The secret to a healthy relationship is...drum roll please....conflict. Wait, what? We're diving into what it even means to have a healthy relationship with Connor Beaton & Vienna Pharaon.
The secret to a healthy relationship is...drum roll please....conflict. Wait, what? We're diving into what it even means to have a healthy relationship with Connor Beaton & Vienna Pharaon. We discuss the foundations that create a lasting relationship, how you can turn conflict into connection, and ways to understand your partner at their deepest level.
Follow Vienna @mindfulmft and Connor @mantalks. Learn more about Vienna at http://www.newyorkcouplescounseling.com/ and Connor at https://mantalks.com/
Thank you to our partners for this episode:
Kensington Books: Kensington’s newest title INTENDED VICTIM by Alexandra Ivy. You can find INTENDED VICTIM wherever books are sold or visit kensingtonbooks.com
S13E16: How To Have A Healthy Relationship w/ Connor Beaton & Vienna Pharaon
00:00:01 - 00:05:16
The Dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that the Huffington post calls one of the top ten podcast about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about. From sex parties to sex droughts, date fails a diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host Yue Xu, former dating coach turned dating sociologists. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Krafchick as we explored this crazy dateable world.
Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of the dateable podcast where we are full and we are ready to tackle the rest of the year. Now that we're done with Thanksgiving, this is where all the holiday shit starts happening, right? This is the beginning of it all, and it's also the beginning of cuffing season. Oh, yes. We are here to help you. Through cuffing season, consider us your sherpas through all the cuffing that's about to happen. Relationships, they begin and they end around the holidays. We know because we've both been there. And that is our mission with a table podcast. Let's get to the bottom of these behaviors and patterns that we see. And so we can be better equipped for when things happen. And we are so excited about our episode today. We are talking about what it means to have a healthy relationship. So we have back a fan favorite. We have Connor beatin. He was on season 12 episode one socially distant yet eventually available, one of our top rated episodes, I believe. And we are lucky to have him joined by his wife, Vienna ferrin, who is a very popular marriage and family therapist of mindful MFT. So we're super excited to have both of them together. And I think this concept of healthy relationship is something that's tossed around a lot. We've definitely said that before, because I think a big part of dateable is that we want to create the relationships that work for us ultimately. And a lot of us don't want to repeat our family, our parents, relationship, potentially, divorces that have happened. I think we're all kind of out there to have a healthy relationship. That's a term that gets maybe as buzzed as emotionally available at another probably neck and neck this, too. It's also kind of like saying I'm looking for a nice person to date. It's like it's the status quo. You should be wanting a healthy relationship. And if you do have a healthy relationship, it shouldn't feel like your unicorn. Yeah. That should be what all of us are in is a healthy relationship, but why is this so hard to identify what a healthy relationship is? Is, for example, some of us didn't grow up with great examples. I'm a good relationship is you don't understand what healthy you have a means for me. I had no idea what love even meant 'cause that was never a word that was used in my family. And so when you have to relearn all of this from the beginning, it's a really scary thing. It's also very exciting because it means you get to carve out what it means to have a healthy relationship for you specifically. Yeah, I mean, I think modern data is extremely dysfunctional also. So I think thank you. Thank you, Monday. Obvious. Without you, there wouldn't be us. But I think that's why would you do there is this your site is set on a healthy relationship. So you can get out of the dysfunction of ghost egg and data gaps and all the stuff that you can contribute to that dysfunctional relationship. Yeah. I would argue that every healthy relationship has dysfunction in it. Does that mean the healthy relationships are free of dysfunction? It just means healthy relationships know how to evolve out of the dysfunction and conflicts. Yes, so I'm gonna give us our listeners a little behind the seeds to how we work. But UA and I always created outlined for our episodes. But that being said, if the convo is going at a different direction in its working, and we think it's good material, we'll keep it going. So I think for this episode, particularly, we had our long list of things that we wanted. To cover in what a healthy relationship needs. I don't even think we even talked about communication that much. I think that's a given, but it wasn't a topic within itself. It obviously came through just because it always does. But we talk so much about conflict in this episode. And more that's kind of like reminded me of what you just said. There's always going to be some dysfunction, but how do you get through it? And they said something that is sat with me for like the last two weeks since we recorded this of just, you know, like, how can you look for someone that you can do conflict with? And that is never something that is on anyone's list of things in a partnership. There is almost an irony of just how much time we spend talking about conflict. What we're talking about healthy relationships, but I think it does come back to what you were just saying of, you know, there's inevitably going to be miscommunications and some aspects that aren't always smooth sailing because it's two people merging together that have years and years of upbringings that very dramatically.
00:05:16 - 00:10:10
Think about this behavior for a sec because I know so many of you have done this. I have. Is you have a problem with your partner and the first thing you do is complain about it to your friends, right? Yes. You go to brunch, you're like, I can't believe he did this. Am I right for saying this? Why is your first reaction not to go to your partner? I never understood that with myself. And I get the same way, you know, at work, I get into conflict with my coworkers and the first thing I want to do is complain about the coworker with someone else or go to HR. But why can't I address it head on with the person? I think it's just that we're so afraid to rock the boat, but at the same time, it's never a good look when you complain about your partner to your friends and then you stay with your partner and then you expect them to take your partner's side later on. It never works. Sight of really interesting revelation last week. And I think for a long time, I was after my last relationship. One of the top things for me was someone that is emotionally healthy. That was a word that I used a lot. And I think for me, I mean, my last partner had depression that he was dealing with. So I think for me, I was like, I don't want someone that's facing mental health issues, or challenges. And I think what I've learned in the last year plus, I think mental health has been even more front and center than ever before with COVID, and everything that's been going on in the last couple of years. And even through our community, for instance, how openly we talk about mental health and how we've done episodes about mental health since then. I think everyone is dealing with something. I think the idea that someone is a 100% meant healthy quote unquote like mentally like that doesn't even make sense. It's almost like there's a judgment in it too. It's like when you see someone that may be a little overweight and you say that they're unhealthy. You don't know that. That's just a perception that's being made. I think that we just like this idea that we're all perfect and we have everything figured out. We can't enter relationship till we have all our shit work through. I think it's a complete illusion. I don't think that exists. And I think I was expecting maybe even on this conversation with Vienna and Connor to be like, yeah, you know, you need to be all healed and good to go. And they basically set the exact opposite. Your relationships are a healer for you. Of course, this is on a spectrum if you're really not in a good place then maybe it's not the right time to date. But I do think that we can't expect to be a 100% healed or a 100%, quote unquote healthy, whatever that even means. And I don't think that should prevent us from being with someone because you really just need to find someone that appreciates your imperfections and embraces them because we all have them. So is that your revelation in relations to your previous relationship versus now? I think the revelation was maybe that wasn't the actual issue by last relationship. I think the actual issue was that the commitment wasn't there. I think ultimately in communication wasn't there. Or the ability to deal with conflict. I think the stuff that we talk about in this episode is that there's always going to be ups and downs. You also can't predict life, like even if someone is in a good place right this minute. What happens when a parent passes away? Or they lose a job? There's no predicting fully how someone's going to deal with every situation. I think we also can't expect people to just be all buttoned up and pretend like nothing happened. Yeah. Yeah, I can definitely see that. I think it could be also a great excuse to say this person wasn't emotionally healthy. And so therefore, the relationship didn't work out. But as we've learned, also in our finding your person program is people break up not because of feelings are gone, not because the connection's gone or the chemistry's gone. It's because someone stopped trying. And when one person of the two stops trying and loses that commitment, it's not gonna work. That's just the end of it. No matter where you are in your mental health, it's just one person stops trying just doesn't work. Right. So I think it's having a partner like Logan has said her interview with us. She and her husband are dating and they just never stop. I think that's what a healthy relationship is. You just never stop trying. Right, someone that will hold your purse. That was her statement. But I think that one has stayed with me. It's like, you know, someone that's just there for you. Unconditionally. And you know, if someone that you can be yourself around, someone that you can have the difficult conversations with and they don't feel like conflict is coming out or even if there is conflict, not being afraid of it and just being able to deal with it head on and, you know, I looked at like this is like a cheesy article, but like the three C's of a healthy relationship.
00:10:11 - 00:15:03
Do you know what it was? It was communication, commitment, and conflict resolution? No, it was a conflict resolution, although that should be the forest C compromise was the last one. And compromise is an interesting word. I think. But I do see, you have to take two people into account. I think that's what it ultimately means. It doesn't mean that you're always sacrificing your own needs, but it means that you're thinking about both of you as a collective unit and not just your needs only. Right, yes. So this last week for Thanksgiving, we had a lot of data community members meet up with each other. Specifically in LA and I was able to meet up with two of those members, Brian and Eric for a few margaritas. I was wondering what's happened. But I want to just really point out something that Brian said in our conversation because we're of course we're going to be talking about dating. And it's the same thing we're talking about right now, Julie is like ultimately what matters is you want to do life with someone and you want someone to be by your side. So he told me that after each date he does journaling and his journaling starts with, let's get all the emotions out, all the feelings. Why are you excited? Why did you like this person without any judgment just write it all down? And then he takes a few minutes and he looks back, and then he asks himself, would you want to see this person again and why? And then he would kind of compare the two different answers. One is like all emotions. And the other one is really like sitting back and thinking, could I do life with this person? And sometimes you can see a huge difference in those days where maybe you see that you're really excited about someone because of their occupation. Because of the way they look, because of these factors that don't really fucking matter in life. And then if you were to ask again, would you want to see this person again why? If the reasons are because I really feel like we are connected to each other, I feel like there's mutual respect. I feel like we could create something together. Those are answers that lead you into that future potential, but if the answers are like, this person's hot. We got drunk and had a good time. It was fun. I mean, that's cool. That's great, but if you're looking for that partner, does it actually lead you to that purpose? I love that. The only devil's advocate I'd play on that is how much do you know after one date? Are you gonna discount people that maybe you don't see that side? I still think the first date really is to see if you could have fun with someone until even like them on some level. I do agree though with this statement of if it's all fun and there's no future potentially then maybe it's important to check in. I think this exercise would be ideal after a third day, but that's just my only caveat to it. I think it's good to do it every day. Yeah. Yeah, right? So you don't get so wrapped up in your feelings and something that he discovered was he was really wrapped up in what someone represented the ID of someone versus who they actually were. So this exercise helped him separate the two. I think that's an important caveat too. I think so much of this, it's hard to give blanket advice to the masses because we've talked about this before. We have a cohort of people that gives people so many tries over and over again. And then there's another cohort that won't give anyone. They'll be like, oh, you're not 6 feet. I'm done. I'm not doing this. So I think so much of it is knowing yourself and where you kind of swing on the spectrum. Again, everything is all to spectrum. If you're the type of person that sees yourself getting wrapped up in superficial qualities, then I think this is a great exercise to do. If you're the type of person that knows that you might need to give people more of a chance than that you can take that into a cow also. For sure. How was your Thanksgiving Julie? It was great. It was really fun. I think we had a way too much to drink as my friend had borne me about. So the caveat I had going, I went to a my friend's parents house in sausalito, which is north of San Francisco for anyone outside the area. Her one caveat was we're gonna get drunk. No, it's the caveat going again. And Friday gonna happen. We did a whole lot of nothing because of that. But it was super fun. There you go. They were super sweet. They had my boyfriend come too, and he ended up being the star of the show because he helped with so much food and they said they couldn't have done Thanksgiving without him. Oh, hey, brownie points right there. The best part of it too was that I was with my friends, family. So I got to hear everyone's always afraid of the crap, their families got to give us.
00:15:04 - 00:20:07
At one point, it was just me and her parents. Like everyone else was doing something else. Okay, or something. And her mom turns to me and she's like, how did you meet your boyfriend? She loved him at this point because he was healthy with all the stuff. And I said a dating app and she's like, why can't my friend meet someone on a dating app? And she's like, I know the reason. It's because she writes about her cat and her daily profile. What is she thinking? And then she came back and she just like proceeded to give her shit about the fact that she writes about her cat and her dating profile. And my friend's like, I took that out years ago. She's like, I don't have a problem talking to people. That's not my problem. It was great. I think that they have a reason for why they're not a single. She knew that the secret was the cat that was holding her. She still convinced all that, whether it's in the profile or not. It was great though. I'm gonna side with the mom at this point. I don't think it has anything to do with the cat. It's just that your profile shouldn't be about anybody but you. So it could be about a fucking squirrel. I don't care, don't talk about these things. Speak about you. So yes, mom, you're right. I loved it. The best was when you were there and you were experiencing it, but it was a directed at you. That was yes. I highly recommend going to a friend's family's. I was for Thanksgiving. But also, isn't it? Isn't as sexy to see how you're I guess sexy is not really the term sometimes, but to see how your partner is with during the holidays. And I think around your friends or even your friends family or a friendsgiving to see how well they can be to see how social they can be. I think that's one of the first times I really started following in love with my partner was that the friendsgiving that we went to and he was cleaning up dog poop the entire time because there were 9 fucking dogs party in the whole time. He's just like, hey, nice to meet you. I am cleaning up some shit for that. And I just kept thinking like that sucks, but also I'm starting to love you because you're being very helpful right now. No, I think the helpful trait is a real legit quality, my boyfriend is super helpful and we had a party and he was in there with me and doing it. We got up super early to cook. It's definitely something that makes you fall for someone a bit. Yes. How was your Thanksgiving UA? It was great. My mom cooked a goose. We did not know the Turkey route and my partner and I we were responsible for all the sides, and they all turned out very well. I did get a little bit of food poisoning during the day, not from the food we made just from the food we had earlier in the day, so I was bedridden for about four hours into the evening. So my boyfriend was in the kitchen with my mom cooking. And then I got immediately better after some medication. And then we start cooking again. So other than that little snafu, it was a really nice just relaxing Thanksgiving. There was very little drinking. Getting nearly as drunk as you did. We made up for the next day. Did he get the full court press? No control. You know what? I mean, long story short, I don't need to go into it, but my parents have been basically living with us for the last few weeks and it's been really nice actually. I feel like we're getting along, it might little too bedroom apartment with two dogs and four adults, and we're taking turns with chores, we're going to bed really early because my parents aren't AARP time. We eat by 6 and we're in bed by 9. It's fantastic. So no more of these hard conversations because I think we're just living as a family at this point. They see it. That's good. That's good. That's what you needed. Proof is in the pudding, right? Exactly. Ask him if he's committed when he can just show you that he is completely committed. So I think they're pretty convinced at this point. Good, good. There you go. There you go. Let's move on to our question of this episode. Someone wrote in and said, in a relationship, how much fighting is too much fighting? Yeah, okay. Well, there's not much else beyond that question, but I can only imagine you're in a relationship. Things are going well, where you think in there seems to be a fight that comes up every other week. Maybe it's about the same issues over and over again. And at what point do you say fuck it? This is not working, or do you say, actually, this is a healthy amount of fighting. I don't think it can be quantified for snowball. I think it's one hour you fighting. Are you screaming at each other, breaking dishes or are you having just voicing concerns and I feel like I was so disillusioned for so long that it needed to be these yelling matches.
00:20:07 - 00:25:00
To express conflict. And I feel like the best way to handle conflict is to just bring it up like a conversation. And then it's sharing what is happening for you, having them respond to that and then having a dialog. It doesn't need to be this blown out fight for conflict resolution to happen. I actually don't even like the word fighting. Because then it feels like me versus you. I feel like if it's conflict resolution, then it's YouTube figuring out how to deal with it together. And I prefer that over fighting any day. So I think it's not a how much is too much, but what is the quality of your quote unquote fighting? I think the other side of it is they're being progress made. Are you discussing the same things every week? And nothing's changing or is it different all the time? Because things are evolving. I think those are very different situations in my mind. Totally. In every relationship is so different what you may consider too much fighting could be considered just a regular Tuesday for someone else. I think it's really important like you said Julie is there has to be progress. If you feel like you're fighting over and over again about the same issues, then you're doing something wrong. You're not resolving the issue. You're fighting for the sake of fighting. Or you're avoiding the actual issue at hand. So it's not, I agree. It's not the quantity. It's really like, what is the resolution after you fight? Is it that you've made progress to never visit that issue again or is it just like, um, let's just have makeup sex and call it a day. Right. And then you have the same fight again on Saturday. I think the gold standard should not be to not fight. We've talked about this before on the podcast that sometimes the couples that don't fight just resentment fosters and bruise because it's built up for so long. I think that's extremely problematic. I would rather hear that people are having conflict in fighting over nothing at all. And then the second side is the sweeping it under the rug. I think that's really problematic also. If something bad happens instead of addressing it, even if it's disappointing to address it. I think having the conversation that it was disappointing to you or it hurt you in some way is super important or it's not good for your relationship. If you're just sweeping it under the rug each time and then it happens again, it's like a perpetual cycle at that point. Yes, so true. With the sighting, I think you bring up a really good point also is your conflict style is very different and maybe a good conversation to even have earlier on in a relationship is what is your conflict style. How do you normally fight? 'cause my partner and I had this same roadblock in the beginning because he is so used to having these blown out fights, which is strange because if you meet him, he's very quiet and peaceful. And I just don't fight, I don't raise my voice. I just don't really fight at all like that. So he really thought that I wasn't invested in the relationship because I wasn't fighting at the level that he was used to. So maybe talking about conflict style, and then at the end of each fight, there should always be a negotiation, a relationship is a constant negotiation. So each person brings up a proposed solution to this fight, and then you compromise and you go back and forth and negotiate from there. But never end a fight with, let's talk about it later, or whatever this out or it's fine now. I don't even want to talk about it because you guess what? You won't. It's going to resurrect. Yeah, it's so interesting. We talk about this in the episode. I think Vienna brings it up is how did your family fight? I think that's so important. As a marriage and family therapist, it's always goes down to your family and what you grew up with and what was unhealed growing up is going to surface in a relationship. And I think that kind of brings it full circle to what we're talking about earlier is that relationships are our biggest healers. So looking at it with open arms that it's a way for you to grow personally, opposed for you to be right or you to win the battle with your partner. That isn't really what is gonna help you in the long term. Absolutely. Cool. Well, I guess we didn't really answer the question of how much fighting is too much fighting, but 5 days a week. That's too much. There you go. Done. It was a trick question because there is no answer. There we go. Quick announcements. So if you are catching this right when the episode drops, you still have three more hours to purchase. Finding your person are special holiday rerelease. The cart will close exactly at midnight Pacific time tonight on Tuesday. So Tuesday the 30th.
00:25:00 - 00:30:05
So hopefully you're catching this ASAP if you are catching it after. We will have the wait list back up. You can always add your name there again in the occurrence that we do release this for a third time. We are unsure at the moment if that will happen. So if this is something you're debating, definitely get on it now. We talked to some of the members of that went through this program to, you know, get some testimonials and see how things were going. And honestly, that made my day. We were getting some of them in on Thanksgiving. And I was reading them off to my boyfriend. I was like, this makes me so happy. The people are this much development to happen from this program. I think we do it when we created it, but it was obviously the first time making it and running it. So hearing people say I feel so much more positive than my person's right around the corner or the budding relationship I started, I feel so much more equipped to do this and I know it's meeting my needs and I'm not just falling into a relationship. Hearing all that stuff was so incredibly heartwarming and we do really believe so strongly in this program. So if you're on the edge, you know, we're going into cuffing season. We're going into the holidays, the time is now, 5 to your person dot com. Okay, before we get into the episode, let's take a minute for a quick message from our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by the book, dinner on primrose hill by New York Times and USA bestselling author Jody Thomas. This book takes readers to Clifton bend Texas, a small college town where two very different scientists, Benjamin Monroe, and Virginia Clark must team up on experiment on the chemistry of mating. Sounds spicy already. Can these two opposites attract and quantify the science of love, Virginia knows her desire to work with Benjamin is motivated by more than just the potential of that prize money and hope that he might not be as quite indifferent as he seems to be. And soon enough, their project, the chemistry of mating is gaining notoriety, Friends, neighbors, the whole town has become involved, but no matter what the data determines, one conclusion seems inescapable, love follows its own rules. You can get your hands on dinner on primrose hill anywhere books are sold or at Kensington books dot com. Okay. Let's get into it with Connor and Vienna. So what is a healthy relationship? I think all I learned these days is that your relationship is really informed by your childhood and your upbringing. So if you know that your upbringing did not give you the best example of a healthy relationship, how do we know what a healthy relationship is? So this is why we're having this discussion with Conor beaten and Vienna fair and who you have been studying this. And can give us examples of what a healthy relationship is. But who are they? They're both in their mid 30s, curly live in New York, Vienna's from New York and Connors from Canada and they're married and they just had a baby boy. Congratulations. And welcome back Connor. We had him on for a very popular episode called socially distant yet emotionally available, how a season 12 episode won. And we're so happy to have you with your other half here. Vienna. Welcome Vienna to our show. Thank you excited to be here. Senator jam out with this one. You two are so cozy. It's so funny. I'm in New York right now and it just rained this morning. So it just feels very cozy right now. It's so great that we're in the same city 'cause I feel the vibe already. Vienna is a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York and the founder of mindful MFT, which stands for marriage family therapy, right? You got it? Yeah, okay. NFT, and there's MFT. I much prefer MFT. And personally, just for me, I'm going to fan girl out. I've been reading your studies for so long and following your content. And my friend Emily and I discuss your content all the time. So it's just blushing because I'm like, wow, I get to talk to Vienna today. I'm going to give my shout out to my friend Emily, who's going to freak out because I'm going to call her right after this. That's awesome. And hi, Emily. Excited. Oh, she's gonna freak out. That touches me. I love to hear that people, yeah, like read the content and talk about it and explore it. And yeah, that's the point of it. Is to offer some introspection and see what see what shows up when we ask some of those questions. So happy to be here. And Connor, if you don't remember, is the founder of man talks, which is an international organization, focus on men's health, wellness, success, and fulfillment. Love that. So again, we're here to talk about how the relationships and how to build one with your partner. But let's really start with the two of you. Can you share a little backstory of how you two met and became a couple? Sure. Do you want to start? We attribute this to our to our dear friend Mark rose.
00:30:06 - 00:35:01
Oh, yeah. The love on Instagram. A dear friend to both of us. We met through Mark. We were speaking at a conference together years ago and the relationship obviously developed over time. Connor was living in Vancouver. I was living in New York City at the time, and yeah, so we had to do a lot long distance for what do you think? And a half or so or a longer? Yeah, at least. Yeah, really navigating what it was like to be on two different coasts, two different countries, albeit pretty close to one another. Different time zones, all of that. And then eventually, somehow convincing Connor to move east. And yeah, and gosh, I don't know, we got engaged. We got married. We just had our first child together. Yeah, first child, not just together. It's our first child altogether. For child altogether. Yeah, the only child. And yeah, just like growing through life together, doing the things. But yeah, I mean, really interesting time to figure out and navigate all the differences and challenges that but what would you add? I mean, I think like with love comes logistics, you know, there's always going to be things that you need to figure out always. Doesn't matter on the couple. Doesn't matter the relationship, I think it's just one of those things where just because you fall in love with somebody doesn't mean that it's sort of smooth sailing. So we had a lot to figure out. You know, my business was rooted in Vancouver, Canada. I was living there. I was in New York and so there really was a lot to sort out in the meeting the relationship. But, you know, we met through a mutual friend. We had a lot in common and I think it was just one of those one of those things where we contributed to one another's lives in a really powerful way and a palpable way. And yeah, I feel like that's probably a good place to pause. So did you guys know from the get go that you had found your person or did it kind of evolve over time? I mean, I think a little bit of both, like definitely, it was interesting that before we started dating, I was in New York and we had just like through our friend connected and she had reached out because I put up a post just saying, I'm in New York and I want to go out and meet whoever's here. And so she had just hit me up and I went out with her and a couple of her friends. And I remember having this experience where I went and met her at her apartment and knock on the door, she welcomes me inside. She's not finished getting ready yet. And I sit down on the couch and I can see her she's in the bathroom doing her hair just getting finishing up getting ready. And just like this voice in my head goes off and it's like, you're gonna marry this woman, and I was like, I don't know this. I don't know this woman. You know, like, a stranger on the street. I think that's the most random thing ever. You know, fast forward. How much time was it after that that we actually started connecting like four months, 5 months? So anyway, we go out on this night on the town. We go out for dinner. And then we part ways. We don't take each other's phone number. We don't stay in contact. We just totally went our own way. And then we see each other again in this conference, months later. And really hit it off. And so, yeah, and then the rest is kind of history. This was the first time you met. Yeah, that you're describing. Okay. Well, I mean, we had technically we had met once before and like shook hands. But that was that was a different event in Vancouver. I was like, oh hi, I'm Connor, oh hi, I'm Vienna. So different context. So Connor, you knew pretty early on that. Something. Yeah, something new pretty early. Vienna, what about you? I, yeah, I it was actually. There was something deep inside of me that knew that this man was I don't know if I knew for sure that you were gonna be my husband, but I knew that there was something very deep in there that was going to make me commit to what we were having to go through during that time. It was very clear to me that it was worth it. I don't know that I would have pursued or stayed in the pursuit and the receiving of the pursuit. If I wasn't so connected to, yeah, this is going to be someone for me. Again, I mean, I guess I didn't know for certain, obviously, but yeah, I think pretty early on we joke because Connor all the New York City folks all understand this. But Connor came to town from Vancouver and for our first date was like wearing these orange shorts and I was like, does not have enough black in his closet. I was like, wait, I don't understand what this is.
00:35:01 - 00:40:03
We were like, we joke around about it as it was almost a deal breaker that first. That's how you know he's different. That's how you know he's different. We laugh so hard about that. But yeah, he came through and to New York and we spent some time together and then he wound up going to Miami. He was coming through for work. And I remember at one point after we had gone on many dates, he was in Miami at the time and I said, I would really like for you to come back. And again, sort of just like a gut thing of there's something more here. I'd really like for you to not fly back to Vancouver after this. I'd like free to fly back to New York City. And he wound up doing it. And I think both of us agree that had you gone back to Vancouver. I don't know if we would have continued the relationship because we were like 3000 miles apart. And what the hell are we actually doing? You know, and I think neither of us were really interested in pursuing a long-term relationship. I know that wasn't, that was not on my agenda. You mean long term or long distance? Long distance. Okay, okay. Yeah, maybe a long term. Yeah, I was going to ask, where was your own personal mindset before you met? Where were you in life each of you? I had been single, the last relationship that I had been in was a relationship that I thought would be someone that I would have married. And it was a big, it was a big loss for me. And even though there had been time and space between it, I think there was still a part that wondered or thought maybe this person would reenter into my world. Yeah, there was a tenderness there, right? It was like this person had reentered another relationship and Connor was actually coming off of a relationship. And so it was interesting because it was a very there was familiarity to for me in my experience of it. There was familiarity and like, oh, this is really tender and raw. I've been in the situation before where a person can change their mind and go back into a dynamic that they had before. And as Connor was exiting this relationship, for me, there was a sensitivity there. I was like, oh, this is either like my wounding or this is going to be such a beautiful healing opportunity for me. You know, that line is so thin. And it's so heart right. It's like wisdom and discernment and yeah, like our awareness and our ability to have these conversations with each other is oftentimes that difference maker between just being in a pattern versus being in the healing of something that gives us that new ending. I'm grateful that, of course, where our relationship developed into was the healing for me, but there were times in the beginning stages where Connor was definitely pulling me back off the edge a bit because I was like, you know, I know this, you know? This is so familiar for me. And I definitely don't want to experience the same thing over and over and over again. And so yeah, there was definitely a Ron is there even though there had been a lot more space between the ending of my previous relationship than for Connor. So there was this fear of history repeating itself that he was would potentially get back with an ex-girlfriend? Is that kind of what was showing up for you? Yeah, I wasn't sure. That I was going to go back. No, I didn't know that, yeah, I don't know that I was concerned about that. But I think just sort of like you're full availability, right? Got it. Got it. It's like a normal question, right? It's like if somebody's coming out of a relationship, how much time do you normally need after that relationship? Because it was, you know, it was a more long-term relationship that I had done that I had exited. And so there was apprehension on her part. I see. And that makes sense, right? I think that's even if you haven't gotten out of relationship recently. We're constantly wondering how ready and other person is. And sometimes we just don't know. So something you said earlier Connor that made me think, well, that's so true with love comes logistics. So what do you think is the chicken or the egg here? Do you figure out the love part first? And then the logistics or figure out the logistics and then figure out the love part. What was it for you two? I mean, I think in part, it was like pursuing whether or not the connection that we had was something that we wanted to navigate the logistics of because that, you know, sometimes you're like, oh, I like you and I appreciate you, but the challenges and the obstacles that come along with this relationship maybe aren't realistic. And that's maybe a pretty direct way of looking at it. But I think for us it was like that time where I went back to New York and flew back there and we spent another week or two together. That was sort of like this feeling out process of, okay, are we going to invest in developing this relationship? And we were both pretty pretty clear and pretty realistic with each other at that time because where we were also at was building our businesses.
00:40:03 - 00:45:01
You know, we were both professionals, both building our business and, you know, so being honest and upfront and transparent about what was important to us at that moment in our life was also I think pretty crucial to that. So you know, I think I think it really is about understanding the connection that you and the other person have. But before getting lost in the logistics, because I think people can go into how this is impossible or other all these challenges and like, you know, especially when people are getting together when it's mixed families, right? It's like people have been divorced before and they have kids that they're bringing into it. It's like you can get caught up in all the practicalities and that can erode your capacity to see the genuineness and the authenticity and the potency of the connection. And so I think, you know, we, I think we did a good job of exploring the connection first. And then once we were sort of secure with that, saying, okay, now how do we logistically make this work? What does this actually going to look like and how do we explore these conversations? So I think that's a good segue because obviously we want to do both on this podcast because we see you and think of you as kind of like the epitome of what a healthy relationship looks like. So be curious one, first of all, how do you define a healthy relationship? And then I guess the second part is were there ever peaks of the relationship that were kind of like maybe I don't know if the word is unhealthy is the right word. But, you know, like, a differing feeling of where you are today. Yeah. I mean, I think that what goes into it for me is the self and the relational awareness. You know, it's like, of course, we are not in a perfect dynamic. Of course we have our conflict and things that require attention from the two of us to move through the challenges the things that are confronting for us. But I think what allows for that to happen is our commitment to our own awareness of the self and our commitment to the relational awareness, meaning what's happening in the system between the two of us and also kind of relationally. I know Connor very well. I trust that Connor knows himself the best, but I know Connor, I don't know, probably second best. And yeah, and I think that's in return too. Like, I know his inner world, you know? I know his inner world. I know his inner map. I know the things that are going on in his life in his fears and the doubts and the insecurities, et cetera. I know what plays out in the family system. And he knows that about me too. And we know those things because we talk about those things. We're committed to sharing vulnerably and intimately with one another. We want each other to understand each other's inner worlds. There aren't a lot of question marks there. I actually don't think that we have many question marks really at all. We kind of lay it lay it out there. And because of that, because we have an inner working and in our understanding of each other's inner world, then there's so much beauty that can happen from that. To me, that is a huge pillar of what allows for whether you want to call it a healthy relationship, a functional relationship, a productive relationship, a relationship where we have the tools to be able to navigate the things that are inevitably going to show up. That is what I believe allows it to happen. We need to be able to take a look a deep look at ourselves and we need to be able to take a deep look at each other. And I think we do that in generally in a really beautiful way, one where we have compassion for the self and each other, right? Where it's like, okay, I'm human, you're human. And we also strike a really nice balance of accountability and ownership in responsibility. We can understand anything why somebody does something why somebody would say something with enough context at all makes sense. But we also need to have ownership responsibility accountability for like, okay, and that's still crossed a line or and there wasn't that boundary there. And this still really hurt my feelings or there was a betrayal there or whatever it is fill in the blank. And so yeah, I think that I would say that for us at least what makes our relationship function well is when we are tuned in to our own cells and each other when we're up to speed on that when we're able to look at those parts where there's not a whole lot of defensiveness. It's like we're like, there it is. Yep. You know, and being able to call that part forward. There's so much tenderness around that when we're talking about fears and securities doubts, our shadow, but I think we do a beautiful job of holding this stuff that a lot of people don't like to touch, you know, a lot of people don't like to say, this is what I'm insecure about, you know? It's like, gulp, right? People don't want to admit that. And I think Connor and I kind of just admit everything. You know, to each other and that allows for a lot of movement and navigation and the things that like I said inevitably will show up in any relationship.
00:45:02 - 00:50:01
I think what makes a healthy relationship is that the relationship becomes a vehicle for both people to expand within. And expand, it can mean many, many different things. But I think oftentimes that requires a type of radical transparency or honesty that people are terrified of. You know, that the truth is sometimes a really scary thing that we don't want to bring into a relationship. Is this kind of related to Julie's part two question, which is what were some of the more challenging points in your relationship, but I also want to relate that back to something you said, which is you feel up to speed about each other. But I do feel like in a lot of relationships in times of conflict, people hold back as opposed to revealing more about themselves. So can you give us kind of a concrete example of maybe a conflict or a challenge where both of you were able to lean in and reveal to your partner about yourselves? One of the major conflicts is like where do we live? You know, that was one for a while of like, where where do we occupy our lives and how do we make this decision to either be in Vancouver or be in New York or be somewhere else entirely? And that, you know, that was a conversation that took a long time because there was a lot of skin in the game, right? It's like our businesses. You know, who is going to move whose business was going to adjust. And the reality was it was that I was much more flexible on that. Just logistically, it was easier for me to move to New York, but there was also a kind of sacrifice in that because I love nature. And so New York City is a concrete jungle and it's lifestyle. Yeah, it's a very, very different lifestyle. So I think initially that was a challenging that was a challenging maneuver, but we worked through it through a lot of open communication, meeting some very clear expectations around timeline. I was like, I definitely am not moving there to live there for the rest of my life. I'm not interested in that. And so, you know, there's a lot like right now we live upstate New York on a Lake. And so we don't live in the city anymore. And so a lot of it was about having these hard conversations where just because we were in a relationship together and loved each other, didn't mean that we did both didn't have to then make decisions about how we were going to co create the life that we saw for ourselves. So yeah, would you add anything to that or did you have a different example? I mean, I was just going to talk a little bit about our different conflict styles. Yeah. You know, like, 'cause, you know, I'm thinking about, although I don't know that it plays out as much as it used to, but I was definitely more like active and conflict than you were and certainly true like when we look at our family systems, right? And the way that both of us grew up, yeah, like Connor, well, you can speak for your for your experience. But yeah, I mean, I grew up in a family system with a mom and a dad and they separated and then divorced for 9 years, no other siblings, neither one of them remarried or really even dated anybody. And so, yeah, I was part of this kind of tiny system. And there was a ton of conflict and hostility through the separation and the divorce process. That was very long. And I was tiny. I was in first grade when it began. And yeah, there was just a lot of fighting, a lot of tension, a lot of manipulation, a lot of gaslighting, a lot of paranoia, a lot of emotional flooding. I mean, literally everything you could possibly think of was part of that experience. And I love you in the book. It all. I learned how to engage with the system that operated that way. And especially my father, who was a master at manipulation, he was very quick with his words. He was, yeah, I mean, even before the term gaslighter, you know, was even popularized. It was like there was a lot of manipulation and yeah, just like quick on his feet, right? And OG gaslighter. Yeah. He invented the term. At this middleman, got it. And I always talk about, obviously, part of my work is family systems and origin stories. And so I think about the origin story. And the first time where I was observing both through observation and through experience, the manipulation really wasn't directed at me as a kid, but I watched the manipulation with my mom. And I saw in her someone who was not able to stay on her toes and keep up and it was confusing for her and it was destabilizing for her.
00:50:01 - 00:55:07
And so I watched as a little kid and I saw what he was doing. And so I talk about how when you are a kid who's reality is being denied or you're watching, manipulation. There's something about this need to be right that emerges. So I would battle with my dad at a certain point and be like, nope, that's not what you said, or nope, that's not what you did. And I was the only person who could actually catch and watch and call him on the things that he was doing and kind of trip him up with it. And that turned me into an adult who needed to be right in conflict. Because right, meant safety, you know, right meant that I wasn't being duped. I wasn't being fooled. That was a position of stabilization for me. And so when Connor and I would get into conflict, there was this part that would emerge where I needed to be right. I needed to prove my point. I would go to all lengths to show Connor that he was wrong and that I was right. And so you when you're asking this question about why it's important. It's like any couple can get stuck in that place. In fact, that could be something that is a massive rupture in a relationship. If you're not able to navigate out of that, but because there is at least even if I'm blind to it in the moment, there's a willingness to explore, like, okay, what's showing up here, right? And even at the time, I mean, we've been together for 5 and a half years now, even when we started dating or therapist, I'm a family system that was like, I'm an expert. I'm a pro at this, right? And these are still things that I wasn't always able to catch or see or even know. And so sometimes through relationship, the light focuses in on those things, right? It sheds light on these spots. And there's a desire a willingness to say, okay, let me look at what's playing out here. Interesting. Let's hold that thought so we can get into a special message. You may have heard us talk about our finding your person program and the response has been overwhelming. Just as a recap, we have cracked the code on finding a partner, and we have already shared our methodology to a sold out group, and now we're excited to be able to open up registration again for a very limited time. Listen, we get it. Modern dating can be incredibly difficult. After one too many bad dates, you may even question this is all worth it. We hear you and we see you because we've been there ourselves. And by talking to thousands of daters over the past 5 years through dateable, we've been able to pinpoint exactly what helps people find their person. It's three components, positivity, reflection, and action. And together, it's what we call the positive refaced method. In our finding your person program, we walk you step by step through the method, prepping you for your person who is just around the corner. This is our best content yet and we aren't holding back any of our secrets in the program you'll have access to almost 8 hours of audio sessions as well as an accompanying workbook. Additionally, we're giving away free bonuses valued at $2800 all just for signing up. If you're serious about finding your person willing to put in the work and eager to implement every step of this method, the sky's the limit. The cart is open for a limited time starting on Black Friday and the cart will close at midnight on November 30th. We completely sold out the last time. So make sure you get in on it before it sells out again this time. Just head to finding your person dot com to learn more. Again, that's finding your person dot com. Usually what we see in working with people over the years is like people who get into relationships with one another. They consciously choose one another, but they also unconsciously choose one another. And so you might choose your partner, but so does your shadow. So does your insecurities and your inferior parts and your fears and your anxieties, those things also choose your partner. People need to also be aware of that because your stuff's inevitably show up in the relationship. And so yeah, when we first started dating, she was very conflict oriented. You know, no problem with it. Ready for battle. And I was like, what the hell is this? You know, like, I'm not interested in this at all, because in my upbringing, I grew up between two families and conflict with other entirely avoided or incredibly volatile, like really, really volatile. To the point of physical abuse. And extremes. Extremes, right? And so for me, she had like conflict that I joke around now that when we started dating her conflict was like a love language for her, you know, there was like acts of service, words of affirmation. You wanna go? You wanna go? You wanna go? You wanna go? And so I really had to start to adjust because I didn't understand what was going on until one day we were at her father's place and I saw this cycle that had been going on in our relationships showing up with her dad and I was like, oh shit, that is what's going on.
00:55:07 - 01:00:08
That's what you're doing to me, right? You're just getting caught in this, you know, I got to see how I was showing up in that space where I used to be the guy that just avoided conflict all together in a relationship, right? Somebody was unhappy. You know, I'm not going to engage in this. I'm going to go play video games. And I don't care. I'm going to go to the bar and have drinks with my buddies. And so I would either disengage or become very sort of assertive to the point of like I'm not putting up with this. And so it was one or the other. And so I started to have to find this more middle ground orientation of standing my ground, setting him some boundaries, being firm, but also understanding where, you know, where are you coming from? Why do you need to prove your point right now? What's actually behind the point that you're trying to make? What's the emotional experience behind that? And so that changed a lot. So it's less about the details of the conflict and more about why we are engaging in conflict. And that's what couples can get lost in, right? Is we get lost in the details of what we are arguing about versus what is the conflict that actually telling us about ourselves at individuals and about the relationship as a third entity? Got it. So it was like less specific things, but just more of how you two were navigating each other in the dynamics between you. Interesting. I mean, there's so many questions I have. But I guess the first one is, how did you come out of it? I think one of the myths that healthy relationships are going to be conflict free. And I think that's just not realistic from everything we've heard and what you just said. But if you do handle conflict well, it can bring you closer together. How are you able to kind of make that shift from what you were just describing to more of a connection? Yeah. I mean, I do think that it's important for people to understand that conflict is an inherent part of life of being a human being and you want to not that you want your relationship to be completely devoid of conflict or be all conflict oriented, but you want to start to develop a kind of anti fragility within the relational dynamic. You want to develop more assertiveness or more compassion as a result of getting into conflict within a relational dynamic. It's not a bad thing. A lot of conflict happens in a relationship because something's trying to sort itself out for you to have better intimacy, better connection, better understanding. Origin stories around conflict are really important for anybody who's listening. It's like, you know, what's attached to that word? You know, what's the story around it? Your job at first is to say like, yeah, what narrative do I hold here around conflict? What did I experience in these original templates, and these original experiences of conflict in our family systems? What did it look like? Conflict can be abusive, right? Conflict can be passive aggression. It can be putting things underneath the rug. It can be never speaking about things. It can be the silent treatment. It could be an endless amount of things. And so it's so important for each person to understand. What is associated with the word? What is the association there? Because most people are not like, I want to sign up for conflict because most of the time, the experience with it is that it's safe, it's negative. We don't want it. It's unpleasant. It doesn't lead anywhere good, right? We don't not many of us have models of parents or caretakers or parental system, navigating conflict in a really successful way. And I think part of what we talk about is seeing conflict as an opportunity for four connection for intimacy for closeness, for understanding something new about yourself and the other. Of course we don't want to hang out in the extremes like Conor was saying. But if you're just happy all of the time in your relationship, beautiful, lovely. But there's not, there's not a whole lot of newness that's going to happen in that space, right? A new understanding of self or the other. There needs to be many ruptures and sometimes they're moderate and sometimes they're massive, but there needs to be ruptures that reveal something like Connor was saying before. And so I always say, conflict is like this flag in the sand that says something very important is happening here that is so worth paying attention to. If you are in conflict, if there's any kind of reactivity, your system is telling you that there's something that predates this moment, right? That needs your attention that needs the relationship's attention. And so I just wanted to make sure that we started with the origins of how we relate to conflict as a working understanding of why you might not be interested in being in conflict. But seeing if there's a reframe here to say, okay, yeah, this is not thrilling, and this is not fun, but I also understand that something very profound and healing can take place here. And it's not just surface level. Well, that's basically where I was going to start is that, you know, what we did where we started our process was understanding and starting to communicate with each other about what our origin story was around conflict.
01:00:09 - 01:05:08
And how we were both individually showing up in the conflict within the relationship. So point proving, and then either avoidance or jackhammer, right? Like, gonna shut this conversation down. Starting to understand each other in the sense of why we were approaching conflict from that perspective. So that base level understanding. Like a lot of people get into a relational dynamic and they're married and they don't even understand why their partner is reacting to a conflict or a discretion in a certain way. But if you have a different understanding of like, oh, right, your father tried to manipulate you and gaslight you constantly and you feel like you need to protect yourself right now. Well, I can have a lot of empathy for that. But if I just am focused in on, you know, you're pissed off that I didn't take the garbage out. And, you know, I forgot to buy something. Then I get lost in my capacity to have empathy, understanding, compassion, et cetera. So that's number one. I would say a few other pieces. We instituted like a cause for a pause. So it's like, when do we need to pause within our conversation if it's not going anywhere anymore? And that was an individual responsibility. So for me, if I found that I was completely shut down, I was checked out. That was cause for a pause. It's like I'm checked out. I'm not even in this conversation. We need to pause. And the pause is important. It's not saying I'm ending this conversation. It's saying I need to pause this conversation for right now and we're going to revisit it. And then we would communicate, okay, we're going to revisit this conversation. Later tonight or sometime tomorrow. And then one of us would re-engage with that. The other thing I think is having some rules of engagement. You know, like we would have conversation about how we want to actually try and operate within conflict. Knowing that you're going to get heated in those moments, knowing that you're going to get angry or shut down or run away or get anxious or whatever it is, creating some basic rules. So what's okay and what's not okay within relational conflict. Again, a lot of people don't put any structure around how they argue how they have conflict. And so sometimes anything goes, you know? And so if you grew up in a household where, you know, just like thinking of a very specific client, like you're up in a very traditional Italian household. And so conflict was very loud and there was name calling and that was totally acceptable. But that doesn't work within within your marriage. And so sometimes you need to have these very basic rules and agreements that are in place that say, this is how we're going to try and operate. And if any of these agreements get broken, then we're not going to continue to engage. That's another reason for us to pause. Oh, fascinating. I think something else that was really important was that once we understood the cycle that was playing out. If one of us had more capacity in that moment of conflict, which is true, a lot of the time. Sometimes we're both heated and you're at the same level and you're like, shoot this is where we need to take the pause and all the things. But if you're at a place where one of us has more of a capacity in that moment, more of the facilities are still there. I found it very helpful. If I got into that space, for example of needing to prove my point. And he didn't get destabilized by it. If he stayed really grounded in that moment and was like, what's going on? Yeah. It feels like you're trying to prove something. So what's scary right now? Or what's actually happening in your internal world? There was something that was so that was so gentle, you know? And still very firm. I could feel that I wasn't moving his stabilization. You know, and there's something about like unconsciously, right? When we get into the chaos, then it's like, let's go, you know? But when you can't get the other person to get destabilized, again, not like a conscious thing that you're doing, right? But when you energetically can feel the groundedness, right? And then that commitment of I love you what's happening. There's something that would move me out of that, where there was almost like a surrender. Very emotional, actually. Remember many times where it's like, when I'm in the point proving position and role, you know, you get like, I got in whatever and you can't get through my skin. It's strong and it is hard and it is rough. And there was something that was very softening about that. So much that it was very emotional. I would cry. It was like a surrender of like, oh my gosh, like you get it, you see me, and now I can let go of the need to prove anything right now. And so, you know, again, I know that we're not always in those moments or sometimes conflict gets us to a place where we are both very upset but I remember the first time that that happened early on in our relationship and just thinking like, oh my gosh.
01:05:08 - 01:10:08
Yeah, like you're actually moving me out of a shame spiral by being able to stay grounded in the space. Because the moment that you continue on is the moment that more of the shame enters in. You double down, you triple down. Now I'm like I'm proving my point and I'm really proving my point. Finally proving my point. And then you're like, what was my point? What was my point and you're just like, oh my gosh this is awful and gross and, you know, and you get into that space and it was like such a profound thing to have someone love me so much in that moment to say like, I'm not gonna go with you there. I'm right here. I see you. I understand what's happening because we've had those conversations. I'm going to stand firm in this, and I'm going to love you through it. And it was such a surrendering experience, like the armor would come off and yeah, I could drop it then answer one really, really brief. It also was very helpful for us to label and give a name to the dysfunctional versions of us that would show up in conflict. So you've probably heard us say it, but like Vienna's was the point prover and mine was the jackhammer, right? And so that was also helpful because we could then identify it's like, oh, she's really in the point proof of right now. She's really trying to it's like, okay, I can hold space for this because I know I know where she's coming from or when I would go into this jackhammer space. Sometimes she would just say, she'd be like, you're jackhammering right now. You know, she just look at me and be like, the jackhammer. I'd be like, yeah. I am able to it. And yeah, so just put a label to that part. And that can be a fun exploration as well. Fun. Quick question. Do you two see a therapist, individually? Individual. Okay. So, okay. And then my other question. My other question is, so it is enlightening to hear this conversation from the both of you, but not every relationship can be who you two are with your backgrounds, right? So in, I guess these relationships where our listeners are listening to. I feel like one person has to lead the way to talk about conflict and how to cope with conflict. So in your example, Connor when you witness Vienna with her dad, how did that conversation go down when you had that lightbulb moment of ah, I see this is why she handles conflict because I would love for that to set an example for people in relationships who kind of like want to instigate this conversation. Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of it was just curiosity, you know? Because I had also seen her with her mom, which was a very different form of conflict. And so I was like, okay, so it was just a lot of curiosity. Like, what was it like growing up, engaging with your mom when she wouldn't hear you? Or what was it like growing up when your dad would, you know, when you would see him try and manipulate your mom or you would see him gaslighting somebody you'd see him acting in this way. And to her credit, she did a good job of opening up and being able to communicate what that was like. And so it's just a lot of curiosity. You know, what happens for you in those moments where you go at him, you know, when you attack when you try and prove him wrong when you turn into like lawyer. The lawyer. And it was just it gave me a much broader understanding of, you know, what happens in her thoughts? What happens physically in her body? What happens emotionally underneath that? And so just asking questions and getting curious about what was it like in the past? What's it like right now when it happens? What thoughts do you think? What emotions do you feel? What do you physically feel in the body? Do you want to run away? Do you want to attack? Do you want to whatever it is? And that was kind of it. I think that sometimes we underestimate the value of just understanding and getting a really robust full version of what's going on for somebody in the moment. And if we just leave with curiosity, you know, kind of like being a kid again. If you remember, if you've been around a child in like the last however long, they just ask endless questions. You know, they're just so freaking curious. But that's how they learn. And so sometimes we need to bring that curiosity to our partner because if we can have that type of context, then it can inform our decision making process of like, well, maybe I should engage differently or maybe I can ask this question when you're heated or even I just understand what's going on for you in those moments. And so I don't need to react because I know it's not about me. So I think the biggest thing was I got really curious about what her experience was so that I could depersonalize it in the moments where it felt like it was personal. Because that's why we get caught in conflict. If I take it personally, what you're saying or unhappiness or disconnection or complaint or criticism, then it's a losing battle. But if I can not take it personally, and I can hear what's happening and that's a very different. It's a very different place to come from. So I would just say, curiosity, curiosity curiosity. You know, ask questions about what it was like in the past, what it's like in the present and let that inform your decision making process in terms of how you engage with your partner, moving forward.
01:10:08 - 01:15:06
You know what? There is a sense of irony of that we were talking about healthy relationships. We've spent the majority talking about guests. Absolutely. I think that that's from most couples dysfunctional conflict is the barrier for a healthy relationship, right? And we live in a culture in a society that has sort of disneyfied relationships and that sells this very fraudulent version of what love should look like, where there's no conflict and you don't have any issues. And it's like, well, that's all bullshit, right? And I think most people know it. Most people know that if you want to be in relationship with somebody, you're going to have to go through some hard things. And so I almost, you know, what I tell a lot of men is like find a partner that you want to do conflict with. You know, obviously, somebody that you love. Obviously, somebody that you're attracted to. Obviously somebody that you respect and all these things, but don't forget about this part, because if you do, you might be screwed. You might find yourself in a relationship with somebody where you're like, I hate how you do conflict. And now we're having to make these big decisions together. And I don't want to deal with you. And that builds resentment and that destroys and arose intimacy and it collapses the relationship. And so, you know, if you want a healthy relationship, how you do conflict should be at the very forefront of the conversation. That's great. Yeah. I mean, I was going to segue us to takeaways because I think that is like the master takeaway of this. But I think, too, it's like when think about happy, healthy relationships is the happy part of just things being good all the time and us not having that conflict. But what I'm hearing here is it's not that we need to show up like a 100% quote unquote fix. That's just not realistic in general. We're always doing work on ourselves. It's how do we get to know our partner and how do we listen to our partner. And I love this curiosity about the partner and how all of that is what takes like surface level and makes it go deeper, which is what builds this bond that makes a healthy partnership ultimately. Yeah, and I think, you know, if people are wanting something that's not conflict oriented, what we probably could wrap with or talk about is appreciation. You know, I think appreciation is the currency of intimacy in many ways. You know, and if you want intimacy to thrive and flourish in your relationship, how you express appreciation and gratitude towards your partner towards the relationship itself. All of that is going to determine the quality of the connection and maintain it, right? Appreciation is relational maintenance. And so making sure that we can actually engage and appreciating one another and everything that we do is very, very important part. And I think that we notice when that falls off, like it definitely impacts the relationship. So it's one of the toss that in there as well. No, that's great. I think it's like we forget when we're dating that we are two people coming together that have, in some cases, like 20, 30, 40 years of life experienced before even meeting each other. And there's so much rooted in their family dynamics, how they were brought up, like all of that, that we can't just expect that there is no conflict. And there's no, that someone's going to think the exact same way that we think. I think that is what you're saying Conor, it's a fairytale that that's when the credit stop at the movies. That's just not how relationships work. And I think people want to bail when that happens, but conflict is inevitable. So I love this piece of how can you find someone that you can navigate it with? That's willing to do this deeper work and truly understand you. And not take it personally and just fight back, but really understand where it's coming from. I think that really is so key in finding that healthy relationship. Yeah, and I think we also need to check our expectations. You know, I think the modern dating world is interesting. And I'm grateful that I'm in some ways. I'm grateful that I'm not in here right now, because I think it's challenging. And I think, you know, COVID and dating apps and all that kind of jazz has thrown in some complications. But I think, you know, just both having expectations of your partner of the relationship, but also not being entitled within a relationship. Because I think a lot of people go into relationships in modern dating and they are looking for someone to be everything for them. Yes. And that's the unrealistic expectation. It's like you have to kill that off in some way. You know, you have to let go of this idea that the other person needs to be everything for you because it pressurizes the relationship and the other person and it's a form of perfectionism where the other person can never live up to what we want and expect. And so I think it was Francis weller that says relationships grow in community. We are meant to be nurtured. So I have a very good community of friends of men in my life, Jenna has a very good community of people that are in her life and they are also the container that supports our relationship.
01:15:07 - 01:20:00
And that's that is I think in many ways we kind of forget that in our society, especially as we've gone through the pandemic in the last year and a half. And not just supports by telling you what you need to hear. Exactly. I think it's really important we don't have friends who say Connor, your right Vienna is wrong, right? Or Vienna, you're right in Conor's wrong, just to side and be like, I wish you did so. You know, we have people in our lives who also are curious and say, okay, well, what's coming up? You know, it's like it's not just this siding with, you know, where you don't actually have growth from that. And yeah, I mean, I think, you know, it is ironic, Julie, like, of course, right? You're like, tell us about how to have a healthy happy relationship. You know, and this is, you know, I think that this is a huge part of it, right? Where I started today was no self and relational awareness. The inevitability of life and relationships is that they're going to be hard things that show up. Even if they're not showing up right in the beginning, they're going to be hard things that come. They're going to be endings and deaths and fertility issues. And the list is endless, right? And to know that we can do hard things together is so, so, so, so important. And that is not always easy and fun and lighthearted. But that there's growth that is there. And knowing that line between something that is growth oriented versus harm oriented is so important. It's like, no, of course you don't want to just stay in something if there's nothing that's changing. But if there is growth that is happening there, that is evolving you and the relationship. That's, yeah, that's it. That's what we're here to do. That's great. I mean, three major lightbulb moments for me in this conversation are one, it's not about the conflict. It's about why two people are getting into the conflict, most recently, my partner and I had a whole fight about getting a sideboard. I was like, I don't know if I can see a reason to get a sideboard. I don't even know what that is. And he's just like, our room's on balance, but it ultimately was not about this piece of furniture. It's about the fact that I had to prove my point right. And he was looking for someone to feel empathy for him. So that was a huge one for me and that really connected. You connected the dots for me on that one today. Second lightbulb moment is asking the question, how does that feel for you and how did that feel for you? And this applies to anybody dating right now. You don't even have to be in a relationship. We go into dates talking about events in our lives, but we don't talk about how we felt during those events. So it could be I work here. I grew up here. I have three siblings. And I think a great follow-up question for all of us on dates is what was that like? How did you feel? Tell me more about what you were feeling during this moment. And I think that is a way to get to know someone peel back the layers and also promote this vulnerability. You know, on these states. And the third major lightbulb moment for me is I open this conversation with saying maybe none of us have had good examples of healthy relationships. And I was like, are we all screwed? But the answer is, no, because even the healthy relationships have worked for others, may not work for you. So the ultimate healthy relationship is what you create with your partner and the systems you create, especially around conflict resolution that work for only you and your partner and maybe our kids will grow up, seeing what we did as parents and maybe that wouldn't work for them and their partner. And that's okay, but we have to create these systems on our own with our partners and I think that's the most special takeaway. I love that you had all of that through you're good. You're like taking notes and engaged in the conversation and very good. Well, this was very top of mind for me because we literally just had this fight. And I'm like, why am I fighting about a sideboard? This is great. We should probably wrap up this conversation before we go on forever. Since we can talk to you too forever. If people want to learn more about both of you or individually, what are the main websites and resources that they can go to? For me, on Instagram, it's mindful MFT as in marriage family therapy, the website's New York couple's counseling dot com Conor and I both we have a joint course called get the love you want, that does walk us through communication, conflict boundaries intimacy, self and relational awareness, family system stuff, designed to be a 6 week course. That's open available. Gonna take you longer than 6 weeks. Yeah, probably takes a little bit longer than that. Some heavy lifting in there. We've learned that with our as well. There's a lot of stuff in there. And I also have the origins of you course, which is a deep dive and understanding. Yeah, where you came from your family system and the origins of communication, conflict, et cetera.
01:20:01 - 01:23:25
Yeah, and then I'm just at man talks on Instagram or a man talks dot com and that's it. You have a shadow workforce. Let me shadow workforce. You can find it online. It's really all about discovering the parts that sabotage you in your life. Yeah, I think that's my last take right over editing this, but my last takeaway is that, you know, I think sometimes we think that we need to be like a 100% ready to go for a relationship and relationships bring us happiness. We actually talked to a happiness expert, a few episodes ago, and it's really that relationships bring awareness, not happiness, what you were speaking about is that it's always your uncovering things about yourself in the relationship and all of that. And it doesn't mean that everything needs to be a 100% buttoned up because we're always works in progress. And your shadow follows you everywhere. Exactly. Thank you so much, Vienna, and Connor for being on our show. It is such a pleasure to witness. You two together on one call. So really appreciate your time. And for all of our listeners, we appreciate your time and if you appreciate this episode, be great if you can give us 5 stars in Apple podcasts or leave a little nice love note. We love all that. That is part of our love language above anything else. We be forever grateful if you did that. We're going to wrap up this episode in true data style. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network, find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tagas in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those posts. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect analyze and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitcher radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. And most importantly, remember to. Stay dateable. Staples help small businesses print big. The print advisers at Staples sweat the details and quality of every project. That's what they call their print big promise. They're committed to getting your print job right every time. To treating your small business like a big deal and making it come to life. And to giving you expert guidance from start to finish. And now get 20% off signs, banners and posters when you spend $75 or more at Staples. Offer ends January 1st. Holidays are here, and so is fashionable fitness. Gift yourself a Samsung galaxy Z flip three 5G, a phone that folds in half to literally stand on its own. Pair it with the galaxy watch four for ultimate wellness and wow factor. Check health stats, flex personal records, over 90 activities can be tracked, like biking, swimming, golfing, and more, invest in yourself, with tech made to crush goals. Holidays open up with galaxy, shop at all at Samsung dot com, 5G connection and availability may vary. Check with carrier products sold separately.