So… Who the heck am I?

I’ll start with the light stuff… My name is Imani, and I’m a relationship and dating coach from the States.

I live a relatively unconventional life — currently in beautiful Bali, Indonesia.

I love exploring new places, dancing to a variety of music, scuba diving, watching Netflix (mostly the trailers, let’s be honest), and eating way too much food.

But enough small talk, let’s get to the heart of why we’re here…

How I became obsessed with this Love thang

I remember the first time I cried about a boy. It was 6th grade, and this kid was hilarious. We made each other laugh, both had awful fashion tastes, and even had the same favorite movie — perfect match, right? Until he liked someone else (classic).

I had difficulty understanding why he didn’t like me back, even though we (seemingly) shared more in common than he and the other girl. I was sad. But I was also intrigued…

I realized I had to learn how to do dating the RIGHT way

Maybe that was the moment I started analyzing this thing called love and paying closer attention to the ins and outs of relationships. Or perhaps it was some time along the string of connections, misunderstandings, opportunities, and disappointments that came along after (‘cause yeah, I’ve had my fair share of dating fails).

Either way, I learned quite a few lessons in my analytic approach to dating. And — in addition to using Cost-Benefit Analysis to evaluate my situationships (don’t judge me) — taking advantage of my intuition, boundaries, and strong fear of wasting time graciously helped me move on from guys who simply weren’t a good fit for me.

But sometimes, personal experience isn’t enough. In addition to learning lessons from anecdotal experience, I decided to take active steps to understand love, dating, and relationships more objectively.

First and foremost, I had to get my own shit together (thank you, therapy)! Following therapy, reading books, taking workshops, and hiring a coach myself were key to putting into practice the same self-development strategies crucial to 1) understanding oneself at a deeper level and 2) building healthy relationships with others.

Although love is an insanely strange phenomenon (and if anyone says they fully understand it, they’d be lying), I started feeling more resolved in my choices and my ability to navigate this nonsense called love.

However, I noticed that many of the women around me were not growing as confident in their own choices. And worse, many were becoming more fearful, anxious, unsettled, and insecure as their baggage of disappointments piled higher and higher.

But it wasn’t until I found real love that I understood why this “nonsense” was so impactful; it is so beautiful with the right person but so harmful in the hands of the wrong one.

And then my marriage blew my eyes (and heart) WIDE open

My husband John and I have been together for over eight years. Having dealt with youthful ignorance, college debauchery, moving multiple times (including across the world), and the multi-dimensional impact of trauma, we SURELY haven’t always gotten this relationship thing right.

We haven’t always felt as honest, transparent, self-advocating, emotionally stable, and vibrantly empowered in our relationship as we are now. And, like all couples – and all humans – we’re not perfect. 

But we have learned so much about ourselves and each other. And self-advocacy (and learning from the lack of it at times) has played a significant role in this growth.

By understanding how to be honest about our needs, we have continuously sparked more meaningful conversations, reshaped incongruent habits, revealed our deepest desires, and rethought outdated beliefs about love. 

You deserve a Love Life that lights you up

This is the type of love I’m passionate about. And this is why I want women to honor what they truly want, not what they feel complacent about, stuck in, annoyed by, or even “just fine” with.

I firmly believe that those who want genuine love aren’t obsessive, sensitive, overly optimistic, childish, high-maintenance, unrealistic, picky, or anything else you might have been called (or have called yourself).

Those who want genuine love deserve the best and nothing less.

But the lessons from my love life are only part of why I do this work…

(Trigger warning: Child abuse)

I know what it’s like to not have a choice.

As a survivor of child sexual abuse and the traumatic impact it had on my psyche, my body, and my relationships for over two decades, I not only know how it feels to be robbed of a choice in a single scenario, but also what it’s like to feel completely out of control countless times thereafter.

When the ability to choose my very first sexual experience was stolen from me, I didn’t know what boundaries were.

I didn’t know how to say no, to say yes, or to ask for what I wanted.

I didn’t know what to want.

I didn’t even know I could want anything related to what was occurring.

So as an adult, I’ve looked closely at the number of opportunities I have to ask for what I want and what I don’t want — to advocate for myself. And I strive each day to not take those opportunities for granted.

cannot take them for granted.

Which is why I started Same New Love

Now, after years of healing and growing, I’ve gone beyond myself and my own journey.

I’ve looked around and realized that none of us should be taking all of these opportunities for self-advocacy for granted.

But many of us do take self-advocacy for granted.

Especially in the relationship and dating space.

And why is that?

Well, there are certainly aspects of these feelings and thoughts that are rooted in trauma. I’m not ignorant to the fact that many people reading this page can relate to my early story. And if you’re one of them, I’m deeply sorry.

But alternatively, many aspects of these feelings and thoughts may be the result of bad exes, unfavorable social influence, lack of self-confidence, the misfortunes of modern dating, or else. Ultimately:

  • It’s hard to advocate for yourself when you’re comparing what’s in front of you to the mistakes of your past as opposed to the desires of your future.
  • It’s hard to advocate for yourself when you don’t know what you want, or you have an idea of what you want but don’t feel that you deserve it.
  • It’s hard to advocate for yourself in the increasingly shallow, fast-paced, transient, comparison-driven dating culture.

So as a result…

  • We get scared about rejection.
  • We get anxious about coming off too strong or going too fast.
  • We get worried about what others will think about us.
  • We get nervous about upsetting someone we care about.
  • We get critical about what we really deserve.
  • We get confused about what we actually want.
  • We get blurry about who we actually are.

And overtime, our to ability to self-advocate continues to deteriorate.

If this resonates with you — YOU DESERVE MORE.

You deserve to understand what you want and to ask for it proudly.

You deserve to feel CONFIDENT and clear in your wants and needs.

You deserve to have someone listen to you speak and not feel threatened by YOUR TRUTH.

You deserve to have a say…

  • when you need more from someone to move forward
  • when you’d like something to change in order to stay
  • when you feel hurt, confused, insecure, or misunderstood
  • when you feel excited, giddy, hopeful, and passionate
  • on whether you’re ready to move on from the past or need more closure
  • on whether to start dating again or take more time for yourself
  • on whether to carry on or let someone go

You deserve to have a say.

And you deserve to have clear, thoughtful, and informed choices every step of your love life.

If you need help reviewing your genuine desires and wishes, resetting your boundaries and needs, and requesting your truth, I’d be honored to speak with you.

Because we can’t take our choices for granted.

Now for a Quick Love Story

A short summary, as told by Johnbecause why not 😛

We were both part of the same social group at Duke.  Imani caught my attention with her energy and enthusiasm.  I was captivated by her positive impact on other people.  People would light up when she would enter the room.  I first told Imani I was interested in her in the fall of our junior year. We were cuddling on my futon and I asked her if she felt any romantic feelings and she said… “No”.  Ouch…I respected her decision and we went our separate ways, although we continued to be friends.  Fast forward to the spring semester and despite seeing other people, I was still attracted to Imani.  We had gotten to know each other a lot better and, seemingly out of nowhere, she expressed interest for me as well (I would like to think she found my rugged good looks irresistible, but I think I’m the only one that believes that).  

We continued to date the rest of our time at Duke, somehow managing to find time for each other amidst a haze of academics and crazy college life.  We moved to Washington D.C. in 2016 and spent three years navigating corporate life (Imani) and the school system (John).  Eventually, we realized that we wanted even more out of life (typical millennials, huh?). Through many hours of conversation, we eventually decided to save money and quit our jobs, travel, and find more unique ways to help other people – ones that aligns with our passions, beliefs, and goals. 

Questions? Comments? Offers? Ideas? Love Notes?

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