"Janel helped us through the process of opening our 22-year marriage. Her amazing communication techniques gave us the wisdom, confidence & empathy we needed to transcend many years of outdated belief structures. We have been deeply moved by our ability to grow together and better honor each other’s needs and desires."
-Chris & Lina H.
Create a relationship as unique as you.
Are you or your partner feeling drawn to ethical non-monogamy or an open relationship, but one or both of you has hesitations or limitations around it?
You've come to the right place to design a more authentic relationship that works for both of you.
Relationships are not one-size-fits-all. Customizing your relationship structure and agreements could look SO many different ways.
That's why I call what I do Relationship Design—because I offer step-by-step guidance for creating a relationship that authentically works for you, beyond labels or social convention.
Even if you seem to want very different things, I will help you bridge the gap.
This program is for you and your partner if:
You're considering opening your relationship...
...but you and your partner have different comfort levels with the idea of an open relationship or conflicting ideas about what it would look like. Perhaps you also have trust or communication issues you need healed first. I'll help you explore all the options available to you and design your relationship agreements in the most supportive way possible—by empowering you to deeply connect with each other first, then exploring baby steps together.
You've struggled with past experiences of opening up.
If you have already experimented with opening your relationship and it was difficult or painful (perhaps involving a breach of trust) and now you're left with confusion, pain and/or differing desires for how to move forward, this program will walk you step-by-step through how to try again in a healthier way. In this intensive, you and your partner will rebuild trust, gain clarity on your relationship agreements, and feel more intimately connected to each other.
Want different things? I got you.
If you and your partner have differing desires around opening up, I'm not going to push one of you to change nor shame one of you for being too "needy," too vanilla, too desirous, etc. Both of your needs are valid!
In my own longterm open relationship, I've been the one who wants more freedom than my partner, and I've also been the one with more hesitations or limitations around non-monogamy than my partner.
This program creates a structured, ritualistic space in which you will both feel seen and accepted for where you're at and for what you want to help you overcome your differences.
70 powerful lessons and transformative practices:
Part 1: Secure Your Attachment
- Deepening in Intimacy: Begin your journey by deepening your connection to each other through a powerful practice called "3 Questions for Deeper Intimacy."
- Communication is Everything: "more open" relationships require excellent communication and emotional intelligence. Learn how to be vulnerable, express your needs and desires, de-escalate conflict and more in Janel and her partner Patrick's couple's communication workshop.
- Can You Tell Each Other "No"? Naming your boundaries lovingly is a huge part of maintaining trust and connection in an open relationship. Practice a communication exercise to get more comfortable with expressing boundaries to each other.
- The Importance of Check-In's: Relationship check-ins are one of the biggest predictors of success in longterm open relationships. Learn how to do a weekly or monthly check-in and practice doing one.
30-Day Milestone: Create a foundation of secure attachment for a healthy "more open" relationship.
Part 2: Mindset Design
- Relationship Myths: The "standard narrative" about love & sex is that heterosexual monogamy is the only "right" way to be in relationship...but there are many "right ways." Unlearn negative assumptions about consensual non-monogamy and begin to let go of shame together about what each of you authentically wants.
- Unlearning Shame: To cultivate your own relationship rules, learn how to free your mind from relationship "supposed to's" and train your brain to believe more authentic narratives through my step-by-step process for unlearning myths.
- Let's Talk About Sex: Explore your sexuality through a fantasy visualization & share to get more comfortable talking about sex. Learn why sharing desires doesn't mean you have to act on them IRL. Identify your "risk tolerance" when it comes to your sexual health and write out your values for your sex life.
- Our "Positive Boundaries" & Relationship Values: "More open" relationships thrive with "positive boundaries," a term from the book Ethical Slut that means commitments you make to continue to add to the value of your relationship over time even while exporing connections with others. Discuss what success looks like for your relationship, write down your relationship values, and create your own definitions of loyalty and commitment.
60-Day Milestone: Commit to your "positive boundaries" to continue to add value to your relationship over the longterm.
Part 3: Build Your Open Foundation
- Envision Your Relationship Structure: People think of non-monogamy as either swinging or full-blown polyamory. But there are so many more possibilities than those. Begin exploring your options beyond traditional relationship expectations. Discover the 4 kinds of monogamy, see examples of unconventional relationships that work (including an interview with Janel and Patrick about our open relationship) and discuss your feelings about all of them.
- How to Handle Jealousy: Learn how to use jealousy as a tool for deeper understanding of your and your partner's fears, boundaries and needs. Practice my script for responding to your partner when they feel jealous. Share your known "triggers" and discuss ways to be considerate of each other's as you move forward.
- The Importance of Baby Steps: Don't just jump into a threesome or trying to date other people right away. Explore ways to ease into consensual non-monogamy. Taking baby steps and checking in every step of the way are critical for a safe, drama-free journey towards a more open relationship.
- Create Agreements for Opening Up: Complete my Relationship Design Guide together to create your agreements for connecting with others while continuing to invest in your relationship with each other. Discuss what your needs are around time management, how much information to share about your experiences with others, and more.
- Navigating Different Desires: What if you have very different desires or boundaries around something when it comes to your relationship structure? Learn how to hold space for each other's fears, decide what you're willing to let go of to make the other person more comfortable (and what you're not), practice my relationship ritual for holding space for disappointment, and discover how to find healthy compromises.
- Design Your Relationship Road Map: Co-create your road map for moving forward on your relationship design journey. Make agreements around sexual, emotional and romantic connections with others and hone your "positive boundaries" for how you'll stay emotionally connected to each other through your exploration. Be open to change and to keep discussing into the future, as boundaries slowly shift over time.
90-Day Milestone: Co-create and start to live by new relationship agreements that empower you both to thrive.
- How to Meet Open-Minded People: a resource list I've created for you with ideas for how to meet other ethically non-monogamous or "monogamish" people, either online or locally.
- Should We Tell Our Family & Friends? The pros and cons of coming out about your relationship orientation to your loved ones. This can help you decide if it's the right move for you or not and how to talk about it if so.
- Terminology & Definitions: what's the difference between polyamory, an open relationship and consensual non-monogamy? This list helps you understand the wide range of options for unconventional relationships.
- Sexy Communication Workshop: an hour-long prerecorded workshop to help you get more comfortable with talking about sex both in and out of the bedroom.
- Sex-Positive Sexed & Alternative Porn list: a compilation of sex education resources including instructional videos and feminist porn.
- The EFFORT Method for De-escalating Conflict: this mini-course on how calm each other down when triggered includes a lesson & practice video with a role play partner communication exercise.
- Recommended Reading list: our favorite books on all things sex and relationships.
Patrick, Janel's partner, is also a coach in this program. Challenged with painful relationships and mental health struggles in his early twenties, Patrick has studied interpersonal dynamics, compassionate communication, and human behavior for more than a fifteen years. He's passionate about helping others develop more intimate relationships, supporting people to love themselves more deeply, and educating about interpersonal and systemic power dynamics.
Patrick has worked in the private and nonprofit sector, including a period working for the Burning Man organization, taking high schoolers on weeklong wilderness backpacking excursions, and running an independent nonprofit consulting business. He has a BS and MBA from UC Berkeley and is a CTI certified coach. He has done hundreds of hours of communication and facilitation trainings, including classes on nonviolent communication, antiracism and anti-oppression, and group counseling.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is this a private coaching program or an online course?
Is this program for couples only?
What if my partner wants an open relationship but I'm not sure?
Will I have access after 90 days?
What's the investment for this program?
Is there a money-back guarantee?
Does this count as therapy?
Apply for the Relationship Design Intensive 👇
Submit this quick application to start your journey. We will get back to you within 3 business days with next steps if we think our program is the right fit for your relationship. We're looking forward to connecting with you!
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