Today’s episode is a Q&A episode where I answer some of your questions about love and Deeper Dating®. In this episode, I talk about how to ask for what we need in a relationship that implies trust and self-honoring and gives advice for people seeking deeper attunement in their romantic relationships.

In this episode, learn the gifts and challenges of being demisexual, how to work with the Deeper Dating curriculum, and how to get past self-blame at the end of a relationship.

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Show Notes:

  • Why do we take the blame for problems in a relationship
  • How to ask for what you need in a relationship
  • What to do if your partner blames you for everything
  • How to know if you are in the right relationship
  • What does it mean to be demisexual
  • How to understand your demisexuality
  • In which order should you complete the Deeper Dating offerings
  • How to know if you are in a stepping-stone relationship

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6 month coaching and mentorship intensive with Ken Page

 

Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating and Sex

 

“My last relationship didn’t work. Is it because it was an attraction of deprivation, or is there something I really need to be working on in myself?” “I’m discovering that I’m demisexual. How does one live as a demisexual person in this world?” “My partner’s kind and loving and thoughtful, but somehow really not attuned to me. Should I go or should I stay?” Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Q&A episode where I answer your questions about love, sex, dating, and intimacy.

Hello, and welcome to The Deeper Dating® Podcast. I am Ken Page. I’m a psychotherapist, your host in this podcast, and the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy. And also the creator of the Deeper Dating® Intensive, which I’ll talk about a little bit more a little bit later.

I’m very excited about this episode. This is a Q&A episode, and in this episode, I’m going to take the questions that you have asked me about love and sex and dating and intimacy and share my responses in such a way that hopefully lots of people can apply it to their own situation and learn important things about your search for love and your intimacy journey.

 

If you're in a relationship with someone...where they're leaving you with too much responsibility or making you feel like you are really responsible for things that are actually theirs, it's very hard to get out of that. Click To Tweet

 

In this episode and every episode, I share with you the greatest tools and insights that I know to help you find healthy, beautiful love in your life and keep that love flourishing and growing and heal your life in the process, because the skills of dating are nothing more than the deep skills of intimacy, which are the most precious and important skills of our lives. So if you want to learn more about the Deeper Dating® path to deeper intimacy you can go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and there you can find transcripts of every episode and you can get free gifts and resources and learn just a lot more about this work.

 

Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating and Sex

What if there’s something about us that triggered that in this person: what are we supposed to do with those constant feelings?

 

Okay, so let’s jump in. First question was from somebody who had a relationship end, and her question was, “It was really clear to me,” she said, “that this was an Attraction of Deprivation in some very, very particular ways. It was not working, it was not meeting my needs, the person was not emotionally available. And I know that he had a history of being that way with other people, too, and he’s in his 60s and had never had a relationship, so I kind of have proof that what I felt was valid. But at the same time, I cannot stop thinking, what if it was me? What if there’s something about me that triggered that in this person, and what am I supposed to do with those constant feelings?”

 

Watch the episode here:

 

Get past self-blame at the end of a relationship:

 

I think many of us can relate to that, and those of us who are deep empaths often have a kind of predilection to take a lot of responsibility. We feel something is off and it hits us in our gut, it hits us in our body, and there’s a feeling of wrongness, and that gets translated into, “What should I do about that? How can I fix that?” It’s a natural response, but that then becomes so connected with taking a sense of responsibility.

Folks who do that are prone to choose people who agree with them that it’s their responsibility, and so there’s that kind of gaslighting component that happens that joins with our tendency to blame ourselves and take responsibility. And that’s really, really rough. It’s like you’re in the water and there’s a current pulling you to the right. So you go into the water and you notice this because you’re constantly drifting to the right without doing anything. Well, the tendency to take blame is like that without even realizing it, we take on blame that’s not ours to take.

If you are noticing these attributes in this other person, and you notice that they have a pattern of those attributes, you can be pretty clear that those attributes are real. Now, that does not mean that there aren’t pieces for you to look at and work on, but this rich, rich piece of this current that tends to drag you into responsibility, obligation, guilt, is one that needs to be worked on, because the degree to which you feel that way, to that degree you won’t be able to move on.

And if you’re in a relationship with someone where this dynamic is happening, where they’re leaving you with too much responsibility or making you feel like you are really responsible for things that are actually theirs, it’s very hard to get out of that.

And there’s a journey. And that journey involves claiming your intuitive sense of what doesn’t feel right, and then not just blaming the other person, but sharing, giving the other person a chance, making “I” statements to let them know what you’re experiencing and asking for what you need differently from them. Their response to that is going to tell you worlds about is this an attraction of deprivation or is there a chance here to work on this?

Here’s the thing, when we blame ourselves too quickly, we suppress our asks, and that’s a kind of toxic thing to do to ourselves. When we blame ourselves or take responsibility too quickly, we dishonor what’s feeling off to us instead of honoring it.

The more we listen to our bodies, the more that we notice these micro ruptures in connection and honor what doesn’t feel right, and then in a friendly and hopeful and vulnerable way, share that with our partner. The more that we’re able to do that, it’s like the more that we’re able to dignify ourselves. And when we do that, we become clearer and clearer of what’s an attraction of deprivation and what isn’t.

There’s a staged process that I have seen. People come often into my Intensive, my six-month Intensive, with a question, which is, “I’m in a relationship and I’m not sure if this is the relationship that I should be in or not.” And the journey we take is always the same. It’s helping them to recognize the things that hurt their heart and the things that fill their heart in the connection, and to really ride with the things that fill their heart. Let the person know what you appreciate, but also to recognize the things that hurt your heart.

And this is true in every relationship. We can become more and more subtle in our understanding and our awareness and our dignifying of what hurts our heart, as opposed to, “Am I right to feel this way? No, I do feel this way and it makes sense that I feel this way.”

 

The more we listen to our bodies...and then in a friendly and hopeful and vulnerable way, share that with our partner, it's like the more that we're able to dignify ourselves. Click To Tweet

 

The more that we do that, and that’s the first step. The first step is honoring the things that feel right and the things that don’t feel right, and then asking for what we need in the relationship. And of course, listening to our partner and what they tell us, the ways in which they feel that they want more attunement from us. But when we do that, and it’s scary to do that because you could be in a relationship and you could feel, especially if you’re a deep empath, you could feel, “I could break the connection if I start asking too much for what I want. If I get too out there in terms of expressing what I need.”

But the truth is that when we don’t do that, we get passive-aggressive and our partner feels it. And it’s just this vague sense that there’s something wrong, which they might interpret as that you’re saying that there’s something wrong with them, which probably you’re feeling because something isn’t right, but you haven’t been able to say it. So that’s a scary and beautiful and precious step, is to find the words with kindness, clarity, and dignity of honoring your feelings of what you need, what you’re asking for.

And an ask is generous. When you can make an ask, and have it really be an ask, there’s a beauty and a generosity in that. And many people, not everybody, but many people are going to be much more likely to want to give that to you when it’s presented in that way. So that’s the second stage is really asking for what you want, asking for that deeper attunement, acknowledging what didn’t feel right and asking for what you want.

And then after that, and I’ve seen this again and again, particularly in my Intensives, that people, it’s scary to do that. But then when they do it, usually their partner is going to be more willing to offer them what they want than they might have realized in the beginning. And this odd thing happens, I’ve talked about this before, where if you have an ask or a want or a need and you don’t express it, somehow inside your brain you will come to the conclusion that your partner does not want to give it to you. Somehow that’s what you will believe.

So it’s a big step outward to ask for what you want, whatever it is, especially those asks that are a little bit scary. Maybe you need more space. Maybe you need the pacing to go slower. Maybe you need more focus on the things that you’re saying. Maybe you need sex to be different. Whatever it is, it’s a brave and bold ask. And to me, this is a gift of intimacy that you’re giving to yourself and to your partner. And after you do that, your partner might not get it right away, but you’ll see how much your partner is willing to honor that, and you’ll see what you need to learn as well.

 

Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating and Sex

This current that tends to drag you into responsibility, obligation, guilt, is one that needs to be worked on: the degree to which you feel that way, to that degree you won’t be able to move on.

 

And this is the deeper intimacy that so many of us avoid, and when we avoid it … It’s like in those movies of spaceships where little by little doors start to shut down, access is removed from the inner sanctum. Unconsciously that’s what we do. The doors start to shut down in our availability to our partner and to our own soul.

When we ask, when we honor, when we dignify, those doors have the chance to be open, but we have the freedom to decide, “Should these doors be open or should they be closed? Does this person deserve this or do they not? Is this precious part of me safe with them or is it not?” But we don’t know that until we do the first step, which is dignifying inside ourselves, our wants and our needs.

And maybe you need help. If you have friends or people who support you, so that you can frame out your want, even if you feel embarrassed, even if you feel ashamed, even if you’ve been hurt by other people that have discounted that. When you can get the support you need to put words of honoring on these parts of yourself, both inside yourself and then in your interaction with your partner, well, that’s a beautiful and powerful and wonderful thing, and it’s a foundation of intimacy.

What I would say to the person who the relationship is over and they’re wondering about that, I would say, ask yourself, “Have those negative qualities also been a pattern, that I’ve been attracted to people like that?” Look at that and note that. In your next relationship, be aware of those tendencies to suck up responsibility and blame.

And notice how the current pulls you maybe toward guilt and over-obligation. The more you recognize that, the more that you can correct for that. But when you do that, please honor the gift inside there that has caused this imbalance, and that gift at the center of that imbalance is your capacity to love and care and give.

 

The gifts and challenges of being demisexual:

 

Next question. Somebody said that they are beginning to realize that they probably are demisexual and demiromantic. And how do you live with that, what do you do with that? So when someone is demisexual, what that means is that they become sexually attracted to people because of a deep trust, because of the quality of their relationship. And people who are demisexual often think, “Well, what’s wrong with me? I don’t get turned on that easily. I don’t get sexually attracted that easily.”

Well, the key there, the beautiful, beautiful key, is that you do get sexually attracted, but in the context of closeness, trust, and intimacy. And I think that’s an incredible, incredible gift. And people who are demisexual often can really come down on themselves and think, “I’m asexual.” Maybe they are asexual, but maybe, and very often, it’s just that sexual attraction is few and far between because there has to be a deep sense of trust and connectedness for that sexual attraction to happen. And I think that is a precious and beautiful thing.

People can also be demiromantic, which means that they don’t fall in love except in the context of this deeper trust and connection. I think that’s a gorgeous thing. Does it make you somewhat different? Does it put you outside the bell curve? Yes, absolutely.

But most of us have sexual and romantic responses that are way outside the bell curve. A dear friend of mine says that his meaning of the word “perverse” means “per-verse,” that we’re expressing our deepest self through the poetry of what attracts us, of what makes us fall in love. That’s for everybody who has attractions, desires, ways of falling in love that make them feel, “Oh, I’m kind of different in that way.”

 

We blossom when we listen to our subtle ways that we catch misattunement, and then we find loving ways to express that we need something else. Click To Tweet

 

Next question. Somebody asked, “I’m reading your book and I’m wondering, should I do your online course or should I do the book first?” I’m just going to say something brief about different ways to do this work because this work is a staged process with four stages in it, and there’s a very rich curriculum with exercises and processes for everybody who wants to go through it. And there’s the book, and the book is a more poetic and rich way to go through that.

But the exercises in the book are pretty deep and pretty intense, and often they’re so deep that people prefer to be led in them, hence the online course where that’s my voice. And it was done a few years after the book, so I have more information there. And you can find all of these on deeperdatingpodcast.com.

So that’s more personal, but some of the writing isn’t in that that is in … So I would say that the online course is more immediate. And people who are readers, who feel like they would do the exercises in the audible book or in the softcover book and prefer reading, I would say that’s fine. For the rest of you, I think that the online course is a little bit more alive and vibrant.

 

Deeper Dating Q&A: Expert Advice For All Your Questions About Love, Dating and Sex

The first step is honoring the things that feel right and the things that don’t feel right, and then asking for what we need in the relationship: you could be in a relationship and you could feel, especially if you’re a deep empath, “I could break the connection if I start asking too much for what I want.”

 

And the deepest way to do this work is through my Deeper Dating® intensive, which is a six-month journey meeting weekly with me and a small group of people, which is an exquisite and powerful and amazing, amazing process, an amazing community. I’m actually interviewing for that now, and you can just go to deeperdatingintensive.com to set up a meeting with me if you feel that after reading about it, it might be a match for you.

 

What to do when a partner can’t attune to you:

 

The last question is from someone who is in a relationship and thrilled that they are with someone who is kind and decent and generous and available. So they’re really happy about that, and they feel like in those ways this is absolutely an Attraction of Inspiration. But they feel like there’s some kind of subtle attunement that isn’t happening, that their partner just isn’t getting deeper aspects of them or isn’t capable of being present for deeper aspects of them.

And for all of you who are watching or listening and are highly sensitive people, it’s pretty easy to feel that way in this world. And not only that, but this person gets defensive when asked to act in a more attuned way.

So, “Is this an Attraction of Deprivation? Is this a stepping stone relationship, or is this something I should be working on?” Again, this relates to the last thing that I talked about. Now this is what I want to say. It’s kind of a reiteration of the first thing, but for everybody, everybody, everybody who has wondered, “Am I just too sensitive? Am I too sensitive to misattunement? Should I just get more resilient?” What I would say to you is, that’s like pushing a beach ball underwater. It will not stay. The task is to first honor the parts of you that register misattunement, to honor that, and to create asks that are not blaming.

This is just such a rich and incredible thing because we’re not taught to do that. And we blossom when we listen to our subtle ways that we catch misattunement, and then we find loving ways to express that we need something else. And you can tell your partner all the beautiful, wonderful parts about them and then say, “This is also something that I’m needing.” And that is really, really true in sex, and it’s also really true in deeper communication, and it’s true in so many ways.

And the more that we can honor those feelings and ask as an act of generosity, because there is a beautiful kind of asking that we can do that implies a sense of trust, implies a sense of openness, self-honors in a deep way, and just brings us closer, when we can ask with a deep sense of appreciation, but also a vulnerability and a sense of need. It’s an art to ask that way.

It also is hard to do if somebody’s reacted defensively to these requests in the past. So you might need to start by saying, “For me to do this ask, I need to know that you’re not going to jump on me. That you’re going to give it space, that you’re going to listen, that you’re going to try to understand, because I felt like you got pretty defensive the last time I did that. “So you might need to set the groundwork for, “And I felt hurt by that.” You might need to set that kind of groundwork first.

But then I just think it is such a precious thing to use the fine-tuning dial in a relationship to ask for deeper attunement. Maybe there’s a way you want to be touched and it’s embarrassing to ask or you feel shy about asking, but you ask. Your partner does it, and all these things click into place, these cylinders click into place, and it’s like, “Ah, this is what I wanted. I knew I wanted it for a reason. This is what I needed.” When that happens, it’s a beautiful thing. And I think, in this world, we cut that short over and over again, and it’s a deep gift of love to not cut that short and to do that kind of asking.

This is also a deep act of self-love because we override our own needs all the time. I know I override my needs all the time. One of the ways that I do that in the biggest way is rushing, hurrying, or pressuring myself. And one of my Core Gifts is that when I have space, I guess this is true for all of us, there’s this experience of blossoming that is very beautiful, very wonderful, very me. I get to really be me. And there’s a deep joy and groundedness in that. It’s very easy to dishonor that, and my work has been so much learning to honor that.

So this is also about self-love. What are the misattunements with self, and how can we stop and correct those misattunements that is such a precious act of love? And when we do that, the cylinders click into place and we become this being that we’re meant to be, so it happens in an inward level as well.

Thank you so much for listening. As I talked about these different facets, think about how they apply to you. And I would love your questions. You can just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, and there’s a link there for Ask Ken and you can record your question, and I will do my best to answer it in a future episode. Thank you so much for listening, and I look forward to connecting with you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating® Podcast.

 

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