As a result of a “comprehensive internal review,” he said, “we are going to phase out and ultimately withdraw the current approach.”. Overview of International Student Crises on U.S. Campuses . Overview of Disillusionment Phase. Chapter 5—Racism, Relationship Violence, Sexual. Do most men actually struggle with intimacy—and why? . Many men would like more sex in their relationships, sure, but more emotional intimacy? . ourselves, we may avoid painful conflict, but we also grow numb and disillusioned. Can you imagine a man like Clint Eastwood or Vin Diesel asking someone to comfort .
I took sides, for example, often throwing my weight behind the woman. For a time, I was joined by the great feminist psychologist Carol Gilligan and her team of sociologists, anthropologists, and educators, who helped articulate how what I was doing—however unconventional—seemed to have such impact. RLT, or relational life therapy, was born. Conventional therapy has done a great job of helping people grow by coming up from the one-down position of shame.
In therapy with men, I believe giving equal attention to both shame and grandiosity is critical. In RLT, we use the crucible of the couple to bring about deep change in each individual, with an emphasis on doing trauma and early childhood work in the presence of the partner.
The therapist is an explicit guide and mentor, teaching both men and women a set of practical relationship skills. Equally important is being able to serve more like twelve-step sponsors than like traditional therapists, basing our authority on our own relational recovery.
The 5 Stages of Love: Why Too Many Stop at Stage 3
The essential message is: I call this joining through the truth: How about you let me help you with it? And we empower the disempowered partner to do the same—to stand up for themselves with love.
Q What are the biggest roadblocks to intimacy that you see between men and women? A The first thing to realize is that this question would never have been asked a generation or two ago. But nowadays, we want more—long walks on the beach holding hands; heart-to-heart talks; great sex into our sixties, seventies, and beyond.
We want a lifelong lover romance. No one ever taught us how to sustain that energy with each other.
The 5 Stages of Love: Why Too Many Stop at Stage 3
Many men would like more sex in their relationships, sure, but more emotional intimacy? The open secret in couples therapy is that, by and large, it is women who carry dissatisfaction with the status quo. This is the elephant in the room: Most hetero men are not that unhappy in their marriages. No one wants a perfect man. Our worries, sadness, imperfections, draw us close. Men have been sold a bill of goods.
Partners and kids want a real man with an open heart. I tell the guys I see that denying your human vulnerability is like trying to run away from your own rectum. It has a way of following you wherever you go. Q Is it different for straight vs. But everyone participates in patriarchal values.
Men and women, gays and heteros. No one gets through the cheese strainer untouched. But it can also play out between two men or two women, a parent and a child, two cultures, two races.
Q Can you share your theory on why men typically lie? A There are three major reasons why men lie. Men are taught that we are responsible for—and entitled to—run the universe. Second, a man might lie to cover his butt, get away with something, or just get his own way. At its most extreme, it can be downright abusive. Cheaters, addicts, abusers of all kinds—these men live a life that is all lie. One of the great unspoken truths is how many men fear their spouses.
Of course, many women are no strangers to this kind of manipulation. The cure for this kind of lying is learning to be forthright with your partner. Tell your truth with diplomacy and skill, but nonetheless get it said. Have the courage to speak up for yourself rather than placate your partner and mutter through your teeth in anger. I call this radical truth-telling: The willingness to take one another on is an essential element in keeping a couple in good health.
A The first casualty of not telling the truth is our passion. As resentment builds, desire and generosity start to go out the window. I think this is the root of the epidemic of sexlessness in long-term relationships. When we stop showing up in authentic ways for our partner, and for ourselves, we may avoid painful conflict, but we also grow numb and disillusioned. Men and women are silenced for different reasons. Can you imagine a man like Clint Eastwood or Vin Diesel asking someone to comfort him because he feels insecure?
Q You also talk about male anger on a societal scale—how does that come into play in relationships and couples therapy? A Anger is mostly a secondary emotion. Underneath it is often hurt or pain. For too many men, the only strong emotions they permit themselves are either anger or lust.
When feeling hurt, or insecure, many men may dip into feelings of shame or inadequacy. In therapy, I forcefully block such aggression, then help clients walk back their anger to the shame or pain underneath.
This work requires the courage to allow yourself to be truly vulnerable. One of my clients gave me the gift of this proverb: And nothing more strong than true gentleness. But I tell my guys: We wonder where the person we once loved has gone. This is a time we often get sick in body, mind, and soul. In our marriage, Carlin and I both began having problems with our hearts heartache? I began having serious problems with erections.
To be truthful, there were times when it was miserable, and we both thought about leaving the relationship. The positive side of Stage 3 is that the heat burns away a lot of our illusions about ourselves and our partner.
Creating Real, Lasting Love One of the gifts of confronting the unhappiness in Stage 3 is we can get to the core of what causes the pain and conflict. Like most people, Carlin and I grew up in families that were dysfunctional. Both my father and mother suffered from depression and my Dad tried to take his own life when I was five years old. Her mother left him in order to protect herself and her daughter.
Ongoing research from The Adverse Childhood Experiences ACE Study demonstrates conclusively that childhood trauma can impact our physical, emotional, and relational health. Carlin and I learned to be allies in helping each other understand and heal our wounds. As we began to heal, the love and laughter we thought we had lost began to flow again.
We began to see each other as wonderful beings who had suffered greatly in the past and had come together to love each other and help heal our old wounds from childhood.
They understand that your hurtful behavior is not because you are mean and unloving, but because you have been wounded in the past and the past still lives with you. As we better understand and accept our partner, we can learn to love ourselves ever more deeply. Using the Power of Two to Change the World No one has to remind us that the world is not doing too well. There are continuous wars and conflicts.
Racial violence seems to be everywhere. We wonder whether humans can survive. If we can learn to overcome our differences and find real, lasting love in our relationships, perhaps we can work together to find real, lasting love in the world. Carlin and I are particularly tuned to issues that face men and women at midlife. We are writing a book, You Two: Please share your own experiences on the path of real, lasting love. Together we can make a difference in the world.
Learn more and get yours now.