Hello, my loves. I have a total fucking treat for you today—I’ve invited my fantastic partner, Drew Wild, to help give a behind-the-scenes look at our relationship: how we met, how we navigate life together, and more.
The first time we did this, a bunch of you reached out saying that you loved it, so of course we’re doing it again. But this time, it’s going to be a bit less deep and a bit more fun. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Michelle: First, we need to set the tone. We need to talk about how we fucking met.
Drew: Well, we met at a sexuality retreat called ISTA. It’s a mix of sexuality, tantra, attunement, energetics, emotional release…it’s very much a multifaceted experience, but it’s founded in how we can heal aspects of ourselves through different sexual-based approaches to healing.
Michelle: It’s something you shouldn’t do until you really feel called.
Drew: Yeah. I was about four or five years deep into my journey before I even felt comfortable entering that space. I don’t believe it to be a place for anyone that’s just starting this journey of self-development. Approach with caution. Use your discernment.
Michelle: So we met at retreat, and truthfully, we literally had a long relationship in seven days. Yeah. Not far off, but we never get it a lot in a pretty short amount of time. But before that, Drew had added me on Facebook, or I added him—we’re not really sure. We didn’t even know that we were friends on Facebook, but we were.
I was part of a business container, and Drew was a guest speaker in this container. My business mentor, who was a friend of mine, was also Drew’s ex-girlfriend, and he was a guest speaker in her container.
Now, I never went to that call, and I never read the email about that, so we had been in each other’s spaces for years before we actually met, and I’m so fucking grateful that we didn’t meet back then. We would’ve fucked it up real bad.
Drew: It would’ve been fucking hot, but it would’ve been toxic as shit.
Michelle: We would’ve had the most unreal sex, but after like two months, we would’ve been completely trauma-bonded.
Drew: Yeah, it would not have lasted very long. I think it was all divinely orchestrated—I had no intention of going to ISTA initially, but a friend of mine and I were having a chat earlier in the year, and she just asked me a question that kind of floored me: “What’s the best thing you’ve done for yourself this year?”
The reason it floored me was that I didn’t have an answer for her. It’s something I would usually have a really quick and easy answer to, and I didn’t, and it kind of fucked me up. But I kept getting this really deep calling from my intuition that I just needed to sit in silence for an extended period of time.
So other than the clients that I already had in my books and the commitments that I had to them, I was basically just lying on my floor, staring at the ceiling for hours a day. All sorts of things and juicy goodness came through in those moments, but one of the biggest pieces that kept smashing me in the face was, “It’s time to go to ISTA.”
It made no sense, but that’s fine. I trust that guidance within me; it’s a really strong and powerful relationship that I’ve built over the years. So I just trusted, and I happened to know the person who organizes and facilitates all the backend work of this retreat, so I messaged her.
She came back and said it was actually all sold out. And then the very next day, she said that someone had canceled and pulled out, and asked if I wanted the space. So I just jumped, and there was this fucking queen waiting for me at the other end.
Michelle: I feel like our relationship is very full spectrum. A lot of relationships can be pretty surface level if you’re not intentional.
Drew: Oh, for sure. If you’re just coexisting with somebody, it can get pretty monotonous, and a lot of things get unspoken or unshared. You end up suffocating parts of you.
We do the opposite. We allow all parts of ourselves and each other, and we don’t take any of them personally.
Michelle: Yeah. I’d say that’s one of the biggest differences between our relationship and the relationships that I’ve had in the past. At no fault of anyone else, I’ve always felt my expression was very stifled. Even if they were holding the space for it, I just didn’t feel safe to express what I was feeling and what I needed.
Drew: I would say as well—I’m not trying to toot my own horn here—but I’d say a lot of the men you related within the past weren’t as aware or conscious of your patterns. Therefore, they played into them or took them personally rather than knowing how to hold them and be with them and love you through them.
Michelle: One hundred percent. And it was happening on both sides, too. This is why I say that I don’t know how you are having a conscious relationship if you’re not doing shadow work, because that is shadow work.
Because we’ve done it, we have the capacity to know when we’re projecting, when we’re in a trigger, when we’re in a pattern, when we’re in our ego, etcetera. The dynamic that we have is that we are very aware of our patterns, and we know how to ultimately hold each other in those when they come up. Drew, what do you believe makes our relationship so special?
Drew: It feels really easy. It feels like I’ve taken myself up a level.
Michelle: In what way?
Drew: It feels like an energetic shift. I have never lived with a partner before, so it feels like this is an upgrade, in a sense. I’m doing adult shit, and I can feel my body stepping into that. It’s almost like a deeper level of maturity, which feels really cool. I love it.
Michelle: What’s the hardest thing you think we’ve had to navigate in our relationship?
Drew: I’m really only present to what’s been happening recently, but the hardest thing recently has been navigating our sex life.
Michelle: Right. Navigating my sexual trauma. I tend to go into patterns of shutting down and freezing up, and that’s been the biggest thing for me personally, is having to navigate that. It’s fucking with my concept of self, too, because I’ve always seen myself as so sexually expressive and sexually liberated and whatever, but when you work in the sex industry for over a decade, you’re bound to have some fucking trauma.
Drew: From work that I’ve done with a lot of women in that industry, you often don’t even realize how much of that is actually abuse because it is so normalized and common there. You just take it as part of the job.
I’ve got a deep understanding and reverence for everything that you’ve been through, but it’s become about seeing how much more I can meet you in that.
Our relationship, for me especially, it’s just not founded in sex. In any way, shape or form. Of course I love being intimate with you. I love fucking making love with you. I love having sex with you. But I’m not in it if I can’t feel you. I’m happy to literally park it until you’re in a space where you feel open and receptive.
Michelle: What do you think is the best part of our relationship?
Drew: The best part of our relationship. I just love our fun and our play. I love our banter and how we do a bit of shit-talking and all that. We have a lot of fucking fun.
For the longest time, I thought spit takes were just some bullshit you see in a movie. I think I’ve done that at least seven times in this relationship with Michelle. But I just love our fun. I love our play.
If you want to hear more about the way our relationship works or you’re curious about how our relationship check-ins run, you should check out our upcoming workshop that we’re running together, which is called Relationship Revival.
It’s all about our relationship check-in and the ins and outs of that, the boundaries, how we set the container, etcetera. We’re actually going to be live-streaming our relationship check-in, which is going to be really fucking cool. It’s so vulnerable, but it’s fun, too. We dance and weave between a lot of fun and play, but also really open-hearted truths. So you’ll get to see that full spectrum of our relationship. I can’t fucking wait.
Join Relationship Revival, a 2-day workshop all about our monthly relationship check-in: https://courses.michellepanning.com/offers/9i9UX4h2/checkout
Join Line in the Sand, Drew’s trauma-informed addiction recovery platform: https://www.litsrecovery.com/
Follow Drew on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drew_wild/
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”