Episode 10: Who says we need soul mates anyway?

What if there isn’t somebody out there for all of us? What if there are multiple people, or – more radically – what if focusing on finding one romantic partner for life is stopping us from experiencing the full potential of our friendships, talents, or careers? What does it look like to shift the paradigm away from searching for the right person?

In this episode, I talk to two fascinating people. The first, Rowen Bridler – singer, actress and author of Love Poems for People Who Don’t Like Being in Love,  talks to us about why she thinks people get so obsessed with finding a partner, getting married, and settling down, and about what it means to be a woman in your 40’s who doesn’t fit into society’s expectations. We discuss the lack of positive role models for women who choose not to have children or conform to a ‘typical’ lifestyle, and what life can look like when you choose to focus on excitement, pleasure, adventure, and developing yourself.

Then we talk to Natalie, who discusses what it means to be non-monogamous, demi-sexual and a relationship anarchist. Natalie is not looking for ‘the One’, but has their sexual, romantic and platonic needs met by a constellation of like-minded friends. We ask why do people feel that they have to spend their lives with just one person? Can’t things be different?

While this is likely to be a controversial episode for those with deep-set beliefs about finding love, marriage, monogamy or commitment, it is also a refreshing look at alternative lifestyles. What can life look like if we free ourselves of the idea that we are somehow a failure if we don’t settle down for life with one perfect partner?

Listen to the episode here: http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/1060853-compatibility-part-2-who-says-we-need-soul-mates-anyway 

Resources:

Rowen’s website: https://dontlikebeinginlove.com/

Childless & Childfree Role Models – after Rowen’s comments that we lack positive female childfree role models, I found this!

The Ethical Slut (Referenced in the episode): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ethical_Slut – a great book not only for people exploring polyamory/non-monogamy but for relationship communication advice in general

The Relationship Anarchy Manifesto – https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/andie-nordgren-the-short-instructional-manifesto-for-relationship-anarchy

 

 

Episode 9: The never-ending search for “the One”

Is our true soul mate out there? Do we need to find them or can we be perfectly happy by ourselves? How do we know when we’ve found the right person?

In this three-part series, we explore questions of compatibility, monogamy, and look at alternatives to the usual story of “meet person, fall in love, live happily ever after”.

Plato used to look at romantic love with skepticism, even horror, and yet today it seems that we are obsessed with romantic love and sex. While marriage was once a financial necessity or a way of ensuring peace between families or nations, we now live in the romantic dream that somewhere out there we can find a person who will complement and complete us in every day. We are bombarded with messages in songs, movies, books and magazines about sex, attraction, romance and finding true love – how are we supposed to feel complete when we are single in a world that focuses so much on pairing up?

In part 1, Louise shares with us her trials and tribulations in love. She’s had ups and downs, with stories both tragic and comic, but she remains positive that the right person is out there for her. Join Lis & Gwen in this frank, open discussion about dating, love, sex, and discuss what it means to be comfortable in your own skin without needing a partner to validate you.

Listen to the episode here: http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/1037402-compatibility-part-1-the-never-ending-search-for-the-one 

Mentioned in this episode:

The Love Song for Shu-Sin – perhaps the oldest love poem? 

Dr Carol Dweck’s Growth vs Fixed mindsets 

Also worth checking out:

A Brief History of Romantic Love (and why it kind of sucks) – Mark Manson

Episode 8: What does it mean to ‘fit in’ somewhere?

How do we fit in to new places? What does it mean to feel like you belong? And is it harder to feel that you don’t belong in your home town, compared to a completely new place?

Amelia has lived in many places, from Kansas to Prague, but the biggest adjustment came from moving to Namibia as a Peace Corps volunteer. In this episode, we discuss what it was like to stand out in a small Namibian village, whether she felt homesick, and how Amelia has felt about ‘fitting in’ in a variety of locations, from Kansas to Prague and everywhere in between.

One idea that came up in this episode was whether or not it’s harder to handle the feeling of not ‘fitting in’ to your own home town, as opposed to somewhere that you’ve moved to and where being an outsider isn’t so unexpected, anyway.

“One of the reasons I want to live abroad… is because there’s something more painful about not feeling like you belong [when it’s] in your own home” Amelia.

Amelia would like to apologise for using some Colonial names for places in Namibia, and hopes that they did not cause any offence.

Listen to the episode here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/160260/1037383-what-does-it-mean-to-fit-in-somewhere
Find out more about Namibia:

https://www.info-namibia.com/info/general-information 

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/tribes-and-ethnic-groups-of-namibia.html

Find out more about the Peace Corps: https://www.peacecorps.gov/ 

 

Episode 7: Radical Honesty – is honesty always the best policy?

Is honesty always the best policy? What are the pros and cons of being honest? And what is Radical Honesty?

In this episode, we invite Marvin Schulz – Radical Honesty trainer and coach – to discuss the practice of Radical Honesty. Originally created by Dr Brad Blanton, a psychotherapist who realised one day that the root of most suffering was some form of dishonesty or another – Radical Honesty is a practice in which people try to speak honestly to one another. But it’s more than that – it’s a way of being present in the moment, of recognising what is ‘true’ vs true for you, and of living in a more open, vulnerable and loving way.

The conversation takes us down some other interesting roads – when have we been honest or dishonest in our lives? What does honesty really mean? Is it better to be honest or polite, and in which situations? And what’s the difference between being honest and just being an asshole?

LISTEN HERE: http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/691363-episode-7-radical-honesty  – or download from your favourite podcast app.

Resources:

Radical Honest website – https://www.radicalhonesty.com

Is is Better to be Polite or Frank? School of Life video 

Episode 6: Are we neglecting friendships once we become adults?

In a world obsessed with romance and couples, do we value friendships as adults as much as we used to as children? How important are friendships in adulthood, and why do we so often let them take priority after our partner, children, and job? How can we have fulfilling relationships with our friends as adults – even if we are busy with work and family?

Our guest, Anna, talks about one of the most influential friendships in her life. Unlike most of her friends, Anna did not have a romantic relationship during her teens and so friendships have always been the most important connections in her life, and she tries to continue to make them so today despite everyone’s shifting and changing priorities.

Join us as we explore the fine, fluid boundaries between friendship, romance, sexuality and love, take a look at the history of friendship and how ideals of romantic love for marriage changed the importance we place on friendship, and discuss the challenging of making and keeping friends as an adult.

Listen HERE! http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/686659-episode-6-friendship or download from your favourite podcast app.

Resources:

One book mentioned was The Social Sex: A History of Female Friendships, from where we get the quote “it was understood that a woman could share the same soul with her best friend, but rarely, if ever, with her husband”. 

Anna referenced the article Why Do We Murder the Beautiful Friendships of Boys? and we also mentioned the Art of Manliness article about the history of male friendship (*Gwen said it was Australian, it turns out it’s American, sorry!) and gave a shout-out to the Hidden Brain podcast episode: The Lonely American Man. 

This article from Psychology today talked about how we are ashamed to talk about how we find making friends difficult and awkward, as if we feel shame that we “should have it figured out now”.

Some other interesting resources:

Radio 4: 500 Years of Friendship – a podcast looking at the history of friendship. 

The History Of Friendship: How Friendship Evolved And Why It’s Fundamental To Your Happiness from Huffington Post

Episode 5: Living with my partner and his wife – Exploring polyamory

Can a relationship involve more than one person? Is monogamy ‘natural’? What are the advantages, disadvantages and challenges of a polyamorous relationship?

While monogamy used to mean ‘one person for life’, these days it often means ‘one person at a time’. But, apparently more and more people are seeking less traditional relationship models, with 1 in 5 people having tried some form of non-monogamous relationship (see here) and around 40%  thinking their ideal relationship would involve some sort of consensual non-monogamy (here) – (OK, these facts are from the US, maybe we’ll go and look around for some more global facts later).

Let’s clear things up, first – polyamory does not meaning swinging, and it does not mean polygamy (which is marrying multiple people). It means having loving relationships with more than one person, whether you share your time with those people or there are three or more of you in a relationship together. This is a little different from an open relationship, where you and your partner agree that some things (kissing, sex, maybe dating) with others are OK – but generally it all falls under the banner of “ethical/consensual non-monogamy”.

In this exciting episode, we explore options outside of the traditional, non-monogamous model, such as open relationships and polyamory. Our guest, Sarah, lives with a married couple as one of the husband’s other partners, and all three of them also have other partners.

Listen here!

And here’s the full quote that we mentioned:

“No group-living nonhuman primate is monogamous, and adultery has been documented in every human culture studied- including those in which fornicators are routinely stoned to death. In light of all of this bloody retribution, it’s hard to see how monogamy comes “naturally” to our species. Why would so many risk their reputations, families, careers- even presidential legacies- for something that runs against human nature? Were monogamy an ancient, evolved trait characteristic of our species, as the standard narrative insists, these ubiquitous transgressions would be infrequent and such horrible enforcement unnecessary. No creature needs to be threatened with death to act in accord with its own nature.” Christopher Ryan, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality 

Resources:

The book we mentioned a lot was The Ethical Slut by Dottie Easton, something of a ‘polyamory Bible’ but actually a great read for everybody, whether single, in a monogamous relationship or polyamorous, as it focuses a lot of self-development, honesty and healthy communication within relationships. “Love is not a real-world limit: the mother of nine children can love each of them as much as the mother of an only child,” says Dottie, arguing that we have been brought up to believe that love is a finite, scarce resource that we can only share with one romantic partner. 

Some other things you may like:

A new way to love: in praise of polyamory from The Guardian

Exploring Polyamory by Rachel Klechevsky – a more academic article about polyamory

Changing the Way We Think about Consensual Non-monogamy a TED talk by Nirel Marofsky

The Tamera Project, a peace research centre and commune in Portugal, writes about free love and its importance in creating a peaceful society: https://www.tamera.org/free-sexuality-and-partnership/ 

And, to balance this out a little, The School of Life’s Why Polyamory (sadly) Can’t be for Everyone and Five Disadvantages of Polyamory from Psychology Today.

Episode 4: Can you be your authentic self at work?

Can you be your true self at work? What would it be like to feel open, authentic and vulnerable at work? Is focusing on happy workers altruistic or exploitative, and is training people to create inner change an easy get-out for bad employers?

In this episode, we bring in David Papa: spiritual coach, leadership consultant and founder of Love & Profit. We start off by finding out about how he works with leaders to bring their ‘higher selves’ to work – a self that is more loving, vulnerable and open. Join us as David kindly shares with us his thoughts about how change is always possible from within, and about how we always have a choice to be happy.

But wait! Do we always have a choice, or is this easy to say for people lucky enough to have those choices? Is it really fair to talk about changing our mindsets if we are in a horrible situation? Listen and let us know what you think!

Listen here! : http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/677553-episode-4-happiness-and-authenticity-at-work 

Resources:

David mentioned Martha Beck and her “shackles on or shackles off” test, a way to test with your gut or higher self what you really feel about a decision.

He also referenced the book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, a popular book that highlights the benefits of happy employees. However, Gwen countered with the book The Happiness Industry: How Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being by William Davies.

Another book mentioned was Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux, with the quote: Workplaces have traditionally encouraged people to show up with their “professional” self and to check all other parts of themselves at the door. They often require us to show a masculine resolve, to display determination and strength, and to hide doubts and vulnerability. Rationality rules: the emotional, intuitive, and spiritual selves are typically unwelcome, or out of place”. The link here leads to an online platform and free resources about creating authentic, enlightened workplaces. (Gwen: I LOVE the book and the examples!)

David discussed Victor Frankl and his book A Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl was a holocaust survivor who wanted to look at how some people thrived in seemingly hopeless situations. He went on to found logotherapy, a form of existential psychotherapy. 

And finally, we briefly touched on Brené Brown and her work on vulnerability. Her research shows that the happiest, most ‘whole-hearted’ people are those who are not afraid to show some vulnerability and weakness. She also writes some beautiful stuff about courage!