Create the Love, The Mark Groves Podcast: Making Life Make Sense


Tune in to hear The Mark Groves Podcast: Making Life Make Sense on all podcast listening platforms.

Connection, Clarity, and Communication

A Guide to Relationships

Interview by Hailey Bethke | Photography courtesy of Create the Love

“If you want to find love, find what breaks your heart. That’s what my friend Jon Marro once said to me,” shares Mark Groves. “It was through my inability to show up to relationships that I thoroughly wanted to understand them. I wondered, ‘Why did I run from love?’ As someone who was in sales and studied and excelled at communication, why was I so bad at communication in relationships? It wasn’t a skill set issue, so what was going on?”

Groves is a human connection specialist who has dedicated his life to discovering the intricacies of relationships. His business, Create the Love, offers online courses and content alongside podcast episodes and social media posts to teach the most foundational step in building a healthy relationship: fully loving yourself. We asked Groves for his expertise in navigating new relationships and improving existing ones to be most supportive and connected. Working on strengthening our relationships with others does not have to include heated conversations with your partner, lectures on love languages, or a religious commitment to reading self-help books. Groves shares how relationships are simple; they are not necessarily easy, but they only require a dedication to growth, personal reflection, practice reinstating your self-worth, and assessing your core values.

Create the Love, The Mark Groves Podcast: Making Life Make Sense

Human connection specialist and founder of Create the Love, Mark Groves

VIE: How does self-love directly impact relationships with others? How can we cultivate more compassion for ourselves and get in tune with what we truly want?

Mark Groves: Self-love is not a destination; it is a group of rituals and habits. It is what we choose. If someone wants to love themselves, they must love their choices. There is a desire that comes with this definition to want to be punitive with ourselves when we make bad choices. We often create a sense of moral perfectionism. But true self-love is progress, not being perfect. It’s about learning from our mistakes and deviations and applying those learnings immediately. If we know something isn’t good for us and continue that behavior, we can’t possibly love our choices. So, be gentle with yourself, but don’t pretend you don’t know what you know. Rise to your knowledge and make it wisdom through implementation.

The more you can trust your choices around the people you’re in relationships with, the more you can trust who you choose to be in a relationship with. If you’re willing to compromise yourself for others, you won’t be able to love yourself fully because you won’t know who you are—because who you are changes in relationship to others.

When you get rooted in who you are and how you are showing up and love what you’re choosing, you’ll be able to accept someone’s love when it comes into your life. Why? Because if you don’t love yourself, and someone tells you they love you, you won’t believe them. There’s a saying that we can only love another at the depths to which we love ourselves. I believe this to be true.

Create the Love, The Mark Groves Podcast: Making Life Make Sense

VIE: Why do people struggle to move on from past relationships and heartbreaks and continuously attract similar people into their lives?

MG: There’s a saying, “Relationships that don’t end peacefully don’t end at all.” We often interpret this as meaning we and the other person must come to a peaceful place with a breakup for the ending to be complete. I, personally, never place closure in the hands of another; when we do that, we’re still putting power over our lives and the heaviness we carry in someone else’s behavior and actions, which we have no control over. But we do. We are sovereign and powerful beings.

I interpret this beautiful quote to mean that if we don’t accept the ending, truly allowing ourselves to grieve the relationship and learn everything we can from the experience, the past will continue to find its way into our current relationships. Simply put, what is not explored and excavated for learning is undone. We repeat relationship patterns because we’re unwilling to look at our patterns. When we don’t get real about who we’ve been, what we choose, and the mistakes we make in relationships, we repeat them. From a spiritual and developmental perspective, this is for our evolution. Change or repeat.

VIE: How should someone determine their standards or criteria for a partner? Are high standards grounded in self-worth, or are they barriers to protect us from commitment?

MG: A great way to explore what you desire in a relationship is to look at relationships you admire. What do you admire about them? What characteristics do they have that you’d like to embody? What skill sets do they exemplify? We can look at our past experiences and ask ourselves, “What did I really love about each person I dated? What did I not love?”

In my opinion, essential things to look for are shared values, the desire for growth, the willingness to learn from one another, both parties keeping their word, and being open to feedback and willing to provide it. Many people never take the time to create a list of what they’re looking for; this causes them to settle for anything that shows up because they haven’t taken the time to create clarity. A powerful anchor to integrity is once you make the list, be it. You have no right to desire something you are not being yourself.

Standards can sometimes be walls. We can simply check in with ourselves: “Are my standards high as a way of not allowing people in?” We’ll know the answer right away, which still doesn’t mean we’ll like the answer!

Create the Love, The Mark Groves Podcast: Making Life Make Sense

VIE: What are some of the most significant relationship mistakes you have experienced firsthand or seen your clients make? What shifts can people make to set themselves up for more supportive, optimal relationships?

MG: Most people in relationships don’t tell the truth. They don’t feel free to be themselves. They avoid hard conversations. They run from true vulnerability or toward those they are not safe to be vulnerable with. I’ve done all these things!

To be freed from the patterns, look for where you’re not being completely honest. Look for how you blame others you’re in a relationship with for circumstances you agree to be in. Look for where you hold resentment because that is a deep seed of martyrdom. Commit to telling the truth in every relationship in your life. Create boundaries around your values. Learn how to use your voice. Stop choosing to participate in relationships that aren’t headed where you want to go or in which the other person is incapable of creating what you desire.

VIE: What are some relationship “red flags” and “green flags”?

MG: Here are some common red flags to be aware of (things that can indicate a relationship is not good for you):

  • They are unkind to strangers.
  • They have inconsistent communication.
  • They drop “L bombs” right away.
  • They try to rush into taking you away on a trip very early on or spend too much money on you.
  • They buy lavish gifts, especially after they mess up or let you down, rather than taking responsibility for it (to distract you with something shiny).
  • They are unkind to you.
  • They have a very hot/very cold switch.
  • They don’t ask you any questions.
  • They don’t counter-offer (reschedule) after a cancellation.
  • They never change, or they change only for a moment. Or they hold change over your head.
  • They aren’t open to feedback and growth. They get defensive when you express a boundary.
  • They make you feel like everything is your fault.
  • They belittle you or don’t celebrate your success and power.
  • They overshare on the first date or talk trash about their exes.
  • They’re overly protective of you, and you must defend innocent behavior.
  • Your body or intuition is like, “Hell no.” Or it feels like there’s something off. This one requires an abundance mindset because it asks us, “Can I trust myself and the universe to direct me toward alignment?”

There are certainly more red flags out there. Although you might not see them at first, with practice and conscious mindfulness, you will get better at spotting them. You can save time, frustration, and painful breakups by noticing these when you start dating.

“What did I really love about each person I dated? What did I not love?”

The other side of this coin is green flags. They do exist! Green means go. These are good signs of a healthy person—someone who works on themself to achieve healing and be a better partner.

Here are some common green flags in a potential partner:

  • They are kind to strangers.
  • They have a good relationship with their family.
  • They are good at communicating their thoughts and feelings.
  • They act and speak respectfully to you.
  • They ask you questions and are interested in getting to know you.
  • They counter-offer (reschedule) after a cancellation.
  • They want and seek similar things to you.
  • They’re willing to make some sacrifices to meet you halfway.
  • They take responsibility for their mistakes.
  • They celebrate your success, power, and growth. They are happy for you.
  • They want to take it slow with you and don’t pressure you to have sex.
  • They give you “me time” and respect your sacred space.
  • They don’t avoid meeting your family and friends.

There are plenty of other green flags out there, and the common themes are: the person respects you, honors you, isn’t afraid of your relationship, and is strong in who they are as an individual.

Create the Love, The Mark Groves Podcast: Making Life Make Sense

Tune in to hear The Mark Groves Podcast: Making Life Make Sense on all podcast listening platforms.

VIE: Thank you, Mark!

Groves believes we can achieve a free and healthy life by living in alignment with our values and integrity. “When one is in congruence with their values, their life is vibrant and healthy because they can trust themselves to stand for what matters to them,” he says. For Groves, this means making exercise a non-negotiable part of his daily routine, whether hiking, mountain biking, surfing, or weightlifting. He is also a frequent meditator and advocates for mindful breathwork practices and cold plunges to add an element of somatic healing.

— V —

For those looking to dive deeper into their relationship journeys, Groves recommends his courses Dating 101, Rediscover Your Wholeness, and Breakup Recovery. He will also publish a book called Liberated Love with his wife, Kylie Groves, in 2024. To connect with Groves, head to and tune into The Mark Groves Podcast on all listening platforms.

A Little More about Mark Groves

Advice you would give to your twenty-year-old self: It’s okay to be sensitive. Just make sure your sensitivity is protected by savage boundaries.

A simple joy you experience in your daily routine: The first breath when I wake up is gratitude for another day.

Favorite sweet or salty treat: Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Something you’re proud of: My capacity to love, to learn, and to stand in my integrity

The best book you’ve read recently: 10x Is Easier Than 2x by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy

One thing on your vision board for 2024: A 1972 Chevy Blazer

Share This Story!