Freedom From Codependency with Melody Beattie

We’re back with some more therapeutic goodness as we approach the tail end of our therapy series with another fire episode! Awareness around mental health, trauma, dysfunctional family systems and more has been coming into the national awareness on a bigger level over the last 10 years. But back in 1986, the concept of codependency was really new. And unless you were deep into studying sociology or psychology or seeing a therapist yourself back then (also something that wasn’t as widely accepted), Melody Beattie’s book, Codependent No More, gave words to the masses who never had a way to describe these types of relationships in their lives. Codependency can worm its way into our lives—the definition being; those imbalanced relationships in our lives where one person enables another person’s self-destructive behavior (like addiction, immaturity, or even irresponsibility). It’s a bit insidious for those who don’t know what it looks like, and for so many, Melody’s book was a resource to help free themselves from something they may not have even recognized in their own lives. 35 years later, it’s still shining a light on those situations. Melody comes in with a scalpel to cut away to this very precise way of behaving and relating to another that is cloaked in good intentions and self-righteousness but is actually ruining our relationships. And fun fact, we were the very first podcast Melody has ever been on! Last year, she celebrated a new edition of her book honoring 35 years of its impact. Melody and Jen walk through how to recognize what codependency is and how it might be a part of your life and your relationships—which are the first important steps toward making an enormous change for the better. 

Reimagining Our Relationships Toward Rebalancing The Domestic Workload with Eve Rodsky

We’re back with another installment of our Being Seen and Heard series, and we think this one is going to strike a nerve with many of you out there who are looking for a better, stronger, fairer, narrative when it comes to the balance of work in your home and toward raising children. Are you the one in your relationship who is handling the lion’s share of the care and feeding of your littles PLUS taking care of their pickups and dropoffs to school, daycare, sports, bathtimes, bedtimes, wiping noses, butts PLUS managing the domestic front of grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing, handling the social calendar, vacations, PLUS working a 40 hour a week job either inside or outside the home? We see you and are asking a question that maybe you ask every day; why are women still, in a day and age where we make up 55.9 percent of the workforce and where 40 percent are the main breadwinner in the home, still responsible for so much when it comes to child rearing and domestic workload? Our guest this week has created a national conversation about greater equality on the home front with a system she created through intense research that helps couples create balance, by understanding that women are doing what she calls almost all of the “invisible labor” in the home, with at least two thirds of them having a job outside the home as well. Eve Rodsky is a Harvard Law School grad with years of training in organizational management When she had her first child (and began to see her identity at her job being stripped away because of it) and then began the dance of balancing her job with all of her duties as a mother (for which she bore the lion’s share of the domestic and child rearing responsibilities, as so many women do) she started to wonder: what would it be like if couples could reimagine their relationships as to how it relates to rebalancing the work it takes to run a home? So began her “Fair Play” system, where she sets couples up for success in relationship and parenting by helping them change the way they think and talk about their home life.

Jen and Eve discuss:

  • The patriarchal history that has been around for centuries that informs why the imbalance of domestic workload still exists when so many other categories for women have been elevated
  • How important it is to invite men into their full power into the home, removing barriers and stereotypes as to what men’s and women’s strengths are there
  • Changing the notion that women’s time is somehow less important than men’s–and that the “invisible work” women do is toward guarding the time of men
  • How the overwhelming pace of work, child rearing and home management eventually ends up making us sick and damaging our relationships, and what we can do about it

BONUS: Eve puts Jen to the test with a question from her Fair Play card deck where we dive deep into Jen’s family values–a question that is illuminating to all of us in understanding each other in relationship.


From The Church to The Pride Parade: Sara Cunningham with Free Mom Hugs

We’re back for more of our Being Seen and Heard series! In a time where it feels like we are struggling to really see and hear one another, there are some bright lights who make it their mission to help one another understand each other a little better. Our guest today, Sara Cunningham, the founder of, is one amazing example of what can happen when we really see people for who they are and begin to hear their stories. Sara was on the show right at the beginning of her journey with Free Mom Hugs, and now the org—which started with the simple idea of attending Pride parades and holding up a sign that said “Free Mom Hugs,”—has become a national and world wide phenomenon. She uses her own experience as a guide to how she advocates, and is absolutely passionate about connecting with faith, civic, business, and government leaders in efforts to make the world a kinder safer place for our LGBTQIA+ family.

Sara and Jen touch on these topics:

  • Sara’s roots in conservative evangelicalism and how she found herself moving “from the church to the pride parade” after she reckoned with her son’s admission that he was gay and going to live in his identity
  • The stories of people who, after coming out, lost their families, were kicked out of their churches, and felt completely alone and found solace and comfort in the simple act of a mom extending a hug
  • Sara’s son Parker’s (as well as her own) journey of self-discovery and then coming to live authentically after seeing others, who had come out in faith environments, survive and thrive after loss
  • How we can affect change with our voices as it relates to legislation that targets the LGBTQIA+ community

Surprised by Love: Jen & Tyler On Where They Started and How It’s Going

It’s time to bring a close to our Dating, Sex, & Relationships series. And what better way to wrap it all than hearing a candid conversation from Jen and her person–Tyler Merritt. If you’ve listened to this series, you might have noticed that Jen has mentioned Tyler–a long time activist and author—a time or two, and that part of the reason for this series was to explore some new territory that Jen has only been exposed to over the last year or so as she tentatively put her toe in the dating waters after the end of her 26 year marriage in 2020.  As we’ve stepped through all the new ways we can meet people, or explored the choice to be single, or looked at how to start over after divorce or loss, we’ve heard the threads of Jen and Tyler’s story in all of this mix. And now, they’re here to give us some insight as to “how it’s going,” with all the joys and challenges every new relationship faces, plus some never before heard conversations about how they came together from completely different places in life including; long time married with kids vs. long time single with no kids, navigating the nuances of being a bi-racial couple and coming from completely different cultural circumstances, balancing their careers while nurturing a budding relationship and the bittersweet reality of dating long-distance. This episode is packed with some “in the moment” musings from both Jen and Tyler and also includes some hilarious takes on how a relationship that started as a new friendship turned into long daily text sessions moving to hours long phone conversations, their “define the relationship” talk, and culminating with a fun bonus segment–the For the Love team’s version of “The Newlywed Game,”–where we see how well Jen and Tyler really know each other (you’ll want to see this on video as well over on Jen’s YouTube). 

The Most Empowering Things You Need to Know About Sex & Your Body with Emily Nagoski

Producers note: Mature subject matter around sex is discussed in this episode.

As we’ve been learning in our Dating, Sex and Relationship series, there is no one right way to go about finding satisfaction in these areas of life. And the same is true for sex. You deserve to find joy and pleasure in your body and your sexuality just as you are, no matter what. There are so many things that culture has told us about our bodies and our sexuality that aren’t true. We’re going to walk through some of those misnomers and some healthy ways to approach sex with our very wise guest, sex educator and return visitor to our show, Emily Nagoski.  Emily describes her mission as helping women live with joy and confidence inside their bodies. She wants us to know that our bodies have wisdom to share, and that our bodies can be trusted–their intuition is actually  good for us and our protection. She explains what a sex drive is (actually, what it isn’t, because it’s not actually a thing–surprise!). Emily also shares key findings from couples who sustain strong sexual connection over the long term (and those two things aren’t what people most generally think they are). In this frank conversation about sex, Emily encourages us to lean into our sexual pleasure and shake off any hesitations that are usually due to cultural shame or baggage. And if you think that exploring your sexuality isn’t possible with a busy career, kids, and other responsibilities, Emily removes the myth that scheduling sex makes it less hot. When we normalize all sorts of sexual responses, we remove barriers that keep us from making space for all this pleasure that has always been ours to claim. 

Beyond the Swipe: Mastering the Art of Online Dating with Dating Coach Perri Schneider

When we were putting this series together about love and sex and relationships, we knew we had  to have a guest that was well-versed in the ways of dating through online apps and digital services.  For those of us who may be seeking a partner for the first time, or maybe we’re back in the dating pool after leaving a relationship–we can all benefit from practical tips on how to navigate it all.  All the questions you could possibly think of related to online dating–we’ve got you covered, like: what do you look for when you’re looking at someone’s online profile? What are the red flags? How do I make my own profile reflect who I am and what I want? And is having a meal on a first date really a good idea? [Spoiler Alert: No.] We’ve got just the person to hold our hand through what can be an overwhelming process—we’re happy to introduce online dating coach, Perri Schneider to the For the Love community. She’s going to answer all these questions for us and then some, and you’re going to want to take note of what she has to say. Perri’s story is one many of us can relate to.  After getting fed up with less than stellar experiences in her attempts at modern dating, she decided to help others navigate this online space. She learned through trial and error, and she’s got the 411 on how to master the process. She helps her clients shift their approach and their intentions with dating apps in the hopes that her clients find precisely what they are looking for–whether it is new experiences, casual fun, relationships, or even their dream partner. Consider this your field guide on which apps to use, how to approach a first date, what to do if you’re ghosted, and so much more–and maybe you’ll even find love along the way. 

When a Long-Term Relationship Ends, Where Do You Begin Again? Ft. Laura Stassi

Producer’s Note: Mature subject matter around sex is discussed in this episode.

We’re covering it all in our Relationships, Sex and Dating series, and this week’s episode has a twist. It’s not all flowers, heart emojis, and adrenaline when it comes to love and relationships–finding them, keeping them, growing them. Some of us have done all those things–possibly for many years–and yet for many reasons, find ourselves thrust back into the dating pool after divorce, or death, or when a long term relationship ends. And maybe we never thought we’d have to look to find love again after so many years of being in a relationship. It’s unexpected, it’s disappointing and disorienting. We’ve become strangers in a strange land. Fortunately, we have a guest this week who is going to help map us through that strange land and her name is Laura Stassi.  Laura was married for 30 years and went through what researchers have labeled “gray divorce.” As she started to come out of the daze that can set in when your life is completely uprooted in this way–she began to realize that there were a lot more people that had been through the same thing than she had ever imagined. In fact, it’s a worldwide trend. As she noticed that she was in plentiful company with others who were coming out of long term partnerships and trying to figure out what was next, she set her mind to research and that research eventually turned into a popular public radio backed podcast called “Dating While Gray.”  Laura and Jen get into it all; How do you navigate today’s world of dating when men and women have thousands of options to choose from via dating apps? What’s it like to have sex with someone new after having sex with the same person for many years? How do you handle finances when you’re both grown ups with assets and income?  Find these answers and more from both Laura’s and Jen’s experience, plus a little encouragement that when you’re truly open to new possibilities, the world can open up for you in amazing ways. 

Singleness = Fullness, Wholeness and Being Open to Possibilities, with Shani Silver

Our For the Love of Dating, Sex and Relationships series continues, and lest you think we’re solidly in the camp of “all people must be paired up,” let us assure you we’re firmly on the side of choosing whatever state of being (attached or not) best fits your life. We’re here, in this episode, to talk about the state and the choice of singleness. So maybe you’re unattached and you want to find the love of your life. Perhaps you’re getting pressure from friends and family as to why you remain available. (we can all hear that well-meaning person’s voice in our ear–”but you’re such a catch! Why are you still single??).  Maybe you’ve gone on a LOT of dates (bad and good) and you’re ready to get off that train, but don’t want to give up the notion of potentially finding someone one day. We have good news. You get to choose to be happily single. And that does not preclude you from future partnership. So maybe the happily single part is what you’re struggling with (and that others in your life who want to see you partnered up aren’t helping) but our guest today knows what you’re going through and wants you to know you’re not alone. After years of actively dating and pursuing dates through a variety of digital means, writer Shani Silver decided she didn’t want to spend the rest of her 30’s swiping through face after face to see if maybe love would find her. She decided to go a different route and is here to share where it’s led her on her quest to be happy with who and where she is right now. Shani likes to say that she is not an advocate for singlehood necessarily, but an advocate for women feeling good while single. She wrote a book called A Single Revolution: Don’t Look for a Match, Light One which she hopes is helping women feel better about this incredibly valuable time in their lives. She gives us pointers on how to make ourselves available for all kinds of experiences and people–whether we’re looking for love or not—and surprise, it doesn’t necessarily have to involve dating apps or even dating itself! During their conversation, Jen also discusses her tentative steps into singlehood after 26 years of marriage and her brief experience on dating apps, and how love organically found her. Single, married, divorced or looking for love, we can all look at this time in our lives (and in the lives of our friends) as one to be embraced, not scorned, and why, more than ever, it can be a positive, endlessly full-of-possibility way of living.

Matchmaking for Love in the Modern Age with Joseph Dixon and Paris Denise

We’re bringing you all the goods with our For the Love of Dating, Sex and Relationships series. So if you’ve ever tried dating as a fully grown adult, you might have a few feelings about it. Maybe you’ve been swiping and swiping and swiping (and if this makes no sense to you, it’s okay–you’ll know what it means by the end of this series) and you’re just not connecting with anyone who sets your world on fire. It can really be the wild west out there in the digital dating world,  but we’re here to help. Perhaps you’ve perused the dating sites and maybe you’ve even joined a site, created a profile, or taken the leap to go on a date. Dating sites have successfully brought millions of people together, but as they say, you might have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your prince or princess (no offense to frogs). But there are more than a few ways to find love if you’re looking for it.  And this week we are excited to talk about the world of matchmaking–a way of bringing people together that has a long and storied history–and is still alive and well in our digital age. Founder of RBL (Real Black Love) Matchmaking service Joseph Dixon is on the show with his colleague Paris Denise to give us the  finer points of finding love through a matchmaker. . Joseph and Paris entered the world of matchmaking after seeing negative experiences that were affecting long and lasting relationships in their community. Since then, they have been focused and dedicated to connecting people for committed relationships in and for the black community.  Matchmaking has come a long way since the Victorian era (and even since our 70’s favorite, The Dating Game)  and now with experts like Paris and Joseph at the ready, you can take advantage of a deeper way to find someone to share your life–the art of matchmaking has led to thousands of successful relationships!

The Terror of Being Known Again after Divorce with Cameron Esposito

One aspect of dating after a breakup or divorce is the terrifying ordeal of being known again. Whether it’s because you can’t imagine opening yourself back up to someone in complete vulnerability or maybe you can’t fathom anyone having enough time to plumb the depths of your idiosyncrasies—I mean, who is ever going to take the time to learn your quirks and help you celebrate them in all their unapologetic glory, again? And how are you going to ever forgive the person who disappointed you and doesn’t want to be your #1 knower anymore? With Jen jumping back in the saddle in the dating world, we needed someone to help us all laugh and sift through post-divorce dating tribulations. Cameron Esposito is a comedian, author, podcast host, actor and recovering Catholic; and we’re delighted to have her lead the way for this episode of the Dating, Sex and Relationships series. Like Jen, Cameron went through a public facing divorce and has since found love and happiness. They talk about the complications of coming into yourself while dating when you’re dealing with grief from divorce, trauma from a strict religious culture, and new unexplored feelings around your gender and body. No stone is left unturned in this conversation and Cameron’s frank and honest storytelling is a balm for those of us afraid of a future that doesn’t look like our past.