MY FIANCE ALMOST TOOK MY HOUSE! Freedomain Call In - Transcript


0:00 - The Search for Commitment
12:04 - Exploring Conservative Values
25:03 - The Unresolved Conflicts
31:14 - Shared Values and Hopes
35:27 - Virtues vs. Skills
38:03 - Seeking Self-Awareness
38:44 - The Virtue of Consistency
42:46 - Relationship Counseling and Resistance to Change
57:02 - Evaluating the Efficacy of Counseling
1:00:23 - Cultural Traditions and Interpersonal Dynamics
1:03:33 - Importance of Punctuality and Respect in Relationships
1:55:31 - Different Definition of Love
2:09:47 - Lack of Communication with Parents
2:18:08 - Reflecting on Past Relationship
2:23:36 - Taking Ownership and Responsibility
2:28:01 - Responsibility without Authority
2:31:02 - Analyzing Responsibility and Decision Making
2:40:44 - Struggling with Implementing Virtue
2:49:02 - Overcoming Emotional Barriers to Virtuous Behavior
2:56:51 - Reflecting on Ignoring Good Advice
3:00:15 - Struggling with Self-Ownership and Emotional Blocks

Long Summary

In a series of heartfelt conversations, we delve into the complexities of relationships, self-awareness, and personal growth. One caller shares his struggles in finding a committed relationship, highlighting past experiences, including a failed engagement due to communication challenges rooted in upbringing differences. Exploring the importance of conflict resolution and self-awareness, we navigate the caller's journey towards understanding and learning from past relationships to foster personal growth.

Another caller reflects on his past relationship dynamics, focusing on conflict resolution skills learned and insecurities faced. Emphasizing virtues in relationships and the significance of communication, we witness the caller's journey through counseling and self-awareness, navigating the challenges and efforts required for healthy relationships.

Cultural differences and relationship struggles come to light as another caller shares insights from a deteriorating relationship, unraveling conflicts over punctuality and power dynamics. Through their narrative, we glean perspectives on empathy and understanding within relationships, underscoring the importance of cultural nuances in communication and connection.

A caller opens up about the breakdown of their relationship during house remodeling, detailing conflicting decisions and shared goals that strained their dynamic. Through Stefan's guidance, we explore the caller's journey towards reevaluating relationship dynamics and priorities, urging reflection on past choices to move forward with clarity and purpose in future endeavors.

In an emotionally charged dialogue, a caller shares the challenges of a deteriorating relationship, citing unappreciation and miscommunication as key contributors to their struggles. Amid tensions, counseling efforts, and escalating conflicts, we witness the caller's efforts to navigate the complexities of separation and emotional discord, highlighting the importance of self-reflection and conscious decisions in relationships.

Stefan engages in a reflective conversation with a caller navigating a messy breakup, offering insights into the complexities of love, respect, and personal growth. As they delve into past choices and legal battles, we explore the significance of self-awareness and learning from experiences to foster healthy relationships and emotional intelligence in moving forward.

Delving into the caller's upbringing and past experiences, Stefan emphasizes the importance of self-reflection, personal responsibility, and learning from mistakes in relationships. Through discussions on virtues, morality, and decision-making, we witness a philosophical exploration of aligning personal values with actions to cultivate trust and compatibility in relationships.

Stefan challenges the caller on self-reflection and growth, urging humility, self-awareness, and openness to advice for personal development. Despite resistance, the dialogue encourages therapy, emotional intelligence enhancement, and deep introspection to nurture healthy relationships and personal growth grounded in self-awareness and openness to change.


[0:00] The Search for Commitment

[0:00] So I felt a connection with show, uh, five core eight, four, which is why men won't commit to women in their thirties. And, um, uh, I felt the connection to the show and I felt very well describes my experiences dating. Uh, I'm a gentleman in my early thirties and, uh, I, I've really struggled to find someone that is family oriented and someone that, um, I think I could connect with. and I've become a little jaded towards young women given the plethora of bad experiences I've had. Last week, I invested in a matchmaking service and I'm hoping that'll lead to some success. We haven't started yet, but every interaction I had when looking for a matchmaking service, service um i would get pushback when i expressed my preference to marry a woman younger than 30, and i wasn't able to find a service of uh that had any men at all basically all women in this in these services um so a little concern you mean like.

[1:14] Behind the desk like not right you mean sort of someone you'd be talking to to set up your dating profile you're you're.

[1:20] Yeah, the matchmaker, all the people that work in the companies.

[1:28] Yeah, I mean, that's not super shocking, right? I mean, that would be sort of a female role as a whole, right?

[1:33] No.

[1:35] Although maybe there's a market opportunity for male matchmaking. Yeah.

[1:39] I mean, I wasn't upset to find mostly female. It was more like I was upset I couldn't find a single man anywhere in any of the companies.

[1:49] Right, right.

[1:50] Um, um and uh so on a second point um given my sort of conservative family um background and leanings um i've had a lot of people recommend i join a church group um i've historically resisted this because i'm not religious and i feel there's some degree of inherent deception if i pursue someone if I don't follow a denomination or a gospel. But I recently reached out to some church groups, particularly just for social groups. And one of the male ministers I reached out to, he actually reiterated a lot of the points from the podcast around having difficulty connecting the young men that he supports.

[2:45] Sorry, could I just do... I know that this is like not necessarily your gig, but if you could find whatever block it is in your mind and communicate a tad more fluently, I'd appreciate that because it's quite distracting.

[3:00] Sure.

[3:01] Okay, so when you talk to the ministry, he says that he's having trouble finding marriage-minded women to marry their guys.

[3:12] Correct.

[3:13] Okay, all right.

[3:14] Yeah, to me, it was a sign that the problem is much greater than just what I've run into.

[3:22] Right. Right. Okay.

[3:24] Right. I mean, this is someone who theoretically should have people that are somewhat conservative and marriage-minded. They're all religious, and yet he's having the same difficulty. And so, to me, that sort of expressed the depth of the problem.

[3:43] So why are you i mean we can start blunt i suppose why are you in your early 30s and not married if you're conservative and family oriented and family-minded.

[3:55] Um a couple things it hasn't helped that i've relocated um three.

[4:00] Times but relocation is not an excuse because if relocation means that you're less likely to get married you're still choosing something over family right hold.

[4:09] On so part of the reason relocation has been a challenge is it's hard to get settled into a community when you're constantly moving or moving every few years in my case.

[4:23] And why are you moving every few years for.

[4:26] Me it's been pursuing career and a place i can afford housing.

[4:30] Okay so you're pursuing career of a family.

[4:36] Um, I've been trying to pursue both and I've had success with career to some extent and not with family.

[4:43] Okay. Sorry. I just need to get, get a baseline here. And if I'm incorrect, of course, correct me. If you keep moving, it's tough to find a wife, right? Because you're not in a community where you can rely upon friends, extended family, friends of friends, uh, whatever, right? So if you keep moving and keep trying to break into new communities, well, there's just less of a chance to find a wife, right? I mean, am I wrong about that?

[5:11] No, that's true. Maybe we can get a little bit more into my history because I...

[5:17] Well, no, no, I don't want to do the history. I mean, I do want to do the history, but I want to establish this baseline. Because if you say, well, I'm having trouble finding a wife because I'm moving, and it turns out that the moving is purely voluntary, then you've made choices that make it tougher to find a wife. And I'm not saying that to blame you or anything like that. It's actually good news, right? Because if you have been prioritizing career over family, that would explain why, at least in part, why you wouldn't have a wife.

[5:43] No, that's true. Before I moved to where I am now, I got engaged with someone and and moved her with me. And our goals were such that moving was in line with those goals. And I thought I had established a relationship, before moving. And I agree that the relocation is not helpful to settling down.

[6:19] So I think we're in agreement there, right? Like if you keep moving to make more money, then you're going to make more money, but be less likely to get married.

[6:28] Yeah a part of what i so i i was in southern california where housing is entry-level housing was a million dollars and i had some recognition that that was not a sustainable place for a family and so but.

[6:42] That's not true in southern california as a whole it's only true in the urban centers i mean go out to the country or i mean i'm not sure what line of work you're in you certainly don't have to tell me but it's not like all houses in southern california are that it's just in the most desirable locations?

[6:57] It's in a significant amount. I mean, California has five of the six most expensive cities in the country. So there's, um, where I was at was not very affordable.

[7:13] And do you have to be in a city or in a very high demand place for your career?

[7:20] No, I don't. And that was one of the reasons that I moved after I had found what I thought I found a partner.

[7:29] Oh, okay. So when you say housing is too expensive, you don't have to be in the most expensive housing for your career. And again, that's a choice, right? And I'm not saying it's a great choice, and I wish the housing prices were less, but it's still a choice for you to live in places where the houses are a million dollars.

[7:45] Right. I moved there to get my career to a point that I could have some success and support somebody. And then I was dating and I found somebody. And then we decided to relocate to somewhere that I could continue to work that is average cost. So much more affordable. And that's where I'm at now. But that relationship didn't work.

[8:12] Okay, and I'd love to hear the story of that. Not the ending, of course, but if you can tell me more about the history of that relationship. I mean, we can start earlier if you like. It's your life, not mine, so I'm not sure where the best place is to start.

[8:25] Yeah. And I agree with you that there's a trade-off between income and amount of work and being in a location that's more affordable makes it easier to have the family life. And that's why I'm trying to stay where I am now. So I was in, we'll call it LA, in Southern California, and I was sort of trying to get the expertise. I do engineering and project management, and there's a lot of highly technical people there. And so when I relocated to that area, it was to do some R&D work and sort of sharpen my skills in that regard.

[9:21] Um, and so when I was there, I was trying to date and find somebody and it took quite a while, but, uh, after three years, found someone that I thought would be a good partner and dated for a couple of years. and then um made the commitment to to her before trying to move i thought that was a reasonable thing to do to to give her that commitment before asking her to relocate with me and i misunderstood at that time but i thought we were on the same page around goals and, owning a house and and having a place that was more economically affordable affordable, that we could both continue to work, but not be in one of these major expensive cities.

[10:18] Sorry, I wasn't sure you would end it. Why did you date her for a couple of years? I mean, rather than marry her.

[10:28] I dated her with the intention of marrying her. You're asking why not marry her right away?

[10:34] Well, I mean, I don't know what you mean by right away, but somewhere in between. So how many years did you date her before you got married?

[10:44] So I met her in middle to end of 2018. And we got engaged in 2020. 20. So 15 months, 18 months.

[11:04] Oh, sorry. I thought you said a couple of years. Okay. I understand it. So it's sort of 15 to 18 months from meeting her to getting married.

[11:14] To getting engaged. Yes.

[11:16] Oh, getting engaged. Okay. And then how long were you engaged for?

[11:20] Um we were engaged until we split and there's quite a story there um we finally separated in 2022 so.

[11:34] You were engaged for almost as long as you were dating correct and again with all sympathy for the heartbreak i'm just curious why i mean did things start to go wrong and you You postponed the marriage and then things broke apart? That's exactly what happened.

[11:51] Yeah, no, that's exactly what happened.

[11:53] And was it mostly about you wanted to move someplace cheaper? She wanted to stay in the city?

[11:58] No.

[11:59] So what was going on in the relationship? Nothing.

[12:04] Exploring Conservative Values

[12:05] Um, once we, so we, we, we got engaged, we relocated and we were house hunting and at that point living together, um, we weren't living together before we got engaged. And, um, there were, there were issues that started to come up in the relationship that made things more difficult. And we bought a house together. I bought a house and put her name on it. as a what i thought was an act of good faith um and just we were we were unable to resolve conflicts, that came up and we um it became more and more difficult to work together.

[12:54] I'm sorry um relative to you said you're sort of conservative right yes okay help me understand the living together before getting married because I mean you know statistically that's a bad move right I mean it tends to break things up more often than not and it's certainly not conservative right which would be live together after you get married.

[13:18] I've recognized that we like I said we we didn't live together until we got engaged.

[13:23] Yes that doesn't I'm sorry I I'm not criticizing I'm just curious right I I mean, but you're still not married, right? So you're living together before marriage. I mean, the engagement thing is...

[13:34] I wouldn't describe that as a conservative value. I would say that's maybe a Judeo-Christian value.

[13:42] Tell me what you mean by conservative then, because I generally associate conservatism with Christian.

[13:50] And you can, of course.

[13:51] Share the values without believing in God, right?

[13:54] Yeah. Well, yeah, I would argue conservative, of they're more issue with structure and boundaries which better describes my temperament, and i'm i'm more interested in long-term consequences rather than i don't know feelings i don't draw connections between things so i i would argue the long-term.

[14:16] Consequences of living together before you get married is to put the relationship at risk because there's more breakups um when you live together before you get married than if you wait until you're married.

[14:33] We're sort of getting off topic. You said that your argument, if I understand it, is I describe my values as primarily conservative.

[14:44] Well, no, but no. Whether you say conservative or not, you say I make my decisions based on consequences. And in general, the consequences of living together before marriage are that it puts the relationship more at risk.

[14:55] I didn't say I've made all my decisions based on consequences.

[14:59] Okay. We're really kind of getting off on the wrong foot here because I feel like we're fighting.

[15:05] Agreed.

[15:05] I generally don't fight with callers. I'm just trying to understand your perspective, right? So when I said it's conservative to not live together before marriage, you say, well, I'm not a Christian. I said, but you can hold these values with that being a Christian. And then you said, well, no, but I make my decisions based on consequences. And I said, even if we We drop the Christianity or the conservatism and we just go on consequences. The consequence of living together is to put the relationship more at jeopardy. And now you say, well, I don't make all my decisions based on consequences. So we're just going in circles, if that makes sense.

[15:39] I agree. I don't see the value in stereotyping what conservative is. I think it's a description.

[15:46] So now you're saying that I'm stereotyping? See, this is kind of aggressive, right? I'm not stereotyping.

[15:52] I'm just talking about the simple fact that if you get married.

[15:55] If you live together, before you get married, the relationship is more at risk. I mean, that's just a statistical fact. You can say that's a stereotype or whatever. I agree with you. I'm sorry?

[16:04] I agree with you. I don't, I mean, I'm describing what I've done, or what has happened. Right.

[16:17] Well, I'm sorry, do you think I don't think you're describing what you've done? I'm not sure what you're saying that for.

[16:24] Would it be helpful if I don't describe myself as conservative?

[16:28] I don't know what you mean by helpful. I mean, if you describe yourself as conservative, and then you talk about things that aren't conservative, you know, I mean, conservatives generally put family first, and you put career first. Conservatives don't generally live together before they get married. You live together before you got married. None of these are criticisms. I'm just trying to understand what you mean by conservative, because a lot of your positions aren't particularly conservative, if that makes sense. And that's fine. I mean, I just then maybe you just mean it more like smaller government or more free speech or something like that.

[17:05] That's good feedback. Thank you.

[17:09] So what did happen with the young lady you said that you were unable to resolve conflicts were you able to resolve those conflicts before you got engaged and lived together or were they new conflicts in other words did you have a good track record of dealing with conflicts before, you lived together or got engaged and then after you got engaged there were conflicts that you you couldn't resolve some.

[17:36] Of both in regards that before we moved and lived together there were not a lot of major conflicts and maybe just my lack of self-awareness it might be mine, there's maybe some red flags that i didn't pay attention to.

[17:56] And what were those.

[17:59] Um her the way her family interacts and resolves is wildly different than the way my family behaves, and she both expressed that she was disappointed embarrassed by the way her parents behaved but would still repeat that behavior.

[18:26] And what kind of behavior were you talking about here?

[18:29] Well, they were very expressive verbally. So they would yell at each other, and be very, I couldn't understand what they're saying, they're Chinese, but I got the emotional expression that they were expressing emotions very strongly versus my parents are more logical, much more even keeled. If they get very emotional, it's something that's very important that, you know, you might think about for a few days versus her parents could yell at each other and be very expressive and then go on like nothing had happened.

[19:15] I'm not sure about that. Sorry to sound continually questioning. I'm trying to figure out. So emotionally expressive to me is, you know, you talk openly about your feelings and so on. But yelling at people seems kind of mean. And I don't associate emotional expression with being mean, if that makes sense. Like if you're yelling at people, that's kind of intimidating and maybe bullying, maybe a little abusive or something like that. which to me doesn't fall i mean i think emotional expression being honest about what you think and feel is a good thing i don't yell at people though so i'm.

[19:50] Trying to sort.

[19:50] Of understand what you mean by like how is the yelling what what would they say would it be intimidating would it be insulting would it be how would that play out well.

[20:02] So for example say the the husband would come home he would get a meal and sit in the living room and the wife would be in the kitchen and then they would if there was some something i like i said i don't know i don't speak mandarin or cantonese but they would they would yell at each other to communicate and not just because they're far away there it was a small house but but also um you know say the wife had something that was on her mind that she didn't like she would yell at the husband he would he would sort of not pay attention, and then he would put in some snipey argument or some side comment, you know, like a one or two word comment that sort of riled her up and their normal discourse, was passionate, but not, I, I, I didn't think it, I thought it was not, not very good.

[21:05] Oh, so she grew up in a household where she didn't have the resolution of disputes modeled very well at all. Is that fair to say?

[21:13] Correct. Okay.

[21:14] And so where would she have learned her conflict resolution? Right? I mean, if I grew up in a non-Japanese household and I want to speak Japanese, I got to learn it somewhere, right? So how had she learned her conflict resolution skills if she didn't get the models in her household? It's certainly not taught in school or anything.

[21:30] No, and this is one of the red flags that I... didn't pay attention to. When she expressed her disappointment in the way her parents communicated and was unhappy about it, to me that was a good sign that it was behavior she wouldn't rely on.

[22:00] Well, but I mean, she would have to learn those conflict resolution skills somewhere. If she says, my parents aren't good at conflict resolution okay so then where did she learn the skills i mean did she read books did she do seminars or therapy or or anything like that about how to resolve conflicts in relationships right.

[22:17] And and she was doing therapy but she clearly did not learn these skills.

[22:22] Okay got it got it, and so did you spend much time around her parents prior to getting engaged.

[22:34] A couple afternoons, so maybe 20 hours total.

[22:40] And did her parents, I don't know, I was a grill or cross-examine, but did her parents try to figure out your life, your family, your history? Because I guess as you guys were sailing towards marriage, that's sort of the merging of two families. And how did they approach the approaching marriage, I suppose?

[22:59] Both um so she has a younger brother and he did most of the grilling because he speaks english, and he i mean i i would sit at a family dinner and he would sort of ask questions or he would translate questions so there was no it wasn't as much as as you would think but there was some.

[23:25] And did your parents when did your parents meet her parents and how much time did you all spend together.

[23:31] So they didn't meet until after we were engaged as far as the parents meeting each other, my parents met my ex in 2018 and they also met her in 2020 and some other times so So the families didn't meet until we were engaged.

[23:56] And what did your parents think of your ex?

[24:01] They were cautious, and rightly so. Not initially. I'm the oldest, so they've also expressed that they recognize that for them this is sort of new, since both of my younger brothers are not as relationship-inclined, at least so far. far but they they expressed some concerns later in the relationship that i appreciated.

[24:34] And when did they find out about the yellingness of your potential in-laws.

[24:42] After we were engaged they the in-laws didn't yell as far as i could tell whenever they met my family no.

[24:53] No but you'd seen it before right i.

[24:56] Had seen it yes and.

[24:57] So when you did you tell your parents that the in-laws uh yell quite a bit i.

[25:03] The Unresolved Conflicts

[25:04] Don't think i ever did no why.

[25:07] Not oh because you didn't see it as a red flag right.

[25:10] I um i guess i i didn't know yeah i i guess so i I wasn't really sure if it was just a different style of communicating, versus something that was a problem.

[25:29] Like a cultural difference?

[25:31] Right. Or just her, they're all very neurotic, her family. So they feel emotion strongly and then they go. Versus like my family is very low in neuroticism. And so just that way of communication is different.

[25:51] So it's to you having emotions and expression, expressing them. Is that, is that neurotic? That's your, um, approach to the word. I'm not saying with your right.

[26:03] No, no, no. I just want to make sure. Neuroticism is how sensitive you are. So, um, I might feel an emotion, but I can, uh, I'm not as taken by it or I, um, it, it's not as like, I don't feel it as like very strongly. Does that make sense?

[26:25] So it's the strength of your emotions?

[26:32] So say, you know, if someone's very high in neuroticism, then they can get very upset or they can be very happy. They tend to swing more versus someone who's low in neuroticism is more stable.

[26:47] Okay, so neurotic simply means emotionally unstable.

[26:52] Emotionally sensitive.

[26:54] Well, the technical definition is it's emotionally unstable, at least according to the dictionary.

[27:00] Okay.

[27:00] Because, I mean, people can be very sensitive without being neurotic, but it usually has to do with overthinking things or taking both sides of the argument in isolation of someone else. It can be emotional instability. And you're right, that certainly is paired in with sensitivity. but um okay so did you say to your parents that the family they were going to marry their eldest son into that the family was neurotic no.

[27:32] We never had that discussion.

[27:33] Well hang on you they can't have that discussion if they don't know the facts right i.

[27:39] Did not explain that to them yes.

[27:41] And but they're marrying into the family right i mean you're gonna they're gonna share grandkids with the family and I'm sure there's some physical distance, but there's going to be some significant overlap, right? And their daughter might be involved in taking care of your parents when they age, right? If the marriage had worked out, because that's often a bit more of a female thing. So I'm trying to sort of figure, would you say that you're close to your parents?

[28:13] We talk weekly, so fairly close.

[28:18] So, you have information about the family that they're going to marry into, in a sense, right? The blended family.

[28:26] Yes.

[28:27] And you don't, what did you say to your parents about your potential in-laws, or I guess your future in-laws after you got engaged? Yes.

[28:38] Um, I, I expressed that, well, maybe I did express some concern. I definitely expressed that they communicated differently, that they had a very different life, that they're, the way that they functioned as a family was different than our family. and but I also expressed that my ex, expressed desire to change some of those aspects she didn't want to repeat them so I guess I had hope, positive a better outcome which is more you're.

[29:25] A project manager right How often is hope a valid strategy in a project?

[29:31] Yeah, never.

[29:32] I mean, ironically enough, right? I mean, I have that project management in the technical field as well. And hope is a four-letter word in project management.

[29:41] Right?

[29:42] So, I mean, you have all of these skills to know that hope is not a strategy. Hope is not a plan. And hope is usually a for-runner to disaster, right?

[29:51] That's, yes. Yeah, that's, it's unfortunate. But you need to take those work skills home, too.

[29:59] I mean, they're life skills. They apply to.

[30:01] Yeah, that's a good way to put it.

[30:03] So tell me a little bit about. I know it's not the most traditionally Mandarin name. Let's just call her Sue for the moment. So when you how did you meet Sue and what was it that drew you to her initially? Yeah.

[30:18] So I met her online and on an application. And what drew me to her is we were able to set up a date quickly. It wasn't a bunch of back and forth messaging. That's a good sign that someone's serious about dating. And she was. And she was a financially self-sufficient adult. who paid some attention to personal health and fitness, which also describes me. And we were both sort of interested in having kids. And the values she expressed seemed to align well with what I desired.

[31:14] Shared Values and Hopes

[31:14] And what were those values? I mean, you've mentioned some of them, like kids and fitness and so on, but what else?

[31:29] Yeah, so the kids, the fitness, the sort of financial stability as far as being a bit frugal. Those were the main ones.

[31:47] Okay, so she saved money, she wanted kids, and she was into fitness. I'm not trying to diminish, I just want to make sure I understand what was attractive.

[32:01] And she was actually taking action along those lines and not just...

[32:07] No, no, I get that. She was the man.

[32:09] Right?

[32:09] Okay.

[32:15] Yeah, she worked in finance. Felt like we were a good match in that regard as far as being, um sort of similar stem backgrounds, and and we were each other's type sexually that helps so you.

[32:36] Mean that you were physically attracted to each other.

[32:38] Yes yeah.

[32:40] Okay got it and.

[32:41] How how.

[32:42] Pretty was she or i guess it doesn't sound like the past ten basement or something but.

[32:48] Six to maybe a seven.

[32:52] And you?

[32:54] I'm probably an eight.

[32:56] So you were, you were stepping down and there's nothing wrong with that, of course, but you were stepping down slightly in terms of physical attractiveness.

[33:02] Yes.

[33:02] Okay. And are you white?

[33:05] Yes. Okay.

[33:06] Got it. And did the biracial thing trouble you or did you think about that? Or was that something that you had done any research on or anything like that?

[33:16] Oh, Oh, I would be more concerned for future kids being mixed. But personally, it wasn't a problem for me. I had the great fortune of attending an international school for a couple years when I lived in London. So I've had a lot of exposure to other cultures. And it just wasn't something that bothered me.

[33:37] Okay. Okay. So, what virtues did you possess? Because, you know, you're talking to the guy who says that love is our involuntary response to virtue, if we're virtuous. So, what were the virtues that you most admired about her?

[33:57] I admired her work ethic i found out kind of quickly that she was pretty bad at math but she worked in finance and she made that happen mostly through through working hard, even though it became very clear it was going to be an impediment to her career growth, Um, and, and I, um, and then that became apparent in, in the other values. So the fitness and sort of working towards the intentions of having a family, as far as spending effort on getting to know me and dating. and I did appreciate she was quite good at connecting with people which is something I struggle with, both being a bit extroverted but also, just finding things to connect on and so that was a skill I admired that she had she was able to kind of build groups I agree with all of that but skills.

[35:02] Are not virtues right I mean, people can be hardworking, and I'm not saying she was immoral, but people can certainly be hardworking and immoral, right? People can be fit and immoral, and people can be good at, quote, connecting with people. I mean, Mussolini was good at connecting with the Italian population. That doesn't mean that he was a moral man. How long have you listened to What I Do For?

[35:25] Uh off and on since college so quite a while.

[35:27] Virtues vs. Skills

[35:28] Okay so this i'm sure these you've probably heard these questions a million times before but it always is interesting to me how it seems to be new to everyone but none of those are in particular virtues i mean if you are virtuous then being hard working certainly helps but hard working fitness connecting with people uh these aren't virtues the virtue is something that is good in its own right in other words so it can't be turned be like honest i'm sorry so.

[35:56] So something like honesty which i.

[36:00] Honesty moral courage directness maturity wisdom with the emotions so knowing that just because you're upset you don't blame the other person and manipulate them or try to get them to change their behavior you know the real-time relationship stuff self-knowledge of course is important for virtue. So all of the things that can't be turned in a negative way. So you take a hard working person, you put them in charge of a concentration camp, they're going to get more people killed, right? So the hard working is dependent upon other virtues in order to become an accessory to virtue, if that makes sense. So I'm trying to think of or trying to understand that the primary virtues, I mean, there's lots of people who are very fit who are utterly corrupt, right? So I'm trying to think of or trying to understand the primary virtues that drew you to her.

[36:49] I'm just writing down. This is a great definition. It can... Okay. She had a fair bit of self-knowledge. She was definitely not good at self-censoring, I guess. So she would express how she was feeling, good or bad.

[37:25] Well, that's not a virtue either, right?

[37:27] I'm not saying it was.

[37:29] Okay, but sorry, maybe we have a miscommunication. I'm asking for the primary virtues, not for the things that aren't virtues. So if I say, where's Vegas, and you tell me where Honolulu is, I have the right to say, I did ask you. Now, you can say you don't want to talk about it, but to talk about things I haven't asked for, and then seem to get a little annoyed when I ask for the things that I asked for.

[37:51] Yeah, no, I'll just be silent when I'm thinking then.

[37:55] Yeah, that's fine.

[38:03] Seeking Self-Awareness

[38:03] She had these she had some some self-awareness so she was aware of things that she struggled with and wanted to improve on, and she was interested in in lots of ideas i guess that's not a virtue either.

[38:44] The Virtue of Consistency

[38:44] She was she was interested in consistency so she, i think that was one of the things that drew me to her she would express, I don't know if you'd call it fairness, but there was a recognition of the behavior that she displayed was the behavior that she was going to try and model to have people display back to her.

[39:34] Sorry maybe maybe you should list the virtues again that would.

[39:37] No no that's fine i mean the pause is quite telling right and i'm not trying to criticize i'm just sort of pointing it out now when it comes to you said she has some degree of self-knowledge and what would be an example of that and and how would that manifest or come to life in the relationship relationship. So just so you know, so for me, self-knowledge is, let's say, I say, I have a bad temper and I tend to escalate conflicts, right? So that's self-knowledge, right? So then, of course, I should be working on that and trying to figure out what's causing it and undo the thoughts that go behind it and all that kind of stuff. But the way that self-knowledge manifests in a relationship is you can be called on it, right? So, you know, if I have this, I tend to escalate and I tend to be too grumpy, then when I'm escalating in a conflict, my wife can say, or my wife could say, hey, remember this thing where you escalate, you're doing it now? And I'm like, oh, yeah, yeah, okay, so sorry, you're right. You're right. And so I can be called on it. That's the purpose of self-knowledge, is so you can be called on stuff. And it's got weight in the relationship in terms of resolving conflicts, if that makes sense. So with her self-knowledge, I guess, what did she know about herself and how did that practically manifest in the relationship?

[40:53] She was aware that she had some serious insecurities and would project those onto me and would withdraw that line of communication when I would point out, that she was just being insecure and it was nothing that I had done that was wrong.

[41:17] Insecure about what?

[41:20] So she she would presume some behavior that i was doing was unfaithful or was, had malintention and i would i would point out to her that i'm behaving the same way she's behaving and i'm you know there's plenty of good reasons for this behavior and it was just her insecurities is manifesting and.

[41:48] Would that generally resolve the conflict maybe not immediately but it's like oh yeah i do have that habit and.

[41:54] Yeah it would yeah she would she would she wouldn't always apologize but she would at least acknowledge that there was nothing wrong with the behavior Okay.

[42:11] Got it. And how often would this kind of stuff come up to the point where there was conflict?

[42:18] Uh once a month maybe okay.

[42:20] And did it improve or stay the same or get worse over the course of your um i guess two or three three relationship it.

[42:29] Sort of came and went based on how she was doing.

[42:34] And what was she doing to work on the issues outside of the conflict because you know generally if you have some problem with your way of communicating you can't usually do it in the moment you have to do it in between the moment right yeah.

[42:46] Relationship Counseling and Resistance to Change

[42:46] So she was she was getting counseling um she was getting counseling actually when we started dating i i was aware of this issue within the first six months and i had aspirations that this would improve and it didn't um i remember at one point telling her that she needed to switch counselors because you know this counselor had been working with her for over three years and it's the problem hasn't been fixed so.

[43:17] Had other problems been fixed through the counselor or do you think i.

[43:24] Don't know that's that's very possible.

[43:27] But nothing obvious right right yeah i mean it's kind of like if you're going to a nutrition and exercise coach and after three years you weigh the same and have as little muscle mass as you did before we might have some questions right right okay exactly yeah and did she end up taking your advice since i know this is more towards the end of the relationship but did she take your advice at all and switch therapists i.

[43:48] Have no idea.

[43:49] No because the thing kind of blew up before then right well.

[43:53] And she didn't share this um i don't i don't know who she was had a therapy sessions with it's uh so but yeah.

[44:06] Sorry but what do you mean well.

[44:08] The the therapy sessions i don't know the name of the counselor like.

[44:14] No i get that but i mean you would know if she changed her counselor wouldn't you she'd say i'm no longer going to this guy i got a new guy or woman or oh she.

[44:22] I mean she never she never shared this port so i i may not even know if she changed Does that make sense?

[44:31] So you said, I think you need to change counselors. Did she agree?

[44:37] No, she got defensive.

[44:39] Okay, so then she didn't change counselors.

[44:42] I presume that's true, but I wouldn't know.

[44:44] You know, like if you're a project manager, if somebody's got a deliverable and they won't give you an answer, is it because they have their deliverable ready?

[44:52] No, of course not.

[44:52] Right, of course not. That's not even a guess, right?

[44:56] Right.

[44:57] And did you go to counseling at all?

[45:00] So I went to counseling when the relationship was deteriorating. I wanted to do couples, and she didn't want to do couples until I had done individual, which I was kind of frustrated about. But I pursued individual. I did that for about three months, and most of the individual counseling turned into how to manage her. And it became very clear that the sources of my challenges were the relationship and not things that I could do individually, per se.

[45:37] But did the counselor well obviously you don't talk about anything you don't want to but did the counselor ever try to figure out why you ended up in a relationship where you had to manage the woman.

[45:47] No okay.

[45:49] So it's just like practical strategies for talking her off the ledge if she got too wound up right.

[45:54] That's that's a very very good description it was a lot of how to of back down or avoid conflict or so.

[46:03] Appease how to appease.

[46:05] Or or uh put her off or a lot of it was so because i'm the way my parents are you know if if something was yelling i would be very upset and i would stay very upset for a long time versus right she would get upset and she would come back an hour later and be perfectly peppy and so one of the strategies was, to sort of shut down the conversation and then just come back when she was happy Were her parents rural.

[46:37] Chinese or urban Chinese?

[46:43] Uh i guess rural.

[46:44] Right and your parents are british right.

[46:49] Um not german italian.

[46:52] German italian okay okay and but it sounds i mean if if they're not particularly emotionally expressive it sounds like they tend more towards the german right.

[47:03] Yes okay yes and.

[47:05] So you really are and i say this with great affection you really are the worst conservative i've ever heard of i'm just gonna be straight up i could be wrong but you really are the worst because conservatism is about conserving your cultural values as well right, and how you would go from primarily german parents to merging a family with you know shrieking rural chinese people who don't even speak german or english or i assume any european language, i mean how on earth are you conserving your your values how on earth are you conserving your traditions i mean again i could be wrong but it's about conserving what your ancestors kind of developed and and all of that and you really couldn't have gone more the opposite of, your culture and your history than this right.

[47:54] That's a good insight like yeah we uh what was valuable to my family is more certain traditions and um the my parents parents are farmers and mechanics and very industrial um so i.

[48:17] Mean how are you supposed to conserve your traditions with grandparents where you don't even speak the same language which right i mean i maybe i'm missing something obvious here and i'm certainly happy to be corrected but it's a bit jaw-dropping from this side of the convo well.

[48:31] They i mean when they moved to the u.s so that was three or four or five generations ago you know they oh you were some extent right yeah my parents are not first i mean my i got it yeah so like my dad's dad's dad's dad moved to the u.s right and my you know um like my dad has a memory of a relative that spoke only italian but he never he grew up in the u.s same with my mom's side but the the lady i was dating her parents were first generation so.

[49:02] But how how do you how do you square traditional american values with rural chinese people who don't speak english i mean you know that most Most of the texts would be in English that you would need to understand to understand sort of American values, right? So I'm trying to sort of fathom this conservatism thing.

[49:23] Well, she, yeah, I mean, she grew up in the U.S.

[49:25] No, no, no, she, no, no, the grandparents. Oh, sorry, her parents.

[49:32] I don't know if I would describe her parents as conservative.

[49:38] Well, you don't know in particular because you don't speak the language, right?

[49:41] Well, there's that too, yeah. Right.

[49:43] So, I mean, they grew up under communism. They don't speak English. And you want to be a conservative by passing along the traditions of your culture to your kids. kids. And again, I'm not criticizing you, obviously, date whoever you want, marry whoever you want, but I'm having trouble squaring the circle that you call conservatism. And again, I'm totally happy to be corrected and I could be awry on all of this, but I don't quite get the connection. I mean, if I want to preserve the traditions of my culture and my values, i'm not sure that having rural chinese mandarin speakers who i don't share a language with or a culture or a history with would be the way that i would go about transferring my values to the next generation yeah.

[50:36] I guess i had some presumptions that they wouldn't be very involved because my ex was trying to separate from them to some degree.

[50:45] Okay there's a lot there's a lot lot in what you said there and i i want to make sure we have a chance to to unpack it so your hope was that i mean it would be tough for them to be involved because they'd be talking to your kids and you wouldn't have any idea what they were saying i assume your kids would learn mandarin or, cantonese or whatever right was it mandarin or cantonese or something else cantonese oh cantonese okay so your in-laws would be instructing your children in cantonese which you don't speak and I assume are not going to learn. And they wouldn't be able to tell you what they were saying and you wouldn't understand what they were saying. So I'm still trying to figure out this sort of cultural value transmission when you have people who are going to have some authority over your children as grandparents and you don't even know what they're saying.

[51:30] I think they would try and communicate in their broken English. um i mean my ex uh was losing cantonese as a communication because of she didn't do it except with her parents but.

[51:50] They would also want to i mean you want to transmit your you want to transmit your cultural values so do they right it's kind of a universal thing right.

[52:00] I don't know if I would say it's universal.

[52:03] Well, I mean, China's had, up until communism, China had a pretty contiguous society for 6,000 years, and that wasn't because they didn't transmit cultural values, right?

[52:13] No, but I think you would agree that certain families, especially when they move, they keep certain things and lose other things.

[52:22] But not the old people. I mean, there's a reason why there's Chinatown or Little Italy or Little Greece. It's because the older people tend to retain the values of their homeland.

[52:35] Right, but when this couple moved to the U.S., they weren't old at all, right? They were teens or, I mean, they moved to make a change.

[52:45] Sorry, your in-laws moved to the United States many decades ago? go yeah.

[52:53] They they moved when they were either teens or early 20s.

[52:57] So why wouldn't they speak english or whatever right no.

[53:03] It's because it's it's it's because of how many people in southern california don't speak english.

[53:10] Well and what that means is that they stay within the cultural framework of china which means that those are the values i'm not criticizing that i'm just that's a fact right right the reason they wouldn't speak english is because they've stayed in, chinatown or wherever and they've stayed within their own cultural and historical milieu which means that's what they value right and i don't have any complaint about that i'm but that's a fact isn't it uh.

[53:38] Yes he definitely the dad at least stayed working for communities that he didn't have to learn very good english.

[53:46] Well and it's not i mean i'm sure they're intelligent and And so it's not a matter of learning English or not. It's just that he prefers the Chinese culture and the Chinese language and the Chinese history and the Chinese traditions and so on to American.

[54:02] To some extent, yes.

[54:04] Well, to the extent that he's lived in a country for many decades and never learned the primary languages.

[54:11] Right. And instead, he learned other tonal languages, other European or not European, other Asian languages. So he spoke three or four dialects to work with that community.

[54:29] Right. Yeah.

[54:29] Okay.

[54:30] So he would, I assume, be somewhat interested in passing his cultural values along, because that's what he prefers. Okay. So what were the kind of conflicts that you got into? Because I guess they were somewhat manageable before you got engaged and lived together. And what were the conflicts that arose after you began living together that were more and more difficult to solve?

[54:59] Um, so one of them was when we weren't living together, we weren't carpooling and my ex is the type of person who gets there when she gets there. And particularly for, so, so this came up when we were house hunting and I like to be on time or early to meeting a real estate agent. and she would argue that the real estate agent works for us and if she's late that's not a problem because the real estate agent works for us and for the house viewings you know you have a set time.

[55:38] So i'm sorry you understand it's german precision meeting rural chinese influenced hierarchy you know it's an act for you it's it's an act of rudeness to be late for them it's an act of humiliation almost to be on time because they work for you and who are they to boss you around right that's.

[55:55] That's a really good insight yeah.

[55:57] Yeah yeah so i mean you understand that again the conservative side is is aspect yeah confusing anyway so sorry go ahead.

[56:06] Now i mean this is i i wouldn't have made that connection that's really insightful um so yeah, yeah so that that was a source of conflict.

[56:17] So so you were living together and you were We're carpooling looking for a place. Is that right?

[56:22] Well, we, we were, we were house hunting. So we were, yeah, we would go to see a place and.

[56:27] No, but were you already living together when you were house hunting?

[56:31] Yes. Yeah. So we.

[56:32] So you were sorry. And I'm sorry to, I just want to make sure I understand the mechanics. So you'd say to Sue, to, to your fiance, you'd say, well, you know, it's a, it's a half hour drive. We've got to be there at 11. So we got to leave at 10 20. Right. Or something like that. Right. And what would she say?

[56:51] Well, she would, I would express my, I wouldn't, I wouldn't say it that way. I would say, you know, I, I don't like being late. I think it's disrespectful.

[57:02] Evaluating the Efficacy of Counseling

[57:03] You know, what needs to happen so that we can be there on time. And she would tell me things that she needed me to do so that she could be ready on time.

[57:13] Like what?

[57:16] Oh um i need to a lot of the quote problems became my problem this is.

[57:24] Okay no but like what sorry just oh project manager i'm sure you value precise answers uh so what would she say that you have to do so that she can get ready oh.

[57:32] She needs to see me getting ready and she needs forewarning.

[57:37] No but you're giving her forewarning you're saying we need to be on time.

[57:45] Well no she would more like every time.

[57:49] I'm not sure what that means.

[57:54] Well if she was she she was really trying to offload responsibility.

[57:59] Okay but what would she say i mean i i get the narrative about it but what would she say she would say i can't be on time because you haven't done X, Y, or Z. And what is that?

[58:11] She needs to see me getting ready and preparing, um, and put my shoes on by the door.

[58:19] No, but women take longer to get ready than men. So that doesn't make much sense, right?

[58:23] I'm agreeing with you.

[58:25] Okay. So she would say, I can't figure out how to get somewhere on time unless I see you putting your shoes on.

[58:35] Um there was no discussion about her capability i'm.

[58:41] Not sure what that means either sorry.

[58:42] Well you you just expressed to me that she would express what she didn't that she needed uh that she never expressed here's the be um that she couldn't get there on time it's that she chose not to and or there were things that i had to have done so that to so that she could be ready so yeah in retrospect sorry so i'm getting.

[59:17] Two things here and i'm sure there's a way to circle this square, but she's saying that I don't have to be on time because the real estate agent is working for us, right?

[59:28] Right.

[59:29] And also that she wants to be on time, but she can't get ready until she sees you putting on her shoes, putting on your shoes, sorry.

[59:41] Yes.

[59:42] Those two are not the same, right?

[59:45] Yes.

[59:45] Because if she says, I don't want to be on time because he's working for us, then it doesn't matter when you put your shoes on, right?

[59:56] She, yeah, she expressed that it wasn't very important to her.

[1:00:01] Okay, so then the shoes thing's a bit of a red herring, right?

[1:00:04] Right.

[1:00:04] Okay. All right. So she's just like, but it's not that important. I'm sorry, go ahead.

[1:00:10] Yes, in retrospect, that was an excuse to...

[1:00:14] To put it on you.

[1:00:15] Put it on me.

[1:00:16] So you think about your own behavior rather than correcting her. Now, if you would have...

[1:00:23] Cultural Traditions and Interpersonal Dynamics

[1:00:23] If she was at work and she had difficulties with her boss, did that bother her?

[1:00:31] Yes.

[1:00:32] Well, why? Her boss can do whatever he wants because she's the employee, just as the real estate agent is her employee. I'm not sure I quite follow. I mean, if the boss can just do whatever he wants, and that's fine because he's the boss, because she's the boss of the real estate agent, then I'm not sure why she would have problems at work. Wouldn't she just do what the boss wants in the same way that the real estate agent has to suck it up if she's late?

[1:00:59] I don't mean problems like moral, but there were situations where she would be upset with something that would happen from her boss.

[1:01:09] I understand that. I didn't say anything about moral problems. well.

[1:01:12] But it for her it was a problem because she was very emotionally sensitive so she would be very.

[1:01:18] Upset but this is just hypocritical i mean this is i don't care about the emotional sensitivity, but it's hypocritical to say i can be rude to my employees but my boss better not be rude to me or i can be late from from for my employees but my boss better not be difficult or late for me or i can be you understand like if if that's the high yeah i.

[1:01:39] Understand what i i guess what i'm I was trying to correct when you asked me the question, I didn't answer it very precisely. So when you asked if she got upset with situations with her boss, or when she, it's not exactly what you asked, but...

[1:01:59] Well, no, but that would, sorry to interrupt, but that would be a lever for having her have empathy for the real estate agent, because this is like 101, right? I mean, philosophy 101, which is to say okay so do you like it when your boss makes you wait do you like it when your boss is rude to you and she'd be like well no i said well okay then we should be nice to the real estate agent because you understand how uh it can be unpleasant to be on the receiving end of that lack of consideration or that rudeness right so we should be on time because that's what you value in your boss and you complain when your boss is rude so we shouldn't be rude to our employees even if we categorize a real estate agent as an employee when there are in fact an an independent contractor or something like that. So that would be, you know, it's empathy 101. Well, you don't like it when your boss is rude to you, so let's not be rude to our real estate agent.

[1:02:47] Yes, that would have been a better way to discuss that topic.

[1:02:54] I'm not saying whether it should or shouldn't, but I mean, you've listened to me for a long time, so wouldn't that be... Did that not cross your mind to say?

[1:03:02] I didn't discuss her boss i was more i'm more focused on the real estate agent and myself so, i expressed that it was inconsiderate to you know all the other people that have to view the house they have time slots we have a time slot you know we if we show up late we have to waste everyone's time and not see that house or you know well the real estate agent will be.

[1:03:29] Less motivated to sell for us and therefore we might get like there's actual practical consequences that if you.

[1:03:33] Importance of Punctuality and Respect in Relationships

[1:03:33] Really annoy your.

[1:03:34] Real estate agent, they just won't be that focused on getting you a great deal or getting you lots of offers or anything like that. Whereas, you know, having people like you and appreciate your politeness and I mean, there's real practical outcomes to that, right?

[1:03:46] Yeah. So that was my, that was where my argument.

[1:03:51] Right. Which then would tie in how motivated do you feel at work when your boss is rude or difficult?

[1:03:58] I didn't express that.

[1:03:59] Right, right. Okay. That's fine. So, okay. So tardiness or, and you know, you can tell a lot about people by how they treat those they have power over.

[1:04:13] Actually, do you mind if I make a note on that regard?

[1:04:16] No, that's fine.

[1:04:17] So one of the things that I've looked for in dates is someone who's not late. and um because for me the respect them and i found lots of dates that are slightly late either as a power clay or they just don't care anyway this.

[1:04:36] Or or it could be that they show up and like i'm really really sorry x y and z happened that was highly unpredictable and you know there could have been some horrible traffic crash or like there can be reasons for being late but you certainly do need to acknowledge that it's something wrong that's happened and you need to have a good explanation, right?

[1:04:53] Right, and that's never happened. But this ex happened to be early, and I found out she was just early because she was studying at the place we had our first date. But for me, it was like a good sign that ended up not being applicable because she...

[1:05:12] Well, you don't get the good sign three years into it, right? I mean, the one time that was coincidental. Okay. So, there was issues around real estate and was carpooling an issue? Was that mostly because she didn't want to be on time or was there something else?

[1:05:28] No, it was the coordinating of preference for being on time.

[1:05:37] Okay. And was there something else? I mean, I assume that wasn't the thing that broke up the engagement was there something else that occurred uh over and above the house hunting.

[1:05:50] Uh yeah i mean there were there were a series of things um that just sort of escalated um, i i became aware that there were values that i had expressed and priorities and And she agreed with those, but later found out she just wanted everything. She didn't actually have the same priorities.

[1:06:18] Okay, again, sorry, I hate to keep repeating myself like a broken record, but if I can get specifics rather than narrative, that's very helpful.

[1:06:27] So, when I articulated that we wanted a certain type of house, a house that we could host people, and that would take sacrifices of remodeling to make that happen, those were intentions that I thought we were aligned on. And she opposed and didn't want to put any effort towards remodeling the house that we purchased to make that happen.

[1:06:54] And again, I don't know much about the Southern California real estate market, but why would you buy a house that you had to remodel rather than trying to find a house, maybe with some other compromises that you didn't have to remodel?

[1:07:07] So this was after we moved. So we weren't in Southern California. Okay. Um, but, um, the, there's no, I mean, the housing, good luck finding a house that has everything you want.

[1:07:24] Well, I mean, that's true of life as a whole, right? Because if the house has everything you want, then it's just too damn expensive. So then it doesn't have that, right? So as you know, like, there's no such thing as a perfect solution. That's just trade-offs, right?

[1:07:36] Exactly. So we...

[1:07:36] Okay, so you know for sure you can't get the house that you want. I mean, nobody can. Right. Everybody wants the mansion for a dollar with no property tax, right? So nobody can get the house that they want. But anyway, go on.

[1:07:46] Yeah so we we knew this but we purchased a house that we could make into what we wanted right so um we paid enough over list to win competitive market and then put in the effort to do the adjustments to to make it what we wanted and you.

[1:08:08] Had mentioned uh being able to have people over over, is that right? Like socializing stuff?

[1:08:13] Yes.

[1:08:14] And you said you're kind of an introvert, so I'm trying to understand. I'm not saying that that's all and introverts can't party, but what was the priority for you of having people over?

[1:08:27] Part of it was she wanted it, and I was happy to support it.

[1:08:32] Oh, so she wanted it.

[1:08:34] Hold on.

[1:08:35] No, no, sorry. I'm not trying to stop you from talking. I thought you said that that's what you wanted, and that's totally fine. I was just a little surprised. Go ahead.

[1:08:43] I recognize that I'm not as outgoing, and so for me, I wanted to create a space that I could host events in to help ameliorate that. And I've done that since she's left.

[1:08:56] So so you both wanted it yes okay got it and that's fine i'm i was just just curious, all right and how long and how expensive and you don't have to give me totally detailed figures but the time how long what is it going to take to fix up the house.

[1:09:15] Um well it's basically done now um.

[1:09:18] You're asking you're asking how.

[1:09:21] You're asking how long You mean when we purchased the house?

[1:09:26] Well, I don't know. If you say it's done now and I don't know when you bought the house, you haven't answered how long it is, right?

[1:09:32] Oh, so, well, there's more. I think there's other things in the timeline. So, when we purchased the house in 2022 and I started project managing, basically, the remodel. And we were looking at a cost anywhere from $15,000 to $45,000.

[1:10:03] And two years off and on, right?

[1:10:09] I'm sorry?

[1:10:09] If you bought it in 2022, then it's two years, give or take, right? Because 2024 now, so it's two years, give or take, that it took to do the upgrades. I mean, that's not continual.

[1:10:21] Oh, no, we purchased the house in 2021.

[1:10:24] Okay.

[1:10:24] Or even, no, it might have been 2020. Let's see.

[1:10:28] Okay, so maybe two, three, four years, something like that. So a number of years to remodel the house, right? Right.

[1:10:34] So it wouldn't normally take that long, but we started to separate and that put a kibosh on spending time and money on making the improvements.

[1:10:47] And how long would it have taken if you hadn't separated? Like what was the estimate for completing the work?

[1:10:56] Oh, like eight months.

[1:10:58] Eight months. Okay. And how old were you when you bought the house?

[1:11:03] At 29.

[1:11:05] 29. Okay. And she's your age?

[1:11:09] One year younger.

[1:11:10] One year younger. Okay. And why you, you've been together for a couple of years at this point, right? Three years.

[1:11:21] We were.

[1:11:22] And you want family, right?

[1:11:24] Right.

[1:11:25] So why remodel the house rather than start having kids? i mean it seems that you're choosing a lot of stuff other than family and i'm this this is good news i think but i'm still trying to figure well at.

[1:11:40] At that time so we we we called off getting married um because of these issues in the relationship.

[1:11:49] Sorry i i don't know when that happened so.

[1:11:52] That that happened about the same time.

[1:11:54] The same time as moving as.

[1:11:56] The house remodel planning.

[1:12:01] I'm sorry, I completely lost you. I thought you've only been together for three plus years, but you bought the house in 2020, which is four years ago. I'm sorry. It's my mistake. I'm sure he's remembering something.

[1:12:15] So we met in 2028.

[1:12:19] 2018.

[1:12:20] Yeah, we moved in 2020.

[1:12:23] Oh, so you worked together. And how long ago did you break up?

[1:12:28] It's going to be two years.

[1:12:31] My apologies. Okay. I got it. I got it. I got it. I'm going to have to be an annoying guy and write this down. Okay. Okay, so Matt, 2018, bought house, 2020, broke up 2022, right?

[1:12:44] Yes.

[1:12:45] Okay, so you got engaged, you look for, if I have this right, you got engaged, you look for a house.

[1:12:52] So, no, we got engaged, we moved.

[1:12:55] You moved in together?

[1:12:56] We moved in together and moved cities.

[1:12:59] And when was that?

[1:13:01] That was 2020. It was during COVID.

[1:13:03] Okay, right, got it. So, so then you, you live together at 2020 and you move. All right. I'm just putting a big living in sin. I'm just kidding. All right. So cohabitate. And then you bought the house in, was it the same year that you moved in and then you bought a house that year?

[1:13:23] Correct.

[1:13:23] Okay. Got it. So you moved twice.

[1:13:26] Yeah. So what happened was COVID happened. We both agreed that it was a good opportunity for various reasons. We moved because I found a job that gave us moving size spend. We moved together, and then we were in a new city together. We took an apartment while we house hunted. And then within those four months, we had purchased a house.

[1:13:52] Got it. I appreciate the update. Now, what happened to her career when you moved?

[1:14:00] She was in a position that she worked remote.

[1:14:02] Oh so her condition could continue her career could continue yes, so it was shortly after that you moved into the new house and the renovations were underway and i assume you could live in the house while the renovations were going on is that right.

[1:14:20] Yeah we we we hadn't even started anything it was mostly just the all the difficulty that came up with planning and working together when it became very apparent that her values what like Like, she wasn't very interested in what I thought the shared goal was.

[1:14:44] Okay, sorry, more abstractions.

[1:14:47] The shared goal of owning the house and having it be a place that we could host and, you know, having a guest room that people could visit. and like those we had some criteria when we were purchasing the house and when it became time to put forth the effort to realize that criteria she was not she didn't put forth the effort.

[1:15:13] What effort did she need to put forth i mean you've got the project management stuff and you i'm sure you're dealing with the contractors so what effort does she need to put forward.

[1:15:21] Well Well, so say, for example, I have to purchase countertops.

[1:15:27] Right?

[1:15:28] I would go and get quotes. I would make selections, go around and source material. And then she wanted her input, which would mean I would then go back around with her and show her the ones that I thought were good candidates to pick from. Um, and she, to her, that was a lot of work.

[1:15:55] Oh, so she said, I want to choose the countertops, but I don't want to go and look for the countertops, but you can't buy them without me.

[1:16:03] Yes. Okay.

[1:16:04] So that's just straight up sabotage, right? I mean, that's an impossibility.

[1:16:07] That's exactly what happened.

[1:16:08] Okay. So that's an, so why would, why do you think she was doing that?

[1:16:13] Um, I think some of it was power play. Like, for example, she, she, she would want what she would want because she wanted it. It was, um, she, she wanted to make decisions unilaterally to express that she could control this situation for almost no reason other than to control it so um so like there were there were decisions that she wanted to make that were terrible design decisions and i would have store people look at me and be like that doesn't that's not going to look very good and no no that's what i want and it's like good why would you want to do that it's terrible you know sorry Sorry.

[1:17:10] I'm trying to understand. I mean, she had the house that she wanted. She wanted the house a certain way, right? Like she had to sign goals and ideas, right? Now, she would be home with the kids, so she'd be spending the time in the house, right?

[1:17:24] Right.

[1:17:25] So wouldn't she get to say? I mean, she's spending much more time in the house than you are.

[1:17:34] Some of the preferences she made were contradictory. contradictory so they were um my impression was that for her it was about control.

[1:17:51] I don't know what you mean by contradictory she'd say i want one bedroom and no bedroom what do you mean.

[1:17:58] Um i want a bar height counter and i want a counter that's not bar height.

[1:18:04] Well i mean she's not insane right she'd know that you can't have the same counter to be two different heights, right?

[1:18:11] Yes.

[1:18:13] And she functions in the world, right?

[1:18:16] Right. But she, I mean, it was, what she was asking for would be some unique custom thing that doesn't exist anywhere.

[1:18:25] And so then people would say, that doesn't, that's not something we can do, right?

[1:18:29] Or they would just say that.

[1:18:30] What would she say when the contractors would say, we can't do that?

[1:18:34] She would just say, that's what I want.

[1:18:38] So she's kind of crazy, right? yes okay so when did you first notice that she was kind of crazy i mean if people say this this can't be done and she says i want it anyway that's not well meant it wasn't it.

[1:18:56] Wasn't that blatant but this is when but this is about this time is when we we called off the marriage plans.

[1:19:05] No hang on sorry i'm just i'm trying i'm trying to figure out like we have trouble communicating right and And maybe it's me at my end for sure, right? But you say she wants things that are contradictory. And I say, well, like this and this. Well, no, not like that. Okay, but she wants things that the contractors say can't be provided or can't be done, right? And then you say, well, it wasn't that obvious. And I'm like, so I don't know what we're talking about anymore.

[1:19:27] Oh, so, okay. So say she says, here's a design theme that I want. I want whatever, traditional style. And then she chooses fixtures that aren't traditional. Okay. And then she tells off someone who points out that the fixtures that she's chosen will look terrible with the design style that she says she wants.

[1:19:51] Well, what do you mean? I mean, looks terrible is a very subjective thing. I mean, I wouldn't want to live in Graceland, but Elvis liked it. I mean, if that's what she wants, that's what she wants, right? And I'm not saying that that means it's an absolute, like, gravity, but again, she's going to be the one staying home with the kids. The place should, it's more important that she like the house than you. And plus, she's a woman, right? So if she wants something, then, you know, they can say, I don't think it fits. And she says, well, I want it. And it's like, okay.

[1:20:22] Yeah, it could be things like, I really like bright areas, but I'm choosing lamps that are really low light. or um you know i want something that's super durable but i also want um there's a type of countertop that she wanted that is not durable at all so because she liked how it looked um.

[1:20:43] Okay so if you want something durable and the contractor says this stuff is very fragile right like if you say i i want uh i want furniture that takes a lot of wear and tear and i also want you know you know white muslin couches then they're going to say well that's not going to take a lot of wear and tear and the stains are going to show up so what would you say to that she.

[1:21:02] Would just say well that's what i want okay.

[1:21:03] So that's what she wants so um what would you say would you say that's not acceptable that's not allowable well.

[1:21:12] I would i would try and suss out the criteria for her decision because i'm doing the hunting for you know the material or i'm trying to work with contractors so i would try and.

[1:21:26] And why were you doing the hunting for the material.

[1:21:30] Because i i mean she wasn't putting much effort into moving along the remodel.

[1:21:36] And so so then you don't remodel i'm again i'm sort of trying to understand this i mean if she doesn't want to do much effort then why does it become your job um.

[1:21:47] Because i wanted to make it happen why, i don't understand the question.

[1:21:57] Well if so you wanted the remodel, yes okay so you wanted the remodel but she said i need to make all the decisions, And she wasn't, she was actually interfering with the decisions, right? Because you'd say, yeah, here's the countertops and she wouldn't come and look at them, right?

[1:22:16] Right. Okay.

[1:22:17] So wouldn't you just abandon the project, at least for the time being until she's got motivation?

[1:22:28] Um well some of it was i mean that's that's what happened when our relationship deteriorated i.

[1:22:34] Mean it happened anyway so at least you could have prevented some conflict right because like in in relationships right sometimes people want stuff that doesn't make any sense sometimes people want stuff that's contradictory right so what are you gonna do i mean the german side of you we must organize this it must be ironed out it must be blueprinted it must be non-contradictory it must be implemented within a reasonable time frame i mean i get all of that but it's part of a culture i mean if you wanted someone like you you'd date a german girl yeah.

[1:23:05] I think what for me was very frustrating was i thought there was some agreement when we purchased the house that we would make these changes and um you know there was some commitment to that and it It turned out she didn't make any commitments, right? She just, she said she wanted it.

[1:23:24] Not only did she not make a commitment, she was actively obstructing the process, right?

[1:23:28] Yeah. She, she both wanted the outcome and didn't want to facilitate the outcome.

[1:23:33] Right. Okay. Oh, and in fact, she was interfering with the outcome.

[1:23:36] Right. Okay.

[1:23:38] Now, were there, was there any sign of that before you bought a house together and you put your name on it without being married? You put her name on it without being married? because you're complaining about the project called renovation I'm questioning the project called marriage as a whole, right like if you say well you know things have to be done the right way and in the right sequence and I'm a conservative it's like well why are you putting the woman's name on the property when you're not even married.

[1:24:16] I I intended to marry her, and that felt like an appropriate thing to do.

[1:24:24] No, but, okay, so, but was there indications? I mean, you said that there was indications of her being rude or thoughtless when it came to house hunting, right?

[1:24:34] Right.

[1:24:36] And what else was there that would have given you these indications? Yes.

[1:24:48] Is there a specific time point? I mean, I guess before.

[1:24:52] You before you put her name on the house.

[1:24:55] Yeah. So the stuff with her parents and the insecurity that I knew she was working on but I hadn't seen addressed, um Those were the bit two before, and then the real estate agent time preference.

[1:25:31] Well, and the absolute lack of progress in therapy, right?

[1:25:36] Yes.

[1:25:39] Okay. So you put the project on hold to fix up the house, right?

[1:25:48] I'm sorry, say that again?

[1:25:49] Sorry, when you weren't getting along with your fiancé, you put the project on hold for fixing up the house, right?

[1:25:56] Yes.

[1:25:57] Okay. And I assume that cost some penalties?

[1:26:04] Not really. I was doing most of it.

[1:26:08] Oh, you were doing the renovations yourself?

[1:26:10] I was doing most of the renovation, yeah.

[1:26:14] Holy crap. So you got a full-time job?

[1:26:17] Yes.

[1:26:17] And just spending four or six months renovating your house?

[1:26:21] Yes.

[1:26:25] Okay. I mean, that's a lot to put on a relationship, right?

[1:26:34] I guess so, yeah.

[1:26:37] I mean, were you having fun doing the house together?

[1:26:44] I enjoyed the work. For me, the sort of physical aspect of it was rewarding. I've always been more of a shock person. For her, not so much.

[1:26:59] Did she join you in the work?

[1:27:01] No.

[1:27:03] So you're hammering away wherever in the basement, and she's doing what?

[1:27:10] Well, she would go bicycle or do some social thing. or, I mean, particularly on weekends, she would try and go socialize.

[1:27:24] So, I'm sorry, I mean, you're like a galley slave down there hammering in the basement and she's lunching with the ladies?

[1:27:32] I have some resentment in that regard.

[1:27:34] Yeah. You think?

[1:27:35] Yeah.

[1:27:36] Holy crap. So now you're someone who works for her and she can treat you this way.

[1:27:44] Right.

[1:27:45] I mean, if your wife was hammering away in the basement and you're like, I want to go golfing, wouldn't you feel kind of bad?

[1:27:54] I would, yes.

[1:27:56] But she didn't.

[1:28:00] She would say that it was something I wanted and I chose to do, and she wasn't going to stop me.

[1:28:08] Okay, so she did want this renovation, and then she didn't when she wanted to go out.

[1:28:13] Right.

[1:28:15] Now, so she doesn't understand marriage, obviously, because there is no you and me in marriage.

[1:28:21] Right.

[1:28:22] Right? I mean, if you have a project, you're one flesh. Now, it's like your left arm saying to your right arm, well, I didn't want this, so you do all the work. I mean, you're supposed to be one flesh, right?

[1:28:36] Right.

[1:28:37] So how long did this go on for that she would basically leave you to do all the hard work while she went off and spent money?

[1:28:46] Probably two or three months.

[1:28:49] So not the whole project. Oh, no, but then you put it on hold, right?

[1:28:52] Right yeah so then so then i basically it stopped um a lot of the work was the planning and getting quotes and so but um yeah i i put in the new kitchen cabinets and did the electrical and the lights and and.

[1:29:09] Was she appreciative of this at all or was it like not particularly.

[1:29:13] Not particularly wow.

[1:29:16] Okay and then.

[1:29:20] So then basically the project got on hold um at that time pursued counseling oh this was individual counseling.

[1:29:34] You wanted to do couples she wanted you to do individual right.

[1:29:36] Right okay and then and then um there was a moment moment in the second couples counseling session that wait sorry couples i'm.

[1:29:48] Sorry to jump in i just want to make sure i.

[1:29:50] Understand i thought.

[1:29:51] She i thought you wanted couples she wanted you to do solo but then you did end up doing couples.

[1:29:55] Yeah so we i did it solo for probably three months okay and then um it took another so after that another probably two two months to wrangle her into couples when my individual counselor recommended we do couples and.

[1:30:10] Your Your individual counselor was the guy who was like, here's how to wrangle your wife.

[1:30:14] He was, here are mitigation strategies to not lose your mind.

[1:30:19] To not lose your money.

[1:30:21] Your mind, my mind.

[1:30:22] Oh, your mind. Sorry.

[1:30:23] Emotional. Yeah.

[1:30:25] Okay. And I don't want you to divulge anything too personal, but what, uh, can you give me an example of a strategy that he would have come up with?

[1:30:34] Oh, I already did. this is the one of defer a conversation when she's super upset so she'll come back happy. So if she was blowing up about something instead of engaging with her, I would just find some way to walk away or, You know, prevent the situation.

[1:30:54] And did they rework these strategies?

[1:30:55] They worked for me as far as my level of ability to handle her. They didn't help the relationship.

[1:31:07] Right. Okay. Yeah, because you're just managing a fire. You're not able to put it out. Okay.

[1:31:13] Right. There wasn't, like, many times her goal was to express at me. There was no communication. sorry to express what at me like oh to event yeah right so okay so then you go.

[1:31:31] To couples counseling and that's neither of the counselors that you guys have had individually is that right correct, right okay.

[1:31:39] Yeah so we and how did that go well the so there was in the second counseling session the counselor made a point to her that that she had not looked at me since the session had started. I mean, this was like over a half hour in, 45 minutes. And I was trying to connect with her emotionally during the session, and she was laser-focused at convincing the counselor she was right. And I wasn't in the room with her. So, and that, that to me was like a wake-up call. Um, and I asked the counselor, you know, what, like, how long do you think it'll take for there to be an improvement? And she's like, you know, this is a, it takes a while. It takes effort. And I just straight up told her, I was like, I don't have that long. It's not working. You know, like this is my hail.

[1:32:32] Well, if there hadn't been any progress in the couple of years you guys had been, in fact, it seemed to have gotten worse, right?

[1:32:37] That's yes exactly okay.

[1:32:39] So you basically your therapist or the therapist said take her as she is don't expect too much change and you're like i don't want her as she is i don't want to be overly simplistic but it was something like that.

[1:32:51] Oh it was worse than that it was like like i'm dying here this is not like i'm not going to last and were.

[1:33:00] You what what was dying about and i'm not disagreeing with you i just want to make sure i understand uh what was what was dying for you about all of this like what was what was causing the dying sensation.

[1:33:09] Well just i um like i i couldn't exist emotionally in the relationship so when they're when i would express things like they just sort of breezed over her but she, you know she she wanted she would complain that i wouldn't communicate but then i would communicate and she just wouldn't like it would go in one ear and out the other and so yeah a lot of times People say.

[1:33:36] When they say you're not communicating, they mean you're disagreeing.

[1:33:41] No, I mean, this was like, I was self-erasing to try and make the relationship work, and I couldn't self-erase more.

[1:33:49] Well, you know, the problem is, I mean, one of the major problems is, so if my wife and I had the idea for a four to six month project that would be almost exclusively me and would take me away from her, why would we say no to that?

[1:34:12] Oh, because she wants to be with you.

[1:34:13] Yeah, because we want to be with each other. And I don't want a fucking bar stool shit fest place in my house more than I want to spend time with my wife.

[1:34:24] Right.

[1:34:26] So the problem is that you guys didn't want to spend time with each other enough. And in fact, the project and all of this may have been a way of covering that up.

[1:34:36] I think, yes. Yeah.

[1:34:38] Like, it's difficult to get along with someone. someone and i listen i was in a difficult relationship not a terrible relationship but you know it had its its challenges and it was fantastic for my career as an entrepreneur because man did i love spending time at work i.

[1:34:53] I had that uh there was a time when i was sitting at work going you know i can read a book here or i can read a book at home i'd rather read a book here oh that's fucked up.

[1:35:01] Right i mean there's that old meme like the women say too like why do the why Why do the husbands just sit in the car in the driveway for five minutes before coming in? It's like to prepare for the stress.

[1:35:11] Yes. Yeah.

[1:35:15] So when did you start? I mean, that's the significant dislike. You know, this is something there was some billionaire. I can't remember who it was. It was some billionaires like, I'm going to sail a hot air balloon around the world. I'm going to fly this. And it's like, okay, we get it. You don't like your wife. Like, why did you just say that?

[1:35:31] Right.

[1:35:32] And it's kind of true. True. Like a lot of human, a lot of male excellence in particular comes out of difficult females because just rather work, right? So when did you start, I mean, that's active dislike is I'd rather fix up a house and spend time with you. I'd rather go out with friends and spend time with my husband. So when did that, when did that dislike really start to creep in?

[1:35:57] That was towards when I was doing the individual counseling and getting some more self-awareness. It was, I became more and more aware of how bad the relationship was.

[1:36:09] Did, when you set up the house project, the sort of four to six months, and how many hours a week were you spending on this, do you think? I know it varies to some degree, but.

[1:36:20] Well, the planning, planning was like, you know, 10 to 15.

[1:36:26] Sorry, 10 to 15 what?

[1:36:28] Hours a week.

[1:36:29] Okay.

[1:36:30] Between, you know, finding contractors.

[1:36:33] No, I get all of that. And what about the actual labor? And that includes, you know, getting the materials and all that.

[1:36:39] Right, right. The labor I was doing probably 20 to 30 hours.

[1:36:50] Right, so that's a lot, right? Did she ever say, like, we're not spending time together, I miss you?

[1:36:57] No, no.

[1:36:58] Okay, so she didn't care. In fact, she was probably relieved, right? And was it that you guys were getting along so uncertainly that spending time together was risky?

[1:37:16] The time we spent together felt very forced. So, like, for example, she would want to go to dinner. I didn't like eating out, but I would go, you know, I wouldn't really want to be there. She would talk about stuff that I had no interest in. I would try and talk about the house. She didn't, she didn't really care. I don't know. It just, it wasn't, it was not great.

[1:37:45] Did you get a sense of, of foreboding? Like, did you get a sense of.

[1:37:51] Yes. if.

[1:37:52] Things keep going this way it's just a matter of time.

[1:37:56] Yeah that that was that feeling was probably the main one the reason i called off the marriage plans so no no before then.

[1:38:04] Right like the early warning system right.

[1:38:07] Right but this was like within the year that we had moved and bought a house, um when i was when i started feeling that in 2020 20 right and then the house remodel stuff was 2021 and.

[1:38:25] So when you started to get the feeling that if things continue things are going to go very badly um did you have any i mean i guess that's when she was in counseling you went to counseling or was it before then like i'm trying to figure out sort of when you got that oh this is going in a very bad direction and what happened after that.

[1:38:42] Well before you called.

[1:38:44] Off the engagement.

[1:38:45] Yeah it's when i called off the engagement when i got that feeling and then that's when i initially started to try and push us to get into counseling and i read some books on relationships i was like i was looking for tools of how to work through things um but it wasn't it wasn't getting better and.

[1:39:12] You have been listening to me for a long time, and why over in this process as a whole did you not want to call in?

[1:39:23] Um... I don't remember if I put in a request or not, actually.

[1:39:30] Well, I mean, even if you did put in a request and didn't hear back, I mean, you know that sometimes when people are busy, you don't always get what you want.

[1:39:40] Yeah. No, I wasn't expecting that, but I did. I mean, like I said, I talked to my parents. I talked to friends.

[1:39:47] Yeah, but that wasn't working.

[1:39:48] Right?

[1:39:48] That wasn't working.

[1:39:49] I saw it. Yeah, but I don't think it was my lack of effort. I think it was just exposing issues that I should have been more diligent about earlier.

[1:40:03] No, no, I'm just curious because, you know, you're calling me now, right? Would I rather have you call me earlier or later? Like, let me appeal to your project management side. when something's going wrong in a project would you rather people tell you sooner or later.

[1:40:23] I recognize that but what i put in what i call what i initiated this conversation with was is something what i think is different um than my past ex yeah.

[1:40:36] No i understand that but i mean i'm just curious it's just a business question i'm just curious why you wouldn't have said had or persisted in trying to get a call in because, I mean, I can be quite helpful with this stuff, right? I mean, I assume that if you read relationship books, one of the ones you read was real-time relationships. So I know a little bit about this stuff, right?

[1:40:55] No, I mean, I know that you could be helpful and I was not persistent at trying to get a conversation.

[1:41:03] But you think you did send a request in yes okay got it got it all right so you put the project on hold and then, what happens uh oh you put the whole you say we're not we're disengaged we're unengaged we're not engaged anymore.

[1:41:25] Well, I knew that we needed to separate, and it took her a while to have the same realization. I've got a two-year horror show.

[1:41:50] Two years to break up? up.

[1:41:52] Well she didn't want to leave the house and i felt like it was mine so it got legal.

[1:41:59] Sorry you felt like it was your house had you paid for it.

[1:42:02] Well i put the entirety of the down payment.

[1:42:06] Oh my god and then you split the mortgage right correct so you put the entirety of the down payment which i assume obviously was a lot was it like 10 25 percent or something because i know some places 25 you then don't have to have insurance and stuff like that.

[1:42:20] Yeah i put 140,000.

[1:42:22] So so you put 140,000 into the house and you put her name on half of that 140,000 so you basically gifted her 70k without being married right okay so then did she agree that you needed to break up uh when you first sort of suggested that or thought that she did not so she thought everything was was good and you should get married um.

[1:42:53] She's she was not she did not want to set and break up the relationship so she.

[1:43:03] No but she did she want to get married well.

[1:43:07] She um Um, she spent probably another six months trying to figure out how to make the relationship work with me. And I wasn't interested in pursuing the relationship I was trying to separate.

[1:43:22] But why, why would that be six months?

[1:43:27] Cause she's obstinate. I don't know.

[1:43:29] No, no. But I mean, you're in the house or you're not right?

[1:43:33] No, we were both in the house. house. We, I had moved to a separate room.

[1:43:40] Um, did you not want to leave the house because you were concerned that you might not get it back?

[1:43:44] Correct. Okay.

[1:43:45] So things really were ugly at this point, right? Like you thought she might steal your house.

[1:43:51] Um to me it felt like if i'd left i would give up and i give up the house yes yeah okay right right so now.

[1:44:01] This has turned into like war of the roses battle to the death almost stuff right.

[1:44:04] Yeah the police were called number three times three or four times the police were involved why i i called a couple times um for my safety safety.

[1:44:18] Sorry this is new information safety how what do you mean.

[1:44:21] Uh she she would just explode emotionally and i felt it pertinent to have an official there for record so.

[1:44:30] Tell me what you mean by explode emotionally.

[1:44:32] Well so for example um um the like i i was going to visit my parents um the she put a lock on the master bedroom that that she was staying in and there were clothing that I needed to go visit my parents that were still in the master closet that she wouldn't give to me. And I would be very persistent that I need access to my stuff so that I can take my trip, that I have planned, that you know about, that I forewarned you about, that you agreed to give me this stuff about. out. And so then I would, I would call the police to have them negotiate that situation. Be like, look, here's the situation. I've let her know she's being a bitch and just not letting me access to the things that she's put behind a locked door that are mine. Um, and, and so, um, Uh, it was very ugly.

[1:45:43] Wow. That's, that's quite a tale. Oh, I'm so sorry. Like, that's just, you got to call the cops so you can get access to your underwear. That's pretty, that's pretty appalling. I'm so sorry. What a mess. Now, how long, uh, so you, you told her you want to break up and how ugly or how quickly did it get ugly?

[1:46:03] It took a while to get ugly because she was still trying to make things work.

[1:46:08] And what was she doing to make things work?

[1:46:13] Uh, not much.

[1:46:15] Yeah, right.

[1:46:18] I mean, I, I, I basically, I wrote a letter. It was like, you know, I'll pay you this much. You'll give me mine with house and we'll, you know, separate and, um, uh, you know, like we, we, I felt like we needed time separated. um if there's any chance of making things work and she.

[1:46:40] Didn't want that you were trying to hail mary of honey all you have to do is sign over the house and move out and we'll i'm totally going to work on the relationship no.

[1:46:50] Well i did that later but.

[1:46:53] Was that true i mean did you want the relationship at that point no so you were just trying to i'm not criticizing but you were trying to maneuver her into getting out of the house and signing it back to you with the promise that maybe be the relationship could resolve or or improve or be restarted but you had no intention of that.

[1:47:10] Yeah the it's it started with we just need to spend time apart and then it became it was like no no like i'm going to do anything i can to get you out of here including.

[1:47:21] Including lying about will only get married if you move out yes okay and so what happened then.

[1:47:31] Uh, so tried negotiating with her. Then she sent me a, a legal letter that had false information to pressure me. I lawyered up. Um, I tried negotiating false information. Well, she made accusations, um, um, about things that she alleged that I was, that I had done that were abusive. Um, oh yeah.

[1:47:57] So a woman wants property and claims abuse, right? Never seen that before Or in the history of the universe. Okay. Yeah.

[1:48:02] So I, I lured up, um, then after, um, probably eight months of trying to, to settle with her, with her basically being completely obstinate. Um, and I filed with the court for, um, basically for the court to adjudicate the, the separation of the property. And, um, she, She, you know, she had to be drug in there, kicking and screaming. And once we got a judge, then she settled once we had a court date.

[1:48:41] And was it similar to what you'd offer in the beginning or had it changed?

[1:48:47] What she ended up getting was not much different than what I initially offered, but the legal fees were obviously quite a bit higher.

[1:48:54] And how did you, how much money did you spend on lawyers?

[1:48:58] $35,000.

[1:49:00] Right right which was kind of half the value of the split of the house right.

[1:49:04] So i i paid yeah it cost me 75 000 to get rid of her.

[1:49:08] So you actually came out as a loss.

[1:49:13] Yes.

[1:49:14] So why didn't you, easy to say in hindsight, I get this.

[1:49:18] And I'm, well, I didn't come out as a loss to the house. So in that regard, I'm still well on head because the house.

[1:49:24] Has gained in value.

[1:49:26] And I have a low, uh, like a 2.6, 30 year fixed. I mean, like that, um, I was able to keep my mortgage.

[1:49:36] So, but you were lucky in a way and, and the risk was immense.

[1:49:43] Yes and.

[1:49:44] The risk was in particular the charges of abuse right.

[1:49:47] Yeah that well that didn't make it to court that was just a legal threat but if she had gone.

[1:49:55] To the police.

[1:49:57] Yeah i mean that was part of the reason i called the police on a couple occasions is because i established a record of her behavior um as a problem was it worth it do you think.

[1:50:11] In in hindsight i mean if you just walked away and said look that was an expensive lesson but sometimes they are.

[1:50:16] I don't know i mean it would have definitely been faster and i would have saved myself a year and a half two years yeah thirty.

[1:50:26] Five thousand dollars and fear and sleeplessness and right.

[1:50:29] I mean so i yeah i mean but i i basically if i would have just walked away, um i would have lost like 90 to 100 000 in this way i lost 30 000 but it cost me a lot yeah in other words well i mean.

[1:50:53] You're also i mean i assume somewhat traumatized and it's tough to trust right.

[1:50:58] It's definitely going to be more difficult to trust now yes right.

[1:51:04] Right i mean there's lots of soft costs in in life right and two years this two years where you would have been functionally unable to date, right? Because you would have been too tense and upset, right? So you did lose two years of dating, right?

[1:51:18] Yes.

[1:51:18] So that's a pretty big cost, right?

[1:51:23] Right.

[1:51:24] This is my personal perspective. This has nothing to do with right or wrong at all. You could have been totally in the right. My general perspective is, and I actually have done this, is just, yeah, if the money's more important to you than me, keep the money. I can always make more.

[1:51:43] Yeah, no. And I, I mean, my mom suggested that. Um, and I, I don't know, for, there was, for, for me, there was something about giving up on the house that I didn't want to do. Um, it would feel like losing morally.

[1:51:59] Oh, morally. Okay. Okay. Oh, because yeah, she was acting so badly and this, that, and the other, right?

[1:52:04] Well, and I felt like she'd steal it from me, right? Like you're a bitch and therefore you get to.

[1:52:08] But it's not stealing if her name is on the lease, is it? Her name is on the property deed.

[1:52:13] Yes, yes, yes. But I put the entirety of the down payment.

[1:52:16] No, no, no, no. You voluntarily put her name on the deed.

[1:52:24] I'm aware.

[1:52:24] So let's be clear. It's not stealing.

[1:52:27] I didn't say it was stealing.

[1:52:29] No, but there was a moral element to it, right?

[1:52:31] Yeah, the moral element was, I feel like, I mean, I knew I was being exploited. let's i mean right it.

[1:52:38] Became sorry how are you being exploited by a choice you made because.

[1:52:43] Her goal was to get as much money out of me as possible.

[1:52:48] Okay and you had a chance to vet her for a couple of years before you put her name on the deed yes, so you can't you can't play the victim i mean you can i'm just telling you that it's It's not going to be good for your future. You can't play the victim with choices you voluntarily made. Nobody put a gun to your head. You had a chance to vet her, right? You could have called me and I could have told you about all these red flags. So you made specific choices. And I know this is annoying and frustrating and so on, but I'm, you know, I'm a big, you called me for 150% self-ownership, right?

[1:53:28] Right.

[1:53:31] You made these choices.

[1:53:33] And I'm not denying that I made the choices.

[1:53:36] You said you were exploited.

[1:53:39] No, I said I felt exploited.

[1:53:40] Okay, and I'm telling you that feeling is incorrect. That feeling is self-pity and that feeling is an abandonment of your free will. And that's not healthy, in my humble opinion. I am 150% responsible for every bad relationship and good relationship I've ever had, because I accept my parents, which I didn't choose, right? Or family members when I was a kid, because I didn't choose any of that. But you chose her. And you chose her, when you've been listening to a philosopher for many years who'd said, Instead, love is our involuntary response to virtue if we're virtuous, and you chose her despite the fact you couldn't name one of her virtues. So you're like a guy whose trusted health expert is like, smoking is really bad for you, smoking is really bad for you, here's the proof, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then you say, well, I smoked for 30 years, now I'm sick, and I'm victimized, I've been exploited. You had better advice that you chose not to take. Now, there's nothing wrong with that. I mean, we all don't take good advice, right? Without a doubt. We all don't take good advice from time to time.

[1:55:01] Well, or have difficulty mapping the abstractions onto my life choices. I mean, there's also some amount of skill that you have that is not as common. that I'm aware that it takes me quite a bit of work to apply this to my life.

[1:55:22] So, do you accept that virtue is necessary for love?

[1:55:31] Yes.

[1:55:31] Different Definition of Love

[1:55:31] Okay. Did you accept it when you first heard the argument that I made many, many, many, many years ago?

[1:55:46] I, no, I don't think I, I use a different definition for love.

[1:55:50] And what was your definition of love?

[1:55:58] Um, it was more of the religious definition.

[1:56:01] And what's that?

[1:56:09] The, uh, Like your religious.

[1:56:11] I mean, the religious definition could mean many things to many people, many denominations, many interpretations, many Bible verses. What does the religious definition of love mean to you? And I say this without opposition, I really do want to know.

[1:56:27] It was the shared desire to become one whole with another person because you respect and are aligned with them and, I had heard your definition but I didn't I didn't articulate that as the way to live my life.

[1:56:58] Okay, so that's fine. So, I mean, obviously, that's an argument I'm making, and I can't obviously compel people to accept it. So you said that your definition of love was when you respect your partner and are aligned with their values, right? Or your values are aligned with each other?

[1:57:18] Yes, yeah, values and goals are aligned.

[1:57:21] Okay. And by your definition of love, were you in love? And don't say I thought I was, because you said the red flag from the beginning, right? Forget my definition, right? That's totally fine, right? But by your definition, were your values and goals aligned, and did you respect her?

[1:57:43] Yeah, I respected her, and I thought that our values and goals were aligned.

[1:57:56] Okay, and we can go back to, like, when I asked you what you valued about her, what you, the virtues and values and so on that she had, right? Which is a similar way of saying, what do you respect about her? You couldn't come up with anything, really. right there was there was she works hard she works out uh but there was nothing in particular of virtue in that but.

[1:58:24] You i mean when i say values that's like hierarchy of how people spend their time that's how they choose.

[1:58:31] No no let's focus on the word respect we can get to values but But so what did you respect about her and respect? I mean, it's another one of these complicated words. I respect the power of a bear. That doesn't mean I want to marry a bear, right?

[1:58:51] Right.

[1:58:53] I respect that sharks are chew monsters, so I choose not to swim where there are lots of them around, right? So the word respect. Now, isn't it the case, though, that in the religious sense, respect has to do with virtues? You would respect piety, you would respect people who hold the Ten Commandments, who hold Jesus in their hearts, who try to do the right thing in a fairly demonic world. I mean, wouldn't respect in the religious sense also be conjoined with virtues? and there's no commandment that says thou shalt work out right so that's like her being fit or whatever is not a virtue in the religious sense there would be the qualities of the soul and of the character and of the morals wouldn't it yeah.

[1:59:42] But i mean more the deferral of gratification the discipline um respect for individual health uh.

[1:59:50] Sorry none of those commandments and none of those are commanded none of those are commandments or commanded virtues in the christian sense there's no doubt work out so help me understand the respect for virtues and values to say in the religious sense as if that's very different from the moral sense that i put forward, so again i'm happy to hear what religious virtue she embodied was she herself a christian, no oh is she religious i.

[2:00:20] Don't know you but you're.

[2:00:22] Sorry no okay so what are you talking about like i loved her in a religious sense but she wasn't religious no.

[2:00:29] You you asked me how i define love and i said i there's nothing my i thought my my definition had come much more from my parents and.

[2:00:42] Which is.

[2:00:42] More more right but.

[2:00:44] That doesn't religion says love virtues It doesn't say love a bubble butt because she's done a lot of lunges, or love that she might be a workaholic, or, you know, it doesn't say any of that, right? It says love someone for their virtues. Now, the virtues might be a little different, but basically the message would be the same, right?

[2:01:08] I wouldn't describe... If I was to describe it to somebody, I wouldn't say it's love virtues.

[2:01:16] Well, but you talk about respect in a religious sense, that you got your sense of love, which is respect and value alignment from a religious sense, right? But religion would absolutely say you shouldn't just love the flesh. I mean, it's fine if somebody's healthy and all of that, but you should love their virtues, right? You should love their morals. You should love their honorable standing with God's commandments, right?

[2:01:42] Right.

[2:01:44] So the question then is if your attraction to this woman and your professed love for this woman, didn't match your own values and this is the central question right because i want you to be happily married i want you to have kids if that's what you want all of that so then the question is why did you date her why did you move in why did you get engaged why did you put her name on the deed what was driving it because it wasn't love by either your or my definition, so what was driving that and i don't know the answer to that but that's what i've been asking all these questions for us to get to this point yeah.

[2:02:21] I i think some of it was just i felt like i found somebody that shared my goals and aspirations aspirations and who was a, adult who i could work with um.

[2:02:37] Okay so please help me understand what goals and aspirations, she actually shared anyone can say anything right so and you know as a project manager you know people lie a lot right i mean project managers and i guess house md when we're a project manager we know that people misrepresent lie fudge promise don't deliver like we see unfortunately the squirmy squinticle tag weasel brain uh of humanity quite a bit right as i spent many years as a project manager in the tech world so what were the values that.

[2:03:14] Yeah i don't.

[2:03:15] Because she didn't love you right because because she didn't love you because she didn't really want to spend that much time with you and then she threatened you and and threatened you with jail uh and and destroying your reputation and and went after your house your money that's very predatory right it.

[2:03:32] Became clear that she thought that i was the best she could do.

[2:03:37] Okay but she didn't love you but.

[2:03:41] She wasn't with me for who i was she.

[2:03:44] Didn't love you right right right okay did you love her and please don't say i thought i did because then we're right Right back to the beginning.

[2:03:56] I thought that she was somebody that I could have a family with and could work with and could care for and who cared for me.

[2:04:05] So you thought you did.

[2:04:13] I mean, I wouldn't have proposed to her if I didn't think that she was somewhere that I could spend my life with.

[2:04:21] Okay. So, if you make excuses about the past, you condemn the future. I'm just telling you that straight up. Right. So, like, whenever I did big projects, we'd do a post-mortem and figure out what we could do better next time. But if we just said we did everything perfectly, nothing would change or improve. Right?

[2:04:38] Right.

[2:04:40] So it's tough to look back and say, I messed up. But if you don't do that, you can't fix anything going forward. Because if it was like, well, I thought I loved her. I thought she loved me. And we were together for years. And then it turned into hell. And there was no way I really could have known ahead of time and all of that. Right. Well, then.

[2:05:01] Yeah, that's not what I'm saying. I'm agreeing that there were things that I overlooked, things that I didn't pay attention to. Maybe I.

[2:05:08] Yes, but why? That's the question. The why, I mean, saying that I messed up without knowing the why doesn't solve the problem.

[2:05:17] Well, some of it, I know some of the why. I mean, some of the why was I had searched for a long time and this was someone who was head and shoulders above everybody else that I had dated.

[2:05:30] But it has, sorry to interrupt, it has to be something that won't reproduce, right? So now when you go looking for a woman, you'll have been searching for even longer. So if you say, well, I got together in this absolutely catastrophic and highly toxic and dangerous relationship, and it was, right? Two years with battles, including threats of criminal activity, potentially, and lawyers, that's a catastrophe, right?

[2:05:56] It's not something I would wish on anybody.

[2:05:58] So it has to be something that you understand about yourself that won't reproduce in the future. And if you say, well, I've been looking for a long time, well, now you've been looking for even longer. So you're going to be even more susceptible to that problem. Does that make sense?

[2:06:11] Yes. Yeah.

[2:06:14] So why did you end up in this situation? How do your parents resolve conflicts? Was there any template in the past? Sure.

[2:06:29] Um, my parents are pretty good at talking through their conflicts, um, as far, I mean, the, the, the ones that I've seen, um, uh, around and, and honoring if they make agreements, they stick to them.

[2:06:48] Mm-hmm.

[2:06:49] So.

[2:06:50] But did they also teach you that a lot of the world doesn't think like that at all?

[2:06:58] No not not really did.

[2:07:02] You grow up in a mostly white or or european or kind of mono culture or were you exposed to you know other ways of thinking around the world that can be quite different i.

[2:07:14] Was definitely exposed to other ways of thinking when i went to the international school.

[2:07:17] Oh yeah sorry you're absolutely right i completely forgot about that okay so did your parents say to you that other cultures may have different approaches to things than what you're used to i mean it's kind of how different cultures and some may be better some may be worse but it's definitely different right we.

[2:07:34] Never we've never actually really talked about cultures in that way they're i mean they're also engineers they they would be more they would give some specifics of challenges that they had so like my dad would talk about the corruption problems that he faced and how he would address them. But it wasn't so much on culture. It was more analytical.

[2:08:02] Okay. And your parents, did they give you any warnings or cautions about your girlfriend? I know you said that they had some questions, but what were their objections or cautions?

[2:08:19] Those weren't expressed until after we were engaged.

[2:08:24] Okay, and what did they say then?

[2:08:29] They were concerned with her ability to be supportive and her emotional connection with me and the fact that she was sort of all over the place emotionally was something that they were worried about.

[2:08:55] And they were right about that, right?

[2:08:57] They were, yes.

[2:08:59] And do you know why they didn't say anything? I mean, did you tell them, hey, I'm putting her name on the deed to the house?

[2:09:10] No, I did not.

[2:09:11] It seems to me that you were hiding a bit from your parents, hiding some information, right?

[2:09:18] I should have talked...

[2:09:29] To a relationship with this woman that.

[2:09:32] Yeah i should have talked about that with them.

[2:09:35] So why do you think you didn't again not big criticism i mean it's it's it's tough to make good decisions without feedback right yeah.

[2:09:47] Lack of Communication with Parents

[2:09:47] I guess i didn't see it as that much of a decision because my thought process was if we get married she gets half the house i'm planning to get married to her um i didn't at that time i just.

[2:09:59] Didn't but why why hide it i mean it is a big decision right and and yeah you know hey we're we're buying this house i'm i'm putting her name on the deed i'm that confident about the relation like why why not say it why not say her parents yelled at each other a lot and i don't know that that's good conflict resolution skills that i'm getting into what do you think.

[2:10:32] Just I don't like it just that the decision on putting her on the title was, not a decision I had planned for a long time the not having the discussion about the parents I don't know it just it It didn't come up. I didn't.

[2:10:53] Well, no, my God, it can't come up. You're holding information that they don't have, right? Like if this, if you're managing someone and they're completely unable to make their deliverable and they don't tell you anything about it and then they say, well, it didn't come up. What would you say?

[2:11:09] Yeah, it's my job to imagine.

[2:11:11] I can't guess what you know that you're not telling me.

[2:11:14] Right. But I, uh. I don't know. I might have brought it up, but maybe I didn't talk about it in detail. It's been years. I'm sure I mentioned in passing meeting her parents. The rest of that conversation, maybe it included it.

[2:11:40] Maybe it didn't. If your parents say, oh, I met her parents, wouldn't they say, well, tell us what they're like? We've, you know, we've been your parent for more than a quarter century. Like, we want to make sure you're happy and safe and, like, tell us what her parents are like. Because, you know, there's a pretty big cultural divide and history. You don't even speak the same language. Like, what have you noticed and all that, right? Wouldn't they sit you down and try and help you?

[2:12:04] Well they so um they wouldn't sit me down because we live different towns but oh man let's.

[2:12:12] Not let's not get lost in these kinds of ridiculous details.

[2:12:14] I don't mean physically.

[2:12:16] Sitting you down.

[2:12:17] Okay yeah i understand so the i'm sure i've talked about her parents at some point to my parents like i said maybe i did mention it and they or i mentioned it in a muted manner that they didn't pick up on it No.

[2:12:33] No, it's their job, though, right? How long have they been married?

[2:12:39] 35, a while.

[2:12:40] Okay, a while. And do they come, I guess they're both Europeans, right? They're both whites?

[2:12:45] They're Caucasian, yeah.

[2:12:47] And is one of them Irish and, sorry, is one of them German and one of them Italian? Italian?

[2:12:54] Uh, so my dad's a quarter Italian and then my mom's probably German. I don't know. They've been in here. Her family has been in the U S for, for a long time.

[2:13:07] And did they grow up in roughly the same cultural environment?

[2:13:13] Um, East coast, West coast. So not.

[2:13:15] Okay. But still American, right? Okay. Got it. Got it. All right. So, I mean, they have a lot of compatibilities. They have a lot of shared history. This is part of the conservative thing, which is saying, you know, like if you go very far afield, it can be really tough to have the same kind of mindset, right? And we can say that's right or that's wrong or whatever, but that's generally the conservative mindset. So your parents would know, based upon their own experiences and their compatibilities culturally, that you were taking a very, very different path, right? uh yes okay so if you're taking a very very different path i think it's somewhat incumbent upon your parents to do some vetting right it's tough for you to do the vetting because, you're a young man you're getting regular sex you're pair bonding physically and and so on right so this is one of the reasons why the elders feedback on potential marriages is pretty important right because they can see beyond you know i'm not saying it was only lust but you know some of the last of the moment right right so how much did they grill you about, this potential marriage not that much okay how much, um

[2:14:44] They were more interested in how I was doing emotionally, at least later when I was clearly not doing well. When we... They were trying to be positive and supportive, but they weren't very inquisitive.

[2:15:03] And what life lessons... Did you get any relationship lessons from your parents that were explicit and that you sort of think about or still find value to this day?

[2:15:20] Um i've gotten a lot of i've gotten life lessons but not really relationship lessons like.

[2:15:27] Lessons like like the business and and so on.

[2:15:29] Or or um you know don't care about things that you can't change um stuff on being responsible for your health both some risk management stuff, you know, personally. I have a lot of respect for my dad, but I don't. My parents haven't really talked about their relationship that much. Does that answer your question?

[2:16:06] Yeah, I mean, it's not a huge amount, right?

[2:16:13] I mean it certainly wasn't.

[2:16:15] Enough to help you avoid this catastrophe right i mean.

[2:16:20] This has cost you.

[2:16:20] I mean the legal stuff has just wound down recently right.

[2:16:25] Uh 2023, three yeah so it's been a year yeah okay it's been a year and there's been no more movement.

[2:16:36] On that right she's she's done and dusted.

[2:16:37] So we we got a basically a binding settlement and then she vacated and i paid her and it was up so.

[2:16:46] And you haven't heard from her since.

[2:16:48] Right okay.

[2:16:49] Good good well i'm glad she's not circling circling back okay.

[2:16:52] She yeah uh she she can't oh.

[2:16:57] You have a no contact.

[2:16:58] No but um i mean i blocked her and And I'm very clear that I'm no interest in communicating with her.

[2:17:07] Okay, got it. And was it, it was a year ago, and when did you start dating after that?

[2:17:16] So we got our settlement in August. She moved out by September and I restarted dating in like December. Well, more like February though, because I was out of town.

[2:17:33] So it really has only been six or seven months since it really wound down, right?

[2:17:40] I mean, I emotionally, I was out of my relationship with her for a long time. but as far as.

[2:17:46] Not seeing her you're bound in the court so you're not emotionally free right yeah.

[2:17:51] But as far as not seeing her it's been six months.

[2:17:53] Yeah okay so let's let's go on a date you and i right so we're going on a date we're sitting across from dinner at a coffee shop right and you give yourself contradictory.

[2:18:07] Dinner at a coffee shop like.

[2:18:08] Reflecting on Past Relationship

[2:18:08] No or a coffee shop dinner or a coffee shop okay okay so now you're interested in contradictions right okay so we're sitting across and i'm i look fabulous as always and as always as always and so you you know you tell me about this relationship right which is a huge red flag for a woman right, That you ended up in a pitched two-year legal battle with your ex-fiancé. Right? This is what it's really costing you, and this is why I'm really trying to hammer the free will, personal responsibility stuff. Because I assume you're going to tell this story to somebody you want to date, right? If you just don't get along, who cares, right? So I'm sitting across the table from you. You tell me basically some sanitized, shortened version of, I just six months ago finished a two-year pitched bloody legal battle with my ex-fiance, where she threatened me with lurid tales of abuse that were false. What do I think is the woman sitting across the table from you?

[2:19:19] Yeah, it doesn't speak well to my character or ability to vet. and the fact that I decided to go through that rather than just walk away as soon as possible is...

[2:19:33] No, no, the fact that you got into that situation at all is the red flag.

[2:19:37] Right, that's what I said.

[2:19:38] No, that you decided not to walk away.

[2:19:41] No, I said both of those things.

[2:19:48] Okay, so there's a big red flag and that's the price, right? So you say, well, I've got a 2.9% 30-year mortgage and I only spent 35 grand, but the house value has gone up 80 or 90 grand. So that's the engineer way of looking at it, which is the spreadsheet. And that's true. I get that. But the problem is, a quality woman, right, a woman who, you know, is sharp, acute, curious, wise, is going to look at this tale with a kind of creeping horror, right? I mean, if you were sitting across from a woman in her 30s, and she said, I just got out of a two-year bloody-knuckled legal battle with my ex-fiance a couple of months ago, what would you think?

[2:20:43] I would have some concerns about emotional availability.

[2:20:48] Would you go on a date with her again?

[2:20:56] Probably not. Right.

[2:20:58] Especially if she said, I was exploited. He took advantage of me.

[2:21:11] So, okay. So, but I mean, I was curious about this. I mean, you, you said my feeling was wrong.

[2:21:20] Well, so look, I'm exploited is not a feeling. Mad, sad, bad, and glad, those are kind of feelings, right? That's a judgment. That's a moral judgment. Exploitation is a moral judgment, and that's an intellectual act. So it's not even really a feeling. It's a moral judgment, right?

[2:21:39] Yes. Yeah, I was mad about it.

[2:21:42] I mean, you don't go to the dentist and they say, do you have any pain in your mouth? And they say, well, I feel exploited. Like they would say, well, no. Do you have any direct sensation? Do you have an actual feeling, right?

[2:21:51] Right. Yeah, I felt taken advantage of.

[2:21:54] Got it. Okay. So if the woman said, and I'm paraphrasing a little here, and this is kind of goady, but i really want to get to this so if the woman said i i had this horrible you know relationship that went on so so start to end for you guys was half a decade is that right yeah okay so i was in this half a decade relationship that that collapsed into vicious bloody knuckled legal fights that have just ended, and it was all his fault. I was a perfect innocent angel. I couldn't have seen it coming. It was all his fault. He's the bad guy. I was exploited. I'm the victim. And I'm paraphrasing, so I know you can shade that all you want. But if that's what you get, what would you think?

[2:22:42] No, I would say that's crazy. I know you have choice in the decisions that were made, and obviously blaming the other party is not true.

[2:22:56] Right. You can't be exploited without fraud or force. You can't.

[2:23:01] Yeah.

[2:23:02] You can have buyer's remorse, you can whatever, right? But you can't be exploited without fraud or force. And it can't be fraud if you have two years to vet her before you move in, or a year and a half or four, five months, right?

[2:23:14] Yes. Yeah.

[2:23:16] So, there's only one way to have this hag of an ex not sitting over your shoulder scaring off all the good women.

[2:23:35] That's that's why i'm calling.

[2:23:36] Taking Ownership and Responsibility

[2:23:36] Right and that's why i keep bringing this thing up and you keep fighting me on it which is fine i'm just telling you there's only one way that a woman is going to accept this horrifying half decade of yours yeah.

[2:23:51] I take ownership for the my failings.

[2:23:53] It's all me 100 me i met her i dated her i chose her i ignored the red flags i kept information from friends and family i lied to her i mean you feel exploited you were promising her marriage if she moved out yeah.

[2:24:14] No that my behavior.

[2:24:17] I'm not disagreeing with you i'm just saying it's a bit precious to hear how exploited you were yeah.

[2:24:22] No it was pretty shitty behavior and.

[2:24:24] I again right or wrong it's a desperate situation whatever i mean but yeah if if you can't say, here's here's all the things i did wrong it's a it's been the toughest lesson of my life, by god i'm never doing that again here's everything i learned about all the mistakes i made that's the only way that hag gets banished off your shoulder and stops scaring off quality women that's the only way and that's why i keep saying what do you mean you're a victim you made choices it's on you you withheld information from your parents you didn't call me you didn't right you made all the choices that ended up in this situation and i'm not saying that because i want you to feel bad out about yourself. I'm saying that because I want a quality woman to not look at you and say, check.

[2:25:04] Right. Yeah. Yeah.

[2:25:12] Because a quality woman is going to hear you blame your ex and she's going to be like, okay, so he doesn't really have self-ownership. He blames other people for things that go wrong in his life. And it ends really in a really ugly fashion. So he's not, I can't pair bond with him. He's not safe to be around. As the project manager, who's responsible for the failure of the project?

[2:25:38] I am. Right.

[2:25:40] Now, if you say, oh, well, but the vendor didn't deliver on time, what do people say?

[2:25:48] A lot of times it's still my fault.

[2:25:50] Well, you chose the vendor. Right?

[2:25:54] Not always, but...

[2:25:56] Well, no, let's, come on, let's say that you did choose the vendor, right?

[2:25:58] But I mean, yeah, practical business versus theoretical. theoretical theoretical i chose the vendor right.

[2:26:03] Yeah and and if the vendor didn't deliver well how like did you know that ahead of time did you research the history of the vendor did you check their references right were they reliable.

[2:26:12] Had there been.

[2:26:12] A change in management like did you vet.

[2:26:16] Yeah there's uh yeah fortunate or unfortunately theoretical business never aligns well with real business but theoretically i'm project manager and i do my risk analysis and a lot of that has to do with how to pick vendors.

[2:26:34] Right. Right. Now, I mean, I've been hired into existing teams. I still don't get to blame the team, even though I didn't hire them. Because if I'm going to take the authority and, by the way, the pay, then I don't get to shirk the responsibility.

[2:26:50] Yeah, the big one is you're responsible because you're the project manager, but you don't get to be involved in a lot of the decisions.

[2:26:57] Well, but if you accept the position of project manager, you accept that you're responsible for the success of the project. Now, if you don't think you can succeed in the project, then you wouldn't take it, right? Or you wouldn't take the job, or you'd quit and find another job or whatever, right? But the moment you say, I'm now in charge of the project, 100% of the responsibility falls on you.

[2:27:21] Well, yeah, if you have the authority, you have the responsibility.

[2:27:26] No, you have the authority always because you can quit. so if people are saying we're going to hold you accountable for things but we're not going to give you any authority then you quit i mean i remember once in business uh they said uh we want you to be team lead and i said what does that mean well you're responsible for the the team doing a good job i said okay can i hire anyone no can i fire anyone no do i determine salaries no am i getting any bonuses am i getting any raise no then i don't want the job yeah that's not like that's That's not a real thing. Then you're giving me responsibility without authority.

[2:28:01] Responsibility without Authority

[2:28:01] I don't want that. But if I take on the team lead job, then I'm responsible. I can't then say, well, but I don't have this and I don't have that. And you didn't give me this authority. And I like, cause I took the job or I took the title or whatever it is. And I gave people the understanding that I would be responsible for something. And I can't then later say, well, I'm, I'm not really. Right. If you are given responsibility without authority, you reject the authority and you say to people, I can't complete the project on time because I didn't choose the vendors and the vendors are terrible. Now, if you give me the option to change the vendors, I might be able to deliver the project. But if you're not going to give me the option to change the vendors, I can't deliver the project. And I want you to know that ahead of time.

[2:28:43] That's been my primary defense is to make it very transparent on the decisions I'm not allowed to make. that it's usually some VP person above me tells me that I have to do. And I make it very clear that...

[2:28:59] Oh, they say like, you have to use this vendor?

[2:29:01] Yeah, or you have to complete the project in this timeline, even though your critical path is longer than that timeline.

[2:29:08] Right, right. So then you have to be transparent and you may, of course, want to put your resume out there so that you can have more reasonable people to work with.

[2:29:18] Right, exactly.

[2:29:19] Okay, but if you stay, Today, you're 100% responsible because you stay knowing that the VP gives you too short a timeframe, right? So when I was in the business world, I mean, this is very typical, the salespeople would make all the promises and they'd collect their fat checks and go to their cottages for the weekend and all the tech people would be scrambling 12 hours a day from Friday to infinity to fulfill the project requirements, right?

[2:29:44] Yeah. Unfortunately, if you keep leaving jobs, you're not going to be employed.

[2:29:49] Well no but that's that's why you find a job with reasonable people but to do that you have to be better at vetting people and your parents didn't teach you how to vet people yeah yeah i'm trying to teach you that i'm trying to teach you how to vet people here because you're in the process of being vetted with this hag of an ex on your shoulder right scaring off the women right, so now i i of course i got mad at the sales people and i went to the ceo and i said this This is unfair, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And, you know, and things changed a little bit, but then they would change back and so on. But I'm 100% responsible because I stayed.

[2:30:28] So what is life like if you just say you don't have excuses, you don't have the out, you don't have the blame? What if life is, what if the last half decade is all on you? and you say I need to be absolutely rigorous with no excuses I need to be absolutely rigorous about every bad decision I made without excuses without blame, And I analyze it from pure self-ownership, 100% responsibility.

[2:31:02] Analyzing Responsibility and Decision Making

[2:31:03] Actually aim for 150% responsibility because we all undershoot, right? What is that like? How would you tell the story to your date if it's all on you?

[2:31:20] Okay. You want to go back to the scenario?

[2:31:23] Let's go back to the scenario. You've just told me the story or whatever it is. Or how would you tell the story? Actually, we can just do this and we don't have to get into details because we'll assume that they're known, right? Because we've already talked about them. But how would you tell a potential date about your last half decade if it was all on you?

[2:31:44] Um okay i mean i was not that attentive to, her virtues or lack thereof when we started dating um we had some shared interests and got along physically and i just sort of rolled with that and um was ignored or or didn't pay much attention to concerns that I had. And I didn't discuss deeply with my parents what I saw about her family and consider the ramifications for that long-term on a relationship. And I should not have progressed the relationship by getting engaged and I should have.

[2:32:47] I mean, I was planning to move at some point regardless, even though that put a hamper on finding somebody. But yeah, I'm happy with where I'm moved to. But I just kept pushing the relationship forward when I should have put the brakes on and addressed all of these concerns. errands and that was I kept escalating the problem and my ignorance and, it's my fault for putting myself in the situation that I found myself in with her as far as the house and the legal travels and even the relationship in general, because it should never have, got to that point.

[2:33:39] I appreciate that I'll play the woman I appreciate that and you know I'm a little confused because I mean do you believe in universal virtue do you believe in virtue and morality as a whole, I mean some people don't right they're relativists or whatever right do what you want I don't.

[2:33:59] Know what you mean by that.

[2:34:01] Do you believe in universal morality do you believe in virtue, that there is such a thing.

[2:34:11] Um, I believe that there's good characteristics. Okay.

[2:34:17] So then I would get up. Honestly, as a woman, I would get up and leave. Right. Because if you can't say to me that you believe in virtue, then I can't trust you. Because you don't have any reason to tell the truth. You don't have any reason to be honorable. You don't have any reason for moral courage. You don't have any reason for better standards of behavior. You can't be called on any deviation from the good. So I'm out. Like the moment somebody hesitate, I'm just telling you from the moment somebody hesitates and, well, you know, they're a good characteristic. I don't really believe in virtue. I don't believe in morality. And it's like, then I can't pair bond because we pair bond on virtue because virtue is trust, right? Virtue is, here are my standards. And if I deviate from them, you can call me on them and then I will return to them.

[2:34:58] That's how you define virtue. That's not how a lot of other people define virtue.

[2:35:03] Well, but you're calling me.

[2:35:07] No, but if I'm on a date with somebody.

[2:35:08] And if you're calling me to tell me there's no such thing as virtue, Why on earth would I have the conversation? But if I'm on a date with somebody that wants to talk philosophy... So what you're saying is that you don't believe in... You don't accept UPB, is that right?

[2:35:18] If I'm on a date with somebody that wants to talk philosophy, and I've never talked philosophy with them before, I'm going to want to delve into the meaning of the words that they're using, because I want to know if we're talking about the same things.

[2:35:32] Well, do I believe in universal virtue? I do, but I'm not sure how you define virtue, but I certainly believe in universal virtue. Okay.

[2:35:41] Okay. I believe that there are universal virtues that people should aspire to.

[2:35:45] So you believe in universal morality?

[2:35:48] Yes.

[2:35:49] Okay, good. So, and for how long have you believed or accepted that there is universal morality?

[2:36:00] I guess as long as I can remember. Okay.

[2:36:02] So you said you didn't care about your girlfriend's virtues in particular. So if you believe in universal morality, but then you date someone without even really inquiring as to their virtues, then I'm not sure what you mean when you say you believe in it. Like if I was 300 pounds and I said I'm a strenuous believer, for my entire life I've believed that it's super important to diet and exercise, but I'm 300 pounds. wouldn't you have some questions well.

[2:36:33] Of course but i when i initiated dating my ex i as far as i could tell she was a fairly virtuous person.

[2:36:47] Okay so did she also believe in universal morality he.

[2:36:51] Never had that discussion.

[2:36:52] So how would you know and why wouldn't you ask i mean you believe in it and i assume it's essential for trust in pair bonding so why wouldn't you ask, i mean you you said that that the fact that she exercised was was important to you so obviously that that was important uh you saw that she was a hard worker that was important like why wouldn't you talk about actual virtues i mean don't you want a virtuous woman to raise your children that's.

[2:37:18] A pretty no.

[2:37:21] Because you're choosing for you you're choosing for your kids You're not just choosing for your balls, right? You're choosing for your kids. And don't you want a loving, honorable, virtuous, honest woman to raise your kids?

[2:37:35] Yes, everybody wants that.

[2:37:36] Okay, so why wouldn't you ask or check if she believed in morality?

[2:37:42] I guess I don't know how to do that.

[2:37:44] No, because you said a lot of people don't, right?

[2:37:46] Right.

[2:37:47] So you know that there's a big risk that somebody doesn't believe in universal morality, right? Is it part of the Chinese culture to believe in universal morality?

[2:37:58] Not particularly.

[2:38:00] Okay, so she comes from a culture that doesn't believe in universal morality. Universal morality is something you believe in. It's something that's essential for your children, but you don't ask? Did you ever get any advice from anyone in the world, maybe a speckle-headed philosopher, did you ever get any advice from anyone ever in the world that said it was important to have conversations about morality before fully committing to someone.

[2:38:31] Yes.

[2:38:32] And you chose to ignore that advice.

[2:38:35] I don't know how to do that.

[2:38:37] What do you mean? I just showed you. I said, I asked, do you believe in universal morality? What do you mean? You don't know how to do that? You just asked, right?

[2:38:50] Okay. Okay.

[2:38:54] I mean, it's important to you. it's important for your kids so.

[2:38:59] You you would focus i mean on a date you would ask the philosophical question and not maybe this is just me being bad at dating but i've always tried to find how people express their values instead of just asking what their values are um or having How can you express values.

[2:39:23] If you don't even know what they are? Like, how can I express honesty if I don't have the value called honesty is a virtue? I mean, would you build, I mean, when you did this renovation, didn't you say you spent a lot of time planning? Why didn't you just buy some shit and throw it together? Oh, because you have to have an idea of what you're doing, right?

[2:39:49] Yeah.

[2:39:50] Like you're literally a project manager, which means you do a lot of planning, right?

[2:39:55] Yes.

[2:39:55] Which means you have to have a theoretical understanding of what's going to happen before you act on it, which is what virtue is. You have to have a theoretical understanding of what you're doing before you act, right? Should I tell the truth or should I lie? Well, if you don't have a commitment to honesty, you'll just do what seems easiest in the moment.

[2:40:10] Oh, wow. Okay, so you, okay, so you, and this is helpful. So, so you would, virtue is your framework for how to behave?

[2:40:23] Well, sorry, you said you believe in universal morality. So you have to know what that is, right? Why are you asking me? i mean if i said i believe in x and you said what's x and i said i have no idea then you wouldn't think i was particularly honest right um.

[2:40:44] Struggling with Implementing Virtue

[2:40:45] I believe slash trust since i don't see much difference, that there are better behaviors for the iterative game of life, or preferable behaviors to use.

[2:41:13] Sorry, so you're saying that virtue is like a game that gives you advantages in the game of life?

[2:41:25] Yes, to some extent, right? It's patterns of behavior that lead towards your desired outcome that are also beneficial to everybody else in your life.

[2:41:39] Sorry, and for how long have you believed this? i mean prior to your girlfriend right i.

[2:41:48] I don't think through this stuff in the same way you do so um.

[2:41:54] No no but you said for as long as i remember i believed in universal morality right and so would you say that your relationship with your girlfriend was advantageous to your life as a whole um.

[2:42:09] It was until we i mean it was generally positive in the beginning and it was not in the not at all advantageous in the end.

[2:42:18] Well but that's like a drug addict saying well yeah the first couple of hits of heroin were fantastic and then i ended up eating rats in the subway right so i'm just i don't know sorry so so you're asking it whatever approach you took with your girlfriend, if morality is that which is advantageous to your life, then you were immoral because what you did was not advantageous to your life, right?

[2:42:44] Right.

[2:42:45] So what did you get wrong? That's like my fundamental question is, what mistake did you make? You said, well, I didn't really check on her virtues. I didn't really ask her if she was like what her moral standards were or anything like that. And it turns out she didn't really have any, right?

[2:43:00] Yeah.

[2:43:00] So why would you give your heart to someone with no moral standards?

[2:43:07] Um i didn't know that she had no moral standards.

[2:43:12] Oh my gosh but you didn't ask and you also knew she came from a culture which you say doesn't, and you saw her family her family didn't seem to be noble and upright and morally righteous and right they were yelling at each other right right okay so you had every piece of evidence that This was not the case, and it turned out that empirically it wasn't the case, so why wouldn't you ask? That's my question. You know the ask, right? Assume makes an ass out of you and me. Why would you assume something that cost you so much when you could just ask up front? Especially because you had a guy you'd been listening to on the internet who said that's absolutely essential.

[2:43:59] Well, you're the only person I know of that would ask or would recommend asking.

[2:44:06] Okay, so then I would also leave because you're just making excuses.

[2:44:10] No.

[2:44:11] No, you absolutely are making excuses. Why don't you care what other people do? Well, other people are doing it. So I guess, like, are you saying it's peer pressure? sure like you actually you had me for years in your ear saying check the virtues before you give your heart right no.

[2:44:26] What i'm saying is if if i go get dating advice from someone and i get dating advice from 50 people and one of them says hey try this but it's wildly different from all the other dating advice it's it's like okay i don't know what that is what that's very different.

[2:44:42] Okay this all right well no i get it listen i get it you don't you don't want to live your life philosophically.

[2:44:48] I'm saying i struggle to know how to do that because it's it's not like, it's not something that is i can just i've discussed with people like it's not the i'm trying to okay like i when you when you say apply it like i don't i don't know what that means like i because i can't.

[2:45:15] Listen don't don't i don't know how to draw that connection listen don't don't get all rubber bones and don't snow job me i mean i i think we're winding down here but i just gave you the example you you ask people uh do you believe in morality like what are your virtues do you believe in virtue do you write what's your commitment to virtue right of course right, i mean when you went to apply to your house did you just get to sign shit and they gave you half a million dollars? No, they verify. We need to see your income. We need to see your bank statements. We need to see your credit history. Like you verify. That's a house. This is your heart.

[2:45:49] You're direct about it. And you make it very important.

[2:45:55] Right. And listen, so if you're going to say, well, you know, there's 500 pieces of dating advice out there and Steph is just one voice among 500. So he has a 0.25% chance of being right.

[2:46:06] That's not what I said.

[2:46:07] No, you said there's hundreds of people out there with dating advice.

[2:46:11] Yes. And I said that the advice that you give is quite a bit different than the other advice. And so it's hard for me to articulate and understand how to apply that advice when I don't have examples of it in other places. is, do you see what I'm saying? Like if I, if I'm trying to figure out an engineering problem and I can get five sources that each solve 20%, I can solve the whole problem.

[2:46:40] Right. Which is why I'm 0.2%. Right. Because I'm one out of hundreds or one out of 500 or something. So, so listen, so you need to go and talk to a couple of hundred other people and try and mingle together all the dating advice and come up with a plan. Because I'm the principal guy. Look, if you're just going to go with, well, empiricism and other people say this, that, and the other, I'm the principal guy, right? So I reason from first principles, and that's what I do, right? So I've got RTR, I've got UPB, I've got all of these approaches. I've had, obviously, came from a very horrible childhood and have been, you know, joyfully happy for 21 years, but what do I know, right? So if you don't want to live according to principles, then you can continue doing what you're doing and maybe it'll work out. I mean, I guess blind guys can hit a hole in one once in a while, but I'm a principle guy. So then if you say, well, I can't live my life based on principles, then I'm not sure what we're talking about.

[2:47:35] This is very frustrating to me because I'm not being allowed to express what I'm trying to communicate to you.

[2:47:42] So it's my fault.

[2:47:45] No, it's my fault for communicating for you.

[2:47:45] You're not being confusing. It's my fault. Even though I've done thousands of these calls, it's my fault.

[2:47:54] I didn't say that.

[2:47:55] You said, I'm not being allowed to, which means that I'm in charge and I'm not allowing you to do something.

[2:48:01] Can I express what you... I mean, you interpreted what I said a certain way. That's not what I was trying to express. Now I'm trying to correct it. And now you're...

[2:48:12] How do you know that I'm wrong?

[2:48:16] I've never said that you're wrong.

[2:48:17] Yes you said i'm trying to express something and you said steph you got it wrong because you're repeating back to me which is not what i intended yes.

[2:48:25] What you how you have described my communication is not correctly mapping on to what i'm trying to communicate.

[2:48:31] How do you know maybe you're being defensive that's possible possible. So when I model in a role play, here's how to ask someone about morality, and then you say, I have no idea how to do that, that's false, because I just modeled it. Now, you may not do it exactly the same way, right? But if I say, lefty-loosey, righty-tighty, and then you say, I have no way to know how to tighten or loosen a bolt, that's not true, right?

[2:49:02] Overcoming Emotional Barriers to Virtuous Behavior

[2:49:03] Right yes the what what i'm trying to explain is you know when i'm envisioning a future dating situation there's so many variables in that uncertainty that like i'm trying to see how when and how is the right time if i to use that phrase or what's a similar phrase that i can use like how because this is what i meant by the partial data like if i because if i get one example like i don't i don't i i struggle to to to know how to use that one example in in in a in a situation versus if you get a bunch of examples then i can get a pattern and then i can understand does that make sense so like when i'm not disagreeing the principle like i i I understand the value of the principles. And what I struggle with is how to map those principles onto my behavior.

[2:50:05] And so I don't know what any of that shit means. You ask people if they believe in virtue, do you believe in truth? Do you believe in virtue? I mean, you just ask them that. And I say, well, that's really tough. Okay. Well, then you can go back to detonating half a decade of your life with this shit.

[2:50:21] Well, you say there's a lot of variables.

[2:50:24] But that's why you need principles. Well, there's a lot of shit at the grocery store. Well, that's why you need the science of nutrition. there's an infinite number of things I can do with my body well that's why you need the science of exercise of course there's a lot of variables that's why we have principles, Because if you try to live your life managing all these variables, you won't have any principles at all. So, I don't know, on the first date, you don't corner the woman and say, give me your definition of universal morality. But if you like her, then, well, first of all, she should be asking you as well, right?

[2:51:02] Right.

[2:51:03] And you don't get into relationships without saying, okay, we're going to have disagreements. Okay, so what's our principle for resolving disagreements, right? Well, we don't yell, obviously. We don't call names. We don't storm out. We try together calmly to work it out. Do we have that as an agreement? I mean, you don't get into a business relationship without a contract. I'm not saying you have a legal contract with someone you date, but you have to say, we're going to have disagreements. Of course we are. We're humans, and one or both of us may be wrong or right. So how are we going to resolve our disagreements? What have we learned? Well, avoidance isn't good. yelling isn't good punishment isn't good withdrawal isn't good name calling isn't good, escalation isn't good threats aren't good so we have to have this commitment to resolve things uh peacefully i mean is that an unreasonable thing to say with someone that you're considering in getting into a relationship with?

[2:52:09] I am not usually that direct, and that's... But no, I think that's very reasonable.

[2:52:15] So why didn't you do that? Why didn't you? And this is the question. Listen, I'm trying to get you laid by a good woman, right? I'm trying to get you into a good relationship. And this confusion, avoidance, justification, defense stuff is just going to drive good women away, in my opinion. And I don't know what the answer is. I mean, we've had a long call, so we can wrap it up here. But I don't know what the answer is as to why, you got into a relationship with a woman this destructive and stayed in it for three years plus two years of legal shit, right? I don't know the answer to that. And I'm sorry we couldn't get to the answer to that, But, you know, I can't make you tell me, right? But that's really what I've been asking for the last 70 minutes or so, is why, when you had a philosopher giving you great advice, right, because you didn't follow my advice, and how did it go, right? Does that make sense? Like you did the opposite of what I recommend, right? Is that fair to say?

[2:53:27] Yes. Okay.

[2:53:29] So you did the opposite of what I recommend. And you call me up saying, help me. And then you spend two and a half hours fighting me, which is kind of funny, right? And look, I get it. Look, I mean, it's recent for you. The difficulties with your ex are fresh, right? It takes, you know, at least half the time to usually get over a relationship. That's just a rough rule of thumb. I mean, it can be different or whatever, right? But so it's still pretty raw. And you've also been in combat mode, which means self-criticism is very painful because you have to be in blaming the other to be in combat mode. So I sympathize with all of that. but.

[2:54:13] You did the opposite of what I advise and you were in grave danger and it cost you half a decade plus whatever time it takes to recover plus you now have this story, that you have to try and wedge into future dating which is a mess right so you're a whole lot worse off in many ways because you didn't follow my advice right.

[2:54:36] Yes Okay. And then you fight me a lot. I'm trying to coach you and you're fighting me a lot. And again, I understand that you've been in combat mode and so on. But I think at some point you need to have an answer to the question, why did you ignore good advice and put yourself in this horrible situation that's going to have significant future costs of credibility with dates? I don't know the answer to that. I mean, I'm sort of out of energy for the convo, but that's really what I was trying to get at for the last hour was, well, why? And there is a question about that, which is interesting, right? You've been listening to me since college, so you've been listening to me for close on a decade, right? Maybe more. and you didn't persist in trying to get a convo i don't know if you did or didn't ask me you can't remember particular but um so it's funny like you didn't you didn't ask me for advice when it could have done you some real good and prevented this mess and then you come and ask me for advice about dating right the whole thing has been about not about your ex but about you saying well i'm having trouble dating and it's like well of course you are and that's the whole thing has been about not your ex which is the past but the future right so you're having trouble dating sure of course us. Because if a woman says to you, looks at you, right? And you tell them about your history with me, you tell them about your history with what happened with this woman, right? And they look at you and they say, this guy seriously doesn't take good advice.

[2:56:05] He seriously does not take good advice. And even when he's getting good advice, he fights like hell. How trustworthy is that going to be for a woman to give her heart, mind, body, soul, loins, children, dependents, and all of that, when you don't take good advice? And that's fine. Listen, we all don't take good advice from time to time, but we need to understand why. Why don't you take good advice? I don't know the answer to that. And why do you fight good advice, even when you call up in desperation? right? I don't know the answer to that either, because we didn't get there because, you wouldn't explore that. And that's your choice. And it's my choice to stay in the conversation. I'm certainly not any kind of victim, but we didn't get to the answer. I don't know what the answer is.

[2:56:51] Reflecting on Ignoring Good Advice

[2:56:52] But I think if you have that answer and you say, okay, why didn't I follow good advice, right? Why didn't I do the right thing by my own standards, it's by a philosopher that I follow, by rational standards, why didn't I do the right thing?

[2:57:10] Now, the answer as to why I didn't do the right thing is the key to unlocking future virtue. And the way that we avoid saying, why didn't I do the right thing, is we fog, we gaslight, we blame, all of these kinds of things, because we just don't want to avoid that confrontation with the darker side of herself, which may be self-sabotage and whatever, whatever. And it has something to do with your parents too, because they should have been grilling you up, down, left, right, and front, and center, because your parents are also somewhat responsible for your half decade from hell, right? And the liability that that has going forward. So, I don't know. Is it vanity? I don't know exactly what it is. But it takes a foundational humility to say i just really have to follow virtue i have to be honest i have if i if i get good advice i should really try to implement it and if you say well there's lots of people giving advice and i don't even know how to map these values onto my actions or whatever it was like that's all just fog and nonsense right you you you have to no.

[2:58:16] It's it takes practice to implement behavior right Right? And if you...

[2:58:24] No, no, it doesn't take practice to implement virtue, it just takes will. Like, it takes practice to learn the violin, it doesn't take practice to say, do you believe in virtue? That's a two-second statement. Okay, repeat after me. Do you believe in virtue?

[2:58:45] Yes.

[2:58:46] No, repeat the phrase. Do you believe in virtue?

[2:58:48] Do you believe in virtue?

[2:58:49] Look at that. You didn't need to practice that at all. It's not like learning Mandarin or Cantonese, I guess.

[2:58:55] No, but...

[2:58:57] See, now you're going to make it difficult again, right? And I don't know why you don't... I mean, you think that's difficult? How was your last half decade? Was that easy?

[2:59:06] Do you... So, well... I'm not trying to make it difficult. goal i'm trying to to make a big life change it's not easy, right i mean.

[2:59:27] Why on earth would you say that though who cares it's it's not hard to say the words do you believe in virtue or some equivalent right it's hard to go through the last half decade. That's hard. It's not hard to spend two seconds saying, do you believe in virtue? Do you believe in truth? How are we going to resolve disputes? Let's talk about that. It's not hard to do that physically. There could be some emotional barriers, which is important for you. I mean, we didn't get to exploring why you have all these emotional barriers to asking simple questions about virtue and trustworthiness of others, right?

[3:00:05] No, we did not get to that.

[3:00:07] No, and you really don't want to get to that, and that's, you know, your choice, and I can't particularly fathom that, but...

[3:00:15] Struggling with Self-Ownership and Emotional Blocks

[3:00:16] I would like to get to it, but I understand that there's not time for that.

[3:00:24] Well, no, you don't want to get to it, because I've really been trying to get to that for 70 minutes, and we've just been battling over this particular issue of sort of self-ownership and all of that. So, yeah, but I think that's the big question. You say, well, it's tough to implement life changes. So, it's not tough to say, physically, it's not tough to say to someone, do you believe in truth? Do you believe in virtue? How are we going to resolve disputes? Right? This is not physically tough. There's emotional blocks. I get all of that.

[3:00:51] And those emotional blocks may have something to do with the carelessness of your parents or some lack of virtue in your origin story of childhood and all of that. But yeah, you can say it's hard. Well, you know, what do they say about working out? You know what they say about, you choose your suffering, right? You suffer now with weight, so you suffer later with back pain and obesity and joint issues and diabetes, right? Choose your suffering, right? So I'm just saying, choose your suffering, right? And you said one of the things about virtue that was really important to you was the deferral of gratification and having a winning life strategy. Okay, well, you deferred gratification because you wouldn't ask your girlfriend that you do came from a culture that, according to you, didn't respect as much universal morality, so you chose to avoid these questions with her, and you chose the suffering that followed because you chose to avoid the initial suffering of, well, I'm going to ask her about virtue, she's going to give me a thousand-yard stare and change the subject, in which case I might have to break up with her five years ago instead of through lawyers. so it's just choose your suffering so when you say it's hard, well okay, it's easier than this if you want a winning life strategy if that makes sense that's.

[3:02:06] Very that that helps me understand it um yeah.

[3:02:12] And try try not you know just in general try not to whine too much about things being hard it's hard you know because it's kind of tough for women to get juiced up by that so it's just it's just a minor sort of bro to bro tip if that makes sense Yeah.

[3:02:24] No, I think what, I think your, your point about for either historical reasons or parents, this is just not a topic that I have there any strength in. And so, um, I'm not even aware some many times that I'm passing over or not paying attention to. this area does that make sense.

[3:02:55] But you do know your own resistance right you know that you're resistant to the topic right like you wouldn't let me lead at all you you fought me on just about every syllable so you you understand that you're resistant and you've done some therapy and you've listened to this show for a long time so you and you know you you say that self-knowledge right when i asked about the virtues of your girlfriend many moons ago you said self-knowledge is really important so you are responsible for knowing when you're resistant and and all of that so, and you know but i think you were just acting it out rather than being aware of it and saying gee gee, I really dislike this topic, which is probably what we need to talk about the most. You're like, well, I really dislike this topic, so I'm going to gaslight and change the topic and fight and criticize and play the victim. So I think that's just the kind of self-knowledge you need to get to, which is where the things are the toughest is probably where you most need to go. All right?

[3:03:42] How would you recommend getting better at this then?

[3:03:47] Maybe some more talk therapy. therapy, trying to figure out where the defenses came from and why there's a disconnect between you saying the deferral of gratification is really important, but not wanting to go in particular areas and fighting someone that you're calling up because of my supposed expertise. All right. Well, listen, I really do appreciate the chat today. I really did find it a great workout. So I really do appreciate it. And it was very engaging. And I hope that you'll keep me posted about how it's going. And I'm very, very happy and relieved that you got out of this quagmire with your ex, because that could have gone a whole lot worse. And I'm really, really thrilled that you got out of it in the way that you did. Well, I mean, it would be better if it wasn't the way, but given what happened, I'm very pleased about that. And I really do appreciate your time today.

[3:04:38] Is this a conversation I can get a copy of or?

[3:04:43] Oh yeah. They're all call-in shows. Yeah, for sure.

[3:04:46] I would like to listen back to it and work on it I appreciate.

[3:04:50] Your time so take care man and keep me posted alright.

[3:04:54] Thank you very much.

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