Last year, I was so mad at the Universe.

I was experiencing this same pattern over and over and over again.

I’d fall in love with someone…

And they’d be in love with me.

We’d be crazy about each other.

But we’d be separated.

Somehow, some way, we’d be physically separated.

The pattern was not subtle.

Me and this guy got together and he lived 20 minutes away from me.

He’d lived there for 23 years.

Three weeks later, he moved to Austin.

I dated someone who lived in Topanga, like, right over the hill…

And the summer that we would have been together he spent…

….on tour everywhere except LA.

My love of 2021 and I were like tortured Romeo and Juliet…

… star-crossed lovers who were destined to be apart.

It happened so many times and I was so pissed.

Maybe I was avoiding intimacy?

Maybe I wanted to hide from a deeper level of sex?

Maybe my one true fetish is commercial airports and Delta airplanes?

It didn’t become clear to me what was happening until this year.

I was being trained in total relationship self-responsibility.

Now that might sound boring…

It certainly sounds less sexy than being trained in “cosmic surrender.”

But it actually is sexy.

The #1 thing that men tell me they wish their partners had?


I can’t tell you how many epic Kings have pulled me to the side and said:

“I would marry her/choose her/love her as deeply as she desires if only she would stop attacking/criticizing/blaming me for things that other men have done….

If only she could be self-responsible for her own pain.”

And this isn’t a heterosexual thing…it’s true for any and all genders, but I’ve had so many men tell me this about their female partners specifically….almost desperately.

Let me also be clear…self-responsibility does not mean that you stay in abusive/toxic relationships because you are taking responsibility for their abusive and toxic actions.

Nope, they are fully self-responsible for their own behavior.

And you take self-responsibility for not staying in any situation that harms you.

In fact, the more self-responsible people become…the less willing they are to tolerate poor behavior, in my experience…because you aren’t waiting for the other person “to change” … you’re taking full responsibility for any situation you choose to stay in.

So, when you actually, truly, become self-responsible…do you know what happens?

Your partner starts to open up.

Your partner feels safe.

So much of the intimacy that we crave from our partners is behind the wall that they put up in their hearts against being attacked or criticized.

Self-responsibility feels like safety…

and true emotional, psychological, and spiritual safety is the sexiest aphrodisiac in the world.

Now, once you take responsibility for yourself…

you’ll want your partner to take responsibility for themselves.

This only works if you do it together.

But no one needs to be perfect…

Any time you start to slide out of self-responsibility you can gently nudge each other back.

It starts feeling so relieving and so clear.

So, you know how before you meditate you think all your problems come from the outside?

Like, it’s your parent’s fault, or your job sucks or if only you were healthier, or if only everyone else stopped being so stupid about XXX – you’d finally be happy?

And then you sit still on a cushion for a whole bunch of hours and realize that you’re perfectly miserable and disturbed even without your parents/your job/your health issues/stupid people?

Yeah, it’s humbling.

Also, once you find out how to be happy on that cushion…just doing nothing…

You start being happy with your parents/your job/your health issues/stupid people.

It always comes from within.

God, it’s so annoying and yet so empowering and satisfying to realize how responsible you are for your own reality.

It’s not that you are always responsible for what is happening…

but you are responsible for what stories you tell yourself, what meaning you project onto it and how you decide to respond.

Now, that realization is hard enough to get to.

It’s one of the ways the Universe makes us powerful…

No matter what hand we get dealt…

It’s always up to us to be with what is.

No one will save us or do it for us.

It’s no one else’s fault.


So, one thing I started realizing in about 2020 was how insidious the patterns are in relationships that tell us it’s our partner’s fault.

It’s one thing to realize that the story you tell yourself about your job is everything.

It’s quite another to realize how the story you tell yourself about your partner is everything.

Not only that, but often, you’re projecting your own nervous system and your past onto the person in front of you.

When you really, really get this…it’s super humbling as well.

When I realized…

The stories…the triggers…the struggle…the frustration…the annoyance…

Maybe it never was about them…

It was always about me.

I began to learn this in the last year of my relationship with Andrew.

The alienation I felt with him?

It was mine.

The disconnection I felt?

I chose a disconnected experience because of the closures in my own heart.

The sadness that was woven throughout our relationship?

It was a direct line to my childhood sadness and pain.

I started to get it.

And the more I got it, the less triggered I became.

In fact, as someone who was an almighty picker of fights…

I stopped fighting at all.

At the time, I thought, maybe because our relationship was starting to come to a close…I was just more peaceful.

But then…in every subsequent relationship…including ones where I was very deeply in love…including ones with partners who really loved to pick fights…

I saw the same thing.

I was no longer triggered.

Not like I used to be.

I no longer picked fights.

Instead, I, Layla Martin, someone who could happily be in a fight day after day for hours…

Started doing whatever I could to avoid a fight.

I still have difficult conversations.

I still speak my truth.

I still hold my boundaries.

I still disagree.

I just won’t fight about it.

But there was another layer to taking full responsibility for myself…

So back to this pattern of all these separated relationships…

I had a lot of time…

In fact, you could argue, way too much time…

To watch myself.

With no input…because my partner wasn’t there with me…

I got to watch the stories I’d tell myself.

I got to watch the ways my nervous system would twist and turn.

I got to watch my own somatic behavior.

Usually, I’ve always moved in with my partners.

We’d spend a ton of time together.

But then, for a good year…

I barely saw people I had the most intense feelings for.

As I made up a victim narrative and cried to my coach about it…

As I felt so sorry for myself…

What I didn’t see was that I was getting Jedi-level training in self-responsibility.

Instead of being distracted by him and our relationship…

I was being forced to fully do the work in ownership of myself.

When he didn’t text back right away…

What story did I tell myself?

How did my nervous system respond?

Because usually, when he’s right there, we’re in a relationship.

So it’s very easy to think that my behavior is a direct response to his.

In all this time and space…it was more like staring into a mirror.

And what I saw in that mirror wasn’t super pretty.

It was a lot of somatic pain.

A lot of abandonment fear.

It was like one big daddy-issue monster with a bunch of mommy-issue gremlins.

(And my responsibility for still holding on to them!)

I realized…I relied on my partners to keep my pain and issues and abandonment fears at bay.

I needed reassurance, to know I was loved constantly.

And if I wasn’t getting that?

Then my pain and sadness would kick in.

But instead of saying “oh look, there is my hurt and pain and sadness…let me take care of it…”

I’d look at his behavior and say:

“You’re causing me pain.”

“You’re doing something that’s making me sad.”

And then we’d fight about.

And I’d look for reassurance.

To keep those issues and gremlins at bay.

But not for long.

They love a good fight, those issues, and gremlins.

Why do we project so hard onto our partners?

So that we never have to do the work on our own issues.

As long as it’s their fault, I never have to look at myself.

And my issues are defense mechanisms.

I think they make me safe.

If I were to work on my defense mechanisms, I’d have to make my way back to my original wounding and pain.

That’s what we all say we want.

To heal our original wounding and pain.

But often, our actual behavior says otherwise.

Only self-responsibility will take you straight back to your own wounding and pain.

Out of the stories and into the reality that no one can heal it but you.

We can heal in community.

We can heal together.

We can support each other in healing.

But the actual integration of pain is between you and God.

No one does it for you.

All that projecting is just a secret way to keep us from doing the real work.

But once I started doing that real work…

A whole new level of intimacy is unlocked.

All that energy that went into fighting started going into the alchemy of Tantric sex.

All that energy that used to go into projecting started going into love.

And all the energy that I was putting on my partner’s behavior became free for my own healing process so that I could finally release that pain and sadness I’d been carrying for so long.

Greater than anything else in my life, I am grateful for this lesson.

I also stopped playing the victim with the Universe about that pattern of being separated from my lover…

And started being self-responsible about listening to the lesson in front of me.

I wouldn’t trade the feeling of being safe in intimacy for anything in the world.

Or the experience of doing the real work so I can love like I was made to.



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