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In this Deeper Dating Q&A episode, listeners bring their most important questions about love, sex, dating, and relationships to host Ken Page and get his direct personal advice. Today, we’ll explore how to recognize your Core Gifts, how to understand and recognize marijuana overuse in a partner, how to understand your attraction patterns, ….and more!
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Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating And Sex
Welcome to the Deeper Dating Q&A, where I answer your most pressing questions about love, sex, and intimacy. The goal is that you’ll leave this episode with new possibilities and hopefully, new revelations about your own love life, so stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist, author of the book Deeper Dating and Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a new online dating experience where single people can meet online in a way that’s kind, inspiring, and respectful. Every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools I know to help you find love, keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process, because the true skills of dating are nothing more than the true skills of intimacy. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, and get transcripts to every single one of my episodes. Also, everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical, psychiatric advice, or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious psychological conditions, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be wonderful if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that, and let’s jump in.What goes up has to come down. After the high, there is a low. Click To Tweet
The first question is from Laura, and she has two questions. Number one is the idea of attractions of inspiration and attractions of deprivation. Is that a spectrum or is that very black and white? For those new listeners, I’m just going to say a little bit really quickly about what attractions of inspiration and deprivation are. Episode 10 explains these two different kinds of attractions in much greater detail, but an attraction of deprivation is when we get attracted to somebody because their love and their availability seems so close, but it’s not there. We think we need to change ourselves and fix ourselves, or change and fix them to finally get it right, and we get lost in those relationships often for a really long time, and they’re very seductive. An attraction of inspiration is when you’re attracted to someone because of their integrity, their goodness, their growing availability, and their decency.
It’s a very different circuitry of attraction. One leads to pain and one leads to the real potential for happiness, so absolutely it’s a spectrum. There is nobody who is a perfect attraction of inspiration. There’s nobody, well, I don’t know about nobody, but probably really close to nobody, who is a pure attraction of deprivation. There can be extremes in either of those cases, but you want to look for one where in your heart you can say, “This is deeply, truly, and essentially an attraction of inspiration.” The other part of the question is, can one partner in a partnership be attracted out of inspiration and the other person be attracted out of deprivation? That’s a really interesting question and definitely, that is a possibility. One partner can be deeply inspired by the other partner, and that other partner could feel like, “This person is really just not able to meet my needs,” so yes, absolutely.
Understanding And Recognizing Marijuana Use In A Partner
Next question, “Hi, Ken, I love your show and your book, and I’m a big fan. I am starting in a new relationship after having been single for most of the past five years. We’re almost two months in, and this guy is really great. He’s everything on my man list and more. He’s fun. He’s sweet. He’s got a successful career. He successfully raised a son. He has multiple degrees. He’s very thoughtful and romantic. He’s a wonderful lover and he’s supportive of me. He follows through in his words. He’s responsible with money, and he has plans for the future that even include me now. He’s asked me if I want to be included. All of that sounds so fabulous. The only issue I have is that he smokes marijuana on a regular basis after work or when he’s done with his responsibilities. I don’t have a problem with recreational marijuana use, but it concerns me when it’s almost every day. He doesn’t drink too much. I’m afraid to tell my friends about this because I don’t want them to tell me that I shouldn’t be with him because he is so great. I would love your feedback.”
My first thought is this guy sounds great and there’s such good here, and I just want to really acknowledge that. What I would say simply is conversation is needed. One of the signs of an addiction is that you use a substance to get away from or to control or to medicate certain symptoms. That’s a real question. If he needs to smoke every day, what is he doing it for? Is it to calm down? Is it to get more relaxed? Is it to listen to music? What are his reasons for doing it? Because there are issues that he is medicating by doing that, and that’s an important thing. That’s an important thing to be aware of.Our Core Gifts are the qualities in us that are the most tender, sensitive, and passionate. They are the deepest inner petals of our being. Click To Tweet
The other thing is that research shows really simply, what goes up has to come down. The main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis is THC, which activates cannabinoid receptors that are found in the brain. Those receptors are really important and they allow us to experience novel sensations. They relax us. They give us a zing in terms of our experiencing of life. All these things happen, but the reverse happens as well. The receptors in our brain, which can allow us to experience these novel sensations, this relaxation, this richer experience of life actually diminish when we smoke weed too regularly. People who use marijuana regularly have 20% fewer of those receptors in their brain’s cortex, and it takes a month of total abstinence to be able to upregulate to the normal levels. In other words, after the high, there is a low, and here are some of the symptoms of that low. After your high, there’s a restlessness and a fidgety feeling, and often it’s worse when you’re trying to go to sleep. There’s anxiety, irritability, loss of appetite, boredom, which is the opposite of novelty, which marijuana helps you enjoy in an even more intense way, and insomnia.
All of those things can come with different parts of life, and it takes a rigorous degree of honesty to say, “Do I feel like I smoke or I get high because I want more of the opposite of those negative things?” Because when you’re used to smoking weed every day, you experience these negative symptoms and then you use the weed to try to get over them. There’s a cycle that happens there and it takes, as I said, a month of abstinence to actually notice if there are shifts and changes. You are changing your brain, and so many people talk about a kind of quality of irritability or boredom. There is certainly research proven – less ability to enjoy and delight in novel experiences in life, with the diminishment of those receptors.
There’s something called Amotivational Syndrome, which is that you lack the motivation to take part in activities. There’s a diminishment of motivation. Short-term memory loss happens. Some distorted sensory perception happens, and over time there could be personality changes as well. These are things to be concerned about, and I think things to think about, research a little bit, and share in conversation in an ongoing way about your concerns. Hopefully, he will be willing to listen, reconsider, and explore further. Good luck with this because he sounds like an amazing guy, and this is an issue that will need exploration and discussion.
Next, “Hello, Ken, I have a question about the wave,” and the wave is what I think of as the single biggest saboteur of healthy new love. I talk about it in a lot of detail in Episode 39, but I know it destroyed my capacity to find love for decades. It’s when someone is really available, decent, and present, and all of a sudden, you just want to flee. You feel claustrophobic. Your interest plummets. You feel judgmental of that person. In my experience, more than half the people at events that where I’m teaching experience the wave.The journey to accept, name, and treasure our Core Gifts is the journey that changes everything in our dating life. Click To Tweet
“My recently ex-boyfriend and I are in our late 50s so we’ve been dating for three years. The first year we spent in the same state, the last two we’ve been traveling back and forth between nearby states, and I was set to move to his state. I had a wonderful job opportunity, and we had discussed closing the distance gap for a while. This seemed like the chance to do it, but the bottom fell out of my heart when he balked. There was no sincerity in his voice. I asked if he still saw a future for us, because he’d been acting kind of distant for the past few months, which I attributed to the wave. A week after my job interview, I was back in my state and he sent me a breakup email. He wanted to remain friends but in the last few months, he’s actually become surly and angry even at his dog. His sister says he’s been dating randomly, even during COVID. This is not the man I’ve known for three years. I’m concerned for him, but I just want to know if this is wave behavior or perhaps this is his true personality.”
Here’s what I’d like to say about that. This does not seem like just the wave. The wave is a wave. It is not sustained. There’s a quality of anger and disconnection that is indicative of a real problem here. I don’t know if it’s an addiction problem of some sort that would often manifest in this kind of a way, or if you’re seeing qualities in his personality that apart from addiction are really part of his characteralogical structure. I would say this doesn’t seem like the wave. It’s too sustained. It’s too angry. It’s too unpleasant. This is for some reason him. I think the chances are significant that there’s some kind of trauma or some kind of addiction, because it’s different than he’s ever been before. It makes me want to ask listeners, have you ever had an experience like that where someone seemed like one person, and then they shifted so significantly, and that shift remained sustained or kept coming back again and again?
What was that? Might that have been addiction in retrospect? Might that have been a mental illness? Might that have been the effects of serious trauma? It’s very important for us to know, but what I would say here is just like they say in the 12 Step Program. Remember the three Cs. You did not cause this. You cannot control this and you cannot cure it. There’s a real problem here that he’s going through. It is a good thing that you are not with him because these are real problems that it doesn’t seem like he’s addressing. As painful and as hard as that is, I celebrate the good parts of what you’ve had but it does seem like it’s really time to move on.
Your Core Gifts
Here’s a question from Lisa in the Netherlands. “Dear, Mr. Page. I bought your book I think a year ago, and I want to say thank you because I think it’s the first time in my life that I really have hoped to find someone who can actually love me for who I am. I have a question because it’s hard for me to find out what my Core Gifts are, and the problem is that I see again and again, when I go to that place of myself and my gifts, I get stuck. I grew up in a family where I was rejected for almost everything. I was too sensitive. I was too smart. I was too honest. I was too fierce. I was too shy. I was too strong. Nothing was okay, so I’ve done a lot of things to really start embracing and accepting myself, but when you say, ‘What’s your Core Gift?’ I just don’t know, so how can you find out what your Core Gift is when there’s so much rejection in your life in so many aspects?”
This is a wonderful question. What I would say to you first, Lisa, is that you just named your Core Gifts in what you said. Now this concept, folks, of Core Gift is a really rich, deep, and important one. It’s something I speak about a lot in my book and in an ongoing way in this podcast. Our Core Gifts are the qualities in us, which are the most tender, sensitive, passionate. They are the deepest inner petals of our being, and often we have shame around them. We’re embarrassed around them. Their uniqueness scares us or embarrasses us. We’ve been shamed or hurt around them. The degree to which we don’t accept these attributes of ourselves is the degree to which we’re going to be sexually and romantically attracted to people who aren’t good for us.
The journey to accept and name and treasure these Core Gifts is the journey that changes everything in our dating life, and when we learn to not just accept these qualities but cherish them, our attractions change, our love life changes, and our life changes in powerful ways, which is why this Deeper Dating journey is one of the richest journeys that a human being can experience in their life. What I would say to you, Lisa, is that the depth and richness of your being, frightened or, intimidated your family. I would say that you listed all your Core Gifts. You are deeply sensitive. You are smart. You’re really honest. You’re fierce. You’re also shy. You’re powerful but you’re also tender. You named all the qualities, and here’s something I want to say about this. In my work with people, in my intensives, in my courses, in everything around Core Gifts, once this concept becomes clear, what are the places where you are touched most deeply by life in pain or in joy and meaning? Those speak to your Core Gifts.
There is in the book, and actually if you go to DeeperDating.com and you subscribe to my mailing list, you’ll get the first two chapters of the book in which I teach you all of the ways to discover and identify your Core Gifts. When you discover them, when people acknowledge and see, using these methods, their Core Gift, you just did that, Lisa, by saying, “What were the things I have been rejected for in my life?” The hardest part is to actually say, “Yup, those are Core Gifts. I am going to accept that these are treasures, that there is genius here, that there is power here, that these really are mine.” That’s harder than actually even finding and naming these qualities, and Lisa, that’s what I would say. You named them and you listed them, and each one is to be treasured. That’s the task, is the growing ability to treasure, honor, and listen to those parts of you.
Trauma surgically bonds terrible feelings to precious parts of our being. We need to separate that bond by learning to love those parts of ourselves. The first step is naming them. The next step is learning to treasure them, and understand the gifts that they give us. Along with that is this incredibly important step of finding our tribe, the people who love these qualities about us. All of those pieces are necessary and yes, it’s a hard journey, especially if there’s been trauma, but that’s the journey you are on, Lisa. Thank you for that question. I will be answering more questions in the next Q&A episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. I thank everybody for joining me. I will see you in the next episode, and if you go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com, join my mailing list, you’ll get lots more information about resources around this entire deeper journey to love. Thank you so much.
Watch the episode here:
- Deeper Dating
- Episode 10 – How to Tell Which Attractions Lead to Love and Which Lead to Pain
- Episode 39 – What to Do When Love Disappears
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