5×01 Couples Conflict
You’re in a long-term relationship. You think it’s stressful when you love air conditioning and he wants to keep it at 85 degrees in the house? Imagine what happens when he doesn’t want to have kids and you do? When you want an open relationship and he wants to stay monogamous? Daddy Squared opens Season 5 with couples’ conflict specialist, Dr. Alan Fruzetti
Dr. Fruzetti, author of the book The High-Conflict Couple, which is by itself a crash-course in couples therapy, joined Alex and Yan to discuss types of couples’ conflict, and in particular, three types of conflicts that were raised by our audience and are very common in gay relationships: wanting kids, religion & politics, and sex (yeah, baby – sex!)
“The topic of the conflict is not nearly as important as how couples experience and work through it,” Dr. Fruzetti says. “Conflict topics typically show up when people are vulnerable and their emotions are high and their communication process isn’t so good, and it’s often around things like who’s going to do what, and – ‘do you really love me?’”
Skills that we learned in this episode: what Dr. Fruzetti called Relationship Mindfulness. Purposefully signaling prior to or during a conflict: ‘I’m coming at this conversation with love,’ ‘I want to be connected with you.’
“Signaling that desire for connection first can prevent destructive conflict,” Dr. Fruzetti says.
“The first part of Relationship Mindfulness is remembering ‘I love you, I want to be close to you, I want to have a good relationship with you.’ The second part is, ‘by the way, what’s it like to be you right now?’”
We also learned that, unfortunately, not every conflict can be resolved – at least not right now. “The ability to not let the unsolved conflict destroy the good parts that aren’t broken, that’s Step 1,” Dr. Fruzetti says. “Sometimes there’s real value in taking a conflict and putting it in a box for a while, and then purposefully come back to the problem.”
“If we frame the problem as ‘you don’t want kids and I do,’ we’re already framing this as insurmountable,” Fruzetti continues. “If we’re really going to try to solve it, we have to make the frame smaller. The frame needs to be, ‘Ah, I know that at the moment when the word kid comes up you kind of recoil. There’s something about it that you don’t want to do. So let’s start a conversation about what’s appealing about it and what is not. But the idea is, we’re both going to talk about the options and how each direction could or could not work for us.”
Our Guest: Dr. Alan Fruzzetti
Dr. Alan Fruzzetti is an internationally recognized DBT researcher, therapist, teacher and supervisor. He is the Director of Training in Family Services and senior/adherence DBT supervisor for 3East DBT programs at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and professor emeritus at the University of Nevada, Reno. Alan is Past-President of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) and on the Board of Directors for the DBT Board of Certification, World Association for DBT, and a co-founder of the Center for Trauma and Stress Education and the Center for DBT and Families. He has authored more than 100 research and clinical papers and book chapters, two books (including The High Conflict Couple which is discussed in this podcast), is the editor of the Guilford DBT Practice series, and has lectured and trained professionals and the public in more than twenty-five countries on Dialectical Behavior Therapy and DBT with parents, couples and families. Alan is the co-creator of the NEA-BPD no-cost Family Connections programs for parents, partners, and other loved ones of people with borderline personality disorder, severe emotion dysregulation, suicide attempts and related problems. He has testified before Congressional committees about problems related to suicide and has received many honors for research, teaching, and community service.
Men Having Babies Corner
Men Having Babies is a community, nonprofit organization that helps gay men become fathers via surrogacy with education and financial assistance. In each episode this season, the team of Men Having Babies (MHB) will educate us on aspects of having kids through ethical surrogacy.
In this episode, Sara Miller, a former surrogate and MHB’s Director of Business Development, list the people gay men need around them if they decide to build a family through surrogacy. It takes a village, you know.
This fall, Men Having Babies is having three conferences for gay men who want to learn more about building a family through surrogacy – in what they call ‘surrogacy bootcamp.’ They will be in Europe (Brussels) on September 16-18, in Chicago (October 14-15) and New York City (November 11-13).
Daddy Squared would like to thank David Dadon who is a production sound mixer for on-set sound for feature films and commercials. He helped us improve the audio we record when our wonderful guests cannot join us in the studio and the audio ain’t quite right. Thank you, David!