I basically grew up a nice guy, and I grew up with the belief that nice guys finish last. Fortunately, I discovered Robert Glover a therapist who wrote a book called “No more Mr. Nice Guy”.

After hearing him on the radio I decided to sign up with him and he really helped me change my views on dating and relationships. One of the main things I learned from him was this idea of covert contracts or nice guy syndrome.

So what is a covert contract? A covert contract is an unspoken agreement that you have in your own head, how things should be between you and someone else.

So you might be out on a date with someone and pay for their dinner expecting sex or a relationship or maybe even marriage in return.

You know that that’s all fine and everything except the other person has no idea that you have this implicit agreement in your head and when they don’t reciprocate you feel resentment and frustration

This is why seeking approval is very dangerous in relationships and dating. It’s also pretty ineffective at getting things done.

If mind reading isn’t a part of your dating strategy, then you’re basically setting yourself up for failure.

Oftentimes people do have these ulterior motives in their ways of being, in their ways of interacting with others.

That’s why today’s I’m going to talk about covert contracts and how to stop nice guy behavior.

So let’s dive in shall we?

Covert Contracts and why nice guys finish last [RIG 22]
Hi there this is clay with www.ModernLove.Life and this is the relationship inner game experience. Now, in this week’s episode, I want to tell you a little bit of a story. This is about a time maybe over 10 years ago when I was still on my own personal development journey, still learning to step into what it was that I wanted and how to create the kind of dating life and relationship that I really wanted for myself. Now I grew up in the Seattle area, which if you are familiar with a sort of demographics of the United States, you will be not surprised to discover that I grew up as basically a nice guy, you know, a nice guy like the whole nice guys finish last kind of thing. Fortunately, when I was very young, I discovered a therapist who was living in this area, named Robert Glover. He had recently written a book called no more Mr. Nice Guy. And he was doing a bunch of radio interviews and everything like that. And I heard him on our local radio TV show or radio show. He sounded interesting. So I got his book and I read through it and it seemed like it would really help me a lot, so I actually realized that he lived in the area, so I signed up to join one of his men’s groups and I started to go there every week pretty much and hanging out with him and seven other men and we’d just talk about various things that were going on our lives and our dating lives and our love lives and other aspects of our lives as well too. And it was a really great growing experience for me. It was a wonderful experience to just kind of get this sort of mentoring and help from, from him and from these other men. And one of the things that he is known for is helping nice guys sort of step into their manhood. And this is relevant for both men and women. What I’m going to be talking about today, but this is just what his expertise is. And one of the things that he talks about in his book no more Mr. Nice Guy, is that this idea of covert contracts. He calls them covert contracts and what a covert contract is, It’s an unspoken agreement that you have within your own head, between you and somebody else, so you might be out on a date with somebody and you might have this covert contract of, Hey, if I’m really nice to you and I buy you dinner, then you’ll want to have sex with me. Right? And you know, that might be a covert contract and maybe a lot of people have a lot of men at least who are maybe out on some of the early dates in a relationship. You know that that’s all fine and everything except the other person has no idea that you have this implicit agreement in your behaviors and when you’re nice to them, when you buy them dinner and they don’t have sex with you for any number of reasons. Maybe they don’t want to have sex until they’re married. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable sleeping with you at this point, or anything else. Then you as the person who made the covert contract might start to feel a little bit of resentment, a little bit of frustration with them or the situation, and this can build over time until there comes a point when you lash out at them. Right, and that’s, that’s what a covert contract is and it’s very dangerous for relationships, for dangerous, for dating, and it’s also just a pretty ineffective way of getting things done. It’s basically just walking into an interaction with a hidden agenda and ulterior motive or with some sort of strings attached, right? You’re not going to buy her dinner or be nice to her something and in unless she’s going to give you sex or whatever. Right? And that’s really what a covert contract is. It’s a hidden agenda. It is an ulterior motive. It is doing things with strings attached and this is not a good way to go about operating in a dating or a relationship, a sort of context because number one is a very ineffective way of getting your needs met, right? If you’re, if you’re unable to just say something like, Hey, I want to sleep with you, you look really sexy, I would love to go back to your place or come up to my place or something like that. If you’re unable to do that, then you’re going to resort to these covert contracts sorts of techniques or methods to try to get your needs met, but because nobody can read your mind, unfortunately for both men and women, nobody can read your mind. If mind reading is a part of your dating strategy, then you’re basically setting yourself up for failure. You’re basically setting yourself up for frustration and you’re basically putting any relationship that you have or any beginnings of a relationship that you might be having on a fast track for a breakup or a divorce. Okay? So please do not use mind reading as some sort of implied technique that your partner has masterful scale of a when it comes to dating and relationships. But covert contracts are not good because nobody can read your mind and so they’re probably going to cause you to feel frustrated because you feel resentment and that’s going to blow up at some point in your relationship even if you don’t have any sort of obvious covert contract like, you know, I’m going to take you out to dinner and you’ll sleep with me or I’m going to agree with everything that you say and then you’ll propose to me or something like that. Oftentimes people do have these ulterior motives in their ways of being, in their ways of interacting with others. You know, people might want to be in a relationship with somebody else. So there, you know, every, every action that they have, every movie they make, every thing that they do or say is calculated with this end goal of being in a relationship. And there’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship. Being in a relationship can be a great thing, but if you’re more focused on the end goal of being in a relationship than you are and actually connecting with the person that’s right there in front of you, then that’s where some big challenges can arise because you’re not actually present with the person in front of you. You’re using them as means to an end. You’re using them as a stepping stone to get what you want and they just happened to be the warm body with a pulse that you’re going to use as a vehicle to get what you want, which is a relationship or a proposal or sex or something like that, right? If, if having sex with you is more important than actually being with the person that you’re with, then you know that could be anybody. It can be anybody and nobody wants to be just anybody that happens to be some place in order for you to get sexually gratified or for you to be in a relationship or for you to feel better about yourself and try and bolster yourself esteem by whatever, right? Nobody wants that. People do want to have sex. People do want to be in relationships. People do want to be in marriages with people who actually appreciate them for who they are. So what I would recommend is to really look at what your motives are. When you’re interacting with people, when you’re dating people, when you are spending time with people of the opposite sex or the same sex, if that’s how you go and really look at what your motives are, okay, if you are noticing ulterior motives, if you are noticing hidden agendas, if you are noticing covert contracts, if you are noticing that you’re using somebody as a means to an end to get something for you and it is not working out the way that you want, just consider that there is a way that that is being broadcast in your way of being. There’s something that you’re putting out there as as a person, as you’re bringing yourself to these interactions that’s telling these other people or this other person, hey, I’m needy. I need you to commit to me so that I can feel better about myself. I need you to sleep with me so that I can prove the girl that rejected me in high school and I asked her to prom wrong. That I actually am attractive. I need you to propose to me so that I can feel good about myself and my mom will stop hounding me about getting married. You know, tick tok. The clock is going, you know, all that stuff. Right? And so if you notice any of these ulterior motives going on, just take a step back and say, okay, what is it I really want here? What is it I really want? Right? If you say that you want to be in a relationship, do you really just want to be in a relationship? You know, because there’s a lot of people out there that don’t want to be in a relationship. There’s a whole lot of people that are in a relationship that hate their relationship there. They come home to a dead connection. They come home and they just watch TV and just eat some sort of microwave slop and then they just go to bed and then it’s just, you know, groundhog day, day after day after day after day after day. And so you probably don’t just want to be in a relationship when you are having this ulterior motive, this hidden agenda of being in a relationship. You’re probably thinking of something else you’re probably thinking of, okay, I want to be in a relationship with some sort of great high quality connection where I can feel close to the other person where I can feel bonded to the other person, where I can feel a great deal of intimacy with this other person, and if that’s the case, you’re really putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. Because being in a relationship doesn’t cause the intimacy and the closeness and the bonding to happen. It’s actually the other way around. Having intimacy, having closeness, having bonding will cause the relationship to organically develop on its own. So if what you really want is the connection, and if the connection brings their relationship anyway, then why not just go for the connection and just trust that the relationship will take care of itself. Just let all of that happen organically and just go for what it is that you really want, which is the emotional connection, which is the closeness, which is the bonding and all of that stuff. Okay. If you’re looking at your ulterior motive or your hidden agenda and you’re noticing something like, I want to sleep with her so that I’ll feel like a real man or something like that. Then really it has nothing to do with her or your connection with her and that’s probably why it feels bad is because it’s all about you and all about your own ego. But if you’re noticing that and you’re like, wow, I totally want to change that. Then what you need to do is you need to look at your own life and say, okay, where is it that I don’t feel empowered as a man wears it? I don’t feel like I’m living into my best life. Whereas I don’t feel like I’m living into my passion and look for ways that you can start to clean that up as opposed to looking for sex or something like that. As a way to define you as a way to compensate for these other black holes in your life that are just draining away life away from you, or for example, if you’re looking to, I don’t know, getting married or something like that and you think that you know, getting this person to propose to you is going to suddenly make your life a wonderful or something. Look at your own life will get how you can enjoy your life the way that it is right now because I can promise you as a married man, your life is going to keep on rolling forward whether or not you’re married. If you hate your life now, you’re probably still going to hate your life when you’re married. If you love your life now, you’re probably going to love your life when you’re married. And so just figuring out how to love your life, whether or not you’re married and then have a great connection with somebody else and then the marriage will happen on its own organically. Hopefully and then you’ll actually be able to enjoy life as a married person because you love your life already. Okay? So be careful of these hidden agendas. Be careful of these ulterior motives. Be careful of these covert contracts because they really are very damaging to the quality of connection you can have with somebody else and they can be very damaging to the results that you might be getting when it comes to dating or relationships or anything else. So look at what it is you actually want and see if you can notice a difference between what you actually want and the thing that you think that you want and then make any sort of necessary corrections either in your own life or in the way that you pursuing what you think that you want, you know, and in terms of like going for a relationship versus going for a high quality emotional connection. Okay. So that being said, let’s zip on over to our questions for this week from members of our modern love association. Our first question is from May, may writes in and says, hi Clay and Mika. I wish I knew about you guys sooner before this program. I tried to get back together with my ex without advanced relational skills and made him choose when he had high reactance. He told me that he had moved on and is seeing someone new. I then told him that I don’t see the point of remaining in each other’s lives since we are not actually friends and his ambiguous social media messages and likes will make it difficult for me to move on. He agreed acknowledging that he felt like an emotional wreck. After that, I then texted him that I was incoherent and do want to keep in contact. He said it is for the best if we don’t message each other for a while. Where I left things was a message that whilst I know he said he has moved on, I don’t want to give up on us just yet and maybe I should be patient. Even when he was seeing other people now doing ANC after these mistakes, given my last message and his self limiting beliefs on it, not being appropriate to keep in touch with an ex, which I made the mistake of reminding him, are there any specific adjustments that I need to make in terms of reaching out to build emotional connection when I’m ready or do I apply these standard suggestions in the program and accepted this will now be in hard mode. Okay, so there is going to be a certain degree of challenge that you’re going to have to deal with as you move forward. Because you essentially said one thing to him that you don’t want to be friends. That you either need the two of you to be 100 percent back together or nothing at all, and then you said the complete polar opposite, that you were incoherent. That you want to be patient and see where this goes and all that stuff. That is going to make things difficult because your ex needs to be able to trust you. If somebody is going to be in a relationship with you, they have to be able to trust you and if you’re saying one thing one day and then saying the opposite the next day, then that is sending a strong message that they can’t trust what you say. Okay, in order to get past that, you’re going to have to make up a little bit of lost ground there, but this is not something that is impossible to do. Okay, so what I would recommend that you do is that you get tuned in with your own values and that you get tuned in with what is important to you and then that you act from those values and act from what is important to you on a consistent basis. Okay. Often Times people don’t do that first part of really getting clear about what’s important to them and what their values are and they just start like doing things. But if you’re doing things and you don’t know if they are in alignment with what you want or if they’re just something that you think that you should do because you read it somewhere on the internet or something like that, then it can really get you in over your head really fast and suddenly you find yourself in unchartered territories and you don’t know what to do. It’s really important that you know what’s important to you and then you act consistently with that over time. So this will display to your ex or anyone else for that matter that you do know what’s important to you and that you can be trusted with your word. Okay? Like if you go back through the years and years and years of recordings of these question and answer things that we did in the relationship inner game experience and Mentorship, Q & A before that, you’ll see that what we are recommending that people do is essentially the same. I mean, sure, it might vary a little bit from situation to situation, but we give people the same advice. And that is one reason why you know, thankfully people trust our advice is because we have that consistency of the advice that we give over time and that is how your ex is going to learn to trust you again, is if you are really consistent in your word, consistent in your actions and consistent in what you do and what you say you’re going to do, and that trust will start to come back over time after he starts to really see and understand that you are going to be consistent. You’re not going to be all over the place, you’re not going to say one thing one day and then say the exact polar opposite the next day. You’re going to be consistent in that regard and that will start to help him to trust you again. Okay? So yeah, for the time being, while that trust is eroded, you are going to be playing on hard mode. But once you do start to develop that trust with him, then things will become a lot easier. Okay? There’ll become significantly easier and you’ll be able to really start to take things from there. But first you have to absolutely develop that trust first. Okay. In terms of his limiting beliefs about not being appropriate to keep in touch with an ex, if you do want to keep in touch with him, then you are going to have to understand where that limiting belief is coming from. Is it that he is afraid of some sort of outcome that he’s afraid that you’re going to have a hidden agenda that he’s afraid that it’s just going to slip back into the old relationship and it’s going to be the same dynamic that he walked out of in the first place? Or what specifically is he afraid of what’s going to happen? Most people have a reason for their fear, a reason for their belief. They don’t just take some sort of thing that just comes out of thin air and then choose to follow that they have some sort of thing that there are afraid is going to happen or they have had poor experience within the past or something like that. So, try to zero in on what exactly he is afraid will happen if he keeps in contact with you, what does he think is inappropriate about keeping in contact with an ex? And then what you can do is you can directly address that either by having a conversation with him if it warrants that or by making sure not to trigger that fear within him through your actions, words or deeds. Okay. So I hope this helps you out and if you want to follow up with us next week by maybe elaborating a little bit more on, you know, maybe what exactly he is worried about when he says it’s not appropriate to get in contact with an ex or something like that. Then maybe we can go into a little bit more detail about what you might do in that regards. Okay. So anyway, may I hope this helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Next question is from Henry. Henry writes in and says, hi clay. We were together for four years, but she broke up with me one year and four months ago. After that we saw each other once every one or two weeks and we’re in the chasing the dragon for over a year. About four months ago I found you and went through ANC for about a month. I wish that I had found you sooner. I lost a lot of opportunity. After two months of acting distant towards me, I asked her why and she said that we were very compatible in many ways, but she is enjoying her freedom and doesn’t want to be tied down. After I said to her that she was suddenly distant, she admitted that she has been seeing a new guy for awhile and he was very jealous and did not want her to see me and she wanted to respect him. He was very young and not very stable. The opposite of me. I’m older, stable and am not naturally jealous. She also said that it is casual and that she does not love him. I told her that whether her and I eventually ended up together or if we end up in other relationships, I want her to be happy and me to be happy. She asked me if I still wanted to be friends and I said yes. She then said that she wanted to be friends forever and I agreed. We then hugged and she turned and smiled as she left. The next day she texted me a long message that included that she would love me always unconditionally, but she wants to work on her life a bit. I texted her back that I loved her to question one, does this look like a rebound relationship despite being over a year later? It seems like she is actually very much into you. She does seem to be dating another person right now. However, she says that she doesn’t love him. She says that he is very jealous and maybe there’s some other issues in their relationship as well too. I don’t know if it’s a rebound relationship, but it does not sound like a stable, healthy relationship in that respect. Now your second question is, did I say the right thing? I meant it, but part of me wanted to fight for her and my letting her use me. Did you say the right thing? Well, first of all there is no right thing or wrong thing, you know, you can say whatever you want to. It’s just that there are consequences to the things that you say. So you said that you wanted to be friends with her, that you wanted both of you to be happy. She said that you wanted to be friends with you as well too. She apparently was feeling pretty good about the conversation that you had because she hugged you and smiled as the two of you left. So it sounds like the two of you are on the same page connecting on an emotional level and it sounds like you have expressed, a lot of compassion towards one another, in a way that is not, as you’re describing it to me, coming across as needy or desperate or anything like that. So in that respect, I think you laid a good foundation for a lot of emotional connection to be built upon. So in that respect, I do think that you did set up a good foundation for the future. So I think that that is definitely a good move if that’s what you’re wanting. Are you letting her use you in that respect? It really depends. Like do you think that she is a manipulative person that would want to use you? If you don’t trust her and you think that she is a manipulative person that might use you, then maybe that’s something you need to worry about. But if you do trust her and you don’t think that she would be the kind of person that would use you and you are genuinely honest about what you said, which you said that you were, then I don’t think that she is using you. I think that the two of you are actually on the same page. I think that you both want to be in each other’s lives. I think that you both want to have some sort of connection with one another and I think that you’re both open to rebuilding that connection that the two you have and strengthening it to the point where, you know, maybe something develops, maybe it doesn’t develop, but, but you’re going to develop that connection to the point where you can become whatever it is that the two of you are going to become. Okay? And your third question is, why did she react so strongly the next day? Well, she hinting that she wants a bit of space and should I try to continue to see her every week or two? I’m still interested in her and have not given up. So by this you’re talking about the texts that she sent the day after a long message that said that she would love you always, unconditionally, but she wants to work on her life a bit. So if that is what she said to you, she will always love you unconditionally, but she wants to work on her life a bit. Those are the words that she said. I’m not getting any kind of vibe from that that says, Hey, don’t contact me. Hey, leave me alone. I’m not interested in staying in contact with you or anything like that. All I’m really getting is that she wants to make it clear to you that she does not want to be held responsible for anything that happens between the two of you on a romantic level. Okay. You know, she is in a relationship with somebody else. I believe that there are probably some issues in that relationship based off of how you have described it and but you know, she is a woman after all and she probably doesn’t want to be seen as the kind of person that goes around and it has two different guys strung out longing for her or anything like that. You know, that that’s not something that generally women like for themselves. So she’s probably trying to maintain her reputation a little bit by doing her job to let you know that she is in a relationship with somebody else. And in case you thought that there was some sort of romantic interest there, she’s doing her job to try to curb that. Okay. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t feel it. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want it. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t enjoy it is just as a woman. Society wants women to be loyal and faithful. That’s, that’s like a desirable thing in women. Okay. And so she doesn’t want it to be seen as the woman that has, you know, a boyfriend and then she’s like dating this other guy in the side, you know, that’s not really something that a lot of women want. And so she’s trying to manage her own reputation by absolving herself of any responsibility for what happens or doesn’t happen. Okay. That’s not to say that she doesn’t like interacting with you. That’s not to say that she’s not attracted to you. That’s not to say that she doesn’t want to explore what romantic possibilities might be there, but she wants to probably maintain her own reputation and make sure that she still looks good in society. Whatever happens, moving forward from here. Okay. You know, if the two of you end up hooking up or something, she can say, well, you know, I told him that, that I want to be his friend. I go unconditionally, but I want to work in my life right now. It’s not my fault. Right. That’s all that she is trying to do there in my opinion. Okay. So I wouldn’t worry about that. I would just continue to build the emotional connection and to continue to develop what is happening between the two of you. Okay. So I hope this helps you out, Henry, and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Okay. Our next question is from Gigi. Gigi writes in and says, hi clay. Thanks for your video on long distance though I didn’t choose to be in this situation. I fell ill and had to move away long after my ex and I broke up. Your advice has been appreciated. I honestly didn’t think that my ex and I would reconnect. My plan has always been to move back, so I am trying to foster the connection until I do the past couple of months. We have recovered quite well from our April setback. Last spring he had been contacting me daily, was very romantic, but then I made a big mistake of saying that we should step back if we weren’t going to date, which you and Mika helped me address in MQA. I’ve worked to recover our bond. Understandably. It’s a bit different. We check weekly, mostly me reaching out and have shared some deeper conversations. We sometimes have fun joking about our sexual chemistry. That has always been intense. Even from a distance though, some flirting. I try to focus on emotional connection. Recently he reached out sharing photos of a place that we used to frequent and from his house saying, you should be here. I told him I’d been thinking of him and he said he thinks of me every night and every morning when he wakes I find that he shares things like this but then doesn’t really reach out after. He even seems a little less talkative. If I reach out the days after, I don’t want to push my own agenda and I’m trying to be aware of that, I feel a little confused. Would this be considered hot and cold behavior from him, like in Stage three or is this more of me being attached to a level of communication due to how often he contacted me last spring? Is it best for me to just remain consistent but allow more space? So I think that this is probably you just being more attached to a level of communication that you had with him in the past. It sounds to me like the two of you are connecting quite well when the two of you are connecting. I wouldn’t worry about the fact that you are doing the initiating. That is not important. What is important is the quality of the emotional connection. That could be any number of reasons why the connection that the two of you are having is not the same as it was before. It could be a lot of circumstantial things like maybe he’s just busier right now or something like that. Or it could also be because of what you said last spring when, let’s see, you said that the two of you should step back your communication if you weren’t going to date. Okay. And he might still be thinking that he might still be holding onto that thing that you told him. You know, last spring when that came up, you know, he might be thinking, well, you know, I don’t know if we’re going to date or not, you know, she lives far away in another city and she said that she might come back once she gets this whole illness thing taken care of, but I don’t know when that’s going to be. And even though I’m attracted to her, you know, she says that she doesn’t want to be in contact, as much if we’re not going to be dating. And so maybe I should just kind of hold my horses a little bit here even though, you know, we do flirt even though I tell her that I think about her every night before I go to bed and every morning when I wake up and all that stuff. So it could be that he’s holding onto that, but overall I would just focus on having quality interactions of the two of you do start getting into a conversation and it does go deep in an emotional level where the two of you are kind of getting very real with one another and having some really kind of, you know, emotional, intense communication, you know, you might bring that up and say something along the lines of, hey, back last spring when I said we shouldn’t be in contact with each other if we’re not going to date, you know, I really regret saying that right now. And I hope that that didn’t make you pull back your feelings of reaching out and contacting me. I want us to feel comfortable reaching out and talking to each other. You know, no matter what, I don’t know why I said that or something like that. Right? Just so that you can really kind of wash that away and help him to let go of any sort of lingering even embarrassment or shame or whatever from that moment. Okay. And that might help him. But overall, I wouldn’t say this is hot and cold behavior, I think it’s probably just you being attached to a certain level of communication plus maybe a little bit of him, a kind of pulling back a little bit because of something that you said earlier. So with that being said, I hope this helps you out, Gigi, and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Our next question is from Ray. Ray writes in and says, Hi Clay, my ex and I were intimately dating casually and broke up over his ex three times over a period of a year. The last breakup exploded into a huge fight between his ex, him and me. I realized after a couple of months and setting down emotionally that he was telling the truth. His ex had fabricated stories about the two of them. I realized this when she attacked both of us publicly and privately in her storylines were filled with inconsistencies in midst of all the conflict he started seeing someone else. We continue to talk on the phone, mostly trying to work out all of the hurt feelings between the two of us. I’ve tried to stand by him in the gossip is ex started and have told him I’m sorry for not trusting him and pulling away, looking back. We were probably at the crisis point in getting back together because he was calling, texting again, but then he told me that he was in love with the girl that he was seeing and I blew it with tears in desperation. He felt really bad and and apologized to me since I think he is keeping me away because he doesn’t want to hurt me further. He still communicates with me only if I call him. I would like to put all of this drama behind us and create positive interactions together, but he will not see me or spend time with me because he has told me he was afraid that we will become intimate and he is in a relationship now previously to break up. We were growing close, got along great, and we’re very attached to each other. We shared mutual interests, goals and values. I love him, he’s an amazing man and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. My question is, does the program apply to casual relationships and his, his new girlfriend a rebound because technically I was his rebound and because of the strain caused by his ex, our relationship never had the chance to develop. So your first question, does the ex solution program apply to casual relationships? it absolutely can. Provided there is an emotional connection to work with there, you know, if it’s just like a one night stand or something like that where there’s no real emotional connection, we don’t really have anything to build off of. But you know, if you do have the ability to connect with this person emotionally, if you do have some sort of history with this person on an emotional level, then you know, yeah, there is the chance that the two of you can rebuild that emotional connection and that it can be strong enough to bring the two of you back together again. Okay. So don’t try looking for some sort of loophole about why this won’t work, but instead try to find a way about why this can work for you, why you can have benefit from learning how to connect with other people on an emotional level and to develop high levels of emotional intimacy. Okay. When it comes to your second question, is his new girlfriend a rebound? I don’t know because you. I’m honestly haven’t really told us too much about their relationship. Really. You spent most of your time here talking about the drama that happened between you and his prior girlfriend, I guess. And that’s understandable given everything that happened, but I don’t really know exactly what’s going on between him and this third girl in the picture. You say technically you were his rebound because of the strain caused by his ex and so your relationship never really had the chance to develop. Well, you know that that could very well be true. I mean, I don’t know. I wasn’t really there, but you know, rebound relationships. It’s not really a matter of, you know, like Oh, x number of months have happened. Like, oh, it’s been two months since you broke up with so and so. Therefore, anybody that you date right now is going to be a rebound relationship. It’s really a matter of how you deal with those emotions from a breakup, right? It is possible to overcome the emotional experience of a breakup a very quickly, sometimes in a matter of days or weeks, but that is not how most people generally deal with emotions from breakup, just because most people are not trained or experienced to really deal with their emotions in that sort of way. Most people tend to numb out by focusing on things like, you know, going out to clubs and bars, drinking, rebound relationships, video games. You know all that stuff, right? If you do that, you’re not really avoiding the pain of the breakup. You’re just kind of delaying it. You’re not shortcutting your way out of experiencing. You’re just delaying it. This includes even going into a rebound relationship because that will come back and you will have to experience those feelings. Now you might do it in a different context. You know, you might do it in a context of some of being in a relationship with someone else and you know, you’re projecting a lots of feelings and regrets and hurt emotions and stuff like that onto this other person and rebound relationship in which case that’s not very nice. Not very cool to do, but it’s definitely something that could happen. And so if you were his rebound than it is possible to get back together, but the two of you are both going to have to deal with your emotions in a healthy way because to rebound to people entering into a rebound relationship are, by definition emotionally unavailable. That means he was probably emotionally unavailable to some degree coming out of his relationship with his ex girlfriend that cause all the drama. And there was probably a part of you that was emotionally unavailable to, if you actually look hard enough to find it, you could see that, there was maybe some part of you that was, you know, trying to get validation from him or something like that. Even though maybe on some unconscious level you knew that he was emotionally unavailable. And unable or unwilling to give you what you wanted or something like that. Right. And so if you look at that, then you might find that there is some emotionally unavailable aspect to you as well too. So if both of you are able to work through that emotional unavailability and actually be able to come together in a place of emotional availability and actually be able to create a strong emotional connection from that, then yeah, the two of you actually can get things to work out in a successful relationship. Okay. So Ray, I hope this helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Okay. Sue writes in and says, hi clay and Mika, I hope your baby girl is still sleeping well at night. Well, yeah, so far so good. Thanks for asking. Sue continues with. This is a continuation to my question during the last recession. Thanks for answering my question. Last time update, two days after I got the email from D saying hello, Sue, now that I am in a committed monogamous relationship, I ask that you do not reach out to me nor send me inappropriate messages from D, which I knew was not D’s language D unblocked me on whatsapp and texted me. He said he wasn’t able to sleep all night after we met, he also said that email was drafted by his rebound and she made him send it. He said that she has a strong personality also. She is the one who made him blocked me everywhere. Since then, I’ve kept my contacts to a minimum responding only when he messages me, since I’m still digesting everything. This week. He texted me his conversations with his therapist about our relationship. She apparently told him that if we had to work things out, it has to be a complete restart and not a resume of our previous relationship. Well, that’s absolutely true. I asked him how he feels about it and he said that he still has mixed feelings. I asked him to meet today, Sunday, the twelfth of August for coffee or something to talk in person. He said that he thought about that too, but not sure if he or we will be able to control ourselves. I feel there’s attraction is still there and still very strong and it’s a good sign that he’s talking with his therapist about us. Our common friend called me just now. He said D brought his girlfriend to the business breakfast today and they’ll be very happy and looked a little like a little happy couple. They even kissed at breakfast. He was trying to help me to let go and move on. D asked him not to mention to me that he had brought his girlfriend to breakfast. It seems she has been so controlling and demanding. How could he tolerate it? Yesterday D messaged me saying that he has mixed feelings about me and that his therapist said if we had to work things out, it would have to be a restart or resume. I am not able to understand, but I have a pit in my stomach that is making me nauseous. How do I handle this situation when we meet? Do I inspire him to hang out more as just friends and not worry about crossing the line? All right, so it is pretty clear to me from what you’ve written here that he is very much attracted to you. He’s very much interested in seeing where things go with you. It’s just that he has kind of painted himself into a corner because he isn’t a relationship with somebody else. He isn’t a relationship with somebody else who is very controlling, very jealous, who he probably doesn’t trust and she obviously doesn’t trust him and who he’s probably not very crazy about either. So he’s not very happy in his relationship. It might look good, you know, because people always try to look good whenever they’re out at, you know, maybe a business breakfast or on facebook or something like that, you know, nobody posts photos unless they’re trying to be ironic or something like that. I’m on, on social media like, Hey, look how much of a train wreck my life is. Here’s a whatever’s going on. People try to present the best image of themselves that they possibly can because everybody likes to look at. Right? So when he went to this business breakfast thing with his girlfriend, they obviously tried to look good. They obviously tried to make it look like they had it together and all of that stuff. What I’m saying is that is not necessarily a reflection of reality as not necessarily how things actually are in real life. Okay. And this is evidenced by the fact that, you know, he’s talking to his therapist about you as therapist says that if the two of you were to work things out, it has to be a reset, not a resume. The fact that he, you know, wants to get together with you, the fact that he’s afraid that he will not be able to control himself around you and all of that stuff. So I, I do think that there is a lot of attraction for you still there within him in terms of the two of you getting together for a coffee on August twelfth world. I mean, obviously that has passed already, but I hope that went well. If, if that is something that you did, and if I were to give you advice for a meetup like that in the future, this is what I would tell you. Number one, focus on making sure the emotional connection is strong. Okay? The attraction is already there. You don’t have to worry about making him feel attracted towards you. You don’t have to worry about flirting with him. You don’t have to worry about turning him on. You don’t have to worry about, you know, trying to avoid being in the friend zone or anything like that. He already wants you on an attraction level. You do not have to worry about that. What you have to worry about is the quality of the emotional connection between the two of you. Okay? If the quality of the emotional connection between the two of you is very strong, then he will want to move mountains in order to be with you here already find you attractive. The only thing keeping the two of you apart is the emotional connection. Now when you think about this, this makes complete sense because you know he is in a relationship with somebody who he probably doesn’t have a great emotional connection with. It’s probably very strange, a lot of jealousy, a lot of controlling behavior and a lot of all of this other stuff, and then if you show up there and the two of you have a great strong emotional connection with the two of you can be yourselves around each other with the two of you can connect and talk about things for hours and hours on end where the two of you can can really feel and understand what each other are going through on an emotional level. Then it’s pretty clear which one he would rather be in a relationship with. Obviously you because being in a relationship with you feels good on an emotional level and being in a relationship with his current girlfriend does not feel good on an emotional level because of her controlling behavior because of her insecurity, because of her jealousy and all of that stuff. Focus on the emotional connection. Don’t worry about the attraction and just continue to build that emotional connection notch by notch. Continue to check in with him, continue to see where he’s at. Continue to ask those questions like, what was that like for you? How did that make you feel? Tell me more about that. Stuff like that, and now continue to bring things down to the emotional level. Use those relate reward cycles like we talk about. If you want to throw an occasional flirt in there, there’s nothing wrong with that, but just remember, you’re trying to build an emotional connection. First and foremost, your goal is not to be physically attractive. Your goal is not to arouse him. Your goal is not to avoid being put in the friend zone. Those are things that are already taken care of. Those are not things that you need to concern yourself with, but what you do need to concern yourself with is the emotional connection. There’s nothing wrong with flirting. Flirting is fun, but that is not a problem that you have to worry about in this situation. Okay, so I hope that helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Our next question is from Claire. Claire writes in and says, hi clay and Mika, I hope you guys are doing well. My ex broke up with me about a month ago to work on herself. She has a lot of body image issues and because she felt that she had jumped into our relationship too soon after breaking up with her previous girlfriend, they had a longterm relationship, but it was very toxic as her ex cheated on her several times and made her feel really insecure about her body. She stopped loving her months before she started dating me. She said she still loves me and still sees a potential future with me, and after a month of limited contact, we ran into each other a lot because of our job. I’ve started to reach out to her again. It’s clear that she still cares about me a lot, but also that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship. How can I respect her need for time to herself while still laying the groundwork for a future relationship? We have the same group of friends, so I’m worried about fading into the background of our friend group. How can I spend time with her one on one to develop our connection without making it obvious that I still have feelings for her and wants to be with her. Thanks Claire. Your question is how to respect her need for space and simultaneously build the groundwork for a future, a relationship when she says that she does not want to be in a relationship right now. Well, since the two of you are in the same group of friends, I do imagine that you’ll be seeing each other a lot and be able to stay in contact with each other fairly easily. So I think that’s something that the two of you can, can pretty easily do, especially since the two of you do have a shared past together. You know, you were in a relationship with each other too. You probably shared, you know, intimate feelings and emotions and experiences with each other that, you know, maybe the rest of the people in your circle of friends did not get to experience. So it makes sense that the two of you could be close on an emotional level. What I think would be something that you want to be wary of is, is you don’t want to try to nudge her towards being in a relationship right now. Okay. She’s, she’s a little bit skiddish of that. She’s a little bit hesitant about that right now. So I wouldn’t worry about trying to define what the two of you are right now. I would simply just focus on the emotional. Okay. Because if you really think about it, what you want isn’t really a relationship, you know, with the other person is dragged kicking and screaming into it or you probably want is an emotional connection. And you can do that without the label and if you build emotional connection, the label will follow. But if you go for the label than the emotional connection isn’t necessarily going to follow. Okay? So what I would do is I would focus on the emotional connection focus on, you know, spending time together with her in your group of friends and maybe you know, once in a while, just get together with her just in a casual sort of way for coffee, just catch up or whatever. And you know, don’t try and nudge it in a, in a romantic direction. Like I’ve told people a lot you, you don’t need to worry about her being attracted to you. You don’t need to worry about her being into, you don’t need to worry about her seeing you through romantic lens or anything like that. The two of you have already been in a relationship. She already has that history of seeing you, of being attracted to you. Have a viewing you as a potential romantic prospect. I mean, you even said here that she said that she still loves you and she sees a potential future with you. Okay? So you know that she’s already thinking that. So what I want you to do is I want you to just simply connect with her on an emotional level. Trusting the attraction is there, trusting the attractional take care of itself when the context is right and instead just focus on the emotional connection so that you can have that emotional context in place for when she does start to open up and say, okay, I’m starting to feel a little more comfortable. I think I might be ready to start dating somebody. I might be ready to be in a relationship again. Okay. But right now what you want to do is you want to develop that emotional connection between the two of you. Okay. And I think for the time being just interacting with her in your group of friends or maybe occasionally once in a while, just getting together for something casual. I just, you know, catching up or you know, hey, let’s just get together for coffee or hey, I saw that this movie’s playing. It’s, I know it has like your favorite actor or it’s on your favorite story or something like that. Let’s go see it together. You know, that’s, that’s like a good way to do it and just keep the pressure off of trying to define what the two of you are, keep the pressure off of trying to make it a relationship or make it seem like the two of you are dating or anything like that, and just focus on connecting on an emotional level. So I hope that helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward. From here. Our next question is from Michael. Michael writes in and says, thank you for your response on last week’s post C and I have been chatting over text every few days. The convos are a bit surface level, but she does divulge a bit more info than simple answers of what is happening in her job and personal life, which I feel has gone a little bit deeper at times. I’m usually not getting simple answers. I’m building up to getting stronger connection. She’s been stressed, so I’ve been giving her a bit of space and have been very understanding about things that she needs to address right now in her life. Work her kids, her new house, et Cetera. Saturday, I hiked a fourteener and took a picture of some mountain goats that were guarding the summit of the mountain. Before I sent her the picture, I sent her a text that said, hey, I hope you’re having a great weekend. I had some time today to reflect on the top of a mountain and wanting to tell you that it’s been a really great to chat with you lately even though it’s only been over text. It’s been pleasant and nice. I received no response. So Sunday I didn’t text and today Monday I sent her, hey, happy you left handers day. Did you even know they had that Oreos? Also, in light of this special day, I created a lefthanded Oreo. Not sure how that works, but they did it. She sent a text back saying, I didn’t know that they had left handers day. I took that opportunity to try to dive deeper into a conversation, but I could still tell that she was very guarded. Question, if I can only talk to her via text, how do I continue to create stronger connection? Because the one time I did call, she texted back, which tells me that she isn’t ready for that yet so much is lost via text. Okay. So let’s answer this question first and we’ll get to the second question. So just because something happened one time doesn’t mean that it’s always going to happen that way. So if you called her once and I mean, I’m guessing that either she didn’t pick up and then later on she texted you back or either you got your voicemail and then she listened to the voicemail and then she texted you back. It doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be that way. Right? So maybe she just wasn’t in a place where she could pick up the phone and talk to you. Maybe she was, I dunno, at some sort of meeting at work or driving or in the middle of some loud place or something like that. And so maybe that’s why that happened. So don’t just say that. Okay. You said you called her once and she texted you back, therefore she is not open to talking on the phone. I would try that another time and possibly even a third time before I came to the conclusion that she is not ready to talk on the phone. Okay. So I might try that again at some other point when it comes to creating a connection over text. I just because she doesn’t respond to something, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have an impact. You know, when you sent her that message at the top of the mountain, maybe she just wasn’t in a place where she was emotionally ready to respond to it, but she still received that message from you. She’s still received those words. It had an emotional impact on her and then maybe the next or I guess two days later when you sent her that thing about the Oreos and the lefthanded day and all of that, that, that actually cleared that space that she had the ability to respond to you and you know, I was able to say, oh, that’s really interesting. I didn’t. I didn’t know they had a lefthand day. Yeah. She might still be a little bit guarded, but I think that you might have actually been making some progress without her necessarily even responding to it by sending her that a top of the mountain text and I would go ahead and try calling her maybe once or two more times at some point in the future just to really see if she is or isn’t ready to talk on the phone. Okay. And you can always do you know, the clays secret approach to getting somebody to talk on the phone, which is to, you know, be in a text conversation with somebody and then you know, just, just kind of segway to talking on the phone by, by bringing up something like, you know, hey, I’m, I’m actually walking down the street right now. Is it okay if we just quickly, quickly switch over to the phone so I can talk to you about accidentally running into a street pole or something like that? Or Hey, I’m about to cook dinner. Can we talk on the phone so I can still be in touch and still be in contact with you and still keep this conversation going, but you know, I can still also get my hands dirty and be making, you know, whatever it is you’re making. Okay. So go ahead and try that out and see if, if that might work as well too, if you’re still having a hard time getting her to talk on the phone. Your second question is sometimes I feel that she is sweet and open on text and then in the same conversation she’d become a short. Is this the time that you say to start matching her response? For instance, if you start giving one word answers, is this where I cut off the conversation saying something like, Hey, I have to run. Thanks for talking. It’s always nice to hear from you. Have Fun with the final days of summer. Her boys go back to school on Monday. Okay. So that is also very contextual, right? Because she might be very open and responsive to you because maybe she has the emotional space. Maybe the house is quiet or something like that, but then maybe when she goes into the one word answers, maybe that’s when, I dunno, one of her kids are starting to cause a Ruckus or something else is going on that’s kind of distracting her so she can’t focus 100 percent. I would just kind of give her slack when it comes to that or maybe just check in and say, hey, it seems like, your mind might be somewhere else right now is there’s something going on or something like that. Just so that you know what’s going on. I wouldn’t necessarily match her if she’s like pulling away if she’s contributing less to the interaction and you don’t know why. I would first start by checking in if she’s giving you some sort of posturing answer, like, oh, you know, nothing. Nothing’s wrong. Everything’s okay. Or something like that. Then, then you might just say, oh, well, it seems like you’re somewhere else right now. And, if that’s the case, then I’m just gonna let you deal with whatever you’re dealing with and maybe we can talk later or something along those lines. That’s totally fine. Or something like what you wrote down here, that’s fine too. Or you might also try taking it down to a deeper emotional level by trying to dig a little bit deeper, although that may not work if she is distracted by like her kids or I don’t know, something else, like maybe, you know, somebody came over to the house to repair the sink or something like that and she has to like talk to the guy and you know, help him figure out whatever he needs to do to get the job done. Again, you have to feel in that situation. You have to know what’s going on before you choose to take action rather than just jumping to conclusions. So what I would do is I’ll check in with her first before you make any decisions about where things go. Okay Mike. So I hope this helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Okay. So those have been our questions for this week. Once again, if you’re watching this podcast over on youtube, but please go ahead and give us a thumbs up. Go ahead and subscribe to the channel and go ahead and leave a comment down below letting me know what sorts of experience you have with ulterior motives or covert contracts or hidden agendas. Okay. And if you’re watching this or listening to this, rather over on itunes, please feel free to subscribe and hopefully leave a five star review. This helps other people to find this podcast and subscribe to them if it is a good fit for them as well too. So once again, this has been clay with www.ModernLove.Life and this has been the relationship inner game experience and I hope this has helped you improve your relationship inner game. I’ll talk to you next week. Take care.  
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