“The Dual Dynamic” makes or breaks your relationship.
And if you don’t understand it, your relationship is doomed (even if you don’t break up, and stay together in the long run.)
Because even if you stay together, there’s no chemistry, connection, or passion, leading to…
Less sex, less intimacy, more fights, and ultimately divorce.
Now, if the above scares you, then read on.
By listening to this episode, you’ll discover:
- How to build the initial stages of chemistry
- How bad guys often seem to the win the hearts of good girls
- Why most marriages are plagued with “bland sex”
- And what you can do to reignite the spark in your marriage
Show highlights include:
- How to understand the difference between a healthy and a toxic relationship (3:16)
- So, why do good girls like bad guys? There’s two main reasons, and we discuss them at (10:26) and (23:05)
- How your parent’s strict discipline forces your wife to view you as a “boring” and “harmless” nice guy (and these are NOT good traits to have if you want passionate sex with your wife) (10:44)
- Why nice guys can be locked in the friend-zone forever — even if she finds him a total 10/10 (20:06)
- How men — by default — “reverse” the attractive qualities of their girlfriend (the same qualities that made her attractive in the first place) (25:05)
- Finally! We know why women try to “fix” their crazy boyfriend (even if he’s a repeat offender, and has been to jail multiple times) (27:40)
Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.
For more about David Tian, go here: https://www.davidtianphd.com/about/
Emotional Mastery is David Tian’s step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:
Listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platform:
Note: Scroll Below for Transcription
Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. In this episode, I’ll be explaining the dual dynamic that determines whether there’s chemistry in a long-term relationship or between two dating partners.
If you’re not aware of these dynamics, and if you don’t learn how to handle them and grow out of them, then your relationship is doomed, no matter what. Even if the two of you stay together in the long run, I don’t consider just staying together a successful marriage, because if you just stay together, but there’s no chemistry, there’s no connection, there’s no passion in the relationship anymore, I don’t consider that to be successful. [00:55.4]
This episode is building off the last episode, which was on sexual chemistry in a long-term relationship, and this is in response to a question from a listener. This is from Gurshan Singh, and I’ll read out the whole question. I answered the first half of it in the last episode, so this episode, we’ll be diving into the second half of the question.
Okay, so Gurshan writes, “Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of women on the internet who are in committed marriages and relationships, but they’re not attracted to their husbands. They say they have emotional intimacy, but no sexual intimacy. It seems to me like sexual attraction cannot be created, even if there is emotional intimacy.” I addressed that question in the last episode.
Now we move on to the second half of the question for this episode. “Another thing that I noticed is that women who have been in toxic relationships say that they have had the best sex of their lives, and when they get into ‘healthy relationships’—that should be in scare quotes—“the sex is nothing compared to the toxic guy. It looks like good guys just can’t have a woman desire them. Please give your thoughts, sir.” [02:03.0]
This was originally posted over a week ago. I’ve asked for more details from Gurshan. Those details have not been forthcoming, so I don’t actually know the context or the background for how he defines these labels of toxic relationship versus healthy relationship, what exactly is toxic or healthy here. I would not consider a healthy relationship, one where the sex is not fulfilling or good, so already, he’s got an oxymoron there when he says, “when they get into healthy relationships, the sex is nothing compared to the toxic guy.”
In the last episode about sexual attraction, sexual intimacy, and emotional intimacy, I covered exactly why that would be the case, and if you think of yourself as a good guy, but your sex in your relationship is going stale, you definitely want to revisit the last episode, because I explained exactly what’s going on there and how to fix that. And I have devoted two entire modules in my course, Rock Solid Relationships, to sex psychology, sex technique, and sexual energy. [03:03.0]
Based off the assumptions of good guy versus bad guy that are required to make this question make any sense, and based off my own experience working with nice guys for over a decade and formerly being one, I think what Gurshan probably means by healthy relationship is one that’s stable and secure with no drama, and a toxic relationship is one where there’s lots of arguing and fighting, and maybe some cheating, infidelity, that sort of thing.
That’s typically how immature people think of the difference between a healthy and a toxic relationship, and just as an aside, all psychotherapy treats arguments as actually very good in a healthy relationship, if they lead to resolution of some kind, whether it’s repair. Simply not arguing is not a sign of a healthy relationship. [03:56.2]
Maybe in the next episode, I can dive deeper into why that’s the case, but because Gurshan hasn’t elaborated even after a week, I’ve asked him to do so—Gurshan, if you’re listening, it’s not too late to give me more details, I’ve asked for more, details in background, and so on, but I’m just going off what I can based off this one paragraph—but I think you’re getting to an important point that, I think, a lot of nice guys who think of themselves as good guys get bitter and resentful when they see that the girls that they like, and I’m going to say the word “girls” because it’s all really immature stuff, girls that they like go for the bad boys. These nice guys are unable to access some of those attractive bad-boy traits that I discussed in the last episode, like being adventurous or spontaneous or a risk taker, or having fun and being in the moment and being present, and being comfortable with their own sexuality. [04:51.7]
Instead, they bought into this knee-jerk kind of moral conservativism where sex is bad, obedience to authority is good, and what Mommy and Daddy and teachers and society say is good is, therefore, good, and so they need to be responsible and buttoned down and always on time, and, basically, cannot be spontaneous, adventurous, fun-loving, happy go lucky, in the moment, and they need a woman to pull them out of that and that’s the beginning of the dual dynamic that I’m going to be spilling out here.
But just first, before I dive into the dual dynamic, I want to point out again the moralistic judgementalism against the so-called bad boy, and I’ve made other episodes on how there are no bad parts, taking that right from the title of Richard Schwartz’s awesome book, No Bad Parts, which I highly recommend to everyone. You nice guys are judging these bad boys as bad because they are what you are not. [05:49.5]
Now, of course, there are other bad boy traits that are at the extreme, like unable to handle their own emotions, a kind of machoism. It’s typical toxic masculinity where they take affront to their honor and “How dare you speak to me like that” kind of thing, which could lead to physical abuse and verbal abuse, and that’s largely coming out of a fear that the man has and his unaddressed core insecurities—just like the nice guy has got the same dynamic of core insecurities that are driving him into fear that he won’t be enough or that he won’t be loved, and that causes him to act in a way that is pleasing or tries to curry favor with the other person, trying to get their approval, and so they kiss ass. Basically, they try to please. That’s their strategy.
The bad boy has taken a rebel strategy, but they’re both after the same thing. Both the bad boy and the so-called good guy or nice guy, both are after the same thing, which is to be loved and to be enough for love. They’re just going after them in very different ways.
Now, in my earlier dating coaching practice, I didn’t meet many guys who, when they were children, took the rebel strategy. There are, generally, three strategies when it came to when you were a child and trying to get the attention, approval, love of your caregivers, your primary caregivers. [07:11.1]
The three main strategies were a pleaser, and a subset of a pleaser was the achiever, which was the main strategy that I landed on. It’s not always the case that achievers are pleased with, but often it is. The pleaser is one main strategy. Another main strategy is the recluse. The recluse, the one who withdraws, a loner. Okay, then the third strategy is to be a rebel, and sometimes an achiever can be a rebel, where it’s sort of like a “fuck you” energy as he achieves.
Generally speaking, I didn’t see that many clients or students in my dating coaching practice who were rebels, because part of the rebel energy is exciting and sexy, and daring and taboo, and that’s already going to be built into it and sexually attractive naturally. [07:59.8]
Now, there are self-destructive tendencies that go along with the more extremes of that, and the longer you stay in just that dynamic of the rebel, the more it just devolves into a kind of chaos and self-destruction. But it began with a way to get or to protect you from not being able to get the attention or the approval, or the love or the connection that we so desperately craved when we were younger from our caregivers.
So, a little bit more empathy for the so-called bad boys. I know this is going to be impossible and probably will trigger a lot of these nice guys who might be listening. They call them Chads and they’re right on their way to incel land if they’re doing that, but what I’ve dedicated other episodes to is to explain that there are no bad parts, not only in yourself, but in other people, and what you might see on the surface and probably are judging is the evil there. If those parts have been in this very destructive mode for a very long time, practically speaking, you probably do want to segregate them or take them out of the general population for other people’s protection and maybe for their own protection. [09:06.4]
But the assumption is they weren’t born that way. They’re not possessed by some eternally-evil demon, but that they got to be that way through a trajectory, and they might have been genetically inclined towards addiction or aggression or something like that, but that when they were born, there were like all little babies who were craving for that connection, intimacy, love, attention, care, compassion, understanding, and to be seen and heard.
Okay, so not only is this interesting from an intellectual perspective or from psychoanalytic perspective, but it’s also directly practical and relevant for nice guys and good guys, because the first half of the dual dynamic is dual, so there are two dynamics here. [09:50.2]
The first dynamic is that we are unconsciously attracted to the parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned and one of the reasons why bad boys are so sexually attractive to what you guys think—I’m speaking to the nice guy. I’m speaking to what I think Gurshan might be like, though I would love to get more background on you, Gurshan, and the context here, but I’m just going to go off what I know of nice guys—and you’d only be feeling this and wondering this about a woman, girls that you think are good girls, and you don’t quite understand why good girls would be so sexually attracted to these bad boys.
Here’s the first dynamic. We will have sexual chemistry with people who present parts of themselves that resemble our own parts that we, long ago, disowned or exiled, or tried to banish or cut away, or kill off. For so many responsible, mature people, and kids growing up, they had to exile or ignore, or banish those parts of themselves that were fun-loving, that were spontaneous, that would do crazy, weird, not-normal things, in order to avoid getting a scolding from Mom or Dad or the teacher, or in order to fit in, and now we’re growing up, but we missed those parts of ourselves. [11:15.4]
But this is all happening unconsciously. We can’t admit it to ourselves, and in fact, we disowned them, for most nice guys, so long ago that you don’t even think that you ever were that way—and I did this episode of this podcast where I read out the Dog Story that illustrates how that could have happened, so I recommend you dig into that Dog Story as well, Gurshan.
This also explains why you’ve got the trope of opposites attract or the uptown girl going for the downtown boy, because those are the parts of ourselves that we’ve repressed, but that we’re longing to reconnect with, so when we see them in someone else, if we can connect with them, they’ll be able to draw out those parts. It’s like the promise of reunion for our own parts. [12:03.3]
Now, for me, my background growing up was a conservative-evangelical, also a conservative-Confucian Chinese boy growing up in an immigrant society where we didn’t quite fit in fully for most of my 20 years in Canada and this is a situation where my parents looked down on, actively, me dating any non-Chinese girls, and if any of you are the sons of Asian-immigrant families, you know exactly what I mean, I think, if you’re a first- or second-generation immigrant.
As well, part of that is the typical achievers route of there are just a few professions that were approved, doctor, lawyer, engineer, that sort of thing, and anything outside that it was frowned upon. My curfew all the way growing up, all the way until I graduated high school was 6:00 p.m. I’d be home by 6:00 p.m.
If I want to stay out later than that, catch a movie with my friends when I was 17, I’d have to fill out a whole form that my parents created with emergency contact info and all this and exactly where we will be, where we were going and when, and that had to be submitted 24 hours ahead, and I was the most controlled, most sheltered kid definitely in my friends group, growing up in suburban Toronto. [13:17.4]
I was so sheltered, in fact, that I wasn’t even allowed to ride the subway until I was 16, and because I was so sheltered by that, my first time riding the subway alone, I was quite nervous about missing my stop, my station, and I was going to meet a friend who was also Asian-Canadian, but he wasn’t quite as so strictly monitored. I kept getting out at intervals in the station and calling on the payphone, because we didn’t have cell phones back then, my friend, to tell him I’m at this station now. He was so annoyed by this. He’s like, Dude, you do not need to do this, just get there. [13:49.5]
But I also remember not being allowed to bicycle across, it was three lanes each way, this major street near our house to get to the next neighborhood over, and this was the sixth or seventh grade. Even though I knew the green light meant that I could walk and there was plenty of time to get across, even if I were to walk by bike, I was just too frightened because I was conditioned with this fear of not breaking the rules and the rule that was set was to not cross that road, even though my friends always did this and they basically just got frustrated with me, lost their patience, waiting for me on the other side, and then they just biked back and then didn’t even talk to me and just took off.
Now, I’ve got so many more stories to drop for you to show how sheltered and how restrictive my upbringing was and how good boy in that sense, obedient boy—in Chinese we call it a guāi child, obedient—that I grew up with, such that it makes complete sense why when I finally was able to, in my 30s with the pickup skills and the focus on just having fun and hedonism, why I would be naturally attracted to women who were more on the wild side who are have unfettered, who had social freedom, who were in the moment. [15:04.2]
I was not turned on by or didn’t have sexual chemistry with women who were the straight-laced, responsible, intellectual types, because I already had those parts in lockdown. Those are my dominant parts and I didn’t need to have that energy. I wasn’t looking to reconnect with that energy. I’ve had many conversations with other dating coaches, pickup artists, who were given this choice of—it’s almost like staring them in the face—go with the safe, secure girl, where they know there will be very little drama, or go with the wild, hot one, and if they go with their feelings, they go with a hot one and then they get the drama.
Now, hot, I shouldn’t have used that word because that makes it sound like she wasn’t physically attractive. For those who have had more abundance of dating experiences, you might have gotten to the point where you have started dating a woman or going on dates with a woman who is physically or sexually attractive, but with whom you just don’t have chemistry. You might not even be able to get it up with her and it’s just mind-boggling to you because you’re thinking to yourself, This person is sexually attractive. Why isn’t this happening? And she might be offended and often is, because she thinks it’s some kind of judgment on her that you don’t think she’s hot enough. [16:16.8]
The thing is, you probably have a really good friendship. You’d make good friends. She’s like a buddy and you’re just missing the sexual chemistry there because you have a stable, relatively stable relationship like friendship. You guys are just friends, and this is part of what’s happening here in the unconscious. This is the first dynamic that you need to know about that we all have chemistry with those who resemble the parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned or exiled, or banished or repressed. Those all basically mean the same thing. They’re all getting at the same thing. [16:50.2]
No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It’s why they can’t give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It’s why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.
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Many of you can remember the heyday of the PUA world, the pickup-artist world, in the mid-2000s, the late-2000s. There was a TV show that ran for two seasons. I think it was MTV or VH1, and it was Mystery, the PUA, and it was a reality show. I think, I don’t know how many they started with, 15 guys, and they winnowed it down to that one guy who would win. They had this series of challenges and the final challenge was always having to do with strippers. [18:14.4]
No one ever psychoanalyzed this back then, or, at least, I didn’t come across anything, but it just seems so blatantly obvious now why these sheltered nerds would idealize the stripper, because the stripper is the opposite of the nerd who was sheltered and had to stay at home doing his homework and all that, because she’s the wild one. She’s the one who is taking these huge risks, and she’s the seductive one. Her job, literally, is to seduce men out of their money without giving up anything further.
That’s why this very toxic relationship or dynamic between sheltered nice guys who are trying to compensate for their insecurities by adopting narcissistic patterns—I’m writing a whole book on how this came about—would so highly idealize strippers who were toxic, I mean, in their own way, generally speaking. But there is this chemistry between them, because in that sense, the opposites attract because they represent for each other parts of themselves they’ve disowned. [19:12.8]
Now all of the other stuff needs to be there, right? So, if you don’t have baseline physical attractiveness, right, so if you’re obese, let’s say it’s generally better and be more attractive for you if you got fit. If you’ve got a lot of pimples or zits, it would generally be more attractive for you if you got to a dermatologist and got that handled, right? This is just obvious stuff, right? Just take care of your makeover as far as you can take it and there are tons of resources.
I mean, there are multibillion dollar industries around this, including getting a fashion stylist. Many huge department stores, the biggest department stores will have free fashion stylists, because when they give you the recommendations, they’re recommending clothes in the store, and if you’ve never done that, gotten a fashion makeover with a professional, I highly recommend you do that, especially getting your color or schemes and all that worked out for you, and that’s pretty straightforward. [20:04.2]
I’m talking about a much deeper level, why even when two people can find each other physically attractive, almost like admiring a statue or sculpture in a museum, like, Yes, this is physically attractive, yet there isn’t any sexual chemistry. There might be friendship and connection, but there’s no sexual chemistry, where the butterflies in the stomach and the sex is hot and all that. That will require an even deeper, much deeper, unconscious dual dynamic, and the first half of this dynamic, the first dynamic, is the disowned parts. First, there’s the fact that we are attracted to the parts of ourselves that we’ve disowned.
Now, an even more common dynamic and one that I think Gurshan might be falling into—because it’s probably not some uptown girl that you’re dealing with who is falling for some downtown boy kind of bad boy. It might be an executive bad boy, so he’s an uptown bad boy—but more likely, given your assumptions in this question to make it work and the kind of sexual immaturity that it’s displaying, I’m just being frank and I addressed that in the last episode, the disowned-parts dynamic that many nice guys fall under is what I call the “manic fairy dream girl.” [21:11.6]
This is first noticed by film critics in analyzing very popular films that show this dynamic between the sheltered, nerdy nice guy or geeky nice guy and the manic, with they call the “manic pixie dream girl,” and I’ve devoted an entire episode of the Man Up podcast years ago to this dynamic, so I highly recommend that you dig into that. I’ll have to make a note to include a link to that, my notes for the manic fairy dream girl episode.
It’s definitely worth it for you to dive deeper into this, if any of this holds true for you. But very quickly, just for this episode, the manic fairy dream girl to a sheltered nice guy is– Here’s the sheltered nice guy who leads a pretty mundane life on his own. He’s got a stable job. He’s going through the motions. He doesn’t really feel alive, and of course, that would happen if you’ve exiled the spontaneous, fun-loving parts of yourself. [22:06.3]
He runs into a woman who has disowned her parts that he resembles, the sort of responsible, buttoned-down, follow-society, fit-in kind of parts and she has gone the other way. She’s probably got dyed hair and she is spontaneous and out of the ordinary, out of the box, and she gets him out of his shell and he feels alive when he’s with her.
This is, of course, many movies like (500) Days of Summer and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In the movie and the story in real life, she takes him through these fun, adventures and spontaneous times, where she brings him out of his shell and he feels more alive with her than he ever has before. She brings out these parts of him and he finally feels whole. [22:52.5]
But then she begins to feel empty, because she’s just giving, giving, giving, and he’s just taking, and, often, there’s a sort of manic-depressive nature to a manic fairy dream girl because reality starts to set in, and that’s when the second dynamic, the unfinished-business dynamic kicks in. Then that’s where the relationship dissolves and the sheltered nice-guy nerd is left again, as if his life has no meaning. It’s mundane. It’s gray. It has had all of the color sucked out of it, because he actually didn’t do the work that that relationship opened up the gateway and the possibility for, which was a reunion with those parts of himself that he’s disowned.
There’s this great line in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind where Kate Winslet’s character says, “Too many guys think I’m a concept or I complete them or I’m going to ‘make them alive’ . . . but I’m just a fucked up girl who’s looking for my own peace of mind. Don’t assign me yours.” So, if you want to know why these good girls are always going for these bad boys, it’s because there are parts of themselves that they have repressed, denied, disowned, exiled, cut out, banished, and that they’re unconsciously trying to reconnect with, and those bad boys represented these parts. [24:10.4]
Now, that’s not enough to create chemistry, but that is a necessary component for it. Chemistry is sexually, and in the long run, this will then devolve or move into, I should say, the next dynamic of unfinished business. Now, those disowned parts of you are the leftover. They’re the collateral damage for the protector parts that rose up to be sort of managing your day-to-day life.
For the achiever, collateral damage might be the parts of him that are spontaneous and fun-loving, or sexual or sort of innocent play and playfulness. In order to hunker down and do three hours of homework when he was, I don’t know, 10 years old, by five or six or seven, he had already started to excise those parts of himself that needed to have lots of playtime. So, at the beginning, you’ll be attracted to those parts of you that you’ve disowned in the other person, but over time, you will do to the other person’s parts what you’ve done to your own disowned parts, which is to disown them to try to control them, repress them, get rid of them. [25:15.3]
So, here’s a dynamic that’s quite normal between a nerdy, sheltered, nice guy, and the wild girl that he dates, the manic fairy dream girl, or even the stripper type of energy, is that he’s going to try to control her to become what he became, mature, responsible, independent, go get a job and make something of yourself, which is what he did, and he’s, basically, unconsciously pressuring her parts to fit in with his parts, because that’s the dynamic that he knows and that’s exactly what happened.
Then what happens is the unfinished business comes up. The unfinished business is the other side of the equation. The disowned parts are you and what happened for you. The unfinished business is your relation to the caregiver and this is where all that Freudian and all the psychoanalytic stuff really comes into play, and is most obvious in longer-term relationships past the honeymoon period, because in the honeymoon period, you have this disowned-part stuff going on. Then you have a devaluation of those very same disowned parts and then what comes to the fore is trying to get this unfinished business resolved. [26:21.1]
Now, even at the very beginning, there has to be the promise that this person could be somebody that you could work out your unfinished business with. Now, what do I mean by unfinished business? Let’s look at these disowned parts.
When you were playful, as an example, when you were playful and your mother scolded you because you started throwing things around or maybe you were been a big mess and she didn’t like that, and as a result, you started to suppress the more wild play parts of you, and eventually, if she kept doing that, she conditioned. In order for you to get her love and attention and care and all that stuff, in order for you to get her approval, for her to accept you, you had to push down those parts of you that she didn’t approve of. [27:02.8]
Your whole system, both the parts of you that ended up getting exiled, as a result, and the parts of you that had to step up to protect those very parts, to adapt, to get and keep that love, connection, care, attention, approval of those that you wanted most desperately to have love, and in fact, we’re very dependent on when you were a young child, your primary caregivers, all of your parts are hoping to redo this whole dynamic to finish this business with Mom or Dad, or whoever your primary caregivers were.
Here’s an example of how these two dynamics come into play. The sheltered nerd wouldn’t just be attracted to the stripper who is the wild, fun-loving, spontaneous, in-the-moment playful person. There should also be the sort of subtext or this underlying potential or promise that she could be as dramatic and as angry and rageful, and as strict and as controlling as his mother was, as an example, assuming that that was your dynamic, and everyone who is listening to this will have their own unique dynamic coming out of your own background. [28:14.1]
But what’s happening here is you’re going to need to have both to experience the greatest chemistry. If this sheltered nerd met a wild, playful, adventurous, spontaneous stripper, let’s say, but she never shows anger, she never shows impatience, she never shows a trick she tries to control maybe, and instead, she’s just working at charities on her off time and is taking care of shelter animals in her home and she’s utterly patient, so this sort of saint of a stripper, this would fail to create the fullness of the chemistry that would trigger the greatest idealization from the shelter to nerd. [28:52.2]
So, there’s two aspects here and the unfinished-business dynamic really comes up after the honeymoon period in the relationship is over. You’re looking at somewhere around six months to three years. It really starts to come up and it builds in intensity as you get more and more intimate with each other, because what’s happening when you get intimate is that those parts of you that are desperate to get back the love, attention and approval of your primary caregivers from when you were three years old or earlier, or five or whatever, they’re getting more and more desperate over time, and this is where that kind of testing dynamic– this is the only place where that testing dynamic really makes sense.
Along the way, there are some manipulative women who might test you, but the best thing you can do is to not even bother going through these tests with them, not even thinking about it, not just so you can attract them. Why would you attract a woman who is manipulative, unless, of course, you’re going to have chemistry with somebody like that because you are naive, right? [29:48.8]
But here you have sincere tests because you’re testing whether the other person will do to you and your parts what your primary caregivers did to them way long ago when you were three or four, or whatever, because that’s actually what the whole relationship is about, because what they’re trying to do, why it feels so good to finally be in love in this way, is because, finally, these parts of you, these childlike parts that were disowned back then as collateral damage for having to adjust and adapt to get your primary caregivers’ approval, they’re finally accepted and loved and cherished for who they are.
In order to do that, you’ve got to come out and push. You’ve got to really test things, because you can’t believe it because it’s so scary that might be the case, and this unfinished business will sink almost every couple because they will get triggered and back into their childlike parts, and that will trigger all of the other protectors and what IFS will call firefighters that just go into more extreme behaviors.
That will trigger the other person and then they go to their firefighters, and the exiles are completely lost in that they’re again collateral damage and the whole thing, so it feels like a re-wounding, which is why when there’s a breakup or a divorce, often, it feels like you’re being torn apart and your whole life is meaningless, because it is. [31:02.4]
It’s bringing up back when you were a defenseless child, what it was like to have to kill off parts of yourself or to exile, throwing, lock up in the basement or banish parts of yourself, repressed now for decades very likely. They come out in the promise of an intimate relationship where they get to have a do-over with this partner who now is the stand-in for the primary caregivers.
Now it gets even more complicated because, generally speaking, most people have more than one primary caregiver, and so there’s an even more complex dynamic and this is why psychotherapy is something that you need to train in, and it’s a lot more complicated and sophisticated than what we can cover in a simple half-hour podcast episode. But this dual dynamic is there. That’s the basis of the whole thing of all of the sexual chemistry, of the chemistry in an intimate relationship. [31:55.0]
Now, the unfinished business stuff is actually even deeper as you might have picked up and it’s the basis of entire schools of psychotherapy and couples counseling that have tons of empirical evidence behind them, and I’ve devoted an entire four-video master class for free that I’m offering on my DavidTianPhD.com website. You can get access to this free master class on this very thing and I entitled that master class “The Secret of a Successful Relationship”, and I go over the science and how it works of this second dynamic of the unfinished business, the unresolved issues.
Now, if you’re already in my mailing list, you already should have access, because we just automatically give access to everyone in the mailing list to our suite of master classes, over 13 master classes. This is one of those master classes. It’s a four-video series. I put the first video of this four-video series on my YouTube and I entitled it “Is Love Enough? Why Passionate Love Becomes Toxic.” [32:53.6]
That seminar was filmed and published, uploaded over four years ago, so you’d probably need to search for it. The easiest way to find it is under our playlist. There’s a playlist I’ve entitled “Keynotes, Talks and Interviews” you can find it listed there, “Is Love Enough?” Or you can just opt in at my website and go to the master class, the free master class called “Secret of a Successful Relationship.”
If you don’t, at the very bare minimum, understand these two dynamics of the disowned parts and the unfinished business, you will be completely lost and just completely reactive and triggered, and you will experience the worst breakups, if the relationship is actually intimate and you actually have chemistry when you start. That’s why it looks from the outside like it’s toxic. You might think the bad boy who is cheating on her and all this, it’s his fault, he’s the bad guy. Actually, they’re both at fault.
If you’re interested, I’m thinking about devoting the next episode to unpacking that for the stereotypical bad boy that a lot of the nice guys hate, and I’m going to choose one that’s a little bit more realistic, because you’re probably not competing, if you’re a nice guy, with Hells Angels or gangsters or anything like that, criminals with tattoos on their necks. [34:07.4]
Probably not competing with guys like that, but probably more of an executive type of bad boy who cheats on her, so I’m going to give that example. I’m thinking about giving that example as an episode and diving into that as a case study for the next episode, so let me know if you’re interested in that.
This unfinished business is actually quite deep and I give lots of examples in that four-video master class. It’s free on my website. You can go to DavidTianPhD.com and opt into it and you get access to it. I also have the first video up on YouTube.
This dynamic, the dual dynamic of the disowned parts and the unfinished business, is explained in great detail by Richard Schwartz, the founder of IFS therapy, in his book, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For, and he explains it in this section on the “tor-mentor” where your intimate partner is tormenting you, but also your mentor because they’re giving you this opportunity to connect with those disowned parts of yourself and for you to access your true self, and only your true self can resolve the unfinished business for you. [35:10.3]
Only you can resolve your unfinished business for you, but the other person gives you the opportunity by triggering you in this way, so what often looks toxic to the untrained eye is actually an opportunity, a window of opportunity to grow up.
So, take advantage of those resources, the Man Up episode on the manic fairy dream girl, the four-video master class on the secret to a successful relationship, on the unfinished business. Study Richard Schwartz’s excellent book, You Are the One You’ve Been Waiting For, on the tor-mentor concept, because the other way that this could go is you find somebody who is secure and stable, and you have a safe relationship with them. But because you haven’t invoked, you haven’t triggered these dual dynamics, there’s no chemistry, and that’s what Gurshan is probably referring to there were these so-called good girls are finding that they don’t have much sexual chemistry with the safe options and that they’re only sexually triggered, in a good way, they only have chemistry with these bad boys. [36:13.6]
The reason is because they trigger each other in just the right ways to create that chemistry, but then that is not going to last unless they do the work of the therapeutic process and the therapeutic process is the same thing here, whether it’s just on your own or in a relationship. Being in a relationship gives you an opportunity to accelerate the whole therapeutic process and go much deeper than you could on your own.
And that’s the whole tor-mentor concept that Richard Schwartz explains., because here you have an opportunity to much more quickly, and to much more quickly see and connect with your disowned parts, because they are represented in the surface parts of your partner, as well as understanding your unfinished business, and that’s really the hard part. That takes a lot of sticking-with-itness and courage, and I probably will go into more depth on it in a future episode, and if that’s something that interests you, maybe I could do it in the next episode. [37:05.3]
Thanks so much for listening. If you have any feedback whatsoever, please leave a comment. Let me know what you thought of the episode. And if this helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it.
Thank you so much for listening. I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out.
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