#58 How to Get Him to Understand NO

Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol and this is Relationship Momentum. So let’s jump into today’s reader question.

“I am divorcing my abusive ex-husband. I have a no contact order from the courts except for practical matters per written message.” (I assume that’s to do with the kids.) “He just asked if we can try to start our relationship again. Tons of sex issues and escalating violence in the last year or so together. We separated when I finally called the cops on him last July. How do I make it clear I have no interest in him beyond co-parenting?”

Okay so this is one of these tricky ones where they’re using a very dirty tactic to try and re-establish the relationship. He’s going to continually try and poke and prod and question and engage in some sort of debate with you. He’s trying to get any point of contact to try and leverage that, get his little hooks in you, to leverage that towards getting the relationship restarted again.

The difficulty is when you engage with him at all, at all, you are playing into his strategy of trying to get you to engage with him so he can snowball things. He’s trying to get away with having some comments slip past your radar. Let’s just start a conversation. Let’s talk about it. Let’s not follow the no contact order from the courts.

So if you try and be the reasonable adult and talk to him calmly, you’re defaulting into playing into his strategy. Instead, you have to really honor the no contact order to make sure that he really gets the message that you’re not interested. The only way you can really make it clear to him that you’re not interested, is report to the appropriate authorities he’s broken the no contact order. Don’t engage with him directly and then you let the authorities do whatever they’re going to do. It’s the only option available because you cannot reason with someone who has no intention of being reasonable with you.

He is not looking for some sort of good faith conversation about fixing things.

When people have been violent in a relationship, and this is whether they are male or female being violent. I have so many male clients where it turns out the wife is being physically violent, it really is happening to both sexes. Anyway, it doesn’t matter if it’s male or female doing it, but when people are prepared to be physically violent, usually the only way to get them stopped is to get the appropriate authorities involved. It is extraordinarily rare that violent people go, “Oh my gosh I’m a terrible, terrible person and I should change my ways. I’m totally wrong about what I’ve done.” It usually doesn’t happen. Usually someone else needs to come in and make it clear they can’t do that.

So the answer is there is no way to let him down gently. There is no way to defer things. There is no way to be polite about this. You just have to be rude and frankly obnoxious. If he’s contacting you against a court order, call the cops again, call whoever it is who deals with the no contact order enforcement where you are. It’s literally the only option available to you.

In a very general, slightly wider sense, this is the only way that you can deal with people who are trolls. Some people online will endlessly ask you questions or prod and prod and poke and poke. They are just looking to get a rise out of you, they’re looking to get their hooks into you and they’re just looking to force you into some kind of engagement with them. The only way to deal with it is to just slam the door shut on them. If anything a one word answer, but often the best way is simply to block them and move on with your life.

This all feeds into a really common dirty fighting tactic that I went over in The Married Guys Guide to Wife series, one of the ways that people fight dirty, it is that they will never stop talking. They will never stop arguing. They will never stop trying to draw you into some sort of debate until you give them the answer they want. You can be saying no, and they will keep coming at you trying and trying and trying and trying to get you to say yes. They will bait you to where you finally get angry and blow up, then they’ll turn it on you that you’re the jerk who’s being rude and obnoxious. There is no polite way to get through to them. You can’t reason with someone who has no intentions of being reasonable.

And of course the other super common thing that women and girls run into with men and boys, is that unless you give them a really firm clear no, they’re always going to think there’s a chance. Sometimes men can often feel led on by women because they didn’t get a clear, blunt no. She was polite. She was smiling when she said no and if you’re smiling when you say no, you’re kinda sorta saying it’s maybe. Or if you push it a little more it’s a yes.

Sometimes you just have to slam the door shut.
Anyway, that’s about it.. Hope you like the video. Please like, share, comment, subscribe, and all that good internet stuff. And I will talk to you tomorrow.

#57 Settling vs True Agreement


Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol and this is Relationship Momentum.

So today I’m following along with a series of thoughts that I had immediately after shooting yesterday’s video, about the difference between wedding vows and the True Agreements that people make when they decide to get married. Like what’s the bedrock fundamental principle thing that they’re deeply committed to, and they want when they get married.

The thought that hit me afterwards was what are people’s True Agreements with themselves? What is your True Agreement with your sense of identity, of what you are, what you do, what your life is meant to be. What did you think for yourself that your life is going to be? Are you meeting that agreement or are you somehow just straight up disappointing yourself? Are you hard on yourself because you’re not doing the things that you thought you were going to do? Are you hard on yourself for not being the person you thought you were going to be. Are you breaking your True Agreement with yourself?

So I thought that was a really good idea, and then I went grocery shopping with Jen and as we were going through the grocery store I had a second realization. Sometimes the deep problem is people make a True Agreement with the marriage, like they commit to the marriage, they buy into the marriage, but that True Agreement is not congruent with their own True Agreement about themselves.

Or putting it another way… people settle.

They settle for the marriage. They settle for this relationship with this person because it meets some need that they have, or it’s going to get them something they want. But it breaks the agreement with themselves. So this is why you have this situation where people can be committed to a marriage, they can say it’s good, but there’s something dead or slowly dying in themselves. They progressively get more depressed and disconnected from who they truly think they are and what they want to do with their life.

That to me was an epiphany because now I can see in so many situations that someone has bought into a marriage and they’ve broken their own agreement with themself. It’s the missing piece of the puzzle for a few situations that I can think of.

The follow up question is why do people do this? Why do people break an agreement with themselves to buy into something that is never really going to make them as happy as they could be otherwise?

I think sometimes people do this for good intentions. They buy into a marriage because it’s the right thing to do, because they’ve reached a certain age, because they’re meant to have a family. They’re meant to want to have children. That this is someone appropriate to their faith. There are plenty of reasons where marrying is the “right thing to do”.

Or alternatively this person they’re with is the “right person” they should marry. They tick off a whole bunch of boxes that everyone else thinks is a really good idea to marry, so just go ahead and do it and all the positive feelings will eventually come. But then if it’s breaking their own True Agreement, even if that person is great it’s not necessarily going to make them happy being with them. Over the long term it can become their own personal, private hell. Never quite having what they want, yet from the outside it all looks good. The perfect catch, the perfect match and the envy of your friends… supposedly.

It all comes down to what is your own True Agreement with yourself. If you’re not going to meet your own requirements for being a good person or a successful person, whatever it is you actually truly value on a deep level, you’re never going to be happy in a relationship. You’ll slowly but surely make the other person unhappy as well, because you were never going to get your own True Agreement met. No one else can meet your True Agreement for you.

I know in saying that, there’s a risk people will automatically default into some sort of just selfish mode of oh I’ll just do whatever the hell I want and my partner won’t matter. I’m just going to bail and follow some flight of fantasy of something that’s never going to happen. I do think there’s a risk to this line of thinking that people do that. I think you have to be really clear to yourself that your own True Agreement is achievable, realistic, will match your personality or match your skill set, and be something that’s going to provide benefit to other people. It should make you a better person as opposed to an all purpose excuse to follow whatever narcissistic dream that you have.

But yeah, that’s my thought for the day. What is your own True Agreement with yourself? Who are you? Who are you and what do you want to be? What drives you, makes you happy and is achievable? Can you commit to it? Can you find a way to live in the world where you are living a good, happy life and benefiting those around you?

I think if you have that, your relationship with your partner becomes a whole lot easier because you’re not trying to wring something out of them to satisfy this gaping need in you that you’re not meeting.

So anyway, that was my thought for the day. I’m sure this is a much bigger topic than just this short video. I’m going to think about it a whole lot more. So anyway, hope you like the video. Please like, share, comment, subscribe, all that good internet stuff. And I will talk to you tomorrow.

#56 Wedding Vows vs True Agreements

Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol and this is Relationship Momentum. Let’s talk about something I’ve now seen three times in the last two days during coaching calls and that’s what I call the True Agreement.

What I mean by True Agreement is on one hand you have wedding vows. For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness, in health and all that sort of stuff. It’s all nice and in theory it’s what people are agreeing to, but beyond the vow I think there is what is the actual true, deep level agreement that people are making when they get married. They’re usually not nearly as poetic as the wedding vows are. They’re usually something pretty raw, sometimes a little bit dark, and just the bottom line true agreement.

So for a woman, her True Agreement in getting married could be something like I will put up with any of your bad behavior and you can treat me like crap, as long as I get to be a stay at home mother. For a guy it might be something like I will tolerate absolutely anything and everything that you do, as long as I’m getting some kind of regular sex life. Those might be actual True Agreements that two people have in getting married to each other.

So as you see, they are less poetic than wedding vows. Usually there’s some sort of trade off of, I’ll accept this is as long as I get that. When two people get together and they get married the True Agreements can just lurk beneath the surface forever. You may never know that they are there because each person is meeting the other person’s True Agreement.

So take that example of I will tolerate all your bad behavior, I will put up with anything and everything as long as I get to be a stay at home mom. Coupled it with I will put up with any of your stuff and any of the situations that you throw at me as long as I have a regular sex life. Those two could be happy together for ages and ages. But then let’s say we throw in a big problem into that mix, like I don’t know, a global recession in 2008. Now he doesn’t have that big job. Now they might not necessarily be able to be afford her being a SAHM. Suddenly the True Agreement is no longer working.

She might have to get a job and then the one thing that she really wants, one thing she really signed up for with this marriage, she’s no longer getting. Now she’s getting some bad behavior from him, and she has to work, so now she’s like I don’t want the bad behavior. Hell if I’m going to have to break my own True Agreement and go get a job, I sure as hell am not going to put up with crap.

Of course she doesn’t put up with crap and maybe there’s less sex and now that’s breaking his True Agreement. He was prepared to deal with anything except not getting regular sex, and now no one is getting their True Agreement being met. Now you have this situation where both people are incredibly frustrated, both people are incredibly angry and annoyed and hurt and may not even really understand what exactly it is that has happened.

Often in coaching situations, I find that one person has had something to do with their own True Agreement change. The situation has changed, the thing that they want may have also changed and yet for the other person it’s still kind of working. There’s often a process where to get the thing that you now want, there’s a risk that you have to take away what the other person wants to get their attention. The whole relationship needs to be renegotiated somehow, and it often needs a crisis point to force a renegotiation of True Agreements in the marriage.

This renegotiation is never easy. What the do they want, what they can accept, what they can tolerate, what they are attracted to, what turns them on? This is an incredibly normal process for many, many couples. We get together when we’re young, everything can work fine for many years, 7 years, 10 years, 15, 20 years until there’s some sort of change in outside forces. Even if the real world doesn’t change, we’ll all get older and maybe we can’t do the things that we used to do or want to do.

It’s predictable for any couple that their own True Agreements will reach some sort of crisis point at some time. I think that’s normal and can only be expected. Doesn’t necessarily make it any easier in that moment to work through it, but this is often what is driving the bus on a lot of marital conflict. It’s not that any one person is nasty or mean or horrible, but often just the True Agreements that each person had coming into the marriage are no longer particularly being met the way that they’re hoping to.

Like I say, True Agreements are completely different from wedding vows. I know that’s sort of an ugly truth but they are completely different. Anyway I’d love to know if you’ve run into some of these problems with the true agreements changing on you. Leave me comments and I’ll be happy to read them and get back to you guys, maybe make more videos on this topic.

Alrighty, so I hope you liked the video. Please like, share, comment, subscribe and all that good internet stuff. And I will talk to you tomorrow.

#55 The Power of Intention

Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol and this is Relationship Momentum. So today I’m going to talk about I guess myself.

Part of this daily vlog thing is me teaching you guys how to build Relationship Momentum, how to get the marriages and sex lives that you want. But it’s also abut me on the journey of producing all this stuff and spreading it. So part of this vlog is the message and part of it is the messenger.

One of my favorite authors is Dr. Wayne Dyer, who died a couple years back. The Power of Intention is one of his better ones and I’ve just started re-reading it again. One of the things that really jumped out at me in chapter one was he had recently had a heart attack, had stents and got blood flow back into his heart. If you’re following the plot, I also had a heart attack about a year ago and got a couple of stents as well. So eerily similar.

The other thing that I didn’t know until I Googled around today, is shortly before he wrote this book his wife left him. Which I had no clue about but there you go. So he had these two massive hits to his life, personality, story, world view, whatever you want to say. Two big hits right before he wrote one of his better works.

That’s inspiring and heartening. I mean if you read the book you don’t get a sense he was having a hard time of things, or was miserable or anything like that. I find that encouraging because I’m not in the greatest physical health I would wish to be in. I just had a very successful weekend of doing about three, maybe three and a half hours of yard work spread over two days. That was huge for me. I’ve had a couple of resting days to recover. I mean this is just the reality of the situation that I’m in.

If you look at his work, after 2004 when he wrote The Power of Intention, he went on to write more than 10 more books in the decade that happened after that. It’s not exactly the midpoint of his career but he went on to be very productive. And again that’s just really heartening. It’s inspiring and fills me with a sense of hope.

Of course the one big thing that I have that he did not, is that I still very much have my wife with me. Life is not perfectly ideal for us now, but she is certainly here and compassionate and supportive through this whole thing. I’m tremendously grateful for that. Tremendously grateful and in many ways my love for her now, is greater than it has ever been. It’s a very, very content time in my relationship while life is busy and hectic and I’m still recovering.

So again this sort of comes back to the idea that you can have life problems and you can have marriage problems and they’re not necessarily the same thing. Right now our relationship is pretty good. Life is hard but we’re coming back from where we were.

So I hope you got something from that. I’m going to say I have no great insights for the day, other than the story isn’t over until you want it to be over. There’s always something more you can do until you reach that final game over and thanks for playing.

So I hope you like the video. Please like, share, comment, subscribe and all that good internet stuff. And I will talk to you tomorrow.

#54 Mutual Submission Deadlocks

Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol and this is Relationship Momentum. So today I have a reader question and let’s jump to it

“Please expand upon the dual submissive/ dual responsive deadlock. How do you break that without either party feeling unfulfilled? I know that the LGBTQ community is much more aware of that and basically tries to seek out only complementary partners or have an open relationship so each person can find their better match in bed. However heterosexuals don’t seem to have this on their radar much except maybe the kink world.”

Okay, so Submissive and Responsive, these are two of the Six Brands of Sexuality. Essentially Submissives get the greatest pleasure out of being given direction in bed. Responsives get the greatest level of pleasure out of seeing their partner’s response in bed. If a couple is a mixture of Submissives and Responsives, often there is this sort of stalemate where each of them waits for the other person to do something.

Alrighty, so LGBTQ more aware. Yes they are, absolutely they are more aware because they’ve had to bring their sexuality into conscious, rational thought to figure out their sexuality. They’ve had to think about what they like, what they want, what turns them on, what they want from a relationship, because in order to come out and identify as LGBTQ they’ve had to think about this consciously.

Most heterosexuals don’t necessarily think any of this through, and assume I like the opposite sex and sex is going to be awesome. Then they get into a long term relationship, and they’ve never really figured out necessarily what it was that they liked, what it was that really turns them on.

Sometimes you discover hey we’re both Submissives, or we’re both Responsives, and when we first got together we were just so turned on everything worked, because we were making moves on each other. Now we’re sort of overwhelmed by kids and life and money and stress. Now we’re wanting our own particular brand of sexuality more, and when we don’t get it we get frustrated. Then we get mad, then we get sad, and then we don’t make a move anymore. And your partner is mad and sad and they don’t make a move anymore either.

You both still love each other, you’re both attracted to each other, you’re both turned on by each other and then you lie awake at night in bed going, “Why don’t they make the move?” Why don’t they make the move? You know what I’m going to wait. I’m going to wait. I’m going to wait until they make the move.” And then like four months later goes by and no one’s touching nobody and it’s like this is a terrible, terrible plan.

I think the answer is exactly what you had in your question, being conscious.

I think that gay people have a far better idea what turns them on, are more expressive about it, and more relaxed about saying what works for them. So you kind of have to adopt some of that for your own relationship. You have to realize okay we just have this sort of soft barrier to our sexuality in terms of we just need to push through this little barrier to get to what we want.

The soft barrier for Submissives is actually a little half step in the direction of being dominant. Saying what you want. Telling your partner what to do to you. The soft barrier for Responsives is getting through your own sort of inertia and going you know what, if I just do what my partner really likes and really turns them on, once I’m through that they’re going to be turned on and that’s what I’m going to enjoy.

It’s consciously admitting there’s a soft barrier. When you’re exhausted and the relationship isn’t in a perfect place, that soft barrier can seem like a 20 foot tall solid wall. But it only stays like that if you decide to let it stay that way. The truth is it’s a soft barrier. You can just knock it down and get through the first couple of minutes of not necessarily being perfectly turned on, couple of minutes of feeling frustrated like why do I have to tell them what I want, and just push trough.

If you can both become conscious of it, that can be really, really helpful. If you’re Submissive and they’re Submissive sometimes you’ve just got to say we’ve got to take turns at this. I really love you and I know you love me and we’re happy together but sometimes we’ve just got to take turns. Someone’s got to take the lead. Someone’s got to make the move.

It’s the same if you’re both Responsive. Someone’s got to make that first move, get it started, do what their partner likes, or act a little more turned on than you necessarily feel in the moment at the beginning. Then acting a little more turned on and a little more expressive for a minute or two to get the thing started and your partner interested. This may be all it needs. Push through the soft barrier, get through that initial frustration, and then it’s good.

It’s not necessarily how you feel at the beginning of the sexual experience that’s the benchmark of how good the sexual experience was. It can be frustrating at the beginning and you can feel a whole lot better at the end.

You only need these Brands of Sexuality fulfilled once in a while to sort of feel good and normal. Like if you’re a Submissive, you don’t necessarily need to be on the receiving end of super dominant sex every single time. You may need this once in a while to feel fulfilled but not necessarily every single time. So sometimes this turn taking thing can be enough to get you what you want.

I think we crave the things that we don’t get. I think most of us are happy with vanilla sex for the most part, but we need our particular Brand of Sexuality to hit us reasonably strongly at least once in a while. So take turns, push through the soft barrier. Get through the initial awkwardness, then get to really enjoy the sex for what it is and what you have.

So probably a long answer. Probably not necessarily the perfect snap your fingers and three quick trips…three quick tips to make it all magically go away. You’ve just got to take turns, push through the soft barrier.

Anyway that’s about it. Hope you like the video. Please like, share, comment, subscribe and all that good internet stuff. And I will talk to you tomorrow.