Marriage

Who’s Fault is it?

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Today, I intend to have a conversation about faults. In this context, when I use the word “fault”, it is not to define blame. However, we as people inter-relating to one another tend to find fault in each other. It is common to look at a situation and say, “It’s not my fault”. This assesses blame but it also intimates the existence of a flaw. In other words, a problem has come up and due to an error, we can qualify the issue and possibly correct it, based on some faulty behavior.

This works well if we are studying industrial technologies, but not so well when dealing with our interpersonal relationships. You see, when we assign fault to someone or something, we have made them or it devalued or wrong. Faulty in some regard and therefore, not working properly. They have malfunctioned in some way. It makes things very easy but at the same time, we don’t get a chance to understand or gain power within a relationship. By assigning blame or stating a fault, we end the brain power needed to continue to analyze the situation. More over, we have placed that person, thing or circumstance in a default position of being problematic.

Let me explain; if a child arrives home with a report card that has a failing or sub-par grade in math, he or she shares it with their parents. The child knows that they could have done much better and they are ready for the consequences. Upon review the mother states that she was not good at math either. The student is now off the hook and for no other reason than the mother has stated such. But, the child and the mother have ended the possibility of improvement. The brain is a funny thing in that, if it doesn’t have to work on something, it won’t! And in this case, the parent was the one who shut down.

Now this is a broad generalization, but understand that we have the power to continue to work through an issue or we can assign fault and stop all thought. What are the child’s expectations as he or she reaches adulthood? “I am not good at math and neither will my children be” So, when the check bounces, “It’s not my fault”. When I fail to stick with a budget, “It’s not my fault”. When the kids are not doing well in school, “It’s not my fault”.

Plainly put, if we choose to assign fault, the brain will accept the results without question. That’s just the way it is.

Really?

You Get What You Give

When we choose to look at life through the lenses of fault and blame, we tend to get more of what we find problematic. For instance, the child received a poor grade in math. They were reprogramed to accept the mediocrity. As an adult the same issues kept arising. And, as a parent, were ready to accept the same for their children. The blame and fault permeate our lives if we choose to allow them to do so. And the patterns repeat because the brain has been signaled to give up. We have told our brain to allow the problem to exist and remain, because we have reigned ourselves to “That’s just the way it is”.

As I said before, the brain is a funny thing. It works to protect us at every turn. It keeps us from walking into traffic, from getting burned on a hot stove, or from a bad relationship. The brain will work endlessly on a problem until solved. But tell it to quit working because “That’s just the way it is”, and voilà, end of discussion, no more to do, the problem is solved!

And How is Any of This My Fault?

It’s not your fault at all, but I wanted to give you the distinction. You see, if we think of people in our lives as having faults, our brains are trained through language to see them as defective, flawed or malfunctioning. Have you ever heard someone say, “I love him despite all his faults”? This is an indication that, although in love, assignment of defects had occurred and will continue to manifest itself throughout the relationship.

More than that, just look at the person for who they are. They are who they are and nothing more. Put another way, they are without fault, they just are who and how they are. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.

You see, a person is the way they are and we can either choose them or not. But consider, if we choose to be with a person despite their faults, there will come a time when, by assigning such fault, that is all we will see in them, their faults. And really they are just being themselves.

She would be perfect if she could just cook. He would be great if only he would talk more. And as soon as these “faults” are fixed, we’ll move on to the next one and the one after that. Why? Because the “fault” is what we are concentrating on. We have not accepted the person for them, rather we have expected to “fix” the problem and the problem is always there for us.

Acceptance begins with seeing another person as they are and nothing more. He is not a good husband despite his faults, he is simply a good husband. She is not a great mother despite her faults, she is only a great mother.

So the question is, “How is any of this my fault?” Ponder this, maybe it’s not a fault at all, it’s just a way of being.

As always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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Relationship Breakthrough Challenge-Part 3

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RelationshipBreakthroughSmallIf you missed the first two parts of the Relationship Breakthrough you can check them out here…

Relationship Breakthrough Challenge-Part 1

Relationship Breakthrough Challenge-Part 2

I would recommend you read those first two posts first to get the greatest impact of today’s lesson.  But either way you will GET value.

In this part of the Relationship Breakthrough you’re going to get an idea of why you may see your relationship as not working, what causes you to feel the way you do, and how to take your relationship to a new level.

Get ready to unlock the blueprint of your relationships.

When you look at your relationships and how they’re working for you it stands to reason the first thing that needs to be done is look at where your relationships come from.  Why does it seem you get into the same type of relationships over and over again?  Why does it seem like you end up with the wrong man over and over again?

So first, ask yourself…

How have YOU made your relationships be the way they are?

You’re probably saying… What!?  How have “I” made my relationships this way?

That’s right… It’s time to take responsibility.  If you recall from part 2 of this series the focus was gaining your power back by being responsible for the way things are.  It’s time to do that RIGHT NOW.

You’ve made your relationships the way they are by finding the person you’re with as a result of the story you’ve told yourself over the years about YOU and others.

For instance, if you think “I’m not good enough.”  You may find yourself looking for partners who are less than you.  Not like value you but like they need something from you to be right.  That way you feel a little better, like you have everything figured out.

I’m not saying you do this consciously.  I’m saying that based on the story “I’m not good enough” that you’ve built up at an unconscious level you do things to find people who fit that mold.

Now lets add to that a story you have that says, “I’ll never find the right partner, I’ll have to change them.”

You may find yourself looking for partners who are sub par.  People who NEED YOUR HELP.  That’s also congruent with how you see yourself.  If you’re not good enough and you find someone who needs your help, WOW you might feel loved and appreciated for once.

I’m here to tell you, none of it’s true.

What is your story, exactly?

Your story consist of your experiences, feelings, and memories in life.  In essence, it’s your past.  AND it’s what you have made the past MEAN to you.

Let me give you an example…

Henrietta grew up with an abusive father.  He verbally abused and sometimes smacked her around.  Her first experience of a man was her father.  At that age she decided she never wanted to be with a man who was like that.  She drew conclusions of what he looked like, how he talked, the tone he used, and how he acted around women.  This happen when she was a child and stayed with her forever.  A few more instances of this type of abuse occurred as she grew up that solidified those thoughts.

Now, she won’t be with a man who looks, acts or uses the tones like her father and those other men.  Now she is with men who are weak and are submissive to her because she wants to be in control.  She doesn’t want to be treated like that again so she compensates.  But she does it at an unconscious level.  It’s the young girl that’s driving the bus, not the grown adult.  She has no idea why she’s picking these men.

There could be more too it.

When she was a girl she figured she wasn’t doing things right, she wasn’t good enough, because her dad treated her that way.  That thought has stuck with her.  She feels like she’s not good enough and compensates with the men she’s with in one way or another.  So, not only does she not find the RIGHT man for her, she also treats them differently because the story is running her life.

She hates her relationships because they don’t go the way she thinks they should go.  But they ARE going the way she has created them to be – from her past.

You’ll probably say, “She didn’t cause her father to do the things he did.  She didn’t cause the men she was with to be submissive.”

No but she made the meaning and she went looking and accepted the relationships of the submissive men.

So why doesn’t she have the relationships she wants?

It’s because our lives are like a thermostat.  We set it to 76 degrees.  If the temperature is 80 degrees then the air kicks on and it cools the house till it gets to the set temperature.  And vice versa.

If you have a vision of how your relationship should look but your story has run it a different way, you’re not happy because your thermostat is off.

You strive for your relationship to be a perfect 76 degrees but your story guides you down a different path.  (You’re A/C unit is broke.)

If you keep doing the same thing and you never interrupt your story you’ll continue to get more of what you’ve always gotten.

That’s why it’s so important to take responsibility for everything you’ve created in your relationship and your life.

So why don’t you change things, knowing that you want your relationships to go a certain way?

It’s because we take actions congruent with how our relationships occur to us.

For instance, if in your relationship you view your partner as broken, needing to be fixed, weak, or anything of the sort – you will act accordingly.  You will treat your man that way.  At the same time if you “aren’t good enough” you will treat yourself in your relationship as if you aren’t good enough. (You stay with someone who is not the right fit only because you think it’s the right thing to do—again story.)

Your story may be telling you – My partner needs fixing and in order to make me feel like I’m good enough I’m going to stick it out and try and fix him.

You act in accordance with how you see yourself and how you see your partner.  Combine those two things and you have the reason why you do the things you do in your relationship.

And it all stems back to getting responsible about yourself, your past, and the people you’re with in a relationship.

So that begs the question…

Can you change your story, the meaning you’ve given things?

Yes!  Yes!

You can’t change the events but you certainly can understand why YOU created what they mean and you get to create new meaning or leave it be.

For instance, Henrietta can’t change what her father did and what the other men in her life did but she can be honest and understand what she made those things mean.  She can be responsible that SHE created the meaning as a little girl and she no longer has to live her life that way.  She can now be responsible for her actions.

She can now choose to stay with the man she’s with – all issues and everything – or she can choose to move on.

There are only a couple of ways Henrietta can get through this.

She may realize that she was compensating for her stories about how she sees herself and how she sees her partner, realize her partner is not the RIGHT person for her and go find someone knew.

Or

She could realize all those things and stay with her partner if she TRULY believes this person is right for her.

Now that she realizes those things about herself and her story she can be aware of her actions, change the way her relationships occur and how she occurs to herself.  That by itself will change the actions she takes in her relationships.

It all boils down to taking responsibility for yourself.  It’s just being done in a way you may have not seen before.

How do you change the meaning something?

This might be easy to grasp and allow me to explain it.  Have you ever reacted to something negatively or in a flammable way.  Ask yourself, why did you react that way.  It will more than likely take you to a belief you have about something.

Now be honest and ask yourself why you have that belief.  You may find that you don’t know why, you may know why, but either way that belief has a certain meaning for you.  And if someone drives in the opposite direction of the way you THINK it should be, you react.  And you do it at an unconscious level.

Now, if you can be responsible for the fact that you MADE the meaning up or transferred that meaning from someone else, like a parent, you can see how changing the meaning is a matter of accepting responsibility for it and choosing to change it.

You can change it or allow it to be neutral.  It’s your life, your belief, use the event and the beliefs how you want.  But don’t let them use you.  Don’t be at the affect of life.

Be responsible.

How do you take that and move your relationship to the next level?

Now you can live your life productively with your partner.  You can powerfully choose to stay or leave based on what you uncovered about yourself and how you view your relationships.

Once you understand and can utilize this you will either take your current relationship to a new level or you will create a new relationship. But ultimately you are FREE to choose that for yourself.

You are not locked in.

And remember you can NOT change your partner.  You have to do the work first.

I remember a time when my wife asked me to take the trash out.  It took me 3 hours because I didn’t do it right away.  She got pissed.  She had expectations that I was going to do it right when she asked, but she didn’t communicate it.  Also, she got inflamed because she ended up taking the trash out and figured it was my job to do that.

After we talked about it we both realized that she got pissed, not at me but at what her belief was about what I should have done.  I realized that when she made a request it was in the moment.  Now we communicate a whole lot clearer.

Now go practice.  Take some time by yourself and follow these steps.

  1. Pick one area about yourself that you would like to investigate.
  2. Ask yourself why you are that way. Be honest and think back to the earliest memory you have that would make you the way you’re being or seeing yourself.
  3. Write it down like this… Write down what happen and then write down what you made it mean.  And be honest.
  4. Now that you have identified that, write down ways that meaning has filtered your view of yourself or others around you.

If you do this and you’re honest with yourself, you may find that you’ve been letting a meaning that happened long ago has been driving your bus.  You just didn’t know it.

In the next post of this series I’m going to show you why you find yourself not taking action when it comes to confronting your partner or people in other relationships.  You’ll see clearly how to overcome what it is that stops you.  Stay tuned…

Love… to infinity and beyond.

Jay

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The Politics of Sex

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I really don’t know how to begin today’s article because I am shocked every time this subject comes up. And it comes up often in my candid conversations. So, let’s just put it out there; people in close, intimate relationships are afraid to have good, satisfying sex! There, I said it! Now, I may be over generalizing, but I am certain that this is fact, not opinion. Yes, folks are having sex. Yes they are getting the job done. But, there is this other level that my readers, and friends tell me about that drives me insane!

Let me share a story with you in order to set the stage for the conversation. This is a recap of a recent discussion with a female friend:

Rita: I know you spend a lot of time writing and coaching people about their relationships. Can I ask you a few questions?

Me: Sure

Rita: Things are okay in my relationship with my boyfriend, but he won’t talk to me. I try to get him to but he doesn’t really say anything. What should I do?

Me: When you say he doesn’t talk, what does that mean? Is he quite, avoiding? Does he ignore you?

Rita: Oh, we talk but when I ask him a question he says he will think about it and let me know in the next day or so.

Me: What kind of questions make him take so much time to answer?

Rita: You know, all the usual stuff. Do you love me? Am I the only one for you? Do I please you in bed? Nothing out of the norm.

Me: Well, what’s there for you when you ask him?

Rita: What do you mean, what’s there for me?

Me: I mean, you’re asking interesting questions, but why those questions? What’s there for you? Do you love him? Is he the only one for you? Does he please you in the bedroom?

Rita: Oh, I see what you mean now. I am asking because I have those concerns about me. Is that it?

Me: I don’t know but let’s take a look. Can you answer the questions?

Rita: I think I love him, yes. I feel that he is good for me. And we have a reasonable sex life.

Me: I hear you trailing off through the answers. Is there something there about the sex?

Rita: No, we have a good sex life and it happens often enough. Nothing crazy, but good.

Me: What’s missing that’s not there now?

Rita: Well, I like things a little “freakier” if you know what I mean. He is just very “vanilla” about sex. But it’s fine, we are really good together. It’s not a problem.

Me: How does it go when the two of you talk about spicing up the sex life?

Rita: Oh! I couldn’t talk to him about that! I mean not SEX!

And that’s when the “You’ve got to be shitting me” warning bell went off in my head! Further discussion revealed that Rita was very interested in a more exciting sex life. And not only was she unwilling to talk to her boyfriend about it, she could not imagine herself doing those things with him! She said that she was thinking of cheating in order to get this part of her life fulfilled. Here she was blaming him for lack of discussion and she was holding back BIG things. She was asking him if they were committed to each other and she wasn’t. She was asking if the sex life was good, knowing she was unhappy and unfulfilled. And the saddest part of it all was that she would not entertain the possibility of a discussion. No way, it wasn’t going to happen. End of story.

We Fool Ourselves

In Rita’s case, she was looking to her boyfriend to fix what she wanted without telling him. She was blaming him for her lack of sexual fulfillment. She knew that there was a deep desire within her to have a wilder sexual relationship, but couldn’t picture it with him. WHY?

Why, when we have perfect partners in every other regard, are we willing to settle for something less in our sex lives? The real answer here is fear. We are afraid to have open discussions about sex, even when it’s with our sex partners. But we are also fooling ourselves into thinking that our partner would never be willing to have such a conversation.

I asked Rita if she would consider the possibility of the discussion and she flatly said “No”. She was cutting of any chance of getting what she really wanted with her boyfriend and resigned herself to cheating or being unfulfilled. It stuns me every time I hear it. And I hear it a lot.

Quit Fooling Yourself!

Just think of the possibilities within Rita’s relationship if she were to open the dialogue of having better sex with her partner. Does anyone truly feel that her man would not want to discuss it or just listen. HELL NO! He’s a man for the love of all that is holy! We love sex.

When my girlfriend says she wants to try something new in the bedroom, I become singularly focused with such an intensity that I feel like a sexual super hero. I want to know every detail of what she’s thinking and talk it through. We greatly enjoy the conversational fore play of new ideas and thoughts. The difference is that we have adjusted our dialogue to include sex, fantasies, and new ideas. We have consciously made the choice to offer up any ideas that come to mind and explore the possibility of adding them to our sex lives.

So, I suggest that if Rita, and others like her, should give this a try. Get to the place in your relationship where anything goes within the conversation. It’s only words and they don’t hurt. Don’t make the discussion anything other than what it is, an opportunity to talk about sex with your partner.

Make it beautiful, make it sexy, make it dirty, but just do it!

How to Make it Happen

So where do we start? Great question…

Without reinventing the wheel I will offer up some ways to jump into the conversation with relative ease and safety. Here at RLA we have been building a base of materials for our readers to pull from and I went back through the last few months to find help. Jay Simcic wrote a great piece about our inabilities to read minds. I think this is a good starting point for couples. Read the article and begin the discussion. Here is the one I am recommending: Men and Women Read Minds Poorly .

Then Jay hit another home run with What Does it Take to Turn a Guy On? . This has some silliness in it, but the last part really brings home the point.

Then a few of my offerings to assist with furthering the conversation. These include The Language of Love , Listening Like a Lover and Relationship Boundaries . I recommend that people share these with their partners and find out where they are in the relationship. I feel that you may get a big surprise. At the very least some hot conversation.

Let’s all stop fooling ourselves into thinking we are different and that our partners don’t have the same or similar desires. We are human beings and sex is part of what we do for reproduction and pleasure. Why not enjoy it to the fullest? I find that I don’t get everything every time I engage my girlfriend in conversation, but I get way more than if I just wished about it. Stop wishing and start sharing. I dare you…

Let me know how it goes or if we can help. And don’t hesitate to send me a follow up question.

Until next time…

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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Relationship Breakthrough Challenge-Part 2

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Relationship ChallengeIf you missed the first part of the Relationship Breakthrough Challenge you can view part 1 here.

Imagine for a moment that you’re at home relaxing.  Your husband comes home a little late from work.  He shows up with a big grin on his face.  He looks at you and says “Look honey, I bought a new car.  Isn’t it great?”

What would be the first reaction you have?

More than likely it would be nearly the same reaction as anytime you’re about to get into a disagreement of this type.  You know, when he does something without telling you and you feel like you should have been informed or better yet, consulted.

Patterns rule our world…

It is through patterns of emotion that we react and deal with things in our lives.  We use the same emotions over and over again because we’ve built a pattern of use that protects us, helps us cope, and gives us some level of comfort in knowing what comes next.  And it is THESE patterns that will keep you confined to a cage of limits to how you can deal with situations.

It is the pattern you default to that limits your ability to see new courses of action to take in your relationship.  Why?  Because you can only react the way you know how.

In fact, you probably don’t even know you do it.  If you don’t know you do it, you can’t have control over it.  And if you don’t have control over it, then your default emotion and reactions run you, you DON’T run them.

Which can be a problem when you’re in a long-term relationship.

Consider that these problems, that you react to in the same way over and over again can cause you massive amounts of stress.  And that could lead to more problems in the relationship, more stress, and even depression.

But…

Where does stress come from?

Stress is created when your view of the world, your view of how your relationship should go, is NOT being met.  You have a standard or expectation of how things in your relationship should go.  And if they don’t go that way, you default to the emotion and reaction for that situation.

Of course that doesn’t do anything to progress your relationship or the situation forward.  In fact it may cause it to get worse.  You’re reacting to everything and never gain an upper hand because you’re falling into a default way of being with your partner.

When those issues don’t go a way and you continue this cycle it impacts you both emotionally and physically.  And that compounds matters.

The true impact of your relationships?

Our relationships magnify our emotions and impact every other aspect of our lives.  If your relationships at home are problematic, they will impact work.  If your relationships at work are problematic they will effect your home life.

Think about times you’ve had a fight with your spouse and leave the house in disgust.  You may have found yourself in a foul mood on the way too work to arrive even worse than when you left the house.  You might even confide in your “girlfriends” at work who will side with your view just because they are your friends.

“How could he do such a thing.”

“He could learn a thing or two.”

All of these comments fuel your anger and you end up taking it out on one of the men in your office.  It all continues to escalate unless it’s handled sooner rather than later.  I would even bet you take your anger out on your kids if you have any.  They’re in your face, constantly wanting something… and you yell at them.  They just want to do what kids do and play.

But where does all this come from and how do you break free?

You lose every ounce of power you have when you react in your default emotion or reaction.  Consider that you give your power away to your past that has you be the way you are.  I’ll explain more about the past in just a minute but for now, I’m sure you’ll agree that you do lose your power in these situations.

You’re not in control.  I bet that when you have a problem or an event takes place that doesn’t go the way you think it should, you blame something or someone.  You might blame the event for causing you to get upset.  You may blame your partner for causing you to “get that way”.  But you rarely if ever take responsibility for how you react.

How could you.  You think it’s some external force causing you to be a certain way.

The problem is that when you blame something and you DO NOT take responsibility for your actions, reactions, and emotions you are at the effect of life.  And when you are at the effect of life you lose all the power in your relationship.  You essentially hand it to whoever will take it, push your button, or cause you to react.

That’s no way to live life.  But it’s how we all have done it for so long.  Until you get responsible.

Hang with me a few more minutes and you’ll get what I’m talking about.

Regain your power!

Consider that the common “thing” in every upset, problem or negative reaction you have is YOU.  And it is YOU who needs to take responsibility for your actions.

You see, no one can push your arm, leg or knuckle and cause you to be mad, sad, or unhappy.  What typically happens is… something happens, you make it mean something, and react to the meaning.

Once you see that it is the meaning that triggers certain emotions, you can take control back.  Once you become aware of this meaning, identify where it comes from, you can now choose whether you’re going to get upset or take a different action.  Your partner isn’t in your head pushing buttons making you be a certain way.  You’re reacting to something he did and the meaning you assigned it.

Once you begin to see that you do have control you can regain your power over every relationship situation.  You get to choose what you get mad at and what you don’t.  But you are no longer at the effect of life.  Now you get to choose when you act and when you don’t.

And that gives you the tool to work things out, talk things out, and deal with the issues instead of get upset and move into your default emotion.  You are now equipped to handle problems quickly and easily.

So how exactly do you deal with a problem?

First, take responsibility for your own emotions and reactions.  “He” didn’t MAKE you do anything.  He did what he did and you made it mean something that caused you to unconsciously react.  Now that you know you do that, you can take responsibility for your reactions and emotions.

Now you can get them under control and confront him without the emotions that hold the conversation back.  You may find your conversation with him now is empowered by who you are being in the situation.  You may find that he respects you more for talking to him in a civil tone rather than reacting how you’ve always done.

By doing this you will gain a level of power with yourself that transcends the relationship and transforms it into something you never thought possible until now.

Change your relationship and change your life…

Here are the steps you can take to improve your relationship, take responsibility for your emotions and reactions, and move your relationship and life to another level on the playing field.

  1. Identify one default behavior you do when you get upset with your partner.
  2. Look at what he did and find out what that action or event means to you.  (Be honest here, you can only make progress if you’re brutally honest with yourself.)
  3. When did you first give that type of event meaning?
  4. It’s just an event, can you give it up and take responsibility for your own emotions and reactions?
  5. Now be fully aware of when you’re about to react to an event.  Go through the process and just be with it.  Don’t react.
  6. Now you’ve got control and can choose the emotion you want to use to discuss the situation with your partner.

Is it really that easy?

Yes.  And it does take practice.

Consider you and I are meaning making machines who give meaning and react with emotion any chance we get.  And it didn’t just start.  We’ve been doing it since we were children.  And we’ve carried that along with us every step of the way.  In the next article I’ll talk about how these meanings are the story of our lives and made us who we are.  I’ll show you how you can truly transform your relationships into something you’ve always wanted.

So stay tuned for the next post.  In the mean time, drop us an email or leave a comment.  Let us know how things are going for you.

Love… to infinity and beyond,

Jay

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What’s Your Style of Fore Play?

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Now before you go down a different road, let me explain the question.

Recently, while in a coaching session, I was discussing results of a group interaction with my team leader. The team leader is another coach. We covered quite a few areas of human behavior within and without the group. I had an issue with one of my group in that she was not responding as I had wished. Further, I was having difficulty probing her and gaining information to motivate her into action. It may seem odd that I write this blog about how to make things work with relationships and then I myself have the same or similar problems. I even discussed this in a recent article, the link is here for you to review: Making Any Relationship Work . I should think this  proves that even coaches need coaches.

This reality exists with us all. You see, we are the same at every level of our existence and no problem, behavior or issue is new to human kind. So yes, I have the same troubles. But my team leader was generous enough to share a perspective with me that I had not yet discovered. When I explained what I perceived to be road blocks in the discussion with my teammate, and that I would shut off the conversation at the point I thought the resistance would go to hurt feelings, he asked if this was “fore play”?

Fore play? I had never considered the context outside of the implied sexual content. His point was that we all have a style of fore play that brings us to the main act. So let ask again; What’s your style of fore play?

Fore Play in Everyday Life?

Given that the woman I was attempting to coach is a very nice, educated, hard-working adult and I could not get what I wanted. There had to be more I was missing. I gave up in the conversation and possibly didn’t provide her enough space to open up and join in the conversation because, in her mind, the fore play was not over.

What a concept! It makes my outlook on conversational resistance change 180 degrees! Is it possible that people have this need for a style and approach to conversation? YES! And to prove the theory I began a discussion and a fact finding mission. It’s not about being right, just finding a new distinction to share and create with.

My team leader went on about children. When a conversation takes place with a small child they are always eager to engage. They love the attention and the stimulation. Talking is new to them and they revel in it. Tell them to do their homework, take out the garbage, brush their teeth, go to bed, they know the end result, but does that stop them? Hell No! And here comes the fore play… Thousands of excuses, reasons why it can’t be done, asking for delays, pleading, but in the end, they just do it. Every child is different in the approach, but all children have this natural propensity to push back.

This is the set up for how engage in conversation throughout life. It doesn’t have to be bad or good, it’s just that we want to have a little massaging before we get to it. Now, knowing this gives me a new way to approach or look at how we get to the main act of life.

My team leader said he was certain that my girlfriend and I loved each other. I agreed.

He asked if there was ever a time when she would accompany me to an event that she really didn’t want to attend.

“Sure” I said, “There have been several occasions.”

“Did she argue or complain before going? And did you know she would support you in any case?” he went on.

I said, “Of course!”

“Consider this was her style of fore play”, he ended.

And It’s There Everyday

Now that I understand the reasoning and basic programing we all have about how we approach and are approached, I take the opportunity to view these “nuisances” as an availability to advance and progress the conversation. And having the distinction gives me great power in the conversation itself.

While I was writing this article, my girlfriend came into the office and asked that I hang a mirror in the bedroom. We relocated two weeks ago and both of us have been working hard to get the apartment in order. She was lucky enough to spend the pervious weekend at the beach leaving me to finish decorating and hanging pictures. So, rather than ask for a moment to finish, request that we do it another time, or just ignore her, I got up from my desk saying, “It’s not like I’m writing my article or anything important…”

Did you say, “Go brush your teeth and get ready for bed”?

And as I entered the bedroom, she asked,”Was that sarcasm I heard in your voice?”.

“Do it right now young man and no arguing!”

“No” I offered, “Just a little fore play”.

So Where Do We Go From Here?

As interesting as it is, and yet little known, this distinction can dramatically change how we react or interact with those in our lives. Just imagine the possibility of being in control of removing the fore play from the conversation and getting down to the “real thing”. Would you get more or less upset with your children? Would you be able to have a different kind of discussion with your relatives during the holiday seasons? Could you tolerate and understand the co-worker you have had issues with? The possibilities go on and on.

And now for the main act…

When she says, “I’m not in the mood”, is this her offer to begin fore play?

Don’t miss the sex because you don’t like the fore play. Relish it!

What’s that Dear? Yes, I’m almost finished…

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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