Your fiancée knows her weed habit triggers your own addictive tendencies, but keeps it in her daily routine anyway. Now she’s giving you flak for your recent lapse in sobriety, and this is making you wonder if getting married next month is really the best move for both of you. What should you do? We’ll try to find an answer to this and more here on 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:
- Should you proceed with the marriage next month when your fiancée refuses to quit her weed habit even when she knows it triggers your own addictive tendencies?
- Your mother’s always fawned over babies, but expresses indifference once they get older. As a result, you feel like you were neglected through most of your childhood and never fully developed. Now, at age 30, you’ve discovered you were conceived via a sperm donor, and suddenly the dots connect. How should you approach your mother about this?
- Your international long-distance relationship of several years was disrupted by COVID. And even though you’ve both agreed to date other people, you still hold onto hope that you might someday be able to work things out and resume a life together. Is this at all realistic, or is it just time to move on?
- You don’t mind having a reputation for being nice, but it seems to be a green light for some people to habitually take advantage of you. How can you find the right balance between kindness and assertiveness?
- This past year, you’ve been surrounded with reminders of the impending death of loved ones, and what’s to come once they’re gone. How do you stop planning for the inevitable and start enjoying the time you have with those close to you while you still can?
- 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.
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Miss the interview we did with sleep doctor Matthew Walker? Catch up with episode 126: Matthew Walker | Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams here!
Resources from This Episode:
- Martin Kove | Kicking It in the Cobra Kai Dojo | Jordan Harbinger
- Daniel Levin | How to Find a Missing Person in the Middle East | Jordan Harbinger
- Six Powerful Positives Provided by the Pandemic | Jordan Harbinger
- The Sunk Cost Fallacy | The Decision Lab
- Share Your Experience | We Are Donor Conceived
- Like Crazy | Prime Video
- The Great Resignation Looks More like the Great Renegotiation | Planet Money, NPR
- The Tail End | Wait But Why
618: Prescription for Friction: Marry into Addiction | Feedback Friday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to Feedback Friday. I'm your host Jordan Harbinger. As always, I'm here with Feedback Friday producer, the Brian to my Stewie, Gabriel Mizrahi. 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. We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave. And our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker. So you can get a much deeper understanding of how the world works and make sense of what's really happening even inside your own mind.
[00:00:37] If you're new to the show on Fridays, we give advice. We answer listener questions. The rest of the week, we have long-form interviews and conversations with a variety of amazing folks from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers.
[00:00:50] This week we had Daniel Levin. Gabriel, this guy was super interesting. So he runs a nonprofit organization. That happens to work in the Middle East. And so he's the guy that people go to when someone goes missing in Syria, because he's kind of one of the only people with connections there. And as you might guess by his last name, he's Jewish. So he works with like all of these, kind of crazy human trafficker people and spies, but he's just like this chill Jewish guy who happens to work in an NGO. And he's extremely sharp and skilled, like very used to high stakes thinking in situations. I love this episode. It kind of came out of nowhere. A listener recommended it, and I'm excited for everyone to hear it if you haven't yet.
[00:01:32] Gabe and I also did a deep dive this week on how to get your foot in the door with a prospective employer, a new partner, a potential client. Exploring some great principles for sussing out other people's true needs and drawing on the approaches and techniques that we've seen work well in the past, including stuff that works on us.
[00:01:49] I also write every so often on the blog, my latest post, positives to take with you out of the pandemic. This one's all about the unexpected benefits and hidden gifts of the last two years. So we all kind of know the pandemic was super stressful. It still is. Scary, uncertain, no doubt about that but Gabe and I were just talking recently and realized there's just a ton of new insights and habits and realizations that we really only found during this lockdown period. And we're determined to take these insights with us into the rest of our lives. So that's what this article is about. The upsides of the pandemic, how you can harness those positives to make your life happier, more connected, more meaningful. And you can find that article and all of our articles at jordanharbinger.com/articles.
[00:02:32] As always, we've got some great questions this week. You know, just saying all that, it reminded me of just how much we create every single week. Gabe, I'm like, "That's a lot of stuff, man."
[00:02:41] Gabriel Mizrahi: There it is.
[00:02:41] Jordan Harbinger: And it's all good. I think, I mean, look I'm if I do say so myself, a lot of it is kind of golden. I like it.
[00:02:47] Gabriel Mizrahi: Really good. And it's all for you.
[00:02:48] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. It's all for you.
[00:02:49] All right. What's the first thing out of the mailbag?
[00:02:51] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, I've recently become engaged to the love of my life. We're getting married next month, but I'm beginning to have serious problems with our drug addiction. I'm an ex-addict to Adderall and it all started with weed. When I'm around weed, it makes me want more of it and it puts me in a terrible situation. I've asked my fiancée numerous times to stop smoking, but she keeps doing it and bringing the smell around me. Finally, I slipped up and took a pill and now she's very upset with me. My fiancée doesn't realize that she's hurting me. I've lost all hope. So what should I do? Signed, Going Through a Trial As We Walked Down the Aisle.
[00:03:29] Jordan Harbinger: Oh boy, first of all, I'm so sorry that you're wrestling with this addiction. I'm sorry that your girlfriend isn't being very thoughtful about it from the sound of it. And according to you, she's an addict herself. And look, we only have your letter, but it certainly sounds that way. It sucks that you relapsed and then she got mad at you. Although maybe she had some reason to be mad if she thought that you were firmly back on the wagon. Then again, it's kind of the pot calling the kettle black — see what I did there? Dad jokes—
[00:03:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Very nice.
[00:03:59] Jordan Harbinger: —for all-day dad jokes, all day. I wonder—
[00:04:00] Gabriel Mizrahi: I mean, that was like top-shelf dad joke right there.
[00:04:02] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. Which is always the bottom shelf, I suppose. I wonder if there's some projection or displacement happening here, right? Like in any event, it sounds like she's not considering how her weed use is affecting your sobriety or your experience in the relationship for that matter.
[00:04:17] So look, I'm just going to go into Uncle Jordan mode here and be very blunt with you. You have an addiction, your girlfriend is using a substance that clearly triggers that addiction. According to you, she's addicted herself. You guys don't seem to be communicating very well about any of this. You just went back to the addy. Now, you got a problem with that. And now the situation is so bleak that to use your words, you've lost all hope.
[00:04:42] So, given that, I got to ask you, man. Why are you getting married? I know that might seem like a cruel question. I'm not trying to make light of this, but somebody's got to ask it. Your email is full of red flags, whatever you and your fiancée are struggling with independently, whatever's happening between the two of you together, whatever you guys aren't talking. All of that is definitely going to become a problem in your marriage. It will create serious dysfunction down the line. I mean, it's already creating serious dysfunction and you guys aren't even married yet. So my advice and it's pretty simple is to figure this sh*t out now.
[00:05:20] If this were me, there is no way I'd be getting engaged like this. You guys are slapping a Band-Aid on a bullet hole. And I'm not saying this woman isn't the love of your life. I'm not saying there's no way you can be together in the future. But you both have a lot of work to do before you're in a place to have a happy, healthy, supportive marriage.
[00:05:39] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ugh, well said, Jordan. I completely agree. I mean, I'm sitting here having the exact same reaction to this letter. Like, why are you getting married when you have these issues to work through? Like, why are you doing that when you have to do this work? So, what is that work? Well for starters, addiction treatment of some kind for both of you, inpatient, outpatient, that's up to you, but at a minimum, definitely attending NA meetings, coming up with a solid plan to get sober and stay sober. You need to figure out this addy addiction, my man.
[00:06:10] Why this drug has such a hold on you? What's going on in your past and maybe in your life now that's making you want to keep using, including your girlfriend's behavior? And she needs to figure out if her weed use is actually an addiction or maybe just an unfortunate habit. It's kind of hard to tell from the letter. I'm going to take your word for it, that she has a bit of a problem. It's clearly a spectrum, but that's another thing to deal with. And also whether you two can function in a relationship where she is using the very drug that activates you. This is non-negotiable, in my opinion. I just don't see how you guys can move forward in a healthy way if you're not on the same page about the substance use.
[00:06:46] The other thing I would really encourage you to do is go to therapy. Working with a therapist. That would be a huge asset in your recovery, but it also helps you unpack this hopelessness that you feel. I would also strongly consider going to couples counseling with your fiancée. You guys have a lot to get off your chest, a ton of stuff to sort through. It sounds like to Jordan's point that you're not exactly communicating about it. That's really what couples therapy is for you guys need a place where you can look at these problems and decide what kind of future you want to have. And I would start that conversation with this huge thing that you shared with us, which is, "She doesn't realize she's hurting me. I've lost all hope."
[00:07:21] I mean, Jordan, those two sentences right there contained so much information about the two of them. So yeah, I would get to talking ASAP.
[00:07:29] Jordan Harbinger: Man, if I felt like my fiancée, were hurting me and I'd run out of hope, the last thing I'd want to do is get married. That's like the worst pre-wedding vibe ever. Plus how do you even write your vows? How do you enjoy the party? It's like, there's this huge storm cloud hanging over them and they're trying to plan a freaking parade. Like how about we deal with the storm cloud? So if you guys can really listen to each other, work through this, and grow together, then you have a shot at making this marriage work. If you can't, then this relationship will almost certainly implode eventually, or it'll just be super dysfunctional and miserable. And we'll be hearing from you every other week and Feedback Friday for the next 10 years.
[00:08:09] The choice is yours. I know it's scary to think about, but I would seriously consider putting the wedding on hold. I'm not saying you have to cancel anything. Put it on hold while y'all do this work. There's no reason to rush into marriage even if you have strong feelings for each other. Or if you start doing this work and you realize that you can't be together and stay healthy, then I would reconsider if this is really the relationship that you want right now, whether it's the relationship you need.
[00:08:35] Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I know this is probably very hard to talk about. So I do commend you for that. We've been pretty direct with you, but please know it's all out of love. Whatever you decide to do about your relationship. Do the work. Take care of yourself. Get better. Everything else is secondary. Good luck, man. We're rooting for you.
[00:08:55] Gabe, I do hope they can get past this and get married. I mean, it's like, you can't read the label from inside the jar, right? You don't even see the magnitude of this problem when it's facing you. And it's just not a good time to get married. I think a lot of people also they're like sunk cost fallacy. "Well, we're already engaged and it's hard to find somebody else. And I don't know. She's great. I'll just, you know, try harder to not be triggered by this addiction behavior." It's like that just not a strategy, but hopefully, they can overcome.
[00:09:25] You know what won't take over your life and possibly ruin your marriage? The products and services that support this show.
[00:09:33] You're listening to Feedback Friday here on The Jordan Harbinger Show. We'll be right back.
[00:09:37] This episode is sponsored in part by QuickVue. I know that a lot of us are worried about COVID. I mean, if you've already had it, I'm almost envious at this point because at least, you know, you've already had it. You know what you're in for, possibly anyway. The rest of us, especially those of us with little kids, we're like, "Okay, when's it going to hit? And is it going to be as bad as everyone says it is?" And is, "Am I going to give this to my kid?" So if you need to know your COVID-19 status, which I do every time I go pretty much anywhere, pick up a QuickVue at-home OTC COVID-19 test. It gives you rapid results in 10 minutes. And the important part is it detects omicron and other variants of COVID-19. So whether you've been exposed, you have some mysterious symptoms you just need to check, or you just want to know and give yourself some peace of mind. Take the test that's faster than the rest available online or over the counter at your local retailer, QuickVue at-home OTC COVID-19 test. It takes 10 minutes. Take charge. Visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:10:29] Jen Harbinger: For FDA emergency use authorization only. Pick up a QuickVue at-home OTC COVID-19 test at your local retailer.
[00:10:36] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by BiOptimizers. Did you know one of the biggest ways you can boost your immunity is by supporting your gut health? In fact, 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut. I don't know how they know that, but now we all know that gut health is a real deal thing. In fact, if you heard our Bill Sullivan episode, you know, we even think with our gut. Jonathan Jacobs, an MD and professor at UCLA, has said the microbiome and the immune system are critically intertwined. That means if you eat the wrong things, your immune system could suffer. But if you eat the right things, who knows, maybe we can make our immune system stronger. That's the idea, anyway. Biome Breakthrough contains powerful probiotics and prebiotics as well as a one-of-a-kind ingredient called IgY Max, a patented egg-based protein.
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[00:11:50] And now back to Feedback Friday on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:11:54] All right, next up.
[00:11:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, about a year ago, I took a DNA test and found out that I was conceived via a sperm donor. Learning at the age of 30 that my biological father was a donor was jarring, to say the least. My mother was always the type who wanted babies and loved little kids as long as they were under six. As a result, I felt as though my mom stopped raising me at six years old, which caused me to miss out on attaining responsibility and discipline, a deficiency that haunts me to this day. My therapy is focused on addressing that first, but I'm finding myself irrationally angry at my mother. She went through the work of finding a sperm donor to help her conceive, but she couldn't even raise me in the way I deserved. While she was a loving parent and she did her best, I missed the types of support that are instrumental in attaining crucial skills as an adult. How do you think I should approach my mother about all of this? Is talking to her even a good idea? Signed, Going Back to the Nest to Get Some Things Off My Chest.
[00:12:51] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. This is a fascinating turn of events, just finding out that you were conceived by a sperm donor. I'm sure that would bring up a ton of questions on its own, but in your case, it sounds like it's heightened other feelings that you already had about your mom, about the way she raised you or didn't raise you, which is obviously very painful for you.
[00:13:11] So it's interesting. The anger you feel, I actually think it's a very normal part of the therapeutic process that you're in right now. Everyone's different of course, but a pretty standard aspect of therapy is unearthing a ton of feelings about your life, about yourself, and almost always about your parents. I have so many friends who went into therapy like, "Oh, my parents are great. They're so perfect. I love them. And I had an amazing childhood. I don't need to talk about any of that. I just need to figure out what to do about my career or my girlfriend or boyfriend or whatever." And then two months in, they stumble into all these memories and feelings that they just didn't even know existed and suddenly their perfect childhood isn't so perfect. They have a whole new appreciation for all of the experiences, good and bad, that made them who they are. I don't want to scare anyone away from therapy. You're not going to start hating your parents or something. It's just you get a better picture of who you are and how you got there.
[00:14:02] But discovering that you're angry at your parents, especially at a mother who's generally the most formative relationship any of us will ever have. That is very common. You missed out on some crucial nurturing in your childhood, and that had a big impact on you as an adult. And now, you've got some feelings about that. If that's true, I don't think that the anger is irrational at all. Although it is interesting that you think it's irrational. In fact, you, recognizing that she did her best despite her mistakes, I think that's very evolved on your part. You're basically saying, "I've got love and compassion for you, mom, but I'm also really freaking mad that you deprived me of these skills." you're not living in the either-or world that keeps us locked in one version of events. You're living in the bothe-and world that allows you to have your experience and appreciate somebody else's experience. And that's actually really encouraging. So do you bring all of this anger to mom?
[00:14:57] Well, before we answer that, I think it's important to get clear on your expectations for this conversation. What is it that you hope to accomplish by telling your mom that she disappointed you? That you're angry now? That's the first step. For example, are you hoping that she'll realize that you're right and break down and apologize for not being a great mom after you were six? And if so, would that apology help? Would it lessen the pain you feel or are you may be hoping to make her feel bad on some level? Maybe to force her to confront her mistakes, maybe even punish her in some way. And I'm not judging that by the way, I'm just acknowledging this impulse a lot of us actually have towards people who've hurt us. And if that's your goal, would that make you feel better? Would it give you closure or is it just going to displace the anger you feel onto her for a little while, or maybe you just want her to admit she wasn't the best parent? Maybe you want her to give you some validation that this lapse in parenting really even happens. And if that's the case, would that validation be useful to you? Would it help you heal and move on?
[00:15:59] What I'm getting at here is what do you hope will happen in the conversation and how will that play a role in your growth?
[00:16:07] Gabriel Mizrahi: Man, that is such a good question, Jordan, because I think it's very tempting to want to take your pain and your disappointment to the person who caused them because that seems like the only place where they can get resolved, but we don't really think about why it would get resolved there, or if that person is even equipped to really resolve it for us. And if you're not clear about what you're looking for in that conversation, I could see this exchange turning into, you know, "I'm just going to unload on mom for all the ways that she disappointed me," instead of being an opportunity for a real conversation, with a real resolution.
[00:16:38] So yeah, if you decide to talk to mom, I would get super clear on what you're hoping to achieve. But in my experience, when it comes to letting go of a difficult emotion like this, at least half the work, maybe most of the work is on our side of the equation. You probably have to find some healthy ways to accept the childhood that you did have processed this anger and eventually hopefully release these feelings on your own.
[00:17:04] Probably the best place to do that is in therapy. So I'm really glad to hear that you're there and yeah, talking to your mom about some of this that might help if — and it's a huge if — if she's able to really hear you, but that's really hard for most parents to do. I mean, you're not just bringing her something minor from your past that you guys can resolve, you know, something, she could just apologize for it pretty easily. What you're bringing to her is something pretty huge, which is, "You were not the mother I needed and the mother I deserved." I mean, that's incredibly painful for any parent to hear, even a parent who's very open and empathic. I mean, look, if your mom stopped raising you at the age of six, I'm wondering if she has the internal resources to be in a real dialogue with you about some of her failures as a parent.
[00:17:46] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I'm with you on that, Gabe. If you only love kids when they're under six or if you only parent kids when they're under six, it's probably because you only know how to relate to people when they're very young.
[00:17:56] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:17:57] Jordan Harbinger: You can't even maybe relate to the real complex person and adult that they've become, right? That they're becoming.
[00:18:04] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yes, absolutely.
[00:18:04] Jordan Harbinger: The more likely scenario is that she'll feel very wounded in this conversation and probably quite threatened. She'll either get defensive or just deny the story or shut down, which I got to say. That's actually incredibly sad for both of them.
[00:18:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: It is super sad, but it's also how life works most of the time, right? It's pretty rare to get closure from the actual person who hurt us. We usually have to find our own ways of doing that, processing those wounds, maybe making some meaning out of them, hopefully turning them into something better. Like in this person's case, they're angry that mom didn't parent them correctly, but eventually, they might find that they can parent themselves, hopefully, with the help of a therapist. They can have more curiosity about that part of their personality. They can even maybe appreciate how this wound shows up in other people, for example. Their mother's failure as painful as it is, is also their window into more empathy, more emotional intelligence, more resilience into all those great qualities that most of us want to cultivate.
[00:18:59] Jordan Harbinger: Definitely. Hey, like you said, the processing usually ends up happening on our side of the equation.
[00:19:04] So actually, now that we've talked this out, I'm leaning a little bit towards maybe not bringing this to mom. You know, your choice here, but I would say not bringing this to mom, at least if you're going to pin all your hopes on her response, because—
[00:19:15] Gabriel Mizrahi: Right.
[00:19:16] Jordan Harbinger: —if she doesn't give you what you're looking for and I just think there's a good chance that she won't. Then you might feel even more lost and then you're going to be angry for two reasons. But if you do a lot of processing around this and you decide to talk to your mom with a different agenda, like you just want to tell her what it was like for you growing up and maybe you'd tell her you're ready to let go of the anger that you've been feeling. That could potentially be a meaningful talk.
[00:19:40] But again, you have to know why you're telling her these things. How you're going to use that response to improve your life? Because that's the real goal here, not to just affirm your anger and keep you stuck in it, but to acknowledge it so that you can release it. And ideally, improve your relationship with your mom in the future. So I would spend some time doing that first. You might find that you don't need to talk to your mom at all. Keep up the good work. Proud of you for confronting this one head-on and we're sending you good thoughts.
[00:20:09] You can reach us at email@example.com. Please keep your emails concise. Try to use a descriptive subject. It does make our job easier. If there's something you're going through, any big decision that you're wrestling with, or you just want a new perspective on stuff like life, love, work. Whether to invite your alcoholic father to your wedding, whatever's got you staying up at night lately, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org. We're here to help and we keep every email anonymous.
[00:20:34] All right. What's next?
[00:20:35] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey Jordan and Gabe, three years ago, I met the love of my life while I was on an exchange program in England, we took a chance on our unlikely love story and decided to keep things going long distance while I moved back to the states. We talked every single day and we visited each other every three to five months. It wasn't easy, but we believe that with the right person, we could make it work. I graduated from college a year before him, so he had to stay in England for another year. During that year, I moved to a new state away from my friends and family. The plan was for him to find work and move to the US when he graduated the following year. We had a few rough patches after I moved back. It was very difficult for me to make such a big change when he was not there to grow and experience it with me, but we stuck with our plan because we loved each other. In early 2020, we said, goodbye one last time. I assured him that things wouldn't be so bad this time, because I was going to see him in just a few. Two months later travel between the US and the UK was banned due to COVID. Being forced apart so abruptly was devastating. We spent many nights crying on the phone, hopelessly trying to stay positive that things would get better and telling ourselves, you know, "If we can make it through this, we can make it through anything." After an emotional year and a half apart, we are currently not together and we've agreed to start seeing other people. We made this decision because the endless long distance was really taking a toll on our relationship and on my mental health. I would grow distant. Take it out on him by lashing out and just feel overwhelmingly numb. The way I saw it if we had any hope for our relationship in the future, we had to cut things off before we began to resent each other. Since then, I've gone back and forth between wanting to wait and wanting to move on. I don't feel like I could ever have a love for someone like we did for each other. I'm normally a very logical and decisive person, but I get these profound feelings of guilt where I feel like I should wait for him because I know that he would wait for me but the thought is very overwhelming. And moving on seems like the more practical option. I've actually started seeing someone recently, but it hasn't gotten very deep yet. My new partner has told me that he loves me, but I'm finding it impossible to feel with him what I felt with my ex. In some ways, I feel like my ex and I are going to find a way back to each other in the end. Travel between the UK and the US is still tricky, travel bans, quarantine rules, and other laws are constantly changing. My ex also recently got accepted into a grad scheme that requires him to work for his company for another two years. So even if we did get to see each other once, what then? I get angry when people tell me to, "Just move on," or, "If you loved him enough, you would make it work," because they don't understand this unique situation. I feel like giving up on dating for good because I'm not sure that I'll ever be truly ready to move on. I still think about my ex every day. It almost feels like I'm mourning him. Am I being silly for not completely moving on? Am I a bad person for not being strong enough to make this long-distance relationship work for the foreseeable? Signed, Nursing This Bond Across the Pond.
[00:23:23] Jordan Harbinger: Uh, man, I feel like I just read the plot of the most intense, romantic drama on Netflix or something, except like, I don't hate all the characters and want to throw my TV out the window.
[00:23:33] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dude, yeah, this is almost exactly the movie Like Crazy. Have you seen that?
[00:23:37] Jordan Harbinger: No. Hell no. I will stab my eyes out before I watch another rom-com. Seriously, the next movie I watch is going to be something you wrote or like my kids stars in or something. Otherwise, I'm not watching any romance movies, ever.
[00:23:50] Gabriel Mizrahi: Actually. It's not a romcom. It's a pretty intense romantic drama—
[00:23:53] Okay, well. —but maybe, maybe, yeah, probably doesn't change your opinion at all. But yeah, that movie is about two people, American and British. They meet in America and then, I think, she has to move back, and then they get stuck because of visa issues. It's like exactly this story. If you want to cry your eyes out and commiserate with some fictional people, I would highly recommend watching that movie.
[00:24:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. The last romance movie I watched was Love Actually. And I got actually, I kind of enjoyed it. So, there's that, but no, I'm not in the mood. All right. I'm not, ain't nobody got time for that. None of the rom-com thing.
[00:24:23] Anyway, my heart goes out to you guys. This is a really tough place to be as a couple. As most of you know, Jen and I were long distance for a little while we flew back and forth to see each other. It was not that far. We're talking like an hour flight. And we did that every few weeks for like a year, this having an ocean and associated time difference between you and the person you love, plus lockdowns and quarantines and the grad program. I mean, that sucks. It does. It just sucks. There's no way around it. All the things you're feeling right now, the love, the guilt, the hopelessness, the grief. I mean, I totally get it.
[00:24:54] So to answer your question right off the bat. No, you're not silly for not moving on. You're in love. That's how this works. This seems like an appropriate response to me, given your emotional state. If this were some guy you met on a quick trip to London and you spent three passionate days together, I might say like, "Get a freaking grip, get some prespective." But you guys have a real relationship. You have history. It's been three years. You've seen each other every few months. It makes sense that you feel like you're mourning. We mourn on lots of things, relationships, jobs, cities, experiences, even if they haven't actually died. And that mourning as painful as it is, it's healthy. It's necessary.
[00:25:33] That said, the situation you're in your emotional state. These days obviously complicated, but your options here, they're surprisingly simple. Either you guys stay together until he can move to the states. And you do that with eyes wide open, knowing that it will be frustrating and sad and lonely a lot of the time because you really are each other's people and that makes it worth it. And you guys do some work, separately and together, to figure out this pattern. Why you pull away? Why you lash out? Why the resentment builds up? What the numbness is all about? And you find a way to stay connected, even while you're apart. Or you guys agree to end your romantic relationship for the next two years, knowing that staying together is harder. But if you make that choice, you have to know that you're accepting another sadness, another loss. The feelings are probably similar, but they have a different cause. Plus they probably feel super heightened and dramatic because like I said, you're basically living a Sundance movie right now.
[00:26:31] And that's, what's so tough about this situation that there's no escape from the pain. You're in this very meaningful relationship with this guy and whether you stay together or you break up, you're going to hurt. So the question is which pain are you willing to feel and how are you going to process that pain until you guys can get back together? Or depending on what you decide to do, go your separate ways entirely. It sounds to me like you're leaning towards staying with him, or at least closing yourself off emotionally from new people even if you are dating because you know, this is your guy. And that might actually be the right move. If your heart is telling you that that's your path, hey, listen to it. Just make sure that it really is your heart and not your fear or your grief or some other conditioning.
[00:27:15] You really have to do some introspection to get clear on that. And also just give yourself some time, probably a few months to make sure you have enough perspective on the situation. Right now, you're so caught up in it. It must be hard to see things clearly, but if you do decide to stay with your boyfriend, I'd encourage you to open up your thoughts about the suffering you feel right now. The pain doesn't just have to be this random senseless, all-consuming agony about the laws and the bureaucracy and the obligations standing in your way. It can also be a confirmation of your feelings for this guy.
[00:27:49] The reason that you know it's worth waiting for him, maybe even an opportunity to get closer to each other, by sharing those feelings, talking them out, letting him in while you're apart, instead of pulling away. And I know that might sound simplistic. But in a situation where you just can't erase the pain, finding meaning in it, that's usually your best bet. And if you can do that, I think you'll learn a lot about yourself and also find a lot more peace in this chaotic situation.
[00:28:16] Gabriel Mizrahi: Ah, man, that is so well said, Jordan. I mean, you're right. She's hurting either wave. So she might as well understand the hurt and hopefully help it fix the relationship or bring them closer together. At the same time though, I do feel the urge to give her just a little perspective. So look, COVID regulations they're changing all the time. In general, countries are opening up. In fact, I think since you wrote in the travel regulations have changed to the UK, so you might be able to see your guy now. So maybe a huge piece of the situation has somewhat resolved. I can't imagine borders staying closed for more than a few months now that we're at this point. Although, look with omicron, who knows what's happening. I don't know. Nobody knows. You might end up quarantining together if you both get COVID, but whatever, that's a different movie. That one's a little more Hallmark channel, I think if you ask me.
[00:29:00] But also if you do decide to see other people for a couple of years, even if they're people, you know, you're not going to end up with that might not be the worst idea in the world. I mean, I'm not trying to gloss over how complicated the situation is. I'm definitely not telling you, you know, don't worry about this. Just turn this heartbreaking obstacle into a whole phase or whatever, but it might make things a little bit easier to casually date other people until you guys can be back together and you don't have to deal with this back and forth. Are we together? Are we not together? Can we be in the same place? That's the painful part.
[00:29:30] But I don't know, Jordan, maybe I'm saying that because I've never been in love the way this woman is in love. Definitely not with somebody halfway across the world. Maybe thinking about dating others is like a knife in the heart, but if it's just a bit of fun and it's a way to feel like your life isn't completely on hold because the other person is stuck in another, that might be a good move. I would just be totally up front with the people you date about your situation. So, you're not misleading anybody or hurting anyone.
[00:29:54] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. I don't know. I see your point, but if they decide to do that, then they're inviting the very real possibility that they meet somebody else they really like, and they just never end up together. And that's risky. If I were this guy and that happened, I'd be gutted. But on the other hand, hey, go get some strange, am I right?
[00:30:11] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, exactly. And I hear you and I get it, but they're already doing that, right? She's dating this new guy. She's saying that she can't feel with him, which he felt with her ex. She feels like she interacts are going to end up together no matter what that could change with time or with a different person. But I don't know. It sounds to me like she knows they're going to end up together. So dating other people, like what's the harm?
[00:30:31] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I guess none as long as they're on the same page about the rules, but then if she's convinced that she's going to end up with her ex, that probably means she's still talking to him, right? Which means she's sort of like emotionally cheating with anyone knew that she dates. And again, like you said, it's all about the communication. She just has to be upfront.
[00:30:49] So there you have it. There's no way out of this situation. There are just better and worse ways to move through this situation. And no, you're not a bad person for not being strong enough to make this long-distance relationship work. This would be hard for anyone. I just think you need to get clear on what feelings and opportunity costs you're willing to accept on the road back to your guy. And once you're clear on that, find the best way to understand them and cope with them so that they don't drag you down for the next two years.
[00:31:17] I'm really sorry, you're in this situation, it is incredibly sad and stressful, but here's the silver lining. If you guys do end up together, this is going to be a huge part of your story. Like you'll be telling at dinner parties and in your wedding vows, and it'll be all charming and romantic. And in a weird way, you might even be grateful for the time that you were apart because it made you appreciate each other even more or grow closer in a new and different way. Or you'll end up with some dude from Boise, you met on Hinge and you'll end up living on a ranch. I mean, just playing, having a laugh, so everyone listening right now isn't sobbing in the car. Like I said, you're living in a movie, hang in there. We're wishing you the best and we're sending you and your other half good thoughts.
[00:31:55] Gabe, when I was in college, I had a long-distance relationship with a girl who moved to Japan that ended up not being easy. We dated for several years in college and she's like, "I'm going to go live in Japan and we'll stay together while I'm gone." And I was like, "Yeah." And then when she moved, I was like, "This sucks." I did visit her but by the time she got back, we were totally different people. We'd grown apart. It wasn't even remotely a fit at all anymore. I won't say it wasn't sad at all. It was sort of sad, but it was just a part of growing up at that point.
[00:32:27] Gabriel Mizrahi: Totally.
[00:32:28] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know what my point was, but it doesn't matter. Because you know what can come and snuggle you at night, regardless of COVID restrictions? The sponsors who support this show.
[00:32:38] This is The Jordan Harbinger Show and this is Feedback Friday. We'll be right back.
[00:32:43] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online therapy. We talk about Better Help a lot on this show. Of course, now we're focusing on some of the stigmas around mental health. We've been taught that mental health shouldn't be a part of our normal life. Of course, that's wrong. We should take care of our bodies in the gym, the doctor of nutrition, most of us do. We should also be focusing on our minds just as much. Many people think therapy is for so-called crazy people. I disagree with that as well. Therapy doesn't mean that something is wrong with you. You hear me talk about this on Feedback Friday. It just means that you recognize all humans have complicated emotions and we need to learn how to manage them, not just avoid them. Better Help is customized online therapy that offers video, phone, even live chat sessions with your therapist. You don't have to go anywhere. You don't have to see anyone on camera if you don't want to. It's more affordable than in-person therapy, and you can get matched up with a therapist in under 48 hours. Give it a try and see why over two million people have used better help online therapy.
[00:33:34] Jen Harbinger: And our listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's better-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:33:42] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Progressive. What's one thing you'd purchase with a little extra saving? A weighted blanket, smart speaker, that new self-care trend to keep hearing about. Well, Progressive wants to help make sure you're getting what you want by helping you save money on car insurance. Drivers who saved by switching to progressive save over $700 on average, and customers can qualify for an average of six discounts when they sign up. Discounts like having multiple vehicles on your policy. Progressive offers outstanding coverage and award-winning claim service. Day or night, they have customer support 24/7, 365 days a year. When you need a most, they're at their best. A little off your rate each month goes a long way. Get a quote today at progressive.com and see why four out of five new auto customers recommend Progressive.
[00:34:21] Jen Harbinger: Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and affiliates. National Annual Average Insurance Savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Progressive between June 2020 and May 2021. Potential savings will vary. Discounts vary and are not available in all states in situations.
[00:34:35] Jordan Harbinger: And now for the conclusion of Feedback Friday.
[00:34:39] All right, what's next?
[00:34:40] Gabriel Mizrahi: Hey guys, I've only had two jobs in my life and all my colleagues at both of them said that I am very nice and that everyone appreciates that quality about me. At the same time though, my manager has always asked me to do the odd jobs that nobody else wanted to do. At my first job at a store, for example, my manager would make me take out the trash, make sure the bathrooms were spotless, and check if any aisles had accidents. At my second job, as a delivery driver, I was also asked to help the workers upfront and take out the trash for hours each day. It got to the point where another manager had to take her aside and tell her she needed to rely on somebody else because she was taking me away from my duties and I was becoming overworked. That turned into a fight over how I spend my time. And after that exchange, the first manager made me do those jobs a lot less, but still tries to make me do them without any sign of appreciation. As the great Ian Fleming said, "'Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action." I don't want to be pushed around by someone, but I also don't want to lose that trademark kindness that everybody loves about me. So any ideas on how I can be nice while still being assertive? Signed, Walking the Line While Growing a Spine.
[00:35:47] Jordan Harbinger: Good question. It's possible that these managers are taking advantage of you because you're so easygoing. But it's also possible that your great attitude, which is by the way, a rare quality to find in most workplaces, that makes these people want to rely on you because you're so positive and probably good at what you do. It's a case of no good deed goes unpunished. The better the employee, the more work gets dropped on them. And honestly, I suspect it's probably a mix of both of those. Your managers are dumping work on you because they know you'll do a good job with a smile on your face, but they might not respect or even recognize your limits because you're so agreeable.
[00:36:23] So what you have to figure out is if you're being taken advantage of and walked all over or if you're being trusted and needed. And I think, you know, in your gut, when it's one of the other. For example, the manager who still makes you do those odd jobs without any sign of appreciation. That doesn't sound very cool at all. Probably, she sees somebody who won't say no and would rather give you the work than hire a whole other person who she should actually hire to do that type of job. She could be straight up taking advantage of you, but then again, she could also just be not a very nice person. Those are different things.
[00:36:56] But this really comes down to your job description, you're a delivery driver and they're asking you to help the other workers upfront take out the trash for hours each day. Your manager said that was taking you away from your duties, which makes it sound like all of that other work was in addition to your real job. So yeah, it kind of sounds to me like free labor. And also don't drivers mostly work on tips. I don't know. Gabe, what do you think?
[00:37:18] Gabriel Mizrahi: Yeah, Jordan, I see your point, but I also think there's something to be said for finding ways to be helpful even if it's outside of your job description.
[00:37:26] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:37:26] Gabriel Mizrahi: Like if this guy is just standing around playing Candy Crush, while he waits for deliveries to be prepared, I mean, why not help out and take out the trash and try to help, you know, add a little value—
[00:37:35] Jordan Harbinger: But I'm on level 3000.
[00:37:37] Gabriel Mizrahi: Well, definitely it depends what level in Candy Crush you're in, but that aside that's a great quality in an employee. That's part of this awesome personality that he has, right? So, okay, but yeah, you do have a point as soon as they're basically pushing two different jobs on this guy and only paying him for one, it does become exploitative. There is a difference between offering to take out the trash a few times a day on your way back to your car and being forced to take out the trash for hours a day when that's explicitly not what you were hired for.
[00:38:06] So you just have to balance that desire to be helpful with some reasonable boundaries. And I would draw those boundaries at the moment you feel that you're truly being exploited and under compensated. You might be surprised by how quickly your managers back down when they realize that you will stand up for yourself if they push you to. But you need to get clear first on what you do want to do and what you don't want to do.
[00:38:26] Jordan Harbinger: I think you're right, Gabe. It's also possible that these managers aren't even thinking about whether it's too much, because they're busy with 30 other important things. But here's an idea now that you've built up so much Goodwill doing all this work. What if you just went to your managers and said, "Look, I love helping out with all this other stuff. I'm glad it's useful to you. I'd like to keep doing it, but it's pretty clear that this is a whole other job in addition to my delivery duties. So I'd like to ask you to pay me for that time." And just see what they say. Maybe they'll be happy to pay one person more for two jobs than hire a totally new employee, which also comes with its own cost. Or maybe there'll be like, "Sorry, no, this isn't a whole other job. We just really need you to be a team player right now, pal." And then, you know, that you're really being taken advantage of at that point. And then you can just either decide to stop doing that extra work or find a workplace that treats you better.
[00:39:17] But either way, I really, really encourage you to hang on to your kindness and your positive attitude. It's a gift. You just need to balance that with some healthy self-respect. You don't have to be a dick to have boundaries. You can be nice and you can be assertive. And I think this is your opportunity to learn how. So good luck.
[00:39:36] Gabe, by the way, a great time to set a boundary at work because if they blow a gasket and they let you go, which is highly unlikely, but you never know, or they give you a bunch of attitude about it, you can find another job that day. You can drive from your former job to another restaurant on the same road and be like, "Y'all hiring?" And they will hire you with a raise. So for anyone who's been procrastinating, putting their foot down at work now is probably one of the best times ever to go ahead and do that. I can't even tell you how many restaurants around my area have signs on the door that are like needed dishwasher, $20 an hour, or like, "We're only open for lunch because we don't have enough staff to cover dinner. If you want a job, call this number." Like there are pieces of paper all over the Bay Area with that on it. And so I think now's a great time to be like, "You know what? I'm not taking out the trash, I'm a delivery driver. And if you don't like it, hire a trash boy, you know, hire a trash person." If they don't like that attitude, then just bounce. That's a good boundary. I would deliver it kindly of course.
[00:40:38] By the way, if you're joining us for the first time or you're looking for a handy way to tell your friends about that show, the starter packs are the way to do it. They're collections of favorite episodes organized by popular topic to help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started.
[00:40:56] Alright, next up.
[00:40:58] Gabriel Mizrahi: Dear Jordan and Gabe, last year, my aunt passed away due to a combination of COVID and health complications. Four months later, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and she still can't kick her habit of smoking. On top of that, my father is elderly, diabetic, and declining. This past year, I've been surrounded with reminders of the impending death of my loved ones and what's to come once they're gone. I can't stop thinking about losing important people in my life. And now, it's affecting the time I spend with them while I still have it. So how do I stop planning for the inevitable and start enjoying the time I have with those close to me? Signed, The Reluctant Eschatologist.
[00:41:36] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, man. Well, first of all, I'm so sorry that you've been going through all of this loss and medical drama lately. It sounds so intense. And I'm very sorry that you had to say goodbye to your aunt as well. Maybe even tougher is watching your parents go through their own serious health struggles and just refuse to take care of themselves, your mom, anyway. On top of that being scary and sad, it is infuriating. So I get why you're feeling so much sadness and anxiety. You're asking such a profound question. I'm almost hesitant to answer it because I know whatever I say is just going to sound trite, but I guess it's trite in part because it's true. So whatever, I'll just say it.
[00:42:13] What you're experiencing, this realization that the people you care about will die, that things will be different when they're gone. I know that's an upsetting thought, but it's also the key to living your life in the best possible way because you're right. They will die. I hope it doesn't happen soon. I hope mom and dad start taking better care of themselves and buy themselves as many years as possible. But one way or another, we're all going to the same place. And it sounds to me like that thought is so stressful that it's overshadowing all of your interactions. You want to push it away because it feels like an obstacle to enjoying the time that you do have with them, to being close.
[00:42:49] But I would actually argue the opposite that the realization, it isn't an obstacle to closeness. It's the reason for closeness. The more you've accepted the time you have with the people you love is limited, the more precious that time becomes. You don't want to waste a second of it. You won't be living under the illusion most people live in, which is that you have that time and that opportunity forever. So when you say that this new awareness is affecting the time you spend with your loved ones, I say, great. It should affect the time you spend with them. That's the whole point. Our time together is finite. We just live in denial of that fact because the thought is so freaking intense.
[00:43:27] You can choose to let it affect the time you spend with them negatively by obsessing over the fact that one day they're going to die, or you can let it affect your time positively by inviting that realization into every moment that you have with them and making every moment count, which is obviously the way to go. If you do that, I'm not saying you won't be sad anymore. I'm not saying you'll stop being angry at your mom, but I promise that getting friendly with this thought, it'll allow you to feel sad and joyful, angry and grateful. It'll give you access to all the feelings, not just the negative ones, but honestly, over time, gratitude tends to give you more of the good ones.
[00:44:06] So I say, stop keeping that thought at bay, invite it in. Don't harp on it more than you have to. Don't agonize over it. Just let it — I hate myself for saying this — but open your heart, right? That's really all you have to do. I want to thank you for writing in and giving me a chance to remember that too. It's so easy to forget, and it's so important, especially for me as a parent.
[00:44:26] I'm definitely going to take that into my weekend and I hope y'all do as well. I hope everyone enjoyed this. I want to thank those who wrote in and everyone who listened. Thank you so much. Go back and check out Daniel Levin and our deep dive on how to get your foot in the door if you haven't heard those yet.
[00:44:40] If you want to know how I managed to book these folks on the show, it's all about the network. I use software, systems, and tiny habits. I'm teaching you how to do it for free in our course, Six-Minute Networking. The course is free. It's on the Thinkific platform at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig the well before you get thirsty. This is very much worth your while.
[00:45:01] A link to the show notes for the episode is at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts are in the show notes. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram, or you can connect with me on LinkedIn. You can also find Gabe on Twitter at @GabeMizrahi or on Instagram at @GabrielMizrahi.
[00:45:17] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and of course, Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions, those are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love. If you found this episode useful, please share it with somebody else who can use the advice that we gave here. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
[00:45:50] If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's a trailer for another episode that I think you might enjoy.
[00:45:57] Matthew Walker: Sleep is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity. Sleep is a life support system. It is mother nature's best effort yet at immortality and the decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is now having a catastrophic impact on our health, our wellness, as well as the safety and the education of our children. It is a silent sleep loss epidemic. And I would contend that it is fast becoming the greatest public health challenge that we now face in the 21st century.
[00:46:28] The evidence is very clear that when we delay school start times academic grades increase, behavioral problems decrease, truancy rates decrease, psychological and psychiatric issues decrease. But what we also found, which we didn't expect in those studies is the life expectancy of students increased. So if our goal as educators truly is to educate and not risk lives in the process, then we are failing our children in the most spectacular manner with this incessant model of early school start times.
[00:46:59] And by the way, 7:30 a.m. for a teenager is the equivalent for an adult waking up at 4:30 or 3:30 in the morning. If you're trying to survive or regularly getting five hours of sleep or less, you have a 65 percent risk of dying at any moment in time. When you wake up the next day, you have a revised mind-wide web of associations, a new associative network, a rebooted iOS that is capable of defining remarkable insights into previously penetrable problems. And it is the reason that you had never been told to stay awake on a problem. It's that you're told to sleep on a problem.
[00:47:44] Jordan Harbinger: For more on sleep, including why we dream and how we can increase the quality of our sleep, check out episode number 126 with Dr. Matthew Walker here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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