Episode 7: Staying connected no matter what: Life with your partner after the break-up

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In this episode we talk to Sam Gedal and Yia Vang about their relationship and what it’s like to stay connected through love, jealousy, anger and hurt, even after breaking up. After an initial honeymoon period in the relationship of about four months, the fighting began between Sam and Yia. A pattern emerged: Yia felt that Sam wasn’t listening to her. Sam felt that Yia wasn’t being vulnerable enough. After nine months, they chose to break up. But living side by side in community, they continued to see and hear everything about each other. They talk about what it was like to live with each other in such intimate and intense circumstances. You’ll hear how it changed them and their relationship.


Staying connected no matter what: Life with your partner after the break-up

Announcer: This program is intended for mature audiences only.


Bob G.: Hello and welcome to “A taste of sex”, a reality audio show on life in an orgasm based community at One taste urban retreat center in San Francisco. I’m your host Bob G..


We stay connected, no matter what. It’s the guideline by which we explore sensuality and relationship at ‘One taste’. The idea is that no matter what happens, no matter how intense it gets, no matter what feelings arise, we will stay connected.

So what happens, say if you break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend? What’s it like to stay connected through all of the resulting hurt, jealousy, anger and love? On this episode we’ll hear from Sam Gedal and Yia Vang on what it’s like to stay connected first as a couple and then not while living together in community. Tune in and turn on.


The first half of Sam Gedal and Yia Vang’s year and a half relationship was challenging enough. They went through all the things that couples usually go through, like the feelings that come up when you hear that someone loves you for the first time or knowing that your partner is also interested in someone else. Then they broke up. Living in an open loft space with more than 40 other people Sam and Yia were forced to confront feelings of jealousy, anger, betrayal and love on a daily basis. Stay tuned as we explore what it was like for Sam and Yia to stay connected through their relationship and how the experience shifted their ideas about love. J narrates:

J : So why don’t you just start initially, just tell me about you and Sam, who are you, you and Sam? What’s your relationship like?

Yia Vang: Should I start with the beginning?

J : Start with the beginning, yes. Start with how you met Sam and how ... Just tell me the history.

Yia Vang: Okay, I met Sam when I came here about a year and a half ago. I remember him at the first [In group??]. I wasn’t particularly interested in him at that time honestly. I was actually interested in someone else but Sam, you know, he came around and he’d talk to me and he was very personable.

Sam Gedal: I just found myself really attracted to her.

Yia Vang: I remember being invited over to hang out with the One taste crew and I came back to their place and hung out with them and watched movies with them and Sam and I got together that night and then we just ended up making out and had a really hot make-out. And then that weekend I ended up spending that weekend with them.

J : One night they’re hanging out at One Taste when people start talking about ‘Burning Man’, an annual summer gathering where 25 thousand people converge in the desert for a week to hang out, connect, party and explore.

Sam Gedal: I said, “Hey, do you wanna go together?”. Which was really, kind of, an unusual thing to say because we knew each other a couple of weeks, a month maybe not even, and to go to ‘Burning Man’ together is pretty intense.

J : They went to ‘Burning man’. They are at a tent with a group of people playing ‘hot seats’, the game [xx] from One Taste that has the flavor of ‘Truth or Dare’. The idea is to ask probing questions so that the person on the hot seat discovers something they didn’t know about themselves. Sam was on the ‘hot seat’.

Yia Vang: And one of the girls asked him if he loved me and he just said yes. He said yes, he said yes, yeah he was in love with me and this is the first time that anyone had ever told me that they loved me. Before that I was like love, whatever, love that’s not for me. And so, well he said that and I felt that from him though I was just like, ‘Wo, this guy just cannot be serious’, you know, and it just threw me off a little bit. I was kind of mystified by the whole thing.

That night when I went out, I was just thinking, “Oh my God, okay, this guy loves me. Like what does that mean, like what does love mean? Do I like him? Do I love him and how do I feel about him. So I was questioning all my feelings for him and why would he love me and when I came down to it … here’s pretty much the first person that I … first guy that I know that’s willing to stay in it long enough to connect with me, that wasn’t going to run, you know, as soon as I showed an unpleasant part of myself. So I came into the tent and then I told him I loved him too and the rest of the ‘Burning Man’ experience was just wonderful.

And so we came back. The reality of it started hitting. I was like, ‘Okay, I love this guy and at that time he was also seeing someone else in the community. He had another love interest, you know, with this other woman and she was very much into him too. And so, I was like how are we gonna do this. I’ve never been in a open relationship before. It’s my first relationship. I didn’t know what to do, how to treat it and so I remember one evening we were talking and I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t know how to do this”.

Sam Gedal: We were having dinner and she was just talking about how difficult this was for her and I just looked at her and said, “Would you move in with me?”

Yia Vang: I’m sitting there looking at him and we’re at this restaurant and I was just thinking, “Wow, I’ve only known him for two months really. We’ve had a ‘Burning Man’ experience together but he’s the first person that I’m actually in a relationship with”. I didn’t know but I’m also a pretty adventurous person and I also like to dive into things and so I told him yes.

J : Yia moved in with Sam and the One Taste community – then about 20 people.

Yia Vang: In any relationship the first 3-4 months are definitely, like, honeymoon – all blissful and you do get to share this really wonderful love experience with each other and also gradually things started to shift a little bit.

I remember our first fight actually. It was after our course. We had a course over the weekend and I was in the course and he wasn’t and at the end of the course I was like really high and really connected to everyone and he didn’t feel as connected to people.

So we were going back home and we had somebody else in the car with us and the thing that I remember asking the other person in the car if he ever wanted to do something with me the following day and I remember that night I was also going to have a sleepover with one of the women in the community. And so … and there was something in it where, like I think, basically he got jealous and he wasn’t … and he didn’t own it. And so then we were just sitting in the car the rest of the way in this really intense vibration.

I wanted to take my bath and go off and have my sleepover but then he didn’t want that. “You don’t understand, you’re not listening to me”. You know, like, “why are you doing this?”. And I’m telling him that I wanna go and I just wanna take a bath and I just wanna like connect and leave and not fight. And so we’re arguing and we’re arguing and it’s not getting anywhere and then I started crying and then we just started yelling at each other and it was so unpleasant. I remember just feeling it. It was so unpleasant. Granted I was coming down really hard – that’s what it felt like. It just felt like this huge lead that’s dropped down the bottom of the ocean or something.

Bob G.: You’re listening to “A taste of sex”, a reality audio show on life in an orgasm based community. We’ll be back after a short break.

[Music and commercial break]

Bob G.: You’re listening to “A taste of sex”. On the second half of this show we’ll hear from Sam Gedal and Yia Vang about what it was like to stay intimately connected even after their romantic relationship ended.

Yia Vang: After that first major fight, it started showing up more and more. You know, like, every weekend or so after a course we’d start getting into a fight and even now I don’t remember what most of the topics were about. You know, they were basically … really I don’t know what they were about. A lot of it, the pattern of it has to do with, “You’re not listening to me”. You know, like, me not feeling like he’s not listening to me and then him feeling like I’m not being vulnerable enough. That was always his thing, is that I’m not being vulnerable enough. And I’m telling him, “I am being vulnerable, you’re just not listening to me”. And he just won’t have it.

Our relationship just progressively went down more and more. The fights started showing up more and then I was also feeling disconnected from the rest of the community. I mean, basically, Sam was my person in, you know. I think it got down to nine months. The ninth month of our relationship that we decided that we’re gonna go our separate ways.

Sam Gedal: We needed to grow with other people. We needed to take those areas that we only shared with ourselves that was easy for us to go back to each other when we were having a difficult moment or a tight moment and ask other people to come in. You know, it’s like friends who decide to go separate paths, maybe they each travel for a few at a time and you come back with all these rich experiences.

Yia Vang: And the thing with ending a relationship though is that, like we never used the term ‘break-up’, you know. We never said that we’re ‘breaking-up’. I’ve tried to use that term – ‘we’re breaking up’ and he was like “Break-up - what does that mean anyway? We live in community. There is no such thing as ‘break-up’.

J : Sam was right. Living in community meant it was hard to disconnect. Sam and Yia saw each other every day, even slept in beds that were right next to each other for a time. It was hard to ignore the other persons’ ups and downs, their flirtations or when they had sex with someone else.

Sam Gedal: It was in a bed right next door to her and she was making out and it was really really hard. There were times when I knew she was going to be having a sleepover, she was going to be with someone else and I just couldn’t bear. I was in such a lonely place for myself that I went and slept somewhere else because I didn’t wanna feel it and both times I didn’t think I would get through the night. I was like, “oh God, this is gonna be too much for me”.

It made me realize that we are two .. we’re individuals and I want her to have every experience that she wants to have and not put it to the test every moment. Can I love her and support her here? Can I love her and support her here? Can I have her every way she wants? Am I gonna get selfish and become a baby right here and then if I’m hurt and I’m upset and feeling that too.

Yia Vang: Yeah, jealousy comes up and then … it’s like when I see him flirting with other people or seeing him kissing another woman, I don’t wanna look at it. It’s like I don’t wanna feel it so I look away. And if I look away, then I don’t have to feel it. I’ll start judging him, I’ll start calling him names, then I don’t have to feel it because then I’m making him wrong. I’m making his desire wrong and then I won’t have to feel the jealousy. I won’t have to feel the burn in myself. You know that’s what I do sometimes. Which interestingly enough, when I do that though – what I’m starting to notice now, is that when I do that I regret it afterwards. When I actually don’t sit in it, when I don’t sit and feel the jealousy and feel that burn and I turn away from it a little bit later I’m like, “Shoo, I should have just stayed there”.

J : Why not just be with him?

Yia Vang: That’s a good question. I mean, I definitely still love him, you know, I still love him a lot and we’re not with each other anymore right now. We’re with separate research partners and I ask myself all the time why not just continue the relationship, why not be research partners again. I wanna start taking responsibility for my desires and going for what I want and doing what I wanna do without making him wrong. I see this pattern, oh and the fighting – the reason why I don’t wanna be in this - because of the fighting.

Sam Gedal: We’re slowly maturing ourselves, we’re reeling ourselves off of it but I feel like underneath that there’s the fear that we’ll lose our relationship if we don’t have that and I think that’s why we still fight from time to time because we’re scared that we’ll lose each other.

Yia Vang: I mean there are some days when we’re both very connected and it feels very good and there are other days when we’re disconnected. I know, I know exactly those moments when we disconnect. Either I turn away and disconnect from him or he turns away and disconnects from me. And I can feel it in my body. It’s kind of like when we walk past each other and we don’t look at each other and we look away, not acknowledging the other person and it’s just feeling that intensity of that disconnect – it’s like what if the other person doesn’t care, what if the other person hates me right now. You know, not having to still stay with that sensation and then there are other times when things are really good, when we are both really connected and it feels like I know exactly where he’s at. It’s like I can feel him in my body. It’s like earlier when I was in the bathroom and someone walked into the … somebody walked in from outside. As soon as I heard that door close, I can feel it in my body and I knew it was him right away. And I was just like, “Oh, that’s Sam”. And so then this person comes and walks down the steps and past the bathroom and there he is. It’s him.

Sam Gedal: We clearly could have disconnected at any moment and really just been casual friends but we haven’t and I think, there’s just this love that penetrates everything that we have for each other. It’s just really sincere love, and respect and admiration that we have for each other and if somebody wants to really get to know someone else and get to know themselves, then go for it.

J : After we’d done these interviews, I spoke to Sam, asking him one more time about his relationship with Yia. It’s about friendship, he said. It’s about getting to the place where you know that you love someone, no matter what.

Bob G.: You’ve been listening to “A taste of sex”. Find us on the web at personallifemedia.com and find out more about One taste urban retreat center at onetastesf.com. This episode was produced and narrated by J . Music was composed and performed by Aharon Bolsta. I’m your host Bob G.. Tune in and turn on.


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