Why is Emotional Connection better than a Hall Pass?

by Jami Keller
​Cofounder of Passion Provokers and Executive Relationship Coach

First, I need to say that Marla and I are not prudes. Being able to express yourself sexually is something that needs to be openly talked about and experimented with inside your coupleship. INSIDE is the key word here. We have worked with thousands of couples, and we have observed carefully how taking sexuality outside of your relationship will affect your coupleships negatively. And we can’t sit on the sidelines and not address what a Licensed Professional Counselor stated this morning on the Today Show.

Our conclusion is that the coupleships that go outside of each other for pleasure with other partners, and often we see this as it relates to porn, mostly fail to gain intimacy in critical areas, and they report higher instances of binge drinking, workaholism, shopaholism, or any other “isms” you can think about (we call this transitional addiction which I experienced in my life). Regularly one partner is uncomfortable with any sexuality being experimented with or experienced outside of the coupleship even when they offer it as a solution or state they don’t care, and that discomfort tends to develop into mistrust. 

Don’t misunderstand us here. We’ve had issues (mostly in the first 10 years of our almost 28 years of marriage). We recovered from affairs in our own marriage, and we have a 90% plus success rate keeping couples happily together and exclusive with each other. But our marriage most definitely did not have to go through the trauma of extramarital affairs to be amazing and passionate now. We can guarantee you that a Hall Pass will not add spark to your relationship, nor will it save it.

Many of the couples who tell us they have “tried everything,” including adding someone else sexually into the coupleship, tend to have to sort out that event and nearly always find it immensely hurtful. The feeling that is expressed most often is “betrayed.” This is because there is an imbalance of the sexual-emotional loop. Every relationship needs a balance of the sexual and the emotional to have a fulfilling and passionate coupleship. If the emotional cup is healed and filled then sexual intimacy has a lifetime of creativity to be expressed and nurtured. This develops immense amounts of sexual satisfaction well beyond the expectations of most coupleships. And all this without the risk of disease and emotional entanglements. 

Those that have worked on recovering their coupleship with our coaching and mentoring have had great success in “being more IN LOVE  than ever.” They experience this by doing the thing that was missing in the first place—emotional/heart/feeling connection.

We use our Feeling Wheel 4.0 that has been developed over the past 21 years to guide a simple Check-In method that brings the coupleship to a place of heart and emotional connection that is rarely seen or felt. And this is what the conversation about a Hall Pass could look like when utilizing Check-In: “When you talk about having a Hall Pass to add a spark to our relationship I feel anxious, surprised, and fearful.” 

Stop there. The other partner then gets to express their three feelings. The goal is to be heard and understood. (We add the other layers on the Check-In as our clients are ready.)  Building layers of intimacy requires communicating from a feeling place about personal things as each person in the coupleship learns to speak the same language around emotions. And this builds the trust that is required for any sexual experimentation (again inside of the relationship).  

“When our sex life is infrequent, stale and routine I feel sad, disappointed and hopeless” is a good place for the conversation to start. This way, if your partner brings up the idea of a Hall Pass, or another important conversation, it is empowering for both people to let the conversation unfold. Ask them why and what it is that they are after, and how they see having sex with someone else playing out. Often the fantasy is far better than the reality, and by having the conversation you can introduce the idea of emotional connection that will grow over a lifetime when our tools are applied effectively. This may require reading about how to be emotionally connected, and/or may need to be done and some help from a coach, or in our case coaches (having both of us keeps the fear of being ganged up on to a minimum) that have experience in such issues, and who are able to take your coupleship through a process of intimacy building. We like to call it “leveling up.”

As it turns out, we believe that the tools we offer are actually far less expensive financially and emotionally than having a Hall Pass. And we also know from experience that sex outside of a coupleship holds in it primarily pain, betrayal, heartbreak, and mistrust. Why would you want that?

What tools might you need first before you have the hard sexual conversations? Are you ready to take the steps necessary to use those tools instead of staying inside of your head and in secrecy? Let’s talk soon.

Are you an Emotional Badass?

by Marla Keller
Cofounder and Executive Relationship Coach

When you think of a badass what images do you conjure up? Do you visualize a person who is vulnerable, empathetic, connected with their emotions, and sensitive? Probably not. Your image may include someone who suppresses emotions, definitely doesn’t tear up, and who is offended by the thought that they may be weak on any level, especially emotionally. More of a Chuck Norris rather than a Israel Kamakawiwoʻole (Hawaiian singer of “Over the Rainbow”). Sound about right? Here’s what Brene Brown, social scientist and researcher, says about badassery:

“There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others. Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed. Emotional stoicism is not badassery. Blustery posturing is not badassery. Swagger is not badassery. Perfection is about the furthest thing in the world from badassery.”

Hmmmmm….It appears that Emotional Badassery is important! And I know this is true because I have experienced it in my own life. Let me break down my story for you. When I was disapproved of or criticized I was really good at acting out my hurt, not acknowledging my personal pain all the while hurting the ones I loved the most, and I was constantly feeling disappointed. News flash: everyone will disappoint you. And it sucks, but it doesn’t have to destroy you!

And one day I decided I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. In this terrifyingly clear space I realized that I was giving away my power to anyone who I let take it! Go figure….I was responsible for my feelings and my reactions. How does that sit with your heart right now? Yes, Jami hurt and disappointed me, my girls disrespected and disappointed me, my friends dissed and disappointed me, but it was my choice how I set up my expectations of them, not the other way around. Guess what??? I could choose how I felt AND how I responded. And here are the steps I began to take consistently, and continue to take on a daily basis:

  • Identify feelings that are real and, to start with, from the Feeling Wheel 4.0 that Jami and I developed for people like me who don’t know where to begin when it comes to feelings with words attached to them. When I was little and I would “overreact” I would hear the words, “Just relax!” This was my cue that my feelings were not valued and that I really should not feel my feelings because keeping the peace was way more important (stop “shoulding on yourself” HERE). Maybe you heard something more like, “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about,” or “Big boys don’t cry.” Whatever you heard that stopped your feelings in their tracks was not okay, and it’s time to feel your feelings and express them healthfully.
  • Choose to engage from empathy in all of your interactions. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes. It’s time for you to shift from FEAR to FREEDOM in your life. When you do the hard work and begin to feel worthy, valued and confident it won’t really matter what other people think of you because, guess what? They rarely are thinking about you anyway. And to be clear about Empathy–it is not being weak. It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Not take on their feelings, but feel them from your experience and let them know, “Oh yeah sister, me too.”
  • Listen with intention. Use your eyes, your ears, your voice and your body to convey that you are engaged, connected and listening to listen and not to respond. It’s that simple…and yet it’s not easy. The moment I find myself thinking about what my response will be I have dropped out of listening with intention. That may be your first clue. Pay attention, and really listen.
  • Practice forgiveness and gratitude at least daily! For a deeper understanding of these things, click HERE. So many people misunderstand forgiveness, as I did. You may be surprised when you discover what forgiveness really means. Oh, and gratitude is self-explanatory–simply find up to 10 things a day that you are thankful for, and write them out. It will change your life!
  • And after practicing the things bulleted above, you will love with passion! 

Now that you’re an Emotional Badass, what are you doing to do about it? Might I suggest introducing yourself to your loved ones because you are not who you used to be! You have rewritten your story, and It. Is. Badass.

Or maybe you’d like to become more of an Emotional Badass? We have several new steps you can take to get there. Check these out, and contact us if you are interested in any of them:

  1. Purchase our self-guided Emotional Badass Curriculum today for only $99. You will love it!
  2. Sign-up for our Emotional Badassery 6-week Class that begins in May for only $199.
  3. Move a step beyond with our Emotional Badassery Video Coaching Series (12 Video Sessions and two personal visits) for only $599.
  4. Get all of the above plus 3 more sessions (5 coaching sessions all together) to become an amazing badass with our Emotional Badassery Economy Package today for only $1499.
  5. And go all the way badass and register for our 10-Session Emotional Badassery Coaching Package for only $2750.

Are you ready for more Emotional Badassery? Contact us today!