Well, obviously if I’m putting quotes around “doesn’t work,” it means my advice really does work – and powerfully! But I get it: what if you take the initiative during a moment of high tension to be calm and caring, but they still keep coming at you like a wild man or woman? Don’t worry – just be patient, and watch this video…you’ll get it! If you are reading this from the blog front page, click the title of this article, or else just click this link right here…
When squabbles come up between you and your partner, are you a straight-talking truth-teller? Or is that just how you rationalize being mean? There is a better way, you know: you can actually handle these scenes in a way that brings you closer together, instead of creating a rift! If you are on this blog’s front page click the title of this article to watch the video, or else just click this link.
OK, my title sounds pretty dubious – do you like the picture? – but no matter who you are, if you’re stressed out in your relationship, and you watch the video, you will know I speak only Truth about your problem – and the solution! If you are on the front page of the blog, click on this article’s title for the video, or else just click here to watch it.
Here is the gentle truth about sexual performance anxiety – I send this video with love and care, and hopeful blessings for you! If you are on this blog’s front page click on this article’s title, or else just click this link…
It’s a basic timeless relationship conflict, but it runs so deep:
Neat vs. Sloppy.
One of you is an organized clean-as-you-go (then go back and tidy) neat-freak, while the other is a slipshod slovenly mess.
This conflict usually goes on for years and leads to endless arguing, frustration, resentment, and all kinds of relationship misery.
I speak from experience, because my wife of 20 years is efficient, meticulous, and clean, while I am a scattered spontaneous slob.
I also speak from experience when I tell you that we have completely solved this dilemma.
I will share how we did this – because make no mistake, until you really resolve it, a major chunk of your marriage (or relationship) is dismal.
Let’s start with the obvious: nobody really likes or wants to exist in a mess – not even us slobs. If we could hire someone to follow behind us and pick up after us, we would –
(EXCEPT for our work areas – some of us thrive when our papers, or materials, or whatever we use to create are scattered all about our studio or office in a private disorder that makes sense to us, that is a living breathing part of our process – but even then we wouldn’t mind a small invisible angel or two hovering around us and straightening up a little, just keeping things from getting too out-of-hand-)
-But that aside –
Nobody likes a dirty kitchen or bathroom, or clothes strewn everywhere; or junk and debris and all the myriad byproducts of living cluttering up our life spaces – nobody!
So then really, we’re all starting out more on the same page than we might think –
But if that’s the case, then why do us slobs get so pissed and resentful when we are relentlessly nagged and harrassed about it?
Look: we don’t want you to nag us, and we don’t want you to pick up after us either. We basically just want that mess to magically go away…like when I Dream of Jeannie blinks her eyes!
– and when that doesn’t happen, we feel…
Well that’s the whole thing: we feel just as lousy and claustrophobic as you do, but even worse, because there is the added self-loathing of knowing that we aren’t taking responsibility for cleaning up our own mess, even though it’s not a big deal at all, but it totally sucks –
Does that sound confused? Delusional?
No, let me tell you about delusional:
Let’s say I, as a slob, come home for lunch, and immediately kick my dirty boots into the middle of the hallway, toss my papers and jacket onto the couch, and dump my keys and coins and some dirty napkins onto the little table – I just created a huge mess, right?
Well, guess what: there’s no mess in my mind, because if I were to scan the scene for a mess to clean up, I would see a totally clean space, because there are the boots that I have to move in a minute, and there’s the stuff on the couch I’m going to pick up, and there’s that stuff on the table that goes in the drawer, so everything is clean and there’s nothing there except the stuff that’s so about to happen that in my mind it’s already happened – but wait there’s more:
It could be too many years of mommy picking up after us (while daddy ignored her or put her down) – but it might also be all those years of mommy or daddy not picking up after themselves, not owning their own lives and emotions, and the formative pictures and voices through endless family and social traumas imprinted on our heart, paralyzing us so we can’t move to clean up because – we don’t know why but we can’t move – or we’re rebelling, because we resent and hate them in ways we haven’t even faced yet, even though we still love them desperately, and now we’re stuck with all these subconscious self-sabotaging conflicting impulses, or maybe we tried to do something good a long time ago and were punished severely, directly – or indirectly, insidiously – and now we hate ourselves but we can’t admit that so we hate you instead and we serve the worst parts of ourselves like a slave and we tell ourselves that we’re big and strong, or weak and worthless–
-Whatever! But the point is that when you when you say holy crap, what’s your problem, can’t you just not make a mess? What are you, five? The answers are actually:
Maybe not, and maybe…
No, I’m not kidding, and that’s just one sketch of an origin story –
There are so many possible psychodramas we have survived that express themselves in how “messy” and disorganized we are, not even mentioning innate strengths and weaknesses – and look:
I’m not making excuses – we are ultimately all responsible for developing the life hygiene of a healthy adult– being clean and respectful of ourselves and others – but my point is that things are more complicated than they appear on the surface –
Let’s give equal time to the fact that the partner who is neat and organized is literally thrown into psychological and emotional chaos by a partner who won’t keep a clean orderly house, because that house is not safe – they can’t think, they can’t function, and on top of it all it’s just gross and suffocating – so they can’t be safe with their partner, the one person who they count on to create a safe space not only doesn’t care about their safety, but actually actively hurts them, sabotages their very wellbeing –
And depending upon their own background, they could be in a lot of trouble – disaster even! – if things are messy….it could mean they are not measuring up, or that the rent won’t get paid, or it could mean the beast that haunted their childhood will come out: the belt or the bitch –
Get the picture? This stuff is deep – it’s beyond rational thought –
It’s not about clean and orderly, it’s about care and safety and love and respect –
So how do you solve it?
You start by understanding two things which are true for both of you:
1) Your partner is not deliberately trying to sabotage or attack you. They are growing out seeds that were planted long before they met you.
2) When the two of you establish a constant state of care and connection between the two of you – the sublime intimacy you both long for – all of these issues will disappear.
Does that mean that the messy one will become a model of hygiene and order? Perhaps…or maybe they will simply get better and better, more conscientious, over time, as their physical actions catch up with their deep sincerity…
Does that mean the nagging control-freak cleaning Nazi will loosen up?
I would say: almost definitely, as the love between you grows and you both feel your hearts cared for in a living way (and as a thoroughbred Eastern European Jew I reserve the right to use the word “Nazi” any time I damn well choose).
I changed – I am so much neater and cleaner and more responsible now. I love caring for my wife’s heart in that way – and I respect myself so much more.
My wife changed – she stopped nagging me, and instead of looking at my messes as conscious communications of how much I (didn’t) love her, she stopped playing the victim and took care of the mess herself – until I decided that I cared too much about her not to vastly improve, even though I still have these weird residual psychological and temperamental blocks that leave some work yet still to go…
But both of us changed because we changed everything else about our relationship – we created a dynamic of constant care and connection and communication that put this other issue of clean vs. messy into a totally different context…instead of it being this giant monster between the two of us, it became a door we walked through together, towards ever-greater care and intimacy….
And when creating that quality of connection becomes your front-and center priority, all the other details – big, small, and even seemingly insurmountable – work themselves out….they dissipate like sand castles in the ocean of the love you create together….
I speak from experience, not fantasy.
And if you sense the truth of this, and want some help with it, you know where to find me.
If there is tension and fighting between you and your partner, this video will help you understand, in ways you may not have understood before, the effects on teens and kids. If you’re on the front home page of my blog, click on the title of this article. Or if you’re already on the single page for this article, here’s the link right here : How Parents Fighting Affects Teens and Kids
Do you love or hate the holiday season?
That might depend on what’s happening with your spouse or lover, right?
If you’re married or with a partner but you still feel empty and unfulfilled, then the holidays are just a swamp of piled-on activities, plodding tasks, pressures, expectations, and overlapping dramas – and it all feels so….mandatory, and inconvenient, and intrusive.
Is that you?
If your holidays are a stressful slog, but you can’t put your finger on the problem – well, I just might know:
It could be that you’re hooked on the stuff, and you don’t even know it – and this hidden addiction is all that stands in your way, between you and the holiday spirit.
Here are the facts you need:
Dopamine is a brain chemical that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers; it also helps regulate emotional responses.
So when you’re longing for something, or even just wanting – a toy, a sushi roll, a social interaction, a loving touch – that whole process consists of flooding your brain with dopamine:
First the neediness, then the anticipation, and then finally: the attaining…getting a present, expecting a phone call…planning for sex…
These endless perpetual overlapping cycles self-generate all day and all night, through even the most mundane life activities.
Social media is a perfect example: whenever you keep checking your phone compulsively for new messages, or “likes,” or just scroll endlessly looking for something interesting – that’s you fiending for that dopamine “hit.”
In other words, dopamine is associated with addiction: the whole compulsive activity-reward-activity-reward-over-and-over mindless wanting…and you probably know that once the addictive cycle starts, it takes more and more to satisfy that endless black hole…
But even more importantly, this whole dopamine cycle isn’t just about the moment of reward – it includes the “build-up” as well: the act of driving to the “reward’s” location, or preparing the food before you eat it; of taking the works out of the secret drawer; of getting your chips and claiming your seat at the slot machine…or of looking down at your phone before you pick it up to check it….
In other words, not living in the “now” but in the future…and then – once the reward is delivered – experiencing sensation as a form of absence – an escape from being fully present and alive, letting this autonomous dopamine process take on a soul-destroying life of its own – again, not really being “now.”
But what does this have to do with you, and the holidays, and your love relationship?
Our society, our culture, has trained us to base our sense of fulfillment, of “rightness” on external phenomenon: on acquiring experiences and objects, on checking items both big and small off the list…
The stuff of life, right?
No – the stuff of living.
One of my great teachers, Barry Long, often spoke of the difference between living and life.
Living is activity. But life is love:
Love as fully present consciousness. Love as your nature, your essential state of being.
Love as the energy and the stillness that you and your partner share with each other, through expressions of touch and vocal tones, and radiating energy of attention, and awareness, and admiration, and appreciation.
All the holiday gatherings, all those to-do lists, and activities – if your life is full of them, but you do not feel the love inside of you, glowing peaceably like a pilot light – then you are stuck on a cycle of positive or negative reward that will endlessly occupy you but never truly fulfill you –
Even if your partner is right by your side the whole time.
And so right now, you need to call or text or grab your partner and say “Thank you for being in my life! I love you!” And from there keep opening more deeply, more sincerely, then ever before…
If this is something that is hard or unusual for you, then try this:
Think of a way that you love, or admire, or respect, or are grateful for your partner…find the place within you that feels that way…and speak from that place, put it into words:
“I am so thankful that you…”
“That is so cool that you…”
“That is so awesome that you…”
And feel the real feelings – the vulnerability, perhaps the awkwardness, perhaps the melting away of your hard defenses…
Touch them from that place, be with them in that space…
But if this is something you simply cannot comfortably do, please know that you will find the solution to feeling unfulfilled when you are ready to take the inner journey to create this connection with your partner, which is a process that people like me can help you with…
And which starts when you find the real love that is hidden like a treasure within your being – the deepest truth of who you are…
Which is also something I can help you with…
And when you find this, then all the infinite spinning hamster wheels, of dopamine-seeking, and never-quite-rewarding rewards, will break down and burn in the fire of your freedom, and wash far away in the ocean of love…
Meanwhile all the pressures and strains of the holiday season will dissolve in the light of your radiant essence…as sex becomes, not an activity in the future that you need, but an expression, in the now, of the living love that you always feel within…and that you and your partner share each moment, always together, even when physically separate…
If you think you are dealing with sexual issues in your relationship, guess what: your issues are really much deeper than sex.
However, they are showing up in your relationship in the form of sex.
For the purposes of this blog, let’s define “sexual issues” as: one or both of you are uncomfortable or unhappy with the sex in your relationship – too much, too little, or the energy and emotions just don’t feel right.
Solving these issues requires a new mindset: before reaching sexual solutions, you must first face the more basic issues that are expressing themselves – sexually – between the two of you. You must, with gentle courage, discover what they are, and walk through them in every aspect of your life together, because they are not going to go away otherwise.
Once you break through them, you will easily make love, in a natural and fulfilling way.
The issues that come up in sex therapy cut to the core of who you and your partner are as human beings, often in unexpected ways. They are often so painful or embarrassing to face that people are either in denial about them, or are simply unwilling to deal with them.
“Normal” men and women (as well as self-professed “freaks”) can deny how deep these wounds really go: their self-protecting ego is also self-sabotaging; it has grown too fearful and inflexible to let in the light, and so therefore:
The first, most basic and ESSENTIAL step to take when solving sexual problems is that you both resolve -within yourselves – to be unconditionally kind, caring and patient with each other, while you work through these issues.
If this is hard for you – if you are impatient or fed up or too uncomfortable to deal – then this is your issue, that you are responsible for healing – if you want to redeem your relationship.
You don’t have to. You can do whatever you want. But if you want to create a healthy sexual relationship between you and your partner, you must sincerely work towards getting over yourself.
So does your partner – absolutely. But so do you – no matter what comes up.
Even if you feel like a victim – your partner feels like one too, I promise!
Don’t get me wrong: abuse is never, ever OK. If you need to get away from abuse, make that choice!
But if we’re really talking about bad habits – of thought as well as action – or a dynamic where the two of you are still calibrating your compatibility with each other (even if it’s been many years) –
Well of course that’s all got to change –
But such change only happens when both partners feel safe to share the truth of who they are.
It is very possible that deep down, your partner has issues with self-acceptance. They may even hate themselves – something they may not even admit to themselves. They may be projecting this self-loathing onto you, by treating you as if you are some kind of problem.
While conversely – maybe your sex life is forcing you to face ways that you don’t like yourself.
These are just a few examples of the kind of hidden dynamics that play out in a couple’s intimate relationship. The good news is that this space of intimacy and sexuality is the very place these issues can be healed and transformed.
However, the only way to heal these kinds of devastating wounds is through unconditional love and acceptance.
Not just kind in the bedroom, but in every aspect of your life together.
If a partner does not feel emotionally safe and connected outside of the bedroom, there is no way they can feel comfortable getting totally naked and vulnerable during sex. Even couples who have “successful” sex can be deeply unfulfilled if the underlying relationship issues remain unresolved.
So there is no room for judging or criticizing – only pure acceptance and support…for yourself, and for your partner, wherever you may be stuck now.
If you resist that idea, you must ask yourself why – are you just so sexually frustrated that you are out of patience? Do you feel like you have already tried over and over and are starting to lose faith that you can actually see results?
There is literally no chance of resolving sexual issues unless both partners feel emotionally safe with each other – no chance, in fact, of having a truly, deeply fulfilling relationship at all.
Give yourself the love and care you want from your partner. You deserve it! Lose the urgency, lose the despair – you have nothing but space and time to work through this. Have faith that however this situation resolves, it will ultimately leave you more comfortable in your own skin, more aligned with your true desires and needs, than even seems possible right now.
And then turn your thoughts to your partner…
Look into the depths of their being…(if you can’t do that, then we’re hitting the edge of the problem right there)…yes, look and ask yourself: if there is a special human soul, a hidden brighter light, shining behind wherever they are stuck, a light that can meet your needs….whether they are shut down or closed off or neurotic or anxious or mean or weird or fat or flabby or sad:
Do you see something deeper in them, a spirit on a journey, just like yourself, that wants to shine, and love, but hasn’t yet figured out how?
If so, then they are trapped by their own limitations just as you are trapped by their limitations – and of course, just as you are trapped by your own…
For at this moment in time, they are your reality – they are the life you have chosen and created for yourself. The life that you are responsible for.
And just as you are longing to shine your light, so are they –
Even if, for the moment, all you perceive is the shadow they cast…
But otherwise…ask yourself: If you could have a loving caring rock-solid physical connection with them – would you want that?
Not “do you believe you can right now,” but really, in a perfect world, if you knew you could – would you?
If the answer is yes, then this mindset I have described is the actual first, necessary step on the road to healing…a road which may be much shorter than it now seems…and a road which I will detail at great lengths in future posts!