In this week’s episode we’re going to be talking about a widely held belief that whoever cares less controls the relationship  and why this belief is unhealthy and can be damaging to any relationship.

So what are other common myths in relationships?

“We all want what can’t have- therefore play hard to get”

What makes something or someone desirable is not its scarcity but rather the value we place on it.

We want what is valuable. We want what feels good

People want things that are pleasurable, things that are desirable, they’re going to want this regardless of its scarcity.

This is why playing mind games doesn’t work. It may work for a short period of time but if there is no emotional connection there will be nothing below the surface.

Click here to watch this week’s episode of the Relationship Inner Game Experience


RIG [21] “Whoever cares less, controls the relationship” – Damaging myths in relationships

Hey there, this is clay with www.ModernLove.Life and this is the relationship inner game experience. In this episode we’re going to be talking about this widely held belief that whoever cares, less controls the relationship and why I don’t think that this is a very healthy position to have and why this can actually be very damaging to you and any relationship that you might find yourself in. Before we get into that though, I want to just give you a little bit of an update about my wife and our daughter that was born. A lot of you have been asking me to tell you about how that went and what that was like. That’s good to know that you actually care about me and that I’m not just some kind of relationship answer guy that you know, you don’t really care about. And I’m just here to answer your questions.

So I’ll tell you a little bit about that before we go on to the rest of this episode. My wife went into Labor on the night of July fourth, which you know here in the United States. That’s our independence day. And so in, in Seattle, where we live, they have this big firework show that they do on Lake Union, which is in the middle of the city. So I was kind of worried that, that we’re going to have to fight our way through all of the traffic that was going to be as a result of that firework show and, you know, sure enough, we had to go in to the hospital around 10:30 at night, which is when the fireworks show is wrapping up. So we were going, I mean, the traffic it was, it was a bit tough, but it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t like completely stopped or anything like that, but it was a little bit tougher than normal.

Especially tougher than what you’d expect for 10:30 at night. And there were a lot of, you know, ambulances and fire trucks and stuff like that. So we did have to dodge a few of those. But we did get to the hospital and we spent quite a long time Mika was in labor for quite a long time. You know, there’s this debate that people supposedly have what hurts more going into labor and childbirth or being kicked in the balls if you’re a guy. Right. And dislike question that no one will ever know the answer to because you can’t do both, right. You can’t have balls and to give birth at the same time. and so my opinion on that now is that maybe a contraction is as painful as being kicked in the balls. I don’t know. It seems like it could be, but childbirth, I think it’s probably more difficult than being kicked in the balls because you get contractions one after another after another.

So maybe if there was some sort of like evil machine that just kicked somebody in the balls like nonstop for 24 hours, maybe that could be a similar amount of pain. I don’t know. But, I think probably a childbirth is more painful than being kicked. Involves just, just a thought just because there’s was one contraction after another, after another after another. But yeah, it took probably about 24 hours, a little bit less than that at the hospital. And then at the beginning of the day, on the day after that, our daughter was born and it was actually really surprising because if you, if you know anything about childbirth, it’s like divided into these different stages. And like the last stage, you know, it only lasts like maybe a couple of hours, it’s called pushing it through, you’re actually doing the actual pushing part. The rest of the Labor is actually just kind of like coping with the pain or riding the waves and all of that stuff.

But the pushing part, that was actually pretty short, a surprisingly short, supposed to only last like two or three hours. But Mika only had to push for like 45 minutes. And then there was, we got a baby and it was like, Whoa, this is, you know, we actually have this person here in our lives that now we have to take care of ’em. Now she’s, you know, real. It’s not just like an intellectual concept of like, yeah, we’re having a baby, but now it’s an actual real thing. And so we went through the 24 hour stay at the hospital after that where they did a whole bunch of tests and checked in on us and everything to make sure that the baby was healthy, that Mika was healthy and all of that. And then we finally got to go home and we’d been kind of adjusting to life since then, you know, doing the, the nighttime wake ups and the diaper changes and all that stuff.

Overall, I think she’s a pretty good sleeper. She usually wakes up maybe once or twice throughout the night, which from what I understand is pretty good. I hope that it stays that way, but we’ll see how things go as she gets older. But yeah, overall it’s a big life change for all of us and I hope that I’m doing an okay job with it. We’ll have to see but yeah, so let’s get back to the topic at hand, which was whoever cares, less controls the relationship and there’s all kinds of these types of advice out there. You know, we all want, we can’t have, you know, you gotta play hard to get all of this stuff and I think if you look at the core fundamental belief at the bottom of this is scarcity, right? We all think that if something is scarce, if something is hard to get, that it is intrinsically something that we’re all gonna want.

Right? And I don’t believe that that is. So interestingly enough, you know, think of childbirth, right? That was a very, very painful experience for my wife and that is something that is a scarce for me to experience, right? As a man, I am unable to experience childbirth. I just cannot biologically do it right? It is not accessible to me, but because I can’t do it, it doesn’t mean that I want to go through the agonizing pain of childbirth. It doesn’t mean that I want this to happen to me. No, I don’t. I don’t want to experience that. It’s painful. It’s like one wave after another after another of pain and that’s not something that I would voluntarily go out of my way to experience. So it’s not that we want what we can’t have, it’s not that things that are scarce are a desirable.

What’s what the truth is, is that we want what is valuable. We want what feels good. Right? And childbirth does not feel good. That’s not something that people want to go out of their way to. Like if, if it was equivalent to go and have some sort of machine that kicks you in the balls nonstop for 24 hours, I would not be in line for that. Right? I would not be in line for that. Even though it would replicate the agony of childbirth for me as a man, I would not want that. Even though it would be scarce, even though it would be rare, I would not want it because it’s not desirable because it does not feel good. And so what you have to think about when it comes to relationships is does being in a relationship with you feel good? Does being in a relationship with you, is that a pleasurable experience for somebody else just interacting with you feel good?

Does dating you feel good? If it doesn’t feel good, then any of these mind games that you’re playing about, whoever cares the least controls that relationship or we all only we can’t have got to play hard to get then, then none of that matters. It doesn’t work. If interacting with you doesn’t feel good. If you have no empathy, if you’re completely spaced out and oblivious to what the other person is experiencing because you’re too busy trying to figure out who’s caring more or if you’re playing hard to get enough or something like that, right? It’s not going to matter. So what I would think is probably going to solve most of your dating or relationship problems is to focus on interactions that feel good on an emotional level. Okay? If you can have interactions that feel good on an emotional level, then you’ll probably have relationships that are really a whole lot more frictionless and they just sort of work okay, and at that point you don’t really even need to worry about these mind games and playing hard to get or anything like that because interacting with each other feels good.

People naturally want things that feel good. Whether or not they’re rare, you know, there’s I think five different ice cream stores in my neighborhood and I want an ice cream cone pretty much anytime now it’s summer right now, so I want one all the time. They’re not scarce. They’re not hard to get there. There I can go get them. I want to get them. The scarcity thing is not something that is really part of the equation. It’s we want something that’s valuable. Ice Cream tastes good. It’s pleasurable, it’s incredibly refreshing on a hot day. Therefore, ice cream is something that I want, right? It doesn’t need. It doesn’t matter if it’s scarce. It doesn’t matter if it’s hard to get. I want it because it feels good for me to eat the ice cream. The same could be said about your relationship with somebody else or your dating experience.

If interacting with you, feel as good. It doesn’t matter if your scarce. It doesn’t matter if you’re hard to get. They will want to spend time with you. If interacting with you. Feels good. If interacting with you feels bad. Any amount of mind games you know, I don’t know, maybe it gets a little blip on the scale or something like that, but if interacting with you feels bad, people aren’t going to go out of your way to do it. Just like people aren’t going to go out of their way to experience the pain of childbirth or some sort of machine that kicks you in the balls for 24 hours just for you know the kick of it. They’re not going to want to do that. They’re going to want to do things that feel good. Things that are pleasurable, things that are desirable, they’re going to want this regardless of the scarcity, so what I would recommend is that you stopped playing mind games and that you number two, focus on making sure that your interactions feel good on an emotional level by looking at whatever is not making them feel good and taking a appropriate change that causes them to feel good.

That causes people to relax more around you. That causes people to feel more comfortable around you. That causes people to feel more themselves around you. That causes people to say, Hey, I can be however I want you around this person. They don’t have a hidden agenda. They don’t have some sort of a, you know, secret, ulterior motive or anything like that. I can just connect with them and this feels good. We can talk about anything that we want to. There’s no strings attached. There’s no hidden agenda, there’s nothing. And when you can do that, that is when the dating and the relationship stuff will take care of itself and you can leave all of these mind games behind you. So with that being said, let’s go and turn to our questions for this week from members of our modern love association.

Our first question is from Sue. Sue writes in and says, we broke up over five months ago after being together for four years. After a couple of months of ANC and starting slow contexts, we established good connection through though D is in a rebound relationship for a couple of months now. D Started flirting with me off and on since the time that he saw me in person in a business meeting last week. We started texting and before we knew we were sexting with photos and videos which we have never done before. I had earlier asked dee to allow me to treat him to post birthday dinner. We met one on one on Friday. D opened up about how he has been missing me and his heart beats really fast when he thinks about me and our connection that what we have is special and that I get him.

He also said how his rebound has a location tracker on his phone and fights when he is in a place that she doesn’t know. He said they are not compatible and it is not going to last. One thing led to another and he ended up making love in the car with me the entire time. His rebound kept calling him nonstop back to back for two hours until he dropped me home. D said that we should meet for dinner this week and go hiking soon. He also said that he needs to think about what he wants. The next day he texted saying he couldn’t sleep all night, few hours later. He blocked me on whatsapp and today, Monday morning I got this email. Hello Sue. Now that I am in a committed monogamous relationship, I ask that you no longer reach out to me or send inappropriate messages.

This is not his language. He has sent several emails over the years and he never starts with my name, nor does he end with a short form of his name. He always ends with his first name. D is not a person to commit to somebody. Two months, he told me just two days ago that they are not compatible and it’s not going to last. I have feelings. For some reason he felt guilty and confessed and she made him send the email to block me. This is heart wrenching feeling and I feel betrayed. Do I still have a chance? Okay, so when it comes to chances, you have to understand that there isn’t this cosmic wheel of fortune spinning out there and you know, it just spins like some kind of roulette wheel and you’ve got. You’re like, okay, what are the odds that all get back together with my ex or something like that.

Chances are things that are created by you, you create the odds, you create the luck, you create the fate that is going to happen to you and your relationship and anything that’s going to happen in that context, right? This is something that happens to you. You know, people often ask me, is there any hope in my situation? Well, how should I know if there was any hope in your situation, you would be the one that would have the hope. So when it comes to, if there’s still a chance for you to get back together with your ex, it really depends on what you’re going to do. Are you going to let the external circumstances define what’s going to happen to you or are you going to take action based off of what you want and creating positive emotional connection that is going to allow the two of you to come together again and form a strong emotional bond, right?

One of them involves being a victim of life, getting life happen to you, letting yourself be at the whims of circumstances, and the other one is about you saying, wherever I’m at, this is where I want to go and I’m willing to do something to get there. Right. And when it comes to odds and chances and probabilities and statistics, you know, there are two people that might be in, let’s just say an exactly identical situation. One of them believes that they have no chance of getting back together. The other one believes that they can get back together with the person that they love. Now tell me, which one of them do you think is more likely to get back together? Which one of them do you think is more likely to just give up when things get hard, when there is an inevitable obstacles along the way, when some rebound partner shows up, when there’s some sort of fight, when there’s some sort of disagreement of some sort.

Do you think the person that thinks that there’s no chance is more likely to give up? Yeah. And which one do you think is more likely to push through to persevere, to continue to stick to their guns and to know what they want and to continue to move forward no matter what is it the person that is likely going to give up because I think that there’s no chance, whereas the person that’s going to stay convicted to what they want and is willing to pull through that obstacle. Obviously it’s the person that knows what they want and is going to pull through the challenge, whatever it might be. So do you still have a chance that really depends on you? That depends on you and your mindset and how you’re going to confront this. Then? It depends on any of the external factors, but just from what I have read in your situation, it sounds like he has a strong emotional connection with you, but that a jealous and controlling girlfriend of some sort is intervening.

Maybe that message was sent by her. Maybe it was sent by him. Maybe she coerced him to send it. I don’t know, but it sounds like the connection is strongest between you and him and it’s probably not that strong between him and her. Otherwise she wouldn’t be so jealous otherwise she wouldn’t be so controlling. Right, and let me tell you, if you were him, would you rather be in a relationship with somebody who understood you, you had a strong emotional connection with and who interacting with felt good or would you rather be in a relationship with somebody who is controlling somebody who didn’t trust you, somebody who is jealous and every time you interacted with them, it felt bad? Now it’s not rocket science to try and figure all this out. We want to be in relationships that feel good on an emotional level and given the choice between being in a relationship with somebody that feels good or being in a relationship with somebody that feels bad, we’re going to choose a relationship with somebody who interacting with them feels good, so that is why I say that focusing on the quality of the emotional connection between you and the other person is the most important thing.

It is more important than whether or not the other person is in a rebound relationship. It is more important than whether or not the person is initiating text conversations with you or whether you are initiating text conversations with them is more important than keeping score is more important than playing mind games. It is more important than anything else, so as long as you’re focused on making sure that the two of you have a positive emotional connection, things will probably work out in your favor. Remember, you can always go inside of the ESP course and look at the tricky situation section and learn more about the decoy effect in rebound relationships and all of that. If you want to understand probably what is going on in his mind and probably why his rebound partners actually stacking the deck in your favor by being so jealous and controlling.

Okay, so I hope this helps you out Sue, and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Our next question is from JP. JP writes in and says, background. My ex and I broke up about a month ago, currently an ANC and he has a daughter who I have grown very close to. Normally his parents watch her while he is at work, but they are going to be out of town for vacation before we broke up. I requested to to help watch her. Well, his parents are gone. I am not sure if I should still offer to help out. So I guess my question is when trying to rebuild a relationship with a single parent, when or how is it appropriate to incorporate their child? So like I was just saying to Sue the most important thing when it comes to building a relationship or repairing a relationship is the quality of the emotional connection between two of you.

You know, people will always ask me questions like how often should I text somebody? How often should I call somebody? How often should I meet up with somebody and on and on and on like that. And there’s no, there’s no magical answer. There’s no answer. Like only contact them once a week or something like that. Because for every person it’s going to be different for every dynamic, it’s going to be different for every interaction and every situation it’s going to be different, but if you cultivate the ability to feel into the situation and to know if it will feel good on an emotional level, then you will be able to be able to follow the pulse of where the connection is and you’ll be able to say, okay, if I text the person right now, it’ll feel good. Or if I text the person right now, you know, feel bad.

Right? And it might be one way or the other depending on what’s going on in their life. If they’re stressed out about something, maybe it feels good to extend a supportive text message or maybe if their attention is on something else, maybe it feels bad to demand their attention for some reason. Right? And so when it comes to situations like this involving trying to get back together with a person who has a child and you previously made some sort of agreement to help with that child, you want to ask yourself, okay, is it going to feel good on an emotional level with my ex? If I offered to take care of the Child? Well, they are at work. While the child’s grandparents are out of town on vacation, is it going to help bring the two of you closer together? Is this going to be a relief for them?

Is this going to bring comfort to them to know that you are going to watch their child? If it is, then suggest doing it. If it is not going to bring them comfort either because maybe they don’t trust you, they’re still upset with you from whatever happened before, during or after the breakup or whatever else is going on. Then maybe it’s not a good idea to do that, but you have to feel into this situation to know what the right thing to do is. You have to be able to follow the emotional pulse of where things stand between you and the other person to know if it’s going to feel good or if it’s not going to feel good. This is the most important thing that you could possibly learn when it comes to having a great relationship is to know whether or not something feels good or feels bad, and if you can do that, you can follow where things are going to go.

You’ll be able to know ahead of time. If I do this, it’s likely to feel good if I do that, it’s likely to feel bad and you can avoid doing the things that feel bad and you can go out of your way to do the things that feel good and that will help to strengthen the connection between the two of you so that in this particular case, your ex starts to have a stronger emotional connection with you and wants to get back together with you. Okay, so again, feel into the situation and try to figure out if you were in your ex’s position, if you were going through it, they are going through, if you needed somebody to handle the child care for you while you went to work, but the person that usually does that is gone on vacation, would it feel good or it feel bad if your ex stepped in and offered to help, would it be supportive or would it be very kind of dramatic because of maybe what happened between the two of you?

Okay. I don’t know, but you’re going to have to feel into that situation and figure out what the right thing to do is, so I hope that helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward. Our next question is from Michael. Michael writes in and says, I did ANC for almost a month. It was cut short by about a week because she texted me and told me to come and get my stuff from her house. I called her and the conversation was pleasant at first and then it went sideways. She told me about the last interaction we had when I helped her move and some of the issues that were quote the nail in the coffin. She also said that I wasn’t there when she needed me most during her stressful time of the move that was simply not true, except when I did not speak to her after we got her moved in.

I maintained advanced relational skills but felt beat up at the same time when I broke ANC. Her level of reactants seemed to have increased versus decreased. Why? Okay. Michael. So we addressed this last week and, the reason why her level of reactance increased is because the emotional mood between the two of you, the emotional context between the two of you took a sour tone in her experience. Okay. That’s just say something happened between her and the way that she is perceiving you, that felt bad on an emotional level. This may have been because of something you did. This may have been because of how you did ANC. This may have been because maybe you just kind of went off the radar without telling her. Maybe you just vanished off the face of the earth and she didn’t know why and she thought, well, you were really supportive and then you just vanished,

What’s the deal with that, right? or it could be because of something that that’s just completely out of your control. Maybe it was something that a friend said, maybe it was a memory that she had. Maybe she found some old thing that, she had in one of her moving boxes and it reminded her of some argument that the two of you had or something like that. Right. It could be something else entirely that’s out of your control. We talked about this last week, so I’m not going to go into this in too much detail. Okay, so you go on and you continue to say, last night she texted me to make sure I was still coming over today to pick up my stuff. Somehow over text, we got into a discussion about how I felt and how I was treated. I objectively as I could told her some very true things of how I felt from my heart.

She told me some things as well and I practiced my awareness with her and said that she was right, that our split, may have been a good thing, and that we both need some time to heal. She said she thought this was so fractured that we couldn’t salvage a friendship or otherwise from it ever, but then today I received a text saying quote, I’m glad we had some discussion last night. Let me know when you’re thinking of coming. I replied with me too. I have already been there. She said, okay, Great. I’m glad it worked out for your schedule. Have a good week. This confuses me as before she was very cold and calculated. This tax was less cold and more civil. I would’ve thought it would have been the opposite based on everything that she said last night about how she is happy. She made the decision she did to break up and what I told her and how I felt.

Is this a time to continue or start since we finally got all of our issues out on the table to push forward or should I go back to ANC and let her heal awhile longer since we just had to somewhat negative discussions about our relationship. Thanks Mike. Okay. Mike. So from what I can tell, based off of what you’re describing here, it sounds like your ex is probably add to the riding the dragon stage and this is characterized by a lot of hot and cold behavior, a lot of mixed messages. Right? So you might get some of these pullbacks where she says, Hey, I’m glad we broke up, will never be anything. We could never be friends again. And then she might meekly come out a day or two later and say, hey, I didn’t mean any of that. I’m sorry. Let me know the next time you’re in town.

Maybe we can get together or even something a little bit more on the warmer side where they could even come out and say, Hey, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean that. I really love you. You’re important to me. I can’t wait to work things out with you, stuff like that. Right? And so this can often happen when your ex is at the riding the dragon stage. This is where their negative feelings towards you and their positive feelings towards you are more or less balanced, more or less at 50 slash 50. And as they wobble back and forth, you know, 51 percent, one way, 49 percent the other way, 51 percent the other way, 49 percent the other way you know it can, it can often go with these, these, these dramatic changes in their mood because they’re going from majority of their emotions either not liking you or the majority of their emotions liking you a lot.

That’s where a lot of this hot and cold behavior comes from. So what I want you to do in this particular situation is to feel into this situation. Understand that your ex is confused. They’re not doing this to string you along. They’re not doing this to play mind games with you. Most likely they’re doing this because they are genuinely confused themselves. They don’t know how they feel about you, they don’t know what they want, what they actually want changes from moment to moment, from day to day, and so you have to understand that they’re very confused based off of that, in with the context of confusion on their end, do you think it would feel better to push forward or should you go back into ANC to let her emotions settle down? Okay. Now you want to be able to continue to build a positive emotional connection.

If you want to explore what sorts of possibilities there might be between the two of you romantically, so do you think going back into no contact is going to increase her emotional perception towards you in previous times that you’ve done it, it actually decreased her emotional experience of you, so that may not be a good idea. At least not going into ANC in the same way that you did before. So if you went into and see by just falling off the face of the earth, then that’s probably not a good way to do it before. Maybe you say something like, Hey, I don’t feel comfortable talking to you right now. I really appreciate you reaching out to me but right now I just need to focus on my healing. Please don’t take this personally. I’ll get back in touch with you later and that can be a way to do it, but I want you to understand that if you’re doing active, no contact and are actively working on improving the advanced relational skills.

Okay. That is the purpose of active no contact. A lot of times people will think that they’re doing ANC when actually they’re just doing passive, no contact, you know, they’ll, they’ll say, I don’t know what to do with my ex so I’m just going to cut contact. And then they just wait around and they’re not really working on the advanced relational skills if that’s what you’re planning on doing, if that’s what you mean by should I go back to ANC and let her heal? Then you’re actually asking if you should do passive no contact. Okay and if you were to do active, no contact, I would like you to actually work on cultivating a present moment awareness so that you’re able to tune into where her emotional level is at so that you don’t have to ask these kinds of questions next time around and you’re actually able to perceive where the emotional connection between the two of you is at.

I want you to really sharpen and cultivate and hone that skill. Okay? I’m, on the other hand, if you feel into this situation and you say, you know, yeah, I should continue to build a solid emotional connection with her. Know that you should probably only do this if you think staying in contact with her is going to feel good on an emotional level for you, for her, and create a genuine, a dynamic between the two of you that is rewarding and uplifting for both of you. And if you are in a place where you are emotionally capable of doing this because you have been able to do this with other people in your life because you’ve been practicing the advanced relational skills, then you can go ahead and stay in contact with her and you can do that as long as being in contact with how it feels good on an emotional level and feels good and was uplifting for both of you.

Okay? If it ever starts to not go that way than it might be worth pulling back a little bit, it might be worth dialing back a little bit in and, and just taking a bit of reflection time to realize what isn’t working and what you can do to improve it moving forward. Okay, Mike, so I hope this helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward with your situation. Our next question is from Jay. Jay writes in and says, hi clay. So I am just about to start a long distance relationship with my ex and naturally I’m very worried about it. We are both headed to college and I am seeking advice on how to handle a few different situations. One of my first concerns is how should we handle our busy schedules? We both could be really busy at certain times, especially with clubs, sports and social lives.

How would I convince her to make time for us to chat? Also if she pulls back from the distance, should I treat it like a pullback and initially give her some space or should I treat it as if I were in test drive or any other stage depending on where she is at. Okay. Jay, so first of all, I want to make it clear that college university, at least, at least the sort of typical university experience that that I went through is actually not that busy. Okay. It’s not that demanding. I mean most typical college students take three classes per term and those involve going to class for one hour per day on average. I mean, you know, there’s like certain classes where you have like a two hour long session or something, but then it’s only every other day or whatever. Right. But it’s more or less one hour per day for each class that you’re taking, plus some extra time set aside for doing homework and studying and working on projects and stuff like that.

But really it’s less time required than actually going to like a full time job, which is eight hours per day, nine or 10 hours if you factor in the commute, plus the lunch break and everything. So college really isn’t that much of a schedule demand, so to speak. Now you mentioned that the two of you might join clubs and do sports and have social lives and all that and that’s fine too. Your connection with her, your relationship with her should be part of that social life. You know, your friends should know that you’re in a relationship with her. They should hopefully know her. They should hopefully be talking to her either facetime or skype or something like that. You can just say, hey, I just want to introduce to my girlfriend. Let me just call her right now. And you just bring her up on facetime or something like that.

And you can show each other your friends. And this will help to build a degree of trust between all of you and a degree that you actually know each other and are actually part of each other’s lives. I actually made an episode of the relationship inner game experience last week on the topic of long distance relationships. So I would definitely go and check that out if I were you, but to get to your other questions, if there is a pullback because of the distance, should you give her space or should you treat it as if you were in testing? I mean what I would do if I was in that situation is I would check in and I would say, hey, it’s been a while since I’ve heard from you. Is something going on? Are you under some sort of deadline for like a class or something or are you just really busy with things?

And you know, assuming that we had a good solid connection and a good degree of trust between each other, I would expect that whatever she says is, is whatever she means. She’s not necessarily sneaking around behind your back or anything. I’m sure she might be, but if the two of you trust each other, then why would you doubt that if she just says, Hey, I’m really busy working on a paper for my English class and just say, okay, she was working on a paper that explains why she’s quiet and you’ll say, okay, well I’ll give you some time to work on the paper. But if she says, oh, I’m just really, you know, homesick or something and I’m just kinda depressed, then maybe you can actually stay in with her and helped to form that emotional bond so she feels a little bit more comforted and supported.

Okay. But again, this is really about feeling into the emotional connection between the two of you, understanding what’s actually going on and meeting the other person where they’re at on an emotional level. Okay. You don’t need a bunch of these arbitrary rules, like if she pulls back, you pull back to or if she pulls back, you contact her and you know, try to deepen the connection like I would in the test drives. No, I mean just don’t follow robotic rules because robotic rules are a replacement for actually being present in your relationship. What I want you to do is I want you to be present in your relationship so that you can feel into the moment and know what the right thing to do is and the only way you’re going to be able to do that is if you are in constant dialogue with the other person and if you trust each other and if you have a strong emotional connection.

Okay, so please don’t just fall back on arbitrary rules but actually feel into the moment and know what’s going to feel good and no, it’s not going to feel good and sometimes you might not know what that is and that’s when you do things like check in, you know, hey, I haven’t heard from you a while. Are you working on a deadline for your English class? If you are, that’s fine. I’ll give you some space if you’re not, and something else is going on. I’m here and I want to. I want you to know that we can talk about it. Okay. Just something as simple as that that’ll give you more information based off of how she responds and you can know what the right thing to do is moving forward from there, but if you’re just leaving it to guess, leaving it to chance, leaving it to, you know, just your mind filling in the blanks and you’re going to have a really hard time, which is why long distance relationships are incredibly difficult and not something that I would voluntarily go into.

If I had the choice. Okay. So with that being said, I hope this helps you out and please keep us updated on your situation. Our next question is from Goodman. Goodman writes in and says, hello clay. My question this week is about reconnecting with my ex after she told me in the beginning of July that perhaps we can catch up more in August and quote because she had a wedding to go to. And at some point she’d need to go to California. A week after I found out that she and the rebound guy traveled to Greece for a wedding trip from facebook posts. Well, I have built up a good self soothing ability. It still took me off guard a little bit. Last couple of weeks I have been focusing on myself and now we are well into August. I don’t want to reach out to her right on August first or second, which I think she may still see as desperation right at the beginning of August, so I plan to reach out to her closer to mid August between the 10th and the 15th.

Initially I thought about sending a text, but I haven’t texted her since last December before we ran into each other at a lounge. Would it be out of the blue to send a text? Should I continue to use email as connection media saying something along the lines of, Hey, are I hope you had a great time traveling in July. It’s been a while. Would you be open to having a call? It’s been over 14 months since the last time we had an in person. Real conversation meet and has been seven months since the last time running into her and unsuccessful phone conversations in January. Right before I got into a six month long, no contact now, I’ve been strengthening my advanced relational skills and hopefully the time has somehow reduced some of her reactance thought about two scenarios. I may get into the conversation if she asked me again if I were dating somebody, I’d say, well, I’m okay.

Is Life is. I’m still trying to figure out nothing serious, be a little bit vague and switch to a non relationship topic. Second, if you started talking about the rebound guy, my strategy is to suggest quote, let’s put the past behind us, but given our history, we can reconnect us as person without much about our relationship lives and I’m not sure what you really mean by that. Goodman in the past. I just let her talk and she switched to other talk, but if she does talk about the new guy, I want to switch the topic. What do you think? The way I try to divert and talk around dating and the rebound guy. Thank you always Goodman. Okay, so your first question was about how to stay in contact with her. Now that it’s August and now that you are wanting to reconnect with her, whether it should be with text or email, what seems to be an email has been working pretty well for you.

So I would just stick with that texting. It can, it can be kind of weird, you know, if you haven’t texted somebody since December and then you suddenly send them a text message, you know, they get the message and they open up the APP and then they see your message there. But then they also see like the, the previous messages that the two of you had in this case back all the way back to December. And it can kind of bring up like, oh well we were, we were at this one point emotionally back in December and they’ll start to remember what it was like back then. If that’s not something that you want to bring up then I probably wouldn’t do that. So what seems to be working with you is email. So I’d probably stick with that when it comes to your second question about how to handle certain topics that come up that a bit of a sore spot for you in the past.

Again, I don’t want you to be thinking about things that haven’t happened yet. I don’t want you to be making arbitrary rules and dealing with them as things that haven’t happened yet. You know, so like when she says this, I will say this, when this happens, I will say that because when she says, Hey, are you dating somebody else? It could mean a whole lot of different things. She might say it just wanting to know facts. She might say it because she thinks you have a hidden agenda. She might say it because she’s genuinely wanting you to be happy and she wants to know if you’re happy with somebody else in a relationship or whatever. Right? And so if you just have this stock answer in the back pocket and you pull it out and you’re like, life is what it is and I’m trying to figure things out, let’s move on to another topic.

Then that could seem evasive. It could seem like you’re trying to hide something. It seemed like a lot of different things and so what I want you to do is to not have these stock answers figured out, but I want you to do is I want you to have the present moment awareness to go in there without a safety net, without a line, without a script, without a canned response, and to actually listen to her when she brings this up. If she brings us up at all and you know, understand what the context might be. Is She curious about you? Is she worried that you have a hidden agenda? Is there something else going on? I mean, I don’t know, but you have to be able to tune into the moment to understand how she’s feeling in that moment and then meet her where she’s at.

If you don’t know where she’s at, you might say, well, that depends. What is it you really want to know? And then she might say, well, I just feel uncomfortable talking to you, thinking that, that, you know, you’re single and that you might want to get back together with me or something like that, in which point you can deal with that. And you can say something like, oh, well, hey, you know, I know that we used to date, but right now I’m not trying to have some sort of hidden agenda with you. I just want to focus on having a good connection with you and connecting again or something like that. And you just have to meet her where she’s at. Because that answer might be the wrong answer if her question is something else if her question has some other motive behind it.

But you, again, you have to have the present moment awareness to feel into the situation and to know what the right responses. You have to be able to understand where she’s at. You have to be able to understand and feel where she’s at on an emotional level and meet her there. Okay. Goodman. So I hope this helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward. From here, our next question is from double L. double L writes in and says, hi clay. I hope everything is well. I recently watched your new youtube video when your ex is ghosting you and could really relate to it. I left you a comment in which you replied and told me that it will be best to give my ex a little space for now and to try reaching out to him once I feel that I’m emotionally ready.

I apologize for not being clear in the comment about the mistake that I’ve made two weeks ago. I texted my ex telling him how sad I was when he doesn’t reply to my text. I asked him to please let me know when he’s busy, in which he replied to explain the reason and said that he’ll try to let me know in the future. I continued with telling him my hope for us to have a few minutes each day to talk, currently long distance and there’s a lot that I want to share with him and I want to hear about his life too. He stopped replying. I figured that what I said triggered his emotional reactance. I listened to you and Francis and decided to give him some space. He reached out to me recently and said that the hope that he hopes things have been going well and asked when I would be back in town. I replied and he told me to continue to enjoy my time away.

I did ANC with my ex for eight months and we’ve been in touch for three months now. I’ve made a lot of progress since then and we are talking day until those texts I sent causing him to ghost me. I think he was overwhelmed by what I said and needed some time to process everything. Is he back to the wall of reactance stage and should I continue to give him space at this point? Thank you so much. Double L. Okay, so I’ve actually seen a lot of things like this happen, especially when it comes to a women who want to have an emotional connection with, with a guy, you know, they’ll often be very interested in who’s initiating contact with whom or how often the contact is being made and all of that stuff. There’ll be keeping score of, of all these little tiny things and it’ll, it’ll really not them.

It’ll really bugged them and annoy them to the point where they actually contact the other person and say, Hey, I noticed that I’m doing all of the initiating. I want you to do more of the initiating or, or something like that. Or Hey, I’ve noticed that you don’t reply to me and I want you to reply to me for at least five minutes a day. Or something like really structured and artificial like that and things like this. It, it can feel bad on an emotional level to another person because you’re focusing on something other than the emotional connection, you’re focusing on who is initiating contact with who or how long the two of your are talking or just things like that. Okay, and so what you want to focus on instead is the quality of the emotional connection. It’s not just whether or not the two of you are talking every day, whether or not the two of you are talking for a couple of minutes every day even, but it’s really are the two of you having a good emotional connection when the two of you are talking, right?

It’s irrelevant. If the two of you are in communication, if the two of you are not connecting on an emotional level, it is irrelevant. If the two of you are having a conversation with one another, if there’s nothing meaningful being said back and forth. So oftentimes when things like this happen, it can feel like the other person is sort of being wrangled into something that, that they may not consider. That feels good and so they’re often very resistant to that and so it can actually make them pull away more because the other person has some sort of hidden agenda, becomes clear that they’re keeping score in some capacity, whether it’s who’s initiating contact or how long it’s taking to reply or the number of exchanges or how long the two of you are talking or something like that. And it becomes clear that there is some kind of hidden agenda becomes clear, there’s some sort of score keeping in place, it becomes clear that you’re wanting something aside from just a connection that feels good on an emotional level and so it becomes kind of weird for them.

And so yeah, it can definitely increase reactance and depending on where he was at before, you know, yeah. It might cause them to pull back towards maybe one of the other stages while reactance test drive or something like that. It really depends. Right. But again, you have to remember that the most important thing, the most important thing is the quality of the emotional connection between you and the other person. It doesn’t matter who is initiating contact, it does not matter how often the two of you are contacting each other. It does not matter the length of the contact that’s happening between the two of you. The most important thing is if you’re having high quality emotional interactions that bring the two of you closer together. This is the most important thing. If you ignore everything else, if you ignore who is initiating contact, if you ignore how often the two of you are contacting each other, if you ignore the duration of the contract, if you ignore whether or not they’re seeing somebody else, if you ignore anything else, you can just single mindedly focused on the quality of the emotional connection and things will start to get better.

Okay? This brings up the point that why are people focusing on who is initiating contact? Why are people focusing on how long it takes for somebody to reply? Why are people focusing on all of these other things if they’re not important, and the reason why is because people probably do not and in general have the ability to feel into the moment and know if they’re having a positive emotional connection or not because most people are probably so numb and tuned out to what the emotional experiences that they don’t know whether or not something feels good on an emotional level. They don’t know. They can’t tune into that, and so what I want you to do is instead of looking for signs that things are are good signs that you’re having a good connection like, oh, if we were connecting really well, we’d be talking every day via text message.

Therefore talking every day via text message is going to be the metric that I, you know, don’t, don’t use that. Use whether or not things actually feel good on an emotional level. That should be what you are tracking. That shouldn’t be what you are paying attention to, not the symptoms of things. Feeling good on an emotional level, right? Because if you create a symptom, it doesn’t mean that the thing that causes the symptom is in place, you know, if you create something that somebody would do, if they feel good, like if you smile, it doesn’t mean that you’re happy, you can smile and still be sad. People do it all the time. People put on a show to try and make it seem like they’re happy. So it’s not like if you smile, you feel happy. I never believed any of that NLP stuff when people say that it was never my experience anyway when I tried to fake a smile and feel happy.

What you want to do is you want to let it organically happen. Focus on the emotional connection and let the symptoms of a strong emotional connection happen on their own. Whether those be him initiating contact with you, whether that be him initiating more contact with you, whether that be the two of you laughing together, whether that be the two of you getting back together again, wondering whether that’d be the two of you being in a relationship. Again, whether that be the two of you getting married, whether that’d be the two of you moving in together. Whatever. Let all that stuff happen on its own. What had happened organically that will all happen organically and on its own. If there is a strong emotional connection, don’t try to make the symptom happen. Don’t try to go up to somebody with an ultimatum and say, hey, we need to get back together.

Hey, we need to get married. Hey, you need to contact me x number of times a day. Hey, we need to move in together because you hope that if that happens, that you’ll have a strong emotional connection. It doesn’t work that way. You have to have a strong emotional connection and then let the other stuff fall into place on its own because the other stuff is born from a strong emotional connection. Okay, so double L, I hope that helps you out and please keep us updated on how things go moving forward from here. Our next question is from Beth. Beth writes in and says, my ex can talk daily if I reach out. I text him. He responds most of the time. There are occasional times that he does not, but I just chalk it up to him being busy as I’m sure I’m not his priority.

Should I address this with him? No, probably not. Should I ask something to the effect of, I noticed that there are times when you don’t respond to me. Is there something I’m doing to make you uncomfortable and would you like to talk about that next? I enjoy talking to my ex. We were really good friends when we were together, so being his friend is fine by me to a certain extent whether we get back together or not, but well I don’t keep track of our communication. It kind of sounds like you do actually. You know, you’re noticing that you’re initiating most of the time, which means you’re keeping track of something. Right. Anyway, you continue. I’m starting to feel that I am the girl that can’t take a hint and I don’t want to ignore his feelings. If that is the case either. He generally only offers info if I ask.

He never initiates communication with me and when I leave things open for him to inquire after something that’s going on with me, he doesn’t go after that information. My question with this is, should I go back to ANC to give him space, ask him if he is okay with communicating with me daily or should I just continue making the effort and not care at all that it seems very one sided because if he didn’t want to talk with me, he wouldn’t respond. Thank you. Okay. Beth, so I’ve already addressed a lot of your issues in previous questions that we’ve talked about in this recording, so if you kind of tune into those other questions out, you might want to go back and revisit those, but if it’s feeling one sided, if you are not enjoying the interactions with him, then that is definitely one component of a quality interaction that is missing.

Right? People often say, I’m really frustrated with such history with the situation, what I do moving forward from here, and I’m saying, well, if you’re not enjoying the situation, then that is a big sign that the overall dynamic is suffering. Okay. He might be enjoying it, he might not be enjoying it, but at least one half of you, which is you are not enjoying the situation, which means that you need to stop and look at what’s going on. Is it because of something that is objective really happening there is to say, is it because he is not initiating contact with you? Or is it because you’re having some sort of expectation you’re keeping score of something that’s irrelevant like who’s initiating contact? you are unable to determine if an interaction feels good on an emotional level or not. So using something arbitrary like who’s initiating contact with who or something as a placeholder, as a sort of substitute for what actually feels good because that could definitely be a play to.

Okay. And I’ve noticed that a lot of people who keep score for, first of all, if you keep score over, for example, who’s initiating contact with who or something. I mean notice how whenever you keep score you always come out ahead. It’s never like, oh yeah, I’m going to keep score. But who’s initiating contact? Oh look at that. I suck. The other person is initiating contact 80 percent of the time. That doesn’t ever happen. Right? Whenever it works out that way we just conveniently forget about it and we choose something else that we’re going to keep score off of. Like, well, you know, sure. The other person, you know, they, they initiate 80 percent of the contact. But, but I put in most of the effort into, into the conversation or I, I suggest times that we meet up or when we do end up, I pay most of the time or you know, when we do have sex, I initiate most of this acts or I always do it.

They want to do when we do have sex or you know it’s, it’s unending. And the reason why is because you are looking for something to keep score over. You are looking for some sign that the other person cares less than you do and as long as you are looking for some sort of evidence that you care more than the other person and the other person cares less than you do, you will find something. You are scanning what is happening and you are looking for evidence even if it means that you have to delete evidence to the contrary, even if it means that you have to delete evidence that maybe he is putting more emotional effort into conversations when the two of you are having conversations or whatever, right? You delete this other stuffs that you can prove your own theory correct, which is that you care more than the other person and the other person cares less than you.

And if you are insistent on holding onto this belief, you will find it. You will find it everywhere. In terms of should you bring us up to him? Probably not. I would look and see if there is a reason that you are keeping score. I would look at what’s behind you keeping score. I would look at, uh, what it means to you, what it is you’re scanning for, if there’s evidence to the contrary that you are perhaps overlooking or conveniently ignoring, you know, ways that he is contributing more that you’re just sort of glossing over because you have some sort of limiting belief that you’re addicted to. Like, I want to prove that I care more than the other person or something like that. I would really look at that. Okay. I would really consider that. And um, in terms of should you do active, no contact or not? It depends. Are you willing to do the advanced relational skills? Are you just doing passive? No contact? I mean, let’s be honest about it. Most people are doing passive, no contact when they think that they’re doing active, no contract because remember, active, no contact is you focusing

on cultivating the advanced relational skills. There’s not about you giving you the person’s space so that they feel better. Okay? That’s passive, no contact. And when it comes to the two of you being in contact with one another, you have to feel into the situation and know whether it feels good on an emotional level, whether it feels bad on an emotional level and be willing to follow that just like we talked about in several cases earlier in this recording. Okay. Beth, so, yeah, I, I know that your question here touched on a lot of things that we talked about already in this recording. So, I may not have gone into them in as much detail because they don’t want to be completely redundant with all of this stuff. but yeah, I hope this helped you out and please keep us updated if you have any questions moving forward from here.

Thank you very much. Okay, those have been our questions for this week. Once again, if you’ve liked this, when you’re watching this on youtube, please go ahead and give us a thumbs up. Go ahead and subscribe to the channel and please leave a comment down below the video. If you’re watching this or listening to this, rather over on itunes, please feel free to subscribe to the podcast on itunes and please feel free to hopefully leave us a five star review and the nice comment letting us know how much you like this podcast, believe it or not helps other people find the podcast, so please go ahead and do that. but once again, this has been clay with www.ModernLove.Life and I hope that this has helped you improve your relationship inner game. I’ll talk to you next week.


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