Robyn D'Angelo, LMFT is a rogue therapist turned relationship coach and the founder of The Happy Couple Expert. She helps frustrated and disconnected couples and singles learn to love and be loved. She walks them through how to talk to and feel heard by one another while connecting deeply and creating space for fun. She helps couples master the messiness of couplehood together and create their own Epic relationships that last. She’s a true #LoveGeek. And when she’s not tossing love and kindness around like confetti, she’s helping anxious people learn to make anxiety their superpower.
Do you wear your wedding ring everyday?
I’m asking because I just took mine off, while sitting here working, typing away. The house is pretty quiet, other than Pandora spitting out the most random array of tunes. I stopped typing and started kind of wringing my hands (like when you put lotion on, ya know what I mean?) And it was like taking a ride back in time...
Suddenly, I was feeling "this is what single Robyn's hands felt like" and I got all these flashes of my past. Of working in the advertising world 15 years ago in Las Vegas. I saw grad school, parties in downtown San Diego with the girls, kissing random strangers in bars (I was known as the makeout-bandit back in my day), and I almost could feel the “freedom” of being single. It was so strange. And fun. And that felt a little naughty. (FYI: Robyn-the-Rule-Follower does not do naughty).
The Therapist and the Wedding Ring Converse
As a rogue therapist turned relationship coach who specializes in working with couples, I notice that when people sit across from me - when they are in pain, agony or just confused - they tend to fidget with their rings. It's almost like their subconscious is attempting to reconnect them to their love for their partner. It’s like the ring screaming to them, but in a whisper:
"Hey, I know you're hurting, mad, broken, betrayed, tired, whatever - but hang in there! Look at the person who put this on your finger. They’re right next to you - even if you no longer recognize them as that person. REMEMBER. It wasn't always bad. It wasn't always like THIS. It was good once. It was lovely, and easy, and fun, and sexy, and delicious once. Go back to that place. Go back to that time. NEVER. FORGET."
Sometimes I think our rings try to scream out to us and reconnect us.
Tonight, my ring wanted a vacation of sorts - maybe to reconnect me with my Self. With the "Robyn-Before-Brandon" to remind me that I am fully capable of being this kick-ass human, independently of the phenomenal man I call my husband.
Feeling the Feelings
Removing my ring tonight, and being zapped into my past was an incredibly confusing, semi-exciting experience. I was feeling all the feelings.
Usually, my brain does not slow enough to focus on feelings. How sad is that? I am a psychotherapist. A relationship and lifestyle coach. “The Happy Couple Expert” for God’s sake! And yet, I don’t often slow down enough to FEEL or even acknowledge my own feelings. Makes me a bit human, I suppose. Right?
“Nobody's got time for feelings - fuck ‘em!” was my first thought when typing this out. Jokingly of course. But, sort of not. More like, “Nobody MAKES time for feelings.”
Do you ever slow down enough to feel? I mean really, really feel your feelings? Yeah, me neither. It’s sort of boring. I mean, in this “if-it-doesn’t-feel-good-immediately-don’t-do-it” world we live in, when will we ever see the value in feeling stuff? And not just the good stuff.
The gross stuff. The prickly, cold, heavy, crushing stuff. I don’t want to feel that shit, and I don’t think you do either. But, without it, can we really truly feel what our bare hands feel like? Can you even recognize your hand without that ring - after you’ve worn it for months, years, decades?
When you feel into your past you can develop a new relationship with the present
There are feelings that zap us back in time and enable us to relive life. You know, the freezing midnight dips in the ocean, the beat taking your breath away in an underground club, and the hot tears soaking your top as you watch your first Brene Brown Ted Talk. Those moments.
So, rather than saying “fuck ‘em” the next time feelings happen - what if you just said “Rad, bring it. Let’s do this!” What if you just welcomed them?
Huh … who would have thought all that magic would come from taking off my wedding ring, and letting my fingers explore my bare”Single Robyn” hands? Rad.
Editors’ note: Did Robyn’s perspective help illuminate the ways you do or don't make time for feelings, to feel them? Tell us about it in the comments and please share this post with your family, friends, and community.