#53 How Bad Was the Cheating?

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

Today I’m going to talk about a concept I’m starting to kick around inside of my own head. I’d love to get your feedback on it and if you think I’m missing something or it could be tweaked I want to know, leave a comment below.

When you’re trying to recover a marriage from an affair situation, it’s much easier to recover if it wasn’t that bad, compared to if it really was pretty bad. If it was deep, if it lasted a long time, then it becomes very, very difficult to fix. Not that I’m trying to make light of any affair situation but some go far deeper than others.

I’m wondering if it’s possible to create a tool, some sort of schedule or chart that’s going to quantify and qualify exactly how deep something was. So far I’ve got six different factors going into it.

 

Physical/Sexual Contact

The first one is just the level of physical and sexual contact. So if you can think of it like a one to ten scale, one being some sort of hand holding, incidental touch. Kissing is maybe a four. Full on vaginal penetrative sex a seven or an eight, and then really kinky, extreme stuff maybe eight to ten. Where everything else goes on that scale not quite sure but that’s kind of how I think of it. Obviously if your spouse has held hands with someone or kissed someone it’s not as bad as full on sex and it’s not as bad as super torrid crazy kinky sex.

 

Emotional Connection

The other factor that I could think of was emotional connection. Certainly some really intense relationships may never turn sexual, but you can certainly have an emotional affair. Thinking of it as a one to ten scale again. One is pretty incidental connection; three or four that it’s growing somewhat more. I think if you’re hitting a six or a seven there are some sort of exchanges of I love you or you’re important to me, and ten being they really are super important, more important than their spouse.

 

Length of Affair

The third thing I can think of is just the length of the affair. If it’s something where they met someone for just a day or a weekend or it’s the sort of one night stand-y sort of thing, than would be far harder to break than something that has lasted weeks, months or even years. And there’s certainly been some affairs that I’ve come across that have lasted a decade or more and those are incredibly difficult to unpick and put right compared to something that lasted a day or two, or a week or two.

 

Level of Deception

The fourth thing that I can think of as being a factor is the lying, the level of deception. At the low end of the scale, that’s simple things like changing your passwords and hiding your phone and not necessarily volunteering information. Three, four, five some sort of real lying. Some sort of I’m going to be here, instead I’m over there. Continuing to hide the affair, continuing to cover it up, continuing to gaslight your affair partner, that could be six, seven, eight.

I’ve even seen some things that are super, super extreme when it comes to lying. I’ve come across situations where the person that was cheating invented an entire business conference that they went to. Complete with flyers mailed to them to get their wife to say this was a really good idea that they go, and they just flew out of town to be with the affair partner. So you can see there’s a whole scale between completely fabricating stuff compared to little white lies and fudging some details. The worse the lying is, the harder it is to unpick.

 

Money Spent

The fifth factor that I can think of is money. How much money was spent on the affair situation. Obviously low end if it is a couple of bucks to meet him for coffee or a movie ticket or parking, whatever. Not as bad as starting to drop hundreds of dollars on dinners, not nearly as bad as dropping hundreds or thousands of dollars on hotels. Is there buying gifts? Is there buying vacations? There’s a whole scale of things.

I think you also have to hold it in context compared to the level of income of the people. For some people dropping $100,000 on an affair partner may not be as much of their income as someone dropping $1,000 on an affair partner. I think the level of money, just the resources diverted from the primary relationship, I think that’s a factor.

 

Long-Term Consequences

The sixth one, and this is sort of a catch all and somewhat random, I think some affairs can have some really serious, nasty long term consequences that may or may not be kicking in. I’m talking about things like STDs, pregnancies, have people moved out of the house, how public is it? I think some of these things are potentially really significant. I mean obviously once you thrown in a pregnancy into an affair situation, it is so much harder to deal with compared to one where there isn’t. And things like STDs, I mean just having the disease can cause some long term negative effects.

 

Summary

If you look at those six factors as a one to ten scale of not quite so bad to really terrible, I think you’ll have a better idea of just how much impact an affair has. So quickly recapping: How much was the sexual contact? How much was the emotional connection? How long did it last? How deep was the level of deception to pull this off? How much money got poured into it? And are there random, serious long-term consequences that you’re always going to have to deal with?

There are no easy affairs to fix, but there are certainly ones that are easier than others. So that’s just a tool that I have sort of kicking around inside my head to just sort of qualify things. I would love to know your feedback, whether or not I’ve missed anything or you think something could be tweaked or added.

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

 

Edit: YouTube comment suggesting adding a 1-10 scale for “Number of Affair Partners”. Because obviously (!) two affairs are worse than one affair.

#51 Don’t Carry People Through Life

Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol and this is Relationship Momentum. And today, lucky you, we’re going to have a World of Warcraft metaphor story. I know you love them. Watch everyone click away. Pay attention. It’s going to make sense.

Okay, once upon a time, going back all the way to Vanilla World of Warcraft (2004) I ran a guild. If you want the short explanation of what World of Warcraft is, it’s where geeks and nerds get together and have virtual dolls they play with. They run their dolls through little experiences, and have parties together, and try and get better clothes, I mean armor, for their dolls, so their dolls are better at playing the game. I’m not sure if that really sold it, but that’s what we did.

Anyway, so I was a guild leader. I had a bunch of people in my guild and we had a mixture of good players and bad players. Players that play a lot, and players that didn’t play so much. It’s a fairly time intensive game.

So what I ended up doing in order to benefit the guild, I spent a lot of time with some of the weaker players trying to help them. We’d complete quests together, run them through the lower level dungeons, getting them to level up their dolls. That way they could play the game with the rest of us with our awesome dolls and help us get the really good dresses.

The more I spent doing this, the more they kind of relaxed into that role. After a certain point I was spending most of my time not enjoying the game any more, and spending most of my time just carrying people. Once we finally got them to the level cap, once they were finally ready for the epic dungeons and raids and everything, once we finally got them there, well half of them quit playing the game. The other half just sucked.

All that effort into carrying them and making them better was pointless. It was for nothing. It just gave them an easy game experience and then they kind of lost interest or never really made it to the level cap and then they were gone.

I’ve seen that same dynamic happen over and over again in the real world in my real life. The people that I have gone above and beyond to, the people I’ve spent hours and hours slaving away to try and carry them through a situation, there’s almost never been a reward for it. Sometimes not even a thank you, let alone getting some sort of payment for services rendered. Meanwhile there are some people that pay me hundreds and thousands of dollars over years to fix their problem and I always find that they are far more appreciative, far more polite, far more just nicer to deal with, respectful of my time, kinder to me, interested, invested, and just way more appreciative than those I’ve tried to carry.

So for me it’s just been incredibly clarifying, especially over these last two years. The people I have better boundaries with, treat me better, are more appreciative. Anyone I go above and beyond for, I try and carry them and drag them through a situation, there’s very little payoff sometimes. Sometimes there is but other times not nearly so much.

If you’re too nice, I know that there are people in situations that are in your life that in part you’ve created that are just draining the life out of you. You’re turning into the situation where you’re a sled dog pulling a sled, and you think there’s another six dogs pulling the sled with you, and then when you look back all the other dogs are sitting in the sled and it’s just you pulling. That’s you being too nice. That’s you carrying people through life and at the end of the day you’ve just got to stop.

Whether that’s you lose your temper and you demand the other dogs start pulling, or you just cut yourself loose and they can be trapped on their sled and you go your merry way, I don’t know. That’s for your situation. But you can’t carry people through life and ever hope that it’s going to get better with them. Because it’s not going to get better until you stop carrying them.

Anyway, that’s about it. I hope you like the video. Please like, share, comment and most importantly subscribe. And I will talk to you tomorrow.

#50 Unconditional Love

Hello beautiful people, my name is Athol and this is Relationship Momentum. Today I’m going to talk about unconditional love. I really like this concept on one hand, and I’m kind of a little creeped out by it on the other. I think there’s a little bit of a trap with it.

So let’s talk about the good. That whole idea of for richer for poorer, in sickness and health. The assumption the two of you are a team, and your relationship is going to have highs and lows. You should enjoy the highs together and when the lows hit you don’t bust up the relationship. Sometimes you’ll be up and they’ll be down, and sometimes you’re down and they’re up. Everything will sustain itself and you’re going to have a good, happy life together with a lot of trust and commitment and contentment that this is a process.

That’s all fabulous. I totally buy into that. On the other hand though, sometimes it’s not really a question of for richer, for poorer, or in sickness and in health. Sometimes it’s like your relationship changes from a situation where you used to be a pair of dogs pulling a dog sled, but you’ve started to realize the other dog is sitting in the back of the sled. You’re the one doing all the work, doing all the pulling, and the only one really contributing to the entire relationship. Then they start having the demand that you will put up with this arrangement. You have to keep doing all the work, working around their personal problems, working around their issues, walking on eggshells forever. You have to keep doing that forever because you need to love them unconditionally.

I’ve now seen a number of times where the person demanding unconditional love, are doing things that are absolutely outrageous. If it were communicated to people outside the relationship what they were doing, the people listening would be shocked at the situation. Only people behaving badly demand unconditional love. Really when they’re demanding unconditional love, what they’re saying is I need you to have no personal boundaries. I need you to have no backbone with dealing with my crap. I need you to just suck it up and tolerate it and not to complain about it. Also you need to somehow find a way to be attracted to me, excited to be with me and happy about being in this relationship. I’ll continue to act in highly inappropriate ways, crap all over you and give you no sense that I’ll ever get any better.

The only people who demand something as outrageous as unconditional love of their partner, know they don’t meet the conditions to be in a relationship. If you met them for the first time acting as they are acting now, and they were demanding that you tolerate such outrageous behavior, there wouldn’t be a second date. There sure as hell wouldn’t be a third date.

The only people that demand unconditional love, don’t met the condition of normal adult behavior. If you really want to think about it with icy cool reasoning… their demand is that you must love them with unconditional love, and if you don’t love exactly that way, often there’s a lot of pushback on you. See what really happens is the demand for unconditional love, is their condition on you for this relationship staying together.

The demand for unconditional love is a condition, because when you don’t act with this perfect unconditional love to please them, boy do they get mad. Boy do they get upset. Boy do they let you know that you aren’t acting right. Because you know what, if they’re demanding you love them with unconditional love, they don’t love you with unconditional love.

 

It’s a lot to think about. But don’t get me wrong, the whole thing of for richer, for poorer, in sickness, in health, being a team, working through the highs and the lows together, I totally buy into that. Life is long, marriage is for a long, long time. You’re going to have ups and you’re going to have downs. You’re going to have highs and lows. This is all normal. All totally normal, and it makes so much sense to be on the same team and committed to seeing something through.

But let me tell you, when one half of the couple just throws down their tools and says I ain’t gonna do nothin’, I don’t care about you and you have to do all the work, it’s kind of abusive.  And they use that big old unconditional love hammer to beat you, to do everything that they want to do, while they don’t do much. Remember if they’re demanding unconditional love, that’s because they aren’t meeting the conditions of being in a relationship with them. And unconditional love on you is their condition.

So on that note, I hope you had a great day. I’m busy, busy, busy. Please like, share, comment and subscribe. And I will talk to you tomorrow. Catch you later.

#49 Fair Warning Before Cheating

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

So today it’s a Tuesday so beginning of my week. I’m having a lot of coaching calls today and I’m somewhat frazzled and burnt from the amount I’ve done today. I kind of want to talk about the calls in very, very general senses because the calls today very much fell into two distinct groups.

The first group, if you could think of the relationship problem as being like a house, they’re coming to me where their houses need a whole bunch of sort of cosmetic work. Okay work on your fitness, dress better, use a little game. Also they had some structural problems with the house. Okay we have some cracks in the foundation. We need to work on the roof. We need to fix this wall. Maybe this house needs to be a little bigger. These are all fixable and workable and there’s a process but there’s some real hope. I often see genuine progress relatively quickly as the cosmetic and structural stuff is worked on.

On the other group of calls that I had, you see that same thing of needing cosmetic work and some structural work, but there’s also an affair situation. That’s like the house is also on fire. So it needs a new roof AND it’s on fire.

Now I’m not saying that affair situations can’t be fixed and you can’t come back from them because you certainly can. It’s a long road but you can. But the level of complexity, the level of difficulty, stress and drama is so much greater once you throw an affair situation into the mix.

I can look at my calls today and if I could switch the affair situation from this guy to that one, I think we would probably see a similar level of success in getting things fixed.

I feel like I’m everybody’s Jiminy Cricket moralizing here, but if you’re faced with a choice in your relationship where you can cheat, you have to know that you’re rolling the dice on your relationship ever being fixable. You may be making the decision to if not end your marriage, to certainly really cripple your marriage for potentially years. For something that’s going to perhaps last one night, or a week, or a month or whatever it is. So before you make that choice to do that, before you want to escalate to that position, you really have to think. Because like I say the situations are fixable, but the level of difficulty just goes up, and there’s so much more work and expense and time and effort into fixing things.

Before you cheat, before you have an affair with someone, it is totally in your best interest to run up the flag, shout as loud as you can, really upset the apple cart to get your partner’s attention that you’re not happy in the relationship. Give them one big fair warning shot across the bow. That might work and it might not, but I think it’s certainly worth a shot.

So that’s about it. Like I say marriages and relationships, they can be fun, they can be wonderful. We all face temptations now and then, we just don’t have to escalate it to cheating. That’s a bout it. I’m having a busy, productive day. I hope you’re having a busy, productive day too. And we will talk tomorrow.

#48 Dominance Submission the Positive and the Negative

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

So today I’ve got a follow along thought to one of my earlier videos, #9 Leaders and Followers in Your Marriage. I talked a lot about how in marriage and indeed in any relationship where there’s two people, usually one person is taking more of the dominant role, more of the lead, and the other person is taking on more of the submissive role, being the follower. It’s true of marriages, it’s true of same sex friendships, it is true of people working as partners. Usually one person is leading, one person is following a little more. This is just something that is a normal part of human hierarchy building in sociology.

But what I want you to think about today, is that in terms of being the dominant person or the submissive person, there are both negative and positive ways of expressing playing that role.

 

Dominant Negative

So let’s talk about the dominant role. The negative way if you are the dominant person, means you’re the bully. You’re rude. You’re obnoxious. You’re pushy. You push on their boundaries. You get what you want because you push your way to get it and you don’t care what the other person thinks. You’re just going to push, push, push, push until you get what you want. If they don’t give you what you want, you get a little mad and obnoxious.

 

Dominant Positive

The more positive version of being in the dominant role, you’re the protector. You are the leader. You’re the captain. You’re the one that is making sure that the whole team gets to where they need to be safely. You see that you have the more powerful position, so you are really conscious that the person that you’re with is a little bit dependent on you. You hold yourself somewhat responsible for how their life is, what their outcomes are and whether or not they’re having a good time. You’re concerned that they’re happy, that they’re content, that they’re safe.

Can you see how there’s a really positive and a negative version of being the dominant role? Are you the bully or are you the leader and protector?

 

Submissive Negative

For the submissive person there are positive and negative as well. Are you the negative one? Are you the doormat? Are you just weak? Are you spineless? Are you just broken down and beaten? Do you just give up? Do you not care about yourself? Do you have low self esteem? Do you just wallow and scamper around like a broken minion doing whatever your partner wants?

 

Submissive Positive

Or are you the more positive version of the submissive role? Are you supportive? Are you happy? Do you enjoy helping and facilitating and taking care of things and playing the backup role? Do you enjoy playing that sort of second fiddle, okay I’m playing a support role. Are you into it? Does that engage you, does it excite you? Does it make you feel safe, secure, warm and connected to the person playing the more dominant role? It’s a totally different thing than being a doormat. It’s totally different than being taken advantage of. It’s giving because you just know this is what makes you happy and you enjoy it.

 

So can you see that there are positive and negatives of both roles?

One of the things that I really worry about as someone who has talked about dominance and submission is there’s a handful of people out there who say, oh my goodness let me use this guy’s stuff to justify being a bully. Let me take his stuff to justify being a jerk. Now I can just keep pushing her around and demand she comply and submit and shut up and give me what I want. This is one of the things that keeps me up at night. This is why I’m so careful to make sure that the Captain role is so clearly laid out. If you’re going to be the dominant person in the relationship, I’m concerned that you’re going to play the leadership protector, caring, making sure everybody gets what they need and want role.

Dominance and submission is not going to go away. In almost every relationship there is a clear leader and a follower. Even if it’s by a tiny margin, usually one person is more in charge than the other. If you’re going to be the dominant person I want to see you play it positively, if you’re the submissive person be the helper/supporter and not the doormat.

Seriously, not the doormat. You’re not getting any points and credit from me, for letting someone stomp all over you and take advantage. If you’re living with the bully you have to stand up for yourself and push back a bit, because it’s not going to get better. The bully will just keep bullying.

So anyway, that’s about it. I hope you liked the video. Please like, share, comment, subscribe, and all that good internet stuff. Help me on my quest towards 1,000 subscribers. And I will talk to you tomorrow.