Ever been dumped? Remember that pain? Being broken up with is something that most people experience at some point in their life. Many learn and continue to move forward. But for some, it's a painful experience they try to avoid but end up living many times over. If you are one of those people, what might you have done more, less, or differently to avoid the breakup? Perhaps you wanted to get back together, but it didn't work out. Or maybe feelings are fading while emotional outbursts are increasing in your current relationship, and you'd like to learn some tips for improving it. In this episode, I unpack the science behind human relationships with New York Times featured relationship coach expert, Lee Wilson.
In our conversation we discuss a number of relationship dynamics, offering an in-depth look at what he calls the "no contact rule," the power of self-reflection, and the role of support in relationships. Lee and I take a closer look at the concept of limerence, its role in driving us towards intimate relationships, and the dangerous consequences of imbalanced relationships. We tackle strategies to strike a healthy balance, alongside analyzing the impact of no contact in breakups, and then touch upon navigating changes in relationships and the importance of renegotiation to maintain a healthy connection.
Finally, we weave our way through the complexities of interpersonal dynamics, with Lee providing real-world solutions grounded in solid behavioral principles.
Coach Lee's Article on Limerence
Why feelings fade
Coach Lee's YouTube Channel
Be sure to subscribe to Dr. Paulie's Heart & Science YouTube channel for a variety of content related to behavior science and bringing out the best in yourself and others.
Welcome to the thoughts and rants of a behavior scientist show Hosted by Wall Street Journal in USA Today. Best-selling author, dr Pauley.Speaker 2:
Welcome back to another no holds barred episode of the thoughts and rants of a behavior scientist. I look, in this episode I'm not tiptoeing through the tulips, I'm diving headlong into the mire and complexity of human relationships. Why, you ask? Well, because understanding the why and how behind our love lives and interpersonal dealings isn't just a casual curiosity. It's the linchpin of our social existence. We're hardwired to connect, but that doesn't mean we're hardwired to do it. Well, the irony right Today I have the fortune of chatting with relationship coach Lee Wilson. I mean, this guy is a dynamo in the relationship coaching space, so much so that the New York Times actually wrote an article about him and his work. Now, whether you are picking up the pieces post break up or navigating the labyrinth of modern love, or maybe you're just curious to find out what the behavior science behind relationships might look like at different levels, he's got advice worth its weight in gold. Now, he's not a behavior analyst, but I am, and as a behavior analyst I'm not content with just taking things at face value. So in this episode I do my best to dive into some of the basic behavior analytic concepts implicit in his recommendations. Now, when you marry practical advice to solid behavioral principles. What you get is a level, insight and actionable strategy that's nothing short of transformative when it comes to relationships. So get your note patterns ready and let's roll up those sleeves. Shall we? Today's discussion isn't just a conversation, it's a toolkit. By the end, expect to have not just a deeper understanding, but also a concrete, actionable steps to implement if you're struggling in your relationship, because what's the point of knowledge if not to catalyze positive change. So let's dive in. All right, coach Lee Wilson, welcome to the thoughts and rants of a behavior scientist podcast man, I am really stoked to have you on here, maybe more excited than anybody else I've ever had on my podcast, and I've had a number of people on here. Man, welcome to the podcast.Speaker 1:
Well, thank you so much, Paul. I'm really glad to be here.Speaker 2:
Yeah, man. And so, just for the listeners, I want to explain how I came across coach Lee. A number of years ago I was actually doing some research to write a book on relationships with a colleague of mine and, um, I had I decided to write it because I don't remember where it was. Lee, can I call you Lee? Sure, that more okay? Uh, just for short. Um, I was looking at a video somewhere and this, this a video, one of your videos, popped up on relationships and I remember looking at some of the comments in there and I could feel Just the people's pain In there. So I'm like this is interesting and you have like I mean millions of views and hundreds of thousands of comments and like, wow, this is like really intriguing. There is like there's a clear need here. There are people in pain out here and so, so that began my journey of kind of looking Further into relationships and through, you know, as a behavior analyst, through a behavior analytic lens, and, um, I'd never finished the book. There were some things that happened where I was writing it at and, uh, it's kind of still sitting in a in a word document somewhere. But but, as I started looking at, I started looking at a variety of different coaches out there online and what I found was I found some commonalities, but I also found some things that I felt very uncomfortable with, and so I kept coming back to your stuff, which I felt very comfortable with, and I and I was like man, this From a behavior analytic point of view, it just kind of makes sense. So I'd see people that were like kind of callous in their approach and I'm a compassionate person and your stuff always comes from a place of compassion for for both parties and, um, you know, in building oneself, I'd hear people say, well, you just got to cut them off, or you know if they, if they broke up with somebody and like, just Just cold, there's one I don't want to say who it is, but I know there's somebody out there that's pretty, you know, like, hey, tough next, you know, and like that's not really the way things work in relationships. So, um, just the way you went about it really resonated with me and uh, so I'm just grateful that you, you, uh, you know you were joining me and so, um, I'm just kind of wondering, how did you, how did you get into coaching? And you know, after you talk about that? What is? What is your? You know philosophy behind it. Where'd you come up with that?Speaker 1:
So how I got into coaching. I was hired out of college to do internet marketing for a marriage enrichment organization and basically this group uh, couples who were going to divorce would go to a workshop that they had um last ditch effort, um trying to save the marriage. And so they had marriage coaches. They called them marriage consultants and you know I was just an internet marketing guy but I was supposed to learn the material and I did. I I had to because I was traveling with the president and he was doing, he was making speeches on marriage, the military and different groups, church groups, and um, so one of the marriage consultants a terrific guy, just uh, one of the salt of the earth, kindest people I've ever met developed a terminal illness and had to resign. He only had like three months to live. It was just catastrophic, is awful. And um, they asked me, would I fill in for a couple weeks? Because I mean the material so well, and they're like you can basically just Quote third party. You know so, and so says this doctor so and so says this, because I was in my early 20s and who wants to listen to an early 20 year old about, you know, relationship advice? And so a month passed and they're like we're not there yet, just, can you do it for another month? And I did and it was going well. His, the people he had been talking to, enjoyed talking with me. They seemed to get some things out of it. I was not speaking under my own authority so I was, you know, quoting all these phd's and they came back to me and said would you just like to get credentialed? Would you like to, uh, get certificate, certifications and different things for coaching? They had one. And then there was another company that had one and, um, they're like you'll learn more over time, but if you'd like to do this, we'd like to go ahead and have you start. So I was early 20s and mostly just speaking under, you know, third parties and saying so, and so says this, and, and that was really when I started and I was only about 21 or so, and so that group there's basically been three, I guess you'd call them splits off of that main group and I took the first split and we moved to another location and the, the organization Grew a lot and I was continuing to do coaching. And then we split into the third where a group you know, I was really not involved in that much of it. But there was a split, you know, in the company and one group wanted to go one way, one group wanted to go the other way. So I picked aside and, um, I had permission to start doing some things on youtube about dating relationships not marriage, but dating relationships and the channel Took off. It was. It was a blessing that it took off, but that Concerned some people, you know, and they started seeing me maybe his competition, and so, long story short, we parted ways and I went out on my own about six or seven years ago. So I started with a group who did this professionally. They were marriage and relationship coaches and PhD Driven. There was a PhD who had founded the, the organization, and I actually assisted with a lot of his research. So that's, that's how I got going with relationship coaching. From a professional standpoint, you could say that I learned a lot as a teenager. That was through a lot of pain, obviously, and I think that helps me to relate to people is remembering what that felt like. And so you asked about my philosophy on coaching. I I want to be as real as I can. I don't want anybody to feel like I'm being too optimistic or too pessimistic, and I want to present information. There's there's a lot of research out there on relationships and on how the human mind works in relationships, and so I want to share that. But I also want to be as real and human as I can, understanding that I'm dealing with people who are in pain and, you know, one of the things that really, early on, I think, set me apart from some of the other guys is I wanted to have a conversation with one person. I felt like a lot of the other people were kind of doing infomercials, almost like they're talking to a big crowd and they're trying to put some fake energy into it. I really just wanted to try to have a conversation with one person because I felt like that would. Only one person is on the other side screen watching at a time right. There may be millions of them, but there's one in front of the screen and so they're not in a crowd of people watching most of the time. So that's how I wanted to approach it and to to share what I had learned and and I've gotten to observe a lot of things Since I've been doing this for as long as I have, and fortunately, that's great to refer back to, simply because nothing beats Observation. You know, I've seen this a lot. That at least tells us something, and I think that it's one of the the solid, the pieces of solid ground that we can stand on when you're trying to help someone who's going through such emotional difficulty and trauma as they would if if someone that they loved left them.Speaker 2:
It really is, man. I mean, trauma is a really good word for it. I was just reading something other today that talked about relationships and like they, they actually had some biological measure that that suggested that when you go through a breakup, it really impacts your body and like it's like it's tremendous, like it might even been more than like death. It was crazy, man, like, uh, what people were experiencing, and so, and I and it's funny, you say that that's what I felt like when I, when I was watching it, it felt like you were talking to me, which is so interesting, man, you know, I mean, you really have a great knack for this Just your compassion comes through. You can feel that you've, you've experienced, you know, you've experienced your own pain with it, and I guess you have. You must have so much data in your, your head. You know, through all the experience that you have, how many. I mean you're reaching literally millions of people, um, how many people who have you directly coached over the years, would you say if you would guesstimate?Speaker 1:
Well, you know, I Did the recent figure on that a few months ago and I had a number and I'm trying to remember that number, um, but basically it was into the Into the thousands, and if you'll, if you'll give me just a second, I'll be able to give you a more accurate number. Um, I'm just kind of trying to just do this in my head. Uh, so it's, it's somewhere in the neighborhood of Like between eight and ten thousand is what you know, and I think that's conservatively speaking, but I can, I'm, I'm confident that it's been that, that number at least.Speaker 2:
That's, that's amazing man. So you've seen in her and I'm guessing you've made you know mistakes at the beginning. You know, Um, along the way. Maybe we can dig into that a little bit. You know some of the most important things. You learn because people Um, you know, I'm sure people it doesn't matter, you know we're all well intended, you know it's about our impact. But you are walking a tightrope here because you know it's very hard to know. There's so many variables that could have impacted a relationship, so many things. And I see that some of the comments like well, this didn't work for me and blah, blah, blah, but I see a lot of comments where it did work. And of course, as a behavior analyst, I understand that. You know there's people's history, is going to be involved in it. You have two people's history and then there's their interactions between one another, their behaviors, and you know. So there's just all those things navigating and people tend to be poor observers of their behavior, poor observers of the impact of their behavior on the environment, which means the people in the environment, poor observers of the impact of that environment which would be the person in the other person relationship on, on their behavior. And so you have these people that you know they might have done some things that warranted A breakup. You know, uh, somebody you're deciding to move on, but it's hard for people to To to know that about themselves, and I imagine that do you. Do you find that through your Question-asking strategies that you come across, that you're thinking, you know, like If I was on the other end there, I might have dipped as well? You know?Speaker 1:
I've been in both situations and it's very common where I'll feel sorry for the person in the situation. I think, why do you want this person back? But I'll also be in situations where I'm thinking I already know probably what happened and how it was mostly your fault, you know, and that you have an abrasive personality or keep interrupting me and you know I'll think I wonder if you did this in the relationship. And so I've definitely been on both sides of that and I try to understand that. People are perfect and a lot of times people get into habits, especially behaviorally, where they're not even sure when they started doing it. They don't recognize that they do it anymore. It's become so natural and such a true habit. And so you know, I try my best to just be empathetic and sympathetic with everyone I speak to. But sometimes and sometimes I have those difficult conversations. Every week I'm going to have a few where I tell someone we need to talk about the way that you're acting in this conversation, even because my guess is you're doing a lot of these things in the relationship. Or they tell me some ways that they responded to some things and they act as though that's no big deal and I'm like, let's talk about that for a minute. You know they have to understand what they did wrong, so to speak, or at least what they did to push this person away. That was unattractive or just made the other person feel like they didn't want to be in the relationship with them, and so it can be really difficult. Sometimes I have to be really direct with people. I've said to some people I don't know why you keep booking these calls because you don't listen to me. You might as well just mail me a check every month and let's not talk. You know, sometimes I have to be a little bit direct because I feel like they're paying me for that. But that's what they expect. And in some ways I see it as a way that I can help people who are younger than me, because I wish I had had someone come from 20 years in the future and talk to me when I was in my 20s, who's seen some things and can help me think through some things and who's made a lot of bonehead mistakes and can say watch out. So I get a lot of fulfillment from it and I hope that people see that, even though no one can predict the outcomes of two people interacting and deciding if they want to be together both of them and how that can play out in the future. No one can predict that 100% of the time. Nothing in life you can predict 100% of the time, except for death and taxes. And so I have to accept that I'm going to be wrong sometimes, or that it's just not the right situation for certain people, and sometimes, if you're in a terrible relationship, there may be nothing that can bring the other person back. But I also want to give the person the best chance at it so that they feel like that they had that chance and they'll be better off in the future. I think if they feel that way, yeah, that's right.Speaker 2:
As I listen to you, I think about a lot of mistakes I've made in past relationships and I'm glad I made those mistakes now because I'm happy where I'm at and who I'm with and that's great. But I could definitely see that, oh, my gosh man. Yeah, I engage in a whole bunch of these behaviors and I appreciate the integrity with which you are approaching this, because you could just be taxing people for money. Having that tough talk is really important for their own growth and I imagine some people get upset about it and they decide they don't want coach Lee around anymore. But a person of integrity would behave the way that you're doing. So one of the things that I see you kind of hang your hat on is this no contact rule. And so if somebody broke up with you and how you should approach it, a lot of people engage in behaviors that are like they beg and they plead and all this kind of stuff. That is, we've all done it at some point or another and from a behavior and point of view, it makes sense to me. We would call it has. There might be a couple of ways to look at it, but I would call it a motivating operation and that is, it's going to have a value and behavior altering effect and you talk about that, that altering behavior, and so the way you suggest is that it increases attraction, so you can, can you talk about that because you advocate for, but also you know some people might see it as manipulative, but I've heard the way you speak about it. I don't feel it's that way. I've heard other people say, and it did feel manipulative with the way they suggest the same approach. But there's other things, not just about the no contact. So you want to unpack that for us a little bit.Speaker 1:
So the no contact rule is, in my opinion, the mature response when you're broken up with, simply because when most people are responding to a breakup, they become very emotional and childlike, and I don't mean that insulting, but when we feel that we're at someone else's mercy and everything's falling apart, a lot of times we revert to childish behavior. I mean it's a way to cope with it, it's a way to try to find help. It worked when we were little kids. You know we cried and mom or dad would, would fix everything, and so we carry a lot of that with us, a lot of it we learn to do otherwise would become adults. But so the idea that no contact is manipulative. Well, to me, becoming emotional and begging and pleading and not listening to the other person when they say I don't want to talk, you know, I want us to break up, this is how it is when you refuse to listen to them and you choose to force yourself into their life and show up on announced and call and tell them, and so I think that it is more so than simply not interacting with this person. And so there's really there's there's multiple prongs, there's multiple facets of facets of no contact, and one of the things is that you stop the bleeding, you stop doing things that are that are completely wrong, because you know one of the things that you can't do is you can't do anything. And one of the things that I'm really sure of is that when someone thinks that they want to break up with you and you respond emotionally, you respond where you're trying to force them or control the situation. It makes them very uncomfortable with you, and especially when we're talking about how a woman might feel regarding a man, because obviously men are bigger and stronger, more aggressive, and so when you have and I talked to guys about this a lot I'll say you've probably grown up where you've been told as a man, if you try hard enough and you work hard enough, you'll get it, and if it doesn't happen, you've got to push harder, you've got to work hard, you've got to put in more hours, you've got to bring on another consultant, you've got to do whatever it takes to get what you want, and the answer is to do more. And so I'll tell a lot of them. Have you ever been in a moment with her where she where, where you thought about her being afraid of you, and it's like what are you talking about? Like, well, when you have someone in front of you who is seen as physically bigger, physically stronger, more aggressive, and she's known that her entire life, and now this guy is yelling or he's crying, you know, or he's some of the guys, a lot of them they will describe kind of I don't want to say grabbing in a violent way, but they put their arms kind of under her shoulders, on her, onto her arms and they're holding her, talking to her, and the thing is they're so intense in the situation because they're trying to make something happen and they're distraught and they're they're hanging on by a thread and it's difficult and they're sometimes, you know, shaking her a little bit, squeezing tight. I'm like, do you see how that can make her want to get away from you? That can be scary. I mean, you're thinking, is this guy stable? And do you know that the mess you're putting yourself in by adding that to the breakup as well? Is it not just that she thinks she wants to break up with you? But now you're acting unstable, you're acting creepy, you're scary, and a lot of guys do that. They become so emotional because they love her and they can't stand the idea of losing her and because it hurts that someone you think loves you all of a sudden walks away and guys will try to do anything to fix it, and a lot of times they can come across as intimidating, scary, and then they're in a big mess. And so when I, when I tell people to go into no contact, first of all it's giving the person what they're asking for, which is difficult to do, difficult to do when you don't, when you don't want that, and for some reason camera just went off. There. It is there, it is Zoom. A lot of times men are not considering that and they're just trying to save themselves and save the situation. There's desperation and trauma and they can come across bad, and so can women. Obviously, it can be very intimidating and very unnerving to have someone very emotional in front of you who will not stay away, and so that's kind of the first thing that you want to prevent is you don't want them thinking that not only were they right about the breakup because you're acting Unstable, but now they're, they're scared, they're probably going to talk to some people about it, and then, when the people are, people around them hear that and a lot of guys don't understand this because in their mind, they know their intentions. As we say, everything that a person does is right in their own eyes because they're inside their head thinking about it, so they feel like their intentions are pure. And yet a lot of the friends around this girl, this woman, are going to say, wow, he did that. He raised his voice, he grabbed your arms. I mean it's going to sound like you're the Hulk and that you're dangerous and they're going to encourage her to stay away from you. So you're inviting a lot of problems. And the other thing is simply that when someone tells you they don't want you in their life, that the idea that you could give them more of that, more of the thing they're telling you that they don't want, and that they would respond positively to me, that's wishful thinking, that's an incorrect understanding of human behavior, and no conduct is the opposite of manipulation. Because if the other person says this is what I want and you show them respect for that, I don't understand where the manipulation part is. If anything, it's showing them that you're a good listener, that you can put what you want aside because it does not match what the other person wants, and that's something I have to tell people a lot is that what you think is in there inside of them, as far as the desire to be with you is not there anymore, and so it's almost as though you're dealing with a different person. And that's one of the things that's most frustrating is just a few weeks ago this person wanted to be with you, maybe. So in my opinion, no conduct is the opposite of manipulation and it's the mature response. When someone says I don't want you in my life anymore, it's basically saying if you don't want me, I'm not going to force my way in. You know, a gentleman's not going to stay where he's not wanted and he's not going to pitch a fit and show anger either, but it's just it's disappearing from this person's life. And sure, there is an element that says let's really see if this is what you want. And you know we do that in all kinds of aspects of life where if we think the other person is mistreating us, maybe we try to let them see that in some way by either we stop talking to them about a certain topic, we don't spend as much time with them, things like that when they mistreat us. And if you want to consider a breakup, mistreatment, I think there's a decent argument for that. It certainly feels that way, but basically you're just not going to reward the person and we talked about Well, I know in some of the questions. We're going to be talking about an extinction type of situation and that deals with, you know, behavior of reward and then all of a sudden, the reward stops, and I do have some things to say about that, you know, regarding no contact. But as far as it being manipulation, I've never. I've never understood or agreed with people who suggested that it was because the opposite is that you, you try to force what you want and not what they want, and You're going to pester them and annoy them and push them away and tell them basically and that this is another part that's scary If you tell the other person I know, this is what you want, it's not what I want. So therefore, I'm going to push you, I'm going to irritate you because I'm not getting what I want and it that right there can cause someone who's maybe Not totally sure about the breakup, because people are rarely 100% sure about anything. But if they weren't 100% sure and now you were acting as though what you want is the only thing that matters and what they want is not important. Some of this is going to be like a self-fulfilling prophecy, where they're going to say I think I made the right decision here because this guy's acting unstable, this woman's acting unstable, and so trying to avoid that, in my opinion, is is Easily the best route to go.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and I think that you know come putting back on my behavior, analytic lens To your point. Who, whoever's leaving you something, your value somehow has gone down right. Whatever you, no matter what you think you have lost, you had no longer that level of reinforcement that you were before. Now there's two things. You're the reinforcement level, who go down, or the amount of version in the relationship might go up, right, and so when you get more aversiveness than you have reinforcement, you're gonna get people who are going to escape, and so there's. So the example I guess of that would be like you have a couple that they were doing lots of things together and they just got bored with each other. They stopped engaging in going date night or having fun together. It's not that anything bad happened, it's that the quality of the relationship has suffered, so the value of the individual has gone down and maybe they decided they want to move on, or something like that. Or you have like the person who is just doing some things that are not very nice. You know they're not communicating well, they're yelling, screaming, trying to be too to controlling, and even if they're a powerful reinforcer, that has become too much and People are going to want to escape. And so, as you're advocating there for this, for this, no contact. Well, what I love about it is that you're not just saying go, no contact. You are getting people to engage in replacement behaviors, and these replacement behaviors are right. This committed action Is that you want people to Work on themselves. Right, and that is giving them something to do. Because I think to your point, you can't control other people. We can't make people do things. In fact, if you try to make people do things, I think you can. Comes back to your point. You're trying to now coerce them in Coersion, especially under these conditions. You have no. That's just going to lessen your value if you're trying to force yourself upon somebody. And so you know, as you talk about working on yourself, you know what are some things that you want people to focus on. We talk about this person development. What are the ideas of this?Speaker 1:
Well, the idea is is that if we are motivated to do something, want to do something, then we're going to work hard to make it happen. And the same is true with attraction. I see attraction as motivation. When you are very attracted to someone, you're more likely to want to work on issues and stay in the relationship because you're going to think well, I want to be with them. So these issues are not pushing me away from them. They're making me want to fix the issue so that we get along better and this is better between us. But over time, the negative experiences can cause emotional attraction to fall and in time, you won't. Oftentimes you'll even physically look at them differently. And so, basically, the idea is is that if, while you are in no contact, if you are working on yourself for this person or for a future partner, certainly it gives you some structure and it allows you to be working on addressing the problem itself, even though the main problems can be seen as this other person who's gone and not coming back to you right now. But it's going to help you feel like you're actually addressing the issue that caused them to leave, and some of that might be beyond a person's ability to really Influence. But if you feel like you're making some progress toward that, first of all it's going to feel good. And you're going to feel like that, if you do have that opportunity with them, that you have a good chance of them seeing Changes, especially if it's physical change or, a lot of times, just the way that you present yourself. Like I mentioned, people who interrupt a lot or maybe they talk over people and they they kind of browbeat people in conversations, things like that. When they realize that and they work on that, that's another thing that if this person ever does say, well, let's have coffee, you have this incredible opportunity to to show them that you've changed. And A lot of times people will get to a point where maybe the ex does not come back, but they have Done these things, they feel better about themselves, they feel like that they are more attractive now going forward with potentially other people, and so it can be a win-win. But a lot of times people will get that opportunity and In, in my opinion, no contact is also a bit of a doorway for them to accept change. Because a lot of times If you view the person as selfish, which, if you're in a relationship long enough, you're going to see the other person Behave selfishly because we all do it every now and then, at least every now Then some people do it all the time and they expect everything to be done exactly as they want and that they're put on this pedestal. So some people do it a lot. But if you potentially view the person this way, then your expectation when they don't get their way is that here comes the drama, here comes the fit, and when that doesn't happen, and when you stay away from someone, it shows them emotional strength. And so a lot of times when I put timelines on these things and and these are generic, they're basic it's not like we can count the days down and say, okay, my ex is now in this stage, but it does make a lot of sense as far as Looking at how the other person is going to respond to your silence and what they're going to think of it. And a lot of times, what they see is that the other person is strong enough to stay away, which can prevent the other person from feeling like, since I broke up with this person, I'm so much more attractive and they're so far beneath me. But if you, if neither of you, appear to be pursuing the relationship at the moment kind of puts you on equal footing, and so you know we could. We could say, well, that that is manipulation or that's, that's trickery or something like that. Well, I don't see it that way. I See it as demonstrating, first of all, that you can do something you don't want to do, because a lot of times people are having a lot of trouble Wanting to reach out to this person and if they can show them, because the, if the other person knows you love them, want to be with them, and then you're not fighting this, the only thing they can think of is, well, he's respecting my wishes or he's strong enough to move on without me, and these things are positive. But the idea that focusing on yourself and not just on your ex, not just on the loss, can be really powerful and the the. To me, the best thing that people can do is To interact with their friends and their family and really take it seriously, because usually when you're going through this, it's miserable and you're alone and I mean it's rough. But if you get these people around you who love you, first of all, people who feel love from others tend to be emotionally more attractive, and there's a lot. I have a lot of ideas on why that could be the case. It just seems to be an observation that when someone is used to receiving love from a lot of people, they tend to interact well with others, that to the point that they. There's something about that that makes them more attractive, and it also reminds you that there are people in your life who are not just going to break up with you. They're not just going to leave your, your parents, hopefully your brothers and sisters, close friends. You've known for years that they're not just going to say you know, it's not you, it's me, let's just stop talking. That's nice to know as well, because you tend to think that this other person, that they're the only source of Affection or love that you have in the world, and it's nice to know that they're not. And so these can, these things can be really beneficial to someone in that situation, and especially if the people know what they're trying to do and can encourage them to keep staying away. That's a great situation as well.Speaker 2:
Well, I imagine that part of this Builds resiliency within people because they're having to, you know, and it makes them more flexible that they're going to have to as they're committing to, you know, learning about themselves because the relationship didn't work out and Maybe they need to do something more or less or differently, and maybe not. I think it really is gonna have to do with how much I like to call a relationship bank, like, how much money did you put into the relationship bank, right? So how valued are you by the person if they've put that money in the bank and then, kind of like, through a behavioral economics point of view, it's like the scarcity creates demand, you know, so that you have the limited resource in this case is the attentions, the, the presence of everything, and this would actually, could you know, evoke some behaviors that are aimed at securing it, getting it back again. I imagine that can happen with it. But, on the other hand, if you haven't put that money in the relationship bank, if you haven't established yourself as A person of value, then you know, I think when I look at some of these Folks that are out there, or enough value, I see them saying why haven't heard from? I've heard back from them in three months, six months, and I'm like, well, you know they either Didn't put enough money in that bank or Somebody found something else that's even more valuable to them in the moment. Those are the things that are just not controllable. But in the meantime, if I'm understanding you correctly, you're still because you were working on yourself, you were becoming more resilient and you know you're becoming maybe a better version of yourself for the Next, next relationship. Now I want to. I know you I'd mentioned extinction before and some of my notes to you and like that, I want to. I want to reflect on that from Just briefly. And that is, you know we might look at it. Extinction, by the way, is when people don't have access to a reinforcer right you? Usually that's going to go the other way around. When people like they, you know that the person who wants to breakups like you know what I'm removing all my Reinforcement from you, my attention, and now the extinction burst is the people, the person whining and crying and blah, blah, blah. And so we could look at this almost like as counter control, meaning that you know what I'm gonna give you back. You know, if you don't like my presence, I'm going to give you my absence and again you have to be a person of value for that to work. And then perhaps you know you're putting the behavior of You're getting gonna get an extinction burst from the person who you left, like, oh man, I I Miss this person and I need to reach out to them and they begin to do some things, more or less. They're different than they did before because they they don't want to lose that individual. I don't know if that's making sense. I kind of worked around that in a way, but you know, does that align with what your approach is? You see it as a form of extinction.Speaker 1:
As I laid it out there and maybe I didn't do a great job of laying it out there- well, I Think that it makes sense to put it in that category, and I don't know that it lines up perfectly, but I think that it definitely is in. You're in the right mindset if you're thinking about it that way, because the idea is, you know, if, if a rat gets used to pressing a button and gets appellate, then he's gonna do that, and then, when it stops, he's gonna keep trying for a little bit and then he's gonna stop, and so basically, it's just that you, you, you respond to Rewards, so or you do things because you expect the outcome to be beneficial, and if it stops being that way, then you're not gonna do it anymore. And where I think that applies to breakups is a couple of things. So, first of all is that, like you said, we have to look at value and reward and and all that, and we don't want to teach the other person that, going forward, that they can use a breakup to manipulate us. And we talked about manipulation and whether no contact was. Well, sometimes and I hear this quite a bit a person will have no intention of ending the relationship, but what they think is going to happen is well, I'm gonna break up with this other person and that'll teach them a lesson. And they'll come running back and begging and pleading and I'll kind of get all this ego stroke and they'll treat me right and going forward, they'll have learned their lesson and they'll beg for me back and you know it, to me that's a big game and and you want to teach the person first of all that they can't do that to you. So if they, if they break up with you and you don't do anything, you don't beg and chase and plead and you just disappear, then at least they know going forward, that they can't use a breakup to manipulate you because you're not going to do anything. I mean you just stop, you take yourself away when, when someone breaks up with you, and so there's that element to it that you're teaching the other person that that you know you're. You're not going to reward them for breaking up with you and you also, as you said, you take yourself out of it, meaning that if you two had a good relationship and if your attraction had not just plummeted too low. But you know, sometimes issues come up and feelings fade and you know I certainly have a lot to say about that. But if someone sees it as you're still an attractive person and we had a good thing, but it just faded out. When you're taken out of the situation, there can be sort of a freshening, because if you've ever not seen someone in a while a good friend or something like that there's something different. When you see them, they always look a little bit different. You know, your hair looks a little bit different. There's just something different about a person when you haven't seen them in a while and the whole concept can create kind of a double take, emotionally speaking, where a lot of times they don't expect you to stay away, especially if they started seeing themselves as I can do better and I'm the more attractive one here, then it's a little bit counterintuitive if you're the one who could stay away from them and they're like why is he not chasing me, why is she not chasing me? And so there's a lot going on here. But you can if you are indeed the reward, and a lot of times people who break up with someone don't realize how important this other person's presence is in their life, and that's why you get people who are confused because they'll say she broke up with me, he broke up with me, and they keep contacting me. It's almost every day. Well, that's because they wanted to break up, but they didn't want to get rid of this person, which is kind of odd. And you're wanting to try to use some of that, because if you two had a good thing and they have some good memories with you, then you want to, basically you want to hit on that natural desire to go after something we've lost. And so if they do start looking back and seeing that you were good, in a relationship, there's a lot of great things, we had a lot of great trips, a lot of great memories, and those are being taken away because you've disappeared, it's calling their bluff in a very mature way, in my opinion, and it's also valuing yourself and that you believe and that you're acting this way that if you take yourself out of the situation, first of all that you will be alright. Eventually You'll grieve, that's normal, but eventually you'll be alright. And it also shows them that you believe in yourself enough that you don't have to beg and plead and try to do all these things, that you're enough as you are and that you believe that either they'll see that or they won't, and that you'll be okay either way. And that's the message that comes across a lot of times and that's a very attractive message. That's really great for someone who broke up with you to know, because it can change how they think about you, especially if they thought you were less attractive than them.Speaker 2:
I think I love that and, going back through a behavioral lens of this state of deprivation, it's like if you don't have water, if somebody says you want a glass of water and like I don't really want it right now, but if you're really thirsty right, being away from that water, again it has this value altering effect. But if you don't, you know, if you like, I don't like, what are I like I don't know. There's some vegetable I don't like. I can't think about it right now. But if you don't like a certain vegetable and you remove that from squash, there you go. I don't like squash, good one, and you remove that from my plate. It already doesn't have value for me. I'm not going to miss it. So I think the secret we're talking about what to do if somebody breaks up with you and I know that you would have a lot to say about this stuff. I mean, you don't want it to go to this. They're reaching out to you because it's already happened. Right, in an ideal world and relationship, all of this stuff is being worked on ahead of time and my guess is I'm certainly don't have 8000 to 10,000 data points like you do. But what happens in a relationship where people tend to drift. I know I think you call it limerence, right, where it's the beginning of and people really in love with each other, or put love in quotes, because I don't know if that's what love is or not, how much it. Then it kind of shifts to a partnership. I believe and those are just my words for it, maybe you have some different words but I feel like they'd stop investing. Like when you're first in a relationship, people are going way above and beyond to be with one another and they're just doing all this stuff and then they stop engaging in those behaviors and then their value for one another ends up drifting and then their behavior drifts in other directions. So I still want to come back to the no contact, but I want to insert this in here because I don't want people to think this is the place to go. You don't want to go here, right? This is going to be a last-ditch effort if somebody dumped you. But what are some key things to make sure relationships stay fresh? What's been your experience?Speaker 1:
Well, that's a big, complex question and you touched on limerence and that's part of the answer, because a lot of times people will experience limerence at the beginning of a new relationship and it's more than just the fireworks of a new relationship. There's definitely some chemical connection to this, where our bodies are producing these things and they're attached to a specific person and it's really. It's a brilliant system, because why else would we want to have a conversation with a stranger and keep having these conversations and go to dinner with this stranger and go on planned trips or whatever? When you're in the early stages, it's because of limerence. Limerence is driving you to intimacy, which is where you know the other person, emotionally, physically, intellectually, inside and out, and so it's the fuel. And the real question is can a relationship survive limerence fading? Because it will. It's similar to I'm not going to, you know, I think it's kind of cheesy when people compare it to a drug addict, but there's some similarities. You definitely become somewhat dependent on the chemical and the sensation, the feelings you get from that, and especially when it's attached to another person, it's euphoric, it basically drives you to where that becomes the goal of your life in many ways is to be in the presence of this person, you feel like you can breathe a sigh of relief and it's an incredible experience. People will say things like I've never felt this way before and even if they've said that before a lot of times, people have said that before to someone else. But the thing is they're telling the truth, because limerence with each person is very different. It's it's its own adventure. Now the real issue becomes, since we know it's going to fade. You have to have things that take the baton from limerence, and ideally that would be companionship and commitment and a feeling of family, which I had a really interesting conversation with somebody the other day because we were talking about their situation and I said it doesn't sound like this person thought of you as family and they had been together for a long time 15 years or so and this person would keep leaving. And you know, that's where, in some ways, I mean we can get into the theories of it. But the idea is that this person, especially if you marry them, that they become your family. They're not just your boyfriend or girlfriend, they're not just a dating partner, but when you marry them, you make them part of your family and obviously I'm not talking incestually here, but you know, there's there's elements to this person's a lot like my sister. They're also a lot like my mother. You know they nurture me as my mother did, but we have this fun and this, this flirtatious time together, a lot like my sister, I mean. It's it's. It's a little odd when you get into it, but you can relate to the other person in that way and you should have that feeling of family, the companionship and that commitment and the intimacy. And if those things don't develop when limerence fades away, then it's going to feel like the relationship is over and people will say, well, it ran its course, you know, or my feelings just faded, my feelings changed. Usually what that means is is limerence went away and there wasn't much left. And so that's why that it's important during during a limerence situation that you, you do try to enact some of those other things. And that's where things are not pleasant. A lot of times people, when they're dealing with someone in a relationship, they're in limerence with this person, though they will avoid any kind of negatives with that person because the other feels so much better and so you know, we won't do paperwork together. A lot of times, people, when they're still in limerence, they don't have to deal with a screaming child together or stomach flu, all these negatives, and a lot of times they're only seeing each other under perfect situations where we both look our best, we both all cleaned up. You know it's not the real world and so a lot of times the real world can, can, can do a number on someone who is only used to experiencing limerence and so understanding that just because that goes away does or at least fades some because and ideally the relationship would still have some of it there would still be some of that passion, there would still be some of the butterflies and just that, that eros of being around that person and using that word. That's a Greek word and the Greeks had more than one word for love, which is a lot better language system, because we will talk about I love this car, you know, I love that he did that, and I love this person and I love this dog and I love this copy, and we're using this word. That's all encompassing. It's supposed to be this huge word and yet we use it for small things. But the Greeks didn't do that. They had multiple words for love and they had arrow switches and erotic love and they had filet, which is a friendship love. That's where we get Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Then we have a gape which is unconditional love, like a husband and a wife or a man and a woman, and so if we tend to think of it as love is complex and has multiple layers to it and all of these have a place and all are important, then it can help us a lot of times understand what's going on with a relationship and it can prevent us from being addicted to the newness that's designed to get us to the point where we probably are with the partner that we're with now. And so if we understand that, then I think that a lot of people are going to have a much better concept of how the relationship is going to play out and that and what love is and what love isn't. Because if we make limerence love, where that madly in love, wanting to spend every second of the day together, just can't keep our hands off the other person, want to basically tell everybody I've never felt this way before that will all fade away, and when we can learn that and accept that, we have a much better chance of this relationship being long term, because we'll learn that we don't have to rely on just that, that we have these other things too, and the most important being, commitment, is the most versatile element to this is that if you have commitment, if that's what is there after limerence fades away and you're left with commitment among other things, but hopefully a lot of commitment, then that can get you through as some of these other things start to fade out a little bit, but it also can help bring them back, because relationships are in many ways they're life and death over and over, and that a lot of times we experience negatives with the other person, and it's a refreshing thing because we get some things out, we discuss some things, maybe we have a disagreement or argument, but then we make up and it can actually be a really great way to keep this thing moving forward and for us to have a history with someone that says we can overcome the negatives. So I know I said a lot there, but I think I love it, man.Speaker 2:
I think this is a really. I had never heard it spoken about until I heard you in a video about it, and I think from the behavior analytic point of view, we could look at limerence as like this kind of complex change of covert and overt responses. We see emotions and thoughts and feelings as just covert responses or just behaviors that you can only observe, and it's like you're in this heightened state where every interaction or potential interaction becomes like a you know with whoever you know. The object of your limerence is a powerfully reinforcing event and the problem with that is that it also can provide, like this, intermittent reinforcement and when things are intermittently reinforced it becomes harder to put it on extinction, like the behavior will stay for a long time, and I think that makes it like a double-edged sword. And, by the way, if we talk about limerent behaviors, we can talk about like you know checking your phone all the time or you know just driving unheard of you know distances in order to see somebody and you know staying on the phone for hours and hours and engaging in behaviors with this person instead of like your work behaviors, like all sorts of other things. Right, and so it can be, you know, maintained by both positive reinforcement, and that it feels good, but also that feeling negative reinforcement, that it feels terrible. It's almost like you get the sense of withdrawal, you know, and you want to get it back, and so you reach out and you engage in all these behaviors and I think it's a really powerful point that you're making. I like the analogy you made with passing the baton and I think that probably that would be a sign of, maybe, emotional maturity or like relationship maturity. I'm not sure how to explain that, but you know, where does love start? Right, where does the limerence end in the love start. And I think your point is like you have a partnership with somebody and in my opinion that's where the how we're going to find the love really starts, because it's waking up every day and you know you're somebody's laying next to you and that feeling, that wonderful, amazing feeling that you had for some months, or maybe the first two years, begins to fade off and you know they've got morning breath or whatever. You know what I mean. They're sick, they're not going to work, you got to share bills. You know I personally want to see how people behave, you know when things go wrong. But I think that, from my point of view, what anchors people in these situations are like shared core values, right, and if you don't have those shared core values, when things start to get shaky, people are going to drift because that limerence and again I love the word and love the concept of it is going to wear off. I'm sure it has some survival. You know reason that we use it because you know we need to survive, we need to have a partner. So, you know, somehow it evolved, there's some evolutionary quality here for that. But I think just people having aware of what that is and they're in the state of it and what's going to happen that is not going to maintain, and people that I'm sure that you work with a lot jump from. You know, I think the analogy of addiction is probably just a good one, man, because they want to capture that feeling again and again and again, at any expense and at the expense of many relationships and many heartbreaks. I think.Speaker 1:
Yeah, it's very similar to addiction. I think the word is overused in our world and that's why I tend I try not to say it, but I have said it before and people operate as though it is because they will give up careers, they'll give up family, they'll walk away from their children and just kind of think, well, they'll figure it out. You know, children are resilient, so I'll just walk away and I'll go live this dream life because it's just so good that it's going to basically be overwhelming to everything else that I have and that's just going to have to take a back burner. We can put people in functional MRI machines and show them pictures of human beings, just go through them and when you get to the limber and object, there is a definite change and a definite response in the way that the brain works. And it's pretty amazing. Dr Helen Fisher and some others who have just been really especially in our modern times really studying limberants, have taught us a lot about that. And you know, one of the things I do a workshop for marriages and crisis, and the workshop is called Relationship Reignite and the most difficult part of it and I've done this for a very for a long time, because this is what that original organization who works specifically with marriages that was one of the first things I learned was look, when this person's in limberants, they are not rational, they're not reasonable. Everything is about this experience with this other person and getting to it at all costs, no matter who they had to give up or walk away from or what they had to give up, and so that's a really difficult situation, but it also clarifies it for a lot of people, and once you get someone who's in limberants to see it and sometimes I'm able to be really direct with them and just it's just them and me, and I'll say so. You've never felt this way before. Right, yeah, never felt this way before. This is just brand new. This is nothing like it, and I'll say this is my person, or this is fate, or this is my soulmate. I'll say so the person you're married to now did you ever tell them you've never felt this way before. No, no, never. You never said to them maybe second month, third month, fourth month that you two are dating. You never said I never felt this way before. And they'll start to get kind of quiet and they'll be thinking and no, I don't know, I don't think so. A Lot of times they will remember eventually saying that or the other person has love letters which have kind of become extinct, I think, with with our phones and texting and all that. But People still do write them sometimes, because there's nothing quite as romantic as getting a letter that someone's written to you and it's gonna be a love letter another member behavior. Yeah, that's right. Mm-hmm and if they keep those and Can look back on them. Almost always the other person has said the same thing to them. They've said I never felt this way before. And they'll say you know, it feels like there's a spiritual element to it, and they just describe it in these beautiful terms. And so, because of the fact it feels different with each person and Because they have such intimacy with the person they're wanting to leave that there's not that drive for discovery anymore, it can feel like this is a completely new experience. But once, once you get someone, it's um, it can be disturbing to realize I did say this to them, I did feel this way about this, this person I'm trying to leave now, and Then I can say something to them like but but you have children too with this person, you know, and the new person that you're in limerence with you don't. So You're not responsible for these other life forms with this new person, but you are with this other person. And I can also show them that this is a process and in many ways it's predictable. When someone is willing, when they're open to a relationship, that they're in a great situation for it and and it's a very normal and common thing because it does bring us to intimacy with this other person. It's part of the process, or else what's the point of all the effort? I see people just that they, they spend a lot of money, they put so much time into it, and part of it, too, is that the the the fact that it's on thin glass, it's on thin ice, it feels like it could be taken from you at any moment. That that really fuels it up too, because you, you, you create this scarcity on this situation that you could lose it Any second and it makes the value just skyrocket as well. And so we do these things to ourselves. But in a marriage situation, when you're, your partner, is In limerence with someone else, that's when it's really difficult and it takes a lot of understanding. It takes time, but sometimes you can get through them. And if they can just see that this is it's not really magic, you know it's natural and that you can feel this with multiple people this is not quote something you've never felt before you have. It's just you don't remember it because it's such an intense thing and it fades away and In some ways reprograms your memory where you don't even remember feeling this with anybody, because they all feel very. Limberence feels different with different people. So when we're talking about a breakup, if there's another person in the picture, then that's another reason you need to go into no contact, because if you try to push and all that You're gonna make yourself look so much less and so much. In many ways you're going to Expose your lack of value because the other person is is going to think None of this is impacting me. There must be a big imbalance here, because this person's acting like I feel about this other person, you know, and then that's not what you want them to be thinking, but that reinforces it even more to them is that there's an imbalance. You're begging for me Begging, and you're so distraught, but I'm okay with it right now, so the relationship is not as important to me. But you know this other person that I'm with now I'm feeling some of that intensity for them, so it can actually push them into the other person as well. But it's challenging and limits is really interesting that makes a lot of sense.Speaker 2:
Behavior Lay now. What do you say to people who? I look at my own. You know I can't put myself in other people's shoes. I'm not gonna do the best I can, but I look at my own relationships and I can think about. It'd be great to be an objective observer of yourself. You know it's very hard to be objective. So we have to take this with a grain of salt what I'm going to say, because I don't know, but I always felt like I was the one that was. I'm a cancer and very sensitive and empathetic and value relationships much, and I don't think that's mystical at all. I think when we're in your utero, I mean, gravity impacts our central nervous Development occurs and it makes some things more reinforcing and some things less. So I don't know what's the reason for it. I do think that's probably some scientific explanation behind it, because I just see these behavioral patterns with people that are born in the same month and not all time, but I think it could lend to some genetic predisposition. But I find myself doing that and I feel like that I end up Reducing my own value. It's coming back to your point there by being the one that is pushing things, saying let's do this, let's do that, let's do the other, and the thought that comes in my mind, what shows up for me is that I'm then being taken for granted right, and this is the my self pity talk that I have or I've had, and you know, it's that something you've experienced. I gotta think, with eight to ten thousand people you have, and I gotta think it's a common thing that happens and I think those relationships are probably far more sound, salvageable. Then, if it took myself and this would be a non example, but I would never do this, but like I was yelling and nasty and doing all sorts of things that were just very abusive In nature, I would think this type of relationship is more sound, able, because if somebody reflects like you know, hey, this, this person was doing lots of things for me, we had good times, you know, but is that a common thing that you've experienced through couples?Speaker 1:
so is, is the question that the, the quality of the relationship, is something they can look back on when it's there, the.Speaker 2:
I think that yeah, so yeah, let me get the question out. Make it better Is is it a common phenomenon with one person does Too much in the relationship, or these feels like they're doing too much in relationship, right that they're the ones that that are driving it and they end up losing value. They end up reducing their own value because of it.Speaker 1:
Right, and that's a terrific question, Because to me, this is you're talking about one of the things that's most dangerous to a relationship, and I say this a lot worshiper versus the worshipped, and Basically the idea is, is which one are you? It are you talking about two people who are in love with each other and the compliments are just coming from both sides and the other person is just as interested as you and they're. They're making excuses to see you and they're willing to do the effort and they seem like that. They are just super excited to be with you, can't keep their hands off of you or does it feel one-sided? And the danger is that when it's one-sided, if the two people I mean there are situations where it can work, if two people are comfortable with that and you know we're talking about someone who can handle that long term, which is a rare bird it can work, but it's in a very, it's in a minority of cases, a very minority of cases where that can work, because what usually happens is it affects both people negatively. The person who is worshipped and Put on this pedestal and treat it as though they are are more attractive, more more desired and more valuable in the relationship, they start to feel that way and what happens is we all want to be with someone we feel like is Valuable and attractive. That's just human nature. And they will begin to look at other people that they see is more valuable because Clearly this person there with is not as valuable as them, and so they want to find someone that maybe they feel like they can do better because they are higher value than this other person. So it creates that imbalance and then the other person who's being treated as though they are less the worshiper it can also cause them to eventually just say I want more than this too. And when they push a little bit for it, the other person's like well, we have these rules. We've, we've done this for a while. Why do you want to change it? And they tend to have a little bit of Celebrity syndrome, which is where the other person has worshipped so long and just done everything they wanted to do and treated them like they were better. And that's really difficult to just give up because it feels like sometimes even I've been in the same Room, you know couple counseling a not counseling, but coaching a couple and just talking with them about it, and they will One of them I will kind of figure out. Oh so this is a really lopsided situation. Lopsided relationship and when, when one person starts wanting More from the other person. So let's say, you know, I'm in a relationship and I'm the worshiper, but I start realizing that and saying, you know, I'd like to be treated like I matter a lot and and like I'm the apple of your eye and that you would do anything for me. I'd like to have some of that. When the other, a lot of times they will pull back some because they want it to be a little more balanced. And so you have this other person who's then gonna say why are you being mean to me all of a sudden? Because they get used to the special treatment and it's like, well, why don't you do this for me? And it's like, why would I do that for you? For you, I mean they they just basically Get stamped into the imbalance and used to it and it can be really bad. And that's why a lot of times, I will talk to people who are in a breakup and we'll talk about the relationship and I'll start to realize you were into them a lot more than they were into you. So sometimes people think that they had a great thing and it really was just kind of okay, you know. So we have that going on for sure. But if you are, if you're an imbalanced relationship, a lot of times you're doomed in many ways, and that's why some people will feel a little selfish, you know, if I say no, no, you need to make sure that this is more balanced, and sometimes they'll feel like you know that they're behaving selfishly a little bit, but you want to try to keep it to where both people feel like they're in an equal situation, not not where you have a worshiper and a worshipped, you know, or just a person and a God or something, or a man and a princess, or a woman and a king. I mean, you wanted to feel like that. Both people are just as excited and just as into the other person, and so that's the goal. Whether or not that could be achieved in every situation is obviously the main question.Speaker 2:
But well, in a, in a nutshell, what would you say if you could, if you were with two couples right and you're like you know what. These are two people that are great and, by the way, anybody listen to this, I'm, I'm in a great relationship. My wife is awesome. Yeah, I'm not. I'm not talking for anything that's immediate right now. You know I'm looking back into past relationships and also you know when I've had people come to me and ask me because I was a therapist at at one time, so you know. So if you had two, two people right and you recognize that there's this is in balance, sounds like you know what would you say to each one of them? I'm my guess to one of them you say you know what. You need to take them off the pedestal, and you know, and probably some of the things that we talk about and here you know, you know, make sure that you know you're, you're prioritizing your happiness and you know, maybe you're, you know, but Not putting yourself on there all the time for them. You know, as you're doing that and being a little mysterious sometimes and you know what just making about you some more, but we're not the other person. What do you say to that person who now is on the pedestal and they have a really good person in relationship, you know, and they're like, for just lack of better term, they're taking them for granted, right, because of this, and now they didn't mean for that to happen. The other person, right, this is the impact of the other person's behavior, so there's not a judgment of them, but sometimes, like, maybe it's like you know what, what am I? You know I, this person's awesome, you know I'm making, do this. I'm not reciprocating, you know, is that? Do you ask people to self-reflect or like, how would you approach that?Speaker 1:
Well, we go back to basic math a lot of times. Because that's a lot of times, I'll say I'm curious how many times have they complimented you today or this week? And the person usually can say probably, and they'll say something else. I said well, how about from your side? And so the first Stage, the first spot, is going to be where we just taught basic math. You see how this is out of balance, that they are being a lot better to you than you are to them, and you know, one of the things is that we tend to If, if we feel that, if we feel that we are more into the other person than they are into us, sometimes the response is to try even harder and Think that you can win them over by doing favors and things like that, when over time, you actually will end up doing the opposite, because they tend to expect it and you create. You create such large Expectations for yourself that if you just go back a little bit more toward normal, they get upset at you. It's like we had this agreement. This is how it was supposed to be, and so a lot of times, I'll even find situations where you have a couple and it's clearly a very one-sided relationship and this other person just serves and serves and and they back off a little bit and the other person gets upset and it's still out of balance. I mean, it's still that that this person's still getting so much more of the words of affection, words, words of endearment and physical Compliments and things like that, and they're getting service and nurturing and spoiling the other person's buying while he's good and Even when they cut back a little bit it's still very much imbalanced. And yet this person's upset because it they feel like the other person to be mean to them, because they're used to such a high level of pampering or whatever you want to call it. And those are difficult because you can get either person wanting out of it. And just recently I had a client where it may have been the best apology letter that I've ever seen and I'm not. Those are very Situational. Sometimes people think, well, I'm just gonna write this amazing letter, spill my heart out in 12 pages front and back, and that's a thing. Sometimes people will write things that long to give the other person and they Think this is gonna be a magic bullet. But this person had written one of these and it was one of the most thorough apologies I've ever seen, where you could tell this person was really looking inward and they were looking honestly, they weren't just justifying their actions because they did it and I thought it was a beautiful apology letter she had written to her ex-boyfriend. Then I read his response because this person showed me both and he was in that situation where he was the worshiper and had been fine to do it, it seemed like. And then Something just snapped because it got to when she was telling me about it, how he would just do whatever she would ask, constantly complimenting her never got it back. There was a lot of physical sexual rejection on her side because, you know, she does kind of start to feel like she's better than him or something and she describes her how she gets really critical a lot of times. That will also happen when you pamper another person, treat them like they are better than you and you get into that worshiper situation. A lot of times they will actually become very critical because they get used to these really great things from you and so if you, if you stop doing them a little bit, first of all they get upset because that's what they're used to, but also they feel like because there's that imbalance, that they have the right to be critical because you're less attractive, you're not as important in this relationship, and though they wouldn't think those words, it's kind of a feeling. And so it can just create these imbalances and cause a lot of breakups. And so there was one recently where, like I was saying he just had enough and and at this point she's like I see so clearly and and in some ways it's his fault too because he kept doing it, but I mean he just has no interest and it's it's difficult and I feel really badly for her because she recognizes it. But he, he basically is saying I'm gonna go find somebody who treats me like I matter just as much and who pampers me and who's good To me and compliments me and doesn't reject me and treats me like I'm, that they are just as excited I'm in the relationship with them as I am excited that they are with me. And so it don't think that it only goes one direction. It definitely does not. People who who seem mild mannered and happy to serve and happy to be in the secondary, lesser position in the relationship, a Lot of times either they snap and they say I can't do this anymore, or they become somebody else and they show a lot of resentment and they start looking at the other person With loathing eyes. I mean it can. It can be an incredible change behavior. So it's really important that you do your best and it feels good to be the one in the position of getting all the things and getting worshiped and feeling like You're the more attractive one in the situation. But if you really care about the relationship and if you especially if you have a family with them, you need to really see the imbalance and work to try to balance things out. Don't let them be the one giving all the compliments. You try to match them and you should. Nobody wants to be in a relationship where they feel like they're, they're less than the other person we all want to feel, wanted and desire to pursue, and Some people believe it or not have they don't understand that right away. It's almost like a confusing concept and so you know that's. Those are difficult situations, but a lot of people find themselves in that situation.Speaker 2:
Man, you just unpacked that so beautifully. Man, you are really good at what you do and you know you said math, I'm just gonna call it data. I like it. Like everything you talk about can really be grounded into Behavior analysis. And I know one of the things that you advocate for and I'm gonna be I'm not gonna keep you on too much Longer brother will begin to kind of curve this down, but I, you know you say that and I agree with this that you know communication is key and you know you want to have whether you've been broken up with or in the relationship itself, it's key. Man, you want to have, you know, authentic dialogue with people, because I think it, you know, builds intimacy and trust and, you know, is like you gave an example Did you ever tell your girl that how you felt about it? No, people fail to communicate and I think it's really important to tell people how you're feeling about things. But it gets scary sometimes. And where it gets scary, I think I was speaking to a good friend of mine the other day and she's been married for 30 years and she talked about this topic of Renegotiating partnerships. I'm like that's interesting. I'd never heard that before. I'd actually go Google it and listen to a video that she put out there and and I and my my guess, my thought, is that you move from, you know, you move from limerence, right, and then you go. It's like a process and then, okay, you have a partnership and if that partnership is grounded in good values, great, you're gonna survive a long time, but value still shift over time. Right, I think they're. You know they're not like goals. You achieve goals, values are pretty stagnant, but they do or static. They. They do shift and as your value shift, as you get older and you go through different as she explained it seasons of your life, you might need to get back and renegotiate your relationship. There's a number of things that might need to be renegotiated. Is that a concept that you've ever come across or spoken about or thought about? What are your thoughts about that?Speaker 1:
You know it's, it's definitely a thing, and I remember hearing a lot more about it, probably somewhere around 15 years ago. I'm hearing about that, that, that concept, and I see it a lot with when you're talking about modern couples. Couples, for example, because it's so vague in terms of quote, what they're supposed to do, because it used to be well, you date for a little bit and then you get married. You know, that was kind of how the world saw it, especially the United States, and now Not everybody thinks that way and Sometimes people even see the relationship itself as if we're not working toward that. Then then we're just stagnant, like what's, what is this? What's happening here? Where's this going? And so it can be. It can be really difficult, but the idea of just kind of renegotiating it a lot of times couples do that as they go along, as as they begin to get into the real life of the relationship, because you learn a lot about a person once Lemurins is no longer the primary fuel, because that's when you get to see the real them, because anybody In limerence you can take someone who's selfish and just a very self-centered person, put them in limerence and they will become a lot of times very generous, very kind, and they're on their best behavior. But when limerence starts to fade there, there's a natural renegotiating of the relationship, because a lot of times they can't keep it up anymore. The person have you know, I've got to keep working. We have to have the real world here too. We can't always just be going on vacations, we can't always just be only having date night together. And so now here we are, we're in, we're in relaxed clothes, we're in shorts and t-shirts, we're sitting on the couch watching TV together. Maybe that scene is not as exciting as going out somewhere, but the the, the focus changes a little bit and that we're. We're in a life together, and instead of it just being focused on Experiences together, we're having to live life and we're having to have some experiences that are not as exciting. And you tend to grow up a lot of times with this person, whereas limerence is kind of the childlike wonder of the relationship. But children have to become adults and so you get to experience that with a person, and so the renegotiation a lot of times happens Without talking about it, and sometimes that's fine, but other times it's like what happened we used to do this, used to take me out all the time. You know you used to buy me flowers and those things obviously be great if that still happened. I should still happen. But we tend to Adjust and change and it's great when you can can do that together, one of the things that I a lot of times. People will say, what's the secret to a great marriage? And my answer a lot of times is well, marry a great person. That's step one. Not everybody's done that, but a lot of people can also become much better Individuals, and marriage and just being in a serious relationship with somebody can make you a much better person, the reason being that in Limberance it's easy. It's easy to put the other person First, and I don't mean that you put them as though they are worth more than you, but that they get consideration in your decisions, that you don't just make independent decisions like yeah, I'm gonna move to this new city like you are. If you're in a relationship with somebody, then then you two need to think like a couple and think together and this person needs to be considered and every decision that you make. That's part of maturity. And it's easy to do. In limberance it's simple because you have such fuel to do it, but you learn a lot about the person and they have to grow up a lot. When it's no longer the exciting thing To include the other person, that now it's a bit of a liability and that you have to consider this other person's life and their feelings and and all that in your decisions, and so that's another element where the relationship is Renegotiated. It's growing, it's becoming more complex, it's adapting because you're you're definitely not gonna be the same person when you're 41 Then you were when you were 21. You're gonna look at life completely differently and two people who can understand it about each other and Grow with that element. And one of the the interesting things is on a timeline of a relationship. A lot of times there's there's other people born into this, there's children, and so the question becomes can the relationship survive that? Because mama has a new baby, but also Because both of you are going to have to center your lives around these two people, these two, two life forms that need protecting and teaching and nourishing, and so your focus changes from each other. So can you survive that? That's another Renegotiation of a relationship that's not really talked about. A lot is what's gonna happen when we're focusing on this person who needs constant care and we're not giving this to each other, and so it might sound like a cliche when people say communication is so important. It obviously is. It's also important that you have, that you are someone who has empathy for the other person and that you see things that happen as hopefully Temporary and this is not gonna be permanent. We're going to get through this and things are gonna happen. So. So the idea that negotiating and relationships happens is certainly a thing. It's often not talked about and Couples often can survive it. That's what the relationship is built for. When you factor in that limerence brings about intimacy and commitment and companionship and the feeling of family, I mean you're basically building it to be able to survive these things and Hopefully that's what happens when it doesn't. People find my videos a lot of times. You know are they are. They talk to people who've seen Two or three breakups and think that they kind of know what they're supposed to do, which I don't suggest because especially, by the way, I had this conversation with someone just recently. It was a guy who she broke up with them and the way he described it, I mean it was where he was not used to Constantly saying that he loved her. He wasn't used to just a situation where he was checking in with her during the day, texting and all that, and he was. He was kind of older to be getting into a new relationship and he was making a lot of changes but it wasn't enough for her and she just kind of had enough where she felt like she was introducing Everybody to him as her boyfriend and she was really good about you know, good morning and how was your day and all that. He just wasn't, he wasn't making the adjustments and it was early on in the relationship and she decided she wanted out of that. And he's trying to change things now. But that's a situation where she did communicate, because he told me, you know, she talked about these things and how important they were and the other person didn't respond. And just because the other person doesn't, it should not be treated as a license to just leave the relationship. But that's often what happens. And so it would have been helpful if Not just that they communicated about it, but that he took action and he made adjustments. And so when you're dealing with two perfect, imperfect people, yeah, you're going to run into a lot, and so it takes people who are just forgiving, who are gracious and who have that base of commitment which means we're going to work through this. This is a negative. It doesn't mean that we we stop. It means we Figure this out together and that that's the priority is is Staying together, working through this, and so when you have that, usually you have a relationship that can survive pretty much anything, and it's when you you don't have that that you have a relationship with that, that you have a relationship that could be Ended based on experiences we have in life that we just don't know how to respond to yet and we maybe respond poorly to.Speaker 2:
I mean this has been fascinating. I mean it could sum it up in a nutshell and if the reminds we have, you know we have, we have good core values together, we have good communication and I think also we have good empathy, like we need to be able to take the perception of the other person, which a lot of people fail to do. They're only seeing things through their eyes and I think that's where probably good communication. And then, of course, you need action. Right, it's not just about talk, it's about actually engaging in the actions that are going to move you guys. If you value your partner, Then it's going to move you towards those values of having good relationship. Coach Lee, I can't thank you enough, man. This has just been my favorite Episode. I can't wait to put this out there. Um, if people want to reach out for your expertise, you know what's the best way they can find you.Speaker 1:
They can go to myxbackcoachcom. So myxbackcoachcom, and on youtube, if you just type in coach lee, you'll see me, and the channel there has got Close to 300 videos now, I believe, but that's how they can find me and you're on instagram as well, don't you have instagram? I am on instagram at real coach lee and if you just type in coach lee again, you should be able to find me there on instagram and I'm on facebook as well. Same kind of thing if you type in coach lee and I also have a support community at love Dynamicscom and people can start a dialogue, you know, with me and some of the coaches of my staff and some of the people there who are going through the same things that they are Well, coach you are.Speaker 2:
You are very generous with your time, you're very generous with the, the sheer amount of content that you've put out in the world that's helping a lot of people are struggling, and and. Thanks again for coming on the podcast with me. I appreciate it.Speaker 1:
Oh, I really enjoyed it. Yeah, thank you for having me.