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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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Lights, Action, Drama!!!!!!!!!!

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Relationships today have taken a turn in which life represents art. I am referring to reality TV and the influences it has on our own lives. I am a huge fan of reality TV and I fault no one for watching and enjoying the carnage that takes place on such programs. Forget the Amazing Race and Survivor, I’m talking about the original day-time dirt. There is nothing better than watching a couple of strippers cat fight over a trailer trash, red-neck, hillbilly for female dominance of the Sunny Meadows RV and Trailer Park. YEE-HAAAWWWW, that’s just good old fashion fun!

I get to laughing out loud watching this kind of thing on TV. At times I find myself crying from laughter and thinking, “My life is great”. On occasions I feel as if I need a good dose of day-time trash to make me see my life as good and wholesome compared to others. But the reality of reality TV is that we see ourselves in those performing or living out their lives for all of us to view.

Don’t deny it! We have all sat in front of the idiot box and thought, “We should talk to my in-laws about going on that show”, or “That reminds me of our last Thanksgiving dinner”. We all know someone, some where who would fit right into the current top-of-the-morning “Talk Show”. There is no reason to be embarrassed by it or them, it’s just the way families are. We are all dysfunctional to a certain degree, but we can choose to act upon it or take a different path.

The Set Up…

Going through our daily lives and relationships with those around us, we encounter issues and problems of all kinds. Disagreements, arguments, confrontations, they are with us or part of us every day. And we get to choose how we approach and deal with these every day occurrences. Let me say that again, every day occurrences.

You may make a case that there are days when we don’t have issues and problems. Well, perhaps so, but again that is a choice. But consider that every occurrence in life is presented to us with a choice of how we will behave. In other words, regardless of the situation, we get to choose what happens by how we act upon the issue. What’s that? You don’t believe it? Let’s look at an example…

Johnny and Peg are a married couple. Johnny pays the bills as is their agreement. While paying the monthly cell phone statement, Johnny logs on to view the bill via the web in an effort to find a possible reduction in price based on the couples total usage. He discovers three calls from Peg’s phone to his best friend Tom. All were placed last Friday evening while Johnny was at a company dinner function. The total time for the three calls was more than 90 minutes!

Johnny feels he must address this with Peg immediately. He gathers the phone bill and storms into the kitchen to find Peg.

Cue music. Camera pans from left to right. Camera pulls back for a full view of the audience pounding their fists in the air to a chant of, “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry…”  Enter Jerry, announcing, “And on todays show we have Johnny who is here to confront his wife Peg about her recently discovered infidelity” The audience screams their disapproval. What a great show! Let’s get a front row seat! Johnny has chosen the reality TV approach. This should be good!

OR

Johnny and Peg are a married couple. Johnny pays the bills as is their agreement. While paying the monthly cell phone statement, Johnny logs on to view the bill via the web in an effort to find a possible reduction in price based on the couples total usage. He discovers three calls from Peg’s phone to his best friend Tom. All were placed last Friday evening while Johnny was at a company dinner function. The total time for the three calls was more than 90 minutes.

Johnny feels he must address this with Peg, if only for his curiosity and peace of mind. Over dinner when he asks, Peg reminds him that Lisa, Tom’s wife, had visited that evening after she and Tom had argued. Lisa left her apartment upset and without her phone. Once she was clam she called to talk to Tom and borrowed Pegs cell phone. They worked it out and Lisa was back at home happy later that night. Boring, I know, but Johnny is in control of choosing and the out come will be very different based on his choice.

The Final Act

As I said, these issue are there for us each and every day. Many pass us by without notice and others are thrust upon us to be dealt with in the rudest fashion possible. Either way, we get to choose how we take on the situation. Tell me I am not performing well enough at work. I can call the boss an asshole or ask what is missing that would benefit both of us. When the car breaks down, I can complain about it or deal with the repairs. Either way I have to get it fixed. Find a strange entry on the cell phone bill and get upset or inquire as to why.

Each time I get to choose and be in control and powerful with the choice. I have what it takes to keep the conversation moving forward and in a positive direction. If it is true that Peg is cheating on Johnny, does he need an audience and a talk show host to know how to handle it? I should think not.

Give the benefit of conversation to those around you. Let them be part of the engaging dialogue and offer them the opportunity to get open and honest with you. In return you can be in control by providing the space for such conversation. Many people don’t know how to get to this point but that, in and of itself, could make for a great conversation with someone you love. Embrace the idea of conversational intercourse. It can be extremely stimulating.

That’s it for now. I have to run off to find out if Marty, Sean, Terry or Bubba is Betty Lou’s baby daddy. The DNA results are in! And the hits just keep on rollin’.

 

As always,
Love with no shame and ask with no fear.
Bobby

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Relationship Boundaries

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Full Throttle or a Limiting Governor?

In previous posts I have encouraged my readers to get involved with their partners and discuss needs, wants and desires. Getting involved doesn’t always mean getting your way. In fact, there is no right or wrong in conversation, just that there is my side and your side, his side and her side, their side and our side. No right about it, just a point of view and, with luck, the reasons or feelings associated.

Having open conversation about sex and relationship boundaries will open up a world of exploration if done correctly. So how do we accomplish this? I’ll make a few suggestions.

First, share this article with your partner.

Second, ask how your partner feels about having a conversation of this type.

Don’t have the boundaries conversation at this time.

Third, schedule a time convenient for both of you.

Make it a date, something relaxing like drinks and dinner.

Fourth, remove all barriers to the discussion.

Have complete openness and acceptance.

Most important, don’t judge.

This is conversation not a boxing match.

It doesn’t hurt to talk. What hurts is the meaning we place on the words.

Fifth, have the conversation and see what opens up.

Get involved early in this discussion because finding out that you’re not compatible sexually is best done before the marriage, house, two cars and kids. However, if you are already at that place in life, use this discussion to gain control of each others expectations. Find out what works well and what’s lacking. You may be very surprised to find out what the other wishes to explore or has been keeping close to the vest.

If you haven’t read my previous articles regarding how to discuss and how to listen, this may be a good time to include them as well. These will also give you tools and guidance for an open dialogue. See the associated links.

Source:  The Language of Love

Source:  Listening Like A Lover

 Should Relationships Have Limits?

Absolutely and with out doubt! Emphatically, yes, and whether we acknowledge them or not our relationships have them either covertly or overtly. Talking about them just makes us aware and able to respect each others boundaries. Furthermore, by discussing them we may discover that limits we placed, for the respect of our partners, aren’t their restrictions at all.

Take for example, sexual positions. In my research and conversations with my partner, it is obvious that there are more positions and “styles” to sex than any one book could capture. In addition, I suggest that discussing ex’s is also okay when it comes to what we found pleasurable and what we did not. I get that it can be a jealousy issue, but we have to set that aside to get to the good stuff. If it felt good then and you’re in love with each other now, why not share, discuss and experiment?

Sexual positions are only one of the many topics couples can dive into. This one is easy, we don’t put too much into the emotional portion and the benefits can be wonderful. Talk it through; explore the good and the bad. If a subject is unearthed whereby one partner is less than interested, don’t shut down, talk it through. Why? Because, talking it through and completely understanding will lead to new subjects developing or opening up. Shutting down at the mention of something (oral, anal, toys…) will only stop the dialogue, not promote it. There is nothing wrong with being a little uncomfortable with the conversation. And it’s better than being uncomfortable when actually confronted in the bedroom.

Find out why a partner has discomfort about a topic. Is it a past experience, something he or she read, a story from a friend? What ever it is, talk it through and respect the conversation and the emotions in therein. Properly conveyed, the limitations will never be questioned or exceeded.

Until you have a complete grasp of the subject as well as each others likes, dislikes, desires and fears, the subject remains open and unanswered. Without completing that discussion, one or both partners will have questions remaining. Talk until you’re board, not until you’re uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is part of the process. Keep it up and before long you’ll be experts.

 Expectations Verses Reality

Managing our expectation is the basis of relationship boundaries. When one partner has an expectation and the other partner is unaware, reality and expectation do not align. This is when feelings get hurt, we get disappointed and possibly become cynical with our partners. All of this can be avoided with conversation prior to getting upset.

Considering men are very simple creatures and we enjoy the benefits of pleasing our women, why do you think we would hold back when it comes to your desires. We simply don’t know. Share with us and we will share with you, but let’s not shut each other down when the conversation gets going.

Our minds are programmed to run all the time. And if we don’t have good data for them to work with, the mind fills in the blanks in order to have, what it thinks, is the completed thought process. Providing the limits and boundaries gives our minds clear understanding of what is expected and leaves no gaps to fill in for a false reality. We love to please and if we could, we would read your minds. The sad thing is, we can’t. Jay Simcic posted a good article on this subject a while back. You may want to add this to your reading assignments as well. See the link below.

Source: Men and Women Read Minds Poorly

So get in to the conversation and if you have any trouble, let me know. If you have success, let me know also. And if anyone is interested and wants a list of subjects recommended for the Relationship Boundaries Conversation, email me and I’ll see that we get that out to you and your significant dialogue partner. Intercourse doesn’t always have to be sexual, but it’s a great place to start!

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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Are Men Intelligent?

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Who Are Men?

           The question has been asked for as many years as there have been men and women coexisting. We are driven to figure things out, find the meaning or just place meaning on things. This includes actions and behaviors. The funny part is that many times we, as men, don’t mean anything by what we do.

 Really?

            Then why do women get so upset by our lack of consideration for them or our poor behavior and habits? The easy answer is women don’t understand us. More to the point, women expect better from their man. Another reason, women tend to interpret our actions and behaviors into something other than we intend them. The women I speak to about this subject gravitate to a place where in they want men to behave like women. Not really like a woman, but think and care the way a woman does. See the problem?

            So, who are men? When is comes to relationships, we are providers, builders and breeders. Very basic, very easy and very clear, we are simple and don’t try to make us complicated. We hate that! When a woman tells a man that he is thinking complicated thoughts about the relationship, STOP!!!!!!!!!!! WE ARE NOT! Don’t make it into something that it’s not. We want to provide for our families, we want to build for them (house, education, transportation, recreation) and we want sex. It really is that simple. We can have big dreams and desires but basically we do what we do for these simple reasons.

 What We Do…

            Men tend to have a lack of focus on day to day things within a household the way women do. It doesn’t make us bad, it’s just is how we are. We don’t start the day off thinking about how we are going to piss off our women, but many times it seems that way. Take for instance, a man returns from a day at work, he walks into the house with dirt on his shoes and dirties up the freshly cleaned floors. None of us want for this type of situation to occur, but it happens and we, as men, know we do such things. It doesn’t mean we intended to do it, it doesn’t mean we love our women any less, it doesn’t mean we don’t value a clean home, It just means we didn’t think about it before we did it. And, getting upset about it won’t make it better for us or you.

            I get feedback from many women complaining that their men don’t tell them that they love them. Through follow up conversation it becomes clear the men actually do say “I love you”, but women want it in a manner consistent with their emotions. They want passion and romance brought into the phrase rather than a statement of ones dedication to the other. As men, when we say “I love you”, we mean it. It is the expectation of how the message is delivered that becomes the problem.

 What is Interpreted…

             Women have most of the power in any healthy relationship with a man. If you believe, as I do, that men are driven by the desire to provide, build and breed, then as women, you can guide and coach the entire relationship. But, if you choose to get angry when we do something the way us men do, well, then you give up your power and allow the relationship to be driven by our lack of understanding and we get hurt, disappointed and retreat into our shell.

             When we dirty the floor unknowingly, you can choose to yell or, you can calmly point it out and ask us to correct the problem. And guess what the better outcome will be. When he says “I love you”, you get to choose to accept it or argue the point. Consider we are simple creatures and telling us we are wrong will only reduce the effort we put forth. A more pleasurable conversation might be to thank him for the thought and suggest if he were to improve the manner in which he extolled his affections, perhaps he would be rewarded. In any case, women have the power in the relationship. Choose to coach or choose to give up the power by being angry. It is not the easiest habit to form and it takes practice, but the rewards are worth the effort.

             I personally have been told that I did not load the dishwasher correctly and that rinsing the dishes before putting them into the machine was not necessary. This went on for years; it caused actual fights between us. Do you think I wanted to continue to clean and load the dishwasher? Hell NO! And all I really wanted was a thank you. I eventually quit doing anything with the dishes and yet the power was all hers. She chose and was rewarded.

             So understand that we have very limited ideas and thoughts about our relationship with you ladies. We love you and want to do what’s right. By guiding us through our mistakes and coaching us with regard to our short comings, you maintain power and get far better results. Remember that we are simple in this aspect of life. Don’t make us into something that we aren’t and don’t view our errors as a personal affront to you. We mean you no offense and are very willing to be trained under the right circumstances and reward system.

 Give it a try and let me know what you experience. If it’s not working perfectly right now, what do you have to loose?

 And, as always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear.

 Bobby

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Save This Marriage – Strategies For Convincing A Spouse To Save A Marriage

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Imagine… your partner is seconds away from leaving with packed bags. What do you do. How do you convince your partner that you want to save this marriage. Here are a few tips on where to start.

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