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
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[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.