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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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Oct 28, 2021

How do you keep your relationship strong despite the pressures that child-rearing can create? And how can you leverage your attachment styles in how you show up for each other to improve your relationship along the way?  Our guests are Kara Hoppe and Stan Tatkin, co-authors of the new book "Baby Bomb: A Relationship Survival Guide for New Parents" - one of the few books that tackles the impact that raising a child can have on your connection. Whether you're expecting a new baby, or already have children in the mix, today's episode will give you the tools you need so that you can weather the storms of parenting while celebrating its joys.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it! Also, see below for links to our other episodes with Stan Tatkin.

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (lowercase) at checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out "Baby Bomb" on Amazon

Get more information about Kara Hoppe and her offerings

To learn about his trainings and retreats, visit Stan Tatkin's website

Here are links to our other episodes with Stan Tatkin (prior to this one):

Episode 19: Recipe for a Secure, Healthy Relationship

Episode 50: Wired for Dating and Love - Psychobiology

Episode 150: Attachment Styles and Relationship Repair

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit www.neilsattin.com/baby to download the transcript to this episode with Kara Hoppe and Stan Tatkin.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript of this episode:

Neil Sattin:  I think we've either seen it happen or maybe even experienced it ourselves, that the addition of a new life, a new being to a family can create big changes, and some of those changes are amazing and wonderful and life-enhancing, and some of those changes can feel almost cataclysmic. And so we are here today to talk about how to navigate a new edition to a family, whether it be a baby or adopting an older child, or even if you've had children in your life for a while and experienced the impact of children on your relationship. We're going to talk about how to steer your couple-ship in a way so that you can strengthen your relationship and strengthen with each other and with your children, and hopefully have a little bit more joy and a little less cataclysm. To have today's conversation, we have two very special guests: one is Kara Hoppe, who is a marriage and family therapist. And the other is Stan Tatkin who you may be familiar with from being on the show before, the author of, Wired in love and Wired for Dating among other books.

Neil Sattin: And together they have written the book, Baby Bomb: A Relationship Survival Guide for New Parents. Because as we were chatting about before this interview started, there aren't many resources to help people not just navigate what's going on with a new baby, but actually navigate how that impacts their relationship and how to have a strong relationship, despite all the ways that the new addition or additions to your family might make the waters a little rocky. I don't know why I'm going with the boat metaphor today, but it's happened. [laughter] Kara Hoppe and Stan Tatkin, it's a pleasure to have you here today on Relationship Alive.

Stan Tatkin: Thank you, Neil.

Kara Hoppe: Happy to be here.

Neil Sattin: Great, well, we're off to a good start. [laughter] So I sometimes like to do this, which is to start at the end, and in your book, Baby bomb, which is great by the way. You offer 10 guiding principles for how to help couples stay strong in their relationship, despite however having a child in their life may be impacting the relationship. And at the very last guiding principle that you have, I'm going to just read it verbatim here, I think I dog eared the page. Guiding principle 10: You and your partner parent and partner with sensitivity, respect and trust. And I wanted to start there because, for one thing, I'm not even sure people necessarily nail that down before a child comes along.

Kara Hoppe: Right.

Neil Sattin: And so much of getting things strengthened and resilient has to do with those very things, so I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about why those things are so important, sensitivity, respect and trust. And why their absence might lead to some of the common things that people experience when a new edition actually throws things into chaos.

Kara Hoppe: Yeah, Neil, I love it that you started at the end, the last guiding principal. And I immediately when you were saying it, was thinking about the beginning of parenthood, when two people become parents, neither one of them really know what they're doing. They've never done it before. No aunt or uncle or godparent experience speaks to that. And so they're both learning in tandem how to do this, so it's a really vulnerable experience. So having that respect and sensitivity and trust in themselves and in their partner as they learn how to do this is so critical, right? I'm thinking about when we brought Jude home from the hospital, neither one of us knew how to burp him. And it's such a simple thing, but I didn't know how to burp a baby, nobody had taught me before. And I remember watching Charlie do it and feeling in my body like, Oh God, like fear and wanting to jump in. But then pausing 'cause I wanted to give him, the respect, like he was giving me the respect to learn how to do it. And all of that increased our participation in showing up for our son Jude, but it also made our relationship feel like a safer place for both of us to kind of fumble around learning how to be parents together and be witnessed as parents together.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. Yeah, so much of what you talk about in the book has to do with battling in some ways the cultural expectations that we have, and I think some of that includes this assumption that you're somehow going to know what to do.

Kara Hoppe: What they need. Right.

Neil Sattin: And so I appreciate your highlighting that it's a very vulnerable act to suddenly have a child in your arms. Or If you're a step-parent, to find yourself with an older child potentially in front of you and to not necessarily know what to do. There are all these ways that we're fighting internal messages that we've gotten from culture, from family, etcetera.

Kara Hoppe: Right. That idea of the maternal instinct kicking in. Like, yes and maternal instinct doesn't cover burping, it doesn't cover putting on diapers, it doesn't necessarily cover even breastfeeding. All of that has to be taught in real time, learning how to do it. And so there can be a lot of internal pressure because of that external pressure that if I don't know what I'm doing, I'm somehow failing, and that can be asseverated of course, we know like partners doing that to each other. And like, "Come here, I'll take the baby, I know how to do this." And just cutting each other down. And what Stan and I really wanted to do with Baby Bomb was to help people recognize the importance of supporting each other during this vulnerable experience and how they could do that with really practical ways, and we just wrote the book to walk people through that journey of how to show up for their relationship that way.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. So lest we make any assumptions here about what sensitivity, respect and trust mean, can we do just kind of a quick breakdown of what you mean by sensitivity, what you mean by respect, what you mean by trust?

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Kara Hoppe and Stan Tatkin? 

Visit neilsattin.com/baby to download the full transcript of this episode!

Sep 30, 2021

When you can't be yourself in your relationship and avoid the tough conversations that you might need to have, it erodes your relationship AND your sense of self. Today we're going to focus on how to lean into conflict in ways most likely to lead to deeper connection with others as well as inner alignment within yourself. Our guest is Jayson Gaddis, and his new book "Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High Stakes Relationships" is a masterpiece to level up your conflict-resolution skills.

If you’re curious to hear our first episode together, check out Episode 129 - Unlocking the Secrets of the Smart Couple.

And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (lowercase) at checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Find out more about Jayson Gaddis's new book, Getting to Zero.

Visit The Relationship School website for more information about Jayson, his podcast, and the courses and trainings that he offers.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit www.neilsattin.com/zero to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Jayson Gaddis.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. When it comes to the relationships in our lives that matter the most, I want you to sit there and think for a moment about whether or not you're willing to really get into it with those people. Are you willing to have conflict when you don't see eye to eye, when you have a disagreement, when you have a values conflict, when you're not sure who should be doing the dishes and who should be balancing a checkbook, whatever it is, are you actually willing to go toe to toe as equals with the other people in your life? And if so, how well does it go? And if not, why do you avoid it? These are important questions to be asking because the quality of our relationships is often not only determined by the quality of our connection with those people, but it's also determined by our ability to come back from challenging moments, the resilience of a relationship.

Neil Sattin: And so for today's episode, I wanted to focus on that very thing. How do you work through conflict and create resilience, not only in yourself, not only fostering it in the other important people in your life, but how do you create a resilient relationship where you are able to be true to who you are, and where the person or people that you're in relationship with are also free to be true to who they are. And where somehow you manage to get through all of that, better for it, instead of in tatters because of your fights and inability to resolve them. So in order to have today's conversation, I wanted to feature Jayson Gaddis, who is the founder of The Relationship School, a colleague and friend of mine. He also does The Relationship School Podcast, and he is the author of this gem of a book called; Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships. If you're a long-time listener, you know that I read a lot of books for this show, and this book is a game changer. It is like you will be doing yourself a huge favor by getting this book, reading through it, working through the exercises, and...

Neil Sattin: I don't often truly feel that way, like sometimes, when we're talking about a book here on the show, I'll go through it and I feel like actually, I can kind of mine what's important for you, this is one that I want you to get and go through, it's that important. And when you do, let me know what you think. Let's dive in to chatting with Jayson Gaddis about his new book, Getting to Zero and How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships. Jayson, it's such a treat to have you back here on Relationship Alive.

Jayson Gaddis: Thanks Neil. So good to be chatting with you again and psyched to dive in.

Neil Sattin: Great. Great. So let's get started by talking about why we tend to avoid conflict, and I just want to say when I was reading Getting to Zero, this book was very triggering for me like as I was reading it through, I was like every page I was dealing with my own demons percolating up, because the very first thing that you ask us as readers to do is to think about a conflict that we've had with someone who's important in our lives. And so it's helpful to do that, of course, to put all the exercises and everything that you write into contacts, that will be really helpful, but it was really challenging and I got in touch with how hard it is to actually face in to the fire. So could we start by talking a little bit about kind of why people avoid conflict and why you might want to make a different choice.

Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, for sure. So I'll talk about two main reasons, and I'm sure you have many, and I'd love to hear those, but one is just in our biology, and it's the fact that we're social mammals and social mammals like to belong and we like to feel close to other people, and when we don't, it feels threatening and scary and shameful, and painful. And so conflict puts us up against that pain where it's like, "Ooh, if this doesn't go well, I might get kicked out of the group, I might not be included anymore or invited, this person might break up with me, I might break up with them." And that's uncomfortable, and social mammals don't like to be alone, and we don't do well on our own for long, long, long periods of time. So that's kind of in our DNA. And then there's the more psychological story about why we avoid conflict, and that's partly due to, it hasn't gone that well in our history, and that circles back to our family of origin, the neighborhood we grew up in, the friends we had or didn't have, the church we grew up in, sports teams we were on, or dance recitals we played, and all the negative experiences socially and relationally often don't get dealt with very well.

Jayson Gaddis: And then they compound over time, and then we enter into an adult relationship, and we've got a lot of negative memory around conflict and negative associations, and so we tend to do what we've always done, and that's usually moving away from conflict, which is avoiding or we might move toward it thinking that fighting harder and louder and getting bigger is the solution for some reason. So I think those are the two probably biggest reasons we avoid conflict.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, and conflict is uncomfortable. So you have to be in a space where you're willing to not only embrace that discomfort, but also, I think face your own discomfort with being uncomfortable, you have to look at why you would rather just check out and watch Netflix or pretend that something didn't happen or settle for whatever the situation is versus, Oh, it's actually really challenging to me to feel these feelings and to not know if there's going to be a positive outcome on the other side.

Jayson Gaddis: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I like what you said there about just discomfort. It kind of boils down to that really, is a lot of us don't like feeling uncomfortable feelings, both emotionally and on a sensory level in our body, when we face off with another person or we have a trigger with a person, whether they're silent with us or aggressive with us. It's just so uncomfortable and people are like, Oh, you must really like conflict. I'm like, No, I do not like conflict. Let's be clear. Just like the next person, I just happen to have some tools and some ways through it that I've learned over the years...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Jayson Gaddis? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Sep 1, 2021

Are there ways to build trust in your relationship - even if you're in the middle of a crisis? How do you identify your relationship strengths - and use them in these most challenging moments? Today we have a return visit from Dr. Peter Pearson, co-founder of the Couple's Institute (along with his wife, Dr. Ellyn Bader), and one of today's leading trainers of couples therapists. Whether you're in a relationship, or a couples therapist, or both - today's episode is full of practical wisdom to help navigate the hardest moments that a couple can face.

Visit neilsattin.com/institute to join Pete Pearson’s and Ellyn Bader’s free webinars on how to use Confrontation in therapy!

And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (lowercase) at checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

To join Ellyn and Pete’s free webinar series on "What do you say when..." - to handle tough situations in couples therapy, follow this link here.

Visit The Couples Institute website to learn more about Ellyn and Pete’s work with couples, and with helping therapists help couples.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit www.neilsattin.com/251 to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Peter Pearson.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

If you’re curious to hear our first episode together, about shaping a culture of honesty in your relationship, you can also check out Episode 24 of Relationship Alive - Why We Lie and How to Get Back to the Truth

And you can listen to our second episode together, which was about Relationship Development and getting unstuck in your relationship, if you click here.

And here’s our third episode together - Communication that Grows Your Relationship.

And here's our fourth episode together on how to work with Unmotivated Partners.

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today I want to cover how to handle crisis and conflict in your relationship, and for that conversation, we have a very special guest, a return visit from Dr. Pete Pearson. Along with his wife, Dr. Ellyn Bader, Pete is co-founder of The Couples Institute, one of the leading trainers of couples therapists. They are the co-authors of "Tell Me No Lies," a book about the dynamics of honesty and lying in relationships, and also the book, "In Quest of the Mythical Mate," which is a book that outlines their developmental approach to working with couples in therapy.

Neil Sattin: It feels a bit like coming home, having Pete here on the show, because he and Ellyn have been on Relationship Alive a bunch of times...

Peter Pearson: Hey, Neil, all I can say is it's good to be home again.

[chuckle]

Neil Sattin: Nice, nice. Well, we're going to try and keep things lighthearted as we tackle some pretty serious subject matter, because the reason that... There are maybe two reasons that people come to this show. One is they are in a relationship and it's going well, and they think, "Well, how could this be even better?" Or, "Maybe we feel a little stuck, and how do we get unstuck and turn surviving into thriving," at the risk of sounding a bit cliche. And then the other thing is people who are having a really hard time. It's not to say that there aren't other reasons that people come and find the show. I know a lot of people view Relationship Alive as a way to prepare for... They're not in a relationship, but they're preparing for the next one that comes along. But a lot of people come because they're in the middle of a crisis, something big has happened and they're looking for help. And often, in those crisis moments, we don't know how to turn to our partners, and so we turn elsewhere, and hopefully the elsewhere that we turn to is offering us something of value that we can take back to the relationship. So what I'm hoping that we can do today is to talk a bit about how we... If you're a couple in crisis, where the trust that you have in your partner is, at least in that moment, shattered, how do you rebuild from that moment? How do you get started?

Peter Pearson: Neil, first of all, I want to say, I hope today we can cover all those reasons why people tune in to your podcast. I think we could cover the spectrum today.

Neil Sattin: Awesome. Great, let's tackle it all.

Peter Pearson: Now, the question of trust absolutely is so foundational, because without trust, there is no future. You cannot plan a future if there is no trust. It's that fundamental, you have to have trust in relationship. If your relationship is going to improve, to grow, to evolve, and become what you hope it will be, it's all based on trust. So you nailed it right out of the gate, without trust, not much happens.

Neil Sattin: Right. And so that's the conundrum in a situation like this, where you... Ideally, you'd have this big safety net to catch you when some big crisis moment happens. And it could be something really serious, like someone discovers an affair, or your partner spent all your money. There are those big, monumental things, but then we've all... Or many of us have probably also experienced the little things that you think, it starts out as just a little tiny argument, it's not going to be a big deal, and then all of a sudden, boom, things have... Everything's blown up and it feels like your relationship is in jeopardy. And so those are the moments where you want to have a big safety net of trust, and yet those are the moments where you feel it the least in relation to your partner.

Peter Pearson: You're absolutely correct. And when you talk about big things, they can either be internal to the couple, finances or whatever, or they can be external. Like in California, wildfires are all over the place, so people are being devastated through fire, floods, earthquakes in California, so external... Medical emergencies. So a lot of things can be enormously disruptive to our relationship. And what I think is that, if couples are going to make a change or improve their relationship, there are three basic avenues that are catalysts for a change in relationship. And one is desperation, and that's the crisis that shows up, that's unpredictable, can't be foreseen, but it has an earthquake-like effect on the relationship.

Peter Pearson: When that happens, interestingly enough, a lot of couples start pulling together like a team. Here comes a fire, and you don't know if the fire is going to be at your house in 20 minutes or an hour, but all of a sudden you start communicating like champions with each other. Who's going to do what by when? And you count on the other person following through with their part of how we're going to get out of here with as much as we can. So couples often, in a crisis, will start communicating like champions. They don't have to look up, get communication strategies, they just do it because it's demanded and they respond. The problem is though, after the crisis has passed...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Pete Pearson? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Jul 28, 2021

How do you find the place within you that's "ok" no matter what? And how do you use that place as a resource to help you handle the things that aren't ok? In today's episode I'm going to give you a quick-and-easy way to start your day on the right foot - while at the same time getting a clear look at what just might need to change in your life...without being paralyzed by it. No bypasses here! Just a clear path forward that acknowledges your strengths - while you're empowered to work on the things that are challenging. 

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (all lowercase) at checkout.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Okay. Let's get started. I'm going to give you a little gift for being here on episode 250. And the way the gift works is something like this, I've been thinking a lot lately about how much easier life is when people are kind and friendly to each other. Perhaps you've noticed how much easier your life is when you're moving through it and someone does something that's super nice for you, an unsolicited kindness, or a random act of kindness, or when someone's just super friendly to you or they ask you how your day is or they ask you if they can help you out in a way that you can tell is sincere. Well, unfortunately, I can't wave a magic wand and transform everyone into your life, into a friendly person. But what I can tell you is this, that if you, yourself, work on being kind and friendly, in general, in your life, then that will have a ripple effect. And there are definitely other people around you who are also listening to Relationship Alive and who are also hopefully going to be putting extra effort into being kind and friendly and nice and gracious. And if all of us who are here together are doing that, it will certainly percolate out into the world around us.

Neil Sattin: Now, I'm not saying that you have to be nice to the assholes in your life, or that you have to put up with bullshit that's going on. In fact, we are going to have an upcoming episode that's exclusively about how to deal with the assholes in your life. So stay tuned for that. And it's important when you're being nice to have boundaries. You don't necessarily want to be completely kind and open-hearted with everyone who crosses your path, unless they show you that they're capable of receiving that in a way that is, if nothing else, appreciative or reciprocal, or maybe it's even more than reciprocal, maybe they are super nice to you and generous and kind in return. I suppose that is what reciprocal means. But I mean, like, to the extreme where it gets amplified back at you. Now, that's great.

Neil Sattin: If it doesn't happen, and another person treats you unkindly, or they're mean, or they're a jerk or whatever, then that's not on you. And in fact, that's one of the advantages of just working on being nice in your life is that you can generally be pretty sure that the stuff that's coming at you that's less than kind, that that's not about you at all. And I think it's helpful in our lives to be able to discern whether we are contributing in some way to a less than desirable situation or if it's just there's something going on with this other person, whether it's that they're stressed or they had some trauma earlier in their life, or they don't know how to receive kindness or whatever it is, all those things aren't about you at all. So it's helpful as you move through the world being friendly and kind in terms of your ability to know, "Oh, when someone else treats me unfairly or they clearly have a chip on their shoulder, that's not about me at all."

Neil Sattin: At the same time, when you experience that, definitely have a boundary up for yourself. Set a limit so that...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Jun 30, 2021

What do you do when you feel like you're the only one doing the work in your relationship? When things would just fall apart if you weren't on top of it? Or what can you do if things aren't going so well, and you're the only one who seems to care enough to try and make things different? And how do you know when it's time to stop trying...and walk away? It turns out there are a lot of options available to you - and some of them will probably surprise you!

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (all lowercase) at checkout.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: So the very first thing that you want to get clear on is what is the work that we're talking about? Are we literally talking about the work of, say, running your household. Domestic duties, grocery shopping, cooking meals, cleaning, taking care of balancing the checkbook... If you still balance your checkbook. Whatever it is, is that the kind of work that we're talking about? Or are we talking about things like stepping back and thinking about the quality of your relationship and whether or not it's what you want it to be.

Neil Sattin: And if it isn't what you want it to be, putting in energy to try and make it different. Whether that's going to counseling or a coach, or reading a lot of books, or listening to podcasts. And then trying to bring everything that you're learning and all the perspectives that you're getting on how to do a relationship better to your relationship. Maybe that's the kind of work that you're talking about.

Neil Sattin: It's important to get really clear on what you mean when you say... If you are the one who's saying, "I feel like I'm the only one who's doing anything for this relationship." And if you're listening to this show because your partner has said to you that they feel like they're the only one doing all the work in the relationship, then you should also get really clear on what it is they're talking about. Because as it turns out, we all have different ideas about what constitutes the work of relationship.

Neil Sattin: And one of the most funny... It can be funny, ha-ha, but it's maybe a little bit more funny, weird. Things that can happen in a relationship is you can think like... You can think that you're the one who's doing all the work, and at the very same time, your partner may also think that they are the ones who are doing all the work in the relationship.

Neil Sattin: And that's classic because...

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May 25, 2021

If your relationship is going to thrive and stand the test of time, then what are the essential ingredients for that to happen? What do you have the "right" to do - and experience - in your relationship? And - like any time that we have rights - what are the responsibilities that go along with those rights? After this week's episode, you'll be able to diagnose what's going well in your relationship - and where important things are missing.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “alive” (all lowercase) at checkout.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. And it's really good to be back with you. You may have noticed that I haven't been recording as much lately, and that's on purpose, because after so many years here at Relationship Alive, I decided that it was an important moment in my own evolution and in the evolution of the show to step back and look at all the things that we've talked about over the past number of years, over the past 247 episodes, and see if there was some way to distill that information, so that it can be even more clear, can make even more sense. And if that can bring you a little bit more joy or spare you a little bit more pain, then I feel like I'm doing my job.

Neil Sattin: So to that end, I've been working on a list of what I think are... I've been tentatively calling it the Relationship Bill of Rights. But that's not totally true, because for one thing, along with rights, there are responsibilities, and it's hard to have a conversation about the rights that we should enjoy in relationship without also talking about the corresponding responsibilities.

Neil Sattin: So, without further ado, let's talk about the Relationship Bill of Rights. And as we go through, I will touch on the responsibilities. As you'll hear with most of these, we could have an entire podcast episode on each of these individually. So, there's going to be a lot to cover here, and I'm not going to possibly be able to talk about all the nuances of every one of these, but we're going to cover a lot of ground, and I think at the end of it, you are going to realize... If you're in a relationship, or if you're referring to a past relationship, you're going to realize what is working or was working for you, and you're going to also get a sense of where things aren't working. And so, a list like this can be a great diagnostic tool for you to identify what's working well and what maybe not so much.

Neil Sattin: Just... I also want to note that as I was going through this, I recognized that I have an implicit bias toward a particular kind of relationship. And that bias is reflected in the rights of relationship that you are about to hear. If you want to have a relationship that is functional, meaning, that's just based on mutual... Like, we're both paying the bills, we're both doing the house work, we're both raising the kids, and otherwise we don't really care too much about each other, or it can be like pure business, then this list may not resonate with you. And that will be interesting for me to hear, like, what are the things here where you're thinking "Well, that sounds good, but it's totally impractical, or that sounds good for other people, but not for me."?

Neil Sattin: What you might find is that when you hear something, you're like, "That sounds good, and I don't know if that's possible for me in my current relationship," that's another possibility. Those are questions to be answered on other episodes of the podcast. And in fact, we've spent a lot of time addressing the challenges, the problems of relationship for that very reason, so that you can get more toward a fulfilled state of relational harmony that's reflected by this Bill of Rights. Alright, I'm going to dive in. And these are happening in no particular order, though, as the list gets more and more refined, maybe we'll make it into a more logical progression, but these first few that all go together, I think they really do represent a foundation for where we start in relationship.

Neil Sattin: So, your first right or rights in relationship are to be seen, accepted and respected for who you are, not who someone wishes you would be, whether that's just their projection onto you, because they imagine you to be a perfect being, or whether it's because they find all these faults in you that they want to fix. No matter what, even if you're on a path of growth in your relationship, and we'll talk about that in a minute, you are who you are in the moment, with all the things that are awesome about you and all the things that suck about you. And if you dwell too much on what's awesome then... Well, that's generally a reflection of narcissism. If you reflect too much on what sucks, then you're going to be depressed and despondent. However, having a healthy perspective on both of those things along with the things that are just... That just are, maybe that are neutral, that's really important for you, both in terms of showing up as you are with integrity in your relationship, and also because it's just what is, and there's a lot of suffering...

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Mar 25, 2021

If you have an insecure attachment style (or your partner does - or both of you do) - can you have a healthy relationship? And how do you know if an issue that comes up is something that you'll actually be able to fix? Avoidant, anxious, island, wave - or secure - sure, it's helpful to be able to identify your attachment style - but what can you actually do about the unhealthy patterns that arise? Today we're going to talk about what it really looks like to move from insecure to secure attachment - and how to get out of an unhealthy dynamic into something more positive.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “ALIVE” at checkout.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Perhaps you've heard about attachment styles and how your attachment style can have a huge impact on your relationship, but I definitely don't want you to feel like you're a victim to your attachment style, or if you're in a relationship, to the attachment style of your partner. In the off chance that you or someone you love has one of the main insecure attachment styles, which can cause a lot of problems in a relationship, today, I would like to talk about what a healthy relationship can look like no matter what kind of attachment style you have. And along with that, I want you to be able to tell if your relationship realistically has the potential to improve or not. And we'll also get into why your attachment style can have such a big impact and what to do about it. So that's all in today's show.

Neil Sattin: So I've had a few episodes about attachment styles and how they can impact your relationship, you can look through my episodes with Stan Tatkin or with Sue Johnson. So I'm going to be somewhat brief here in my overview, and just say that if you have an anxious attachment style, then as things get out of balance in your relationship, you are more likely to lean in, you're more likely to want to seek out connection with your partner of any kind in order to bring yourself some stability, particularly in stressful or triggering times. If you have an avoidant attachment style, then somewhat problematically, you have the exact opposite response to things getting stressful or feeling triggering, which is that you want to get out of there, you want space to yourself, you want time to think. And in fact, if you are paired with someone, as so often happens, who has an anxious attachment style, then you will perhaps feel overwhelmed by the amount that they're coming at you with all of their questions and emotions and requirements, and you'll just be like, "Get me out of here."

Neil Sattin: On the flip side, if you are anxious and you're trying to seek connection from a partner who wants some distance and space, then you'll perceive that as really threatening. So the more that you lean in, the more that they'll lean away, and then that in and of itself, will create problems, and you'll wonder, "Why won't they work with me? Why won't they listen to me? Why don't they want to understand what's going on with me?" And you can see how if two opposite attachment styles pair up with each other, how it's a recipe for a lot of dysfunction to take place. And you've probably heard of the pursuer-distancer dynamic in a relationship, which is another manifestation of that sort of thing at play. And here's what's interesting, you can actually switch, so you could be anxious in one relationship and in your next relationship, you could be avoidant.

Neil Sattin: And here's another interesting thing, if you have a secure attachment style at your base...

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Feb 26, 2021

Have you ever gone through a major life change, and then, in retrospect, wondered how you could have possibly been living the way that you were living? Everything seemed so great at the time, right? Or, at least, great enough. But when the spell is broken, and the veil is lifted - suddenly everything looks different. Hindsight is 20/20 - and one of life's biggest challenges is to see things accurately in the moment. In today's episode you'll get strategies to get past how you *wish* things were - in order to see things as they actually are.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “ALIVE” at checkout.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive - this is your host Neil Sattin. Have you ever had a David Byrne moment in your life? I’m not talking about David BURNS - author of Feeling Good and Feeling Great, and frequent guest here on the show. I’m talking about David Byrne, of the Talking Heads - and thinking of that song “Once in a Lifetime” - where in the video he slaps himself on the forehead asking “Well, how did I get here?” - one of those moments where you look around you, almost as if a spell is broken, and see things as they really are - versus how you were imagining them, or wanting them to be? 

Neil Sattin: Now you may say to yourself - of course, I know how I got here. Where I’m at right now makes perfect sense, it’s the sum of all the decisions that I’ve made up until now. Great - that’s a perfect way to come to understand what led to your current circumstances, and perhaps to see the patterns and habits that led you there. 

Neil Sattin: But...how ARE you doing in this moment? And what can you do to snap yourself out of the spell, so that you have the best chance of seeing things as they really are in the moment? And making a choice, taking the next right step? In the context of love, and relationships, it really can be like a spell. You’re pulled in by a dynamic that intoxicates you on some level, and when you’re intoxicated the odds favor that you won’t necessarily make the best decisions. Oh sure, you’ll make the best choice that an intoxicated person can make. Some might argue that this intoxication is important for the survival of our species - in other words, that we have to be rendered lovestruck in order to serve our biological imperatives. Even if you end up NOT procreating, it’s most likely that energy of gene preservation that got you there, in partnership with your beloved, in the first place. That and your common love of REO speedwagon, or whatever.

Neil Sattin: Today we’re going to go over some simple strategies to help you assess your current circumstances - whether you’re in a relationship or not. And these strategies will help you figure out if you’re where you want to be, or if some sort of course correction might be in order...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

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Jan 28, 2021

Modern dating can be so challenging. Simply finding good people is challenging. Knowing how to take a relationship to the next level, when to commit, or when to get out of a relationship so that you can find something better - that’s challenging! Today we’re going to focus on all the ways that you can get out of your own way, and use the power of behavioral science to make better choices and break old patterns as you navigate the world of modern love. Our guest is Logan Ury, author of the new book “How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science that Will Help You Find Love”. You’ll find that there are all sorts of ways for you to adjust what you do to make the kinds of decisions that lead to deeper, more fulfilling connections.

And, as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. 

Join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it! 

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “ALIVE” at checkout.

Resources: 

Logan’s book “How to Not Die Alone: The Surprising Science That Will Help You Find Love” is finally available!

Check out Logan Ury’s website where you can take her quiz to assess your “dating tendency”.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide

Or join my full Secrets of Relationship Communication course!

www.neilsattin.com/logan2 Visit to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Logan Ury.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome back, to another episode of relationship alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. We are fortunate to be having a return visit from my friend and colleague Logan Ury, a Harvard-trained behavioral scientist turned Dating Coach, whose new book “How to Not Die Alone: The surprising Science that will help you find love” is FINALLY available. Yes, go order it now. Or, well, listen to what she has to say - then go order the book. Logan is also the Director of Relationship Science for the dating app Hinge. And, as you’ll hear today - she knows her shit. See, we are making choices all the time, and those choices impact the kinds of relationships we do (or don’t) have. Logan’s work does such a good job of pointing out the ways that our decision-making can actually get in the way of having a fulfilling love life. You may recall that she was here back in episode 231 - if you want to listen to that episode you can visit neilsattin.com/logan. And, for today’s episode, if you want to download a transcript just visit neilsattin.com/logan2 (that’s logan and the number 2) - or, as always, you can text the word “PASSION” to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. Let’s dive in. Logan Ury - so glad to have you back with us here on Relationship Alive.

Logan Ury: Thank you, Neil. It's always fun to talk to you, whether it's for the podcast or just through our friendship, and I'm so grateful that you invited me back on the show.

Neil Sattin: Let's start with this question of how you get prepared to go out into the dating world? Because as I was mentioning in the intro, so much of what we do in the choices that we make are just sort of based on what the world throws our way in terms of who we meet, or who we swipe right on and who swipes right back. And I'm curious to know if you have a basic idea of how we can prepare ourselves without getting caught in trying to be over-prepared, like one of... We talked about the three tendencies in our last conversation, and you talked about hesitaters, and their tendency might be to be over-prepared. So, what kind of preparation is actually necessary for being successful in modern dating?

Logan Ury: Yeah, I'm glad that we're starting the conversation here because this is where I would start the conversation with the new dating coaching client...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Logan Ury? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Dec 20, 2020

When you want to shift something in your life, sometimes the scale of the change can seem daunting. So how do you get from point A to point B (or...point Z) in a way that's actually doable - and sustainable? It can be tempting to take drastic actions to make big changes - but you might sabotage your changes by falling into your old habits. Today we'll talk about how you can create positive changes in your relationship, or something else in your life, in a way that's practical, and relatively easy - no matter how big the change.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today's topic is going to be how we can create big changes in our lives, but in ways that are sustainable. Because if you do something big to change your life but then you just fall back into old patterns, well, you're going to get the same results you've always gotten. Do the same thing, get the same results. So how can you create a big change in a way that you're going to be able to keep going, that you're going to be able to follow through on, so that it doesn't become just some other big resolution or a promise that you make to yourself that you can't keep? That is what we are going to talk about in today's episode, and I'm going to use an example from my personal life that I've experienced over the past few months so that you can get a sense of what I'm talking about.

Neil Sattin: First, I just want to say thank you for being here with me. This wouldn't be a show without you being here with me to talk about relationship issues, and all these different facets of how to show up more fully in our lives, in our relationship with ourselves and in our relationship with the people who are most important to us. So thank you for being here with me.

Neil Sattin: Okay, I think that's it. Let's get on with the show, shall we? So when it comes to making big changes in your life, a lot of people talk about the need to take massive action. If you want radically different results, you have to do things radically differently. And on some level, that's true. And often, taking massive action can sometimes be necessary, because sometimes the changes that you want to make, if you want to, for instance, leave a relationship, those kinds of decisions and choices and actions can feel huge, and you have to do this big thing in order to create some momentum in a new direction. But it can be common for people to take a huge action, to feel all this energy and momentum, maybe you've even gone to some personal development seminar and you come back all pumped for the big things that are going to change in your life, and then day after day, week after week, you find that it's hard to maintain the big change.

Neil Sattin: And this sometimes happens. I mentioned the ending of a relationship as an example. It's a good example because sometimes, I'm sure if you haven't experienced this, you've known people who have experienced it, where they take a big action, they decide they're going to leave their relationship, they even announce it to their partner, and then it never quite happens. Or it does happen, but then somehow they end up back together again, and back in the same old patterns that they were always in, and the same old misery, and the same old reasons for not being together in the first place. So it's not all doom and gloom, fortunately, but there has to be something else to back up whatever big changes you are trying to make in your life.

Neil Sattin: And those could be big changes like ending a relationship, or it could be big changes like making your relationship better, because maybe you simply want to improve the way things are in your relationship. And this is another thing where it can be like, "Alright, we're going to have a date night every week. We're going to make sure that we take three vacations. We're going to show up every day in ways that are loving and caring." And on and on. "We're going to explore new realms of sexual ecstasy together." But then in the end comes... What is it? After the something, the laundry. Like, there's the day-to-day quality of life and how challenging it can be to sustain anything like that, even if you have the best intentions and the best desires and the most brilliant vision for how you want a thing to be.

Neil Sattin: Because the big things are inherently not sustainable, they take lots of energy, they take lots of time, they can take lots of thought and planning. Even though initially they're somewhat abrupt, if you want to keep those things going, then it requires a lot from you, and that's why it's not sustainable. And then you have this other problem, which is...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

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Dec 13, 2020

Are ultimatums ever a good idea? If so - when? If not, what can you do instead? What should you do if you receive an ultimatum from your partner? And how do you undo the damage that an ultimatum can do to a relationship? In this episode, we're going to cover all the ins and outs of what to do when you come up against a dealbreaker in your relationship, and how to handle your last-ditch attempts to get things back on track.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today, we are going to cover a topic that's simple and a little bit tricky. It's the topic of ultimatums. Are they ever worth it? What's the good, what's the bad, what's the ugly when it comes to giving or receiving an ultimatum in your relationship? And are there ever circumstances where an ultimatum is the best choice? That's what we're going to cover in today's episode.

Neil Sattin: Okay, so first, what even is an ultimatum? An ultimatum typically occurs when one of you comes up against something that is a deal-breaker for you in your relationship. So, the ultimatum, it comes from the Latin "ultima," which, if I'm remembering right from my high school Latin, means "the last." So it's basically the thing... It's like the last thing, it's your last resort. And it really should be your last resort. If you find yourself giving ultimatums all the time, then that should be a major red flag for you that something is not going well in your relationship, or if you're receiving ultimatums all the time. And an ultimatum is fairly simple, it's "I want you to either do this thing, or stop doing this thing. I want some change in you, or some commitment in you," or whatever it is, "I want this from you, and if you can't give this to me, then I'm done. I'm out of the relationship." So ultimatums often come up when you are up against a deal-breaker for you.

Neil Sattin: So, an example might be that you know you really want to have children, and your partner has been kind of wishy-washy on the topic of whether or not you're going to have children. And so you might say, "I need you to decide, one way or another, if you are willing to have kids. And if you're not, then I'm done because... Not because I don't love you, but because I want to have children." So that's one example of a deal-breaker. "Decide whether or not you want to have kids, if you're a yes, great, we can keep going; if you're a no, I'm done." That's the ultimatum. Another one that you may have come across is if someone in a relationship has an addiction, like they have a drinking problem, the ultimatum might be something like, "You stop drinking, or I'm done." Right? So it's pretty simple. "You blah, blah, blah, and if you do it, awesome. We keep going. And if you don't do it, then I'm out of here."...

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Nov 21, 2020

When emotions are stuck within you - how can you use your creativity to get things moving? Sometimes the muse within you is a quiet whisper - other times screaming for your attention. Today we'll talk about how to find the voice - and what to do once you have. And, towards the end, I'll share a song with you that arrived after recording my last episode, on the process of going through a breakup and grieving. (song is at 19:20)

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today's episode is going to be a little bit different. I have a few things to share with you about how to use creativity as a way to help move through emotions, and it's something that's really served me well in the past and continues to serve me well, as you'll see momentarily, because after we talk about this topic I am going to share a song with you, a song that that just emerged this past week

Neil Sattin: Okay, so let's dive into the topic at hand, which is creativity and giving yourself permission to have a voice and to use your voice in ways that can help mobilize especially challenging emotions and bring them to the surface, express them in ways that are productive and maybe even move on or transmute those emotions along the way.

Neil Sattin: Now, the emotional content of our lives can sometimes be quite raw, and whether it's something that we ultimately want to address with another person or not, it can be helpful to spend some time with the content in order to get a different look at it, get a different perspective, allow it to move within you and also to give you more information. I believe that our emotions are there as signals to help us understand how we are processing the world around us, and so they live in us, but they're not meant to just be stuck there.

Neil Sattin: And sometimes when an emotion is just there over and over and over and over again, it's there because it requires something of us, maybe it requires a change in our lives, or maybe it's just a voice in you that needs to be heard. Now, I'll tell you that over the years, creative expression for me has been a huge way to help me deal with the things that are going on my life, and sometimes those things are happy, joyous things, and I want to find ways to celebrate even more, and sometimes those things have been painful and hard to understand, and being creative has given me the opportunity to work with those feelings to understand some of the deeper things that are going on within me that are at play, some of the different thoughts, the different inner voices that are speaking.

Neil Sattin: And giving yourself the opportunity to do that can be an immensely freeing and transformative thing. And there are any number of ways to do that, you can create something that's just for you, you can create something that you share with people who you trust and who care about you, you can create something and share it with the world, or you can create something and burn it, or forget about it, because the act of creation in and of itself is alchemy, it allows you to work with what you're experiencing and in a way to move it outside of you.

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Nov 11, 2020

When it comes to breaking up, is there a right way to do it? How long should it take for you to get over your ex? How do you know when it's time to see someone new? How do you deal with the way that your ex is handling the breakup? In this week's episode, we're going to cover what's "normal" in the breakup experience, and how to make sure that you focus on your grieving in a way that's most likely to lead to growth - so you can avoid making the same mistakes in your next relationship.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

This episode is sponsored by Native Deodorant. Their products are filled with ingredients you can find in nature like coconut oil, which is an antimicrobial, shea butter to moisturize, and tapioca starch to absorb wetness. They don’t ever test on animals, they don’t use aluminum or any other scary chemical ingredients, and they’re so confident that you’ll like their deodorant that they offer free shipping - and returns. For 20% off your first purchase, visit http://www.nativedeo.com/alive and use promo code ALIVE during checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today, we're going to talk about the ending of relationships. Is there some magical mystical, right way to do that, and how long should it take to deal with the aftermath of a break-up, how long is the grieving process, and how do you deal with the impact that your ex is still having on you after your relationship is ended? And how do you go through all that processing? I mean, of course, you could write books, right, on the topic of ending a relationship, but this episode has been something that's been on my mind partly because of my own process that I've been going through, and also because I've seen this... These kinds of questions either I get emailed to me or come up in the Relationship Alive community on Facebook all the time, which is kind of like, how long should this take and why is this agonizing and what's up with my loser ex, who's doing X, Y, Z. So I just figured, let's take an episode here and tackle some of these larger questions and see if we can get into the heart of the matter a little bit more.

Alright, let's dive into today's topic of breakups and grieving, and how long should this whole process take anyway. There's a lot to unpack here because breakups are complex situations, they can be super painful, and whenever anything is super painful, it is... You are not going to be operating at your best and your partner, or you soon to be a former partner will also not be operating at their best, and yet, I still think that for the most part, even in these situations, people are trying their best. Now, trying your best in a painful situation may still not be very pretty. In fact, it may include some things that are really challenging, and so hopefully, after today's show you'll have a little bit more sense of perspective and what to expect and what's normal, and that will if nothing else, give you some peace of mind. If not, some direction in terms of how to handle this process, whether you're in it or maybe you know someone who's in it, and you can forward this episode to them or give them some pointers, or just be a strong support for them.

Neil Sattin: Or maybe there's something in... From your past that's still haunting you and you're just wondering, how long is this going to be in my sphere, how long is this going to be impacting me? So it's important because unless you are one of the lucky ones, and I'm saying lucky with a hint of biting my tongue there, but there are definitely people... I have friends who they are still with their high school sweetheart who they married not long after high school. And they still, they went to college, and they maybe even went to separate colleges and then got together and they have children together, and I still... I see their pictures on Facebook and I think. "You guys should be the ones with the Relationship podcast."

Neil Sattin: Sometimes I actually do think that. And yet, those people, it can be tempting to think, alright, they have the special sauce and we can all borrow from their recipe, and sometimes that is true, sometimes they are doing things that, as John and Julie Gottman liked to say that they're the things that the masters of relationship do. And then there are things that the disasters of relationship do, so it can be great to learn from them. And unless you're one of them, then you are bound to be going through at least one, if not multiple break-ups in your life. And those things stick with you. Those are experiences that affect how we enter and are in our subsequent relationships, so it's important, it's important to really give this some attention.

Neil Sattin: Let's start with that question of how long should the process take, how long does the process of breaking up take?

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Oct 24, 2020

When you’re stuck in conflict, how do you step outside of the situation enough to identify ways to break the patterns that are keeping you stuck? Especially in ongoing conflict, just doing more of the same isn’t going to change your outcome. Our guest is Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler, author of Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself from Conflict at Work, at Home, and in Life. We’ll talk about practical, effective strategies you can use to escape the conflict loop - and, thus, get different results!

And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out Jen Goldman-Wetzler’s website, where you can take the assessments we talk about in today’s conversation.

Grab Jen Goldman-Wetzler’s book Optimal Outcomes on Amazon or from your local bookseller. 

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit www.neilsattin.com/optimal to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host Neil Sattin. Now, I don't know about you, but I haven't managed to live a conflict-free life. In fact, it seems like it can be pretty easy to experience conflict with people in the world around us. And it comes up in our relationships, it comes up at work, it comes up with family, it comes up with your kids, and so I was tantalized when a former guest, Erica Fox, reached out to tell me about a colleague and friend of hers who had just come out with a new book called Optimal Outcomes: Free Yourself From Conflict at Work, at Home and in Life. And I thought, "Conflict-free, that sounds pretty good." 'Cause conflict adds a lot of stress. And you know I went through a divorce about a year ago, and that process wasn't conflict-free, and my divorce before that wasn't conflict-free. And in fact, there are all kinds of opportunities to experience rocky relationships. And this is particularly vexing for me because I put so much energy into trying to get it right and trying to master communication skills and bring openness and understanding to all of these conversations with people that, not all the time, I don't want you to think that my life is just riddled with conflict, but occasionally blow up in my face.

Neil Sattin: So I'm excited to have today's guest here with us to talk about this process of totally reframing the way that you see conflict, how you handle conflict, and how to escape from those perpetual conflicts that seem to be unresolvable. We'll see how we can go from unresolvable to conflict-free in today's episode. Our guest's name is Dr. Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler. She's the author of Optimal Outcomes as I just mentioned, and she is also the Founder and CEO of Alignment Strategies Group, which is an organization that is focused on creating health in other organizations and corporations. And on top of that, she teaches a popular course on conflict resolution at Columbia University. So let's dive right in. Before we do, if you want a transcript of today's episode, just visit neilsattin.com/optimal. Or as always, you can text the word "Passion" to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. Okay, that's it. Jen Goldman-Wetzler, it's such a pleasure to have you here with us today on Relationship Alive.

Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler: It's great to be with you today, Neil.

Neil Sattin: Let's just dive in with... I'm curious to know how you... How would you define the way that you look at conflict? How is that different from typical conflict resolution? Why is this not your grandmother's conflict resolution, or maybe your Harvard negotiation program's conflict resolution?

Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler: Right. It definitely isn't. It is built on that though. My work in conflict freedom comes out of doing the work of conflict resolution with people on the ground in the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians, with corporate leaders in pharmaceutical companies and healthcare companies and financial services, professional services. And at some point, about five years into doing that work, I noticed that conflict didn't always get resolved. The methods that we've been teaching for the last 40 years around resolving conflict work well in many situations, but in some situations, they just don't work. And when I came to that realization, I realized I wanted to dig in and try to understand, "Why not?" And most importantly, "What could we do to free ourselves from those conflict loops?" Those situations that just seem to go around and around and around and never get resolved, no matter what we do, no matter how well we apply the latest conflict resolution methodology. And so it took me about 13 years to get this book written, and it's based on five years of deep research in the realm of emotions like humiliation and conflict.

Jennifer Goldman-Wetzler: So the main difference really is...

Interested in reading a transcript of the rest of this episode?

Click here to download it!

Oct 16, 2020

Do you ever feel like you *should* have gotten over something challenging - that you’ve grown, and learned from the experience, but that on some level it still haunts you? Or do you feel inner conflict around decisions that seem like they should be relatively clear-cut? Are you afraid of failure? It could very well be that you have bypassed or suppressed your negative emotions, and that they’re now stuck inside you, wreaking havoc on your inner guidance system. By not facing failures or challenges head on, we actually create an emotional dissonance within ourselves that’s an obstacle to moving forward. Today we’ll talk about how to face things when they’re not quite the way you want them to be - and how to develop the inner honesty that will help you feel aligned and courageous no matter what’s happening in your life.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today is going to be an episode about truth, and more specifically why it is so important for you to be truthful with yourself and why that sometimes means that you have to go negative, and why it's so important to not be bypassing your negative experiences. And I'm talking to you from the perspective of someone who is almost always optimistic about life, even in my darkest moments, I generally am able to look on the bright side, and that's a helpful skill in life. In fact, there's a whole branch of psychology, positive psychology, that is at least in part based on this idea of how we make meaning in the world and trying to make positive meanings out of the things that happen to us and what a difference that makes. However, there is a danger in that skill, and today we're going to talk about what the danger is to make sure that you are not gas-lighting yourself, and instead that you're able to best use the truth for your own growth, and so to really understand what's happening in your life right now, because it can be so easy to miss what's challenging, what's truly challenging for the sake of a quick silver lining.

Neil Sattin: All right, let's dive into the topic at hand. So what is true? When you look at your life, you don't want to make things out to be worse than they are, you don't want to make mountains out of molehills, as they say, but you also don't necessarily want to make things out to be better than they are. In a way where we've been having in our world today sort of a crisis of truth, what do you believe, and we could have all kinds of conversations about how to figure out what the facts are in the outside world, but today we're going to talk about what the facts are in your inner world, and why that is so important for you. You want to be able to face your failures. And failure is a charged word. I mean, a few episodes ago, you may have heard in my session with David Burns where I confronted this idea that I was a failure and it was one of the negative thoughts, the pernicious negative thoughts that was bringing me down and contributing to my being overwhelmed with the sheer number of things that I had to do.

Neil Sattin: And yet... And David and working with me did a really effective job of helping me bust through the negative thought, the cognitive distortion in order to get what was true. And that is super important work. This today's episode is not about suddenly everyone becoming pessimists or for you to suddenly be shitting on yourself all the time. That's not what today's episode is about. However, sometimes when you're looking at reality, you have to admit that the reality isn't what you wanted it to be. And just kind of a quick cursory noticing of that might not really be enough for some important reasons.

Neil Sattin: Now, it might be enough to recognize that your life isn't the way that you want it to be, that something really sucks for just a moment in order to get resourceful and start strategizing about ways to change things, and if you are anything like me, and I know that because you're here listening, you are at least a growth-minded person, then that might be something that's relatively easy for you, "This sucks, how am I going to make it better?" And then you start strategizing. But the problem with that is that there is a place in us where the hurt, where the sadness, where the anger, where all of the feelings that are stirred up by the results that we are getting in our lives that don't quite line up with what we wanted, whether it's through our actions or through the actions of others, there's a place in us where those negative feelings live...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Sep 26, 2020

When your partner is unmotivated to change and has resorted to stonewalling - or blaming everything on you - what can you do? If you’re a therapist working with a couple in this situation, you’ll learn some valuable ways to directly address this issue and change the dynamics. In today’s episode, we have a return visit from Peter Pearson. He is a co-founder, with Ellyn Bader, of The Couples Institute, one of the leading centers for training couples therapists and helping people find practical solutions to relationship issues. Their book “Tell Me No Lies” describes how to create a culture of honesty in your relationship (and why that’s so important) - while their work on the Developmental Model of relationships gives deep insight into why we do what we do. Today you’ll learn some specific ways to shake things loose when your partner is unmotivated to change (or *you* are).

Visit neilsattin.com/institute to join Pete Pearson’s and Ellyn Bader’s free webinars on how to use Confrontation in therapy!

And as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “ALIVE” at checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

To join Ellyn and Pete’s free webinar series on using confrontation in therapy with couples, follow this link here.

Visit The Couples Institute website to learn more about Ellyn and Pete’s work with couples, and with helping therapists help couples.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide - perfect help for handling conflict and shifting the codependent patterns in your relationship

Or...check out the Secrets of Relationship Communication complete course!

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner's Needs) in Your Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Visit www.neilsattin.com/unmotivated to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Peter Pearson.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

If you’re curious to hear our first episode together, about shaping a culture of honesty in your relationship, you can also check out Episode 24 of Relationship Alive - Why We Lie and How to Get Back to the Truth

And you can listen to our second episode together, which was about Relationship Development and getting unstuck in your relationship, if you click here.

And here’s our third episode together - Communication that Grows Your Relationship.

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. You know how sometimes it feels like you're the only one who's doing the work in your relationship? And we talk about that a lot on this show, this idea that a lot of times, it only takes one to make a difference. And there are all these ways that you can make changes that create leverage in your relationship and can totally shift the dynamic. You're in a dance, you change your steps, your partner is going to change their steps. Well, sometimes that's true, and sometimes you are with someone who is really stuck or unmotivated, they don't want to follow through with things, they really don't think they need to do anything else because they've already done enough. And in fact, they may even be gaslighting you or blaming you, trying to make it seem like everything that's going on, all the problems that you're experiencing are actually your fault.

Neil Sattin: So I thought it would be good to tackle this topic head on. And to do so, I have a very special returning guest today, Dr. Peter Pearson, who along with his wife, Ellyn Bader, have created The Couples Institute. They are leading authorities on not only how to help couples through serious problems like infidelity, other betrayals, trust issues, but also they train couples therapists. So if you are a therapist, you'll definitely want to be paying attention, because today we're going to talk both about how you would approach this as the partner, and also as a therapist, how you would approach it. And by the way, this topic, I had a few ideas that I ran by Pete, and this was one that he suggested, and we're going to tackle it in a slightly different way than usual, where I'm actually going to be role-playing the part of the unmotivated stuck partner, which we were doing a little practice a few moments ago, and it's actually challenging for me, so I'm going to have to muster up my best improv energy to be that partner.

Neil Sattin: In any case, we will have a detailed transcript of today's episode, which you can get if you visit neilsattin.com/... Ooh, what's this one going to be? Neilsattin.com/unmotivated. That's what we're going to call it. So if you go to neilsattin.com/unmotivated, you can get the transcript of this episode. And we'll talk about this a little bit later on, but there is a series of workshops that Ellyn is going to be giving for therapists that are all about how to use confrontation in therapy with your clients, how to confront people in general, and then specifically around issues like narcissism and infidelity. And if you're interested in that, you can visit neilsattin.com/institute, as in the Couples Institute, to sign up. And that's free, by the way. I think that's enough for me. Let's dive right in. Pete Pearson, it's so great to have you here with us again on Relationship Alive.

Pete Pearson: Hey Neil, it's really good to be back, and I am looking forward to doing something kind of unusual.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, me too.

Pete Pearson: You get to play the role of a passive or passive-aggressive spouse who believes they've done all they need to do and they're done doing more, which is not an uncommon place for a therapist to deal with. So I thought instead of just me describing how I might respond to an unmotivated partner, that we would actually put it to the test.

Neil Sattin: Great.

Pete Pearson: And hopefully it will feel more realistic as you do your best job of mustering an unmotivated passive-aggressive person, which goes against everything you teach and preach.

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Pete Pearson? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Sep 19, 2020

Do you ever procrastinate? If you’re looking for a way to finally stop putting things off - and get them done - then today’s episode is for you. As a follow-up to a session with me on being overwhelmed, David Burns has returned for a session to help me with my own procrastination. You’ll get to hear what works, what doesn’t, and - if you’re a therapist or coach - how to help other people with their procrastination. David Burns is the author of the newly released Feeling Great, which contains all the improvements in his methodology over the decades since his classic bestseller Feeling Good was written. David’s TEAM-CBT approach to therapy is a powerful way to stay centered and positive, no matter what’s going on in your world.

This session with David Burns was a follow-up to our session on Overwhelm back in Episode 228.

And, as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. 

Join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it! 

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources: 

Check out Dr. David Burns's website

Read David’s classic books, Feeling Good or Ten Days To Self-Esteem

Order David’s newest book: Feeling Great - The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide www.neilsattin.com/feelinggood5 Visit to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with David Burns, along with the Daily Mood Log.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Well, I've been doing well. It's been interesting to have now a couple days of waking up and feeling that overwhelm feeling start, and then to actively be engaged in some dialogue around that. Basically, I don't have to listen to you and this is bullshit, I'm going to do what I need to do, and the overwhelm isn't helping. And it's interesting that that's been... That's been pretty effective, actually.

David Burns: Oh. That's great.

Neil Sattin: Yeah.

David Burns: Let's do a quick tune-up thing here and then we'll push forward.

Neil Sattin: Great.

David Burns: See how good you are at all of that. Now, let's see. Here we go. I'm actually starting my own little anti-procrastination for the week. I'm getting organized on my paperwork, and I put a staple through my notes which made it possible for me to find them forever - quickly.

Neil Sattin: Oh, great.

David Burns: What's your name?

Neil Sattin: Neil.

David Burns: What's my name?

Neil Sattin: You'll be Neil. Right?

David Burns: Yeah, that's right.

Neil Sattin: All right.

David Burns: And I just wanted to remind you, once again, that the fact is you're failing.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, I don't have to listen to a thought like that right now.

David Burns: You don't, but it is factually true. That's all I'm saying.

Neil Sattin: It's not true that I'm failing. It's true that I have a lot to do and I'm going to figure out what's most important, and I'm going to do what's most important right now. And overall, the trajectory of my life is pretty good. I've gotten a lot accomplished and there's plenty of evidence to support that I'm actually doing fine, that I'm not failing.

David Burns: Who won?

Neil Sattin: I won.

David Burns: Big or small?

Neil Sattin: Big.

David Burns: Big or huge?

Neil Sattin: I would say not quite huge, but pretty big.

David Burns: Okay, great. Do a role reversal. I thought it was quite strong, but do a role reversal.

Neil Sattin: Okay. Hey, Neil, just...

David Burns: Hey. How are you doing big guy?

Neil Sattin: Well, I could be doing...

David Burns: I was getting a little lonely without you.

Neil Sattin: I could be doing better. The problem is that you're failing.

David Burns: Well, you know, I've failed at many things throughout my life and I've succeeded at many things throughout my life and... But I'm not quite sure what you're referring to. Are you referring to the fact that I'm procrastinating at some things, or is there something else you're suggesting?

Neil Sattin: Yeah. I would say that, right now, it's that there's a lot that needs to get done and you're not doing enough of it.

David Burns: Well, you're right about that, and actually I don't intend to.

Neil Sattin: You don't intend to?

David Burns: No. I'm not going to try to take on all that stuff and listen to your bullshit. I might take on one thing, get started on one thing I've been putting off, but the idea that somehow I have to do all of this, that just makes me feel - It's just the kind of a stupid thing that you're saying, because when you say I'm failing, it's just like I'm some failure, there's some grandiose failing going on. There are people all over the world right now who are cooped up with coronavirus, and procrastinating a little bit, and feeling down. And I wouldn't go about telling them that they're failing, that would be ridiculous. I don't appreciate it when you do that to me either.

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with David Burns? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Sep 10, 2020

How do you talk about your feelings - without your partner getting reactive and defensive? There are some common mistakes that we make when talking about our feelings that can lead to it going horribly wrong. In today’s episode, we’ll cover ways that you can adjust how you talk about your feelings so that you’ll be most likely to stay connected - even if you’re bringing up some hard stuff. And you’ll learn what to do if you notice your partner making these mistakes as well when they talk about their feelings with you.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

This episode is sponsored by Native Deodorant. Their products are filled with ingredients you can find in nature like coconut oil, which is an antimicrobial, shea butter to moisturize, and tapioca starch to absorb wetness. They don’t ever test on animals, they don’t use aluminum or any other scary chemical ingredients, and they’re so confident that you’ll like their deodorant that they offer free shipping - and returns. For 20% off your first purchase, visit http://www.nativedeo.com/alive and use promo code ALIVE during checkout.

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Alright, alright, let's dive in to the show. How to talk about your feelings without it going horribly wrong. This is super important because the name of the game in relating is being able to stay connected, not just on an intellectual level with your partner, but on a heart level, And if you have the habit of sweeping your feelings under the rug because there's no productive way to bring them to the conversation, then that's just a recipe for disconnect down the road. I've experienced that. So I want to tell you that it is much better to be able to bring your feelings to the table and have a way to chat about them that leads to connection, that leads to solutions of problems. 'cause let's face it, most of the time when we talk about our feelings and our partner gets defensive, it's because we're communicating challenging feelings. Now, I suppose it's possible that you could be communicating something like how much you love your partner and that could somehow trigger them and make them feel defensive, like maybe if they feel like you're saying that you love them and that now you have some big expectation of them, that's possible.

Neil Sattin: Those kinds of conversations can happen a lot early in a relationship where one person is ready to take the I love you plunge before the other person is necessarily ready, so that's relevant, 'cause that's a positive feeling, but most of the time it's sharing things about feeling sad or hurt or scared or unsure or any number of uncomfortable feelings - angry. And it's important to know how to bring that to your relationship. So first, I want to cover just a few ground rules, now, these aren't necessarily all the ground rules, I did a three and half hour course on communication, so this is just going to be an episode and I do not want it to be three and a half hours long I want it to be simple and straight forward for you, so we're going to cover a few of the ground rules and how they can go wrong, and this will all make sense to you in just a moment, so first thing is... And you've probably heard this, is that you want to use I statements. I feel <blank>. And some people think that as long as they're using an I statement, that they're good.

Neil Sattin: And this is one of the places where we can go horribly wrong because...

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Aug 29, 2020

Are you undermining your connection with your partner, or the others in your life, with microaggressions? While the “little things” can be the building blocks of something amazing - they can also undermine the very fabric of how you relate with another person, perpetuating sexism, racism, or other unhealthy power dynamics. Today our guest is Kevin Nadal, co-editor of Microaggression Theory: Influence and Implications. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on how to spot microaggressions and overcome their impact in your life.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Grab a copy of Kevin Nadal’s book Microaggression Theory: Influence and Implications or his latest book Queering Law and Order: LGBTQ Communities and the Criminal Justice System

You can also visit Keven Nadal’s website to find out more about his work and offerings.

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. There is a lot going on in the world today. And of course, there's always a lot going on in the world today, but in particular, if you've been paying any attention to the news or to the Facebook or other forms of social media, then you're aware that front and center in today's world, along with the pandemic that's going on are issues of racial equity and justice and ways that we as a greater community can become more aware of what's happening in the world and also take action to improve our own situation and the situation of everyone around us in ways that are like a rising tide, where we all get to benefit from increased understanding and harmony and decreased acts of aggression or intolerance.

Neil Sattin: And so, for today's episode, I wanted to tackle a particular topic that's actually come up a bunch in the Relationship Alive community on Facebook, and I've gotten a bunch of emails about it as well, and that's the topic of microaggressions. And we're going to go into what that even means, but basically, in a nutshell, these are the subtle ways that we do violence on each other or that we receive violence, and there... And I use the word violence intentionally, because I want you to recognize the importance of these things in detracting from the quality of interactions and relationships that we have with each other, but also because I think it's worth pointing out that these things are often very subtle, so they may be overt, but they may leave you or someone else with this subtle feeling that something just didn't go quite right. And we're going to dive more deeply into the topic of microaggressions, how they happen in your interactions out in the world, and in particular, how they impact your relationships with your beloved, with your partner.

Neil Sattin: So in order to have this conversation today, we have one of the world's leading experts on understanding the impacts of microaggressions, or as I was just saying, subtle forms of discrimination on the mental and physical health of people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, women, other marginalized groups. His name is Dr. Kevin Nadal and he's a professor of psychology at both John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York. Dr. Nadal received his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University, and I believe that he was... He worked a lot with Derald Wing Sue, who's also one of the world's leading researchers and authors about the topic of microaggressions. Kevin has also been featured widely in all forms of media, he was on... He was a hot topic on The View, and perhaps least importantly, although I'm really curious to know how this came about, so that I can maybe get my chance, but he was named one of People magazine's hottest bachelors in 2006. So, now that I'm single, maybe Kevin can give me some pointers on how to get People magazine's attention.

Neil Sattin: In any case, we're here to have a very important conversation about the ways that you may be perpetuating racism or any sort of discrimination in your own life, in your relationships, and not even know it. Or maybe you're the recipient of it and this will help you articulate better what's going on. And along, of course, with talking about it, we're going to talk about what to do about it. So, as usual, we will have a detailed transcript of today's conversation, which you can grab by going to neilsattin.com/micro, M-I-C-R-O as in microaggressions, or as always you can text the word PASSION to the number 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript of today's show. Alright, I think that's it from me. Let's get on with the show, Dr. Kevin Nadal, thank you so much for joining us here today on Relationship Alive.

Kevin Nadal: Thanks Neil, I'm happy to be here.

Neil Sattin: Awesome, awesome. And we were just chatting earlier about how you're in New York, so you're in the place that was kind of pandemic central for a little while and the numbers are coming down, so hopefully that's helping you live a slightly more useful life in the big city with everything that's going on.

Kevin Nadal: Yeah, things in New York are getting better, so hopefully day by day we'll be back to not exactly where we used to be, but an even stronger version of what New York has always been.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, I'm right there with you, for sure. So Kevin, I'm wondering, can we just dive right in to... I know you probably heard my little cursory introduction of what microaggressions are, but...

Kevin Nadal: Sure.

Neil Sattin: You're the expert, so can you just summarize what is a microaggression? And I know there are a few different categories of microaggressions, so maybe we can just flesh that out for people a little bit more so that they have a sense of the kinds of things that we're talking about.

Kevin Nadal: Sure. Your definition was very good. Let me just add a little bit to it. So microaggressions are the subtle, more unintentional forms of bias that might manifest between people. Oftentimes, microaggressions are things that are unconscious and that people aren't aware of them. Sometimes, people are aware that they are saying or doing something, but might not recognize the impact that it has on others. And microaggressions in general may have such a detrimental effect on people who experience them. I appreciate that you mentioned the idea of violence with microaggressions, because when we talk about microaggressions, we're not talking about the idea that they're so micro or they're so small that they don't have an impact. We're talking about the fact that they're sometimes so small that the accumulation of these experiences may have a detrimental impact on things such as mental health, on physical health, on even things like substance use and body image issues and educational attainment and things like that. There are several types of microaggressions that are theorized to exist.

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with about Microaggressions with Kevin Nadal? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Aug 15, 2020

WARNING: If you’re looking for the typical hope and optimism that you can find on Relationship Alive, then this might not be the episode for you! After 233 episodes focused on how to have an amazing relationship, it feels like it’s time to ask the obvious question: Why? Let’s turn things on their head for a moment. Perhaps getting into a relationship is actually a bad idea! In this week’s episode, I give myself permission to be a little jaded and cynical, and to talk about many of the ways that relationships can actually suck. And what you just might want to do instead. If you’re willing journey with me through the looking glass, there just might be something important revealed on the other side.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin.

Neil Sattin: I'm going to start today with a little disclaimer, a disclaimer because this episode might not be the best thing to listen to if you are having challenges in your relationship, or if you are desperately seeking some hope and optimism. Because even though almost every single episode that I've done for the past nearly five years has been full of hope and optimism and positive energy around relationships, today's episode is going to be a little different.

Neil Sattin: Here I am in moments feeling kind of jaded about relationships, and so I wanted to create a safe space to have that conversation, to have the conversation that questions relationships, that questions why we do it, that questions the consequences of being in relationship, and honestly, to give myself some license here to just be a little negative. Now, I'm not going to be... This episode isn't just going to be me railing about relationship because the converse of being negative about relationships is being positive about the alternatives, so it's not going to be all gloom and doom here but I did want to give myself the permission to just be who I'm being right now. And I have my good moments and I have my less than good moments, and so because I've shared so much of my own personal journey with you here on the show, I thought I'd share this part of the journey, too.

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Aug 6, 2020

Let’s put the theory aside for a minute. When it comes to having a successful, long-lasting relationship, what has actually worked for couples whose relationships have stood the test of time? In order to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue interviewed 40 famous couples in successful relationships, to discover the actual rubber-meets-the-road strategies that they use to navigate life’s challenges. The result - their bestselling book What Makes a Marriage Last -  has such a diverse amount of wisdom in its pages that you’re sure to find something new to add to your relationship skillset. Plus you’ll get a sneak peek behind the scenes into the intimate lives of some of America’s most beloved couples.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Want something new to entertain you? Acorn TV is a commercial-free streaming service that’s rooted in British television. It’s home to sophisticated and artful storytelling with top-rated mysteries, dramas that pull you in, heart-felt comedies and so much more. So - Escape to Britain and beyond without leaving your seat. Try Acorn TV free for 30 days, by going to acorn.tv and using the promo code “ALIVE” at checkout.

This episode is also sponsored by Native Deodorant. Their products are filled with ingredients you can find in nature like coconut oil, which is an antimicrobial, shea butter to moisturize, and tapioca starch to absorb wetness. They don’t ever test on animals, they don’t use aluminum or any other scary chemical ingredients, and they’re so confident that you’ll like their deodorant that they offer free shipping - and returns. For 20% off your first purchase, visit http://www.nativedeo.com/alive and use promo code ALIVE during checkout.

Resources:

Grab a copy of Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue’s book What Makes a Marriage Last

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive, this is your host, Neil Sattin. What makes a marriage last? We can talk about the research, but in the end, it's where the rubber meets the road that matters most. For today's show, we have a special episode with some very special guests. They recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary by talking to 40 famous couples who all have long-standing marriages. So that we not only get a glimpse into the private lives of well-known people, which is interesting in and of itself, but we also get a sense of the special sauce that has helped them, each of them, stay together and connected over many, many years. There's also a moment in this interview that was perhaps, one of my most challenging as a host, when I asked the tough question that I was afraid might have actually taken my guest down for the count. Fortunately, as you'll hear, he's okay and his wife stepped in with a masterful answer to an important question.

Neil Sattin: Their names are Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, and as I mentioned, they have now been married for more than 40 years. Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress, best-selling author and activist, who has won four Emmys, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among other awards. She's also the Outreach Director for Saint Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Phil Donahue is a writer, producer and journalist whose daytime talk show, The Donahue Show, was honored with 20 Emmy awards. He's also been inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame and is a recipient of a George Foster Peabody Award. Together, they are the authors of the best-selling book, What Makes a Marriage Last, where as I mentioned, they have interviewed 40 celebrated couples about their relationships and the specific things that help them stay connected through the good times and the challenging times.

Neil Sattin: It's a series of fascinating interviews with people like President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, LL Cool J and Simone Smith, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Elton John and David Furnish, Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan, Sting and Trudie Styler, Deepak and Rita Chopra, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner. I'm not going to list them all here, but just know that each interview offers some interesting insights that just might help you take your relationship-ing skills to the next level.

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Jul 25, 2020

In a relationship, it’s important to be able to accept your partner as they are. What if accepting your partner traps you in a relationship that isn’t healthy? What’s the balance between accepting your relationship as it is - and wanting to shift things without trying to turn your partner into someone different than who they are? If you value growth, and compassion...you can actually find yourself stuck in a bad relationship because of it! In today’s episode, we’re going to try to solve the “acceptance paradox” so that you can stay aligned with your values and still make a change.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. There's a paradox in relationships, around the notion of acceptance, because we hold this ideal that the best thing possible for us to do is to accept our partner, to accept them as they are, and to accept them with compassion, to not try to change them, right? And to not be changed by our partners. And yet this creates a paradox in relationships, because what do you do when you can't accept it or when accepting it seemingly keeps you in a situation that's not healthy for you? Are you just supposed to accept everything? That's what we're going to cover in today's show. And I call it the acceptance paradox, because you might just find that when you find your way into it, that there's no way out of it. And today, I'm going to take a stab at solving the acceptance paradox for you, and for myself. I've been thinking about it a lot as a way of helping us transcend the potential pitfalls of being really accepting and compassionate. So that is what is in store in today's episode.

Interested in reading the transcript to find out more about the Acceptance Paradox and how to escape it? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Jul 18, 2020

The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of the decisions that you make. So, when it comes to love - is there a way to make better choices and to identify your blind spots, to improve your chances of a long-lasting, thriving connection? Today’s guest, Logan Ury, is a Behavioral Scientist and author of the forthcoming book “How to Not Die Alone.” Along with being the Director of Relationship Science for the online dating app Hinge, Logan has done in-depth research into why we make the choices we make when it comes to love - and how to steer yourself towards the outcome most aligned with what you value and desire. Whether you’re single and looking, already in a relationship, or trying to decide whether to stay or go - today’s episode will help you get clear on the choices you’re facing.

And, as always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. 

Join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it! 

Sponsors:

Find a quality therapist, online, to support you and work on the places where you’re stuck. For 10% off your first month, visit Betterhelp.com/ALIVE to fill out the quick questionnaire and get paired with a therapist who’s right for you.

Resources: 

Check out Logan Ury’s website where you can take her quiz to assess your “dating tendency”.

FREE Relationship Communication Secrets Guide www.neilsattin.com/logan Visit to download the transcript, or text “PASSION” to 33444 and follow the instructions to download the transcript to this episode with Logan Ury.

Amazing intro/outro music graciously provided courtesy of: The Railsplitters - Check them Out

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. The world of relationship-ing is based on a series of decisions that you make. You make a choice about whether or not you even want to be in a relationship. You make choices about the kinds of relationships you get into. We're making these kinds of choices all the time, and yet for many of us, we don't even realize that we're making choices. In fact, we kind of ease our way into situations, and we find ourselves there and you may ask yourself, "Well how did I get here?" in the words of David Byrne. We don't always necessarily know. And yet, the more aware you are of how you make your choices, your choices about how you date, who you date, how you enter into relationship, how you leave relationship. The more you're aware of what is actually going into that decision-making process, the better you'll be at making better decisions.

Neil Sattin: And of course, relationship is an iterative process. We do it over and over again, hopefully getting better each time. It doesn't always work out that way. But in today's episode, we are going to talk explicitly about how we make these decisions and how to improve upon them, and some potential pitfalls that can lead us astray along the way. In order to have this conversation, I've invited a dear friend, who's also an esteemed behavioral scientist, her name is Logan Ury, and she and I have actually been together in a relationship Mastermind group for almost... No, it's been a little over a year now. We just celebrated our year anniversary as a group.

Neil Sattin: And it's been a great way to come to know her and her insightful ways of looking at the ways that we make choices about how and who we date. She also works as a dating coach and a matchmaker. And she is also working currently for the dating app, Hinge which I'm sure she'll have more to say about as we get into our conversation. As usual, you will be able to download the transcript of this conversation by visiting neilsattin.com/logan. That's L-O-G-A-N.

Neil Sattin: Or you can always text the word PASSION to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. And I think that Logan also has a quiz available on her website and we'll give you a link so that you can take her quiz and find out about who you are as a dater or who you've been as a dater. And anyway, let's just get started. So Logan Ury, it's a pleasure to have you here with us today on Relationship Alive.

Logan Ury: Neil, thank you so much for having me. It's been really fun getting to know you over the last year in our relationships group, and I'm super happy to be on the podcast.

Neil Sattin: Awesome. Well I'm psyched to have you here as well. And mostly because, along with being a great person, you have some fascinating wisdom about what makes us tick. So I'm wondering if you can just give a quick synopsis of your background, how did you get to merging the world of behavioral science and dating and love and relationships?

Logan Ury: Sure, yeah. I'm happy to jump right into that.

Neil Sattin: Great.

Logan Ury: So, I studied psychology in college, and I've always been really interested in how people think, how people make decisions. So I studied psychology with an emphasis on women, gender and sexuality. And then a funny story is, that actually my first job out of college was working at Google and I managed the advertising for a bunch of porn advertisers, so our group was colloquially known as the Porn Pod.

Logan Ury: And that was an interesting first year out of college. And then later, I had the opportunity to lead a behavioral science team at Google and that was called the Irrational Lab, and behavioral science is the study of how we make decisions. So we know that people are often really irrational and they make decisions that are not in their own best interest. But what's cool is that these irrationalities don't just happen randomly, they're predictable. So if you understand, okay, people tend to make this type of a mistake in this type of situations, you could actually help shift their behavior.

Logan Ury: So I was doing that at Google, I was really enjoying it, but at the same time I was just fascinated by dating and relationships. I was single, I was using dating apps, and I started a YouTube series at Google called Talks at Google, Modern Romance. And I would bring in people like John Gottman, Esther Perel, Dan Savage to talk about dating and relationships.

Logan Ury: And a few years later, I just realized this dating and relationship stuff is really what I'm interested in, it's my passion, it's my calling. And when I thought about how I could make my contribution to that world, I thought, "Well, I have this knowledge of how people make decisions, why not apply that to dating and relationships?" And what that's looked like for the last few years is doing a residency at TED, where I got to do a project and gave a TED Talk about dating and relationships, and also now writing this book about how to apply the ideas of behavioral science to finding a relationship and creating a great relationship.

Neil Sattin: Right, I didn't even mention that in the intro, but it's important to know that you have written this book. It's actually not due out until February of 2021, around Valentine's Day. So you, as a listener, are getting a sneak peak into Logan's... Into Logan's work, because I got a sneak peek at the book, which was a big privilege. And that... I'm curious about this sense of us as irrational decision makers, because one thing that became clear as I was reading your book or maybe it was clear because this is what you were emphasizing, is that there are all of these laws, let's just call them, about... That describe how we make decisions poorly. And it made me start to wonder if we are just inherently predisposed to be kind of bad decision makers, and if we actually do need training around making better and better decisions. And I wonder if that's true from your perspective, that there's... The way that we kinda come through the mill as we grow up and are just exposed to life, and the reason that these laws exist in behavioral science is because in general, we actually don't really know what we're doing.

Logan Ury: Yeah, I would agree with that. I would say, in general, I think we often make decisions that are against our own best interest. And some of the areas where this comes up often are eating healthier, working out or saving money. So if I said to most people, "Would you like to save more money?" they would say, "Yes." But then in a moment where they have the chance to save or spend, a lot of people... A lot of people spend. And that's why I think I read recently that the average American does not have $400 available if there were to be some sort of emergency, so, clearly, we're all having trouble saving. And similarly, people say, "Oh, I want to lose weight. I want to eat healthier," but then in the moment, when you're faced with getting a burger or a salad, a lot of us just choose what feels good in the moment and we'll get that burger.

Logan Ury: And there's different reasons for this, so one of them is called the present bias, which sounds fairly obvious, but it's basically that we disproportionately measure things based on how good they feel in the present, and we don't think as much about the future. And there's a whole list, there's a whole catalog of these cognitive biases, which is just a fancy way of saying, "Reasons why we make mistakes in our decision-making," and it happens in all areas of life, but I think it's really fascinating to study how it affects us in love and relationships. And as I write about in the book, sometimes when I talk about this, people push back and they say, "Oh, that's insane. You can't be rational in love." And it's not that I'm going for rationality. It's not that I want people to be some sort of super computer that says like, "Input, input. Alright, these five daters plus this situation equals... This is the best person for your soulmate. Beep boop." It's not like that.

[laughter]

Logan Ury: It's not... It's not... [chuckle] It's not any sort of algorithm, it's much more just saying like, "Hey, these are cognitive biases, these are invisible forces that often get in people's way and if you can understand them and you can avoid those mistakes, then you can start to make better decisions and hopefully, wind up in the loving relationships of your dreams."

Neil Sattin: Yeah, and most of the time, without an awareness of what those biases would be, then you're just doomed. And, in fact, as I read bias after bias in your book, I was like, "Oh my gosh." Each one just shows you how we are set up to fail potentially.

Logan Ury: Was there one that stuck out to you? I'm just curious, I know you just read it. Was there one that's got to you where you're like, "Oh, this helps me understand either this thing that I've done in dating or this thing that I've done in other areas of my life?" And just to put you on the spot, is there one that you remember?

Interested in reading the transcript for the rest of this episode with Logan Ury? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Jul 11, 2020

In today's world, it's challenging to avoid conflicts - whether with our intimate partners, or simply with people at the grocery store or on social media. How do you take control of any fight so that you can create the best outcome? How do you resolve conflicts in a way that helps bring you closer to others, instead of widening the divide between you? In this week's episode we'll cover some important ways for you to steer arguments towards a place where you can "win" without suffering the costs of victory. Wondering what I mean? Come aboard with me in this week's episode.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

This episode is also sponsored by Native Deodorant. Their products are filled with ingredients you can find in nature like coconut oil, which is an antimicrobial, shea butter to moisturize, and tapioca starch to absorb wetness. They don’t ever test on animals, they don’t use aluminum or any other scary chemical ingredients, and they’re so confident that you’ll like their deodorant that they offer free shipping - and returns. For 20% off your first purchase, visit http://www.nativedeo.com/alive and use promo code ALIVE during checkout.

Resources:

Check out my Secrets of Relationship Communication COURSE for a masterclass in how to improve the communication and connection in your relationship.

I want to know you better! Take the quick, anonymous, Relationship Alive survey

FREE Guide to Neil’s Top 3 Relationship Communication Secrets

Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

Support the podcast (or text “SUPPORT” to 33444)

Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today we're going to tackle how to win any argument, how to come out on top in terms of any conflict that you might have. It's an important topic, especially in today's divided world and specifically, in the ways that we can be driven apart from our partners by deep seemingly unresolvable conflicts. So today, I'm going to give you three important steps to win any argument, resolve the conflict, and get on with the business of living your life hopefully in as joyous a way as possible and connected a way as possible.

Neil Sattin: First, I just want to remind you that Relationship Alive is an offering for me to you to help you have the most successful thriving relationships possible. If you are finding the show to be beneficial for yourself or for people that you care about, please consider a donation to support Relationship Alive and our mission. You can choose anything that feels right for you and every little bit truly does help. So to pick something that will feel good, just visit NeilSattin.com/support or you can text the word support to the number 33444 and follow the instructions.

Neil Sattin: This week, I want to thank Keerthi, Angie, Jules, Cynthia, Thomas, Debra, Meredith, Kent, Laura, Sarah, and another Neil. Thank you all so much for your generous and ongoing contributions to Relationship Alive. As you might expect, today we are going to be covering topics that really dive deep into how we communicate with others. So if you haven't grabbed it yet, please do download my free guide to my top three relationship communication secrets. These are the kinds of things that will help you stay connected no matter how challenging the topic is that you're talking about, so it's going to go right hand-in-hand with what we're going to talk about on today's show. To download the free guide, just visit NeilSattin.com/relate or text the word relate to the number 33444 and follow the instructions.

Neil Sattin: And finally, before we dive in, just a reminder that we have a free group on Facebook, the Relationship Alive Community, where you can find more than 4,000 other people who listen to the show and who are there to have generative supportive conversations about how to do relationships well, along with all the other parts that come along with relationships; breakups, heartache, dating, finding love, and all the parts in between, so come talk to us, celebrate with us, commiserate with us and join the fun. Oh, one last thing, if there's something going on for you that you would like me to answer on the show, just email yourself talking about it to questions at relationshipalive dot com and I will keep you anonymous and answer your question on the show. If you don't feel comfortable talking, you can just write it down, but hopefully, you feel comfortable talking at least enough so that other people can hear your voice. I think it's a nice touch. We've been able to do that a couple of times in the show already and I am looking forward to your questions. Alright, so let's dive in with the top three ways to win any argument, and I don't know if you can hear it in my voice, but I'm smiling a bit when I say win any argument because the reality is that winning an argument is actually not the goal.

Neil Sattin: Now, I'm going to tell you a little bit more about this in a moment. It's going to factor in more to tip number two and tip number three, so let's just start with figuring out why this is important, where is this coming from? As I mentioned at the top of the show, it feels like we're living in a world that's becoming more and more divided, more and more polarized, and this is also playing out even in our most intimate relationships because we can feel paralyzed or like we can't act and we can't resolve simple things like who's going to initiate sex? Who is going to make sure there's dinner on the table? Who's going to wash the dishes? What are you going to do when you have a free night? Do you believe in wearing masks and social distancing, or do you not? There are all of these ways, right, that we are constantly discovering that our own opinions about how something should be or ought to be don't necessarily line up with the other people in our lives. And we can resolve to just yell at each other and not get anywhere. We can resolve to yell at each other until one or the other person gives up.

Neil Sattin: We can resolve to just never fight about anything. I don't think any of those solutions really get us anywhere, and I think this topic is really key and it's going to be even more key because they say a divided house cannot stand. I think that's what they say. I can't remember who said it and actually, I'm going to look it up right now. Okay, you gotta love the internet and also the ability to hit the pause button on my recording software. So, of course like many good things the house divided against itself cannot stand. It does come from the Bible, it comes from the New Testament. That's actually not what I was thinking of though. So maybe we'll talk more about that aspect of it a little bit later. I was actually thinking of the reference by Abraham Lincoln, known as His House Divided Speech, which he gave when he had accepted the Republican Party nomination to be Illinois US Senator. This was back in 1858 so it was before the Civil War. And the greater context is that he was saying that he didn't believe that the government could endure if we didn't resolve the question of slavery and of course, he wanted to abolish slavery, so this was the rallying cry for the Republicans at the time to take up the cause of abolition and emancipation.

Neil Sattin: So all super important aspects of the United States' history and I think that the same in many ways is true today, it feels like at least in my experience, and this could just be because of the way that we're connected to each other these days through social media where everything is on display. But it feels like there hasn't been a time in my experience that we've been more outwardly divided than we are now. And where people are saying some pretty scary shit, to be honest with you. Personally, I think that it's important for us to all learn how to get along with each other and take care of each other, and not just on the national level, but I believe that that's crucial on the global level, that we as humans really need to learn how to take care of each other and show up for each other and lift each other up. I believe that there is plenty in our world, as long as we're all on the same side of the table, figuring out how to make it work for all of us.

Neil Sattin: And what's challenging in arguments or conflict is how we so often end up on opposite sides of the table talking at each other, fighting to win and not fighting for a common purpose. So I'm giving you hints as to where we're headed, but I wanted to let you know that that's where this is coming from, I feel like I've experienced this in relationships and now in marriages, where the inability to resolve really deep disagreements led to the dissolution of what could have been a more perfect union. So let's all work together and I'm going to teach you today some very important ways to do that, that are going to make a radical shift for you in terms of how you approach any conflict with anyone.

Neil Sattin: Okay so here's the first thing, tip number one, the thing that you have to realize is that for the most part, people believe what they are telling you. And in many respects, they believe it passionately. Now, sure, some of us are a little bit more laidback, a little bit more easygoing, and it can happen that if you're an easy-going person and you're in a relationship with someone who's super convinced of their viewpoint, then you could find yourself yielding over and over and over again and just letting things go because to you, it's not as big a deal, but in the end, that is a surefire way to build resentment and that resentment over time will undermine the fabric of your relationship.

Neil Sattin: So let's not let go of our viewpoint because we are going to let go of who we are and what we feel is important in the world. And at the same time, let's recognize firmly that when someone else is telling you something, they probably believe that with every ounce of their heart, being, soul just like you do especially about the things that you feel passionate about, that you feel are important. So without that recognition, there's no possible way to resolve conflict because you'll be focused on the wrong thing. Now, what do you do if what the other person believes is based on something that you know for sure to be wrong, to be incorrect? Well this is a really good question. First question that I have for you under those circumstances is how do you know? Can you be absolutely sure that what you believe is 100% correct or 100% the truth or 100% the way it is? It could be that that's true. I mean it's possible and maybe what you believe is 95% true and 5% not true, so it gets challenging when the other person believes something that you think might be 10% true and 90% a crock of shit, right? So what do you do in those circumstances?

Neil Sattin: Well, first, you want to recognize that that person believes fully what they're telling you, or, and this is important, they might not believe what they're telling you 100% but they believe in the underlying reasons why they are telling you what they are telling you. So they might be 100% invested in their truth but generally, that investment isn't so much about that specific truth. It's about what lies underneath it. So can you literally hear first what the other person is saying? Can you acknowledge within yourself that what they're saying to them is probably pretty close to 100% true, 100% something they believe in? And can you ask yourself, why do they believe in this so much? Why is this so important to them? And then rather than just telling yourself this story over and over again, can you check in with them? Can you check in with them about your assumptions about why it is that they are so convinced of whatever it is they're telling you? Or why it is that their point of view is so important to them. Can you get to the core of what really matters to them?

Neil Sattin: Now you might ask them a question like "okay, okay, I see that this is... I'm pretty sure this is how you feel about this thing, right?" And make sure you're hearing them correctly, if you get it wrong, actually, you totally missed it, then you need more information to figure out what it is they're actually saying. But once you know what they're saying, then you say "can we go a little bit deeper? Could you tell me a little bit more about why this is important to you?" Or "I have a story about why I think you are saying what you're saying, can I check in with you about it and see if that's true?" Now that can be pretty risky, especially, if it's someone you don't know, If it's someone you don't know very well, then your safest bet is to not lead with your assumptions, it's to lead by asking them. "Can you tell me more about what's so important to you here? What are the underlying principles that you live and die by?" And then you might even get out "why are those principles important to you?" If it's your personal freedom that's important to you, for instance, if it's not wanting to be accountable to anyone else. I don't want to tell you where I was while I was out. You're not my mother, right?

Neil Sattin: If someone doesn't want to be accountable to you, then what's underneath that? "Okay, it sounds like you don't want to be accountable to me, and I'm not asking you because I want you to be accountable to me. I'm asking you because I'm curious, or I'm asking you because I'm scared. So I'm wondering if you can tell me a little bit more about why it's so hard for you to answer my questions? 'Cause I want to know more about you." So step one is all about understanding the other person. Now, this is something that I go deep, deep, deep into in my secrets of relationship communication course. The course is about three-and-a-half hours of instruction to help you communicate better, to help you understand and be understood, and it's a master class in the things that I'm talking about in today's episode. The course as of now is still in beta but because we are all in such close quarters with our loved ones, and because things are getting heated in our public spaces I reopened the beta for now. And if you're hearing this after the beta has ended, then that's good, that means the final version is out.

Neil Sattin: And if you sign up for the beta of the course, you'll also get the final version when it's ready. And if you want to know more about it, just visit NeilSattin.com/course. There. So step one is all about finding out what's going on with the other person and checking your assumptions to see if you can dig a little bit deeper and figure out what's important to them, what's important to them on the deepest level.

Interested in reading the transcript for steps Number Two and Number 3? 

Click here to download the full transcript of this episode!

Jun 29, 2020

Sexting - what is it? How do you do it? Why would you want to do it? And...most importantly...how do you ensure it goes well - and how do you keep it from going horribly wrong? Whether you have been with your partner for a long time - or are just getting to know someone - sexting can be a fun way to connect and expand the range of your intimacy with another person. There's a lot of serious stuff going on in the world right now, so I thought we'd take a moment on the show to dive into something playful. Sexy texting (or messaging) can be a new (or improved) relationship-building skill for you to experiment with.

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

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Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. There is a lot going on in our world right now. A lot. And as much as I personally would like to fix everything overnight, that's not going to happen. And so I'm doing my best, as always, to mix things up because this topic of how to do relationships well, how to find relationships, how to stay in relationships, how to leave relationships, sometimes, let's be honest, it can be kind of heavy, or if not heavy, at least serious. Today, I want to take a step towards a topic that's actually quite useful, quite important, and also on the lighter side of things. I want to talk about sexting.

Neil Sattin: I want to talk about sexting in terms of how to sext, how to sext well, what not to do, what to do, why you might want to do it. And we'll talk about sexting also from the perspective of where you might be on the spectrum of how well you know your partner. So we'll talk about what it's like to use sexting as a tool for connection and fostering desire in your main relationship, if you have a primary partnership. And then we'll contrast that with what it's like to do that with someone that you've never met, or maybe you've had some Tinder interaction or online dating interaction. I don't want to necessarily promote just one thing. Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, whatever the hell it is.

Neil Sattin: Whatever it is, if you're meeting people there and if you are being responsible about whether or not you are keeping a distance from them, right now we're in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, then you might consider sexting as a way to boost your intimacy and to have a little fun with someone that you're meeting. But it's very different when you sext with someone that you don't know in person or whom you barely know, especially if you don't actually have a sexual history with that person. We're going to get into the ins and outs of sexting, and hopefully have some fun while we do it. Because I think when done right, sexting can be pretty amazing. And if you don't know what I'm talking about when I say the word sexting, I'm talking about communicating via instant message or texting about sexual things. And not just about sexual things, but actually taking your partner and yourself on a sexual journey, on a fun journey, on a connecting journey, on an intimate journey, it can be intimate, and all over some texting or instant messaging medium.

Neil Sattin: So that is what sexting is, at least the way that I'm defining it right now. And before we dive in, I just want to remind you that Relationship Alive is an offering for you so that you can have the best relationships possible. And I can't do it alone. In fact, I really can't do it alone. Over the coming weeks and months, I'm going to be probably putting out a call for some assistance. Because for a long time, this has been pretty much a solo show, although I have had amazing help from my editor, Christy, and some various assistants along the way. It's time to really have a team who's helping carry on the mission.

Neil Sattin: Right now, one of the most important people on the team is you being there - listening, putting this stuff into practice, talking to people about Relationship Alive, turning other people on to the show and, if you are able, supporting us through a contribution. You can choose any amount that feels right to you, because every little bit counts. If you're finding the show to be helpful, just visit neilsattin.com/support or text the word "support" to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. This week, the team members I would like to thank are Joseph, Ruthanna, Holly, Mark, Ruth, Jenny, Marie, Timothy, David, Angie, Sylvia, Drew, Lydia, Ann and Valerie. Thank you all so much for your generous and, in many cases, ongoing support of the Relationship Alive podcast.

Neil Sattin: Oh, and I don't want to forget that it's been a little bit, Mark, since your donation came through, but I wanted to mention that Mark's donation was made in honor of Annie. You can do that, too, when you contribute to the show. Just tell me who you'd like to thank, who's important or special in your life, who has been, is currently or will be, and I'm happy to thank them as well here on Relationship Alive.

Neil Sattin: Before we get into the topic, just a reminder that we do have a free group on Facebook, if you're still on Facebook, I'm not sure honestly how much longer I'm going to be there. But if you are there, we have a Relationship Alive community where we have more than 4,000 people who are listeners of the show gathered to create a safe space to talk about relationship stuff. So, come join us there. It is a closed group, so the only people who see what you post are the people who are in the group. Generally, it's a really supportive community. And the times occasionally when people need a redo, they're generally pretty good about asking for that and giving positive, supportive, constructive feedback so that you can work on your skills at supporting other people as well. So that's the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook.

Neil Sattin: If you have a question for me on the show, just email it to questions at relationshipalive dot com. You can record yourself asking the question or you can just email the question to me. I was thinking the other day about how it might be fun to actually have people interview me for the show, so that's something I'd consider, too. If you want to interview me around a particular topic for Relationship Alive, let's do that experiment. That will be fun. Just again, questions at relationshipalive dot com.

Neil Sattin: And lastly, if you are looking for ways to improve your communication, we're going to be talking about one particular aspect of communication today. But in general, if you are looking for ways to communicate about things that are intimate or challenging and to stay connected to your partner while you do, then please download my free guide to my top three relationship communication secrets. These are special strategies for communicating in relationship that are a little different than your conventional wisdom around how to communicate well. And by putting them into practice, you can stay connected no matter how challenging the topic that you are talking about. You have a pretty good chance anyway. Nothing is 100% certain, right? You never know. You can do your best, and the other person might not be their best, or they might still be doing their best and it might still go poorly. But to get a really good chance of it going well, start with my free communication guide. To get that, just visit neilsattin.com/relate or text the word "relate" to the number 33444 and follow the instructions.

Neil Sattin: Let's get on with the show and talk about sexting. Sexting, when it's done right, it can be super hot, super fun and super connecting. And when it's done not so right, then it can be really horrible and go poorly and really be disconnecting or alienating even. So, let's talk about sexting and some of the principles, 'cause I'm not going to... The way that it unfolds, and the way that it needs to unfold for you or for the person with whom you are sexting, that's going to be different based on every person. In fact, one of the things that I love most about sexting is that when it's done well, it's generally because it's following the rules of good improvisation.

Neil Sattin: Now, we've had a couple episodes on the show where we've talked about improvisation and how to do that well, and so I want to give you those episode numbers so that you can listen to them at your leisure. The first is episode number 17, which was called "Stop Worrying, Start Playing", and that was with Patti Stiles who's one of the world's foremost improv teachers. She's based out of Australia. And that was a super fun conversation. And then we had another conversation later with Cathy Salit, that was episode number 78: "How to Have More Fun in Your Relationship."

Neil Sattin: If you're not sure how to locate episodes based on number, you can scroll through your podcast app that you use, if you're using a smartphone or something like that. Or you can just go to neilsattin.com, which is the Relationship Alive website, and there's a little search magnifying glass up at the top, and you can just go - in that magnifying glass, you can type in the episode number, and it will pull up the episode for you. I'm going to do that right now just to prove that it works. I just typed in "78" and it brought up episode 178, episode 78, and then some random episodes, so I don't know what to tell you there, but it started with the right episodes.

Neil Sattin: Okay, great. Good sexting follows the rules of good improvisation. And basically what that means is first creating space for the other person to respond to you. Second, to be really paying close attention to how they are responding to you and looking for ways to amplify what they do or say or add to it. And there's some responsibility that we have as communicators in general, to be listening well, to be responding to what is actually being offered rather than off on our own tangent. And also, there's a responsibility for us to participate, like in good faith.

Neil Sattin: One of the first things about sexting that is important to establish with a person is whether or not they want to sext. Now, some people just don't. For some people, that can be a super edgy thing or it can bring up bad memories about some bad experience, so it's not like everyone necessarily right off the bat wants to be a sexting partner. It might be helpful to have a conversation. Again, download that free relationship communication guide. It might be good to have a conversation about sexting so that you know where the person who you're talking to stands, whether that person is your close intimate partner that you've been with for 10 or 20 years, or whether that person is someone who's totally new to you. Questions you might ask are things like, "Can we talk about a topic that might be a little edgy or a little risky?"

Neil Sattin: Hopefully they'll say yes, and then you might say, "I've been wondering if we can talk about sexting and what that would be like." Or, "I'm curious to know if you would ever be interested in having sexy texting time with me." There are a couple ways. Now, you can think of something that feels good for you or that feels right, or that feels right with knowing your partner. But I think it's helpful to, one, get their agreement to even have a conversation with you about something edgy so they know what's coming. And then the second thing is to make it explicit that what you're talking about is being explicit to some degree via texting.

Neil Sattin: Now, as you talk about it, if you have a conversation about it, then you'll be able to gauge how well you or your partner... How much you actually want to get explicit. And there are ways to sext that actually don't involve a single naughty word. Sometimes using the naughty words can be fun, other times you don't have to go there. And there's an important reason for that that I will tell you about in just a minute. But it's good to get a sense of whether or not someone is into that. One way is the direct way, which I just gave you. Now, a second way to explore whether or not someone might be into that would be to actually start something with them, to start a chain of potential sexting. But you gotta start off really lightly. It could be something like, "What are you wearing right now?" Something like that, especially once you have the precedent with someone of doing this sort of thing, then it might be very easy for you to just say something like that, and suddenly there you are getting each other in the mood.

Neil Sattin: But if you're not sure about another person and their willingness, and you're not sure you even want to ask them directly for whatever reason - although I gotta say, being direct is far and above the best way to go about it - then you can do a little foray into something that leaves the door open for things to be sexy, but isn't next necessarily sexy in and of itself. And I'll give you an example of that in just a moment.

Neil Sattin: Actually, I'll give that example to you now 'cause I wasn't even sure - I've had something I was going to say, but now I'm going to give you the example. So something like that might be... Oh, I remember what I was going to say. I'll say it next. You might text something like, "I was thinking of you a moment ago... " and that's it. Now, remember the whole idea of sexy texting is that you are in a conversation with the other person. So if I text you something like, "I was thinking about you just a moment ago, and I was imagining your beautiful eyes and your curves, and I was thinking about un-zipping your dress." If you just go off like that, you don't know what's going on with the other person. They might be in the middle of a business meeting, or they might be changing a child's diaper, who the hell knows. It could be something that is absolutely not sexy, and it might not be the right time for them.

Neil Sattin: So if you just kind of launch off onto your sexy talk at the wrong time, then it could be funny, and it could very well have the opposite effect of what you would be intending, which would I hope be to have a hot, fun connecting time with this other person. So you want to engage them. Something simple, "I was just thinking of you... " and then you wait. And sometimes, as one of my favorite musicians, Tom Petty, used to say, "The waiting is the hardest part." But you gotta be patient because what comes after a text like that is so important. You might get a response like, "Oh, yeah?" with a question mark, which is an invitation for you to say something more. Or you might just get a, "Oh, that's cool. What were you thinking about?" Or you might get a, "Awesome, babe, see you later," or you might get a non-response that shows you that the other person isn't really there, or they're not really ready to play with you.

Neil Sattin: And then a response like, "Oh, yeah?" that could be an invitation, that could be a, "Hmm, what's going to happen here, I might be willing to play." Or it might just be, "I'm curious, you were thinking about me, how come?" Even then, you don't want to launch right into something. In fact, you don't ever want to launch right into something, and here is why, because the most important thing that happens in sexting, and this actually might be true in any form of communication. I should really think this through, but definitely in sexting the most important thing is not what you say. The important thing is what is happening in your imagination or in your partner's imagination. This is truly one of those times where saying less could be more, because really what you're both trying to do is to go on a journey together, a journey of fantasy together.

Neil Sattin: Now, this is why sexting can sometimes be problematic when you don't really know the person, you don't know them, you haven't spent any time with them in person, you've just had some communication with them online or maybe a phone call or something like that, but you've never actually been with them, and you've never even been with them sexually like... So we'll talk for a minute about the risk of that. But right now, just know that so much of what you are trying to do is you're trying to create this shared story that's going to unfold under your fingertips and in between your ears, in other words, in your mind and in your body, because when you're sexting, you're going to be able to have a very visceral experience that incorporates most, if not all of your senses, and your own erotic energy.

Neil Sattin: So that is the important part of sexting. Knowing exactly the right thing to say or the perfect combination of words, trust me, that is not as important as saying things that inspire the other person to get into their bodies, to get into their experience, and to get into their imagination about what might be happening. For instance, if you text, "I was just thinking of you... " and the other person responds, "Oh, yeah?" Then you might say, "Yeah, I was thinking about your big broad shoulders," or "I was thinking about your deep blue eyes." Or if it's someone that you don't even know, like an online dating person, you might refer to a conversation that you've had, "Yeah, I was thinking about when you were talking about blah, blah," whatever it is, "and how that made me feel inside." Or you could refer to something, "I'm thinking about you in that red dress or you in that suit, and the way it makes me feel inside."

Neil Sattin: Now, that's a pretty edgy thing, especially if you add the, "and the way it makes me feel inside part," 'cause you're basically putting it out there like, "There's something going on, I'm thinking about you." And let's face it, any improv is a risk, and definitely sexting when you don't know if the other person is quite ready for it, or willing or wanting, it's a risk to put yourself out there. So you gotta be willing to be courageous. When you say something like that, now the door is open, and now you wait again to see how the other person is going to respond. If they start asking you questions about how you feel - where they are really with you and they're really curious - then I think most likely the game is on. If they don't respond or if they respond in a business-like manner, or if they respond in a way that leaves you really questioning over and over again, whether they're there with you, then they're probably not there with you, 'cause most people, when they're ready for something like that, it's only going to take a little bit of back and forth before it's super clear what's happening. You gotta take my word for that.

Neil Sattin: And the thing is, you don't want to force anyone into it. There's nothing quite as unsexy as trying to continually get someone into this sexy journey with you when they're not interested, so pay attention to what you're receiving, and wait and see how the other person responds. They may respond with something really forward and even graphic. If you said, "I was thinking about you with your big broad shoulders," they might say something like, "Oh, and that makes me think about wrapping my arms around you and pulling you close." Well, if someone responds that way, game on. If they say something like, "Yeah, I used to... They came in really good in rugby," then you really don't know where the person's at. They could be joking with you. They could be just being playful, or they could be not interested. And so you're going to have to take the conversation a little bit further to find out.

Neil Sattin: So if someone says, "Yeah, those shoulders came in really handy when I was playing rugby." Then you might say something like, "Tell me a little bit more about what the scrum is like...?" Isn't that what it's called in rugby the scrum? I don't know. I never played rugby, but... "Tell me more about what that's like being all huddled together." You're staying with what they offer you, which in improv is known as "yes...and". You're taking what someone gives you, and you're saying, "And something else" that goes along with what they gave you. So if someone talks about rugby, you don't want to say like, "Well, I hate rugby," or you don't want to say, "Well, let's get off the rugby field and into the bedroom." There might be a time to say something like that, when it's clear that the person is talking about more than rugby. If all they really want to tell you about is rugby, then it might be a little out of place to invite them into your imaginary bedroom. So you're going to have to take the conversation, the play, the improvisation a little bit further to see where they go.

Neil Sattin: The reason that this can be challenging when you don't know someone very well - and maybe you've had this experience in the past, I've had this experience before - where because so much of sexting and really any sort of written correspondence... This is one of the most challenging things about online dating is, so much of the interactions that happen are through the written word. We are different people when we're writing versus when we're talking, versus when we are seeing another person versus when we are right there in the flesh with another person. Those are all different modes of communication, and the way that we represent ourselves isn't always the same. Partly that's because the more removed you are from the direct experience of a person, the more you are creating that experience in your mind of the person.

Neil Sattin: So perhaps you've had that experience of having a written correspondence with someone that feels passionate and playful, and light, and sexy and engaging, and then you meet them in person and there's just no chemistry, or there's none of that fire, that playfulness or no attraction, or no interest, or no engagement, or whatever it is. Or it's just like awkward and shy and weird, and we will talk in a moment about what to do when that happens. But just recognize that the risk here, when you are sexting with someone that you don't actually know, is that you are going to be creating this whole fantasy world that might not fully be in alignment with what your experiences of that person in real life, real time, and that's challenging. Especially if you've spent days and days and days, maybe even longer, having more of a virtual relationship with a person. If you find yourself there in person and it's just not clicking, well, that can be a real downer.

Neil Sattin: In fact, maybe some relationships are just meant to be virtual. They can be fun and perfect just like that, and don't ever have to be more. That could be true. However, I think that it's more common that people will have this amazing virtual experience in real life, it won't go so well, and then the after-virtual experience just never is quite the same, 'cause so much is in the anticipation, so much is in the story that you have told yourself about the other person, about what they are like, what they look like, how they are as lovers. So, yeah, it can be challenging, whereas if you have experience with someone as an intimate partner, then you have some of that experience to draw on in terms of the picture that you paint for each other of what's happening. And also, the experience that you're creating for yourself in your head as you go through it is going to be aligned with what you naturally create with your partner in real life.

Neil Sattin: Now, sometimes you can just get a little bit into the sexting with someone that you are with in real life as a way of simply stoking the fire of something that could happen in person later. So all of that, "I was thinking of you... Blah, blah, blah." That can become, "I can't wait to see you tonight," or "Let's make sure we get the kids to bed early," or "I'm grabbing takeout so that we don't have to worry about cooking dinner," whatever it is. And in days like we have now, where you might both be sheltering-in-place in your house, even texting to each other under those circumstances can be fun because again, it is a different mode of communication, and because it allows you to take advantage of the fact that it activates your imagination and your partner's imagination.

Neil Sattin: And sometimes that's one of the hardest things about getting out of the routine and into something that's a little bit more intimate or erotic, it's because we're just... We're in the flow of something that's purely domestic, and it can be hard to change gears. So sending a little text, even when you're in the same house as someone can be a way to tap into a different part of them and their experience, and to change up the conversation and the vibe a little bit. That is if someone is willing to do this with you. I'm a big fan. I think it really activates a lot of our imagination and our eroticism, and there are things that we can text to each other that we might not ever say to each other. Sometimes that comes through in a negative way. I don't know if you've ever gotten a text from someone where you're like, "This person would never say that to me in person, but here they are texting it to me." But here it works to your advantage in a positive way where you can say things that you would never say.

Neil Sattin: And if it doesn't go so well, whatever it is you say, then you can always kinda laugh it off. So getting back to the whole process of getting started on a sexting-capade, if it's clear that the other person isn't going there with you, then the best thing to do is to just kind of blow it off with a little joke, and that could be like where you just let it go, and that's fine. Or you could be like, "Sounds like you're really busy right now." And if they say, "Yes," then you might be like, "Okay, well, I'm going to leave you alone 'cause clearly my mind was elsewhere." So you're naming it for the other person, which I think is actually a huge mark of integrity where you're not leaving them guessing, "What was that all about? Were they trying to sext with me? What was going on with them?" So you can actually say, "Hey, yeah, my mind was elsewhere, and yours isn't, and that's totally fine. That's totally okay." Yeah, you definitely want to let the other person off the hook so that they don't feel bad about it, because you don't want to create any pressure around this at all, really around anything sexual, if you can avoid it.

Neil Sattin: So, if someone is a no, then that's okay, you can be like, "Alright, no worries. I was glad to... It's good to talk to you. It's good to text with you a little bit. I just wanted to check in more than anything." And if someone is reaching out to you in that way and you want to let them down gently...If you barely know the person, and it's actually offensive, then you might not want to be so gentle. You might be like, "Wow, you're really going for it, aren't you? I'm not sure I'm ready for that kind of conversation between us," simple as that. Or if you are more intimate with the other person or you know them well, then you might be like, "I would so want to go there with you, but right now really is not the time for me. I'm so sorry, and I really appreciate that you were willing to put yourself out there like that."

Neil Sattin: So you probably heard a lot in there. There is me taking responsibility for myself. There's me naming what I think is going on with the other person. There's me appreciating them. There's me even apologizing, "No big deal. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, I can't do this with you right now, but I would love to later. Thanks for bringing it up. Can I have a rain check on this conversation?" There are all sorts of ways where you can let someone down gently and still honor that they were being courageous and taking a risk. This is part of the dual responsibility in relationships. There're any number of ways that this can be illustrated, but here's one clear way where we are taking responsibility for just recognizing, "Oh, you were taking a risk, and I honor that in you," or "I'm taking a risk, and I just wanted you to know that. I'm naming that.

Neil Sattin: And these are great opportunities both for shared vulnerability in relationship, but also sharing responsibility for the moment, really owning your part in any moment that's happening goes such a long way to increasing the generosity that you both experience, because when you're taking responsibility for yourself fully, then I won't end up feeling taken for granted, because I know that you've got you and that you recognize how much work I'm putting in, how much effort, how many risks I'm taking. It's so important, 'cause in the end, it's that spirit of generosity and reciprocity that makes for good sexting. It makes for a good relationship-ing. It makes for good everything.

Neil Sattin: Now, I need to take a quick break before we dive into a little bit more of where you go, once the sexting starts happening, where you go with that. I want to tell you more about that, but before I do, I just need to mention this week's sponsor. Now, I'm not sure that they can offer you much to help you with your sexting technique. But if you are nervous about sexting or in general, you need some extra support around the things that are getting in the way of your happiness or achieving your goals, then this sponsor offers a great way that you can do that from the comfort of your own home, or from your office, or from your car, anywhere really, and their name is BetterHelp.

Neil Sattin: BetterHelp will assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. You can chat via text with your counselor at any time, and you can schedule weekly video or phone sessions all without having to go anywhere. It's more affordable than traditional offline counseling, and they do offer a financial aid if you qualify. They also offer a broad range of expertise so that you can find the person most suited to helping you with your own unique situation. So whether it's needing to muster up some courage, or dealing with depression or stress, or anxiety, trauma, whatever is up for you, try out BetterHelp to help you move past the places where you're getting stuck.

Neil Sattin: So to start living a happier life today, you can try BetterHelp. And for being a Relationship Alive listener, you can get an extra 10% off your first month. Just visit betterhelp.com/alive, and join over 800,000 people taking charge of their mental health. Again, that's betterhelp.com/alive. And, thank you so much BetterHelp for your support of our mission here at Relationship Alive.

Neil Sattin: Now, let's get into the nitty-gritty of what to do when you're in the middle, when sexting is on, when it's happening. What do you do? How do you make it sexy and keep it sexy? Now, I'm going to just give you my thoughts on this, and my experience. So, this might be different for you, and I'll do my best to cover a few different scenarios so that you might find yourself fitting into some way of doing this that I describe. Amusingly, I just glanced at the clock and I realize that I've been talking for almost 40 minutes about sexting, and who knew I had so much to say about sexting? But there's actually quite a bit to say. And, as you can tell, it branches off into so many other aspects of relationship that are so important. I love that about this topic. Every piece of it is a fractal that opens to a whole different world that's related but different.

Neil Sattin: So, what do you do? Let's go back to those conversations about sexting that we talked about at the very top of the episode. What you might want to get clear on is, what kind of language is a turn on for your partner and for yourself, and what kind of language isn't. Now we may have to get a little explicit here. If your children are for some reason listening to this episode, this would be a good time to hit pause and to resume later. I'm assuming you did that. Some people want just delicate language about sex. They don't even want genitals named.

Neil Sattin: In fact, even the word genital, if you're one of those people, it probably just turned you way off right now, they probably just want to talk about things that are a little bit more metaphorical. I'm thinking of, for some reason, a good romance novel like, "That's making me feel warm between my legs," or, "Oh, I'm getting really excited, or, "I'm feeling all this energy in my body." Or even just saying that you're getting turned on in a gentle way. Saying turned on is a little bit more gentle. "Oh, I'm feeling so turned on right now." It's a lot different than like, "Man, I want to fuck your brains out right now." Totally different.

Neil Sattin: They're essentially saying the same thing, but they're saying the same thing in a very different way. And you want to get a sense of what works for you so that you can communicate that to your partner. And you want to get a sense of what works for them, so that you can communicate to them using the language that is going to be most powerful and evocative for them. So you might talk about things like, "Well, what words do you like to use for your various body parts? What words are turn on to you? What words are turn off to you?" Those are really important things to know because when you are texting, you are in the realm of words.

Neil Sattin: You're in the realm of the words that you say, and then you're in the realm of the thoughts that those words get you to think, or get your partner to think. If you're able to have a conversation about it, or if you get a sense of where they land, or just from how you've known them to be, you could be wrong. You could think that someone is super innocent and vanilla, and find out that they really love to talk really dirty, and say really dirty things. That could be true, and you will find out as you try this out, because usually if that is true for them, and they're feeling safe with you, then they'll start by taking a risk with words like that.

Neil Sattin: When your partner offers something like that, then you get to be a "Yes, and" to it. The "and" can be steering it in a new direction. The "and" can be just going with it, even if you might not necessarily use that word, but you know that they like to use that word. It could be like, "Wow, you just said that, didn't you?" Where you're actually calling attention to what you're doing in the moment, which can be fun too. It can keep things playful. If you say to someone like, "Oh, I just want you to put your cock in me." A totally legitimate sexting response to that might be like, "Wow, you just went there, didn't you?" Now, you might want to use an emoji there, like a smiley face or a winky face or something like that, just to show that you're not being mean, that you're being playful. The goal here is to be playful and fun, and to also pay attention to what you are saying and what is being said to you, how that makes you feel in your body.

Neil Sattin: Now, I'm just going to say it right now that when you are sexting, you have license to touch yourself. Now, if you're at the office, you may need to exercise some discretion about that. Depending on the circumstances, you may just have to be totally in your imagination. But if you have a little bit of privacy, then I give you permission hereby to touch the parts of your body that feel good, to even take a break for a minute from whatever conversation you're having, and just to go into your fantasy about what is happening, and to explore that for yourself, to explore the way it makes you feel, to touch yourself in ways that feel really good, to build the pleasure in you, and to build your story about what's happening and what's unfolding in your imagination, in your experience. And then once you've done that, you can transmit that to your partner.

Neil Sattin: It's funny, some of the most hot sexting experiences that I've had that have lasted even the longest, and I've had some that I've gone pretty long - and some can be super short. But it's funny, I'll look back at them and realize that we actually didn't say a whole lot. It's like the art in sexting isn't about how much you say or how graphic you get. It's saying just the right things that evoke the pictures, the experiences for your partner, and then creating the space for them to have that experience and to appreciate it in them.

Neil Sattin: A moment ago, when I was talking about those meta moments where you might say like, "Wow, you just went there, didn't you?" I think it is really helpful to the experience to name things like, "Wow, I am so turned on right now," or "I wish you were right here next to me right now," or "Oh my God, I can't wait until you're next to me." Or if you know how it feels to be actually being sexual with the other person, you might say, "Oh, I know exactly what that's like. It feels so good." You're, of course, saying all that with your words.

Neil Sattin: Now, as you sext, I think it's a good to note on the punctuation, as silly as that sounds. I think it's really helpful to use dots like dot dot dot, and question marks, and to use those as ways of reminding the other person that you're waiting for them. Again, you don't want to just sext AT your partner unless they've asked you to do that. I could see that happening. "Just send me sexy texts. I'm not going to be able to text back to you because I'm in the middle of making dinner for the kids, but just keep sexting me up, 'cause every time I read those, I get totally turned on." So there's a case where you've been given permission to just monologue your sexting.

Neil Sattin: But for the most part, you want to constantly be creating space, so you want to offer a few things and you might... This is a great way to use pauses in your texting, so you might just text a phrase. And I gave an example of this at the very beginning. So here's another. It might be something like, "Now I trace my fingers" and hit Send. Or actually it would probably be like, "Now I trace my fingers... " Send. "Starting at your collar bone... " Send. "Working my way down... " Send. And then you might ask a question like, "Where do you want me to go?" Or, "How do you like that?" So you offer something and then you ask a question.

Neil Sattin: Now, sometimes you're going to just offer something, you don't have to always put a question at the end, you don't want to be formulaic about it. So you might be offering something and then your partner might just start texting you back, and then you're in a back and forth. So there's no hard and fast rules about how to do this, or "I need three phrases with ellipses at the end, and then a question with a question mark at the end." It doesn't work that way. If you're stuck, then sure, use those things as ways to foster your own creativity, or to help remind your partner, "Hey, I'm over here. I'm waiting for you. Are you still there?" And in fact, if you lose your partner to some sexy reverie, then you might even ask them like, "Are you still breathing over there?"

Neil Sattin: So you want to be kinda playful about it, but it's a way of reminding them like, "Hey, we're on this journey together. Where'd you go?" In this zone, this is a good time to think about painting a picture of how you want to touch your partner, how you want them to touch you, and describing it in ways that aren't too specific unless specificity is asked for. If you asked me, "Where do you want me to go?" I could respond, "Just keep going down." That's one way, or I could respond like, "I want you to grab my cock."

Neil Sattin: There's just any number of ways, or like "I want you to tease me and... " And you could leave it at that, "I just want you to tease me. What do you do next?" And now it's back in your court, so you can be like, "Oh, okay, how am I going to tease Neil?" There's all kinds of possibility there. One of the best things I think, is for you to describe something about what you like or what you want to do, and then to be an invitation to whatever comes next. Now, hopefully, that's becoming clearer. As I'm talking about this, I'm thinking "hmmm...maybe I should make a little how-to guide on sexting?" You'll be the first to know if that happens, but I'm hoping that this is giving you a lot of good pointers.

Neil Sattin: As this goes on, with you inviting each other into the dance, talking about what you're really enjoying, what feels good, what you want to do, what you want to be done, giving your partner really appreciative feedback, "Oh, like you said that, that just really... That felt so good." or, "I'm just imagining that and that's so amazing." or whatever it is. So you're giving each other feedback. In many ways, this can be great practice for being in the bedroom and learning how to communicate better as lovers when you're actually in the bedroom with each other because it's required here.

Neil Sattin: But at the same time, also allowing each other that space to be in your own experience. And if your partner is not squeamish about this kind of thing, you might even say something like, "I can't help myself. I'm just...I'm touching myself right now." Or, "Are you touching yourself? I am." And if they say, "I am, too," then you might say, "Oh, tell me a little bit about that." 'cause you can be in the fantasy world, and then you can bring people into their own experience, "Tell me about what is happening for you right now. I'm so turned on right now." "Oh, tell me more about that. Tell me more about how you're turned on. What are you thinking about? What's getting you? What's getting you the most turned on right now?" So you can learn about each other, too, by asking questions. You're asking questions, you're staying in the flow, you're ramping things up, you're getting more and more excited, and then there's the question about how you bring things to an end.

Neil Sattin: Now, if you only have like 10 or 15 minutes to begin with, then you might say that at the beginning so that you both know that you're operating within certain time constraints. If you don't have time constraints, that's a totally different thing. But if you do, then you might ask each other something really blatant like, "Do you want to come now?" And I'm trying to think of even a less direct way. You've probably got something - if we were here talking about this, and we'd come up with probably a half dozen different ways to ask the same question. Or you might offer it, if you're feeling like you don't want to. For instance, you might be like, "Just so you know, I'm totally good right now. I don't need to come but if you want to, I'm totally here for you. Tell me what you want me to do." So you're showing that you're available and you're taking responsibility for yourself. Or you might be like, "I really, really... I have to go in two minutes but I have to come before I do."

Neil Sattin: Now, for me personally... And I've talked about this on the show before. I don't like to have traditional climax orgasms all that often. I like to explore more the energetic spaces that happen, that open up when you stop having peak orgasms, and that's just one type of orgasmic experience. But there are all kinds of different nuances to how you have orgasms, and the kinds of orgasms that your body is capable of in different parts of your body, different ways of experiencing it. There's so much more than the tension, tension, tension, and then release that you can feel from a more physical climax kind of orgasm.

Neil Sattin: For me, I am often good - not necessarily ejaculating and having to clean all that up. I'm usually good not doing that. No, that's not always true but often it is. But this is something that's very personal. You might have a little conversation like, "Do you want to? Do you not want to? Do you want to just like... " If you decided you didn't want to, then you might just start transitioning your sexting into something a little bit more sweet and connected like you might have after actually having sex. For instance, you might say something like, "Let's just cuddle up and hold each other. I'll be the big spoon. What do you think about that?" So you're even in your story about what's happening. You're transitioning to a different kind of mood that allows you to just bask in everything that you've stirred up. Or again, you might be like, "This has been so amazing. I can't wait to see you later." or, "I can't wait to see you in person, whenever that happens."

Neil Sattin: Now, let's say you decide though, that you've gotten to a point where you both just want to come like crazy. Well, that's something that you can do together, too. And you can play with that like, "You want to? I want to. Alright, let's do it. Don't do it yet. Let's sync up with each other." And so you might have to figure out where you're each at and what each of you needs a little bit more of. So if you're both right there on the edge...

Neil Sattin: Now, this is something that is so funny, I think. It's not universally true, but for a lot of people, it can be a lot easier to have an orgasm when you're by yourself than when you're with another person. And so you might find that someone with whom orgasm-ing when you're actually having sex is challenging, that when you're there sexting with each other, that they're right there and ready. Hey, we know our own bodies better than other people know them, and that's why sexting can be so powerful, because so much of what's happening is happening in our own heads. And so we are really in control of how the fantasy is unfolding. We can make it unfold exactly like how we would want it to be in real life.

Neil Sattin: But then you can experiment with things like you can switch to recording yourselves, sending little audio recordings to each other. You can have a little countdown and you both are like, "Alright, we're going to count down from five, and when we get to one, we're both going to orgasm." And there are any number of ways that you can do this. But in all of those magical, "We came at the same time and the world exploded into beautiful fireworks of ecstasy" moments. You can do that in your sexting because you have that much more control over what's happening.

Neil Sattin: So I invite you to play with what feels right in the moment and to show up for each other. If you do go for the big 01 orgasm, then don't just fall asleep on your partner. Take a few moments afterwards to be, one, "How was that?" Or checking in like, "Oh my God, that felt amazing," or, "That was crazy," or whatever it is. Share with them about your experience and give them space to share about their experience, and then offer each other so much appreciation. "That was amazing. That was so fun. You're so good at that. I loved when you talked about blah, blah. Let's definitely do this again." whatever it is, offering each other lots of appreciation and good feelings so that it becomes something that can become part of your repertoire with how you nurture the erotic energy in your relationship. It can be such a useful tool if you are willing and able to go there with each other.

Neil Sattin: And lastly, yeah, you might want to offer some closing moments about how great that is or how you can't wait until you can do that in person, or how now you're going to just imagine curling up with the person, and what that feels like, or what that might feel like, and bringing your sexting to a close in a way that feels right for you. Wow. I'm sure when I go back and listen to this or read the transcript, I will realize that there's more that I could say. Oh, I remember I talked about something earlier on, I do want to cover this before we go. So what do you do if you've been sexting with someone that you don't really know all that well, and then you meet in person and it's awkward, you're not totally feeling it, what do you do? Uh-oh. What a downer.

Neil Sattin: Well, it's possible that it's not salvageable. It's possible that that's just the reality. The reality is that in-person interactions are different. And when it comes right down to it, the in-person reality of you and this other person just aren't going to work, and that's okay. You can be thankful for the fun experiences that you had in virtual space with that person and just acknowledge graciously that you're not totally feeling it. So that might be one way. Another way might be to acknowledge, particularly leading up to it, because I imagine that if you're anything like me, that if you have incredible virtual experiences with a person, then you might be a little nervous about meeting them in person. What's this going to be like? Is it going to live up to what the virtual has been like? Etcetera, etcetera.

Neil Sattin: By the way, I am a huge fan of actual phone calls or video chatting with someone. That can be a step between texting or messaging and actually meeting someone in person, so that can be a good way to get a sense of how it feels with that person. But let's say, you're nervous about it. Well, one of the best things that you can do is to just voice that for the other person. When you're there with each other, you might name it like, "Wow, I'm noticing that I'm feeling a little nervous and a little awkward." or, "Yeah, it's so weird 'cause we've shared such intimate moments virtually, and I'm realizing here in front of you that I actually don't know you at all in this way."

Neil Sattin: So talking about what your present moment experiences... You've probably heard me talk about this before, can be such a great way to connect with another person. If things are a little weird and awkward, if you're able to name it, and you're able to name the experience that you're having of that, that can help put you at ease. It can help with the other person at ease, and it just might get you to a place where you can be exploring connection again.

Neil Sattin: Again, that's not always going to work, and there's probably more I could say about that, maybe we'll do a whole segment on online dating and transitioning into real life from the online space. But that's my helpful hint for you right now, is to be able to name it as it's happening. And then another thing you can do is, you can talk about the experiences that you've shared together. So you could talk about, "Wow, when we were sexting two nights ago, that was amazing. That's one of the best sexting experiences I've ever had." You're actually building on experiences that the two of you share. "What was that like for you?"

Neil Sattin: Now you're in conversation, you're getting related, you're talking about ways that you've known each other. It could be a huge advantage that you've already opened up that erotic intimate space between the two of you, once you get over whatever awkwardness there might be about suddenly being in person when you haven't been in person before or much.

Neil Sattin: Okay. Thank you so much for being with me here today to talk about sexting, a very important topic. And just know that I'm available for practice sessions. No, just kidding. Well... No, I am just kidding. That being said, maybe the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook might be a good place to share some of your experiences around sexting or you can always email me. My email address is neilius at neilsattin dot com. I hope you've had fun day, 'cause this has been a lot of fun to talk about.

Neil Sattin: I will be back next week. Am I back next week? Next week might be... No, next week is a week off, so I'll be back the following week. I haven't quite decided yet who you're going to hear from, but we've got a couple great possible episodes on tap for you and more are always coming. Until then, take care, happy sexting, and I'll talk to you soon.

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