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hosted by Dr. Corey Allan

Intimacy Anorexia Or Is It Cruelty? #635

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On the Regular Version …

An email came in wanting our take on Dr Doug Weiss’ Intimacy Anorexia concept.

What exactly does this mean?

Are we each capable of this?

What do we do when see see this?

And, what if it’s actually better viewed as cruelty?

On the Xtended Version …

Author Kate Bowler has some helpful words regarding what to say and what not to say when faced with someone else’s grief or loss or struggle.

Words we all need to learn and use. Or stop using.

Enjoy the show!

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Corey Allan: Well, welcome to the show and to Passionately Married,

Pam Allan: Love being here every week

Corey Allan: Where we're trying to, uh, speak to whatever is going on, specifically. That's what we're doing today for sure. But all the episodes we have when we have guests, um, they're, they're usually the onus behind it. The, the impetus to help us get whatever we, the topics are we cover often comes from the nation. Yeah. And they let us know what's going on at 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5, or Mm-hmm. . And we wanna just have honest conversations to help frame actions and conversations you can be having in your marriage to help create your marriage just to be a little bit better or move it off the brink of the struggles you're having or how to frame a situation. That's where we're heading today. Okay. Throughout the entirety of the show, with all the segments we've got today, it's how to frame the situation in a way maybe you haven't thought of, but

Pam Allan: That perspective shift can be just the game changer. Like it, that can give you the 180 right there.

Corey Allan: To me, it's the make or break in a lot of ways. It's, it's the, okay, so if I look at it this way, what does that require? Mm-hmm. , what's really going on? Because let's face it, we all can come into marriage with this idealized, distorted, that won't happen to us, or we'll see it through, or God will find a way Yeah. And all of

Pam Allan: Those, or if this happens, I'm out.

Corey Allan: Yep. That's

Pam Allan: That's true. And then it happens and you realize, I don't really wanna be out.

Corey Allan: You all of a sudden take a step back and ask yourself some questions Yeah. And try to determine what's my next step. And so that's, that's what we're gonna be heading to today Okay. Is, is some of the, the, those kinds of concepts via a few emails that we've had that have come in. But we also wanna let people know, um, about the academy that's going on mm-hmm. that we've had here with passionately married for years now. Um, but we want you to join us. This is the last month you have a chance to take advantage of the summer offer we've got going on. So if you use Summer 23, you get the first month free to test out the academy, get the extended content, um, it's worth, it's worth hanging out with these people mm-hmm. that are in the academy and are active because there's a, there's a research and some of the stuff I've come across over the years to say we become the average of the five most, the five people we hang around most

Pam Allan: Mm. Think about who I hang out with.

Corey Allan: And so yeah. The Academy's got some really good people to hang out with. Yeah. So that, that's my sales pitch pitch for, for joining the academy. And then coming up today on the regular version is a couple emails, uh, that came in. We're gonna be talking about, um, intimate intimacy. An intimacy anorexia, a little hard to say,

Pam Allan: Apparently. Easy, easy for you to say, um,

Corey Allan: From Doug Weiss. It's the, it's a concept that he's kind of coined from years back. Mm-hmm. . And there's an email that comes in specifically addressing something we've done in the past on a show too. Okay. And then we've also got, um, another email that, that some of the same framework will apply, uh, but in a slightly different, uh, concept, if you will. And then on the extended contents today, which is deeper, longer, and there are no ads, subscribe and join slash academy. Um, we all have times in life where grief or struggle and loss and just frustration happens. And it's often in those times when those that we come around just say things that are pretty poor. They just don't know, not helpful. They don't know how to respond when there's something really bad going on, or, or a real loss That is, I mean, there's some tragedy that happens in our worlds. And so, uh, from Kate Bowler a great book. Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lives, lies I Want to Love is the name of the

Pam Allan: Book. Nice. Good title.

Corey Allan: Um, and then she's also got a fantastic podcast. She given a framework of what to say and what not to say.

Pam Allan: Yeah. All of us have walked through that situation of either not knowing what to say, maybe we said something that was totally outta left field and not good. Or maybe there we're the ones receiving the comment. And it's like, really? Why did you just say that to me in this situation?

Corey Allan: And there's a re there's usually a rationale as to what motivates that. Yeah. And if you're not quite sure what that is, you're gonna wanna stay tuned. Listen up. All that's coming up right after this. So here's the email that came in. Um, says, Hey, Cora, I'd love to hear you talk about the pain for love cycle of abuse and neglect in marriage. Uh, this is a to term coined by Dr. Doug Weiss. My hu my ex-husband. This is from the emailer is gay. And he, he's still living in the closet. He was married to me, but sleeping with men from the very beginning. In the sexless marriage episode that we talked about on episode 6 28. Her read is, he knows how to love her, but he chooses not to love her in the way she feels love, which in this case was sexual intimacy, is what she was wanting.
Dr. Weiss talks about intimacy, anorexia, when you have a spouse who's depriving you of intimacy. So divorce is an option, in my opinion. Connection is an intimacy as a part of a relational marriage. And when you're married to a person who can't be relational, then you need to get outta therapy as work is not what your spouse is doing. And that, again, is referring to the episode prior, because they were talked about several times. People say, well, they're in therapy. They're in again, we'll impact this a little bit more. Okay. So I was married to a Christian man who would never cheat on me. Meanwhile, I lived in a sexless marriage was, but was manipulated to believe that he loves me and cares for me, but never listened to me by showing up in the marriage and me how a godly loving husband should. So anyway, this topic angers me. And I feel you should bring up Dr. Doug's work on your podcast to wake people up and stop tolerating excuses like this woman. Thanks. So obviously we hit a, a hot button for her.

Pam Allan: Sure.

Corey Allan: Because there's things that happen and we've done a show in the past that talks about how we react out of our pain and trauma and hurt. Yeah. Right. That's, that's, we've done shows in the past. And the emails we can get is instigated often by somebody else's pain. Sure, sure.

Pam Allan: Topic,

Corey Allan: We covered, hit close to

Pam Allan: Home. Our experiences will trigger whatever else is right. Happening around us. Yeah.

Corey Allan: And so, as we dive into this idea of intimacy, anorexia mm-hmm. , I want to first unpack the concept of intimacy. 'cause you and I have talked about this mm-hmm. , but I think it sets a framework because I don't, and and also from the outset, we've, we've been reaching out to Dr. Dr. Weiss trying to get him on the show, but haven't, haven't coordinated it to make it work. Um, so Dr. Doug, if you actually come across this and hear it, (214) 702-9565, call me out. Let's, let's get you

Pam Allan: On the show. I'll make

Corey Allan: It happen. I wanna unpack this more. 'cause I might take this different than the way he goes. I'm gonna add my flare to what I understand of his concept. Okay. Okay. But intimacy to me is two parts. It's knowing and being known.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: Right. We often, tell me if I'm wrong with this one, Pamela, would you say most people, often we think of intimacy as one leans more towards the good and comfortable and great feelings that we all long for and strive for. And two, it's me knowing you. It's not you knowing me.

Pam Allan: Sure. Sure. I, I see that. I see it more as people thinking of it on a positive note, that it is good things. And, and yes, we want to have togetherness, connection. It's usually centered on the sexual side of things and not having that realization that there's a dark side. Yes. Like I, intimacy is knowing both the good and the bad. The right. It's the pretty and the ugly. Ugly. It's whole, the whole story. And that's what makes it so intimate is that you're seeing all of me, right. .

Corey Allan: Right. And that's that idea that intimacy is just as likely to produce uncomfortable feelings as it is comfortable ones. Mm-hmm. , those are two sides of the coin. Okay.

Pam Allan: So that covers intimacy. They

Corey Allan: Both will be there. And it's very possible that what's happening in your marriage when you really don't like it, that's actually intimacy.

Pam Allan: Hmm.

Corey Allan: Right. So yeah. That, that I want to use as the springboard into this idea of, when you look at this, I'm gonna build it off of what she talked about with, uh, when a spouse doesn't show up in the way a, the other spouse wants i e sex or sexual connection or affection. Well, if you can, I think too often what we will do is I will come up with all kinds of different ways to make sure, you know, you're not meeting my need. Okay. Right. I'll, I'll figure out how to conjole, convince, uh, manipulate, encourage, entice. Well, I'll do all of these things

Pam Allan: Via words, via actions. Via, via all kinds of, yeah. Via nonverbal things,

Corey Allan: Via problems, via mm-hmm. instigating of issues there. I mean, there's a lot of different ways we'll go about trying to get our way. Yeah. So if you look at it, one of the things we often do is we focus on what's missing and think that's the problem. So what's missing here, Pam, is you don't show me love in the manner I want you to show me love. So therefore that is the problem.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: I look at it as it's not what's missing. That's the problem. It's what's present. That's the problem.

Pam Allan: So if I'm perceiving that lack of physical touch or sexual interaction is missing, and I see that, that's the problem, you're saying what's actually present is the problem, what would I say is actually present

Corey Allan: The fact that that is withheld, that that is avoided, that that is ignored. That, because most of the time in this dilemma, most times spouses understand the way this is going. I'll come up with ways to hopefully pawn you off with my best intentions. Oh yeah. We will. We, we'll, we'll go on a date this week. We will. Yeah. I've, I I'm already gonna have it all set up and then it doesn't happen. And,

Pam Allan: And maybe with no intentions, actually, maybe have they been doing it? Maybe there are intentions, maybe there's not. But I

Corey Allan: Think most people have a map aware enough to know, ooh, they're getting really upset, so therefore they act Right according to the script that you want me to act.

Pam Allan: Okay.

Corey Allan: Right. And so I think it's that element of, it's recognizing because every single person, I mean, that's what I think of all these different emails we've had over the years of doing this show. If you didn't, if you were incapable of being affectionate and expressive, and what would you be with that person from the very beginning, and you just kind of realized they just can't, that would've been a short-lived no deal breaker. So typically we're able,

Pam Allan: Because typically something up front was shown that, Hey, I'm getting affection from this person that I really enjoy.

Corey Allan: Or they get enough of the story to realize, Ooh, they've had a really rough upbringing, so this is difficult, but that's okay. Our love. And so we kind of let it, we, we let it go.

Pam Allan: Our level overcome

Corey Allan: That. Yeah. That, that ideal can be thrown about and cover up a lot, that is gonna become a problem. Mm-hmm. . So a lot of times the way a normal relationship will unfold, depending, and then this varies depending on severities mm-hmm. , um, you kind of see this heading towards the huge big issue. And then all of a sudden people act. Right. And it's short-lived. And then you get

Pam Allan: Back to the acting. Right. Is short lived

Corey Allan: Well, yeah. Because it's this whole, so let's say we had this issue of, um, lack of intimacy, lack of sex, lack of physical touch.
Okay. Right. Just, we'll just use us as an example. If this was going on in our marriage, and all of a sudden you've had enough of that, and so you start sleeping in a different room. And that then tells me, 'cause that's something different, maybe you've never done before. Normally you would just, why can't we, you know, because we kind of get to where we don't necessarily put together a really good argument. We just put together a pretty good, big reaction. Sure. 'cause we often try to address these things when we're fed up . Mm-hmm. , not, not when I'm calm and really facing critical mass. Okay.
So you get in a different room and after a little bit it's like, whoa, hold on. I got some things going in my mind. Like, oh, I don't, she might be serious now. So therefore I start, I, I schedule a date. Um, I hold your hand more. I, we kiss some, I hug you some, you know, all those kinds of things that could be going on Then just to show you No, no, I'm doing this. Look, it's good. I'm, I'm there. And then you're like, okay. Because typically when we start getting some of what we want, we let our guard down is weird as it might sound. Okay. It's a weird way to think of that. But that's what we kind of do. It's kinda like, okay, ah. 'cause now I'm starting to get fed what I'm wanting.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: But in time, and that's usually not a real long time. It'll revert back because in a lot of instances where these dilemmas really do become that spread apart, it's just not a priority to the person. It's just not the way they're wired. It's not what they're interested in. They don't care.

Pam Allan: Sure. So keeping, keeping up what you want for a period of time is just a struggle. I mean, it can, yeah. It can be tiresome. It can be it. Well, if it's just not something I really desire as much as you do it, it's easy to wane.

Corey Allan: Right? Yeah. Right. And so the way Dr. Weiss frames this is he uses the intimacy anorexia with the phraseology of, it's the deliberate withholding of love and intimacy in a relationship. Right. Okay. So it's, it's, I I like that. But what I use my little slight, slightly different flare from arch's training I've done with him mm-hmm. is it's not the deliberate withholding, it's just flat out being cruel. Hmm. Because you know what speaks to your spouse and yet you don't do anything about it.

Pam Allan: Okay. Uh, I'm noodling on this 'cause it's one thing, like my comment that I just had, it's one thing to have a different desire level. And okay, I am gonna come, when I see that it's meeting critical mass, I'm gonna come try and, um, placate you. Mm-hmm. with more physical touch or with more whatever. Yeah. I'll, I'll, it's not something I'm really

Corey Allan: Desiring. Actually, I actually use the terminology when this stuff plays out with clients. I actually use the terminology with them of, so you're trying to buy them off with your actions here, knowing full well it's short-lived. 'cause that's what your history has shown. Okay. Because that's the one thing we've always said. Um, when you're talking about this dynamic and Dr. Weiss says the same kind of thing, just slightly different wording, trust what somebody does not what they say his phraseology is. Believe behavior, not words.

Pam Allan: Yeah. Understandable. So then, I mean, when you use the words of, I'm sorry, it was deliberate, he says deliberate, deliberate, deliberate, withholding, deliberate. But Shar says it's just cruelty. Cruelty. Right. We're saying cruelty. How is it not potentially cruelty from the other side? If they want more than what it is I can give. Well, right. Is it if I'm the one saying, okay, well you know, I'm going to the other room 'cause you're not giving me what I need. Mm-hmm. . Right. But who's to say what I'm asking for isn't over the

Corey Allan: Top? And, and that's the thing I love about that framework is recognizing that we both have both sides of it. The equation. Usually neither one has high ground because the way it gets embedded becomes so deep that there's, there's perpetrators going on, on both sides of the

Pam Allan: Equation. Right. And by saying neither one has high ground, meaning no one is ultimately right. Correct. No one is ultimately wrong. Both have, you are free to go

Corey Allan: Culpable, go after what it is you care about. What after is you think you want, you're go for it. Mm-hmm. . But you have to also recognize what's the whole story? Who are they, how are you going about trying to get it? Have you really faced what is, rather than trying to manufacture and create what you hope.

Pam Allan: I hear you back to this email 'cause I was a little confused on the email and I wasn't clear if she was referring back to the episode or if she's referring to herself where she's in a relationship where her husband is actually, um, attracted to other men. That

Corey Allan: Was her in the email. That was not, that was this email now. Yeah. Not the other show.

Pam Allan: Right. Yes. So, so this emailer is, is hurt 'cause she's not getting her physical needs met. Mm-hmm. . And she, is it an ex now? Yes, it's an ex-husband. Okay. It's an ex now. But she was upset because it was, when they were married, he couldn't or wouldn't, he was

Corey Allan: Apparently he, they were in a

Pam Allan: Sex. So that desire

Corey Allan: For her and he didn't have the arousal towards her. Right. 'cause he had it towards men.

Pam Allan: Right.

Corey Allan: I'm reading between the lines of what her email

Pam Allan: Was. Right. Yes. Right. And, and that sounds, so I'm trying to play out here specifically for her, since she's the one emailing in. What does this look like in that relationship? You know, if they were still together, how I, if he has no arousal

Corey Allan: Well toward her, so in that relationship Yes. What it looks like is after what it is, it's not a relationship anymore.

Pam Allan: Yeah.

Corey Allan: And it's facing what is and then making the choices you need to make. Yeah. For the short run and then ultimately the long run. Because that's what life requires of us. If we do life on life terms, we don't often get what we want. Hmm. We don't often make it to where it's seamless and easy. I mean, in a lot of ways the world's not for us. people are not for us . Right. That there's, they're out for what they want. Yeah. And what they care about. And it can go to some severe, cruel hurt. Deliberate, malevolent. I mean, it, it could get dark. And several in the nation know this. They've had it, they live it. Mm-hmm. . So it's important. I think we recognize as the way we're kind of talking about this, that the point is how do I calm myself down, regulate myself well enough with whatever dilemma it is I'm facing and face what's present, not what's missing. 'cause what's present in intimacy. Anorexia one, when you get a clear picture of who that person is, that's still intimacy.

Pam Allan: Mm-hmm.

Corey Allan: , that's where I've, that's where I'll vary some from Dr. Weiss. 'cause I think he frames that the intimacy anorexia as in well they are incapable of it. Well, the fact that I can kind of understand who they are and is really infuriating to me, that's still intimacy. I know who they are. It's just not the positive. It's not the tangible, what do I really want out of this relationship Okay. That I need a collaborating ally with to make happen. And so instead it's seeing it as my job becomes, how do I face what is better? Not what they say, not how they try to pawn me off. Not because you can start to see that. You can start to see it as, okay, I know what they're saying here. I don't, I don't buy it. Yeah. But I see what they're saying and if I can regulate myself, I'm prepared for that move a better rather than I put all hope on it. 'cause that's typically what we do, is we get desperate because I don't wanna give up on what I got and I don't encourage people to give up on what I got right away. Mm-hmm. . But I do need to recognize at what cost. 'cause it's a cost either way. And if I want a truly intimate marriage, I have to realize it's not gonna be comfortable.
I, we just, I just did this post over the weekend. Yeah. Uh, as we're recording this on Instagram that talked about, if I was to ask people what was their main question that they want, I I just wanna be happy and I want my spouse to be happy. Well, the best question you can ask in marriage is what sort of pain and struggle am I willing to tolerate and deal with? Hmm. That's how I'm going to get a better marriage. Hmm. Because that's looking at it more of what life really is. I mean, I choose struggle with you. I choose your struggle, mm-hmm. . That's the, that's what I want. I get the other parts too that are good, but that we're still gonna have some struggle.

Pam Allan: We're gonna have it. Uh, and I think the beauty is, I, I think I see where what you're saying with that in that we have the struggle. You are not asking for struggle 24 7. No. Who wants that. But we've seen what happens on the other side of struggle and the connection, the intimacy that comes from that, that is even deeper and creates something even better.

Corey Allan: Mm-hmm. . And then to add the last little component to this conversation. Mm. Maybe I'm, I'm just gonna take a flyer. I don't know if this lands well or not. Okay. But intimacy with myself too, because that's at play here. Also. How am I, I mean, Gina used to phrase one of the original co-hosts. She used to use the phrase of being in integrity with myself.

Pam Allan: Mm-hmm. .

Corey Allan: Right. That ha that I have my, the relationship I have with myself is congruent and intimate too.

Pam Allan: How many addictions, this is totally different topic, but how many addictions are out there because people are not living that way. They're not living in integrity with themselves. They're not living in line with what the, and now they gotta do something else to cover up and mask it. Mm-hmm. because they, they aren't t living with who they wanna

Corey Allan: Be. That could be the fertile soil that those things are rooted it in and, and come out. But it's still, it recognizing the same, the same philosophy applies to me. Here is what's present, not what's missing. Mm-hmm. , I mean, if you can get outta your vocabulary when it comes to married life, we'll, we'll end it with this. Okay. If you can get out of your vocabulary, a nice next step would be take away the, if you would only dot, dot, dot.

Pam Allan: Hmm.

Corey Allan: Because that's typically framed messages of if you would act. Right. If you would show me love, if we could only, you know, it's, it's holding out hope for what once was,

Pam Allan: Or just your expectations that never have been yet

Corey Allan: Fair. But I, but I'm going back to most relationships had hints of what it is that they're really longing for and wanting. And that's why we got together in the first place.

Pam Allan: Or they saw a relationship on, on a movie or through their parents or someone else. Good point. That's what they hope to have. So they still

Corey Allan: Are coming into it with this unrealized, unexpected. It's totally unrealistic. Yeah.

Pam Allan: I can't, I can't say that everybody said, well, we used to have it this way, so, and I want it again. But that might, that's some of it. But I think people just come into it with expectations and Yeah, that's good. And it may be nothing they ne ever had before. How can you expect someone to even be something they never have been?

Corey Allan: Yeah. And then, but then the question becomes, what's made you take so long to realize who you're with? Because there's something in me then that thinks, well, I can change it, I can overcome it, I can control it, I can address it. .

Pam Allan: Well, we say all the time, you know, a marriage really starts when you roll over and say, who are you and when did you get in my bed? Right. So, so that, I mean, that's a pretty common phrase that we've used at the getaways and here and whatever. Mm-hmm. . But so I, I mean I think that's just part of it, right? We, we change and dating changes and anyway. Yeah. I

Corey Allan: Just, I just want, uh, married people to get a Oh, uh, an introduction to the idea of so exactly how cruel is my spouse, how ex and exactly how cruel am I?

Pam Allan: Mm.

Corey Allan: Because we all are at times, some more than others because of how I would address cruelty in myself and others is different than if I, if I look at it as such, it's different than how I would address something that's just missing. So we're not gonna have time for the next, next, next, uh, email. So, okay, if we left something, missed something or didn't, didn't land well, please let us know. I'm trying to go back in my mind to think of, have we had times where we teased out, we've got a couple emails and we only got to one in this e in these shows for almost 12 years.

Pam Allan: I don't remember actually teasing them out that way and not getting to one. But I I,

Corey Allan: I feel kinda like we didn't deliver .

Pam Allan: Well, we'll get done the next one. . Yes.

Corey Allan: We'll, well, if we left something undone, uh, or you've got more information you want, uh, or just questions that this has spurred in, you let us know. 2 1 4 7 0 2 9 5 6 5 transcripts available on each of the episodes, as well as advertiser deals and discount codes are also available on each of the episodes pages. So please consider supporting those who support the show. Well, however, you took a little bit of time out to spend it with us. Thank you. And we'll see you next time.