Nate Christensen, APCC, joins Tony to discuss attachment styles and how they relate to addiction, and how attachment shows up in marriage. Out of the various attachment styles, what does it look like when an anxious attachment style meets up with an avoidant attachment style in relationships where trust has been broken? If you are interested in working with Nate you can contact him through the contact form on Tony's website http://tonyoverbay.com. Tony and Nate are also facilitating Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back, find out more at http://pathbackrecovery.com

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

---------- TRANSCRIPT ----------

[00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 270 of The Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay, and today, prepare to go to school. You're going to learn a lot today, and I have no doubt about that. And my associate, my friend, my colleague, Nate Christianson, back on live because a few weeks ago I reran an episode that Nate did on giving his Ten Commandments of dealing with depression. And that went absolutely fantastic. But in this episode, Nate was back in the studio and as I shared in that best of Nate is my new associate and associates. All were formerly known as interns. And he and I talk very briefly about that in the beginning. But an intern or an associate in a therapy and counseling world is basically somebody who has received their master's degree in counseling. They've been seeing clients as part of their practicum or is their coursework. And now they're able to work out in the private practice setting or in a clinic or a nonprofit. But they have a clinical supervisor that they can turn to to discuss clients and cases and get advice or support those kinds of things. So I am Nate's clinical supervisor. So if you're looking for help and you like the cut of Nate's jib, it just just for fun. I love a good turn of phrase. And I use that one from time to time. The cut of one's jib fun fact that is a nautical reference. In the 17th century, the shape of the jib sail was often what I identified a boat's nationality. So hence whether it was hostile or friendly. If you saw the Jolly Roger or the skull and crossbones coming at you in the middle of the ocean, well, most likely you'd report to the captain that, in fact, you did not like the cut of that ship's jib.

[00:01:26] But anyway, that term was being used figuratively by and I think it was like the 1400's to express a like or a dislike for somebody. But I like the coordinates, a jib. So if you like what Nate is offering, you can contact him through the contact form on my website, Tony Overbay Dotcom to see about working with him. And we do reference my online pornography recovery course, the path back a couple of times in this episode. So if you are interested in more, you can head over to Pathbackrecovery.com to learn more about that. And before you hear the music come in, if you're struggling to find a counselor or therapist in your area, but you're ready to get help processing or dealing with challenges in your life, then please do go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch for 10 percent off your first month services of online counseling. Betterhelp.com intake process is really easy and they will have you speaking with or emailing with or texting with or zooming with a therapist who can help you with a variety of challenges from anxiety and depression, those sort of things that you might be struggling with. And if you don't feel like you're connecting with your therapist, Betterhelp.com makes the process of switching a therapist very simple. So you owe it to yourself to at the very least, give counseling a try. And if doing it online is the way to make it happen for you, then by all means go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch today. So let's get to this episode on talking about attachments and and addictions, betrayal, trauma, all of those things with Nate Kristiansen.

[00:03:03] So, Nate, we're back.

[00:03:07] Yes, how are you doing?

[00:03:08] I'm doing great. I'm seriously giddy and excited. We are sitting beside each other and we are recording a podcast again. I ran the one of the best of episodes on the Ten Commandments of Depression. Right. And you get people that are saying they heard you on the virtual couch and you better say yes right now.

[00:03:24] I think just people that I'm related to. OK.

[00:03:26] All right. In there, they say, man, you don't need that Tony guy. You need to venture out on your own. That guy's a boat anchor. They say they know they love you. But I was really excited. And you are now officially your title is

[00:03:38] Associate Professional Clinical Counselor, which sounds

[00:03:41] Really cool.

[00:03:43] It's probably sounds cooler than

[00:03:46] Nate is working. And I don't know why I was telling Nate before. Why do I feel like I don't want to date is working for me? I don't like any of that. But the way the process works is when you are an associate professional clinical counselor, you must have a clinical supervisor. Yes. And that happens to be me. That's correct. Yeah. So Nate is in an office right beside mine, which I'm just giddy about, and I get to work with Nate. We get to see each other on a daily basis. And then the theory is that what every ten clients you see in a week, I get to talk with you for an hour. Right now it is well.

[00:04:19] So we'll have the we have our normal supervision and then you have additional hours based on how many clients I see. So the more clients I get, the more we get to see each other.

[00:04:29] So I'm very excited, which now it sounds like I'm telling to this shameless plug. Natus is open for business. Yes. So if you're in our area, are actually doing telehealth or that sort of thing, please reach out through Tony Overbay dot com. The contact is funny. I didn't even say or contact me directly, but it sounds like I would like all the control and I will filter through what gets the name, but I'm not really saying that. So I don't know if you do have contact information right now or just get me through my website or anything.

[00:04:52] So I did set up the email. It's just a Gmail. Nate Kristiansen counseling at Gmail dot com.

[00:04:58] Are there like five hundred ways to spell Kristiansen?

[00:05:00] Surely there are soldiers. So what's your RISC?

[00:05:04] And this seems like a pretty standard one

[00:05:08] Could be sure people still do so many different ways that I'm not even sure

[00:05:12] It's so neat. And I wanted to get together again and I want to get to the content, but I feel like I could go on and on. But Nate has joined me on my pathbackrecovery.com calls, the weekly group calls, and I love that group call. And so you've been on there for a couple of weeks now. And so because Nate has some background experience we're going to talk about today on the podcast, and then he's also there because there was a time to go to my son's basketball game. Nate took over, which is really nice. And and Nate's interested in working with the population of men who are women that are struggling with addictions, compulsive sexual behavior, impulse control disorder, that sort of thing. So it's been really nice to have not only Nate here, but also with a lot of the skills that you bring to the table. So we want to talk about

[00:05:54] That today, right? Yes. What are we talking about? Well, I guess a quick intro. So I'm this is like a second career for me. Probably third, actually, but I'm in my early forties, so this isn't where I started in life. But it's kind of where I've ended up. I've struggled with, like my own mental health issues for a long time. So I was really interested in mental health. It's kind of that stereotype that every therapist has their own problems are working out, and that's why they're in the field.

[00:06:18] Do it's funny, I would hear that. And I was like, not me. I just I just feel a love of this draw. I think it was two, three years. And I'm like, oh, that was exactly one hundred percent. Yeah.

[00:06:28] Eventually you'll find some skills in the closet, you know,

[00:06:32] Where there were quite a few.

[00:06:34] Yeah. So anyway, I recently completed my coursework at Northwestern University and thank you, Tony, for accepting me as an associate. I'm super excited to learn under somebody that really knows the ins and outs of the areas that I'm hoping to work with people in.

[00:06:50] And if you've heard Nate on previous episodes, Nate, now we've had a nice friendship, a good relationship, and we would win. I would I would talk to Nate. I mean, we get right into the the thick of the psychological theories and those sort of things. And that's why when you were in college or in getting your graduate degree where I had you on a couple of those podcast episodes, and I feel like you are very comfortable with this. And so when you talk about it being a second or third career, does this feel different already?

[00:07:17] Yeah, it does, because any career job that you do, you come in usually with kind of a low knowledge base. And so you're learning as you go. And in grad school, you do a lot of work with people in a clinical setting before you graduate, but then you have the personal experience layer. And so I have issues. I was diagnosed in my early 20s with anxiety disorder, also with depressive disorder. I think the most accurate term now in the DSM is major depressive disorder, and that's something that's been on and off. The anxiety feels like it's always there. So it's more of a management thing. And then actually, just a few years ago, I went down the road to the Aymond Clinic down in the. Bay Area, and because they're still having some questions, what's going on, and so they had me take a bunch of assessments and did a brain scan and congratulations, you have ADHD. Welcome to the club. Yes, thank you. Very excited to be in.

[00:08:13] And it's funny I forget that you have been to the Aymond Clinic because I talk about that constantly. I mean, that brain scan technology is fascinating to me. And I love the fact that you came away from that with the brand new and exciting diagnosis, because it was what led me down my own path was working with a client that got a brain scan and he showed the scan. And this Dr. Amena there had circled an area of the brain and said, basically, there's your ADHD. And I thought, that is fascinating. And then I thought about eight other things at the same time.

[00:08:42] Yeah, yeah. So that's my. Well, and I guess the other issue that we will talk more about is I've struggle with addiction. And so thankfully things are really come together for me in the last couple of years have been able to really move past these addictions and experience sobriety for the first time in 20 plus years. And my mental health is is finally in a really solid place. And and so that's why I'm excited to be here and do this. It's definitely something that I'm I know you're passionate about. I feel really passionate about.

[00:09:15] And I feel like that's the thing where I was going there, too, of does this feel different now? And it's one of those I didn't realize what I didn't realize in my previous career in computer software that it felt more like I'm checking a box and I'm just doing a thing. And now this is where, man, I love it and I can't wait to work with clients and come to work. And if you are struggling with any of the things that needs talking about and are thinking about seeing a therapist, I really would love for you to keep your eyes and ears open or mind open, as you hear, because I feel like one of the things that we talk about often is you need to have a good fit with your therapist. And and I find that a lot of people that will resonate with something, maybe for the first time they're hearing it on a podcast. And I really want people that are listening to take that as a cue to reach out and maybe get some help. And if it's Nate or whoever it is, yeah, let's deep dove into where we go in today.

[00:10:06] Yeah. So I brought in some material which was actually my capstone project and my capstone project was on attachment theory and how attachment theory intersects with the idea of addiction. And I was particularly looking at compulsive sexual behavior. I don't know how much you've talked to on your podcast. Within the clinical world, there's a lot of debate going on about whether or not sexual behavior should be classified as an addiction, as OK.

[00:10:33] Yes. And it's funny when you go first, because I do a little bit with this and it's interesting and we continue to make it about myself. But when I even started the virtual couch, it was the talk about my path back pornography recovery program. And but then I realized quickly I didn't want to be pigeonholed into just talking about it. But I've swung so far to the other side that I don't talk about it enough. So, yeah, so talk about that. Is it an addiction

[00:10:55] Or so I don't know, getting into my own past and my own issues. I've had multiple like truly what are considered addictions and conquering those were a big challenge. But I can tell you, looking specifically at pornography that felt every bit the addiction that any of the other addictions do. And I understand that from a clinical setting, especially for sex therapists, they want to keep that window open. A lot of what I read when I was putting together my paper was they weren't ready to say it was an addiction. And it almost sounds like when you read differing opinions that different people in that same field could feel very different about it, depending on who you talk to.

[00:11:39] Yeah, and I totally agree. And I have. So where I've gone with this is and I've even been very clear about now calling my pet back program a pornography recovery program instead of a pornography addiction program. But I want to meet my client wherever they're at. So some people feel like that label of addiction is really heavy and it's shaming and which can even make things worse. But I also found people that they say, no, I need to know that this is a thing in order for me to feel like I can get help for it. But lately I've been talking a lot about the concept of impulse and compulsion. And just simply, when you look at compulsive sexual behavior or impulse control disorder, that in a nutshell, a compulsion is premeditated and then an impulse is not. And so I'll talk often about you can especially with things like turn into pornography as a coping mechanism that people can get the compulsion maybe under control, so to speak, and then they can still find themselves the acronym Hault, hungry, angry, lonely, tired and maybe fall prey to an impulse and then act out, relapse, have a set back and then beat themselves up. And sometimes I feel like the brain's just waiting for that so it can jump back on and say, OK, can we start doing this again, can we get the dopamine fix and that sort of thing. But what I love is that your paper and you though, really dig deeper and look at the attachment piece to that. Yes. OK, so that's why I'm excited to talk about that, because, again, the. Recovery programs or or those sort of things are wonderful, but I really do believe that if you want to if you want to get to the core of this, this is very good. A really good counselor therapist is going to be worth their weight in gold because it's it's not just about when I feel triggered. I do some push ups or I sing a song or that sort of thing. We've got to figure out what are some of those unmet needs.

[00:13:17] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I totally agree with that. And that's I think one of the pieces I really like about the path back is it gives you like a clear direction of things that you can not only explore within yourself the self awareness piece, but also the tasks that you can do in order to. They're obviously based on values and things like that to get you towards going towards the direction that you really want to be in. I'm going to commit the cardinal sin right now and quote something that I can't that I don't know who said it. I found it when I was writing my paper and I lost it and I couldn't find it again. But I know what they said. It was in a research paper and it was beautiful. And they said and because of what I was doing at that point, as I was researching how attachment relates to addiction generally, not necessarily just compulsive sexual behavior, but just addiction generally. And what this researcher said was people don't have an addiction problem. They have an attachment problem. And I thought, holy cow, OK, there's so much here. What am I going? I was just getting into that rabbit hole. So I don't know if you have any thoughts about that, if you would, in your.

[00:14:20] Oh, OK. So that is awesome. I wanted to quickly I wanted to say I said that. Oh. But I've been through I mean I really do that but but I feel like that so and this is not supposed to be an ad for the path back I promise. But I can make it an app for my book. And I feel like this is the part where I really feel like when I started working in this area that it was more about the behavioral mechanisms to overcome turning to pornography. So it was. So when you have a thought, you just need to do this or you just need to do this. And I was trained a little bit in that and then I felt that is just not holding water. And so I what I call these five voids that when people feel like they aren't connected in their parenting or their marriage or their faith or their health or their career, that then they turn to a coping mechanism. So like pornography. So then I feel like then when you start looking at how to become a better parent or a better in your relationship or your career, then all of a sudden at the core of those is attachment, which is right of how do I show up to get my needs met? And then we get some nice abandonment side issues there. And I love everything about what you're talking about, but back to you.

[00:15:29] Yeah, I know. So attachment is super fascinating. There's a few different ways to view attachment. I divide divided. It is simply as possible. There are different terms that people use. So when I broke attachment up, I had secure attachment, which is the positive attachment that we want everyone to experience. So you hopefully had a good childhood with parents that were attentive, that help you help meet your needs, that maybe denied you some things that you shouldn't need, because also a part of attachment is understanding boundaries and differentiation, which is the idea that this is where I start and and where you begin. So we're not overlapping too much. Then we get into the other parts of attachment, which this is where problems start to come up. One is defined, are known as anxious attachment, one is known as avoiding attachment, and the other is sometimes called avoidant, anxious, anxious, avoidant or mixed attachment as some combination of the the two. And what we tend to see is people with each of these attachment styles often have similar experiences at some point in their life and often when they're young. So the program that Northwestern I went through was psychodynamic. And what that means is we're highly focused on what happens in early childhood experiences. I know you're really big to act and I love act.

[00:16:46] But what's funny, though, you say this is it is funny because I remember. Yeah. And I do love act and bring yourself back to present and those sort of things and turn to values. But those are all determined by your childhood experience. Right. And I remember I was going to come out and be the therapist that was going to just deal with the present until you literally start working with clients. And then it's OK. We got to go back to the past.

[00:17:05] Yeah. And to me, act is like the if you're going to make the Disney movie, it's frozen because it's a let it go. You have an emotion show up and then you just kind of let it go. But there's some beauty to that because even in work as a psychodynamic therapist, when you're working with someone and they're stuck in something about their past, they can't change and they also can't let it go. They're not able to progress.

[00:17:28] And that's a very good point, because I do feel like and I think my wife has brought great awareness to me where I do maybe because I love ACT so much and I've seen it change people's lives, that then where I'm saying, oh, it's normal to have that thought or feeling or emotion. And that's cool. Right? So now just make room for it, acknowledge it, don't fused to it. Move toward Value-Based Goal, in essence, let it go. And I do feel like people are like, yeah. And then like but what if I can't. Right. And so now here comes back to attachment psychodynamic going to figure this out.

[00:17:58] Ok, so with attachment theory, I really identify strongly with anxious attachments, so anxious attachments come typically when a young person doesn't have consistency from their primary caregivers. And by consistency, what I mean because no parent is perfect. Right. So what you have is you have parents that are maybe with one hand loving you and with another hand maybe acting violent towards you. So what you end up having is they don't know if they're coming or going with their parent. Now, that's not to say that parents always have to be perfect, but parents that are better at apologizing when they do something wrong, that are better at changing and allowing children to see them change, parents that are better at acknowledging their faults. Those seem to help with those kind of attachment wounds. Parents that are this is your fault. I'm only doing this because of you. And then five minutes later, they're loving on them like it never happened. It never gets brought up. Sometimes that's really what we're talking about. We're talking more of

[00:18:59] A lay down on the couch while you do this, because I've always identified as anxious attachment as well. And then I feel like when that shows up into adulthood, it really I love how you said it's like I really don't know if I'm coming or going or where I stand. And so then if I feel like my wife is if something's off, then I'm like, it must be me, right.

[00:19:16] Right. So we internalize things. Sometimes what you see is a pattern with people with anxious attachment. And this is not always true. But if you think of attachment, a spectrum on one end, someone being highly anxiously attached on the other one, some. So not being actually attached at all, the closer you get to the end of the spectrum where someone is highly anxiously attached, you tend to see more and more people with a low self-image and you tend to see people that are seeking they have more of a positive or hopeful worldview, hopeful that the world can help the help tell them they're OK.

[00:19:48] Ok, so can you see the tears in my eyes, as you say this, are they typically about five foot eight bald the set? I mean,

[00:19:55] I'm six foot ball anywhere between there. OK, yeah. So that's typically what we'd see from people that are anxiously attached, shifting over to people that have more of an avoidant attachment. Typically what you see with people that are buoyantly attached is they would come from childhood homes where they didn't they were neglected. They weren't necessarily given much attention. And sometimes they're very independent, but they really struggle with incorporating emotion because no one really train them. They never really learn. They never really saw or maybe they just saw at a distance. And when they get older, they struggle to know what to do with any kind of emotion. If you look again on the spectrum example, someone that's very far to the to that attachment of being avoidant versus the other side being not very avoidant, someone that's very, very avoidant in their attachment might resemble someone that you could classify as a narcissist. OK, they really struggle to hear when anyone offers any kind of criticism, even if it's constructive and positive, they have a difficult time taking responsibility. They tend to just do their own thing and feel like they're fine. They have more of a positive, like maybe even over accounting for for what they actually are. Or really a grandiose perhaps. Yes. Yes. So a really high positive sense of self. And they tend to view the world in a negative way. So they're like everything that's wrong in the world is outside of me.

[00:21:21] I'm good. And I can give you a perfect example of this. Hopefully my wife will forgive me this because she was telling me the story. So she has someone that that that's that's been in her life for a long time. And this person did something that she didn't love. And so she sent them an email and let them know, hey, this is what happened. And I don't think this is trying to smooth the situation out, share how she felt while also getting to see the person was willing to maybe change. So it didn't happen again in the future. And the person's response to her was, I don't make mistakes, boy. So she was like, OK, that person just shut the conversation down. And they're not even willing to consider the fact that they may have done something and maybe not even intentionally, but they did something that was problematic for someone else. The sad part when you get into these highly emotionally attached people is because they have such a hard time with self-awareness, because they struggle with that emotional component of feeling there's something wrong with them. Like that's that's their strategy. Yeah. I'm not going to allow anything to tell in the world to tell me there's anything wrong with me. They really have a difficult time improving themselves in certain areas because they just don't feel like there's anything wrong.

[00:22:34] So they take no accountability. And what's fascinating, so I talk about gaslighting often, and I read once that gaslighting is a childhood defense mechanism in childhood. If I admit that anything is wrong, then I may be booted out of my home. There's abandonment and abandonment equals death, and so I will. And so when that pattern has always, literally always been there of I'm not going to I'm not going to admit to anything, then I learned stall, I learned to turn it back around and somebody learn to get overly emotional so that I can get out of a situation, I learned to control it with anger, but anything other than take responsibility. Right. So I appreciate. Yeah.

[00:23:09] So anyway, and then the mixed attachment style is people who vacillate between the avoiding peace and the anxious peace. Generally speaking, those are considered relatively rare, like five to 10 percent of the population. And it's the hardest to try and treat. But those are all areas that relate to compulsive sexual behavior. People with anxious attachment are more likely to engage in sexual behavior with multiple partners because they're constantly worried that somebody is going to drop off. So they got plenty in their back pocket. People that are avoidant are more likely to engage in paid sex or in pornography. They want control of the relationship. And then obviously people that are mixed are going back and forth. So it may not look like obviously one or the other. It might be all of the above that they're engaging in. So that takes us back to the compulsive sexual behavior piece. So my paper, which and this is where it becomes a very tough sell. My paper was if someone is in a relationship and they are discovered. What then does do both parties do if they want to try and continue the relationship, because what you have is you have a broken attachment already in one party. Then you now have a damaged attachment and betrayal, trauma in the other party that just discovered this. So how do you fix that? Yeah. So I'll I'll throw this at you real quick. What do you do in this kind of a situation?

[00:24:38] And so this is where I have I go back to those identifying those voids and then in this scenario. So someone is definitely going to not feel connected in their marriage. Yes. And so I don't know if you did you you didn't in your program. There wasn't a lot of couples.

[00:24:53] No. So clinical counselors are more specific to individuals. So I can actually see couples because I'm working under a marriage and family therapist. You and you can give me supervision on that. But if I were to not take additional coursework and not get enough hours under you and get licensed as a clinical counselor, state of California will not allow me to see couples. OK, so there are some restrictions if I want to do that and I have to go on

[00:25:17] And I and it's funny because I know we were talking earlier, I wasn't necessarily aware of that. But I even feel it's funny because I feel like the couples therapy training that I received even as a marriage and family therapist and just being authentic and real and stuff, I felt like it was more of just this reflective listening kind of a piece. And the reason I say that is because I feel like bringing reflective listening into this betrayal, trauma, anxious attachment issue. And I didn't know early on in my career at the time is not fun. That's right. Because it's really saying, OK, what do you hear this person saying? All right, can you reflect that back when you hear this person saying, I feel like you would sit back and say so, is that how you fix that? And so I in part of my own work, I found E.F.T. emotionally focused therapy, which is no surprise based on attachment, and it is a framework. So when you're saying, OK, throw it back and what do I do with it? It's so important. I feel like they have a framework because the people are the anxious attachment once the once the validation of the therapist as well. Right. And then the avoidant attachment is probably feeling like there's I can't trust anybody. And I've heard that before. I can't even trust this therapist. And so sometimes that can they can really hunker down in their bunker. And then the anxious attachment now naturally is going to try to go and rescue, but then also then feel like this lack of validation when that person isn't responding. Right. And then the therapist is sitting there saying, OK, I'm not the referee. And so this framework of EFT is beautiful and I talk often. That's the basis of my magnetic marriage course and with these four pillars of a conversation. And so I feel like it's imperative that you find a a framework to operate from because you it's almost like you have to get people back on to the goal of being heard not to resolve. And then you will watch attachment and abandonment wounds come up like crazy.

[00:27:04] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And the other thing that I thought was important with this is it's important for couples to understand their partners attachment style, because if you have someone that's say avoidant and they're trying to work on that by the worst thing you can do is constantly chase them, that's going to push them further away. So you have to find a way where you're able to give them space, but you're still connecting regularly. If someone is anxiously attached by, the worst thing you can do is give them tons of space. Absolutely. Because they're just going to feel more and more like you have to understand, like from an anxious attachment standpoint, if someone is giving you space, what they're communicating to you is they don't want to be around

[00:27:42] You, which then that's where. So I had had an episode that I think I just reran it recently with Jennifer Finless. And before where I threw out that, I really felt like I had cracked some code. And in finding a pattern of a lot of the men I was working with had that anxious attachment style. And then add to that maybe a nice love language of words, of affirmation and physical touch. And a lot of the women then I was I felt like men identifying that there's a lot of avoidant attachment and then a lot of love, language of quality time and acts of service. And then I felt like a lot of that led to is a guy feeling like seeing his wife withdrawn and then wanting to go pursue. And then when she doesn't respond, he's saying, OK, are you are we good? And if she's saying, yeah, we're fine. And then ten minutes later, she's not jumping up and down and telling him he's awesome and wanting to have sex with him, then he's saying, are you sure? Is this me or are we sure you OK? And then I and then here comes I believe in that middle is exactly what you're saying, psychological reactance of that instant negative reaction to being told what to do. So I feel like the guy is basically saying, look, validate me. Right? And I feel like that is what drives that avoidant attachment even further away. And then they are both just so far away from each other. And then I feel like, OK, now they're in their bunkers and who is going to come out first? And I do wonder and I'm having a little bit of an aha moment thanks to you right now. So then would it be safe to say that anxious attachment when given that space, then that's where that maybe that impulsive behavior may kick in?

[00:29:05] Yes. And so this is the fascinating thing about pornography. Covenant Eyes, who produces some software to help people, has a pretty big white paper. And I was reviewing it. Not long ago, and they talked about one of the one of the struggles with people that that compulsively use pornography is what they're viewing is someone in the vast majority of cases that is always available for sex. Yeah. And then they start to be like, well, why can't I have that? Well, you now have an unrealistic expectation because you've conditioned yourself over who knows how many years of pornography or whatever it may be into believing that that is what a relationship is when it's not.

[00:29:43] Yeah, and it's so funny they say that because I, I have a lot of the men that I do work with, when you really start to do a bit of an assessment around the type of pornography, the viewing, that then they almost get emotional or there's a soft side of them says, man, I just know I'm watching. I'm look at it. It's really about the connection or about the desire or about the. And so to them, I think that speaks to what you're saying, where they're feeling like this is all I need. If I just had this, I'd be fine.

[00:30:08] Well, and there's a whole nother set of issues behind if I just had this line, because every time people get what they want and they discover that they're not,

[00:30:16] If I only had a six pack, I had the cool car, if I had the hair plugs, that was great.

[00:30:21] Well, that's the beauty of the human condition, which is we're never really satisfied unless we train ourselves to be satisfied. Which takes a lot of work. Yeah. And so for me, this was all fascinating. And the reason, again, going back to the reason why this all started was was the reason I was able to finally kick this was I met my now wife and she was so open and she was understanding and she was nonjudgmental. And it got to me to a place where all of a sudden I didn't need this other stuff anymore because I had a real person. There was a woman whose paper I quoted a few times. Her name was Annabel who Ugalde and her dissertation in two thousand nineteen, I think it was was on what she called competing attachments. And Sue Johnson, who pioneered EFT, was a big part of her putting together. And what she what she described is in life, we have a lot of different things. We attach to we attach to people, we attach to addictions. We attach to hobbies. We might attach to video. I mean, we're attaching to all sorts of things. And what her whole premise was, is, are we giving the time to the most important attachments? Are we willing to acknowledge what attachments mean the most to us and then give them the appropriate time? Because we might say my most important attachment is my wife and then go spend five hours playing video games? Yes, well, that's you're saying one thing, but you're doing another. What can we do to bring awareness to what you're saying is your actual value and then get you to that place where you're actually behaving that way?

[00:31:54] When I really like about that is you're almost then asking your spouse to validate a version of you that you believe is accurate, right? That they don't. And I've got to quote by this is by they would start from passionate marriage, I would say, and invariably poorly differentiated people hold on to a part of themselves that constructed the distorted self portrait. So they demand that their partner understand them, in part because they really don't understand themselves and they feel understood, except that invalidated when their partner sees them the way they picture themselves. And then he says their partners refusal to see them the way that they want to be seen is upsetting. But the problem isn't a failure to communicate. Their spouse can't understand them the way they demand because they view their own behavior and the details of their life differently than their partner does. And then that discrepancy challenges there an accurate picture of themselves, which they have a difficulty maintaining to begin with. And Alison, I think that can lead to that feeling of not feeling attached.

[00:32:43] Right. And I love that because that also goes back again to that piece, though little mentioned is a big part of your path back program, which is increasing self awareness. Yeah. Like you're saying, or you believe one thing about yourself, but are you actually doing the things to support that belief? Yeah. And so my paper really ended in the admission that the person some people would call it the resolute spouse, the person that has been faithful and has done everything that they could do to support the marriage. Obviously no one's perfect, but tried to be there. Then discovers this betrayal and they have their own now damage their own attachment damage. Now what you have is somebody who was probably already damaged within their attachment, more than likely because of childhood experiences. Now you have someone that's damaged in their primary relationship because of that person and like you mentioned before, with who's going to come out of the foxhole first. Yeah, now we have this game of chicken where it's like who's in my in my thought process being the former addict, like, you're the one that's you caused the problem.

[00:33:46] You're right. But at the same time, you still have other damage. That's not your spouse's fault. And I don't know who you want to blame that on. Maybe your parents fault, maybe your own fault, maybe there's enough blame to go around for everybody here. But the spouse is left picking up the pieces. And how fair is that? You can imagine how that person feels like I didn't create this mess, but I'm now in the middle of it. So that's ultimately why I I felt like this was an interesting path to go down, because I wanted to try and see if someone's like, you know what, I didn't create this mess, but I want to try and do what I can to fix this. How can we do that? And attachment made the most sense working on attachment for me when people have damage in their relationship due to compulsive sexual behavior, I'm a big believer that they really need some kind of couples instruction or therapy because they have to relearn some of these attachment styles or reestablish that secure attachment that's so important to overall healthy living.

[00:34:46] And I wonder, tell me if you had this experience in grad school of when you would say, here's my treatment plan for there are some fictitious person or a couple that it was like, OK, each one of the individuals needs therapy, they need couples therapy, they need the therapy with their animal, they need therapy, and then they get in the real world. That's why that's expensive and time consuming. Yes, but to your point, which I really like, is as a couples therapist and as someone who works with individuals struggling with compulsive behaviors, man, in a perfect world, you really do need both because you have to figure out your own attachment wounds to be able to show up and then not to have those often play out in a couple's therapy setting. Now, I feel like a good couples therapist can be very aware of that. And that's why, again, I feel like a framework is so important. But I really like what you said about the person who lets the betrayer will say in the scenario that then the betrayed all of a sudden does say, wait, I this isn't about me. Even if there is there was some attachment wound issues they weren't even aware of, because then I feel like sometimes the betrayer will say, well, technically there's a little bit that I think it is, but they're not if they say that at that point is not going to go well.

[00:35:51] Right. So I feel like that's some of the things that need to be navigated in a couples therapy setting. But that was the where I was going. So I got a little distracted there. But so that's the point where I feel like at times I love what you said about the guy coming out of his foxhole. The anxious attachment person in the betrayed wants to say, hey, I need you to feel how bad this hurts for me. And so you got the anxious attachment person saying, OK, I'm going to try this because I did it. You're right. And I want to repair this attachment because I'm an anxious attachment to begin with. But now when they just start feeling that anger is what you just said right there, not now their own attachment wounds, where now they just want to go disappear again, which now you've got the person with the void, an attachment. It's all fine. Leave. Oh, man. What do you do?

[00:36:36] So obviously there's no one answer that works for.

[00:36:39] I was I was kind of going through that. You're like always looking at me, mouth ametov like crosses next to me. Right. Because I feel like I do know I really feel like it is what I love about so funny. A shameless plug of my magnetic marriage course because it's it's going so well because you have to have a framework in the goal at first is to be heard. Yeah. It's not to resolve. And I feel like that is so hard because people want to just let me get really angry at you and you take it and then you apologize and then they almost feel like then we'll be OK. But now all of a sudden with this kind of awareness, now there's these triggers that pop up and now people want to go back and say, well, wait a minute, you said this. And now I feel like I have to go back and look at our entire marriage and have to go make sense of everything. And the anxious attachment is saying, OK, I need to answer all these questions. I need to make sense of things. But they're there. I think this is an answer. And then. Well, that that doesn't go along with what you said before. And now you just you're in the weeds with even more trauma. Right?

[00:37:32] Right. I guess if someone was like, what's the cheapest way you could, you could do this. If you had to do therapy with somebody, I'd say probably the couples should get therapy. Absolutely. There's support groups for both the both partners that could could go, too. And that's probably reasonable for some people in a perfect world. Like you say, everybody get therapy,

[00:37:53] Get lots of therapy. Cost is no option. Time is open. Yeah, yeah. But I feel like we're making fun of that. But I feel like it's almost like saying we acknowledge the fact that I hope that people that are hearing this probably found themselves in some portion of whether it's what their attachment style was or when they do try to show up to say, OK, I want to work on this. And and then when they're met with. The anger, which is I understand, but then they're going to want to go back into the foxhole and say, you know what, I'll come out when you're when you can be more calm. It's like you want me to be calm. You should've never done this thing right. And that's what I feel like. And you need

[00:38:28] Structure. Yeah. And that comes from the training that you get with the professional because they're going to tell you you can be angry all you want. If you show him that anger, you're more likely, it's more likely that he will go and do that again. Now, that's not your fault. He is responsible for his actions. Yes, but what is it? What is the goal? And I think, again, we're getting back to. Making a value based goals and then deciding what actions will get us to that point.

[00:38:54] and and maybe I know we're going to wrap up here, but maybe I'll throw a cliche or two out here. But they are so true is that I feel like it is really important to get some ground under your tires before you do make big decisions, especially when this happens, because it's exactly what you're talking about. Those attachment wounds come out and they come out strong. And so it's like this immediate. You betray me. Let me just go and make this incredibly difficult for you. So you'll just go and get the heck out. Yeah, right. And then to the anxious attachment at times it's look, I want to do this, but you need to be nice. But there so it gets so complicated. So I'm always a big fan of saying, all right, let's go get help, try to not make any big decisions until you can really get something, some help in place and know that. And I didn't. Do you have a Disney movie for what psychodynamic is? Because I would say I have no idea because I like to let it go. And that's really funny. It is. But I feel like it is. Once you get the tools, the structure, the framework in place, it's absolutely like you said, it's absolutely of course you're going to feel angry.

[00:39:57] If you didn't, that would be crazy. And of course, the person who did the betrayal is going to feel sad and going to feel hopeless and going to feel like abandonment and all those things. If you if you didn't, that would be crazy. Right. But then it's learning what to do with that, learning how to even invite those feelings to come along with you to therapy and then make room expansion, make room for them and then get into a good framework with the goal for a little while, being able to just to be able to express yourself and to be heard. And that is my podcast. I have to do this. But so then plug in the magnetic marriage course, because I've got these four pillars I really feel are gold. They're based off of EFT. The first one is to assume good intentions. It sounds overly simplistic, but if the partner has been betrayed, is saying, I am so angry, I don't know if I can stay in this relationship. That's a hard one to say. I have to assume good intentions, but I have to understand that right then that's the only way they feel like they can get some control back or they can feel heard.

[00:40:48] And that second pillar, you can't say you can't put the message you're wrong if that betrayer says, well, that's ridiculous. I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that. No, that's how they feel. You can't put out that message. They're wrong. And then pillar three, ask questions before you make comments, before you say, well, look, I need you to calm down and then I'll be willing to listen. It's OK. Tell me. Tell me more. Tell me, tell me what you're feeling and help me see my blindspots. And then that pillar four is and then that person cannot go into their bunker. They can't assume good intentions, not say the other person's wrong, ask questions. But then the piller for is they can't say, OK, I guess I'll just I guess I'll never have an opinion again. I never have a voice because they're going into victim mode now, wanting that person to come rescue them. Well, get off my soapbox. I like the OK, but we have so much more to record. This feels so good. Yeah, there's a lot here. The boys are back. Yeah, right. Little sneak preview for anybody who's been here who is still listening. And I hope that lots of people are talking about like your podcast.

[00:41:43] Ok, yeah. So my wife is actually in a program to become a marriage and family therapist and I have just incredible respect for her, especially after what she helped me go through. And so our intention is to start a podcast and hopefully drop our first episode next week or maybe the week after. And that'll be something that'll apparently be

[00:42:04] On the virtual couch network versus podcast network. You you heard it here, folks, but that. Yeah, that one. I've got a new podcast about waking up the narcissism. I've got a podcast based off of the path back that's coming up that you're going to be a part of. Yeah, I don't know if I had mentioned that to you. You did, but and then if anybody did really feel like they are they like what they're hearing. And I don't mean that to sound like such a sales pitch, but man, I'm so excited to have Nate here and in his 40s, got some road under your tires, been through a lot of career changes, relationships, talking about addiction and has put this all together. Then your shingle is up, you're open for business, so reach out through me. And if I don't want to take you, then I'll send you over to Nate, OK? Thank you so much for coming on. Yeah. And just was it really does feel good to be back. And man, you sounded smart two years ago when we recorded, but I'm a little bit intimidated now.

[00:42:54] Oh stop. OK, I appreciate everything.

[00:42:56] All right. OK. Hey, we'll see you next time on the virtual couch

In this special BONUS episode of Tony's top-10 most downloaded episodes of all time on the Virtual Couch, Sexuality and Relationship Counselor Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife makes discusses what to do if you no longer find your partner physically attractive, as well as how to communicate in a relationship where one partner has a high desire for intimacy and one has a low desire? Also, find out what men do that Dr. Finlayson-Fife says will result in them being "toast!" You can find out more about Dr. Finlayson-Fife's work, as well as her online programs for individuals and couples around their sexuality at finlayson-fife.com. And please sign up now at http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic for Tony and Preston Pugmire's FREE webinar on how to create a more Magnetic Marriage on Monday, April 26th, 2021 at 5 PM PST. Space is limited so go reserve your spot today!Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

[00:00:00] A couple of days ago, I flew home with my family, we had been on a weekend trip to Southern California there for a basketball tournament my son was playing and we weren't able to get a flight home on Sunday night. So we headed back early, very early Monday morning. And the plan was for my family to drop me off directly at work and I would immediately jump in to therapy with clients. And as often can be the case, the flight was delayed and leaving Southern California. And by the time we landed in the Sacramento International Airport, I was running a little bit behind and I let my clients know and they were wonderful in understanding. And we immediately headed to my office and I was already in my head a little bit, just kind of thinking about the day ahead, client issues, ready to get myself all ready for therapy. And I missed a very necessary exit to head to my office when that was going to add several minutes onto my trip. And it's hard to describe, but there was a way to still kind of make the on ramp. But it would take a little bit of, let's just say, a tiny bit of off roading. And I was driving the opposite of an off road vehicle. But I said, man, I missed my exit. And we all shared a couple of ideas and I calmly made a power move. I made it to my exit and we were on our way, did a little bit of that off roading.

[00:01:08] And I commented to my wife that I felt like situations like those are where the mindfulness training pays off. I remain calm. I noticed I had missed my turn. I didn't beat myself, beat myself up about it, or unload a profanity laced tirade or anything like that. And I was pretty accepting that I had had this off roading option and that I needed to embrace it and I would get to work eventually when I got to work. So fast forward to yesterday morning. I had a podcast that I was so excited to record. I've been writing some notes down for a couple of weeks, but I needed to be at my office by 4:00 in the morning to get it done before starting with clients at 6:00. So I get to my office and I back into my parking spot, as I often do, and I reach for my keys where I think my keys are going to be. And I do a lot of typical aid like behavior, but I feel like I'm pretty decent and not losing my keys because I kind of put them in the same place every time. So I take everything out of my bag. I'm searching through my car and nothing. So I had to do what I have literally never had to do before. I had to drive back home. And then I spent an hour tearing through the house while everybody slept using the the flashlight on my phone, just looking for my keys and no luck.

[00:02:15] And I remain calm. I was fascinated by this and I ended up heading back to my car, took everything out of my computer bag very methodically, and eventually I found them in a little pocket that I truly never use until apparently yesterday morning. And I vaguely remember thinking that was a great place to put them when we were heading to the airport to head back from Southern California to Northern California. Now, why do I tell the story? Well, because of mindfulness. Because I'm telling you, you're practicing the ability to notice thought because you have tons of them and not necessarily have to act upon the thoughts, meaning I had all the old favorites, that I'm an idiot, that I can't believe. I can't find my keys, that if I have to cancel my sessions at six and seven and possibly eight waiting for other people to get to the building, that I'm going to look unprofessional. And all of those thoughts were there. But I noticed them and there were plenty of other thoughts that were coming even in the midst of me trying to find these keys about things, about my bag, about things, about taking out of my bag, about the fact that having to drive back home and some of the things I noticed, some of the things I noticed heading back to work at the time, I did a little more traffic.

[00:03:14] And so I think my brain, for whatever the goal was of throwing some of those thoughts out there, some of the productive ones, the unproductive ones. And I really got myself back to present and I kept looking for the keys. So if you aren't already practicing a daily mindfulness routine, I highly, highly encourage you to do so. Their apps and books and YouTube channels. But just start. You don't need to be perfect at it. The second reason I tell those stories is that I then maybe it's no big guess, but I had no time to record this episode that I wanted to. But the good news is that I've been working on letting out another bonus episode. And what I'm viewing is a bit of a series of the top ten episodes that I've ever had on the virtual couch in the previous four years of episodes. And so I been working on another bonus episode with virtual couch favorite Dr. Jennifer Finless and wife. And this is truly one of my top episodes from a downlow perspective of all time. And in this episode, we talk about the concept of having a high desire and low desire partner in a relationship. And I'm going to leave it right there because I really want to get to this episode, but know that the audio isn't necessarily the best. But that was because Jennifer was in Europe at the time.

[00:04:18] This was a few years ago. And she was calling from, I believe, her phone and talk about perfect segue. This is actually the episode I had kind of forgotten about this, where she mistakes me at one point for press. Buckmeier, who she mentions that in this interview and at that time I didn't know who Preston was. So that was what actually led me to Google him. And as he has shared on a couple of my podcast episodes, especially about our magnetic marriage course, that he then reached out to me later looking for some help. And at that point, the stars that aligned the universe had spoken. I knew who he was, thanks to Jennifer Finless and Phife in this episode. And despite being a little bit overbooked at that time, I made room for him. And the rest, as they say, is history, magnetic marriage history, no doubt. So back to the Segway next Monday. April 26th at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Preston and I are putting on a free couples or relationship webinar on creating a magnetic marriage that is absolutely free. So now you can go to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic and sign up to reserve your spot on the webinar, because thanks to technology, there's there's a lot of spots available. But there's there's limited as well about the number of people who will be able to participate or view that webinar live. So go right now to Tony everyday dotcom magnetic. And while I have you, don't forget that if you are looking for therapy, if you're looking to try out the world of online counseling or online therapy, if it's hard to find someone near you or if you just really want to continue to embrace the online experience, head over to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and there you'll get 10 percent off your first month of online counseling.

[00:05:49] They offer a sliding scale and they also can put you in touch with a counselor in up to 24 to 48 hours. And you can do this through through text, through email, through video, whatever works best for you. You owe it to yourself to really start digging in deep and looking at some of the things that maybe you've been dealing with over the last year or two years or your life. So head over to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch and get it going with couples therapy or individual therapy, whatever type of therapy, whatever kind of help you need, it can start right there. Betterhelp.com virtual couch. So let's get to this episode, this bonus episode. And with Jennifer Finless in five, I'm going to try to push out my regular episode a little bit later this week. So stay tuned for that. But hopefully you'll go over to Tony over Gay.com magnetic. And I will see you at this webinar coming up next Monday at five p.m. on April 26th. All right. Let's get The Today Show, my interview with Dr. Jennifer.

[00:06:58] For the return of

[00:06:59] This guest, you probably read it in the title already, it is Dr. Jennifer Finless and Faith. If you haven't already done so, please make sure you check out Episode 45. That was the first time that I had Jennifer on my podcast. And that episode is Neck and Neck with Episode 12 on Raising Your Emotional Baseline for the most downloaded episodes of The Virtual Couch. And I think when I checked last, that Dr. Phenix episode is in the lead. So what does that tell us? It tells us that talking about intimacy is something that we need to do. And it's hard it's difficult for a lot of couples to do that. And so I think that they are willing to look for anyone who can help, who can give advice, who can talk about what a healthy, intimate relationship looks like. And Dr. Fife is one of the best that doing so and so. I am so grateful that she is willing to make a return to the virtual counselors. Kind of a funny story about how this came about. And we talk about that on the podcast. So if you are not familiar with Dr. Fife for her work, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson, if you can find her at Finlayson Dash five dot com, and she is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in relationship and sexuality counseling. In addition to her dissertation research on LDS women's sexuality and relationship to desire, she is also taught college level human sexuality courses, as well as community and Internet based relationship and sexuality workshops. And if you go to her website, she has some online programs that are incredibly popular. And I have had many, many clients take those online courses, a couples relationship course, a couple's sexuality course of women's sexuality and desire, of course, and how to talk to your kids about sex course. So I highly recommend those. And she has workshops and events all over the country so you can sign up to find out more on her website. Finlayson five Dotcom. So without any further ado, let me get to the interview

[00:08:40] With Dr. Jennifer.

[00:08:50] And that's well, the big question is, where are you today?

[00:08:53] I'm in Lisbon, Portugal.

[00:08:55] Wow. And you've been gone for a while. How many days?

[00:08:58] September. We left beginning of September. And so we're like, what would that be like six, seven months into this? I didn't realize it was that long. Yeah, it's been phenomenal. So we've been all over again. We were in the U.K. and then we were in New Zealand and Australia and then Asia, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and and then now Europe. So we're kind of starting we were just in Africa last weekend. Wow. And now we're heading up into Europe. So we've done Spain, France. So it's been amazing

[00:09:35] When you get back to the US,

[00:09:37] The middle of June. Wow.

[00:09:39] I did not realize that. Yeah, yeah. But what do you what do you miss what do you miss from home.

[00:09:45] Oh nothing.

[00:09:48] No food. No pizza. You're from Chicago, right. Nothing like that.

[00:09:52] Honestly, I don't feel any sense of missing it right now, I'm sure if I were doing this for a very long time. Yeah, I was just remembering a time for some as I was speaking, I had said all this to you, but it was actually another person that interviewed me because we as a family decided to take our kids out of school and just travel for nine, 10. I'm talking to us. If you knew that

[00:10:12] Well and I was funny, I was thinking I should probably know that.

[00:10:15] Ok, yeah. I really like you do know that. I'm like, wait a minute. That was that other person, Quagmire. But anyway. But yes, we took the kids out of school and happened to work fine for everybody. My son is going to college in the fall and he was only had a couple of classes left to do, which he's done online and things like that. So and my husband and I both can work online. So we just took the show on the road and it's been really phenomenal experience.

[00:10:43] So you've been doing a lot of the retreats and workshops and that sort of thing I've done.

[00:10:47] I did, yeah. I've done a lot to I've done two things. So I did one thing before I left. My family went ahead of me to England and I did it with them. And then I flew back for a couple of phratry. Then we did a couples retreat in Italy. So I was just there and now I'm flying back to Oregon to do another women's retreat. But that's tell me about

[00:11:09] That, too. I mean, because this is going to air pretty quickly. I'm gonna maybe try to get it out tomorrow, Friday. So.

[00:11:14] Yeah, yeah. Great. Yeah. So May let's see. May 1st through the 4th. We are doing another women's retreat in outside of Portland, Oregon, and we did this last year and it was a huge success. It was it's the heart of desire class that I teach for women, LDS women, about their relationship to themselves, to their bodies, and to desire both in general in their lives and sexually. And so I've taught that course in the two day forum, but I expanded to three days to just have more time with the content, more video clips, more discussion. I teach in the evenings as well. There's exercise, there's good food. And it's really it's you know, it's more than two times better than the two day trip because because women have more time to connect with one another and to really immerse themselves in the content. And so you really do see a transformation happen from the beginning of day one to the end of the day three.

[00:12:13] I have to tell the story of how this came about. So I was sitting in a session. I've got my iPad in front of me. I'm taking notes. I'm probably asking somebody how they feel right in that moment. And I'm very present with my client. But a text does come through from my nephew and he says in all caps, they're talking about you and my psychology class and he goes to BYU. And so it was funny. The imposter syndrome kicks in, I think. Is he saying I'm a fraud or what's the competition? Then when he gets back to me, he lets me know that the professor was talking about our interview that we did about a year ago on my podcast, just talking about couples of intimacy and challenges and ways to communicate. And I was really grateful. That was neat to hear that we were we were part of the subject matter. But I have this I don't think I shared this part with you. He didn't told me later that he had presented the professor presented it is that you were an expert. And I was I think he said something to do with I had something to do with pornography. So then one of the one of the women in the class said, oh, that's horrible that he makes his living over that. And there was like, no, I'm not a porn star. You know, I helped men overcome pornography addiction. And so I thought that was funny. So hopefully people heard the second part and people aren't Googling me and thinking me. So I'm grateful for taking the time, especially with you on the road. And and I just I initially said, hey, I'd love to talk about one thing, but then, man, the more I think about the second part of the topic I had asked you about, I wouldn't mind if we maybe started there. And that's the the concept of do you run into this a lot? The I have I work with women who will just say, what do I do if I no longer find my spouse attractive or physically attractive? Do you run into that?

[00:13:50] Yeah, definitely. And so what do people do about it? I mean, I think the question for me around that is, why do they not find their spouse attractive and what's happening in the marriage? You know, is it and basically, would you be OK with your spouse applying the same standard you're applying to you? Like, are you in a double standard or would you understand if your spouse felt the same way, given the same behaviors or whatever? But I think the question of why don't they? And, you know, sometimes people don't feel desire. I would say oftentimes because their spouse is disappointed them, because there isn't a lot of investment in creating a vibrant, lively sexual relationship that they've kind of just wanted the central part of the relationship to take care of its. And rather than taking care of it as a couple and so are you not attracted because you are creating that kind of energy in your marriage, you're not attracted because your spouse is doing things that are unattractive and out of good judgment. And we could talk more about that if you want. OK, or is it that you haven't really chosen your spouse and you haven't really invested and you haven't really made a decision that this is where you're going to bring your whole self and your best self? And so the lack of desire is more it's a way to get out of the pressure that a marriage places on all of us, at least a choice based marriage. And so a lot of people will kind of use the idea of their lack of attraction and almost cultivated in their own minds as a way of not having to deal more straight away with the marriage with themselves and their role in it.

[00:15:51] And I appreciate that. And maybe if I even start from I think when I see it a lot, it's coming from if I'm working with someone who is working through betrayal, trauma, if they're their partners, had a physical affair, an emotional thing, or if they just found out that their husband has been addicted to porn for years. And so they've just got shaken the foundation of their marriage. And so so I think what you're seeing there, if you like, at times, is that more of the the emotional piece?

[00:16:18] Oh, yeah, definitely it can be. And, you know, for me, what I want to think about with that is this person's lack of desire or a function of good judgment or poor judgment something is their spouse behaving in a way that is truly untrustworthy and that this is not a person that anyone in good judgment is going to want to open her heart and body up to. OK, and so I don't see the lack of desire as a problem as I'm seeing it as an expression of her self-respect. Yeah, OK. If she's been with someone who's been lying to her for years or who has been unfaithful, that's a function of self-respect. And I'm not saying that it needs to end there. The conversation needs to end there. I certainly can understand where it's coming from. On the other hand, I do see a lot of people that kind of claim and foster a victim. Position in their marriage that often has some basis, right? Yeah, but that it takes on its own life because it becomes a solution to their own anxieties about sex, intimacy, choosing a partner. And basically what they're doing is saying, you know, because you haven't so filled some unrealistic fantasy of what a marriage should be. Right. That you revolve around me. You make me feel good all the time. Your sexuality is only reinforcement of me and my sense of self when I want it.

[00:17:54] If you won't do that, then I'm going to punish you for being a disappointment and a failure. And I can go find a whole group of women who will agree with me on this and my betrayal trauma. And I don't have to deal with myself in the marriage. And and so sometimes people will kind of lock down on their victim position and their lack of attraction as a way to get themselves out. Growing up in the marriage, really knowing their partner, really dealing more strictly with the marriage. I mean, I think and I'm certainly not you know, people are always responsible for their actions because they're the ones making them. But there's often a context in which people make their decisions. And oftentimes couples collude in a dishonest marriage. They. They make it difficult to have an honest conversation with them, and so they they certainly make it easy for there to be a kind of undercurrent of deception or non truthfulness. And then when that becomes explicit, you can kind of go blind to their own participation in a low intimacy marriage because of two people who really struggle or don't have it yet, developed enough of a sense of self to show up and tolerate the exposure that's inherent to an intimate marriage,

[00:19:21] Like what you're saying about if it is an out of use the word reprehensible. But is it something in the letter to say that the husband is doing that is just if he's not being there for the partner? Because I feel like when I do the couples work, if the husband is trying to do the repair, he's trying to do nice, emotionally focused therapy and attachment apologies. And and then he's being there or he's doing this, that he was trying to be there, trying to have those conversations, I feel like is that and I like where you're going with that and the acceptance and commitment therapy world, is she hooking, refusing to that? I don't find him physically attractive. So if she can believe or fuse to that story, then she doesn't have to lean in or do the work or go through that uncomfortable part.

[00:20:01] Exactly. Because I've worked with a lot of people who, you know, there's a basis for their lack of desire, there's a basis for their lack of attraction, and then their spouse really does get it together. Self confronts, really becomes a better person. They know their spouse is more trustworthy. Yeah, I know. And we'll even acknowledge he's really made changes and I respect it. But then they still want to kind of hold on to. Well, but, you know, I don't know if I can forgive him. I don't know if I can really open my heart up. I don't know. I mean, that's legitimate. Everybody has to make their decision about what they're going to do. But I see it often they're putting it in this issue of I don't know if I can forgive them because maybe it's too little, too late, but not really focusing on their own anxiety about intimacy. I don't mean just sex and really letting yourself be knowable. Yeah, really showing up and knowing this other person as a flawed human being and yourself showing up as a flawed human being, a lot of people don't want to do that. So they'd rather find a reason why they would do it if only their spouse would get it together.

[00:21:06] I like that because I do often say that if I get the woman, then one on one, if he is meeting those emotional bids and he's there for her and she knows if she goes to him with the trigger that he's going to respond appropriately, then lovingly and gently. Is that then where she can say, all right, maybe I do need to look at him, I am fusing to this thought or now I because I feel like a lot of times in the material world, they don't want to say that they necessarily have to do anything. And I'm not saying that's a generalization, but it's look, he's the one that did the betrayal. And, you know, I don't need to do any.

[00:21:38] Yeah, exactly. And I think that's at least not a view you're going to find a lot of sympathy for from me in my office. Because, I mean, listen, I mean, if someone goes and has an affair and is lied to for five years about it, I'm not talking about that. The woman has somehow is responsible for this guy's choice, obviously. Exactly. But but on the other hand, people do need to look at what their part is in a marriage and which may be putting up with garbage from the other person. But I really understand as how is this couple linked and how they put themselves together as a couple and how has that sort of created an equilibrium in each of them so they don't have to grow because that's what as human beings we tend to do. And I think a lot of people get stuck around this betrayal, trauma, infidelity thing. They kind of go and find their intimacy with their respective groups, meaning betrayal trauma group and the porn addicts group, for example. Yeah. Rather than really growing into a more honest, intimate, choice based marriage. on I. Yes, to that. I think that when we as women have been kind of constructed as dependent upon men for our happiness, for our well-being and we're the nicer ones.

[00:23:12] That we're the weaker ones. I mean, not very many of us want to admit to that kind of cultural idea, but a lot of us have inherited that idea. So I'll love you as long as you husband loves me first. That's the one a lot of us want to pull off internally, OK, because you're the man, because you should make the world safe for me. Then I'll love you with a response. And if you don't do that, I don't. I'm off the hook. And I think that's a convenient idea. But I think. Constructing ourselves is much weaker than we are as women and that we also have promised God to love our spouse as much as they promise not to love us. And so what does it mean to love this man? Flaws and all? What does it mean to choose him? Was it mean to know him? I don't mean putting up with shenanigans and betrayal like that. But, you know, is there a way to not just vilify and understand who this person is and how they've come to make the choices they have and how I wanted to see them more as a solution in my life rather than some someone to love and to choose.

[00:24:21] And I. Yeah, and I love that. And you feel like and I almost feel like we're both agreeing that. And that's with the caveat that the husband is willing to do work or try to repair the relationship or own his own his own stuff that like you say, there are plenty of people that don't end up having the affair, but even though there's dysfunction or or that sort of thing.

[00:24:41] Yeah, yeah. And that's exactly that's assuming there is a partner who is wanting to deal with himself and is trying to grow and become better, that the spouse is also looking at herself in the marriage.

[00:24:56] Can I take a slightly different path? I'm curious your thoughts. So and I feel like this is the basically the most part of what I work with every now and again. I do get someone that is saying my husband literally is put on two hundred pounds, but I don't find him attractive and then they typically want to go in and just be brutally honest. And what are your thoughts on that?

[00:25:17] Well, again, I would be looking at the reason of the why. Why has the partner put on two hundred pounds and what is the meaning of it in the marriage? Is it that the person has a metabolic issue and there really is some issue that can't be changed? Yeah. And then I say, you know, is there still some way for you to love and choose this person? What would you want for yourself if you were in your spouse's shoes? Like what would you hope for? What kind of acceptance would you want to have? And are you able to offer what you would expect or what you would see as a decent and fair? If if it's I think it's harder if it's that you're married to somebody who is indulgent in the marriage. Right. That they're not really taking responsibility for themselves, that they're kind of in a some kind of indulgent behavior in this particular case, maybe with food or if you have somebody who's indulgent in their, you know, with alcohol or pornography or something like that, then I think it's. It's much harder to sort of look past it because you understand there's a volitional behavior that is undesirable and that someone is choosing a path that isn't desirable because it's an expression of weakness. And I don't mean that we can't choose our spouses knowing that we each have weaknesses and knowing that we're fallible human beings. I think it's a lot harder to desire somebody when you think they run their life by their weakness.

[00:26:56] Yeah, when I when I work with addiction, it's I talk about there's a void there somewhere. So you are not connected in their job or as a parent or with their health or their faith. So I'm coming at it with more empathy of trying to see.

[00:27:08] Ok, yeah, well, I would say that maybe with empathy, but also I do think that marriage, if you're going to keep passion and desire alive, it has to be a growing marriage on some level. And you have to be willing to look at yourself and have conversations about things that are difficult. And if you really want a good sexual relationship and your spouse is struggling honestly to be attracted because, you know, you're not trying, you're not putting in effort. I mean, I think if you if maybe a hard conversation to have. But I think if you are really trying to create something better, it's probably a conversation to have. Yeah. And it's not about trying to push the other person down or make them feel small. It's about trying to create something better. Yeah, well that's really what's driving it. And I like

[00:28:03] I was saying, is empowering them as therapists and instead of going in and saying, hey, you put on a ton of weight, you know, coming at it more with the more of the. Tell me more about that. Tell me what's going on in your life, not only in this indictment, I guess.

[00:28:18] Yeah, yes, exactly. But exactly. And the focus of it is not about, you know, I'm going to trample you because then I have an excuse for not desiring you. But I really do want to have a good sexual relationship. And so what kind of going back to what I was talking about initially, like is the lack of desire a function of good judgment or poor judgment? Let's say that is a function of good judgment. You feel like your spouse is living indulgently or they're not respectful of you or they don't care about you except for when you climb into bed at night. And this is the only time they seem to care that you're there. Your lack of desire may be a function of good judgment. You're saying this is not the kind of sex that I want. One thing I talk about in my women's course is that women have as much, if not more sexual capacity than men do, but they're much pickier about where they show up and open up. And so that's that's how we're wired. That's fine. But then it means sort of advocating for what you really want. And so if someone is saying, look, I'm not as attractive as I want to be because I want to have a good sexual relationship with you, I want this to be a good part of our lives.

[00:29:30] And the fact that you do X, Y or Z or if you would do more of A, B and C, I would find it much more desirable. I would find it much easier to choose and be here. And it's not to tear the other person down, it's to actually create something better. So it's not about, hey, I just don't desire you, it's OK. I am having trouble. I need to think about it. This is about selfishness on my part or limitations on my part, or if this is something I need to address and if I need to address it, that I really do take it up in the frame of I want something good. Yeah. Like that. And this is this is interfering. And I say it too, because I love you. I say it too, because I want good things for us. And if you mean that and your spouse can track that, you mean it might be a hard conversation but it's going to be a productive one. Yeah.

[00:30:23] So really. And how you frame it like that a lot on those lines. I'm dying to know your theory on this too. I think before I did the whole became a therapist that I call it the Beauty and the Beast theory where, you know, love will will rule regardless. It doesn't matter if I find the person even in the slightest bit attractive. It doesn't really matter. What do you see with that? Do you think that?

[00:30:46] Well, I mean, I do think there's something to kind of a visceral attraction, which is not the same thing, that it will make you happily married. Yeah, but there is some research. I think Lattman talks about some of this research where there's certain people that other certain people will find attractive, kind of over and over a certain characteristics, certain. You know, I always was kind of drawn to sort of lanky guys like not buff, but like kind of slender. That's exactly the person I'm married to. And and I think there's a lot of people that just sort of feel an immediate kind of attraction. I definitely felt that when I first met my husband. And I think that's important. And when we when we are dismissive of that, I don't think we do ourselves a favor. What we should be dismissive of that is of the idea that that's enough for a good marriage, because it's not a lot of people are very attracted to each other, but that are mean, selfish people incapable of creating something good. Right. And so it's not everything, but it is something that said, I think that a lot of people felt very attractive in the beginning will undermine their feelings of attraction. Things will happen in the marriage, as we're talking about, that will undermine attraction.

[00:32:06] And you may feel no attraction to the person that you once felt a feelings of attraction when you first met them. And that's not about something fundamental to who the person is. It's about what you've been creating as a couple in the marriage that's undermining desire. If you are one of these people who married somebody in part because they weren't that attractive to you. And I know a lot of people who've done this because they found it safe before they found it easier if they could just say you're going to be the father or the mother of my children. And I can sort of desexualized you because as I like sex and I like those feelings, but I'm afraid of them in a marriage. Well, I think it's harder. But just to be completely honest, I think it's a really indecent thing to do in a marriage. I think it's a really unfair thing to marry someone thing, the secret that you're not that attracted to them because you've now entrapped somebody who feels your lack of desire and you're just kind of putting up with that sexually every single time they're with you. And I think that's a very humiliating thing to do to somebody that created

[00:33:21] An unhealthy relationship with intimacy in general, right?

[00:33:25] Absolutely. And it's going to undermine the whole marriage because I think the sexual choosing part of the relationship is really fundamental to the foundation of a marriage in a choice based marriage. I mean, if we were in arranged marriages, that's that's a different framing and a different understanding, but and a choice based marriage. Part of the understanding is that I choose you, I desire you and you desire me. And of all the choices, we have made one another special. And that part of the specialness is that we share our sexuality with one another and we choose each other. And I think when that doesn't play out in a marriage or you don't hold that as an important part of the marriage and something you have a responsibility to an understanding, you have a responsibility to, it wreaks havoc on the marriage.

[00:34:19] I did a podcast on a concept that Dr. Skinner, Kevin Skinner talks about, and it's these levels of intimacy and where it's natural to go in this physical attraction, but then underneath that physical or these layers of verbal intimacy and emotional intimacy and cognitive intellectual intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and that if we just go in at that physical, then if we're trying to have that verbal intimacy and we can't even talk to our partner for a while, we can say at least there or at least we have sex and then we jump back down to emotional intimacy and they don't meet our emotional bids and OK, but at least there's the physical and that that kind of sets things off in a pretty negative pattern. But if you nurture those levels from the ground up, this verbal and emotional, then physical intimacy is the byproduct of what a different experience that is other than the it's just we're going to have we're going to have sex instead of the we feel like it's the the the next thing that we need to do because we feel so connected.

[00:35:12] Yeah. I mean, I think that, yes. You can't build a marriage on just sexual attraction. I mean, I think that's clearly going to fall apart pretty quickly. That's the only thing you share because a marriage is so much more than just having sex. Yeah, but on the other hand, I don't think we should make sex the thing that you arrive at after all the other pieces are in place. Sure. I'm not sure if that's how Skinner talks about.

[00:35:41] No, no. And in fact, he talks about it. When those things are intact, then it is even easier to. Then he referenced there was a sex therapist when he introduced this name, Pat Love, who said she she has a small libido, her husband has a large libido. And when those things are intact, she now feels like when she knows that he needs the base, that he needs sex and he stressed whatever that she knows. I think she said the phrase, I can just pull him over and give him a quickie in the closet, which everybody laughed about. But it was like, yeah, so it wasn't saying we have it always has to build these layers up, but that sure helps secure the connection.

[00:36:14] Yeah, I think it's part of the foundation, the emotional intimacy and the physical intimacy are just fundamental to a good marriage. And if it's only one or only the other, I think the. Struggle's. Yeah, so, yeah, I think we we owe it to ourselves to understand not the importance of having sex is not really what I'm saying so much as the importance of desire in marriage. Yeah. Which is not the same thing as having intercourse with a lot of people have intercourse without desire.

[00:36:49] Yeah, well,

[00:36:50] I mean that you choose this person that you want them in your life

[00:36:55] When that's perfect Segway to just a couple of more minutes so that you and I were both on a low. I love marriage therioke. I think we were both on the right. That was fun. Your episode was fantastic in the you talk there about low desire and high desire. And I and I run into this all the time of the high desire person just saying if we only had more sex, the low desire person feeling like when he pouts and goes about it in a certain way, I feel like eventually I just have to give in and then it just creates this like unhealthy dynamic. Can you talk about low desire, high desire?

[00:37:24] Yeah, sure. It's kind of a broad and I think where to step in. OK, yes. It's a very well

[00:37:31] How how about when I get I get the guys, they look at me and they I think and I don't even know if it's because as a male therapist, they assume that I'm going to have their back, so to speak, when they just say, look, when I when I have more sex, I'm a happier and better husband, better father, better at work. And they look over at me and then I typically look at the wife. And just having done this for a while now, we're knowing that she'll say, OK, I basically feel like I'm responsible for his happiness, his world. And here we have that. So she's the desired partner in that situation. He's the High desire and they created this kind of negative relationship with sex and intimacy in general.

[00:38:03] Yeah, because I first of all, I think if a husband starts out in that framing, he's toast.

[00:38:11] It's not that there's a quote. There's the quote for the book. Yes. Right there.

[00:38:15] Yeah, I get it. My husband serves on everything. He's screwed. Yes. Not screwed.

[00:38:22] Yeah. I like toast. Toast.

[00:38:24] Yeah. Toast is better. OK, but you know, he's in the sense that he's happy because it's setting it up that you need to take care of my emotional world through putting out. Yeah. Now if the two of them buy into that idea she may put out, but she won't desire him. She is not going to choose him because she's got a job to do, which is propping up his sense of self. And so if she feels like she's got to handle his feelings so she doesn't pout and punish. Exactly. And so on, it's just like having another kid that you've got to take care of. And then he's like, why don't you want me? What's your problem? Maybe you need to go to the Finlayson-fife workshop again.

[00:39:11] I have had those conversations in here.

[00:39:15] You don't desire me. And he's not seeing that. He's setting up a framing of sexuality things is going to get in more like get more sex, but it's not going to get him wanted. And and if a woman sees sex as something she gives to a man and a man needs, quote unquote, it's it's going to go that way. Yeah. Because I don't see it that way. I mean, I see it as men and women, don't need sex. I mean, they both can survive without it. It's not it is not a need capital and need. It's not a survival reality. It is part of thriving. It's part of living. A good life and desiring and being desired is really part of a good marriage. But then the question is not how do I just get this guy off my back? Right. How do we create a marriage where sex is a good part of it, that sex would be desirable for me? And how would my higher desire spouse need to handle him or herself differently to make themselves more choosable? Right. Or to get it out of this framing that I have to do this to manage your sense of yourself. So it's this need idea is the one that a lot of people buy into, but actually then infects the marriage, especially the idea that men need it.

[00:40:47] Yeah, no, I like that because I do feel like it when I am. I love everything you said there. When I turn to the guy and say, all right, she now feels like she's in charge of that. And so you've created this unhealthy dynamic. Basically what I'm trying to start the process of is letting the guy and he will say, OK, so if I do this for a little while, I don't make her feel like she always has to have sex with me. Then will we eventually have more sex? I do feel like that's basically he's looking at me and it's no, but I feel like the guy is telling me that, no, I don't get it. But it's really you work with people long enough to see that they do feel that they can have a connection without it having to be with sex or the wife can lay in their lap. And if he gets aroused, it doesn't mean we have to have sex or the hug. And if the if she if it's open mouth kiss, it doesn't mean, OK, I'm having sex tonight. And that's where. How far some of the I feel like some of the spouses pull away because they don't even want to give any indication of that. Absolutely right.

[00:41:37] Yeah, well, there's a lot of that where women feel like if he gets aroused, then I don't have any choice. Exactly. Which I think is crazy. Yeah, I mean, that's crazy. I mean, I don't mean I'm not trying to say women are great, but I'm just trying to say that that's that's a framing also in a marriage that will undermine intimacy, because I think a good marriage is you're going to feel arousal oftentimes where no sex happens. It's just part of being in a marriage where you desire and feel desire. Yeah, and that's even a good part of the foreplay, even if it's a few days before sex, that there's this kind of ability to touch and be with one another and feel arousal and not have to have it mean that now you have you're going to get well, it gets good. You know, that that idea makes people just try to stay away from the high desire person. And and so I think, you know, when the guy is asking you, well, if I stop pressuring or pouting, does that mean I'm going to have more? I'm trying to think how to that. I mean, I think on the one hand, I would say this is not a tactic. Exactly. No, this it's not about how to manipulate. OK, this is this is about the fact that you are making your spouse responsible for something that is not her responsibility. She's not responsible for your sense of desirability. responsible for your sense of self. Yeah. And are responsible for having respect for yourself and seeing yourself as a desirable human being. If she gets to decide if she's going to choose you, she gets to decide if she has sex with you. She's going to decide if she's going to confront her own anxieties, limitations, but that's her responsibility. And when you're trying to make sex about something, she has to do so you can handle yourself. Yeah, but you have made yourself a very undesirable partner.

[00:43:34] Absolutely. And then this is a part where I feel like you guys listening. Well, I'm sorry, but they will resonate with this part. So if it didn't happen that night, if they were if they. OK, fine, we'll cuddle. But I had it. I was aroused and nothing happened. And and then they go to bed angry and they still try to poke a little bit at her. She wakes up, then they wake up the next morning and they and now they're ruminating about it and they're in the shower. It's like, what's wrong with this? I'm not get. And then they go to work and they're just thinking. But then you're teaching someone instead of like exactly what you just said of love. When a guy gets to the point where and I will teach mindfulness and they're going to go to bed and they're going to have this thought and it's not really productive because they're going to breathe through it. They're going to be present. They're going to be grateful that they are coming closer together. And then they wake up the next morning and now they don't ruminate in the shower. They don't they're thinking of other thoughts and productive things. They go to work and they're happy and they're not doing what's wrong with this marriage. If she just had more sex, we'd be happy. And it's a look at all that unproductive time and mental energy that now is gone. And then over time, I feel like you're right. Then the guy realizes, oh, wow, I don't have to have sex three point six times a week to be happy or whatever it is that he's come up with.

[00:44:37] Yeah, right. Well, and exactly. And I need to handle myself. I mean, this is all we have control over in marriage is ourselves. Yeah. And the more confused we get about that, the more unhappy the marriage. Yeah, exactly. So so I think, you know, I can't make anyone desire me. I can't make anyone choose me. That's what makes it so beautiful, is that if it really is freely offered and you know, there's no coercion and someone chooses you or brings their best to you, you know what a gift it is when you're always coercing, even if they comply, you never get you never have the sense of feeling really chosen. And I think for those of us who struggle with our sense of self, we're many of us are going to feel tempted to coerce because we don't want to know the answer of whether or not this person chooses us. Well, that's good. And so I see it not just as managing your thoughts, but a very important process and growing into adulthood is being able to handle your own sense of self in the face of invalidation. Yeah, in the face of not being wanted or reinforced in the way that we would most like. Not having this throw us into that kind of disorganized emotional state, that's important work and it's not work you're doing because you're defective partner, right? Yes, it's a work you're doing that's a part of becoming an adult. Yeah. This is like what they think Christ was quintessentially was a nonreactive, purposeful being who could tolerate invalidation, could tolerate the disagreement, or that people would see him as someone other than who he really was because he had enough sense of self to sustain it, to not get vindictive or cruel, and to stay invested in creating goodness in the face of that invalidation.

[00:46:42] Wow. That's that's really a hallmark of goodness. Yeah. And it's a hallmark of strength. And if you don't learn how to do that in a marriage, you're going to have a hard time creating a good marriage because it's so fundamental to creating something better. You know, just the other day I was having a conversation with my husband, I was telling him something invalidating of himself, it was giving him some thoughts that were a criticism, I suppose, saying I wasn't being mean. I was just saying honestly something that was hard for me. And he just honestly absorbed the conversation and responded to it and was thoughtful about it. And, you know, what's interesting is even that was not a really easy conversation. I was just afterwards, I just felt so much traction to him because I just said to him, I'm so grateful. You're the kind of person that can handle that kind of conversation without being punitive or mean or saying things back to me. And I just really respect it. And that's the, That's sort of the ability to kind of deal with hard things and walk towards them and look at your role in them. It's a really fundamental to creating, to being a good parent, to being a good partner, to being a good human being. And so that's fundamental to learning how to be a desirable person. So I think a lot of us get a lot more fixated on whether or not our spouse desires us than whether or not we genuinely see ourselves as choosable, as worthy. And that's the part we have control over.

[00:48:33] It does. And it does take work. I mean, do you feel like your husband is a natural at that or is that been something that is evolved over time?

[00:48:41] I think it's evolved over time, but he's probably more natural at it than I have been. You know, the first year of marriage, I'm like that. Now, why is that? That's what I'm

[00:48:53] Just thinking through a couple of difficult couple of sessions yesterday where I feel like we're making some point that is that we want. But don't you want your partner to be able to come to you and share their feelings and emotions? And somebody will say, yeah. And then they'll say, then there's that. You wait for this, but they need to be, but they need to be nice about it or but they can't be it. It's all OK. You can't put the rules around it, though, because you're then telling your partner, no, I want you to do that as long as you do it the way I would like for you to, because that's what makes me comfortable.

[00:49:21] Yeah. Yeah. And I think you can be honest about things and still respect. Absolutely. Yeah. You can't. But I also agree that basically are you going to deal with what's true about you, whether or not it gets said nicely. Yeah, I mean that's really the measure in the question. Yeah.

[00:49:40] That's beautiful. That is. I love that we went there. I do. I am so grateful for your time, Jennifer. And again, I realize you've been traveling for months and months and so you were so kind when I reached out and just made yourself available. I really appreciate that. Hey, I would love to I would love to do another episode again. I almost felt guilty. I was grateful that my nephew did that. You're being talked about. There's my in. But I appreciate your generosity with your time and your again, your podcast is my most downloaded by far. And the video on YouTube of our first interview is the most viewed video. So you're doing so much good and I really appreciate that and appreciate the taking the time. So. OK, I got to ask you one more quick question. The chart when we were on before, one of the things that people tell me and they laugh about is I think we both joked about there was some Wi-Fi issues at your home because your son may be playing for a fortnight. And I say, so how is the fortnight overseas? I mean, is he giving it up?

[00:50:38] Hey, yeah. That yeah. Yeah, that's not happening.

[00:50:41] So that's that's the key. As long as all you do is move your family, become a pack of nomads for about nine months and the four year addiction

[00:50:48] Will be exactly I mean that is actually part of what our thinking was taking this trip is just actually having a little less time online, a little bit more time actually out in the real world. And he is actually currently studying in China for a couple of months doing language immersion program. So the Wi-Fi is so bad there is no there's no foreplay.

[00:51:10] So there's the breaking news. The real reason that the doctor five left was the fortnite. You're in a fortnight. There's no way. Thanks so much for your time. I hope you have a great rest of your trip. And then and I can't wait to talk to you again in the future.

[00:51:24] Great.

[00:51:24] Thanks so much. All right. Bye bye.

Did you know that there is an actual conversation script that can help you become connected to your spouse? Yeah, Tony didn’t know that there was one either...until he and Magnetic Marriage co-creator Preston Pugmire (http://prestonpugmire.com) a fellow podcaster (Next Level Life podcast) and successful life coach created one. The CCS, or “Connected Conversation Script” is one of the key components to Tony and Preston’s marriage-changing course. In today’s episode, Tony and Preston dive deep into the CCS and talk about what there was a need for a script and how well it was received during the first round of their course. You’ll hear about how important empathy statements are in helping you understand your spouse...and what “landmine” statements to avoid. We’re only a couple of weeks away from the launch of the next round of the Magnetic Marriage course. You can sign up now to get in the queue for round 2 by heading to http://tonyoverbay.com/magentic. The course is scheduled to open for sign-ups in late April. In today’s episode, they cover the 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation as well as how accountability plays a major role in a more connected relationship.

The Magnetic Marriage Course is a hit! You can sign up now to get in the queue for round 2 by heading to http://tonyoverbay.com/magentic. The course is scheduled to open for sign-ups in the third week of April.Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

Tony shares the foundational principles of Dr. Sue Johnson's Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT/EFCT) from her book "Hold Me Tight." Tony referenced a review from Dan's blog "A Laughing Soul" (https://alaughingsoul.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/hold-me-tight-seven-conversations-for-a-lifetime-of-love/). Tony shares how his "4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation" a key component to his Magnetic Marriage course (http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic) can significantly help implement the tools of EFT in your marital and personal relationships. The next round of the Magnetic Marriage Course is launching soon! Go sign up now to find out details about the launch.

From A Laughing Soul blog: What Is Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT)? The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection.

EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster a loving, adult relationship. • EFT has an astounding 70 – 75% success rate and results have been shown to last, even in the face of significant stress. • EFT is recognized by the American Psychological Association as empirically proven. HOLD ME TIGHT presents a streamlined version of EFT. It walks the reader through seven conversations that capture the defining moments in a love relationship and instructs how to shape these moments to create a secure and lasting bond. Case histories and exercises in each conversation bring the lessons of EFT to life.Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

[00:00:01] So would you be surprised if I were to tell you that distress in a relationship adversely affects our immune and our hormonal systems, even to the ability to heal ourselves? In one fascinating experiment, psychologist Janice Quico Glaser of Ohio State University had newlywed's fight and then took blood samples over the next several hours. And she found that the more belligerent and contemptuous the partners were, the higher level of stress hormone and the more depressed the immune system. And these effects persisted for up to 24 hours after this fight. After this conflict, and in an even more astounding study called, Glazer used a vacuum pump to produce small blisters on the hands of women volunteers and then had them fight with their husbands. And the nastier the fight, the longer it took for the women's skin to heal. So coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, I'm going to dig into my my old favorite emotionally focused therapy. It's a method developed by Sue Johnson, and it is one of the only empirically based methods recognized by the American Psychological Association. As is empirically proven in the world of couples therapy, F.T.

[00:01:12] emotionally focused therapy for couples has an astounding 70 to 75 percent success rate, and results have even been shown to last, even in the face of significant stress. So the message of VDT is pretty simple. Forget about learning how to argue better or analyzing early childhood or making these grand romantic gestures or even experimenting with things like new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that we are emotionally attached to and dependent now dependent in a healthy kind of way on your partner, much the same way that a child is dependent on a parent for the nurturing, soothing and protection. But what F.T. focuses on is creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming key moments that foster these adult loving relationships. So we're going to learn about that and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch. Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 254 of The Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back.

[00:02:10] The Path Back is an online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. And if you if you haven't checked out the path back, please head to Pathbackrecovery.com or you can go to Tony Overbay dot com. There's a link there to courses, programs, and you'll find a link to the path back. The reason why I get so excited about this, I've completely revamped the path back. There's an online forum that's pretty amazing. And we have these group calls every Wednesday night that are getting larger and larger. And it is this this group of strength based overcome pornography, become the person you always want to be kind of way calls. And they are just they're kind of becoming the highlight of my week. So if you are interested in participating in one of these calls, want to kind of kick the tires on the program, reach out to me through Tony Overbay Dotcom, and I can give you more information on that. Or you go to Pathbackrecovery.com and there you can find an ebook that describes myths that people often fall prey to when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Again, that's Pathbackrecovery.com and I. And today today we're going to talk about emotionally focused therapy, F.T., which is something that I am passionate about. And the reason I'm a geek out a little bit on the concepts of F.T. in general is if you have been listening to the virtual couch for a while, you will have heard me talk incessantly about my magnetic marriage program.

[00:03:28] And that is because we have finished my buddy Preston Buckmeier and I have finished our first round of the magnetic marriage course. And I will I you'll hear so much about it in the coming weeks. There's gonna be some testimonials, some interviews with people that were actually in the first round of the course, but will be opening up that cart around the mid to end of April. And Preston and I are going to start a a podcast series beginning next week that is going to take you through some of the finer principles of the magnetic marriage course in hopes that you will go to Tony Overbay, dotcom, magnetic and just just plug your name in there, find out more about when this card is going to open. And we'll try to make it a little special for people that show up there early or the people that are in line waiting in line early. So, again, go to Tony Overbay, Dotcom's magnetic and you can be one of the first ones to learn more about the magnetic marriage and the magnetic marriage course is where if you've heard over the last I don't know, it's been excuse me a couple of months, but talking about the four pillars of a connected conversation, and I make no secret of those, are based on the principles of emotionally focused therapy.

[00:04:29] So I've been talking so much about four pillars of a connected conversation and this magnetic marriage course. And I've been given examples and the feedback has been phenomenal. But I thought before I jump into this podcast series with Preston, before we jump into another magnetic marriage round, so to speak, I wanted to just do one big geeky episode on F.T. Again, emotionally focused therapy, because everything from this magnetic marriage course is based off of this empirically proven, evidence based couples model, emotionally focused therapy. And as I have said on numerous occasions, whether it's on my show or when I'm being interviewed on someone else's podcast, I would not be doing couples therapy had I not stumbled upon F.T. emotionally focused therapy. Because when you come out of the when you come out of grad school, you've learned some reflective listening skills. You've learned some more skills of when you have a couple in your office where you're maybe saying, all right, reflect back what you heard. Sally, you know, would be Sally and reflect back what what Jim has said. And she'll say, well, I'm hearing him say that he thinks that I'm lazy or I'm hearing him say that he thinks that I am not appreciative. And then you say, OK, Jim, is that what you're conveying? Jim will say, yeah, this is how I'm feeling. And then you'll have them reflect back to one another. And then the therapist kind of and I'm oversimplifying this, trust me, I understand kind of sits back and says, all right, well, now that you've you've heard each other, how how do you feel about that? And it just doesn't feel very satisfying.

[00:05:49] And quite frankly, when you don't have a couples modality to work from, doing couples therapy can be extremely uncomfortable and it can be scary. But when you have a method, a framework like emotionally focused therapy, which has led to an even greater framework in my magnetic marriage course and the skills and tools you learn in this magnetic marriage course, couples therapy is actually a very, very satisfying, exciting thing to do is a therapist. And as I mentioned now, in any given week, I can see anywhere between 10 to 20 couples and I'm still seeing individuals in that sort of thing. So I found a great summary of emotionally focused therapy. And I want to give credit always where credit's due. And what's fascinating about where I found this is there's a blog. This is a good old fashioned WordPress blog called A Laughing Soul. And when you dig a little bit deeper into who the laughing soul is, it's a guy named Dan. It appears that Dan is not necessarily a psychologist. And this blog post was from years ago. But he interviewed he reviewed the book Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson, which is one of the best books to get. If you are really just wanting to learn about the concepts, the conversations around emotionally focused therapy, and that will give you a nice framework.

[00:06:57] It doesn't. Replace good therapy, or if I'm being completely bowled, what the magnetic marriage course has done is taken these principles of emotion, emotionally focused therapy, and we've we've added a whole lot more to that and made it more of a tangible here's how you put this into action kind of a program. But I still love so much of talking about the principles of emotionally focused therapy, because a lot of times I feel like when I have couples in my office that they don't even know that there is a framework around there. They don't even know that there is a framework that could help them now implementing the framework. Completely different thing and reading the book. Hold Me Tight is a great start. And I realize now I'm starting to sound like quite a big sales pitch. But and I'm OK with that because the magnetic marriage course, as I often say on a lot of the interviews I've been doing, we've cracked the code or figured things out of how to then implement emotionally focused therapy to have these difficult conversations so that you will then come out of a conversation feeling very connected. But I digressed quite a bit in this blog and I'll throw a link to it. Dan, who writes for this laughing soul, has broken down the book, Hold Me Tight beautifully.

[00:08:01] So I'm going to use that as a little bit of a basis or a framework of what I'm going to talk about today, because I want to go through EFT, as I mentioned in the opening of this episode, that it has an astounding 70 to 75 percent success rate and the results have been shown to last even in the face of significant stress. And I have seen that even where I have couples come into my office and I'm and you know what? They're couples where they learn to communicate more effectively and still may find out that they don't feel their marriage is necessarily viable. But even the skills around emotionally focused therapy helped them become incredibly good parents. While I do feel like it can literally save a marriage, I feel like there is nothing wrong or there's nothing negative about learning more about emotionally focused therapy. Even if you feel like you're the only person in the relationship that is putting forth effort, the effort principles are amazing in a relationship, but in not just a marital relationship, but also in the relationship with your kids or coworkers is just people out and about. As a matter of fact, very true story. I had someone in my office yesterday and they listen to the podcast. They'll know this is a good keeping it confidential, of course, but they will, I think, appreciate this. But they were talking about once the principles of emotionally focused therapy really solidified with them, that now they said it's you can't unring that bell.

[00:09:16] You can't undo now hearing things from an emotionally focused therapy standpoint and F.T. standpoint. And it does almost become frustrating to watch or communicate with other people who aren't working from the same emotionally focused place. And we'll talk more about that here in a bit. Hold me tight. This book by Sue Johnson is it's a streamlined version of emotionally focused therapy, which is why, again, I thought would be really fascinating to put this out here and then walk into this podcast series over the next few weeks that Preston and I are going to do about the magnetic marriage course, because I think that you'll hear some fundamental needs that we have as individuals and why we couple why we marry. And then Preston and I, over the next few weeks, we'll be talking about how to make that happen more effectively and more efficiently, using a lot of the things that we put forth in this magnetic marriage course. So it's a streamlined version of what it the book called Hold me Tight, walks the Reader through these conversations that capture these defining moments in a love relationship. And it really does instruct them on how to take these moments and create the secure, lasting bond. And here's a couple of quotes, some excerpts from the book, Hold Me Tight. Asou Johnson says that love is in actuality the pinnacle of evolution, the most compelling survival mechanism of the human species.

[00:10:29] And she says not because it induces us to mate and reproduce. We do manage to mate without love. People do that all the time. But because love drives us to bond emotionally with a precious few others who offer us a safe haven from the storms of life, which that's where Sue Johnson in a follow up book called Love Sense, and it's my favorite quote of all time, says that we are designed to deal with conflict and emotion. Are we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. So we are designed not to just figure it out on our own, but to process things in a healthy way with someone else. So we have these precious few others that offer us a safe haven from the storms of life. She says that love is our bulwark designed to provide emotional protection so we can cope with the ups and downs of existence. So she also goes on to say this drive to emotionally attached to find someone who we can turn to and say literally hold me tight, is wired into our genes and our bodies. And it's this basic need in life that that's part of life and health and happiness. And it's as normal as the drives of food or shelter or sex that we need emotional attachments with a few irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy to survive.

[00:11:39] And E40 is based off of attachment theory. And we're talking and we go all the way back to the psychologist Bowlby, who in 1944 published the very first paper on family therapy. It was called, funny If you think about this, the family therapy paper is called 44 Juvenile Thieves, in which Bowlby noted that, quote, behind the mask. Of indifference is bottomless misery, and behind apparent callousness is despair. So Bobby's young charges were frozen in the attitude of I will never be hurt again and paralyzed in this desperation and rage. So along with his studies and observations, Bobby was impressed by Darwin's ideas of how natural selection favors responses that help for survival. So we, in essence, present ourselves in a way that we feel we have to do to survive, even if that includes shutting down. If we feel like we are emotionally not safe in a relationship, then we're not going to continue to put ourselves out there. We're not going to continue to be emotionally vulnerable if we feel like it is only going to get us hurt. So it's it's this way that we have adapted to survive, even if that adaptation is a negative one, even if the adaptation is for us to pull away from someone. And that's where the first principle of the my four pillars of a connected conversation is this kind of assuming of good intentions or giving someone the benefit of the doubt, which means simply that if someone is withdrawing or pulling away, that is their adaptation of how they feel.

[00:13:02] This is the only way I can survive. This is the only way I can get my needs met is if I withdraw, which is it's kind of a fascinating concept. We came to the conclusion that keeping precious others close is a brilliant survival technique that is wired in by evolution. So I mean, that is where we are trying to find someone that we can count on that that is wired in because we need this love to survive. But we're also intensely afraid of being hurt. So you can see the paradox there. So along with his these studies, the Bobby went on to say that the majority of children are upset when their mothers walk out, that they will rock themselves, cry, throw toys. But some do prove to be more emotionally resilient and they can tend to calm themselves more quickly and effectively. They reconnect more easily with their mothers when they return, and they can resume playing while checking in to make sure that their moms are still around. And we've probably seen that. I volunteered with my wife in a nursery and church for a number a couple of years, and it was pretty fascinating calling as a therapist, I have to admit, because you got to watch the almost this healthier, secure, attached kids that would play and kind of would check in on to see if their parent is still around.

[00:14:12] You would also see the one that would not leave their parent's lap and then you would also see the ones that would basically want to effectively give their parent the hey, how about you hit the bricks? Now, I got some play to do, you know, that kind of a vibe. So you get to see a little bit of all of it. But, you know, you've got these people that are still kind of checking to see if their mom's around or they seem confident that their mothers will be there if they need them. There's there's the key. And the less resilient youngsters are anxious or they're aggressive or detached and they're more distant even on their mothers return. And the kids who can calm themselves usually have wormer or maybe more responsive mothers, while the moms of the angry kids are a little more unpredictable in their behavior. And then the moms of detached kids seem to be a little more cold or dismissive. And these are observations of Bowlby, not me, in the nursery and in these simple studies of disconnection and reconnection, Bulbasaur love in action. And so we begin to what he would say, code its patterns. And so he discovered that these isolated infants were so hungry for connection that when given the choice between a, quote, mother made out of wire who dispensed food and a soft cloth mother without food, they would choose this squashy rag mother almost every time.

[00:15:16] And generally, Harlow's experiments showed the toxicity of early isolation, which shows this why it's so important that we have this early attachment. And and he did this with primates. So physically healthy infant primates who were separated from their mothers during the first year of life grew into socially crippled adult primates as the way that he put it. Some of these monkeys have failed to develop the ability to solve problems or understand social cues of others. They became more depressed, self-destructive and and oftentimes unable to mate. And I don't want anyone that has had these these lack of secure attachments in that first year of life to feel like, oh, my gosh, I'm doomed. This was just some of what Bobby recognized with primates. Now, primates also don't have the ability to verbally communicate and they don't have as large of social circles or connections. The since that time, people have gone on to to challenge and want to say debunk some of Bobby's theories. But the concept of this early attachment, though, that's where the where F.T. takes off. That's where it gets its genesis. So the overall conclusion was that he said a sense of secure connection between romantic partners are actually now working into Sue Johnson, that a sense of secure connection between romantic partners is the key and positive loving relationships and this huge source of strength for people that are in those relationships. So among the more significant findings from emotionally focused therapy as that, when we feel generally secure, that is we are comfortable with closeness or confident about being able to depend on loved ones.

[00:16:37] The better we are seeking support, the better we are giving it. And then those who felt like their needs are are being met or that their needs were accepted by their partners, were more confident about solving problems on their own, and we're more likely to successfully achieve their own goals. And this is where the emotionally focused therapy or EFT principles are huge. I feel like when it comes to even things like parenting. So my wife and I talk about this a lot, especially the last several months, so if you have a an example of a parent who really feels like they need this tough love approach where they don't want to, they don't want to, they don't want to feel like they're enabling their kid to to have too much at their hands or in their disposal and worried that they will create this dependent codependency that a lot of times those parents are saying that, OK, if I don't push my kid out of the nest, then for some reason, then they will eventually they will stay in the nest for the rest of their lives and they won't be these independent, healthy adults. Where what what Sue Johnson or what Bowlby or what some of these attachment theory therapists posit is that actually that secure attachment is being able to have this.

[00:17:44] Hey, I've got your back. I'm here for you. If you need me in so much that you can go out and try things in the world. And even if you fail, you can come back and you're not going to get a I told you so or you're not coming back here anymore, that it's almost that fear that if we allow our kids that much rope that they are going to not be successful when what attachment theory says is OK, that's actually almost the complete opposite. The complete opposite is true, that in allowing our kids to go and fail and come back and know that we're going to be there to say, hey, tell me more about that. What was your experience like that they are going to have a secure attachment which is going to allow them to actually thrive instead of thinking that, OK, if we allow them to come back, then they're going to just stay here forever and and never be a productive member of society. So we've kind of got that wrong from an attachment standpoint. What I opened the podcast with today was the study by Janice Kikka Glaser of Ohio State, and that one was just fascinating. So just to go back to what that what that study was, is that distress in a relationship adversely affects the human, the immune and hormonal systems, even our ability to heal. So in this experiment, she had newlywed's fight and then took blood samples over the next several hours and found that the more belligerent and contemptuous the partners were, the higher level of stress hormones and the more depressed the immune system was.

[00:19:07] And so these effects persisted for up to 24 hours. So the immune system was depressed and those stress hormones were still elevated for up to 24 hours. So when people feel like, OK, you know, just give me a few minutes and I can get over it, if they don't have a secure attachment, that can take a long time to have those chemicals completely leave the body and for people to feel a little bit more in control or calm. Now, that isn't what I'm not saying that then everyone needs 24 hours of a cooling off period. In actuality, the more that you get these principles of emotionally focused therapy down. And this is where I will go back to a sales pitch of the magnetic marriage course. When you're able to implement what what I call these four pillars of a connected conversation, then you know that you are going to be able to get back to a conversation sooner because you have this framework that's going to allow you to have a productive conversation. And maybe this is a great time to talk about those four pillars. But this is where if I know if I see that my spouse has been withdrawn and that they just haven't, I feel like they haven't really been there for me over the last week month, however long it is.

[00:20:10] When I the reason I love these four pillars is that four pillars of a connected conversation is that pillar one is to assume the assume good intentions. That can be really difficult when you feel like the person is doing something to harm you. But if this person is withdrawn, I have to assume that they are not waking up in the morning and thinking, I know what, I'll do all this withdraw. That's that's how you know, that's how I'll show my spouse is that I will withdraw from them. I will become emotionally distant. So I have to assume, OK, they're they're not doing that to hurt me. And so if I approach them and I say, hey, I'm noticing that you are, you seem a little bit withdrawn. This is where I feel like anyone can jump into these four pillars of a connected conversation and become either the speaker or the listener. So let's jump in and say that let's say that I am having a conversation with my wife and I say to her, hey, I feel like you. I notice that you've been withdrawn. So at this point, if someone is following these four pillars of a connected conversation, part of my magnetic marriage course now my wife is the listener has to assume the good intentions that I didn't think, OK, I know what I'll do.

[00:21:07] I'll come throw this accusation at her and and that'll really get her goat. That'll make her frustrated or mad. So she has to assume those good intentions that when I bring something up, I had noticed that you're withdrawn, that I'm not trying to hurt her. And the second pillar is I can't I can't put off this message that I don't believe you or you're wrong, because at any point if we jump off into any one of these, we violate one of these pillars. Then the conversation is going to it's going to devolve. And at this point, if we walk into a conversation, assuming bad intentions or assuming that our partner does want to hurt us, then we're already going to be defensive. We're not going to be leaning in. We're not going be very empathetic. So back to the scenario. My wife would then have to say, OK, I have to assume that he's not trying to hurt me. And then the second pillar is, I can't just say I don't I don't buy that. That's a load of garbage. I can't say that you're wrong. And so that would lead to pillar three, which I say is questions before comments instead of her. Saying, OK, you're absolutely like, this is ridiculous, and I can't believe you're saying that, but OK, go ahead. Tell me what you're noticing. You can see where that would shut down a conversation. So Pillar three is asking questions before making comments, asking questions of saying, OK, I may not feel like I'm withdrawn, but tell me more.

[00:22:14] What are you noticing? Help me find my blind spots. How long have you been noticing this and what does that look like to you? And then pillar four is that she couldn't go jump into her bunker. She would have to stay present. She would have to then not say, OK, fine, I guess I'll just not do anything that I want to do. And I will be at your beck and call so you won't feel like I have abandoned you. So you can see how any one of those four pillars, if we are not sticking to those, then the conversation will tend to devolve. And so I say often that if you go back and look at conversations that didn't go well in your relationship and your marriage, that you will find one or more of those pillars that has been that is that we've broken, I guess. So then if my wife has been this listener and I feel heard now because she didn't assume that I was trying to hurt her, she didn't tell me I was wrong. She asked questions and she didn't go into a bunker. Now I become the listener. The rules apply to me now as well. So now with that information, I want her to be able to say I appreciate that. That would be difficult. If if you really do feel like I've been withdrawn, then I can understand that that would be frustrating or hard or that would feel lonely or isolating.

[00:23:15] But then if she gets to share the same thing, if she just says simply, I I didn't realize I was doing that, then I have to do the same thing. Can't I can't assume that bad intentions and I can't say seriously, like you don't notice this. It's that pillar two. I can't say you're wrong. I can ask questions of OK, you know, if you don't feel like you've been withdrawn, then I can understand why this is a bit of a surprise to you and then I can ask the questions. Hey, so I noticed that you've that you really haven't been communicating more recently. So tell me more. Have you noticed that? Or and because then those questions, if she's going to stay in this, I feel the world of these I feel statements, maybe it is OK. I didn't realize that. But now that I feel heard or now that I feel safe, maybe she's going to share with me that, yeah, maybe I do feel like I've had a lot on my mind. And I was even aware that that you felt like I had been withdrawing. And then I can't then go into my bunker pillar for I can't then say, you know, I shouldn't even brought it up. It's no big deal. I definitely digressed. I went a little bit of a tangent there, but I feel like this is where the being able to communicate about things effectively is what can help us get out of that.

[00:24:16] It takes 24 hours for this stress hormone to leave our body kind of a state, because that really is worst case scenario in the study that we're talking about, where people felt like they got their dander up. They felt like there was this disconnect. There was a fight in the relationship. And this is saying that they don't have those tools to be able to come back and communicate. And that's why often when people do have distress in a relationship, then they after a day or two and nobody's really processed anything, nobody's really communicated or made sense of what even happened to cause this disruption or this argument. And all of a sudden the waters are calm. Then people typically put their toe back into the waters of the relationship. And then if it seems OK, then they just go about their business and maybe we're OK. Right. And that's where I feel as a marriage therapist. I hear this so often where people don't resolve things, but then when things are seen, seem to go better and they don't have the tools or the framework to even go back and communicate about what that rift was about in the first place, then how often they feel like things are OK now. Now it's a Saturday and we're out doing some things.

[00:25:18] I want to bring up anything that's going to make things go south. So when they don't have those tools to be able to communicate even about things that have happened in the past, then we typically just tend to just move forward. And then over time, then that's what starts to really drive a wedge in the relationship. So back to some of this data, simply holding the hand of a loving partner can affect this profoundly and it can literally calm these jittery neurons in the brain. So contact with a loving partner can literally act as a buffer against shock and stress and pain. And the quote in this article now is saying, love is not the icing on the cake in life, but it is a basic primary need, like oxygen or water. And once we understand and accept this, we can more easily get into the heart of relationship problems. And I talked again about this study at Ohio State. But the more belligerent, contemptuous these partners were, the higher level, the stress hormone and the immune system. And again, I just shared that that state in the immune system for up to 24 hours. But in an even more astounding study that I mentioned in the intro as well is that Glaser used a vacuum pump to produce small blisters on the hands of women volunteers and then had them fight with their husbands. And the nastier the fight, the longer it took for the women's skin to heal.

[00:26:30] So that cortisol, that stress hormone that is elevated when we do not feel connected with a partner, that it literally suppresses our immune system. So that says something about how desperately we are to connect with someone that it can even affect our health. So when marriages fail, that it's not that increasing conflict is necessarily the cause, it's that this decreasing affection or this emotional responsiveness can offer. And be the culprit, so the lack of emotional response rather than the level of conflict is typically the better indicator of how solid a marriage will be several years into the marriage. So the demise of most marriages starts with this growing absence of a response to intimate interactions. So the conflict typically comes later. But the more that we aren't showing up or being there for our partner, then the more that that void starts to grow and then the more that we feel like our partner is not there for us. I think one of the things that's pretty fascinating to notice is that both people are often having that similar situation where they both feel like the other person is not there from them. So in the book, Sue Johnson says, as lovers, we we we poised delicately on this tightrope when the winds of doubt and fear begin blowing. She said, if we panic and clutch at each other or abruptly turn away and head for cover, the rope sways more and more and our balance becomes even more precarious.

[00:27:55] To stay on the rope, we have to shift with each other's moves, respond to each other's emotions, and as we connect, we balance each other. And we are more in this emotional equal equilibrium. Isolation and the potential loss of a loving connection is coded by the human brain into this primal panic response. And that is a significant bit of data. The need for safe, emotional connection to a few loved ones is wired in by, we believe, millions of years of evolution. So distressed partners may use different words, but they're always asking these same basic questions. Are you there for me? Do I matter for you where you come when I need you? Will you come when I call? And so there's some fascinating data that I have talked about in some previous episodes that show this this neural overlap of emotional and physical pain of why you can feel a physical pain, physical response, a physical pain response to emotional struggle or emotional strife. And so that is where it taps into this primal panic of this feeling, isolated or alone. So this longing for this emotional connection to those nearest to us is the emotional priority, and it even overshadows the drive for food or sex. And that's why when people really feel emotionally disconnected or they're going through some really, really heavy relationship related issues, what happens? Oftentimes they don't eat for days.

[00:29:15] I mean, so it literally overshadows this drive for food. And the drama of love is all about this hunger for this safe emotional connection. And survival becomes this. It's imperative that we experience this connection with another human being or these this close group of human beings. So a loving connection is the only safety that nature really ever affords us. So what Sue Johnson has or she refers to are these demon dialogs that they are these desperate attachment cries. And so most of the blaming and these demon dialogs is it's a cry that is a protest against disconnection. And it can only be quieted by someone moving closer emotionally closer to hold and reassure their partner. But we get into these patterns where it is scary to put yourself in a position of vulnerability to to lean in to someone that is so emotionally frustrated or emotionally flooded that they may often not say the kindest things which that is why as much as I love the book, hold me tight. I love her follow up book, Love Sense that the magnetic marriage course. And we provide a lot of these tools that allow people to to be able to or have the tools to reconnect even when things are hard or when things have been difficult. Sue Johnson has an acronym that's are A.R.E. and the A is accessibility. Can I reach you the hours responsiveness? Can I rely on you to respond to me emotionally and IA's engagement? Do I know you will value me and stay close? And so I wanted to talk a little bit and we'll start to wrap this up.

[00:30:53] But in the book Hold Me Tight, she talks about these seven transforming conversations. And I honestly, I promise you, I did not realize that this would become more of almost like this commercial or advertisement for my magnetic marriage course. But I have realized in being able to do and I have I have easily worked with over a thousand couples now over the last 15 years. And so I, I feel like there is a way to have those conversations using hold me tight and using the the principles of emotionally focused therapy. But it can be really difficult and it can be sometimes emotionally overwhelming or emotionally exhausting. And so I want you to know that even as you hear, if you go buy the book, hold me tight. If you take a marriage course, if you listen to a podcast I've done on four pillars of a connected conversation, I understand that you may walk away from even this podcast today and feel like there's some hope that there is a there's a thing there's a thing we can do and there's a framework that can be had that will help us communicate more effectively. And there absolutely is. And I want that to give people hope, but also know that you are trying to.

[00:31:57] Sometimes reverse years, if not decades, of not being able to communicate effectively by reading a book or by hearing a podcast, and it can take a lot more effort than that. But just know that that is a normal part of the process to find out some data, discover something new, something that that gives you a little bit of hope. And then as you start to explore what this is that you're hearing emotionally focused therapy or my magnetic marriage course, that your brain is still wired to go back to the path of least resistance, which is to protect itself and get in the bunker and be want this emotional connection, but also not know how to get the emotional connection. So all of that is so normal. So Sue Johnson has things broken down into these seven transforming conversations. She says, recognizing demon dialogs. In this first conversation, couples identify the negative and destructive remarks in order to get on the root of the problem and figure out what each other is really trying to say. She often talks about that or what I'm dealing with couples in my office. It's the, hey, how do we get here? And some of these demon dialogs fall into some pretty, pretty regular patterns. The tit for tat, the. You did this. Oh, yeah. Well, you did this. There's another one where it's the withdraw and the pursuer, where oftentimes the more that one person pursues, the other person withdraws and that gets into attachment styles.

[00:33:09] I did an episode of my podcast a few months ago with Jennifer Finlayless and five talking about anxious and avoidant attachment, and that was big. I put a lot of effort and into that that podcast episode because I really feel like that was where I was really starting to understand these attachment styles and how I find it. In most marriages, people fall into this pattern of one being more of this anxious attachment. That's me and my relationship, where if I walk in the room and my wife isn't jumping up and down and waving pompoms, I say, Is everything OK? Yeah, that's my own attachment. And then if 10 minutes later she's still kind of just doing her thing, then I'll say, hey, did I do anything, you know? And the more that I push with my anxious attachment, the more that can because of what I what I love. One of my favorite things is the concept of reactance, psychological reactance. This instant negative reaction of basically being told what to do. As the more I'm saying, hey, did I do anything. Are you cool? Will you tell me if I did anything? Is it almost drives that avoidant attachment? In this case, it would be my my wife where the more I'm fine, I promise you I am good to the point of where you almost feel that that wedge that can be driven in between there because most of us fall into this anxious attachment, avoid attachment pattern.

[00:34:16] So the second conversation that she talks about is finding the raw spots. And this this is some difficult work, but it's very powerful. And that is here. Each partner learns to look beyond the immediate impulse of reactions and figure out what the raw spots are. They're being hit. And this is where I find that doing couples therapy and this is, again, probably the 500 plug of this episode of my four pillars of a connected conversation. And the magnetic marriage course is we may now feel like, oh, OK, I get attachment theory. That makes a little more sense. It's nice to know there's a way to be able to communicate and that having all this data you're learning today and then we feel like let's jump right to the rough spots. And in my MagneGas marriage course, I identified these levels of charged topics and I've got four different levels of charged topics. The highest charged topics are often things like it's sex, it's parenting, it's finances, it's religion, it's politics. And so often, even when we get a shiny new tool or toy like emotionally focused therapy or my magnetic marriage course, we want to say, OK, let's jump right to these things that are really bothering us and it can be difficult. So you have to practice more of a connection with the lower charged topics because those same principles will go with you as you talk about these higher charge topics.

[00:35:29] But finding these raw spots, because I find that so often is the case where a couple comes in and they're going to break down the week and they're going to talk about how we really got into it on Wednesday and they'll look at each other and think, OK, what? I came here with the I remember what we were fighting about, but but we were really charged. And it's because it's not about the the particular topic per say. And when we touched on a raw spot, then we jump down into our bunkers and we're using these demon dialogs. We're throwing out the tit for tat or the PSU withdrawal or the freeze and flee. We just hunker down and wait till everything's over. We freeze and we run away. And then we hope that everything's OK. So we've been able to find those rough spots and communicate about them. Is one of these other transforming conversations is what Sue Johnson talks about in the book Hold Me Tight. Revisiting a Rocky Moment. This can be so powerful. This conversation provides a platform for deescalating conflict and repairing rifts in a relationship that build emotional safety. So this is where we don't talk about things, as I was mentioning earlier. And then we we go about our relationship. And then when things really start to get rough or you feel disconnected from your partner, now we bring back things from years ago and then the personal, oh, here we go again.

[00:36:35] You're bringing up the wedding. Are you bringing up the move or you're bringing up the vacation? Are you bringing up the family reunion? And obviously what that says is that we never process that. So we need a way to go back and revisit one of these rocky moments. And with these my four pillars, you can actually go apply those to a an old wound or an old conversation. They're there literally was. An example not too long ago of a couple that had had a rift at a family reunion a few years ago and we went back and we've applied these four pillars onto this rift, onto this family reunion situation that had happened years ago. And what that looked like in broad strokes was a husband that had really put himself out there to make it to a family reunion, but had also had to give up some things at work that were pretty important and also had a pretty big financial ramification. But I've been hearing that if he did not show up at this family reunion, that his wife really felt like he was not there for her, that she didn't matter to him. And so neither one of them communicated this effectively. And here we were years later. And we're in my office talking about this. And when we went back and applied these four pillars back to revisiting a rocky moment, what we realized was, as is typically the case, there was a lack of communication.

[00:37:46] And so people didn't even know what was going on and the other person's world. So the wife had really said, I really need you here. I'm taking the kids. And it's a lot of work. And my family is not the nicest people in the world. And this is a reunion. And everyone else is coming with their their spouses and they're going to look like everybody's living happily ever after and you will not be there. And so the husband at that point is shut down. And he went and then here we were talking years later where he he had been working on some project at work and had tried to communicate to his boss and to things did not go as well. And he ended up losing a particular position which had a financial implication. And so then he had been carrying this resentment for two or three years. Now, who was right? I don't know. It's not my job at have that power to say I, I now deem you is the correct one to one of the spouses. But one of the brilliant things about emotionally focused therapy and my magnetic marriage course and hold me tight is the goal is to be heard. It's not necessarily to resolve, which can be a very difficult concept to wrap our heads around. So in this situation, it would have been nice just for the two of them to be able to communicate because they're both, in essence, saying the same thing.

[00:38:47] Are you there for me? Do you appreciate me? Can I count on you? Do you have my back? And I believe truly, had they both been able to process that and in real time, back when the event occurred, when this family reunion was happening, that it might look something like this. So let's say that the husband is going to now assume the role of listener and the wife is going to be the speaker. The wife is going to communicate to him that, hey, I am really it's hard for me. I'm frustrated because I feel like you are not making this family reunion a priority. So he has to then pillar one have to assume good intentions. She's not saying this to hurt me. And this is a way that she feels that she needs to express herself to get her needs met, goes back to that attachment stuff that I mentioned earlier. So if she is expressing that, then he can't say that's absolutely ridiculous. He can't Pillar 2, I can put out that message that you are wrong. And three, I need to ask some questions. And that's where had they had those tools at that time or been working with the therapist at the time that was skilled in EFT, then it might have looked something more like her being able to express that.

[00:39:47] I feel alone. I feel like I'm being I feel like comparisons. I'm watching everybody else around me. I feel like all of their marriages are perfect. I feel like I'm being judged all of these things. And for him to then stay in there, ask those questions and then not jump into his bunker pillar four, stay present, he can't say, fine, I'll just go. But to say, man, I appreciate you sharing that. And then for him to then be able to say, all right, I can understand now, thank you for sharing that, that would be really difficult. And then I would work with him to now be the speaker and to stay in the good old I feel statements. I appreciate that, man. I feel like I've put in a lot of work in a particular project. And I worry that if I am not showing up that this might be detrimental to my career and our financial future. And we want we have all these hopes and dreams of kids through college and vacations. And and I just I'm worried that if I don't show up in this particular situation at work, that that could impact us negatively. So if I am working now with him being that speaker, her now, assuming he's not saying those things to hurt her and not saying that, that's ridiculous, you work super hard and no one would ever think that she can't say, hey, you're wrong. And then she's asking more questions and then she can't go into her bunker and say, okay, fine, you don't have to come.

[00:40:57] It doesn't matter. I'll just do everything on my own. But when people feel heard, that's when we're more we're more able to work toward a resolution or even some sort of compromise where in that situation maybe there is the ability for him to be there a little bit and to her understand that, well, you know, I really want him to feel like he can provide and succeed at work and him saying, I really want to be there for her, because that would be really difficult if she's feeling judged or if she's feeling like she's less than. And so in that scenario, we then I always joke that the fight becomes turning toward each other. You know, the fight becomes more of once we feel heard. And and I'm not saying this is the way it works out every time, but then that fight becomes more of something like than him saying, but you know what? I hear you and I want to be there for you and I'll do whatever it takes to her saying, no, no, I appreciate your sacrifice and I'll be OK just knowing that you're there for me. Maybe we communicate more effectively while I'm gone or he's able to come for a couple of nights or whatever that looks like. But we're going to get to that resolution more when we are able to recognize these raw spots of I feel like you aren't there for me.

[00:41:57] And then revisiting a rocky moment and being able to apply these these principles even to things that have happened in the past. So the fourth transforming conversation from Hold Me Tight is literally the words hold me tight. Sue Johnson said the heart of the program. This conversation moves partners into being more accessible, more emotionally responsive and deeply engaged with each other. The fifth conversation she talks about is forgiving injuries. This one's powerful. This one I do a lot of work with in the world of the concept of betrayal. And when one person has betrayed the other person, when there's been infidelity, when there's been addiction that's been exposed or or those those types of things, that injuries may be forgiven, but they don't they don't disappear. So instead, they need to become integrated into a couple's conversation as demonstrations of renewal and connection and knowing how to find and offer forgiveness empowers couples to strengthen their bond. I've never done an episode on what's called an attachment injury apology, but I need to do that at some point. An attachment injury. Apologies when someone is triggered. Oftentimes when I have a couple in my office and there has been some sort of betrayal, then when the person the betrayed is triggered and they're going to be triggered by a lot of things, they're going to be triggered by memories, sounds, music, smells, locations, you name it, that they'll often feel triggered and then they will immediately start to shut down and their partner may not even be aware of what's going on.

[00:43:16] So what hold me tight and E.F.T. and my magnetic marriage course is amazing for as being able to work on how to forgive injuries, how to forgive betrayal. And the key and this is, again, one of those things that can seem scary and it can maybe even seem counterintuitive at the time. But this concept of an attachment injury apology, I have given the example often of where let's say that there's been infidelity and it has happened around a particular you know, let me just like to stay away from being too insensitive. Let's say that the wife has blond hair and the husband had was was unfaithful with someone with dark hair and maybe a completely different body type or size. And so then they're at a store and then here comes someone that maybe fits more of what the what the affair partner looked like. And then nothing is said. But this uncomfortable silence spreads into the room and the couple is now standing there, even in a supermarket. And it just you can just feel the energy. Leave the room. What an attachment injury apology about is being the wife, being able to say, man, you know, that that's really hard for me when I see someone that walks by that that kind of looks similar to your affair partner and instead of the husband saying, OK, I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that, but forgiving injury and attachment injury, apologies for him being able to know what to say in those situations and be able to say, I appreciate you sharing that with me and I am so sorry I put you in a spot where we can be out and about and someone walks by that has long dark hair and now your mind immediately goes to this betrayal.

[00:44:40] But I'm here for you. I want you to know I'm here for you. We're working on this. I'm committed to you. And that goes back to these principles of EDT. Are you there for me? Can I count on you? Do I matter to you? And so being able to have this ability to forgive injuries is one of these key conversations that is is part of this emotionally focused therapy model to more. One is bonding through sex and touch. Here, couples find how to emotionally how emotional connection creates great sex and good sex creates a deeper emotional connection. And but that has to be done through a tell me more connected conversation style, not just a world of expectations and things that expectations and assumptions. Sexual intimacy is not a place for expectations and assumptions. It's more of a place where people need to be able to communicate effectively, because even when it comes to situations around intimacy, we all have our own experiences going in and that's a very vulnerable place.

[00:45:33] So we need to have these tools and skills to be able to communicate even about things of a sexual nature or of an intimate nature. And the last key conversation from the book Hold Me Tight Keeping Your Love Alive. This last conversation is built on the understanding that love is a continual process of losing and finding emotional connection. And I love how Sue Johnson says that, that we continue to lose and find emotional connection because we're all dealing with a lot of stuff. We are, on a day to day basis. And so it's normal for even the most emotionally healthy couple to lose, lose sight of each other from time to time. But now we have these tools of learning how to reconnect. That example I gave earlier about, hey, I feel like you've been a little bit emotionally distant then. We now have these tools to be able to communicate effectively and to be able to reconnect. She said that this this keeping your love alive conversation ask couples to be deliberate and mindful about maintaining a connection. So this goes back to the the blog. What Dan has put as lessons learned, he says from all couples therapist. He says, Our need for others to come close when we call to offer us a safe haven is absolute. The second one, emotional starvation is a reality. Feeling emotionally deserted or rejected or abandoned sparks physical and emotional pain and panic.

[00:46:47] This third point is that there are very few ways to cope with our pain when our primary needs for connection are not met. And I believe that is so true when our primary needs for. Are not met, then our emotional pain can can move into the area of the brain that is right there with physical pain, so when we feel emotionally alone, it can feel like a physical manifestation of pain. The fourth one, emotional balance, calm and vibrant joy are rewards of love. And and I love this comment. Sentimental infatuation is the booby prize. So saying that we often chase this sentimental infatuation. But what we really are desperate for is an emotional balance or this calm and vibrant joy that those are the true rewards of love. Next, there is no perfect performance in love or sex. Obsession with performance is a dead end, and it is being emotionally present that that is the key emotional presence is really what matters in a relationship. Six and relationships. There's no simple cause and effect, no straight lines, only circles that partners create together. And we pull each other into these loops and spirals of connection and disconnection. The next one, emotion tells us exactly what we need if we can listen to it and use it as a guide. And I love that concept of our emotion or our emotional response is there as a way to get our needs met.

[00:48:02] This is an episode on stress and anxiety not too long ago. And what I talked about extensively in that episode was that even anxiety is our body trying to say, hey, you need to watch out. You need to be aware. I need to warn you of impending danger. So even the concepts of anxiety is our brain trying to say, hey, I'm looking out for you. It just might have it might be anticipating a few too many events that will most likely never happen. But the concept is that our body is literally trying to do us a favor by either telling us that we're need to be weary or afraid of a situation, or it's also doing the same thing where it's our emotion is telling us what we need. If we can listen to it, use it as a guide. Our emotions are telling us I need you right now to our partner. I need this emotional connection. Are you there for me? The next one that that he writes are we all hit the panic button at times and we may lose our balance and slip into anxious, controlling or numbing and avoiding modes. But the secret is not to stay in these positions. It's too hard for you or your lover to meet you there. And this is the part where if our way to get our needs met is to withdraw and bless our heart, if that's where we're at right now, that's a pattern that we've created, that being able to have the tools to come out of your bunker and express your needs is ultimately being it's using your your put your big boy pants on and showing up with your adult coping mechanisms and adult coping skills.

[00:49:27] I've done so much in the last few episodes around attachment and abandonment issues, and that withdrawal is truly our childhood abandonment or attachment wounds manifesting into adulthood. You know, it really is that ability when we are when we are withdrawn, we are we're kind of saying, OK, if I withdraw, then people will come find me. But then that's a bit of a rigged system because we're also putting ourselves at danger of if people don't then find me when I am withdrawn, then that means something is wrong with me. So those are those childhood coping mechanisms coming into adulthood. We need to get to a point where we can then put ourselves out there because we want what is best for us. We are in charge of our own ship, so to speak. And so we need to have the tools and the voice to be able to put ourselves out there and say, hey, I need you right now. And that's OK. Key moments of bonding are when one person reaches for another and the other responds and it does. It's difficult. It can be it takes courage and it is emotionally vulnerable to put yourself out there at the risk of your partner not responding.

[00:50:28] But I will tell you, the alternative is not going to be the way to a true emotional connection. That's where we're talking about if your go to move is to sit in your bunker and wait and hope that somebody comes to rescue, then that is going to lead to a lack of satisfaction in the marriage. So having the tools, the skills, this is a general plug. My magnetic marriage course or program of being able to put yourself out there is absolutely key. I've got a few more here and I'm realizing as the world's worst promoter, let me quickly toss in an ad right now for Betterhelp.com. And the reason why I feel like it would be appropriate right now is if this is emotionally focused couples therapy. And if you are finding that right now, you're saying I want to do these things, but I have a lot of my own stuff I got to deal with, then I highly recommend at times you may need to go take care of some of your own insecurities or vulnerabilities to be able to show up in a couples situation. If your spouse is not interested in couples therapy right now, maybe the best thing that you can do is go raise your own emotional base line through some individual counseling. And that can be really difficult, because I will tell you as a therapist who has a very, very long waiting list and I'm grateful for it and all those wonderful things, now that we are breaking the stigma around mental health and we're just coming off of one of the craziest years in the history of the universe, there are a lot of people right now that are trying to find help.

[00:51:53] And so if you are unable to find a therapist, a counselor in your area, then really go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you can do now what well over a million people are doing. You can find help and even up to 24 to 48 hours and it can be done through tella therapy. And we're talking on the phone, the computer, there's even text therapy. Betterhelp.com has a pretty fascinating article on its website that I've sent to a few people of where people are literally able to text each other and the way here's what I mean to sound like my first get off my lawn, old man moment. The way kids text these days tell you what you know, they can literally have conversation, they have conversations, these kids on their phones with their fingers. And so you can have this this experience as well through Betterhelp.com. So go to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch. You get ten percent off your first months, these first months costs. And they have a really impressive onboarding system assessment tool where you fill out a series of questions and you can find someone that specializes in some of the things that you may be struggling with, whether it's anxiety, depression, OCD and and you owe it yourself.

[00:52:56] Please go find help either through somebody in your area or if you can't, they are real licensed professional counselors and therapists that are at Betterhelp.com virtual couch. OK, so let me get back to there's a few more of these. The tenth thing that Dan shares on his blog is forgiving injuries is essential and only happens when partners can make sense of their own hurt and know that their lover connects and feels that hurt with them. So this is where we're designed to deal with emotion. In concert with another human being, a lasting passion is entirely possible and love. The erratic heat of infatuation is just a prelude. But in attuned, loving bond is the symphony. How beautiful is that quote? Neglect will actually will absolutely kill love. Love needs attention. Feel like this is where love needs watering. You must nurture love knowing your attachment needs and responding to those of your lover can make the bond last truly until death do us part or throughout the eternities and beyond and all the cliches. About love, when people feel love, they're freer or more alive or more powerful or absolutely true, they are more true than we could ever imagine, that all you need is love. Love is the answer. All of those cliches, when you have this type of a relationship, when you have one that is founded on these principles around emotionally focused therapy.

[00:54:06] And we're seeing this, the Preston and I, with this first round of the magnetic marriage course, the feedback again, it's been pretty phenomenal of people now realizing that there is a different way to communicate, that there is a way to stay connected, even if they've been married for a very long time and felt like that fire, that flame was was dead. And this is one of those things that I don't know why it took me a long time to see this, but I'm in my office, I'm doing couples therapy. I've got this model, this emotionally focused therapy model that I'm using as a therapist again, which is now having me love couples therapy. And it hit me a few years ago that I'm talking to people that don't know what I'm talking about. They they basically have come in to learn how to listen and fight better, or they come in to have Mirrool to hear who is said what. And then I get to tell them who is right and who is wrong. And so I really feel like that, you know, it dawned on me that people don't know that there is a different way to communicate if they didn't see that model with from their parents or if they have not had that in their relationship, which I think is why every time I put out a podcast on emotionally focused therapy or my magnetic marriage or course, or these four pillars of a connected conversation, the downloads are thousands of downloads more because people hear this and say, wait a minute, there's a there's a way that this could happen, but it is not easy and it does take work.

[00:55:25] And you can read a book like Hold Me Tight or you can read her next book, Love Sense, and you can go see a couples therapist, but you need to find one that really knows what they're talking about. Or again, what a what a plug for TonyOverbay.com/magnetic. And we put these tools in place in my magnetic marriage course. So all the cliches there. True. So the conclusion the simple truth is that we feel securely connected if we feel the secure connection with our partner, we feel, if we feel emotionally attached, that we are better able to manage the the unpredictable nature of life and whether it is personal, whether it's professional, whether it's in our relationship as a couple, whether it's in our jobs, whether it's with our kids, that we're more resilient and we're able to manage the ups and downs of life more and we're less prone to develop these mental health concerns, if we can stay in tune with our person, our partner, if we can stay attached, securely attached to the person that is there for us, that we need to be able to feel like that person is there for us, that that we matter, that they have our back, that that they will show up when we call for them.

[00:56:28] So that is my hope to you. I appreciate you letting me take you on this emotionally focused therapy journey. And I will I will have some bonus episodes coming up. I'm going to do a little bit more with some parenting. I'm going to have a bonus episode in a week or two. It's a replay of my first episode that I did with Jennifer Finlaysonfife are actually the second one where I talk about high desire, low desire partners in a relationship. We're going to talk about how to teach kids empathy. We're going try to put a lot of content out in the next few weeks, especially leading up to the next round of this magnetic marriage course, which has been a game changer. So thank you so much for joining me today. Don't forget to go to Betterhelp.com. That would be great. If you're still listening and you happen to I'm going to put this up on my YouTube channel and close to a thousand subscribers. It would be wonderful to kick over that mark because then YouTube gives you different tools to work with. So if you are YouTube person and you go over, find the virtual couch channel on YouTube and give it a subscribe, that would be great. And I will leave us with, as per usual, the wonderful the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It's wonderful. I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

The term codependent is often used incorrectly in relationships. Yes, codependency, or needing external sources, things, or even people to give one a feeling of self-worth, is not the healthiest way to navigate a relationship, but often, with just a few tweaks, we can move a codependent relationship into an interdependent relationship. Tony refers to the article, “How To Build a Relationship Based on Interdependence” by Jodi Clarke, LPC (https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-build-a-relationship-based-on-interdependence-4161249) where she shares: Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship, recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other's physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways.Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

------ TRANSCRIPT ------

One of the most frustrating things for me as a therapist is misinformation, and some of it comes from a cute, fun place. It's good. It's well-meaning. Take one of my favorite pop psychology myths, for example. It's one I like to challenge whenever I go speak out on the road. It's the old how many days does it take to create a new habit? And this is not a habit change podcast, but bear with me for a second. So what pops into your mind if you're like most people, you think twenty one days. But the truth, according to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, takes anywhere from 18 to two hundred and fifty four days for a person to form a new habit, depending on the habit, depending on the person. The study also concluded that on average, it takes sixty six days for a new behavior to become automatic. But again, this is not a podcast about habit change. So let me get back on track. In my work as a couples therapist in particular, I run into the word codependency on a regular basis. Now let me just break down the definition of codependent codependency, the definition excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one to require support on account of an illness or addiction, quote, the tie that binds most of us together in this trap called codependency. So I've spoken often about codependency. And when codependency goes south, when it turns bad, we're talking about self-worth coming from external sources.

[00:01:22] Codependent people need external sources or things or other people to give them feelings of self-worth, often following destructive parental relationships, abusive past or self-destructive partners, codependents, learn to react to others, worry about others, and depend on others to help them feel useful or alive. Simply put, they put other people's needs, wants and experiences above their own. And in fact, codependence is a relationship with one's self. They can be so painful that a person no longer trust his or her own experiences. And it perpetuates a continual cycle of shame and blame and sometimes self-abuse. Codependent people might feel brutally abused by the mildest criticism, or even I ran into people that are suicidal when a relationship ends. And his 1999 book, Codependents The Dance of the Wounded Souls, author Robert Burney says the battle cry of the codependent is I'll show you, I'll get me. But where things get interesting or when I read on social media posts or I have people quote to me in sessions or people that come up and just ask for advice about relationships where they say that you can't expect your partner to be there for you, that if you do that, you're somehow setting yourself up to be disappointed or let down or you're going to be codependent, to which I have people say just so many times, then why even get married? So Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy and the author of Hold Me Tight, had a follow up book called Love Sense, where she quoted another psychologist and saying the message touted by popular media and therapists has been that we're supposed to be in total control of our emotions before we turn to others, love yourself first and then another will love you.

[00:02:58] But our new knowledge stands that message on its head for humans, says psychologist Ed Tronic of the University of Massachusetts. The maintenance of emotional balance is a dyadic collaborative process. In other words, we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another person, not by ourselves. So today we're going to learn hopefully a new word interdependence and how interdependence differs from codependency, what that looks like and why learning this difference, the difference between codependency and interdependency has the ability to change your relationships faster than you knew was possible. So we're going to cover that and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch. Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and forty eight of the virtual couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified my coach writer goes by the for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism and doing so in a strength based hold the shame, become the person you always want it to be.

[00:04:07] We head over to Pathbackrecovery.com. There are weekly group calls that are just phenomenal and you can find out more there at pathbackrecovery.com. And you can also download a short e-book that describes five myths that people make when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. It can only be done. And it's a strength based again, hold the shame and all those good things pathbackrecovery.com. And I'm not going to I'm not going to keep going on and on about my magnetic marriage course that has started now with Preston Buckmeier. But it's everything I wanted to be. I've never been more excited about something. We're in week three of the The Maiden Voyage, the initial group that are in there, and weekly group calls and modules and then all kinds of stuff. I mean, I didn't press in. We put this program together and it's just amazing. We had another call last night and I just I can't say enough, but I will suggest that you go to Tony over Match.com, slash magnetic and go and get yourself on the wait list and then we will let you know when the window opens up, the next cohort begins and all those good things, because it's again, it is everything, everything that I wanted it to be. If you listen to episodes based on the four pillars of a magnetic marriage and that just all the things that I talk about as a couples therapist, I wasn't going to talk about this.

[00:05:19] So go to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic and get yourself on the wait list and sign up to find out more about all kinds of fun, exciting things. And follow me on Instagram, a virtual Kotzer on Facebook, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist. Let's get to today's topic. This is one that I have wanted to tackle for a very long time. I've done presentations on codependency versus interdependency, and I really do have a good excuse on why I have not covered this before. But I'm going to be referring to an incredibly good article and I will link to this found on very well Mindcrime. It's by Jody Clark, who is a licensed professional counselor. And I just I think there's so much gold here and just as I mentioned in the intro. So I'm not going to I'm not going to go over that again or over and over. But I run into this concept of codependency often. And I have to tell you, one of the very first one of the very first books I remember buying in grad school was a book called Codependent No More by an author named Melody Beattie. And it's a great book. I can literally look and see it on my bookshelf right now. And that was a long time ago. And it's the codependent Bible, so to speak. But I also believe, and this is going to be my opinion, that the phrase codependent gets tossed around a little bit too liberally.

[00:06:32] And I find that there are often times where I have people give me all kinds of experiences where people are literally, literally crying for their partner to be there, for them to be somebody that that is there for them that they can count on, has their back, loves them. All of these foundational principles of emotionally focused therapy. And the person says, man, I can't because that would be codependent. You have to figure this one out on your own. And that's why I I read that quote at the beginning that talked about we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. And I've been going so big on all of my attachment and abandonment, that speech on probably five or six of the last seven or eight podcasts that I've done, that we come forth from from the factory, from the womb as a baby that is expressing our needs. And we are crying because we cry to get our needs met, to be held, to be picked up, to be loved, to be clean, to be fed. And that that is something that is innate within us, that we are designed to to need another person to take care of us early on. So we are wired to feel like abandonment is death. And now I'm not saying that that leads to everybody lives happily ever after.

[00:07:40] And I'll do the speech again very, very quickly here. That in that preoperative or that stage one of life kind of situations. So zero to two years old that we are programed to express ourselves and we get our needs met. We get picked up, we get fed, we get love, we get cuddled. But I had had somebody tell me the other day, they said, but as cute as babies are, they're pretty annoying because if you don't if you don't go address their needs, they just keep going on and on. And so, again, we are just programed to get our needs met by expression. But we hit that next phase of life two to seven, where I say welcome to the world of abandonment, where all of the sudden anything that we want as a kid that I want to wear mismatched clothes, I want to not shower for a week. I want to just eat candy all the time. And when we're told no, we think, what the heck? I'm expressing myself from the first two years of life. When I express myself, you meet my needs. So what is going on here? And that leads this. I say there's two different tracks that happen at that point. There's an abandonment track that leads to the when someone isn't meeting our needs, we go throughout our life than thinking, well, wait a minute, people met my needs from the factory.

[00:08:44] That's my factory setting. That's the wiring in my brain. So when people aren't meeting my needs into adolescence or into adulthood or in my marriage, when my spouse isn't responding the way I want them to respond, that it must be me because remember this two to seven and on that little kids are these little little bless their heart, narcissists. They have they have no empathy. They have no sense of of compassion for the plight of others. They don't really care what's going on with their caregiver. And this isn't meant in a bad way. It's just the way that things are. They also don't know how to self advocate or they so they are coming forward as little egocentric people that are center of the universe. So everything revolves around them. So then that moving forward into adulthood, then if people are not meeting their needs, something must be wrong with them. They must be broken. They must be unlovable. And so that leads to this whole abandonment path where people then try to figure out how do I get my needs met? And from that, what's wrong with me? People chase after all kinds of things. If I get the six pack abs, if I get the nice house, if I get the nice car, if I have the six figure job, then people will respond to my needs. But that's not what it's about. And on the other side of the coin, we have what I call the attachment track.

[00:09:55] And that attachment track is then people have grown up trying to present themselves in a way to get people to like them, to get their needs met. Do they present themselves as the athlete or is the scholar as the peacemaker, as the rebel, as whatever that is, that that comes from a place of if I do not get my needs met, I will die. Something is wrong with me. So we then enter into relationships, teenage relationships, adult relationships, marriages. And now we've got this baggage we bring into the relationship where we worry that if that person doesn't respond the way I would like them to respond, that it's not because this is an imperfect world and they're imperfect people and everybody has their problems or challenges. Our minds tell us that it's me, something's up with me, or people would be responding to me differently. So then we go down. Then here comes this attachment track as an adult. And now we figure out how do I maneuver in this situation? How do I present myself so that my needs will get met. And so often it is done subconsciously. So it's not something that people necessarily calculatedly do, but it's something that we are doing is trying to figure out how to present myself to my spouse or to my boss or to my kids or to my church leader or to the my buddies at the gym so that I will be cool, that I will be loved.

[00:11:09] I will be like that will be included part of the tribe, part of the pack, because then I won't be abandoned because I still have this wiring in me. This is that abandonment equals death. This is what can lead a lot of times to this feeling of codependence. And so most of us value this connection with others. Now, I'm going to jump into this very well mind article again. This is going to be something I'm going to be reading a lot of and then commenting on by Jody Clark, who's a licensed professional counselor. But she says most of us value connection with others, especially in our romantic relationships. And as I just went over, we're wired for connection and connection allows us to create bonds and intimacy with our partner. And the successes of long term relationships depend heavily on the quality of our emotional connection with each other, are not our emotional codependency, but our emotional connection with that we to each other. So when we think of our ideal relationships, we often think of of a wonderful, close, lifelong relationship with our most important person. Our person is what you hear often today, that cozy, safe, long term bond with somebody who we know has our back for the long haul. Again, in the world of emotionally focused therapy, somebody that we can count on, somebody that has our back, somebody that loves us, somebody that that cares about us, that we can turn to.

[00:12:23] So that is a relationship that gives us this freedom to be ourselves, that supports our growth and allows us to have flexibility with each other. Now, I want you to start getting picked up on a vibe here when we're going to be talking about interdependence. We're talking about being in a relationship that gives us freedom to be ourselves. It isn't saying that you have to go figure yourself out first before you enter the relationship. No, it's a relationship that gives you the freedom to be yourself, that supports growth and allows flexibility. So one of the key elements that Jody talks about is understanding the difference between interdependence and codependence. So what is interdependence? That might be the your new favorite word for today? Interdependence suggests that partners recognize and value the importance of the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within the relationship dynamic. That's huge. So it's that you recognize that each other has value and importance as an individual mean. So you're maintaining this solid sense of self within the relationship and interdependent person is. Jody Clark says an interdependent person recognizes the value of vulnerability, of being able to turn to their partner in meaningful ways to create emotional intimacy. They also value a sense of self that allows them and their partner to be themselves without any need to compromise who they are.

[00:13:45] Or their value system. Now, this concept of interdependence, this is why I almost feel guilty that I haven't talked about this up until now, is if you listen to the work that I do with my four pillars of a connected conversation, if you have heard the episodes that anything to do with emotionally focused therapy or F.T. or when I'm talking about my favorite individual type of therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, that acceptance and commitment therapy says, again, you are not broken. You can't just replace a thought. You can't just say your brain is not a mechanistic model where you just change a thought and it just naturally leads to a different emotion and different behavior. This is my challenge or my struggle with the concept of of cognitive behavioral therapy, which I was a trained cognitive behavioral therapist, and I'm not pooh poohing it. There are situations where it works well. But when I go back to some of the things that I feel can be a real challenge as a therapist, I can literally tell you that I get dozens and dozens, if not 100 emails or more, and people that sit on my couch and say, what is wrong with me? I read posts from people on social media or people that therapists, coaches, motivational speakers, that they just choose to be happy, just wake up and be happy and make it happen. And man, I hear you. And for people that can do that, that is fantastic.

[00:15:00] But for most I have run into that. That's that mechanistic view of the brain that I can just replace a thought and then it mechanistically that you replace this part in the machine and the rest of the machine just rolls on in this methodical, mechanistic way. So the thought and cognitive therapy could change this thought. Your thoughts are automatic, negative thoughts and or you're thinking thinking you just change that thought and it's going to lead to a different emotion and a different behavior. But I have sat with people for years, literally for years, and continued to hammer home these concepts of just make the choice, just choose to be happy. You wake up in the morning and be happy and make it happen. And it can they can get some some momentum with that. But then when life happens, when things go the way that they don't necessarily plan or they don't want them to go, then they think, OK, now I'm not happy. What's wrong with why I tried the thing? What's wrong with me now and again? Nothing. Nothing's wrong with you. You're a human being. And this is why I love acceptance and commitment therapy. You are made up of all the things that make you you all of your private experiences, your nature and nurture and birth order and DNA and abandonment and rejection and hopes and dreams and fears and all the things that make you you.

[00:16:09] That's why you feel or think the way that you do. So it isn't as simple as just changing a thought and then going the rest of your day, the rest of your life and feeling completely different. It's actually a little bit of the opposite of being able to recognize thoughts, normalize thoughts, being able to then point yourself toward your own personal values and start to work more toward those values. And then there's all kinds of things within acceptance and commitment therapy that occur. You you learn to you can't push away the thought. If you say I shouldn't be thinking this, your brain says, oh, I'll think whatever I want. That's the old think of the white polar bear concept. But you can learn to recognize the thought. No, I see you thought I know you mean well. And I'm going to expand. I'm going to make room for that thought. I'm going to write that thought to come along with me while I start working more toward my own value-based goals. So why I digress on this tangent, other than the fact that I absolutely love this concept, is that you are an individual that is coming into a relationship and you are an individual who has spent your life trying to navigate relationships so that you won't be abandoned, so that you will be part of the tribe, so you'll be liked. And that's normal. That's part of growing up. That's part of the maturation process.

[00:17:17] When I work with people that struggle with things like personality disorders, there's this belief, this concept where, again, go back to we are all these little, self-centered, egotistical, the life revolves around us people when we are in our adolescence. And so the difference, the challenge, the goal is to go from self-centered to self-confident. But oftentimes when people don't have that modeled as a kid, then they never make that jump from self-centered to self-confident. So they stay in this self centered mode. So that's why, especially with things excuse me, such as narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, any of those types of behaviors or disorders where someone can it can feel like you're arguing with a little 10 year old child. There's even a concept. I'm not sure if I've covered this one on very many podcasts. Excuse me, but the thought is that gaslighting, for example, is a childhood defense mechanism. If you are coming forward from this place of abandonment equals death. If you're coming forward from zero to two years old, where you express yourself, you get your needs met now two to seven, and you express yourself and your needs are not being met. Now, think of when you make a mistake because you're human, you're a kid and you're big, gigantic parent comes up to you and says, hey, buddy, did you did you break the base? And to you at that moment, it's oh, my gosh, I can't I don't know what's going to happen here.

[00:18:35] If I admit that I broke that base, I'm probably booted out of the family. I'm going to be left to live in the woods and raised by wild animals. So that's where gaslighting as a child. The defense mechanism comes in the kids like I didn't break the base or you see those adorable videos and I don't know, tick tock, YouTube, where you got a little kid has chocolate all over their mouth and they're like they. Did you eat the brownie, buddy? I don't need it. And they literally have the brownie in their mouth. It's so cute. But that just shows that our survival mechanism of gaslighting as a defense mechanism. So when it's a little kid in the brownie is cute, when it's an adult and they're caught in something, it's your husband. And then they say, I didn't do that. You must be crazy. You can see how then all of a sudden that becomes pretty destructive. So Boyd aggressed on that one. But so we are our own individual people. But then we come into relationships and so done correctly done in an interdependent way, not in a codependent way. Your partner is now the safe place for you to actually learn to really take accountability and ownership and be able to explore why I react the way I do, why I have these challenges or struggles I love.

[00:19:40] Given the example of meeting with a couple one time where the guy and the well-meaning guy said, I don't know what to do with her anxiety when she gets really, really anxious and starts to talk a million miles an hour ago in circles, I've told her, hey, I need you to go figure that out. When you do, then you come to me. And that's the kind of thing that I understand and bless his heart. But that is where we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. So here's somebody, this woman in this particular case, who had this anxiety because of the fear of abandonment, because of relationship issues as a child, because of parenting situations, because of previous unhealthy relationships. So being able to plug her experience into my four pillars of a magnetic marriage, of being able to if she is starting to get feel anxious and starting to walk in peson circles and starting to talk really fast. If her husband says, hey, I feel like you're noticing that you might be a bit anxious. And my four pillars pillar one's to assume good intentions. So if I'm working with her, it's OK. He's saying this not to hurt me. I have to assume good intentions. He didn't wake up this morning and think I will wait till she is having a really anxious experience and then I will point it out to hurt her feelings. No. So I'm going assume good intentions.

[00:20:55] No. Two Pillar No. Two of my four pillars is she then can't say, no, I'm not. You're wrong. So pillar three is to ask questions and before making comments. So it's for her to say, OK, I may not be recognizing that helped me see my blind spots. What are you noticing. And the pillar for us did not go into victim mode to not say, okay, fine, I'm the world's worst wife and I guess I'm just an anxious ball of a mess and I will never get any better. No. So if you adhere to those four pillars where the husband at that points the speaker, she's the listener. And then once he feels heard now she can express herself. And at that point, the same pillars apply if she expresses I don't know why I do that. I was even aware that I did that then. Now he has to assume the same good intentions that she's not doing that to hurt him. And then he can't say, I don't believe you to the fact that she doesn't notice that maybe she's starting to get anxious or she's starting to say some maybe negative things are starting to pace around or starting to really get get amped up. And then the third pillar is then he can ask questions. Hey, what's that like then? If that's something that you're not aware of, do you are there triggers other emotional cues? Do you feel that coming on? And then the fourth pillars, he can't then say, OK, I'm fine, I'll never say a word, I won't say anything.

[00:22:05] He can't go into victim mode and expect her to jump in and rescue. So in that scenario, and I think you can plug in a lot of those, you can see how in a healthy, secure, attached, interdependent relationship we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. When somebody looks at that example I just gave and they say, I can't I can't jump in their rescue, that's I would be codependent. We're missing the entire point. The point is, that is why we married. That's why we couple. So there are ways to do that better than others. I'll admit that. So if I go back to this interdependence, I want to read this again. And I want you to think in terms of that example that I just gave. So interdependence suggests that partners recognize and value the importance of the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within the relationship. Dynamic and interdependent person recognizes the value of vulnerability. There we go of being able to turn to their partner in meaningful ways to create emotional intimacy. But they also value a sense of self that allows them and their partner to be themselves without any need to compromise who they are or their value system. So if I go back to this example of the anxious wife, then the husband can clearly say, I don't I'm not familiar with what to do.

[00:23:14] I'm not sure because that's him being vulnerable and the wife is being vulnerable by saying, I didn't even know I'm doing that or yes, sometimes I'm not even aware and I don't know what to do with that. So being dependent on another person and this is again, back to the article by Jody Clark, being dependent on another person can sound scary or even unhealthy. But growing up, we're often taught an overinflated value of independence that to be somewhat self-contained with a high value placed on not needing others for emotional support. And I love how Clark says as value. Was having a sense of independence is, but when taken to an extreme, this can actually get in the way of us being able to connect emotionally with others in a meaningful way. Emotional intimacy with a partner can be difficult to achieve. Even scary are not seen as a particularly valuable in a relationship for those who have an extraordinary sense of independence, Clark says interdependence is not codependents. Interdependence is not the same thing as being codependent. A codependent person tends to rely heavily on others for their sense of self and well-being. There is no ability for that person to distinguish where they end and their partner begins. There's an enormous sense of responsibility to another person to meet their needs and or for their partner to meet all of their needs to feel OK about who they are.

[00:24:30] So I love she listed traits of a codependent relationship include things like poor or no boundaries, people pleasing behaviors, reactivity, unhealthy and ineffective communication, manipulation, difficulty with emotional intimacy, controlling behaviors, blaming each other, low self-esteem from one or both of the partners, and no personal interests or goals outside of the relationship. So codependent relationships aren't healthy. They don't allow partners a room to be themselves and to grow and be autonomous. And you can see why it can be scary to then give up that control to, quote, let someone find themselves to let someone figure out what is important to them. Because when we are coming from this abandonment equals death mentality from our childhood, the fear is that if I try to let go of my control on my partner, if I try to if I tell them that, hey, you can be whoever you you want to be, that can be threatening to ourselves if we really dig deeper, if we really own up to that or take accountability. But so these unhealthy relationships involve one partner, both relying heavily on the other and the relationship for their sense of self, their feelings of worthiness and overall emotional well-being. And there are often feelings of guilt and shame for one or both partners when the relationship isn't going well. Darlene Lanser, who is in MFT, also an attorney, she says she's a codependency specialist.

[00:25:50] She explains that codependency involves someone who has lost their core sense of self so that his or her thinking and behavior revolves around someone or something external, including a person or a substance or an activity such as sex or gambling, or I'll add in my neck of the woods somebody turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. And that's why I so go big on turning to pornography as a coping mechanism when someone doesn't feel a deep sense of self, when they don't feel like they are connected to their partner in marriage, when they don't feel that they are a good parent, when they don't feel connected in their spiritual life, when they don't feel connected with their health or in their relationships or their jobs. That's what I call those voids, and that is when people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. And that's why, in a strength based way, what my entire Path Back program is about, quite frankly, is helping people figure out who they are, who they want to be. And strength based says we're not just going to keep hammering home these, but when you're triggered, you do this. When you do these things, here's this list, because that's that mechanistic view. That's that just change this thought. Just do this thing and then everything will work out better. No, this is about finding oneself. This is about becoming interdependent and figuring out who you are as a person so that you don't feel that need to turn to these unhealthy coping mechanisms.

[00:27:05] So why interdependence is healthy for a relationship. Interdependence involves a balance of self and others within the relationship. Clark says that you are recognizing that both partners are working to be present and meet each other's physical and emotional needs in appropriate and meaningful ways. Partners are not demanding of one another, and they do not look to their partner for feelings of worthiness. This gives each partner space to maintain a sense of self room to move toward each other in times of need and the freedom to make these decisions without fear of what will happen in the relationship. And my whole magnetic marriage course I often talk about our goal is to have you be able to go to your partner and say, check out my train of thought, look where I'm coming from. And your spouse doesn't look at that and say, oh, that threatens me. When you say that you thought these things. No, it's for them to say, man, tell me more about that. And then once you feel heard, they can share. That must be hard. I don't have those same feelings or here's my experience. But it's that you can be two different people that that have been this this this bond that helps since then. And I know this one sounds a little bit cliched, but it's the one plus one is three.

[00:28:08] It really is that you edify and help each other become a different person. So a healthy and interdependent relationship has several features. Clark goes on to say, here are a few things to look for in a healthy relationship that is not codependent, healthy boundaries, some active listening, but time for personal interests, clear communication, that clear communication is very difficult. And that's where I feel like the four pillars come in, or Stu Johnson's emotionally focused therapy, because it is difficult to express oneself when they are being criticized. It's incredibly difficult to express oneself when they are worried about how the other person will take what they share. This goes back to that attachment, those attachment wounds as a kid. Of trying to figure out how do I present myself so that I won't make the other person mad, we have to be able to get to this place of I call it calm, confident energy where I can express myself. And if the other person says, I can't believe he said that, I I didn't know you felt that way. Instead of saying, well, you aren't always perfect either or to say, well, I don't know, maybe I really don't think that it's to be able to say, oh, no, I do. That is the way I think. And I'm grateful that I can express that to you. So clear communication, taking personal responsibility for behaviors, creating safety for each other to be vulnerable, engaging and responding to each other, healthy self-esteem, being open and approachable with each other.

[00:29:21] So when partners feel cherished and valued, Clark goes on to say the relationship becomes a safe haven. It's a place where the couple can be interdependent. They understand that they are not alone in the relationship. They can turn toward each other for safety in times of need and feel secure that their partner will be present. It doesn't mean that they have to always agree. It doesn't mean that the goal of a healthy relationship is to be heard, not to resolve on our group call for the magnetic marriage. Last night, that point was just being we were making that so beautifully and the people were responding so well that that was a game changer to be heard and not to resolve, because we don't like to leave things unresolved, because we worry that if I don't leave something, if I don't button something up, then all of a sudden my partner is going to be upset with me and they may abandon me. And again, abandonment equals death. So how to build an interdependent relationship? Clark said the key to building an interdependent relationship is to be mindful of who you are from the beginning. Many times people are looking or entering relationships simply to avoid feeling alone without any personal reflection of who they are. And that goes back to those, in my opinion, the abandonment and attachment wounds, because that is how do I show up? Because if I am not accepted, then something's wrong with me.

[00:30:30] And those two things are completely the opposite. It's here's how I am showing up. And if someone doesn't appreciate that, then bless their heart, I'm just grateful that I can express myself in a calm, confident manner. So taking time for this kind of a personal reflection allows you to enter a new relationship with an awareness of self that is critical for the establishment of an independent of interdependent relationship. You can work this into your current relationship. Licensed therapist Sharon Martin suggests it's important to maintain a sense of self in your intimate relationships. She gives these these suggestions on how to do so, knowing what you like and what matters to you, not being afraid to ask for what you would like. Spending time with friends and family, continuing pursuing your personal goals, being mindful of your values, make time for hobbies and interests. Don't be afraid to say no and don't keep yourself small or hidden just to please others. So allowing your partner room an opportunity to do the same things, the same things will be the key to establishing a healthy, interdependent relationship. And yes, it can feel scary. It can you can you will feel like this innate feeling within you that says, wait a minute, if they have a completely different opinion or thought they're going to leave me. No, that's your childhood defense mechanisms and childhood protections that are trying to come forth into adulthood.

[00:31:46] We can thank them for their help in helping us grow up. But now you're the adult. And now we want to explore these relationships with a sense of curiosity, a sense of tell me more, what's that like for you so that we can then have this shared experience or connection. And we don't have to feel like we have to have the same experience or something's wrong with us. Interdependent relationships do not leave people feeling guilty or scared of their partner or their relationship, but as Clark says, rather leaves them feeling safe with their partner. So I just want to challenge you to take a look at your own relationship. Is it codependent or is it interdependent? Are there times where you want to be there for your partner? But you feel like if I do so, I guess I'm I'm being codependent. No, take a look. There's a way you can. It's a quick reframe to find interdependence rather than codependents. Let me let me wrap this up and talk specifically about marriage. And this is some precedent. And I one day or sitting around and and I just sort of John down some notes as we were talking. And and here's our takeaway. It's that if you want a connected marriage, being defensive or trying to control your partner just doesn't work. What do you want? If you want to have the six pack abs of a marriage, you have to do the work.

[00:32:57] And this type of a relationship, this interdependency isn't always easy. And press and I were talking and we said it's simple, but it's not easy, simple meaning that once you get the concepts down that your partner, your spouse has their own experiences and you have yours, then it does become simple. Just by way of now. My job is to try to understand. Tell me more about my spouse. Not I can't believe you said that. Why would you say that? Do you know how that affects me? You don't really believe that none of those things lead to an interdependent relationship. So if you want to learn how to be interdependent or how to have that type of marriage, it takes work. And blaming your partner doesn't work. And it's it doesn't you can't automats. Quickly get to cloud nine next week, and there are steps that need to be taken to achieve interdependence again over some of those there today, I feel like those four pillars of a magnetic marriage that are part of my magnetic marriage course and this is not an ad, are assuming good intentions from your partner. No one wakes up and thinks I'm going to try to hurt the other person. And and even if it feels like that is something that just makes no sense, the way that your spouse is presenting, if they're angry, if they're withdrawn, if they are saying hurtful things, still with that assumption of good intentions, even if you look at that as man, that's the way that they feel like they can.

[00:34:20] The only way they can be heard then that breaks my heart and that does lead me to have more empathy. And so, again, blaming them doesn't work. We're so used to walking on the path of least resistance that our brain develops these deep neural pathways, patterns of behavior, patterns of defensiveness, patterns of front loading, conversations of I know you're not going to like to hear this, even though we meanwell in saying something like that. No one likes to be told what to do, no one likes to be should on. And so when you're telling somebody what they are feeling or I know you're feeling this way or you always do this or you never do that, then you're you're already making the conversation or the conversation is already headed out into the weeds. It just is. So now we're going to feel like in this journey to interdependence, it's going to feel like you are walking out in the weeds. And when you walk out, the weeds are snakes and stickers, maybe some mud. Your brain wants to go back to this path of least resistance, of telling them they're wrong or defending ourselves. And you can go back to that, but is sometimes doing difficult things is what creates those new neural pathways, those new pathways in the field.

[00:35:29] And you are going to get stickers and you are going to step in some mud, that sort of thing. And this often this goal of interdependence is going to require a lot of work. And the hard part is sometimes it will. No, not sometimes it requires more of you. You listening. This isn't something to be heard, as is my buddy Preston likes to say with your elbows. If you're hearing this and you think, yeah, my spouse really needs to hear this or do this, you can only control the things that you are experiencing. If they're telling you that they you're wrong, that you don't really think the things that you're thinking, then this is a bless their heart moment. I don't need to defend myself anymore if I am just expressing something that I feel passionate about or something, that's my truth and that's OK. And they can have their own opinion as well. And so it often does require more of you. It's like learning a new language or a new instrument, and it doesn't happen overnight. You're going to play the wrong notes. You're going to use the wrong grammar when learning the new language. I remember learning German. I never got the articles correct and I would put words in the wrong order. But sometimes when you lean in, it's uncomfortable. But that healthy tension is the way to create connection or create these new neural pathways.

[00:36:38] And again, it can be uncomfortable. Viktor Frankl and Man Search for meaning talked about separating the stimulus from the response that it's very important to learn, to not react, to sometimes be able to take a breath, put distance between space and action. And I am now officially rambling. So I will wrap this podcast up and just say, hey, I appreciate you taking the time to be here. Please share this episode or take a screenshot of it and post it on social media tag at Virtual Couche. If there was something here that you enjoyed, because I really feel like this goal of becoming interdependent instead of this fear of codependency really is the way to go. It's scary, but it is the way to form a truly magnetic marriage. It's a way to have a secure attachment with your partner because we are designed to process emotion in concert with another human being. Hey, thanks for taking the time to join me on today's episode. The Virtual Catch Them have a special bonus episode coming up this week. I'm all lined up to be on a couple of shows and interviewed some new guests coming up here over the next two or three weeks as well. And can't I can't wait to get some of the content out that I have had ready to record for quite some time. So I hope you're well. I hope you're safe. And if you have questions, feel free to send them to Contact@tonyoverbay.com. And taking us out, as always, is the wonderful, the talented Aurora Florence. It's wonderful. And I'll see you next time.

Relationship and sexuality expert Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-fife (http://finlayson-fife.com) returns for her 3rd time to the Virtual Couch! On today’s episode, Tony and Jennifer discuss the challenges that occur in relationships when one partner finds themselves often feeling like they are more invested. Tony shares his observations from over 1,000 couples that have come through his office, as well as his preparation for his upcoming Magnetic Marriage course, that couples often settle into two camps, one with more of an anxious, “needy” or “clingy” attachment style, the other a more avoidant, “arms-length” attachment style. So the more the anxious attachment presses to have their needs met, the more the avoidant attachment tends to pull away. They also answer an email from a fan of both Tony and Jennifer who asks how to show up “all in” to the marriage when one spouse may have narcissistic traits or tendencies?-Sign up at http://tonyoverbay.com to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!-This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.
Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!
Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo
Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.
You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.-
Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery


[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, three time guest, an undisputed download leader, Dr. Jennifer Finless and five, Dr. Finless and five holds a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She's a licensed professional clinical counselor and a relationship and sexuality expert. And we dig into a topic that I see on a regular basis in my office, one that I believe is present in so many marriages. What do you do when one partner finds themselves often feeling like they're more invested than the other? When it feels like the more one partner pushes, the more the other pulls away? Plus, we tackle an email from a listener of both Jennifer and my podcast who asks how to show up in your marriage as all in when your spouse shows narcissistic traits or tendencies. We will cover all of that and so much more on this episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:43] Ok, I neglected in the world's worst promotor. There are costs involved in putting the virtual couch podcast together, the videos, the hosting, all those things. So I do have some ads and I forget to put these in. I've gone months without talking about the ads that actually support this show. So I'll try to be brief. If you are thinking about the world of online counseling whatsoever and right now it's the global pandemic with the stigma of mental health or getting help for your mental health, even going down, which I'm so grateful for, it can be incredibly hard to get in to see a therapist, especially right now. So I highly recommend what over a million people have done and that's gone to better help Dotcom. And if you go to better help dotcom virtual account, you get 10 percent off your first month's appointments, first month's cost. That will put you in touch with a licensed professional therapist in your area that uses a variety of modalities, whether it's cognitive behavioral therapy or my favorite acceptance and commitment therapy, to talk about issues, whether it's anxiety, depression, OCD, parenting, marriage, anything that you need help with. And trust me, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the world of counseling and online counseling. The data is there. I fought it for years, but now I'm doing a lot of sessions myself through Zoome. They have emails, text therapy. They have an article in there about text therapy that is mind blowing.

[00:01:57] And I've even done that with a client or two that's been out of the country at times. And it's been really effective, assuming that you can type very fast, which I can do on my MacBook when I'm texting. But I digress. So go to better help dotcom slash virtual couch. You can get again ten months, ten months, ten percent off your first month's treatment. And if you don't like your therapist or feel like there's not a good fit, they make it so easy to change therapists because it's so important for you to find a good fit. And that is so important. And you can be talking with someone within 24 to 48 hours, which trust me right now is phenomenal in trying to get in to see a therapist. I haven't been able to take clients in a very long time. I know a lot of therapists are in a similar position. So this is a way and it is a licensed professional therapist, licensed professional clinical counselor, someone that is in your area that can help. So what are you waiting for? Go to better help dotcom virtual couch today and take a look into the world of online counseling, online therapy. You will not regret it. And they do have a sliding scale if finances are an issue and but go check it out right now. Virtual couch, better health outcomes, less virtual couch. You owe it to yourself. Go check it out today.

[00:03:11] Welcome to episode 235 of the virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful, have coach, writer, speaker, husband of 30 years, father of four, and creator of the Path Back and online pornography recovery program that is helping hundreds of people overcome the negative effects of pornography in a strength based hold the shame that one's key become the person that you always wanted to be kind of way. The path back has been updated, so go check it out. pathbackrecovery.com. And there you will find a short ebook that describes the five myths that people often fall prey to when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. And trust me, it can absolutely be done. And I'm not arguing addiction versus nonfiction or impulse or compulsion. We cover all of those things on the path back and it is very straight faced. And I don't care if you tried overcoming it in the past one or 100 times. Come check out the path back and quickly, because I want to get to this interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlison-Fife and just do me a huge favor and go follow me on Instagram, a virtual couch and go to Tonyoverbay.com and sign up to find out more about upcoming programs, including my magnetic marriage program. That is all I'm asking. Sure. I would love it if you hit subscribe to everything virtual couch and go check out this interview on my YouTube channel and subscribe the yearly reviews, all that kind of stuff.

[00:04:28] But sign up at Tony Overbay Dotcom and you will learn more about the magnetic marriage course that's coming. It's good. I know that sounds confident, but I've worked with over a thousand couples now as a therapist and the program is built on the foundational principles of emotionally focused therapy, or EFT, which is the best evidence based model for improving marriages. OK, so I will leave it at that. On today's episode, Dr. Jennifer Finless-Fife, this is right from her website, is your relationship and sexuality coach. She teaches couples and individuals how to strengthen their relationships, overcome relational and sexual roadblocks, and increase their capacity for intimacy, love and sexual expression. She's a licensed clinical professional counselor in Illinois with a PhD in counseling psychology from Boston College. And this makes her third appearance on the virtual couch. And her first two appearances are definitely in the are two of my top five episodes of the two hundred and thirty five episodes that I have released. She knows her stuff. She is funny, witty, and I enjoy talking with her. And we cover a couple of topics today that I had been waiting to talk with her about for a very long time. And the first is a trend that I've noticed in my couples work over the years. But in particular, I've noticed it in putting together this magnetic marriage course with cocreator Preston Buckmeier.

[00:05:43] And I honestly have in my notes right now do not get into detail about this in the introduction because I want to so bad. I want to explain things even more to set up the interview, but I want to get to the interview. So what I'm going to do is I am going to do almost a Tony reacts to his interview with Dr. Finless-fife episodes soon because she shares a lot of amazing information that talks about this concept of this almost like polarity in her marriage or where we get there's an anxious attachment and avoid an attachment. Here I go. I'm starting to explain, but you'll see in the episode or you'll hear more about that. And I've jotted a lot of things down after the interview that I feel like use or deserve some follow up. So with that said, if you have thoughts or feelings or emotions about what you hear in this episode, then please email me at contact at TonyOverbaycom and I will address or answer those in my reaction episode. And then you'll see, I think, in the title of this as well. I haven't titled it yet, but we also tackle a question of everybody's favorite topic, it seems like these days, narcissism. And I'm really interested. I think you'll find her her take on narcissism pretty fascinating as well. OK, so let's get to my interview with Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife.

[00:07:08] Come on in, take a seat.

[00:07:15] According which, by the way, I think the first time that we recorded, I made fort night jokes and I think how funny that is. Does your son still play out of curiosity?

[00:07:23] Actually, not really. He kind of changed, sort of sworn it off for a bit. So it's what you do now out of moderation. But what do they do now? I mean, mostly schoolwork. OK. So he still does some of it. But he's he's been much more like I just need to he plays ruinscapes sometimes. I know that one. Yeah.

[00:07:46] So do you mainly do you just see couples out of curiosity, do do individuals.

[00:07:50] I do both. But couples is sort of my primary modality. But I do definitely have people that come to me individually.

[00:08:00] But I find couples work to be harder, but in a lot of ways more effective because you're getting not just the person's self deluded view of themselves, but you have to see the person through another lens as well and how the system is working and how people are kind of constructing a self within a larger relational story.

[00:08:21] So this is it's brilliant, though, because you gave such an amazing answer. And I was I was setting up a bit. I mean, I was going to say, do you do did you ever work with teenagers when you were going to the ranks?

[00:08:33] Sometimes I did. I did.

[00:08:35] I worked at a family counseling center for a year when I was training. And then I did quite a bit of college counseling. So I kind of work with things to kind of young adults and things like that. But generally speaking, now, I really don't do that work. Every once in a while I'll work with a teenager. If I've been working with the parents and I know this stuff and I feel like I can efficiently kind of give some help to them in how to think about what's going on.

[00:09:03] But OK, yeah, but I just said, well, when you talk about Ruinscape, I think about I mean, I know far too much about games I never would have cared about from working with teenagers. And one time I made a joke about how much money I've made off of your stories about the film. Don't even know if that is. Dungeons and Dragons or. Yeah, yeah. And I would hear all about their characters and I would try to work that into therapy. And at times it was like, nope, that's just their Ork or their goblin. That's kind of what it was.

[00:09:29] Yeah. Yeah. I know a therapist who works that he even sometimes will play games with kids, you know, OK, he's really an adolescent boy therapist who really uses that modality. Actually, I don't I don't know how effective we could I don't know. Has worked out well, but. Yeah.

[00:09:43] Yeah. OK, so I had this I feel like I said I've got two things. I almost feel like there's two separate a part A and a part B of today's episode. And and so I really feel bad because I have this expert. You're my two highest downloads ever and you're the first person that's been on the virtual couch three times. So thank you. Yeah. I had to send you or something. So I feel like I need to lay out. And the reason I'm setting it up that way is I feel like I already owe you an apology for the two minutes. Excuse me. I'm going to ramble. Just set up the thing that I really desperately want. You are all your opinions on. Is that OK? Of course. OK, all right. So this is where I think I would share a little bit off of camera, off Mike, whatever they say these days. But when we last met, you were in Portugal and I think you had shared something that you for a brief moment said, Oh, I think I shared that with you. And it was with this Preston Buckmeier fellow. And so then I look him up because I'm thinking, all right. Well, yeah, exactly. Exactly. And then and then Preston and I end up talking. We connect at some point and we've created this marriage course, which is ironic, that will launch in January.

[00:10:42] And so I think I was saying that I don't know if you deserve some credit or some sort of a royalty. Right, exactly. But but so then while we were doing that, so I've taken every bit of I love emotionally focused therapy EFT, and I do that with couples and I see, I don't know, ten or fifteen couples a week. And I never liked doing couples therapy until I had that modality. And then it makes so much sense. And and so we we're we're basing this program off of the E F.T. model. But then we're also since it's a course or program, we threw a couple of things in there just to have things that say here's how different we are in our relationships. So we threw in a personality test or two. We threw in a attachment styles quiz. And so I started noticing that some patterns that built up and one was that there were when we were doing love languages. And this is why I love the Facebook live video you did where I didn't do a lot with love languages for a long time because it's maybe not it it's not there's not a lot of evidence base data around it, but it's very popular. And I know what's your people really liked it.

[00:11:47] It's very accessible. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so then people would bring that into the sessions and I, I would say, okay, that's great. But I didn't necessarily hang my hat on the love languages, but we do the love language quiz and then we do attachment styles quiz and we're coming up with primarily people that are anxious attachment and avoidant attachment. And I quickly identified myself as anxious attachment where if I walk in the room and my wife's not jump up and down, I say, Hey, are we OK? And she said. Yeah, and then if she's 10 minutes later, still not jumping up and down, I say I'd do anything. And I recognize that's the my anxious attachment style. And and I'm noticing that a lot of the guys that come in to couples counseling have that similar anxious attachment style. And then I notice that the more that we're doing the field work with the love languages that a lot of times partnered with, the anxious attachment style is the words of affirmation and physical touch as maybe these top two love languages. And then I'm noticing a lot and I don't all or nothing. Jennifer, I promise I was noticing and I want to say every time I see that. But then the opposite is there in a relationship with someone who tends to be more avoidant attachment and arms length, and then their love languages tend to be the quality time or acts of service.

[00:13:01] So I've got that data. And then my favorite word from a year or two ago is psychological reactance. So that instant negative reaction of being told what to do. So all of a sudden I feel like that comes into the middle. And so the more that somebody with anxious attachment says you need to, I've made it easy. You need to have more sex with me and tell me I'm awesome. And then the more someone's telling someone that, the more their brain is pushing back, saying I to do any of that. Yeah. And so then I feel like this reactance is building this polarity in these attachment styles. And and and then just a quick side note. When I was sharing this with my wife, I was saying, OK, so she may present a bit more of that avoidant attachment. But then we quickly acknowledge that she has an anxious attachment style with my teenage kids. So and so then so then it's like, oh, this is on me. So then my my anxious attachment that says I do anything here and that kind of groups back in. And so then I felt like it. And this is the part where the more I was talking about it with Preston and we're putting this course together and we were just just kind of noting some data.

[00:13:59] It was almost the more that the guy, the guy and I'm going to gender stereotype here, because that's primarily what I was seeing, the guy with an anxious attachment, words of affirmation, physical touch, would then go over and try to do more of the acts of service quality time and then feel like that will get him his love. Yeah. Yeah. But then but then it started to feel like and then I started asking a lot of questions of clients that were in my office because I was starting to feel like I had confirmation bias like crazy where I'm seeing this with every couple that I'm working with. But then it was almost like the avoidant attachment female in this scenario is the more they're almost feeling like, well, I think we're pretty good because he's spending more time with me. And so the quality time and we are doing more things together. And so I really feel like we're good, except for these times where then he gets a little bit clingy or needy. And so I just started thinking about man that's really difficult. Then in this course, then it's fairly easy to say to the anxious attachment when you have to check yourself to say, are we good? That's my anxious attachment style.

[00:15:04] The next time I feel that I need to go pet the dog or play catch with the kids or do some push ups. And so then when I'm talking to the avoidant attachment, then what does that look like for them to, quote, do work? Is it the lean in a little more, lean into the relationship, be a little more vulnerable, but then as the more I'm asking clients in that situation, I promise I'm almost done that. That's the part where that I'm hearing more of. I hear you. But first of all, I feel like things are OK right now. And then part B, if I start to lean in more, then I worry that he will then not be as attentive or I worry that it won't be enough that then all of a sudden if I find I'll I'll have to be more intimate with them, that then it will be OK. Well, that's not enough. And there's more and more. And so I or I'll get consumed by this person. Totally. Yeah. And so there's a part of me that just want to say, hey, can you fix all that for me Jennifer? Good. They can talk. But tell me first of all, does that resonate or does OK.

[00:16:05] Well, yes, a few initial thoughts. One is in my in the relationship course that I do, I talk about this in a slightly different way from attachment theory, although. It is an expression of a way of attaching, you know, because human beings attach, that's a normal part of human experience.

[00:16:26] I talk about it as walled off versus.

[00:16:30] Oh, boundaryless, Yeah, so boundaryless or pursue it versus distancing, so distant thayn or boundaryless versus walled. The thing is, is that like you said with your wife, these aren't so much personality profiles, although it is true, some people may favor or tend to, in their intimate relationships, typically play out one version of this or the other. But what I think is a kind of truer statement is that these are both versions of immaturity.

[00:17:02] Ok, I like that. So these are bold versions of challenge of being able to self regulate and in particular self regulate when you're in relationship with someone that matters a lot to you. OK, one of the things that I talk about a lot is that when we're born, when we're young, we have a validation dependency. We have to kind of borrow a sense of who we are from the people around us because we can't psychologically self-sustained as human beings. So our physical autonomy is much faster than our psychological autonomy.

[00:17:45] Fundamentatally speaking, the way that this avoidant.

[00:17:53] Dependent. Oh, yeah, yeah, avoidant, anxious. Yeah, so that's the attachment styles is those are both expressions of dependency on another person to manage your sense of self. Now, the the anxious attachment. Well, that's very obvious. The boundaryless attachment that's obvious there.

[00:18:12] You're out trying to get other people to be able to validate you or tell you're OK.

[00:18:20] It's the kind of overtly needy position. Yeah. At least how I talk about it in my course. It can also be a kind of control. Like I'm trying to get you to tell me I'm OK, do the things that make me feel normal, want the things that I want, you know, help me feel like I'm sufficient. And so that's overtly dependent. But the walled position or the avoidant is also dependent because that person has a hard time regulating their sense of self when they're bumped up against another person's wants and desires. So they have to get away from others to manage their sense of self, which is also a needy position.

[00:19:02] Yeah, because what does that look like in a relationship? Yeah, right.

[00:19:06] So if you can't handle your sense of self. Yeah. When you can feel what your partner wants or you can feel their neediness or you can feel their dysregulation and so you're always trying to kind of get away that means you haven't yet learned how to stabilize yourself when you're with the other person. And if you really want an intimate relationship, you have to grow. Both people in this scenario have to grow in their ability to self regulate. Yeah. If they're going to be able to be with each other without using each other to manage their sense of self. That and so give me sense that prosumer distance or dynamic is a balanced system of two people who are dependent on each other for validation. Yeah, which is beautiful.

[00:19:50] And first of all, I'd even written this down in this Facebook Live that I was I was watching that you did. And I love you said intimacy is about knowing each other, not not just demanding validation. And marriage is going to challenge that issue every time, because I really do feel like the goal is just to be heard. The goal is awareness. It's not a solution per say. So then I like what you're saying. So anxious attachment it can. And I kind of said it lighthearted. It can go pet the dog or write the great American novel or that sort of thing. What is that? What does that avoidant attachment look like for them to show up and be present and.

[00:20:25] Yeah, yeah. So just to name the way I think about what you just said about the void in the anxious and I'll go to the avoidant right after. Yeah. The petting the dog, the it's it's exactly it's about I'm not going to go and make this person make me feel ok. I have my own responsibility to self regulate the calm myself down, to find my own value within myself. It can feel very lonely, very disorganised. Like if I don't go and get that reassurance, I'm going to die. I mean, I really can feel it. Yeah. The people like I need to know. I got to do the things I know how to do to kind of assure myself that on some level I matter to this person, even if the validation I get back is just some validation of control, that I can't get her to reassure me, even though she's annoyed or have sex with me, even though she's not that into it, that a typical thing to do to go just get that sense of that you're still have some control in this, even though what you get back, it's kind of cheap. It's not choice based and it feels yucky sometimes in a certain way. So that's your right. So that's what the avoidance person do is learn.

[00:21:32] Yeah, well, let me say real quick, because I love that what you just said there is I feel like I do run into people that say, but if that's that's my only option, I'll take it. And, you know, and I know that's not what they want because that creates this cycle of. Well, then now that is the only way. If I show up this way, that's the way I'll get that attention. And that is not I think it goes back to when you're on the second time where it was talking about high desire, low desire, and are they creating a a are they being desirable?

[00:21:57] Right. And if you're like if that's all I can get, I'll take it. I mean, that is a message of self disrespect to you, that I'll take crumbs.

[00:22:06] You know, that that I, I'm so unclear that I'm worthy of really being chosen and valued that I will take your pity. That's a measure of kind of how you see yourself and I and I so agree.

[00:22:22] Can I and this is why I was so excited to have you on to just talk through this. And I was hoping that it wouldn't necessarily be that it wouldn't be bad that I wasn't asking you this question after question. But I want your thoughts on I hear you. And sometimes I even say I know the I'll just call it the textbook answer that that is absolutely right. And when I'm working with guys i'll often say, I want help, you raise it. I call it your emotional baseline to the point where either is sometimes that might be the person. Your wife says, that's my guy. And if not that, you're there, you're that guy. And life is more fulfilling and satisfying and. This comes a lot from, you know, I still deal with a ton of people that are trying to not turn to pornography for a coping mechanism, so they're trying to fill these voids and they're killing it in their work and then their health and then their relationship, all that stuff. So I feel like that we can say that is the way to do it. And I feel like guys almost. Well, no, they do. They hear that and say, OK, so if I'm that guy, I will get more sex then, right? And I feel like, OK, are we still then missing the mark or the point or if that is the goal, sort of sort of in sort of not.

[00:23:22] Yes. Like I see people do this all the time in the nice way. Then I'll get my husband to feel good about me. And I'm like, well, not necessarily because you don't have control over that. But I think the something that Dr. David Shinada always would say is, you know, the more you need validation from others, the less likely you are to get it. And then, of course, the inverse is true, that the people that don't need it so much are more likely to get it. And like so many people that I given one of my classes is.

[00:23:56] Once when I don't know, this might be too long a story, if you want to know. OK, let's go. I'm excited, but, you know, I, I said to my husband one night, I'd really love to have sex tonight. She said, great. And and so we get into bed, I'm working and my brother calls me. We're just both kind of working in bed and my brother calls and his wife's out of town.

[00:24:21] And so he starts having a long conversation because my brother's bored about, you know, technical stuff that they both are interested in. And my brother in my husband's defense is very hard to get off the phone, really, genuinely. I love him to death.

[00:24:36] Hard to get a comment from this part of the story is that, you know, I keep waiting and waiting and I say to my husband, how much longer takes a few minutes. A few minutes. And I'm just getting put off, put off and put off and I. Didn't want to stay up all night, and he also wasn't really doing, and I knew he was interested in what he was talking about. Right. And so I have time to sit there and kind of work with myself, because the way I'm I'm feeling rejected, know the way I'm handling it in my head, is going into all of these what I call losing strategies to kind of put my sense of self back together.

[00:25:13] Like, you know, he's so lucky that he has a wife that wants to have sex and he still is like, so I'm doing all these things to prop myself up, to feel good about myself. I'm getting angry at him internally because he's talking on the phone as a way to push him down and say, what's the matter with you, him talk about computer systems and not be with me. And so I'm doing all these things as a way to manage my weak sense of self in that moment, the self that's trying to fend off the insults that I'm not it's not being reciprocated in kind in the way that I want.

[00:25:49] Right then. Yeah. So thankfully, he keeps talking. I have time to kind of self soothe and I'm calming myself down and saying, don't do all those mean things. First of all, he have the right to make his choice. He has a right to want to talk to my brother. He has a right to be stupid or you have the right to use the thing he wants to choose. And I don't want to be such a child. I would like to grow myself up a bit. So just make a decision. So at one point I stopped him and I just said, I can only wait five more minutes, but otherwise I think I'm going to go sleep in the guest room because I want to I want to go to bed. I'll be off. He doesn't do it. So finally, the five minute mark comes and I'm managing myself that wants to be mean, that wants to be snarky. And I say. I'm really disappointed. I really wanted to be with you tonight, but I'm going to go sleep in the guest room just so that I can get a good night's sleep and in part for me to feel in control of my life.

[00:26:54] I mean, like a certain amount, like I'm going to assert my choice. Yeah. So when I went into the guest room, I just worked on my part of me was going into victim. You know, I don't feel loved. I feel alone. I feel on all that's just kind of coming over me and wanting to guilt him into giving up, which isn't happening. And so I just was like, just calm myself down. And so the more I call myself down, which is like I know that I'm matter. I know that my husband loves me and he has a right to make his choices. And I'm disappointed and I am still OK. Now, that sounds so easy to say that, but I had to really work with myself to stay in a self-serving position, not try to go manage him in some way.

[00:27:40] Sure. And I know well, I know how to guilt him. I know how to get him to do it. And I always say, yeah, we all know. Right. So and I didn't let myself do it. And so I fell asleep.

[00:27:51] And and so the next morning, the thing is, it's really interesting cause I think my husband could feel that I was more self regulated myself.

[00:27:59] I wasn't mad that there wasn't rage coming out of the guest room. Yeah. And and so what's interesting is he just came in the next morning and he just said that was so dumb of me, I'm sorry. And I just said, well, let's just try again tonight. And all was good. Now, that's the point in me saying all this is that because I self regulated and I self controlled rather than husband controlled. Yeah, he if I had been mad, he would have done one of two things.

[00:28:29] He would have just left and gotten away from the anger or would have coddled me. Yeah. Both would make me feel terrible. OK, I like he's just trying to get away from me. Yeah.

[00:28:41] Or he's taking care of me because I'm being such a child inside. OK, yeah. While I may feel some sense of control, if he coddles me, I don't feel good about me or him. Kind of spineless of him and it's childish of me and it makes us both worse because I self regulated.

[00:29:00] He was free to come in and just say that was dumb, like, you know, and like and offer his kindness and his warmth and his affection and just for us to say, well, let's just try again. And yeah, he'll be so nice when my husband, my brother's wife comes back. OK, no, I so love that story.

[00:29:20] I do. And this is where I will say, OK, we can edit this next part out if we would like, because I really want to ask a question that and maybe it's the male therapist in me that works a lot with people that are struggling with, you know, pornography, addiction or those sort of things where.

[00:29:35] But I know that when you just said there that you said to your husband that night that you wanted to be intimate, you want to have sex with them, that I know that I work with a lot of men who say, man, I don't ever hear that and that they feel like that. That and that's why I love where you went with that story, where you talked about at the end, where there are times where people will then they will kind of pout or guilt their way into having sex. And then I feel like that just creates that kind of dynamic where then they feel that is the way they get that. And so then they try this. No, I'm going to self regulate. I'm going to be the man. I'm going to go take care of the kids. I'm going to I'm going to mindfulness. I'm going to work. I'm going to. And then it's almost as if it doesn't bring their wife quote around quickly. Yeah. It's almost like they go right back to this. OK, well, I.

[00:30:20] I'm going to pout. Right. So that's a different I mean, like, I don't want to suggest that that's a story about self regulation. And if I had gone into my strategies, that would point out the kind of thing that would make me feel even worse. OK, but if I also knew as I was self-regulating that I had a husband that loved me, the husband that chose me, I had a husband that sometimes disappoints me. That's true. I had a husband that sometimes doesn't do or want the things that make me that are what I want. Right. Yeah. So those things are all true. But I did not I was not trying to make sense of it in the context of feeling that I have a husband who doesn't choose me, who doesn't value me, who doesn't want a sexual relationship with me. That's a harder thing to settle down around. Right. And I'm not trying to suggest that that. If you do what I do, it'll all work out for you, because I think if you were in a marriage where there's a chronic lack of desire, you are up against a bigger challenge, which is figuring out why and what do I have to do with that? And I do concur with that. If you go and take the sex that you get after you pouted and punished the person enough you are you don't really want to be chosen, you just want to have sex. And you are telegraphing that, meaning that you are willing to take crumbs. And so that makes it easier for the lower desired person to not feel chosen. They feel like this is for me to prop this person up because he'll take. Yeah. Yeah. So it's but it's not what I'm trying to say is regulating yourself isn't so much about it's a guarantee the person will come towards you. It's about you getting stronger and having more self-respect and you're going to need it, especially if you're going to take on the issue of a sexless marriage.

[00:32:23] Ok, and I yeah. I appreciate you sharing it because again, I feel like this is where I know that is the right answer, because I know the opposite does not lead someone to feeling fulfilled or, you know, and that it kind of affects other areas of their life, which then maybe is where they turn to other things for coping or that sort of thing. But but I do feel like that people get into a pattern over the years, right. Where people can get into this kind of a pattern where and then they change the dynamic for a little while and feel like, well, that's not working.

[00:32:52] And and they don't really recognize it. They really have to unearth a pattern. And it's not it's only that they only control half of that pattern. Now, if you're dancing a dance and you dance it over and over and over and over and over again, like this pursuer, distance or dynamic that you're talking about is a dance that people know well and the person that's in pursuit is much more complicit in it than they will often recognize they married somebody who was more distanced. Right. You know, like my husband is more of the avoidance style. And so and so I but I dated guys that were the more pursuing energy. And I was like, you're great. But that's not my style. Yes. And so so that that's to say that people know how to dance those dances very comfortably and very well. And so when you start to break the pattern, what I was doing in that story is starting to break pattern in that in a way that I would typically not want to break pattern, right? Yes, yes. Breaking pattern then allows for a different choice, but it doesn't guarantee a different choice. It just means you not going to dance the old dance because you're not doing your dance steps. That part you have control over. Plus you're getting more able to handle whatever you need to handle. That's what I love. So you're right. Yeah. So I was more prepared for a husband who actually was coming and choosing me. And because I was self regulated, I could receive it and see it as good judgment that he was wanting to be with me the next time. But also, if you're in a sexless marriage and you need to address that, you need your wits about you, you need your strength about you, you can't be giving all of your value away to your partner. Yeah, because that's exactly what's keeping you in this pattern over and over again.

[00:34:38] So we can come back to the sexless marriage thing if you want to. But just to go to your earlier question about that. Oh, good.

[00:34:43] Yeah, good way to go back to now to avoidant detachment. Right.

[00:34:46] Ok, so the avoidant person wants to be in connection, but they don't want to have high exposure. They don't want to have they want to be wanted, but they don't want to want, generally speaking, OK, so they like to feel needed, they like to feel wanted, but they don't want to feel dependent even though there is a dependency, because if you need to be needed that is needy, yeah. You need to have somebody else be in pursuit or you need to have somebody else be seeking you out.

[00:35:21] That is a function of your weakness, not your strength, which it plays into even more of that polarity between the dynamic because the anxious attachment is constantly, ah, I feel like constantly saying I don't know if I'm doing enough or I don't know if I'm missing any cues or if I'm missing any signs. And but then if they push and push, they get that that bad, that push back. But are you kind of saying, though, that at the core, the avoidant attachment still has that same need, that desire for intimacy? They just want to not have to put themselves out there?

[00:35:52] Yeah, well, exactly. They want to be otherwise they wouldn't have gotten married. I mean, they want to be connection or like I work with clients where, you know, the pursuing husband gives up for real. Like he says, I'll take no for an answer. And then the avoidant one is like, wait, what? What do you mean I don't want. So they're like meaning they want to be wanted, but they don't want to stick their neck out and want. that's that's definitely what I was doing when I was dating my husband as I was on the avoidant side. So talk about your one or the other. Right.

[00:36:28] And so I wanted him to want me I wanted him to be in pursuit of me, but I didn't want to really validate that back. I remember once saying, you know, you really should date other women, I'm not prepared to do this, and then I happen to show up at an event with another guy and he was with someone else, which was exactly what I had said to do.

[00:36:48] I was on another date and flipping out inside. Let say I want you to just keep wanting me while I go date other people. So, yeah, that's fair.

[00:37:00] I guess so.

[00:37:03] So what do you what do you tell them that avoid in person as far as I'm in therapy, helping them to see the weakness in it, the neediness and the wife food husband starts to give up and she gets super panicked and was like, well, apparently you don't want sex off the table. Then you keep saying you'd be happy if you never had to have it again. But apparently you want to not have sex, perhaps, but you don't want him to not want you sexually.

[00:37:32] Yeah. Yeah. So it's like I want the validation of your desire, but I don't want the exposure of stepping towards you. So I Help people see the weakness in that, that it's, you know, that it's not kind, it's not fair. You know, one person comes to mind. I was asking her to think about if her son were to marry someone like her. And she was like, you know, she's a victim and she's always pretending like, you know, but then she puts up a wall and she could see how mean and immature it was.

[00:38:03] Right. In a way, yeah. So then it's like, well, if you want to be stronger, then you need to tolerate stepping towards your partner. Unless you want to say you don't want this marriage. If you don't want the marriage, fine. If you don't want a sexual relationship, then own it. Right. I'm not here to tell you you have to have it, but then take responsibility for your choice rather than always keeping that person in pursuit, which reassures you but stabilizes an immaturity in you.

[00:38:29] Ok, yeah. Yeah, he drives them absolutely crazy.

[00:38:33] Right, exactly. So you don't have to want you don't have to have a sexual relationship but own it. If not and if you do want one then step in and take responsibility. Like somebody who wants to create a sexual relationship that works for her or him, depending on whoever is in that position. Take a step towards you want to learn how to belong to yourself and let another person matter to you.

[00:38:56] So you know.

[00:38:57] Yeah. So that's what I'm helping them see the weakness in it and the dependency on it and hurtfulness in it, because that often then pressures them within themselves to step in and take more responsibility and stop. You know, they say they hate the neediness on the other side, but they're constantly co-creating that neediness.

[00:39:18] And you feel like when you can get them to start moving toward that in that direction, is it hard for that needy person to not just overwhelm them? Is that difficult?

[00:39:27] No, actually, what tends to happen is the needy person gets overwhelmed themselves because they think they want a partner that's going to meet them halfway. But they've actually preferred to look at their partners back than their front, that they they offer her the kind of pursuit, right?

[00:39:45] Yeah. to actual intimacy.

[00:39:47] Well, that's what we can do a whole episode on that, because I feel like I mean, do you run into people that it's the it's the old. Yeah. Once they get what they're looking for then it isn't is. Oh yeah.

[00:40:01] Ok, I've had people oh you know, too little too late and it's like, wait, yeah. Yeah.

[00:40:06] We're finally doing what they've been wanting and saying they want and really self confronting and really stepping in and then they just are like, you know, I just wondering if this is ever going to work, you know, and their own lack of development and their own fear of intimacy is all up for them to see, because if they hadn't had a fear of intimacy, they wouldn't have married somebody that was avoidant. They would have found someone that could really step in and know them and choose them.

[00:40:35] I find that a lot of times in that scenario to the person they've been so used to that narrative, that narrative is gone, then all of a sudden they have to kind of own up to some of their own insecurities of their own. I mean, really. Right. It's been a lot easier to blame the blame my spouse the whole time.

[00:40:51] Yeah, absolutely. That's what people do in marriage so easily. Yeah. Blame blaming their partner and otherwise they would just be an amazing partner if it weren't for their lives. And, you know, and that's just a way of not having to deal with who you are and the way you are part of your marital challenges. And so so, yeah, when those that are exposed, people are often shocked that they're at themselves.

[00:41:15] Ok, can I can I do a fun fact? And then maybe we because time is flying and then we get to that section B, would that be OK? OK, fun fact is, I like how you were saying that in your book, that you dated guys that were that they were the ones that were the anxious attachment. You were kind of like, whoa, at the beginning. Do you ever have people that say the if I only was in a relationship with my friends Spouse who always wants to have sex, and then that's all we would ever do, and I've heard many times that people are always going to settle into that pursuer withdrawal relationship. Is that true?

[00:41:46] Well, it's true if you're immature. I mean, I'm not.

[00:41:50] What I would say is that I certainly think my relationship kind of started out in that way with my husband. You know, when we were dating, I was definitely in the and he was in pursuit. And I was more in with drawl or of and I thankfully was you know, we dated for three years. I was twenty six when we started dating.

[00:42:13] I was just I had a very good therapist. It really helped me grow up a lot. And so when we got married it was really choose, choose. I mean it was genuinely because I even stepped in to choose and then he was like, I need to kind of step back a bit and make sure this is what I want.

[00:42:29] I mean, he wasn't being a little bit like pursuing you for a while. And I need to just kind of settle into the fact that you're saying, yes, once we got married, it really was choose choose. Now, I mean, in our relationship, there definitely been times when we're playing out different sides of that. When I see my husband's meaning, I'm more emotional. I'm more I'm more the one will be passionate about things. He's a little more even keel and scientists type mind and so. Yeah, but but that those dynamics can sort of play out. But I think the more we mature, the more it really just feels like she choose, choose and. No, no we don't like we know each other and we know how each other works. And so I think that those are always there, probably on some level.

[00:43:18] But I think that's really a function of development. And the more immature, the more extreme those dynamics feel and the more they operate in extreme.

[00:43:26] Ok, no, I love that answer. OK, part B, I thought this was really fun because I got an email and it's from somebody that said I recently listened to a Jennifer Finlessson-Fife podcast replay and which she talked about fixing your relationship with a partnership mindset. She said, I'm quite certain I have a narcissistic spouse, covert, not super bad, but bad enough. And I'm wondering how to accomplish what she was talking about with that element thrown in. And she said that today I was listening to your podcast about and I had the idea that maybe she could team up, you could team up and do an episode to tell people how to do what she was talking about when a narcissist involved and then she talked about it. I'm only saying this not to praise me, but to say to how this how complex it gets. She said, I'd like to thank me for helping her realize what narcissism is. She struggled with her marital relationship for years, listening to the podcast has helped, because things she didn't know were happening gaslighting. And then she tells a story about she never realized that that was a thing and she's so crazy. So how do you. And I was just on and I know I listen to your appearances on the Betrayed Addicted and the expert podcast. And I love when you've been on there. I was just on there talking about narcissism because doing a lot of couples therapy and how things present differently. So how do you handle that, Jennifer? You run to that a lot.

[00:44:34] Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, if somebody has a narcissistic personality disorder, I mean, good luck. Right. Right.

[00:44:44] That's really somebody that's not going to self confront but narcissistic tendencies.

[00:44:53] Well, let me just start by saying we all have those. Yes. Yeah. Born with such a deep self reference that on some level that's part of what development is, is challenging your own narrowness and your own self delusions. Right. About who you are. And marriage is excellent for that, for kind of waking you up, who you really are, what your limitations are and how you can grow. But what I think this questioner is really pointing to, and I think it's an important point, is that.

[00:45:22] If she's saying you helped wake her up to gaslighting and she thinks her husband has a strong narcissistic tendencies, what she's saying is she's operating with somebody who doesn't self confront.

[00:45:33] Yeah, and that's very hard to work with, especially on your own, if you're vulnerable to being mind twisted, meaning if you're vulnerable, especially if you're a more sensitive woman. I don't know if she is or not. But if you're somebody who's very attuned to a lot of times people that very narcissistic. Yes. Are much more attuned to help other people feel about them. They're more self doubting often. And so when they get married and to somebody who who crushes them, makes them feel small, twists reality to kind of keep that more sensitive or self doubting partner on her heels.

[00:46:13] The kind of development you have to do to have any chance of the marriage meaningfully involved is almost almost it's almost impossible without serious help. And the help that you need is a marriage therapist, that or coach that can help to name and call out and confront the behavior of the narcissistic person. And the therapist has to be skilled enough that they know how to offer what's true to that person without blowing them out of the room. Yeah, and it helps the more self doubting person to kind of see what's real, but. It really is dependent upon whether or not that narcissistic person has enough courage to start dealing more honestly about who they are, where they are to function like this, which, you know, almost always they learned it at home, right? Yeah. And to be able to see who they are and to change it and.

[00:47:20] You know, I've worked with a lot of people who've turned it around, and it's meaning they have been willing to start seeing who they are, start naming it, being more honest, being more forthright, self confronting in front of their spouse. Right.

[00:47:35] And and so it can happen, but it takes.

[00:47:43] The courage to say what's true without being aggressive. Yeah, but most importantly, it takes somebody who wants to get out of the trap of their narcissism enough to start dealing with the narcissistic blow that seeing who they are is going to deliver to them.

[00:48:00] Absolutely. And I have to say this because I know people are going to listen to this and maybe don't even normally listen to me. And I have a I do a lot with this. And I always say that I you'll Google something about narcissism and it'll just say run. But I know that it's not that easy. And I know that people want to figure things out and they have kids and financial obligations and long term covenants and all kinds of things. And and so I always say that I try to help people raise their emotional baseline, get the self care. So they're in a good spot. And I say get your Ph.D. in gaslighting so that you do realize, OK, I'm not I'm not crazy and set boundaries and disengage from unproductive conversations and and then and then recognize that there really isn't anything that you'll say or do that will cause that absolute aha moment, if any, where that person will miraculously change and do a 180. And I feel like when people get that in place that then that is when they're in a best spot either. See that, wow, this isn't a really healthy relationship. If I if I'm not able to open up or in doing those things, setting those boundaries. And that's what I like, is that when the person may recognize their other partner, might recognize their their role and how they've been showing up or that sort of thing. And I know it's not just that easy. It takes a lot of time and time.

[00:49:12] But for the person. Exactly. For the person on the more the person that gets manipulated or whatever. Yes.

[00:49:18] It's like I think what the excuse me, what the more narcissistic partner is in fact doing and being able to see it, but really importantly, developing the capacity, the deeper capacity to self regulate even with a mind twisting partner who matters to you. OK, and that is heavy lifting. I mean, it is. It is. But it's so important because if you're going to extract yourself from that marriage or be in it in a more healthy way, meaning stand up to that behavior and challenge it and you need to develop that muscle. And so a lot of people that will marry the narcissistic person where they're weak is that they self doubt and they're looking for other people. They're in the anxious attachment position and they're looking for people to tell them that they're OK.

[00:50:04] And and so that is their vulnerability.

[00:50:09] So, you know, couples I work with where you really even the guy himself confronting, but the wife is often and you're still trying to get her sense of self through the guy. And she for her own sake, for the sake of the marriage, for the sake of intimacy, even being possible, has to learn how to hold on to her own dignity and sense of self. Right. Absent of the husband's validation, even if he's improving dramatically.

[00:50:35] And so that's often the focus gets so much on the narcissist and sometimes not enough on what is the psychological and emotional self-regulation tool that the that the partner of the narcissist needs to learn.

[00:50:49] Yeah, I love what you're saying because it's your turn into that person. If you look at the empty phrases of are you there for me? Can I count on you? Do you have my back? And and it's the person you're opening up and being vulnerable to to say my OK is the person that's doing the gaslighting in which that can be. I mean, I think that's a form of betrayal trauma of its own that that kind of that kind of way.

[00:51:10] And so that's why. Yeah, you can't you're the kind of approach that I do is not about getting your sustenance from the other person, getting it within your own ability to map what's real and what's true. It's getting it out of your own strength and not out of another person, especially another weak person. I was just working with a couple where she's made a lot of progress.

[00:51:36] But when he's in his worst self, he's kind of propping himself up and insulting her. And so aggressive mind sort of pushes him up. But he's just a big baby in that moment. But that doesn't have the right to say he's acting like a petulant child. Right. And she puts him up. And that's immature or regressive in her mind that he goes up when he goes into this.

[00:52:01] You know, cruel, petulant behavior, lots. They can't see through what they call that matte manhood or masculinity rather than childish.

[00:52:12] So you have to see it for what it is as a way of regulating your own mind. Don't make a child judge your sense of self because they'll judge it poorly.

[00:52:22] You have to unhook from that mind if you're going to have a sane and healthy mind.

[00:52:27] I love that because I heard it put one time that it was basically all kids are self centered and they move to self-confident when they have the right attachment, they have the right support system. So oftentimes they can have narcissists, those people that went from self-centered to self-centered. So it's basically it's and that's why I can feel like a 10 year old boy in narcissist failure to grow up.

[00:52:50] And yes, it's like you're still stuck. It's a five year old and a 50 year old body or whatever.

[00:52:56] So. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, exactly. So thank you for tackling that question because I feel like you handled that. When you run into that, what do you I mean, do you do you ever pull the partner aside? Do you ever say, hey, here's what I think that we might be looking at or what do you do in those?

[00:53:12] You know, I it to the couple. I know. I love that.

[00:53:16] That guy from the woman or whoever it is from the reality of what they're doing, I trust them enough in a sense to deal honestly with who they are.

[00:53:26] It's also a way of role modeling for the person who tends to coddle the narcissist that.

[00:53:34] You can hold your own and talk straight to that person, and I'm not aggressive toward that for sure, to help them see what they're doing and why, you know, their marriage is on the brink of ending and also give them some compassion, because I know they didn't come by this on their own.

[00:53:52] Yeah, let's say that they do. Sometimes they don't they don't even know what they don't know. And I guess that's the thing that. Right.

[00:53:58] And so I like to keep them from in the dark. You know, you want to care about them enough to talk straight to them. And sometimes it's the people, you know, you're putting me in a dilemma. You know, I can either respect you or I can tell you what you want to hear. What do you want? Which do you want?

[00:54:16] Yeah, exactly. And people are like, I have the respect for this. Yeah, well, that's great. So thank you. I don't want to take too much of your time. I mean, I really feel like that was everything that I hoped it would be.

[00:54:29] The narcissism piece in particular. Thank you so much for addressing that. And then in that avoiding attachment, I hope that we kind of landed the plane there because I do feel like with the attach or the the anxious attachment that yeah, I'm not just saying everybody has to go get a dog so they can pet it or do the self care. But I really feel like I appreciate you addressing that. Sometimes I feel if I'm going to be super open and vulnerable with you, sometimes I feel in the office when that avoidant attachment person kind of even has that recognition that, wow, OK, I'm not showing up as I maybe could or that I don't have that relationship. Sometimes I feel like, you know, I don't know if you're a big fan of acceptance and commitment therapy, but I love act that says, OK, each one of us is the product. We're the only version of ourselves, you know, all of our nature and nurture and birth order and DNA and abandonment, rejection, all that. So we think and feel the way we do. So then when someone says you need to do this, then it's like it doesn't always have to feel that reactance there, too. Right.

[00:55:25] And so I feel like I shouldn't say I never say. But when I being the therapist, I don't ever say, you know, you need to do it. As soon as I get into the operational position of trying to get somebody to, I'm first of all doing exactly what the pursuer is doing in the wrong. Yes. That's terrible role model as a as a therapist or a coach. So, you know, that's why I'm like I would say, like, of course, you don't have to stay in this marriage. No, you don't have to have sex. No, you don't have to stop looking at porn. But clearly, you know, you have choices to make.

[00:55:59] But maybe just be honest about your choices so that you're getting it out of the you have to do A, B or C to be a good person, more like you have the ability to make your choices. Here's the consequences I see given those choices, you know, at this point.

[00:56:16] So I'm sort of handing it to them so they can make a real decision for themselves. But, you know, as soon as I think that if somebody's not willing to move, I start talking about that. I think you're making your choice. I'll say to the pursuing person, I think your partner is telling you what he or she is going to do and not do. I think they're showing you probably time you want to deal with that means who are you going to be in the face of what they're choosing or not choosing? Because it's easy to kind of imagine you're waiting around being patient for somebody when in fact, they're not going to do anything. But even naming that either dislodges it or it allows the other person to figure out what they're going to do, given the choices they don't have control over.

[00:57:00] And I love that. And I appreciate you talking about that, too, because I feel like the same is that I feel like when we have this maybe aha moment in a session, even the anxious partner says, OK, now can you tell her you tell her what she needs to do. And I love how you just said that. It's like, no, that again, that defeats the whole purpose. Yeah. So I hope everybody hearing this never, never a good idea to say you need to. I mean that is never quite goes. Yeah. Never quite goes.

[00:57:25] Well exactly. It's participating in the pursuer dynamic and you're pushing them into exactly the position that they like the most and is worse for them.

[00:57:35] Yeah. Perfect. Hey, we actually just bought one of your courses so I'm excited about that. Yeah. It was when there was like a part of it but yeah. So it was a flash sale on holiday and I was like I'm in so I can't wait. I'm excited about that. And then any anywhere else right now where any, any more courses really.

[00:57:55] So we can doing the art of loving course, which is a men's sexuality course and I've been doing it live like two groups of men live. And it's been super fun to teach actually.

[00:58:07] So we're going to actually do a promotion on that, I think on Thursday to sell that course for the live and the recorded course i'll have in starting in February. So. So anyway, so that's the men's section.

[00:58:24] So it's of course, for LDS men and deals with things like desire being the high desire person, low desire pornography, you know, basically, how do you love through your sexuality and how do you. To greater peace within your sexuality, because, know, my heart of desire, of course, has a lot to do with how women have been giving messages to sort of suppressed desire and to suppress a sense of self and be more in this kind of stoic that's not really probably fair to stoicism, but this kind of benign position relative to their sexuality. And so that's a challenge. That course is really looking at those messages and helping women to find a way to be in a deeper and higher integrity relationship to their desires and sexuality. But the thing I've really learned is how much men have often learned to that their sexuality is shameful or dangerous to be at arms length with. And that fear based reality makes it very hard to integrate sexuality, feel at peace with it as a man. And so then men will either suppress or they'll go indulgent. So porn is sort of an easier way to have your sexuality, but not have to really confront it in yourself and or bring it into an intimate relationship.

[00:59:32] And so it's often an expression of this kind of highjacked development.

[00:59:37] But anyway, so really about helping men to kind of reconsider how they've been in relationship to masculinity and sexuality and how to be in a higher integrity position within themselves so they're more able to really love and be loved through their sexuality.

[00:59:50] So I so appreciate that. I mean, so I mean, when I was selling my book a year or so ago, I counted it was about thirteen hundred guys at the time. Over 15 years I worked with and I would say that at the time over thirteen hundred and no shame being a component of any type of recovery.

[01:00:06] And, and I feel like that is that is still so hard to sell people on a street based hold the shame, you know, become the person you want to be way so many people go more to just kind of get rid of the sexuality or get even farther from it rather than know how am I in relationship to myself and my sexuality in a way that creates real goodness and joy in my life. And I even think of it as like to really be in an entirety based relationship to sexuality. And a partner is in and of itself like a spiritual enterprise. And I don't mean in the way that a lot of people think about it. I don't mean all cleaned up. I mean kind of earthy and real, but but very much like a kind of marital ritual that's about a real kind of union and communion that I think, you know, I think God wants us to have.

[01:00:56] So the more that we can learn what we need to learn to create that, the better off men and women are and families are. And so anyway. Well, that's why.

[01:01:06] So good. OK, I promise. Now I'll be I'll make it. But even when you say that, what I love about that is I love to say we developed these four pillars of this connected conversation. And the first one is really just to assume good intentions that someone doesn't wake up in the morning and think, how can I hurt my spouse? And so even if it's that they're with their withdrawn or if they're angry or if they if they aren't feeling like being intimate, that being able to just say, OK, I know that's not what their goal is, is to hurt me. But if that's how they're showing up, then I do. I want to know and I want to know why they feel that way. And I don't know right now.

[01:01:40] I just feel like that, yes, you need to understand, like what is going on. And a lot of times we're afraid to understand our partner, in part because we don't want to know them as much as we think it'll stretch us and challenge us. But also we see ourselves better if we know them better and we often don't want to know ourselves. So we're terrible at seeking to understand. We want to be understood.

[01:02:02] We want our view of reality to dominate, but to understand much harder as we do that also, we were doing a Christmas sale, that 20 percent off all my courses. So that's the other thing. Probably by the time this post that will be it'll be up and running. So, yeah. Hey, what kind of dog do you have? I hear dog barking. Well, this is I'm at my sister's house right now and that is her Havanese dog. But I have a golden retriever who is at the next house. I am in Vermont currently because at least until a few days ago, Covid's been the lowest in the country here for months and months. But it probably still is. But but it's getting worse here lately. But so we I'm on the property that I grew up on, and there's basically three houses here because different family members. So we're able to just be here with some family.

[01:02:51] But my golden is in the other house. OK, thanks. OK, thank you so much for your time. I could talk to you every day and I appreciate.

Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-fife (www.finlayson-fife.com) a popular relationship and sexuality counselor, joins Tony on the podcast to talk about the challenges around sexuality that women face growing up in a faith-based culture. Dr. Finlayson-fife is a licensed psychotherapist with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She wrote her dissertation on LDS women and sexuality, has taught college-level courses on human sexuality, and she currently teaches online and community-based relationship and sexuality courses to LDS couples. She is a frequent contributor on the subjects of sexuality, mental health, and spirituality to LDS-themed blogs, magazines, and podcasts. She also maintains a private practice in Chicago where she lives with her husband and three children. You can find out more about her programs, including the one discussed on the podcast, the Art of Desire, on her website https://www.finlayson-fife.com/


Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Melinneal Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery


Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ


Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!


Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.


This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.


Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo


Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.


You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.


Finlayson-Fife, Roles of Sexuality EP 231 on Nov 4 2020
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, I'm going back into the archives to bring you my most downloaded episode of all time, my first interview with Dr. Jennifer Findlay's invite. Jennifer teaches couples and individuals how to strengthen their relationships over relational and sexual roadblocks and increase their capacity for intimacy, love, sexual expression and so much more. And we cover all of these topics and more coming up on the virtual couch. OK, first, let me cover a tiny bit of business. Recently, I received a funny email. This is a true story. I said, Hey, Tony, I love the podcast, especially the free therapy. But your podcast has led me to want to seek out my own therapy. And in this time of worldwide chaos and pandemic, I thought it only made sense to go through better help dotcom. But I no longer hear your better help dotcom ads. Did you guys break up? OK, so this is a funny one. No, we did not break up. We aren't seeing other people right now, although admittedly, whenever I do hear a better help dotcom ad on another podcast, I do think weight doesn't better help Dotcom still care about me. And yes, they do. You can still go to better help dotcom virtual couch and get 10 percent off of your first month's worth of services. And yes, doing so will help take care of some behind the scenes cost to produce and host the Virtual Couch podcast. So why haven't I been running better health outcomes? Virtual couch ads, you may ask. And here's why I love being an honest, raw, vulnerable therapist. Key the dramatic music we don't actually have that worked into the budget, but I get giddy recording and getting these podcasts out the door and sometimes I forget to pop an ad in for better help.

[00:01:30] Dotcoms, less virtual couch. Forget as it has been many, many episodes, but they are still offering real one on one therapy with a licensed therapist and better help. Dotcom's network of therapists continues to grow and you can find help for everything from anxiety, depression, OCD, as well as grief and loss, help with parenting challenges. And while it can honestly be darn near impossible to get in with an in-person therapist right now because, a, the stigma behind therapy is finally softening. So people are running to therapy as well as be there's a lot going on in the world and people need help, but better help. Dotcoms, less virtual couch can have you speaking or texting or emailing with a therapist, sometimes within 24 to 48 hours. So what are you waiting for? They make it easy to change therapist if you don't like the fit. So go to better help dotcom slash virtual couch today and join now the over one million others who have decided that they need to be their best selves in order to deal with all that life is throwing their way. Trust me, life is throwing us a lot. So you owe it to yourself, your family, your kids, your spouse, your pets, you name it. To be at the very least, take a look at what you can do to put you in a position to succeed in life. So go to better help dotcom slash virtual couch today and receive ten percent off your first month services. OK, lets virtual couch Zawi.

[00:02:58] Come on in. Take a seat.

[00:03:05] Ok, honestly, that theme song grows on me when it was first submitted to me, sent over to me by a good friend who had put that together, I just wasn't sure. But I just kind of get into it. And when it ends, I just want to take a big breath and just, oh, here we go. I'm ready. So kind of skipping the intro because it's story time. A little bit of a vulnerability story I actually recorded in episode two thirty one a couple of days ago. And it's Wednesday today, day after Election Day. And I normally release on Tuesday, but I just didn't like the episode that I recorded and I sent it to a couple of people that are helping me out with things behind the scenes. And I said, please be honest. Let me know, what do you think? And I was so grateful for their honesty and kind of said, yeah, one was maybe a little bit hard to follow. It was about accountability. And someday maybe I'll make that one of the hidden tracks. But it was based off of the acceptance and commitment therapy book, The Confidence Gap, which I absolutely love. And I feel like the message I believe in wholeheartedly, but I just didn't feel like I was delivering the goods. So I came in this morning. I was going to do one on marital entropy, which is kind of a very fascinating concept.

[00:04:12] And then it just kind of hit me that I am getting closer. A couple of weeks away from a very big interview with one of my favorites, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson, VIFF and I presented her and her team with some thoughts and theories that I came up with, along with my friend Preston Buckmeier while we were developing my our magnetic marriage course. And I really think it's some things that I just saw come out. The more we kind of beta tested the course in the differences between male and female, the differences in attachment styles between avoidant and anxious attachment and the differences in love language from people who are maybe anxious attachment and physical touch or words of affirmation people and how they typically end up in relationships with people that are more avoidant attachment and maybe acts of service or quality time people. And I just presented something to Jennifer and said, hey, let's talk through this. Let's figure this out. So that's a little bit of a sneak preview that'll be coming up later this month. We're going to be recording fairly soon. So this morning, I just came in and I just had a little epiphany on my run this morning and just thought, I mean, I've never done bonus episodes or recent episodes of Jennifer's appearances on the virtual couch. And so when I looked at the stats this morning, this episode that I'm about to play, which was my initial episode 45, so almost 200 episodes ago, is still by far the most downloaded episode of the Virtual Couch podcast.

[00:05:40] So I think that you're going to get a lot from this today. It's going to start setting the table for my magnetic marriage course, which, yes, I am going to promote the heck out of. So if you want to hear more, go to Tony Overbay Dotcom and sign up to find out more. We'll really start promoting the magnetic marriage course in the next probably two to three weeks. And we'll talk about the release date and a lot more details around that. And just while I have you, yesterday two podcasts were released that I was a guest on. One was The Betrayed, the Addicted and the expert with Kobe and Ashlynn and my good buddy Brant and Patrick. And they had me come on and talk about narcissism. And that is a topic that I am passionate about. And so if you're a fan of that podcast or if you've never heard that podcast, we went over an hour. It was a Facebook live at the time. And they released that episode yesterday. And I really do feel like we talked about some things that I've never really shared before about people coping with dealing with relationships with narcissistic personality disorder, people that have tendencies, narcissistic tendencies.

[00:06:42] And I talked about and I mentioned this in the past, that I do have a group and it is ready to go. I've mentioned this in the past. I know. But if it's for women who may find themselves in relationships with people with narcissistic tendencies, narcissistic personality disorder, if they're going through marital challenges, a divorce, if they've already been through that and they're dealing with challenges through the trauma bond, can you please reach out to me? Contact contacted Tony over Match.com. And I will I will give you some information about this group that is beginning and it's completely anonymous behind the scenes. But I do would love for you to contact me and let me know if you're interested. And I was also on a podcast called The Millenium Member podcast with Emily Insigne, and she released that episode yesterday as well. And I'll put links to this in the show notes. But we we went deep into pornography and guilt and shame and how a lot of times well-meaning ecclesiastical leaders can kind of get in the way, bless their hearts of recovery when they are wanting people to recover a certain way. And if they don't particularly have experience in working with people that struggle with addiction, whether it's compulsive sexual behavior or impulse control disorder. So those two episodes that I was a guest on came out yesterday.

[00:07:54] And while we're here on the topic of pornography, I have rereleased or updated the path back online pornography recovery program Path Back. 2.0. So just go stop by pat back recovery dotcom, and there you'll still find a short e-book that talks about five common myths that people fall into when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. And I've started some weekly Q&A group calls so you can find out more information, their path back, recovery, dotcom.

[00:08:21] All right. So as usual, please go stop by Instagram at Virtual Couch and there's a lot more content there. Some quotes from previous episodes are going up on a regular basis. And I would love it if you had a second and you follow or you share this episode with a friend or anything like that. But today we're going to talk about sexuality, sexuality and relationships. And I feel like I don't need to give any other further introduction. If you haven't heard of Jennifer Finlayson five, I think you're going to absolutely love her conversational style. And again, this is leading up to an episode that I can't wait to record, which will come up later this month. OK, so without any further ado, let's get to my interview with Dr. Jennifer Finless and Faith.

[00:09:12] That has a little feature that says and it says like, sharpen my appearance.

[00:09:18] So I did it and it made me look like an anime character. So I uncheck that box. So I go, OK. Am I sharp and or not very sharp. OK, but not anime. No, not animated. Sharp. Very sharp. OK. All right. I want to welcome Dr. Jennifer Finlayson life to the virtual couch.

[00:09:36] Welcome, Jennifer. Yeah. Thank you for having me.

[00:09:38] I'm really I really am grateful that you're willing to take the time. And I was going to jump right out of the gate.

[00:09:43] This is I know that I want your background. I want to get into a very solid interview. But I just had a client. I've been dropping your name for a little while. I'm not going to lie. If you would have had to cancel today, I would have just I would have been wracked with guilt and shame. The last time I left, they just said, do you think that when people want to talk to her because you specialize in sexuality and sexuality, do you typically get the. So my friend wanted me to ask you, is that the way most conversations start with you?

[00:10:10] That's a good question. Sometimes at parties that, you know, we don't end up having this issue. And where do you think about that right now?

[00:10:20] You know, right away that is their issue.

[00:10:26] Sometimes, but not always. Sometimes it is a friend, you know, sometimes some friend is going through something, but sometimes you wonder if they're just trying to cover that. They have a question. Yes.

[00:10:37] Yes. OK, I have to I so want to just launch into my next question, but we need your background first because it will make more sense to the question I want to ask. So talk a little bit about your background.

[00:10:48] So I have a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and I studied at BYU, Brigham Young University. I did my undergrad in psychology and women's studies. And then as a grad student, I was asked to teach an undergrad course on human sexuality. That was at the same time that I was trying to figure out a dissertation topic. And I could spend a lot of time talking about how I came to my topic. But I decided to write my dissertation on Mormon women and sexuality and looking at Mormon women, the sense of agency in their lives, both premarital and within marriage. And so now focus of my research.

[00:11:28] Ok, you got a funny story about the teaching the classes, too. I heard on one of the Warren Jeffs. What was that?

[00:11:32] Yeah. So I was not yet married and I was asked to teach two courses. One was human sexuality and the other was drugs and alcohol. OK, I was a Mormon who had no experience with either in between.

[00:11:45] So yeah, I ended up saying no to the drugs and alcohol and just the sexuality, but yeah. So it opened up lots of questions.

[00:11:53] Look, I was teaching Catholic students because I was a Jesuit college. OK, so it was helping me sort of look at sexuality through the lens of Catholicism and then thinking about Mormonism as well as feminism, which I had studied a lot of.

[00:12:06] And so that led me to my topic dissertation and OK.

[00:12:11] And I am maybe going to go a little bit out of order, because I have to tell you, as I was dropping your name, so I had a woman who was sending me an email about one of the podcasts that she heard me on. And it was in particular about why is it so difficult to get men into counseling, which I'm sure we could talk about.

[00:12:24] And so but she then said I then I told her that you were coming on the podcast again, dropping the name I could. And I actually wrote this was her exact quote. She said she said, I love and that's all in caps. So she was screaming this Jennifer. Her dissertation was fascinating. So I'm talking about your dissertation and she has a great question I want to get to in a little bit. But I didn't realize you had worked with the Catholics. You worked as well as with Mormon because you're primarily focused with LDS women. Now, is that. Yes, definitely. OK, so then my question and I don't want you to think that everything I'm going to say is going to be a joke today, but I do find that I so I do a lot of couples therapy and I find that. And I work with a pretty heavy LDS population as well. And kind of my joke is that with with most couples I see the sexual piece comes in usually in session one and the LDS couple is usually at some session four or five. And it's as they're walking out the door and it's by the way, have you ever heard of. Do you find that to be the case or when people know that's what you specialize in, do they come in ready?

[00:13:24] I mean, one thing I would say is that many times it is men. I would say probably 50 percent of the time it's men reaching out for therapy. May couples therapy around sexual issues. OK, so, you know, men do initiate counseling, but often sex is what gets them through the door.

[00:13:43] Well, I love that because that does make more sense. I mean, I'm usually getting women will initiate with me because I'm a male therapist and so the guy will only go to a man therapist if I think that if she's saying, you know, you don't communicate.

[00:13:55] So I've never thought of that. So for you, you have the specialty of, you know, working with sex issues around sexuality. Yes. So so, OK, we can go in a whole direction. So when men then come in, is it almost like, hey, tell her tell her she needs to have more sex with me?

[00:14:12] Yeah. That's often people's position. Would you please fix her? Yes, it's broken. Maybe you as a Mormon woman can enlighten her about how to claim her sexuality. Wow. There is some legitimacy to that on his part. But oftentimes what it's mask's or it doesn't isn't exposed yet within their own minds is their own participation in a role in the sexual dysfunction.

[00:14:39] Ok, so how do you address that? This is I love that you're getting here because one of the things I hope to get to is this view that I get where I am a man coming in and letting me know in front of her that, hey, hey, man, you know, I came into counseling.

[00:14:52] Male therapists now tell her that if we just had more sex, I'm a better husband, father, employee, church service, all of those very typical script, which I basically do your duty and then I'll be a nicer guy.

[00:15:03] Right. And so then that's the part where now I almost feel like it's OK, I'll let them get through the speech and that sort of thing, and then it's OK to the wife and what's going on with you right now.

[00:15:11] And then she feels like, yeah, it's all on me.

[00:15:14] So if he isn't all on her, yeah. He's also setting up the marriage dynamic to be about mercy sex as opposed to intimate sex.

[00:15:24] I love it. Yes.

[00:15:25] Ok, so he's setting up the very thing that he then complains about, which is she just does it mechanically, she just does it because she feels like she should.

[00:15:35] But where's all the passion? But when you set it up, the sex is a drive or a need. And you woman, if you're a good woman, give it to me now. Set up the thing that you then makes you miserable because you never feel wanted.

[00:15:48] Absolutely. OK, and I apologize. And it's probably isn't the typical interview, but I work I work so much with that male component. And at that point then I try to introduce the concept of objectification, or at that point she feels like an object.

[00:16:01] And then in that's yeah. Like you say, that script is that if we only had more sex and then that like like the I always feel like the guy turns into if I am angry enough or if I am almost sad enough or down enough, then I will maybe get sex. Now fast forward later on in couples therapy where that's not the person that she says, that's the guy I want to be intimate with is the guy in my way into it.

[00:16:26] And yeah. OK, exactly. Yeah. Very undesirable. Yeah. And then and then he's scratching his head about why doesn't she desire me.

[00:16:34] Oh OK. And you fix it. All right. What do you do with that Jennifer.

[00:16:39] Ok, well I mean I guess what I would say is there's often at least two, maybe three things going on there.

[00:16:47] First of all, it's all been a co construction. It's not just the man is pressuring this idea that if you take care of my sexual needs, I'll be a much nicer guy.

[00:16:57] And it's also that women first of all, it's a cultural artifact. And so women have bought into this frame, too. And when women who can often have a lot of anxiety about their sexuality, given the way that we change sexuality culturally and and make it a difficult thing for women not to integrate men as well, but in a different way. And so it's often a way for women to not develop themselves as people and as sexual beings is to use the same frame that they're being handed, which is do me a favor and have sex with me. OK, so it's a way of not being intimate. It's a way of not being as exposed if you're just taking care of your husband in that virtuous, self sacrificing wife by putting up with his hedonism, you know.

[00:17:50] Yeah.

[00:17:50] Until finally, he says it's a way for the woman to also hide. It's a way for men and women to hide, which is just take care of me this way. She will give him the mercy sex. But no one really is showing up. It's not very intimate on either side. Yeah, well, a lot of times both parties in a marriage want lower exposure marriages. They want lower exposure sex. And so couples are good at having sex without being very intimate. Yeah, both. And this is a way to do it. So I know that you asked me the question.

[00:18:28] I said there's three things and I can't remember what the question was.

[00:18:30] I can't either. So we're on the same page. So then I just I love that because that is the dynamic I see as well. And I feel like a couple. So now here I'll lay out I have three thoughts and I bet I'll only get the one as well. Right. So my first thought was that it's that what I like to do is. And if though if the woman felt like that wasn't all he cared about, I mean, because I get this concept or maybe I wonder if you see this where she doesn't want to hug him close, she doesn't want to kiss him, she doesn't want to lay in his lap or they're watching a movie because then he's sizing up the moment to say, OK, looks like I got a good shot tonight. Right.

[00:19:06] And so then I find that then at some point then couples just had a woman say that she won't even look at her husband when they're at the dinner table because she feels like I get many ideas.

[00:19:17] Yeah, exactly. So and so. And then I do remember my second one. So do you feel like this concept of intimacy then is when you were trying to sell that to your clients? Do you feel at times that they don't even know what that looks like? But we're trying to sell this idea that they don't even but they're like, OK, sure, fine, but just tell her to have more sex with me.

[00:19:38] That's when I think people often don't know what it looks like, but they do know what I mean when I'm talking about hiding and avoidance. Yeah, ok. OK, so it's like maybe they haven't thought about it, but people do know how to manage how much of themselves they show to another person and they can usually see that they are masking or managing. One of themselves shows up in a relationship whether that's at the dinner table or in bed. So I think that yeah, people are good at keeping relationships at the level that they know how to handle the level of exposure, even though they have maybe never experienced what it is to really have an open hearted more. Intimate marriage.

[00:20:25] Ok, so I want to go back even to OK, I do have to interject one more quick question to you.

[00:20:29] I know on your website you work on you, you work with spirituality, women's issues, parenting, depression, couples issues.

[00:20:37] Do you feel. What's the percentage of your work that is around sexual issues? Is that the bulk of it?

[00:20:45] It is. I mean, I put all that on my website of when I first started. And I mean, I do deal with all those issues. There's absolutely no question. I would say relationship issues and sexuality issues is really primarily what my focus is. OK, but it touches on all those things. Sure. I mean, you know, going back to I think the question you asked me earlier, when that couple comes in and they're complaining about that, I mean, what my strategy is often is, is to basically understand why she doesn't desire I'm going to do it in the stereotypical way right now, which is the low desire woman in the higher desire man. And so why does she not desire him? And oftentimes there there's two things too broad categories to think about. One is the issue of her self and sexual development. OK, that's also true for the men. I just specialize a lot and working with Mormon women and their own relationship to desire to sexuality, to self development, because I think culturally we are pretty compromising of women in this way. And so that's often a factor that women, in their effort to be good women, desirable women, have sort of suppressed a fundamental part of being a woman and a fundamental part of being human. So that's sometimes a factor. You have people that are sexually immature and it sounds insulting when I say it that way. But I mean, in a literal developmental sense here, there isn't a deep integration of their sexuality that's happened yet. So that's often a piece that's going on. And then there is the issue of what's going on in the relationship. Now, some people who haven't developed themselves sexually very much and don't want to, yeah, they can do things in the relationship to basically shame his sexuality, to basically never offer him desire to never really validate who he is as a person, as a way of keeping control, keeping him coming towards her for validation and her having a sense of control in the marriage so she doesn't have to really develop who she is.

[00:22:52] Sure. Or do you feel like that's typically subconscious, not something that she's even aware she's doing?

[00:22:58] Well, I hesitate to use the word subconscious because I it's not just happening to you. It's purposeful action. But that's very different than saying it's premeditated. Sure. OK, what I'm saying. Yeah, you purposeful. You know how to do it. You know, for example, in one case, she's doing what her mother did. Her mother would never ask her dad acceptance, love, physical validation. The mother ran the family out of her kind of contempt and and judgment. OK, and then the daughter, who is now an adult then has done the same thing in the marriage. OK, the husband's always sort of feeling that he's ostracized. They can't ever get her approval or acceptance, but she gives enough to kind of keep him tethered to. OK, yeah. So that's one version of it. In other cases, there's the man who is like, you owe it to me. I'm the man, I do everything, you know, what's your problem?

[00:23:58] And so she will kind of manage him through being sexual, trying to keep his criticism and his anger and aggression at bay. OK, but it's not about desire. It's about managing.

[00:24:10] So she may be sexual quite a bit, but that's very different than she's really someone who is integrated with her sexuality and is really expressing love to him through her body. OK, very different. So I'm I'm usually looking at both the level of sexual development in both people, OK, how integrated they are with their sexuality. And then then I'm looking at what is the dynamic of this marriage and and what is happening. That sexual desire is not likely. You're OK.

[00:24:39] And so and I do want to tap into what your your expertise is. So in that moment, do you continue doing couples work or is that where you need to kind of step back and explore with the woman her her relationship with sexuality?

[00:24:52] I usually just keep doing couples work, even if she's working on some of these things. You know, within the context of couples work, sometimes I'll do individual sessions and oftentimes they'll have people do my online course for the day.

[00:25:09] We never thought about that at the heart of desire.

[00:25:12] Yes, yes. Yeah.

[00:25:14] And so that really but so much of the work of sexual development, which is also in this course, is around your relationship to your own sense of self, your relationship.

[00:25:23] Desire in your life, generally, your development as a person who is capable of really loving and being loved, is capable of really knowing and being known how your development of sexuality is integral to that process of becoming a whole woman and a whole person. Yeah, it is teaching women about women's sexuality, which is an amazing women's sexuality, is amazing, really.

[00:25:50] I mean, I think our culture does it short shrift in a crazy way because we reference male sexuality to understand female sexuality. So we female sexuality looks broken by comparison because it's different than than sexuality.

[00:26:03] But so part of the course is helping women. And part of the work I do with women is helping them understand what women's sexuality is really about. But, Mike, the course is not so much about helping women become sexually competent so that they can, you know, help their poor husband. It's really about how to be more integrated with yourself, to be more of a whole solid human being who can be a force for good in your life, in your marriage, with your children, you know, whatever capacity. And that is a fundamental aspect of that is being integrated with your desires and your sexual nature.

[00:26:41] So where do you mind stepping back in and take the LDS woman? And maybe from the time you kind of work that through linear from the time they are young, this is the story we hear. And so here's where is it the shame or the guilt that kind of drives the narrative. And then all of a sudden now we're married and there you go.

[00:26:59] And then so, yes, I think for both LDS men and women, there is a narrative that sex is Satan's pathway and that sex will take you down. And so there's a there's a deep anxiety. And it's is not just specific to Mormonism. I mean, cultural anxiety around sexuality for a good reason, which is because sexuality is a very intimate and powerful way to be in connection with other people. But oftentimes the way the anxiety around sexuality gets handled, and particularly because in our faith, we have a, you know, a fairly restrictive set of norms around how we should handle our sexuality. And so sometimes how we how we teach that, given that we have high expectations around sexual behavior, is to frighten people around their sexuality, is fear based teaching rather than goal based teaching. And so when your fear based, then there is this anxiety that sex will take you down, sex will turn you into a bad person, sex will distance you from God and from the people that you love. And what we do, we teach men and women both that both men and women get taught that idea. But I think the difference between men and women is that we teach women that sex is something sexuality. Sorry, men are naturally sexual. Women are not.

[00:28:21] That's that's what we teach.

[00:28:22] Or that's the that's the narrative. That's the message within the message is that women are sexual only to accommodate and manage the sexuality and sexual nature of men. Men are naturally sexual and so women should therefore dress modestly, you know, cover their bodies up because men sexuality is present and normal for being a man. But if you tempt them, that not only is it dangerous for you, it's dangerous for them. They're implicit in that idea is that sex is something you give a man. Virginity is something you give a man. But men are the sexual actors. You are in response to this so many Mormon women that I work with, what they do is they because they see sexuality as something that makes you bad, and particularly so for women.

[00:29:12] For example, many of the women that I know, I first ever frozen podcast. I'm going to hang on here for a second and hopefully Jennifer will come right back. This is the first on the virtual couch. She doesn't bounce back. I will pause the video. Let me pause that right now.

[00:29:34] Sorry about that. OK, I lost Internet. That was my my problem.

[00:29:38] No, the kids are playing for tonight. Is that what it was? No, no.

[00:29:42] My husband I was on the on the big computer and somebody did something with Wi-Fi network not knowing that I was on my laptop.

[00:29:49] Oh, OK. I'm so glad you're back. No, that was OK. Good. We were you remember what I was just saying? You were about to solve everyone's problems around sexuality in the entire world. You're about to give us it was kind of talking about that where women are. You were talking about how they give the sexuality they give their virginity that.

[00:30:08] Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's right. That's right. So I think what I was saying was just so I think, for example, women in my research felt.

[00:30:19] More guilty if they had engaged in some behavior, premarital, then meaning they thought it was more acceptable if a man had done the same thing. And so that is the idea that women are worse if they are sexual.

[00:30:34] So what many women in my research and in my office clinically have done is they just shut this whole enterprise down, like if this is going to make me undesirable, which is an idea that we teach. And if this is going to make Satan have some grip on me, I just won't develop this at all. Wait till I get married and then my husband will awake this week in this whole part of me and he will teach me about how to be sexual because men are naturally sexual.

[00:31:01] And so what happens, of course, is people get married and then they're waiting in a sort of passive stance for something to be awoken within them.

[00:31:10] And it never works that way.

[00:31:13] Right. OK, so what's your then what's your advice? And it is funny, though, when I was telling the sushis she wants to become she wants to be the next you the student that was emailing me this morning, who wants to be LDS female sex therapist, which I love that she talked about or the question was around, how do LDS women prepare for their sexual lives and marriage?

[00:31:33] And she said, because I have so many friends that have gotten married, struggled in their sex lives because they either felt bad about having sex or they didn't know their body as well.

[00:31:40] So I think I think we have to really reconsider how we teach men, young men and women in the church or earlier age, how we teach our children about sexuality, because if we do it in the frame that sex is inherently dangerous and bad, you are going to have all the problems you see in adulthood in the church now, which is issues with pornography and issues with sexual repression.

[00:32:06] Ok, because we what we need to do is to talk to boys and girls and men and women about sex as though sexuality is a fundamental part of being human.

[00:32:17] It's God given that our parents and having our own body just as we are, and that sexuality is not good or bad, it just is it's just fundamental to being embodied.

[00:32:29] What you do with your sexuality will determine whether or not sex is good or bad. What you do with your sexuality matters because what your choices have make a difference. They impact both you and they impact others. Whether those are choices of indulgent behavior or repressive behavior. Right. Repressing your sexuality is bad for your psychological and sexual and spiritual development, in my opinion, because that leads to your question is, OK, pure repression is because you're basically suppressing a fundamental part of being embodied. And we in our faith believe that embodiment is fundamental to our spiritual development. You're really going to love and be loved deeply in marriage, which is the gift of marriage, right?

[00:33:17] Yes. I have to be able to really be integrated with your body, meaning to to love and be loved and to be able to love through your whole body.

[00:33:27] That's probably like the most wonderful part of life is to be fully accepted by what someone and to be fully accepting of them.

[00:33:37] But if you can't really be at peace with your whole body, your sexuality included, you cannot know that kind of peace both with yourself or with another person.

[00:33:48] And so we are teaching sexuality in a way that makes it impossible to be at peace because we teach men also that sexuality is fundamental to being male or masculine, but that it's dangerous, you know, that it's it's something that will take you down. And it's it's a privilege on some level. It's a privilege of a marriage.

[00:34:08] We teach men that idea. So that's why you get a lot of entitlements and then once they get married. But also it's something that you do to a woman. It's not something that you really share that. It's about how can we be together and be sexual and enjoy each other.

[00:34:25] It's and so when you have it in the frame of it, something you do to another person, well, it fosters either entitlement or in men. It can foster a sense of anxiety because at least more sensitive men don't want to be inflicting their sexuality onto their spouse all the time. Sure. And so a lot of times it creates more anxiety and fear around sexuality for many men.

[00:34:50] So what's your when you talk about we need to do a better job younger in teaching that now, what does that look like?

[00:34:57] Well, I think you need to from the very first of all, you have to deal with your anxieties about sexuality as a person and as a parents, because your anxieties, your kids will track them and pick up on them whether or not you want them to.

[00:35:09] Sure. And so you it's going to include doing some work around the false traditions or messages that you've internalized around sexuality.

[00:35:19] But I think what it is, is a basic embracing and celebration of the body from a very young age so that you're not afraid of your child's nudity.

[00:35:29] Yeah, you actually chamber. I can't believe you're go get. Yeah.

[00:35:35] Yeah. And a lot of kids are going to touch themselves when they're very young and be exploring their bodies. This is one hundred percent normal because your child is just trying to understand where they end in the world begins. They want to kind of know who they are. And of course, areas of their body that give them pleasure are going to be interesting to them. And that does not mean there seem to be a pervert. It just means they're human. OK, so to be very normalizing of this is very important because you're giving your child the message that the body is good.

[00:36:06] And I like you, I like your concept, too, around dealing with our own issues, because I and spoke to a school recently of how to talk to your kids about sex. And I felt like there were a lot of people there that were just so you could see the just anxiety and nervousness on their face.

[00:36:21] And it was like, OK, we are coming here. We got to just we're going to get, like, serious and angry and battle and ready and great.

[00:36:28] Exactly. So I think absolutely we we have a hard time seeing our children as sexual beings or accepting that they are if we want to control them, if we're afraid of what they might do with their sexuality. And so many of us almost instinctively want to shame it out of them. But I promise you, you will create many more troubles for them. And you, if you do that to your children, is when it's put in a frame of shame.

[00:36:53] You inhibit your child from being able to integrate this with their sense of self and be able to make clearheaded choices with their sexuality.

[00:37:02] Ok, even for example, the more women were shamed of some research and the less educated they were about their sexuality as adolescents, the more likely they were to have sex and not good sex, right sex where they felt exploited, sex, where they felt taken off guard sex, or they were more likely to get pregnant because they they had no opportunity to kind of integrated enough with their sense of self to be able to proactively make decisions.

[00:37:27] I think that is that the biggest takeaway is the so the more it is a shame, the more it's repressed, the more guilt that is around it.

[00:37:36] Then the more you say that, the more active that someone is or they have an unhealthy relationship with some of the more unhealthy there's their relationship to sexuality is whether it's through indulgence, if you want to use that word or through repression.

[00:37:51] Ok, so it's like you you know, it's a little bit like they use a food metaphor, which is if you basically, you know, the desire to have food is normal desire to have sugar or even normal, because from a survival perspective, sugar is the surefire way for the body to get the calories it needs to stay alive, cook energy. Right. OK, right. But if you tell people that if you tell someone that eating sugar is bad, even wanting it as bad, if you want brownies, it means you're bad. What you are going to do is either create an anorexic or bulimic. You're going to either create someone who just says, I will I will not let myself have any pleasure, OK? Or you have someone who is trying to not want it, but become obsessed with it because that's not allowed. And so they will be excessive either. Position is bad for the psychological and physical development of a human being in the food metaphor.

[00:38:52] So first of all, I love brownies, but then you also we're going to. That's what I was I loved in one of the podcasts you talked about the candy store analogy with with regard to pornography and sexuality. You might share in that.

[00:39:02] Sure. And I don't exactly remember how I talked about that. But I think the idea is basically it's normal for adolescents to be drawn, to be curious about sexuality, to be curious about nudity. I sometimes tell the story like my dad had a book on his top of his bookshelf called The Naked Communist. And the Naked Communist is only on Scows. And it's like it's like a political philosophy. Yes, I have to think about nudity, but I scaled my father's bookshelf of books and was disappointed to see there were no naked communists in it. OK, that is normal behavior. I mean, you know, you're curious. You're trying to understand sexuality. So if you shame that if you say that the fact that you have sexual feelings or you're curious or you want to see a naked woman or whatever, that there's something wrong with you. First of all, you're being dishonest with your family and shaming something that's normal and necessary for becoming capable of sexual intimacy in an integrated way down the road. Yeah, so you want to normalize it. And I think the candy store metaphor I used is like porn is everywhere, OK? It's just it just pornographic images are everywhere. It's the culture that we live in. If you make it forbidden, you increase its desirability. Yes. Yeah. And so I can't remember how I reference the candy store exactly. But I think what I'm saying is the same idea that if you basically say you can't have it, you can't have it, you're going to forge an obsession with eating candy.

[00:40:37] Yes. You know, I had a client who not a client, a friend who would throw herself in front of the magazine racks in the grocery store line so that her kids, who were three and five, would not see the bear or the low cut dresses and the bikinis and so on of the women in the magazines. And because she was so terrified of her kids becoming porn addicts and I said to her, you are making you are turning them into porn at. Because you are you are meshing both fear and the forbidden together. Yeah, OK. Right. And so it's like this anxiety and then this curiosity and what is Mom so afraid of? It just drives a kind of obsessiveness rather than. Yeah, it's normal. People sell stuff. They try to sell stuff by showing more of their bodies, like, isn't that silly? Yes. And just kind of normal. Allow your kids to make sense of it, allow them to see that you're not terrified of it, that you yourself are comfortable with a better version of sexuality than that kind of objectifying or commodifying of sexuality. And so, you know, you're you're role modeling a kind of moderation and clarity that is really needed to navigate through a very sexualized world.

[00:41:59] And one of my big soapboxes and I love you in there is I say that parents always say you can come and talk to me about anything, but then if you come and say, hey, how about that sex? And then they're like, we don't talk about that.

[00:42:10] And so now the teen or the youth is they they know now I need to control the flow of information, which is definitely right.

[00:42:17] And so kids are always tracking can really handle this conversation.

[00:42:22] Yes. I want that conversation about hey. So I when I remember when we had the talk with our kids, my oldest after proudest dad moment, she circles back around at a store a few days after we had the talk. And then when she sees the whatever the magazine and there's a teenage girl and she's some star and she's pregnant and my daughter saying she's like, before I thought, I don't understand. She's not married and she's pregnant. How does that work? And I just love the fact that we talked about it then right before. I don't want that she's trying to figure out the world. And she's I can't ask mom or dad because. Right. Lip, you know.

[00:42:57] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And when they see that you can really handle it and that you, you know, things you know, they will use you as a resource. They really will.

[00:43:08] And then there is also a certain you know, a 15 year old I was talking my husband in front of my 15 year old the other day, and I was saying something like someone wrote an email and they were asking, you know, how do you talk to your kids about masturbation? And I think that they're like, you don't know.

[00:43:29] I mean, there's a certain point at which they no longer want you talking to them. And so, you know, the prime age to really download information and your values and so on is about age eight to about age 12. OK, and you know, it's not that you can't still write or talk about or be aware, but they're less open as they get older.

[00:43:50] I love that this was going to be my last question, but I've got another one that I want to ask after this. But I was going to say with the three kids as a therapist myself, and we all share Cloud Kindle cloud and I think they see all the pornography addiction recovery, that sort of thing.

[00:44:05] So any family night, I almost feel like they're all ready to say, are we talking pornography? And tonight and we're OK. But since you mentioned it and then what have you seen? What's the last thing you saw? So I do. And I don't know if this was going to be too ambiguous of a question, but so what I do see a lot and I'm just curious what your thoughts are when there are some women who have they have been it was never talked about in their home and it was probably heavily guilt and shame. And so then they get in a marriage and it's sort of the just the husband. I work with a lot of men and sometimes it is because now they turn to addiction, they turn to pornography as a coping mechanism or whatever, that sort of thing. But it's they just they're there. They feel like their wife just has zero interest in sexuality and to the point where she doesn't even want to talk about it. So do you have some thoughts on that?

[00:44:59] I mean, I think that is can be true that people who have a lot of it and I would say both the man and the woman in this example have anxiety about sexuality is absolutely being handled in different ways.

[00:45:12] Yeah. Yeah. What advice? I guess what I would say is that.

[00:45:18] Yeah, I mean, one of my big messages is trying to just normalize and normalize is quite the right word thing to talk about it. I wonder if sexuality is so fundamental to being human and so fundamental to having a good marriage.

[00:45:35] The thing that's different about marriage than any other relationship is it's both chosen and that it is a sexual contract. And that's not me saying you have to have sex with your spouse. I'm saying that the understanding and unless there's some explicit other agreement, is that when you get married, there's this idea that we are bringing our sexuality to one another. And then what happens is because this is higher anxiety or there's things that are not working or there are things that are being exposed to the sexual relationship or the lack of.

[00:46:07] That is overwhelming for the couple, that oftentimes they will handle it by not handling it, you know, just try to distance from it. And so and then what often can happen for the man in this particular kind of scenario is that he feels like if I bring it up, she gets really upset, she gets really distressed. I just better start bringing it up and she maybe thinks, well, he's not bringing it up. So maybe he said, yeah, right, OK. Yeah. Or he brings it up and she says, this is all you ever think about. Why are you such a natural man and as opposed to. You know, really being willing to address and deal with how corrosive it is in the marriage, that the sexual sexual relationship is not really being dealt with, sometimes it's about the woman's repression, that sometimes she's also getting really bad sex.

[00:46:59] I mean, she doesn't necessarily understand enough what she wants to know, how to ask for better sex. Sometimes she does know what she wants, but her husband is not that interested in learning about her or knowing what to or willing to really give her what she wants.

[00:47:14] Many couples kind of construct the sexually broken woman because the man prefers that idea. Yeah, in a sense, I know it sounds strange, but he prefers that you're broken and you just sort of accommodate me then that she could really access her sexual interest, right? Yeah. So for people to really address why why did sex not work for us? I asked somebody today, why do you think your wife doesn't desire you? How do you make sense of that?

[00:47:43] And I had been giving him lots of data about how he's not trustworthy, how he does self serve so much in the marriage, how he basically mind twists her around things like.

[00:47:55] He doesn't he sort of acknowledging I'm right about that, but doesn't really want to acknowledge that when I said, how do you make sense of it? He spent all of his energy talking about how she's broken, about how he functions like somebody that a woman with good judgment would not desire. OK, so it's often very hard. We want to just say, what's the matter with you? That you don't want me to lose her other than how do I make it hard for someone to want to really be close to me, open up to me? They're her soul to me. A lot of times we don't want to deal with who we really are.

[00:48:28] Ok, I love that you do a lot of couple's work. I do a lot of a lot of couple's work.

[00:48:33] And that really does boil down to that empathy and awareness and understanding. And I need to take my fixing a judgment hat off and I need to understand where my partner is coming from. And that's more important to me than can't we just have more sex?

[00:48:46] Yes, right. Right, exactly. And kind of because what's been happening in couples is the meanings that are happening around their marriage and their sexual relationship is what's killing desire. He didn't even notice if I'm here, meaning OK, maybe I don't want to touch him or hug him because then he'll take it as a signal that I want to have sex. But what she's also saying is I don't want to touch him and hug him because he said he will bulldoze. Then he doesn't track or he he refuses. He does track, but he refuses to acknowledge that. I'm not continuing to give signals yet. I want it. So he takes it is like, OK, I've gotten the bit of data that I can now justify my.

[00:49:29] Oh yeah. Now we're on right now we're on.

[00:49:32] I can justify myself and she knows he doesn't even care that I'm not here.

[00:49:36] Right. OK, and we want that, that's not being present. That's like, you know, ok.

[00:49:42] Yeah. And maybe a little bit darker version of it is it's it's that I don't care if you're here, I feel entitled to X and I'm going to have it with you. And I can use the fact that you made eyes at me at dinner to justify moving forward or going blind to the fact that you are not present and don't want it. Yeah. Wow.

[00:50:02] Ok, hey, any other kind of final thoughts? There's a couple of other I feel like I got a couple other deep dive topics maybe I could touch base with again down the road.

[00:50:11] Sure. Yeah. Yeah, no problem. Yeah. I don't know if I have other thoughts other than I think what I maybe would say is that working out what's not working in your sexual relationship is. Fundamental to developing as people and to developing into people more capable of love and spirituality. So one of the things that's really amazing about our theology is that we really do believe that the body is fundamental to our spiritual development. But then around sex, we sort of forget that idea. Yeah. Rather than really confronting who you are as a person who you are in your own development, who you are in your relationship is really fundamental to becoming someone more capable of really loving and caring for another person and being cared for.

[00:51:00] And like you said earlier, if you can't tap into that, then how do we expect to have this ultimately connected marriage and relationship and a different view of intimacy and living happily ever after, right?

[00:51:11] Yes, that's right. Yes, that's right.

[00:51:14] So what are the what are the courses that you recommend? You have some nice online programs, I think. Great. Sure.

[00:51:21] So I have the one I reference the heart of Desire, which is a course for sex, for women's health and sexual development, LDS women, self and sexual development.

[00:51:30] Then I have two couples courses. One is called strengthening a relationship, which really helps you look at the dynamics of your relationship, what's happening and how you can develop skills and capacities to to forge a better relationship. And then I have a couple of sexual intimacy course that's called enhancing sexual intimacy. And I really help people to understand the way I think about sexuality, the way I think about sexual development and then what's happening in this partnership, that sexual desire breaks down or sexual connection breaks down and how you can create something deeper, more meaningful and more inclusive of the female because many of us are trying to operate under a very male model. Yeah. And then I do how to talk to your kids about sex course.

[00:52:14] I love that. I didn't I wasn't aware that when I was a website. That's a that's a good one. Yeah.

[00:52:18] So I'm really trying to help parents teach their children sexual integrity and by that, an integration of their body, but also integration with their morality and what it is they want to create through their sexuality and through sexual decision making.

[00:52:34] That is to say, what you don't do is as much as important as what you do choose around your sexuality to forge the kind of ability to be in an intimate relationship down the road.

[00:52:44] Ok, so I forgot. OK, you said you spent time in Massachusetts.

[00:52:49] I did, yeah. That's where I got my PhD, so I know the stomping grounds.

[00:52:54] Well, I just want to hear. Can you do a nice Boston accent.

[00:52:58] Oh gosh. Let's see.

[00:53:00] I'm trying to remember, you know, they dropped their Rs and they put them where they don't belong. But see, I wasn't in South Boston very much. So I don't have that. I'm not that South Boston accent, OK?

[00:53:12] I just I used to in my previous life, I was in technology when we did a computer trade show in Boston all the time.

[00:53:17] And after a few days there, you know, everything's wicked, wicked cool and park in my car. And, you know, I love Wicked.

[00:53:24] I grew up in Vermont. So wicked was the basic word of normal.

[00:53:30] I really enjoyed this. I really appreciate you taking the time. Yeah.

[00:53:34] Yeah, this is fantastic. So hopefully we can catch up again down the road.

[00:53:37] Ok, thanks, Tony. Thank you so much. Investor emotion signed by. Starting out the other and the pressures of the daily grind it wonderful, and that's the place to rub elbows and push aside things that matter most.

In this special BONUS episode, and in preparation for the coming announcement of Tony's upcoming Magnetic Marriage communication course, he tackles the frequently referenced but rarely understood 5 Love Languages. Back in 1995, Ph.D. and Marriage Therapist Gary Chapman released a book called "The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate." In the book, Chapman outlines five ways to express and experience love. These 5 love languages are: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. For many couples, reading about, and discovering their partner's love language (and their own) is one of the first steps toward trying to repair a damaged relationship. For newlyweds, this can be a very important foundational principle for a healthy marriage. In this episode, Tony explores each one of the love languages as well as how understanding them can benefit you and your partner.


Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!


Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.


This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.


Tony's new best selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo


Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.


You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Bonus- 5 love languages-2020-10-02
[00:00:00] Coming up on today's episode of the special bonus edition of The Virtual Couch, we're talking about love languages, the five languages of love. What are you, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service. And more importantly, do you know how that affects you as the way you receive love or how you share love or how you show love? And do you and your spouse have an agreement on what that looks like? That and so much more coming up on this bonus episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:38] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and twenty six, a special bonus episode of The Virtual Couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mine Vilaboa, Cowriter Sweetgrass and father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back and Online Pornography Recovery Program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. If you or anybody that you know is trying to put pornography behind them once and for all, and trust me, it can be done in a strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be kind of way, then please head over to path back recovery dotcom. And there you will find a short ebook that describes five common mistakes that people make when trying to remove pornography from their lives. Again, that's path back recovery dotcom. And please head over to virtual couch on Instagram, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist on Facebook and Tony Overbay dot com and sign up to find out more about the magnetic marriage program that is about to be announced, launched, talked about. And if you want to improve the connection, the communication in your marriage or even just a relationship, then this is the course for you.

[00:01:47] So go to Tony Overbay, dot com, sign up, find out, be the first to know about when the magnetic marriage course is available. And actually, that has a little bit of why I wanted to record this bonus episode of the Five Love Languages. This is an episode I believe it was episode forty one or forty five or something like that initially. And that was probably two years ago or more. And this is one of those episodes that just continues to get downloaded. I know the Five Languages of Love, something that was introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman has been widely talked about and I feel like a lot of people are somewhat familiar with the five languages of love. But I feel like there is a lot of confusion around what you even do with that information is, you know, there are five languages of love and this is all talked about coming up here in the episode. But there's quality time, there's physical touch, there's acts of service, there's words of affirmation, there's gift giving.

[00:02:45] And so often we're able to identify our love language or maybe our top two love languages. And we definitely know one that we maybe don't necessarily connect with. And so we will present that to our spouse, handed to them on a silver platter and say, here are my love languages, and then we get frustrated. Why isn't this person doing everything that I've told them that I want from my love languages? And so I think there's a lot of confusion of what you do with the love language information. That's how you express love. That's how you receive love. How do we talk about love languages? How do we integrate those into our relationship? And just the little sneak preview, the the love language test. And we have a module where we kind of talk about some of these ideas around love languages coming up in this magnetic marriage course. So I just wanted to get the idea of love languages just fresh in people's minds. So I do highly recommend that you go look up Gary Chapman's Love Languages quiz. I recently took it once again and just have this have this data, this information fresh and listen to this episode, maybe listen to it with your spouse and just start getting the vibe going of what it's going to look like to have a magnetic marriage. And so much more information is coming up on that soon. So without any further ado, let's get to this special bonus episode of The Five Languages of Love.

[00:04:19] Come on, take a seat, Carl.

[00:04:25] So today I want to talk a little bit about the five love languages, what they are, the significance. And sometimes I do view this almost as like kind of the fundamentals of marriage therapy, that this is a nice place to build some connection. So the book and so the five love language was developed by a good marriage therapist, Gary Chapman. And the book came out in his first book, The Five Love Languages How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, came out in nineteen ninety five. And in the book has it's been around. So it's been around for a long time. And I was looking at some of the stats on the book. It's been on the New York Times bestseller list since August of 2009 and there was a revised edition. The Five Love Languages was released in January one of twenty fifteen and it's still remained on this New York Times bestseller list. So here's the cons of the book. Chapman claims that in his work in Working with Couples Marriage as a marriage therapist, he says that he he outlines five ways to express and experience love that Chapman calls the love languages. These are we're going to go into a little bit of detail in these. They are receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. And again, he drew these from his counseling practice. And I don't think it's bad to express that. The more digging I did, there's not necessarily as much evidence based around the five love languages.

[00:05:43] But I really find that couples connect with this concept. And in the primary, what Chapman suggests is that everyone has one primary and one secondary love language. And so these love languages are in essence, how you express love. And you may not even know that this is how you express love. If you find that you are someone who is overly complimentary, if you want to just I want to make somebody feel happy. I want to compliment them how they look, the things they do, the just the person that they are, then that's one in that column of perhaps words of affirmation, you providing these words of affirmation. These compliments are your love language. If you're somebody who says, man, I just I don't get enough hugs. If it's I love a back rub. If you're in a couples if a relationship where you feel like your partner doesn't care about you because maybe there's a lack of intimacy or you feel like you're the one that always needs to initiate intimacy, that's a pretty fair sign. That physical touch is one of your it might be your primary love language. If you are someone in a relationship and your spouse travels a lot and you're disappointed when they don't come back with a gift or what I see in my practice a lot is people that make a lot of I was just a big deal around anniversaries and man, they didn't go all out for my anniversary or this is all they got me for my birthday.

[00:07:02] So that person and it's funny is that be qualify. There's the qualifier in those statements a lot of times where people will say, I know it sounds like I'm materialistic or I know that this might not sound right, but I just I really like when someone gets me a gift. So if that's the case, gifts, gift giving would obviously be one of your or maybe your primary love language. And so let me jump in here and tell a little bit of a story, and then we're going to get to the rest of this. When I was first learning about the five love languages, again, I was a shiny new therapist. And and at that time I might see one or two couples a week. And when I would see them, I had learned nice reflective listening skills where somebody says they're frustrated, they're angry, and I'm having the their partner reflect those away. Now, what are they saying? What do you hear them saying? And then the couple with the other partner would say, OK, sure. I hear them say that they're angry or they're frustrated or they wonder why. And then they would say, I'm really mad at him and he does all these sort of things. And I would say, OK, to the guy, reflect back, what do you hear that your partner is saying? And then they reflect back. Oh, I know. I've heard it a million times.

[00:08:06] He thinks this or this. And then you sit back and go, OK, you've both hurt each other and go, let's fix this. And so now in this world of VFT that I'm so passionate about now we can say, OK, hey, we're listening to our partner and this is an emotional bid. We're going to turn off our fixing and judgment statements. We're going to go all in on empathy. We want to hear what our partner has to say. But so before I got to that, I'm a shiny new marriage therapist. I go to I think it was just a three hour training on this five love languages. And I go home. I'm going to practice these skills. So again, actually, it is I think it is important to go over all these words of affirmation. So that is those kudo's, those attaboys. We want to hear that somebody thinks we're doing a great job or that's the people who are guilty of and this is me. Let me be vulnerable here. If I my wife may do a hundred things a day to keep our kids in order, the house in order, the everything running smooth. And if I come home and I go out and clean the dog poop out of the backyard or straighten up around the house, I want to make sure, man, that boy cleaning that dog poop. But that was I think it was going to be that hard. But boy, I just finished that knows that I am seeking those words of affirmation, even though she's done a hundred things and hasn't had to lay them all out for me.

[00:09:16] I do a couple of things and I'm. And I would like some praise now, please, and the words of affirmation. It's that concept and it's funny because this one is that action doesn't necessarily speak louder than words. You want to hear that. You want to hear those words. You want to hear that people care about you. They love you. They notice you. They think that you are doing an amazing job, especially the words I love. You become very important people that will lead with this words of affirmation. Oftentimes they are the people that say, I told my spouse I loved her five times a day and she hasn't said it at all. Isn't that what's wrong with this? And words of affirmation is important to them. Quality time. This is the one where then nothing says I love you like full, undivided attention and not half paying attention on your phone. This is where putting something down, no distractions don't postpone dates. Being all in with your partner is this quality. Time is how they feel, love. And a lot of times that's this person who says, look, I just want to be able to just sit there with you and just focus on you and have deep quality conversations and and at times for another partner. If that's not there, that's not their love language. They can feel smothered or overwhelmed with that.

[00:10:23] But so that one's quality time receiving gifts. This one's fascinating to me. My wife and I, neither one are huge on the receiving gift. So a birthday can come and we we're telling each other how much we we love each other and maybe want to go out to dinner or something like that. And we want to spend that time together. But as far as the gift giving goes, it's not significant. It might be a little something, but it's one of those things where if I don't get a gift or if I and I believe it, why watch her listen to this now and say she's weeping in a corner of my eye. All I wanted were gifts. And Tony can't pick up on any of that. But this is the part where you're not getting those gifts, not giving those gifts, doesn't feel like something's left out. But, boy, this one, again, a significant gift. Giving is your love language. Then that's this concept where if you're not receiving gifts or if your gifts aren't met with oh, my gosh, thank you so much. This shows me you love me. Then you feel like that is your love being rejected. And I've got a good story for that here in a second to so acts of service. This is the concept of cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, doing those things. And a lot of times you hear from the wife saying he's he leaves all these projects undone or we've got I've got the honey do list that he isn't complete.

[00:11:30] And that's just so frustrating. So that might be a cue that her love language is acts of service. And then the last one is physical touch. Now, I think when we think about physical touch, a lot of times we immediately go to sex. But physical touch is much more than that. Physical touch, his hand holding back, rubbing arm around snuggling. And this one significant as well. Because, again, if you find yourself keeping score, I'm always the one that reaches out to hold her hand or I'm fine. I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to wait till she reaches out to hold my hand or I'm the one that's always put my arm around her or initiating the kiss or the hug or sex or that sort of thing. Then it's obvious that physical touch is one of your go to love languages and meanwhile, your partner, if that's not one of their primary or secondary love languages, they're going along just maybe oblivious that the significance of you not responding, are you not initiating. So in essence, you're setting them up for they're taking this test. They don't even know they're taking so. So, again, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. So this brings me to a couple of stories, some of my go to stories. Let me take you back then where I was starting here.

[00:12:34] I'm a shiny new marriage therapist. I'm going through these things a lot. And I've identified pretty clearly that I'm a physical touch guy. And again, it doesn't just have to mean sex or intimacy. It can be I'm a on my hand holder. I'm a walk in the door and give my wife a kiss. I love a hug. And so I would find at times that, yeah, I was the scorekeeper. I was the one I'm going to drive down the road. And she's not reaching her hand over here. And and so I'm setting her up for failure. She's not even aware that I'm processing anything is wrong in that moment. So I'm pretty dialed in. I physical touch and then I'm a words of affirmation guy there is that part of me that wants to hear you're the man. Thanks so much for all that you do. And so I've got this identified that I've got it figured out that my wife is an active service person. Long ago my wife identified that at the end of the day, she really loves the house to be clean, picked up, everything put away. And and I have to tell you that when we had four small children, there was this part of me that would come home from work and and the kids had toys out everywhere. We had a toy room in particular, and we could close the door on it. So in my mind, it's like it's close the door. It's going to we're going to repeat this whole thing tomorrow.

[00:13:44] But my wife wanted to make sure that the house was clean at the end of the night. And I used to try to make sense of that this long before my days of F.T. and hearing that is an emotional bid. And I was trying to convince her here I am fixing in judgment statements of why does it matter? Why don't why can't we just close the toy room door and then we start tomorrow and you open it up and then you're not going to drive yourself crazy at night because the kids are going to get everything out again. And man, she did such an amazing job letting me know that she couldn't really turn off her brain, go to sleep like the day was done until the house was in order was put together. And so at that moment, I knew that I. I love her enough that my job now becomes at the end of the evening, I'm going to help her. I'm going to I'm going to dust things and clean things and put pillows where they're supposed to go and dishes away and all that sort of thing. So I think I've got this thing figured out right. I think that the acts of services, my wife's primary love language, so I start running this little experiment is as I take this training, as I'm doing this as a marriage therapist and I think I've got hers figured out.

[00:14:42] I know what mine is, mine, the physical touch, probably number one. And then words of affirmation number two and have my wife figured out as acts of service. So I start going about the night and I'm going to I'm going into I'm all in I'm on the I'm giving the kids baths. I'm clean in the house. I'm brushing the dogs. I'm trying to do everything I can. And and probably along the way a man look at these kids and that bath wanting to get my own words of affirmation, goals or needs met. But so I try to do all I can. And then it's like kids are in bed, house is immaculate. And we we would go upstairs and we would sit there, watch TV, maybe have a little bit of a snack or something. And I'm kind of thinking, OK, all right, scratch that. Acts of service itch for her. And here comes maybe a back rub or maybe. All right, here we go. I've set the table. Now let's get the physical touch needs met. And we sit there, we watch TV and we maybe connect and talk and laugh. And just then she falls asleep and I think, OK, all right. Fair enough. I will try this again tomorrow. And I go through and the kids a bath and brush the dogs and get everything. Here we go. I have met her love language of acts of service and here comes the physical touch. Not necessarily so it was I don't remember how long it was where I said, hey, can I just point something out to my wife? And I let her know that I'm doing this training, this love language training.

[00:15:58] And I'm pretty sure that I've got my own identified as physical touch and words of affirmation. And I told her and I've got yours down to yours is obviously it's acts of service. And so I don't know if you're noticing that, as I do all of these acts of service that, yeah, maybe I'm thinking of now, I my love language will be met as well. And this physical touch. And she had the funniest look on her face where she was like active service. Yeah, that's nice, because I think if I had to pick out of any of those, it's quality time. And so then I had this big epiphany where not having given that a voice before and try and just make assumptions on my own that she was having her her love language meant so as we cleaned the house and then had this time together, then she was in heaven because we're now we're just hanging out. Kids are asleep, house is all put together and we're spending that quality time together where we are just talking about the day's events. Maybe we are giving each other a little foot massage and then she's just fallen asleep and pure bliss because she is in her happy place. Her love language is being met. That taught me a great lesson that day.

[00:17:01] That they're hers is more quality time. And this was we were married twenty seven years now and that is definitely the case. We love our weekly date nights and there's a plug there is a marriage therapist to make that a priority. But I know now that nothing shows connection there like that quality time. So I want to go over a few things. I have another story for another go to that I talk about often. So I go back to this of these early days of marriage therapy. And I was working with a couple and they were they were both on a second marriage and the guy had not necessarily been to counseling before. So I think he was a little bit skeptical to begin with. And if he only knew what was going through my head at that point as a new therapist. And so I'm now I'm all in on these love languages. I'm finding that the reflective listening is not as productive as I thought. I have no idea what he EFT is at this point. And so we're going to dial down and go deep on these five love languages we identify as I go over these. And this guy, he gets pretty emotional and he says that feels so good to have that validated because he said that his love language was gift giving. He had grown up with not a lot of money. And so gifts had been pretty significant when a when his dad could save up enough to give his mom a gift.

[00:18:07] It was a big deal. It didn't really matter what the gift was. So this guy had grown up in his first marriage. He had been a big gift giver. And admittedly, the gifts didn't necessarily go over well. And so he always felt empty when he would give these gifts. So now he's in this new marriage, this new relationship, and we're identifying this and he gets really emotional. It was a beautiful, honestly beautiful moment when I remember this so well. And I think, man, here's a guy that he is he's a bit older, a little more set in his ways. He just was validated that his gift giving means more than just here's a present, here's a gift. It means this is his expression or how he shows love and and we process this. And then his wife is more in charge of the finances in this relationship. And I think beautiful moment. So I look over and I say, OK, now can you see the significance? And he said he later he's one of these who loves to leave flowers around the house and and he just loves to bring things home from a trip. And then I think now she's going to be able to validate this is going to be the coolest moment as a marriage therapist up to this point. And then she just looks at him. Yeah, but he spends too much money. But and I've told him a million times, we've got a budget.

[00:19:12] If you're not following the budget, then you're and it was like this missed opportunity. And I just watched this guy just get deflated as we just validated his love language of gift giving, this is the way he says, I love you. And having his wife say, in essence, what he's hearing then is, yeah, I don't love you because you spend too much money. It's a little dramatic, but that's the concept behind how we express love and how we feel love give back to us. It turns out that the more we talked about with her, she was an attaboy. She was a words of affirmation person. And that one did go on to live happily ever after. But I remember that being a pretty key or pivotal moment when I saw. So I get to speak about this one often. There's there's I sometimes groups will come, asked me to just come speak lighthearted and maybe do some Q&A. And this is usually a nice place to start because and then that leads to a lot of questions. And I actually went on Gary Chapman's website and he has a lot of frequently asked questions about the love languages. So I want to cover a few of those. So he one of the number one frequently asked question on his website is, what if I can't discover my primary love language? And I have and I do. I have a lot of people here's where we can go deep dive that say, what if I just don't really have any of those? None of those really matter to me.

[00:20:23] And now is the time where, you know, that's not an answer that I can give in just the. Hey, does anybody have any questions at the end of a five love language presentation? That's when we need to get on the couch a little bit more, because my experience has been that the reason why someone may have had a love language or two early on, let's say it was words of affirmation, they needed these attaboys. And if their spouse just felt like that was ridiculous, if you have to ask for it, then I'm not going to tell you. Or if if a spouse is hardened and they look, I never had those grown ups, I don't see why I have to give those two these words of affirmation to you. Then over time, what's a partner going to do? They're going to that's them trying to be vulnerable. And over time, they're not going to continue to put their heart out there. They're going to tuck those feelings away. So same as if your of your love languages is gift giving and your gifts are repeatedly rejected at some point, then you are going to make it can just from a defense mechanism standpoint, you're going to start to to hide that love language. You're not going to you're going to put those buttons away because your spouse knows how to press them. Here's another gift. Spouse presses button: I don't want gift.

[00:21:28] You spend too much money. And at that point, we don't feel loved. We don't feel validated. We don't feel heard. And so we're going to tuck those away. So when I have somebody come up to me and say, hey, what if what if none of those if I really don't care about any of those, then I want to say, OK, let's give a little more work around that. Now, let's start working on some of these E F.T. skills of let's get your partner in here. Let's talk about emotional biz. Let's talk about what that's like for you to give a gift and have it rejected. And let's give it a voice. Maybe that your partner, once they understand the significance of gift giving for you, then they get to share their story of why they don't want that gift. And I've had some amazing examples here, that one in particular, where when a guy was then told that that his wife now viewed him rejecting her gifts as her not feeling love, this was another experience I never thought of in this one a long time. But he was pretty emotional because he said when she gives me gifts, he said, then I feel bad because I don't feel like I'm the provider that I should be. I feel like when she's giving me gifts, she's basically saying, hey, look, you never do this. And it's obviously because you don't make enough money. And the wife, which like I that I didn't that's not where I go with that.

[00:22:35] And it was a pretty beautiful moment there. So we got a nice combo of we've got the five love languages plus emotionally focused therapy, E F.T. And now at that point, we've acknowledged that when she wants to give a gift, that this is her saying, hey, not only this is my heart, but I'm showing you this is my love. And the guy now understanding this has nothing to do with him as a provider. This is him being able to say thank you. Thank you so much. And then he gets to give that a voice. I still worry that I'm not doing a good enough job providing. Now she can meet that emotional bid. And man, now, instead of being defensive, we've actually grown together. So what if I can't discover my primary love language? I like this. Gary Chapman says. First, observe how you often express love to others. If you're regularly doing acts of service for others, that's a good sign, that's your love language. If you're consistently verbally affirming people than words of affirmation is probably your love language. I remember feeling that way. So I love to sometimes if people don't get enough positive in their life and I'm not just giving out hollow praise, man, you wear the heck out of that blue shirt. But I do feel like if somebody is, people don't hear enough positives. And so I am one who likes to compliment others and acknowledge others. And so that's true. That is one of the first ways I recognize that words of affirmation are important to me.

[00:23:48] It's funny if you're a big on social media, this is a maybe a little bit of a joke that I just play out in my head a lot of times. I don't if you ever read those posts or somebody says, man, what a day I got up, I got myself out of bed, I put my clothes on, I walk down the hall, I, I made breakfast. I ate the breakfast. I put the breakfast away. I we just laid out some pretty regular normal things. But then people are responding with I don't know how you do it or man you get so much done. And it's I feel like at times that's the person who is starved for these words of effort. And they're looking for these kudo's, these attaboys. This brings up one of the biggest stories I'd love to tell. This is my talk about vulnerability. So now we've identified I'm a words of affirmation guy. I remember this as if it were yesterday, but I remember driving home from the airport once. Just my wife and I were in the car and I remember, you know, he should go away where I think we had been out of town. Maybe it was on a vacation. And now you're back to reality, right? Especially driving home from the airport. And I think I start just going through outloud all the things that are coming up that week. Maybe there are a couple of speaking assignments.

[00:24:47] It was a really heavy client week because I had taken a few days off before and if I'm not in the chair, I don't get paid. And there's some writing projects and a website revamp and all these things. And I'm just going over these and my wife is sitting there and nothing negative. But and that's the part where I get to use my good marriage therapist EFT skills, although I'm sure it is annoying at times to be married to a marriage therapist where I get to say, hey, you're not really saying anything when here is my train of thought, here's where I go. When you don't say anything. I've already worked this through to man this guy is never going to be able to get ahead. He's got too much going on. I'm worried that he's going to have a nervous breakdown, so I might as well go ahead and pull the ripcord. Now, get out of the relationship and remember that point. She's been married twenty years at this point, I think. And she looks over at me and says, are you serious? That's where your mind goes. And I'm like, yes, I but when I don't hear anything, I take it down this worst case scenario. And and she's us. I wasn't thinking any of that stuff because, like, I was just kind of thinking, man, I feel bad that this is where Tony goes in his mind. And I was kind of like, OK, I mean, even you could give me that feedback, OK? But I felt like you knew that I'm here for you.

[00:25:50] We had this amazing vacation. Oh, there we go. Quality time. So she's a man. My my quality time cup is filled. So thankfully, she's. Hey, what do you need in this scenario? What would help? And now I have developed what I now call my famous live living in a box under an overpass speech. I worked it through to I was like, OK. I think in my mind I'm going to this place of where I have all these things and it feels stressful. But part of me, I think, is wanting, first of all, the words of affirmation. I want to hear this. Hey, I'm so grateful for how hard you work for our family. And I am. Oh, I know. But I'm needy when I'm going like this. Emotional vulnerability, maybe. Yeah, that's me saying I want to hear that you're the man. And I was like, I think I want to go as far as to say and if I don't accomplish all of these things and we end up having to sell our house and we live in a box under an overpass, that you're right there with me in that box, I remember her looking like "how big is the box"? But I mean, that's a little bit of a stretch, but it's a big enough box maybe. OK, she's in. So so that is now turned into the every now and again, if I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and I can be nice and vulnerable and I know my love language is words of affirmation, I literally can text her now and say, hey, I'm going to need that box in an overpass speech when I get home and she goes, I'm on it.

[00:27:01] I can't wait. I can't wait till I get some crayons and decorate the heck out of the inside of this box with you. And we laugh. But I'm grateful that I can express that. Here's my need, this love language to feel this love through words of affirmation. So back to this. Gary Chapman says, What do you complain about the most often when you say to your spouse, I don't think that you'd ever touch me if I didn't initiate it, then revealing the physical touch is your love language. If your spouse goes on a business trip and you say, you know, bring me anything, then what? Gift giving. Right, then that's probably one of your main love languages. If you hear this statement or if you express this statement, we don't ever spend time together that indicates that the love language of quality time is important to you, but your complaints often reveal kind of those innermost desires. And happiness is a nice thing here. So we have difficulty remembering what you complain about. Most often I suggest you ask your spouse because chances are that they will know what do you request of your spouse most often if you're saying, well, give me a back rub or if you're then you're asking for physical touch.

[00:27:58] Right. Do you think we get a weekend away this month? That one's quality time. Would it be possible for you to mow the grass this afternoon expresses a desire for acts of service. And he goes on to say, your answer your own answer to these three questions will likely reveal your primary love language. Let me go through for the sake of time. Here are a couple more of these. Gary Chapman, one of the frequent ask questions is, does your love language change as you get older? He tends to think that your love language, for the most part stays the same. And I see that over the years as well. The hard part is what I kind of mentioned earlier. I do feel like people over time of this love language isn't met, doesn't even know that they're they're part of this I don't want to say game or whether they're in The Matrix or whatever you want to call it. If they don't know the significance of you giving a gift, are you seeking these words of affirmation? Or you wanting this physical touch? Then over time, as those needs aren't met, it's pretty natural for us to start to stuff those feelings away. So does our love language change as we get older? Chapman says no. And then in my experience, what does or can happen is those love languages change, but the change is them kind of being stuffed down.

[00:29:03] So we don't want to let that happen. Does the Five Love Languages Work concept work with children? Absolutely. I know that each one of my kids, I think they express love differently. I feel like they receive love differently. And then he goes on to talk about. That those love languages stay the same for the most part, when your children become teenagers as well. And this is a big one. What if the primary love language of your spouse is difficult for you? That's a great question, because a lot of people talk about if I didn't grow up in a touching family, that touchy feely family, then how do I become that person? And now number one. I think that's one that needs to be talked through. There's a plug for marriage therapy. I'm not going to lie, but I think being able to just communicate through that, if that's not your if that's not easy for you, if your spouse's love language is physical touch, there's a lot there's a lot there that we need to talk about. As a matter of fact, I've got a podcast episode coming up that I am taking copious notes on because it's one of these soapbox moments. I want to talk about you. If you go back to Episode twenty five, I talk about the nurtured heart approach for parenting. Episode twenty six, I talk about F.T. emotionally focused therapy for couples. There's another one I'm going to get to pretty quickly here. And it's talking about our relationship with physical touch, our relationship with sex. It's with objectification of women and men. And I think that one's going to be a pretty big deal.

[00:30:19] Physical touch could be a tough one. If that's not your go to and your spouse says, look, why don't you initiate sex more or why don't you reach out and hold my hand more? I know that there can be a lot underneath that we can at times. I've worked with enough spouses who feel like once I open that Pandora's box of, then I feel like I'm going. That's all I'm good for. Is this as a physical object. So we're going to talk about that in a future episode. But but what we can bring just bringing this awareness around these love languages, this concept, the good news is that they can all be learned. And even though we may have grown up only speaking one or two of these languages, they all can be learned. But they're going to need to be learned at a pace over time and in a safe way. So just having that awareness that, hey, physical touches might go to, maybe we can start with holding hands more. It doesn't have to mean that now. Every time I come in the door, got to do this giant bear hug or a koala bear.

[00:31:09] I was in an airport once where a friend was coming back from a long trip, long absence, and another friend jumped up and did the quick. I never heard the phrase koala bear, but jumped up in the arms and legs around the body and looked like they were hanging on like a koala bear. So that's where my mind went with that one. So if you're not a words of affirmation person, you discover that your spouse's love language is words of affirmation, honest to goodness. And this is a part where I say, hey, we got to do the work. Sometimes if you have to write statements down that your spouse wants to hear, then that's what we're gonna do.

[00:31:38] Over time, it becomes more of a learned behavior. And when you see your spouse respond, well, then that feels good. If you have to have that speech, that or text that I need that you're the man speech tonight. I need that box under the overpass speech. That's OK to say that's OK to be vulnerable. Once you're both on the same page, you understand the significance there. He did one of the questions was, are some of the love languages found more among women than others with men? And I do. I like this. Gary Chapman said, I've never done the research to discover the love languages are their gender slanted. He said it may be true that more men have physical touch and words of affirmation is their love language and more women have quality time and gifts. But he said, I don't know if that's true. In my experience, my practice and now are the hundreds and hundreds of couples I've worked with. That's the way I see it typically play out doesn't mean that it's bad if it's not that way, but where a lot of guys, it's physical touch and words of affirmation and a lot of the women I work with are quality time, maybe not even as much gifts, but for me, it's active service. I often find that gifts is a little bit further down the list. But if you are a gift, if that is important to you, that is OK. And I love hearing the stories around where that comes from.

[00:32:38] I think that's the rest of it more. How is the wife of the five love languages been so successful? I think that one's pretty key because it can be a fundamental connection for a couple that they haven't talked about before and it can help them feel like, wow, I see. I was when my spouse would say these things and compliment me, I always felt like they were just doing it because they felt they had to. But when you look at it from a that's him expressing love to me. And when I say you're saying that or no, I don't look pretty or whatever, that oftentimes we're rejecting their their attempt at showing us love through words of affirmation. So I think that's why the concept of the five love languages is a wonderful thing to explore. So I'm going to wrap things up right now, but I highly recommend the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. And he's done a few different variations of it, I think five love languages for teens and children. I think there might even be one that has to do with businesses. And again, this is all about awareness, right? That's something I talk about on a lot of the podcast. Being more open, being more self aware and aware of the feelings of others helps us understand how we can interact better with people. So I am I am grateful for the time that you spent with me today going over the five love languages.

[00:33:48] I highly recommend you get in the book and there are some online quizzes that are amazing. If you're not sure what they are, take one of these quizzes. If you come up with my love, languages are none of the above, then what we talked about a little earlier might be worth exploring. Why are those love languages harder for you to tap into? Were they there? If you're going to be honest with yourself? Were they there at some point, but then they were shut down by their spouse? If they are, go find help. Don't just think, OK, I got to stuff these feelings for the rest of my life. That is not a productive thought as a. Therapist to somebody who's passionate about this, you can repair your marriage. Absolutely. You can go find a therapist that's confident and comfortable with couples therapy and then get in there and find a safe environment to be able to express yourself and not have those things that you're going to talk about be shut down, be fixed or judged and get some awareness around there and then get some homework to do that will help you understand how you express love, how to feel love, how to be able to share your emotions and how to discover what's going on with your partner and why they maybe react the way they do.

[00:34:49] Ok. Hey, I hope you enjoyed this bonus episode that you're all ready to go with your love languages. You've taken the quiz. You've talked about it with your spouse. You're ready for a more magnetic marriage, more connected conversations. If so, don't forget to head over to Tony Overbay Dotcom and sign up right now to be one of the first ones to know about how to have a more magnetic marriage, to have more connected conversations. And I will now play us off with the wonderful, the talented, Aurora Florence with its wonderful.

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