in the hopes that some lost chemistry between the sexes will return. What’s great about these ideas is that it encourages men and women to think about pleasure, polarity and how they want to feel. But let's not sidestep the judgement in this way of thinking.

When we are unprepared, our vulnerability gets triggered, which is a good thing in terms of growth and learning for the next time. But if we take the time to really learn, and prepare to better handle what threw us off center the last time, the more opportunities we will have to risk and bring our vulnerability to our partners by choice.

Change is destabilizing -- and for most people, destabilization is very triggering. When people are emotionally triggered or feeling insecure, relationships suffer. Sometimes, sadly, they cannot withstand the stress, and people grow apart. But does that make personal growth an adversary to good relationships?

When people are under the gun, unless they are super clear on what their job is, they may unconsciously resort to four main default "jobs," while what they are actually contracted to do takes a close, sometimes distant second.

You can’t always choose how life is going to go, but if you pay attention to the roles that simply take over and lead you nowhere, you can begin, as Katherine models, to select what roles you want to play. And that enables you to steer the relationSHIP to safety in rough waters.

We know the limitations of avoiding big conversations and feelings in relationship on a regular basis, so avoidance is obviously not recommended as a long term strategy. But it can be used in moments, in small doses, as in the story above, to preserve a more important, agreed upon value.

Some people who have been enduring the Drama of the Gifted Relationship have simply tired of it. They want their relationships to be based on and about something other than processing feelings. Something like pleasure, or creativity, or both.

I usually go for seltzer water or fermented grapes, but sometimes you get the kind of news that is better swallowed with real spirits.

All through dinner prep and catching up with my friend, I breathed into my discomfort as I focused my full attention on him. My task was to really reconnect with my friend. We swapped stories and smiles, and even with the nagging provocation hangover, I was enjoying the reunion. About halfway through the meal, a miraculous thing happened. . .

Watching the snow fall during a recent storm here in the East, I thought about how those tiny little flakes gather together to make a beautiful, wondrous mess.