Ep. #56 What Affairs Tell You About You and Your Relationships with Jayson Gaddis
This is particularly relevant to men because most studies show that men tend to have more affairs than women. Besides this point, if you are interested in any type of monogamous relationship, then this is something that you should be aware of because it is so prevalent today. At some time in your life, it is probably going to affect you whether it is the girl having the affair or whether it’s you that gets tempted and involved in an affair.
Today’s guest is Jayson Gaddis. He is a certified psychotherapist, counselor, and relationship specialist working with men. He has also founded and led a number of men’s groups over the years for self-development, growth, and other purposes.
I came across him through some really interesting writing of his on the root cause of affairs and their impact on us. I found the interview very thought provoking and I hope you do to.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- Jayson's background: family life and relationships
- What is an affair? (04:35)
- Emotional affairs versus sexual affairs (09:46)
- Rationalizing and justifying an affair (12:50)
- Polyamory (13:58)
- Patterns of partners getting together that have similar issues surrounding affairs (15:57)
- Tackling the issue of a possible affair in a healthy way (17:07)
- Changing from a doormat in a relationship to recognizing what you are doing wrong in order to make it better (20:08)
- How to pick up on the possibilities of an affair? Unconscious selection (22:55)
- Moving from feeling to growth by addressing your own issues and focusing on what you really want (26:19)
- Is there any clear, determining factor that separates having affairs and cheating with open relationships? (29:10)
- Men as relationship commitment-phobics (31:00)
- Mutual growth perspective in a relationship (34:56)
- The development of relationship tools (37:01)
- Knowing what you want in the short-term as well as the long-term in a relationship (40:20)
- Relationships and sexual maturity (41:12)
- Top 3 recommendations for guys new to all of this and want to get their dating and relationship life in gear and have a great lifestyle (43:50)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- JaysonGaddis.com: Transforming relationship pain into love.
- Jayson Gaddis article: Six Critical Things to Know About Affairs.
- The Heart of Love (John F. Demartini): Understanding human behavior, how two people can feel mutually loved for who they are, transforming relationships. Jayson highly recommends reading this book.
- AshleyMadison.com: An affairs dating site for the discrete. Mentioned by Angel at the start of the podcast.
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: I understand you go out into the wilderness with guys and you do some kind of ritual rite to lead them. I saw that was one of the interesting things you were doing with men. I know you're doing a lot of stuff.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. I haven't done that in a while, in a few years but I will get back into that. As my son gets older and he wants to go out, then we're talking. I'm back in the game.
[Angel Donovan]: Cool.
[Jayson Gaddis]: But once I had family, it's like I'm not leaving for a week anymore.
[Angel Donovan]: How old is your son? Is he really young?
[Jayson Gaddis]: He's five.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. He's at that age when you've got to stay home and look after them.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. And I want to be around. It's an amazing stage. It's so incredible to see it and be in it every day.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes. Definitely. I've heard a lot people really regret passing that up but you're lucky. You're a part-time stay-at-home Dad, right?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. I get to be there a lot.
[Angel Donovan]: That's great. The first thing we always dive into is just a bit of background on you, who you are and what you've been up to in your life. What your experiences are with relationships and so on. You're married?
[Jayson Gaddis]: I am, yes.
[Angel Donovan]: You have one kid or a couple?
[Jayson Gaddis]: I have two, a boy and a girl. Two kids.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. Did you have relationships before this or is this kind of a long relationship. Just a little bit of background on where you came from and how you got into the whole helping men with relationship type issues.
[Jayson Gaddis]: I could go into that story. It's a good one. I could keep it brief. Dating before marriage and the kind of fiasco that was.
[Angel Donovan]: Well, lucky you're married now, so it's all over.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Exactly. Different pain points now.
[Angel Donovan]: Different pain points for different people. Some people are "Oh, I'm married now. It's all over."
[Jayson Gaddis]: Right.
[Angel Donovan]: So how long have you been married?
[Jayson Gaddis]: We got married in 2007, so seven years this year.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. Congratulations.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Thanks. We've been together about 10.
[Angel Donovan]: Excellent. I hope you celebrated that, or you're just about to, you haven't forgotten, and you're not getting into trouble for it. That's great to hear. The topic I wanted to talk to you about today is affairs. I saw some cool articles you'd written about the subject which were really insightful. To start off with, I just want to let the audience know what an affair is. We all have these things in our mind. I think there are different types of affairs. It's not clear cut this is just an affair.
What would be your description of an affair?
[Jayson Gaddis]: I have a pretty general description, which most people might wince at. When I'm out of my own integrity with myself, energetically, physicallyy, whatever, with another person. Or when I have another agreement with someone else.
[Angel Donovan]: This is more about yourself versus the actual agreement you have with someone? I know some people have very clear communication, particularly people in polygamy or some of those more complicated relationship styles. Often I think married people haven't gone as deep because maybe it's not as complex. But maybe they should.
It'll be nice to hear your ideas on that too. You're saying is it on a communication level, or is there an internal level? It's not necessarily even something that you've communicated with your partner about.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. It may or may not be. Let's say I have an agreement to be in a committed relationship with a girl. I'm dating her and we're monogamous. It's our deal that we're not going to date other people.
If I made that agreement, then my integrity is to stick with that agreement. But it's not for her. It's also for me. I'm making the agreement for two people, me and the other person.
If I violate that agreement by acting out or leaking energy this way or sleeping with someone else, then I'm out of my own personal integrity. Because I made an agreement that said I wouldn't do that. An affair is when I break my agreement and our agreement.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. For that to happen, you have to have a very good definition of what you see as cheating. Would you say this is something that everyone should have a similar view to or can it be very different?
[Jayson Gaddis]: No, I think people get to decide what they want. I think the most important thing is that both parties have a shared contest, and they're on the same page going into the relationship. Once they set that container, like hey, we're dating now, exclusively, what does that mean? Can I look at porn? Can I flirt with girls at the bar?
It is good to talk about that so later it doesn't come to bite you in the ass when you inevitably cross a boundary. People typically do. Relationships get a little stale. People often want to look for something a little more exciting.
Without knowing it, they just start flirting with a co-worker. A lot of people will convince themselves there's nothing wrong or there's no problem there, but the general rule of thumb is if my partner, the person I'm dating was in the room, would he or she have a problem with that? Would they go into reactivity around it?
If I can answer no, then it's probably cool.
[Angel Donovan]: That's a nice little rule. That's very clear cut. I was looking at a study before we started talking today, which was in the evolutionary psychology journal. It was kind of interesting because they had a super-long list of different activities. You've put a few things out there just now.
They had everything from giving people a few dollars to giving them 500 dollars, so completely out of the sexual realm kind of stuff, all the way up to having sex. They rated all of these different activities. They found that on an individual basis, people, like you're saying, they had very different views.
Some people had a strong reaction to my partner just gave someone 500 dollars of the opposite sex. They had a very strong cheating reaction to that kind of thing. Obviously, there are some people who didn't have as much of a problem with more emotionally engaging activities, maybe flirting. It's interesting that it can be quite different depending on the individual.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes, you're right. Again, that's why it's so important that if you and I are dating, we get on the same page about what the deal is, what's the agreement. A lot of people don't do that, especially when people are dating, and it could be really electric and sexy. There's a lot of dopamine and chemicals going on.
People don't want to have the business conversation. That's not fun. It's kind of a buzz kill.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes. It reminds me of the STD conversation. It's not quite as bad, but it's not that fun, as you say.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes that's right.
[Angel Donovan]: But if you're going to be responsible at some point, it's generally a good idea to bring it up.
[Jayson Gaddis]: For younger men, and sometimes younger women, that kind of conversation can be off-putting. We want to be a little more impulsive when we're younger. It's like I just want sex now, for example. I just want to get in her pants now. I just want to get laid, or I want to have fun. I want to feel good.
It seems like as people age, those conversations are a lot more normal. It's not weird or out of context. It's like, what's the deal here?
[Angel Donovan]: Right. It comes with maturity but it's also like you were saying. We just want to have the feeling when we're younger. If I look back, when I was 21, I was a raging bunch of testosterone. I don't think my conscious, logical, rational mind really had a lot of play in what was going on in my relationships at that time, unfortunately.
It really seems to be some kind of a biological feeling thing at that point in your life. You're not really focused on the rational and these kinds of things. But as you were saying earlier, it's also kind of like a social thing. We're not used to talking about those topics. That would be the experience aspect I guess. Would you look at it like that?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. I would, and also just a maturity thing. I want to be responsible for my actions and for what I'm getting myself into. If I'm 25 and I go start a business, and I don't have a bank loan, credit cards or no way to start my business, it's not going to happen for me. I need to get my ducks in a row for a thriving business.
[Angel Donovan]: I think there are two general categories for this. Some people talk about emotional affairs versus sexual affairs to give a more clear cut feel to it. Have you heard that description before? Is that something you use?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes, I do. Very common.
[Angel Donovan]: How would you classify an emotional affair. I think that's the one. Obviously, the sexual affair involves some kind of sexual act. Intercourse or oral, kissing. What would be the emotional aspect of that?
[Jayson Gaddis]: The emotional is that we're not hooking up. We're not touching each other, but we got a little thing going. It often creeps up on people slowly, where they form a connection and a bond with someone at work or someone on the bus, train, or wherever we're commuting from.
Just those kinds of things. It can be really mundane at first and all of a sudden, we notice over time that we feel really safe with this person. We start sharing things with them that we aren't sharing with our partner. We lean on that person for emotional support even to talk about how lame our relationship is.
That's when it gets a little more obvious. Sometimes that can happen at workshops. You meet some sexy person at the workshop and by the end of the workshop, you guys are tight and touchy-feely and it's like, wait a minute. What just happened here?
Those emotional affairs I find kind of sneak up on people. If they're in a relationship that isn't going great and there's some anger or resentment going on, that's ripe territory for the birth of an emotional affair.
[Angel Donovan]: Does that then sometimes progress from a sexual affair? It sounds a bit like a gateway to affairs.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. Nice. I like that. I would say so. That makes sense to me. There's this level of shame or guilt associated with an emotional affair that stops people from going to the next step into the sexual domain. They have enough doubt, shame, guilt or something online that's says wait a minute, I got to tell my partner. Or something's off here, or I'm falling in love, or whoa.
But if they're really angry, then they definitely don't tell their partner. They just keep going.
[Angel Donovan]: Now you're talking about what's going on inside them. I know we're going to talk about that quite a bit. In terms of sexual affairs, like direct sexual affairs, do you find that's a lot more conscious and it's more about their values? They think it's fine to do that, or is there a different mode for that?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. I don't know about a lot more conscious. I think people are run by the animal part of their brain and their body. They're just really impulsive. They don't really have control over themselves.
It's like the stock market. One day if I lose a bunch of money or I gain a bunch of money and I get all depressed or I get elated. If I gain a bunch of money, I get all high on myself, a little manic. I'm not very trustworthy in either place. I don't make good decisions from either place.
The sound investor makes decisions from a stable place. Similarly, in a relationship, if I'm just feeling hot and horny and I jump on someone, I'm always going to justify it later why it's okay.
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Jayson Gaddis]: I'll find a million reasons why it's fun and it can keep going and that I don't have to tell my partner. It just feels too good. But I'm in my animal self at that point and not very conscious.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes. I'm totally relating to what you're saying here. How would people rationalize that to themselves? What kind of excuses do you most see?
[Jayson Gaddis]: My marriage is dead anyway. I'm in love with this person. We really have something special going on here that I didn't have in my other relationship. This one feels better. I just need to follow my heart.
That other relationship is over and they don't care about me anyway. He or she cheated on me anyway, so I'm just getting back at them. We're even now.
All kinds of justifications.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. I've seen that one quite often. The last one you mentioned where basically they're pissed off about something. Not necessarily someone having cheated, but it could've been anything. Something in the relationship and they use that as a justification.
It could've been anything like he didn't give me a hundred bucks when I asked him. It's just a silly example. Something you feel that wasn't right in the relationship or you deserved.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Typically there's a slow build over time. Affairs to me they happen quickly sometimes. But there's usually a multi month, year's build up to these kinds of things that put everything in place to justify why it's okay.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. How about affair where someone thinks they're happy in a relationship and it just happens upon them. It just suddenly comes out of nowhere. Is that something different? Does that happen?
[Jayson Gaddis]: I think that does happen but I would question are they really happy. Maybe that person's actually better suited for polyamory. Maybe that person just wants to have multiple partners.
There's no shame about that. They should then go talk to their partner and get clear about what they really want. Some people just really want multiple partners or at least to have an open situation. But then they get caught in the cultural expectations of immoralism, doing it right, and their religion, and whatever tells them that's bad and wrong.
They get stuck in a box. Then they want to act out. That person's just better off to just be themselves and be a little more free and make that a part of their agreement.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. I've seen a few examples like that which were quite interesting. I wanted to bring them up a bit later. There was one situation I'll bring up right now.
I met this girl. She'd been married for a few years and they had kids. It was something she was serious about and she wanted to keep together. The husband was constantly cheating. He was going away on business trips but he would constantly cheat. When she found out about the behavior, she tried to contain it and work with it. She said, "Why don't we open up the relationship because we want to stay together for the kids? We still have a lot of love and everything. Why don't we open up the relationship?"
That's not where she saw the world but she was willing to open up the relationship. They did that. Everything was supposed to be open. He decided to see girls outside of the open relationship. It's a funny thing to do. He started basically not telling her about some of the girls he was seeing.
I thought that was a really interesting dynamic. It was the act of cheating that was important there.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Totally. For that guy, he has a sense of feeling control and power. He probably grew up in a family where he felt powerless and out of control. He probably had a bunch of Mom issues that were unresolved.
This stuff, a lot of just is also just acting out our childhood whims.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. It can go pretty deep I guess.
[Jayson Gaddis]: It can do very deep. Then we'd need to look at that woman and how she was participating in that dynamic and why she was allowing that sort of behavior.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes. Would you say partners tend to get together who have similar issues around affairs? Is there any patterns you've seen?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Oh yes. Big time. It's almost textbook how it works. Affairs typically are handed down through the generations. If you grew up with parents who had an affair on either end, someone cheated on someone, or grandparents. Or your partner, there was an affair in her family. let's say.
Chances are there's going to be some kind of affair in your relationship. Whether she acts it out or you act it out. It's all unconscious. It's just asking for an upgrade and for healing.
The smart savvy people catch on to this and they usually can prevent the affair. It will get set up so it's there for the taking. There's a total opportunity after opportunity. If the person's really conscious, they can put the breaks on that behavior, talk to their partner openly about it, and they can have a really cool growth experience together through that close call, if you want to call it that.
Actually I haven't met anyone, Angle, who had an affair who's parents didn't also have some kind of affair. There's cheating, leaking energy or something going on.
[Angel Donovan]: That's super-interesting that you would say that. What would they say to each other when they want to tackles this? So you're saying they've seen a situation where say you're the person. Your girl looks like she's going to have an affair with a guy. You see the emotional kind of affair style starting up.
You think there's something there. Perhaps you can say either parents have the affair and kind of parse that down. What would be the right thing for the guy to do if he wants to deal with the situation in a healthy way?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. Call a big time out and say "Hey honey, we need to talk. I'm feeling insecure over here. I notice there's something going on with you and that other guy. I feel threatened by it. Let's talk about it."
If she's really cool and conscious, she'll come back and say "Okay, awesome." She won't defend herself and say "It's nothing. We're just friends. Everything's fine."
If she comes back with "Yes, there's something going on there. I have some feelings and flickerings with this person. They seem to be really into me. It feels really good because I'm just starting to realize I don't feel loved by you in our relationship.
I feel really loved and seen and noticed by this man. I feel attractive around him. I don't feel attractive around you." They can just start to talk very openly about what's going on. That requires a lot of maturity to be able to have that conversation and for either party not to go into a big defensive reactivity and defend their territory and blame the other person.
But to just bring their vulnerability and their insecurities to the table and say "Here's what's going on." The next step is the guy gets the message. "Wow, she doesn't feel loved by me. If I'm really honest, I have been slacking in this relationship. I haven't called her beautiful in a year. We haven't even had sex in six months.
I could totally see why she's getting wooed by this other person. I need to step up my game. I need to either get out of the relationship and let her go be free or I need to really love and care about her.
I need to do whatever it is on my side to get back into her. How can I fall back in love with her? How can I respark the flame?" Maybe I'm actually scared and avoiding over here.
[Angel Donovan]: That's very conscious. In my experience, I don't think there's a lot of people who've done a lot of work to be able to get to that level. I don't know what percentage you put on it. 10% or 5% of people of the broad population would be able to have that kind of conscious decision.
I see more like the first squeaky voice you gave of the girl. "I'm not doing anything." That's the reaction I would expect from most people.
[Jayson Gaddis]: That's true. If she does that and gets too completely defensive, but I'm picking up on there's really something going on there, I have to be honest. I might check in with my friends and say, "Do you notice what she's like around him?"
Then if I have a little more evidence, I might choose to really engage the relationship, despite her defensiveness. If I'm flat and sucking ass as I guy and I'm not empowered and in my own vibrancy, then that's not attractive to a woman over time. She is going to leave.
[Angel Donovan]: Totally.
[Jayson Gaddis]: And vice versa. We all have to stay in our sexiness by working on ourselves. People that don't do that, it's just gets boring and you move on. Other stuff looks way more exciting.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. For the guy who's in this situation, where his girlfriend isn't owning up to it, and he's got some ideas. Again, I think one of the dynamics that plays in this whole jealousy affair kind of situation is sometimes the guy isn't 100% sure. He's trusting his instincts, really evolutionary instincts, which are saying something is going on here. It's not right.
The other side of him may be saying "She said it was fine." Maybe he's feeling a bit of social pressure from her. She's just "What are you talking about?"
She's shaming him a bit or pushing back a bit and he's feeling bad about it. What would you say to guys who feel in that situation?
[Jayson Gaddis]: That type of guy, in my experience, starts to get in the category of being a doormat or a nice guy. Typical nice guys, guys that are doormats and punching bags let women walk on them and even take advantage of them. The growth move for this guy is to change that pattern in himself not to change the girl.
He'll keep attracting women like that into his life until he gets his shit together.
[Angel Donovan]: Totally. He has to recognize he's the one who has to man up here. It's a pretty clear sign. If the girl is pushing you down when you bring up topics like this instead of discussing it in a sensitive way, there's probably something wrong. That would be one of the clear signs that he should think there's something not right here.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. Any time, for any of us, if our partner starts to look elsewhere, the first question to ask if we're paying attention is what am I doing to contribute to this dynamic? Not "Oh my god, they're leaving me. They're such a loser. I can't believe she's like that." Name calling, or whatever.
I need to look in the mirror. How am I participating here?
[Angel Donovan]: That's great. Then you can take it as an opportunity to grow, to fix this thing, to make the rest of your life in this relationship or your next one. Guys should really look at it that way.
It's this awesome signal. There's something not right here that you haven't seen,
[Jayson Gaddis]: That's right.
[Angel Donovan]: It's going to affect you for a long time unless you wake up to it.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Otherwise, I'll stay a victim, a nice guy and I'll stay in blame and everything. Again, it isn't attractive. You attract a certain kind of women that likes that kind of guy.
[Angel Donovan]: Likes a doormat kind of guy?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. That likes to control and play the field. Yeah, we're dating but actually my energy is going elsewhere. I don't really care about you.
[Angel Donovan]: That comes back to when we were talking a bit about nature versus nurture. We were saying it's a bit like nature. If you're parents were cheating, it's probably something you're going to do.
Would you say selection comes in? If you're someone who's not interested in having affair, that not your style and you've never done that. You feel pretty straight about who you are. How can you pick up on how you select people to avoid these kinds of problems?
Would you say it's 100% they guys' fault? He can always, no matter who the girl is, or the other way around. Can they always control the situation if they got their own shit together? Or do you think some selection comes into it?
No matter what I do, no matter how good I am, this girl's going to have an affair.
[Jayson Gaddis]: It's not super black and white like either of those examples. There's just general themes and trends we can look for. If I grew up in a family with an affair, then yes, I need to have one little ear up for affair energy.
You can't really consciously sniff that out. This all happens on the unconscious level. In terms of selection, again, it's the unconscious part of you that's ultimately selecting your partner.
No matter how cool or awake you think you are, it's still your unconscious that's really driving it. You will attract someone into your life that mirrors the pain points in you, your unresolved issues and all your baggage that you never looked at. They will eventually, if you stay with them long enough, trigger all those places.
There's a cosmic brilliance to that I don't quite understand. It's just the divinity of the universe. It's pretty widely accepted as a theory and most psychology circles around couples that you attract basically your Dad or your Mom and you have to work it out.
[Angel Donovan]: I've seen this dynamic a lot. I saw it in myself several times over the years where I was dating the same types of women. I see my friends date the same types of women. Then they get to this point where they say why are all women like this?
That's a very common saying, whatever "this" is. It could be they're always going to cheat on you. It's a really interesting thing.
As you say, there's not really any way to figure out why that happens. No one's really figured that out. We're talking about it here. I've spoken to a lot of my buddies. They've seen this dynamic. You're talking about it and you've seen it.
There's no way we can actually pinpoint and say that's happening because of this.
[Jayson Gaddis]: If you want to avoid something in your life, that the quickest way, to basically attract it into your life. I'm going to avoid an affair. Then you're basically calling in some woman to have weird energy with you and other guys.
I think it's fine to have an aspiration or intention about this is the kind of person I want to have in my life that's caring, and want to go for kids. Whatever your goals are and dreams. That's great.
But plan on all of it getting dismantled if you stick with this person. If you're growth oriented, it's helpful. If you're not growth oriented, and you are just hedonistic and want to feel good, you're going to be in a lot of pain and you're going to want out of that relationship.
[Angel Donovan]: That's an important point you brought up. Whether we're focused on just feeling good, it's a short-term reward. All we want to do is be protected and have good feelings. We don't want to feel the bad feelings.
That's more interesting to us than the longer term where we're thinking about how much greater life could be if it was in a different perspective, and how our life could totally change. Maybe have those things we think are completely beyond us.
A lot of the guys who listen to the podcast have some kind of aspiration of where they want their dating and relationships to be. But they feel like it's way too far out there beyond them. That's half the problem.
Like you're saying they haven't done work on themselves to understand they can just grow into this. How would you say you could move from a feeling to a growth? Is it something consciously you just have to push yourself into? Do you have to start reading and learning about growth and focusing on this? Is there some other tricks you can get to move out?
[Jayson Gaddis]: That's the million dollar question. There's probably two main ways, which you're probably aware of. One is pain. A guy's got to be in enough pain, enough failed relationships like I was.
I had seven failed relationships and I finally said maybe I'm the problem. I was always making the women wrong. They weren't hot enough. They weren't this enough. They weren't that enough.
They didn't do this and blah, blah, blah. I always made them wrong. I was the issue. I was like Wow. But I actually want to see if I can have a relationship longer than six months but I was never able to. I finally looked in the mirror and said maybe I'm the problem because I'm the one common denominator.
Pain, or incredible thirst or longing to catch that awesome women that you want. Not just to sleep with for one night or a couple months but the one you really want long term. The one you can go on trips with and it's just amazing. You guys have an awesome time.
If you have a lot of longing in your heart, that can also get you there because you'll realize if you want the more conscious awesome women you want, you need to actually mature in yourself to attract that. Otherwise, you're going to attract an insecure or whatever kind of woman where you're at.
You might say I'm not insecure. That's fine but your issues are going to attract the woman that's at the same developmental stage you're at.
[Angel Donovan]: The big thing that's popping out for me there is you have to really stay observant about what's going on. If you're not satisfied in your relationships and your dating, one thing to do is stay observant and look for patterns. Is there some similarity between those few girls, or the way they behaved, or the way I behaved? Looking for patterns in the dynamics.
[Jayson Gaddis]: That's it exactly.
[Angel Donovan]: One of the things I was doing for a while is feedback just by observing it. The other thing I was going to say is you were saying they have to feel enough pain. For that, they have to keep going. You have to keep dating. You can't give up on it.
You have to keep having the relationships. I notice some people kind of give up. In that sense, they're not going to get any more pain when they get to that low.
A lot of the guys who've come onto this podcast, they're actually doing very well. They're very successful. A lot of them talk about that low point where everything started to get better after that.
It's like this critical pain that you just brought up. It's like I've had enough. It's going to change now.
I had one of those too. It's a really great moment. You don't realize it at the time, but that's one of the starting moments for a lot of the guys who get what they want later on.
[Jayson Gaddis]: That's right. That's why I love dating sites and pick up artists. It's an entry point for personal growth and growing as a human being. That's a really exciting moment, when I guy finally realizes wow, I have a lot of baggage that actually keeps me from attracting the kind of woman I want in my life.
[Angel Donovan]: In all kinds of relationships, is this something you looked into a bit? When I've seen that area, it seems to be everyone has their own morals. Have you seen any clear determining factor that separates having affair and cheating with open relationships? Is it about the communication?
Some people don't really say anything about it. For instance, if you look at the way people casually date today before they get into a girlfriend. This is becoming actually status quo. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like most people are considered in a casual dating sphere.
They're seeing a bunch of people until they have a talk with the person one day. This could be months after you started seeing someone, when you're seeing each other three times a week, or whatever it is. I see that as the status quo. People will get into a relationship and it's not cheating after that. How would you look at it today?
[Jayson Gaddis]: That's a good point. I think you're right in that it's more the status quo. You're probably more of an expert there than I am, more of a relationship expert kind of guy. In terms of the dating scene, in my experience here and with the clients I work with, that seems to be more of the norm.
It's what you said, where the agreement comes on later when someone courageous enough finally brings it up. Like "Hey, I'm actually into you. I want to close the container here a little bit." That takes some courage because people that don't want to be rejected with actually avoid that conversation. They will settle for being one of two of three people the person's dating.
If you really respect yourself, you're going to speak up and say "I like you. I want a committed relationship with just you. I'm in. Let's do this." But you have to know yourself and know what you want to be able to say that.
Again, some people want to have their cake and eat it too and not commit. It's just one foot in and one foot out. That's fine, but you're not going to attract a really rad woman if you keep doing that.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. You kind of get what you want. You'll get someone who's not committed if you're not really committed yourself.
Obviously, it's a bit of a stereotype. Men are commitment phobics. What do you think is behind that? Is that related to affair?
A lot of the guys I see who eventually got married that I know, many of them would have affairs. One of the dynamics I saw is if they've been seeing many girls over the years and not necessarily being serious with any of those girls, when they eventually get married, I think they have such a habit of a variety of girls that it just doesn't become possible for them to adapt to the marriage situation.
I've seen this play out quite a few times. I don't know if you've come across that before and if you think that's more nurture. It's kind of your own fault for doing that for 10 or 15 years, or however long, and then expecting you can change in a day. Or do you think people, depending on the situation, can just switch to a different dating mode when they've made a decision in their mind?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. I'll speak to three points here. Number one, our biology we're up against. Our physiology, our biology and our DNA. Marriage as a long-term partnership and commitment is fairly new in terms of human evolution.
A lot of guys will make that argument and laugh about it. That's a fairly accurate stereotype, that we just aren't necessarily wired in that way. If you look at guys look at marriage, and they look at couples that have kids and things like that, honestly it doesn't look that great.
I know before I got married I was not inspired by anyone around me about marriage. I just knew that something inside me said I want that. I want a long-term commitment, not because of social pressures.
I was so anti-marriage for so long, and anti-kids, I said "No frickin way am I getting married or having kids." Look at me now. It just doesn't look appealing.
The third factor here is guys are afraid.
[Angel Donovan]: You said to you it didn't look appealing.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Not at all.
[Angel Donovan]: But then you decided it was for you. I'm not really sure...
[Jayson Gaddis]: What was the jump there?
[Angel Donovan]: Yes.
[Jayson Gaddis]: I was so anti, I was seriously no way. Then I met my wife. I was used to dating girls. Then I met my wife, who was the first woman I actually met.
She was a match in terms of she could call BS on me, mirror back my crap and throw in my face my nonsense. She wouldn't tolerate it. She is a very strong woman.
That was appealing to a part of me, and that was also scary to a part of me. I both wanted that but I was also afraid of that. I was saying "Whoa. Oh my gosh. I met my match here. Yikes."
I wanted to run away from it. I actually was commitment-phobic. I broke up with her twice. I said "I'm out of here because the grass is greener somewhere else." I always had a story about the grass being greener somewhere else.
When I really got honest with myself and ended the relationship the second time, she left she was so angry. She wrote me this long note back and said "Screw you" basically and all these bullet points as to why I was full of it.
I was on a mediation retreat for a month and finally, at the end of the retreat, I agreed with her letter. I said "Oh my God. She's right." I had so much time to sit my stuff, myself and my own nonsense.
I said "This woman is unbelievable." I actually felt in my heart, in the deepest part of my being, and I said I want long-term partnership because I saw it, Angel, as a way to grow, be who I am and awaken. I saw it as a spiritual path all of a sudden.
I said I want that. This is the perks and the triggers in just the right ways. I want to do the dance with her, et cetera and all that BS. I want a growth, full marriage that ends when we both agree.
We changed the context of marriage to be something we both were excited about and that inspired us. Traditional marriages to be are so uninspiring. They're deadening. That's what happens to people.
[Angel Donovan]: I've heard quite a few people talk about this growth motivation. When you find someone you can partner with who can push you to grow, and you push them to grow. It seems right now it's what everyone's aiming for, when they want a long-term relationship.
Would you say that's currently the best approach to sustaining a long-term relationship that's going to be healthy? When you find someone that has the same perspective as you saying we're going to grow together. We're going to push each other to grow.
It's a team effort. We're both interested in continuing through life and growing. I guess the original idea of marriage is we've made it. We don't have to do anything now.
[Jayson Gaddis]: I disagree with your comment about everybody wants this now. I'd say actually it's still a very small percentage of people that want this. People might say they want this kind of growth-oriented relationship, where it's a path to becoming who you are and stuff like that. You want to call it woo-woo or something.
It's really a small percentage. People can get intellectually on board with that and say "Yes, that sounds good." But then when the going gets tough a year in after the honeymoon wears off, and you're living with this person. They're triggering the hell out of you. They're annoying you and all your stuff is coming up. That's when people bail.
It's like I want to move on. This is just too uncomfortable. That's the moment to stay in and say "All right. I need new tools."
People are ill-equipped for long-term relationships because where do we learn it? We didn't learn it anywhere. It wasn't in schools. It wasn't in college. There was no place we learned this stuff except in small pockets online and with therapists and healers and really cool people across the world.
Very small pockets are teaching actual tools you can use in a relationship to get through your own issues to go deeper and have an sexier relationship. People don't have tools. It's fine to have the view, but you're also going to have to have the tools.
It's a rude awakening when you say "Okay. Cool. Let's do it," and you have no tools. Then it's like whoa, and most people fall.
[Angel Donovan]: By the way, I totally agree with you. By everybody I meant the people who are talking about and working on this stuff, which as we say is .5% of the population. I've heard it is pretty small. So I agree with everything you were talking about.
I think the whole area of tools is under development. Maybe you know more about this area than me. There's some stuff out there. You probably do know more about this than me because you've been working for yourself.
Just out of interest, what kind of tools have you found interesting, or have you seen developing, or trends around the area?
[Jayson Gaddis]: First of all, you have to have the right view. The view we're talking about is it's a growth-oriented situation where we get to work through our own issues that you trigger in me. Once you have that, then the tools naturally follow that.
There's a lot of relationship material out there that give you tools, but they're under this traditional sort of marriage paradigm. Most of those tools will keep getting you the same results, which is 50% divorce and 50% whatever. Uninspiring.
A couple ideas of tools, just a couple suggestions are things like practicing no more blame. Be done with blame. Set it down. Instead, pick up the tool of taking responsibility for my side and my part.
Stop tracking the partner and what they did wrong all the time. Instead, look in the mirror and say what am I not doing or doing that's contributing to us being open or closed right now as a couple. That's a big tool. That's a game changer right there.
Learning responsible language, like talking about my own experience instead of I feel that you are, and talking about the other person and reading and scanning them. Again, most people that do that are in their childhood co-dependency pattern of tracking the grown-ups. They grew up in an environment that was a little threatening.
[Angel Donovan]: Would the appropriate language be more like "I feel like I'm..." Could you give an example?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. "I feel scared. I feel angry. I feel hurt. I'm putting up my wall because I'm scared you're going to leave me," or "I'm scared you're going to judge me. I'm over here in self-preservation mode."
I'm just talking about my own self over here. A lot of people can't do that initially. They need to learn that because what they've learn to do is scan and read the other person, then label them and tell them what's going on with them rather than tell me what's going on with me, and then share that.
Another good one I like is the tool of just sharing the impact. If my partner behaves a certain way, I share the impact, which is "Hey, honey, this is what it feels like when I'm with you right now. I feel contracted. I feel pissed off. My head starts to hurt when you act like that."
[Angel Donovan]: That's interesting. I've seen something similar. You might say this is not the correct way to do it. The other thing would be play out into what impact would be on the relationship long-term. You talk about yourself but you also talk about how that is likely to affect the relationship dynamic. Would you say that's a positive thing? It sounds like it could be a punishment thing too.
[Jayson Gaddis]: It could be a threat. It could be perceived by the other person as a threat. If this continues, honey, I'm going to keep shutting down around you.
You could say that. That actually could be helpful sometimes but I prefer to keep it short-term. "What helps me right now feel safe here is when you do that other behavior, not that thing you're doing. You raise your voice and you get mad, or you shut down and go away, this is what happens to me."
[Angel Donovan]: Great. That's clear. That's a few tips on what to do when these affair, for example, have been coming up. The first one's communication. You've talked a lot about just being very up front, communicating in the right way and taking responsibility.
Is there any other steps to this process once you've been doing that?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Sure. Back to the affairs, for example. Knowing what you want is another thing. Maybe I've mentioned it once on this talk. That's really key is to know what I want in each moment and long-term, short-term. What do I want in regards to a relationship?
Do I want someone that's just a friends with benefits, or do I really want a family some day? Do I want that some day or do I want that right now? Knowing what I want is going to dictate my dating behaviors and whether I want to be in a polyamorous situation, and open situation, or a closed container.
Then I can take responsibility for that, put my stake in the ground and say "I'm dating you. I want you. This is what I want to co-create together." That's really attractive to women, when a man can stand in his knowing and say this is exactly what I want.
A lot of guys suck at that for a variety of reasons. Getting there is a really cool process. Once you do, that's a soft place to land for the woman.
[Angel Donovan]: This is what you call sexual maturity. I saw this word come up before and it sounded like it's a very useful way to describe it, to the point where you know what you want sexually.
It's a bit more than that because you also have to know what you want on a relationship level. That's more about intimacy if we're thinking about emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. Let's call it relational and sexual maturity. I like both of those. It's knowing what I want in all domains about myself and what I want to co-create with someone.
[Angel Donovan]: Right. How does a guy get to that point where he knows himself basically? It's about getting to know himself.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. It really is. Again, you have to be in enough pain to want to get to know yourself like that. By and large, most cultures set it up so we can really hedonistic and comfortable. We don't really have to look in the mirror too much.
There's no incentive there. But if you're longing is bright and strong enough, you're going to follow that down that rabbit hole until you get some tools, until you look in the mirror and start working on yourself.
You hire people, like yourself, or me or coaches and personal growth people that can actually help you see your blind spots and stuck places. You do men's groups, all kinds of things to work on yourself to improve and grow.
[Angel Donovan]: That's great. You're putting up lot of different options beyond just experience. One of the main things I always thought well of. I think in your twenties you should date around a bit. If you don't have any experience, it's very difficult to relate. Even if you're getting taught from teachers, which can be obviously a huge help to open your eyes to things you haven't seen before.
Still, if you don't have anything to base what they're telling you on, it can be difficult to relate to it. If you've had three or four relationships in your twenties, for example, to get through those first experiences, would you say that's a good strategy for the younger guys?
We have all sort of guys on this podcast. We have 18 year olds upwards. They ask these kinds of questions. Should I be dating a lot? Do I have to date a lot of women right now? These are the existential questions. What would you say to that?
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. Could you repeat the short point of the question so I get it?
[Angel Donovan]: The short point is how important is experience in dating multiple people at some point in your life as opposed to these other tools, such as coaching?
[Jayson Gaddis]: I think experience is probably hands-down by far the quickest way. It's to go put yourself out there, like you were saying, and date and see what happens. Actually, see if you can stick a relationship out for longer than six months also and get that experience and what that's like.
Get past the honeymoon stage and get into a real relationship and try that one out.
[Angel Donovan]: What I'd add to that is actually let it get intimate. As guys, we can be pretty closed off in a relationship. I wouldn't exactly call that a very deep experience where you're going to learn a lot if you're relatively closed.
It's really about exploring that and trying to engage with it a lot more emotionally.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Yes. That's right.
[Angel Donovan]: Thanks. It's been great talking to you. Once question we ask everyone at the end of the podcast is what would be the top three recommendations you would give to guys who are new to all of this and want to get their dating and relationship life in gear?
They want to get it all sorted out and have it as they want and have a great lifestyle. What would you give them as the top three recommendations to work on?
[Jayson Gaddis]: I would say what you said. Number one is go get experience. Go play the field. Get your hands in the soil. Go for it.
Number two is buy a few personal growth books that I could recommend on my site or you on your site that you probably have.
[Angel Donovan]: What would you recommend for example?
[Jayson Gaddis]: I would recommend The Heart of Love by Dr. John D. Martini. That's a really mature relationship book. If you want to really go for it, that book's amazing. It's got also how to identify your values so you can attract someone not like you, because, actually, good luck with that. But so you can understand and communicate in the other person's value. It's really cool stuff.
Then community, some kind of community thing, like a men's circle or a personal growth workshop of some kind where you're around other people doing the same thing. Then it's not weird and dorky or new agey. It's just what you're doing to work on yourself, and all the other people have the same shared context and it's awesome.
[Angel Donovan]: Great. Those are some great points. They're actually pretty new as well. I always like it when we have new answers to that question and it's bringing new ideas up. Jason, thanks very much for making the time for this today. It's been a great discussion on affair and a whole bunch of other topics that weren't exactly planned, but it was great too.
[Jayson Gaddis]: Cool. Wonderful to connect with you and your audience.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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