Episode 151: Becoming More Desirable

Jul 24, 2022

Hey everybody, welcome. To another beautiful Mastery Monday here on The Self Mastery Podcast. I'm your host Zach Spafford.
Happy 24th of July! You know it's Pioneer day here in Utah is a local holiday. So, we're having fun, we're celebrating, and we're not doing anything exciting, I'll tell you but it was; Pioneer Day and it's also Carly's birthday. And Carly is thirteen now and we now have four teenagers in our house. So, if you think your life is awesome just wait until you get four teenagers in it.
[1:06] One of the books that I often recommend to my clients is a work by Robert Glover. His book No Mr. Nice Guy is a guide to men who've struggled to get what they want in love, sex, and life. I like to share one of the key concepts from this book and a little bit of caution as you begin to integrate. You know, if you read the book, there's some idea in it that you try to integrate. They may not be the best for you, but we'll talk about that here in a minute.
First, what is a nice guy? You know the name of the book is No More Mr. Nice Guy, so, as Dr. Glover calls it "nice-guy-syndrome" is what is talking about and it is essentially nice guys are men, and, women can be these as well but his focus is men because he's a man and that's the audience that he essentially wrote the book to. These are men who at the expense of their happiness and from a position of hiding a real important part of themselves, seek the approval of others. [2:08]
We do these at work, we do these in our church callings and we do these in our personal lives, particularly as part of our marriages. What this looks like is often saying "yes" to things that we are not fully on board for, to effort to gain the approval of those around us. So, you know your boss, you say things; "yes" to your boss when you should be saying no, maybe you are overworked or you know, taking on any additional responsibilities might not be appropriate but you say "yes" because you want your boss to like you. We do these to church, you know, if you have a church calling or church thing that you're in charge of, you take on just one more responsibility even though saying "yes" to that is not really in your best interest or even the best interest of those around you. And you're doing it because I want the pastor or the bishop or whoever to think well of me. [3:05]
We do this a lot for our spouses. I'm talking more in-depth because this is the focus of a lot of the work that I've done and a lot of work that a man and woman who are struggling with pornography or do (?), it's really in our marriage relationship. So, some of you, were thinking or saying "yes" that's not problematic, you know being a person who serves in a community is often a well-regarded thing. But this is overwhelming, that need to seek approval from others, at the expense of our honesty, and that position creates a problem. Problems over time, and one of the ways that we do this is a thing called a covert contract, and that's, This is what I wanted to talk to you about, right guys? That overwhelming need that we have to seek the approval of others at the expense of our self-position, creates this covert contrast. So, covert contracts are actions that we take to obligate others to take action to validate us without their consent. So, an example of these might look like a spouse doing the right things around the house, doing the dishes and cleaning up the house or getting the kids to bed and so on, to get their partner to have no possible excuse to say no to having sex. At its core, a covert contract is a manipulation of those around you, particularly of your spouses into giving you validation through things like sex in a quid pro quo that the other party is not fully agreed to. [4:44]
Some of you, listening to these and you're saying, "well, you know, how else am I supposed to get my partner to have sex with me? She always has some reason not to unless I maneuver her to feeling like that she has to." When we create these covert obligations, in the long run, we end up alienating our partners and we get less of the things that we want, including intimacy and sex. And in these, we're essentially manipulating our partner to coerce validation at the expense of you know, real self-validation and their real desire for us. What I find here is many men feel like some sex even bad sex servicing based-sex is better than no sex. What we fail to see from that particular perspective is that the servicing sex that we end up getting is not fulfilling but we can control some degree when we get it. Now, that control is the thing when you and your partner will eventually push back against. And may create damage to your relationships and may be difficult to reconcile in a long run. [5:58]
By the way, both men and women do this. Hopefully my mom not listening! My mom once told me if she wanted something from dad, she would have sex with him and then asked him about it, whatever it is that she wanted and he was much likely to give in to her position if she did that. You women out there if you're thinking about this and you're listening to this you're going to "Oh, is there a way that I engaged in this?" Yeah, there's a good chance that you do. I want you all; I want everybody that listens to these to be noted and is clear. I'm not pointing this out to you to make you feel bad about it. I'm pointing it out to you too, so, that you can self-confront on it. And get to a position where you're no longer doing it because you choose not to, not because felt bad about it.
So, how do we stop creating covert contracts? I can give you two things that you can do. One is the process of leaving behind a covert contract, letting go of the outcome. And the other is becoming more desirable. Let's start with being more desirable. Most of us are taking a few moments of our lives and seeing several things that we would love to improve in ourselves and those of us who engaged or have engaged in covert contracts are often fundamentally dishonest about what's real and truly going on us internally. We don't tell our partners what's true, we often tell them what we think that they wanted to hear and we tell them what we think we want them to hear. [7:30]
This is a difficult issue for many of us because we can get things from others if we tell them what they wanted to hear and we get a lot of validation and gratification at very little immediate cause if we withhold our true position that is big and small. The problem with these is that for your partner to desire you to want to create intimacy and have the kind of desire for you that we want them to have. We have to be willing to disappoint them and we have to be willing to suffer rejection from them. [8:03]
Let me tell you what I mean, becoming desirable impart means I'm willing to face disappointment and rejection from my partner. If we just kind of go along with whatever it is that our partner wants everything that they ever want and never disagree with them and we never tell them what we want, especially if the thing we want is directly contrary to the thing that they want. We have different opinions. They're not going to trust us. And they will probably get sick of us in the long run. [8:35]
Have you ever had a friend that like so hard up for friendship or are they just kind of clinging or whatever? You know they never had an idea of their own and just wanted to follow you around and do whatever you wanted to do or maybe you are that friend, I don't know. It can be fun for a while because that person is easy to go along with but eventually, you get tired of them and they become kind of a bother because they don't bring anything to the table, they're not bringing anything to the relationship. They're like water in a cup, they just take on whatever shape you are and that doesn't push you or contribute to your relationship and I think that's kind of boring. And I'm sure you have also a friend that pushes you and help you think and help you grow but sometimes they believe differently than you. You can tolerate that because they can contribute to your life in any meaningful way that a friend like that who; we sit on opposite sides of political ideas and we're not far apart but there are things where he pushes me and I'm like "oh, what about this?" and I pushed him back.
That creates meaningful dialogue and creates meaningful growth because we're both willing to have that conversation and trust each other to accept us even though they might reject the idea. It's easier to see and do that with your friend than it is to do with your spouse. But being able to disappoint your spouse in a meaningful way and well-considered beliefs is more important than you might think. [9:59]
You heard me talk about this before in a podcast but I don't like having pets very much. It's not that I don't like animals. I don't like hair and I wouldn't want to find somewhere to go when we go on vacation or when we travel. I worry about them when we're gone. The cats, what they're going to do, or how they can take care of themselves. The dog, oftentimes we take her and that adds a level of complexity, or whatever it is that we do. I tolerate it but if it were up to me, we wouldn't have pets. Darcy likes them and she got them and she's willing to disappoint me because she has a sincerely held desire to have cats.
You might think you'll, "Why is it that you can't just have the same opinion about this or come to the same opinion or come to some conclusion or come on the same page about this? Because conformity is really important." Well, I'm going to tell you right now, that conformity is problematic in your relationship. If it's contrary to your honestly and truly held opinion. If you're conforming to your partnership in a way that is about suppressing what it is that's real and true about you, that's another covert contract because what your doing is, you're saying, "I give up what I want and I'm going to give up being autonomous here and I'm going to give up having an opinion so that my partner will like me. Or so, I would fit into my partnership better." [11:29]
Now, there are limits and you have to feel these out and you have to work through them. It isn't one of those things too, where you go and create disappointment because you stop being overly nice and you decided to become mean and your intransigent and unwillingness to compromise is a process of feeling your way through it. Being solid and the person that you are, while, being willing to choose closeness with your partner.
And this is one of the things have a little bit of disagreement with the way that Robert Glover approaches some of his activities within the book. It seems like it's very much a "let me push against everything, let me not create conflict for the sake of conflict", but is one of those things that if you're not careful with this you can go to the mean side and instead of the nice side – let me talk a little bit about that later – but you need to be careful with this. You need to be solid and the person that you are while being to choose closeness with your partner. [12:29]
[12:30] One thing that I did that changed the dynamic of our sexual relationship was I stopped saying "yes" to sex or called servicing sex. That was something really difficult and disappointing for both Darcy and me. You might think that it wouldn't be difficult for Darcy but it was. One of the difficult reasons as she can no longer utilize sex as a way to control me. Darcy sometimes used sex to get me to do things that she wanted. If would say no to sex that meant a servicing type of sex or management type of sex. Even when it was sincerely offered it was disappointing for Darcy because it took a lot of her toolbox and it also require her to reflect more earnestly on how and why she wanted to engage intimately and sexually. For my part, it was disappointing because I realize that she didn't want me, she just wanted to control me and help me control myself. But if you had a pornography struggle, you know that your partner can't control you and you don't want them to, right? And significantly she can help you control yourself. Being willing to disappoint your partner by being open about what you want is muscled that if exercise regularly will become your most powerful ally and creating real intimacy and desiring your partner. [13:56]
When I stop saying yes to sex to a serving frame, which in the beginning, it probably didn't feel wrong as I stop doing it but by really just feels wrong to do it. When I stopped saying yes to that, it started to show and say what I want it. So, I started to become willing to wait for Darcy's desires to come up and for her to choose me not just serve me. They were disappointing moments for both of us on that journey. In the beginning, Darcy didn't believe me when I say no and I'd say to her, "well if you're not into it I'd rather do it another time." She didn't believe that at the beginning and there was this process and I talked about it in this podcast before. To her hearing me say no, and her not believing me and then also just kind of getting to a place where "how can I take care of you?", "What should I do for you?" She was working through that, and in the meantime, I was working through being disappointed that we were not having sex and that was not easy but when she would say no, I will have to go inside my mind or inside of my sense of emotion and feelings and say, "Okay, what is going on with me? Why do I feel rejected? Why does this feel bad? And am I disappointed that she doesn't want me or Am I disappointed that I'm not getting some action." And working through this was important and in the years since that, I do that Darcy's desire for me is becoming a significant driver of our intimacy. It does make me and her very happy. [15:36]
And to be clear this is different than the immature precision in pop culture and movies where playing hard to get will eventually reel your partner until they're doing everything that you want. I think that's just the "mean guy" version of the same manipulation tactics. Getting your partner to do what you want by ignoring them or pushing them away and making them work for your attention is just as manipulative as covert contracts. In both cases, your partner is going to tire out of that game and they going to distance themselves from you eventually. [16:10]
So, the second way that we can begin eliminating covert contracts also has to do with making yourself more desirable but is about letting go of the outcomes; letting go of the outcomes means choosing closeness with your partner and not needing them to respond in a specific way. The interesting part of this is that you might end up doing the same things or like washing the dishes and cleaning the house and putting the kids to bed. All the things that you might have done previously to lift the burden for your partner's life to obligate them to a specific response in the bedroom, maybe. However, you do them without seeking that specific response or being rewarded for your efforts. You do them because you are a partner with your spouse, you want them done. Or you have committed to doing them. Those are the only reasons that make you do things to your relationship because of your partner or because you wanted them done or because you've committed to doing them. [17:16]
Being able to let go of the outcome is about changing the meaning behind the actions possibly more than it may be about changing your specific actions. What you do is important, and why you do it is the key. So, back and foot rubs are a good example of this in my life. If I wanted sex, I would make sure I give Darcy a foot rub in the morning and back rubs in the evening. It was essential to our sex life and it's kind of that I didn't make enough foot rubs or back rubs then I could have sex then I resent many times. I will massage her working up to get enough credit that I wanted while I still rub Darcy's feet and back and I do it a lot less often and I only do it when I want to because I want to and not because she wants me to necessarily. She may ask but I say yes or no but it's only because of my desire. [18:14]
The "Why" of my actions has stopped being about getting rewarded and it's now, especially in this arena but maybe specifically in this arena for our conversation. The why is only about my desire to give to her not about her becoming obligated to something. In coming out of her from a place where I'm not acting on a specific outcome, I place myself in a position to be desired for who I am not for what I do for others. My actions, come from a place of validated choice to choose my partner rather than seeking for her to validate me and service my wants. [18:57]
It's subtle and just like working through covert contracts from a position of being more desirable we need to work through it in a way that is about feeling our way through it rather than saying this specific action that has to change. In these, particular spaces letting go of the outcomes a good question to ask yourself is "what am I trying to get out of doing these?" If the answer is anything other than the satisfaction of doing it because I want to or I choose to then you might want to step back, reevaluate and maybe choose not to do it or choose to do it but know that you'll need to work through the emotions and the difficulty of eliminating expectations from your spouse to validate you from doing it. [19:49]
I hope that's been helpful. I will recommend that anybody reading No Mr. Nice Guy, be careful about what's asked you to do in parts of it. Because some of it is kind of a selfish version of the mean guy and it pushes back, I think a little harder than in what you want to go for, but you want to go for is becoming a solid self, so, this is the differentiation we get back to that same concept. Becoming a solid self who chooses closeness with their partner, not someone who manipulates their partner into giving them things either from a mean position or from a nice position. [20:24]
Alright you guys, I love you! Have a great week and I will talk to you next week! Bye!

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