Episode 16: Have you ever been Ghosted? – with Leah Marshall

What is ghosting? Why do people do it? And, perhaps more importantly, if you’ve been ghosted – how do you move on from the experience and evolve?

Leah Marshall Headshot AJ Kane.jpg


My guest, Leah Marshall, is the founder and leader of the Esther Perel Discussion Group on Facebook, a global community of over 6,000 members who come together in person and online to discuss relationships, sex, dating, desire, and infidelity.

In this episode, we talk about Leah’s experiences with ghosting, how one was a massive springboard for her own growth and evolution, and the critical piece that’s missing from so many dating experts’ advice on ghosting. Leah has authored dating and relationship content for media outlets including YourTango, ManTalks, Mend, Daily Urbanista, and more.

It’s so easy to wear the cosy cloak of victimhood and say “I was ghosted!” – but I think there are so many moments in a relationship where if we examine them, we see the role that we created the dynamic for that to happen” Leah, Episode 16, The Way We Connect 

Listen here: http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/1438330-have-you-ever-been-ghosted-with-leah-marshall 

Resources:

You can connect with Leah on Instagram at @msleahmarshall, through her blog ahttps://leapcastlife.wordpress.com/, and in the Esther Perel Discussion Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/793115204193690/.

An article by Leah: “GHOSTED: 10 Lessons That Made The Heartache Worth It on Medium.com

Video: What Psychologists Can Tell You About Ghosting 

Article (Psychology Today): This is Why Ghosting Hurts So Much

Destiny vs Growth mindsets and attitudes to ghosting –Franiuk, R., Cohen, D., & Pomerantz, E. M. (2002). Implicit theories of relationships: Implications for relationship satisfaction and longevity. Personal Relationships, 9(4), 345-367.

Why People Ghost – LeFebvre, L. E., Allen, M., Rasner, R. D., Garstad, S., Wilms, A., & Parrish, C. (2019). Ghosting in emerging adults’ romantic relationships: The digital dissolution disappearance strategy. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 0276236618820519.

Episode 11: Compatibility (Part 3) – Does it just happen, or is it carefully built?

Is compatibility something that just happens to us, or do we have to carefully construct and build it over time? Can we tell straight away how happy we might be with someone? If we are right for each other, should it always be plain sailing or does it require constant conscious effort?

A Valentine’s Day poll from the university of Monmouth polling institute in 2017 found that ⅔ of US Americans believe in Soul Mates.

In this episode, we talk to Luiz + Barbara, a couple who have been together for ten years and consider themselves the world’s happiest couple. But it wasn’t love at first sight – their connection grew slowly over time, and their happiness takes conscious effort and work. We talk to them about how they got together, what keeps them together and explore whether an initial ‘spark’ of attraction is really the best indicator of a successful long-term relationship.

Listen to the episode here: http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/1122698-compatibility-part-3-does-it-just-happen-or-is-it-carefully-built 

Resources:

University of Monmouth study about beliefs in soulmates: https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/MonmouthPoll_US_020917/

Less That One – find out the statistical probability of finding your soul mate: http://www.lessthanone.com/ 

Barbara J Wilson – From Love at First Sight to Soul Mate: The Influence of Romantic Ideals in Popular Films on Young People’s Beliefs about Relationships – https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03637751.2013.776697

Books mentioned:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Essentialism by Greg McKewon

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 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 3: Projection and Mind-Reading

Do we truly see people for who they are, or do our preconceived ideas mean we only see them through a filter? Do we assume we know what our loved ones are thinking and end up feeling upset or hurt because we didn’t challenge that assumption? Are the negative qualities that upset us so much in others actually parts of ourselves that we try to deny?

Sigmund Freud claimed that projection was a defence mechanism – instead of looking at something “bad” in ourselves, like selfishness, lust, or anger, we saw it in other people instead. Instead of seeing people as they are, we ‘project’ an image onto them, like a movie projector stopping you from seeing what’s really underneath.

We don’t necessarily only do this with things we’re denying in ourselves – we also project what we expect of people onto them, which can lead to stereotyping, discrimination, and a lot of unnecessary conflict. And what happens when we bring this into our close relationships? Maybe we start think we can read the other person’s mind – assuming they are upset with us or that they are bored of us, then treating them as if our projection is the ultimate truth.

Our special guest, John, talks about the role projection played in his marriage. He often assumed that his wife was needy and dependent on him, yet never questioned this. He also talks about how he struggles with his idea that people are angry with him all the time, and how he uses open and honest communication in his current relationship to figure out what’s really going on.

We also talk a little about how we feel when people project onto us – assuming traits or intentions that are not there because they have created an idea of who we are based on one or two pieces of information – and the ‘positive’ side of projection; where we project all our fantasies onto our new lover and see them through rose-tinted glasses.

Some of the resources we mentioned:

We mentioned the book Why Do I Do This? by Joseph Burgo; the quote about “when we project we turn the other person into a symbol: the Bossy Jerk or the Needy Wreck” was actually from this article here at ExperienceLife.com: https://experiencelife.com/article/how-to-stop-projecting/ 

This article – “Projection in Relationships: Stop it from ruining your connection” was helpful as we thought of ideas for this episode: https://www.monikahoyt.com/projection-in-relationships/

The book that mentioned how families project their expectations onto us is They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life by Oliver James.

We talked about Freud, and how he discussed projection as a defence mechanism. Read more about psychological defence mechanisms here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201110/the-essential-guide-defense-mechanisms 

Episode 2: Why do people break up?

Why do people break up? What’s the best (and worst) way to break up with someone? What influences the way we react to a breakup… and can exes still stay friends?

These are just some of the questions we try to answer in our first feature-length episode on Breakups, where we invite our awesome friend Emma into the studio to discuss how her 6-year relationship went downhill, explore our own experiences and even discuss a few studies that have looked into relationship break-ups.

Click here to listen! : http://thewayweconnect.buzzsprout.com/160260/667598-episode-2-breakups or check your favourite podcast provider.

 

Here are some of the things we mentioned in the episode:

A survey looking into the reasons why people break up was created by The Breakup App, and you can find it here: http://www.thebreakupapp.com/community/breakup-quiz/ The Breakup App also claims to be “a relationship journal with superpowers”, so might be interesting to check out if you’re going through a break-up!

The study from the University of Hawaii that looked at how men and women typically have different reactions to breakups can be found here, and here’s the academic reference for people who like that kind of thing: Choo, P., Levine, T., & Hatfield, E. (1996). Gender, love schemas, and reactions to romantic break-ups. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 11(5), 143.

Dweck & Howe, who looked at how ‘growth mindsets‘ can help us recover from breakups, can be read here : Howe, L. C., & Dweck, C. S. (2016). Changes in self-definition impede recovery from rejection. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(1), 54-71.

The School of Life video that I mentioned called Can Exes be Friends? can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTuDks4ogs0

What are your thoughts? Do you have a breakup story you want to share? Any great tips on how to move on after a difficult breakup? Leave your comments below or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!