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Relationship Alive!

Neil Sattin interviews John Gottman, Sue Johnson, Harville Hendrix, Peter Levine, Stan Tatkin, Dick Schwartz, Katherine Woodward Thomas, Diana Richardson, Terry Real, Wendy Maltz - and many others - in his quest to dig deep into all the factors that keep a Relationship Alive and Thriving! Each week Neil brings you an in-depth interview with a relationship expert. Neil is an author and relationship coach who is enthusiastic and passionate about relationships and the nuts and bolts of what makes them last. You can find out more about Neil Sattin and the Relationship Alive podcast at http://www.neilsattin.com
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Now displaying: September, 2015
Sep 29, 2015

Are you curious about ways to build intimacy that aren’t about sex or being sexual? Have you had hints of feeling a deep connection with your partner, and are you interested to know how you might be able to deepen that connection even further? My guest today is Patricia Albere of the Evolutionary Collective, an internationally-known organization devoted to mutual awakening between individuals, and the development of a shared consciousness that transcends our individual (separate) consciousnesses. With over 40 years of experience working with individuals on their growth and personal development, Patricia branched out to explore how individuals could connect more deeply with others. Today we discuss her work in the context of romantic partnership, although the exercises that you will be learning could be applied with anyone - not just your significant other.

  • In today’s society, especially with so many of us focused on our personal growth, there’s a danger of our becoming TOO individuated - separated from each other like islands of highly developed people. However, once you get to that point, you have an opportunity to connect with others on a profoundly deep level, by “waking up the space between you” and creating shared consciousness.
  • In relationships, we’ve had a goal of creating an unconditional, accepting love. However, Patricia calls upon us to love in a way that also demands - where we demand that our partner show up fully, where we call them forth to be their biggest and brightest selves.
  • One of Patricia’s practices is to align yourself so that she space opens up between you and your partner.  It’s one of her Eight Principles and is called “mutual engagement” - being a total yes to the emerging experience that you’re having with someone in the moment.
  • The basic practice consists of 30 minutes:
  • For the first 10 minutes, one person is the questioner, who asks “What are you experiencing right now?” The other person responds with what they’re experiencing right then, in that moment - if possible tuning in not to stories about what’s happening, but naming the aspects of experience that are occurring right there in that moment. If they get stuck, the questioner asks again, simply “What are you experiencing right now?”
  • After asking the question, the job of the questioner is to “place their consciousness inside their partner”. This is the kind of thing that will make more sense as you try it - like a nascent ability that you may not have even known that you have, but that will evolve and develop as you put it into practice. As the other person says what they’re experiencing right now, can you get into their experience?
  • After 10 minutes of this, switch roles.
  • After another 10 minutes, you enter a “popcorn” round where you each are tuning into what you’re experiencing - at any moment each of you can speak to “we are experiencing…”
  • After that - take a moment to feel through where you’re at!
  • This shared consciousness can happen with people who aren’t lovers and even with pets! You do need a willing partner to conduct the experiment.
  • The practice can be a “big step beyond” the normal relationship and lead to a deepened, ever-expanding intimacy. You and your partner can take on greater responsibility and intimacy as difficulties and traumas arise in life—all because you share consciousness. If you have a strong foundation, for instance, you can try this technique when you are confronting a problem area in your relationship. If you have a problem, see if you can really get inside the experience that your partner is having. What light and understanding does the shared consciousness bring to the situation?
  • Patricia speaks about “loving the truth.”  You have to be a “yes” to what IS. Once you are a “yes” to the truth of your experience, there is an enormous dynamic energy available to you in your life. However, the moment you become inauthentic in your relationship, that’s the moment that you’re no longer in relationship. At that point, you have made the decision to stay separate and not let the other person into your consciousness.  Hard to share consciousness when you have secrets that you’re hiding away - since you might not want to let someone in under those circumstances!

Links and Resources:

www.evolutionarycollective.com   (Patricia’s website)

www.mutual-awakening.com  (a free 77-page ebook available!)

Free Mutual Awakening Calls with Patricia Albere

Patricia has online courses, holds virtual retreats every three months, does 3-day intensive orientations for mutual awakening, and hosts a year-long program that starts every January.  Visit her website for details!

www.neilsattin.com/patricia is the direct link to this episode. Visit to download the show guide, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the show guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode's airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win Patricia Albere’s Mutual Trust course - a $197 value!

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

 

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out!

Sep 22, 2015

Odds are that the way that you’re having sex is actually causing problems in your relationship. In this episode, you will find out how having orgasms is a surefire way to lead you toward getting bored of your partner, creating problems, and breaking up - and how karezza (or non-orgasmic sex) can completely change the dynamics of your relationship. Experience the increased closeness, desire, and feelings of fulfillment in relationship that will help you sustain partnership over the long term.

My guest today is Marnia Robinson, author of Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships.  Her book is about how sex and orgasms affect your biochemistry, how it can undermine your relationship, and she also describes a way of lovemaking that boosts your bonding biochemistry to help you increase your love and fulfillment in your relationship.

Marnia is a graduate of Brown and Yale and a former corporate attorney.  She blogs on Huffington Post and serves on the board of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health. Marnia is also the moderator of the website www.reuniting.info where you can find more information about karezza and evidence to support how switching to non-orgasmic lovemaking will actually lead to a happier, more intimate relationship.

Here are some of the details of our conversation:

  • When you have an orgasm, your brain gets the biggest natural blast of neurochemicals possible without drugs.
  • The “ripple effects” of how this blast changes your internal biochemistry can continue for up to two weeks and affect how we view our partner and the world around us.
  • Some of the ripples you might experience are: mood swings, depression, anger, irritability, mental fogginess, boredom, and fatigue
  • While western society has become very orgasm-focused, other cultures have had teachings (many of them ancient) that advocate abstaining from too much sexual climax because of weakened energy. Now science can actually back up this advice.
  • It makes sense in terms of evolution and fostering diversity why you would want to grow tired of one partner and seek out another. However, since we humans are in the rare 3-5% of mammals that pair bond, we have two competing bio-mechanisms at work. If you stick with orgasm-centered sex, then you are going down the road of habituation to your partner. On the other hand, if you practice sex that is non-orgasmic, you activate the pair bonding circuitry more and more strongly over time.
  • When you are focused on bonding activities, you actually become increasingly satisfied in your relationship - and take yourself off the path that would otherwise have potentially led to your dissatisfaction.
  • Bear in mind that there is a difference for new lovers, who are in the “honeymoon neurochemistry” phase for the first two years of a relationship. During this phase you won’t be as susceptible to the same pattern of habituation - but by the time you reach two years you are in danger of rapidly shifting into an orgasm-driven downward spiral.
  • Marnia encourages gentle lovemaking and intercourse without being goal-driven and orgasm-seeking.
  • She also teaches attachment cues or “bonding behaviors” that should be part of each couple’s daily relationship.  If you download this show guide you will ALSO get a link to her FREE GUIDE on bonding behaviors that will foster oxytocin production in you and your partner.
  • This kind of sex brings more attention to each partner’s needs, a stronger connection, more tenderness, lingering contentment, better communication, reduced anxiety, more energy, more understanding, and more balance in life.
  • This kind of sex is also sustainable over the long term. If you’re in a more dopamine (and orgasmic) centered cycle, you will potentially have to always be focused on new ways to create more dopamine. Why go down that rabbit hole when your body already has a mechanism perfectly designed to keep you sexually satisfied and in harmony with your partner over the long term?

Are you intrigued?  I promise that you will learn things you have probably never heard before from Marnia’s practical explanation of these techniques.  Give them a try, and please let us know your results!

Links and Resources:

www.reuniting.info   - Marnia’s website

Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow on Amazon

Text PASSION to 33444 to download the pdf version of this episode guide AND Marnia’s Free Guide to Bonding Behaviors. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode's airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win a signed copy of "Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow” by Marnia Robinson.

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

 

www.neilsattin.com/cupid   (Marnia’s episode page on my website)

 

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out!

Sep 15, 2015

My guest today is Terry Real, and we’re going to cover some advanced strategies for thriving in your relationship. Whether it’s how to recover from a grievous wrong, how to keep your relationship healthy, or how an unconventional way to take a relationship from good to great - there’s lots to discover in this conversation!

Terry is a nationally recognized family therapist, author, and he has appeared on Good Morning America, Oprah, ABC News, and 20/20. In private practice for over 25 years , his most recent book is The New Rules of Marriage: What you Need to Know to Make Love Work.  He is here to discuss his newest book and tell us practical ways to make our marriages and relationships exceptional.

Terry sets the stage by sharing how relationships today are different than they have been historically.  People today have much higher expectations of what their relationship will be in their lives. The problem is that most people haven’t mastered the sophisticated set of skills needed to maintain the kind of relationship that they want. The purpose of his book (and this episode) is to give you the skills that you need.

Terry discusses the following details about relationships:

  • The phases of Harmony, Disillusionment, and Acceptance/Repair. What stage are you in now? The cycles are ever-repeating - which should give you hope if you happen to be in a state of disillusionment at the moment. If that’s the case, what would it take to move your relationship towards Repair?

  • Cherishing. While it sounds simple (and is simple in many ways), Terry actually devoted an entire chapter to it in his book. Are you focused on appreciating your partner’s good qualities? How do you let them know?

  • Terry discusses the losing relationship strategies of harshness and self-righteous indignation. “Harshness has no redeeming value of any kind.  There is nothing that harshness accomplishes that loving firmness doesn’t accomplish better.”

  • He refers to his “Winning Strategies,” including shifting from a negative past-focus to a positive future-focus.  He also explains his “Golden Rule.”

  • Terry has a 3-step action plan for a spouse to follow if their partner isn’t ready or willing to change the relationship. Dare to rock the boat. “Listen - this is really important to me!” Once you have their attention, help them WIN. Tell your partner what you need in order to make the situation better. Then, make it worth their while! Give positive feedback. Celebrate steps in the right direction, even if it’s not fully what you want it to be.

  • Put an end to the Cinderella Syndrome! It’s ok to ask for what you want.  

  • We each have a Core Negative Image of our partner - it is how we imagine them to be when they are at their WORST. It is an exaggeration, not even an accurate description of them at their worst - but there are bits of reality in them. Anything that you do that reinforces your partner’s Core Negative Image of you has the potential to create problems in your relationship. Anything you can do that’s the OPPOSITE of that will create enormous growth in your relationship.

  • Because we get together with our “unfinished business” - our relationships have enormous Healing Potential. The gift of our relationships is what we do, how we heal, when we encounter these problems that are echoes of the past and resolve them.

  • If you have a strong relationship, you can use the Dead Stop. In a dead stop, if you see your partner starting to act like your Core Negative Image of them, you let them know (using a keyword, such as “pineapple” is helpful) - and they stop everything, and without being defensive, apologize! Acknowledge what they’re seeing. And use it as an opportunity to release your need to be right, and instead to build connection with your partner.

  • Terry gives advice about recovering from a grievous wrong in a relationship, such as infidelity or other marriage disasters. First, the person who committed the wrong needs to be accountable for their actions. Next, address the hurt partner. Recognize that they are fundamentally disoriented - help them make sense of what happened. Dealing with their trauma. Then, re-establish trust. The past needs needs to be seen as the past. A demarcation ritual acknowledging the new, transformed relationship can be amazing. The crisis has the ability to transform us if we rise to the occasion. It can also be helpful to get outside help in these situations.

  • FYI - Terry teaches live workshops all over the United States for couples and singles. An amazing experience to take your relationship to the next level.

  • Use the relationship grid in order to diagnose where you are in terms of your boundaries and self-esteem - where do you need to improve?

  • “True intimacy is not the absence of tension, but the management of tension and using tension to grow.”

Links and Resources:

The New Rules of Marriage on Amazon

Please visit Terry’s website, www.terryreal.com  for all kinds of free information about his work AND a free intimacy test to see where you are and where you need to grow.

The Relationship Alive Community on Facebook 

This guide and episode are also available at www.neilsattin.com/terry

Text "PASSION" to 33444 to download a pdf of the show guide (and be entered for a free giveaway of a signed copy of Calling in the One within the first week of this show's airing)

 

AMAZING intro and outtro music graciously provided courtesy of The Railsplitters - Check them out HERE

Sep 6, 2015

Welcome!  My guest today is Katherine Woodward Thomas, who is the author of the national bestseller Calling in the One: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life, and Conscious Uncoupling (in stores 9/22/2015).  She is also a licensed psychotherapist and a highly acclaimed transformative educator who has worked with thousands of people around issues of love and relationship.

Katherine also created the online Conscious Uncoupling course to help people deal with relationship breakups and I have personally experienced this program and its benefits. It was my work and personal transformation with this course that led me to Katherine and inviting her to be a guest on Relationship Alive.

While as always it can be challenging to summarize everything here in our show guide, here are some of the salient points from our conversation:

  • We are responsible for our own lives. How you do (or don't) take responsibility for your life is THE determining factor in your ability to have an amazing relationship.
  • We often have unconscious barriers in place that can keep us from becoming magnetic to the right person, or from having an amazing relationship even if you are lucky enough to find yourself with a great partner.
  • We are on the cutting edge of what's possible in relationships. Prior generations didn't have to solve the same problems that we did, and they had completely different expectations of what it meant to be in a committed relationship with a partner.
  • We all carry around wounds from our childhood - and those wounds can impact us in the present, triggering emotions or preventing us from fully stepping into the moment. Where in your life are those wounds having an impact on you? Can you stop accepting that impact as inevitable - or as somehow tied to your partner - and instead take it on as something within YOU that can be addressed and healed?
  • That inner growth allows us to self-validate and become comfortable in our own skin, regardless of the past.
  • Are you focused in your relationship on controlling so as to avoid your fears? Or are you focused on creating and expanding into a positive vision for what is possible for you, and for your relationship with your partner?
  • We sometimes sabotage ourselves because we think the highest and best love relationship seems outside of our identity. Is your identity of who you are in relationship congruent with what you actually want your relationship to be?
  • There is a difference in how our “younger” and “older” selves function in relationships. You can learn to attend to the younger part of yourself as an adult - so that the adult is running the show. Katherine reveals a simple process for how to do this in the episode.
  • All of this work allows you to truly be a present adult in your relationship.
  • Are you able to provide support for yourself? We can’t expect support from our partner that we aren’t willing to give ourselves.
  • Not coming from your adult self is also a surefire way to ultimately kill the passion/desire in your relationship. Expecting your partner to parent you will erode the sensual energy. However, when you and your partner can be fully present with each other, that's when the true sparks (the ones that last) can truly fly.
  • Relationships are active and alive and have to be created again and again. Are you choosing your relationship every day?
  • The “source fracture wound” is the original break in your heart and what you made it mean about yourself when it happened.
  • Responding to our partner from that wounded place brings toxicity to the relationship.
  • Katherine explains how to get in touch with that source fracture so that it can be healed in the light of day.
  • Again, willingness to be self-responsible is the key to having a great, lasting relationship.

We will probably be having Katherine on the show again soon, as she has so much more to offer!  Until then, please check out the links and resources below!

Links and Resources:

Katherine Woodward Thomas's website

Calling in the One

Conscious Uncoupling

 

Download the show notes and more on NeilSattin.com

The Relationship Alive Community on Facebook 

Text "PASSION" to 33444 to download a pdf of the show guide (and be entered for a free giveaway of a signed copy of Calling in the One within the first week of this show's airing)

AMAZING intro and outtro music graciously provided courtesy of The Railsplitters - Check them out HERE

 

Sep 6, 2015

Welcome to Episode 2!  Here is today’s question:  How’s your SEX LIFE?  Is it giving you the kind of connection with your partner that you want?  My guest today is Diana Richardson, a leading sex educator with over 20 years’ experience in teaching about “slow sex.”  She has authored several books on the subject of Tantra and how to develop deep intimacy with your partner, and she teaches numerous workshops in Switzerland with her partner, Michael. 

Her teaching is completely transformative and focuses on how to radically shift your thinking about sex and sensuality.  You WILL learn something new from Diana!  Join us!

Diana discusses the following topics:

  • Tantric sex is about awareness, connection, and containing and sustaining sexual energy.  It’s about being in awareness during sex, instead of “striving to reach the end moment.”
  • Conventional sex typically doesn’t give women the time they need to “be ready.” Ultimately this creates sexual problems in a relationship - the BODY will actually lose interest and close down. However, in slow sex, you work with what naturally allows a woman's body to be open to sex.
  • Conventional sex disregards the natural polarity (positive pole/receptive pole) of the male and female bodies. Do you know where the energy center is for your partner? It might not be what you think.
  • For a woman, her positive sexual pole is actually in the breasts - not the clitoris! Focus attention there to help a woman open to the flow of sexual energy. As a woman, can you experience your breasts from within? This isn't about "stimulating" the breasts - it's more about melting into them, sending warmth through them. This is something you can do at any time of the day!
  • Conventional sex overrides the potential for sexual energy transmission between male and female.  (Hint: the “electric current” metaphor will help make this clearer.) You want to be in the flow - not building up tension only to discharge it.
  • Conventional sex is full of tension and pressure—and sometimes even trauma--for both males and females. Try not to focus on EXCITEMENT - which actually creates tension in the body. Instead, focus on relaxing into the moment with each other.
  • How do you actually FEEL after you have sex with your partner? As you switch to the slow sex approach, notice how that changes...how does it feel to have had an orgasm - vs. how does it feel if you shift to non-orgasmic sex, instead focusing on the sensations that you experience with your partner.
  • When you have non-orgasmic sex, what kind of energy do you carry within you during your day? How does it affect the way you feel towards your partner during the time after?
  • Is sex a source of conflict for you with your partner, in terms of levels of desire, or timing of sex?
  • Make a date (or an appointment) to make love with your partner. And take the TIME that you need to truly connect with each other.
  • Tantric sex teaches you to have understanding, feeling, communication, and being “present” in the moment with your partner.
  • Fall back into yourself - your body, your awareness, your breathing, your sensation - and that opens you up to something happening between the bodies.
  • Learn how to transform your sexual practice into a journey that's not about having orgasms - that's actually about diving more and more deeply into the feeling that you have with each other. Feel what is present within you during sex.
  • Sex should more than a mechanical process, but should be deeply healing and cleansing. If you slow down and focus on awareness, you will sensitize yourself to the more subtle flow of what's happening between you and your partner. The more mechanical your sex, the more you're desensitizing yourself to that dynamic flow.
  • Tantric sex can revitalize a tired and boring relationship.  It’s constantly generative and expansive as it deepens and changes. You are pulling yourself off of the continuum of tension - and discharge - and instead putting yourself onto a continuum that allows you to create deeper connectedness with your partner.
  • Even more amazing tidbits in this episode - please listen to experience the magic that is the teaching of Diana Richardson!

Are you intrigued and wanting to explore further? The good news is that there will be a Part 2 to this interview, so you can look forward to even MORE information from Diana. 

Links and Resources:

www.livinglove.com  (Diana’s website)

Tantric Sex for Men: Making Love a Meditation - by Diana and Michael Richardson

The Heart of Tantric Sex - by Diana Richardson

Text PASSION to 33444 to download the pdf version of this episode guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this episode's airing, you are automatically qualified for a chance to win a signed copy of "Tantric Sex for Men" from Diana Richardson.

Our Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

www.neilsattin.com/tantra   (My website has links to Diana and her work.)

 

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out!

Sep 6, 2015

Welcome!  My guest today is Dr. John Gottman, one of the world's leading experts on how to have an amazing relationship.  He and his wife Julie currently operate The Gottman Institute in Seattle, offering numerous resources and training.  Join us for a deep dive into their work!

Dr. Gottman’s findings are largely based on the conclusions he has made over many years of research and observations of couples. He and his team have how to be a master (and avoid being a disaster) at relationship.

Dr. Gottman discusses the following topics:

  • “The Sound Relationship House” - what is the foundation for a relationship that lasts?
  • Learn the importance of having high expectations in relationship, and also uncover ways in which what you'd *think* would be good for your relationship is actually counterproductive.
  • Dr. Gottman identifies Styles of Confronting Conflict:  Volatile, Validating, and Conflict-Avoiding. All of these conflict styles can lead to successful relationships. Learn what to do if you and your partner are mismatched in your conflict style.
  • Dr. Gottman discusses “bids” we make with our partner as an attempt to connect. Are you a "yes" to your partner's bids? Are they a yes to yours?
  • “Bids” that fail are often the beginnings of conflict. How do things change if you start paying attention and responding to your partner's bids in a positive way?
  • Mindfulness is the key to noticing these bids and avoiding conflict.
  • “Small Things Often” - a reminder to turn toward these bids in the small moments of life.
  • Dr. Gottman's concept of startup is a way of thinking about what you bring to your interactions with your partner. Do you start in a place that's already positive, and thinking highly of your partner? Or do you start in a place where you are suspecting the worst of your partner?
  • Build up your emotional bank account with small compliments (deposits).
  • According to John, there are three phases of any relationship:  Falling in Love (initial), Building Trust (middle), and Cherishing Your Partner (long-term intimacy). What phase are you in? The key to success is using strategies that are appropriate for where you are in your relationship.
  • The key to more sex is having the freedom to say "no" without being punished for it. If refusing sex can actually have a positive payoff, then it will actually lead to a couple having a more satisfying (and frequent) sex life.
  • Do you ever wonder how to make a good relationship GREAT? Focus on cherishing your partner.
  • What if YOU are the only partner who wants to make changes?  Can you make a difference?  Absolutely. Learn how shifts in your approach can have a profound affect on your relationship.
  • The key to success in a relationship isn't that nothing bad ever happens. It's how well you as a couple learn how to repair after those things occur. John discusses how you can learn to repair, and the positive effects that has on long-term relationships.
  • Do you know how to decide if you’re in a bad relationship?  When you're with your partner, are you at your best? Or are you veering off towards your worst? Gottman offers this simple guideline for how to know whether to stay or go. Also what to think about BEFORE you decide that you're on the wrong path.

Join us for these topics and more.  Dr. Gottman has practical information that can improve your relationship TODAY! 

Links and Resources:

What Makes Love Last: How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal by Dr. John Gottman

The Gottman Institute, Seattle

www.gottman.com

 

www.neilsattin.com/gottman    (visit to download a .pdf of this episode guide along with John Gottman's "Dreams in Conflict" exercise to help couples who seem to have irreconcilable differences. You can also text “PASSION” to 33444 for instructions on how to download the guide. If you download the guide within the first week of this show's airing, you will also qualify for a chance to win a free signed copy of Dr. Gottman’s book "What Makes Love Last".)

The Relationship Alive Community on Facebook

Amazing intro/outro music provided courtesy of:

The Railsplitters - Check them Out! 

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