Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lessons From My Divorce, Part 1

It's alright, I understand. Go ahead and say it... "A relationship coach who's getting a divorce? Isn't that a contradiction?"

The answer is no. It's always easier to see what's going on in someone else's relationship than in our own - our eyes
do point outward, after all - and a coach has no personal investment or attachment to the details of your life. But I sure do have emotional attachments to my own life, which clutters up the view screen and then some! The best we can do is respond as authentically and responsibly as possible when new information comes to light. This may be a sudden occurrence or realization, or something that has been building for months or years. We do the best we can with the data we have in each moment.

Well, I have new data to share!

My relationship with my husband, Q, has always had some challenges. Being people who do not subscribe to the "one partner should meet ALL of my needs" point of view, we made every effort to outsource the needs that weren't getting met by our partnership. The surprising truth is that our adventures in polyamory - engaging in multiple sexual and romantic engagements - had nothing to do with the breakdown of our marriage! In fact, it allowed us to stay together longer by allowing us to Choose the key issues in our relationship. Of our top issues, communication was in a race for the lead.

If you've read past newsletter or blogs, you know that we've struggled with very different styles of communication. I process out loud, Q thinks before he speaks. My processing drives him mad, his method has felt like an unbearable restriction to me. He's come from a win/lose paradigm, while I've been trained to seek the win/win. He told me how he needed me to speak to him, and how to listen to him, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't seem to master it. Does anyone else relate to this?

If I believed in luck, I'd say that I was lucky to have the opportunity to put myself into a course called
Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women only three weeks after we decided to divorce. This course is only for women, and I knew that this work was about empowering men and women in their relationships with one another. So I settled into my seat hopeful about what I'd get, and certain that MY soon-to-be-ex was a strange enough bird that most of their concepts wouldn't apply to him. What I learned blew me away.

Q is a man. Now, of course, I already knew this, right? I was not a virgin bride, and yes, clearly, he's a man. But what I mean is that he's also NOT a woman in that Men do not speak, hear, act, process their thoughts and feelings, prioritize or receive stimuli like Women. The physiological differences are apparent, but the sociological, mental and emotional ones are less so, and I was surprised to discover that my ideas of what a man
was bore a striking resemblance to how I know myself to be, as a woman. I mean - we're all People, right? Well, yes, but also no...

I was further shocked to learn that I had been engaging in all kinds of emasculating and undermining thoughts and actions with Q. I thought I was being helpful by offering to help him keep his word, meet his deadlines, remember the details he needed to manage, and generally act in the world like the person I thought he'd said he wanted to become, etc. But I was often busy being "the better man" in our relationship. Have you ever heard yourself say, "I need a wife?" Yep, that's something to look at. And sure enough, everything they told me about how to communicate with a man was how Q had asked me to communicate with him.

Now - I did NOT want to admit that he was right about ANYthing, so to see clearly how I had contributed to the anger, frustration and tension between us really pissed me off! But there it was - undeniable. When one can appreciate the natural design of Men, the possibility of allowing oneself to be a Woman arises, as well as the dance of partnership that can result. Embracing that possibility was much more appealing than being Right.

So I apologized to Q, and acknowledged my mistakes. I also started practicing speaking to him in the way that they taught me, and I'll tell you this... It is the only way that he can hear me clearly. I do it my way and I get annoyance, anger, and blame. I do it their way and I get understanding, patience, and agreement. Forgive my language, but HOLY SHIT! You cannot imagine my surprise, quickly followed by my own piss off that I've taken over 700 hours of personal development work and never yet been taught this information. Grrrrr...

Accordingly, I'm taking ALL of the PAX (Latin for 'peace') coursework, or which CMSW is a part, and will continue to share with you as I learn more about how to create exceptional relationships that allow men to be Men and women to be Women. NOTE: These lessons may not fit every man and woman 100%. I've discovered that Q needs this kind of communication style at a level that I'm not willing to master. I am WAY too high energy for him, and I bring too much intensity to my interactions. It fries his receivers. To moderate myself down to the level that would work for him on a daily basis would feel crippling to me, and it's not something I'm willing to take on any longer. I tried, I failed, and it's not my path. However, I now have a tool that works when it's really important that he be able to hear me, and that's priceless. I also have a new understanding of who I can be in a relationship, and THAT is inspiring!

To learn more about Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women, visit There's also a course for woman and men entitled Understanding Women!
I always thought there was something wrong with me that I was so exhausted after spending a full day at the office focusing on one task at a time, or that my mind wanders occasionally when I'm with my partner, even during sex. Am I broken? No, I'm a Woman! You have no idea how different we can be, and when you can appreciate the natural design of a Woman, more peace becomes available.

I am so enthusiastic about the PAX coursework that I'm considering studying to teach their workshops. I really want to expand the sphere of influence that this work has.
If I had taken this course before we married, things would have gone VERY differently. Accordingly, if YOU decide to take one of their classes or purchase one of their CDs, books, etc., please provide my affiliate number, which is 554149.

Lastly, I want to apologize to all of my gender-queer peeps. This post has largely been based on traditional Man/Woman stereotypes. Would this support you in your relationships? I don't know, and I'm going to have this conversation with other participants and keep listening for the difference it might make for you.

Lessons From My Divorce, Part 2
will discuss the importance of holding and honoring one's boundaries.

M. Makael Newby, 2011 - All Rights Reserved -


  1. I do understand. You might be describing me and my ex. He processes information and I threw it at him expecting answers. Oy.

    I want to tell you about an easy explanation of the man/woman thing written by the humorist, Dave Barry. the first two chapters in his book, "I'll mature when I am dead" talk about this. I heard it on audio first and then got the book. I think you would enjoy his take.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I guess I am caught up reading so you got to post something new.