Conscious Sexual Self

Connection Requires Consciousness

Opening Up Your Relationship : Questions to Ask Yourself

  Originally published on YourTango.com

I see many people in my private practice who do not want to end the relationship they are in but are interested in having other sexual or romantic partners. As polyamory and open relationships are becoming more visible, more people are wondering, is there a way I can be honest with my partner about what I am desiring? How can I even start this conversation? What will help us to be successful if we try this?

Here are some tips from my years of working with couples while they explore if an open relationship is right for them. This first article will focus on getting clarity for yourself before you even approach your partner.

First, do not start an affair. I cannot stress this enough. It is true for many people that the first time they begin to consider open relationships are when they have met an appealing new potential partner.  While a new person may allow you to realize that you can love more than one person at a time; if you are seriously considering an open relationship with your current partner the first requirement will be to treat them with respect and the relationship with integrity. Open relationships are not a free for all or permission for cheating; lies are still lies. You will not be able to effectively change the rules of your relationship to allow for more openness, and the trust that this requires, when you are healing the wounds of an affair.

Be honest with yourself about what you want from your current relationship. Are you considering new partners because you are bored or unhappy with your current relationship? Are your reasons for wanting to stay with your current partner primarily practical, i.e. it would be inconvenient to divorce or separate? Can you identify things about your current partner that you love and really value about them? Are you happy being with them for who they are? A functioning open relationship will require intense honesty, respect and ongoing communication. Do you and your partner currently have those skills and want to engage MORE with each other? Are you willing to take some time to first build the foundation of this relationship before adding other partners? If not, this brings us to our next tip.

 Don’t use an open relationship as a way to break up slowly. If you are not really happy with your current partner and are desiring a way to pull away from that relationship, it will be better to be honest about this – with yourself and your partner. A struggling relationship is not likely to be fixed by opening up to other partners, nor are other partners necessarily going to ease the blow of a break up. More often it just complicates things further and makes it so you really don’t have the energy or the time to work on problems with your current partner. So before beginning a conversation with your partner about opening the relationship, ask yourself, am I really asking for this because I feel it will end the relationship so that I can be free?

Ask, are you willing to let someone else share in your sexual decision-making? While there are hundreds of ways to structure open relationships and sexual agreements with partners, if you are thinking about expanding a relationship with a current partner, that implies that you will work as partners to create rules and agreements that work for both of you. This requires negotiation, consent, and sometimes not getting to do what you want. When I meet people who tell me they want an open relationship with their partner with no rules and no partners off limits, I know we need to explore if this person wants a shared open relationship with their partner or do they want to no commitment at all. It is ok to want to make sexual decisions strictly for yourself and by yourself, but it helps to be clear about this. Otherwise what I have seen happen is an extended negotiation period in which one person continually breaks agreements, asks for more freedoms, and eventually the other person feels that there is no “relationship” at all, just free for all dating. If you want complete freedom from the boundaries and responsibilities of relationship, then that is a different conversation.

Explore the role sexuality plays in your life and your image of yourself. The more clarity you can have about your desires, fears, doubts, joys and yearnings, the more you will be able to have an intimate conversation with your partner about trying something new. Open relationships ask you to bring your sexuality out of the shadows and to talk about risky subject manner. Support yourself, know your own mind and heart as much as possible, and stay open and curious to what you are feeling. Working with a sex therapist or taking a workshop about sexuality can be a great resource.

 

What AM I Feeling?

Some days it takes all the attention we have to just figure out what it is that we are feeling, much less what we want to do about it. As a therapist, I want to honor that. This directive to say what you are feeling and speak your truth and be clear about what you need – not always easily achieved.

So what can you do when your thoughts are buzzing your head like angry dragonflies and your emotions are a jumbled ball of contradictory feelings and your intentions…who the hell knows?

First you can slow down. There is no rush to respond in the moment, unless the moment is a literal emergency and then you must trust your instincts. Stop talking and take a breath. Take another breath. Get out of your spinning head for a moment by simply looking around you. Find something beautiful in the space around you and look at it as though you were going to need to describe it later. Start to feel your body; it is there giving you structure. Move around a bit. OK, now that things are a bit slower…

You can identify the emotions without trying to figure them out. Just focus on the real basic emotions at first. You can say, “I am feeling angry.” Or “I am feeling really sad.” Or “I am feeling scared” Just start there. Don’t rush to explain why you are feeling that way, to yourself or anyone else, at the moment. Don’t justify your feelings by focusing on what that jerk did to make you feel that way, for now just identify the emotion or emotions. Just give yourself a bit of time to acknowledge those feelings as they are. Remind yourself that whatever you are feeling it is not going to last forever, it does not define you, and it is ok to feel it.

If you are with someone you care about, you might start by saying “I am feeling really sad right now and I want you to know that before we go further in talking about this.” This might help you avoid getting caught up in mental gymnastics and verbal sparring that is fed by unnamed emotions. Sharing how you feel also is an act of trust and openness and can soften the conversation for both of you. You can also say, “I need some time to figure out why I am having such strong emotions. I will come back to this conversation when I have more insight.”

Then give yourself a space to process all the thoughts and feelings and how they have gotten combined in such a potent mixture today. It is best if you can do this in a way in which you will not be held accountable for all that you are feeling in the moment. So talk it out with a neutral person who can understand conflicting and even irrational emotions sometimes need to be aired out. If you don’t have a person like that available, journal to yourself or talk to a mirror or close your eyes and talk to your divine or a departed loved one or a wise part of yourself. Clarity will come but it may take some dedicated time to explore the layers. Try to stay open to yourself.

We all get hit by big, confusing, overwhelming reactions sometimes. It helps to know that you don’t have to get stuck there or to have it all figured out immediately. Asking yourself, “What AM I feeling?!!” is actually a great start.

Beauty Wants to Be Noticed

I recently was told one of the myths of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi, who is loosely the goddess of beauty (old world deities tend to be quite complex, not neatly categorized, but this is an aspect of Lakshmi which is very important, so excuse the simplification for now). The premise of the story was that when Lakshmi was ignored than beauty began to vanish from the world, fewer scented flowers, less sweet fruit on the vines, sunlight shined less brightly, and colors were less rich. This reminded me of a similar mythology regarding the African diety Oshun, who also rules and represents beauty and sweetness and pleasures in life. Oshun also is said to deeply desire to be noticed and when she is ignored, beauty fades from the world.

When I was younger I might have heard these stories as morality tales about the frivolity and insecurity of beauty. I would have seen them as a way to shame, specifically women, about wanting attention and reassurance that they were desirable. I would have heard in my head the male voice, lamenting that they had to keep telling their girlfriend that she was beautiful, as though this was work and shouldn’t be required of them. I would have drawn away from these archetypes thinking that they represented a weakness, rather than a gift.

But now I read this differently. Now I see two dieties, both bringing something vital to humanity – Beauty. Both wanting to be noticed. Or else. And it is the or else that matters. We need to notice or else we suffer without beauty in our life. We need to honor the beauty around us, or else we will miss it.

Now I see that stories tell us is if we do not make a point of honoring and acknowledging Beauty in our lives, we will have less of it. That beauty requires attention. Not for its own gain, but to exist. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, truly. It is there for us when we notice it.

We can choose each day to notice beauty in our life, or not. To notice beauty in our partner, or not. To act on what beauty inspires in us, or not. To celebrate and revel in the pleasures of life, or not.  

And now, as a couple’s therapist, I see the request to be noticed, to be seen, to be complimented as something much fundamental than frivolous. The request to be noticed, is a request to feed that energy, to keep it alive. It is a way of saying “give energy to the beauty I bring to your life, and this will help me keep this part of myself alive”. It is a way of saying, “I can give generously but you need to let me know what you want more of.” And I hope for my committed readers it goes without saying, that this is something men, women, and all genders need. Beauty is not exclusive to women. Beauty is a whole lot of things, as many unique possibilities as there are unique people to witness it.

Oh yeah baby, do you want more of that? Tell me…show me…

Energy needs to be replenished; apparently even for gods. All we have to do to nourish it, is notice and acknowledge what we see. How lucky for us. And our noticing and bringing attention and celebrating, brings more energy to the Beauty around us, and on and on. So as we enter this season of gratitude, I invite you to express yourself when you witness beauty of all kinds. Tell someone that they are beautiful to you. Touch your partner where they are so amazingly soft or so appealingly firm. Make some noise of appreciation. Stop and watch the colors of the sunset shift into the night sky, and point it out to someone so that they notice it too. And in this way, we keep Beauty alive and blessing us with more.

Time to Grieve

This week, like too many others in the past few years, I have been in stunned grief. My heart is broken. Not for me personally, but for us as a whole. I have say here for over an hour trying to write something meaningful, Trying to craft a response, a suggestion, something helpful. But really all I want to do is cry. I want to say, “This is not right”, for so many reasons. I want to wail and protest and I want to blame. I want to sidestep the pain this all too familiar outrage brings up in me.

So here I am. Right here. Right now. And I can see how I am thinking, not consciously a minute ago but consciously now, righteous anger will feel better than this pain. Removed intellectualizing about this will feel better than this pain. Problem-solving and politicizing will feel better than this pain. Compartmentalizing it into another historical mark on the timeline of human violence will feel better than this pain.

But I need to feel this pain. I need to feel this pain to keep myself fully in my humanity. Right here, right now. I need to breathe it in and not sidestep it. Don’t jump ahead; there is action to take later. Now, feel this pain. Look at the pictures of the murdered, young people will lives ahead of them. People that I might have loved had I met them.

Don’t diminish this grief. It is not the grief of the people who knew them. That is a much harsher and personal grief, I know. Think about the thousands of grieving friends and family members who don’t know how to face today without the person they loved. Imagine how it is to know your loved one died afraid. Let yourself feel this pain, let your heart break for them. Don’t turn away.

Right here, right now, watch how you get angry. How your mind goes to Why? and How? and Whose fault is this? and What the fuck is wrong with us?!! Feel that. Don’t shy away. Breathe it in. Feel it. Don’t shy away.

Let the tears come. Let them be helpless, hopeless, frightened, devastated, angry, sad, empty. Take this time. Grieve. Be human.

At this moment, this is what I can do. I can be strong enough to recognize that I need to grieve to stay a part of this human community. I cannot send these feelings underground, where they will hide and I can pretend that we can go on as usual. I owe us all that much. Right here, right now, feel this pain. Don’t shy away. Breathe it in. Feel it. Feel it. Don’t turn away. Stay human.

Gestures of Peace When You Are Angry

Oh you will fight. If you are in a partnership of any kind for any length of time, you will fight. This is normal. You will fight about ridiculous things and important things, things long gone and things that haven’t happened yet. Some of you will fight loud and some of you will fight with closed lips and a few cold words. Some of you will get a rush from it and some of you will hate every minute.

It isn’t how you fight or how often you fight that will necessarily damage your relationship; it is how you stay connected when you do fight. Relationship researcher extraordinaire, John Gottman calls these gestures during conflict repair attempts.

Repair attempts are the ways in which people remember their connection in this midst of a conflict. It can be a little gesture that says, “I know we love each other, even now”. It is a moment of outwardly slowing down the escalation to show I am staying in this with you, I am being careful with you and me, I care about what happens here. Repair attempts are gestures of peace that make all the difference if they are received by your partner.

Here are some things to try :

Say how you feel. Not the surface, “I am pissed off” feeling, but the other ones a bit under the surface. This will require that you slow yourself down for a minute and get vulnerable. Be honest with your partner about what is being stirred in you in this moment. Could be, “I am feeling judged and ashamed.”, “I am feeling scared of losing you.” “I am feeling like a little kid being scolded and I want to rebel.” “I feel defensive”. This grounds the conversation in an emotional reality and makes it easier to be gentle with one another. Take a breath and be brave.

Say that you can see their side of things. Valuing their perspective doesn’t mean they are all right and you are wrong. It means hearing one another and being reasonable. You might repeat back what you have heard them say to make sure you understand. You might say, “I see your point…” or “I dan’t thought of it that way.” Also it is good to acknowledge the things that are working even while addressing a problem between you. Tell them something you appreciate about them or something they are doing that is helpful to the situation. Nothing is black and white here.

Say how you messed up. Sorry to tell you but most likely there is some small way in which you misspoke or responded less than ideally.  And the thing is you probably know it; you just are using that frustration with self to fuel your frustration for the argument. Try defusing that. You don’t have to make it heavy; you can say, “Duh, that was the wrong thing to say, sorry.” Or you can say, “Let me try that again” or simply, “ I don’t like how I responded there.” Its ok, we all play our part.

Say that you need to calm down. Once we hit a certain emotional frequency, it is nearly impossible to think clearly. Let your partner see that you are taking care of yourself as a way to stay present. You can say, “Hang on. I need to slow down and take a breath.” Or “I am feeling overwhelmed and am having trouble taking this in. Can we slow down?” Or maybe you need to stop the conversation right now and come back to it later when you are clearer. Saying this now can save you a lot of wasted arguing.

Say that you trust your bond. This is more subtle than the rest but it can be the strongest kind of repair attempt. It relies more on your relationship style and history. Many people use humor for this. They crack a little joke to lighten the mood a little. Some people might use a private reference point or something like, “Well, I guess we have to have our quarterly fight sometime.” Or some people just reach out a touch their partners hand or shoulder, silently saying “I do love you, you know.” The key is that these are delivered with a smile and from a genuine place of good will and trust.

Say that you love them. Remember it and say it. And if you see a repair attempt coming your way, honor that for what it is – a way to stay connected. Take in the gesture of good will by responding in kind. Take a deep breath, slow your roll, and remember why you love this person enough to bother arguing with them.


The Risk of Having What You Want

There are many ways we learn to protect ourselves, many forms of armor and resistance, some that serve us well and some not so well. Overtime we develop patterns of shutting out interactions that we wish to avoid, based on our own unique history and wounds. Some tense up in the face of aggressive authority and some numb out when fearing abandonment. Some go into denial when faced with a painful truth. These forms of resistance make sense; they are clearly designed to protect us, even as they often cause their own pain.

But what has been fascinating to witness as a therapist is that we also protect ourselves from things we really deeply want. I don’t mean the way you want a chocolate bar or a nap. I mean the things you have yearned for and feared you might never have, the things that make you feel on the outside looking in,  the things that years ago you might have decided you didn’t deserve. There are things we so deeply want that we create armor around ourselves to resist letting them in. Why? Because they scare us. A lot.

I believe that most of the things that people feel afraid to want are really very simple things, but at one point in our life they were denied to us when we really needed them. Once denied, it becomes too risky to trust that we may ever be given this gift. And so we stay wanting, unable to recognize that we can have it right now. Here it is.

So you may have been emotionally rejected by a parent when you needed to be comforted and now here is someone ready to comfort you, but you are hidden behind walls, muscles tight to push away touch, wanting it but not allowing it. And she is yearning to feel that her sexual energy is embraced and accepted, after being shamed and shut down before, but cannot bring herself to meet your invitation to bring her groove out. And he is waiting to feel that someone believes in him and trusts him as capable, but scans for distrust and hides his adult self. They are all scared to risk having what they have wanted for so long.

And here it is. Right here, available to you. I have seen therapy sessions when a person’s partner turns to them and with sincerity tells them what they have been wanting to hear. And I have seen the person turn away from it, from this gift freely given. I have to help them to slow down and see that they can accept it. I help them relax their body so they can feel it. Even after years of wanting and not getting, they can risk having it now. It is not too late. They can reach out and take it. This is so vulnerable. It takes unlearning. We have to put down the armor and the cynicism that have protected us for so long, saying, “That is a stupid, unrealistic, pathetic thing to want. Stop believing in it all together. Stop waiting for it, stop hoping.” But that voice was wrong..

Here is someone offering it to you now. I invite you to stop and think about the things you want, those deeper things that haunt you and come out when you are feeling sensitive and unsure. And ask yourself, is it possible that I am with someone right now who is offering that to me? Is there something I am doing to not see it, not take it in, actively reject it? Can I admit what I really want, no matter how simple or vulnerable it may be? Can I let myself open to this wanting again? I invite you to take the risk.


Falling Out of Love

There is a word in Russian for “the melancholy feeling of falling out of love” – razluibit. I have no idea how to say it, but I am touched that it exists. Its existence in another culture and language allows me to notice that in my language there is no such word. We do not have a simple reference point for this particular human state. It is as though by not naming it, we can pretend it doesn’t happen.

What do we know about falling out of love? How does it happen? What is the starting point? How does one know if love is gone for good? Do we ever really stop loving someone we once loved? I would have answered each of these questions differently at different points in my life. But today, even as a couples therapist, I will say, “I don’t know.”

Some days I sit with people who are facing these questions. I see the struggle to reexamine all that came before in the presence of new feelings, or fading feelings, they are faced with now. I have seen love end with a sudden realization about the other person, maybe a moment in which respect was lost or when there was a clarity about what one could truly expect from the other. The fact that so much can change in one moment is humbling to me and reminds me to take care in my relations to others. I have also seen love that has starved over years, a series of closing doors and quiet mouths until one person is an absence to the other. There are times when someone looks for a misplaced love and finds it is no longer there. I have seen love that is newly recognized as something different altogether, as a now resolved need or a pleasant habit or a settling for what could be. I have seen love compared to something new and found lacking.

But I have also seen love that was fading, revived. People who were falling away from a partner reach out a hand and grab hold with a new passion. I have seen people find new love with the old partner. I have seen love develop that maybe had never been there before.

Still in all that, I haven’t found one truth about how or why we fall out of love. Or how or why some people manage to stay firmly, happily in love. I can say that I believe that sometimes love cannot and should not be revived. I believe we must transform and change and therefore we must have love that transforms and changes with us. I believe love requires tending and attention to stay alive. I believe love flourishes when we can stay engaged in new ways to be in love with our partner and new ways to uncover ourselves to them.

What can I can say most confidently about real human possibility of falling out of love? Like so many realities of human life, we can navigate it better if we can name it and therefore share it.


The People Who Shape You


This time of year we often look around our lives at all the people in it. And we may think about the people who used to be a part of our lives and our now gone. This can be an opportunity to consider the way we have been shaped and the ways we have grown in relation to the people with whom we have shared our lives. Relationships are not always easy. But they do always offer us new information about ourselves and, if we look deeply enough, about the way we want to be in relation to others.

There is a concept from Southern Africa, Ubunto, which can be defined in many ways. But one powerful definition says that a person is a unique person through being with other people. It speaks to the way we are shaped by others in our world; that in fact we are co-creating one another through interaction. This is a dynamic way of seeing who we are, not fixed but in constant change through relationship.

So maybe this year, take some time to look at your relationships through this lens. How has each person shaped who you are and how you move in the world? What did you learn from having each of these people in your circle? What parts of your self does each person bring out? What do you value about each relationship? Think about the fullness of who you are, so many aspects and insights. Our humanity dancing with humanity, so many daily moments of contact and non-contact. Wonder about the ways you avoid being affected by others and why. Wonder about the times you open yourself up to connection and what that asks of you.

And maybe when the people around you are trying your patience (it happens to all of us), you can get curious about who shaped these people and how their humanity is also in response to relationships past and present.  How might your presence have shaped them? Remember that we are all co-creating together, responding, learning, changing. Be thankful.


Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?

Let’s bring into the light the persistent saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater”. I think this knee jerk response does not serve us.

First let’s agree that humans are very complex and varied beings. There are lots of reasons that people have affairs. There are lots of ways affairs play out. Whether you want to believe it or not, there are many good people who love their partner and have cheated. For some of these people, the affair was a breaking point or a wake-up call or an hour of bad judgement. These people may feel horrible about what they did and are exquisitely aware of how it could hurt their partner. Doing something outside of one’s own integrity, crossing one’s own moral boundaries and beliefs, is something all humans are capable of and it can cause us great pain. This is not to excuse the risk taken or the potential damage done. But I think it is important to differentiate this from someone who just doesn’t care about the damage done.

There are people out there who will cheat repeatedly. I actually think they are the minority. In fact, the one study I was able to find that tracked serial infidelity found that only .5% of people who admitted to having affairs had engaged in multiple affairs. Surprised? Just another example of the stories we tell about infidelity being different than many of the realities.

So are you worried about a partner with infidelity in their past? Some things you might want to pay close attention to:

Does this person lie about a lot of things to a lot of people? A casual relationship with lying speaks to a pattern and little lies make big lies easier. And bear in mind, if they lie to others, they are likely to lie to you too.

Does this person treat you insensitively in general? Are they mindful of your feelings and courteous about your needs? Patterns of selfishness or inability to consider your feelings are perhaps larger issues, including personality structures that may be resistant to change.

Does this person genuinely want to be monogamous or do they seem motivated by the social expectations and social privileges that come with monogamy or the appearance of monogamy? How can you tell? You can ask directly but you can also note how they talk about relationships and sex, what benefits they get from being in a romantic partnership and how they deal with their own desires and inhibitions.

Does this person engage in bullying or pressuring to get you to have sex with them? Do they pout or withhold affection if you are not available for sex? These patterns may speak to some compulsivity or entitlement that can affect your relationship.

Is this person very impulsive? Do they love someone one day and then hate them the next? Do they use drugs or alcohol in ways that can lead to bad decisions? Do they seem to always be searching for a new rush or new intensity? None of these things necessarily will lead to infidelity but they can make the stability of long term relationships challenging.

Does this person have a solid understanding of what led them to cheat before? Does this understanding include an attitude of fairness for everyone involved or is it blaming? Has something changed for this person?

In truth, there is no test to tell you if a person will cheat (contrary to the many magazine articles out there). But a past experience with being unfaithful is simply not a clear sign that someone will be unfaithful again. We have great capacity to learn and grow and also great potential to find partners who we love more deeply and with more passion than we could have previously imagined. Look to the patterns you see now in your partner. Don’t rely on generalizations; we all deserve more than that.




Intimacy Does Not Equal Great Sex

 

It happened again. I was in a second session with a young couple who have been struggling with uncomfortable and dissatisfying sex together. They were confused by what was happening in their shared sexuality, as many couples are, and frustrated because they didn’t know how to fix it themselves. Then they told me that their last couple’s therapist had advised them that if they built enough intimacy and emotional closeness their sexual issues would “take care of themselves”. AHHHH!!! Let me explain why this makes my head explode.

 

First, you should know that many (most?) psychotherapists out there have very limited understanding of the amazing vastness of human sexuality. Also psychotherapists and the field of psychology have been victim and perpetrators of sexual discriminations and basic close-mindedness and puritanical values for years. This is horrible and I am striving to do my part to change this for the field. But the point is, it is not an uncommon stance in psychology to say attachment and intimacy = happy sexual compatibility. As a sex therapist who has helped many people navigate their own complicated sexual desire, I know this is simply not true. As a human being who has had my own journey with love and sex and human closeness, I know this is not true. So why are therapists still saying it?

 

To claim that intimacy automatically leads to sexual compatibility disregards several key aspects of sex – one, it presumes that everyone is generally turned on by anyone they form a close relationship to; an argument that I think can only be made in a blatantly heteronormative mainframe that disregards what we have learned and should understand about sexual orientation and the limits of our desire. We simply cannot force desire where there isn’t one and attempts to shift desire to an “appropriate” partner are often disastrous. Two, this argument conflates all variations of human closeness into romantic sexual partnership, something that may be entertaining on soap operas but is quite limiting in real life. I am close to many people, in many different ways, and I do not have sexual desire for many of them. In fact with many people I develop a closeness that negates any sexual feelings, when someone begins to feel like family or a sibling for example.

 

Third, saying that intimacy and emotional closeness leads to sexual satisfaction ignores the variations of desire and how important they can be to our happiness. Most therapists who encourage couples to ignore clear sexual incompatibilities expect their clients to eventually adhere to a basic vanilla sex life – great for some, but deeply dissatisfying for others. This model privileges loving, eye-gazing, comfortable sex over other forms of sexual expression and connection. Loving and trusting your partner doesn’t mean that you both are going to be into restraints or submission play. Loving and trusting your partner also doesn’t mean you can easily give those things up. And being able to deep conversations and feel intimate doesn’t necessarily mean you do a great job talking about the subtleties and emotional vulnerabilities of sex and what you want. Not to mention that the therapist in question may have their own squeamishness and resistances to talking about sexual details and would just like to lump it all into one vanilla blur.

 

The reason psychotherapists who equate intimacy with sex irritate me so much is that I can see how clients get shamed by this. They feel ashamed that their love is not enough to naturally give them satisfying sex. They feel ashamed because they have desires that their partner can’t fulfill and they are being told that is unimportant in the bigger picture of emotional closeness. They feel ashamed because they are made to doubt their own desires yet again. This is not fair. The bad news is not all people who love each other are going to be great sexual matches. There is still plenty to explore in how to be and stay in relationship within that reality, but you need a support person who will go into those intricacies with you. The good news is your desire for something different than someone else is not something you have to ignore. At least not with me.