Secure Relationships

Relationships have a natural rhythm between feeling connected to your partner, and other times feeling disconnected from them. Each end of the spectrum can trigger different fears: the fear of being too close and/or the fear of abandonment. Understanding attachment styles helps you see how these fears show up in your relationships.

In this episode, we’re exploring our attachment styles and sharing ways we can find a greater sense of security in the naturals ebbs and flows of connection in relationships.

We’re answering questions such as:

  • What attachment style(s) do you most relate to and why?
  • What has prevented you from having secure relationships in the past?
  • What does a secure relationship look like for you?
  • What inner work have you done to have a more secure relationship style?

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Welcome to the gay men going deeper podcast, a podcast series by the gay men’s brotherhood, where we talk about personal development, mental health, and sexuality. Your host today are Michael, Calan and myself, Matt collectively. We have over 40 years of experience in the personal development world. And if this is your first time listening to us, we want to welcome you.

We each have our own coaching practice, but in this podcast, we’re giving away all of our best stuff. Today. We are talking about secure relationships for continuing the theme of the month in the gay men’s brotherhood, which is about relationships. So we’re gonna be unpacking questions such as what attachment style do you most relate to and why, what has prevented you from having secure relationships in the past?

What does a secure relationship look like for you and what inner work have you done to have a more secure attachment style now? So we will be continuing these discussions on the last Thursday of the month. This month, it’s going to be the 31st of March and in the gay men’s brotherhood, a zoom hangout where you’ll have a chance to come and share your own experiences on this topic as well.

So this podcast and YouTube channel is listener and viewer supported. If you really enjoy what we’re creating, you can support us by heading over to our Patreon page in the show notes and contributing to help support the show or subscribe to an early access on apple podcasts and gain early access to all episodes. It helps us to continue making content for you and supporting our community.

So we do thank you in advance. The game has going deeper. Menu membership doors are now open and next month in April, we’ll be launching our new relationships course, and it will be included in the membership access. So we’re very excited about that. If you’ve been waiting to join in on more zooms and go deeper with your personal development, then come join us.

You can head to gay men going to register today. So before we jump into today’s episode, let’s read a review from one of our amazing listeners. So we have Gabe, he commented on our victim hood podcast and he said such a deep topic presented in such a meaningful way. Thank you so much guys, for your work for taking time to help people who need it with all of these issues.

So that’s awesome. Thank you. All right. So secure relationships, it’s hard to talk about secure relationships and insecure relationships without talking about attachment trauma. So we’ve talked about this in previous episodes. Attachment trauma is going to basically indicate whether if you have attachment trauma or you don’t have attachment trauma will indicate insecure or secure attachment. So today we’re going to be talking about attachment styles.

We’re going to be about relationships and how our attachment style shows up in that. But I think it’s important to lay the foundation about what these, these things are. So attachment trauma. I define it as a harmful or distressing experience created within a relational dynamic that impacts our ability to form healthy relationships. So things like this could look like within your family system usually is where attachment trauma occurs.

Things like neglect, abandonment, emotional invalidation, abuse, or rejection could be many other things, but those are tend to be the core five, at least that I see in the work that I do. So when we have these experiences growing up, we tend to internalize beliefs about our sense of self, that we are not lovable. We’re damaged, that we can’t trust anyone.

The world’s not trustworthy, and this is how we develop an insecure attachment. And then we bring these beliefs into our relationship and they show up in, in, in, in ways that create insecurity within us. So it’s important to note that 50% of the world’s population is insecure and the other 50 is secure, right? And we have there’s different styles of insecure attachment that we’re going to be talking about today.

I think this is purely empirical. This is just my observation based off of the work I do. And I’m probably a bit biased because I do work in this space. I think the, the rates of insecure attachment are higher amongst gay men. I really believe that because most of us have rejection. And then a lot of us do have unresolved or resolved attachment trauma.

And I think that that impacts and that’s, I think why dating is so difficult for gay men, because we’re all carrying this baggage and all human beings carry baggage, but you know, attachment baggage tends, tends to be a bit different. So this is, this is why we we’ve created this course because we see a huge need in the community to understand relationships and attachment styles.

So, so to go into it a little bit, there’s three primary insecure attachment styles. The first one is anxious preoccupied. So this looks like people becoming like, as it says, preoccupied, they become very preoccupied with the relationship there. They lead with a fear of abandonment. So they want a ton of closeness. They want you around all the time.

They don’t want you at their sites because it creates a lot of anxiety. So it would probably show up for a lot of people as separation anxiety, right? When you separate from your partner, it’s really challenging for people with an anxious attachment style, to be able to have that separation. They want constant closeness. And then the next one would be avoidant,

avoidant attachment style, which is people who tend to have a fear of intimacy and they don’t allow themselves to have closeness. So they, they, they have walls up and they don’t allow you to kind of access them. Fearful. Avoidant is kind of a blend of the two. So that would be anxious avoidance. So they really want intimacy, but they have such a strong fear of abandonment.

So it’s this inner conflict. So they move into connection and then they get scared and then they move out of connection. So it’s kind of, you’ll experience somebody with a fearful avoidant attachment style as like a push pull dynamic, right? They want you close, but then they, they, once you get close, they get scared and they push you away.

So when you’re looking at an insecure attachment style, you’re looking at people that have both fear of intimacy and fear of abandonment. It’s the, it’s the same, same coin, two sides of the same coin. We, we often one of those things is, is, is leading. And I think when we start to understand our fears around intimacy and fears around alignment,

that’s when we can start to develop a secure attachment, because we can start to work on the things that are creating the insecure attachment. And I think it’s important to note too, that in, we can earn a secure attachment style. So for people that are like, oh man, like I’m, I’m all those things. I have all this attachment trauma.

And, you know, I’m, I’m living proof that we can move through. We can heal our trauma, we can heal the shame. That’s binding us to our trauma and we can start to earn our secure attachment. So again, we’re here to share some of our experiences today, and then we’re, we’re also want to let people know that this course is going to do just that it’s going to walk you through the steps of how to start to develop a secure attachment.

So, So we got the three questions or four questions for today. So I’m curious for you guys, let’s start with Michael, what attachment style do you most relate to and why? Alright. I love this topic as well. It’s definitely something that’s alive for me the last year. So I would say, I think what I think what I really want to reiterate and underline about what Matt said is that I think we can all be more secure.

So even, even if like, sometimes I feel like I’m super secure. Other times, I feel like I’m very anxious and other times I feel like I’m very voided and because I’ve done this work and I’ve been doing a lot of my own learning on this, I can see when that is. And they, the thing for me is they trigger up that they flare up for me in different circumstances in different times.

So it’s interesting to see what caused that, but I will say that. So I definitely feel more secure in my relationship now than I have in any other previous relationships. But I think that’s very natural as we do this work, as we learn and grow. Hopefully the goal is that you’re trending, trending towards more security. But I think as I was thinking about my own past experience,

it’s interesting because of my previous relationships, I would say definitely more anxious. And that is very clear because I had this sense that I didn’t want the partner to leave. Like I needed to, like I needed to be with them. And that that word need is very key. Like I was so afraid of that separation. Like I, I couldn’t imagine a life without them and I needed it almost in a,

in a desperate sense. And in needing that so badly, I lost a lot of who I was. And we talked about this in the breakups episode. So I think that, you know, historically there’s definitely been more of an anxious attachment there, but then in coming out of that relationship and what I learned from it is that, okay, well,

that’s not something I want to do again, very clear. And so now I’m in this relationship here and in this relationship, I’m more of the avoidance more avoidant. So I’ve kind of like swung in my need for that security swung so far that a times now I’m almost like, Hey, wait a minute. You’re infringing on my Michael you’re infringing on Michael here.

And that’s not something I’m going to do, but of course that’s a good thing, right? Like it’s this constant dance of this need for closeness, which we have, and also this need for independence and autonomy, which is a very important to me. And, and for me, the security is kind of finding a nice, happy, not middle ground necessarily,

but knowing that those needs are going to shift the day to day, moment to moment, if you’re like me, like sometimes I want closeness other times I’m on personal time and letting that be okay. And then having a partner who’s also okay, like giving you that as well. So I don’t know if I’m answering the question here, but it’s a little bit of both.

It’s been more historically anxious, but now kind of going into the avoidant, but I’m hoping I will land in the middle. And ultimately for me, when I think about what I want in a relationship, it is that it’s both it’s. I want to be in a relationship or I can have the beautiful things about being close with someone that intimacy, belonging,

all that good stuff. But without giving up the, my, my deep need for autonomy, freedom, and I don’t want to give up my myself and my need to be free. So a lot of people will tell me, Michael, that’s impossible. And I say, well, then you’re not for me because I think it is possible. And yes,

I might not have mastered it yet, but I want to find the right person who, who wants that same thing. And I think that’s what being in a secure relationship is all about. All right. So I don’t know if I answered it. I kind of answered all three. I feel like that’s a bit of a cop out answer. Well,

I said, what attachment styles, you know, with S in the bracket, because I think you’re right. We, we can move in between them all. And I think we’re all gonna have different takes on it. So, Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Well, I’m, I’m not extremely familiar with this work. I mean, I’m of course aware of it and I’ve like,

you know, Matt, you talk about it all the time when I’ve looked into it a bit and you know, all those things. But last night, because I wasn’t super familiar, I was like, well, let’s just do a test. Let’s just see where I land on the spectrum. And so I did this test and asked a bunch of these questions.

And for some of them I’m like, Ooh, I’m on this side. And on the other, other ones, I was on the other side and I really had no idea what it was going to come up with. And he came up and it said I had a secure attachment style. And for me, that made sense. Like when I think back to the relationships I’ve had,

I’ve been very comfortable and secure within the relationship. Like I didn’t have to be around the person all the time. I was very happy in the relationship. I didn’t question things like there was never like, oh, he’s cheating or anything. Like, there was none of that stuff that might go on in the backgrounds. And then with my first relationship,

he kind of blindsided me and broke up with me. So I think that that could have created some sort of an anxious attachment where it’s just like moving forward. I was just like, well, are they going to break up with me now? Like, and like that created something that wasn’t there before, but then I went such a significant amount of time.

And that was like from age 23 to then age 27, 28, when I met my second act that like I had kind of done a lot of the work personal development work in between that time. So then when I met my second ex, my second ex was definitely anxious. He was one of those I need to be in a really, like, I need to be with somebody.

And I remember this specifically because we had a conversation one night, he had taken me on this amazing date. You know, we went see doing around the Burj Al Arab. We went like to the middle of the desert in Dubai and like went to this fancy restaurant, did all these things, but I didn’t enjoy any of them really. Cause like I’m a redhead,

so I didn’t want to be out in the sun all day. And then like, he did like, couple’s massages. And I’m like, I get very, like, I’m like, that’s where I like my space. So I’m like, no, I’d rather do that alone. And like have my space and like, just like relax. And, and then we had this dinner and it was all this food that I didn’t really like.

So it was all these things. And we ended up having a conversation afterwards. Cause I was like, I want to be very, like, really transparent with you. And this was, I think maybe three months in, I was like, I don’t know if you know who I am. Like, I don’t know if you’ve been doing the work to pay attention because I know who you are.

I know, you know, I know the games you like to play. I know that it’s things you like to do on your time off. Like I know like a lot about you, but I don’t know if that’s been reciprocated, but then he was the one who needed to be in a relationship. So he needed that security blanket and it was very confusing to me.

And then what came out was that he’s like, well, my ex like to do all these things, I was like, okay, well I’m not your ex, so you need to learn what the new person wants. And in that conversation came about the whole, why need to be with somebody? And I was like, no, no, no.

I feel like you should want to be with somebody, but you don’t need to be with somebody in order to complete you. And so that kind of started the downfall of that relationship. Of course, he also had to move like across the world to New York and there was other things at play. But in that relationship, it taught me that I was quite secure because I was the one who then ended the relationship being like this dynamic doesn’t feel right.

Plus I know you’re leaving and I knew he wasn’t going to break up with me. He was just going to be like, okay, bye. And I was like, that’s not going to work for me. I need to have a nice clean cut so that we can still like each other, when you leave, we can have like a nice goodbye.

And it’s like my anger and frustration of it because it was, I felt Gaslight because he had convinced me that he liked me and wanted me so much, but then he was just going to leave and I was just like, okay, what’s going on here? So I look at that. Nice. See that that was a very like anxious. I need to be around somebody.

I need to be with you kind of an energy. And I was the one being like, no. Okay. So when the secure came up for me, I looked at that and went, okay. Yeah, that seems right. But then in the description it was like, you’re like this because you, oh, what’s it say? It says,

this is because you experienced consistent, emotional and physical support as a child. And that’s what I broke out laughing would be like, not at all, like that’s the opposite of what I had as a child. So for those of you listening, I want to go back to what you said bad about. Like, you don’t have to have grown up with this,

that there are ways of learning this. And also what Michael said that, you know, in your earlier relationships, you were more like anxious with it, but now you’ve moved more into a secure, like I know who I am, I know what I need. I know what I want. And it’s all about communication and balance. And I think that that’s a really beautiful thing.

So if you’re listening and you’re like, oh my goodness, don’t worry. You know, it takes some time, but you can get there as long as you’re willing to do the work. But yeah, that’s a long roundabout way of saying I feel secure. And I think moving into whenever my next relationship, I feel very confident and secure in relationships.

And I’m going to need to definitely find somebody who has that balance as well as like, I think of it as like my friendships, my really deep friendships. Like I can go a month or like months without speaking to one of my best friends or even my deep friends from high school. But then when we see each other again or where we hang out,

it’s like no time has ever passed and we don’t judge each other. We don’t hold anything against each other. It’s just, we are secure in ourselves and who we are. And we don’t need that constant contact to know that that love is there. And for me, that’s one of the characteristics I look for in a relationship and in a partner is like,

are you comfortable with who you are and your life and everything. And that having a partner is just going to add to that enjoyment. It’s not like you need to have it, but it’s, it’s just going to add bonus points to the amazingness that you already have. So, yeah. So that’s my big, big answer for that one, man.

Yeah. I related to a lot of what you said, there’s, there’s a few things that I want to also mention just about the secure attachment and the attachment styles. Oftentimes people are, you identify your attachment style during times of conflict, right? Because whenever the relationship is going smooth, everybody can be secure. Right. But when conflict arises, what do you do?

Do you move into the relationship? Do you move out of the relationship? Do you move in and then move out quick? Like, you know, so your attachment style really can be in a knowing within conflict. And I also think it’s important to note that CIC, when, when we, when we use the term secure attachment, it’s not this like black and white,

like once you’re secure, you never have issues, right. That I want to really highlight that because I know secure people, very secure people who who’ve been in relationships with avoidant people and they’ve become anxious because they’re not getting their needs met. So again, like anxiety is just like a, a messenger telling us that there’s some sort of unmet need, right.

That we need to address. So there’s lots of little nuances in this work. So it’s, it’s, you, can’t just kind of take it in, in, into extremes for myself recently, discovering that I’m more fearful avoidant, but I’m very much the kind of person that my attachment style is going to be indicative of the, the, the person,

the other person’s attachment style. So if I date an avoidant, man, I’m going to become anxious. If I date an anxious, man, I’ll become avoidant and I’ve never dated a secure man. So I don’t know what that looks like. And I’m hoping my next one is secure because hopefully that means that I’m going to be able to really settle into my own security.

But my very first relationship was eight years long. And I was so emotionally repressed that I was the avoidance, right. I wasn’t even connecting to my emotions. So it was easy to be in that relationship because I was really shut down. And then my relationship after that, I, the guy was avoidant and I became very, very anxious. That was the relationship in Vancouver that I talked about in last episode.

And then in my most recent relationship, I exhibited extreme fearful avoidant stuff coming up, which is my mother’s attachment style. And that was really traumatizing for me to be in a relationship with somebody who has that attachment style because it was push pull. And I think that’s where I developed this attachment style. So, but I’ve done a ton of work in this space and I’ve done a ton of healing work on attachment trauma.

And I would say, I’m, I’m earning my secure attachment. I wouldn’t say I fully earned it. I said, I’m, I’m earning it. And I think my next relationship will be a good test for me as to how much growth I’ve had over the last year or so. So Yeah. Okay. We all go, well, yeah, we can all get there.

We all have the opportunities. Exactly. Okay. Next question. Let’s start with Callan this time. What has prevented you from having secure relationships in the past? Hm. I thought about this one because I’ve only had two significant relationships in my life. Like boyfriend, whatever we call them boyfriends. But then when I moved to Toronto before the pandemic happened,

I did date two guys in town who I, you know, thoroughly enjoyed dating. And I’d never done that before in such a short amount of time. And so I was, I feel like I was on the right track to being like, cool. Yeah, this is the thing this is going. But then the thing that kind of prevented me from having secure relationships,

I think it was that first relationship and the shock that came from the breakup. Cause it was absolute blindside. And that put a fear in me of like, even if this person’s amazing, even if we have an amazing relationship, if both parties aren’t willing to do the work or don’t want to do the work, like you can’t like, it’s not going to happen.

And so that complete and utter who knows it could be anything. I just didn’t, I didn’t like that. I didn’t like that. It could just be like, you know, I just don’t want to do this anymore. And like, it is what it is. And so I think that really prevented me in the past from having more relationships or allowing myself to dive into those relationships.

So that’s one part. And then another part for me is I’ve also always lived in this world in my mind where I came from such a, like an up and down, no security don’t know where we’re going to be. Like, not don’t know where we’re going to be staying, but like between my mom and dad and my mom was constantly moving that there was such instability that growing up,

I craved stability before I could allow myself into a relationship. And so it was just like, if I didn’t financially have the means to really provide for myself or that I felt comfortable in, in like myself and like what I had then I didn’t feel it was fair to bring another person into that because I was so up and down and I wasn’t sick.

Like in that moment I wasn’t secure in myself and I didn’t feel stable. And so I also knew subconsciously that I wouldn’t attract a stable person because I’m unstable. And if I did attract a stable person that wouldn’t have been a healthy dynamic. And so I always kind of wanted to just get myself to a place where I felt comfortable and safe and secure and like things were going.

And then that like, that helped me. So when I met my second ex, I was in Dubai, I had a really great job, but I was making good money at very stable. And so it just felt like the right time to develop a relationship. And then, so I did and that didn’t pan out and I’m like, okay, well this still isn’t,

it’s still not happening. So now in Toronto, like obviously pandemic has been a whole different thing, but I, I allowed myself to start dating and just start enjoying and playing around and be like, well, I don’t have to like marry this person. Cause I was also in the back of my head, like, oh, I have to marry this person.

If I date you in my mind, if I date you, I’ve already thought about marrying you. Like, I’m not going to date you if I don’t, if I don’t know, and it’s not a psycho thing, but it’s like, if I don’t see that possibility or that chance, like if I look at you and I go, oh, like we could enjoy a long life together.

I’m not going to date you because I don’t just want to hang out with you and have fun because my head then that’s already kind of ended. And I’m like, well then what’s the point. So I’ve kind of moved away from that thought process and been like, everybody has great potential and I don’t know what’s going to happen because I thought those things about other people and we still ended up breaking up.

So I’ve kind of switched out of that mind, but that, those are the kinds of mentalities of things that I had in my head that it definitely prevented me from developing, you know, more secure relationships or just enjoying the evolution of dating and going on like dates and that kind of a thing. So I don’t know if that fully answered the question,

but those, those are my vibes. What about you, Michael? Carolyn, if we dated, I would be so scared of you. I’d be like, okay, no, that’s just like too much for me. Oh, I don’t want to say it. Like they don’t the other person, doesn’t no idea, but like, I am such a methodical person,

like I think like 20 years into the future and I’m like, okay, what do I need to start doing now to get to that future that I want. Right. Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great thing to know what you wanted to, you know, how that in the back of your head, but for me, I think energetically I’d be like,

well, this is too much. I think that’s where my voice would kick in. Right. Like if I sense that anxiety, it would, or if I sense that like, like needing to know the future. Yeah. I’d be like, whoa, I just want to go on a date and have a good night. Like, That’s why I feel people don’t date me.

Yeah. Like for me, my night ends up this data is, and then we’ll see what tomorrow brings. I like this guy’s too ready. Yeah. But Hey, you know what, for the right person who is, who is just as ready, that’s a good thing. Right. Then, then they might be just as ready for you to write.

But yeah, just I’m saying for me, I’d be terrified. Okay. So what has prevented you from having secure relationships in the past? I mean, how many volumes of books do we need to write about this one for me? I like everything. So I’ll try to answer this quickly, but forgive me if I go on a few different tangents here,

so, okay. Yes, definitely. The first one was, you know, mixing up in my mind love versus toxic attachment. And like of course relationships have attachment. That’s perfectly fine. The goal of course, is to try to find that nice balance between, you know, the closeness and the autonomy for me. But for me, for a long time,

I didn’t understand what that meant. Like I just didn’t have the awareness. I didn’t have the words. I didn’t have any role models. And I think for anyone who doesn’t know this work, like I’m trying to think of me before I learned about attachment styles and this stuff is like I T I looked at the, you know, couples as a,

as a child that I would look up to and said, okay, well, this is what our relationship is. You know, I had my, my mom and my stepdad, my dad and my step-mom, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, that kind of thing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the relationship that is healthy.

It also doesn’t mean that it’s not a relationship that I want. So I kind of had this image of, okay, I have to end up in a relationship like so-and-so, because that’s what I thought was the way to be. It turns out that’s not what Michael wants. So that became clear fairly quickly. So let’s say that’s the first thing is not really understanding what a secure relationship is.

If you’re, even if you actually don’t have a partner, that’s a great question to reflect on. We should, we should put that in the GMB as a, as a question, guys, is what does a secure relationship mean to you? Or what does it look like? I think that’s worked better to talk about that later, but we say that word or that phrase,

secure relationship, it could mean very, very different things to me, to you and the next guy. So I think it’s really important to start defining what that means for you. So that’s the first thing, I didn’t know. I didn’t, I just looked at everybody else. Some other things that, that prevented me were oddly enough, as I was thinking about this,

the exact same things that kind of came up with my own personal development. We know we talk about relationships as mirrors or as you know, these relationships come in and reflect back to us where our work is. I was thinking about it and it’s the same thing. So this expecting perfection. So recovering perfectionist, part of me also needed, felt the need that I had to be a perfect boyfriend.

And I also expected perfection from my boyfriend, not a good place to start a secure relationship being in that space of security means you, you definitely have room for growth. So there’s, you know, it’s, it’s that perfectionism would stifle any kind of growth. Whenever things get too intense for me, I check out still the case today. You know,

I just did a podcast with my partner. On the last episode, we talked about that, that when things get tough and Matt’s point about if you don’t know, just think about a conflict for me, when things get tough, I just don’t. I just need to get the hell out of here as quickly as possible. So there’s that avoidance within me.

Right? So learning how to, I guess what prevented me was not knowing how to handle that. Like realizing, Hey, I have a valid need here for, for me it was actual feeling safe. Cause I feel safe by myself. There’s that lone Wolf mentality, like put me alone and I’m fine. Like just get me away from everyone else.

And I’ll figure this out. I’m okay. There safety with myself, whereas there’s I guess, danger with others and then yeah. Not knowing how to handle conflict. I think this is something that kids should learn in school or like their families should teach them this because no one ever taught me how to handle a conflict. So what did I do? I just avoided it at all costs by lots of ways by people pleasing.

So I’m like, I’m just going to be the good boy. So I don’t cause a stir, even though I’m, you know, betraying myself or just avoiding conflict in general, like Homer Simpson and, and into the bushes, like, oh, I’m out here. See you later, guys, typical for me. And it’s still, still tends to be my automatic response.

So the last one would be fear of failure kind of goes with perfectionism, but again, not wanting to be seen as a failure by the rest of the world, by myself and mostly in our relationship on my partner. So if he ever criticized me or did said something that I would receive as criticism, that would definitely trigger me. And again, I would watch like,

have this need of like, oh no, I need to protect my self image that he hasn’t any to see. I need him to see me as whatever. I want him to see me as this perfect partner or this, whatever my story was. So just being stuck in all my own drama, which even without the relationship, that stuff was there,

but relationships have really fun and lots of fun way of bringing the shit out. If you don’t know what’s there, relationship will show you. So yeah, there’s a lot of things that prevented me from having that, that secure relationship or that secure style. But it is, it is definitely a guidepost. I don’t think it’s something that we, I don’t,

I don’t know anyone who’s ever landed on there and like, okay, I’m secure now, check it’s constant. Like, okay, I’m feeling it more now. And then you kind of sway away and then you kind of guide yourself back. So I think that’s a very important caveat that you made Matt for anyone listening out there. It’s not something that you just land on and stay forever.

Yeah. That’s a lot guys. And I jumped in before you say something, Matt, because what I want to say to that is it’s the same with personal development. I always talk about it being like kind of peaks and valleys. It’s like, you’re going up, you’re doing your work. And then you kind of get the peak and then you’re like,

okay, that’s the integration time where you’re like, okay, I’m understanding. And then you get so tired of it. And you’re like, fuck, I don’t want to do this work anymore. I’m so I just want to break. And then you go down a little bit. Cause you’re just like, Ooh, let’s have a good time life. And then you hit something and you’re like,

oh shit, I got to start doing the work again. So you start going back up that’s life. It’s it’s everything. So it’s the same in relationships. It’s not always going to be one or the other. So, so yeah, A hundred percent. Totally, totally. Another thing that came up too was I said a good way to identify your touch,

to solve solids in conflict. Another way is when somebody offers you pure and genuine emotional presence, right? Because when somebody is offering you that, it means that they’re, they just leveled the bar of like, okay, this is the intimacy I want. And if you’re down here and you’re unable to have that, you’re going to either exhibit anxiety, you’re going to exhibit avoidance and want to get away from it.

So, right. There’s tons of different ways to assess your attachment style as long as you’re open to seeing these things. But, and I want to say to Kellen, I really resonated with what you shared because I, and I still do that. And I think it’s actually healthy for me because I think as a Demi sexual, I, when I’m not going to invest myself or commit myself to anybody that is that there isn’t resonance,

that I’m not like I can see myself being with this person. And maybe for me, marriage is a bit of a jump, but I’m also like you in that respect too, like I’m always future, like, you know, like the being planful about these sorts of things. And I have a hard time just going on Willy nilly, Willy nilly dates,

because it’s like, I don’t want to be in somebodies energy that I don’t fully want to invest myself in. Right. So I see, I see where you’re coming from. And then Michael, like pretty much everything you said has been my journey to as well. So I fully resonated with what you both shared. Yeah. I would say the first relationship I had was an eight year relationship.

I was avoiding throughout the whole thing and the, that my avoidance, my shutdown emotionality was what prevented me from being secured because he was a bit more anxious, but I think he also was able to be in intimacy and have these things. And I, the thought of intimacy made me nauseous. Literally. That’s how it turned off. I was by it.

So like, I just wanted to fuck. I just wanted to have sex and have a friend to hang out with. I did not like emotions and sex even touching. So I was very much shut down. And then I had some of my spiritual awakenings did a lot of work. And I got into that relationship where I was very anxious. And that was the first time in my life where I saw this real controlling,

possessive, jealous energy come out in me. And it was all of my attachment trauma, like just sitting at the surface. And my attachment trauma told me that I was defective, that I wasn’t lovable, that I didn’t belong. And a lot of these things were what I carried into my relationship and I had a really low self-worth and low self-esteem in my relationships.

And it really prevented me from honoring my needs. First of all, which I do have a need for space and freedom. I’d say freedom. Isn’t one of my most valued things. And I wasn’t honoring that. So then when I wasn’t honoring my own freedom, I became very anxious and that, and then I would project that onto my partner whenever he wanted freedom.

Right? So it was just this, this whole thing around me, not feeling secure within myself and that really becoming an issue for my partnership and being able to have like, you know, they say a secure attachment is an ability to be fluid, right. To move in and out of connection with ease and grace, right? So we can move into closeness and have it and we’re secure,

but we can also move away from the closeness and we don’t get anxious and get preoccupied with what our partner is doing. And I really struggled with the pullback and I think that’s one of the things that really learned to do. And I think I’ve learned that by developing a stronger sense of self and self-worth because now being in my own energy, it’s like,

I enjoy my company. I enjoy who I am and I’m not running from my demons anymore. So I don’t need to run from my demons into somebody else. And I think that’s been been one of the biggest things. And the shame I think for me was so, so deep that it was perfectionism, like Michael said, and I wasn’t able to allow my partner to have flaws without me being hypercritical of their flaws because I was critical of my own flaws.

Right. So we can, I believe we can only treat people as good as we treat ourselves. So I was like, just like beating the shit out of myself constantly. So of course I’m going to beat the shit out of my partners. Right. And make them feel about this small, because that’s how big I felt. Right. So shame was it just reeks havoc in so many relationships.

And I just see it constantly. And it’s something that, you know, we need to work on that relationship within which that’s the healing of the shame. And then we can become more secure in relationships. So yeah, those are, I think I touched on everything I wanted to. Yeah. Right. What does a secure relationship look like for you?

Let’s start with you, Michael, because I think you’re eager to answer this. Yeah. I think you, I think you just answered it perfectly, Matt. It’s not going in and out of the very natural dance between closeness and separation. Like, and then back in, if that’s just natural for relationships, it’s just not always going to be one note.

You don’t want it to be either. So yeah. I think as you go through that rhythm, that natural rhythm and the relationship finding your footing, no matter what it’s in, and of course we’re all gonna have a preference. Right. So if my preference, these days is more of that, like avoidant. So I really enjoyed that separation and closeness tends to,

I get like I to have a fear of like being too close and like, I oh know who’s going to smother me. Right. Or if you’re more anxious than it’s the opposite fear, it’s the fear. Oh my gosh. He’s, he’s pulling back. He’s going to leave me. It’s I rejection. But learning how to find some sense of groundedness both individually and then even within the relationship,

that’s what that would look like for me. So when that happens, so like what it looks like on, on like the surface, I guess, is it’s just really fun. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this relationship. My relationship now is this is probably the most fun that I’ve had is just that there’s a lot more flowing.

This just, I don’t want to say easier. It’s not easier, but there’s just more time because we’re not so worried about, or because I’m not so worried about, oh my gosh, is he going to leave me? Or is this fear going to happen? There’s just less stress on my side. And there’s less anxiety on my side and his as well.

So we just have more time and room to have fun and I have have adventures. And that doesn’t mean conflict doesn’t happen. They happen all the time. But then knowing how to use that conflict and work through it and say, okay, here’s what I need. I think that’s another to answer your question. That’s another thing is, is expressing your needs without fear of rejection or the fear of them.

I don’t know, just having a, I think it’s that vulnerability, like I’m feeling vulnerable now. Here’s what I need and feeling safe to do. So both within myself and then with my partner. So yeah, that security looks, it looks like more fun. I think when, when those, those fears are not gone, but when they’re less than you can just,

there’s just more room for play and fun and adventures. I’d also say that it looks like communicating a lot. And I think on the, for me, I told myself that it was over-communication only because I had the sense that like couples didn’t just got each other like, oh yeah, you know me, I know you, we don’t talk about it.

Like, that’s not how that works. At least for me, I’ve not met the Ghana man who just gets me in to read my mind hasn’t happened yet. So at the beginning, there’s a lot of communication. Like here’s who I am. Like, I need to show you that I have these triggers and I need to see your triggers and then not.

And then holding space for them, not judging each other. One thing I’ve learned a lot is how to emotionally validate myself. But more importantly, not more importantly, equally important how to emotionally validate my partner, even if I don’t agree with them. Even if I’m like this guy is flying off the handle, he’s making my life miserable. And I don’t want to strangle him finding a place within myself.

It’s like, okay, I don’t need to agree with him. I just need to listen to him and make him, help him feel safe. Seen, heard all the things that we all want and then, you know, doing that for each other. But guys, that’s not something that you just like, know how to do. At least not me.

I, we have to learn this. And I think that’s, that’s why it’s so important to use the relationships you’re in. Even if you’re not meant to be with this guy for the rest of your life, whatever guy you’re dating, whatever, whatever relationship you’re in, you could use that to practice the stuff, which I think is super, super helpful.

So yeah, I would say those are it. It’s just fun. And there’s a lot of communication involved and that’s what secure relationships look like. And without the judgment, without the fear, without the anxiety that comes with it, I think, yeah. How about you Caitlyn? So ditto, everything you just said. Yeah. It is kind of this like dance that you do with somebody where it’s just like,

I mean, I’m not in a relationship right now, but like the relationships I had in the past, ironically, my first ex was a flight attendant. And then my second relationship, I was the flight. So there was always distance, there was always space. And I was always happy with that. I was always fine with that. And my second next,

like did, like, there wasn’t an anxious, like they needed to be around me because they would just do work. And then when I was in town, it was like, okay, let’s hang out. But I need that kind of flow of like, okay, you know, I’m with you, I’m with you. Like, we’re having a great time.

Okay. Next week I’m going to go away with my friend and we’re going to go to London or something crazy. And you just go away for a week and it’s not like, they’re like, oh, but why can’t I go? Why and tie there, what are you doing? Like those questions. It’s just like, they don’t come from an anxious place of like,

why it’s coming from a, like a curiosity place of like, oh yeah. What are you going to do? Like have fun, do this, that and the other. And it’s that trust? I guess that’s a big thing. There is that, that trust that it does have to be built. So it does take time, which takes the communication,

which you were talking about. But having that feeling of like, I love being with this person, I enjoy being with this person and I enjoy that. They get to go off and enjoy doing whatever they want and they get to have their alone time. And then I also get to do the same or it’s like, oh, I’m just going to go for drinks with my friends.

And like, you know, do whatever that night have a blast. And it’s not like you will constantly have to be attached to it. Like that would, that shit would drive me. Absolutely crazy. So, yeah, it’s just two people. I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I, I used to work at Starbucks and there’s this woman who had this tattoo of this butterfly and the butterfly didn’t touch in the middle.

So it’s like the middle body was there, but there was like a divide between, so I caught that such an interesting tattoo, which is like, yeah, it’s it’s for me, my partner. And I was like, oh, and she explained how it was like, it represented her and her partner because yes, the butterfly looks like it was full and it was beautiful,

but it was really two separate butterflies coming together, standing next to each other, making it look like it was a full, beautiful butterfly. But individually, if they were to fly away, they would still both be their own individual butterflies and be just equally beautiful. And I thought that that was one of the most beautiful symbolic things that I’d ever seen in my life.

I was like, oh my goodness. That’s amazing. And so that’s how I really think about what a secure relationship looks like to me. Like, we’re both beautiful butterflies we’re coming together. We can make, we can make it look like we’re one butterfly together, but we’re still equal parts ourselves. And like, you know, we, we enjoy each other’s time and you know,

we’ve worked through the hard parts. We do all the stuff that needs to be done. We have the communication, which is a huge thing to me, I’m, I’m the same. I feel like I can be an over communicator. And I used to think that other people like just were like, oh, you’re like, this is too much for me.

And I used to think I was too much, but then I just realized like, you know, maybe they just haven’t done the work or they’re just avoid it. And they’re just like, I can’t do this. This is too much for me. And that’s when I learned, I was like, okay, well eventually I’ll find somebody who’s the same as me and I have met multiple people who are like the same,

like they’re perfectly capable of being over night or over communicate too, but communicating appropriately and like having those things be out there and letting you know, these are my healthy boundaries. These are the things that I need and require in a relationship like, you know, and making sure the other person knows that. So for me, that’s what that secure relationship looks like is kind of like the ebb and flow.

But each partner is continuing to decide to stay in the relationship because that’s, at the end of the day, what it takes is both people want to make the relationship work and want to continue being in that relationship in the healthy manner. So that for me is what a secure relationship looks like. What about you, Matt? Yeah. You guys both have some really good things.

I have, I have an answer just like a broad answer. And then I’ll go into just more specifically for me. I think secure relationships. I think the number one thing is happiness, because I think if you look at different couples, like different levels of closeness and I, that’s why I’m not a huge fan of like taking the term codependency and saying your relationship is codependent.

I think that each partner gets to choose their level of closeness. And if certain partnerships love a little bit of a measurement and a little bit of codependency and that’s okay, as long as happiness is the end product, genuine happiness. Right? So I want to, I want to say that because we’re not here to try and project this idea of what a secure relationship is.

It’s, it’s very, very different for everybody. And as long as what, like what Michael said, your needs are being met and you’re happy, that’s going to be an indication of a secure relationship. So, and for me to S to really personalize it, I think I’ve never, I’ve actually never been in a secure relationship before. So these are the things that I’ve learned from my insecure relationships that I need in order to feel secure honesty,

radical honesty, and transparency is really important for me. Like I would rather hear an inconvenient truth than a reassuring lie, or somebody just buttering me up, like feed it to me as it is. I can handle it. Right. But if I, yeah, so that’s, that’s a big one. For me, vulnerability is probably one of the most important,

because it’s really, it’s really hard to build a secure relationship when you’re masked up, right. When you’re wearing your mask, it’s just, you can’t do it. Right. And for me, my, my, my number one love language is as a demisexual is going to be emotional connection. So if somebody isn’t able to meet that need for me,

which is to show them themselves, right? All of themselves, their fears, their insecurities, their joys, their, all of the things. I need that stuff, because that, for me, that’s the meat of the relationship that actually fuels my sexual arousal, believe it or not. So that’s really important for me. Boundaries is extremely important too,

because I’m learning that it is important for me to have my separate sense of self. My work is probably my work is me. My work is my, my, my sole purpose. So my work is probably the number one most important thing in my life. And my, my partner needs to understand that that sometimes my work will take priority over my relationship because my work is me,

right. So I really need to honor that. And I do that through boundaries and really communicating what my needs are. I think the word devotion stands out for me, because I think when it’s, when I feel like somebody is devoted to me and I’m devoted to them, it feel it’s that feeling of being chosen. Right. And for me, that,

that breeds security when somebody is like, yeah, I choose you. And I want to be with you. And I want to build a life with you. That for me, allows me to settle in and have trust. Right. Which is not something I’ve ever really experienced in a relationship. So I know that that’s going to be a game changer for me in my next relationship where I’ll be able to fully let go and trust and kind of surrender to the relationship in a way that I never have before,

which would be, you know, feeling chosen. Another thing that comes with it is like prioritizing the safety of the relationship. Like, you know, like always being like, we need to come into this container and we need to make sure each of us feel safe. Right. And if there’s a big, there’s a blow up, like, okay,

we need to make sure that we’re prioritizing coming back into the connection at some point, and working through this stuff because that’s safety. Right. And for people that do have attachment trauma, whether it’s resolved or not, I do think that that stuff kind of stays with you. Right. And it will, I think being able to talk about it and know that your partner prioritizes your safety and your central nervous system,

I think is really, really key to a secure relationship for myself at least. And that also taught, you know, communication, I think is it’s just the overarching, all of this, everything, you know, our boat communications leads into that. But I think it’s important in relationships to talk about trauma because our trauma is going to indicate how we show up.

It’s our nervous system. It’s literally going to, you know, our attachment style is indicative of our nervous system. And if we’re not communicating to our partners, what’s going on in our nervous system, it’s going to be impossible for us to, to come into connection. And I think when we’re talking about our trauma, that means we’re talking about our fears.

We’re talking about our insecurities and we’re talking about all the things that we feel ashamed of all that, right. It needs to come into the relationship. And some people might disagree with me on that, on that stance. And I just think that it’s, it’s, I think it’s really important to have those conversations because otherwise, if it’s not consciously being talked about,

it plays itself out in the unconscious. And that that’s where it becomes problematic playfulness really, really important. Again, not, not a lot of that in my relationships, because I like I’ve been so inundated with fear and worry that I haven’t allowed myself to settle in and be playful as much as I’d like to. So I see that in my near future and then love languages.

I think it’s important to, to understand love languages, because for me, the love languages I want to give, and the love languages I want to receive are a little bit different. Right. And I, I, I encourage people. If you haven’t go to the love languages website and take the test, that’ll be indicative of the love languages you want to receive.

But then think about what love languages you also want to give, because we have been taught based off of our upbringing, those love languages that we like to give. Right? Like I love giving gifts. I love acts of service, but for me, I, I like to receive touch and quality time. Right. So it’s important for me to know those things.

And then also important for me to know what my partner wants to give and receive. So we can come together and say, okay, these are the things that we feel we have resonance with, let’s make them happen. Right. And then maybe I need to get those needs met other way. Other, in other places, if that my partner doesn’t feel like they’re able to meet that love language for me.

So, yeah. That’s a lot, but I feel like I covered everything. Yeah. I have a lot of clarity. Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up. Cause love languages is very important, at least for me, because that kind of transformed my first relationship once me and my ex kind of we, right. He got me to read that book and it was like,

oh, and then we both realized we’re like, oh, cause he was access service. And like, they mean absolutely nothing to me. I’m like acts of service now, John care or gifts. Like, I, I I’m like, okay, thanks. Like there’s no reciprocation. And so that’s devastating for somebody. Who’s a gift giver. They’re like,

I don’t have time to do. I don’t know how to love you. Can I ask what yours are? I’m curious. Words of affirmation. Isn’t really big. So like that doesn’t mean like saying things all the time. It’s just like texting, like, Hey, how’s your day. What’s up. Like, it doesn’t have to be in depth.

It doesn’t have to be whatever, even though I’d like in depth, but like just like a check-in like, Hey, how’s it going? Like love you or hope you have an amazing day. Like just those simple little things for words of affirmation. And then quality time and touch is kind of like intertwined with me because if I’m having quality time with you,

I’m probably touching you like arms around like the waist, the shoulder constantly hugging. Like I always, always, always wanted to be touching my partners. I’d like, if you can’t handle PDA public displays of affection, like not going to work out. I feel those vibes too. What about you, Michael? Same as same as Matt. So quality time physical touch my top two,

but lately acts service has jumped up there. It wasn’t in the past, but now it’s more important. But yeah, those are definitely the two like touch me and spend time with me. That’s All anybody you’d like to give Quality time as well? I, I do like access. I’m sorry. Touch. And yeah, it gives for me I’m terrible at it.

That’s probably my lowest. I’m like, I don’t know. Like I have no idea. Hopefully. Yeah. Hold it. That’s not important to star, but yeah, for sure. Those, those two same, I think it’s the same for giving and receiving command actually. Yeah, Yeah. Yeah. For some people that is most people actually, but I do know that there’s people that have the discrepancy,

so. All right. What inner work have you done to have a more secure attachment style? Let’s start with Michael this time. Okay. Yeah. Understanding emotions, I think has been the most important when we say that it’s, you know, emotional intelligence, which, which is identifying emotions, knowing what, what they are, what they’re understanding them,

what are they telling you, knowing how to regulate them? If it’s something that is kind of, for me, like if I start to notice my heart beating and I’m getting, you know, I’m having a physical reaction, knowing how to bring myself back into my nervous system and then, you know, asking for what I need from that, seeing that,

okay, this is telling me something, how does that relate to, to my partner? How do I express this to him? And then vice versa, doing that for him? Like, not just, not just one way traffic, but like when he’s having that thing, just understanding that he’s having an emotional experience and the same thing, identifying what’s happening,

hopefully he’s able to communicate it sometimes it’s not. And then just trying to like, hold that space. Right? So like I said before, not making it mean something has gone wrong because he’s having emotions just like, okay, he’s a human being. He’s allowed to have emotions just as I am. Do I need to get defensive about it? No,

that doesn’t help generally, but can I, can I find my space where I can like support him through it and just let him have his moment? Even if I don’t agree, that has been very important. Also practicing when I was in a more anxious attachment phase of my life, shall we say practicing being alone was really important because then I got to kind of disconnect from the relationship because I was perhaps meshed in him in it.

So kind of practicing, being alone, realizing that I can stand on my own two feet and I can have a really good time standing on my own two feet. And in fact learning, I think that’s one of the benefits of single periods between relationships is learning shit. This is really fun. Like I really enjoy this. Like I enjoy my own company.

I enjoy being me. I enjoy having connections with my friends and family and focusing on those. I enjoy all the benefits of a single life. And then when I’m in a relationship, then practicing the opposite, practicing the closeness, practicing, letting somebody in practicing vulnerability and trusting. Matthew mentioned that that was like a bold, like when he said it,

it just lit up like guests practicing trust is really important to do, but you kinda, you have to be in a relationship to do that with somebody else. And then yeah. Communication, learning how to communicate with others has been a lot of work that I’ve done. I’d say probably where I’m at now is realizing that my automatic, maybe my preferred ways of communicating are not always,

they may be my preferred, but they’re not going to get us any further. So learning how to communicate in a way that is beneficial for the relationship, not for Michael, that has been, and I’m still like, I’m still learning that. So those are like the key ones. I think, you know, when we talk about relationships, it really is just about,

you know, communication and, and how can we express ourselves in a way that we feel safe. And that is true to ourselves. Of course, like knowing who you are cannot be. I cannot underline that enough. Like you, you need to know who you are. You need to know what you authentically want, what you authentically need. And if you’re in a relationship where you’re not getting that,

it’ll become very clear, like you’ll be very uncomfortable. It won’t work. Things will be just, it’ll feel terrible within you. There’ll be manifestations of it, not in the relationship. So that self work, even though it seems kind of counter-intuitive to focus on yourself, but that really does help the relationship ultimately at the end of the day. Yeah.

Emotions, emotional intelligence, we’ll call it that. We’ll pull umbrella term that under emotional intelligence and communication. Oh, also boundaries. Oh my gosh, boundaries. What? I didn’t have boundaries, obviously didn’t work out so well. I felt trampled over. I felt resentful, you know, knowing what’s mine and knowing what’s his and you know, Michael has his stories and narratives and feelings and needs and desires and they’re perfectly great.

And then other person has his stories and history and narratives and desires and emotions. And that’s fine too. And then finding the container, which I like to define boundaries as the container from which we create this relationship has been really helpful when I didn’t have boundaries. That was a fucking mess. And then when I can learn what those boundaries are and we can establish kind of like boundaries within the relationship,

like, okay, here’s, here’s what we’re willing to accept. And here’s what we’re not when we’re together, just, it helps. It helps having that clear sense of whose is what and what we are okay with and what we’re not okay with. And keeping in mind, boundaries can change over time. Yeah. A lot of communication guys, that’s,

I’d say the biggest one, just communicating and learning how, because I shoot from the hip. I speak very clearly, very directly, I think, but guess what? Not everyone likes it that way. My lesson I do That would work though for us Cal Brutally, brutally honest at times. And people like, I don’t like people, sometimes people like you’re so-called,

I’m like, no, I’m just honest and you don’t want to hear it. Like that’s not my fault. That’s not my problem. As it Sounds like me, You don’t like the truth as I’ve you. Okay. So in our work I’m man, I feel like I’ve been doing this work for so long. Cause I have like when, when I first started this work,

like it’s gotta be going on more than 13, 14 years now, maybe even 15 years been a long time that I’ve been like spiritually awakened doing this work. And I think just Constantly being on that roller coaster, the good, the fun roller coaster of life, and like constantly, always keeping it in the back of my mind to be doing some sort of personal development work,

whether I’m really in the thick of it. And I’m like really, you know, doing training or doing new learnings and stuff like that, or whether it’s just like, you know, doing a walk and listening to a podcast that’s going to help open my mind. I think that just kind of like making a dedication to myself, to always be doing the work because that’s what it is.

It’s a lifelong journey. So it’s not just going to stop. You’re not going to ever just be done. And so constantly be being in that learning seat and wanting to learn, I think has really helped kind of secure myself and in that inner world. And I think I’ve done really. I think I can be almost too methodical and too in my own inner world as an Aquarius,

we get up in our heads a lot of the time. So I’ve, I’ve done really good at that. And I think for me a lot more of the learning has come from the outside world. So for me been, you know, working with a therapist and actually I’m going to take this back to Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Perry, Dr. Perry,

oh God, I can’t remember his name. They wrote a book called what happened to you? And it’s all about trauma and what happens to you in order to move forward? Great, amazing book, get it if you can listen to it on Libby. But in that book, they talked about trauma and sometimes somebody who’s gone through trauma and trauma could be like capital T big trauma or like a bunch of little traumas can also be just as toxic as one big trauma.

And if you’ve gone through a lot of that, that, you know, sometimes you aren’t capable of being fallen world cause that you brought up vulnerability and experiencing those traumas don’t necessarily allow you to even be vulnerable. Even if you think about or want to, like, it’s just, you’re not capable of it. And so for me, I feel like I had gone through some traumas that just like I wasn’t capable of being vulnerable anymore.

Like truly authentically vulnerable and working with a therapist provided me that new safe space of another individual where I could learn how to be vulnerable again and to trust again. And so I’m taking this outside of the relationships because your partner shouldn’t be everything to you and it should, then you should have outside resources that help inform you of what’s going on in your relationships.

So for me, part of that journey and part of that, like inner work has been the outside work of working with therapists and building those new learnings, that muscle memory of like, oh, I can be vulnerable with another human being. Another human being can hold me in security and safety and I can experience this and then I can learn this language I have over here and take this knowledge and put that into a relationship.

So I think that that’s a really important thing for people to know that it’s like, it doesn’t all have to be within that container of the relationship and that it’s actually really important to have outside resources. And that’s why it’s really important to have other groups of friends and friends that don’t overlap and all of these things, because that allows you to have those different types of relationships and connections that make your world well rounded so that when you’re in your relationship,

you feel more secure because they’re not your everything. It’s not, that’s not the all be all end all. And then another part of that was Michael, you were talking about languages and like understanding your emotions. And I just listened to Bernie Brown’s podcasts and locking us another great one. And in that she talks, she does a special on her new book,

Atlas of the heart. And when she was doing the research on it is the much, I can’t remember how many people, but most people could only really name three emotions that they feel like that was all that they really understood or could be capable of the general person that’s that’s it. And so in her book, I think she has 86 emotions. So that’s what Atlas of the heart is,

is it’s actually like an Atlas of emotions and how we experience those emotions and how those emotions dance together and how they connect together. And so when somebody, and this is really important for relationships, especially like when we’re talking about secure relationships and developing these senses of self and all that in a relationship is that when you don’t have the correct language to communicate with your partner,

you’re going to be saying one thing like I mad and your partner is going to take that at face value because that’s what they’re understanding and hearing from you. But what you’re really trying to say is I’m disappointed or I’m afraid, or I have fear or anxiety coming up and to understand the differences between these emotions are so important because that’s going to completely change the communication.

That’s going to go around it because if you’re mad and you’re just going off the handle, I’m going to be like, okay, you’re mad. Like I’m going to let you have your space or whatever. But if you say I’m disappointed or I’m having this experience that opens up a different door of compassion being like, okay, I understand this deeper because now I know kind of where this is actually coming from.

It’s not just this one surface level, it’s something else. And so I just wanted to bring that up for people who are navigating this and you know, doing the inner work. And I think reading books or listening to audio books like that will help you do that inner work and help you become more secure because you can learn, even if you learn like four or five more emotions that you can really describe,

and within yourself, that’s going to help your relationship. That’s going to help you become more secure and then it’s going to help your relationship become more secure. So that’s how I’m going to answer that question just because I’ve done decades and years worth of inner work that I’ve now migrated more of doing the outside work, because I’ve done a lot of the thinking.

Now I’m putting a lot, I’m in my integration mode where I’m trying to figure out how to put this into the real world and maybe hopefully one day getting in one of those relationships. We’ll see, what about you, Matt? I just had to honor a feeling I just had, because when you said that, like however many people couldn’t identify more than three feelings,

I’m just thinking like, oh my God, like as a, demisexual like, that’s my priority. Like I need an emotionally intelligent man. And I know how few emotionally intelligent men are out there. At least that’s the story I’m telling myself. And maybe I need to get out of that story, but it’s like, I just feel, I felt like a wash of hopelessness come over me like,

oh, but anyway, that’s why I’m doing this work. I’m continuing to educate and inform gay men about this work because we need to be doing it. So, so anyways about myself. So I think that one of the biggest ones for me was shadow work. Shadow work was the process that I went through, where I stopped projecting all my shit,

all my shadows on to everyone else. And I started to take responsibility and I could only start developing a secure attachment when I started to get, you know, really, really honest with myself about the ways I was showing up in my relationships that were toxic and dysfunctional. And then the healing began, right? So it’s easy to be like, oh,

my ex did this. And my ex did that to me and fuck my ex and you know, but shadow work is like, Hmm, let’s at what you brought into the relationship. Right? And for me, that was a huge, huge healing. And I, it was very humbling for my ego to do that work. And a little humility went a long way for me.

Trauma healing was probably that’s my most recent within the last two years I did this, this work and it was a lot of, it was grieving my unmet childhood needs because I was bringing those into my relationships in a shadow way. Right. Like I didn’t get emotionally validated when I was a child. I felt neglected as a child. So what did I do in my relationships?

I projected those unmet needs into my relationship and wanted my partner to meet all of my needs because I didn’t know how to meet them for myself. Right. So shadow or trauma healing was really important for me. One of the biggest things was just going through the challenging relationships, right? That’s huge because like I learned so much about myself. I had,

I’ve had five relationships and all of the scar tissue from each one of those relationships is how I now have so much clarity about what I need moving forward. Right. So, you know, we don’t need to be ready and complete and whole for our relationships, enter one and see what that relationship brings up for you. Because I think that that’s going to be a lot of what you need to work on a plant medicine.

And other thing that was very, very helpful for me, Iowasca and psilocybin were two things that I’ve used in medicinal ways. And they were really, really therapeutic therapy. I’ve done a lot of therapy, like probably since I was eight, eight years old. When I went to my first therapist and have been in and out of therapy or coaching or group work pretty much my whole life.

So that’s been probably really helpful for me and authentic relating. That’s kind of something I now teach because it’s changed my life in such a great way. That’s where I learned active listening, conflict transformation, like all the things we’re going to be teaching in the course that we’re, we’re launching in April here is going to be rooted in authentic relating. And I think the three of us are really excited to teach that because it’s really transformative.

So yeah. Yeah. This was a good one today guys. Lots of good stuff. I think the listener viewer is going to really benefit a lot from that. And in the course, we’re also going to be sharing a lot of resources. We have, I was thinking, well, should I share them now? But I feel like, well,

what, we’re going to have it all in the course of all the resources that you guys can access. But in the meantime, if you’re wanting something, the book attached by Levine is the author. I think that would be a really good place to start. If you’re wanting to know a bit more about your attachment style, but any final thoughts from YouTube before we wrap up.

Nah, I think I got it all out there. Yeah. I think anyone who’s interested in the content. Yeah. Definitely get into the course because we go, I mean, I love the course, so we’ve created an account with, to share it with people. If, if you’re interested in this episode. Oh my gosh. You’re going to love this book.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Ditto, ditto. Well, yeah. Thanks for tuning into another episode of the Yemen going deeper. If you are not in the gay men’s brotherhood, our private Facebook community come over and join us. And if you’re listening on your favorite podcast network, please give us a review, preferably five stars. If you enjoyed what you heard or watched.

And, and if you’re on YouTube consuming our content and please leave us comments, as you can see, we do read those out. We love getting comments from you guys. And we try to respond to all of them and subscribe and hit the bell icon because we do release a new episode each week. So until next week, folks much love.

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