December 20, 2019
The Most Common Couple Fights & How to Manage Conflict This Holiday Season
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What are the most common issues couples fight about? How can you argue less and effectively manage conflict? How do you find middle ground when it comes to tough topics like money, sex and time? How can you support your partner over the holidays when they’re faced with family and sibling conflict? Jess and Brandon share their stories and sex therapist and psychologist Dr. Rachel Needle weighs in with her expertise.
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The Most Common Couple Fights & How to Manage Conflict This Holiday Season
00:00:05 – 00:05:01
You’re listening to the SAX with Dr Jess podcast sacks and relationship advice you can use tonight Welcome to the sex with Dr Jess. PODCAST I’m your co host Brandon. Wear here with my lovely other. Half Dr Jess Hey. Hey doing I’m great. How you doing candidate coming up on the holidays lots going on? We do have a lot going on so before we dive in. Because we’re GONNA be talking about common fights that couples bowls and even siblings and families have. And how do maybe have fewer of those fights or fight fair and resolve them. And I think I’d like to chat a little about common holiday. They’ve fights before we do big. Thank you to desire. Resorts increases for their ongoing support of this podcast. Be sure to check them out at desire experience. It’s now joining us. Today is Dr Rachel Needle. Who is a sex therapist psychologist Tell us a little bit about your organization. Sure so thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here As you said I’m a licensed psychologists certified sex therapist I’m in private practice and on a group called the hall all Psychological Center in West Palm Beach Florida. I also Co Director of modern sex therapy institute. So we Do Continuing Education and certified sex therapists around the world so very excited to be here. Yes and so. I’m doing some work with modern sex therapy institutes coming up in March. Can’t wait of twenty twenty in west Palm Beach not a bad place to be in March. I think Brennan will probably come down. Join me could excellent. Because it’s cold in Toronto at that time and then we’ll be in New York City in May and so if you are a sex therapist or counselor even educators or just enthusiasts they come and attend these clinical trainings wings on a wide range of topics including some of the most common issues. You’re facing sex therapy and we’re we’re also going to be talking about the business of sex therapy sex exit education and sex counselling because that’s sort of my background. Yeah and something that a lot of people don’t talk about and don’t learn anything about right how to build a business as a therapist and specifically specifically as a sex therapist so I think that’s going to be a really well received one. Yeah excited to be joining forces. So you’re here today because you’ve got the expertise. He’s on fighting. What do couples come to you fighting about? What are the most common issues? Say what a thing to have an expertise the fighting expert now so we had an argument last night and we want to turn it into a therapy session. I’m just kidding Swedish it. I don’t think we did. We get into an argument last night L.. But he did take my key lime pie and put it in a ziplock bag. After I made it into this beautiful beast of a pie and I was like why. Why would he destroy my artwork? This is real struggle Israel. I was cleaning up last night and someone kind of looked over and said did you put the key lime pie in a plastic bag can put away and I said I was like yes I did thank you you know thinking like yeah I did that. You’re welcome and it was. Actually it wasn’t I didn’t do a very very good job in the presentation of storing the Pie. Okay so yesterday I cooked up a storm a lemon cake. That was beautifully decorated. A key lime pie by hand rolled truffles so those are going to be the feature images of this podcast. You’re going to need to go check them out. Because I’m a little bit proud of my handiwork. I’m not a crafty person. But I’m crafty in the kitchen. So you’re going to have to wherever you listen to this podcast head on over to sex with Dr Jess Dot Com or our instagram profile. Because posting those pictures they were really. I will like totally credit to you. They were beautiful the truffles the cake and subsequently my storage of the key Lime Pie. I should add a photo of that. Well I I imagine oftentimes these type of innocuous things now. I wasn’t actually pissed about the pie because people are already eaten it now if you had done that before the guests Rochester the but it will it is oftentimes these tiny little issues that can lead to big fights but what two couples present with when they arrive because sometimes they tell you they’re fighting about one thing thing but it can be something else altogether absolutely well the general topics I think that are the most common fights that couples have in general our money sex money sex technology and time. I want to say that’s probably the four most that I see in my office and that I hear from even friends colleagues etc So specifically over the holidays days I mean we can add in there obviously families and But all of those other things still stand right just in different ways and so when you think money sex time technology. I’m sure people realize that if you WanNa not if you want to lessen these five you have fewer fights it’s our attenuate the effects of these fights.
00:05:01 – 00:10:02
You have to talk about these issues absolutely before the issues arrive and I think that’s one of the biggest issues that people don’t don’t know how to communicate about with them. I mean especially in relationships. Communication is in great anyway. Communicating about these bigger issues becomes even more challenging. So that’s often. What fuels the the fighter argument? Is that the way that we’re communicating about. It is just you know an intern pushing the person away. So if we have to talk about money funny how do we begin to get out of our own heads because I think oftentimes we come with these personal values. Familial values cultural values political values even around money and so we think that our way is the right way and so folks who listened regularly know that I’m not going to ask you to attack your partner a change your partnering partnering and ask you to begin with yourself. So how do we begin with ourselves to say all right. I got my own issues around money. Even though I think my ways the right way how can I learn to budge a little bit more so I think I you have to like you said start with yourself understand what your money. Conversations are because we all have our beliefs and conversations around money that started from when we were way younger right from messages we got from things that were said to us or even model to us so we have to understand that about ourselves first and then we have to realize that our our partners conversations are going to be very different So the way that we you know spend money share money You know the kind of debt that we’re in those are the things that we have to talk about and we have to be willing to say. Okay it’s not always going to be the way that I wanted to be. How can we find this middle ground about what we’re we’re we’re each comfortable with the make that okay actually money something that we have struggled with because our values have always been a little bit different? I was just GonNa say that’s something that that we do get into discussions nations or arguments about and we argue. I think people have this idea that we don’t get into arguments or fights and we do and I had this. I brought to the table. What I brought to this relationship was a wonderful a preconceived idea of how to argue and how to fight and over the last nineteen years? I’ve had to learn to you deconstruct that and it’s taken me a long time but when we talk about bringing things to You know an analyzing how you fight. How do you even start like? How do you begin to say Whoa? Maybe I’m not fighting fairly because again I used to do that. My default was get into an argument. Get defensive blow a gasket and then thirty minutes later realized that maybe ABC. I didn’t do things the way I should have to communicate effectively and to resolve the problem and then apologize and then have a rational conversation precision. Now what I’m finding is. I don’t do that as much I start by. Taking a few deep breaths you know thinking and listening to what the other person has to say not taking it personally and then trying to move forward from like a a rational perspective so I mean you’re kind of looking at me. Would you agree that that is how I think that’s how we are. You know you don’t blow gaskets like used to because you used to have this wien gene in your forehead that will come out more often can kind of see it sitting there actually. The forehead comes down. So so you’re saying Brennan that you take a few deep breaths that you remind yourself that you have this tendency to blow up because then it reduces the chances that that will happen. What what other strategies can people employ? Oy will I I want to touch on. I love that you said you know. Even we argue very because people have this idea of how other people’s relationships are right. You never know till you’re in them but everybody everybody does right all couples. HAVE DISAGREEMENTS IF YOU WANNA call not arguments fights whatever. It’s the way that we do that. That makes all the difference in the world. If you do it respectfully if you if you continue to challenge yourself and try to figure out how can I do things differently so start with yourself use. I statements always right when you make it about the other person you you you first of all. It’s going to get it first of all. It’s not accurate right because it’s ninety percents about US ten percents really about the other person. Secondly it’s not going to go very far because the other person’s likely GonNa get it defensive or something’s GonNa come up and a wall will likely come up so start with talking about yourself using I statements taking a couple of deep breaths recognizing when it’s when things are escalating or there’s more emotion. There might be a point in time at which point it’s not productive where you might have to say. You know what we’re going to. Let’s take ten minutes. I’M GONNA go for a walk in ten minutes. I’ll be back and then let’s finish this conversation so that you can kind of organized your thoughts in a more rational way less emotional and have the more productive conversation than if you’re sitting in that emotion and not able to contain it. I appreciate the permission to take a break because as someone who wants wants to resolve everything right away and you know.
00:10:02 – 00:15:04
I’m a problem solver or I see myself as a problem solver but I’m really exacerbating the problem. It can be really difficult if he says he needs a few minutes. And so I like that. You say I need ten minutes or I need two hours or or even need until morning because it’s easy for the other person to say like Oh you don’t want to engage and you can respond with you. I do want to engage. I’m just not in the right head. Space to engage but I do want to engage in an hour in three hours in ten minutes. Whatever that that time period maybe the time is is great? I would agree because I think that there’s a power element to sing. I don’t want to talk about this right now. Whereas in an argument when you’re in the midst first of when you’re in the throes of passion and not the Good Times yes but when you are really emotional and you say I don’t want to talk about this right now it sends a message whereas saying I do WanNa talk about this but I need five minutes or ten minutes meaning? I’m going to come back to this. I just need to simmer down a little bit and for for me. That’s my. That’s my thing like I might need to step away for a few minutes just Once that heart rate starts elevating for me and the blood. Let’s not rush to the brain properly and I start saying things that I’m going to have to take back or say what I was wrong for saying that before I get to that that point I can say just give me a few minutes and then we circle back and when we talk about money I think money was a trigger for you in the past. It definitely was maybe still l.. I don’t know I think I don’t know that it still is the way that it was before but we grew up very not tremendously differently but very differently and I I do think the money is something that we’ve had to have discussions about. It’s interesting I come from a background where financial illiteracy was our second language so my dad sat me down when I was probably six years old and taught me what an RSP was. So that’s our version of your 401k. In the states my dad loved to teach me numbers. He taught me to convert numbers from Fahrenheit to Celsius divide and multiply by nine V slap. Aren’t headcount track bowling scores five. It’s going to a bowling game when I was like five or six years old for a birthday party. You know the type where they have a bumpers in the lane and everybody wins. My Dad had to show me how you carry over the next two balls if you get a strike and the next singular ball if you get spam we keep up the numbers so so so really. We didn’t it’s not that we had tenement but my parents were careful a part of the Chinese side that you you don’t go into debt except for perhaps APPs to buy it to buy a home obviously and so you come from a very different background and my parents did emphasize saving for you. Yes yes for me and for them. There’s different ways of spending money but they did emphasize saving and I remember that from I kid but they’re that was it was just like you should save money or you should save half of what you make but getting into the habit of doing that and also when there’s different model behavior You know things are different. Yeah and I think it can be a challenge to when money is an interesting to me because I think if you can ask yourself the question what are you afraid of. What is the fear that underlies this argument your perspective digging in in because Brennan that you have some you know an underlying fear with money? I do yeah. This is the Brandon show and we talk Brandon’s fears and insecurities securities. And you know what I’m an open book you are yeah. Don’t judge me but I do come with this fear of running out or shortage and you know thankfully over the last number of years business has been great. Everything is great. Okay but there is still this incessant continual fear of not having. And it’s not because I need to be blamed out twenty four seven actually quite the contrary oftentimes oftentimes I find myself afraid of what if I need to pay for this for someone or for me or for Jess. What if this happens? What if that happens? So it’s a hoarding mentality. Excuse me it’s a hoarding mentality to prepare for the worst. So now you’re getting a little bit more insight into how how I how I act and how I how I think and that in a financial from a financial perspective can make it very different when you’re with a partner who is very giving who’s very like let’s entertain for instance last night. We entertained for your family. Twenty five people. So there was food and Shannon shrinks and champagne and bubbles Galore. And I enjoy it. I do but I’ve had to learn to take a little bit over the years from her and actually just now is the one who saying what you’ve worked hard.
00:15:04 – 00:20:10
We’re in a good spot you can’t you should go and buy this and until like you need to. They call me out because I feel like I loved it up there like I put it on a tee ball and said hey babe. Here’s your financial issue. I think you should maybe call me out on. Maybe what mine were or what they are. Yeah I mean listen and no I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t say that it was clueless in this. I think that it was very much Joie de vivre where you were kind of like we need to live for the now and there may not be tomorrow oral or a two years or ten years from now so let’s enjoy a little bit of what we have today so you can see how very different in that respect and how that can result in arguments over money and and it’s for me it’s really a sensitive point and I do think that some of our financial investments and decisions have reinforced. I my my perspective. It’s like look what we’ve been able to do as a result of conservative nature. Well I mean we’ve made some. We’ve made tremendous investments. And we’ve been. I like to attribute that to my more conservative approach. So you can see how you can see how this a little bit. From her perspective. A little bit from my perspective has resulted in a nice middle ground but initially there were some arguments about this blank. Oh I’m just getting no. I think it’s amazing. How you have this insight right? You’ve gotten to know each other and yourselves in a way that you can talk about these things. And that’s one of the things in terms of tangible is like what else can you do. Listen right when you’re talking I don’t see you just. You’re not waiting to respond or waiting to add or you know. And that’s what a lot of people do when not even just during arguments but in conversation right you hear something all of a sudden you don’t hear anything else right so with your partner especially listen when you communicate truly hear what they’re saying and under try to understand from their perspective as opposed to then just trying to respond so thank you. You’d lemon straight that as you talk about a really difficult topic yeah. The Art of listening is one that I have not mastered but the importance importance. No no no I do find that I’m making more of an effort to listen but I’m trying to listen with purpose. Listen almost mindfully where I’m I’m trying to absorb rather than just get ready to respond. Because I I do that. You’re really good at that so I I’ve said this before Brandon is able to you look at him and look at himself and say. Here’s something I can work on actually work on it. I’m more just doling out advice to do better. It’s just the way I look when I’m listening. Think I’m very much listening to what no I do. I do activate actively listen so when we think about money in the holidays coming coming up. Obviously this can be a stressful time. If you’re if you’re North American there’s a tendency to overspend there’s stress about spending. I mean I can tell you what I’m doing this year so even the kids aren’t getting presence in my family. I I did a donation to food for the poor Canada. Check them out food for the poor Canada. They also have an American arm They do work across the Caribbean on across the globe. And so I made made a donation and you can purchase what they call gifts of hope. And so you can buy a fruit tree or a stack of books or one hundred pounds of rice or a beehive where you have even more money. A- pump water pump. But they start at say fifteen dollars and they go up to thinking by school for. I don’t remember if it’s ten thousand or one hundred two thousand because I didn’t buy one but they’re they’re a charity we support and then there’s another one called mustard seed and so the kids are all getting certificates explaining what they’re getting so that. What are you looking brandon? We were also involved with step stones for youth sponsoring some of the Teenagers and young adults adult in downtown Toronto which was another great organization. Yes so that’s one way you know. I’m not necessarily buying everybody the biggest presence or feeling pressure Washer. That one thing that used to happen for me as let’s see I found something really cool for my mom like a really beautiful coat and then I had spent a whole ton of money on her cool. I really wanted to buy her that coat but then I would feel oh well I can’t just give my dad a sweater and then I’d find something actually. I bought my data coat a couple years ago as well really fancy coat and then my my dad’s getting that and so then. I love my Stepdad. And then it just it you feel you need to match you have to be equal with everybody right. And that’s that’s so that’s a conversation that do you have your head right to know your family so I don’t know if like your mother would say well you spent this on him and this But that’s something that you have to resolve in yourself but also in relationships ships communicating about your expectations for gifts for each other because that that in itself can be a huge thing right if you similarly you talking about your family right if if you buy her a diamond necklace and she buys you a beer mug. Herbert Right cousy. Even better four ninety nine right right there may be so there may be some imbalance in in what’s gone but is that an issue or you somebody who’s minimalist who doesn’t really want guess right or or you know.
00:20:10 – 00:25:00
Oh and you’re somebody who really does enjoy the other talk about these things. Are there expectations for how much you’re GONNA spend. Maybe even talk about how much okay. Let’s not spend over two hundred dollars this year on each other you. You know it’s unnecessary. We buy each other gifts all year. And you don’t have to match. That was a conversation. I’m having with myself. The no one in my family was putting on me at all right. It was your own money conversation and read it totally was just on me and you don’t have to match. People have different financial means and even many of us who are entrepreneurs we have different means every year. Ah Yes the idea of not matching is a really interesting one but also to have. You’d mentioned having that conversation with other people about their expectations expectations. Because if I were to say to jess are you. Okay with me not bind you a gift of this year or you know. I’m just going to get you this which you don’t yeah we don’t. We don’t buy each other gifts over the holidays but if I were to say to her you know are we. What are we doing for gifts? And how are you going to feel because I was thinking of getting my brother or my my sister Jermaine parent this but not person that you’re having that conversation with having them respond honestly because how will you feel when somebody does is by one person a lovely jacket and you do get that cousy or that Mug you might be okay with it now but will you be okay you on the spot when you open your mug and they get the jacket. Yeah be honest with yourself about when you have that conversation. Make sure that you’re being honest with yourself and your partner about about. What will that person on other people? You bring up that you know like is it. You know we’re doing this for each other. But what about what we you know for for sharing money or we are. Are you know combining incomes in some way living together spending money together on bills you know. Do we have expectations and conversations about what we what we were going to spend on others that year. Yeah and that’s something that’s important because you don’t WanNa just assume even if money is not an issue in your relationship still have the conversation right absolutely because just because something isn’t an issue today it doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future and when we think about gifts. oftentimes I think most people. It really is about thoughtfulness as opposed to financial value. But some people are just better at giving gifts Jeff’s right. I’m I don’t think I’m very creative with gifts. I’m good at being generous but I’m not good at thinking of something that you mentioned one day while we were out and Brennan has as a member of his staff who always buys us the most thoughtful gifts and unlike she doesn’t even know us that well. How did I can’t come up with this for Brandon and she can come up with this for rent and so some people have that skill and some of us have to work a bit harder at it now when we think about money fighting with the family obviously there are other issues that come up over the holidays and so I’d love to just think about some approaches for couples and also families to have a more harmonious holiday season? And where can we begin today. Because we’re we’re cutting it close. Yes sure well one of the things that you we were talking about earlier is that you know. Some people will regress in a way when they’re with their family right things that may not have been worked through and processed from when you were younger I mean even if it was only three years ago five years ago you’re twenty five years ago often. Do come up when you’re with your family right. It comes right back where something triggers it So make it make it a point to acknowledge knowledge. Those things within yourself tried to prepare yourself for you know what I what happens when this topic comes up. How will I handle it so for? Oh you know tangible for that. Is You know Brandon mentioned earlier taking a deep breath right set. You know excusing herself from the table and going to kind of decompress. A little bit understand. Stand make sure your calm and you realize that this isn’t this is about the things that are triggering you so you know your triggers. This is about you take responsibility for what it is is in yourself. That’s having this come up as opposed to always wanting to point the finger at somebody in the family or you know somebody did something to you and if somebody did as something to you. Ten fifteen twenty years ago. Should you be waiting for them to make amends or are there things you can do to get over this now. Let’s let’s say this person’s still in your life. It’s not necessary. I’m not talking about abuse. I think that’s a different conversation. But you know they slighted you or they were disrespectful or they made fun of you or they picked on you especially when they were young because this happens when we were kids when we were teenagers. We’ve all said and done things that were not particularly proud of. How do you the rehashing the past or should you rehash the past? How do you move on from that? I think there are a number of ways that that can happen. I mean the first thing you have to realize is that just because you remember something. That happened doesn’t actually mean the other person does right the way it impacted you you know. It might not have them so they might not even remember having cited you or said something.
00:25:00 – 00:30:06
Maybe they didn’t know it hurts you that badly right so I think within yourself you have to figure out what what that was about and then you have two options right you can process it and work through it on your own and realized this was twenty five years ago. Hopefully this person wouldn’t do that today or or you wouldn’t respond the way. Maybe you did back then. It made it impacted you then but maybe if it happened happened today. It wouldn’t impact you in that way and work on yourself or you have a choice of having a conversation with that person and letting them know again using I language and your feelings feelings how it felt back then giving them the opportunity verse either. Say That’s crazy. I don’t remember and but or really here you and then have the opportunity to make amends in their own way or at least make you feel heard that I- language is really important. Because I feel like saying you did this. You made me feel this away. As opposed to what I remember is this. I felt really crappy because of that. And you no. This is how I’ve been dealing with. It is is disarming because you’re not saying it’s your fault you’re saying this is what happened and this is how I felt and I feel the need to to bring it bring it up or at least have somewhat of a discussion about it and you have an attack the other person and I like like going into the holidays that might make things a little bit easier because it can be very contentious. Here’s another struggle. Let’s say you only really see your family around the holidays the days and you have this issue or the thing that you conceive to be a burden you’ve been carrying it around. Do you even want to bring it up around the holidays because you only see them a couple of times a year so the and that’s a great point however I think this goes back to like it’s important to feel connected and we can’t feel fully connected did and vulnerable and present with with somebody who we are holding something against so if you can process it and get pass it on your own terms and in your own way before your with their family. Then you’re right maybe you don’t bring it up and you just let this be an enjoyable time but if it’s something that you are holding onto right that is impacting you. Then being able to communicate about it could make those holidays that relationship and connection so much stronger and more enjoyable So you know it just depends how you’re able able to kind of work on work through it I also appreciate I feel as though that’s a reminder to me we don’t need to idealize the holidays right. It’s not this spectacular time of year where everything it has to go perfectly. It’s a nice time of year because most of us get a little bit of a break from work not everybody. Does I acknowledge that. And you get to eat and drink and perhaps be married but it doesn’t doesn’t have to be perfect and sometimes the tough conversations are the ones that lead to feeling closer. Yes but just because you want to address. Something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to turn out the way that you’re hoping that it does. I’ve been in situations where I have tried to bring something to light to have love ineffective constructive conversation and frankly it’s backfired on me so I think would do you suggest that you also think about the ways that this could play out because I think we tend to assume that things are going to work out very positively and there is the chance that it doesn’t and if it doesn’t are are you prepared for just the unfolding of events as a result of things not working at well CEO must feel like this. This is a sort of general conversation about expectations. Which I think we’ve really been talking about a lot of the time that we’ve been we’ve been talking in that so don’t have expectations of how this has to go or Kengo right? You’re not doing this for the other person to realize how they wrong. You for example or something. That’s come up you’re doing it to feel better and to be able to feel heard that doesn’t mean you will. You don’t know that they’re in that same place so that’s a good point. Don’t have expectations about what your partner is GonNa get for you or not talk about it right. Don’t have expectations for you. You know how the holidays are going to be this grand perfect time of the year because they’re likely not going to be right and that’s okay. We don’t need to be have it. Be Perfect perfect but make sure that you’re acknowledging expectations yourself and having the conversation with those that you can. So Dr Needle is saying is set the bar low shut mason low expectations so not having experts. Okay so hopefully. It didn’t come out exactly. Expectations isn’t setting the bar. Although it just acknowledging that you can’t control how something goes you can control how you think about it. You can control your response to it right but not how it goes so so try. Not if you have this expectation of this is how it’s going to turn out most of the time you’re GonNa get disappointed or hurt right. You don’t want that so communicate if you do. Have you want something to be a certain way and just realize that you know any step closer to to where you want to be communicating getting the soft chess. Letting you know letting them at least here for the first time time. Even if they can’t fully you know take it in is a step in the right direction and I think the bottom line.
00:30:06 – 00:35:01
Is You have to do the work. The you are the one that gets to change how you think adjust how you behave and that will affect how you feel so you cannot expect that. They are going to respond with the love with the support with expressions of regret with expressions. That’s not going to be an act of contrition where they’re going to say yes. Look what I’ve done wrong long. And if you can also acknowledge something you did to contribute to the situation or this memory or this experience. I think that is the most disarming thing so I felt l.. To this way when this happened I acknowledged that I also played a role in this and I regret it or I apologize if you can. It’s amazing how if you apologize college is how you’ll probably get the apology. You’re looking for not from everybody. Listen I know people are gonNA say. Oh well my mother-in-law were my sister. My brother is super unreasonable. Yes we know. They’re they’re not. They’re not all the same but you are far more likely to get that expression of vulnerability if you show it I for sure. You’re you’re preaching to the choir. I totally Canadian. We always say sorry. I’m sure we’re not sure if we mean it but we say it so if we think about going into the the holidays and we think about couples example. So we’re going to my family and I know I have certain triggers. Obviously I can tell brandon what those are. If if there’s an uncle who sets me off if there’s an aunt who’s always bothering me about having children I can let him know in advance specific naming names but I can let them know. Here’s how you can support me. I want you to stand by me. I want you to hold my hand or I want you to say something to her because not everybody wants their partner to speak on their behalf. Me I love when Brennan speaks on my back drop lake some f bombs and stuff effing no but I mean for me I do like when Brennan stands up because he’s he’s been a fixture in the family for almost nineteen years people really like and respect him. It’s not his first time meeting. So Oh I think you had mentioned before we started that. It’s important to tell your partner what here’s what support looks like to me because what I want from Brandon may not be what he wants. It’s for me. So for example in his family I don’t think my standing up for him would be as effective. I think that sorry I’m the Chinese Jamaican girl from the city that they we see as queer or however they see me and so they don’t have the same I think I don’t WanNa say respect but they don’t want to hear from you as much as perhaps my family might be open to hearing from you. You and I’m not talking about your whole family. I’m talking you know specific people now. I regret saying this. I don’t think you need to regret saying I think people but I think people look look at this relationship that we’ve been in for almost two decades and assume that your You know us being together. has this kind of morphed into something different from what I actually was when in reality I think that this relationship has provided me with the confidence and the ability to feel comfortable comfortable speaking my mind and standing up for what I believe in when the situation presents itself. And that just means that I’m more vocal. With what what I think and comfortable saying how I really feel understanding how that’s going to impact the relationships that I have with certain people and that extends ends to friends and family like I’ve lost friends as a result of my beliefs. And what I stand for. I’ve lost clients and I’m sure that if I really dig deep I’ve probably probably lost some family ties as a result of it and I think I’ve had to learn go of something else. I’m sorry I had to let go but I think that I’ve I’ve had to come to terms with that and I’m still coming to terms with it because it’s not static. It’s something that changes over time but for me. The holidays are a time where there’s just a lot of family get together and as you had said before there are things that may have existed five ten fifteen twenty five years ago that have the the opportunity to come back up or that are unresolved so again going in and really thinking about how they might come up thinking about how. I’m going to respond or if I’m going to invest the energy in responding or even justice too late lately. I’m sorry do do you want to like if it’s important to you engage if it’s not let it go or go in and just have a good time right. I’m not saying somebody says something offensive. I just mean. Don’t bring it up if you don’t need to or if you don’t want to and that’s a choice that I’ve made where I’m like. Yeah I’m just GonNa have good time today. I’m not going to go in with my fists up. Ready Ready to get into an argument. I’m going to go in and say this is on me to fix or let go for for my part of it and today. I’m not going to do that today. I’m just GonNa go when I’m going to be easy breezy.
00:35:02 – 00:40:01
How do you get to that though Brandon? ’cause you’re you’re like the success story where it’s like. Well now I’ve let things go. I’ve worked out my money issues now. I don’t but how did you get to that because I do notice that with your family you’ve become a lot more relaxed whereas before I do think you were. I don’t WANNA say combative but prepared to be. Combative is just for the record. I don’t feel like I’ve gotten over anything I feel like. I’m constantly working on things. I only feel like. I’ve started to scrape the surface of being able to. You really identify how I feel when it comes to topics like money and you know my relationship with with you jess my relationship with friends and family and it’s dynamic even as we’re having having this conversation here right now I’m thinking about okay. This is great. How am I going to take a moment before we go into? You know this party with my friends friends or family function. And how am I going to deal with this in advance. How am I gonNA mentally prepare myself for this For this party I don’t mean in a bad way I was thinking there’s the flipside who do you love in this room. Who Do you love spending time with? Because this is a flaw of mine where there can be twenty people in a room and nineteen. Nineteen of them are fabulous and if one is even a little bit rude to me I get hung up on it and so I have to remind myself the law of numbers and say nine thousand nine hundred twenty. Just that’s pretty damn good and I wonder if depending on like you brought up like the mood you’re in or how you’re feeling that day like am I going to be combated today or my just going to kind of let it go like makes makes a difference right in that time. We’ve had this fabulous day. Lots of things have happened or a wonderful mindset and space you know perhaps in that day you won’t even notice the one right so it’s about where you are in that moment and what you allow yourself to do so the minute you notice that that one is is changing your mood and changing up up time again. Take a step back and figure out what’s going on with you. And how can you focus on these nineteen other fabulous people And that’s sometimes really hard depending on how much that one is triggering something in you or what your history with that one is or what your history with somebody. WHO’s like that one is that that’s a great eight point that oftentimes we’re not even upset at that person? That person reminds us of something either in somebody else we’ve had to deal with or even within ourselves absolutely they usually when we’re mad at other people were sort of mad at ourselves projection but also you know and I go back to the ninety ten right like ninety percent of of what bothers you about about other somebody else above triggers you about you and ten percent is really about them. So what is it a new. That’s making me feel you know angry or sad or or jealous or you know I have to figure that out. What is it? What’s really going on? And what’s triggering me and my past you know and that list of emotions is so useful. So we had had Karen B K Chan on the podcast and they had recommended keeping it on your fridge this list of feelings and I said of course you can google it and just look at your phone because it’s so easy to feel angry right sometimes. It’s easy to feel sad and frustrated but there are a wide range of emotions that were probably not acknowledging you know especially when we think about feeling inadequate or feeling lonely or feeling as though we’re coming up short or feeling jealous or feeling insecure and those are emotions that can be really challenging Ellen ging but also really helpful if you actually decide to acknowledge them so look at so. I challenge people right before the holidays to take a look at that list of emotion. So that you acknowledge knowledge that you’re full human spectrum of feelings. I think that can be really helpful. When you’re moving into situations that might be stressful now? Some of you probably just have no stress in your holidays days. And that’s awesome too right. I mean I would say I’m fairly lucky partly because I pick and choose I so we have a massive family just nonstop everywhere you go. There’s family and my mom. Tom Has always said you can pick choose and refuse. Maybe that’s not nice. I don’t know but I choose how I spend my time. That doesn’t mean I don’t see people but I invest my time a little bit differently and I’m lucky in that respect to that I can so before we let you go because you are a certified sex therapist and you train and certify the sex therapist. I think we should talk about sex ax. You WanNa you WANNA talk about the sex once again. We’re getting into this open book element here so very very looking at me like like I’m GonNa say I wasn’t GonNa say anything about you okay. Now he’s begging me. I mean the holidays because they’re a stressful time because there there is sometimes additional domestic labor. Because there’s additional financial pressure because as you said you can be triggered by feelings and thoughts from childhood. Could if you’re visiting the people with whom you spent your childhood sex’s sometimes the last thing on our minds and when we don’t have sex sometimes we also also stopped being affectionate. We stop expressing intimacy and other ways. So how the Hell do you prioritize sex over the holidays Same Way you do not out over the holidays right.
00:40:01 – 00:45:02
You make it a priority whether it’s you know together or even in your own head so you have to make a conscious effort to do that so if you notice that you’re pulling back a little bit because all these other things are coming up be more conscious of it and be more intentional and what you’re doing If you need to plan it planet a lot of people say oh well Oh that’s it doesn’t make it fun and it can’t be spontaneous but the truth is that can make even more fun. You know I mean you can like do things leading up to it to make it super sexy and hot I mean and and it can still be spontaneous in that way you can even plan in your own head. I tell people you know y you know. Say Your alarm for ten minutes before you were going to how much more time you have. Oh ten minutes. Set your alarm for ten minutes before your partner does even know you’re having that you’re doing that or you can tell your partner that you’re doing that and have some fun in the morning and make sure that you’re connecting sexually actually and engaging activity being affectionate touching because it does lead to relationship satisfaction and improves overall quality of life. or or you can do a brandon. Did yesterday Oh what does that reminds me because I remember the come so we are down in In Florida right now and we’re with family and we’re in a loft where there are no doors proper doors on the bedrooms and so I think Ma were with my mom. It’s my mom’s birthday so my mom and my Stepdad went out and none of my cousins were here and I’m cooking. We had ten minutes alone. Make sure you check my pictures of my cake and my and my pie but so I’m cooking working in the kitchen. He’s like do you want to do it because we have no time. It was sexy talk. I was like so we get ten minutes. We should probably do this. What I mean and honestly it’s not on the hottest thing ever but I’m like yeah man I feel like doing that? I may not feel like it right the second but as soon as our bodies touch as soon as we get naked we can get ourselves in the midst. The bottom line is we were not well. I wasn’t in the mood where you in the mood. I don’t think I was particularly in the mood but honestly thought we have an opportunity. We are not alone very much. I mean whether we are at home or were traveling. I find. We’re never alone. I mean December twenty fifth. We’re going to be alone it but it was something I did. I recognize that this was an opportunity and listen if it resulted insects. Great if it didn’t then that’s okay too because we would have taken an opportunity to try and connect that it did it did. Yes so prioritized is it. You’re you’re thinking about it you’re like okay. This is our opportunity. I WANNA connect and has just said you didn’t start horny. You’re in the mood right. But oftentimes they’re arousal desire will come to yeah and and for me. We’ve talked about this before where I need to be relaxed and when you’re constantly like we were working yesterday you were prepping food. We had a bunch of people coming on over for a party that night. I wasn’t particularly relaxed but I knew that if I didn’t make an effort to be that there was absolutely no chance so you know what a rolled the dice and it worked out. But you’re right. It doesn’t sound sexy when you think let’s schedule time but again that’s just a negative perspective on it where you could say. Let’s make let’s make it a game. We got thirty minutes until or ten minutes to tell you how sexy it was. I went in latched the door because the other people have keys to this condo including all my cousins. I message my cousin because he wanted to come down for some Bacon and said No. I’m on a conference call for twenty minutes. So it was very sexy foreplay generous with twenty minutes But this is about perspective right. ’cause you say this isn’t sexy to me. That sounds sexy right because my partner knows this is my only chance to touch me to enter to be sexual with me and And he wants to do that and so to me. That is sexy. Like he’s thinking about you. Know when can I be with her. Next here’s a time opportunity and we’re going to do it so it’s about perspective too right. Yeah and it’s not always going to be tearing close off you know. Heated throws a passion and unrealistic. And let me be clear. You don’t have to have sex over the holidays as if you don’t want to but if it is something you value if it’s a way you express connection and intimacy because I know that everybody speaks those languages differently then you just some I don’t I wanNA say force yourself but consider doing it even if you’re not in the mood yet get yourself in the mood and then as you said the desire follows and even yesterday when we did get together like it doesn’t always it didn’t immediately tearing each other’s clothes off things kind of started in the right direction and then and and then I started putting. Yeah I wouldn’t have used that word but yes. He said something that that that didn’t feel good for not didn’t feel good but did just turn to the vibe and then I started putting pouting so it was like a bit of a rollercoaster was like yes. Yes yes yes yes in common either right every. Listen that’ll that’ll happen. If you let that throw you off and be like Oh forget it right which a lot of people will like. You’RE GONNA you’re not gonna be happy because let’s be honest we’re more we’re happier when we’re like you know getting off with the other thing.
00:45:02 – 00:48:35
Maybe people should just go masturbate before a family event if you want a more leads to relaxation lowers your blood pressure. Sure I mean after you raise it then lowers it. You’ll be more relaxed absolutely but you know you you said you don’t have to have sex absolutely but you know engage in some sort of physical touch. It’s good for us and it makes us feel connected. That’s even like even if you’re just kissing you know that’s something that we don’t do as often the you know. The throughout the duration of our relationship jeopardize the longer our relationship is so. Make sure that you’re engaging in some deep kissing or just rub each other’s armed do something like that so flow I’ve got we’ve got people coming over. I gotta go twist awesome. Knuckle Kiss. It’s best where’s Brandon. He’s breathing heavy in the shower. Family must become. His friends are coming over. So on that note I know we’re coming up on the holidays already in the in the thick of things so we wish everybody really happy holiday season however you you celebrate if you celebrate and remind you so I’ll I’ll say what I’m going to do what I’m GonNa do is I’m going to think of what triggers me so that I can be more prepared prepared for it and I. I think I’m also going to clarify I think brandon you know but maybe we can revisit it what I want you to do if this if if one of these things happens if one of these lines said let’s be clear. I’m not going in assuming that there’s going to be a battle because I’m kind of lucky where there’s not too much stress in my family Definitely definitely not directed toward me. I’m kind of lucky it’s mostly just the I don’t have kids thing and I’m too busy and I’m always traveling so but those things are things that I’m proud of so it doesn’t cut as hard hard at me now that I’m a little bit older but I’m going to revisit and just tell you what it is I need from you which is to speak for me. I love this. I thought this is really helpful. Dr Needle has given me permission into touch myself before I get in a stressful situation. I liked the idea of thinking about what triggers you also expectations. I think expectations Of what you hope to achieve of having those deep conversations or at least bringing things too late with other people so that you’re not disappointed when it doesn’t play what exactly how you want wanted to. Do you want to share anything you want to do. So yes so for me. I like to find a pay attention and be conscious of what I think could trigger me when I’m going into a family family situation with myself. My friends my partners. You know So be conscious of what might trigger me and be prepared for it so that I don’t react you know we’d rather I’d rather be prepared and calm conscious than responsive or reactive So that’s really important to me. So thank you for having me though and I do hope people you go to my website. I have a doctoral dot com website and If you’re interested in being trained as a certified sex educator counselor therapist. WWW dot modern and sex therapy. INSTITUTES DOT COM awesome. Yeah so I’ll be again with modern sex therapy institute’s a folks are working in the sexuality field definitely check out our training in south Florida in March end our training for professionals in New York City in May thank you so much for being here having me happy holidays. Happy Holidays to everyone happy holidays from desire resorts and cruises check them out at desire experienced. Folks I really hope you have a great one. I hope that it’s relaxing. I hope that you surround yourself with at least one person who makes you feel great about yourself. Have a great one and we’ll be back with one more before the end of the year. You’re you’re listening to the sex with Dr Jess podcast. Improve your sex life improve your life.