At 35, how do you disclose your virginity on a date that might lead to sex without ensuring the continuation of said virginity? Welcome to Feedback Friday!
And in case you didn’t already know it, Jordan Harbinger (@JordanHarbinger) and Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) banter and take your comments and questions for Feedback Friday right here every week! If you want us to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now let’s dive in!
On This Week’s Feedback Friday, We Discuss:
- If you want to keep up with the wisdom from our 800+ episodes and apply it to your life, subscribe to our Wee Bit Wiser newsletter at jordanharbinger.com/news!
- You’re 35 and you’ve never had sex. How do you disclose your virginity during courtship with a potential partner without scaring them off and ensuring the continuation of this unfortunate trend?
- Should you maintain a friendship with your college buddies whose partners alienate your wife? They acknowledge the issue but don’t seem to care.
- You support your daughter’s use of therapy, but you wonder if maybe weekly appointments, emergency sessions, and direct access to her therapist might be bordering on excessive. Can therapy be addictive? [Thanks to clinical psychologist Dr. Erin Margolis for helping us with this one!]
- Your ex-wife endured you at your worst, and you’d like to help her financially now that you’re successful on multiple fronts. Is this appropriate, or should you consider doing so anonymously?
- After working through the pandemic as a registered nurse pulling 10-12 hour shifts seven days a week, you’re finding it difficult to reintegrate into a society that feels like it’s moved on and left you behind. How can you find your place again?
- Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at email@example.com!
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHarbinger and Instagram at @jordanharbinger.
- Connect with Gabriel on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi and Instagram @gabrielmizrahi.
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider leaving your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- Airbnb: Find out how much your space is worth at airbnb.com/host
- BetterHelp: Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan
- Eight Sleep: Get $150 off at eightsleep.com/jordan
- NetSuite: Defer payment for six months at netsuite.com/jordan
- Cold Case Files: Listen here or wherever you find fine podcasts!
Miss our conversation with human guinea pig and best-selling author AJ Jacobs? Catch up with episode 174: A.J. Jacobs | Thanks a Thousand: A Gratitude Journey here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Fast Fashion | Skeptical Sunday | Jordan Harbinger
- Bradley Schurman | How Aging Will Reshape Society | Jordan Harbinger
- Mitchell Prothero | Cocaine, Murder, and Dirty Money in Europe | Jordan Harbinger
- The 40-Year-Old Virgin | Prime Video
- If You’re a Male Virgin, Should You Tell Her or Not? | Girls Chase
- Should I Continue to Be Friends with Someone Who Is Rude to My Spouse? | Quora
- Erin Margolis | Thrive Psychology Group
- How Long is Too Long in Psychotherapy? | Psychology Today
- 5 Ways to Move on From an Ex You Still Love | Tikvah Lake
- Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Hospital and Outpatient Clinician Workforce | ASPE
- Opinion: You Can Be a Different Person After the Pandemic | The New York Times
- ‘I Still Feel like an Outsider’: One Year On, Students Reveal Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic | The Falmouth Anchor
861: 35 and Chaste — Is It Too Late? | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Yeah, this actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:21] Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the psychological black light, illuminating these invisible patterns of life advice, Gabriel Mizrahi. You know, black lights illuminate a lot of stuff. Pattern is just one of those things.
[00:00:37] On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. And our mission is to help you become a better and informed, more critical thinker. During the week, we have long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks from former cult members, arms traffickers, Russian spies, astronauts, and the occasional Emmy-nominated comedian.
[00:01:00] This week, we had Bradley Schurman on demographic decline in China, Russia, and even the United States. Basically, how our populations are all shrinking and what we can do about it. And the spoiler is not a whole lot. And some of these countries are completely screwed in the next coming few decades, and it's going to be interesting. And we had Mitchell Prothero on the rising tide of cocaine and violent organized crime in Europe. And in that feel-good theme, we also had our Skeptical Sunday on fast fashion and the destruction that it does to commerce and the environment, among other things. Couple of feel-good international episodes this week. On Fridays, though, we share stories, take listener letters, offer advice, play obnoxious sound bites, and mercilessly roast my co-host Gabriel for his appearance and/or life choices.
[00:01:45] And before we jump in, I just wanted to let you know that we have relaunched the newsletter for the show. It's called Wee Bit Wiser, and it's basically a bite-sized gem or two from a past episode from me to you, delivered right to your inbox once a week. So if you want to keep up with the wisdom from our 800-plus episodes and apply it to your life in a very practical way, I invite you to come and check that out. You can sign up for it at jordanharbinger.com/news. And, of course, you can reply to that newsletter and tell me what you want or what you don't want because I don't really know what the hell I'm doing with email stuff. So I invite you to give me constructive criticism or passive-aggressive nonsense, which is what I often get in my inbox.
[00:02:22] As always, we've got fun ones. We got doozies. The doozies are always the fun ones, though. Gabe, what is the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:02:29] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I'm a 35-year-old virgin. Oof.
[00:02:33] The oof, just to be clear, was in the letter. I wasn't adding the oof.
[00:02:37] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. I thought you were just being a complete dick to the guy after one line of writing.
[00:02:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Not my style.
[00:02:43] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, we can't not bring up some Steve Carell as a result of this.
[00:02:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:02:48] Jordan Harbinger: It was like a bag of sand.
[00:02:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: I'm a 35-year-old virgin. Oof. This is not due to any personal or religious philosophy. It's just never happened for me. My first date ever was two years ago. Yes, at age 33. It just wasn't the right fit. My second date was a year after that, things went well, but as we were parting ways, I told her I didn't want kids. I didn't want to waste her time if that was important to her. She said she wasn't sure but wanted to keep her kid options open. So that ended. Point being, I don't get a lot of chances, which makes my question such a delicate one. At this point in my life, I assume my first sexual encounter will happen with a girl who has already had see, maybe even a lot of it. I've heard of people ending their relationship because of bad sex. So I feel that if I tell the person, "Hey, I've never done this before. So improvements will be made." I could temper expectations and do some preemptive damage control. But then I'm also afraid that they could change their mind and the sex won't happen, thus perpetuating the problem. On the other hand, if I say nothing and the sex is bad, they might end the relationship thinking I'm just awful when the truth is I'm just new. When/if this day comes, should I tell the person I'm a virgin before we have sex, or do I just roll the dice and see what happens? Signed, Afraid to Impede or Mislead When I've Never Done The Deed.
[00:04:16] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. This is a fascinating situation. You are a real-life Steve Carell here, the 35-year-old virgin. You're by no means the only person in this situation, but it is a somewhat unusual one. This conversation is obviously bringing up a lot of anxiety for you, which I can definitely appreciate, and I want to thank you for having the courage to write in about it. It's funny. I know you're asking about whether to tell a woman this before you sleep with her, but I'm tempted to talk about how you ended up here. Zero judgment, just curiosity, because that's super interesting too, and I think they might be related.
[00:04:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm. Let's see if we can come back to that at some point.
[00:04:52] Jordan Harbinger: I think so. So should you tell a woman you're a virgin before you have sex? Mmm. I don't know if there's one right answer to that. I think you're well within your rights to share as much or as little about yourself as you want with somebody new. If telling a potential partner this would put you at ease or help address the performance thing, then I think it's fine to share. If it feels safer not to tell her because you don't want it to become a thing and get in the way, I think that's also fair. My point is I don't know if there's a huge moral dimension to this. You can always disclose this after the fact if that feels better. But if you do disclose this in advance, I would be prepared for any number of responses. Some people might go, "Wow, that's intense. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I don't know if I want to be your first." Because they're feeling casual with the relationship. And other people might go, "Okay, that's crazy, but no biggie. This will be fun. Thanks for telling me." And I hope that most of the women you meet will be in the second camp, but you just never know how people are going to feel about this. So just be ready.
[00:05:54] Honestly, I'm leaning toward just not saying anything. At this point, I think it's frankly more important that you just have sex and you get it out of the way than you have some sort of good sexual experience for the first time or that you have it with somebody you're crazy about. And you have to be a hundred percent honest with well in advance. I would hate for this piece of news to throw a woman who otherwise wants to jump in the sack. Why get in your own way, you know?
[00:06:20] Now, I realize that's slightly controversial and maybe a little complicated because, in a way, I'm encouraging you to lie by omission or letting people assume something that's not true, or at least withhold the full truth. But it's not an STD, man. Maybe it's unfair to a potential partner, although I don't really see how it doesn't harm them. Like I said, it's not an STD. You're not going to be like, "By the way, I have a contagious STD that you might have now gotten." You know, it's not untreated syphilis. You're just choosing not to tell them your sexual history in advance or lack thereof, which people do all the time, right? Even people who've slept with a lot of people. I don't see guys or women going up to their partner and being like, "By the way, you're like number 112, just so you know. This has seen a lot of action." There's no need to do that. Nobody would do that, so I don't see why you can't do the same thing.
[00:07:10] Now, your objection might be, "Okay, but I feel like I'm hiding a big part of myself, and that feels wrong." And maybe you're thinking, "What if we really click? What if we keep dating? Then do I have to come out and tell her I lied? Is that going to tank the relationship?" But my response to that is the woman you do finally lose your virginity to, what are the odds she's going to be the one? Just real talk. What are the chances you two are compatible in every conceivable way and you're going to keep doing things? Fairly slim, I'd say. That's not a reflection of you or of her. It's just the way it is with dating. And point being, I don't really know how much there is at stake here.
[00:07:46] My vote is don't say anything in advance. Just hit pause on that impulse to get out in front of any poor performance. Forget it. In fact, I would lean into that fear and accept it, and maybe it won't be great. Most people's first time is a little bit messy, no pun intended. It's fine. You don't need to make peace with that. Just have the important milestone. The table doesn't have to be set for this. And if you like the woman you sleep with and you want to see her again and it feels important, then you can always tell her. "So, look, this is a little crazy, but that was my first time. Didn't want to freak you out, didn't want to put a ton of pressure on it. I just wanted you to know because I assume this is going to get better, and I'm not going to be like a 17-year-old next time."
[00:08:25] But also, you might be surprised it might not be bad at all. It might even be good or fine. And you know it's probably not going to be as bad as you're dreading. I think that's important too. Noticing your mind, wanting to jump to the worst possible outcome, like you're going to, well, I won't get detailed, but you know what I'm talking about.
[00:08:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which brings us back to that first question, right? How he ended up here.
[00:08:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: We don't know everything that brought you to this point. Your history, your personality, your circumstances. There are just so many variables at play here, I'm sure. But I did hear a few things in your email that might contain some clues. One was that this isn't due to any personal or religious philosophy. It's just, quote-unquote, "never happened for you." So clearly, this isn't a question of like beliefs or values. It's not for total lack of opportunity because you did have those two dates. Again, impossible for us to know exactly what happened in those experiences in between those two experiences. So I really, I don't want to speculate too much, but I do wonder if maybe you are overthinking this just a little bit. Specifically, overthinking what the other person might want from you.
[00:09:28] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:28] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because in two parts of your letter, that second date with the woman who said she might want to have kids, and this hypothetical first time of yours having sex, you are doing a lot of work imagining what things will be like for the other person. In that other story, it's about whether you would be wasting her time if you didn't want to have children. And in your first time sleeping with somebody, it's whether you need to get out in front of the possibility that it won't be good. And look, I want to be very clear about this. This is not inherently bad or a mistake. I actually think this speaks to a really wonderful quality in you, which is this genuine concern you have for other people. You're an empathic guy, you're thoughtful, you're respectful, it's awesome. But what I am appreciating is that sometimes that empathy and concern, I think they come at your expense or they create roadblocks where there really don't need to be any.
[00:10:18] For example, you could have built on that good first date with that woman and had another one and another one, and continued getting to know each other, and then eventually shared the thing about not wanting kids after a few dates or when she brought up the question, if that was even a concern for her. Just like when you sleep with someone for the first time, you can keep your history to yourself. And if there's a good reason to disclose it after the fact, you can tell her then, rather than disqualifying yourself in advance by volunteering that information upfront. At which point, she would probably like you, and it might not even matter as much as you think.
[00:10:51] So that's the quality that seems to be the common thread among all these experiences. A hyperawareness, a hyper concern. You're almost pre apologizing—
[00:11:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: —for parts of yourself in a way that might not be necessary or even appropriate. And that might speak to something more fundamental about you, ways in which you might feel that you are a liability to other people, or that you're not worth their time, or that you're going to disappoint them. All of which, yeah, can make it very hard to connect with people and might even make you avoid other people. Because these interactions feel, you know, so fraught.
[00:11:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It's almost like, "Here's all these things that are wrong with me and why sex is going to be terrible and all the reasons our relationship might not work out. Let me know if you want to hang out again." And they're like, "Oh, um, now that you're unselling it."
[00:11:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:11:38] Jordan Harbinger: There's a part of me that wonders if he's just subtly disqualifying himself to avoid having to see these relationships through.
[00:11:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:11:44] Jordan Harbinger: And I understand that quite well myself. When I was younger, I used to talk myself out of a lot of stuff.
[00:11:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:11:50] Jordan Harbinger: Because I would just not want to deal with it. Some of it was like stress and possible depression 20/20 hindsight and dealing with it or being like, "This person is not perfect, so I'm probably not going to marry them, so why date them at all?" And that's a terrible attitude to have. I would do that a lot to myself.
[00:12:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh.
[00:12:07] Jordan Harbinger: And I wasn't a 35-year-old virgin, but I guess if I'd made a habit out of this, I probably would've waited a really long time to date anyone. It was just only because I started to just be like, this is weird and lonely, that I stopped doing that.
[00:12:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:12:18] Jordan Harbinger: And this is in my 20s, so I came to the realization a little earlier, but like he has this date, it goes pretty well. They're saying goodbye. He decides that's the moment to say, "Hey, by the way, I don't want to procreate. Not sure if that's a deal breaker, but I'm throwing this wrench into the machine," because why not?
[00:12:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. Which becomes a deal breaker. But—
[00:12:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:12:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: —in a way, the bigger deal breaker might be going on a date with somebody who drops that bomb as you're saying goodbye after one date, without any more context and without having strong feelings for them.
[00:12:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Exactly. It's easy to write someone off with very different goals when you sipped one glass of pinot grigio for 55 minutes and called it a night.
[00:12:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:12:55] Jordan Harbinger: Or there's also the possibility that she's like, "Yeah, weird, you're even thinking about that, dude. I just kind of wanted to meet you because my friend Angela said you were cute, and I thought maybe we could sleep together a few times before I moved to Albuquerque. But now you're like really way ahead of this."
[00:13:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Why are we talking about this, right?
[00:13:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Why are you throwing it? Like way to just kill the lady boner. I'm out. Whereas if he had just let the good vibes continue as they said goodbye and texted her the next day and had another couple of dates, I mean, who knows? But that might have been the woman that he finally broke the seal with. I mean, why not, right?
[00:13:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm. Excellent point. You know, in either theory, he's finding ways to distance himself or to create obstacles and questions that don't need to be there.
[00:13:33] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. And I think it's an unconscious process. This is a great thing for him to now then see. And that's why I'm really glad that you reached out. I know it's not easy to talk about this, but I really admire it and I know that it's the first step toward untangling some of these knots and clearing the runway for yourself. So my advice is keep staying open. Get on the apps, go talk to people at parties, get set up by friends, however, you meet people. And then when you notice this urge to put some distance between you and the other person or flag a problem that doesn't need to be flagged just yet. Notice that. Check back in with yourself. Remember this episode, and try to hang in the moment a little bit more.
[00:14:12] Look, you got all the time in the world to overthink things after you become intimate with somebody. I promise you this is not where the process ends, but right now, I just think it's important that you have this experience with the right person when the time is right or not, and just kick the rust off, man. I mean, maybe you get a little bit loaded and do the no-pants dance with somebody who isn't super significant in your life. And as long as you're being safe and everybody wants the same thing, that is going to be fine too. All you really need is one experience to just put this issue to bed, literally. So we're rooting for you, man. Go tap into your inner Steve Carell and get it done.
[00:14:52] Jordan Harbinger: You know who's going to give you the ride of your life? The amazing sponsors who support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:15:00] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help. Life can sometimes feel like a relentless tornado pulling us into a vortex of perpetual caretaking for others, kids, elderly parents, your job, of course. It's easy to neglect our own personal pause button and like a violent string being pulled to tot, we find ourselves on the precipice of snapping dangerously close to the edge of burnout. Here's where therapy steps in like a life preserver. A therapist is going to equip you with a full toolbox of strategies to regain equilibrium, even help sever ties with those who pull you down. It empowers you to continue being a beacon of support for others while ensuring your self-care doesn't dissolve into the background. A common predicament, particularly if you are juggling a business and/or family. Remember, self-care is not indulgence. It is your life. It is your lifeline. If you've been mulling over therapy, Better Help is definitely a great place to start. Better Help is completely online. Tailored to your schedule, sparing you the stress of commuting, driving, parking, all that, fill out a short questionnaire. They pair you up real quick. If, for any reason, you want to switch therapists, do so anytime. No additional charge.
[00:16:05] Jen Harbinger: Find more balance with Better Help. Visit betterhelp.com/jordan to get 10 percent off your first month. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:16:15] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Eight Sleep. We used to struggle with this ancient mattress. It was like sleeping on a hot freaking griddle. Jen and I have polar opposite preferences when it comes to sleeping climates. She feels cozy in the tropical heat. I yearn for the coolness of a winter wonderland in many ways, especially in the middle of the night somehow. A few years ago, we switched to a snazzy Eight Sleep mattress with a Pod Cover that fits over any bed like a glove. The climate control and dual-zone functions are so nice. Jen likes to warm her side to a plus-three. I'm more like a minus-six. You control the temperatures using a phone app. We have ours scheduled to pre-warm the bed or pre-cool the bed if that's what you're into. You can even opt for the temperatures to adjust based on the phases of sleep. So maybe you like it cold when you lay down, it's a little bit warmer during the night, or vice versa. It's a great investment, especially for something you use every single day. Go to eightsleep.com/jordan. Save 150 bucks on the Pod Cover by Eight Sleep. That's the best offer you're going to find anywhere. But you got to go to eightsleep.com/jordan for 150 bucks off. Eight Sleep currently ships within the US, Canada, the UK, select countries in the EU and Australia. So it's a great way for y'all overseas folks to support the show and get a great mattress. Eightsleep.com/jordan.
[00:17:25] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us going. To learn more and get links to all the discounts you've heard on the show, so you can check out the sponsors for yourself, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. You can also search for any sponsor using the AI chatbot on the website as well. Please consider supporting those who support the show.
[00:17:45] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:17:49] All right, next up.
[00:17:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey, Jordan and Gabe. I recently got married to my long-distance girlfriend of four years, who's from Brazil. She's a really caring person and we have a great relationship. The only issue is every time I meet up with my college friends, their girlfriends and wives alienate her. Initially, I thought this was due to the language barrier. She didn't speak much English at first. Now, she's conversational, and I'd say she's at an intermediate level. I asked my wife to have a few questions ready to break the ice, but the last time we hung out with these friends, I sensed that the other girls didn't want to talk to her. They greet her, then they huddle together. My friends' partners don't seem to have friends outside this group, and I can see why now. My college buddies are always kind to my wife, but it's starting to bother me that their partners aren't. My wife said she doesn't really care and doesn't mind staying home when we have a get-together since it seems to be impacting me more than her. Although I think that's selfless of her, I'm starting to think that this will take a toll on my friendship with these guys. I've talked to my buddies, and they agreed that their partners do this, but they haven't addressed it. They don't really seem to care. Should I continue to be friends with these guys or should I keep my distance? Signed, Protecting My Bride From This Insular Tribe.
[00:19:03] Jordan Harbinger: Interesting. So it definitely sounds like your friends' partners are not being super welcoming to your wife or very thoughtful about her and yeah, that sucks. It probably says way more about them than it does about your wife.
[00:19:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:16] Jordan Harbinger: Like you said, they don't seem to have friends outside this group, and you're starting to understand why, which it sounds to me like they're very insular and frankly a little bit boring and not very open to new people. Or maybe they just don't want to make the effort with the language barrier, and they just don't have the energy or desire to make an effort with somebody new. I don't know. I don't like it.
[00:19:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know. It's so weird to me, though, because when I meet somebody from another country at a party, they're always the first person I want to talk to.
[00:19:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Look, oh, you moved here from Rio de Janeiro. I want to hear all about that place. We only see what we see in the news. Now, you live here. What are the differences that you see? What are the weird quirks you see from Americans that you love/hate? You know, I want to know about all that stuff.
[00:19:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally, especially because he says she's super caring and selfless and they have a great relationship. I mean, she sounds awesome. If people took the time to get to know her, they would find that too, I would imagine.
[00:20:01] Jordan Harbinger: Plus, you know, when you make friends from another country, if you get close, you can go travel to that country with them, and it's a totally different experience.
[00:20:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Exactly.
[00:20:08] Jordan Harbinger: So there's a little benefit there if you develop a close friendship that has that extra layer of fun in it. I will never understand people who push that kind of thing out of their life. My guess is that these other women, they're not great socially speaking. It takes patience and some social grace to engage with somebody who doesn't speak your language fluently. You have to want to do that. You have to be the kind of person who's flexible and interested in people who are different from you. And man, growing up in the Midwest, we're not all like that, but a lot of people are just not interested. They don't care and it's all alien to them.
[00:20:39] And to be fair, it might have been really hard to engage with her when she first arrived and barely spoke English. Maybe his girlfriend is also a bit of a wallflower. Maybe those questions she prepared fell flat. That can be awkward for everyone involved. So your girlfriend does have to make the effort here too, which it sounds like she's already doing. And I know how hard that is too from living in a bunch of other countries myself. But as her English gets better, it'll get easier for her to overcome the self-consciousness, break into new friend groups, draw people out, read social cues, learn to talk about herself, all that stuff. So this is probably the hardest period, socially speaking, and she's probably still figuring out her social identity in this new culture, and that is a big transition.
[00:21:23] So should you continue to be friends with these guys or should you keep your distance? Well, I mean, I can understand your conflict because on the one hand, these guys aren't alienating your wife. They're nice to her. It's their partners who aren't being very cool. On the other hand, They're not really helping their partners realize that they're icing out your wife, and that's hurtful to you.
[00:21:42] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. I'm guessing it makes him feel like they're not really on his team, or maybe it makes him paranoid that they secretly share the same opinion, which, yeah, not a great feeling.
[00:21:49] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. But is it really on these guys to like force/coach their wives and girlfriends, how to be nice to somebody from another country? Would they even listen?
[00:21:57] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:21:57] Jordan Harbinger: A lot of guys are oblivious to that sort of mean girl stuff, and it's a waste of time to even try to get involved some of the time. I'd like to think that if one of them had said to their partner, you know, "I think Maria's feeling a little hurt a little left out. She's Greg's wife, we love Greg. Maybe we try to include Maria a little more." Maybe they'd make more of an effort, but then it just feels like middle-school bullsh*t.
[00:22:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. And if they're not being cool to your wife because they want to be cool to your wife, then I mean, it sounds like she doesn't even really want to hang with these ladies. Like that's not a good feeling either.
[00:22:26] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Like, "All right, we'll let her come to the juice bar after we'd go to yoga. Like, don't do many favors."
[00:22:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Thanks for the pity invite, right?
[00:22:34] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. If this is for me, I'm like, no, thanks. Not my people. Which it sounds like that's kind of her response at this point, and I get it. These are not the only women she can be friends with in the United States, so my gut is telling me, you can certainly continue to be friends with these guys if your friendships with them are still meaningful. And you can see them and their partners without your wife. If she's not feeling this group, I think that's fair. And if they're like, "Where's Maria?" You can be like, "Well, she has other stuff to do." The women will get it, and they'll be like, "Well, we didn't like her anyway, so who cares, man," I get it. But if this whole thing has revealed new sides of these guys, for example, maybe you're realizing your friend group is not very tolerant, or they're rigid, or they're not empathetic to other people, or they're racist or something, the guys as well as the gals, then I understand why you need to pull away, because then we're not just talking about a personality fit. We're talking about values and you being married to somebody who's being treated a certain way by this social circle that might really bring into focus some of the values you might not have appreciated before.
[00:23:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm. I think that's a really good point, Jordan. So, you know, I guess my thought there is do you see similar behavior from them in other parts of your relationship? For example, do these guys do something similar in your circle with new people? Do you feel like they don't have your back in other ways? You know, do you feel misunderstood or unappreciated by them, in general? If so, those would be reasons to reevaluate these friendships. You might not have to drop these guys entirely because of your wife, but maybe you only stay close to the one or two who are really cool, or you don't spend quite as much time with them. Look, maybe you just adjust your expectations of what this group can offer you and your wife.
[00:24:09] Either way, I would keep an eye on both sides of this equation. You know how other people respond to your wife and also how your wife operates in these social situations. To Jordan's point, because again, people should go out of their way to make a new person, especially a new person from another country, feel welcome. But a lot of people are not like that. And part of your wife's job, whether it's fair or unfair, is to learn how to ingratiate herself with new people in this country.
[00:24:33] Jordan Harbinger: Indeed, this is something, or forsooth, for that matter, this is something I had to learn when I was bumming around the world in my 20s, fumbling my way through different languages and cultures. It's a skill. It takes time. And maybe as she does that, she'll find that people are more receptive to her. Give that a go and then you guys are going to know whether these friends are the right ones. And yeah, hey, maybe you ask her to bring you to Brazilian expat events in your city. You make some new friends. I bet it'd be fascinating to be on the other side of this situation yourself. And see what that's like.
[00:25:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:04] Jordan Harbinger: I love your wife's courage and tenacity in learning English. It's not an easy transition, it sounds like she's doing pretty great. I'm wishing you both the best.
[00:25:12] Gabriel, this reminds me of my time when I lived in former East Germany.
[00:25:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:15] Jordan Harbinger: It's the '90s. I was a teenager, 17 years old, whatever. My host mother and I didn't get along that well because she didn't speak English at all. She was a German teacher, like as a literature.
[00:25:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:25:28] Jordan Harbinger: And she just didn't really understand me. She grew up in East Germany. She understood a little bit of Russian and German, and that was pretty much it. And she was like, "I just washed this punk's clothes and cook for him. And he is like silent and kind of a pill. And I don't need a teenager, I already have a teenager." And then, one day, the volunteers who were taking care of us were like, "You need to experience all of German society. Go to the grocery store, don't skip out on little mundane, daily activities." And I was like, that's a pretty good idea. So my host mother was like, "I'm going to go to the grocery store." And I was like, "Okay, I'm going to go with you." And she was like, "What? Okay, great." So I go to the grocery store with her, and we're having a hilarious time because she's trying to talk to me, and I can't understand her, but I'm looking at things, laughing at different products that don't make any sense. We're just having kind of a funny time and bonding a little bit in a way that we can. And on the way home, we're walking out and she's trying to talk to me, but she can't, and I'm trying to talk to her and she doesn't understand. And this guy comes sprinting up behind us. He looks like a thug. He clearly had stolen something and we see the manager in security chasing him out of the grocery store. And it was like a movie. Some idiot with a cart not paying attention. Shoves the cart in front of the manager and the securities. So the guy gets away and they're like, "You, moron." We were looking at each other and laughing and talking. And when we got home, we both told the story, her and German and me in English. And after that, we were totally buddies. It was—
[00:26:49] Gabriel Mizrahi: Oh, that's cute.
[00:26:49] Jordan Harbinger: —immediate sort of funny bonding moment because we had this almost like an inside joke.
[00:26:54] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:26:54] Jordan Harbinger: And I was like, you know, she's not so bad. I should probably learn how to be more of not a pill in her house while she takes care of me.
[00:27:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:03] Jordan Harbinger: And her and I really bonded really, really well right after that. I just made an extra effort, and she made an extra effort, and that was all it took. It was it. She was an amazing sort of second mom for a long time.
[00:27:14] You can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject line that makes our job a whole lot easier. If you're finding dead squirrels in your mailbox, you're dealing with the legacy of literal incest in your family, or you are blackmailed by a scammer who might make an impossible for you to travel abroad, whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up email@example.com. We're here to help, and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:27:39] Oh, another reminder, we relaunched the newsletter for the show. It's called Wee Bit Wiser. It's a bite-sized gem or two from a past episode from me to you delivered to your inbox once a week. If you want to stay connected to our huge library of past guests and ideas, come check it out. You can sign up at jordanharbinger.com/news.
[00:27:57] Okay, next up.
[00:27:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hello, Jordan and Gabe. I have a grown daughter who's seen a therapist once a week for over three years. She had a difficult childhood when I divorced her father. He used his suicidal tendencies to manipulate her into taking care of him emotionally. Saying that I was going to find her a new dad and that he would just disappear if she didn't want to see him. I didn't find out about this until years later, and I support her in seeking treatment to help her sort out her emotions. Since then, she's been able to set boundaries with the people in her life, including me, which is a good sign. She's recently graduated with her third master's degree and is a very skilled and thoughtful elementary school teacher. She has many friends and has maintained relationships with our extended family. I can see that she's successfully navigating her life. Recently, though, she broke up with her boyfriend of a few months. She was able to use her support group via friends and family but immediately set up an emergency therapy session. Even though she sees her therapist every week, she has her therapist's cell phone number, and it seems that she's able to contact her therapist whenever she wants.
[00:29:06] Jordan Harbinger: Hmm.
[00:29:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: I know you're both huge advocates of seeking therapy, and I agree with you. Therapy is useful for unwinding past trauma and learning tools to move forward in life. But is this a normal counseling relationship? Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit excessive? Is it possible to become addicted to therapy?
[00:29:26] Jordan Harbinger: Mm.
[00:29:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Signed, A Mom With Some Questions About These Additional Sessions.
[00:29:31] Jordan Harbinger: So this is a great question, and I really appreciate how respectful you're being about your daughter's journey while also acknowledging some legitimate questions you have about her treatment. There's a lot going on in this letter, so yeah, let's dive in.
[00:29:45] Of course, we wanted to run all of this by an expert, so we reached out to Dr. Erin Margolis, clinical psychologist and friend of the show.
[00:29:52] Soundbite: I'm also known to the people who know me the best as the f*cking doctor. [Dr. Ben Sobel - Analyze This]
[00:29:58] Jordan Harbinger: And Dr. Margolis confirmed immediately, yes, your daughter's relationship with her therapist sounds totally normal. In her view, it's absolutely appropriate to ask a therapist for additional support temporarily while you're dealing with an acute stressor, like say, breaking up with a partner. She also said that it's normal to be able to reach a therapist outside of session, depending on the type of therapist and therapy, of course. When we talk about Better Help, you can chat with your therapist and send them notes and stuff like that, so it seems pretty normal.
[00:30:26] Now, Dr. Margolis did say that if they're having full-on therapy sessions via text or talking for an hour on the phone outside of session or whatever, that could potentially be a question mark, but again, that depends on the therapist and type of therapy. For example, in DBT, which is Dialectical Behavior Therapy, there's often more contact between patients and therapists between sessions. It's part of the modality. NBD, no big deal, but we don't have enough information to know if that's what's happening here. It sounds like it isn't, and texting or calling a therapist for some quick support or to set up an additional session, it's just not inherently bad or inappropriate.
[00:31:01] But Dr. Margolis zeroed in on something very important here, which is your daughter has a unique history.
[00:31:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:31:08] Jordan Harbinger: It sounds like she had a very turbulent, confusing relationship with her father, to say the least. This tragic story, about her dad, l ook, it touches on loss, grief, confusing boundaries with a key male attachment figure.
[00:31:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:31:22] Jordan Harbinger: This is very intense and complicated stuff, and I'm sure it had a profound influence on her.
[00:31:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. This breakup. It's possible that it's not just a breakup, right? It could be activating other stuff for her that is more historical than just this one relationship.
[00:31:37] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. So imagine how difficult losing a relationship would be for somebody like your daughter who had all this crap with her dad.
[00:31:43] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm. Right.
[00:31:44] Jordan Harbinger: So as Dr. Margolis put it, it might be very therapeutic for her to have a therapist say, "Look, I'm available when you need me," that they're available to her more than 50 minutes or 45 minutes each week.
[00:31:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:31:56] Jordan Harbinger: I thought it was interesting when you said that therapy is useful for unwinding past trauma and learning tools to move forward in life. Look, that's absolutely true, of course, but it's also about more than that. It's about navigating the ups and downs of life. It's about exploring new questions and challenges that arise along the way. It's about investing in the relational aspect of therapy, the relationship between client and therapist, which is incredibly valuable. There's that crucial element of attachment, again, which is part of the reason that it's not unusual for people to be in therapy long-term, sometimes in and out over the course of their lives. So in Dr. Margolis' view, if your daughter's feeling comfortable enough to reach out to her therapist in a time of need, that's almost certainly a good sign.
[00:32:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: Also, let's remember that you are not in the room with your daughter in therapy. You don't know what she's talking about. You don't know what this breakup has brought up for her. What else might be going on in her life? You just don't know what she really needs therapeutically.
[00:32:54] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm. Yeah, she's probably complaining about you because you're a mom. No, I'm joking, but not joking. You really can't truly know whether she needs therapy or how often. It's not really up to you. Now, that said, it's also a therapist's job to set the boundaries to determine what's appropriate to work with a client, to decide when they're ready to be done with therapy.
[00:33:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:33:12] Jordan Harbinger: But again, their job, not your job. But look, this is an interesting question. Can somebody become addicted to therapy? I wondered that myself actually, when you brought it up and Dr. Margolis' take there was, "Addicted to therapy, eh? It might not be the best phrase. Maybe a better way to put it is hanging around in therapy when it's no longer useful." In her experience, therapy can become unhelpful when a patient has achieved all their therapy goals or doesn't have any more relevant symptoms to work on, and it's just kind of going to therapy to go to therapy. For example, if a patient who's severely depressed is using therapy as a reason to leave their house because they have no other activities, or if a patient has no friends and they're using therapy as their social hour.
[00:33:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:33:59] Jordan Harbinger: Or if going to therapy becomes its own type of avoidance, like a patient is too daunted by life to deal with it on their own and a sort of codependency develops between client and therapist. Those are some broad examples of when therapy probably isn't all that helpful anymore, or at least not helpful in ways that it should be helping.
[00:34:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:34:18] Jordan Harbinger: That's when a good, ethically appropriate, legit therapist should say to a client, "Hey, I'm happy to see you every week, but I'm wondering if our sessions are still helpful to you, so let's talk about that." But again, probably not the case with your daughter, and here you are still having these questions about her treatment. So Dr. Margolis felt the better question here might actually be, is there something about your daughter's therapy or her relationship with her therapist that's bringing up some interesting feelings for you? Not to be all like it's always about you or us, always about how messed up the question asker is, whatever.
[00:34:53] But for example, is there some fear or anxiety about what all this says about her childhood or her personality, or you as her mom? Does her seeing her therapist more often make you think that she struggles to cope with things on her own or that a person shouldn't rely on someone else this much? Or Gabriel, I'm also like, if my kids are in therapy, I'm like, God, was I really that bad of a parent? I mean, do you need to go all the time? Is this my fault? Maybe there's something there too.
[00:35:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, I think that's very normal.
[00:35:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:35:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: I think that's very common. But you know, another interesting question is, is there possibly an element of envy and or jealousy here?
[00:35:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:35:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: You know, maybe, about no longer being her primary source of support and knowing that her daughter now turns to her therapist first instead of her.
[00:35:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I could see that.
[00:35:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: We'll let you decide if any of this fits. And look, I'm asking this just zero judgment. All these feelings again are completely normal. I'm just appreciating what might be happening on your side of the equation. I also thought it was interesting that one of the things your daughter has learned in therapy is how to draw boundaries, you said, including with you, which you said is a good sign. That implies that there was probably a time when those boundaries were not as well defined.
[00:35:59] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:35:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which, alongside the dad stuff, also paints a picture of maybe some messy lines in this family. And look, I love that you're supportive of her separating more. I think that's great, but I also wonder if that's been a little distressing to you in some other ways and worrying about whether your daughter's doing too much therapy. I know it comes from a good place, but that might also be a way to cross one of those boundaries again under the guise of care and concern.
[00:36:28] Jordan Harbinger: Right. As opposed to letting her adult daughter determine what's best for herself.
[00:36:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:32] Jordan Harbinger: And support her in that without weighing in too much about whether it's excessive or legit.
[00:36:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, if it's true that she feels it's good that she's setting boundaries with her, then it would be a little over steppy to weigh in on her relationship with her therapist.
[00:36:46] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:36:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: But again, it sounds like you're not doing any of this with her. You're privately asking us, privately asking us on a podcast that a lot of people listen to, but—
[00:36:53] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:36:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: Which I appreciate. I'm not dragging you for like having these questions, just noticing that having these questions in the first place might be an early stage in intervening in your daughter's life, if only in your head. So our take here, this is a really great opportunity to reflect a little bit more about what's so concerning to you about your daughter's therapy. What her needs bring up for you?
[00:37:18] Dr. Margolis' general insight here was, yeah, trust your daughter. Unless you're seeing something really egregious and worrisome, like, I don't know, she's coming home after every session crying about how mean her therapist is, or she's turning against you in a way that doesn't feel like healthy separation. Maybe something that feels more like manipulation or control or—
[00:37:38] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:37:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: —she's developing other problematic behaviors. She's getting worse overall. Short of you making observations like that, I would pull back and allow her to be in therapy as much as she feels she needs right now. She's going through something unusually intense, especially for her, and in all likelihood, she just needs some additional connection and some additional support to do her work. Your questions are not bad ones, and I'm very confident that they come from a place of genuine caring, and there might be some other meaningful stuff of your own in the mix, which is your work.
[00:38:08] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I agree with that. So go do that and trust that looking after yourselves individually right now is probably the best way to maintain this much healthier relationship you guys have developed over the years. And hey, might not be the worst idea to consider going to therapy yourself if you're open to it. I have a feeling that bringing questions like this into your own session would be very fruitful. But hey, maybe I'm the one overstepping now.
[00:38:32] Speaking of overstepping, go support the products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:38:39] This episode is sponsored in part by NetSuite. Do you have a business that generates millions in revenue? Then, you're going to want to pay attention because NetSuite by Oracle has rolled out the best offer they've ever had. As a business owner, I know firsthand that managing disparate systems will hinder growth and efficiency. If your accounting system doesn't talk to your CRM, it doesn't talk to your sales, your customer relationships, et cetera, et cetera, it becomes challenging to get a clear picture of your overall business performance. NetSuite, which we used, I've used before, is absolutely amazing. It's a cloud-based platform that can bring your financials, inventory, sales, customer relations, all into a single unified platform. So you can see your entire business more clearly. NetSuite can help you identify bottlenecks, find new opportunities, reduce all the manual processes that are probably taking up hours every single week, boost efficiency, build forecast, increase productivity across every department. That is why they're number one. And for the first time in NetSuite's 22 years as the number one cloud financial system, you can defer payments on a full NetSuite implementation for six months. 33,000 companies have already upgraded to NetSuite, gaining visibility and control over their financials, inventory, HR, e-commerce, and more.
[00:39:46] Jen Harbinger: If you've been sizing NetSuite up to make this switch, then you know this deal is unprecedented, no interest, no payments. Take advantage of the special financing offer at netsuite.com/jordan, netsuite.com/jordan, to get the visibility and control you need to weather any storm, netsuite.com/jordan.
[00:40:05] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. So we used to travel a lot for podcast interviews and conferences, and we love staying in Airbnbs because we often meet interesting people. And the stays are just more unique and fun. One of our favorite places to stay at in LA is with a sweet older couple whose kids been moved out. They have a granny flat in their backyard. We used to stay there all the time. We were regulars, always booking their Airbnb when we flew down for interviews. And we loved it because they'd leave a basket of snacks, sometimes a bottle of wine, even a little note for us. And they would leave us freshly baked banana bread because they knew that I liked it. And they even became listeners of this podcast, which is how they knew about the banana bread. So after our house was built, we decided to become hosts ourselves, turning one of our spare bedrooms into an Airbnb. Maybe you've stayed in an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Hey, if this seems pretty doable, maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. You could be sitting on an Airbnb and not even know it. Perhaps you get a fantastic vacation plan for the balmy days of summer. As you're out there soaking up the sun and making memories, your house doesn't need to sit idle, turn it into an Airbnb, let it be a vacation home for somebody else. And picture this, your little one isn't so little anymore. If they're headed off to college this fall, the echo in their now empty bedroom might be a little too much to bear. So whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills or something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
[00:41:28] If you liked this episode of Feedback Friday and found our advice valuable, I invite you to do what other smart and considerate listeners do, which is take a moment and support our amazing sponsors. All of the deals, discount codes and ways to support the show are at jordanharbinger.com/deals, and you can always search for any sponsor using the AI chatbot on the website as well. That's been super useful and super cool. Thank you so much for supporting those who support the show.
[00:41:53] Now, back to Feedback Friday.
[00:41:57] Okay, what's next?
[00:41:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, for the last five years of my marriage, I was unemployed, weighed almost 500 pounds—
[00:42:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow.
[00:42:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: —was depressed and had to move back in with my parents. As you can imagine, this caused extreme stress on my relationship, and I ended up asking for the divorce after one of our big fights. I had gotten it into my head that ending, the relationship was going to fix my life. That, of course, was not the case, and it took me a long time after the relationship ended to get myself back together. In the three years since I've had intensive and very fruitful therapy, I got diagnosed as both autistic and ADHD, and I got put on testosterone replacement therapy because, as my physician put it, I had the lowest level I have ever seen in a man your age. I've lost close to 280 pounds without surgery.
[00:42:47] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:42:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: And I am preparing to go through skin removal surgery soon. I got my work life back on track even moving up from where I was. I've helped start two businesses, which so far are looking to be successful. One of the major things my therapist and I have focused on is feeling my feelings. My default when faced with uncomfortable feelings has always been to dissociate or compartmentalize them. I had a real issue with going cold. I have worked very hard to force myself to face situations in a more compassionate manner and to really take the time to feel my way through things.
[00:43:21] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. I just need to stop here and say, this is amazing. You are killing the self-improvement game right now.
[00:43:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes.
[00:43:28] Jordan Harbinger: What a journey you've been on. I know how hard it is to lose even like 30 pounds, 40 pounds. Losing 280 pounds without surgery is just your mindset is just pure steel. Throwing yourself into therapy, seeking medical help, losing a massive amount of weight, reinvigorating your career, starting two successful companies, and on top of all that, learning how to probably do the hardest thing for most of us, certainly for you, which is feeling the feels and not turning away from your life. So my goodness, man, you are an inspiration, and I'm very proud of you. Gabe, carry on. Let's get to the disastrous part that I assume is coming.
[00:44:03] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah. Let's see where this goes. So—
[00:44:04] Jordan Harbinger: Everyone's waiting. They're like, okay, when does this life fall apart and get worse?
[00:44:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Okay. Enough with the hugs. Exactly.
[00:44:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:44:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: All right. He goes on.
[00:44:12] Looking back on these last five years, I now feel a profound sense of guilt.
[00:44:17] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:44:17] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't blame myself for being depressed, but I do blame myself for not getting the help I needed sooner. My ex-wife encouraged me to get help, but I was just comfortable enough living off of my parents and wife's income to do anything about it. Also, I ended up abandoning a woman who stuck with me when I was at my worst, and I feel like I stole five years from her.
[00:44:37] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:44:38] Gabriel Mizrahi: I now have more money than I've ever had, and the thought keeps coming up that I should give some of it to my ex. We've had no relationship this whole time, but she's working hard and putting herself through grad school, and I know a large injection of funds would help her out. Is that crazy? Would trying to give her money look weird? Am I trying to put myself back into her life where it's abundantly clear and understandable that I'm no longer wanted? Is there a way to give somebody 50 to 100 thousand dollars anonymously? Signed, Making Things Right With My Hard Done Ex-Wife By Keeping My Pockets Light.
[00:45:15] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Okay. So basically, do I pay reparations to my ex-wife for being a total mess and relying on her and wasting her time for five years and then bailing?
[00:45:24] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:45:24] Jordan Harbinger: Such an interesting question. And again, I have to say your self-awareness and your humility here are kind of off the charts, and they're making it very easy to help you because you've done so much work already and I feel comfortable being very direct with you because of that.
[00:45:40] So here it goes. Is it crazy to want to give your ex-wife this money, especially at a time when she could really use it? No, I don't think it's inherently crazy. You're certainly allowed to, it's your money and you might be right. It might make a huge difference in her life. What you need to do in take a moment and really think about is what are your reasons for doing this.
[00:46:01] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:46:01] Jordan Harbinger: What are your motivations? It's obvious that your primary motivation here is alleviating your guilt. I think that's normal. It's somewhat appropriate. It probably speaks to your empathy and how much bigger your heart has become over the last few years. Also, there's a practical element to this. You partially lived off your wife's income when you weren't healthy, and now you're in a very different place. And on some level, giving her this money might feel like the ethically right thing to do. And again, through a certain lens it might be, but through another lens, I'm not totally sure. This impulse to make things right with your wife through the money, I think it glosses over some important nuances to your marriage.
[00:46:40] Because I think what's getting lost here a little bit is your wife's role in all of this. And yes, based on what you've shared, you were not an easy husband. You sat back, you maybe took advantage of these comforts. You didn't seek treatment sooner, even though she wanted you to. You left her when she stuck with you through the worst. You feel like you stole five years from her. I'm not going to argue that. And again, I really appreciate how much accountability you're taking for your life and your actions. It's also true that your wife chose to stay with you.
[00:47:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:12] Jordan Harbinger: And to help support you and tolerate your unhealthy choices and to engage in these big blowout fights that you guys would have. We don't know how she was behaving in your marriage, how she was showing up. Maybe she was a total angel, but it's also possible that she brought her own dysfunction or challenges to the marriage that she had her own issues to work through. You might have been the hot mess, but at a minimum, she put up with that hot mess, maybe for noble reasons, or maybe for more complicated ones, and that was her choice. What I'm getting at here is there were two people in this marriage, and when you describe this guilt, I hear a guy who's very in touch with his role in all this but who might be overlooking or discounting his wife's willingness and responsibility in sticking around.
[00:48:00] Gabe, I don't know about you, but for me, that complicates the picture here a little bit in terms of the guilt. Does this make sense? Do you see what I mean?
[00:48:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, yes, yes. So you're saying that his guilt is a little simplistic?
[00:48:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:10] Gabriel Mizrahi: Maybe a little monolithic, like he's not accounting for some other stuff.
[00:48:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Monolithic is not a word I would ever use in my daily life, but it's not wrong or inappropriate. It just might have some more contours than he appreciates.
[00:48:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, yeah. Contours that might, by making room for his wife's responsibility on all this, soften the guilt a little bit on its own.
[00:48:28] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You know how sometimes you idealize your ex-girlfriend, and they're like, there were so great, and then you realize you're just doing that because you feel alone in the moment. I feel like almost, this is sort of the same thing, like, oh, she was so great and I was so bad. And it's like, well wait a minute. If you really examine everything, "I was the most bad. But she also did these other things that didn't really help either and enabled everything."
[00:48:48] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:48:48] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Soften the guilt, maybe lessens the pressure he feels to pay her this money, yeah, if he really sort of had it all laid out, all the cards were actually on the table.
[00:48:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: He's going, this is all on me. I'm the a-h*le.
[00:48:59] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:59] Gabriel Mizrahi: "I'm the messed up one. I did all these terrible things and the only way to make things right is to zeal her a hundred grand."
[00:49:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:49:06] Gabriel Mizrahi: But it might be more accurate to say, "I did a lot of damage. I was unhealthy, I was avoiding a lot of stuff. And my wife chose to be married to me, and she had her stuff too. Maybe me more than her, but yes, there were two of us there. And is it really up to me to fix this whole story with this money?"
[00:49:24] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly.
[00:49:25] Gabriel Mizrahi: And so yeah, maybe it's 50 grand, not a hundred grand. I don't know.
[00:49:28] Jordan Harbinger: I'm willing to pay for half your tuition because you were at least 50 percent of the problem.
[00:49:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:49:32] Jordan Harbinger: Exactly. Yeah, we could just calculate the damage, like a class action lawsuit. Just what is the price for five years of arguing and terrible sex in your mom's basement?
[00:49:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: I don't know, 35, 40 grand tops. I don't know, but I, yeah, I see your point. He has some work to do in exploring this guilt some more because I think right now he's in touch with the surface of that guilt and he's being, like you said, very evolved and taking responsibility. But he might also be over-correcting here a little bit. He's grown so much by confronting himself directly, but maybe in the process of doing that, he's lost sight of how other people play a role in his life.
[00:50:07] And also, maybe there's a self-esteem component that says, "I am not worthy of other people's commitment or love or help, and I messed it up, so it must be on me to make up for it and even the scales." I also think we need to acknowledge another big piece here, which is what are his expectations for this money. He's hoping that cutting her a check will help reduce the guilt. To your point, Jordan, he might not need to give her the money to ease that burden, but my question is, does he know for sure that giving her this money will ease the guilt?
[00:50:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a fair question. Is he placing all his hopes on this money, solving the problem for him? And I understand the impulse to just sort of be like, "I'm rich now. Let me solve this with money." I get it.
[00:50:46] Gabriel Mizrahi: He's made this mistake before, right? When he was married, he had gotten it into his head that ending the relationship was going to fix his life.
[00:50:53] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:50:53] Gabriel Mizrahi: And then he found out, "Oh, wow, that didn't work. And I have to go off and do all this work to get better. So part of me wonders is something similar happening with the money.
[00:51:01] Jordan Harbinger: Ah.
[00:51:02] Gabriel Mizrahi: Is he hoping that the second the transfer goes through, a weight will magically be lifted from his shoulders? Or is it possible that the guilt is going to remain to some degree? The money doesn't change the facts of their marriage and might even make them worse because then he'll have given her this money, and he'll still feel guilty, and he'll feel like this one big strategy failed and he parted ways with his money, and he's still trying to make things right with his wife.
[00:51:27] Jordan Harbinger: I think that's a crucial question for him to ask himself right now, absolutely.
[00:51:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Because we also don't know how she'll respond to this offer.
[00:51:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's kind of what I was about to say because he could offer her the money and she might go, "Wow, thank you. This is huge for me." Or she might go, "Uh, no, screw you. I don't want your dirty money after what you did." Or she might go, "That's really sweet and I want to accept it, but it makes me completely uncomfortable, and it's not going to change the fact that you're a total a-h*le that ruined my life for a really long time."
[00:51:55] Gabriel Mizrahi: And like he said, is he trying to wiggle his way back into her life when it's abundantly clear that he's not wanted?
[00:52:01] Jordan Harbinger: Right. I think that's another possible motivation he needs to really sit with. Because if I was really making amend, I would say, "I want to give her this money, and then I can move on." But he's like, "Am I secretly trying to worm my way?"
[00:52:13] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:52:13] Jordan Harbinger: It's like, well, interesting that you came up with that because—
[00:52:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Correct.
[00:52:16] Jordan Harbinger: Are you trying to do that? Because if you're not, that probably wouldn't have even occurred to you.
[00:52:21] Gabriel Mizrahi: The fact that he's asking, it makes me think that there's at least some part of him that wants back in.
[00:52:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right. This is like the grand gesture where she's like, "Oh, thank you. This makes up for it. And also I've missed you so much and look at how different you are." My take on that is whether you guys should get back together or not, whether your ex ultimately wants that or not, I would just put that aside for now and make sure that this offer is not tainted by some other agenda to worm your way back into her life, which I secretly suspect that it is. And that means being very clear about what strings you might be attaching to this money, invisible ones that you might not even see, including the string of, "I need you to be nice to me and put up with me now that I'm funding your master's degree. Or you have to answer my text messages because it makes me feel less guilty."
[00:53:05] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:53:05] Jordan Harbinger: Because that's where this offer could become manipulative. Yeah.
[00:53:08] Gabriel Mizrahi: Agreed. I also think that if he goes through with this, he should make it a true offer. Meaning he should write her a letter or give her a call and say, "Listen, I've given this a lot of thought. I know you're working hard to put yourself through school. I'm in a much better place now. I would love to help you out because I support you and I appreciate you. And yes, I also would love to make things right. How would you feel about that? Would that be helpful to you? Would that be welcome?" And let her decide because if he goes ahead and makes a wire transfer without telling her, that could send a certain signal or violate an important boundary between them post-divorce, especially since she's made it clear that she really doesn't want to have any contact with him.
[00:53:44] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I could not agree more, Gabe. So the bottom line, there's more for you to know about your feelings about this offer, about what you're hoping to achieve here, and I really encourage you to dig into that. There's no rush here. Take a few months, bring this into therapy. Figure out the nuances of the guilt, the sense of responsibility, why money seems to be the answer. We can't tell you what to do, of course. There's a world where this money is a beautiful gift and a way to close the circle with your ex-wife in a really touching way. Or who knows? Maybe to create a friendship with her now that you're in such a different place. But there's also a world where this money would not be welcome. It won't solve your problems, or where it's tainted with other interests that only create new problems, and that's what you have to figure out.
[00:54:25] But again, super proud of how far you've come. You are so well-equipped to think through this and make the right call, and I know that you will. So good luck and once again, Congratulations, man. You lost more than 50 percent of your weight. Isn't that freaking crazy to even think about?
[00:54:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Wild. Wild.
[00:54:41] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. All right, what's next?
[00:54:44] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hi, Jordan and Gabe. I've been a registered nurse for 25 years in a variety of areas, and when the pandemic started, my staff was responsible for managing our employees with COVID or suspected COVID. I was working 10 to 12-hour days, seven days a week. It was our job to educate and help the frontline staff conserve their masks and keep themselves safe when resources were very scarce. Now, that the pandemic has been declared over, I'm finding myself unsure how to navigate the world again. For example, before the pandemic, I volunteered for an equine therapy organization as an equine specialist, but since I became unavailable, I was replaced, and now they don't have a place for me. It feels as though I've had my head down plowing through the last three years, and I'm just now picking it up again. It feels like everyone around me moved on, and I was left behind to try and figure out my place in the world. I spoke to a therapist. It helped some, but I still feel like an outsider. How would you deal with this feeling? Or is everything fine, and I just need to move on? Signed, An Unmoored Nurse Looking For Her Place in the Universe.
[00:55:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I think what you're describing here is something so many people feel, myself included, sometimes this feeling that the pandemic distorted time and space, it removed a lot of the familiar structures and markers that made our lives make sense.
[00:56:09] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mmm.
[00:56:09] Jordan Harbinger: But that's especially true of frontline workers, doctors, nurses in particular. I can't tell you how many emails we get from nurses even still saying they are totally tapped out. They're still low-key traumatized by the Panny-D. The system is broken, they're quitting. You guys got hit exceptionally hard, which really sucks. This chapter was incredibly intense. And so all the feelings you're describing make perfect sense, especially this feeling of, "Hey, I had my head down trying to get through the last three years. Now I look up, the world has changed. I feel like I don't have a place." So yeah, there's no simple answer to your question. And actually, I think you might still be feeling it even if the pandemic had not been so hard because that's kind of how life works for everyone. It ebbs, it flows, it gets hard, it gets easier. Opportunities pop up. They go away. Situations evolve. This change, it's not a part of life. It is life. But I think this is especially heightened for you because your job forced you to go into survival mode, have tunnel vision, and now you're looking up and around again for the first time in a while. And that's going to be disorienting.
[00:57:12] Gabriel Mizrahi: Disorienting and also a little sad. Like I sense that she's quite sad from this letter.
[00:57:17] Jordan Harbinger: I sense that too. She's still kind of mourning this old life that she had, and it's appropriate to do that.
[00:57:22] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:57:23] Jordan Harbinger: Maybe that's another thing she lost in the pandemic. The time to sit with everything that was changing as it was happening. And so now, she's kind of catching up to how much she's lost.
[00:57:31] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah.
[00:57:31] Jordan Harbinger: Which would be really hard.
[00:57:32] Gabriel Mizrahi: Really hard. And yeah, totally normal.
[00:57:34] Jordan Harbinger: And necessary and healthy. And in that grief is sadness and probably some anger at the pandemic at the system that she works in, which was totally messed up by all accounts, and some fear because everything feels unfamiliar now.
[00:57:47] So my main thought for you is, first of all, let yourself go through this period that you're going through. Don't fight the feelings too much. They're doing their thing. And while you do that, I would start seeking out some of these experiences that, you know, give you meaning, treat it like a little game. Somewhere out there is a volunteer position, or a class, or a hobby, or a new friendship. And you just haven't found it yet. They haven't found you yet. You clearly have a lot to offer, and I know for a fact that tons of organizations would love to have a nurse with 25 years of experience on their staff. Or that there are other worlds for you to explore outside of these fields.
[00:58:23] I also wonder, frankly, when's the last time you had a vacation or even a sabbatical to go work somewhere else, like a hospital ship or overseas doing something? And yes, this is partly escapism, but maybe a good change of pace is just what you need. Maybe you do need to work in a little village that treats kids and just slow down for a few months. I don't know. My larger idea here is I think you're clinging to what life looked like before, and you're disappointed and a little unmoored that it doesn't look like that anymore.
[00:58:52] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:53] Jordan Harbinger: And again, totally normal. But I also imagine that mindset is making it hard for you to imagine new possibilities or to create new opportunities for yourself or reach out to new people, or to just be open to what, I don't know, magically comes along and treat your life as a process and an adventure, which is what it is, rather than as a fixed picture that you need to recreate and rebuild. Otherwise, you'll feel lost.
[00:59:16] This is all reminding me of separating from my previous show and business.
[00:59:19] Gabriel Mizrahi: Mm-hmm.
[00:59:20] Jordan Harbinger: I was like, I need to run events like we did, and I need to sell products like we did, and I need to do this and it. And it was like, imagine a world in which you don't have to do all the crap you didn't like doing before, and it was scary to do that. It almost felt impossible. It did feel impossible.
[00:59:34] Gabriel Mizrahi: It's scary to reinvent yourself and step into a whole new version of your life when what you really want is to go back to what it was before.
[00:59:40] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:59:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: I agree. I'm also very interested in this feeling of being lost because I think that's a universally terrifying feeling for most people, to your point, Jordan. But it's extra hard because everybody else in her life seems to have moved on, which by the way, I would be very curious to know if that's actually true. I think everybody feels pretty shaken up by the last three years, even if they're not really talking about it that much anymore. But here she is and she's trying to figure this out, and she feels like an outsider.
[01:00:05] Jordan Harbinger: That outsider thing is also very meaningful, and I'm sure that speaks to this singular experience she's had as a nurse in the pandemic. But I'd also venture to guess that other thoughts are creating that sense of being an outsider, including maybe that her needs are different from other people, or that she's facing challenges that they are not facing, or that she really is alone in navigating this new chapter, which he definitely isn't.
[01:00:30] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right. All of which I understand, but I think those feelings get more intense. The more you clinging to the past and less intense, the more you engage with life and seek out new experiences.
[01:00:39] Jordan Harbinger: I agree with that. And so no, our answer is not everything's fine. You just need to move on. Everything isn't fine. You're a nurse, you know that. And just moving on is not going to make the feelings go away, but working with the feelings, letting them work themselves out while also putting them to good use by seeking out people and experiences that give you meaning and joy and connection, I think that's going to be the name of the game. And some days that might just mean talking about how you feel with somebody you trust, like a friend, your therapist, a colleague, whatever. On other days, it might mean sending emails to two or three animal therapy organizations saying, "Hey, I've done this work before. I love your organization. I'd be thrilled to volunteer. Could you use somebody like me?" And just see what the world sends back your way. That's all you got to do, and that's all any of us have to do, accept and then act in that order.
[01:01:29] Sending you a big hug and all of our confidence that a new chapter is going to open up for you slash already is, even if you can't see it quite yet. And just so you know, everyone listening right now is nodding along and thinking, "Crap. I'm glad that's not just me." We're all weirded out and confused. This is a weird time. Coming out of a pandemic, pandemic over or not is just a bizarre time warp for me. I had kids during that, so that's been double weird. But you know, bizarre doesn't have to be bad.
[01:01:57] Hope y'all enjoyed the show. I want to thank everybody who wrote in and everybody who listened. Thank you so much. Don't forget to check out the episodes with Bradley Schurman on population and demographic decline and Mitchell Prothero on the rising tide of cocaine and violent organized crime in Europe. We also had our Skeptical Sunday on fast fashion. Again, just all sunshine and rainbows this week.
[01:02:16] The best things that have happened in my life in business have always come through my network and the circle of people that I know and trust, and I'm teaching you how to do the same thing for yourself in our Six-Minute Networking course. The course is free. It's not gross, it's not schmoozy. You can find it on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. The drills take a few minutes a day. I wish I knew this stuff 20 years ago, teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty and build relationships before you need them in ways that don't make you look like an a-h*le. You can find it all at jordanharbinger.com/course.
[01:02:47] Show notes and firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertisers, deals, discounts, and ways to support the show, all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Or ask our AI chatbot at jordanharbinger.com/ai. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn, and you can find Gabe on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi, or on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi.
[01:03:11] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show.
[01:03:27] Dr. Margolis' input is general psychological information based on research and clinical experience. It's intended to be general and informational in nature. It does not represent or indicate an established clinical or professional relationship with those inquiring for guidance. Dr. Margolis is seeing patients in Los Angeles and virtually throughout California. You can learn more about her and her approach at drerinmargolis.com.
[01:03:50] Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. And if you found the episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice we gave here today. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you learned, and we'll see you next time.
[01:04:06] Here's what you should check out next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:04:09] AJ Jacobs: What I tried to do was thank a thousand people who had even the smallest role in making my cup of coffee possible.
[01:04:17] Jordan Harbinger: A thousand people? You go, "Oh, that's not a lot." That's a lot.
[01:04:21] AJ Jacobs: Oh my God. It was a lot.
[01:04:23] Jordan Harbinger: A hundred people would be a tedious process.
[01:04:25] AJ Jacobs: No, it was way more than I intended.
[01:04:27] Jordan Harbinger: 10 times that many.
[01:04:29] AJ Jacobs: Everything we do requires hundreds, thousands of interconnected people and that we take for granted. And just making this mental switch, just from a selfish point of view, is very good because it really does help you appreciate the hundreds of things that go right every day instead of focusing on the three or four that go wrong.
[01:04:50] There's a great quote, I wish I'd come up with it myself, but it says, "It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting." So I had to fake it for a long time. You know, I would wake up in a grumpy mood, but I'd be like, "I have to spend an hour calling or visiting people and thanking them."
[01:05:12] Jordan Harbinger: And I'm not in the mood to do that right now.
[01:05:13] AJ Jacobs: No. So it was like acting. It was like method acting, and I would force myself to do it. But I'll tell you, by the end of that hour, your mind, you know, the cognitive dissonance is too much. Your mind will switch over to gratefulness. There's a great quote that happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness. Having that mindset really will make you happier.
[01:05:38] Jordan Harbinger: For more with AJ Jacobs and his fascinating journey to thank everyone involved in his cup of morning coffee and an inside look at just how complex the supply chain of our lives really is, check out episode 174 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:05:55] Paula Barros: Hi, Cold Case Files fans. We have some exciting news for you. Brand new episodes of Cold Case Files are dropping in your feed. And I'm your new host, Paula Barros. I'm a Cold Case Files super fan, true crime aficionado. And I love telling stories with unbelievable twists and turns. And this season of cold case files has all of that and more.
[01:06:16] Male 1: I want to die.
[01:06:18] Male 2: You don't want to die.
[01:06:19] Male 1: I want to die.
[01:06:20] Paula Barros: Her cause of death was strangulation.
[01:06:22] Male 3: Lying face down on the bed.
[01:06:23] Male 5: She was in a pretty advanced state of decomposition.
[01:06:26] Male 6: A little bit of bloody froth had come from Deborah's mouth.
[01:06:29] Male 7: He panicked and decided he was getting rid of the body.
[01:06:31] Female 1: I saw danger in everything.
[01:06:33] Paula Barros: So get ready. You don't want to miss what this season has in store. New episodes of Cold Case Files drop every Tuesday. Subscribe to Cold Case files wherever you listen to podcasts.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.