We’d like you to tell you a bit about ourselves, both professionally and personally – so you’ll understand why we’re so passionate about what we do!
Ruth L. Schwartz, Ph.D.
has been a writer, healer and teacher for over three decades. She has a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology, and studied relationship coaching with world-renowned experts Gay and Katie Hendricks, bestselling authors of Conscious Loving and many other books. She also has extensive training in energy medicine, shamanism and hypnotherapy, and has helped hundreds of individuals and couples access inner guidance, heal trauma and create more joyful lives. Author of seven books, including Soul on Earth: A Guide to Living & Loving Your Human Life, Ruth has taught at six colleges and universities. She’s currently a low-residency faculty member in the Creative Writing program at Ashland University.
Ruth’s Relationship Story
I’ve always loved deeply, but until I met Michelle, I didn’t always love wisely. I spent my thirties in a relationship which turned me into a caregiver (I donated my kidney to my partner, then nursed her through years of illness.) We didn’t know how to keep our love alive under those challenging conditions, and ultimately I felt I had to leave in order to find myself again.
Then, after years without much joy or sex, I plunged into a new relationship much too quickly – and helped my new love move cross country to be with me. When she got there, it was a total disaster. We broke up a few months later. It was a messy heartbreak, expensive both financially and emotionally, and left me shattered and confused.
The following year, I met “Sarah” (not her real name) … and fell more deeply in love than ever before. I felt a connection with Sarah that I’d never before experienced – which made it easy to overlook a few big red flags, like the fact that she drank wine every night, and hadn’t been 100% broken up with her previous partner when we first met. When she left me a year later – to get back together with that same partner, in fact – I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep living. The pain was greater than anything I had ever imagined.
Once again I made the same mistake I’d made earlier: I entered a new relationship much too quickly, while still on the rebound. This time it wasn’t quite as magical, but at least it looked solid to me. My new partner was a meditator, and we had great chemistry – at first. Yet within months, she would barely touch me. We fought constantly, and I rarely understood why.
Why couldn’t I find a partner who was as ready for deep love and intimacy as I was? This question plagued me for years – until I finally came to understand that although I looked and felt ready on the surface, deeper down I was actually blocking the love I sought. My commitment to unraveling this process sent me back to school for my Ph.D., then led me to commit to learning everything I could about love, relationships – and myself.
I finally spent several years single, for the first time in my adult life. Then, when I was finally ready, I met Michelle – and through a process filled with love, respect, trial, error, laughter and of course some tears too, I learned how to be in a truly fulfilling partnership. Now, 9+ years in, our connection is sweet and deep, easy and filled with harmony, trust, creativity, laughter and affection.
But it wasn’t just a question of having found the right woman – because both Michelle and I recognize that if we’d met even 5 years before we did, we would have been disastrous for each other! Successful partnership requires both the right partner and the right skills. We founded Conscious Girlfriend to help you learn how to get there.
received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University, and her Certificate in Theological Studies from the Pacific School of Religion. She also studied relationship coaching with world-renowned experts Gay and Katie Hendricks, bestselling authors of Conscious Loving and many other books. Michelle taught Biology at Hampshire College for ten years, and is a long-time practitioner of contemplative spirituality, both in Buddhist and Christian traditions. She is passionate about helping others develop the self-compassion and self-love that have changed her life.
Michelle’s Relationship Story
My first lesbian relationship was actually very sweet – so sweet it scared me. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I didn’t really feel I deserved that kind of love. I broke up with that girlfriend within a few months, unable to explain my actions to her, or even to myself.
A few years later, I found my first long-term partner. Although things seemed good at first, they quickly deteriorated. My partner “Mary” (not her real name) stopped working just before we moved in together, and never started again. I supported her financially for over five years. Even though I earned all the money and also did all the grocery shopping and cooking, too, Mary constantly told me I “didn’t do my fair share,” and criticized me non-stop. One day I decided to count how many harsh things she said, but when I reached 50, I gave up.
Mary was good at controlling me, both with her anger and blame, and with her pain. She managed to largely keep me away from my friends, and from the meditation retreats I wanted to attend. Still, I had promised to stay with her forever, so I couldn’t bring myself to leave – until the night when she physically shook me, then threw a chair at me.
My next relationship was only slightly better. Sometimes my new partner would get so angry at some small thing I said that she would stop speaking to me for days. Still, when she decided to end it, I was devastated.
In the aftermath of that breakup, I began to understand, dimly at first, that my partners’ poor treatment of me was a reflection of my poor opinion of myself. I didn’t feel lovable, I didn’t love myself – so I wasn’t attracting others who could love me, either. It wasn’t my fault – I didn’t deserve that kind of treatment, and I certainly didn’t want it! But I did co-create it by choosing the wrong partners, and also by staying with them.
I spent several years learning how to truly love myself (in a process I now love teaching my clients!) Then, (amazingly enough, through a Craigslist personal ad that came to me when I was meditating!) I met Ruth. The relationship we share is better than I’d ever dreamed I’d have – but I know I had to be ready in order to be able to have it. We founded Conscious Girlfriend to help you get there, too.
Single women: Learn more about our Roadmap to Love coaching
Women in relationships: Learn more about our Couples Breakthrough coaching
A conscious girlfriend is a lesbian or queer woman who gains – or embarks on the process of gaining! – the tools, skills and understandings that lead to truly happy intimate relationships.
We’re passionate about helping women become conscious girlfriends, because that’s what it takes to build and maintain relationships that are deeply intimate, passionate and joyful – relationships that “just work,” rather than feeling like a lot of work.
Why “conscious?” Because becoming more conscious – more observant, more aware, more thoughtful – about what happens both inside of you, and between you and your girlfriend – is a huge first step to becoming able to create your relationship destiny.
In other words, being conscious is all about having more choices – and making the choices that bring you happiness, rather than drama, fights and heartbreak!
Whatever you’re struggling with, we’ve been there, in one way or another – and we can help you get where you want to go!
The sad truth is that if you don’t take steps to develop new skills and ways of being, your old patterns are likely to repeat… and repeat… and repeat, no matter who you meet.
But once you learn how to be a conscious girlfriend, a whole different relationship world can open up for you.
We’re here to help!
Women in Relationships: Learn more about our Couples Breakthrough Coaching
Ruth & Michelle
(And the fine print: While the resources and tools we share emerge from our extensive personal and professional experience and research, we are not licensed psychotherapists, and the information on this site should not be construed as – or used in place of – professional psychotherapeutic or medical assistance.)