“Should It Be This Hard?” An Unconventional Q & A with Geoff and Alyssa

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Geoff and I are coming to you from our couch this week with an unconventional Q & A. We identify a question that many people end up being plagued with and offer stories and solutions for figuring out how to answer it. Come behind closed doors with us as we shine a light on the uncomfortable, so it holds less power.

This week’s question is, “Should it be this hard?” Meaning, “Should a relationship be this hard?” 

We dive into the pain behind this question, the underlying frustrations that lead to it popping up, and offer a better question to ask yourself.

We also dive into: 

  • The illusion of chasing happiness and what we can choose to embrace instead
  • The type of work that makes relationships work 
  • The facades we often put up to protect ourselves and how they eventually create conflict
  • Better questions to ask on dates, so you can know sooner if you want to commit or not 

We also ask and answer…

  • Is there such a thing as “the perfect relationship”?
  • When is the time to leave and when is the time to stay?

Never miss an episode.

Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable. I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots. I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between. Because what we can talk about, we can manage. This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone. No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came. I am so glad you’re here.

Hello, and welcome back to Make It Mentionable. I am back on the couch with Geoff. And first thank you for being here. I love when you join me.

Geoff 1:01
I enjoy it.

Alyssa Patmos 1:03
So when Geoff comes on the show, I like it to be an episode where we go behind closed doors, because there’s so many times where the natural tendency is to go out into this world. And to protect ourselves, we put on this facade and pretend like everything’s okay. And sometimes it’s not. And so, anytime we can open and go behind closed doors and make that mentionable I am here for it. And so as I was thinking about what we could talk about today, a question came to mind that I think many people end up being plagued with. And that question is, should this be so hard? Or the flip side of that can be dreaming up? I bet there’s a relationship out there where this is easier. And both of us have found ourselves in relationships, where this really where that question has come up. And so like, what was it like for you? When Where were you at? When that question started to creep in? In the past?

Geoff 2:10
Well, I’ve had it in multiple relationships. And I mean, I remember this question coming up for me early on. And I’ve gone through a bit of an evolution in how I’ve thought about that. I know, when I was younger, I kind of believed like, it shouldn’t be that hard. And if it is, if it’s this hard, it’s probably not meant to be there’s something about it, that isn’t right. Because if two people that love each other that are committed, and both want the same thing are together. Of course, it’s not going to be complete, smooth sailing, but it shouldn’t be really hard. And if it is, that’s a sign that’s a sign that maybe this isn’t the right one. I’ve since evolved or into into a more nuanced way of thinking and, and a better understanding that at times, it can be really hard, even with the right person, even with the person that I believe makes sense for me to be with long term, there’s going to be times where it seems really hard. And that’s okay. And that’s natural. And that doesn’t mean what I used to think it meant.

Alyssa Patmos 3:15
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s really helpful. And, and I had a similar path with that question. But I think there are two things I want to highlight here. First is, is I want to normalize the fact that our relationship in general, like chasing happiness is an illusion, like life is about the ups and the downs, and our ability to bounce back from the downs and our ability to sit with them and, and, and our resilience to, to know that it will pass and we’re gonna get to feel the good stuff again, at some point. And so I think when we put pressure on a relationship to have to be happy 100% of the time. One, I think that indicates that, like, there’s something going on internally that probably needs to be examined in some way. But also, that’s so much pressure to put on a relationship.

Geoff 4:13
It is and even even not 100% Cuz I don’t think anyone’s gonna claim like it’s supposed to be 100% but I think we do strive in some ways for 100 or close to 100. And I think for me, there was a period of like, growing up and understanding like, that’s not what it’s about. It’s not about being happy all the time. That’s an illusion. Being human is experiencing the full range of emotions and we can experience happiness and joy only in the contrast to sometimes when when we don’t have that so, for me, that brings some peace to like know, listen, we can’t be happy all the time. We can’t be in bliss all the time. There’s going to be times where it’s difficult and we’re sad, and that’s okay. It’s part of being human.

Alyssa Patmos 4:53
Yeah. And being in relationship is to people trying to translate their inner world to each other. And that is messy, that is so messy, because all of your past experiences lead to you viewing the world one way. And my past experiences lead to me viewing the world a different way. And that’s what’s going on. So So in every conversation, I’m filtering it my way, you’re filtering it your way. And like that’s going to lead to messiness at times,

Geoff 5:26
Absolutely. And tying back to the initial question like, should it be this hard? Well, there’s times based on how my history of 51 years and my experiences and what happened to me and is very different from yours. So we often expect to be able to point to something and say, That’s white, or cream color, or whatever. And we both agree, it’s just objective like, this is right, this is wrong. How can you say that like saying that, to me, is just wrong, you should never say that to me. Whereas I might be coming from a place of like, that’s fine to say, based on my experience. And so in, especially in communication in relationships, it’s, it’s often not as black and white as we want it to be.

Alyssa Patmos 6:09
Right. Right. Yeah, chasing the black and white can get us into trouble. And so that, that leads me to the second thing I wanted to talk about, which is, in asking that question. I think one of the most powerful things that we can do in a relationship, and in life is to ask questions, and to get better at asking better questions. Curiosity is his fuel for connection. And so getting curious in these moments is what helps us unlock the next level of thinking, and, and the should, in that initial question can be very problematic. So it’s go hand in hand with shame. And they also don’t give anything like purely objective to look at like, if we even look at this question. Should it be this heart should according to what there is a lot of relativity there, like should according to who, and as compared to what and and then our minds go on this race, where we’re basically like a hamster on a hamster wheel in our heads, and it’s spinning so fast, you could power an entire city. And so should is one of the like most common words for people to default to, especially in questions like, like it. And yet, it’s also one of the laziest forms of communication, it’s so lazy.

Geoff 7:42
And it requires, it assumes that there is a right answer, right? Oftentimes, there is not.

Alyssa Patmos 7:50
There is not! We want there to be right and wrong. We want it to be this easy. Yes or no. And that’s not how it works. From my experience. Yeah. And so going back to what to to this question of like, okay, well, if that questions piping up, we got to give it a voice. Allow yourself to be like, Okay, I’m seeing myself answering this question. And then I think it’s an opportunity to whenever it should comes up. I mean, like, “shoulds” are banned in our house, for the most part, you don’t use that word

Geoff 8:27
When I use it by accident [crosstalk], you let me know.

Alyssa Patmos 8:30
Yeah, and so I think it’s an opportunity to then ask a better question. And I think that’s a really compassionate things to do in those moments for ourselves and for our partner. And so a better question might be, is this relationship meeting my needs? And before that question, an even better question is likely, what are my needs of this relationship right now, because if those aren’t being communicated, issues are going to come up. I firmly believe that communication goes more smoothly when we’re congruent when our actions and the things that we’re saying are in are congruent when they’re in alignment, which is really to say when they match that is a much more peaceful transfer of energy than when they’re not. If I’m sitting here and I am telling you, I love you, but I’m secretly questioning that my behaviors are going to to be influenced by that. And I’m gonna pick up you’re gonna pick on that!

Geoff 9:40
The longer we’re partnered,

Alyssa Patmos 9:41

Geoff 9:41
The more I,

Alyssa Patmos 9:42

Geoff 9:42
I can notice a muscle movement or something, some completely subconscious,

Alyssa Patmos 9:48
Right. And so and so being able to be in congruence, to be congruent with ourselves, allows us to have better communication with with a partner, unfortunately, a lot of times we lie to ourselves and like that’s the reality of being human. Would you agree? Absolutely. We lie to ourselves to protect ourselves.

Geoff 10:12
Yeah. Or we’re not even aware we’re lying. Right ourselves, because we’re doing it out of protection. It feels right. Yeah.

Alyssa Patmos 10:17
And so really, if that question ever pipes up, one, I think it’s a fairly normal question. And two, I think, then, okay, the first question that we come up with is not always the best one. And it’s not always the one that we should focus our attention on, there’s so much power in our ability to choose where to put our attention. And so if that comes up, there’s an opportunity to choose to put the attention elsewhere. And Albert Einstein has a quote that I’m totally going to butcher right now. But the gist of it is that if he had an hour to solve a problem, he would spend the first 55 minutes looking for the right question. And it’s because the right question, or or their, the question you’re asking can help unlock a better answer. And so in this case, I think, two questions that could really help and that could be good shifts are, what are my needs? What what are my needs? And and then is this relationship meeting my needs? Because that opens up the potential for an actual dialogue? If we decide, okay, here are my needs in this relationship and what’s not being met, then that’s something I can go to you, for example, and say, like, hey, this isn’t being met right now. Or I need this like, Are you willing? Are you willing to help me meet this need? Yeah, exactly. And you could say no.

Geoff 11:52
And it starts a discussion, there’s pieces of that, I might say, like, that’s a need, you need to meet for yourself. So you got to work on this a little bit yourself. Or there’s parts of that, that I can meet. Yes, I do want to meet that. Or maybe like, listen, I can’t do that.

Alyssa Patmos 12:06
Right. And then and then I can have a choice of like, okay, can I meet this need need myself? Or can I get this need met by a friend, right? Or do I need you to eat it. And if I need you to meet it, then that leads to further conversation and negotiation. And I think these are the steps that are so easy to miss, just in the hustle and bustle of life and, and in the human tendency that things just run under the surface without us always being aware of them.

Geoff 12:39
And that leads to the work that makes relationships work, as opposed like if you started like, should it just, shouldn’t be this hard. No, it shouldn’t. And maybe you’re getting validation from your friends who say, Oh, no, it shouldn’t be that hard. It’s kind of an easy, lazy way to say like, Okay, this is this relationship has run its course or this person is not right for me. Whereas the other questions lead you to getting into like, Hey, what are my needs? Can How do I get them met with you, with your help by myself? And that, that can take you lots of different directions. And it may end up that like, hey, we aren’t right for each other. But but you’re going through a process there. That isn’t the lazy process of just saying like, this shouldn’t be so hard. Like that’s, we’re drawn to that as humans, like, it’s an easy solution. Like, it just shouldn’t be this hard. I gotta go find someone better.

Alyssa Patmos 13:29
Yeah, but should… what? And I think that’s also people chase the perfect relationship a lot of times, but it’s like, what is that? Like? Truly, there’s, there’s no answer. For what that is, it’s not going to feel perfect all the time. And then why, like, it’s-

Geoff 13:48
I think there’s a perfect answer to that. And that is, it comes back to your needs, like, what am I? What are my goals in a relationship? What are my needs that I need to have met in a relationship? That’s what a good relationship looks like it? And that’s not a definition of no conflict easy all the time. Right? Yeah. So getting clear on what do I need? What? And what do I give to myself? What do I get out of the relationship? Yeah. And, you know, knowing that, that’s what you can be striving for. So you can have a definition of a good relationship that you want to be in, and one that’s satisfying and nurturing and a positive understand, right? That’s still not perfect. No, it’s never good. Exactly. And by definition, it’s not perfect and the relationship won’t be perfect. And it won’t always be easy.

Alyssa Patmos 14:37
Yeah. And so I think sometimes we get, we get stuck, because we want someone to be the perfect partner for us. And so it becomes really easy to blame the other person when something isn’t going right. It’s just like, oh my gosh, if they will would only do this if they would only put the damn toothpaste cap on the toothpaste, everything would be fine. And it’d become an as little things can start to creep up. And and really, it has nothing to do with the toothpaste most of the time, it’s something something else underneath there and and then it becomes, we can fantasize and fall into this trap of of, oh my god, if someone else was doing that, then like, it would be fine. And it would be okay. And it’s so easy to put the answer outside of ourselves. And, and there’s an equal process of having to look at what what am I doing? What am I? What am I needing to learn from this? Or what am I not expressing right now? Or how am I not being honest with myself? I think we, we talk a lot about the balance between when if you know something is a little bit rocky, when do you when is the time to leave? And when is the time to say and to say and be committed? And I think that that can can distort it something you know?

Geoff 16:15
Yeah. And there’s a there’s a magical shift in thinking, which is simple, but not easy. And it’s what you were just talking about, like, If only they would do this, if I can just get them to do this. If they would only see that when they say that it triggers me this one, then the shift of like, I need them to do something different to what does this teach me about me? What do I need to do? What is this pointing towards for me for healing, or some something I’ve got to resolve. And that’s, I believe, that’s the purpose of relationships is like helps us bring up our shit, bring it to the surface and heal it and bring it presses for completion and it comes out in relationship. So but but that’s really hard. And when you’re in the middle of it and someone’s hurt you to shift the focus from you need to do this different to what does this say for me? What need do I have that’s not being met? What healing do I have to do? And it’s not to say that we can’t ask things of our partners in there, they can’t improve. But that that shift is fundamental shift from like, yeah, they’re not right, for me, they’re not doing what I need them to do to what do I need to learn from this?

Alyssa Patmos 17:25
Right? Or what do I need to ask for? Because I think a lot of times we get scared to ask for what we want. And that’s not the same across the board, like some people are really freaking great at articulating their needs. But I think sometimes our needs hide from us if we’re not being conscious about like checking, checking in with it. And so I think it’s always good, like, what, what am I needing? And checking in with that, and then being able to, to have a conversation around? Are you capable of meeting this with me? Or do I need to get this met elsewhere? And then what does that mean? That’s, that’s a very healthy process that I think gets skipped over a lot.

Geoff 18:03
And most of us are coming from a place where we, we can’t get in touch with our needs, or we don’t feel entitled to them, getting to the point where we say I’m a human I have needs and they’re okay, whatever they are. Now, you may not be able to meet them, you may not agree with them, but that doesn’t invalidate them. And I and I need to be in touch with them, I need to own them. And I need to be able to express them. And I need to be able to pursue getting the met that that’s the human condition.

Alyssa Patmos 18:32
And then that is your birthright as a human. And yet, so many of us to to clean to love. Or to clean to safety and security, we abnegate we add is not the word that I’m thinking of. Okay, we advocate ourselves and, and give up our birthright to have wants and needs and I would add emotions to their to because you’re entitled to whatever emotion and whatever feeling comes up. And we have to practice being able to accept that of ourselves and other people. What I find though, is over and over again, when we get to the next layer of accepting that we have means of accepting that I have needs and that I have emotions, and that that is my birthright and I’m entitled to my desires and preferences, the more I’m able to allow that from you, as well without it feeling like a threat. Mm hmm. And in the whole thing about relationships is that it’s it’s translating our inner worlds to someone else. And we have completely different ways of constructing our inner worlds. For example, like I could say, I could say the word “bulldoze” and if I carelessly just without thinking about it, it was like “you’re bulldozing me right now”. I can think like, I have no association to that word in my past. It’s, it’s just a word, and I’m using it to get a point across. For him. That word hold so much weight. And, and to the point where it’s not okay to use because. And go ahead.

Geoff 20:28
Well, in the moment and the first time you did it like yeah, like, and this brings up a point like what do we do when that happens when when one of us triggers the other? Maybe it wasn’t okay to use and but my goal, this is back to like, I need to do the work to release the emotion around that word to make it safer to use so that I don’t get so triggered. And it doesn’t carry so much weight with me.

Alyssa Patmos 20:53
Yes! Yeah, like doing the work to release the emotional weight of the word is great. And back to the original point of like, we have very different understandings of that word to begin with. For you, it holds a ton of weight based on past experiences. For me, I’m like, it’s just a word. And so the process of being in a relationship is translating our inner world to the other person. And then doing the same thing back. And there’s the Abyss in between, and communication skills help us build a bridge. But it’s messy, very messy process at times. And so acknowledging that and having the space for it to be messy, sometimes I think opens up so much freedom in and gives us a better mindset for, for when things come up. And when things are tougher. If we have if we know that sometimes it’s going to be messy, if we have less resistance to the times when it happens.

Geoff 21:54
Yes. And the growth, and the healing is in the mess. Yes. And so we we kind of know this is like yeah, of course, like, it’s that’s where we grow when it’s hard. But we also have this part of us as human part of us. It’s like, I don’t want that. So I’m gonna avoid that at all costs. And I want this mythical relationship where it’s not messy, and it’s not difficult. And there’s no conflict. Or we want to keep that to an absolute minimum. But that’s really not where the benefits of the relationship lie.

Alyssa Patmos 22:24
Right? Well, and yes, like, and we get this mythical dream world of like, oh, maybe there’s a place where I don’t have to deal with these things. But what we’re running from in that situation is from ourselves, like most of the time, because a relationship is usually pressing on something that like we need to address. So if you were all of a sudden, like, like bulldoze isn’t that strong of word for you. But if it was such a strong word that you’re like, I have to run from this. It’s like, How dare you say that to me? I have to run from this. There’s someone else out there who would never say that to me, like who are you to do that? Then it becomes Okay, I’m going to run to the next person. And, and we’ll see, and then something else will come up. Like we we repeat patterns until we learn the lesson many times.

Geoff 23:15
They press for completion. And we-

Alyssa Patmos 23:16

Geoff 23:17
I thought for a long time, like just finding the right person or that you get… yeah, you can kind of like, find someone that doesn’t trigger me and is nicer to me, and all of those things. And the reality I’ve come to realize, like, no, these things are gonna press for completion, they’re gonna come up until they’re dealt with. And we’re, we’re battling like, unfortunately, or fortunately, like, nature has a way of bringing people together. Yeah. And the hormones that come from the honeymoon period and new relationships, like there, there are periods of relationship, that it does seem super easy, and there’s no issues and there’s no conflict. And, you know, I’ve found myself taking pride and being in a relationship for a year we’ve never fought. Like, like, the way that I view that now is like, that’s insane, like, fight and fight early and figure it out and get going on your on your journey towards-

Alyssa Patmos 24:12
But fight well!

Geoff 24:14
Yes, but But we do go through these periods where things seem so perfect and so easy. And then we’re able to like call on that and say like, it shouldn’t be this hard. I remember when it was easy. And the reality is, that’s a short term.

Alyssa Patmos 24:30
Well, the reality of the honeymoon period for a lot of people is exactly how we started the show, where how can I put on the absolute best version of myself so that I can attract the person that I want. And when we do that, and when we don’t show the full version, then like past the honeymoon period, those things start to come up. And and we can’t maintain that facade that we had at the beginning for the server of the relationship, that’s a complete loss of our of our soul. And so things will come up that that get triggered. And and that’s when the conflict comes out. And so I mean, like we you and I tried to tackle those things like very much from the beginning around, where’s the conflict? And how are we going to handle it? And and truly what comes up for me from you. I mean, so many people ask the most casual questions on first dates that don’t give you any information about who the other person is, and how they handle life. And that’s what you really need to know. Like, you don’t need to know their favorite coffee, it’s might be fun to know, you can surprise them with it. But that’s not the question that’s going to help you get to the person who you’re deciding if you want to commit to number nine. And that comes back to asking better questions.

Geoff 25:55
Mmhmm [affirmative]. And trying not to fool ourselves like we, in some ways, we date in a way that we’re consciously trying to fool ourselves, or maybe it’s subconscious, but it’s like, I only want to see the best things in you. And I only want to show the best things in me. And we’re willing to put off, like having the tough conversations or getting into fights or conflict or, you know, asking really deep questions about how do you think about things? How do you deal How do you fight? And I used to do that, and put on the rose colored glasses and try to keep them on as long as possible. And but like with us, like I shifted that as I you know, like, I want to see the shit. I want to see it soon. Because if it’s not if it’s not a fifth, it’s not compatible. I want to know now, right? Or yesterday now? Move on not three months, six months, nine months, or God forbid, yeah, you’re because you get to a point where you’re, you’re pot committed. And then you start to realize, like, oh, shit, we view this very differently, or we don’t fight in the same way. And or I don’t respect this person’s views on something. And then we’re stuck.

Alyssa Patmos 27:03
And well, we’re we yeah, we we feel ourselves as stuck. And it gets harder to make that decision around. What we’re going to do, because there’s more invested in it. And so knowing these things from the beginning, and it comes back to the type of questions that you ask, the type of questions that we ask ourselves, to get information about what we really need and what we really want and then questions, we asked the other person to see if that’s in alignment? And if and if that works? You, I feel like you, have some of these off the top of your head.

Geoff 27:38
What kind of questions?

Alyssa Patmos 27:39
Yeah, like, what’s a better question than just like, “Oh, my gosh, what’s your favorite movie?” on date?

Geoff 27:49
Well, I think giving opportunities like being vulnerable, like getting the vulnerability, like because that’s when the good shit comes out. Because people can guard against it. People can guard- so for me, it’s like getting really vulnerable and showing shitty sides of me. Like showing either, like, parts of me that would normally be hidden, because that gets the other person to like, open up as well. And then I don’t know, I don’t know that I have a list of questions. But I think getting to vulnerable places where someone, and for me that’s like a test like, can you get vulnerable? Can you share something about yourself that doesn’t look perfectly rosy? Are you mature enough to be able to own that you have problems? What are, what are, you know? What did you do wrong in your last relationship? Why did it end?

Alyssa Patmos 28:36
Oh, that’s a good question. Yeah. Yeah. Like, and asking things that you’re willing to share too. So I like that one around like, what, what did you do that led to the end of your last relationship? Something like that? Or? Or what role did you play in how your last relationship played out? Or? What? When conflict comes up? What What’s your natural tendency? Do you hide? Do you want to run away? Do you? Do you need to verbally process before you go to bed? Like someone? That would be me. Um, and so these are the types of questions that are good to cultivate. And and I think these are the same types of questions that, you know, we end up revisiting in in relationships, too. And I think, I think back to that question around like, should it be this hard? I just don’t think that’s most helpful question, especially since it has the shed in it, but I think it’s, it’s relative to what and what are what are you looking for and what do you need to have different right now? And from that place, it gives you more of an opportunity to see past ability that should leaves no room for possibility? Because it’s a it’s trying to put a yes or no on a situation that is absolutely not just yes or no. Would you agree?

Geoff 30:11
Yeah. Yeah, I agree. And I think these other questions kind of lead you down a path of figuring out, is this something I want to stay in? Or is it not? And, but with clarity around like, Hey, I bet needs they’re valid. Yeah, I need to have a met. And can I do that in this relationship? Or can I not?

Alyssa Patmos 30:29
Yeah. And I want to just acknowledge, because I think there is, oftentimes, I have felt this way in the past there, there are many people who find themselves straddling the fence in some area of their life, if it’s not your relationship with an intimate partner, maybe it’s straddling the fence around your job. And if you want to be in a shop, or if you don’t want to be in this job, and it can go, it can happen in many areas of life. And so that can be a very painful place to be. And so if you’re there, you’re not alone, many people go there. And it’s painful, and it’s an opportunity to look at, okay, why, why am I feeling like I’m unable to commit fully to one side of the fence or the other right now? And that, I think, is a question that starts to open things up more and and I would even possibly refine that to what do I feel like is preventing me from committing fully to one side of the fence, or the other right now. And when we can go in and actually reflect, it helps us get to a clarity of mind, that helps make us make helps us make more wise decisions. When we can be in a place where we have clarity on our own, we stop lobbing over as many expectations to someone else, and can can address them for for ourselves or or see the possibility of the next course of action.

Geoff 32:19
That’s where other people, having people that can counsel us to coach us or just listen to us is very helpful, because sometimes we get stuck in that, right in that, like, I don’t have clarity, why I can’t make a decision. And sometimes people, other people can ask us three questions to like, help us get there if we can’t get there ourselves.

Alyssa Patmos 32:41
And I will say that, you know, I do firmly believe that we end up in similar situations when we don’t learn a lesson that that our souls want us to learn. Sounds a little woowoo. But it’s what I believe. So and so then this is how we end up repeating relationship patterns. This is how we end up feeling like we’ve chosen someone different. And yet, the same freaking things are happening. And until we have a shift, or until we get honest with ourselves, or until we make whatever the lesson is conscious, then that pattern repeats itself. And so one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our partners, whether it’s a future partner that you want to be with, or a partner with you that you’re with now, is the gift of our own self awareness. Yes. And they have to-

Geoff 33:39
Listen, it’s, a lot of it’s right out there for us to see, but we don’t listen, we don’t. And oftentimes, it takes our friends, like a friend can say like, she’s doing it again, she picked the same guy again, same pattern, and we don’t see it. So that curiosity, right, that’s self curiosity, what am I doing and why? What patterns do I have? And what’s pressing for completion?

Alyssa Patmos 34:04
Yeah, why? What is been a theme and like, I wonder why. And getting curious about it, it doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. Certain things you know, you don’t see for longer periods after, but making it a habitual part of life, to get curious about yourself and allow yourself to grow because when you can accept that you grow and change, it becomes much easier to accept that a partner grows and changes and we don’t keep them stuck in having to be the exact same version of themselves for 30 years. That’s not fun. You know, it’s like sometimes our families do this to us, we, we go to school, or we move out of the house, and we start living life on our own we become more independent. And then a few years later you find yourself in your home for the holidays or your home disparate visit. And all of a sudden, like the stories that are coming out and the way that your family is talking about you, feels like five versions of you from before. Because they don’t, they haven’t seen the changes, they, they’re not in the daily life, like right next door, like seeing everything that’s evolving. And that can be a really hard place to be in, that’s uncomfortable. We don’t like it when it happens, because it’s not reflective of who we are. And so getting to the place where we can accept that we grow, and we evolve, and we change and accepting that it allows us to see that and allow that in other people more as well. And that’s such a such a gift. Do you agree with this?

Geoff 35:49
I do agree with this. I’m nodding for those who can watch the video. Nodding profusely.

Alyssa Patmos 35:57
And I think that is one of the things that we talked about early on is like, and we’re feeling out and assessing, and it’s like, do do I have to be the same person? For years and years? And years? Like, do I get to grow? And are you open to me growing and then constantly, that that’s my checking in with your needs is so important, because if your needs are changing, if your needs are changing in a relationship that is so natural, would you agree?

Geoff 36:29
Yes. And but but yet, I think there’s almost an unwritten rule in most relationships, like you’re not allowed to change. So we have a good contract, we I signed up for this, and it better be this right? Forever, right forever. And that’s not not that realistic and

Alyssa Patmos 36:45
Right. So that so that. So it’s completely normal, if your needs are changing. And it doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it might mean that like, Okay, this cycle is complete. And and I constantly want to normalize, if a relationship cycle is complete, it doesn’t mean it’s a failure, doesn’t it doesn’t have to mean it’s a failure, it can mean that the cycle is complete, and what new challenge needs to come up. However, it does not always have to mean that the relationship is ending, or that the cycle is complete. It’s an opportunity, though, to get vulnerable, and to experience a deeper connection in share that part of yourself with the other person and be willing to say, Hey, I feel myself changing in these ways. And so my needs are somewhat changing. And, and going around saying again, like, can we talk about this? Like, here’s what I’m feeling like I need now, again, are you willing to help me meet this need? And if yes, great, and if not, okay, can we talk about a different way that I can get this need met. And when we do that, a relationships can have so much freedom for us to be ourselves and not have to feel like we’re walking on eggshells or hiding ourselves or not living true to ourselves. So those are painful states to be in.

Geoff 38:17
Absolutely. And on the flip side of that, maintaining that curiosity.

Alyssa Patmos 38:21
Ooh, I love that you got this up! Keep going. Yes.

Geoff 38:25
We, especially in long term relationships, we get to a point where we think we know everything about our partner. And there’s some ease in that, like, oh, I don’t have to think about I know, I know, she likes this. And I can do this. And I can’t do that. But that doesn’t allow for what we just talked about the fact that people change. And so maintaining some level of curiosity and learning and unpeeling layers of the onion, and being interested in Ooh, you’re changing, something’s changing. You’re changing your opinion on this. Tell me more about that. What does that mean?

Alyssa Patmos 38:53
Curiosity, I think might be my favorite word, I think, you know, I’m so glad you brought it up. And I think one of the most powerful decisions you can make whether you’re in a relationship, whether you’re looking for a relationship, or whether you’re freaking rocking the single life and you just enjoy that is a commitment to curiosity and commitment to curiosity of yourself and of people you’re in relationship with, it’s such a gift and it’s opens up so much more connection than assumption ever can. And so I love that you said that because when we commit to curiosity in those moments, it’s we get to understand the other person more we get to see them in a new way that we might not have understood before and and how connection inducing is that like getting to understand the other person, more more of who they actually are, can be it can be fun, and and it can be scary at times, but it’s that much Making a decision to curiosity now and baking it into how you relationship in general, whether that’s at work or at home?

Geoff 40:09
Yeah. If that was a gift, like, it’s almost Christmas, we’re giving gifts if I could give the gift of curiosity, like that’s the gift I would give, because not only the impact on relationship, but just with yourself curiosity about yourself, why do I think the way I think, why do I do the things? Why do I react the way I do? Why do I have? Why does that trigger? Why does that word, set me off? If you’re curious about it, you’re open to learning about it. And that is the path to like, then working on it healing, and, and evolving.

Alyssa Patmos 40:42
Yeah, that’s the gift that keeps on giving. And if you can make the choice to give it every day, and someone gets to experience that gift, and it’s so so so, so powerful. I love it. So which again, brings me back to asking the better questions. And so if you find yourself plagued with a should find a different question. And, and if you find yourself in mystical thinking and wanting to be outside the situation, give yourself the gift of curiosity, and rather than placing this judgment of like, should it be like this? Should it not be like this? Is this right? Is this wrong? Get more curious. I, I have personally experienced how transformative that can be over and over and over again. And so it’s it’s one of the recommendations that like I stand completely behind all the time, and would sing until the cows come home. I agree. And so if you have things like this, that are popping up these moments where it doesn’t necessarily feel safe, to be yourself in front of the closed door, it’s another opportunity to get curious. And I would challenge you to to look for at least one person where you feel safe enough to be vulnerable and express some of those things because when we lock it behind closed doors, we can spiral in our heads in in an productive, unhelpful way. And so if you, if you find yourself there, one, I hope this episode was helpful, you’re not alone. And we all have some version of that that comes up. And two, if you want a community of like minded people, where you can pose those questions and not be judged, then come join us over at AlyssaPatmos.com/community and we would be more than happy to invite you in to the world over there. It’s completely free and we can continue the conversation. Geoff, thanks for joining me on our couch.

Geoff 43:08
Thank you.

Alyssa Patmos 43:11
And thank you for tuning in. As always, there will be another episode next week and I so appreciate you listening.

You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me, your host, Alyssa Patmos. If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel. It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. To check it out, head on over to Alyssapatmos.com/thepeel. Thank you so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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