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Announcer: [0:01] You’re listening to the overdivorce.com podcast with host Tom and Adrian. Two guys swapping stories about getting over divorce. If you’re going through a painful divorce and are struggling with anger and anxiety then you’ve found the right podcast. Hang with us for the next 30 minutes or so and we promise you’ll gain useful insight and effective tips and techniques for getting over your divorce and rebuilding a better life.
Tom: [0:24] Welcome to the over divorce podcast. I’m Tom.
Adrian: [0:26] …And I’m Adrian.
Tom: [0:28] Today we’ve got a very exciting subject. It’s cliche to say because every podcast and every television show always starts out with today’s show is awesome. Even “The Daily Show” has made fun of the fact that every time a show of any sort of this type starts, it starts out with I’m really excited it’s going to be an awesome show.
Adrian: [0:50] This is going to be the best show ever.
Tom: [0:51] The best show ever. This is a topic that I genuinely am interested in talking about because I don’t have any experience on it. Today I will be reflecting on the fact that I don’t know anything about this and I’m just curious as to what you go through and just relating to what it’s like to be in this place where psychologically you’re torn between two very clear senses.
[1:17] One is that of course you will love again. It’s almost statistically impossible for you not to. Then your emotional side that says you’ll never find anyone else to love you.
[1:29] Today we’re talking about finding new love and we’re going to stay on the left side of the brain here for the most part and talk about…
Adrian: [1:37] Which side is that again?
Tom: [1:38] That’s the logical side man.
Adrian: [1:40] We’re going to stay on the logic side?
Tom: [1:41] We’re going to talk about…because it’s going to happen, right? My fears about not being loved again, my concern about that is irrational. I’m aware of that but I still feel it. There it is.
Adrian: [1:58] You’re not alone man. I felt that. That was a deep seeded primal fear that I certainly felt and terrified me to a certain extent. It wasn’t necessarily that I wasn’t going to be alone maybe as much as the fact am I loveable? Am I going to find somebody that I mesh with? Will I ever be able to trust anybody again?
[2:21] What’s that look like? Will I be going down the same road? Will I be [laughing] on my seventh marriage before I crack the code?
Tom: [2:33] The statistics aren’t very pretty are they?
Adrian: [2:36] No. It doesn’t look good. I think that’s one of the big things about new love and exploring that, the old adage of having history repeat itself, being very wary of that happening– at least, I was — of going down that track again and maybe making another mistake.
[2:56] But before we even get to that point, it was really this underlying fear of one, I’m not loveable, and two, probably won’t be able to connect with anybody. Why would anybody want to be with me? That kind of crap that floats around in your head, and eventually being able to break out of that.
Tom: [3:12] This utter bullshit. Regardless of your age, you’re going to tell yourself this. It’s just as untrue if you’re 35 as it is if you’re 65 or 75. I don’t know.
Adrian: [3:25] But not if you’re 85. That’s the cut off.
Tom: [3:27] Yeah, if you’re 85.
Tom: [3:33] What I was thinking as I was saying that is, it’s never true. You’re never unlovable. It’s like either I started down the number analogy and I was screwed.
Adrian: [3:43] What was interesting for the path that I went down — which is, I think, a path that a lot of guys go down — is I was looking for validation outside of myself. I got separated and my ex left. I needed to get validated. I needed to be OK. I felt that I needed to be OK through somebody else.
[4:05] I went through this crazy phase of just chasing women and trying to get that externally. The mistake that I made, or the revelation that I had, was that really had to come within me first. It was interesting, because once I accepted the fact that I’m alone and I’m OK with that and I had a pretty good single life, then things started happening on my romantic life or my dating life.
[4:34] It’s this weird juxtaposition of your chasing after this thing that you think will be the answer to all your problems. It’s when you let go of that, and you become OK with not having it, then things happen for you. It’s strange. It’s a zen kind of thing, got to let go to receive.
Tom: [4:53] Exactly. Everyone knows in their heart that’s the truth. You just got to get there, and you won’t even recognize you’re there. That’s the funny thing. You’ll be there and you won’t even recognize it. It’s like falling asleep on a plane or a train, and then all of sudden you’re just there.
[5:08] It does happen. I think that’s the critical thing. Pretty much universal that it happens. When you’re out of it though, and you’re thinking about it, you’re torn between Jay-Z and Morrissey. You’re like, “Oh, I’m unlovable. I got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one.” I think that is a mash-up that somebody should do, because I think that would be like the perfect divorce guys’ mash-up.
Adrian: [laughs] [5:31] That’s our new theme song.
Tom: [5:32] Yeah. We’ll mix those two songs. There you have it, torn between feeling unlovable and the beauty of not having any girl problems.
Adrian: [5:41] There is a big benefit of getting that clarity. I would almost say while you’re going through your divorce and after, for as long as it takes, almost take a celibacy stance. Just take a stance where you’re not going to go after that. Experiment with that for 60 days or 30 days.
Tom: [laughs] [6:02] It’s the experiment.
Adrian: [6:04] Experiment with it! Well, because the problem is guys just chasing, chasing, chasing, and they get totally wrapped up and totally focused in on going after what they think is going to be the answer — which is another woman — and that’s not it.
[6:20] If you can take that away from yourself and be like, “No, I’m just going to chill out for five seconds, for a couple weeks or a month,” and just take that out of your conscious, there’s a release there. There’s like a pressure…
Tom: [6:32] I’ll say.
Adrian: [6:33] …to hunt and kill. Doesn’t mean you can’t touch yourself, my friend. But you don’t have to be out there hunting and trying to hunt every night of the week. It’s stressful.
Tom: [6:45] Or can you stand up and commit? I mean, I’ve asked myself this. Can I stand up and commit to not having sex with someone that I don’t love? Maybe I’ve reached that point in my life where it’s like, yeah, I’m going to take that stand. It’s like, love is an essential piece of that, and I’m going to commit to that and I’m going to wait for that.
[7:06] I don’t know. I don’t know if that’s practical or not, but it’s certainly an ideal worth considering. It may not be possible. I don’t know. I wouldn’t condemn anyone on one side or the other. But it certainly seems like a reasonable thing to consider very sincerely.
Adrian: [7:21] I don’t know if you even really have to like them. [laughs]
Tom: [7:24] You don’t have to. I mean, that’s the whole point. But would you submit to that, or would you say, “No, love is too rare to make that reasonable.” I could make a lot of arguments, believe me. You do get to make that choice. A lot of guys get to make that choice when they come out of their marriage, if they want to continue to hold to that scrutiny or not.
[7:45] But to your point about being in a position where you’re not pursuing it, it might be one way to brain hack yourself to make a really good case for why you’re not chasing it.
Adrian: [7:57] Yeah. It takes the pressure off. I mean, it takes the anxiety of “I have to go and find somebody tomorrow” or “I’m not worthy or not a whole person.” If you can just flip that switch and get that out of your head by saying to yourself, “Nope, I’m just not going to pursue that for 30 days” and just see how you do.
Tom: [8:13] It’s interesting how we see relish to sex. Certainly, both genders do to some extent. It’s not universal, obviously, but we try to work past it. But if you aren’t conscious of it, you could fall into that trap very easily of finding validation only through, or generally through, sex. That’s an odd thing.
Adrian: [8:32] Well, yeah. You can get yourself into a rebound relationship that turns into something that becomes comfortable and then maybe it’s not exactly the best person for you.
Tom: [8:40] Isn’t that what [indecipherable 08:41] was talking about? The one thing he is like “Don’t do” is don’t fall into the rebound trap? I’ve read that a number of places. It’s like one of the most dangerous things is that rebound.
Adrian: [8:54] It is. It’s a cliche because it happens all the time. It’s easy. I think that’s why taking some time and really putting your emotions in check…
[9:04] Because when you find somebody you connect with — you’re out of the game, or you feel unlovable, and you find somebody who connects with you — and then sexually intimate with you, there’s going to be a bond that forms, whether you like it or not, between you and her and she and you. You got to be really careful.
Tom: [9:22] That’s the spell that’s cast. I think you put your finger right on it. That’s exactly it. You feel unlovable. Somebody comes along and loves you, fix it, and then that spell is cast.
Adrian: [9:36] Right. Maybe it’s not love. It might just be confusing love and sex. Where you think that, OK, that we’re intimate…
Tom: [sarcasm] [9:44] That never happens.
Adrian: [sarcasm] [9:44] Nah. This is all novel stuff, right? That’s the danger. It’s like, “OK, I’m having sex with somebody and it’s great, having a lot of fun. This must be it. I’m over my ex.” Unfortunately, that can lead to more problems unless you have enough distance and enough perspective.
Tom: [10:03] This is a great question that really no one can answer except the individual. When am I ready and, when does it not rebound person? What has happened, what has occurred, that I can know the first person that I fall back in with isn’t a rebound person?
[10:21] How do I know that it’s safe, as opposed to how do I know that I’m not vulnerable to the spell of feeling unloved and having been loved?
Adrian: [10:31] That’s a great question. I think that brings up another kind of issue of what do you want to find in a future partner. A future lover, friend. When we’re buying cars, we can be very specific about “I want the eight cylinder all-wheel drive. It’s got to be silver. I need the 2013 model. It’s got to have leather seats. Heated seats, steering wheel, et cetera.”
[10:56] Yet, we don’t go through that process — at least, I hadn’t gone through that process until I went through my divorce — of really writing out “What am I looking for in a mate? What’s important to me?” We make these trivial decisions where we’re doing a ton of research on “What’s the best suitcase to get?” Let me go to Consumer Reports. I’m going to do all this testing.
[11:20] Yet, we spend no time going through that effort when we’re looking for a mate, a lifetime mate. It is really one of the biggest decisions that you’ll ever have. It can be great and really rewarding or make your life hell.
[11:36] One of the exercises that I went through, because I’m a dork, is that I listed out all the qualities that I was looking for. I brought that to the forefront of my thought process and my evaluation and et cetera. What I was looking…what was important to me. I think that’s a good starting place.
Tom: [11:58] You had your feature set defined.
Adrian: [laughs] [12:01] Exactly.
Tom: [12:03] You were ready to go to framing it out and framing her out the…
Adrian: [12:09] It’s funny, because it moves from superficial stuff to deeper stuff pretty quickly.
Tom: [12:17] Yeah. Once you start looking at that physical stuff, you sort of go, “Really?”
Adrian: [12:24] Right. Attractiveness, I think that’s definitely important. You need to be sexually attracted to your partner, but I think that that doesn’t carry the same weight. It’s tricky for guys — because we tend to be more on the physical side of things — to balance that out and try to look deeper and see things on a deeper level.
Tom: [12:47] Right. I think that sometimes it’s a challenge to do that when there’s something right there in front of you.
Adrian: [12:56] Oh, for sure.
Tom: [12:58] And me, I go, “Wait, where’s that list again?”
Adrian: [13:01] Yeah. I know I threw it out. I have no idea. I burned it. I just want some junk food. I know I’m supposed to be eating carrots and kale shakes, but there’s some cotton candy and it’s so delicious.
Tom: [13:15] Strangers with candy.
Adrian: [13:17] Exactly. I don’t know. That did help me level set, just the notion that taking a proactive role in what you’re looking for and what’s important to you. Doing that kind of soul searching, I think, will help you. It helped me to not kind of get into the same type of relationship that I was in with my ex.
Tom: [13:40] I feel like I have a good opportunity to look at the girls that I have dated and what worked and what didn’t work over my whole life, because there’s certainly a pattern. Even though it’s been 22 years since I’ve dated anyone, prior to that, I was pretty lucky. I dated a lot of really great people.
[13:59] Those things really help, I think, figure out what it is that I’m going to need in my next partner but also some things to really avoid. I think there is stuff that I really got to be careful of. I still don’t know if I really am protected from some stuff that I get attracted to. I’m a sucker for a smile, dude. It’s bad.
Adrian: [14:24] A smile can crush you.
Tom: [14:25] Yeah. It’s bad.
Adrian: [14:27] Light you up. That will light you up and take you home.
Tom: [14:29] Yeah, man. If they got a good one, I’m like, “Uh, it’s bad for me.” I start to lose my judgment and my sense of direction.
Adrian: [14:37] Yeah. Well, the other thing that we don’t want to look at is our relationship with our mothers.
Tom: [14:45] Yeah, buddy.
Adrian: [14:45] That whole family dynamics. That’s a dark little road to go down.
Tom: [14:49] Thanks, Dr. Freud.
Adrian: [14:52] But that’s something you want to be aware of, too. OK, how was my ex similar to my mother and my mother’s relationship to my father? Because when we’re brought up, that’s the role model. That’s what we get.
[15:08] How they show each other love is how you’re brought up and raised. That’s the way. So we’re supposed to be abusive to each other and yell at each other? I get that. That makes sense. This is a caustic relationship. This is all normal. It’s the way it goes, interesting.
[15:21] Once you delve into that and look at that, and then ultimately, your mother becomes what your sense of marriage material is, or your ideal mate. So you really got to be careful with that and take an honest look at that — as creepy and weird as that is — so that you become aware of that.
Tom: [15:42] Two things. One, yeah, it is creepy and weird, but it’s the truth. It has to be examined to the degree that you want to examine your life and figure out how to avoid damaging patterns.
[15:57] You’ve got to look at it and look at how your dad treated your mom. Look at how love was expressed between them and how they communicated. How they communicated affection, and how they communicated anger and some of those negative emotions. Look at your own communication style relative to those things.
[16:16] I feel pretty fortunate. I think my parents got along for most of my life. They ended up getting divorced, but I was in college. It was one of those things where they were just different.
[16:26] We’ve talked about this idea, that divorce is just more common and it’s a function of life cycle and changes that we go through as individuals. I think it’s pretty clear, and it’s been clear for the past 30 years as the divorce rates maintain a certain continuity and consistency, we’ll just grow apart oftentimes.
[16:48] Now it’s clearly more driven by women, but I think — particularly as we get older in age — statistically it’s more driven by women. Women are more empowered. That’s got to be a good thing. That doesn’t really have anything to do with one’s ability to find another compatible partner.
Adrian: [17:10] Right.
Tom: [17:16] Damn it.
Adrian: [17:17] Damn it. I keep on thinking about that initial statement you had about the first initial pattern that you get and the importance of that. That’s really bored into my head. Like, yeah. As you said that, I realized that, that really makes you.
[17:36] If you want to move forward, you need…and I spend a lot of time looking at that, too. Seeing how I took on patterns from my father. The way that I communicated and the way that I acted was not the most mature, best way to handle things. That’s all heavy stuff. But ultimately, what it does is, if you can shine the light in that dark corner and embrace it, you will become a much stronger person.
[18:06] It’s certainly something that’s helped me to accept where I was and be able to look at that and stand in that and then be able to change and get some perspective on myself. That’s important because it’s going to ultimately lead you to being a much more mature person who, when you’re ready to get into a relationship, you’ll be on solid ground.
[18:31] The benefit of going through the divorce is you really can take some time to look at yourself and be able to develop yourself. Look at those areas where you might have been slacking off on and shore those up. So when the right person is there, or when you’re ready to be in a relationship, you’re in a better place and you’ve developed yourself.
[18:52] That’s important from the woman’s perspective, too, because quality woman isn’t going to want to be with a guy who is a mess and a wreck and doesn’t have their act together.
Tom: [19:03] That’s exactly right. And then, yeah, he’s listening to too much Morrissey. I’m telling you man, it’s like got to listen to the uplifting music, or you start thinking like Morrissey. Those negative things that come from those patterns, I think is really important, that idea that you suggest about taking the good with the bad.
[19:24] It’s really easy to look at the whole parental argument and go, “I’m not going to blame my parents” or “My parents aren’t to blame.” I don’t think that’s what you’re saying. Yeah, your parents had good and bad traits just like you do. But they offer, if you’re willing to look into it, a pretty challenging mirror on your own behavior.
[19:41] Particularly the behaviors that you’re not conscious of, that you’re not consciously trying to change. We’ve talked about this before in the show. You’re just going to default back to those behaviors that you knew growing up as a child. But you can change it if you’re aware of the ones that you want to change and negative things.
[19:59] You can look at the positive things about the way your parents communicated when they were happy. There’s a lot more of those memories to tap into than you might imagine and really indicators of how to act, as opposed to focusing on the things not to do.
[20:14] Really trying to focus on the things to do and on the values that have been passed on to you by your parents and some virtues that are there to help you figure out if that person is really right for you or if they’re just a rebound.
Adrian: [20:26] I want to circle back to that to wrap things up, Adrian. That idea of really figuring out early on if that person that you’re with is rebound or if that person is a genuine, new, growing relationship that’s healthy for you.
[20:45] I wonder if looking back you can reflect on anything that drove your judgment about that. If it’s just something that has to work through, and regardless of what happens, everybody’s going to have a rebound person.
Tom: [20:57] I don’t necessarily think you’re going to have a rebound person. I think it takes awhile for you to be able to go through and get to know somebody. This isn’t like a two or three week thing. It takes months.
[21:10] I don’t know what the formula is. I don’t know if there’s like a Scantron test that they can take where they can fill in the bubbles and you can see your compatibility score — unless you’re on Match or something.
[21:24] The big issue is, watch out for falling in love quickly and passionately and fast, and thinking that this next person is the ultimate person for you because when you rush into something, it’s more of a lust thing than a love thing, where you’re rushing into something that you might not be using your best judgment.
[21:43] It feels good and it seems like it’s good on the surface, but I don’t know — other than time — how to judge that. I think you just have…
Adrian: [21:53] That’s a good observation. Who said “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”? I don’t know if that’s Shakespeare or even older than Shakespeare, but the crazy thing about that is its ancient wisdom. It’s ancient wisdom for a reason.
Tom: [22:06] That was on the back of a Snapple bottle.
Adrian: [laughs] [22:08] Snapple cap. I think we’ll look that up and we’ll put that in the email.
Tom: [22:12] It will definitely be in the show notes.
Adrian: [22:13] Yeah. We’ll figure out where that’s from. But I think it’s worth citing how old it is, because it does sort of give you this perspective on how rushing is really dangerous. I can feel the risk of rushing into something even though, as I started the show off saying, I don’t have any experience to base this on.
[22:35] I’m just thinking about what I’m going through now and what half my brain imagines versus the other half of my brain. That real split I’m experiencing, I’m sure it’s just part of the whole growing phase. Then I just happen to really be in the midst of right now. I hope to report on the status in the future. I mean, you’ve got somebody that you’re really happy to be with, don’t you?
Tom: [22:59] Yeah. I’m with a wonderful woman right now, and we just really connect on a deep level. I’m really happy and feel lucky for where I am in that relationship. But yeah, certainly did go through a phase of just running around and not really feeling in control of where I was. That’s the big warning. The big takeaway, for me at least, was trying not to go down that track. I know we’ve beaten that horse.
Adrian: [23:27] Yeah. I think this is a really good place to talk about what is going on for the next show.
Tom: [23:36] Next time, what we’re going to be talking about is confidence and how to build that up. We’ve got some cool tips, and we put together a little booklet of 60 things you can do under 60 seconds to help you build your confidence and help you put in rituals and routines in your life that will move you forward. You can check those out on the site. That’ll be the thrust of our next show.
Adrian: [24:06] We’ve also got some email, some stuff that is really cool. If you want to check it out, just make sure to opt-in. We’ll send you some really cool insight in your email box, sent discreetly.
Tom: [24:22] We’ve got a lot of good pieces of support of all shapes and sizes on the website, so punch around, check it out. Find something that’s helpful. Get yourself through this. You’ll find that it really does get brighter and better. Until we talk again, I’m Tom.
Adrian: [24:39] And I’m Adrian.
Tom: [24:40] Thanks for listening.
Adrian: [24:41] Thank you.
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Announcer: [24:42] Thanks for listening to the overdivorce.com podcast with Adrian and Tom. The opinions expressed are theirs alone. They’re not professionals. Join us next time anyway. It’ll be good for you.
[24:53] Visit overdivorce.com to get your free divorce recovery guide and get some fantastic resources on making a better life. Contact us via email at [email protected] Follow us on Twitter, and like us on our Facebook page. We want to help you if we can.