How to Love Happily Ever After

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About Lori Ann Lothian

Lori Ann Lothian is a sexy daring writer who challenges assumptions about love, sex and relationships in her columns at Huffington Post and elephant Journal and in feature articles at the Good Men Project, Origin Magazine, Yoganonymous, Better After 50 and more. Former editor of the relationship section of elephant Journal, she is now a senior editor at the Good Men Project. Follow her on Twitter andGoogle. Stay informed, sign up for Lori’s mailing list here.


  1. So, a relationship gives you to the strength to give up expecting to get what you want out of life and just be happy with whatever it hands you?

    • HI there. I am not sure how you came to this conclusion from the seven stages? The transformation stage is the crucible from which a relationship ends, and one or both partners leave transformed for the better. If the relationships survives surrender and transformation, then it’s a new and more real relationship….it certainly has nothing to do with sticking out a bad situation, but rather, the opposite.

  2. I read Kingma’s book several years back.

    Have you actually experienced going through all seven of these stages in you latest relationship, and are experiencing what she calls a “transformation” – or is this still an future vision in your life?

    In other words, are you talking about a theory here, or a lived praxis?

    • In my current partnership, I have lived through the surrender and transformation, yes. This is the man I chose to marry a year ago, and have been with for four years. Surrender and transformation is ongoing. There is an implicit understanding between us that the point of a relationship is not to be comfortable or to “make each other happy” but rather to discover and explore what it means to love without clinging, and to stay open to each other even in the midst of fear and chaos,

      • Thanks for responding. I’d be interested in hearing what that looks like for you and your partner, if you ever wanted to write something more personal than a book summary. And it would be interesting to hear it from his POV too.

        Maybe there’s a book in there!

  3. Or you can get over the film-book driven craze of wanting to be with a partner/s and in case you are with one, see it as a bonus anyways. All these stages still assume that it is pertinent that one stays with or needs another.

  4. Having been married for almost 25 years, I find that some of these stages overlap, and that you can go back and forth between them. It is definitely not linear, not to me anyway. I feel like my husband and I have been through all of these phases, and then some.

    • Indeed, I think it’s a spiralling process. Reliving these phases through life, but going deeper at the same time. The seventh step surely is never fully integrated. The real difficulty I see in modern relationship is the cult of “I”, the ego. Making it almost impossible for modern women and men to “let go”, on a social level, but also on a personnal level.

      When chaos rise we take refuge in ourselve, seeking advice and protection from our inner circle, that think like us and see the world like us. Seldom do we surrender to life, to the process… In our world we seek control, over our life, and the life of others…

  5. Very interesting piece.I certainly appreciate the neutral gender language.I continue to believe that our culture focuses far too much on being fulfilled,on being high on the emotion of being in love. Instead of developing practical skills,like true knowledge of self. The romance industry and our slavish,unquestioned, belief in its power to heal and keep the flames of love alive only forstalls the inevitable.I believe that this process can actually be self directed and growth realized before the soul crushing defeat of the affair that ends the marriage.This is why most therapy doesn’t work.It is too after the fact. The way we really are, worn, chipped, paint, beneath a fresh coat,is always with us and reveals itself in all aspects of one’s life.The roots of our collective denial and our general lack of self-awareness are embeded culturally.As such, we are naturally living in a state of bad faith. I would suggest that to hurt someone badly and then, after the fact, attribute it to a phase doesn’t feel loving.I don’t think that is a part of love. A therapist once told me that love and hate are opposite sides of the same coin. Not for me.But then again,what is love?One thing is certain,whatever love is,it is the exception rather than the rule. The truth seems to be that few of us are,without great concentrated effort, are capable of giving and recieving love.Moreover, most of us don’t know it.

  6. I believe that many people live with very unrealistic expectations of what life should be. It’s hard. Relationships are hard. Who said that we should be floating around on cloud nine all the time? I agree that what society tells us we should strive for, and what we are going to get, are not the same thing. Not even close.

  7. Relationships (mutually exclusive monogamous ones) are just a societal invention to try and provide some sort of stability and security for the offspring, which is a pipedream at its best.
    Free yourself from the expectations to breed and procreate, and you wil be free to pursue any kind of relationship you see fit.

  8. Phoenix31 says:

    How does communication about boundaries/requests for change fit into this? In other words, what if there are things you feel OK with at the outset (in Romance and Commitment), feel a crisis about, have arguments about in Ordeal and still feel deeply bothered by as the dust settles and emotional intimacy increases?

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