How do you prevent fear from getting in the way of your connection? Sometimes your fears are obvious – other times they’re more subtle – but no matter what they can potentially drive a wedge between you and your partner. In the fourth episode of our “Core Relationship Principles” series, Chloe Urban and I show you exactly how to choose intimacy over fear, how to deal with the natural fears that arise, and how to identify your patterns so you can be aware enough to determine whether you’re choosing intimacy or fear in your relationship. After listening to this episode, you’ll have some solid strategies for moving past fear and embracing intimacy in your relationship even when it’s scary. And you’ll also get to hear us navigate a triggered moment during the episode itself! Can you find where it is?

If you haven’t listened to the first 3 episodes in our “Core Relationship Principles” series you can do that here:

Episode 126: Core Relationship Principles #1: Mutual Support without Codependence – with Chloe Urban and Neil Sattin

Episode 132: Core Relationship Principles #2 – Finding Play, Humor, Fun, and Lightness – with Chloe Urban and Neil Sattin

Episode 145: Core Relationship Principles #3 – Fostering Curiosity and Dismantling Limiting Stories – with Chloe Urban and Neil Sattin

As always, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this episode and what revelations and questions it creates for you. Please join us in the Relationship Alive Community on Facebook to chat about it!

Sponsors:

Along with our amazing listener supporters (you know who you are – thank you!), this week’s episode is being sponsored by two amazing companies with special offers for you.

Babbel.com is the world’s best-selling language learning app makes it easy for you to learn French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Danish – and many more languages. Is there a language you’ve always wanted to learn? Try Babbel for FREE at Babbel.com and use the offer code “ALIVE” to get 50% off your first 3 months.

This week’s second sponsor is James Avery Artisan Jewelry. Gifts from James Avery help tell your story – one that you and your loved one will remember for years to come. James Avery also sources their gemstones responsibly – something that’s especially important to Chloe and me as we make choices about jewelry. You can find James Avery Artisan Jewelry in their shops, in many Dillard’s stores and online at JamesAvery.com.

Resources:

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Guide to Understanding Your Needs (and Your Partner’s Needs) in Relationship (ALSO FREE)

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Amazing intro and outro music provided courtesy of The Railsplitters

Transcript:

Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome…

Chloe Urban: To another episode of Relationship Alive.

Neil Sattin: We are your hosts…

Chloe Urban: Chloe…

Neil Sattin: And Neil. [chuckle] And I’m being joined today by my lovely wife Chloe Urban, whom you’ve heard me talk about quite a bit, and we are here to continue our series on core relationship principles. And basically, what we’re using is the vows that we made to each other when we got married as a framework for the core principles that are important when you are in a relationship with someone. And we were very intentional about the vows that we made to each other, and they were based on our work with each other and the course that we created, Thriving Intimacy, as we were really trying to get at the heart of how to help couples succeed. And of course, we want you to succeed, we also want ourselves to succeed as well. If you’re interested in listening to the first three episodes in the series, they are episodes number 126, 132, and 145. So that’s where you will find the first three principles, and we are here in episode number 169.

Chloe Urban: Wow. That’s a lot of episodes.

Neil Sattin: It is a lot.

Chloe Urban: Very exciting.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, as I was typing that number, I was thinking, “Holy mackerel, [chuckle] that’s a lot of episodes.” [chuckle]

Chloe Urban: So that brings us to our fourth principle…

Neil Sattin: Yes.

Chloe Urban: Which is also our fourth vow that we made to each other on that glorious, beautiful wedding day that we had. And the vow/principle is that we vow to choose intimacy over fear. So Neil, what does that mean to you to choose intimacy over fear? I have a lot to say about it, but I’m curious.

Neil Sattin: I’m sure you do have a lot of say about that.

Chloe Urban: [chuckle] What comes up for you?

Neil Sattin: Well, when I was thinking about this vow in preparation for our conversation today, the first thing that jumped out at me was how easy it usually is to find yourself in a relationship with someone.

Chloe Urban: [chuckle] That is very true.

Neil Sattin: Now that doesn’t always mean that it’s easy to find someone to be in a relationship with, but once you find someone in that whatever that special sauce, that little magical click happens, [chuckle] and you’re in the circuit with each other, then you’re in it. That’s, I think, one of the things that characterizes, most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time, the very beginning of a relationship, is that it just unfolds naturally. The process, though, of deepening your relationship and staying together and staying connected over time where you don’t get stuck, where you don’t get stuck in staleness or in problems, where you’re able to go deeper and deeper and transform, that is what, to me, is intimacy. Intimacy is a process, an ever-deepening process, of knowing each other more deeply, knowing each other’s truth more deeply, and that deepening intimacy is what allows us to also deepen our trust in each other, to uncover the things that are obstacles to a deeper connection with each other, and to get through those obstacles and experience greater joy and connection. And I think we’ve experienced that a bunch, right, where things have been going great and then they start to not go great [chuckle] or get tense or contracted.

Chloe Urban: We never have that. [chuckle] We… I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Neil Sattin: Well, I do appreciate the universe that you’re living in right now. [chuckle] But of course we want to give everyone the sense that this… That there’s reality on this.

Chloe Urban: I’m completely joking, by the way. [chuckle]

Neil Sattin: Right, there’s reality here, which is things can be awesome and then things can kinda suck at times.

Chloe Urban: Yeah.

Neil Sattin: And so, what we’ve learned is not to take the suckiness as a sign that everything is horrible and that we’re doomed, but as a sign that it’s time to move through something or to take something on that helps us get even more connected to each other, to build the intimacy. So I know I’m talking about intimacy as a noun like it’s a thing, and like it’s a process, a verb, and hopefully, I’m not confusing you, hopefully, you’re getting a sense that it is kind of a multi-dimensional word that’s really important to succeeding in a relationship.

Neil Sattin: And then when it comes to this vow of choosing intimacy over fear. The truth is that I think most of the time when we get stuck in a relationship. It’s typically because there’s something about our fear or our partner’s fear that’s getting in the way of being in the moment with each other. There’s a risk involved, there’s a risk that’s required to be taken when you find yourself in a place where you’re stuck because the stuck-ness usually happens because you’re repeating something over and over again. And so in order to stop repeating it, you have to be willing to do something different. And even that doing something different in any of us can cause fear. Because we’re breaking from the norm. And you don’t… When you do something different, you don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen.

Neil Sattin: And I think that’s the biggest irony is that a lot of people choose what they know. They’d rather choose to do the same thing over and over again or to just try harder at the same thing, but knowing that the results are somewhat predictable. You have to take a risk if you want a different result. And I’m talking about stuck places, but this is I think also true, where you want to really thrive, where you’re not even necessarily stuck, but to accelerate or to amplify a joyous moment that also sometimes require risk, requires facing fear. And so for me personally. And Chloe, I hope you’re… You got something really profound to say after this…

Chloe Urban: Oh I’m ready.

Neil Sattin: [chuckle] Okay, good, but for me personally, this vow and this principle of choosing intimacy over fear is all about a commitment that I have to recognize when my fear is standing in the way of deepening our connection. Whether it’s my fear of being vulnerable, my fear of being in my truth my fear of hearing your truth. My fear of being in the soup together and not necessarily knowing what’s going to happen and being willing to be in that unpredictable space to say, “You know what, even though I feel that fear I’m going to move through it because the intimacy that we get to create on the other side of it is worth facing the fear, it requires courage.

Chloe Urban: It does require a courage. Lots of it actually. And I really love what you were saying and it’s so interesting because there are so many different places to take this. I think For both of us, we value so much intimacy and even though that can be really terrifying as you were just speaking about. To me, intimacy is something that’s really required to actually have a deeply fulfilling and thriving relationship, and I think actually a lot of people don’t have deep intimacy in their relationships, even if they’ve been together 30 years who… Who really takes the time and who has the courage to fully share all of their… Their truths, even if they’re terrifying to share.

Chloe Urban: I think that’s one of the pieces here around really being willing to be seen. To share, to see the other person you might be terrified to share because you’re actually terrified of what might come back at you, you know, you were saying that the fear of sharing yourself, but also the fear of what might actually come out of the other person’s mouth, and that you might actually have to be in a dance of like, Whoa, their truth right now is actually really uncomfortable for me and then how to work through it.

Chloe Urban: To me, this vow is just absolutely paramount and so important it, as you were saying, requires really stepping into being vulnerable and it requires us to kind of work with our brains a little bit and to be willing… Like fear it’s… Fear really comes from that primal space of protection of working with our… Basically our survival brain. And what that brings up for us and it’s so interesting and can be so distorted in a lot of ways, we have these fears around giving and receiving love or around being seen, or seeing others clearly or being abandoned or even being safe with a person.

Chloe Urban: You know what, maybe for me safety has always been a big piece in my life because of my past, and actually places where I actually wasn’t safe in relationship or in sexual connections or to really even my parents were amazing and yet every parent [chuckle] has their moments of not being amazing and even if it’s just like I gotta go to work and I can’t be with you right now. There’s a way in which we can internalize and then that trauma shows up in all these different ways. And so for me, this piece here of choosing intimacy over fear, it’s really like, How do we overcome our traumas, overcome our survival brain, around, Is it actually safe for me to be me.

Chloe Urban: Is that actually safe in this moment for me to share my deepest heartache? Or my deepest desires? And will they be received? And if they’re not, how are we going to work through it and do I have trust and faith that this relationship can hold that and that in the soup pot of intimacy which almost [chuckle] feels like a soup pot, it’s like it. It’s all of it. The soup pot of vulnerability, the soup pot of like, what it is that I desire, and what it is that you desire. And where they work together and where they actually don’t, and then how do we come together and allowing the other to fully see and be in that conversation. That’s where it gets juicy and that’s where we get to decide together what are we going to do, what are we going to do if we don’t match up in this total moment? When I’m sharing my deepest desires or my deepest fears and we’re not exactly on the same page, and it… To me, the keystone here is the courage that you were speaking about, what is it to be that courageous. To show up that fully together. To really want to be seen, held, loved, all of it, and then to really want to show up for that in your partner.

Neil Sattin: Right, right, and I really want us to give a practice for you listening. So that you can start to tune in to those places where maybe fear is holding you back or getting in the way. And recognize them so that you can make the conscious choice because so much of the vow that we made, and the principle that we’re illustrating here is about taking something that you might just take for granted. Well, of course, I’m in a relationship, I’m choosing intimacy over fear, right. But when it really comes down to it is that true? Are you making that choice in your day-to-day life?

Chloe Urban: Right or are you just sort of on auto-pilot?

Neil Sattin: Right.

Chloe Urban: And I think we go in and out of auto-pilot a lot. And there are moments where it’s like, Whoa. Whoa, whoa, we’ve been on auto-pilot about this thing for months. How did that happen? Because we are…we want consciousness in this relationship and yet, you know. we get busy or these things happen or we actually didn’t realize that that fear was running us in that moment. And so it’s just, it’s so important to continually keep looking.

Neil Sattin: Yeah.

Chloe Urban: One thing that really comes up around having a practice. For me is, what is it to notice your patterning when you begin to want to hide your vulnerability. Like if that makes sense, does that make sense?

Neil Sattin: Not yet. [chuckle] You know on a deep level it makes sense though.

Chloe Urban: So what are your patterns? What are your patterns? Where are your ways of hiding your vulnerability of hiding from the deeper grief or yearning or desire, or joy or whatever, it is, what is it that shows up in you? For instance, you know this well, this is mine. [chuckle] This is one of my big patterns is getting edgy kind of like agitated. I get like… All of a sudden I start feeling like my heart starts to race a little bit more, and I get a little sharp. I can kind of be…

Neil Sattin: A little critical. [laughter]

Chloe Urban: I can be critical, I can also… It might be self-critical or towards Neil or towards the situation. It can… It just… That’s when I know if I were to actually stop and instead of acting on that edge and going there if I stop and I’m like wait a second. What’s underneath this? What’s actually going on here? And getting curious which of course is what we are always talking about the importance of curiosity, but like, “Oh I’m going to that habit, that pattern, that place where I’m actually hiding the deeper thing here. And sometimes what I’ve noticed is that when I go under, there’s grief sure, there’s yearning there’s longing there’s desire it might be that I’m absolutely terrified of sharing with Neil, what I actually want or I’m actually terrified because I don’t know what I want and it’s very vulnerable for me to admit that I’m actually scared to know what I want, and actually speak it fully.

Chloe Urban: There are all… It’s fascinating when you actually catch yourself in a pattern like that, and go under a little bit, a couple layers under and see. Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa, that is so not what I thought it was or that it so it has nothing to do with you right now. And actually, it has everything to do with my fear or trauma patterns, or habits or actually being really uncomfortable to speak my needs, because somehow I’ve made it that I’m not allowed to have needs or I’m not allowed to have wants and or desires or that they’re not important. And then I’m going against myself. So there’s all… There are many, many, many, many things it could be, but really what comes up is like, Okay, find… really start to look at yourself over this week. What is it that makes you go into the patterns? And Neil has something to say here.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, I have something vulnerable to share. [chuckle]

Chloe Urban: He has something vulnerable to share.

Neil Sattin: This is vulnerable because you are so clearly on a roll here and I’m so hesitant to interrupt you and yet this is the time in the show when we need to mention our amazing sponsors. [laughter] Who are helping us produce Relationship Alive week after week, so that we can be here with you, week after week. And so, let’s just take a moment to talk about our sponsors and then we will continue giving you the process for how to tune in to where you are maybe choosing fear instead of intimacy.

Chloe Urban: And I’m going to breathe right now. [chuckle] Knowing that just because he interrupted me that it’s okay and that this is not personal, and that what I have to say is of value. [chuckle]

Neil Sattin: Okay, we’ll be right back.

[pause]

Neil Sattin: Okay, thank you again to Babbel and James Avery for making this episode possible. And when we left off, Chloe was getting really passionate about this practice for first exploring what your patterns are, can you identify the ways that the things that you launch into? She was saying that for her it’s getting kind of edgy maybe critical of herself or of others. For me. It’s probably more akin to these are the times when I start to check out or want to just do something else or maybe I shut down, maybe I start to get kind of sleepy. These are some of the things that happen for me because I think when I start to get to my fear edge, I tend to dissociate, a little bit more rather than necessarily leaning in.

Chloe Urban: Right. You almost have the more flight pattern whereas I have the fight pattern.

Neil Sattin: Right.

Chloe Urban: Which is just normal with the brain. Usually, you’d go to one or the other.

Neil Sattin: Right? And it actually hasn’t always been that way for us. I think earlier in our relationship you had more of the flight pattern.

Chloe Urban: Yeah.

Neil Sattin: And I was more of the fight pattern.

Chloe Urban: Yeah.

Neil Sattin: And when we’re talking about fight or flight, and of course there’s also freeze. We’re talking about the ways that our biology is programmed to handle the experience of fear.

Chloe Urban: Right.

Neil Sattin: So, when Chloe was talking about your primal brain, the need to feel safe, the need to feel seen, the need to feel like you’re not being abandoned the need to feel love, all of those things. If they get triggered because you’re not feeling those things, then it’s going to send you into a fear pattern. So, this identifying what is it that you do that you keep bumping your head up against that’s a sign that in this stuck place, you’re resorting to automatic behavior instead of being in choice, being in creativity and if you’ve been listening to the podcast a while you know that being in choice, and creativity that’s the sign that you’re in the frontal part of your brain and you can only be in the prefrontal cortex, if you are not in this triggered state.

Neil Sattin: So, Chloe how do we…Once we identify… Oh yeah, this is the thing I do or this is the place where we’re stuck this is the loop that we get in then how do you shift that so that you can actually… You have a way of getting unstuck, or even like when I’m imagining it, it’s almost like you can see kind of a record in a groove, just for all of you. Hopefully, you know what records are, [chuckle] but it’s just spinning and spinning, but it’s not actually changing and you almost have to nudge it sometimes to get it to jump into a new track. So what are some ways to shift the pattern within?

Chloe Urban: Yeah, so a couple of things I would say, the first thing is just stopping for a minute actually pausing. And then getting really curious and a question that I might ask myself would be something like, “If this feeling or this contraction isn’t what I think it is, then what else could it be?” because then you’re really setting the stage for you to get curious in yourself, of like, Whoa, for me if this edginess or anxious tension I’m feeling in my body wasn’t what I thought it was. What else would it be? All of a sudden it opens up this whole other realm of possibility. For instance, it might be there’s so many actually opportunities [chuckle] just in this last week to talk about, but they’re… For instance, it might just be like, “Whoa I’m starting to get edgy or antsy or feeling really agitated what is going on here”.

Chloe Urban: One instance, I’m thinking about was actually I just needed to cry and it actually had nothing to do with what Neil or the kids were saying or doing, and yet it was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m actually my… My friend might be sick, and I need to, I just need to cry for a minute.” Like there’s a fear there that there’s some grief there’s something that has nothing to do with this particular situation, and yet, I’m trying to go on with my life and just pretend like nothing’s really under there where there’s grief or fear, but fear in a different way like fear that has nothing to do with this situation, and it’s actually an unexpressed emotion under there for myself.

Chloe Urban: Another situation might be that, oh whoa, I’m actually really just wanting to connect with you right now. I just want a hug. And instead of just knowing that I can ask for that and trusting myself to know that that’s what I want, I’m going to agitation and what if I could just stop and be like, Hey babe I’m actually feeling a little vulnerable, right now and a little disconnected and could we… Could I have a hug or could you hold me? And just being willing to be in that vulnerability. There are so many, so many, so many things it could be, and yet if we’re just going to our fight or flight pattern or freeze pattern and not getting underneath what’s going on, the pattern won’t change. And then you’re really robbing yourself of intimacy.

Neil Sattin: So often what we’re responding to, isn’t even what’s really happening in the moment, it’s our story about what’s happening. [chuckle] And so, as I’m listening to you talk about some instances from the past week. Yeah, I’m thinking about how easy, especially as we start to veer into our… The fear part of our brain, it’s really easy to start misinterpreting everything. That’s going on and seeing it through the lens of our fear. So what you mentioned Chloe is a perfect example of feeling your agitation and being willing to ask like What else could this be getting at like. Oh, what I really want… What I really want right now is to connect. And then risking the vulnerability of asking for connection and hopefully your lucky husband [chuckle] is there to provide you with that connection.

Chloe Urban: Right? And even there, if it’s not the right time or he’s actually not… He or she isn’t feeling it, or they aren’t feeling it. There’s a place here, an opportunity of creating real safety with the intimate container there of like, you know, babe actually, I’m not available to fully show up in this hug right now or to hold you right now, but I can… I want to give that to you, but can we do it in 10 minutes? I just need to get in the right frame of mind or I actually need to write this email that’s going to be totally taking me away from being present, so that you’re honoring the request and you’re being… And you’re creating safety to receive a request or vice versa. So you’re really creating a place where you’re not just giving over if it really doesn’t feel right to you, in that moment, but you’re honoring and showing up for… I’m going to show up for that when I can here. And then you get to play in the soup pot of intimacy, and vulnerability and seeing how you can both work with what’s happening there.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, I like how that soup pot like we keep mentioning that. I think maybe we’re just getting hungry because [chuckle] well, Thanksgiving is happening tomorrow here in the states, so we’ll all be enjoying or many of us, hopefully, will be enjoying a nice meal. I was also thinking about a place where this can come up is if you are feeling a little disconnected sexually.

Chloe Urban: Oh yeah.

Neil Sattin: From your partner. And how risky it can feel to… In that situation to make a request, and a great way to handle being stuck in terms of your sexual intimacy is to just put a date on the calendar when you are going to be there with your partner. And of course, that is a huge risk because… It could be that with that date on the calendar like that’s all you need, you both show up, you take your clothes off and you’re good to go. [chuckle] I don’t know that that’s true for a lot of people. It’s true, in the beginning, a lot of the time, but when you get 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, years into your relationship, you may need more than just showing up and being naked together. [chuckle]

Neil Sattin: What you really probably need is to show up, be naked and be really present with each other and be willing to face the fear that if we put this date on the calendar, it may not mean that we are making love with each other, it may just mean that we show up with each other and that we’re honoring each other. But being willing to step into that moment and make the commitment to that date happening, whatever actually unfolds is potentially a huge source of fear for you. What if I don’t live up to my partner’s expectations, I know that they really want to have sex and I’m not sure I will or vice versa? I know that I really want to. And what if they don’t want to? And so wherever you or your partner fall in that spectrum, there’s vulnerability that things might not work out either the way you want it or the way your partner wants it.

Neil Sattin: Deep down though, if what you’re choosing is intimacy, deep down, it’s all about the deep connection. You can have a profoundly deep connection being in bed and grieving together, about how messed up your sex life has become, you know. [chuckle]

Chloe Urban: Well, and actually, it brings up for me, not just the active scheduling or having sex or… but what if you’re in the act of actually making love and something comes up and all of a sudden you’re there and you’re like, “Whoa, there’s some fear here. I actually have a deep desire to ask for this thing and I’m terrified to ask” or I actually… “Whoa, some trauma circuit just got opened”. And the way you’re touching me right now feels really not okay, and I need to be able to actually have the courage to say something about it and that takes deep, deep vulnerability. And it also is a risk in that it might “kill the mood” and then how to just be willing, both of you to be in the vulnerability of whoa here we are, we’re in this moment.

Chloe Urban: Wow, it’s a little rocky. Oh, there’s fear, there’s grief, there’s something here. Let’s do whatever we can do to show up intimately, and be vulnerable here in this moment for each other, so that it doesn’t necessarily have to derail the whole experience and yet like Whoa, I actually just needed to cry for a minute. Whoa like… And showing up in both honoring and calling each other forth to be in the intimacy instead of the fear.

Neil Sattin: What I love about what you were just talking about, is that it shows that, very often sex and intimacy are aligned, those are some… Those can be some of our most deeply connected moments. And what you were just talking about shows that even in a moment of physical or sexual intimacy, it’s possible that there’s a deeper emotional intimacy that’s possible, if you show up in the moment in a way that’s not necessarily about the sex that’s happening, it’s about whatever has surfaced for you.

Chloe Urban: Right, and it’s not… Again, on auto-pilot, to me, auto-pilot really feel… Fears like a… Feel… [chuckle] I can’t even say it, feels like a fear-based kind of situation, where you’re just on auto-pilot, you’re kind of auto-pilot sex. I think we all know it, it’s just…

Neil Sattin: What? [chuckle]

Chloe Urban: You’ve never gone on auto-pilot having sex?

Neil Sattin: Not with you.

Chloe Urban: Really? I don’t know about that. [chuckle] There are ways that you might not even notice that you’re going on auto-pilot, for instance. You might be sitting there or being in the moment of sexually connecting and you realize, “Oh I always look away when I have an orgasm. Isn’t that interesting? Why do I do that? Why in that moment can’t I be present? And what is it that I’m hiding from there?” Maybe it’s because it feels so vulnerable, to just give over and surrender. And even the act of doing that if you were to fully be present with your partner might lead to you crying or being in a state of, whoa this is so edgy to be willing to feel pleasure, that kind of surrendered pleasure. Having someone fully witness me and be there.

Chloe Urban: And want to be there and actually want me to feel this or vice versa, or whatever it is, there’s… There are just these layers and that those moments to me when we get there, together, it’s like the most profound and connecting, it’s like we can ride that wave for days. When… When we call each other forth and when we’re willing to just go there and not be in auto-pilot mode.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. So I think what it comes down to for me in terms of this exercise of examining where we get stuck, where we’re on autopilot, where we’re in the patterns and being willing to ask ourselves a question, like what else could this be, or what am I really longing for right Now? It all is hopefully allowing you to get a little perspective on your relationship and on your situation and to ask yourself. If I were going to… If I were going to lean in right now. What would that look like? And if I were going to lean in a way that was also, this is a phrase that I use a lot on the show. If I were going to lean in a way that was an invitation to my partner. So it may be that you have a deep desire, a deep longing but if you make it a demand, then [chuckle] typically our partners don’t respond to that too Well, occasionally if the timing is just perfect.

Chloe Urban: Would you just hug me already! [chuckle]

Neil Sattin: Right, exactly, and… Here. There you go.

Chloe Urban: Aww thanks, baby.

Neil Sattin: You’re welcome. So if you can ask yourself, “What would it look like to lean in right now? What would it look like if I weren’t afraid in this moment?” It’s a variation of the… If I knew, I couldn’t fail, what would I do. Right now, what would I ask for? What kind of presence would I request from you? And what risks would I take? These are conversations that hopefully you’re having together. So again, you’re taking a risk, but not jeopardizing the safety of your relationship, you’re always being mindful of how do I take this risk and at the same time in the larger picture, keep myself safe, keep my partner Safe. If I recognize that what I’m asking for is a really big ask from my partner, then how do I do it in such a way that I let them know that it’s… That it might be a big deal, or that there may be some more conversation that we have to have in order for this to be possible so that you’re always maintaining a sense of openness.

Chloe Urban: Always because we… That’s just not possible. But yes. [chuckle]

Neil Sattin: Wow. That was hard, that was really hard to hear. [laughter]

Chloe Urban: Did I just derail you?

Neil Sattin: A little bit.

Chloe Urban: See you get to see this moment right here.

Neil Sattin: Yeah.

Chloe Urban: I interrupted him and I’m really sorry and I got sarcastic.

Neil Sattin: Yeah.

Chloe Urban: And I guess where I was coming from is like…

Neil Sattin: Tell me.

Chloe Urban: I was just thinking, “Wow, this is really setting a stage for people to feel pretty shitty about themselves if they’re failing and failing and failing at doing this.”

Neil Sattin: Oh okay.

Chloe Urban: And all I was saying was this really isn’t something you’re always going to be able to catch yourself on and be gentle with yourself about that too.

Neil Sattin: Right? What I was about to…

Chloe Urban: I’m sorry.

Neil Sattin: Say was just that, that it is a dynamic if we’re… I think, for instance, we make a vow in marriage, a commitment to choose intimacy over fear. That doesn’t mean that we always do, but we hold the value strong so that we can recognize. Oh, that was a time when I didn’t.

Chloe Urban: Right exactly.

Neil Sattin: And what do I do about that or… So what I’m saying in terms of always being open.

Chloe Urban: Yes.

Neil Sattin: Is not that you’re a bad person if you’re not being open. It’s more like if you hold the value of openness, then you can recognize when you are contracting when you are closing and I think intimacy, the most intimate moments are our most open moments with our partners.

Chloe Urban: For sure.

Neil Sattin: So that’s really what I’m talking about.

Chloe Urban: Makes total sense.

Neil Sattin: And I’m glad you were letting everyone off the hook because I was just getting a little righteous. In terms of…

Chloe Urban: If we can always be open! I’m like well, okay, [chuckle] yes, and yes and yes, and yes, and… We’re going to fail a million times. And Neil and I fail a million times a week at this and it’s just about coming… I’m talking micro-moments of like, Whoa, that was where I just like could have gone… That could have gone a really different way if I had leaned in, or if I had been willing to let him see me or vice versa or all the different places. There are so many micro-moments in our lives.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, so this is also really important. And then maybe this will be a good place to stop.

Chloe Urban: We’ll wrap up.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. Which is that part of choosing intimacy over fear is the fear when you recognize that you’ve gone a little bit off the rails, you’ve gone maybe more toward the fear than the intimacy and being willing in your partnership to stop. And re-group, and regulate and then say, “Hey like, “Wait a minute, we’re going way down the rabbit hole. Can we come back? Can we center ourselves?”

Chloe Urban: Right.

Neil Sattin: Can we figure out what’s truly important right now?

Chloe Urban: Right.

Neil Sattin: That’s also extremely vulnerable, risky and intimate. To be able to stop something that’s [chuckle] spiraling off in the wrong direction.

Chloe Urban: Even if it’s like whoa can we take five minutes and breathe and just maybe we don’t even need to have this conversation, is this actually really important for us to be talking about this or are we just going to derail totally?

Neil Sattin: Right.

Chloe Urban: One quick little thing, I want to say before we wrap up is, I’m also seeing this piece around helping your partner choose intimacy over fear. You may notice that for instance, I start getting agitated and Neil might be like, whoa I see that she’s going into her patterning and she might not be able to catch herself right now, and actually inviting like, wow babe I’m actually seeing you go into that place. What do you need from me right now? Like what could I offer that could shift this, where could I actually support you so that we don’t actually have to go into this patterning that we’re doing? It could… If you have permission, that’s obviously you want to really establish consent with that, of being open to saying, Oh wow, I’m noticing you’re doing that. How can I show up for you right now? So we don’t have to go into that old place.

Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah, because that, again, is a very vulnerable thing to do. So I do… I hope that you have the ability with your partner to invite that from each other because it’s so powerful in the middle of a moment to feel that offering what can I… What can I do for you right now to help you be here with me?

Chloe Urban: It’s really an act of kindness and love.

Chloe Urban: When you see your partner go into those old patterns. Know that it really is them hurting in some way, or that they’re hiding something or they’re feeling vulnerable and their fear is kicking in, to try and hide it. So to actually offer, What do you need. Isn’t… Isn’t about being self-serving, it’s not about like, “Oh now I’m really uncomfortable.” Because, say, they’re being critical, it’s like, “Oh my goodness, they’re being critical. That must mean that they’re hurting or that there’s something vulnerable underneath. And how can I extend a loving, compassionate, open-hearted message that I’m here for them and that they can actually share what’s going on, and I can show up for that and that right there can dismantle a huge long extended fight or tension in the relationship just by dismantling the pattern as it begins instead of going down the road that you know we all know can lead to some really hard… Hard conversations. [chuckle]

Neil Sattin: Right, right. I think what you’re getting at is that in the end, when you meet a stuck place with love and compassion and generosity. Then that will disrupt the pattern because most of the time it’s our… It’s not our loving patterns that are causing the problem, it’s not because we’re loving too much, or being too compassionate, maybe with the exception of sometimes when we’re just being extremely co-dependent. [chuckle]

Chloe Urban: Right, right, right. Right. But then, that just automatically brings the intimacy back in. It’s right there for you to dive into and actually connect on a deeper level and have more understanding of one another and show up.

Neil Sattin: Right. My experience is that it brings the life back into a moment that was starting to become more and more closed. I’m getting back to that open versus [chuckle] closed thing, but… But that’s what it feels like for me it’s as the conversation starts to go off the rails my whole world starts to shrink really. And that’s why it can sometimes feel like such a major effort to reorient in a moment like that. And it’s that… In retrospect, it always feels almost kind of funny like, wow, that was just so challenging and hard to do everything that it took to reorient the train back to the pathway we wanted.

Chloe Urban: Oh my Gosh. Sometimes it can… It’s like… I actually feel like that is almost the hardest [chuckle] part of a relationship is steering the train back when every part of you just wants to just go down that really hard road and it’s like Whoa, it’s so humbling and so challenging to just… It’s like Steer… Steer that train, that ship whatever you want to call it, back into a place of connection and love and it can just be so hard.

Neil Sattin: Yeah. But…

Chloe Urban: But so rewarding.

Neil Sattin: It’s not impossible… Right, it’s not impossible.

Chloe Urban: Not Impossible.

Neil Sattin: And that’s… It feels impossible in the moment until you just get over the… When you overcome the momentum of going in the wrong direction, then it can feel really easeful and light again. And that’s that opening that I’m talking about is it’s like, oh typically for us that’s when one of us starts laughing or cracks a smile or whatever or where we actually do just touch each other, or hug or one of us cries, or whatever needs to happen in that moment to bring us back together into more of a harmonious place.

Chloe Urban: Right. Yeah, we do our best at least. [chuckle]

Neil Sattin: We do. We do. Just like we did today. [chuckle] I love you.

Chloe Urban: I love you too.

Neil Sattin: And I hold so much love for you listening here as well, thank you so much for sharing this time with us this week to go through relationship principle number four.

Chloe Urban: Yay.

Neil Sattin: And we’ve got, what, five, at least five more that we have to do. We have a mysterious 10th principle that we’re still working on. [chuckle]

Chloe Urban: It’s coming.

Neil Sattin: It’s coming. Well, this came up for us because when… After we celebrated our first anniversary we decided that we wanted one more vow, and we just weren’t completely sure what it is. So we’re still working on it, but that will, in the end, I guess that means they’ll be six more at least.

Chloe Urban: Right. At least.

Neil Sattin: But no rush. There’s a lot to take in with each one of these and we look forward to being back here with you to discuss the next core relationship principle at some point in the future and in the meantime, as always feel free to reach out. You can find us in the Facebook group. Like I mentioned at the very beginning of this episode or you can always drop me a line. Neilius. N-E-I-L-I-U-S @neilsattin.com. We cannot respond to most of the emails that come in because we get a lot but we will read what you have to say and if you want to share some insights with us that would be great. And I think, I think that’s it from me. How about you Chloe?

Chloe Urban: I just so appreciate being on here and being able to share with you all and it just feels really good. Thank you for having me back on.

Neil Sattin: It’s always great to have you here.