Recovery 5 minutes to read

Recently, while at a conference, a woman came to our resource table to see what we’re all about. After a few minutes of giving her the rundown of Pure Desire—who we are and how we help—she opened up.

A bit teary, she shared how she was going through her second divorce and really struggling. At one point she said, “I just want to figure out why this happened again. Why do I keep choosing the wrong guy?”

Why do we struggle with relationships—not just with men, but with everyone?

Why does it feel like we give and give in relationships only to be left feeling disappointed and alone?

How do we engage in healthy relationships when we’re so tainted by negative sexual experiences and mistakes from our past?

Not to worry, there is hope.

I’m so excited to announce the release of Pure Desire’s new women’s resource—Unraveled: Managing Love, Sex, and Relationships.

Many of us who struggle in relationships often fail to understand the “why” driving our behaviors. We desperately want connection but end up leaving a trail of relational devastation in our wake. We can’t seem to figure out why this continues to happen over and over. One thing is certain: we cannot do this on our own.

Intended for group use, one of the primary goals of Unraveled is to create community—a safe place where women can find healing regardless of their past behaviors, current circumstances, and season of life. A healing community that is a place of grace.

While the foundation and focus are for women who struggle with love, sex, and relationship issues, this resource promotes healing in many areas.

How often do you think…

  • I’m unable to find and/or keep a lasting relationship.
  • I struggle with sex or love addiction.
  • I engage in unwanted sexual behaviors—pornography use, masturbation, hookups, affairs, same-sex attraction.
  • I often feel disappointed when looking for love and connection.
  • I have little to no self-awareness.
  • I’m preoccupied with fantasy, to the point where it interferes with work, family, and commitments.
  • I want to understand why I self-sabotage in relationships.
  • I’m unable to maintain many forms of personal relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.
  • I stuff down my feelings and don’t let myself feel emotion.
  • I compromise moral and personal boundaries to feel loved and accepted.
  • I’m afraid to voice my opinion or speak out, fearing the loss of relationship.
  • My unprocessed trauma is creating problems in current relationships.
  • I feel so much shame about secrets and have nowhere else to turn.
  • I pretend to have it all together on the outside but feel broken inside.

You are not alone.

While this list may seem extensive, we want ALL women to feel welcome in an Unraveled group. Recognizing we are not alone in this struggle is a great place to be.

We all want relationship. God designed us for relationship. The challenge comes with recognizing the dynamics of an unhealthy relationship and then learning how to create healthy relationships.

Unraveled includes our foundational Pure Desire tools—the FASTER Scale, Arousal Template, and Three Circles exercise, to name a few—as well as several new tools.

Realizing how our thoughts and feelings drive our behaviors is huge when it comes to healing. When we learn to make sense of our thought life and how to value our feelings, we are better equipped to express our needs in a healthy way. We no longer have to hide from our feelings but learn to use them to create relationship.  

As we become more aware of how our unhealthy behaviors keep us stuck in isolation—repeating destructive patterns over and over and refueling our shame-tank—we begin to recognize where change is needed. We will learn how our unhealthy thoughts create shame, but when we unpack our pain and trauma, and own our past behaviors, it diminishes shame. This allows us to step forward on the path toward healing—one step at a time, one day at a time.     

Together, as we establish relationships with the women in our group, we will uncover why we do what we do: how all our past experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly—contribute to the choices we make. Sometimes, our past experiences interfere with our ability to recognize and live out God’s plan for us. We will not only learn how our sexuality and identity are God’s design, but how to walk this out in our daily lives.

Some of our current struggles and compulsive behaviors come from past experiences. Someone we expected to support us—to be responsible for us—failed. We have been disappointed and disillusioned by others. We survived, but not without scars. Our scars, while we hide them well, hinder our relationships, affecting the way we have learned to relate, trust, and love others.

Unraveled, Chapter 4

We will explore how our family of origin and toxic relationships can make us vulnerable, unable to discern what a healthy relationship looks like. We will wrestle with loss—heartbreak, betrayal, divorce, abortion—and emerge with a new perspective on grief, anger, and forgiveness: forgiving ourselves and others.

Relevant to our current culture, we will step into issues of same-sex attraction, the impact of social media on our overall sexual health, and healthy sexuality for single women. We will address issues of single parent and blended family living, as well as helping our kids develop a mindset for healthy sexuality.

Through the use of personal stories, weekly exercises, strategic tools, and self-care lessons, we will learn how to live in health—how to unravel the messiness of relationships. We will discover how lifelong healing comes from a greater understanding of who God is and who He created us to be.

Our brain is changed through experience with God. In the times we see God working in our lives, experience His closeness, and hear His voice through His Word and personal promises to us, it changes us. It is this life-changing experience that leads to lifelong healing.

Unraveled, Chapter 3

God has a plan for our lives: to bring us to a place of health and wholeness—but for this to happen, we need to jump in with reckless abandon, hold nothing back, and commit to the process.

I hope you are as excited as we are to see how God is going to use Unraveled to bring healing and restoration to the lives of women around the world.

Preorder Unraveled today!

The views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are those of the author alone and do not reflect an official position of Pure Desire Ministries, except where expressly stated.

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Heather Kolb

Heather is the Content Manager and neuroscience professional for Pure Desire. She has a Bachelor’s in Psychology, a Master’s in Criminal Behavior, and is a certified Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional (PSAP) through the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP). Heather has been trained in the Multidimensional Partner Trauma Model (MPTM) through The Association of Partners of Sex Addicts Trauma Specialists (APSATS). She worked several years as a college professor prior to joining Pure Desire. She is an integral part of our speaking team and co-authored Digital Natives: Raising an Online Generation and Unraveled: Managing Love, Sex, and Relationships.

1 Comment

  1. Tyler Collins

    As I read through a majority of this post, specifically the “How often do you think…” portion, I was met with a challenge: I’m a man and I think most of those thoughts often. I have been divorced for a year now and I see a counselor once every other week. In our counseling we have identified a strong love addiction as well as a sexual addiction, so now that I’m aware, what now? What resources can I find here that even though they may be for women they are still applicable for me?

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