Bad Sex + Fantasizing About “Changing a Man”

Last week’s video led to some of the most interesting comments I’ve ever read on our videos.

While we don’t do a lot of two-parters, we couldn’t help ourselves when it came to this topic. We decided to correct some errors in our last video and then do a deep dive into why so many people are enticed by the idea that they can “fix” another person.

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Matthew:

Your life is precious. And, you can’t stake your life on the changing of somebody else’s trauma, because you never know what stage someone is in at dealing with their trauma.

Let’s start with your comment here on the show, Sex/Life, which we talked about, I had a bit of banter about it. I had never seen it. So, I was one of those annoying people that was talking about something they’d never actually seen. What are your thoughts? You’ve watched three episodes now, tell us.

Steve:

Well, tell me what this review says because I want to see if I agree with the tone of it.

Matthew:

I’ll read you a little bit of it, but it’s quite interesting. So, “Hi Matt”.

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Matthew:

Hey, here I am. Matthew interrupting my own video. It’s better than an advertisement for Dove. Instead, I’ve got something that could actually change your life not just make you smell better. It’s a Virtual Retreat. It’s a three-day immersive coaching program that I take people through personally, live, wherever you are in the world, you can do it from the comfort of your own home. But, it’s a program that I’ve been running for over 15 years now. And, it’s one that can radically transform your relationship with your emotions, your confidence, your self-love, and your direction in life. To find out more, just go to MHVirtualRetreat.com.

 

And now back to me.

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Matthew:

“I highly recommend you watching the movie. It’s not pornography it’s”. . . now, Steve, it’s not a movie is it?It’s a show.

Steve:

It’s a show.

Matthew:

It’s a show. So, now I’m questioning whether she’s actually watched it. “She had security and stability with her husband, despite the fact that he was looking physically amazing with a six pack and everything. And he looked like he had it all together, but she felt unwanted because he put her last on his priority list behind his career and their kids.”

Now, this much I got from the trailer, Steve. “He had no time for her, their relationship lacked chemistry, big time. Connection, and compatibility.” Yeah. Well those are some of the problems, isn’t it? When we choose a certain look and a certain set of criteria that we see on paper without looking for the deeper stuff. “Her ex lover was an Aussie man, not a Brit.” So there, I got that wrong.

Steve:

I was going to correct that, immediately. Actually you’re both wrong. I think he’s a Kiwi. He mentioned being a Kiwi, so he’s from New Zealand.

Matthew:

Fair enough. “Charismatic and magnetic who knew how to make her feel wanted and desired. So hot, they had undeniable chemistry and compatibility together and their connection was off the charts,” Steven. Now, that sounds like the beginning of any heartbreak story when I hear that, cause I know that there’s a but coming. And guess what Steve? There is.

“He had unhealed childhood trauma, regarding his father because his father left him and his mom when he was a kid. She kept pushing him to solve it,” there is the problem isn’t it? “But, he was in blaming and victim mentality. You know men don’t like to be told what to do, although she was in her Psychology PhD program, meaning she knew a lot about human behavior.” By the way, I’m not now I’m not slagging it off because I haven’t seen it. But, I’m just talking about what I’m hearing in this review.

This all sounds like a caricature version of every situation. How every woman feels like I’m psychologically evolved. That I emotionally understand people on a level that this buffoon, this lovable, sexy buffoon in front of me doesn’t and I know what’s best for him better than he does. Most of the women we talk to don’t have Psychology PhDs. Some of them do, however. Most of them don’t, but they still have that feeling, ‘I’ve done some sort of Life Psychology PhD. And I know better than this idiot who turns me on’. “So, she knew a lot about human behavior. After he resolved his trauma issues with his father, which by the way, he had a totally wrong perspective about his father all those years.

The Aussie guy wanted her back, but it was too late because after she got tired of his rollercoaster, emotional behavior, she decided to marry this good-looking, wealthy guy to have a stable life and kids, like most women want.” Well, I think we’re learning that well, we’re not learning Steve. I mean, we bloody well know, it’s not the only thing most people want is a good-looking wealthy guy to have a stable life and kids. It definitely isn’t the only thing someone wants.

Steve:

Yeah.

Matthew:

A little bit more. “Her husband wanted to know what she saw in her ex-lover that he didn’t have.”

Steve:

Yeah, so he starts following the guy.

Matthew:

Oh, he starts following the guy?

Steve:

He goes to.

Matthew:

Okay. So then, “but it wasn’t the size of his penis like most men think.” But, just for the record, I never thought it was about the size of the other bloke’s penis.

Steve:

Matt, it was.

Matthew:

Just thought that it was.

Steve:

They show it in episode three. It was absurd.

Matthew:

No, I know. I’m just saying, I put that down to just there’s a writer in the writer’s room at the production company was just thinking this is going to get us publicity for the show.

Steve:

Yeah, yeah.

Matthew:

So I’m not, I don’t think that this really what lured her back was just a huge penis.

Steve:

No.

Matthew:

But, “it wasn’t the size of the penis like most men think,” I don’t even think most men think that, but let’s keep going. “It was about connection and compatibility.” Don’t think . . . It didn’t sound like it was about compatibility. “When it’s about insecurities, men think immediately about the size of their penis.” I don’t know if that’s true. I think we think about the fact . . . I think we think about everything. I haven’t got any money, I’m not funny.

Steve:

Yeah.

Matthew:

Other blokes are funnier than I am. They’re more interesting than I am. They’re more intelligent than I am.

Steve:

They’re taller. They’re more famous. They’re whatever.

Matthew:

Right, and he’s probably got a bigger penis. “Women think about size of their breasts.” Her words, not mine, “but it’s not about body parts, size, it’s about connection. No matter how much she tried to connect with her husband, it didn’t work. We cannot force connection. Period. I urge you to watch the movie.” I think it’s TV show. “It’s going to change your perspective about women’s desire and what matters to us most. When young we seek adventure and excitement. When more mature we seek safety, stability, love, and peace.”

So, that was from Abundance Angel, which by the way, thank you. Thank you for for laying it out. Thank you for your commentary on the episode. We’re really happy that you decided to write in. We appreciate it. Stephen, what do you think?

Steve:

Well, it’s good. That’s a nice framing of, of the dilemma of the show. And, I can’t tell what side Abundance is on there. I guess she’s sort of saying she empathizes with the main character, Billy, who decides to go on this dalliance from her husband. Now, I’ve only seen three episodes, so I’m not going to review the whole show. Let’s get out of the way. There is some . . . This show ticks every cliche box you could imagine of fantasy, fantasy love triangle geared towards women, it’s trying to frame up, “Oh, there’s two extremely gorgeous men on the table. And, just so the comparison between them doesn’t get too difficult. They’re both obscenely rich and successful.” So, we don’t want them to be . . . We don’t women and watching it go, “Well, her husband’s really successful. So she should just be with him because he’s got this beautiful . . .”

Matthew:

Yeah. Yeah. You want to make it a level playing field financially so that it’s not like he’s just the loser with the giant cock.

Steve:

Right? The bad boy Aussie who’s already really handsome anyway, but they’re saying they can’t go, “Well he’s a bad boy, but he’s down and out.” It’s like, no, he’s a bad boy. He’s also, Matt, an important enough record producer to get on the cover of Rolling Stone. So, a record producer on the cover of Rolling Stone. So, he’s really up there. He’s like a Scooter Braun or something.

Matthew:

Right.

Steve:

And so.

Matthew:

It’s sort of like Twilight where Bella is both with the hottest vampire and the hottest werewolf.

Steve:

Right.

Matthew:

And it’s like, she’s the only one in the world who’s dating these two supernatural freaks.

Steve:

Right, exactly.

Matthew:

She can’t even share them around.

Steve:

And her husband’s this super successful finance guy, but he’s not just soulless in finance, Matt. He runs impact investing funds because he could have presumably, have multiple millions at JP Morgan, I think it’s mentioned. But, he basically turned it down to do still highly lucrative, given their house, but much more ethical impact investing to invest in good important things.

Matthew:

We don’t know what sort of size mortgage they had.

Steve:

No, no. There’s lots of problems in the show. There is some extremely unsubtle voiceover narration that literally tells you every thought the character has while we’re already seeing it on the screen. So, it’s completely unnecessary. And, it’s like, “Oh, breast pumping is really frustrating.” Well, we can see that because you look miserable while you’re wearing a breast pump. And, they get her to do the exact voiceover is really unusual because the voiceover sounds exactly like the voiceover in Gone Girl and they clearly watched that.

Matthew:

Yeah, yeah and you know how much that annoyed me, Steve. I enjoyed Gone Girl as a movie, but I just found the voiceover it incredibly affected.

Steve:

Right, right. And yeah, Gone Girl’s great. But yeah, that part is like the kind of part that you really notice and they have her almost do an impression of the same voice. So that’s off-putting

Matthew:

Right.

Steve:

But yeah, basically I’ve seen a lot of women criticizing the part of the show of her decisions. And some people have said, “Oh, this is a great sort of.” It’s not . . . I don’t think it’s a great show. I mean, let me just get that out there. It’s silly. The writing is cliched, et cetera. But, I think some people are saying, “Well, it’s good. We’re seeing for once a woman having to deal with the decision of cheating and it’s not just like Mad Men and it’s not just like Don Draper is cheating on his wife and we’re all kind of, oh God, he’s so broken inside. It’s the woman doing it that.”

Now, so I get that. But, obviously, now a lot of people are judging well, do I feel like I empathize with this character? And, the only thing is the husband tries really hard, actually. As soon as she . . . I mean, he is handsome and seems like a lovely guy. There’s not a catch there. He’s this good-hearted guy. He’s not some wimp. He’s a strong guy. Successful. Everyone loves him. And, when he reads her diary and see, she’s been writing about old Kiwi fellow that she loved before, and she’s saying, “I’m fantasizing about him so much because bloody kids is annoying and not as fun.” Like she had a bit of a wild life before.

Matthew:

Which we already knew about because she’s narrated it.

Steve:

Yeah. And her husband knows nothing about any of her wild past, and that’s part of the thing he’s not been in on that at all. But she has said, “Oh, the sex with him was great when we first got together.” So the husband can have great sex. And, then the first time he’s watching the game, he’s a bit busy. But they do when he reads the diary and goes, “Oh my God, she’s been fantasizing about another man.” He immediately starts to do some wild shit for her to take her to sneak into this rich guy’s pool. And, they have a fun night there doing crazy stuff, getting in trouble.

Matthew:

Which is a weird thing to do when you’re a rich guy with a pool.

Steve:

I know. And they’re driving away from the police and everything with just a towel around them. So she’s had a mental wild night like the old days. And, he’s done that just because he’s read her diary about some other guy.

Matthew:

Which is probably by the way about the best response you could possibly hope for from someone reading that.

Steve:

Right. And, so I’m not saying the life with him is obviously what she . . . She’s obviously feeling unsatisfied, but it’s like, well, this guy started trying quite quickly and clearly wants to fix this issue. They never have a conversation where she goes, “So I have been feeling sexually unfulfilled. Can we talk about that a bit.” It’s just, “Oh, he did try. We had a really good night, but I still feel it didn’t really quite make me feel so satisfied.” But, yeah. So, I think a lot of people are judging where was there enough to sort of drive her to another guy? But, maybe we’re just seeing a flawed character and she’s just not making great decisions ala Don Draper. We don’t defend everything. Don Draper does. Maybe she’s just making silly decisions and it’s all going to end going, “Oh, what a crazy path I took that time when my marriage was in a crisis.”

Steve:

Or, maybe there’s a deeper cultural critique Matt, that is saying.

Matthew:

Go on.

Steve:

Maybe the very deep, you know I like to look for underlying messages in things, the secret message, the Straussian message. Maybe the Straussian message here is: marriage doesn’t work for everyone. And, maybe this woman was societally geared to lean towards getting married eventually. And, it was never, maybe it’s not for everyone. And this show’s going, “Look, she wants to be with the bad boy with the toxic family relationship. And she wants to have all sorts of fun and a stable marriage is never going to be satisfying.”

I don’t know, Matt. Or maybe it’s criticizing marriage as a whole. The only thing is, the bad boy has a lot of . . . I mean, he does have toxic traits and I get that he’s working on them, but she has a bad interaction with his family. And, he immediately is like to her, “Go. Get out. I don’t want to talk to you. You’ve seen the real me and my crappy stepdad.”

Matthew:

Right.

Steve:

He’s basically saying to her, get the hell out of here.

Matthew:

Right.

Steve:

And you know, I mean, that’s not a great start is it?

Matthew:

Well, I just think that we glorify this idea of changing the guy who’s got trauma and I don’t think that needs any more glorification. That’s not . . . Listen, Steve, I’m in the weird position, having coached most type . . . I’ve coached both genders over 15 years. Longer than that now, if you count both genders. I’ve worked with everybody and I have empathy across the board. One of the things, things that I’ve been criticized for in the past is having too much empathy for guys and “why don’t you just tell women to do this when a guy like that shows up” and so on.

But. It’s because I have a kind of 360-degree empathy. I love people. Don’t always like them. I love them. But, when a guy has trauma, your life is precious and you can’t stake your life on the changing of somebody else’s trauma, because you never know what stage someone is in at dealing with their trauma. They could be at an attention-seeking phase with their trauma. They could be an excuse-making phase with their trauma, where they’re using their trauma right now and have done with the last 10 women. They’re using their trauma as an excuse to do the behaviors that they enjoy doing. Or that are fun or comfortable.

Or maybe they learned one day that when they brought up their trauma, women gave them sympathy. And, so every new situation they were in, they realized “Ah. Trauma is my free pass. When I mention my trauma and my parents and whatever women go from being angry at me for stuff I’ve done, to being sympathetic. I had no idea. And now start showing up for me differently, so what’s easier? Owning my stuff or telling people my trauma?” And, there’s nothing wrong with revealing parts of yourself and your traumas to people. But, that has to be you revealing them from a place of ownership.

And, this is something I’m working on. Not, “I have all of this stuff and I know it’s making your life a misery, but that’s my stuff.” And, you can’t . . . 50 Shades to me, kind of did the same thing. It’s like we’re glorifying someone sticking on the journey of someone who has massive trauma and makes their life miserable in the meantime. On the idea, we call it the one-day wager, Steve. The idea that one day somebody is going to change. If I just give them enough, love. If I just give them enough support. If I just give enough of my life to this person, they’ll change. But, the relationship you have with someone is the relationship you have right now. It’s not the relationship you will one day have, it’s the one you have now.

And, it’s interesting because that review on iTunes, I had a similar thing happen when I was on a radio show and I criticized 50 Shades for its message and someone who was a big fan of 50 Shades, a woman who was a big fan of 50 Shades, got quite defensive about it and about their connection and what they had together and what she was helping him work through. And, to me, it’s this very, it’s this beyond cliche narrative of the woman helping the guy overcome his trauma. In the meantime, just martyring herself to his trauma. And, that cannot be, none of us would give that as a recipe to someone we love. Any woman we love with whether it’s your sister, whether it’s your daughter, whether it’s your mom, who you find, your mom’s single again, after a divorce from your dad. And, she’s back out there. Who among us would prescribe that as a narrative we would want them to follow? As a story we would want them to embark on.

“Oh yeah. It’s my mum who I really want her to meet a great guy.” Guy shows up, who’s got five years of deep trauma to go through whereas you’re going to make her life hell. Yeah, choose that one.

Steve:

Yeah.

Matthew:

Who’s going to say that? None of us would choose it for a person we love. And, yet we frequently choose it for ourselves. So, what does that tell you? It tells you that anytime you’re defending the idea of sticking around for someone who is making your life miserable because of their trauma. It says it’s about your confidence or your lack of love for yourself. It’s not about whether you actually think this is a good idea or not. Because, if it was someone you truly loved outside of yourself, you would not recommend this. You’d tell them to get out now.

That’s at the heart of so much of what I worry about with stuff like this is that it does just, it glorifies the very thing that we have spent 15 years helping people to avoid and making them confident enough to realize they should avoid. And, we meet the woman who is at the end of a five or a 10 or a 20 or a 30-year journey of having given her time to that kind of person, many of whom and perhaps even arguably, most of whom, don’t actually change. Most don’t ever have the big turnaround moment

Steve:

Hmm.

Matthew:

And, you’ve got to as yourself, if you stuck with someone for 10 years, if you were with someone for 10 years, a total. And, it was miserable for nine years, but in year nine or just as year 10 was coming up, they changed and you had a great last year with them. Is that calculation worth it to you even if that happens? And, that may not even happen. They may not even change in the 11th hour or the 10th hour. They may not. So, you may have just rode it out with someone who never is going to change. So it’s dangerous stuff. We think we’re playing with romance, but we’re playing with our time.

We think we’re playing with romance, but we’re playing with our time. And time doesn’t give a fuck about your romance. Time does not. It has no generosity towards you in that respect. It will let you do your thing. Waste me all you want. I ain’t coming back. You ain’t getting a free pass. There’s no second chance. Once we lose today, today is gone. Once we lose this year, this year is gone. There is no begging, bartering or blackmail that can get you back this year. So, consider that when you find yourself justifying why you keep giving time to someone who albeit for legitimate trauma, is making your life miserable.

 

I have more to say, but should we? Is that an episode? Should we cut there and then do another because I had all sorts of other things I came to talk about today. And, somehow we’ve done a part, two of the show Sex/Life which I’ve never seen.

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Matthew:

Before you go, did you know that the MH Virtual Retreat is coming up? This is three days of coaching immersion, where we’re going to be working on your ability to manage your emotions, your confidence, and your direction in life. I hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be the most amazing event. It’s the best thing that I do, I really believe that. And, so many people’s lives are changed by this. If you want to find out more, go to MHVirtualRetreat.com and I’ll see you over there.

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5 Replies to “Bad Sex + Fantasizing About “Changing a Man””

  1. You’re Absolutely Right Matt. You’ve Told The Truth. Why Waste Time With Someone That’s Not Worth Your Time?! Well Said :-)

  2. Hi guys, thank you so much for this video. I am dealing with a situation and your video was just the final push I needed to move forward. I’ve been seeing this guy for 5 months. We work together but in different office countries (me in Spain, he in France). I was having trouble dealing with the fact that he has relationship trauma. He told me he is afraid of commitment, he is always holding back on feelings. So about a month ago I showed him my standards and told him that was it, I didn’t want to keep doing this if he was not going to put the effort from his side for this to work. He kept dreaming about the future where he could possibly move to Spain to work on the same office as me, but I told him that was not enough because I don’t have him now so I don’t care about the future. I told him to stop talking to me because he was not part of my personal life anymore, only work life (because we do have some interaction due to our job positions). I was feeling confident even though my heart was broken. So this guy started to give late calls drunk saying he is in love with me (which he never said before), that he is having massive trouble keeping his distance from me, that he wants to cry everyday. And what does that do to me? It gives me the sympathy, exactly how you said in your video. He does that but he never takes any action of working on his traumas or doing something to change the situation we have right now. So thank you for your video because it reminded me that I am much more worthy than drunk calls late at night. Fucking obvious right? But yeah, I needed to hear it again out loud to remember it and to forget about my sympathy. My time is too precious and I will keep being strong on moving on. Thank you guys again. All the best.

  3. I think there are two ways of approaching new relationships; emotionally or intellectually. I think a lot of people do make decisions from an emotional place, about partners based on their ‘Repetition Compulsions’. A good friend of mine did this. She is a lot older than me but left a marriage because she finally discovered her husband (who wouldn’t communicate with her) was some form of Asperger’s and a difficult person, like her mother was. In other words, she realised, too late, that she had repeated her ‘Repetition Compulsion’.

    Then there are self-aware decisions about relationships, based on intellectual evidence – which is something I have learnt to do. For instance, I will run a mile from a man, if I find out he’s from a broken home, an only child, and has smoked pot from an early age. (What I will go for, is a man who is nice to me, who reads, whose parents have been together for life, who is not an only child.)

    In life, we can make self-aware choices for ourselves, or we can simply react, like a leaf being blown around by the wind, bouncing from one bad pattern from our past, to another.

    It’s really unfortunate that some people don’t analyse their own cultural capital for what it is, and repeat it, damage and all, without making better choices for themselves. But that is the way of the world, for a lot of people. For some people, to give up their schemas, is like surrendering the security of knowing who they are and what the world is like – so they cling to them, even when it hurts them. -This is why Lifetraps are so hard to change.

  4. Matthew: It’s so very beneficial for me – a dreamer and romantic – when you are BRUTALLY DIRECT! I like the way you spoke about time and how time does not give a fuck about us. If we waste it on the wrong people, the responsibility is fully with us. More brutal commentary please. It hurts so good!

  5. I completely agree. I spent 15 years of my life trying to change him. At year 14 he did nothing but say he changed because he stopped drinking and he wasn’t cheating anymore. But guess what, by that time I was so hurt by him that he left me because now I was broken. People don’t care about your time therefore you should spend it doing what is best for you therefore you wont regret all your lost time in someone or something not wort your time.

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