We all want connection. We all want an amazing, sexy, supportive romantic relationship. In this day and age, people are more connected than ever, through technology, mutual friends, and family — so why is it so hard to find the person who can fill that position?
Most often, it’s not other people that are the problem. It’s ourselves. We’ve all heard that phrase, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Sometimes, it really is us.
We have so much hurt from our past that we haven’t yet worked through which keeps us from experiencing true connection with someone else. We put walls up to keep ourselves safe. We run away when things get serious. We put on a mask and fake a personality so that we don’t have to be vulnerable.
The truth is, hurt people hurt other people. We are sometimes the biggest roadblock when it comes to finding lasting, fulfilling connections.
So many people will say that relationships are your greatest teacher — I know they have taught me so much over the years. How many of you have gone through a challenging relationship in your life? Maybe there’s some toxic relationship in your past, and you’ve just always struggled in relationships, or maybe you’re in a place right now where things are going well, but you want to take it to another level.
If you’re in that place, then this episode is for you.
On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I discuss what is keeping people from accepting love and why marriages often fail with a certified relationship coach: Stephan Labossiere.
Stephan Labossiere, AKA Stephan Speaks, is a certified relationship coach, speaker, and author. From understanding the opposite sex to navigating the paths and avoiding the pitfalls of relationships and self-growth, Stephan’s relationship advice and insight help countless individuals achieve an amazing and authentic life.
Dedicated to helping and devoted to keeping it real, Stephan’s straightforward yet compassionate delivery style attracts a varied clientele, including notable celebrities, civic and social organizations, academic institutions, singles, and couples alike, who can and are ready to handle the truth!
Stephan has been seen, heard, and chronicled in national and international media outlets, including the Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Examiner, ABC, and Huffington Post Live, to name a few. To coin a phrase by an individual who attended one of his speaking engagements, “he’s definitely the relationship guy, all relationships all the time.”
He’s got some great books out there, and after listening to this podcast episode with Stephan Labossiere, you’re going to want to hear more of his stuff. His most recent publications are Find Love After Heartbreak, He Who Finds a Wife, and The Man God Has for You, and they all teach you about how to create healthy relationships with the right people.
I was so honored to have Stephan Labossiere on my podcast, and we literally could have talked for hours. In this episode of The School of Greatness, Stephan talks about how important it is to heal before you get into a relationship, how to maintain healthy relationships and intimacy, and why over half marriages end in divorce.
Have you ever been in a relationship where nothing’s going wrong at first, but as you get closer, the other person begins to sabotage things? Maybe you’ve been this person before — and sometimes, we can even do it unknowingly.
According to Stephan, past, unsuccessful relationships can hold us back from new, successful ones. If you’ve been hurt in the past and you haven’t healed, you’re likely projecting that hurt into the future:
“We’ve all been through stuff, we’ve all been damaged, we’ve all been disappointed and hurt, but we have not properly processed those things, and we take those negative experiences, and we project them onto people, we project them onto our future, we project them to our self-esteem and self-worth, and we throw everything out of whack. Now, we can’t even embrace or set ourselves up for that great relationship because we are still holding onto the bad one that we experienced before.” – Stephan Labossiere
A lot of this comes from fear — we’re afraid that the same thing will happen to us again. So we often push away when things get serious, or we put walls up completely that prevent us from even starting new relationships. When we push away, we often end up hurting the other person, because it’s difficult to explain why we’re sabotaging the relationship.
Stephan says it’s about a loss of “emotional control.” When things are getting more serious, and there’s a higher level of intimacy, it’s harder to have control over our feelings for the person. That’s when the fear really kicks in. We start to look for something wrong to pin it on, but in reality, it’s our own trauma.
I asked Stephan if men or women tend to do this more, and he said women, hands-down:
“I think that because women are more emotionally intune … it’s quicker for them to feel like they’re losing themselves when they feel this amazing connection with somebody because again it pulls you into an area that you’re not used to being in…Also, the reality is that women are hearing so much from other women or from their own experience that good men don’t exist. There are no good men here. [It’s] a fairytale to believe you can meet this guy who is so great and so amazing. So when they meet that guy [then] something has to be wrong [with him.]” – Stephan Labossiere
On the flip side, men usually find themselves thrilled when they connect with an amazing woman, but they don’t respond to the women’s reactions well. If she’s feeling insecure or uneasy, men have a tendency to get easily frustrated and react in a way that actually fuels the woman’s fear.
“So, we do contribute to the issue, but we’re not quicker to run away — we’re quicker to latch on and say, ‘Oh my God, I want this, this is the opportunity I can’t let pass me by.’ Where she is thinking ‘this is not all real, this can’t be true, I’m fooling myself, let me run now before I get hurt even worse later.'” – Stephan Labossiere
The trick to resolving this issue is twofold: Stop holding onto your past relationships and communicate your feelings directly to your partner. If you feel fear building up, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that a good, healthy relationship can’t happen if you don’t let it in the first place.
Stephan says there are 3 essential things that every relationship needs to succeed. You’re not always going to get it right — and that’s okay! What matters is that you try your best and commit to personal growth.
The first thing actually something you should NOT do, and that’s “internalize”:
“Don’t internalize things personally. What I mean is [that] a lot of times we react to what they’re doing or how they’re talking to us or their behavior towards us at that moment, not realizing it’s deeper than us in that moment … if we internalize it, and we react to that … we will pile on more negative energy into the situation, and it starts to make things harder to overcome, or it can just break apart the whole relationship.” – Stephan Labossiere
It’s not always about us. If your partner is going through a difficult time expressing their emotions about a situation, it doesn’t always give us cause to react negatively. At times like these, we need to listen — if you react emotionally, you’re just adding more fire to the flame.
The second thing a healthy relationship needs is “connection”:
“I am a firm believer that you can’t have an amazing relationship, at least long term, without connection. A lot of people get by that initial hype … but that’s not gonna sustain you. Is there something deeper there? Can you two truly be yourselves with each other and open up, share your inner thoughts, be emotionally naked with this person? … Without that, it’s just fluff.” – Stephan Labossiere
Connection is something that can grow over time, but if it’s not there in the beginning, it’s not something you can spontaneously create. It may take time to recognize, depending on your emotional maturity, and sometimes when you pick up on it at first, you’re afraid to embrace it.
Here’s something essential, though: Connection does not equal chemistry.
“Using the whole basketball analogy — a team comes together [and] you can build chemistry. We can learn how to work together, we can learn how to coexist, but [that] doesn’t mean we really like each other at the core … you can have a team where the players learn to play together but still hate each other.” – Stephan Labossiere
Chemistry will only get you so far — you need true connection to make things work. But that being said, you do need sexual energy in order to make a relationship thrive. The third thing you need in your relationship is attraction:
“We try to shame people for putting a focus on attraction, and to me, it’s not about looks … we [just] have to be physically drawn to each other, and that’s the last ingredient that makes a relationship [romantic].” – Stephan Labossiere
If you’re not physically attracted to a person, then it’s clear that a long term, romantic relationship with that person isn’t going to work out.
I asked Stephan about the high divorce rates we’re seeing today, and he explained that marriage isn’t really the issue:
“Marriage is not the issue. It’s marrying the wrong person and marrying for the wrong reasons.” – Stephan Labossiere
Are you in a relationship for the wrong reasons? Do you have the capacity to listen to your partner without reacting emotionally? Can you connect with your partner on a deep level? Are you attracted to them? If your answers to these questions are “no,” then it’s time to reevaluate your relationship.
Oftentimes, the reason our relationships don’t work out is because we haven’t dealt individually with the trauma from our past relationships. Thankfully, Stephan has some practical steps that we can all take to free ourselves from past hurt and restore our sense of self-worth.
“So first, we got to get the hurt out. So I have this exercise called the ‘who hurt me list.’ So you get a piece of paper, ask yourself the question, and now every person who comes to mind — write them on that paper. Doesn’t matter if you move past, it doesn’t matter if it’s small or insignificant … [if] they came to mind when you asked yourself that question, then put them on the paper.” – Stephan Labossiere
The “Who Hurt Me” list helps you identify the root of all relational pain in your life. If you don’t know where the hurt is coming from, it’s significantly harder to heal — so this is where the list comes in.
“The reality is that just because [the pain] was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, it is still lingering within you, and it’s causing a lot of problems. It causes a lot of emotional stress, which then turns into physical elements, and it just snowballs.” – Stephan Labossiere
So how do you defuse this pain? You talk about it. You get it out there in the open. For each person, this might look different. It could be talking openly to yourself about the situation. It could be going on a run and processing your emotions. It could be sitting down with someone you trust and telling them your story.
Bottom line is — you gotta heal individually before you can start building a relationship.
“You can’t connect with someone if they’re connecting with the ‘fake you’… so you have to discover who you are and become confident in that … so many people have flawed perceptions of who they really are … because of the trauma they’ve experienced, not because of the true essence that is within them. So, you got to find that true self.” – Stephan Labossiere
You can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself first. And if you can’t love yourself if you don’t know yourself. Take the time you need to process your trauma, heal, and step into your true personality. Only then will you be ready to enter into a truly healthy, gratifying relationship.
Relationships are our greatest teacher, so if you’re struggling in your relationship, that means there are still lessons you get to learn! Instead of saying, “Why me? Why is this happening?”, I’d encourage you to say “Thank you” because there’s something that you get to learn and that is a wonderful thing!
Maybe you need to overcome past hurt and learn to receive love. Maybe you’re not standing up for yourself, or maybe you’re not communicating honestly. Whatever your situation, Stephan Labossiere has wisdom for YOU in this interview. Embrace the challenges and lean into your relationships — don’t run away from them.
I absolutely love Stephan’s definition of greatness, and I think it’s something that we all need to live by:
“My definition of greatness is living your true purpose, being your true self — that’s greatness … Once you find your purpose, everything else can fall into place. Your relationships can fall into place, your career, you name it — all of it can get in line when you find your true purpose, so that to me is greatness.” – Stephan Labossiere
It was an honor to speak with Stephan, and I know I’m going to apply the wisdom I learned from him into my own life. Make sure to check him out on social media, and tag @lewishowes and @stephanspeaks and let us know what you think of this episode and share your greatest takeaways.
Remember, friends: Love is available to you, but first, you have to learn to love yourself.
Lewis: This is episode 730 with relationship expert Stephan speaks. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes, a former athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today, now let the class begin.
William Shakespeare said “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” And Charles Dickins said “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” Welcome to our episode today, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life has through relationships. So many people will say that relationships are your greatest teacher. Now, how many of you have gone through a challenging relationship in your life? An intimate relationship, maybe you’re in a relationship right now that you’re stress about, going ups and downs and not sure about, maybe there’s some toxic relationship in your past and you’ve just always struggled in relationships, or maybe you’re in a place right now where things are going well but you want to take it to another level, if you’re in that place or if you’re looking for the right partner then this episode is for you. My friend Stephan Labossiere is a highly respected dating expert and he is blown up online millions and millions of followers, mostly women that just resonate with his message, he’s an incredible listener an incredible coach and he’s got a wealth of wisdom and information for you.
I have found out about him online, started devouring his information and just really love his approach towards relationship and in this interview we talked about the greatest test for a man today, we talked about the biggest obstacles that hold men and women back in relationships. How to manifest and attract the right partner for you and how to know if the partner you’re with right now is the right partner for you, also how to be mindful of the energy we give off and how to focus on giving your partner the best of you and not the worst of you. I am so excited about this because, again relationships are some of the things that hold us back the most, if our relationships are out sync and out of harmony then typically our career, our work, our business, our passion, and our drive for life is held back well. But when our relationships are working and they’re thriving and the environment in the experience of our relationship are one of peace, love and harmony then man we are unstoppable in our lives. So relationships can be our greatest kick in springboard to move us forward and the thing that holds us back the most.
I remember in my 20’s going through a couple breakup wherein I was literally in like the fetal position for weeks in my room, in my bed just like laying on the floor and its crippling when you don’t have the emotional or the ability to move past those experiences and if you don’t have the ability to while in you’re a relationship handle conflict. So that’s what I’m excited about today it’s got to be a powerful one, make sure to share this with your friends Lewishowes.com/730. Stephan speaks on Instagram and tag me @LewisHowes as well and before we dive in I want to give a thank you to our sponsor which 23andme. Now, 23andme is a personal genetic service that helps you understand what your DNA can tell you about yourself and your family story. It’s really cool I did this recently and it tells you everything, so many things that you need to know about your DNA and your ancestry composition report which they give you is a report that explores where your DNA is from, out of 150+ regions around the world. There’s also a DNA family and relative finder with 23andme you can also get an overview of the diverse group of people who share your DNA and you can discover how much Neanderthal DNA you inherited this is kind of crazy. You can even learn which traits of your Neanderthal DNA is associated with like height and back hair. It’s a really cool service guys and now through the holiday’s 23andme ancestry service kits are only $49 when you buy 2 or more kits. That’s 50% off the regular price of $99 this holiday. So go and order your 23andme ancestry service at 23andme.com/greatness.
A big thank you to our sponsor design crowd. Now design crowd has been my service that I go to for all design with website stuff, with book covers when I’m coming out with a new book, with T-shirts, logos, graphics, social media stuff, any type of design that you need you can get all your personal design needs at designcrowd.com/greatness. They’ve got hundreds of thousands of designers from all over the world that will create designs for you, all you have to do is fill out a form of what you are looking for whether it’s a logo, a website or t-shirt graphic or whatever it maybe you submit what you’re looking for, you give the details of what it is that’s inspiring you for this and then designers will start creating branding for you. You can get feedback on them and then when you want to pick a winner you choose one of them and then you just pay that. Right now you can go to designcrowd.com/greatness for a special $100 VIP offer for our listeners. Again, design is the key to differentiate yourself in your space, in your industry check it out right now at designcrowd.com/greatness.
All right my friends this is all about how to build true connections how to maximize the relationships in your life about finding love, keeping love, building intimacy and all that good stuff with the one and only Stephan speaks.
Welcome back in one of the school of greatness podcast we have Stephan Labossiere in the house good to see you my man.
Stephan: Appreciate it man.
Lewis: I’m glad you’re here. You learned about me a few years ago from my website and I learned about you I think in the last year from your incredible masses that you have online which is all about relationships and you speak to man and woman, young and old but I feel like the essence is around woman as well, like a lot of your messages helping woman understand how to find the right life partner, how to get married and how to know what’s right for you and you talk a lot about healing.
Lewis: Why is healing in your mind is so important in terms of building strong relationships?
Stephan: It’s important because it’s the number one thing people holding back from having a healthy relationships. It’s the issue that so many people are facing but they sweep on the rug. We’ve all been through stuff, we’ve all been damage, we’ve all been disappointed and hurt but we have not properly process those things and we take those negative experiences and we project them onto people, we project them onto our future, we project them to our self-esteem and self-worth and we throw everything out of whack. Now, we can’t even embrace or set ourselves up for that great relationship because we are still holding onto the bad one that we experienced before. So, it completely get in the way of people seeing progress in their life and to me it is like ‘Okay, we can give you all these tools and tips on how to date and how to navigate through this relationship.’
Lewis: Online dating stuff.
Stephan: Exactly and it’s all useful but if you don’t heal you’re going to end up in a bad spot, there’s no way around that it’s inevitable, and people can who think they can ignore a lack of healing and still have a great relationship are being naïve.
Lewis: Yeah, it sounds like if you don’t heal you’re gonna keep hurting yourself and hurting the person you are in a relationship with.
Stephan: Yes, or hurting people that you could’ve been in a relationship with because so many people have ran away or push away that real love because it was scary, it made them feel to vulnerable. Again, that stems from you’ve been hurt and so you don’t want to go back hurt again. So when somebody you feel deeply for pulls out all these love and vulnerability out of you it’s like ‘This is too much.’
Lewis: That’s interesting you know many years ago I was dating someone and it was like you know we were very connected very quickly, I felt like there’s something different about this person and after months, she started sabotaging things like we were having a great night and everything was going great and then all of a sudden she would just get mad at me over nothing and then the whole night and the next 24 hours would be ruin because she would be upset about something but wouldn’t tell me. She was not the right fit for me in the long run and we broke up eventually, but at one point she said to me she goes “I didn’t think I’d find you now at this stage in my life. I thought I’d find you like in my 30’s.” I thought of like have fun in my 20’s and then the version of you, the idea of you which come at 30 or something when she was ready. She was holding on to so much baggage and like hurt from previous relationships but she wasn’t healing from that at the time, she was just like kind of sabotaging and like pushing away the vulnerability that we were creating, but we were having so much connection and vulnerability that she was just like “I’m scared you know.”
Stephan: Exactly, because she lost emotional control and that’s a scary place to be in and so the only thing she can do at that point is look for something to be wrong to validate walking away because if she can’t find something wrong how can she say I can’t do this? So not it starts to nitpick, create issues but it all stem she has not healed. I would argue that the vast majority of people are married to someone they don’t even have the deepest feelings for.
Lewis: What’s the percentage you think in your mind?
Stephan: If I had to do a number I would say 60%. 60% I’m just going to throw out there and it could be a lot higher.
Lewis: So 60% of people don’t love what’d you say?
Stephan: They are not married to the person they have the deepest feelings for. The person they have the deepest feelings for in that situation somehow left, people run. Like in your situation in her mind you were too good to be true, it was not real she could not believe that she was experiencing this at this time of her life and to be honest with you she wouldn’t have been ready at 30 either. Because at 30 she would have healed you came along and she was like ‘What is going on here?’ And so it’s a very common thing it happens a lot more than people think, I’m willing to bet there are men who are going to hear this and they are gonna say “Oh my gosh that happened to me.” And people don’t hear about it much because now when that woman tells her story to someone else she doesn’t say “He was too good, I was scared I ran away.” Because again she has to validate her decision and she has to make herself feel more comfortable about the fact that she ran away from you. But I’m gonna tell you right now it’s going to hit her hard one day and don’t be surprise one day if, I mean I know she.
Lewis: It happened many times. We weren’t the right fit you know it’s all good and I wish her the best. Yeah, she tried to come back many times and it’s all good. Who do you think runs away more from vulnerability in a relationship that has the potential to be great men or women?
Stephan: People don’t be shock but women hands down. Okay, 1 I think that because women are more emotionally tune and they give more emotions, it’s quicker for themselves to feel like they’re losing themselves when they feel this amazing connection with somebody because again it pulls you into an area that you’re not used to being in.
Lewis: They lose control?
Stephan: Yes, because it’s like if you are with a guy that you really like and you’re really into him but he doesn’t call you today it’ll bother you, but it’s not gonna drive you crazy like the guy who you are madly into. When he doesn’t call you, you might be thinking what’s he doing? What’s happening? Women will start to question and analyze everything that will drive them insane. Also, the reality is that women are hearing so much from other women or from their own experience good men don’t exist, there are no good men here this is a fairytale to believe you can meet this guy who is so great and so amazing. So when they meet that guy something has to be wrong that.
Lewis: it’s too good to be true.
Stephan: Exactly, I cannot believe this is what it is.
Lewis: Let me check background record like if you went to jail.
Stephan: If you have secret kids somewhere something is going on. On the flipside when men come across that situation they think ‘Oh my gosh I hit the jackpot. Like they found the woman who separates from everyone else.’ They latch onto it the problem though with man is we don’t typically handle those situations well in regard to, 1 how the woman is reacting. So if she’s feeling insecure or she’s feeling uneasy we get frustrated because it’s like we have this amazing connection, I’m doing my best to love you why are you acting like this? So now we may react in a way that fuels her fear and creates more problems. So, we do contribute to the issue but we’re not quicker to run away, we’re quicker to latch on and say ‘Oh my God I want this, this is the opportunity I can’t let pass me by.’ Where she is thinking ‘this is not all real, this can’t be true I’m fooling myself let me run now before I get hurt even worse later.’
Lewis: Before I get too deep in and then it’s hard for me to get out. Who messes up relationship more if women tend to go away more, if a man knows how to like manage the runningness away who ends up messing relationship more man or woman?
Stephan: That one’s hard to say, I’m gonna lean towards men and only because I feel like men aren’t as in tune into what we’re doing wrong in the moment. So for example the other day I had a client that came to me his fiancée broke up with him and he has said that earlier this year they had this argument and it was over the fact that they weren’t prepared for her when they were staying at some family’s house. Now, she is saying to him in this argument ‘You don’t appreciate me, you don’t make me a priority.’ And he’s saying ‘Why are we arguing about a towel?’ And I had to explain that it’s not about the towel, listen to her words she said you never appreciate me, let’s explore that. So, I think there a lot of disconnect with guys not understanding what they’re overlooking, what they’re missing. Not truly caring what the woman is saying because she’s not always very clear and transparent about what’s going on, which is an issue which does contribute to the problems. But I do think that men knowingly and unknowingly sometimes make a lot of mistakes that cause damage to the relationship, I don’t want to put more blame on them but I do think it happens more on that side.
Lewis: And when did you start to learn about relationship so well? Because right now you’re not married, you’re not in a relationship, so what gives you this experience of relationship expertise and understanding?
Stephan: It’s a combination of things: 1 it was, ever since I was a kid people came to me and told me their life story.
Stephan: Yes, I remember being 13 I met a woman for the first time at a party. At the party she’s told me how she’s been raped, how all this horrific things happened to her that she’s never told anyone else and I can see this is a 1 time thing but this is a real occurring thing. I’m at a bus stop 1 time someone sitting next to me and then opening up and I never understood why, but what that did was it allow me to see into people’s lives more than the average person does. Therefore, gain a better more clear understanding of what’s really going. But what I really think bust the doors wide open was when I went abstinent because I feel like as men we still have sex on our brain and sex as a focus, we don’t see straight and we don’t process things properly.
Lewis: You were in a relationship at the time?
Stephan: No, I was single and you know I felt God was telling me I need to step away from women and just be abstinent. This also coincidentally was when the business really took another step and went to higher level and so it allowed me to refocus but not just refocus in purpose and business wise. I was able to really see things for what they were, I was able to step away from situations and really evaluate, understand because so much is happening and so much, it’s not that we don’t know but sometimes we don’t know how to articulate it we don’t know how to process and break it down. Now, that I do believe is a natural gift that I’ve been given, I just know how to express things in the way that people can understand it and I know how to process things and see beyond what you’re showing me because a lot of people would act like ‘I’m happy nothing wrong with me.’ And I can see right through that all right. So that combination of natural gift letting God lead me as far as my purpose is concern, but I do think that being abstinent and really taking my selfish desires out of it.
Lewis: When did this happened? How old were you?
Stephan: I was 27.
Lewis: You’ve been abstinent since 27?
Stephan: There’s been some on and off, I haven’t been perfect with it but I did go a stretch if 5 years and I really think that helped open my eyes to another level and really allow me to see things more clearly, and just see things more clearly and also fine tune how I express things because I was the person when I was younger who’s very blunt, very bold just said how I felt and didn’t care how you felt about it. I learned that it’s not what you say it’s how you say it, and learning how to convey a message in the way that people can actually receive it was something I had to work on as well, especially as I found myself in this position, I never knew I was going be doing this I never saw this as my future but once I kind of got to that place of accepting, I realized things I had to improve upon and make better so that I can truly help people the way they need help.
Lewis: What’s the greatest lesson you learned in partnership or intimate relationships with yours?
Stephan: Don’t internalize things personally and what I mean is a lot of times we react to what they’re doing or how they’re talking to us or their behavior towards us at that moment not realizing it’s deeper than us in that moment.
Lewis: It’s not about us.
Stephan: Exactly, and if we internalize it and we react to that we would not make things worse and we will pile on more negative energy into situation and it starts to make things harder to overcome or it can just break apart the whole relationship. So learning kind of take a step back and really again hearing them not just listening to what they’re saying or not just hearing them more so as far as, listen to the key words listen to what’s really going on with them take your own emotions out of it, don’t react emotionally to things and that’s a lesson for not just romantic relationships that’s for any relationship, business, family whatever don’t be so quick to react emotionally. You know they say think before you speak, pray before you speak, pray before you react allow yourself to just calm your spirit and listen, process then speak because too many times that emotional reaction is just adding more fire to the flame.
Lewis: What should be the key things people are looking for in any partner to thrive and maintain a relationship long term in today’s society?
Stephan: The first that came to mind is connection. I am a firm believer that you can’t have an amazing relationship at least long term without connection, a lot of people get by that initial hype all right that initial excitement, that’s cool but that’s not gonna sustain you. Is there something deeper there, can you 2 truly be yourself with each other and open up share your inner thoughts, be emotionally naked with this person, if you can’t and you still enjoy their presence and enjoying speaking to them you feel good when they are around you, okay we got something we can work on here even if it’s not in perfect alignment we have the foundation to now grow the relationship. But without that it’s just fluff.
Lewis: Is connection something that created or does it only happen in certain people?
Stephan: It only happens to certain people, it’s either there or it’s not.
Lewis: The first few minutes or maybe it takes?
Stephan: I won’t say you will know it in the first few minutes, I think it can vary I think it depends on how spiritually tune you are or how emotionally grounded you are, if you’re in a very emotionally healthy place I do think you’re gonna recognize it very quickly. But a lot of times you picked up on it but you’re scared to embrace it, you’re still rationalizing and we even program to believe it all takes times. So when we see this experience where we see 2 people are, it’s like this they click and they are feeling this intense feeling right away, everyone else is like slow down this can’t be real. In reality, you know because it most situations let’s just say if not in a few minutes, the first date people know like there’s potential here or not this one could be the one or not, but we rationalize why we should entertain this and move further give it a chance and then we find ourselves stuck in situations we don’t belong in and now we try to make it work because we’ve invested so much, we don’t want to admit that we were wrong or we wasted our time, we’re lonely. Various reasons causes to hang on a situations we don’t belong in, but we knew from the beginning. Like when I speak to people who are divorced and I ask them ‘When did you know?’
Lewis: A lot of people are like my wedding day or.
Lewis: I hate when people answer it that way why would you get married?
Stephan: And even way before that the marriage they might when reality truly hit or they allow themselves see it but then at that point what are you gonna do?
Lewis: Yeah, you got to follow through your family is there and you don’t want to be embarrass.
Stephan: Exactly, but again the reality is that person start way before but again they rationalize past it then and now they found themselves in this more difficult position and they can’t do anything about it.
Lewis: And they divorce a year or 2 later.
Stephan: I know 1 couple who were married for 25 years after they got divorce everyone was against it because on the outside looking in they look like this great couple, but they were miserable behind closed doors. Well, the wife let me read a letter that the husband wrote her before they got married I read this letter and the first thing I say is ‘Why did you ever get married?’ It was clear as day in this letter that you guys should not have taken that step.
Lewis: What did it say generally?
Stephan: It was just in general calling out all these different issues and problems it was like a clear disconnect between the 2 and once I started to learn the real story you saw that they did not have that deep connection, they were 2 people who did not fit together and what they lack is the other thing I was gonna bring up as far as what people need is balance. I think too many times we’re fixing it on equality and not enough on balance.
Lewis: What’s the difference?
Stephan: The difference is this: Equality is almost like LeBron and Dwyane Wade join together they both are alpha males of their teams, they both superstars and can shoot there’s some level of equality there but you know they couldn’t win a championship until 1 decided who’s going to be the main person here, it wasn’t about equality it was about balance about complementing each other, learning how to work together. Dwade or the rest of the team being able to do the things that LeBron can’t do everything on this team, he needs the right players around him. So it’s the same thing as relationships it’s not about they have to do everything we do, everything they do. It’s about can we complement each other? Can we balance each other? Can I fit in or can I have the strengths where you have the weaknesses? In a way that doesn’t conflict and I believe the conflict part is when you don’t have a connection they will conflict, when there is a connection that’s when you gonna find balance because now when there’s a connection we embrace our difference.
Lewis: Communicate better.
Stephan: Exactly, and we can find a way to make it a whole unit. That’s how we create amazing relationships. Balance to me is the greatest key balance and connection you have those 2 things you win and if you look at most failed relationships they lack those 2 things.
Lewis: 2 things connection and balance might be some forced connection or they’ve lost the connection because it wasn’t really, it was like the hype of the connection the sexual connection or the resume of this person or the idea of this person.
Stephan: It was more so chemistry like chemistry is not connection all right. Chemistry can be creative and again so using the whole basketball analogy, a team comes together you can build chemistry we can learn how to work together, we can learn how to coexist so to speak but doesn’t mean we really like each other at the core, there’s the difference. So, you can have a team where the players learn to play together but still hate each other.
Lewis: So they had chemistry but not connection?
Stephan: Exactly, when you have connection in a relationship that is way more important than chemistry because the connection will bring the chemistry. We never worry about the chemistry part when 2 people have connection they learn and it’s a rare thing. Again we don’t experience that with everybody if something that happens it’s rare to find someone who can say they’ve had that deep genuine connection more than 2 times in their life, if even twice it’s usually once. But I’m gonna give it 2 times and yes there are some people out there say ‘Well there’s people in this world.’ You are only gonna come across a certain amount of individuals and in that group of people yes, you’re only going to find that connection maybe once or twice. And once you get there like once somebody sets the bar that high in your life it is very hard.
Lewis: Yeah, to refind that.
Stephan: Exactly, you’re not going to feel comfortable anymore going beneath that, if you do you’re gonna find yourself not peace and very miserable in your relationship.
Lewis: Connection and balance is there anything else or was those the really main 2 things and everything else is figure out?
Stephan: The last thing I’m gonna throw in is attraction and the reason I throw it in is because I feel like in this world we try to shame people for putting a focus on attraction and to me it’s not about looks, looks is about specifically saying you have to look like this and that, I’m not saying looks I’m saying attraction we have to be physically drawn to each other that’s the last ingredient that takes a relationship to romantic and that’s the ingredient that if you remove it will make a romantic relationship.
Stephan: Exactly, roommates you got people living together.
Lewis: No sexual chemistry.
Stephan: Exactly, because the attraction is gone but if you bring it back to that relationship see how quickly change, that is the ingredient. So we have to be willing to embrace the fact that yes attraction is necessary when we first meet each other and we need that to be more drawn to each other, but then to maintain and sustain that great relationship we can’t make excuses for letting ourselves go and understand there is a difference between aging and letting yourself go. A lot of people are letting themselves go making excuses for it, I understand that life hits us it’s tougher but you got to work to maintain attraction in a relationship. You let that go to waste.
Lewis: How important is sex in a relationship?
Stephan: Hugely important.
Lewis: This is coming from a guy whose abstinent right?
Stephan: You know what to me I say hugely important from a standpoint of I think people have to look at sex not from just a perspective of pleasure but from the perspective of bonding, I believe it is an opportunity for 2 people to grow closer together and when 2 people know how to truly satisfy each other it creates an amazing bond.
Lewis: Deeper connection, better balance, more attraction and keeps going.
Stephan: Exactly, because if you are going to unsatisfy people sexually you’re gonna have a problem. You can’t find a relationship with that exist and they’re all happy and everything’s great, it doesn’t work that way. People crave intimacy people crave that level of bonding with each other and yes we are talking about the needs of a man and a woman and all these things, but I think even going deeper spiritually and all that sex is important and we are not taking enough mature approach to understanding and learning sex. I think people are very much behind in their understanding of it.
Lewis: Especially in America we are educated to very like hush type of thing, it’s not talked about in school and parents at least most parents aren’t talking about it until it’s like the moment and like let me say something to just get it out and let them figure it out.
Stephan: And not just that a lot of our parents don’t know either, like people just don’t take time to get more educated on their bodies on sex, there’s a lot of lies going on, I tell people all the time listen a lot of women aren’t being sexually satisfied but they’re lying to their friends, their partners. So there’s a perception that everything is all good, no it’s not. There’s a huge disconnect between reality or the perception of woman’s sexual satisfaction and the reality of woman sexual satisfaction and that contributes to a disconnect in marriages because again if the woman is not satisfied, she now becomes less willing to be sexually involve with her husband. Now, he starts to gain resentment, he starts to feel neglected and it snowballs from there. We can’t overlook that and act like everything is gonna be fine and we can’t say we should love them enough to where it doesn’t matter. Listen we’re talking about maintaining a committed relationship that’s a part of it and we have to learn how to make it better on both sides and how to be more honest with each other, I think if we can learn to be more honest than transparent then we can work on things that are lacking. But people again they feel really uncomfortable speaking sex, speaking about their needs and constructively criticizing their part as we have to learn how to do that.
Lewis: How often should we be talking about our sexual needs in an intimate relationship? Should it be like once a month we sit down and like schedule it out? Is it like pillow talk every week like what should be, again everyone is different but what do you think is an appropriate amount of time?
Stephan: So, what jumps in my head I would say every 3 months if I had to put a number to it, but I do think it depends on the couple I think it’s more so when an issue arises talk about it. The key is we have to create environment where we can have those talks, see again we’re laying the wrong foundations in our relationships to where we can’t have this open discussions about sex and other things lacking in our relationship and we’re afraid to push off our partners away, we’re afraid to ruffle the feathers or rock them both. But if you can’t talk to them.
Lewis: We resent things right?
Stephan: Exactly, what happens is you hold it in and now the negative energy comes out and other ways, and now their confused because like why are they giving me this attitude and they’re thinking, like I said earlier it’s not about the towel, it’s really about something else that you’re not telling him. So, we need to be more honest than transparent and we need to create environment where we can have this talk and you’re not gonna take it personally to where you’re gonna internalize it or allow it to not throw our relationship because you’re getting upset and you’re allowing it to you know have a negative impact.
Lewis: There’s so many divorces happening you know it’s higher than ever right? I think it’s the, a divorce attorney on who’s talking about higher than even. There’s also even more people who stayed married who probably should be divorced and who aren’t happy and it sounds like there’s a very small percentage of married people who have been together for many years who are actually still thriving in relationship. Maybe I’m wrong maybe there’s more but it sounds like it right? There’s a very small percentage that are having like this incredible long lasting marriages from relationships that like have the attraction, connection and balance and all these things. Why do you think that is and how can we decrease the number of failed relationships? Or is that a wrong question to ask?
Stephan: I think it’s a good question I think what we have to understand marriage is not the issue, it’s marrying the wrong person and marrying for the wrong reasons. Then underlying to those things are the lack of healing, because the lack of healing that leads us into this wrong relationships and allows us to entertain situations we should not entertain, because again for example if guy or woman if you’ve been to some things and now you think you don’t deserved that great person that great relationship because your perception of yourself is low, now you’re just gonna just latch on whoever is going to come, who says I am willing to be with you and give what you want and you’re thinking this is safe. But you are never really into them like that it’s never gonna be the relationship it needs to be. But that all stem from your lack of self-worth because you didn’t heal from whatever traumatized you emotionally before.
Lewis: How do we heal first? What is that process look like?
Stephan: So, it’s a long process and I do plan on, I have a book I am working on called ‘Fighting Love after Heartbreak.’ And it’s gonna lay out the entire process. So I’ll give a little bit right now and I’ll save the rest for later. So one thing is first we got to get the hurt out so I have this exercise on my events called the ‘who hurt me list.’ So you get a piece of paper ask yourself the question and now every person who comes to mind write them on that paper, doesn’t matter if you move past it doesn’t matter if it’s small or insignificant they came to mind when you ask yourself that question put them on the paper.
Lewis: Anyone in your life? From a childhood friend to a parents to a lover?
Stephan: Anyone anything if they come to mind put them on that list because that’s how we start to recognize the pain points in your life. Now, we see okay this is where it’s coming from, a lot of people have suppressed what has happened to them and so you can’t address and resolve something you are not willing to accept exist in your life, and the reality is that just because it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago it still lingering within you and it’s causing a lot of problems and it causes a lot of emotional stress which then turns into physical elements and it just snowballs.
Lewis: Anxiety and fear.
Stephan: The oppression and a lot of this things that we go through mental health stems from things we have not resolved from our past and it’s just all contributing the issues that we’re experiencing now and some of we may not be experiencing the issues right now but we will, it’s coming it is festering in you and it’s gonna come out at some point.
Lewis: So, write a list and think about those moments and reflect on them.
Stephan: Well no, so at that point once you get the list now we can see the first person and I won’t go too much further but let’s just say you’re gonna have to go through a process of getting things of your chest. We have not release this things from our spirit and our system and we need to essentially and emotionally detox and to do that you’ve got to get it out. So whether you speak into a recorder, write a letter or something.
Lewis: Scream into a pillow right?
Stephan: Yeah, but I do want like a full release and again we don’t fully release.
Lewis: Would you release each person or just everyone at one time?
Stephan: So, I would say this you want to start with say your top 3, now I’ve had clients where they did their top 3 and that kind of once they got through those they were able to process everyone differently to where it was necessary to do everyone else. Now, if you have 10 significant experiences and different people that need to be address, yes you may have to release with 10 different people. So it depends on the person and that’s why something like this requires a more in depth process, we got to talk about things, we got to understand what about you internalize, how you are seeing it because some of it are changing your mindset and your perception of what happened, understanding that it wasn’t about you as we said earlier. So once you understand that and understand how they behave and why they behave the way they do it changes how you look at things and how you internalize situations. So there’s so much more we got to get into but just getting at least that list started, because now you get to at least. Okay, here’s where it is, here’s what needs to be address, now let me get help to address this things and start the process of healing so that I’m not ending up in more bad situations or bad relationships.
Lewis: Repeating the process. Let’s say you’ve dealt with the hurt and it takes the time and takes you, you gone through all that, how do you manifest and attract a partner that you want to be with that has those 3 keys the connections, the attraction and the balance that you feel like is the one, could be the one how do you set yourself up to attract that incredible partner?
Stephan: So, one you got to be yourself so finding yourself is number 1. You can’t connect with someone if they’re connecting with the fake you that’s a false connection. So, you have to discover who you are become confident in that and strong in it, now who is drawn to that person you know it’s real. So that’s where we begin, 2 you need to exhume positive energy, I think this is very important for women because the reality is that men or the type of men that a lot of women want aren’t gonna be drawn to a negative woman. There’s millions of good women but doesn’t mean they’re positive women and it’s that lack of positive energy that holds them back more than they realized it.
Lewis: So just like even saying negative things throughout the day that might be a good person but they’re always complaining or negative.
Stephan: Exactly, and not just even what they say, again it’s how they’re coming off because energy.
Lewis: Their energy, body language.
Stephan: Yes, so look at it like this and I tell people all the time it’s not what you say it’s how make them feel. So, you could say all the wonderful things you want but if in your presence they don’t feel at ease, they don’t feel peace and they don’t feel that positivity that’s still gonna throw everything off.
Lewis: If you say nice things but you have a frown like what’s the point you know what I mean?
Stephan: Exactly, and what a lot of women aren’t realizing is that their energy is off because they have walls up, they’re so scared fixing on protecting themselves.
Lewis: Because they’ve been hurt in the past.
Stephan: Exactly, haven’t healed from those things but I tell people all the time the same walls that protect you are the same walls blocking your blessings. So, you don’t realize that you’re restricting your ability to love and be loved because you’re walking in fear. You can’t walk in fear and expect all these wonderful things to happen it doesn’t work that way, even in business the ones who succeed are the ones that put fear aside and say ‘I’m gonna have faith and push forward no matter what.’ No, you believed and push forward past that fear. It’s the same thing with relationships you have to push forward in faith not fear if you want to receive that great relationship. So, yes this can happen with men as well, I don’t want men thinking they can carry much negative energy and get a great relationship. But, I do think it shoots women in the foot more because here’s the other thing that people don’t talk about a lot and some people may not like this but I’m just gonna keep it real. It pulls women from their feminine energy.
Lewis: When they’re not positive.
Stephan: And when they’re holding on to this fears and all this walls up and it’s the feminine energy that makes woman so powerful. That’s the 2 that I heard this also that can make the world her oyster, but woman have become very detached from their feminist, if you, a lot of women say they are not feminine they’re not just that way, I dispute that in most situations you become detached from it and become uncomfortable with it due to again to a lack of healing and due to experiences in life. Now, if you are more masculine so to speak and if you are happy that way then by all means continue to live your life as you are, but if you’re not seeing things work for the way that you want them to and you’re in that energy that more masculine, more further away from your feminine then consider making a switch. Consider at least trying see the difference and if a lot of women is that only it is beneficial as far as relationship wise it’s beneficial in the quality of life.
Lewis: Their health.
Stephan: Their health, peace, and work you name. I have a client she is a doctor at a big hospital and when she came to me she was frustrated with relationship, ready to give up men, nobody like her at work it was such a hard tough manager. So, we work on her energy, we work on healing we got her energy to embrace more feminine energy, she would swear by it right now in 1 month her whole hospital starts to love her. Now they are all helpful whether they are women or men. Men started coming out the woodworks. She end up meeting her soon to be fiancée on an airplane 2 months after we started doing the coaching.
Lewis: What were the shifts she made every single day?
Stephan: It was one being more conscious of your energy, I think number 1 we have to be mindful of the energy given off, we become so distracted by our issues we are facing in the world by our responsibilities, and we’re not always in tune with what we are giving off. So to give an example and this a small one even for me as a man I work out a lot, when I come out the gym I started to notice I am very tense. So I’ve learn when I walk out the gym to take a deep breath, relax the body, relax the muscles, and the energy completely retains this, because yes you can become intimidating as a man just like you can become intimidating as a woman and so you have to be mindful of ‘Are you making yourself more approachable? Are you allowing people to feel more comfortable?” So that starts with being mindful of it being conscious of it and one way to do that get kind of an ability partner, tell someone who has the ability to be positive because you don’t want to pick a negative person to be like your ability partner. But if you pick a positive person he says ‘Whenever I’m being negative, whenever I’m giving that bad energy let me know.’ Because now when they tell you people will always realize you’re doing it at least not at first, but once they start calling you out now you become more mindful of it, now you can take hold of it and control of it and now you master what energy you’re giving off at certain times and that changes everything.
Lewis: When someone feels like they found the one and I’ve heard this a lot like I know this is the one or I thought they’re the one and ended up didn’t working out and they want to get married, they decided that marriage is for them they want to be life partners. What are a few conversation that they should have to not know for certain but know for better certain that this partnership is the right decision? And to move forward as a committed relationship as opposed to just maybe the infatuation line or the initial connection or the. What are a few questions they should be asking each other that maybe they haven’t ask yet to know whether or not they’re setting themselves for that or not successful long term relationship.
Stephan: Okay, number 1 how do you envision your role in a marriage? People don’t go in finding out what the expectations are before they get married. They have this assumption that we’re just gonna transition from how we are in a relationship to being that way in a marriage. No, because a lot of times things change and the level of expectation raises now in marriage, you also have some people who may think for example you may have a man out there who thinks ‘Okay, my job is to court you when we’re boyfriend and girlfriend but when we’re married I don’t have to do all that work anymore. Now that I am your husband you got to satisfy me and make me happy.’ You got to find that out because you’re setting yourself up a failure if you don’t realize he thinks he gets to get time off now that he’s married you, or he may think as long as I’m paying this bills don’t ask me for anything else you got to find out. So, we need to ask.
Lewis: Both of them should be asking that.
Stephan: Both of them should be asking that. How do you perceive your role in marriage? What are your expectations from me in marriage? Let’s find out what we need what we’re expecting from each other. Number 2, making sure our values are align, so whether that’d be spiritual even financial values whatever those things are let’s make sure we’re on the same page about it and if we’re not on the same page are these things we can balance and work out? So for example if let’s look at it from a financial perspective if I am a very frugal man and this woman is a spender. I have friends in this situation it’s not good and I’m sure they didn’t talk about it in advance. You want to talk about this things and say ‘Okay, how we view this? What are your expectations as a spender? Are you someone who think that I got to be able to spend free money month?’ Again, we don’t talk about these things we just assumed because she’s not asking for money now and money later.
I definitely think number 3 is sexual expectations, I think that needs to be discussed and understood and again it’s all about compromise if compromise can’t be found. So, it’s not saying ‘Okay, I’m expecting 3 or 4 times a week.’ You know he or she says two times a week and now we’re just going at it, but we make sure that the compromise something that we both can be happy with, when you compromised on something you’re not gonna be happy about you’re not compromising you’re sacrificing and those sacrifice can be good in some instances, not when it’s very important to you or it’s going to be important enough it will cause to wonder if you’re not getting it. Never sacrifice unless gonna make you want to look like someone else in your marriage. So if you need 3 times a week to be happy and satisfied make that very clear, don’t agree to 2 and now you’re entertaining other people because you never set hat expectation. Another expectation is we talked about earlier is attraction is how we keep ourselves physically, I do think that needs to be discussed.
Lewis: So what if I gain 60 pounds in 7 years is that okay since we’re married now?
Stephan: Listen people needs to be honest. So like I tell some men if you can say you know what if my wife gain 60 pounds I don’t care, I am cool with it and you’re going to love her with the same energy and desire that you did 60 other pounds ago great, but if you can’t maintain that desire, that passion 60 pounds later you need to make that know now. You can’t be afraid and say, so well we rather be shallow now or have a disaster in this relationship later, have you cheating on your partner because you aren’t willing to be honest in the beginning. And woman too because an epidemic that’s happening is women are less honest about their attraction needs so to speak. So whenever we talk about attraction letting yourself go, I think people automatically think of the woman letting themselves go, but a lot of man have let themselves go and have fallen far from what he look like when they first got married. But she’s not always being as honest and straightforward, one reason maybe because she doesn’t want the pressure on her so that’s one issue right there or she maybe afraid of his ego and think it’s too fragile and doesn’t want to say anything. But again if you can’t maintain the same passion and desire with that falloff you got to be honest about that. So he understands but because what happens is this, so let’s just use this example: He lets himself go the sex falls off and the sex falls off because she’s not as attracted to him anymore but she’s not being honest about it. Now, when she does say anything about whether it is weight or whatever the case maybe, he’s gonna think you’re just making excuses, you’re just trying to give a reason not to have sex rather than embracing it as this is the reality of what’s holding us back. However, if we had this conversation from the jump and you are honest about it and I always knew this will be an issue not when you bring it back up. So now it’s going to be easier for me to embrace that and actually do something about it.
Lewis: And have the recognition and awareness about it because you already talked about it. But you do a lot of these events and workshops for you know hundreds of women at a time, are women opening up in these experiences when you’re, are they saying ‘Yes, I do lose the attraction like appearances are important to me.’ From the events that you’ve done to women you’ve talked to what is the feedback on appearance and looks?
Stephan: So, I will say this when it comes to appearance, looks and sex women aren’t as vocal and transparent in a group of people.
Lewis: But 1 on 1 with you?
Stephan: 1 on 1 different story. So same thing like using the sex thing example if I ask a group of women ‘Are you getting orgasms regularly?’ There’s gonna be women in there that lie because they don’t want to feel inadequate, they don’t want to be the one who doesn’t raise their hands. So they’re gonna be hesitant on how to answer it, but if I ask in private now I’m gonna get a real truth and now she’s gonna be very clear about loss of attraction, lack of sexual satisfaction and all these things. So that’s why people have to be careful because I think sometimes we’re assuming this issues don’t really exist because we’re not hearing it in that group setting. Don’t be fooled because they feel more comfortable privately expressing those things and I’ve heard it enough times to know this is real. And again you just have to, even if you haven’t heard enough times pay attention, there’s a reason why we’re seeing people fall of in marriage, there’s a reason why we’re seeing this disconnect and even when it comes to infidelity there’s a great focus on men who cheated but there’s a lot of women who’ve cheated and it’s not always for emotional reasons, it’s for sexual ones too. So, again my thing is not to sit here and say about who does work, it’s about how we fix this how do we make this better and we have to accept that yes there are contributing factors to why we see failed marriages, why we see infidelity, why we see disconnects in our relationships. Let’s address the underlying issues and be honest about it so we can get this on the right track.
Lewis: Are there any relationships that you’re aware of that have open relationships that are successful or do you think it’s very hard? Because more and more with the burning man and all these people exploring this things, what’s your thoughts on you know open relationships or you know being together but also having multiple partners?
Stephan: I’m going to be honest I’m very skeptical of open relationships, now I don’t want to sit here and say it’s impossible for it to be successful because I haven’t met everybody and I haven’t studied it enough but I have studied it to a certain extent and from what I have found is again a lot of open relationships stem from: 1 the perception that one person can’t fulfill me and since 1 person can’t fulfill me why not have more than one, and to me find the person whose experience at deep and genuine connection they don’t have that perception, because they had a moment in life where they met someone that they thought this could be it, I could put my all into this and I would be happy with this one person, if you haven’t experienced that connection of course there’s natural progression to think well maybe it’s not gonna work with just 1. The other thing is I do think it also stem from a lack of successful monogamy and when I say a lot of successful monogamy I don’t necessarily mean that they don’t maintain monogamy. It’s like ‘Okay, if I get into this monogamist relationship and now I get cheated on or I’ve had multiple relationships where I’ve been cheated on.’ I mean start to think what the point of trying to be monogamist is.
Lewis: Doesn’t gonna work anyway.
Stephan: Exactly, why not just get an open relationship which 1 allow me to not be so vulnerable to one person, I now have more emotional control and what you’ll find in a lot of situation is there’s still somebody running that show and what I mean by that is.
Lewis: One of the people are running the show.
Stephan: Exactly, and they’re running it in a way that it’s protecting them. So, I met a woman 1 time and she was into polyamory and she said her idea of polyamory relationship was a man and woman but they’re not allowed to have other people. So like you’re trying to control this environment for your sake, for you protection. So that means there’s something deeper going on here, so to me I just tell people when it comes to open relationships if you really believe that’s your thing fine I’m not here to tell people that they can’t live their life that way, but I just want you to make sure that you’ve healed everything first. If you healed from everything and you still feel like this is for you do your thing, but you might be surprise to what’s gonna happen when you uncover it and address some of this past traumas and issues. You may not be so incline to this open relationship anymore and again, I would still argue that if you meet that person you had that amazing connection with it changes the game and it can completely throw you in a loop, because I’ve seen people who were once into open relationships and completely shift to monogamy because they met that person and was like ‘I never thought this to happen but it’s here and I want it and I’m going for it.’
Lewis: That’s powerful insight. What about in a relationship that you’ve been together for a long time, been married together for a long time and it just feels like it’s not working and you talking about divorce and both of you aren’t happy. You’ve got the kids, the home and lives together and both of you aren’t happy and you’ve like addressed this and talked about it, you’ve tried different things they haven’t worked maybe. Is there a way to rekindle those 3 things find that connection again maybe you’ve lost that attraction and balance is that even possible in this times or is divorce the only way? For them to go find true happiness and connection somewhere else.
Stephan: If a true connection ever existed in that relationship then it can be fix. But that’s the key did it ever really exist? And we got to examine that because again many people have been living off the fantasy of their perception of things what they wanted to believe it was and wanting to hold on to this feeling of love but in reality they are involve in a not healthy attachment. So we have to go deeper and find out is that there, a connection was there? Yes, we can work on everything else we gonna create things on track it’s gonna create a lot of deeper emotional discoveries so to speak. Now, if there was no connection get a divorce.
Lewis: Sooner than later?
Stephan: I’m a man of God and I would love for everyone to be able to stay married.
Lewis: Even when people have been convinced that you get married stay married forever even if this is a religious thing or the pressure of society like.
Stephan: Here’s why despite those things you don’t stay married especially when you have kids, so many people stay married because of their kids, but if you can’t create a positive environment at home you are damaging the kids worse than you would in divorce. Divorce isn’t in my opinion the greatest struggle for the child it’s lacking of the understanding of what just happened here. So, if you’ve been feeding your kids all these years that mommy and daddy love each other everything is good despite our dysfunctional relationship. So, now you wake up and getting a divorce the child is confused and the thing is we’re not honest about the kids about why this happen? What went wrong? We’re not saying you know what we knew a long time ago we weren’t best for each other, we’re not giving them the honest truth for them to learn and not make same mistake.
Lewis: Repeat the patter.
Stephan: Exactly. What the child now thinks is you can’t trust love, you can’t trust marriage because you can love each other and then one day it’s over and now they become dysfunctional, they now have a dysfunctional relationship because of their acute perception of things because they lack clarity and understanding what just happened here. But going back to divorce vs staying together, again what a child needs more than anything is a positive and loving environment. If you can achieve that together great if you can’t you are better off apart because when you speak to adults now, adults who are struggling today grew up in dysfunctional households and it didn’t matter if it was a 1 parent or 2 parent household.
Lewis: Yeah, I felt it man.
Stephan: Exactly, dysfunction is dysfunction and we pick up on these things no one is that great of an actor that they’re hiding it from their child. The child sees the problem, feels it and then you don’t even realized you neglect the child in certain ways because you’re dwelling in your own issues, your own struggle. There are women who have mommy issues or they have what I call ‘I don’t want to be my mother syndrome.’ Where they saw their mother allow herself to be treated poorly, abused, suffered through a horrible marriage and the woman is like I don’t want to be ever that, and not because she’s holding on to that she either becomes her mother or creates other issues not trying to be her. So, it still creates a negative cycle of dysfunctional relationships all stemming from ‘We stayed longer than we should have, we tried to hold on to something we can’t work.’ My thing is this even for those who are spiritual, if you’re gonna say we’re not supposed to get divorce because of God, well God didn’t say act a fool in a marriage at the same time. Like what’s the point of staying together? How are you glorifying God or your spiritual beliefs by staying in a negative marriage for the sake of staying, you’re defeating the purposed. The purposed is to have a healthy happy union to raise healthy happy children. If we got together it’s time to go, I mean I wish it could be different but that’s just the reality the world we live in because too many of us have made the wrong decision in who we married and we have to accept that, I rather you accept that now go to your healing process and both of you can find your happiness and learn how to coexist as co-parents. And again creating a positive environment in that co-parenting relationship because I don’t want you to be co-parent and still be dysfunctional. Again defeating the purpose, I want you to get away from each other to find happiness not be more negative.
Lewis: Yeah, heal move forward.
Stephan: Exactly, be happy they found someone else, I know that’s tough for a lot of people but be happy they’re at peace, you find your peace let the children see happy healthy relationships not just with other people but in yourself. Stop showing them a miserable father or mother they see it and they hold onto resentment. I can’t tell you how many I won’t say every but I would say 90% of the clients that I have seen and I would argue that if you spoke to any therapist or coach out there the majority of people have issues stemming from their parents. Growing up in that household.
Lewis: Or their environment. The parents the environment.
Stephan: Exactly and it’s all because of dysfunctional relationship. Relationship is the backbone of society, when we allow that to be as dysfunctional as it is right now that’s the reason why we all have this problems. We fix that this world becomes a 100 times better to live easily.
Lewis: More love more peaceful more enjoyable.
Stephan: Half of the people doing negative things.
Lewis: When should people or when do they know that we should work on things in our marriage, our relationship like not every marriage is gonna be perfect all the time and happy like there’s got to be some dysfunction or challenge or issue that arise, hopefully you’ve addressed all those things but let’s say you’ve set expectations early, you both understand these things before you got married like you communicated everything and your align for a certain vision for your marriage. 5 years goes down the line and it seems like things are getting worse and worse maybe expectations change, maybe value change. When do you know like it’s getting too far or we should stay in this relationship? When should we get divorce or keep trying?
Stephan: To me the first sign that we have problems is that whenever there’s going on in our marriage is affecting me in a way that I can’t be the best husband or wife I need to be we got a problem, that’s step number 1. I think what’s happen is we normalize function too much, we’ve normalize this idea that we’re gonna all have problems, yeah we all got problems but we don’t learn how to work through them because we have dysfunction individual dysfunction that we have not process and resolved. That’s the reason why dysfunction is so common it’s not healthy though, like I heard some people say ‘Arguing is healthy in a relationship.’ No, it’s not disagreement is acceptable but when you argue.
Lewis: You arguing each other is not good.
Lewis: I just once Will Smith and Jada at the red table talk of Will Smith like opening up about their marriage, I don’t know if you watch this yet it’s actually really powerful what he said. Jada I guess when they first started dating at one point she like raised her voice at him and like swear at him or did something that she made him look foolish in front of other people, and he took her into the other room and said ‘Can I speak with you privately?’ And said “I can’t be with someone who raised their voice, yell at me or swear at me. It just doesn’t work for me and it’s gonna put me to a shell like I’m not gonna be the best version of myself and if that’s you, I love you but we can’t be together anymore. But I need us to have complete peace, if we don’t agree on something then we have to set ground rules where we step away, we take care of our anger on our own and not in front of the other person and we come back and communicate from a peaceful loving place of what we’re upset with or frustrated with and so we never put that on the other person.” When I heard that, that was so powerful because most of us seems like in relationship will allow themselves to yell once and swear once and then it’s just like once you said “” You can say whatever you want.
Lewis: And then that respect is gone that you know love is gone or seems to be gone.
Stephan: And the other problem is we expect our partners to be our emotional punching bags, we think that because you love us you should deal with our crazy moment, our dysfunction our disrespect all these things because okay but we show you love on other moments so don’t blame me for this one. No, like focus on giving your partner the best of you not the worst of you. Yes, they should help you through your struggle but struggle is not an excuse to blatantly disrespect, stress out, swear negativity at your partner you can’t do that. So, I think we have to all hold ourselves accountable into a higher standard of how we behave in our relationships and stop giving this excuse. It can happen granted but we should focus on as Will laid out for Jada in that talk we have to discuss peacefully, we have to come to the table calmly, maturely and see how we can resolve it and not just lash out that’s not healthy.
Lewis: Because screaming is not communicating, it’s not creating a connection there’s not an attraction there, there’s no balance. And you know whenever I got into an argument in the past in my relationships all I want to do is be alone, I don’t want to be around you I just want to be alone like I need space to heal and recover because it’s very traumatic. That’s just been my personal experience. And I think that’s why this is so important to learn and communicate in peaceful way, I’m sure you might get frustrated and tension might come up but you got to set ground rules for yourself and your partner.
Lewis: Maybe just be quiet until we can breathe and like communicate calmly, but I don’t think there’s anything good that comes from screaming. I witness that with my parents screaming and escalating and it was just like it never felt good in the house, there was nothing from that came that was good, they always had to like apologize to each other and ways and it was like passive aggressive for a week. So I think it’s important it doesn’t just affect your relationship it affects the people that are in your relationship family, friends it affects those people as well.
Stephan: It affects your co-workers because like you know I’m a firm believer that people take a lot of their relationship issues into the office and it affects their attitude, their energy and focus and they don’t realized how they’re hurting their efficiency and hurting their ability to do so much more so much better, whether they’re entrepreneur or they work for somebody because the relationship is dysfunctional and so like I’m a firm believer in if we can help people who work in corporate or whatever to have stronger and better relationships their careers will thrive, their companies will thrive it pours into everything. So, we have to create that positivity in our lives so that we can reach our true potential.
Lewis: I think it affects everything in business, I mean when you are having a bad relationship intimately it affects the way you show up in your career for sure. What’s one thing you wish men understood more about women in general and one thing you wish women knew about men in general? Every man and woman is different but in general ways on all the work you’ve done and the things you hear over and over again one thing you wish men knew about women and women about men.
Stephan: This may sound bad, learn to look past her words and what I mean by that is a lot of times again women don’t always fully express themselves, as much as women will say men are horrible communicators, women are actually horrible communicators and it’s because they talk but they are not always clear and part of it is because women can see past our words, sometimes where they over analyze, over rationalize things and it causes them to look at things the wrong way. But they know how to pay attention to all the small details, they understand if our moods are different even if we say we’re okay they’re very in tune with that. So they kind of have that expectation with us and though I want women to be clearer and transparent I want men to be more aware and be more in tune with your partner, it’s not just about her saying ‘I’m okay’ look at her, pay attention does she show you she’s okay? Does she really look like? And if you can see past that I’m not saying badger her because she may not want to be badgered, but at least show a true concern for her feelings and show that you are going to be there for her when she is ready to let you know and have that talk. You want to create a very secure environment with your partner, a very safe environment where she can open up to you, she can be herself, and again I do believe it starts with look past the words and even in understanding how to keep her satisfied and happy.
Lewis: It’s like the woman says to you ‘You don’t need to buy anything for my birthday.’
Stephan: Exactly, look past that and even if you think she’s telling the truth, you know what there’s nothing wrong with doing something special for her. It just shows that again you’re more in tune with what’s really going on with her emotionally and not just what she’s speaking but I do believe that as you do that more often and you show a willingness to hear her out, we have to consider our partners feelings, I think too many men don’t consider their partners feelings. When you do that she will become more transparent, when she knows that she can be open and honest and you’re not going to reject how she feels or what she says or call it crazy she’ll be willing to speak up more about it. So, I do think men need to be more in tune look past the words, as far as what I wish women would know with men, so it’s kind of a flipside of that, he can’t read your mind and a lot of times men generally just don’t know. There’s a difference between a man who loves you but does not know how you want to be loved and the man who doesn’t care about what you want and how to be loved. Don’t confuse the 2 some guys who aren’t doing the right things is simply a lack of knowledge and simply.
Lewis: Not a lack of caring.
Stephan: Exactly. So, it’s like I tell women you got to be more specific if you say ‘I need you to spend more time with me.’ What does that mean? I have this example where I was counseling this couple and the wife was like he doesn’t spend any time with me, I just want him to watch TV with me you know whatever. So, I spoke to him and let’s do it for a week and see what happens. So a week passes and I say, what’s the progress report? He says I did everything you told me, I watch TV with her every single day, I was there you know I showed interest. I ask ‘what happened?’ He didn’t do anything I was on one side of the couch and he was on the other side of the couch. So you see in his mind if you ask me to watch TV me with you I did that, in her mind she wanted intimacy she wanted desire to be shown, she wanted closeness or non-sexual intimacy as well and that’s what she was really looking for. So on one end I can go back to the man and say ‘Listen look past the words, if she says I want time with you that usually means she wants a closeness to you. She wants to feel there with you. So be mindful of that.’ But on her end be more clear be more specific it’s not fair to hold it against him or to claim he doesn’t care when you didn’t explain to him what you need. I tell women all the time one of the greatest test to see if a man is serious about you is not seeing what he does on his own or what he already knows, it’s seeing how he handles your desires and feelings. If you express those things to him he makes the corrections, you’re good but you got to be specific, you got to make it clear let’s see if he actually does what you ask him to do, because a man who is very much into he’ll do it. I know like plenty of husbands and men like if she would just tell me what she wants I’d give it to her but he has no clue what she wants.
Lewis: Communicate very clearly don’t just expect them to read your mind.
Lewis: A few questions for you left this has been fascinating. This one is about general with all the generals being redefined in society at least in our culture I feel like it seems that way. What are the best ways for man and woman to create healthier roles in relationships with all these that seems being redefined and figuring out and equality and role shifting or whatever it may be?
Stephan: So, 1 I am a believer in roles even if you want to dispel gender roles we still need roles. Roles is what makes any unit thrive, a team needs roles.
Lewis: A basketball team.
Stephan: Exactly. Corporations members got to know their roles that’s how we’re gonna get to the next level. So roles are important now once we slap gender on it here’s my thing, you need to look at this long term not in the moment and here’s what I mean. So, you have a lot of people arguing against gender roles, so a woman can do this a man can’t do that fine, if that’s what makes you happy go with it. I do believe that traditional roles are more beneficial in the long run but let’s start with the non-traditional ones right now. So let’s just say as the woman you’re the breadwinner of the household you’re kind of leading the household.
Lewis: To the woman or the woman is saying this to the man?
Stephan: I’m saying let’s define that dynamic where the woman is more in the traditional.
Lewis: She’s the breadwinner?
Stephan: Yeah, he’s more of a house dad. Now, if you can picture yourself 20 years from now still happy with that dynamic then okay cool role with that. The problem I’m coming across that they’ll start off that way and then 10 years later you’re mad because he’s not doing more for his life, you’re mad because he’s not being more assertive, you’re mad because he’s not walking in that traditional role of masculinity so to speak. Now, you’re resenting him you losing respect for him, he’s feeling like you don’t treat him like a man, you don’t respect him he doesn’t feel valued. Now, if they go cheat she always end up with a masculine man and he always end up with a woman that treats him as a king every single time. So that’s my only argument it’s like ‘Okay, fine if you want to stay we don’t need to there’s no generals cool, if that truly makes you happy you can live with that cool. But I need you to look at it for the long term.’ Because what’s happening in a lot of situation is a lot of people are trying to switch the roles based on what’s convenient for them right now. So for example if I’m the guy and I’m not doing well successfully and I don’t have all my stuff in order then of course I’m gonna champion the reversal of roles, I need a woman who makes some money who’s not gonna expect me to do all the manly things we’re used to doing it’s about convenience. He’s not looking out for the interest of the woman he’s looking out for himself. On the flipside you have a lot of woman who champion this role for being more of the masculine role because its protection, its control, she feels safer which is why 1 thing you’re hearing from a lot of people right now is narcissism and everybody in they has stayed narcissist or is with a narcissist. But they don’t realize that dynamic feeds into narcissism because what happens is this woman now gets with this guy in a lot of situation not always because there are some genuine dynamics where maybe the guy is a house dad and she’s aware and they’re happy and everything is good and it’s healthy. But you have a lot of situation where she’s with him because she feels needed and valued in the relationship, he’s with her because he needs her. She is his meal ticket his come up and now he’s draining her and taking and taking, this is the narcissistic dynamic that happens and she’s not happy and at some point it’s gonna all blow up in everyone’s face or before she comes to that full realization he’ll get everything he needs, move on to someone else because a man’s desire for a woman can change based of his status. A lot of man who when they’re broke and have nothing but they just want one type of woman let them become successful and now they are dating this completely different type of woman and I always say is because they always wanted that woman when they were successful, but it was easier to get that other woman when they were broke. So with that said I encourage woman to consider is he really dating you at his best? And when I say at his best I don’t mean he has to be rich, I don’t mean he has to be successful that’s not his stuff, but is his character developed? Is he a man who embraces responsibility is going to be willing to pour into a relationship? See that kind of guy whether he is the breadwinner, whether he is the house dad is the guy you can respect on being in a relationship with because that kind of guy even if I’m not the breadwinner I have the mentality of I want to do for you, I want to take some burden off your back, I want to have balance I’m not just gonna be here and leech off of you.
Lewis: Take, take.
Stephan: Exactly, but you have men who will just take in those dynamics and drain that woman dry and destroy her. So, we have to be very careful and again going back to the original question are you gonna be happy with the current role you’re setting yourself up for in the long run? And if you will be cool, but if you won’t reconsider what you’re about to walk into.
Lewis: I’m loving this stuff it’s like we can talk about this for a while. This is really powerful for people I think. I want to ask you I ask everyone at the end of interviews and this is called 3 trues. So you have a lot of experience working for people long time and lot of life experience we haven’t even gone into your personal life which we’ll go on after off camera to go more about it. But imagine this is your last day many years from now and yet to pick the last day that you’re physically here in this world as long as you want to be can be a 100 years old whatever you want to be, but you got to pick a day and then eventually and you pass. But it’s a beautiful moment and you’re apiece with everything and you created the life of your dreams, you’ve written all the books you want to write, you’ve done all the work you feel like you’re the person you’re meant to be, but for the reason you got to take all your information like all the work, videos and this podcast with you and you can’t leave it with the rest of us. But you get to write down 3 final truths, 3 lessons that you would leave with the world and this could be the only 3 things that essentially you could leave behind, what would be the 3 truths that you would share with the world for us to have?
Stephan: Okay, lesson 1 you have to heal there’s no way around that your key to success in every area of your life starts with healing and so when you can learn how to address hurts and disappointments not internalize them, you learn from them and grow you’re going to setup yourself up with amazing things in life. So number 1 you have to heal no way around that.
Number 2 you have to find who you are. Purpose your true personality so many people have flawed perceptions of who they really are and they are trying to find themselves by things that are only there because of the trauma they’ve experience not because of the true essence that is within them. So, you got to find that true self and I do believe that finding your purpose is whatever that maybe, is a very powerful freeing thing in life, because so many people are they might find success but they’re not finding purpose and that’s why you will find people who are millionaires and still depress because the purpose isn’t there. You got to find that thing that’s you, your gift it’s why you are here what are you going to share to the world, because purpose is about what can you share with the world, we’re not here to be selfish we’re here to love and share and connect so find that but also find your true self and I think it all goes together. So, we got heal we have find your true self and then number 3 never be afraid of love. Can’t be afraid to love yourself, so many people are making excuses for not taking care of them, well I have kids and that isn’t it selfish to love. No, it’s not it is necessary you’ve got to make time for yourself, you got to take care of yourself. We allow so many negative things from this world to be poured into us and we don’t balance that out with any positivity or enough positivity. So take inventory of your life whether it’d be the TV shows, the things that you listen to whatever it is are you taking care of yourself or truly loving yourself? So, loving yourself but again not being afraid to love in general, when that true love comes your way don’t run. So you don’t want to fear love in any kind of way and it’s our fear of love that does allow our community and our society to grow to another level. If we learn to love each other no matter what this world would be amazing, so we can’t keep fearing love we can’t keep and live equals vulnerability. We’re afraid to be vulnerable and as vulnerability that is a beautiful thing because you ever had a situation where you may share a story with someone that you don’t know and it might be a deep story and once you shared that with them they’re like ‘Oh my God that happened to me too.’
Lewis: Yeah, better connection.
Stephan: Exactly, you freed them from being afraid to express their own story. There are so many people who think I am the only one going through this but they don’t realize you’re not alone and that’s why when people go through traumatic experiences and get on big stage and share it they freed millions of people from their bondage. So we got to be willing to love and not afraid to love we’re willing to be vulnerable and that opens the doors to everything about life
Lewis: Powerful stuff man. You’ve got a number of books make sure guys to check out I think it’s the latest book ‘How to get a man to cherish you.’ If you’re his wife. You got like 4 or 5 books right now right?
Stephan: Yeah, I got coming ups.
Lewis: But they can get this at what’s your website?
Stephan: Stephanspeaks.com and if they want to get updates free advice things like that on my books they can go to stephanspeaks.com/VIP and you get all my updates you’re looking for.
Lewis: That’s great stuff. Social media following a massive audience what’s your social media handles?
Stephan: @stephanspeaks Instagram and twitter and on Facebook Stephan speaks relationship.
Lewis: There you go very cool. You’re doing a tour right now I think and different events where you’ll speak half day or a day, what are these events?
Stephan: Yeah, so right now I am doing truth about love tour I actually have an event Sunday in L.A and it’s like 3 to 4 hours talking different topics, we’re doing Q&A we’re addressing all these things, I am laying out how to heal. So even I gave a piece today if they come to the event they get the whole thing. And yeah just helping people overcome and winning life, winning when it comes to relationships again not just romantically but personally, family, business and everything. Relationships are all around us and so I want to give people the tools to experience them better and just to see the things they are really looking for finally manifest.
Lewis: Amazing man, I’m excited to learn more about you and your personal life if we have more time because I think you got a fascinating experience. Before I ask the final question I want to acknowledge you Stephan for constantly challenging yourself to gain clarity, to find clarity within your own life so that you can serve as many people as possible and I think you stepping up going through different challenges whether it’d be getting into relationships or being abstinent or try this different things and putting yourself out there, you’re constantly testing how to help more people and I think that’s a really cool thing. So your way of being your energy and clarity your vulnerability is a powerful thing and you’re helping a lot of people. So, I acknowledge you for your truth man the powerful stuff, I’m glad that we connected. Is there anything you want to share before I ask the final question?
Stephan: No, you can go to the final question.
Lewis: Final question is what is your definition of greatness?
Stephan: My definition of greatness is living your true purpose, being your true self that’s greatness, when you find that that’s it whatever it is whether you’re a skateboarder a gamer whatever like whatever that true purpose is that’s greatness right there, because once you find your purpose everything else can fall into place. Your relationships can fall into place, your career you name it all of it can get in line when you find your true purpose, so that to me is greatness.
Lewis: And there you have it my friends I hope you enjoyed this one so powerful and insightful to hear about this. Again, Stephan he does this all day long this is all he does just love and learn how to build better relationships, listening to people, hearing people’s different challenges and helping people find solutions. Make sure to check him out on social media he’s got millions of followers and follow him online and tag me @LewisHowes and @Stephanspeaks to go check out and let us know what you thought about this episode and share with us what you enjoyed the most about it. Check out some of his books we’ll have it all link out at the show notes lewishowes.com/730 and if you’re struggling in any relationship right now if you have any questions just send us a message and let us know, I’d love to see what your thoughts are or what you’re going through and how we can support you moving forward. If you want more episodes like this on relationships as well please let me know and just send me a message over on Instagram @LewisHowes so I can see if you want more of like this.
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Relationships are our greatest teacher and if you are struggling in your relationship that means there are lessons that you still get to learn. That means there’s lessons you need to overcome and embrace and if you’re struggling right now instead of saying ‘Why me? Why is this happening?’ say thank you to the universe, say thank you to the world because there’s something that you get to learn, maybe you’re not standing up for yourself maybe you’re not communicating the right way and maybe you’re not listening or taking action on something that you need to be. This are all beautiful lessons for you to experience in your life to help you grow and become a better person. So embrace the challenges and lean into your relationships don’t run away from them
And as William Shakespeare said “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” And Charles Dickins said “A Loving heart is the truest wisdom.” No matter what adversity you are going through in your relationships don’t let it hold you back from having a loving heart, your heat is kind it’s loving it’s pure and even if you’ve gone off track and you don’t feel that way right now you can always get back to it. I love you all so much and you know what time it is, it’s time to go out there and do something great.
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