Episode 118 – Men and Friendship – Dr. Loren Olson

In this episode I discuss Men and the difficulties that we have with maintaining friendships.  My apologies for my audio.  Everything crashed for me near the beginning of the recording and when I came back online, I didnt check to make sure the correct microphone was chosen.  I used an adobe program to improve my audio, but its not perfect.

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Michael 0:00
Hey what's up, gentlemen, this is Rising Phoenix podcast podcast about how to rise up after divorce. I'm your host divorce coach, Michael Rhodes. Let's get into it. Joining me today is Dr. Lauren Olson. Lauren, let's just jump right into it wants to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Dr. Loren 0:27
Okay, well, thanks for having me, Michael, this is a subject that is dear to my heart for a number of reasons. I'm a father and a grandfather. I've been divorced from my wife for almost four years now. But we still remain friends. And pleased to say that I was divorced in 1986, first in my family to be divorced. And it was not easy to get through that time. And I struggled for a number of years to recover from that. both financially and emotionally. And then I'm also a psychiatrist. I've been practicing now for over 50 years. And I'm still still working. In 1986. After I was divorced, I came out as gay I've been, I initially thought all I wanted was a blow job. And I didn't know that I was gay. And so I was totally shocked by the whole thing when I fell in love with a man that was not anticipated. Doug and I have been together now for 37 years. And I went through a near divorce. As well, we both were going through a tough time where we kind of pulled apart from each other and ended up both of us having an affair with somebody else. And had to I think we were both not looking for a new relationship, but looking for a part of ourselves that was missing during that time. And we had to kind of learn to forgive each other for all that and move on to be able to stay in a relationship. And fortunately, we've been able to do that. I'm also a writer, I think we connected through Psychology Today, I write a number of things there. And actually, I'm approaching 22 million readers on psychology today. So kind of pleased about that. I have a couple of books that I've written as well. One I published about a year ago, called No More neckties, and then an earlier one about called finally out about coming out midlife. And as I said I I'm 80 years old, I still work. But the nice part is I can work where and when I want to and I'm not driven by production demands anymore. And so I focus on my doing some work, I'm actually planning to work in New Zealand for three months coming up of a contract with that, so I can work where and when I want to, which is really part of the advantages of getting a hold. And I still do the writing and then I continue to work on a relationship with Doug and my family and friends. And that's about it. I guess. I'm lucky to be where I am at eight years old. And feel good about that.

Michael 3:49
Yeah, I mean, wow, that's a that's a there's a lot to that intro, thank you for it. First of all, some of it I wasn't aware of, quite honestly, mostly the divorce stuff. You know, I read your blog, a couple of your blogs, but I didn't, you know, dive in and read every single thing. So some of it is a bit of a surprise. I wasn't I don't think I could have forgot because I forget shit all the time. I don't think I was aware that you went through a divorce. So that's that's it's good that you had that perspective. I think my audience really respects that because they know that if you haven't been through it, you don't understand. And so thus if you have you clearly do but what what brought me to you was an article you wrote about how men need to be better at socializing, how we need to, in order to save our own lives, essentially, as we need to be better at at building and maintaining friendships with other men. So I kind of want to dive into that topic in a general sense. And I want to start with something that you it's a phrase that you mentioned in Greek And then replaced, and I think it was one of the sort of guides of widows. You know, how the different genders no widow or a spouse passing. But I think I've noticed this myself by being in a running Facebook group where there are over 7000 men in there that are going through divorce. And I see a lot. I can't speak what women do. But I see a lot of men who have tried to replace I know that I did it myself. I tried to put in play, tried to find the next white as quickly as I could. Luckily, I, you know, I smartened up somewhere before getting serious with this one particular person. But is there what why don't you? Why don't men do that? Why do we seek to replace I don't actually agree. And endosteal

Dr. Loren 5:50
I think a lot of it has to do, Mike with idea that we tend to put all of our emotional energy in the relationship with one person. And when that one person is removed from our life, whether the good or a bad relationship, we're sometimes felt with, we're left with nothing. And so oftentimes, it because of that loneliness that sets in, we seek someone else who can become that someone special, who serves every need in our lives. And a lot of us men in particular, really don't relate emotionally very well to other people. And so we tend to focus on that one single relationship, and then we're left very much alone.

Michael 6:40
Is that. So that speaks to essentially that we really do lead on women's bar emotional well being. Yeah. Is that a date? Is that like, what? Why is that like, why? Because I don't I don't disagree. Well, why don't why is that what makes that mechanism happened or

Dr. Loren 6:59
whatever? Yeah, I don't know that it's necessarily a need. But it's certainly the way we're cultured, you know, men are told not to show any vulnerability, not show any weakness. And so oftentimes, our relationships with men are more competitive, and they're somewhat times adversarial. And so the last thing we're going to do, I think it's showing the vulnerability. And of course, if you look back at the animal kingdom, and other ways, you know, certainly the males in those situations, so aren't going to show any vulnerability either. And I think in many ways, there is an element of it, that is innate, but a lot of it is the way we're socialized.

Michael 7:45
I think that's makes me it makes me sad for a while. And number two, I think, I mean, there's a whole host of things to my but I think one of the things that really comes up to me is well, how do we change that? That it? Can we change a baby? Is the first question, can we change it?

Dr. Loren 8:03
Yes, I think we can change it. And I'm sure that many of the people who are in your group and who are listening to your podcasts are men who are seeking out that connection with other men, and who are wanting to allow themselves to be vulnerable in a space that's safe for them to do so. So there's it lacks that competitiveness, the need to, to get ahead of each other, and allows for the space, a safe space to show vulnerability. I heard from a guy recently who had gone to his first AAA meeting very early in the process of recovery. And he said, he was shocked to realize that men there talked about their feelings, you know, he'd never had that experience in his entire life. And I think many of us go through life in that way of not having that time when we really connect to someone on a deeply personal level, without fear of judgment.

Michael 9:00
Yeah, did you talk about that in this blog post that I didn't write down, where you could recall off the top of your head, but I didn't write down the number of hours but there were and I'd love GIVE ME Data Baby, I love you telling me what I have to do at least I have a target for what I have to do. But there is a certain number of hours that that you get used to being a close friend, you remember what those aren't like,

Dr. Loren 9:25
the hours are 90 hours for friendship 200 hours for clubs, personal friendship, and that's a lot of time to devote to relationship and therefore it limits the number of people that we can have on that very inner circle. And it takes a lot of time to nurture and maintain those relationships too. And when we're pulled away from that time with other men, we lose track of those relationships and many men, particularly, I don't know how do I bet enough Probably about your age, begin to pull away from relationships because you're focusing on your career, you perhaps have children, you have all these things that are demands on your time. And so you don't have time to nurture those relationships with other men. And oftentimes, that's what happens with the way that men are losing their social connections.

Michael 10:22
Yeah, it's so it's, it's clearly challenging, right? It's not like, I don't want. And I think sometimes maybe I'm guilty of this sort of hating men in a negative light, even though I am one. But I don't want men to think like, you know, it's just, it's really just just get her out on the mat. But it's really hard. Because if you're talking about 90 And then 200 hours, that's a serious time. And that's in the challenging corporate America work environment where we're expected to be on 24. I gotta leash right here, this wellness company. Yeah. Right. So it's really hard to do that. This is typical stuff, right? We're not talking like there are no quick fixes.

Dr. Loren 11:02
No, there aren't, I think, you know, and not every relationship has to be one where you sit around and talk about feelings. But the time of just hanging out with other men, as I mentioned in the article is slow time, you're fishing, you're playing sports together, you're going out to drink, you know, there are a number of ways that we can do that, where we're not really focusing on talking about feelings in the depth that we really need to talk about. That kind of thing can be done with only a very limited number of people. But we still need those other social connections of people that we spend time with. And I like that phrase slow time, because just a matter of stepping outside of the world we have and doing whatever you do, but doing it with somebody else.

Michael 11:54
So but but those close connections, how many? How many is feasible. And again, I like data, and I know it's, you know, probably 3.2 people or whatever, but like, what, what's ideal, like? What, how many close friends should you have that you devote those cumulative to are out,

Dr. Loren 12:11
I think it would be wonderful if each of us could have at least three friends, I think it's pretty much impossible to have more than six friends in that category of somebody you can call up and say, Hey, I'm hurting, I need to talk to you about something, let's go out together. We just don't have time to maintain a big circle of friends. And I think in the days of social media, we have a lot of context. We don't have a real lot of friends.

Michael 12:41
I think in some ways, perhaps social media exacerbates now that it because it maybe feels like you have this connection, but they're just all I would say in a lot of ways. And I don't I'm not like this, you know, just missing those folks that I am friendly with on social media, because there are some people that's that's the only way that I communicate with them. Good, better and different. And I think I think good because at least I'm communicating with them in some way, you know, in terms of if they're in states away, or countries away. At least I'm staying somewhat connected. But I do think sometimes, I think sometimes I find myself on my phone waiting for the world to reach out and grab me and not going to but I think that's right. I think that's kind of what we all sort of hope for. Yeah,

Dr. Loren 13:27
I think so. We do get those messages, you're you're beautiful. I'm in love with you, you have that kind of thing from somebody, you've never heard that before. And it's tempting to believe that but I do think there is value and social media because I'm sure you know the people that are in your Listen, your podcasts are from a wider range of places. And this may be the only possibility they have. And also your Facebook group may be the only possibility that they have sharing on an intimate level about some of the pain that they're experiencing and going through this process of doors. They may not feel comfortable sharing it with people in their own environment for a variety of different reasons. But it allows him at least that much of a connection with other people and sometimes within that community there develop those closer relationships on one on one basis.

Michael 14:27
Yeah, I I've always like sort of had this dream that that was something that I would be able to create eventually it's this sort of unlock probably Chappelle was I'm not gonna harp on this, this this topic here but but I always dream to sort of be a force men but I do I have found it really challenging it and I think perhaps there is a social media component in terms of logarithms of who's seeing what at what time and, and but I found it difficult to connect men in that larger group. To get them to come together, even if they aren't gloats, do you think is that sort of part of this? Conditioning or this this, this way that were raised? That you know, we rely on women is that sort of entangled with that. Just call it distaste for reaching out to other men, even though you're in a group, and you're sort of already reaching out, but, but there's that extra step of getting together with someone you don't go face to face, do you think that's sort of a title, but that,

Dr. Loren 15:29
I think that that's true that, you know, it's one thing to be able to have a buffer between you two dimensional screen. But when you get together in the same room room, we can read each other's emotions better, and we reveal our own emotions better. We have micro clues on our faces, that give away some of our feelings, maybe that we don't want to share, and we can we have that protection. In this environment that we have right now.

Michael 16:02
I'm gonna go back to something, because it just worries me about how we sort of lean on women emotionally. It feels like women, either are sick of that, or are overwhelmed by that, because I think there's just no idea. And I could be completely wrong and not know what the hell I'm talking about. But I feel like there's this dynamic in our society where women have bought for equality, they ought to be in the workplace. But they've also sort of, by default, held on to a lot of the traditional women roles. And that this, this component of also being the emotional caretaker, as it's all starting to weigh on them, the good, bad or indifferent, actually, this is just the way that I see it. I think that is part of why you're seeing 70% of horses being filed by women. Is there any Am I onto something here?

Dr. Loren 16:58
Oh, I think you're absolutely right. That become and I shared this with my daughters, I said, when I was began to write that article that you read, I said, Do women feel a burden sometimes by being that special person, that only someone for everything? kind of person in a person's life? And they both agreed immediately? Yes. You know, that, you know, and I think at its worst, it comes out, I don't want to be your mother. You know, that's a common thing that men will hear in response to that. I think that's what women are reacting to, I've got enough to do with my kids. I don't need one more. And it feels like to them. That's the way it is because you turn to them for everything. And that dynamic is very destructive when I think for a lot of women. And I mentioned in the article, you know that men have a lot of privileges that women don't have. But if women want men to be happier, they're going to allow us that time to share some of that burden with other people and give us some freedom to spend time with other men.

Michael 18:16
Isn't that sort of? Yeah. I don't I don't want to. I don't know how that might sound. But isn't that sort of like, I don't know, you. You wanted this equality. You wanted to join his workforce? Like? I guess I guess the other part, I guess, part of me thinks well, listen, I mean, you want it to stop, here you go. But I guess the other question he said was, oh, not so it definitely was, I think, well, I know for me, Mani template, you know, I'm a Gen X or my template was, you know, Mom pretty much stayed home. She worked a little bit, but my dad was truck driver. So he was gone a lot. So mom did cook, cleaned and all that kind of stuff. Right? And so I don't necessarily know that that was my like, you will do this. That was just my expectation, because that's what I knew. In Barbie things. Obviously, with urine, you know, women, you want this increased equality in terms of and I'm not talking about? No, I'm just talking about strictly about terms of being out in the workforce. I'm not talking about any kind of other things. Part of me says, Well, you wanted all this stuff, but you got it. But you Norland talk to anybody about, what about this stuff? You're already doing it? Of course, we expected you to do it, because that's what we knew. And like, that's what a mortem does. That's what a wife does. And so I think both sides are sort of trying to figure figure this out. And I think for us as a man, I think we have to sort of adapt and go okay, and I think some of us do very, very well. But in terms of childcare, that kind of stuff. I think some of us really slack on that, at least I know I did in terms of the housework and things but I think there's this equalization. Not necessarily in equality term, that type of workforce. It's up But that but in terms of household and the raising of the kids, I think there's just this we lack this equilibrium that that is, it's been tough for us to find a society, I think it's to the detriment of marriages.

Dr. Loren 20:14
Yeah, I absolutely agree. Michael, I, my experience was a little different. My father died when I was three. And so my mother was forced into the work force when I was very young. And I always had the thought, well, if my dad had lived, then mom could have been home baking cookies for me, and and who would have been that traditional mother. But I don't think that my mother would have ever been really happy doing that, because she had a lot of things that she was interested in, she had a lot of talents that carried over into my marriage, when, when I first married Lynn, that was, both of our expectations was that I was going to do the work, I was going to be the provider, I was going to be the protector, she was going to manage the household. That wasn't where her interests or skills were really at. But it caused tension between us because I expected her to do that. And I She was my someone for everything, I turned to her, she was supposed to manage our social life, our engagements, all of that stuff, all I was supposed to do was work. And that created a lot of difficulty, I think in our marriage at that time. And it was just at the beginning of the women's movement, which was in the 1970s. And, and I never could really kind of under stand at that time, what the need for women's movement was because I was in a household with a mother who worked and, and two sisters who were very strong women, and I didn't understand why they needed to do what they needed to do. But I think it is very difficult, because there are those basic functions of a family that need to be done somehow. And it's very difficult to manage all of that. Without and oftentimes in the relationships, somebody has to put their career on hold a little bit in order to be able to manage that, or if some people are fortunate if they have the money to hire a nanny or resources to do that, but not a lot of us do. And and that creates difficulty and and so there are things that are not going to get done, you know, they're just not going to get done or not going to get done in the way we want them done. You know, sometimes it means frozen meals and instead of preparing meals, and maybe that's okay, yeah, no,

Michael 22:43
yeah. Well, I think I was just thinking about, like, sort of, you know, it typically, like they say that men are the leaders that do are right, where we get shipped on, it's kind of what we do, right. Yeah. So but we let the house work to them. And and now it's like, well, we're also working to, but that no one will, as a man, I don't know how to run a household. I mean, I'm blurting out and wanting to tell you, it's really hard. And only half the time, it is really hard. So, but but I can't take the lead on it. I can do it. Let's create a short, short. I mean, obviously, I can learn all that. But it's not any. It's not with, it's not natural. And so but the women don't want to take charge out here, a lot of women be like, well, you should just know, like, read their mind. So it's like, they don't want to take charge and say this is too much for me. This is what we need. Here's a plan, do you do this chore? I'll do that chore. And yet we're not taking charge because we don't know what it's so I don't know, this, but clearly there's an issue here. Clearly there's an issue. And so I don't know if it's obviously to education piece. It's a it's up for the education piece, often a lot sorry. Perhaps the education pieces, we need to educate younger generations that there needs to be a conversation around this not when you get into a relationship. Yes, I know. It wasn't.

Dr. Loren 24:10
Yeah, and most people aren't, you know, falling in love is basically a psychotic experience. You know, you don't really know who you fell in love with until you know after you're married for a while and you figure those things out. But ideally, I think there would be a balance. Interestingly enough, when I met Doug and we developed our relationship in that gay relationship there wasn't that kind of negotiation because we each did the things that we were better at. He happens to be the cook and the family and he does all the shopping. And he's away right now and I am struggling with what am I gonna eat? You know? I mean, I unfortunately I don't have to prepare meal for kids but Yeah, I'm helpless in the kitchen. And I suppose when I go to New Zealand, I think and I'm gonna be down there for a while by myself and thinking, you know, how am I going to survive? Because I don't know. And I, you know, bottom line in them, I go, I don't want to learn how to cook. But a lot of our wives didn't want to either, you know, they fell into it by default, you know, because that's was what we weren't expected to have to learn to cook. They were. And there's a difference there, I think,

Michael 25:39
did you think that this that's changing in terms of these, these sort of predefined roles? Do you think you think that's changing now,

Dr. Loren 25:49
I think there's a move to change it, you know, but I think that, you know, the, those traditional values still hold sway, I watched it, you know, the best example is here, and my kids, were probably a little older than you, my kids. And, you know, they do have charts up about who's doing what and when, and what their meanings are. And they, they seem to work it out. And, but my, my one daughter, she and her husband are both physicians, and she had, she didn't have to, I suppose she chose to put her career more on hold, to take care of the family. Her husband is working a full time job. But I think there is more awareness. I mean, I see it a lot in medicine, because a lot of when I graduated from medical school, there are no women in medicine, to speak of. And now, the majority are not the majority, more than 50% of the physicians graduating are women in most cases, so. But a lot of those get real burnout to, you know, just the idea of, you know, so many demands of how to do all of that. And really feeling burnt out by trying to do too much. Something has to give and the idea of taking time to have free time to do so time. Sounds almost impossible.

Michael 27:26
Yeah. And so we got way off track, but let's talk about that slow time because I, I feel unhappy when I do it. My version of it. Which you usually lay on the couch or watch Netflix, which I was doing was you know, we want to talk about sort of getting other men but but Manet relaxation, that there are often times when I, you know, I look around, and I feel incredibly guilty because there's a basket of laundry, it's not folded, there's a dishwasher that's not empty. There's, you know, the frigerator use a little, little bit more inventory. So, how do you combat those? Those moments of? Yes, like, almost guilt, for whatever, whatever, whenever slow time is for that man. Ideally, you'll get it out. And other than that, how do you? How do you combat that sort of guilt that I think comes when you when you're not doing all those things on the list?

Dr. Loren 28:32
Well, Gil really, is a feeling here doing something you shouldn't do, isn't it? And, you know, I have a whole list of those kinds of things. That would be nice to have them done. But I look around the office where I am right now. And there's a piles of stuff everywhere. And I know that I should go through them. But I think I'm not gonna beat myself up because I haven't done it. And, you know, I think you talked about your refrigerator and the laundry, none of those things carry an urgency about them. But maybe maintaining that friendship with another person does carry a sense of urgency is it to combat the loneliness that we feel and so I think it's a matter of prioritizing you know, if we look at our to do lists and our calendars in our checkbook, that's where we see our values. That's where we what we value and some of those things on our to do list are never gonna get done and it probably doesn't matter. But I think what we have to do is prioritize some that hanging out with a friend or friends are playing poker or playing basketball or or whatever it is that we do together has to become a higher priority. And one of the advantages of getting a older and I think men are B, when they hit 50, they're pretty much able to a little better work on that, because your career sort of set, you know, you don't, you're not really going to climb a lot more ladders at that point. And a lot of the family responsibilities are beginning to diminish. And so your time is more freed up to do some of that. So it makes aging helps. And that's why I wrote one article that it really just exploded on. On Psychology Today about how, if you want to be happy, think like an old person, you know, and the, the idea is that old people have a different sense of time and values and priorities. And we have an urgency about time, because we see that there's a diminishing amount of time ahead in our lives. And so we begin to think, what are the choices I'm going to make with that time, and a lot of the things that we thought were important. And it's not just things, but people as well as activity, all those things begin to sort themselves out a lot as you get older, and you think I don't have time for that anymore. The last chapter in my role Street and book is called aging allows us to say fuck off. And I think, you know, that, you know, just tell your laundry to fuck off, you know.

Dr. Loren 31:39
You can pull the dirty, clear, wrinkled clothes out of the laundry and where I'm you know, I've done it, certainly. But I think, you know, one of the things that I like to talk about that to help people deal with aging, is the issue of, you can either measure time, or you can experience time. And, you know, throughout my early 40s, in that period of my life, I was rushing from meeting to meeting, I had appointment after appointment. And they went through the divorce, I had to make enough money to be able to support myself and support my ex wife and my kids. And, you know, there were all those pressures to do those things together. And I didn't have any time to spare during the time. And, you know, I could get through it for a period of time. But I we get caught up in that. And I think, you know, another thing that comes to mind, as we talked about this module is, you know, Americans think about work much differently than any other countries other. You know, people will say, we live to work and other countries they work to live. You know, Have you ever talked to a Canadian who would ever sell back vacation time to their boss, you know, you know, no, it doesn't happen, you know? And people will quit retire in a certain age and say, Well, I've been settling back two years of vacation. Like, what if luck is

Michael 33:23
gonna agree I might have bought this Canadian. Yeah, yeah, I'm gonna say like the work there. But but but he didn't need to. I mean, he could go to like, you know, fucking what was the Venice, Italy earlier in the year, he had, so jump on some calls, but he was in tennis. So

Dr. Loren 33:42
one of the things I like to talk about too, is, you know, we think too much about a retiring at 55 or 60, or 65. You know, I like I said, I'm 80 years old, and I'm still working, I think what we ought to do is borrow some of their retirement time, put it into our lives when they were younger, and plan to work a couple extra years in our life to pay for that time back. And I think it makes sense. I mean, one of the things that happens now is many of us in well, not, I suppose many my age group are still working, but a lot of people work past 70. And it's not a bad thing, because you can work part time or you could you know, you can supplement your income and in various ways like that. And it really, if you're doing hard labor, that's kind of hard to do that, but, but there are positions available. And I think we're too focused on beating the shit out of her life until we get to that point of retirement, then we're going to start enjoying it. So that's crazy thinking, you know, we need to begin to rethink that particular value. There was in the movie Lawrence Foster Jenkins there's a wonderful line in there. And the guy said, you know, he was an actor and his career had never taken off. And he was getting to be the older actor. And he said, it's not so bad. I'm freed from the tyranny of ambition. And, you know, the idea that once, once we get to midlife, you know, when I was 50, I thought, What am I going to do with the rest of my life? You know, I've gone about as far as I can go. And initially, I was kind of depressed. But it kind of bothered me to think there was no, no hill to climb. And then I came to peace with that and thought, well, now I can begin to to take more time off, I can begin to do all these other things. And then the last book I wrote was called No More neckties. And when I my mother died when I was about 60. And I decided I would never go to a networking cocktail party again. Because I didn't need to, you know, and why would I go if I didn't like those people. I decided that I would never sit through a boring lecture, because I did done enough of that, you know, feeling like I couldn't ever escape in him. I need something I'd learned there. Even though it's awful to listen to it. So I I even told him minister at the church, I was going to I said, if you if your sermons not good, I'm not sticking around.

Michael 36:35
That speaks out. I mean, interrupt you, but it just it hit me while you're talking. That speaks to like, the the wisdom that comes with it. Right? Yeah. Like you've learned this over the years. And so I want to take it back even further, because you talked about but and boy, do I feel your 18 year, or what you've experienced I can relate to is, you know, being a single father working and having to provide and paying for things that, don't they, you're no longer in a family, but you're still paying for one. Right? And, like the burden of that, in the end the Apple Watch, it feels like a feat. But you know, clearly and you can speak to this that passes, right? Like there's there was a point where you no longer had to pay child support or alimony or alimony, whoever it was right? You you got through that. Can you speak about that? Can you talk about sort of your mind frame and how difficult that was? And or maybe it was easy? Or how did you because I'm in the thick of it. And there are days where I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna quit and this year, and good luck on funding, because it's really fucking hard. And, and, and there are just days, I just don't want to do it. Suicide, it's been added. So I just want to go live. And

Dr. Loren 37:57
I think it's okay to talk about suicide, because I do think a lot of people in this situation do think about suicide. There's an Australian psychiatrist who talks about predicament, suicide, and predicament suicide, he defined as someone who doesn't have any mental illness, but they're caught in a situation where there's no good option. There's either a bad option or a worse option. You know, and a lot of times that sense of hopelessness is what we experienced during that time that you're talking about, you know, and I certainly went through that, you know, having lost my father, when I was very young, I had grown up with the idea, I'm always going to be the best Foster, best father I can possibly be. And being a divorced father, who sees his kids on Wednesdays and weekends, is not the dream I had about who I was going to be. So there was a lot of shame and guilt about that. Walking away from that, and there were some real regrets about that, you know, when I got divorced, another divorce doctor had come up to me said, Well, it takes about five years to recover, Billy, and that was sort of right on although at the end of five years, then I began having college expenses as well as even though the alimony didn't last and the child support and then I had college expenses to come up with you. So it went on and you know, but I did learn to live more simply. When I was first doors, I had a place in I had an air mattress on the floor and I had a cooler for refrigerator and I had an old desk and that was it in the main place I had but I did buy a painting. And I had to pay for it on time, but it was a painting of a Big rooster, Big Blue rooster. And I thought, This guy has some stamina and strength, and everything that I thought I need. And I still love that painting because it was, for me, it was a sign of hope. But this is, this is who I am be, this is who I can become. This is how I can get through that. And you know, the other part of it, the complicated, of course, is that, you know, there's all that conflict between you and your spouse around these issues. And, you know, and I certainly went through that with my wife. At the time, I remember once I exploded on her because I went to pick up the kids, and she was wearing a sweatshirt i given my daughter and it was like, you know, it's like, it wasn't a big deal. But for me, it was a huge deal. To see her thinking, I bought that sweatshirt, I'm sending all this money, why the fuck Can't you wear your own clothes. And, you know, I look back on it now. But I think you know, we need that anger to disengage, it was just the energy to say, this was the right decision, I needed to be out of this relationship. So we really needed that. And then later, you can begin to work on the forgiveness that needs to come, do begin to try and have some reproach, with your, with your spouse. And that takes some time to do that. Unfortunately, Len and I were able to do that we began that process when our first daughter got married. And since then, that now my ex wife and my husband are friends. Which was then after dinner one night, and with some old friends of mine, and Doug was there and my ex wife was there because she knew the friends too. And I said to the server, well, this is my husband, and this is my wife. He looked at me like what? And then he was like, Oh, now I get it?

Michael 42:08
Can you? Can you talk about that a little bit? Like? Did you have thought about it sooner than you did sounds like it took me a very long time. You think if you would have like been consciously that, okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna work out forgiveness, I'm gonna work on having a good relationship with her you think it was even possible?

Dr. Loren 42:25
It early on, it really wasn't. During the first probably be I mean, we fought about the same issues we thought about when we were buried, usually money. And, and I think they may have been the catalyst for the anger. But, you know, I think you have to get rid of that anger first, and not hold on. Because it can really show up. And, you know, I like to tell people that, you know, the reason we have no fault before, is because there's no point. And if you're, if you are the one who screwed up blaming yourself, you need to forgive yourself. And if the other person you feel, doesn't do any good to continue to batter them with whatever they did, you know, just accept that it was kind of a no fault situation. And there's a whole exercise you can take in forgiveness. And part of it needs to be to begin to understand what the other person was experiencing at the time. In my case, you know, for me to begin to recognize that life wasn't working out so well for my wife, either. You know, during that period of time, she was trying to fit into a mold that didn't work for her. She began, she began a professional career after that, and became a much happier person in many ways. It wasn't working for me, and I was blaming myself, I needed to forgive myself, as well. And I think forgiveness is a gift you give someone who doesn't deserve it. Sometimes it's yourself. Sometimes it's someone else. And then you really need to work through the anger first, and then begin to try and develop empathy and compassion for the other person in their relationship. And that's what happened when our daughter got married, we've been able to come together and recognize that, you know, there were some good parts of our relationship. It wasn't all bad. We entered it with the right reasons. It just didn't work for the right choice for a long time.

Michael 44:37
Would you think? And I think you gotta you got to get the anger and I'm not there. And I think because, for me I know the guys listen to it's because the anger inducing things in you. So my for instance, you know, my, my ex gets $1,000 that we bought Right every month, and sometimes it ends in when they're, you know, asked for more money or when it's short, but always still broke. You know, I've made six figures that still feels like it's not we're not. So it's hard for me to I don't know how to work through that. If I'm constant, maybe I constantly but frequently, for sure. Basically, I know it's on me to react, right, it's on, it's on me. situation, they are prompted for him to differently, but but Bowlby, it's really, really hard. So I guess my question is like, I don't know, you work through your anger, when you're still facing situation situations make you angry?

Dr. Loren 45:41
Well, they do trigger. And again, I guess this is a good place to go back to talking about the friends that we need to support us during that time. People who will listen to us now we can burn out our friends, too, by going on too long about it, and bitching about it. But sometimes they can give us some feedback and say, Hey, wait a minute, your anger is out of proportion here, all she asks for was an extra 100 bucks. Instead of exploding as if you are going to have to be homeless and, and living on the street, you know, but other friends can help give us that perspective. What happens Michael, though, is if you sit alone too much, and think about it, you chew on that, and it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And there's where do you take that anger, and particularly if you don't share it with somebody, it just begins to feel explosive inside. And at times, that's a good time. And women do this much better than we do as men, women will call a friend and say I need to go to lunch. And they'll sit there across the table from each other. And they'll listen to each other. And they'll look at I and and maybe the friend will say oh sweet, aren't you? You're overreacting here. Men don't do that. You know, we just don't call a friend and say, I'm feeling my shit. I need to talk to somebody. Can you do it? Can you can you? And you know, I think it isn't even necessary to call that friend and said, I feel like shit. It's it's possible to say, let's just go for a bike ride together, and hang out and just said that being active and doing something with another person helps distract us from that pain. So that doesn't continue to evolve and grow bigger and bigger all the time. Yes, sir.

Michael 47:42
Is there this? I've been struggling with this lately. In terms of my anger, frustration, and also sort of getting sick, and yet still feeling the need, you know what I mean? Is there where's the line? Because sometimes I feel like, they'll either be like, it's either either I could do something about it or show. Right. But I know that there's a need for, you know, preventing it at least I think so. You know, I think it's healthy to get things out. Whether that be journaling or talking to the folks or whatever, but, but get it out, I think is important, but where's the line if there is or maybe it's just such a personal thing, where you stop complaining and accept and or make a change.

Dr. Loren 48:26
I don't know that there's a line because I think it's more like waves. You know, where you'll feel better for a while. And then something little happened like the sweatshirt I mentioned carbonyl, just come back at your full blast. I really like journaling. And one of the ways I tell patients and friends to do that is to, to do a stream of consciousness journaling, where you write everything, you can write all the PIs, all the anger, all the pus, get get it out and down on a piece of paper. And then when you've kind of emotionally exhausted that process, then begin to take an analytic approach. Because you're using two different sides of your brain basically, you want you want to feel that emotion, you want to understand it. But then as you've exhausted that process, then you begin to say, Okay, where are my feelings out of proportion? What are the what are the steps that can take, what can I do to make this better, you may begin to do a more analytic process, but you can't do the things together and I tell people journaled as fast as you can. This is not a book report. You don't have to turn it in for a grade. This is just for you. It can be pictures, it can be diagrams, it can have be filled with profanity, misspelled words, it doesn't really matter. You just want to do it as fast as you possibly can. And then you state Hey, wait a minute. Let's take a look at this. And when I was going through the process, my daughter Of course I did a lot of that. In fact, I only burned that journal a while back because I thought I don't want to die and who am I The kids see what I was writing them, you know? We could not. And it does help is really based on some cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and all those techniques are, there's evidence to be evidence based practices that really can help talk you down from the ledge.

Michael 50:28
We definitely got way off track. So let's win all good stuff. It was awesome. I really appreciate it. Let's let's go out touch on one last topic. And then we'll do the words of wisdom question. But what how do you how do you make friendship priority? Like what is what is that look like is that, you know, I'm gonna, every Saturday I'm gonna go my buddy or every other Saturday or, you know, what, how do you do that? What what are the ways in the method that ensure that you're making friendship priority?

Dr. Loren 51:00
Well, some people are better at it than others, you know, I think oftentimes, it's a matter of going to a group that with a shared interest. You know, and being a part of that, I mean, friendships often begin that way. But it's not necessary to take a deep dive into every kind of social situation. It can be, you know, politics, it can be church, I mean, if people are ever have some basis for religion, getting involved in that, volunteering could be something because you usually choose to volunteer in areas that you have some shared interests on physical activities can be a good one, that kind of thing. And, and not approaching it as if you're searching for a best friend, that can make you look desperate, you know, trying to find a new spouse to fill the void, you look needy, and nobody wants to have a needy friend. So, but I think pursuing a shared interest, but being disciplined about it in terms of putting some time in your calendar, for whatever that's going to be and making a habit of doing it. And a certain amount of time, I think that's one of the reasons the AAA groups work for people as they you know, they find a sense of community within a certain group of people. And that means that a certain time, and they do that, I have a group of people who play dominoes with in there, we have a coffee group we have, we have those things, and they, you know, we don't always meet the same time every week or a month. But we do have a an intent to find a time to do it. And we do it every month. And so I think it's really valuing and recognizing the value of these things, enough to put off sorting the laundry and emptying the refrigerator and doing those kinds of things. That, you know, ideally would be done, but they're probably not as important.

Michael 53:09
I agree. I think, like many things, it's, you know, it's intention, that's, that's more, almost most important. Like, I have the intention, I want to make my friendships a priority, or I want to get over this anger, whatever it is, it has to be tension. Otherwise, you're you're you're never gonna make any real changes. Yeah. So

Dr. Loren 53:34
yeah, acceptability with the anger and don't beat yourself up about feeling that way. You know, the idea is to, to put a lid on it at some point and say, enough's enough. This is hurting me more than it's hurting anybody else, you know, and by hanging on to this bitterness, it's only affecting me is not affecting, you know, if you're pissed off at your spouse, or having ruined your life or whatever it is. It's not hurting her at all, you know, it only comes back to hurt you. And at some point, it's time to let go of that and say, okay, that part of it's done. And I'm gonna move on and begin to rebuild from here.

Michael 54:20
Yeah, you're right. It's it's not hard sometimes.

Dr. Loren 54:23
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.

Michael 54:28
Well, again, thank you, Dr. Mark for doing this early. Appreciate it. i The last question I asked everybody is what words of wisdom would you impart to a man just beginning his divorce journey?

Dr. Loren 54:39
I would say get rid of the shame and guilt that you feel about it. And stop blaming yourself. Work on stopping blaming your wife. Try and let go of the bitterness that you feel is not necessary to hate your ex spouse, you know, if that's not a critical part of the recovery, I would say, Stop. measuring time, all the time and experience time look toward ways of experiencing time with friends, or even just doing things you want. downsize a little, you know, we were driven sometimes to take care of all these things that we think we have to have. You don't need a lot of stuff. And you know, I know how to live poor because I've done it. I can live poor again. And I won't be less happy by living without all of the things that I thought I had to have. And finally, I would say learn to say fuck off.

Michael 55:44
I love that. Perfect way to end. Thank you so much, sir, for doing this. What's the best way for people to find you and your books in your in your blog and all that?

Dr. Loren 55:53
You can find me on Psychology Today under Lauren Olson. My website is no more neckties. book.com. And, or you could just Google my name and it'll show up. But I'd love to hear from people who may touch with. Maybe someone will even become a friend.

Michael 56:16
Yeah, that's awesome. Thank you so much again, Jonas. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Loren
My pleasure. Thanks, Michael for having me.

Thank you so much for watching and or listening. Since my separation in July of 2019. I have done an incredible amount of work on myself. I've had many different therapists, life coaches and went through different programs. I've taken all that I've learned and put it into my own program called forged by fire. If you are interested in having me help navigate your divorce, please hit my website Rising Phoenix divorce coach.com. I look forward to working with you

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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