Is My Girlfriend Marriage Material? Freedomain Call In - Transcript


0:00 - Uncertainty in Relationships
2:23 - Risky Philosophy Choices
5:18 - Father's Military Commitment
10:04 - Father's Beliefs vs. Reality
14:42 - Questioning Father's Motives
18:52 - Childhood Dynamics Revealed
23:17 - Impact of Father's Retirement
28:15 - Perception of Family Home
31:25 - Emotional Goodbyes to Father
35:29 - Soldiers' Emotional Control
40:48 - A Society that Ignores Children's Pain
43:37 - The Impact of Parental Commitment
46:27 - Focusing on Others' Happiness
57:32 - The Challenge of Prioritizing Others' Needs
1:05:08 - Learning to Prioritize Others' Happiness
1:22:06 - Exploring Core Fears
1:24:14 - Making Her Happier
1:27:42 - Consequences of Generosity
1:30:04 - Uncertainty of Generosity
1:34:31 - Liberating Generosity
1:38:48 - Reciprocity in Relationships
1:41:44 - Challenges of Setting New Standards
1:43:40 - Organic Reciprocity
1:46:30 - Closure Through Generosity
1:47:28 - Honest Conversations with Parents
1:50:50 - Disagreements and Conflict
1:55:18 - Apologies for Childhood
1:57:20 - Loving Opposites

Long Summary

In this compelling conversation, we explore the intricate dynamics of family relationships and the impact of military service on personal well-being. The caller opens up about his struggles with self-conflict, triggered by his father's prioritization of military duty over family, sparking reflections on childhood loneliness and parental strain. The host skillfully guides the caller through unpacking the motivations behind his father's choices, challenging the notions of sacrifice and patriotism to reveal deeper truths about underlying familial dynamics and personal growth.

As the conversation continues, the caller bravely shares childhood memories of his father's absences due to military service, coupled with instances of protective behavior towards his mother and occasional outbursts of volatile temper. The evolution of the caller's relationship with his father is explored, shedding light on the complexities of fear, respect, and emotional challenges faced within military culture. Through poignant insights and shared experiences, the dialogue illuminates the intricate interplay between family relationships, parental influence, and the lasting impacts of military service on individuals and families.

Transitioning to a discussion on happiness and reciprocity, Stefan and the caller delve into the significance of prioritizing the well-being of loved ones. Drawing parallels between past emotional neglect and present relationship dynamics, they navigate the nuances of care, commitment, and emotional fulfillment within familial and romantic contexts. Through introspective reflections and probing questions, the conversation underscores the importance of selflessness and understanding in nurturing meaningful connections, fostering considerations of reciprocity and emotional balance in relationships.

In a poignant moment, we share personal anecdotes around prioritizing our loved ones' happiness, advocating for a shift from win-lose mentalities to win-win scenarios in relationships. Emphasizing the transformative power of generosity and reciprocity, we explore the complexities of meeting the needs of others while maintaining emotional fulfillment. The conversation delves into the fears of being exploited, testing for generosity in relationships, and the rewards of fostering genuine connections through mutual care and consideration.

As the podcast segment draws to a close, Stefan reflects on the rarity of personal transformations and the challenges of cultivating quality in relationships. Through insights on reciprocity, kindness, and navigating familial disagreements, Stefan offers empathy and encouragement for personal growth and positive change within relationships. The episode culminates on an optimistic note, underscoring the potential for transformative connections through genuine reciprocity and mutual understanding.


[0:00] Uncertainty in Relationships

[0:00] I've got quite copious notes because I'm a rambler, and at the same time, I'm prone to sort of totally spacing out and not having any idea what to say.

[0:11] Well, I'm happy to hear your notes. Hit me up.

[0:15] The most concise way I can think to put it is a question, should I break up with my girlfriend? It's a question I've not been able to answer for the past few girlfriends in my entire sort of dating life going back to around 13 years old. but for all of them I had an excuse to leave that I was explicit about with with these three or four girls in the past I now realize I was making excuses to leave those past girlfriends and do not want to leave my current girlfriend on account of excuses I want to either break up with her with certainty clarity and strength or I want to double down on our relationship and marry this woman with certainty clarity and strength please help me right to this self-conflict and I put self in quotation marks, because I think you believe and have a pretty great case that self-conflict isn't really a thing. I'm so tired of this particular self-conflict, which cost me a great woman less than two years ago, one that most dudes would have killed to have, and that I chose to leave, And it's an interesting thing just to finish, finish this little stanza is, um, well, nevermind. We'll go to that later. How does that, that sound? Is that useful?

[1:22] Hey, um, I'm, I'm all ears. You can, and you can tell me the whole tale.

[1:28] Okay. Well, uh, this, so this sort of self-conflict is very, uh, exhausting or distracting. I really feel like it's keeping me from a lot of, not just happiness, but also productivity and generosity out there in the world. So one just to me genuinely interesting thing that's been happening is I've been having sex with my current girlfriend unprotected. So obviously that makes it sound like it's not a choice that I'm making. It totally is. But this, to me, is substantial evidence. And it just makes sense that I want to, what I'm trying to do with that at some level is to get on the far side of having to make this decision. Because if I get her pregnant, quote unquote, on accident, then I won't have to decide anymore.

[2:23] Risky Philosophy Choices

[2:23] More yeah does that make sense the great news is if we force ourself to do things there's never any problems or blowback or negative results i mean honestly just keep raw dogging it and uh, that's pretty much as much philosophy as you're going to need i think it's basically the philosophy is more sharday and shardaday all right but sorry go ahead um.

[2:43] Yeah well to that point and i noticed on the top of your uh your preparation to call in web page there's a quote from benjamin franklin that I love. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And maybe that's some of the impetus for calling so urgently after I realized what I'm doing, the stakes and the fire I'm playing with, with respect to that.

[3:08] And what's your age range?

[3:10] I am early 20s.

[3:12] Okay. So good. We're still in the prevention side. Now, do you want to start with the girlfriend or the childhood or the last girlfriend?

[3:22] I don't have any preference.

[3:24] Childhood. Go.

[3:25] All right. Childhood. It was not good. It was for context, just because I'm probably going to fly through and anticipate anticipating a lot of your questions. So just for context, I'm a longtime listener. And not just a listener, but like a big Steph fanboy for a long, long time now. So anyway, childhood, it was not good. I was a smart kid and I was in public school here. I'll just write the question I anticipated was, what is your relationship to your parents?

[3:56] Oh, no, no. Hang on. Let's do the childhood first, then the relationship after. I want to go to facts before the relations.

[4:02] Okay. Okay. not good. It was a bad time. I remember some of the facts I, uh, for a couple of years in public school, I, I would bang my, the back of my head on a sort of brick wall that we had to sit outside of our classes to wait for them to start in the mornings, you know, after the school bus would drop us off 30 minutes before class started or whatever. For a year or two, I would, I'd sit there and bang the back of my head on the, on the wall about as hard as I could, you know, sustain for, for that period every morning. Um, that's, I think that's just one, one helpful indicator as to, to how it was. It was, it sucked. And, uh, Of course, there were ups. I loved playing Pokemon, and sometimes going out and getting pizza with the family was awesome, that sort of usual stuff.

[4:59] But why were you, I'm sorry to hear about this, of course, but why were you beating your head? Do you have any, how old were you at this point? Pretty young?

[5:07] Six and seven, yes.

[5:08] Six and seven, okay. So why are you beating your head against the wall at that age?

[5:13] I've got no idea as to a specific cause for that.

[5:18] Father's Military Commitment

[5:19] Uh well you do you do right i mean it's it's you've listened to the show for a long time and it's always true to me when people still try the i have no idea stuff well.

[5:29] I mean specific i mean like you know nothing sort of extremely dramatic happened you know four weeks prior to starting that behavior nothing like that just but yes general not really wanting to um, maybe it's dramatic terms i'm not really wanting to be alive at that age um definitely.

[5:47] That i mean that is of course i sympathize with that but what does it mean or why didn't you want to be alive at that age.

[5:57] I was a very lonely kid um didn't have, did i much of a mom or dad certainly not at that time.

[6:09] Okay what does that mean so loneliness isn't, enough right because i mean there's lots of lonely kids and i mean i was a lonely kid in many ways but you just fill your mind up with you know stories and fantasies and and you know creativity and and all like we we have a sort of waking dream called creativity that we use to fill the void called loneliness so i don't think that's enough i'm probably with something else, So when you say you didn't have much of a mom or dad, what does that mean?

[6:42] Um, my dad was probably, this isn't sort of, uh, divulging too much information as far as anonymity, but my dad was, uh, a soldier right before nine 11, starting right before nine 11. And so as soon as that happened, which was of course, right around the time I was born, um, he was gone and, and then very, uh, just very busy for the next, you know, 20 years. 15 ish years okay.

[7:10] So um not quite a single mom.

[7:14] Environment right uh you're right not exactly but uh like 70 maybe like 0.7 single moms okay.

[7:22] And how was your relationship with your mom.

[7:30] She was really real i guess this probably is no surprise at whatsoever but she was very very affectionate when we were babies and very small but uh i say we i have two brothers one older one younger um but uh also very naggy you know sort of whenever i sort of liked something if i was doing or working on something um she would definitely give me constant pointers and nagging it almost felt like i mean i mean she still does it into my she did it into my 20s but but.

[8:02] Um, and how was she with your father?

[8:08] They, I mean, during my whole childhood, they were not, not very close. I mean, he would, he would come back. I mean, not, not to mention the, sort of the initial changes he underwent as, um, as a, you know, as a, a soldier doing the work he was doing for, for years and years and years and years. And then just, but why.

[8:28] Why was he a soldier for you? You can quit, right?

[8:30] Right you absolutely can't yeah okay so why was.

[8:33] He a soldier for so long.

[8:36] He loved it he still does okay.

[8:39] That's one possibility.

[8:44] Sorry a possibility i may have forgotten the question the possibility as to why why.

[8:48] He would continue to do the soldiering rather than be a father.

[8:53] Oh um, Um, well, certainly is, you know, kids have their ways of, uh, of, of hurting adults feelings. And we definitely did that. I'm not giving any agency to little, to babies right now, but just saying, try to explain that those decisions mechanistically, he fell in love with the, uh, the war and the cause of the America and the, the screaming Eagle and the tanks rolling and all that stuff. Absolutely. Um, enamored him. And again, it still does. He's not made any retraction. He stood fast on that sort of emotional position the whole time.

[9:36] Oh, so you mean the emotional position of patriotism and fighting for America and freedom? You mean that kind of stuff?

[9:46] Yes, yes. Right.

[9:49] So that still doesn't answer to me why he preferred all of those abstractions rather than his own family.

[10:03] I don't know if you say...

[10:04] Father's Beliefs vs. Reality

[10:04] Does he still believe that he was fighting for truth and freedom in the American way?

[10:09] Yes.

[10:10] Oh, so he has no particular doubt about, you know, there was no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and they basically spent 20 years to turn the Taliban back over in charge of Afghanistan. He has no doubts about any of this?

[10:27] Right. All the facts and good ideas and good arguments or evidence or even just reason from which could have been done beforehand. It doesn't sort of engage him in a conversation about the facts. It gets emotional and not the good kind.

[10:45] Well, what do you mean? Like he just gets angry?

[10:47] Yeah, he gets angry. Defensive.

[10:48] Okay, so it's not about truth, freedom, reason in the American way. Right. Just so you know, right? That's not it. Because, I mean, if you sacrifice your entire family, in a sense, don't you want to know that it was for something?

[11:05] I certainly would.

[11:06] I think so, right?

[11:09] Yeah. Yeah, and my guess is that's exactly why he's still so fervent about it. Because if it's not, if he were to, I don't want to say get educated, but sort of move in my direction, say, about understandings. No, I'm sorry.

[11:26] It's not a question of getting educated. It's not a weird conspiracy theory to say that we find weapons of mass destruction. Do you think they did? Do you think that the Taliban are not in charge of Afghanistan again? No. What do you mean? He doesn't have to learn Latin.

[11:45] Right yeah he knows that stuff but it but it uh to him it doesn't matter it's again it's not about being right it's it's about the those sort of passions and the the brotherhood and all that okay.

[11:58] So if he if he prefers the the brotherhood of soldiers to his own wife and children that's fine but let's not pretend it's about truth and freedom in the american way right Right.

[12:11] Sure. Yeah. I didn't mean to imply that, but that's, that's how he would, that's certainly how he would, uh, uh, uh, characterize it.

[12:18] Well, I get that. I get that, but we kind of have to look at the facts, not at the claims. Right. So why did he prefer to be away? He wasn't drafted. He could have quit. So why did he prefer to be away? Now, again, the whole truth, reason, the American way stuff, he doesn't care about that much because that clearly didn't quite play out, right?

[12:47] Right, yeah.

[12:48] And so he's not examining that, so it's got to be something else. You know, if I say I want to go to Vegas because I love gambling, I go to Vegas and all the casinos are shut and I just don't come home, I clearly went there for something other than the gambling, right?

[13:06] Sure, yeah. that's true, but at the same time, and I'm not trying to be argumentative, but you say, why did he prefer brotherhood and the feelings of patriotism and how natural it is to get wrapped up in these causes bigger than ourselves. I'm thinking, I have a comparison of why do I prefer, parmesan cheese to broccoli as far as taste goes like i just kind of do so he he did.

[13:38] Okay i uh i don't know how you in the equation get reduced to a dairy product but okay let's go with your analogy right but if you choose to get married and to have children, you are making sort of a commitment to.

[13:55] Spend time.

[13:56] With your wife and your children right.

[13:58] Uh yes i certainly see it that way he is are you curious about his position with respect to these things of.

[14:05] Course yeah i'd love.

[14:06] To know his position and i could be wrong.

[14:08] About everything i'm just you know i'm just asking the questions.

[14:10] He takes a um basically a a victim mentality with respect to this like it wasn't of course it was but uh he very much believes in And my country needed me, and I had to go. It wasn't my choice. It was the bad guy's choice who attacked the United States. So, yes, he made that commitment, but the commitment was overridden by an even bigger commitment, if that makes sense to his mind.

[14:42] Questioning Father's Motives

[14:42] Okay. So, he had to go because his country needed him because, you know, the innocent country was attacked by the bad guys, right?

[14:52] Yes. Okay.

[14:53] Got it. Got it. Um, so he cares when people need him, right?

[15:07] Well, it seems like he cares more when abstractions need him.

[15:10] Well, I mean, my argument would be, did your children not need you? I mean, you chose to have children. and I mean, I guess he was in the army, like that's mostly what he's done, is that right?

[15:25] Correct, yes.

[15:26] Okay, so your mom met him and dated him and married him and he was in the army and he was an army guy so she knew all that she was getting into, right?

[15:39] That's right, however 9-11 came as a surprise to the both of them. Of course.

[15:44] Well, I understand that. I understand that, but it wasn't like he later went into the army. He was an army guy, and that's what your mom married into, right?

[15:59] That's right, yes.

[16:00] Okay, got it. So if you go where people need you, of course, then the question is, why didn't he go to his family when his family needed him?

[16:26] Well, he was certainly much better at being a warrior than a father or husband.

[16:35] I accept that, of course, but then he's not going where he's needed. He's going where he feels more competent.

[16:47] Yes, yeah, and feels better, I guess, feels better about the cause. Whereas he comes home and, I don't know, maybe it's more like work. Maybe it's more... Um, it's less, less fun, I guess.

[17:00] No, I get that. So he's going where he prefers to be.

[17:06] Sure.

[17:07] Right.

[17:08] Yes.

[17:08] Okay. So if he's going where he prefers to be, it's not any kind of self-sacrifice, right?

[17:16] Right.

[17:17] He's doing what he wants to do. He's doing what makes him feel better. Am I wrong?

[17:25] No, no. on with you.

[17:26] Okay so i mean that's just the cover story of of patriotism and fighting for truth reason in the american way it's kind of like a cover story right i.

[17:40] I mean i i think he totally believes the cover story not that that matters as far as the consequences of all his decisions.

[17:47] Well sorry how do you know what he totally believes.

[17:51] I've always been saying the same thing my entire life literally.

[17:55] Yeah but so what, my mother's been saying for my entire life that my dad was a bad guy how do I know that's true.

[18:08] You can't know.

[18:10] Well you can know based on actions right, Okay, so how did your mother and father get along when they were together?

[18:22] Not very well. It was, like I said, between deployments to war, they would be, you know, you feel breakups like a death. It's like every time he left, they had to break up. And that wasn't just boyfriend and girlfriend. They were obviously married. So eventually it seemed like neither of them could really connect to each other. And by eventually, I mean it only took a few of those. So not long. Excuse me, not very well. They didn't get along very well.

[18:52] Childhood Dynamics Revealed

[18:52] Okay, so aside from all of the descriptive language, what does that mean? Did they yell at each other? Were they cold? Did they not spend time together? Did they not seem to enjoy each other's company? What do you mean by they didn't get along?

[19:06] They didn't yell at each other. I don't think that ever happened. And certainly, it was never violent with her. Um, he's actually very, and this is important. He was very, very defensive of her sort of feeling bad. Ironically. Um, if, for example, if one of the, one of the, his three sons ever, I don't know, did anything, tried to try to assert himself back onto our mother, it would, it would absolutely set him off and his, his temper would trip immediately and without fail with completely, um, completely predictably.

[19:43] So what you mean if if he felt that one of his kids was disrespecting his wife he'd kind of go ballistic.

[19:49] That's right um.

[19:52] And what would happen then.

[19:56] Um all right well well i mean it only happened to maybe a couple times to each of us before we sort of you know as kids do you internalize the the threat and stop doing it but um but early on It was physical. It was spanking us.

[20:13] And bare hand or with implements or what do you mean?

[20:19] With implements, with either, you know, sort of wooden spoons or leather belts.

[20:25] Yeah. So that's a beading, right? That's not just spanking.

[20:29] Right. Yeah.

[20:29] I mean, is that an unfair way to characterize it?

[20:34] I'm neck deep in the peaceful parenting stuff. I don't distinguish the two.

[20:39] Okay. Got it. so how often would when when he was home i guess and and how how long was how often was he gone and for how long.

[20:48] It's a little bit tricky because each trip varied but uh the shortest being six and the longest being 12 so he was gone an average of eight or nine months every year until i was you know a teenager okay got it and and then of course during those three ish three four months while he's home he's got a very full-time job and his head is not with the family his head is still at war. And he totally acknowledges that to this day.

[21:17] Okay. And did his, did your mom want him to stay home?

[21:25] I don't think, oh man. That's a good question. I never, no, I never got that impression as a kid, or now, but, I, now I think she was totally sort of on board with him and, you know, as he felt that he needed to go, um, save America. And then, and then eventually she, like I said, the sort of, the sort of breaking up all the time, um, breaking their hearts all the time. Uh, she probably can't got to a point where she didn't really care whether he was home or apart. Cause it was kind of the same both ways. days and when I was early teens, maybe 12, 13, 14, um, they did for a time they did live in, in different, uh, they lived across the city.

[22:18] Sorry, what do you mean they lived across the city?

[22:20] They did like a mock divorce. Um, and it just took some during one of these three or four month blocks while he was home. Uh-huh. They lived apart. Okay.

[22:30] And how long was that for?

[22:33] Um, uh, three to six months.

[22:37] Okay. And they're together now, right?

[22:40] That's right. Yeah. And they're doing better than ever because he's done.

[22:43] And when did he retire?

[22:48] Um, well, about four years ago.

[22:53] And did he retire because he wasn't allowed to continue or he chose to retire?

[23:01] You're good at this. is he retired because he finally got hit by a very large bomb and, uh, and he was basically retarded and she cared for him kind of like, you know, you care for an infant for, uh, for a good two or three years. He's doing much better now.

[23:17] Impact of Father's Retirement

[23:18] Wow. I'm sorry to hear about all of that. Oof. Oof. How are you doing?

[23:24] I'm good. I'm good. I'm nervous. And, um, I'm nervous and I hope I'm, I hope I'm doing well for the listener.

[23:30] No, you're doing, you're doing fantastically. Honestly, they're doing great. Great job. No problem. Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Excellently done. Excellently done. All right. And he's not working, I assume, or at least not yet.

[23:45] He's not working. They spend a lot of time just hanging out and fishing and whatnot.

[23:51] Okay. Got it. They're getting along well. He was gone for most of the time. And how was your relationship with him when you were growing up?

[24:00] When I was young, it was just fearful, and really not much more than that. I internalized his temper very quickly and very thoroughly. And, I mean, actually connecting with him was just a very, very rare thing. Yeah. So, I don't know. It was kind of like he was the, it was like a, you ever put your hand over an abused dog and it flinches real hard. It was a lot like that. And anytime, you know, cause he, cause he, you know, he knows, right. And he would ask, you know, like, Hey, you want to go to, I'm gonna go grab some French, you know, grab a burger or whatever. it's just like man i don't want to because i because this dude it's it's very stressful to be around this dude but if i say no he might get mad is that sort of not good not good definitely not good and.

[24:57] What was so stressful.

[24:58] Uh the really the the temper that you never knew, when you were gonna i won't say you never knew but you know like i said there are ways to predict it but again as as a kid we we played it all i don't mean to laugh of course we played it on the safe side especially me i was the i was the shyest the most timid and uh i never i never sort of fought them until very recently until my 20s so.

[25:30] What with your father what were the concerns that you had that he might do or he might behave in in such a way.

[25:44] What do you mean well.

[25:45] You had can like if you would go out with him there would be a concern right.

[25:50] Uh right like what.

[25:53] Would you what were you concerned that he might do.

[25:56] Well i think i think he was just getting spanked or beaten and for what what would he.

[26:06] Do that would be, or what what might you do that would cause that that kind of reaction.

[26:15] Really causing offense it was uh very much uh as i understand it now and i could be my memory is It was pretty awful of that, of that whole period, but it was very much about offense or respect or power. That's sort of, that's sort of pretty mammalian stuff.

[26:35] Okay. Got it. And on any time that you would go out, I know this is a bit odd to come up with the math, but on any time that you would go out, what would be the odds that you might do something that might get him to be aggressive? or might end up with him being aggressive?

[26:54] With my self-censorship, I mean, maybe 3%.

[26:58] Okay. And if you didn't have self-censorship, how do you think it would be, or what would the odds be?

[27:06] About 99.

[27:08] Oh, so if you didn't self-censor, he would just be aggressive.

[27:16] Well, sure. His whole shtick, his whole personality was stuff I didn't like. As a kid, I wanted a dad. So, I mean, to be honest about sort of the elephant in the room at any point, to me, yeah, it seems pretty predictably going to set him off.

[27:34] Okay.

[27:35] And in a way, that makes sense. Right.

[27:38] Now, how did things go with your mom, who I guess obviously was your primary caregiver at that time?

[27:46] Like I said, she put us in public school and she was very, she was depressed. I think at one point she was diagnosed.

[27:53] Okay.

[27:53] It was, it was not good. In fact, I just remember like this year that when I was 10 years old and I remember it distinctly, it was one of those in the kitchen with my little brother. We had just gotten back from school, and she's sort of asking us about it. And I said something like, this place is just a storage unit so we can go back to school.

[28:15] Perception of Family Home

[28:16] And I was referring to our family home. And that's word for word.

[28:24] And did your mother, was she warm at any time? Or how was she in terms of affection and connection?

[28:39] I'd say pretty often warm pretty often warm, it still is.

[28:49] And did she ever talk to you about your father being gone and why that was the case like when you were little I mean how old were you when he was pretty much gone the whole time wasn't he.

[29:03] Yeah and I'll die okay.

[29:11] So, yeah, did she talk to you about, you know, why your dad is gone and all that?

[29:16] No, I don't remember anything like that.

[29:20] And did your father talk to you about why he was gone and why you had no dad, so to speak, for a lot of time?

[29:27] I don't remember that, but he must have. Well, I shouldn't say must have, but I would expect that sort of behavior out of him. But I would have been really, really young.

[29:37] Oh, so why it's funny that you beat your head. I mean, not funny, funny, but you know what I mean? That you beat your head against the wall when you were a kid. And what did your father end up with?

[29:50] Right. Brain trauma. Yeah.

[29:52] Head injury, right? I mean, it's one of these kind of funny little time loop things, right? It's obviously a coincidence, but it's interesting. Interesting. Did you have any sense, or when did you first understand the risk that your father was taking being gone?

[30:15] I'm totally guessing here, but I'd put it at three or four years, like as soon as you're able to, three or four years old, maybe.

[30:22] So you knew that he might never come back?

[30:24] Right. Yeah. As soon as I, yeah, as far, literally as far back as I can remember, that was normal life. I kind of assume that's what every kid did, but yeah, it was totally, he could have died any given day, especially, of course, I can't get into specifics, but the nature of his, the army is a big place.

[30:42] No, no, I get it. He was, he was not a, he was not a cook in Washington. I get that.

[30:46] Right.

[30:46] So who told you at the age of four or whatever, who told you that your father died? was at risk of dying every time he was gone.

[31:00] I really couldn't tell you, Steph, but it had to be either mom or dad.

[31:04] Uh-huh. Did this give a kind of poignancy to you when you, I mean, obviously you said goodbye to your dad a whole bunch of times. Did this give a kind of poignancy to you with regards to your father when he would go? Like, might never see him again?

[31:20] Yeah, it was a very, It was almost the expectation.

[31:25] Emotional Goodbyes to Father

[31:25] Mom was always watching the news kind of thing, and dudes were dying all the time. Right. So, yeah, it was saying goodbye was an emotional thing.

[31:33] Every time you get a telegram, right?

[31:36] Yeah, yeah, exactly.

[31:39] Okay. So you were saying, yeah, dudes are dying all the time and so on, right?

[31:43] And to the telegram point, I mean, that would happen. There would be three months with no contact, and there would be some, I don't know, maybe an email from a guy he knew or whatever that was, that was real for the first 10 years or so.

[31:54] Oh, three months, no contact. Wow.

[31:57] Yeah, definitely. So, so mom and all our kids are just sort of bracing for that news for a lot of, a lot of those years.

[32:04] I'm sorry about all of that. That's, that's horrendous. So, what happened with you and friends in school when you were very little?

[32:25] Friends in school when I was very little.

[32:27] Or, I don't mean like little, little, but you know, single digits.

[32:33] They sort of came and went. I was definitely, I was identified as a weird kid very early on. And that had some sort of less when they're really small, but there's still some definitely adverse consequences as far as, you know, people are like, oh, that's a weird kid. We don't talk to him, which I sort of appreciate now.

[32:55] And why is that?

[32:56] That just just i mean just as a um as a instinct of these kids to to block up into sort of what works um as far as hey like hey this is a really unhappy kid maybe we shouldn't um associate with him and that was actually i remember saying that i would i was able to smell other army kids we were all we're all weird in a sort of particular direction a way that prediction it was um Other than the old.

[33:27] Before your time, I guess.

[33:29] Yes. Wow. How'd you know? We were more serious than our peers. Yeah. I happened to be a lot more serious and still am. And I was also smart. And I didn't like, oh man, this is region. Yeah. Put a lot of the normal things to talk about. I had no relationship to a lot of that stuff.

[33:58] Yeah.

[33:59] Does that make sense? Does that answer the question?

[34:01] Yeah, I mean, you're dealing with life and death in the early to mid-single digits.

[34:06] Yeah.

[34:09] How did you view your father when you were little and you knew he was going to war?

[34:16] Like a god emperor.

[34:18] Right. Like a hero, like a superhero, right?

[34:22] Yep. Okay.

[34:25] And did that change over time, or did that stay the same?

[34:30] It stayed the same for a long time, until I was around 12, 13.

[34:37] What happened then?

[34:39] Well, then, you know what happened then. Then I was getting stronger and I got into the gym at 12, 13 and I, uh, again, it was a very, those, the 10 years since then have been a very slow gradual process, but seeing him, uh, as not that as not a, a God hero designed by Marvel, but as a, as a man and, uh, sometimes an unimpressively emotionally volatile man.

[35:12] Oh, like, like triggered kind of thing. Right.

[35:15] Right, yeah.

[35:15] Yeah, it's funny, you know, because we do think, of course, of soldiers as supremely disciplined. And, of course, in some ways, they absolutely are.

[35:22] Yes.

[35:23] But in some ways, they're kind of hedonistic with their emotions. Yes.

[35:29] Soldiers' Emotional Control

[35:29] Um, yeah, there's not a lot of self-control when they feel slighted or they feel, uh, there's some been any kind of loss of status or hierarchy drop. Uh, they get very aggressive and seem kind of out of control. Like there's not a lot of self-control with regards to that stuff.

[35:47] Uh right agreed and you can look at i mean there are metrics about the the alcoholism rates and cigarette smoking rates or having horrible girlfriend rates of soldiers they're markedly higher than the rest of the population.

[35:59] Right yeah so it's almost like the what we look at as discipline is almost like self sadism or self-attack or almost self-abuse it seems like sometimes because that same level of discipline that they have over their physical environment which is, again, quite impressive, I'm not going to lie, but that same level of control that they have over their physical environment, they don't seem to have over their own emotional apparatus.

[36:31] It's a strange thing to see and know. And I'll pipe again here, so we don't go too long, but at 17 years old, I enlisted into the same army.

[36:41] Ah, okay, got it, got it. And what happened with that?

[36:45] Uh, nothing really. I never went to war, uh, just out of, as a matter of chance, but I did, I volunteered to do what he did basically.

[36:56] Right. Right. Okay. And now we're still trying to figure out, at least I'm trying to, why are you beating your head against the wall? So you did it to the point where it would hurt, but I assume you weren't like pouring with blood, right?

[37:16] Correct. Yeah, no, I don't think I've ever bled.

[37:20] And other kids saw you do this?

[37:22] Yes. Yeah, we would sit on our butts in a straight line against the wall.

[37:27] But it would only be you beating your head, right?

[37:30] Right.

[37:31] And did teachers see or hear about this?

[37:38] Um they must have seen because we were just out and i didn't know it was something sort of shameful or to be hidden um clearly but and i'm sure i was i was nagged to stop once or twice but i i uh i don't remember any sort of sustained like hey this is completely unacceptable like behavior on the part of a child well.

[37:58] I i don't know about i mean completely unacceptable it's one way to put it i'd be like hey i wonder why this kid has beat his head against the brick war.

[38:06] Sure. Terrifying.

[38:08] Right. So, I would imagine you were engaged in an experiment called skepticism. Yes, that's probably it. I could be wrong. Obviously, I could be wrong. But I would imagine you were engaged in an experiment called skepticism.

[38:34] Skeptical of what?

[38:36] Well, your father is going and risking his life to protect the great, wonderful society called America, right?

[38:49] Uh-huh.

[38:50] So if it's a great, wonderful society that's worth your father risking his life to save, how does it handle a child who is clearly in great emotional and psychological agony?

[39:10] Well, I got the answer.

[39:12] Go on.

[39:14] I mean, it seems like, and I still believe I had it better than a lot of my peers. So if I was, it was just normal. I was one of the better cases that these teachers sort of walked among.

[39:30] Well, okay. But did you see any teacher deal positively and helpfully and productively with any child who was obviously in great pain?

[39:40] Not that I remember, but I assume that happened.

[39:46] Why would you assume that happens?

[39:49] There were just so many women in there, and then so many children. There must have been some reaching out.

[39:58] Okay, let's stick with what we can empirically verify.

[40:02] Okay, well, yeah, I certainly don't remember.

[40:04] So you're head against the wall. Kids, no. Teachers, no. And this is the great society that your father is risking his life to defend. How great is this society? What if I beat my head against the wall? Will anyone care? Now, if people do care, then obviously there's some real positive elements of the society, and you can understand from a child's perspective what your father might be fighting for, right?

[40:33] Sure, yeah.

[40:34] But if they ignore it and don't care and don't respond and don't lift a damn finger to help a child in obviously massive psychological distress, then what on earth is your father fighting to protect?

[40:48] A Society that Ignores Children's Pain

[40:49] A society that ignores the pain of children?

[40:55] Yes, yeah.

[40:59] I mean, your mother ignored it, right?

[41:03] Right.

[41:04] Your father ignored it. Your friends ignored it. Your teachers ignored it. Your siblings ignored it. Extended family ignored it. So what's he fighting for?

[41:22] I think, like you said earlier, it's his own very conservative need or desire for those stakes in that brotherhood.

[41:37] Well, you know, I mean, a lot of guys go to war because they don't like being home.

[41:45] Sure, yeah, and he certainly didn't seem to, especially after it sort of overtook him.

[41:51] Well, because if you like going to war, you're probably pretty bad at being at home. And if you love being at home, you won't go to war.

[42:04] I'm with you.

[42:05] Right. I mean, if he was home and he's like, I can't leave my family. I love my children too much. I love my wife too much. I can't leave. Then he would have quit, right?

[42:16] Right. And not even quit, but just not re-upped.

[42:20] Right yeah sorry that's a better way to put it but yeah he would have not react, right and even if he wanted to quit there's lots of i mean i did a show many years ago with a guy who helped out with that kind of stuff so he preferred to go to war than to be at home and, some of that had to do i guess with the patriotism although it doesn't sound particularly well thought through, but a lot of it would, I assume would have to do with, not being able to commit to his family.

[42:59] Uh, I don't know what you mean by not being able to commit. He married very young and made children immediately.

[43:10] Uh-huh. And then was gone.

[43:12] And then was gone. Yeah.

[43:13] That's the part I mean about not committing.

[43:16] Sure, sure. But I...

[43:17] You commit to your family. You do what's best for your family. Was it best for your family? Was it best for his family that he was overseas in wars that, to put it as charitably as possible, may not have been 100% about defending the American homeland?

[43:35] It was absolutely worse for his family.

[43:37] The Impact of Parental Commitment

[43:38] Okay. So that's what I mean by he didn't wake up and say, what's objectively best for my wife and kids?

[43:43] Right.

[43:44] So he did not commit to his family. Committing to your family says, what's best for your wife and kids, right? So I like politics, right? I mean, you know the story arc of the show. I like talking politics. I found politics very interesting. Am I doing politics?

[44:03] No.

[44:04] Why not? Not because it ain't the best for my family. Sure. Because things were getting a little crazy out there.

[44:11] They're not getting better.

[44:12] Right. So I do what's best for my family, even though I liked politics and it made me very popular. Right. And it got me a big audience. I had to walk away because I'm committed to my family.

[44:27] Right.

[44:29] So you realize why I'm harping all of this, right?

[44:33] No, not yet.

[44:34] Okay, what's your big issue with your girlfriend?

[44:38] I can't commit to any of it.

[44:41] Should I stay or should I go? You have a difficulty committing to your girlfriend, right?

[44:49] To say the least, yeah.

[44:50] Yeah, so you see why I'm talking about your dad so much, right?

[44:52] Sure, yes.

[44:53] His failure, in my view, to commit to his family. He didn't leave. He didn't stay, right? Right. He didn't say to his wife, listen, I can't be a good father to these kids. I'm gone six to nine months a year. And when I'm back, I'm working crazy hours and my head's just not in the game. So listen, we need to, like, I need to leave and, you know, obviously I'll support the kids, but, you know, you need to find them a stepdad or like someone who's going to raise these kids. Right. Because I'm not here raising them. I need to do what's best for the family. Either to stay home or if I'm going to go fight overseas, I need to let the family go so that you guys can get some kind of normal life going.

[45:43] Right. He did. He didn't either. Like I'm doing that.

[45:45] He's he's yeah. Yeah, he's neither there nor not there. And that's you, right?

[45:54] Yes, it is.

[45:56] Nobody knows what I'm doing until I say it. Is that fair to say? I'm not talking about my dad deployment. I'm trying to talk about my girlfriend, right?

[46:03] Yeah. Right.

[46:11] So, why did he neither stay nor go?

[46:22] Well if we use the analogy that's what I'm doing it sounds like weakness.

[46:27] Focusing on Others' Happiness

[46:27] Weakness doesn't explain much though you know if I say why did the bridge fall down it was weak but it doesn't really explain much, I mean it's almost a tautology yeah why did something not work because it was weak to working you know it doesn't add much so alright right?

[46:54] Everything I can think of is a tautology. Right.

[47:03] All right. Can you think of a time in your life where somebody has genuinely sacrificed something of value that they really wanted to do for your happiness, and it made you happy.

[47:35] Uh, my mother wanted to, um, I don't want to say not be a mom, but she, she says she.

[47:43] What was that?

[47:47] I, uh, I don't even know what, where I was going there with that, but.

[47:53] Well, you're going somewhere. I'm not trying to catch you out here, but my mom wanted to not be a mom.

[47:59] I'm not hearing it.

[48:01] Or maybe you misspoke but that's not something i want to pretend you didn't say.

[48:05] No yeah i misspoke i'm trying to get to before she was a mom um like if she weren't a mom she spoke about these sort of other ambitions she had i like one like being in the coast guard because she thought it was cool when she was you know 15 16 17 okay.

[48:24] I mean that's a little bit like Like every kid wants to be an astronaut, right?

[48:27] Yeah, I agree. So what else?

[48:31] I'm not big of the Coast Guard at 15. It's okay. What else?

[48:43] I think some honest but difficult conversations at 10 years old or 13 years old would have satisfied the question you're asking. But those didn't happen.

[48:55] Who has focused in your life on your happiness? Putting aside all other considerations, has focused on your happiness?

[49:20] That's not happened yet. That's why I'm calling.

[49:24] Well, A, that's obviously not funny, and B, the fact that it hasn't happened yet is everything.

[49:36] What do you mean?

[49:39] Well, the fact that you're in your early 20s and no one has focused on your happiness is everything to you because, You don't know any different.

[49:59] I've certainly had friends and girlfriends who have cared and sort of been generous.

[50:12] Okay, listen, I'm obviously not trying to catch you out and say it hasn't happened. So if you can give me examples, I'd be thrilled to hear them.

[50:23] Quite recently, I've got a friend from when I was in the Army who just totally opened his door to me. I was doing something that necessitated that I sort of wait and not work and not buy a place and not live with my parents. So anyway, I sort of slept in his spare room for weeks, and I consider that a very large and important kindness, and invited me to his family's Thanksgiving and all that.

[50:54] Okay, listen, and I'm not going to try and dismiss that. Giving you a place to stay is not focusing on your happiness.

[51:03] Sure, sure. Sure.

[51:04] It's giving, I mean, I'm not saying it's unimportant, and obviously it's very nice that he did that, but that's not the same as focusing on your happiness. I mean, obviously that's preventing you from being unhappy by having no place to stay, but that's not him saying, you know, tell me what you want in life, and I'll really work to try and provide it, no strings attached.

[51:23] No, that sort of sentence, that certainly has never happened.

[51:29] Well, I mean, it wouldn't be that sentence exactly, but that would be the general sentiment.

[51:37] Right yeah not it has not happened can.

[51:41] You think of a time in your childhood when you wanted that to happen and you have some idea of how it might have manifested.

[52:02] Now i can't think of an example of me thinking uh i.

[52:06] Mean i'll give you just a tiny example from my life when i was you know 12 or 13 i loved to go swimming i mean i was basically lived in the water for most of my childhood you know swim team water polo team and all of that but in particular at the age of 12 or 13 i absolutely loved going swimming and in particular you know they had these these big old dive, giant diving boards that you could go up and do flips and a half and corkscrews and all that kind of stuff. I just love doing that. I love that feeling of going up into the air, feeling like you could fly for a moment and then twisting, landing in the water as perfect as I could. And I love that. And anyway, so, um, there was swimming Friday nights and Sundays during the day.

[52:48] And one Friday I left, I had only one bathing suit cause you know, a poor kid and all right and so one uh one sunday sorry one one friday i uh sadly left my bathing suit at school in in my locker and actually i never even had a lock for my locker i just had a little bolt and screw uh because that was my high level of security back then and i because i realized i like i'd go two hours friday i'd get two hours sunday to to swim and swim and swim and and dive, and dive, and dive. And I realized without my bathing suit, of course, I couldn't go. And the school was locked, and I couldn't get to my locker. So I was very, very desperate for a bathing suit. Plus, you know, I kind of needed a new bathing suit anyway, you know, when they start to get those little rolly puffs on them, because they're kind of falling apart, and I didn't want it to split. This is back in the days of banana hammocks, Speedo, Central. And anyway, after a certain amount of really wanting this, my mother did, in fact, to take me over and she bought me a cheap bathing suit. I don't want to say cheap, like it was bad. I was happy to get it and she was nice to do it. And it was a good thing to do. But that was a time where I really wanted something. My mother did accommodate me and I did get to go swimming and not in this ratty old half falling apart bathing suit situation.

[54:11] And that just one instance where she really did focus on something that would make me happy. She didn't have to do it, but it was nice that she did. It was stuff like that.

[54:24] Well, definitely. I'm sure that there are many examples like that facilitated by my parents. And whether I can remember one specifically, it was kind of like getting pizza ordered to the house. It was kind of like a celebration ritual we did when dad was home. So definitely, it'd be a school night or something.

[54:49] No, but that's a family thing for your dad. And I'm not saying you didn't enjoy it, but that wasn't focused on your happiness. My mother didn't want to buy me a bathing suit. I wanted her to buy me a bathing suit. And she did focus on my happiness at that time. It was something, I mean, if it's in fact, in a sense, negative for the other person, right? Then that makes it even more sort of focused on your happiness, right?

[55:21] Yes. Yeah.

[55:24] Where, you know, your mother comes home and says, you know, hey, I remember you talking about, you know, this particular whatever it is. a week or two ago, so I made sure to order it for you, and here it is. Or, you know, something thoughtful, which is focused on something that makes you happy, even if it's incomprehensible to her.

[55:56] I'm going to pull the I'm sure it happened card.

[55:59] Well, no, because I would accept that if it was common, then we don't remember, right, the details. If it's rare, though, we remember the details because it's very different, right?

[56:12] Right, but that I remember very, very little overall.

[56:17] Well, that's because there was a monotony to it.

[56:21] Yeah. Right? Yeah.

[56:27] So, did you have a teacher that focused on what was best for you in terms of learning or what made you happy?

[56:47] We had a couple very nice teachers growing up in a small town. I remember one of them, I was sort of a star math kid growing all the way through. But at one point, I was kind of slipping and getting things wrong. And she said, just like kind of casual remark after class, she was like, hey, why are you slipping towards the mean here? And she says, is it because your dad's gone? And I didn't even think about it. I just exploded with enough tears to wet my socks. I do remember that.

[57:26] That wasn't specifically focused on your happiness, although it was a thoughtful thing to say.

[57:31] Yeah.

[57:32] The Challenge of Prioritizing Others' Needs

[57:33] Okay, so is it fair to say that you don't have the experience of somebody focusing on your happiness, what's best for you, at the exclusion of their own preferences?

[57:42] Yes, I think that's fair. And, and just even you saying it, me imagining that sounds kind of discomforting. Like what's like, what's wrong with that?

[57:50] What do you mean?

[57:53] Um, I don't know. Like I haven't earned that yet or something.

[57:57] Well, the whole point of people being nice to you is you're not supposed to earn it. Right.

[58:01] Uh, yeah.

[58:02] Then it's just a trade of good for good. Right.

[58:05] Sure.

[58:05] I mean, it's like the restaurant waitress. Isn't that nice for you? If you know you're going to stiffer on the bill. Right. So you don't, you know, you earn her niceness by paying the bill or giving her a tip or whatever, right?

[58:20] Yes.

[58:22] Right. So can you picture what it would be like for someone to wake up in the morning and think of what's going to make your day better and focus on that?

[58:39] I can picture it, yes.

[58:40] Okay. And what do you think or feel when you picture that?

[58:46] I've got to marry her. Right.

[58:49] Does your girlfriend do that?

[58:52] No.

[58:53] Okay. That's why you won't marry her.

[58:56] But is there an issue of cause and effect there? Is that sort of... Why would she?

[59:04] Why would she focus on your happiness? because she wants to get married that's why uh why would she what do you mean why would she focus why would the woman who loves me focus on my happiness what, what are you saying soldier I don't understand, why wouldn't she, hmm Hmm.

[59:49] That's a good point.

[59:57] Because if you've not had that happen, it would be hard for you to do that for others, right?

[1:00:06] It is.

[1:00:08] Now, did your girlfriend, I assume she did, of course I could be wrong, but did your girlfriend grow up in a situation where, other people were not focused on her happiness at the exclusion of their own immediate self-interest?

[1:00:25] Absolutely.

[1:00:27] So would she understand this language or this perspective really at all?

[1:00:33] No.

[1:00:35] So what's drawing you together if it's not taking genuine pleasure in the other person's happiness?

[1:00:47] We do but it's it's uh it's measured.

[1:01:01] Um and it's not usually parent-childs right i was just on a hike with my daughter the other day and we passed by a stinking, vile bog, like a swamp.

[1:01:17] Now, many years ago, when my daughter first got into catching animals, right, and she loved to catch, you know, frogs and toads and salamanders and things like that, right? Uh-huh. The reason I shuddered a little bit when we went past that bog is I remember floundering around in there. 10 years ago trying to help my daughter catch frogs and salamanders and toads and maybe even some minnows, Now, is it my preferred thing to do in life as a whole to flounder around in a stinky vile oily bog looking for little critters Certainly not Absolutely not, But I took great delight in it 10 years ago. It was a blast. I look back on it with great fondness, though you could not pay me to do it again, at least until I get grandkids. Then I'm sure I'll be right back in that bog floundering around like a wounded buffalo or a mastodon trying to get out of a tar pit, right? I'll be right back in there and I'll be having a blast with the grandkids.

[1:02:31] I very much look forward to that.

[1:02:33] Well, it's fun because it's time spent with my daughter, and she's loving it. And I love that she's loving it. This is what I signed up for. I wanted to become a father, and that's the deal. If it makes her happy, I'm focused on it. now she is obsessed with making me great food oh no no it's wonderful are you kidding me she's good man awesome she makes these sandwiches full of stuff i'd never even think of putting together but it's like fireworks in my mouth, and she makes these smoothies and she gives me like cut up apples with a little bit of yogurt and granola ah it's fantastic right now yeah i'm not and she literally says please tell me every time you're hungry i love making the food that.

[1:03:35] Is so cool.

[1:03:36] Well i mean you know deposits and withdrawals so to speak right and i have never said i did all these things i didn't want to because her having a great deal of fun with this and loving it, means it's fun for me. She loves ducks, man. She's just queen duck. So we have ducks. Is there any sane universe in which I'd have ducks if I wasn't a parent? Absolutely not. I didn't even know you could. But we get ducks. And she loves them. and I love that she loves them. And I'll go out with her and we'll check the ducks and we'll check the eggs and we'll take them to the pond and like, yep, absolutely. You know, I don't walk up and down rivers, but I enjoyed doing it when I was a kid and my daughter enjoys river hiking and catching the crayfish and all this kind of cool stuff, right?

[1:04:36] Yeah.

[1:04:37] Yeah. So it's fun and it's great memories. It's nothing I'd do without that. I'm sorry. I know that I'm like rambling a little here But I just want to sort of get across to the idea that if it's great fun for her, I'm going to love it.

[1:04:53] I very much have that idea. Not just from your show, of course. But this is the standard I have. But I'm yet not able to meet it, if that makes sense.

[1:05:04] Right.

[1:05:05] I'm right there with you. This is exactly what I'm after. Okay.

[1:05:08] Learning to Prioritize Others' Happiness

[1:05:08] And I plan to do it forever.

[1:05:10] Good. I won't. But that's the general idea. And it seems to me that you've not been on the receiving end of that.

[1:05:22] Well, with regards to withdrawals and deposits, again, I don't think I've, uh, I said, why would she earlier? I've not, I've not deposited, uh, maybe I've got a cause and effect backwards.

[1:05:44] Well, it's interesting, of course, you know, as a male, you would first self-criticize, right?

[1:05:48] Yeah.

[1:05:49] Also as an army guy, you would first self-criticize. Well, it must be me then. I must be the one who's not modeling it or doing it or whatever, right? But I don't think you particularly, maybe you did or didn't, but I don't know that you particularly knew before this part of the call that this was significantly missing and the main reason why you haven't committed.

[1:06:12] Right.

[1:06:18] So we get married when we can't do any better. And we can't do better when someone is really dedicated to our happiness, and in return, we wish to be dedicated to their happiness.

[1:06:42] I learned this from my wife just by the by I didn't learn this from my family I didn't learn this from my friends I didn't learn this from extended family I didn't learn this from teachers or priests or philosophers or anything like that, You know, she takes genuine and deep pleasure in the happiness of her family. And it's something I'd not experienced before. It was kind of disorienting. Once I got it, I'm like, okay, we're getting married. And I'd been in multi-year relationships before that I hadn't committed to. Within three months, I'm like, yeah, we're getting married. Interesting. So, when it comes to thinking of your girlfriend's happiness, what's the limit for you? Like, what is it that makes it tough to just say, I'm just going to work to make her happy. I'm just going to work to satisfy her needs and her preferences and make her life as delightful as I can. i'm not saying you should do that i'm just curious if that i mean i'm sure that thought has crossed your mind and what's the barrier there what's the negative outcome if you do that.

[1:08:12] Um well i view the sort of the work i'm doing as very very much the priority um and i mean i mean, like money and future planning and sort of setting the conditions for for having a family so.

[1:08:28] Now that is that but does your girlfriend agree that that's what makes her the happiest is you doing that stuff it could absolutely be that case right but does your girlfriend is your girlfriend also of the perspective that you working on the job and the money and the savings and building the foundation for the future family is that what makes her the happiest at this moment in her life.

[1:08:55] No.

[1:08:57] And how do you know that?

[1:09:02] Well, she seems to regard the sort of stuff what I'm doing as kind of indiscriminate and not that interesting blocks of time during which we can't be together.

[1:09:16] Well, no, I get that. I mean, she'd rather be with you. But does she agree? You know, let me sort of give you an example, right? so let's say your girlfriend has a really, really bad headache, but there's no Tylenol or whatever aspirin in the house, right?

[1:09:33] Mm-hmm.

[1:09:34] And then you say, hey, I'll go and get it, right? Now, this is a time that you won't be together, but would she be happy that you're going to get the painkiller?

[1:09:44] Right. She's not that way about what I'm doing.

[1:09:47] Okay. So that's good to know. And have you asked her what would make her the happiest? no how long have you been going out uh.

[1:10:00] Going on three months.

[1:10:01] Okay why haven't you asked her and i don't mean this to be accusatory it's genuinely a curious question why haven't you asked her what would make her the happiest, is it too soon i mean three months is a relatively young relationship.

[1:10:21] I don't think it's too soon though given the.

[1:10:23] Given that you're raw dogging yeah maybe not okay maybe um but it's serious enough relationship that you're thinking of marriage right.

[1:10:32] Yes yeah absolutely it's from the from the first time we met.

[1:10:35] Okay so why haven't you asked her what would make her the happiest um, And again, I'm not trying to accuse you. I'm just genuine. Wouldn't that be a good thing to do?

[1:10:49] It totally would, but I haven't. It's interesting.

[1:10:53] So why not?

[1:10:55] The answer seems to be, so I haven't asked her, but I think I have a pretty good idea.

[1:11:03] No, but you would ask her.

[1:11:05] Certainly that wouldn't hurt, yes.

[1:11:07] Yeah, if you're a waiter and you have a pretty good idea what the guy might want to eat, you still say, hey, what do you want to eat? I would recommend the X, Y, Z, but what do you want, right?

[1:11:18] Right. Yeah.

[1:11:22] Okay. So why haven't you asked her?

[1:11:29] I'm going to answer your question with a question and say it's because I know, is it because I know we have sort of divergent end goals?

[1:11:38] Nope. Not that at all.

[1:11:40] Cool.

[1:11:41] No, it's not that. Do you want to know why?

[1:11:44] Yeah, I'd love to.

[1:11:45] Well, I'm going to preface my answer with a question. Why didn't your parents, when you were a child, ask you what would make you happiest?

[1:11:58] Their needs came first.

[1:12:00] Well, because if they ask you what makes you happiest, they're going to be unhappy. Right. Right? Yeah. And so, asking someone else what they want makes you unhappy. So if you ask your girlfriend what she wants, you're screwed, because she's going to want something that maybe is going to make you unhappy, and then what?

[1:12:46] And then we know we're not going to get married.

[1:12:48] No, no, no, no. Forget all of that. No, no. You're jumping straight off to this marriage, not marriage thing. No, no, no. There's a whole other bunch of stuff we go through before all of that nonsense. No, no. Forget all that. We're just dealing with this, right?

[1:13:00] Uh-huh.

[1:13:04] So if I want to stay home and write, and I know my daughter wants to go for a long hike.

[1:13:11] Yeah.

[1:13:11] Am I going to ask my daughter what she wants to do?

[1:13:13] No.

[1:13:14] I am not. Right?

[1:13:18] Right.

[1:13:19] Unless I get my head out of my ass and I say, I'm going to live to my 80s. I've got 30 years to write. My daughter is 15 and a half, which means all too soon she ain't going to want to go on lots of hikes with her old man, right?

[1:13:37] Right, yeah.

[1:13:38] So I get my head out of my ass. I throw my keyboard away and we go on the hike. I'm not losing my writing by going on a hike with my daughter I'm gaining a great memory with my daughter which is exactly what parenting is supposed to be all about and I can write later, but I can't go on a hike with my 15 year old daughter later because she won't be 15 anymore do you see what I mean? so if I think I want to write and if I go on a hike with my daughter I'm losing out I'm not going to ask her what she wants to do, that's your parents isn't it, I want to be a soldier and if I ask my son do you want me to be a soldier what's my son going to say.

[1:14:36] A resounding no.

[1:14:38] I don't want you to be a soldier, oh then I don't get to be a soldier Right. Oh, man, that's terrible. So the last thing I ever want to do is ask my son what he wants.

[1:14:51] Mm-hmm.

[1:14:52] Do you see what I mean?

[1:14:53] Yes.

[1:14:57] If he asks your mom, do you want me to go and deploy when you were little, what would your mom say?

[1:15:05] Absolutely not.

[1:15:06] Mm-hmm. So that's the win-lose mentality. If other people get what they want, I don't get what I want. If I get what I want, other people don't get what they want. That's win-lose.

[1:15:25] Yes.

[1:15:26] And you can never fully commit to win-lose. Because it's always this kind of tense standoff and Mexican standoff and negotiation and somebody always loses, usually the kids, right?

[1:15:38] Yeah.

[1:15:41] So if I'm saying I want to write and if I don't get to write that's bad my daughter wants to go on a hike if I do what she wants I lose writing that's bad I may go on the hike but maybe I'm kind of resentful or maybe I'm kind of quiet like it's stupid right? Yes As opposed to you know get your head out of your ass and go and have a great hike with your daughter because she's going to be gone before you know it, and then I don't lose anything, I gain. But it requires a shift in perspective. It requires letting go of your selfish needs in the moment I want to write. And saying, what do I really want? Well, what I really want is not another chapter or another little article or whatever it is. What I want is a great time with my daughter. That's what I really want. That's what's more important to me. But I have to let go of just that I want, I want, right? I don't know if this makes any sense, but it does.

[1:17:08] And we go on the hike and it's a great time and I don't miss the writing at all. And the funny thing is, probably I'm actually helping my writing.

[1:17:18] Yeah, probably.

[1:17:20] Right? Because at some point, years down the road, I can write a scene where a father goes hiking with his daughter and get it all right.

[1:17:27] Sure.

[1:17:28] Or I can write about a selfish guy who doesn't go hiking with his daughter and gets it all wrong. I'm actually helping my writing too.

[1:17:36] Yeah. Yeah, and if you know that's what she wants to do during your writing, you'd probably be distracted by that missed opportunity.

[1:17:42] Yes, yes, yes. Could I write about a truly benevolent, loving character, if I did that, right? Right. So, I don't think you particularly know the joys that come from devoting yourself to the happiness of another. I think you hold yourself back from that because your parents modeled win-lose. If your mother wins and your father stays home, your father's unhappy. If your father wins and leaves, your mother's unhappy and so are his kids. but there's an even darker win-lose which is around the child beating, The child beating, which I mean, the beatings with the belts and the implements, wooden spoon, wasn't it? Wooden spoon and belts?

[1:18:59] That's right.

[1:19:01] So the beating is, I can't motivate you by my example, so I have to punish you.

[1:19:11] Yes.

[1:19:15] So you were beaten for what thinking in opposition to your father what were the key things i'm sorry if i if you mentioned that what were the key things that you were beaten for.

[1:19:27] Uh offending my mother was definitely the the biggest one his wife.

[1:19:31] Right so you can't hurt your mother right yeah.

[1:19:35] I can't hurt the woman's feelings.

[1:19:37] Right although she's turned into a heartbroken widow once or twice a year, right? Your father hurts her incredibly deeply regularly.

[1:19:48] That's right.

[1:19:48] So he can't obviously motivate you by his example. You got to think of your mother's feelings first. Never hurt her. Okay. I'm off to war.

[1:20:00] Absolutely.

[1:20:01] Right. So he can't motivate you by example, so you have to punish you. What else?

[1:20:10] Well, then, uh, after her, then, then him sort of just. Yeah.

[1:20:16] You've got to, you've got to think of my feelings first, right?

[1:20:19] Yes. Yeah. Then that, but he.

[1:20:20] But he, you can't think of a single time where he thought of your feelings first. So he can't motivate you by example.

[1:20:30] Definitely not.

[1:20:31] I mean, I think I helped to motivate my daughter into this way of looking at things or this way of experiencing life. I mean, my wife, even more so than me. So, win-win? And motivating you through moral behavior rather than punishing you for replicating your parents' behavior? Because it is kind of hypocritical, right? You get beaten.

[1:21:05] Yeah, totally.

[1:21:05] Upsetting your mother, and your dad gets like medals and a pension for upsetting your mother. You're a bad guy for upsetting your mother. Your dad is a hero for upsetting your mother. You're a bad guy for not putting your father's needs first. Your father never seems to put your needs first, last, or anywhere. So how the hell are you supposed to learn how to put other people's needs first if it doesn't happen to you? It's like expressly forbidding you from learning anything to do with Japanese and then punishing you for not knowing Japanese.

[1:21:49] Well, you learned Japanese eventually.

[1:21:52] Most people don't. Your parents didn't.

[1:21:56] Right. And I can't stand to that possibility. I reject that. Right.

[1:22:06] Exploring Core Fears

[1:22:06] If you... Okay, let's... We'll get real to the core of the fear here. And if I'm wrong, obviously, tell me. I'm exploring, so if I go astray, set me straight. I implore you. is not the fear. Why are people not generous in this way? Why don't they put the needs of other people first? Because they fear being exploited.

[1:22:31] Right.

[1:22:32] If I put your needs ahead of mine, you're just going to exploit me and eat me alive. Definitely. Do you have that concern with your girlfriend? I'm not saying whether it's rational or not. I'm just saying, do you have that concern that if you're really, really generous and thoughtful towards what she needs, that she's just going to use and exploit you? or is she going to reciprocate?

[1:22:55] I, uh, well, I think, I think her, this, this doesn't, this might not make sense, but being really generous and, and, uh, doing exactly what she wants. I think that's, I think that's my, my commitment and my, um, you know, given our kids and all that stuff.

[1:23:16] So, sorry, what do you mean? That's your commitment. Tell me what you mean.

[1:23:20] I think what would make her most happy at this point in her life, it would be for me to date her for a while longer and then, and then definitely propose and give her a family.

[1:23:36] Hmm. Interesting. Okay. Now, would that make you happy? At the moment, I don't think so.

[1:23:53] Me neither. Right.

[1:23:54] So, you have to take joy in bringing joy to her. Now, if you bring joy to her at your own expense, that's not really sustainable, right?

[1:24:08] Right, yeah.

[1:24:10] So what's the barrier to bringing joy to her and enjoying it?

[1:24:14] Making Her Happier

[1:24:15] So let's say you said, what would make you the happiest? And what do you think, you said you have some idea, and I know that there's the wife and kids thing, is there anything in the more short term? What would make her happier?

[1:24:32] Yes, yeah, I've definitely got some idea.

[1:24:36] And what might that be?

[1:24:38] There's specific dates to, you know, certain parks and restaurants, stuff like that.

[1:24:45] Oh, okay. So there's a particular restaurant she wants to go to, and if you planned that out ahead of time, she'd be very happy.

[1:24:51] That's right. Okay.

[1:24:53] And what has prevented you from doing that, do you think? And you would enjoy that too, I assume.

[1:25:04] Yeah, definitely.

[1:25:05] Okay. So what would...

[1:25:06] Mostly because she would. Well, it's just been my schedule, my being busy, and I do fully intend to do these things within 10, 14 days here.

[1:25:19] Sorry, your schedule has precluded you from eating out?

[1:25:26] No, not entirely, but certainly put it off, yeah.

[1:25:30] Okay, I mean, let's go through some of the traditional stuff, right? Does she work?

[1:25:36] She does, yes.

[1:25:37] Okay. uh would would would it give her pleasure for you to have flowers sent to her workplace with a romantic note yes absolutely okay now that doesn't require that you be off work right you're right yep so and you know women they like the bragging rights look my boyfriend sent me all these flowers oh you're so lucky you know this that's nice right yes so what would prevent you i mean this is like sending a woman flowers it's not exactly brain surgery when it comes to right Right. So what would have prevented you from doing that?

[1:26:13] Nothing, nothing practical.

[1:26:15] No, I was okay. But what, what in your mind? And again, that's not a big criticism. I'm genuinely curious. What in your mind would have prevented you from doing that?

[1:26:27] Well, it sounds like this sort of, uh, this reservation you're talking about, like this being on guard.

[1:26:34] Okay. On guard for what?

[1:26:37] On guard for her to take advantage of.

[1:26:41] Okay. So, so play it out. If, if you start doing things that make her really happy, what is your concern? And again, rational or not, we'll just cast it, like just dig deep. And what's, what's the cause and effect or what's the worst case scenario that might happen here?

[1:26:56] The cause is sort of my generosity and affections. It is rational. I'm very sure that they would have the effect of just drowning her in infatuation and sort of a need for me, which is...

[1:27:13] Sorry, so drowning her in infatuation, I mean, it sounds like an 80s romantic song. What does that mean? Like in practical terms, what happens?

[1:27:23] Happens just sort of so she likes me as is that i haven't done this sort of thing to to whatever degree oh so you like you might appear.

[1:27:31] Too needy and desperate.

[1:27:32] No no um she might like me too much.

[1:27:38] Oh it might make her too happy and then she gets really attached to you.

[1:27:42] Consequences of Generosity

[1:27:42] Correct which isn't itself bad but if i'm well if we're not going to stay together then it is, Does that make sense?

[1:27:52] Well, the fear makes sense the way it would play out in reality doesn't at all, So let's say you spend the next week or two really working on making her happy, There's only one of three outcomes What are they? I mean two major ones.

[1:28:20] Uh, well, I would get to see her sort of response and if she...

[1:28:25] Yeah, so what are the two basic responses she could have?

[1:28:28] She doesn't reciprocate.

[1:28:30] Well, either she does reciprocate or B, she raises her expectations, becomes more demanding, and it's unpleasant.

[1:28:39] Yeah.

[1:28:42] So you send her flowers every week and then she doesn't respond. You stop sending her flowers and she's like, hey, why don't you send me any flowers? well that's your answer isn't it right yeah because she is not responding to generosity, with reciprocity but with thanking right with bitchiness right yes she's become entitled, and she has not even once it not even has once crossed her mind that she might want to make you you happy as well that.

[1:29:16] Would be very great to find out yes.

[1:29:18] Well it wouldn't be fun but it's pretty important right important yes right generosity almost never fails and when we withhold ourself from generosity we withhold ourself from certainty because that's what bothering you about so you're you're hedging saying oh i don't want to be too nice i don't I want to be, so then you're uncertain, but go be generous, be generous. And you find out, you get closure, you get certainty either way. Either she's like, holy crap, it's the best guy ever. And she racks her brain to make you as happy as possible. In which case, yay, right?

[1:30:02] Yeah.

[1:30:04] Uncertainty of Generosity

[1:30:04] Or she just takes it all for granted and it raises her expectations and she just gets bitchy. Okay. I mean, I said there were three. The one is that nothing changes, but that's very unusual. Like, you just keep, she just, she doesn't get any more bitchy, but she doesn't reciprocate or whatever, right? Because when you're generous, you give people power over you.

[1:30:30] Oh.

[1:30:31] Right?

[1:30:33] Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

[1:30:34] And now either they're going to turn into an equal or they're going to turn into a bitchy queen, right?

[1:30:41] Yes.

[1:30:43] But you want, as soon as possible in a relationship, you want to give the woman power over you.

[1:30:53] Interesting.

[1:30:54] I know as a man, this kind of goes against the grain a little, right? I must be the lord of King Kong isolation and patriarchal, whatever, right? But no, if you really like the woman, say, oh, I really like you, right? You think of ways to make her happy. Oh, that's being such a simp. It's like, no, absolutely not. the simp is one who does it and doesn't look for reciprocity yeah right yep, the simp is one who makes it a masochistic commandment to serve women, and almost doesn't want anything in return that's that's pathetic i mean i don't even understand that at all yeah but generosity in relationships is the best way to find out if someone's marriage material.

[1:32:00] That's awesome it's like it's like who's a good friend well you lend money to your friend right i'm sure you've had a broke friend i know i have i've been that broke friend from time to time and you know you lend money to your friend and then if your friend dodges you and won't pay you back you've just saved yourself a whole lot of time and money get closure yeah hey great you i remember there was a guy i lent 800 bucks to and man it was touch and go man you know he was really pretty dodgy and evasive and listen i wasn't like, you have to pay me back right now i was like just tell me i i gotta plan my finances just tell me, what's happening don't just dodge me that's gross i mean if something's happened and you can't pay me back hey man i get it stuff happens but i gotta know what's going on.

[1:33:03] So saved a lot of time and money but that guy, I remember I had a, what's it, Jamaican friend in high school. He needed, I think it was in grade 10. He needed, he borrowed $5 from me to go to a dance at school or something like that. Totally dodged me afterwards. Like wouldn't even acknowledge it and just kind of laughed. Oh yeah, whatever, right?

[1:33:31] Yeah.

[1:33:32] All right. Good to know. Sure. I don't regret the $800. I don't regret, the five bucks I mean I helped make a girlfriend of mine who wanted to get in the film business but I was doing pretty well in the software industry I like produced and wrote produced and funded an entire short film for her pretty bloody pricey, yeah I don't regret that money for a second, because it helped me not get married to her.

[1:34:04] That is awesome.

[1:34:07] Generosity Generosity with an eye to reciprocity is one of the greatest liberating principles known to man. Stinginess never solves the problem of doubt. Generosity with an eye to reciprocity always does.

[1:34:31] Liberating Generosity

[1:34:31] Okay.

[1:34:33] Does this make sense?

[1:34:35] That makes great sense, yeah.

[1:34:36] It's a strong man to be confident, in my view, it's a strong man and woman to be confident enough to be generous, and see what comes back. I mean, you understand the foundation of this whole show, why you and I are having this conversation at all, is that whole principle. My whole principle is, be as generous as humanly possible with philosophy and see what comes back. I'm not saying donate for this call I'm not talking about that at all but the whole point is I don't charge for the calls right.

[1:35:06] Right right I see.

[1:35:07] It's just generosity right this will be useful to you useful to the world and we'll see what comes back, you know it's been pretty good I've got a roof over my head I've got a used car in the driveway things are alright.

[1:35:27] And the biggest show biggest philosophy show ever.

[1:35:30] It's certainly at its peak, man. It was massive. It'll, you know, it'll be bigger in the future than it is now even, but yeah, it's, it's been, it's been great. So that's generosity and look for reciprocity.

[1:35:45] Okay. I'm, uh, I'm on, I'm totally on board. That makes sense.

[1:35:50] Of course, teachers never ask you what you want to do in school because their hands are tied with curriculum, right? And it doesn't sound like your parents did it. I don't know if you've had a bunch of friends. It's a little tougher in the friend world to do it, although it can be helpful. But, yeah. If you can't take pleasure in the pleasure you bring to other people, it's probably not a very sustainable relationship.

[1:36:16] Right. Okay, okay. Yeah. And that's certainly one thing I haven't tried. I talked about the previous relationships failing on the same grounds. That is this sort of just sort of being liberal and not so measured. So the general pattern is.

[1:36:47] Yeah, the general pattern is you're a young man and, you know, you're a lusty young man. It's great. Embrace it. It's wonderful. But what happens is you're very attracted to the woman. The hormones charge like, you know, a whole horde of Genghis Khan's finest stallions. And, you know, whether there's sexual consummation or not, not particularly relevant, but you get four to six months of those bonding hormones. And if the generosity is kind of hedged between the two of you, then the sexual frisson, the the hormones, the highs of initial romance fades out, and you just get kind of bored and don't feel that special to each other, and things just kind of peter out.

[1:37:40] Right.

[1:37:41] Because you haven't used that enthusiasm to test for generosity. In relationships, it's really important to test for generosity, but you can't do that by being stingy.

[1:37:51] Of course.

[1:37:54] You know, I remember lending some money to another friend of mine. And not only did he pay me back the day he promised, but he also took me out for a really nice dinner to say thanks.

[1:38:05] He passed the test?

[1:38:07] Yeah, he didn't have to. I mean, I was happy to lend him the money. But the dinner was a nice touch. So I think generosity with an eye to reciprocity brings certainty. And once you, I mean, if you are very generous with the woman and she's then generous and thinks of you in return and, you know, assuming the other things like values and, and general level of intelligence and conversational ability, if that stuff all checks out, and I'm sure that it does, then holy crap, there's a woman you're attracted to. She's moral.

[1:38:48] Reciprocity in Relationships

[1:38:49] She's a good conversationalist and she reciprocates generosity with generosity. She takes great pleasure in making you happy. You take great pleasure in making her happy. There's no upgrade from that.

[1:39:01] Okay.

[1:39:01] That's the top. Like this, I trying to climb. It's like trying to climb past the peak of Mount Everest, right?

[1:39:11] And that makes sense.

[1:39:13] But it's going to be painful as hell. I'll tell you this, man. There's a reason why people don't. It's pretty obvious what I'm talking about, right?

[1:39:20] Yes.

[1:39:21] And you're a very intelligent young man. So, So, since this obvious thing isn't being done, and most people don't do it, the question is why? Well, the reason why, my friend, is because it's agony when it works. It's horrible when it works. I know I just said it's the best thing ever. Totally. It totally is, right?

[1:39:46] Mm-hmm.

[1:39:46] But it's horrible. Do you know why?

[1:39:50] Well, because it's... It reveals what wasn't done at any point prior. Right.

[1:39:57] Everything that was deficient is now clear. And you've got this amazing, wonderful win-win relationship that just keeps getting better and better. And I've been married 21 years now. It's better and better. And. Everybody else looks pretty crappy. You know what I mean?

[1:40:27] Yeah, yeah.

[1:40:29] And you start looking at all your other relationships and you're like, eh, ew, oh, not so sure about this one. And then maybe you start applying the same principles to these other relationships, right?

[1:40:46] Sure, yeah. Yeah, and then seeing if those either become awesome or are revealed as the opposite.

[1:40:52] Yeah, they don't become awesome. Sorry, spoiler. I mean, I guess, sorry, it's a little bit of a cough. I guess it's theoretically possible, but it's so rare that, you know, it's like saying I don't need sunglasses because there'll be an eclipse today. It's like, yeah, maybe once in a while, but you still need some sunglasses. So, I mean, it could happen, but it's staggeringly rare. What happens is the people in your life who are kind of selfish, they get a sense that there's a new sheriff in town called Quality, right? And, you know, you've seen enough Wild Westerns to know what happens when the sheriff comes to town. Everybody's trying to shoot his ass off, right?

[1:41:37] Yeah, yeah.

[1:41:44] Challenges of Setting New Standards

[1:41:45] And your girlfriend is not going to like to see you get exploited by people and you aren't going to like to see your girlfriend get exploited by people right right, so yeah you're going to have some challenges and people are going to trash talk your girlfriend because they don't like the new standard, that's okay, i mean if you can imagine you run some shit falafel stand and it's like you know dirty hot dark water and you know soggy falafel balls and stuff and then like, the fireworks lit schwammer emporium from heaven opens up right across the street and you're You're probably not that pleased, aren't you?

[1:42:39] Right. Yeah. Got to go to a different town.

[1:42:43] Are you going to be like, well, I guess I'll just completely upgrade my whole shawarma thing to compete? Most times, no. Most times you'll just call the health inspector and tell them that there's rats in the place and hope they'll shut them down. So, that's why people don't do it. It's a completely obvious thing, right?

[1:43:05] Yeah, yeah.

[1:43:07] Ask your girlfriend what makes her happiest and try to provide it and see how she reacts. Because if she doesn't react well, then, you know, that's kind of painful. Maybe you've got a breakup on your hands or whatever, right?

[1:43:21] Right.

[1:43:21] Because it's the kind of thing, like, you can kind of talk about it, but you can't talk about it too much. Right? So I can talk about that with you, but if you say to your girlfriend, well, I'm going to try this radical new thing of giving you what you want, you kind of have to do it and see if it sparks a response, because it has to be kind of organic.

[1:43:40] Organic Reciprocity

[1:43:41] Because if you say, well, I'm going to be generous to you, and if you're not generous back with me, I'm going to break up with you, you don't know if it's organic.

[1:43:49] Right, I've got a finger on the scale.

[1:43:51] Well, yeah, you've got your finger on the scale quite a bit, and you won't trust that she's doing it organically, right?

[1:43:56] Right. that's a good point.

[1:43:59] Like my my when my wife was my girlfriend she never said i'm doing these favors for you but you better reciprocate there was nothing like that right yeah i was just like, wow she's really nice you know my heart grew three sizes that day you know like it hurt uh you know and not in the fires away but like in a positive cringe healthy And so you can't put your finger on the scale, but you need to see if it sparks that kind of reciprocity. I mean, if she asks you directly, you can't lie, right? You don't want to lie to her. You don't want to say, I'm now putting you through the experiment called niceness, right? Changing the parameters up a little here, and I mix things up a little here. really generous and thoughtful and see what happens. And of course, I mean, the worst kind of women, and I'm not putting your girlfriend in this category at all, right? But the worst kind of women, if you're really nice to them and you provide for them what they want and they're really thoughtful, they'll be like, wow, I've got him wrapped around my finger. I can do whatever the hell I want now.

[1:45:13] Yeah.

[1:45:13] And that's sort of male fear as well, right? Mm-hmm. Uh, but again, I, I would, you know, I would be completely shocked if she was in that category because that's, that's really bad, right? Oh, he's totally simping. I can do whatever I want.

[1:45:31] She's not.

[1:45:32] No, I get that. But, but yeah, that, that's, that's also, but you want to figure that out sooner rather than later. This is just for the men listening as a whole, but yeah, you know, generosity with a view to reciprocity is the key, man. That's, that's what gets you out of the bad place and into the good place. And, you know, like, if it doesn't work out, right, and, you know, if she does consume or absorb this kind of stuff, like a black hole, right, the more you pour it in, the bigger and stronger it gets, and the more it pulls in, it destroys again. I'm not putting her in that category. But if it doesn't reciprocate, for whatever reason, then, you know, I mean, if you did break up with her, and she says, well, why, right? I mean, I think it's okay to say then, because you don't have your finger on the scale anymore.

[1:46:17] Right.

[1:46:17] Or I could say, look, you know, I mean, I really, really worked to make you happy. And, you know, I worked at it for a month or two or whatever, and it just never came back. And, you know, I wish you the best. You know, I really wish it had.

[1:46:30] Closure Through Generosity

[1:46:30] But that's not where you're at in life. You're not a bad person or anything like that. But it didn't, you know, remember I did this and I did this and I did this. And I was really sort of racking my brain to make you happy. And I really enjoyed it. But, you know, we've got to have that in common, right? Right. If the only thing we have in common is you like to make, it's making you happy. You know, that kind of leaves me a little bit out in the cold. Right.

[1:46:52] Right. Yeah.

[1:46:52] I want to make you happy. I agree. I want you to make me happy as well. It's like, no, no, it's not very sustainable. So yeah. So then, you know, if there's a breakup scenario, you can say, well, there's certain, oh no, no, no, I want to do it now. And it's like, no, like, sorry, the, the kind of emotional moment has passed for me. And I wouldn't want you to do it out of a sense of, well, otherwise he's going to break up with me. Cause that's not really sustainable. Like either you take pleasure in making your partner happy or you don't, right?

[1:47:19] Right.

[1:47:20] But I think that would be the certainty. But again, you know, it's tough for your other relationships. How, how are you getting along with your parents these days?

[1:47:28] Honest Conversations with Parents

[1:47:28] Not well. In fact, relatively, extremely recently, I called my dad and I was honest with him for arguably the first time, maybe three weeks ago.

[1:47:40] You said you were honest with him?

[1:47:43] Yes.

[1:47:43] And how did that go?

[1:47:46] It went, it didn't go well. I said, I just kind of had three points. I said, I just sort of acknowledged that our relationship was bad because it had been a little bit adversarial, contentious, or, I mean, really since I became a man. Point two, my childhood sucked. I wanted to be honest about that. And then point three.

[1:48:07] Sorry, what? Oh, your childhood sucked. Yeah, sorry. Go ahead.

[1:48:09] Yes, yeah. And then point three, that we disagreed on many foundational questions with respect to, you know, God, politics, war, parenting, sort of judgment in our social lives. he responded with significant passive aggression and um some like yeah yeah a significant passive aggression and excuses.

[1:48:29] I'm sorry about that i really am it's you know it's it's it's just so heartbreaking when you try to have those frank discussions and like i can kind of understand that parents might get a little shocked and act badly in the moment but you know wouldn't they They call back an hour or two later saying, you know, man, this has really bothered me and this is really eating away at me and let's try this again. And I'm sorry that I, you know, that kind of stuff.

[1:48:53] Yeah. I've been waiting.

[1:48:56] Yeah. It's, it's within a day or two or it doesn't happen. I've never seen a break to that, to that rule. So I'm real sorry about that. And did your mom know that this call was coming or?

[1:49:09] No, she didn't. I tried to, because she's very feminine and like the, um, the sort of inoffensive and submissive wife kind of way. I, I didn't, I sort of went right past her to dead.

[1:49:22] All right. And with your mom.

[1:49:27] How's my relationship with her? The same. It's very, just very distant. I mean, they would like to call and talk with me about the weather and how was school and how was work and all that. What are my sort of financial plans? Just all this stuff that I don't care about. you know i'm interested in uh you know i care about it as far as my life and i appreciate that they're not they don't drag me into their um you know hamburger helper dinner so to speak, but uh but it's not it's not the stuff i love it's not philosophy and history and the future of the u.s dollar and and uh or.

[1:50:11] Even what's going on with your girlfriend that they could might help with right.

[1:50:14] Sure yeah and and what love is nothing like that right because because of course we can't to talk about any of those things without conflict.

[1:50:24] Well, disagreement doesn't mean conflict, right? I mean, maybe in your family, not ontologically, it doesn't.

[1:50:31] Correct, correct.

[1:50:32] Yeah, yeah. I mean, disagreement can be fantastic. Disagreement can be the sparks of like new thought, right?

[1:50:39] Absolutely. Yeah. And mutual respect.

[1:50:44] Yeah, but it really sucks when disagreement just means you're a bad person.

[1:50:49] You know like the.

[1:50:50] Disagreements and Conflict

[1:50:50] How dare you stuff like everybody's greta thunberg when it comes to their own superstitions right.

[1:50:55] Right right it was that was disappointing yeah.

[1:51:00] Yeah a good person would never raise these questions a good person would never think that it's like okay okay cult member like thanks but not that not that interested oh i'm sorry about that and your siblings things.

[1:51:12] Um one of them he wasn't so um subordinated and intimidated as i was growing up and he really distanced himself from the family starting at like six years old so i haven't heard from him and, going on a year probably he.

[1:51:31] Distanced himself at what age.

[1:51:33] Well you know just sort of emotionally not not wanting to be involved not wanting to talk with his brothers or parents but six you said it well sure it's six well so there's no i'm not i'm not i'm.

[1:51:45] Not saying you're wrong i'm just like that's that's what's not would not have been the age i guessed i guess.

[1:51:50] The signs yes the signs of of the uh the path he would go down were were starting to be evident as early as five yes wow wow because yeah that's.

[1:52:00] Wild it's almost like genetic or something, All right. And the other?

[1:52:09] And then little brother, it's much, much closer. And that's the only person I had in mind when I said, maybe this generosity thing will reveal a really good sushi place or whatever it was.

[1:52:21] Yeah, right, right, right.

[1:52:23] We are a bit closer in age and quite similar. We've got the same genes and very similar upbringing. Definitely some differences of note, but...

[1:52:35] No, difference is good.

[1:52:37] It's much better and I hold out hope that it'll only get better from here because where we came from, it really sucked. And at around 10 years old, 10 to 12 years old, I really used my brain to punish him as much as I could, hurt his feelings really as much as I could.

[1:52:59] And why?

[1:53:01] Well, I think it was simple, power. I like the feeling of dominating. Kind of like you said, dad beats the wife, mom beats the kid, the kid kicks the cat.

[1:53:14] You feel helpless, but you can exercise power over him.

[1:53:17] Yeah, and I did. And I didn't apologize for it until I was about 20.

[1:53:22] Well, they're better late than never for sure in that context. Better late than never. And good for you. Good for you. I was just thinking about, I took a woman on vacation to a pretty nice place with a buffet, and... I, she was sitting closer to the buffet. I asked her to grab me a piece of mini cheesecake. And what does she say?

[1:54:05] It's too far.

[1:54:07] Well, you know, aren't you getting up again?

[1:54:11] Oh my gosh.

[1:54:14] That was a beautiful thing.

[1:54:16] Yeah, definitely.

[1:54:17] Talk about a guilt-free exit scenario.

[1:54:22] Hopefully before the bill came.

[1:54:24] Well i'd already paid for the whole vacation so yeah yeah no it was uh okay so i'm gonna pay for the vacation but you can't get me a piece of cheesecake, anyway yeah so i mean that that's the kind of you know look for reciprocity generosity look for reciprocity thank.

[1:54:44] You very much that is uh you know you know i knew you'd do it i knew you'd like you'd arc some wire somehow even though i've listened to a six million shows.

[1:54:53] No look i'm telling you they're the reason i keep doing them is i'm not doing the same old same old right yeah i mean this isn't something i've talked about in this kind of way before so i hopefully it's helpful to others it sounds like it's helpful for you and i think that's that's the way to go forward so let me just you know i look first of all i'm really really sorry that you grew up functionally without a dad i'm really sorry that you were beaten of course right and i'm I'm sorry that nobody noticed that you were beating your head against the wall.

[1:55:18] Apologies for Childhood

[1:55:19] That's, well, of course they noticed, but didn't act. That's appalling. I'm sorry that your mom didn't fight more to get what you needed as a child, including a father who's around. And I'm sorry that your parents won't listen to your differences of opinion. You know, like it's funny because people know that when you grow into a whole new human being, that human being isn't going to be a copy paste of you, right? They know that. Everybody knows that kids have thoughts of their own.

[1:55:47] Yes.

[1:55:49] And yet people are then appalled when kids have thoughts of their own.

[1:55:53] Yeah there should be.

[1:55:53] Like i mean you could i guess you could program an ai to be just like you, so then just program an ai but why have a whole child and then you know and of course what do parents always say i want you to think for yourself yeah no well all the other kids were doing it i don't care what all the other kids are doing it you think for yourself.

[1:56:13] Not those thoughts.

[1:56:14] Sorry yeah no oh yeah except except for any of those thoughts that disagree agree with me in any way it's like what so now you're the new kids i have to follow that i wasn't supposed to follow the old kids doesn't make any sense i'm sorry yeah that's a terrible thing i'm sorry think.

[1:56:29] For yourself except about the important matters.

[1:56:31] Yeah or any important matters that disagree with me uh so yeah it's really it's really terrible because then you realize that they don't they don't like you they only like the parts of you that blindly agree with them which is the a conformity which is not you. I like the opposite of you is something that most people rot their whole lives never processing and never reconciling. I love the opposite of you. In other words, your conformity and your fear, not your originality and your reasoning.

[1:57:10] And, you know, everyone who I love can make a case that I love, even if it's the complete opposite of what I think, because I want them to think for themselves.

[1:57:20] Loving Opposites

[1:57:21] And whether they're right or wrong, I want them to be themselves because I want to love who they are, not what they fear or me or something like that, right? To say, I love the opposite of who you are, because, you know, fear and conformity is the opposite of us. To say, I only love and care about the things that are opposite of who you are, is completely mind-bending. I don't know how people live like that. I have no idea how people live. It's awful to me. You're just completely alone your whole life, because the only thing you like is a mirror. And then you call yourself caring? And if the mirror is not reflecting you you in the way that you want, you just smash the mirror and get a new one and smash the mirror until you get a new one. And right. Oh, it's crazy. It's crazy. I'm really sorry about all of that. Um, and you know, I'm glad that you're getting educated and doing well, and I'm glad that you're dating and you know, I mean, I'm sure that there's great potential with this relationship and the way to ignite it is that kindness and reciprocity stuff. So does that help, uh, as far as maybe next steps uh.

[1:58:29] It absolutely helped i don't know if i don't know if it ultimately solves a problem but that is something obviously.

[1:58:33] It's a problem all right i guarantee you that.

[1:58:36] Well i'm gonna i'm gonna execute and uh maybe i'll send you another email and.

[1:58:41] Oh no not maybe i hope you will i hope you will i will get the update so you can you can send it on skype you can email me but um yeah i i hope to hear how it's going and if there's anything i can do for you at any time just let me know thank.

[1:58:54] You so much again all.

[1:58:55] Right have a great night brother brother. Thanks for the call.

[1:58:57] Have a good night. Bye.

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