Relationships always feel new each time we have them. Especially in romantic relationships, we tend to find ourselves in uncharted waters every time we enter into one, no matter how many we’ve had in the past. This, in itself, shows just how varied the types of relationships are. Helping you navigate this big world of romance, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen invite Jáchym Jerie and Natasha Koo, the founders of YourExceptionalRelationship.com. Together, Jáchym and Natasha take us into their radically experimental approach to relationships, trying the different types and finding how it affects their romance. They go deep into long-term romantic partnerships, polyamory, monogamy, and marriage, and then talk about the pleasure trap, happiness in relationships, working with your partner, and even the problems many couples encounter along the way—from rage cleaning, bickering, and nagging. More importantly, they teach some empowering ways that can help us have exceptional relationships, where we can speak our truth and, ultimately, just love.
Listen to the podcast here:
A Radically Experimental Approach To Romantic Relationships With Jáchym Jerie And Natasha Koo
How To Have An Exceptional Relationship
Here on This Might Get Uncomfortable, we’ve noticed something interesting, which is that the episodes we’ve done regarding love and relationships have been vastly popular in comparison to some of our other episodes. While we didn’t have necessarily an intention to go heavier into that realm, it’s been interesting to see how you, dear reader, whether it’s your first time or a long-time reader have been leaning deeper into those episodes about relationship, love, and connection. In terms of love, connection and relationship, we’re going to do a deep dive with two friends, Jáchym and Natasha. They have interesting approaches to relationship. Whitney and I went to their website, which is YourExceptionalRelationship.com. I was browsing through and I was like, “This is cool.” I got to their About Us page.
I started digging in a little bit deeper into some unique, intriguing, and deeply moving aspects of who they are as people and what they have experienced in their romantic relationship. There are many things that pulled me. It was looking at the length of time. They’ve been together for a decade and married for a few years. I got into them doing many different kinds of relationships, long-distance relationship, an open relationship, a semi-open relationship, a polyamorous relationship, and a closed relationship. At that point, I thought to myself, “I have to talk to them because I have never personally spoken to a couple that has been so radically open and experimental in terms of so many different approaches.”
There are many things that I want to dig into with you, Jáchym and Natasha. We’re so excited to have you on the show. My first inquiry as we open it up here with Whitney and I, and both of you, is with that approach to radical experimentation and all those different types of containers on your relationship, what was the inspiration for being that radically experimental. Trying that many different types of relationships, how has that shaped you guys in your romance? Let’s start there.
For me, what was the inspiration to be experimental about it is that I did not like the idea of a monogamous relationship. I’m not into following what society thinks is the best approach to things. Mostly because I believe that a lot of people are unhappy and miserable with their life. That was especially back then that was my view. I had a very negative view of society. I was not wanting to fit into this mold. I was open to see what else we can do. An idea came in that why should love be possessive? Why should love be exclusive? Those were some of the thoughts behind the different variations of relationships and seeing what suits us.
How about you, Natasha?
For me, at the beginning, as you can tell, like for Jáchym, he had a more rebellious streak. He was trying to push the boundaries and see what was right for him, which might not have been right for the rest of the world. Because we were in a long-distance relationship for a good few years, I fell into the pleasure trap. It was more like I had an emotional connection to him. We were talking every day, but I didn’t physically have someone with me. We would only see each other three times a year, if we’re lucky, four times a year. Those visits would last from like a week, a maximum of three weeks.
It was like we saw each other very sporadically. It was from my end initiated because I wanted to have someone physically with me and to have that physical comfort, which back then, I didn’t know the repercussions of that wish or that desire or what I was opening up our relationship to become. Every decision we made was making it normal within the relationship. When I moved from Canada to Switzerland to be with Jáchym to live together and start that life together, we had a close relationship. Even after we got married and the pleasure trap at the beginning, which was the initial motivation, it morphed into something else for me because we were doing so much self-development work and looking into spirituality, I was playing with the idea in my head regarding love. Maybe that is free for all that I don’t need to possess Jáchym. Maybe Jáchym isn’t the only one person on this planet to fulfill all my needs and desires. Maybe there’s enough love within me to share with more people. That was the idea that I was trying to test and chase in my mind. I met that chase with actual experiences that I either had on my own were brought into our relationship. It morphed from first the pleasure trap into then this spiritual idea. I was trying to prove to myself that I can be unattached. I can be spiritual enough to do this.
I love your transparency and how there are similarities, yet you each have your own different perspectives and dynamic at play here. The first feeling that I get from listening to you is freedom and permission. I feel like at least from my perspective, worldview, and experiences, a lot of relationships can tend to feel constrictive or it’s about following the rules and doing things a set way. It’s often guided by monogamy and finding that one person. There are a lot of poles towards pleasure, yet I feel like at least in America, it’s refreshing to talk with you outside of the American perspective. I feel like in this country that Jason and I are in, pleasure in a lot of ways is simultaneously encouraged and yet frowned upon. There’s a very confusing message that comes out. You should have pleasure, but only under these circumstances and these rules, would you say that too, Jason?
There is a conflicting set of messages around the pursuit of pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment but also some negative perspectives on if you do it according to the prescribed set of rules of a particular religion or a society or perhaps the culture that you’re in, it’s only like, “We want you to feel good, but only if you’re going to do it our way.” In terms of the freedom of seeking one’s own path, it feels to me, Jáchym and Natasha, that you have made a point to maybe break free from certain rules that might have been imposed on you so that you guys could explore this container of love and relationship in a much more free and exploratory way.
I’m curious as you went through this process of initially having this long-distance relationship, how did it continue to evolve? Was it that one of you would say bring a new container to the table and say, “Why don’t we try it this way?” Furthermore, a secondary question, as you went through these different permutations of your relationship, what traumas, triggers, jealousy or frustration, I don’t want to call them negative emotions, but what things to be dealt with like that came up for you both?
For me, there were conversations. One thing we lived by and still live by is absolute transparency and honesty in the relationship. There’s no going behind one’s back. There is no cheating. There is very clear communication about what we want, what we are doing, how we are feeling so that we can address it together. How the relationship morphed into different stages was through communication. For example, the semi-open relationship came about because Natasha wasn’t feeling as comfortable anymore.
I was like, “You can do whatever you want.” That’s wasn’t our aspect of a relationship that we try it out. The challenges that come up are real. There is jealousy that can come up there. There can be a lot of hurt. A lot of that has to do as well with how you’ve been brought up. The other traumas you have experienced in your life. We tend to be shaped by those things as well. The open relationship or polygamy can be quite prone to escapism. There’s a danger when you go into this, but you’re not looking at yourself and processing what you need to process because you have the option to go somewhere else and find someone else. Lick your wounds by being exposed with someone else and enjoying that time. That is not conducive to grow a relationship in more depths. You can stay at a certain level, but to go deeper, you need to properly commit.The inability to talk about your feelings is quite detrimental to relationships. Click To Tweet
What happens when you are in an open relationship, polyamory or whatever, is that you have more than one person involved. The work is more. You don’t have to communicate with one person. You have to communicate with two people or more. It can become quite time-consuming. There’s a lot of insecurity that can surface about not feeling good enough, about not feeling okay. You have to learn to address those in a manner that is okay for you. Also, for us, a lot of the drive for this has come from an idea and has come from an aversion towards society.
It is not coming from a place of freedom. This is important because we can think it is a place of freedom to do that. In terms of action, it is if you’re shaped by away movement. For example, we have war. The only idea we have is we don’t have war. It’s going away from what’s experienced. You’re still shaped by society very much even if you don’t want to admit it. A lot of those things then becomes difficult because you have an idea in your head, but your heart may have another idea. What you emotionally fear is right for you is not listened to anymore. I wasn’t listening to that anymore because the idea is too powerful of how things should be and how I’m free to do whatever I want and all of that.
For me, especially the second one, the first one I mentioned has more to do with the pleasure trap. The second one about exploring what love means and how many people we can be intimately in love with. It was also something I was trying to prove to myself but on the mind level. I was trying to be all spiritually correct by trying to imitate this freedom that I thought this expression had to be. You’ve heard all the different transitions within our relationship. What happened was that I was this rubber band and I kept stretching myself to fit this spiritually correct mold or this all freedom encompassing role to the point where I wasn’t in line with myself.
Boundaries started getting crossed, but I put myself into such an awkward position because like Jáchym said, we have this transparent conversation. The conversation is supposed to be honest, but if I wasn’t honest with myself, then the words I’m speaking is not my truth. We end up having a conversation with one another where we’re not coming from an authentic place within me. What ended up happening is that I agreed to a lot of things because I thought it was the right thing to do. I thought that it would be expensive for us. I thought that it would give each other freedom. I thought that we were expanding into more love.
I was getting more and more hurt. I didn’t know how to backpedal for a long time because I was saying yes and creating this situation with Jáchym for so long. It was as if making a U-turn at that point would have meant that I had to be like, “I didn’t mean all the yeses I said in the last few years.” That’s a shock to both myself and to Jáchym because you’ve been saying yes, this whole time. You’ve been letting your boundaries cross this whole time, but to put your foot down suddenly and be like, “None of that feels right anymore. I’m hurt now.” That’s a completely different conversation if that makes sense.
A lot of people go through that. You hear this perspective of how people are always changing in their relationships. People don’t know how to express themselves. It might not even be that you’re changing as much as perhaps you’re learning how to communicate better and speak up for yourself. Maybe you’re on a journey of more self-inquiry. As you’re learning more about yourself, you’re realizing how you may not have been fully truthful, strong, or comfortable in the relationship. I’m glad that you’re speaking out about that. I want to backtrack for a moment because I’m not sure how you met. I’d love to know the story of how your relationship came to be, how your work together started. Is this something that you were each doing individually and then came together to work on this, or were you on completely different career paths until this joint venture?
If I could have a dice and I roll it, that’s the two answers that will pretty much come up. It’s random. It’s all by chance. How we met is that I’m Canadian. I was studying in Canada at that time. I was going to Europe for the first time for Christmas. Jáchym, he was studying in the US. He was going home to Switzerland for Christmas also. We were both transferring at the London Heathrow Airport. We were supposed to be there I don’t even think for more than three hours. Within that time period where we landed, the whole airport has shut down because it snowed a tiny bit, like so little we can’t even see it.
All the flights were canceled. We miss both our flights. We were both stuck there. What happened from my side is that I was in the luggage room for hours. There was piling up and creating these crazy luggage mountains. I was getting a bit stressed. At one point, the people there at the airport were like, “Leave the luggage area. Go to arrivals.” I thought, “This is it. Once I get into arrivals, I’m in the UK. I’m not supposed to be here.” I was like, “What should I do? Calm down, grab a bite, and then call my aunt again.” I was trying to visit my aunt. It’s like, “Let me do that.”
I start walking around trying to find something to eat in the arrival area. I spot a seat that’s free. I thought, “Maybe I take that.” I was about to then I thought to myself, it’s like in a movie where the character stops and someone’s voice enters their head. It’s like what happened for me. My mom said, “Don’t leave your luggage with strangers.” I was like, “No. I cannot leave my luggage with a stranger.” I was about to turn around and abandon that seat. I did. I saw a huge Indian family walking towards me, like 8, 9 people.
I thought, “No. This is a special situation. Everyone is stuck here. This is not normal anymore. I need this seat because everyone’s freaking out. Everyone wants to settle down somewhere. I need this.” I turned around. There was a guy who was nodding off, sleeping. Next to my seat, there was a guy who was awake. I asked the guy who was awake, “Can you look after this? I’ll be right back.” I did. I bought some food and sat back down. The guy who was sleeping, that’s Jáchym. He looked over at me. He said something dumb, like, “Are you stuck here too?” It was something like that. What’s happening is that for the first night we spend it on the floor of the airport because we were both waiting and wanting to get out of there the next day.
We couldn’t. Everything was canceled. In the end, we spent a good three days together. There was nothing to do. We were stuck on that island. We thought, “Let’s get Chinese food. Let’s go to the museum.” It was my first time in Europe anyway. I thought it was exciting. My mom would call me, be crying on the phone, and freaking out for me. That’s how it started. From there, we transitioned into the long-distance relationship and things like that.
Jáchym, is there anything that was different from your perspective in that story?It's important to bring more consciousness into the relationship and see what you’re doing. Click To Tweet
I agree that it was a very dumb pickup line. I didn’t have any intention of picking her up in the first place. I was trying to sleep. Someone sits next to you, when your head is nodding off, you’re in danger of hitting them. I was like, “I can’t sleep anymore. What am I going to do now?” I start talking to her. What is good to tell you as well is we were different. Back then, I was still very pessimistic. Natasha was the complete opposite. She was what I call rainbows, bunnies, and let’s save the world. That was quite interesting. I don’t think anyone of us expected that we’ll get married and be together for over a decade. That’s quite good.
Jason, that reminds me of a little bit of your dynamic with your girlfriend. Jason is also rebellious and he has a younger girlfriend, who seems to see the world in a different way. Would you say that, Jason?
That’s probably the dynamic that you’re describing, Jáchym, with Natasha. It’s similar in the sense that I suppose with my girlfriend, I tend to be a little more pessimistic, I’ll take ownership of that. She’s very much a glass half full type of person. It’s been an interesting, energetic contrast, mirroring what you have to say. My question going forward with this is acknowledging those differences. Was there ever a point where you guys, either of you thought like, “We’re way too different. There’s no way this is going to work?”
For me, I don’t think I had this thought. It was more entertaining because you get to explore someone’s world that is so completely different. We didn’t have happened in that arena. We think like, “That’s too much of a difference. It’s not going to work.” In many areas, we do align in terms of that we care about people and knowing the work that we’re doing together now. We do align in wanting to travel. We do align with family values. There are a lot of values that we do align with that weren’t obvious when we first met.
I had trouble communicating my emotions. That was something even though I seemed happy, chirpy, and bouncy. I had trouble communicating how I was feeling. In the end, we were connecting as human beings and the inability to talk about your feelings, that was quite detrimental. Another thing where it was quite hard because of our actual personality or how we behave and how we think, that difference, that hit us on the head when we started working together. You can maybe talk about how we even started to work together. I remember that we are such different people because Jáchym is a complete quickstart. Meaning, he’ll get an idea and be like, “Let’s do that.”
On follow-throughs, I’ll be like, “Idea one, destination B. Let’s get a plan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Let’s get it by this time and tool that we’ll use, 1, 2, 3.” He’ll freak out. He’ll be like, “What do you mean? We don’t need to do that. Let’s not run away with this.” I’ll be like, “You gave me an idea. If you don’t want me to take action, why are you telling me this?” I want to see things through. I want to manage things. I want to get it done well. I want it to fit in my calendar. Jáchym is such a visionary. His morning routine, which he needs is to sit down, be quiet, download and listen.
For me, I need to sit at my computer and get it done. The different ways in which we do our best work is different. We had so much miscommunication when we first started working together because we didn’t realize that we were different in this way. It’s one thing to run a household and be together even if you’re living together. When you have a common goal like work and you have very drastically different ways to get to that goal, it becomes quite difficult. I remember clearly there was this meeting we were going to have with someone who did ads, 30 minutes from that moment in time.
I walked up to Jáchym and I said, “We have this ads guy that we’re going to talk to, that we’re going to have a call with. Let’s talk about this meeting.” Jáchym was on the toilet when that happened. He wasn’t behind his computer. He wasn’t sitting down with a notebook. I walked into the bathroom, be like, “We have a meeting. Let’s talk about the agenda.” He looked at me and he was like, “What’d you want to talk about?” I looked at him with those evil eyes, when your eyes slant down. I was like, “What do you mean what’s there to talk about? We have a meeting?” He was like, “Go ahead. Let’s talk about it.” As in like all question marks, he didn’t know what was going on.
I would start to challenge him because I thought, “This guy’s not taking this meeting seriously. He’s doing it on the fly. He doesn’t care. It’s going to be in half an hour. We barely have any time left to address this.” I was challenging him. I was like, “There’s nothing you want to talk about.” He said something which was along the lines of, “Is there something to talk about?” At that moment, I was fuming. I was like, “There is. It’s an ads guy. We need to talk about budget. We’ve got to talk about scope. We’ve got to talk about timeline. We’ve got to talk about what is our intention of doing ads. What is this about? We’ve got to be together on a team when we show up on that call. We have so much to talk about.”
He was like, “Yes, okay.” I thought, “We think so differently because those things are important to him.” For Jáchym, he would do that on the call. Get a feel for it. Maybe talk to me afterwards, show up and see what happens, where I was like, “Let’s not waste each other’s time. Let’s sit down, let’s get an agenda. Let’s have our intentions clear. Let’s get a budget clear.” We had many conversations like that where we were like, “Is there something to talk about? What do you mean there’s nothing to talk about?” We didn’t see things the same way. Once we realized what we’re good at, “I’m good at this. You’re good at that. Let’s not mix it up.” We put ourselves in the right seats and then I worked out so much better.
It’s funny because I feel like you’re describing my business relationship with Jason. You were thinking the same thing I’m sure.
I was thinking the exact same thing.
I’m much like you, Natasha, in a lot of ways where I’m very much a planner, I like to get things done, have a to-do list, and be on schedule. That’s where I’m comfortable. I also procrastinate. I don’t always get the things done that I intend to. I feel much more comfortable having a plan. Whereas Jason is a fly by the seat of his pants type of guy, more rebellious and tends to do things last minute whenever he can. Would you say, Jason, that sounds about right?
I find that my way of navigating the world, not work, and I’ve noticed that this irritates a lot of people. It’s interesting, Natasha, that you bring up this funny and brilliantly spoken situation that at times my desire to improvise, be in the moment and make it up as I go, can be seen by some people as maybe laissez-faire, a little too laid back or unprepared. I feel confident in that space. I make it up as I go. In the moment, there’s magic. There’s creativity in the moment. For Whitney and I, as business partners, it’s very much contrasting styles similarly to what you described.
She’s got spreadsheets, to-do lists, projections, the intel and the research and five minutes beforehand, I’m like, “Let’s rock.” She’s like, “What do you mean?” It’s interesting though, in the container for you guys being in a romantic partnership, this being one very small thing. When you have over the course of your relationship noticed things that irritate one another or irked one another, or bother each other, how did you not allow those things to balloon into something bigger that have killed the relationship? How do you guys handle those irritations or the ways that you maybe communicate differently or the ways that you upset one another? How did you learn or practice handling those situations to make sure they didn’t snowball into something bigger?
Through experience because they did snowball into something bigger. You make the mistakes and then you learn from the mistakes. The reason why we can do the work is because we have gone through blame, nagging, bickering, all of those things, and getting blown out of proportions and the small things getting bigger and bigger. Seeing the impact of that then addressing it and learning to do it differently has allowed us to do the work now. To give you an example of what this means, before we were not conscious of what was happening in our relationship, the bickering, the nagging, the blaming, it seemed like it’s normal. That’s what couples do that are together for ten years or something like that.
If you get to twenty years, it probably gets worse. The image that we have and the image that I believe a lot of people have is that it’s normal. It’s what old couples do. The truth is that it can be normal in society, but is it healthy? Is it something you want? I personally don’t. What happened for us is that we got help as well from someone too. She does like cleanses and we went there. It’s like seven days. Usually, it’s one-to-one, but we went as a couple. It’s somewhere in England. She has ten dogs. I’ve been with her for several times and Natasha is going as well. She’s good at what she does. She’s a bit of a crazy lady. We went there. We both had our individual cleanses.
We weren’t working actively as a couple on it, but we were looking at our own patterns. This was the point where the relationship shifted because we saw what we were doing to each other. Those small bickering, nagging, and blaming that happens that sometimes gets blown out of proportion, it’s hurting the relationship. It is not bringing the relationship forward. It’s disempowering the other partner. What happens is that you get drawn into this empowerment circle.
I get a bit disempowered. What do you do when you get disempowered? You want to get more power back. That’s obvious. How do I get my power back? Through a dysfunctional way by disempowering Natasha a bit. You go back and forth. You are in this cycle that no one is happy about. You love each other and you have this image of the relationship, you don’t see it because it’s hurtful to see it. You have this positive self-image of yourself and a positive image of the relationship. Those things seem like small things, 50%, 60%, 90%, whatever is your percentage of time. “We are okay. We are good. We are loving each other where there’s a great relationship.”
When you look down and look at the nitty-gritty, you can see that there’s a bunch of stuff that’s not right. The way you address it is that you start to look at the impact it has. You start to feel it. You look at what happens when you are connected to love because there’s a clear delineation. There’s a clear demarcation line either you’re choosing love or you’re choosing fears and insecurities, blaming bickering, nagging, they are rooted in fear. They’re rooted in nagging. They’re not rooted in love.
Once you see that it’s much easier to address the issues without blowing it out of proportions. Don’t get me wrong, we still have sometimes things that come up. It is not our aim to have some idealized perfect relationship. That’s not human in my opinion, nor it is desirable. What we do have is that when it does show up, we know how to handle it. We know that we can sit down together. We know that we can talk and be like, “We’re going back into this more negative space. We can look at what has happened and we can sort it out so that we both are feeling good and empowered rather than disempowered.”
I feel like many people when they are perhaps confronted with uncomfortable realizations, trauma, wounds or power struggles, that people would opt to leave the relationship or end the relationship. There were moments of great discomfort. I’d like to hear maybe more about the patterns, the past wounding or maybe stuff that are familial bonds, things from your family, and growing up. What those things came up for both of you and how did you use those situations, those wounds, or those things you were looking at inside of yourselves individually to strengthen your partnership rather than using it as a reason to say detonate it, to end it and move on?
One pattern that runs especially from the maternal side of their family. I’m not sure if the readers relate to this, but it has to do with rage cleaning. I read this in the book, but I’m like, “That’s exactly what’s happening.” It’s like in the household when you’re cleaning, doing the dishes, or cooking, and then there’s like, “Jáchym is helping me out.” I’d be like, “Jáchym, wash those veggies and bring them over to me so I can cut them up.” He washes them all nicely. He brings them over. Somehow he manages to get 200 milliliters of water on the cutting board and spills it all over the table or the counter.
I’m like, “Jáchym, seriously. All you had to do was to bring over the veggies clean and why do you have to spill water everywhere?” Everything he did, he’s doing the dishes so nicely. I’m like, “Jáchym, why is this sponge wet? You’re supposed to wring it out and put that in that perfect little box thing.” All these household chores, which are very small mundane stuff, but somehow there’s this stress, there’s this rage behind it where it has to be perfect. It has to be done in the right way. Whoever doesn’t respect that, it becomes a thing. That was a pattern that ran in our relationship for a long time. At the beginning, it was more mild, but we lived together or even traveled, the more like my environment shifted too. It was as something I climbed onto it.We don't often take into account the fact that people grow, change, and transform in their lifetime. Click To Tweet
I was like, “More control over the household, more control over Jáchym.” It turned into this thing where every time something needed to get done or he was helping me, I was always picking on him. It’s like I was pecking on him and it was on the smallest things. He could never do it right. I would complain. I would sigh. I would bring him down each time. It wasn’t like my requests were unreasonable or that we weren’t trying to do the right things within the household. We were trying to make things clean, tidy and all that good stuff.
The way I was doing it, I started to build this case in my head that Jáchym was so useless. He can’t even follow my instructions. He can’t even do this simple task. He messes up every time. That means he’s not dependable. He doesn’t respect me and what I want to create in this home. It would spiral into this whole thing where I attached so much thinking. There were so many emotions to it. It was like this little ping pong game that started. We would be doing something and that I would get pissed off because it wasn’t done in that way that I wanted it to be done.
Jáchym would freak out because suddenly he had a wife who was unhappy, not pleased with him. He tried to do it overboard to please me. I see that he’s acting strange. I complained about that and then he’ll be like, “I’m trying to make you happy.” It would turn ugly. It’s like every day we were stuck in this stress of trying to make each other happy. It always started with something small like the household. What ended up happening once we became more conscious of the tone of voice and energy, what I was thinking and projecting on Jáchym. I’m like, “He is not a useless human being. He’s a very powerful creator. He’s a leader in his own right. Why do I think that he’s this useless thing if he can’t do something right on my terms?” Nothing to do with what he thinks. It’s like, “Why am I putting this on him? Why am I getting mad at him? Why am I so irritated the moment a little bit of tomato sauce falls off the ladle and drops onto the counter. Why does that piss me off so much? Why do I need things to be done in such a specific way?”
I had to examine that. I realized that there was a lot of passive aggression on my side. I was communicating my unhappiness, dissatisfaction right beneath my words. I would do this audible sigh, whenever I spotted something that I didn’t like that Jáchym has left a mark off or whatever. Jáchym could be in the next room or in a living room or something. He’d be like, “No, I’ve done it again.” There was a lot of communication. It seemed a little bit subtle, but it wasn’t because I was bringing him down and I was doing it consistently. I had to recognize it, and we had to talk about it. At some point, Jáchym came up to me and was like, “What you said, that hurt me.” I looked at him and I was like, “What am I doing to this guy?” I could see that he was in a lot of pain and I was picking on him. I didn’t realize that when you’re coming from that place, I was not nice. I was making him in my head to be someone who he was not.
I’m grateful that you’re sharing all of this because it’s all relatable. It sounds like experiences that I’ve heard from my friends or experienced myself, or you see played out in the media. In a way, we get used to that dynamic if we don’t pay attention to and that can either ruin the relationship or two people will stay in a relationship and be miserable because they don’t know their way out of it.
That’s why it’s important to bring more consciousness into the relationship and to see what you’re doing. It’s very easy when you listen to Natasha to think, “Natasha is this big dragon or whatever.” She can only do that if I am allowing it to happen. Once I started to speak up, once I started to address it and I was like, “I’m not going to let this keep running. It’s going to ruin us.” That’s when she changed. There’s one person who’s a perpetrator and the other one is the poor victim. That’s not the case. You are both doing a dance together. The dance is dysfunctional and it’s hurtful. If one person changes how you dance, it will change the relationship. It changes the dynamic.
That is the good news. It doesn’t mean that your partner has to change because a lot of people are getting lost in the idea, “It’s my partner’s fault, they are doing all this horrible stuff. I am hopeless.” If you’re in that place, you effectively have disempowered yourself and you’re going to be stuck in it forever. It will only change once you take ownership of where you are and what you are contributing to this. For completions’ sake, the way I understood the rage cleaning was less about getting things pointed out, but more like, “Natasha will be doing the dishes. She was angry. She was doing it angrily.” That was my interpretation of the rage cleaning. I didn’t read the book and I was like, “That’s an effective way to get me to do the dishes because I don’t want to do this anymore.”
I don’t want to be in bed at 11:00 trying to sleep while I can hear her in the kitchen sighing and being angry about this. That was another pattern that was playing out in that relationship. The more conscious you bring to those patterns, the less they can play out. They thrive on you not being conscious of them while it sucks to look at them, look at them is what will dissolve them and what will allow you to walk free. To let you know the relationship that is cleaned out, that doesn’t have this stuff happening is so much better because all the energy that’s tied up in this dysfunctional dance and into this empowerment and all of that, that gets sets free. You have all of this energy now together. The question isn’t any more like, “How are you going to make this relationship work?” It’s like, “What are we going to do together? What are we to create?” We have all of this positivity and energy, what are we going to do with it? That’s such a beautiful space to be in, rather than all the little petty things.
One thing that we’ve brought up in previous episodes and I’m curious how you two feel about this. There seem to be a lot of talks, especially on social media and I suppose certain relationship books about finding a “perfect partner.” The encouragement that some people have to write a list of the attributes, the personality traits, or the likes, the dislikes, the aspects of what you envision your ideal or perfect relationship to be. How many people say not to compromise and keep sticking with it until you find that perfect person. It sounds like having that fixation on finding someone who is perfect for you, on one hand, there are the people who say, “Don’t compromise and don’t let go of that and keep hanging in there.”
There’s another school of thought that says, “If you find someone who matches your values close enough and they have a similar viewpoint on the world that you can work with, maybe some of the things that aren’t perfectly aligned with that list.” What would your response be perhaps with clients you’ve worked with or friends or the teachings you guys have about that mentality of don’t compromise, stay with the perfect person, or until you find them versus work with what you have if you deeply love that person, even if they’re not “perfect?”
It comes down to how you see that potential partner, how you see that person. The moment you have attributes and you relate those attributes to perfection, you’ve created a mold of sorts. It’s a mental mold. They have to fit it. There are attributes. The thing is that when you fall in love or when you create a relationship, you are with someone who’s alive and someone who is constantly changing with you. We don’t often take into account the fact that people grow, change, and transform in their lifetime. Whoever you say yes to whether you married them or you say yes to them on a dating app, you’re saying to someone who could be a different person the next day. You can’t control how the other person transformed day-to-day.
That’s an extremely important point to point out because like Jáchym said when we first met, we were completely different people. We did have this open communication and we were very curious people, and still are. Back then even more curious because we were trying to get to know ourselves and the world and how we fit into it. We were open to seeing each other’s perspectives and worlds from their eyes. What does that mean for you? How do you see that? Why do you believe that?
By having that curiosity and by opening this conversation, you get to appreciate not just your partner, the world in a way that was not possible before. Imagine that little attribute list and that mold you have. A perfect person a few years ago when you thought that was perfect. How about now when how you see the world and how you’ve experienced the world has expanded to a different level, and you still hold onto that freaking list with five bullet points, that’s outdated? That’s not your truth anymore.
That list and that mold is a disrespect to the person in front of you. You’re not giving them the chance to be who they are and for you to receive that. You are going positive, good, negative. Let’s delete that shit. Get that out of their system, but that’s them. For us, the whole idea of the exceptional relationship formula is that everything is malleable. Every hurt you can heal from, every single pain you can work through together, everything that you want to move on and move towards, you create together. Many misunderstandings you can understand again. That is from a very different place than having five bullet points in certain attributes that you want someone to have.
These are two creators coming together, finding understanding, finding connection, finding love, and then creating together. Imagine you have two molds, it’s like two cookie cutters, let’s put it that way and you cut. We have star-shaped cookies for forever. I’m happy with the five pointy sides. You have the freaking cookie dough, do something with it. Build a bunny and then next day bake something else. That’s in your hands and that’s together. Oftentimes people forget what’s possible. We are trying to be here and live and redefine what’s possible for relationships.
To add my two cents to that, the whole idea of a perfect partner doesn’t exist. That is made up in someone’s mind. That said, I do 100% agree that you shouldn’t compromise. If you have certain standards, if you want to achieve certain things in your relationship and you start compromising, soon enough you find yourself crossing your boundaries. You start to settle for something that’s not right. The big difference though is that you are a team. You’re not by yourself. A lot of the relationship issues are coming from the wrong perspective. The perspective is it’s me and what can I get from you?
I need to get something from you. This is the list of stuff I need you to be so that I can feel okay. That list will never be exhausted because the ego will forever find something else to add to it. If you are stuck in this perspective, you’re going to struggle. When you shift the perspective from me to us, the whole game changes, then suddenly you’re going to define, what is this relationship about? What do we want to nurture? What are our values? What’s important to us? What life are we building together?
You are creating almost a new being together, a new unit. In that unit are your desires and your partner’s desires. They’re not compromised. There can be friction. That’s the beauty of it because it can transcend both of those desires. It can bring up something new and people miss that because they are so stuck wanting things their way. If you have your perfect partner, where’s the growth in that. They’re pleasing you. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned through Natasha because she’s so different.
I was lucky enough to have an open ear to listen to her, to hear her out, and to see what she’s saying. I’ve grown so much and I will not be the same man without her. That has only happened because I was not completely focused on making it my way. Whenever we did do it my way, it wasn’t very nice. It sucked. That is important because the expansion of your world, the expansion of your being is incredible when you allow it to happen. Most people are so set in their ways that they are not allowing it to happen. What happens is that they have conflict together rather than growth.
How did you learn to move? I’m glad you brought this up, Jáchym that the ego wants to control. The ego wants to have things their way, this idea, or this story in our mind of how we think things ought to be or that this person’s supposed to make me happy. There are many of the gems that you both dropped throughout this conversation. What are some techniques that you both have used and teach others to move from the singular ego of I, me to opening the heart space more to the we? How do you guys recommend doing that? How did you both practice that for yourselves?
It’s both a tool, but I want to give a foundation for it. There are differences when you’re with your partner because you’re not dating yourself. Even if you date yourself, you like change all the time and what you think. It’s back and forth. That’s something else. You have differences and emotions will come up, especially if you’re in a deeply intimate relationship where you share a lot, where your lives become this equal system that you create together. There’s going to be conflict. There are going to be issues. There are going to be things that you need to work out together. There’s going to be friction and all that stuff. What I’ve learned is that here’s a big difference between couples who end up happy in the long run and couples who can’t seem to make it through these tough moments.
It’s sad that people who keep getting stuck in those tough moments and can’t get out of it. They have these conflicts, or they have these misunderstandings or friction and things like that. Something will happen. That’s normal. That’s okay. What happens is that someone feels hurt and once they feel hurt, they don’t know how to love again. They feel that pain. They relive what happened in their relationship. I’ve been there myself. It’s like, “Maybe Jáchym said something and I took it personally. I thought it meant this. It made me feel awful.”
From that moment on, I feel completely disconnected. I find it hard to look into his eyes. I don’t even want to look at him because it hurts. I don’t want to talk to him. I give him one-worded answers and I tried to avoid him and be by myself. I start to choose everything that’s not love. I start to retreat. I start to make it a thing in my head. I started to analyze it. I tried to do all these things. The more I’m in that space, the more I dwell on it and digest it in the worst way possible.
I stepped further and further away from love. I’m deeper and deeper into this hurt. Even if it’s from one moment, I hold onto that hurt. It’s still there. It’s still hard. At some point, it feels like I’ve forgotten how to love. There are so much pain present and much emotion present that I’m overwhelmed by that. I’ve forgotten how to love again. To remember how I can feel like I care for him and love him, I want that again. It feels far away because that distance is not physical, but it’s emotional. That distance has been created. As long as people don’t know how to love when they feel hurt and when they feel pain, they can’t heal their emotion and they can’t move on.The expansion of your being is incredible when you allow it to happen. Click To Tweet
Many people get stuck in that way because they feel like they’re on their own with the hurt and the pain. They try to figure it all out. They try to blame themselves. They do all sorts of things, but it still is not getting through to hurt through love. What we’ve done is that we have meetings every week, even if there are some things someone said throughout the week, a little jab or a little comment or even if the words sounded normal, but you picked up on a vibe that was annoyed or irritated at you or something like that. You didn’t feel good.
If we don’t address it soon after that conversation, we most definitely will address it at our weekly meeting. That’s where we sit down and go, “How was this week? Did you feel good in our relationship or what happened? Did you pick up on anything?” That’s where we talk about those tiny things that we say and do to one another, that don’t feel like it’s aligned to love. We know that the moment we move away from love and go to fear or get stuck in those emotions and don’t help ourselves or each other to grow from that and to choose love again, you’re going to get stuck there.
The distance and the isolation that comes along with it, that’s a recipe for the end of any relationship. As long as people get the tools and find out how to love despite the pain, despite the hurt, as long as people don’t know that tool and that skill, there will be a disconnect. There will be distance. There will be isolation. You will feel abandoned. You will feel misunderstood and all that stuff because you’ve forgotten how to love.
It’s interesting hearing you talk about this. First of all, it’s so soothing the way that the two of you approach this. It’s no wonder that this is the work that you’re doing. It feels like a calling. I don’t know if we fully covered how your business started. What were you doing before this? How far into your relationship did this all get formed? I’m curious about that.
I was quite pessimistic and my escape was martial arts. I was training and it helped me get off my neurotic head. What popped up was an opportunity in California to train martial arts for ten years in a retreat center. I was like, “Fantastic. I’m going to go there.” I broke up with my girlfriend then, my high school sweetheart. I moved over there. I was staying there for two and a half years. Looking back, that was an escape, trying to escape myself. After two and a half years, I’m still bitter to some degree. I quit that. I came back to Switzerland. I discovered then hypnosis and I was passionate about it.
I was like, “Let me see what I can do.” My perspective shifted from trying to run away from society and myself to maybe I can find a niche in this society. The niche was hypnosis. That’s why I started. It’s been several years by now. When I did that, the transition to start healing myself. That was what started to happen. If you’re working with people and you’re not healing yourself, you can only take them this far. Hypnosis was my career. I had my own practice in Zurich, in Switzerland, and that’s what I was doing.
Through spending time by myself so I was building the business and at some point, I had this intuition where it said, “Stop trying to build this business more and focus more on yourself.” That’s what I did. I took time off and I was doing purposeless days, a friend of mine coined that term. Those days are whenever you wake up, you don’t have a phone, you don’t have a book. You don’t have any electronics and you don’t have a plan. What is going to happen when you stop distracting yourself?
What I found is how come I can’t be with myself? How come I’m uncomfortable when I’m by myself? What I realized through those purposeless days is that the mind creates a problem and then says it didn’t do it and tells you, “You have a problem, go solve it.” You freak out. You try to solve the problem. As you tried to solve the problem, it gets bigger and bigger. The mess gets worse. There is something that happens is interesting.
At some point, you can see through that illusion and suddenly you’re back in peace, love, stillness, and all of that. I’m like, “This is amazing. This stuff is inherent.” When I saw that, that is when I switched my career towards more coaching. I went to high-ticket coaching and enrolling entrepreneurs and all kinds of stuff. That was the career transition I did. We came together, but maybe Natasha, you cover first what you were doing.
He mentioned earlier that I wanted to save the world. That’s what I tried to do. I studied the environment and business. My intention was to save the planet through market solutions. I tried hard to find my place. That meant I worked for the municipality. I worked for the federal government. I worked in environmental consulting. I worked in foundations that help social entrepreneurs and all sorts of things in order to find my place and try to save the world at the same time.
What I realized over time was that it was so hard for me to find an organization that truly wanted to do good, that they wouldn’t hire me to do brainwashing, greenwashing, green marketing. That was brainwashing people that it’s doing good when it’s not. At some point, I got frustrated. The last time I worked for someone, I got sacked for asking to get paid another story another time. That experience was emotional. I was like, “Enough of this. I’m going to take a bit of time and see what I want to do.” When I took time off, I got so many ideas. It’s as if like the time off was taking the lid off of a box and the light comes out and all those sparkles come out of the box. That’s what happens when I have time. I got business ideas. I wanted to do all sorts of things. I started experimenting.
I started to take yoga teacher training and taught a little bit. There was one point in time, it was when Jáchym was on this crazy multiple year-long rampage of learning from the best teachers all over the world. At one point, he was learning from the hypnosis teachers, learning from the best coaches, going all over the place. He hired a lady from the UK, a different lady who was teaching us energy stuff. I thought, “What the heck is this?” Me, the planning, all the goals, and to-do lists, I was like, “This is such a scam.”
Jáchym wanted to do it all the way. She came over to our house, stayed 3, 4 days, and worked with us too, showing us energy stuff. What happened was that I’m quite good at this. It was like feeling beyond the physical. I was like, “Maybe I have a knack for this.” It felt like I was remembering something that I already knew. It was very strange. After that, I thought, “Let me give this a try.” I would have friends over. I wouldn’t even touch their body. I would hover over them and started conversations at the beginning. I was completely awful.
At one point, I had an experience that shifted my perspective on this whole thing. At the time, I was struggling with it. I thought it was bullshit. At the same time, I felt something. My mind was struggling with what I was feeling. I couldn’t identify it. It wasn’t a science, but what was it that I was experiencing? I started thinking that maybe I was a little bit crazy. One time I was teaching a private yoga class and my student was like, “This left shoulder is bothering me again.”
I said to her, “I learned this new technique thing. Do you want me to take a look?” She’s like, “Yes, sure.” She lied down on her yoga mat and I didn’t touch her. I hovered my hands over her shoulder, the one where she thought was painful and she blamed it on CrossFit. Something within me knew it did not have to do with CrossFit. I followed my hands. Wherever my hands wanted to go, I would do that. Quickly I moved away from where she thought the pain was and I hovered my hands above her chest instead. I was thinking, “What’s going on here?” This physical pain shot up from my hand up my shoulder. It hurts so much. I said “ouch” out loud. I looked at her. I don’t know a thing about this lady. I looked at her and I said, “Did something happen in your personal life?” She looked at me and she was like, “Yes, I broke up with my boyfriend.” I thought, “What the heck did happen?”
I went home and I was like, “What the heck was that?” I didn’t know a thing. What the heck was I feeling? What’s going on? At that point, I stopped questioning myself and thinking that I’m crazy because I was gaining more and more of this evidence that I was feeling something that was real. I was deeply connecting to people. I was deeply feeling people. There were a lot of things that I could get to in terms of bringing up as a topic in the conversation if I loved and accepted the person in the room and I listened.
At that point, I worked in this energy healing, not even sure what exactly it was, but I worked in it for a few years. I never had to touch people. I hovered them, put their face down. They’re on the massage table. They’re all relaxed, almost sleeping. I would have conversations where I would pick up on things that they’re struggling with. We would get closer and closer and closer to what was wrong and the answers that they needed.
I talked to people in that way and that slowly transitioned into work with women. Jáchym one day said, “Do you want to create a business together?” I said, “Sure. What about?” That was the beginning of our work together. Until then, we had very drastically different approaches to our careers. Jáchym studied for years with the best teachers, coaches, trainers, whatever. He did so much work in that realm. He studied it a lot. He looked at different methods and ways of working different styles from different people while I pretty much developed my own way, emotionally, working through issues with people and coaching people through my intuitive way of working so extremely different beginnings, but we do the same thing.
I have a question that came up organically, Natasha, in hearing both of your backgrounds. Both of you are eloquent and are such great storytellers. In that, I’m curious from both of your perspectives, what you feel the overarching spiritual or energetic purpose of a human romantic relationship. The reason I say spiritual interject, and I don’t mean procreation. I don’t think that’s obviously the purpose that every single person is meant to reproduce, but moreover, what do you feel like the energetic and spiritual ramifications are for people being in a relationship together?
There are two things that come to mind with this question. One of them is the experience that we are having now, which is when you combine your energies, it becomes exponential. You can create and you’re like this new unit that has all those different sides and facets to it. You can create something in this world. You become this beautiful force for love. You can embody the love. You can share the love within the relationship. That goes into the world. That goes into how you show up in your work. It’s how you show up with your in-laws, how you show up with your kids. It has a huge impact.
The second thing is growth. You grow through being with someone so close together. Natasha and I are together a lot because we’re working together. We go to bed together. We wake up together. We go to the gym together. We do a lot together. When you are together, there are the frictions that come up. There are to the preferences that come up. There are certain things that are difficult that come up. That is where you can grow. That is when you can expand. That is how do I deal with this without running away, without hiding, without doing anything.
What do I do to address this? For us, we see romantic relationships as a doorway to transforming yourself because a relationship is made out of you and someone else. When you transform yourself, you transform the relationship, it transforms the planet. The building blocks of society are relationships. How you’re showing up within your relationship has an impact on society. It looks to me the relationship arena is where there’s a lot of unconsciousness happening where people fall into it. They think it’s the happily ever after. There are unconscious patterns that come up and relating to your partner, how you’ve learned it from your parents or how you have learned to cope with life. There’s a lot to look at and that can impact the world and your friends and all around you in amazing ways.
For me, I experience it differently. The spiritual component of our relationship, it does have to do with the feminine and the masculine, and it does not have to do with gender but more the energy. I embody more of the feminine spirit within our relationship. If you didn’t notice with the whole rage cleaning and the whole list-making, I used to be a lot more of a control freak. I wanted to feel like I was in control. With this spiritual component with Jáchym showing up as his true for self. He’s able to lead and I can surrender. That might be controversial from a feminist move, “Surrender. What do you mean? Don’t let him lead. Stand up woman.” I’m like, “I don’t mean that letting go and you do whatever you want thing.”
When I’m talking about surrendering, it means that we have established much trust and respect for one another. There is such recognition of who is here within this relationship, not the attributes anymore. The actual person behind that I’m able to let go and be who I am in the best way possible. That means that Jáchym can step up. We throw at us all sorts of ideas like, “Let’s bounce. Let’s get out of Switzerland. Let’s move out of this apartment and go nowhere and float around like a coconut all over the world.”You grow through being with someone so close together Click To Tweet
Is that how you ended up in Malaysia? That’s where you are now, Malaysia?
It’s COVID so we’re here a lot longer than we intended it to. We pretty much stay in a country for three months and then keep on exploring. We’ve been all over the world. That was Jáchym’s one-off idea like, “Why don’t we do that?” That was his impulse. That was his inspiration. Me coming from the feminine spirit, I had to relax into that. I had to let go of control, relax, and surrender to the fact that my partner has stepped up and taking the lead. I’m given the opportunity to follow in the best way possible, to follow with respect, with that trust, and hope that things will always work out for us. This is deeply healing for me to be able to surrender because you can only surrender when you feel safe.
When you know you can and that you don’t have to do things anymore. You don’t have to fix things anymore. You don’t have to keep the balls up in the air. You can be. You can express whatever is going on. The biggest gift that anyone can give to me in this world is to hold that space for me. Spiritually speaking, that is my deepest experience of love, of leadership, of surrendering, of creating such a beautiful thing, ecosystem together where this is possible. This is as if we fall into pure love. There’s not an ounce of fear in it.
To give my perspective on this, which is important because when you hear, he’s leading and all of this. Please be aware of when she’s saying leading, it means I’m listening. Leadership cannot come from a place of, “I am dictating what’s going to go and what’s not going to go.” You’re back again into the me and what I want and Natasha having to conform to this. That’s not what this dynamic is about. It’s about me. You’re listening to Natasha, feeling her and bringing something to the table that she may not be able to bring to the table because she’s surrendering and letting go. It’s a very different dynamic than when you think about the patriarchal society or the man doing whatever he wants. It has nothing to do with that. It’s about helping both of us to bring the best out in each other.
I feel like you are both teaching me so much in the course of this conversation. There have been many moments where I have simultaneously been doing deep listening and then also witnessing patterns and ways of behavior that I experienced in a relationship that are coming up for me to be looked at. I feel like after we wrap this episode, I’m going to need to sit and reflect on some things. Your energy and your approach that you both have is, it’s simultaneously soothing to me, as Whitney mentioned. I’m experiencing the same thing, but also it is bringing stuff up in real-time where I am like, “I need to look at this pattern of behavior for myself.” This might be one of the first conversations we found where in real-time, I’m like, “I need to sit with that afterward.”
There was also the attachment episode where you realized that you were an avoidant attachment. I’m about whether that comes into your work, Natasha and Jáchym. Do you do anything around relationship attachments, which is becoming up a subject matter I’ve been noticing a lot so the anxious-avoidant or secure attachment styles in relationships?
It’s a framework that you can use and it can be a useful framework to look at. I could classify myself as an avoidant attachment especially earlier in the relationship myself. That was coming from the experience I had early on in childhood. My father committed suicide when I was six years old. I had this very negative view of love and authority because I got hurt. I wanted love, but I didn’t want love because love was dangerous. That was what was the case. That played out in the relationship. It played out through having an open relationship by wanting to attach and to be closer to me, and that same time pushing Natasha away. It’s a dysfunctional dance and the way to resolve it for me was to resolve what happened with my father.
It was almost two decades later when I integrate that experience because when I grew up and this happened, there was not the support or the openness in my family to address it in a way that was good for me. What happened is that the emotion and the shock frozen my body and I was cutting myself off from my emotions. That was happening. When you cut yourself off, you don’t cut off the negative. You also cut off the positive. Your experience of life becomes flat. When that broke free, it was a pivotal moment where this lady was back in one of those cleanses. She started crying. She was like, “Those are your tears.” In that moment, it burst out of me. I was crying and feeling the pain.
That is what then led to massive transformation within me where I was able to go through all those darker emotions and understand them, not with your mind, but with my heart. It’s a spectrum. It’s like a rainbow. You have extremely ecstatic, joyful blissful emotions. You have too very contracted dark emotions of depression, suicidal thoughts, and all of that. I’ve experienced all of them. They all have their own beauty when you’re not identified with them, but it allows me to do the work I do. We’re not coming from a theoretical framework of, “Let’s look at your attachment style.”
We’re coming from an experiential framework of how we have transformed our relationships, how we have worked with people and feeling people more deeply. That’s what’s happening, especially in the one-on-one conversation is feeling people and seeing, “Where are they getting hung up? Where are they avoiding? Where are they running away? Where are they violating their boundary or trying to cling to the other person?” All of that stuff, this behavior, you can classify them in the attachment style theory.
I’m not fond of theories too much because it can limit you. It’s useful because it can give you a map and guidance about how you want to approach this. If you get stuck in it, you start looking completely through the eyes of the steer and say, “This is the avoidant attachment style behavior. This is this attached style behavior.” Everything starts to make sense. You’re like, “I got it figured out.” You haven’t figured it out because you can’t figure reality out. Stop trying to figure shit out.
It is hurtful to our relationship when you are so stuck in your head, that you’re analyzing everything and getting everything right. Live your life, live your relationship, make your mistakes, be human, be avoidant at certain times, be clingy at other times, those are all experiences. There’s nothing wrong with those experiences. However, they do have certain implications on the relationship and on your own well-being. Through experiencing them and looking at them, you get to transform them. You get to understand them at a much deeper level than any theory could ever give to you.
I wanted to do an amen and hallelujah with that. Everything you said, Jáchym was powerful and such a beautiful perspective. I am curious with both of you, are you then in a dedicated monogamous structure for your relationship?
Yes. For a few years now and this is where we’re happy.
Contrasting that to the experiments and the styles you had previously, why does this version, I suppose, feel happiest or most connected? When you contrast it to what you tried before, what feels different about it, and what feels best about being in a monogamous relationship?
For me, it’s a place where I take all responsibility for my actions and what it is that I need. Where before it sounds awful, but I was trying to outsource my problems. Even away from Jáchym, he can’t solve them. I’ll outsource it to someone else. Back then, it was as if I wasn’t meeting myself or what I needed straight on. I was still hiding what was happening and using all these different ways of having a relationship to try to be happy, be satisfied, and prove to myself, certain ideas. In this monogamous relationship, I take full responsibility.
I know that everything I do because we’ve consciously chosen to become a unit, it has an impact on Jáchym. That also means that I’m now coming from a way more mindful place of what is it that we’re truly creating here where before it was like I have a little wound. I’m like, “Put on all the Band-Aids, put on all the bombs, put on all the things to make it better.” That was throwing all sorts of stuff onto my arm and be like, “That works.”
While here, it’s like intentionally creating, intentionally being together and going, “There’s deep love here. How do we want to spend this life together? When we’re together, how good can it get? When it gets that good, what’s possible? What are we creating here? It’s as if in this monogamous relationship, I’ve brought 100% of myself. I’ve grown up also. When you have little doors to run out of the house and escape from time to time, it’s easy to avoid certain things.
Now we’re together. We’ve chosen this. It’s been such a healing and deeply rewarding experience because we’re showing up as adults now. We’re not repeating the same patterns anymore. We dream big. We’ve shown each other how deeply we can hurt one another. That’s for sure. We’ve crossed the boundaries. We’ve broken trust. We’ve done bad things in our relationships, but because we recognize there’s love and we chose love, we realized that there’s so much that we can create together. There’s such deep love that we can fall into. There’s such support that we can give to one another. Some of that, honestly, I believe takes that real commitment to be there for yourself, to be there for the other person. There’s no plan B anymore where I feel like in the past other options, like plan B to settle your fears or your insecurities, but it’s a different ball game now.
For me, the amount of love and fulfillment you can experience being with one partner is off the charts. It’s like when you are in a relationship, that’s open, whatever. It can be fun. You can have the pleasure. You can have the experiments and all of that. In terms of depths, it’s not impossible to go into that depth where having all those kinds of partners because it takes time. A relationship can mature and it can get better. That’s what we don’t realize because you have the honeymoon period.
You’re like, “It’s amazing.” The honeymoon wears off and you’re like, “Who am I now? It’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it’s getting worse.” As you go deeper into the relationship, what happens is either you learn to address those things or you get out. When you address those things and this is what people often don’t know is that the next stage is better than the honeymoon. What we’re having now feels more enriching, more loving, more empowering than being on a chemical high for a few months when you meet someone new that’s installed by biology. We procreate very quickly and have more kids.
When you go through that phase and you go through some power struggle and difficulties and you find your way to be together and to work together, it opens up a whole new arena of a relationship that I was not aware of. I don’t think I would have been able to pass through that stage, trying to be with multiple partners at the same time. That looks to me quite difficult because you are going to have difficult conversations from time to time. You’re going to have uncomfortable feelings. You’ve got to be with yourself and on all that. If there are more people involved, it’s more and more work. You have other things to do as well with your life than just having relationships with different people.
The timing is incredible too because Jason and I talk a lot about these things offline and it certainly comes up in other conversations that I have with friends and all the different perspectives people have and experiences they have. My friends that are married, single, dating or in a long-term relationship in my experiences. A lot of what you’re saying still feels like it’s not discussed enough. I feel like the two of you have such a wonderful, simple empowering message, yet it also simultaneously feels so deep, rich, and unique in a lot of ways.
Listening to the two of you has been such a joy because I keep reflecting on so much. I’m sitting here feeling so eager to share this with my friends that I’ve been in these discussions with. I don’t even know if I’ve ever heard anyone say that this period of time that you’re in is even better than the honeymoon period. That in itself, I don’t feel like is shared. I wonder is it because people don’t feel the need to talk about that or is it that most relationships are not in that place because they haven’t learned the techniques that you have. Even that weekly meeting that you have with one another is amazing.Live your life, live your relationship, make your mistakes, be human. Click To Tweet
It’s such a simple, actionable thing. I feel like it’s such a great takeaway to offer. Anyone reading this could immediately decide to do that with their partner or invite their partner and do that with them. That’s such a beautiful thing. I’m curious, Jason, if you were sitting there thinking that you wanted to do it too. I want to hear more of your reactions to this, Jason. Without being with you in person, I can’t look over and see your facial expressions. You and I talk about these things a lot. I’m curious, what is coming up for you in terms of takeaways or lessons that you’re learning?
There’s a lot. It’s realizing that the biggest takeaway, the biggest realization that I’ve had in terms of processing my hurt or processing my wounds is a coping mechanism I developed from childhood. As an example was because I was on my own a lot and being an only child raised by a single mother, my mechanism from a very young age was to process my pain, my confusion, and my trauma alone. I’ve noticed that consistently with only a few exceptions in my romantic relationships, my tendency is that when I am hurt, scared, wounded, or experiencing trauma, I shield it, hide it or prefer to do it in isolation and away from my partner. Realizing that is not allowing a deeper level of intimacy and vulnerability. That’s been a coping mechanism and something that I’ve been used to because I’ve done that my entire life.
With your encouragement, Jáchym and Natasha, what you’re saying about going into those places together. I suppose working together to dissolve those past hurts or the pain or the misunderstanding and using the wounds to create deeper healing. I realized that I’ve never worked too deeply with a partner on that. I’ve always thought that I had to do that on my own and not burden someone else with it. Probably the biggest takeaway that I’m sitting with is like, “I’ve been holding onto that pattern so long.” I’m realizing it clearly doesn’t serve me or serve the interests of my intimate partnership.
I love what you have shared. That’s powerful. I can talk from my own experience that it’s been scary for me to open up to Natasha and be like, “I’m hurt.” For me, it’s a moment of vulnerability. There’s a lot of power in addressing issues by yourself and sitting by yourself. I’m not discounting that at all. Both are necessary. However, there’s something beautiful that can happen when your partner has the capacity to listen and be there. You can open up and share that vulnerability that can heal in different ways that being by yourself doesn’t do it. For me, opening up myself like this, I’m opening myself up to more hurt now again. When the hurt doesn’t come, there’s healing. That is beautiful.
I want to echo what Whitney said. I feel like so many of our readers are going to receive this in a way that I think is going to open them up. At least that’s my hope, that’s our hope with everything we do on this show. I’m reflecting on the unconscious patterns or tendencies that I’ve carried from relationship to relationship and wanting to take a higher level of responsibility and ownership over how I’ve been showing up. That’s what is coming up in this moment for me. I suppose my question to both of you is I paraphrase this earlier when the pain does arise or the challenge does arise. How did you both move past perhaps any urges you may have had to call it quits? I feel like there are moments in a relationship where it gets hard, confusing, difficult, painful.
You’ve both mentioned how you’ve hurt one another. You’ve learned through these experiences, but how is it that you keep continuing and not say, “We’re at this point, it’s too painful. It’s too confusing. Fuck it. We’re done?” I feel like many people choose that option in life. They walk away even if the love is there and they’re done. How have you been able to transmute the pain to use it as I suppose a way to deepen and not blow the whole thing? I may have asked this before. I want a deeper understanding of that. It feels like the default mechanism for most people is, “This hurts too much. I’m done.”
This goes completely back to what I said in our conversation that the moment a hurt or a pain comes in, it feels like suddenly there’s a disconnect. If you don’t remember what love feels like, how good you once were together, it’s hard to reach for it. I want to bring up a moment in time where we were in this decision-making process of should we stay or not? We finished that week-long individual retreat, reflecting on most of the time, our part within the relationship, why things have gone wrong, and why we’re irritated at one another or hurt by one another. Why we feel like we can’t move on to the next stage together.
I remember at the end of that week, the healer, she was in the room. She was there to facilitate a conversation in case we needed anything. Jáchym was sharing what he realized. I was sharing what I realized. We were opening up the conversation about how I consciously choose to not do that to you again. If I do, I take responsibility from now on and so on. We were having this conversation. At some point, the lady who was working with us said, “Do you want to be together still?” Imagine this is after 45 minutes of crying and looking at admitting and saying, “Sorry. I won’t do that to you again.” I’ve never done anything from a place where I know I genuinely hurt you so deeply. It was a conversation of that. It’s like rehashing because we didn’t digest those events.
We didn’t digest the pain yet. Full crying, admitting how we’ve been wrong, admitting the things we’ve done, admitting the pain that you feel that the other person feels awful. This is like the lowest point of any relationship is where you feel hurt by your partner, but where you feel the double pain. The pain where you feel hurt by your partner, but also where you feel what you’ve done and recognizing the consequences of your actions, of your patterns. It’s like all there in front of you and it’s raw. She asks us if we want to be together. It was so strange because in my body, in my chest, in terms of puffy eyes, everything was hurt. The answer came and it was so clear. It’s like, “Yes. I want to be with him still.”
Jáchym said, “Yes, I want to be with her still.” It was a pause because everyone in that room, the three of us were still. In that moment, we all realized, we saw how deeply badly this can go. How awful this could go. We felt it. We recognized it. We’ve talked about it. We’ve cried about it. We’re still choosing yes. What’s holding this together? In that moment, I realized how deep our love goes. Yes, there’s a lot of pain and there’s the past. Yes, there’s stuff you do to one another when you’re in a long-term or deeply intimate relationship. Those hurts and those mistakes and the things you’ve done, it’s nothing compared to the love that still is underneath it all. That moment I realized, “There is real love here in this room. If we can create that nightmare, we can turn this around too. There is a very specific way that we come back from this low point.”
Giving you a more specific answer, there are two answers I want to give. Let’s start with the first one and then we’ll go a bit deeper. First of all, the low points are a gift. When there’s pain, that is a gift because it opens you up for the very first step. We call it the exceptional relationship formula. The very first step is to realize where you’re at any that allows you to pivot and be like, “I don’t want to go down this way. I want to create something different.” What is that different? That’s a second step. What’s your dream relationship? What do you want to have?
You dream that up and then it becomes the trust because you are in a low point. You have this amazing dream of a relationship that’s beautiful and empowering and all of that. There’s a huge gap between those two. You needed to have the trust to move through and believe that you can create that. It goes into creation. For example, Natasha and me, what’s the behavior that we’re doing? How are we going to address it? How are we going to commit to it that it doesn’t show up anymore? If it does show up that we are weeding it out in that moment, we are not repeating it again. That is how you do it. You create it and you go into it and do the nitty-gritty work.
That said, there’s a second part to transmuting the pain. I’m going to contradict everything we have said before and that is what you’re experiencing is your own pain. You’re responsible for your own pain. It’s not your partner’s responsibility. What’s coming up within you is your responsibility. You can shift circumstances, but there’s no guarantee that that pain is not going to come up again. Either you learn to face it now, you can transmute it now, and you get to take the learning from it, or you take it on and you may experience it in another situation.
For example, with me and my father, I had this pain within me and was experiencing this pain. That was what was happening within me. I was replaying it in my relationship, but as long as they don’t address that pain, that is within me. I am going to relieve that pain. There’s a huge motivation once you know that you’re at. What you’re experiencing are your own internally created realities. Even when it comes to my father, you can say, “What he did has this impact.” That is true to some degree.
At the same time, it is how I processed it, how I’ve made sense of it that has created this pain. That’s a bit hard to wrap your head around sometimes, but they are situations. There’s a book. I forgot the name of it. It looks at different situations where some people get traumatized and some people don’t get traumatized, but it’s the same situation. There’s a huge component about how you’re making sense in each moment. What you’re experiencing is happening within you. Knowing this, you have a choice, are you going to be addressing it or are you going to be trying to shift your circumstances around so you feel better?
Having said that, I’m not saying if you’re in an abusive relationship that you’re staying in this relationship saying, “This is all my creative pain,” and all of that. That is a perversion of what I said. That’s not at all what I’m saying. With any teaching or any ideas, we always have to be careful because we can twist it in a way that makes us stay either in a certain place or project certain things out onto other people. It is a balance. They are contradictory to each other. In one way, yes, Natasha hurt me. I hurt Natasha. In another way, Natasha hasn’t hurt me. It’s coming from within me. They’re the polar opposites. They are true in their own right and have their own place. I see a lot of people getting stuck in one of them, either being spiritually correct and be like, “It’s all my pain. I have to process it and whatever.” The other one is like, “It’s my partner. I will have to work it out with my partner.” They’re not looking at their part as well. It is both. It is yes and.
I feel almost speechless, but I’m trying to form some words of gratitude for everything that you’ve shared. It’s much more than I expected that you covered. I feel like it’s such an incredible gift and what a testament to the work that you’ve done, not only as a couple but how you’ve developed the ability to speak on this and guide others through all of this. I feel like anyone reading is probably diving into your website right away to see how they can work with you. You have a bunch of freebies on there too. You can go on there right away. I imagine you’re on all of the social media platforms. Is there any that you focus more on or less on?
We’re mostly on Pinterest.
I’m going to go and follow you. What type of things do you post on Pinterest?
We blog twice a week. Mostly from communication to conflict whether it’s conversation ideas, you repeat the same topics with your partner or you’re in a rut, then you can do that. We have things like how to talk about your marriage with your partner, which most people will find it difficult to do or how to deal with defensive communication. We break down a nitty-gritty within our blog and we post bits and pieces of that on Pinterest.
I already looked it up and followed you. We’ve been posting more for our account. I have my own separate account and the things that you can find on there. I love it as a social media platform especially when I get a little tired of Facebook and Instagram. I also feel like YouTube would be so wonderful and TikTok if that appealed to you, but everybody has different opinions on that platform. A platform like TikTok, Instagram is now doing their own version of it. You have all these little tidbits that you could share on these platforms. Keep us posted on your social media. I imagine when people sign up for your freebies on the website, they get onto your mailing list. Do you send a weekly newsletter?
Yes. We send you something every other day because there’s a lot to talk about and we go through so many things. The whole on the toilet business conversation to one of us crying with the healer in the room. We’ve gone through so much and we need a way to tell you all of it. We’re in touch with our lists quite a bit.
I’m signing up for that too.
I’m going to as well. I feel like in many ways, we’ve been together and yet I still feel like we’ve only scratched the surface that you both are such deep wells of love and connection. I’ve felt throughout that you’ve brought such an intimate humanistic approach to this topic of relationship and connection. Your energy and your approaches are unlike anything I think I’ve ever been exposed to. There is something very unique about both of you doing this together that is deeply moving and deeply compelling. I’m going to be devouring your content.A relationship can mature and can get better. Click To Tweet
You have your podcast, which I noticed you hadn’t posted any episodes in the last few months, perhaps that’s due to COVID and the limitation, some of us have with that, but your podcasts has over 30 episodes. People can listen to that and hear your voices more often through that platform as well. Are you going to be posting new episodes on your show?
Yeah. We plan to so with the whole social media podcast, YouTube channel as well. These are all things that are in the pipeline. We want to refocus the podcast and YouTube channel. We decided to take it one step at a time. We have solely defined, how do we do Pinterest? How do we do the blog and all that? We are in discussions about the next steps and how we want to go because we want to build it up in a very solid way. We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin or whatever and bring that consistency that people deserve.
Before, we were a bit too much scattered. We pulled everything back and we’re like, “Let’s do one thing correctly.” When we go into the next one, so those things are in the pipeline. I can’t yet tell you when exactly we’ll be restarting the podcast and how that’s going to look like. It’s definitely going to be more in the direction of relationship. Before, it was more about living your truth and being in alignment with yourself. That’s relevant for relationships as well, but we want to bring it more clearly to committed relationships.
It’s great advice for anyone using social media or online content because we certainly can spread ourselves too thin. Jason and I have experienced that. We don’t do that much social media for Wellevatr on our separate accounts, but we are utilizing Instagram and Pinterest more and more and a little bit of TikTok and some of the other platforms like Twitter and Facebook and such. There’s so many that you can do and like your relationship, it’s so important to focus on the priorities and pick something, feel comfortable, confident with it and be consistent. Thank you for sharing that too. A lot of people want to learn the best way to spread the word about what they’re doing and being honed in on something as you are doing is a lovely thing. We look forward to new podcast episodes, but in the meantime, I’m so grateful for Pinterest and your newsletter. We’re so grateful and in awe of what you shared and who you two are. Thank you for taking us through the journey of what got you to where you are now. We look forward to following it from here on out.
Thank you so much for doing this. I appreciate that you guys have this long format in your show because a lot of the platforms nowadays, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 5 minutes, or whatever. You can’t go into depth. That’s necessary to show what’s possible and how you’ve gotten there and all of these things. We appreciate that you have this format and that people are reading it and taking the time to dive into it because it’s much more richness. You can’t cover everything in 30 minutes. It’s unrealistic. For me, it’s a bit like the pleasure, new information, I’ll get a little high. If you want to master something, if you want to want to dive into something, you want to change your relationship, it’s going to take more than reading. It is a real commitment. Thank you so much for allowing us to speak on this platform.
You’re so welcome. Thank you for acknowledging that. I remember when there was this one period where I was experiencing a lot of pain due to a relationship. One of the most healing things I did was listen to a relationship podcast and I could not get enough of it. Learning strategies and in-depth information was healing. I hope that the reader receives some of that from you. Even if they had to read it in bits and pieces, if they made it this far, then they got a lot out of what you shared. Thank you again.
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- Pinterest – Your Exceptional Relationship
- Podcast – Live Life Aligned with Jáchym Jerie and Natasha Koo
About Jáchym Jerie & Natasha Koo
Jáchym Jerie and Natasha Koo are the founders of yourexceptionalrelationship.com.
They’ve worked with people all over the world and created The Exceptional Relationship Formula™ which takes away the guess-work and puts your marriage back on track for more intimacy, love, and connection.
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