Do you feel disconnected from your partner?
If you’re a high-achieving woman, you’re not alone. Many women who are kicking ass at work and home are also lonely and struggling to connect in their marriages.
Maybe you’re busy, overwhelmed and have gotten into the habit of putting family and work ahead of your own needs.
You might feel guilty when you’re at work, guilty when you’re at home and try to avoid conflict (or intimacy) with your partner because you can’t handle one more thing.
And it’s possible you’re pouring yourself a big glass of wine to get through it all.
This struggle real, so I joined forces with Veronica Cisneros, a licensed marriage and family therapist, to talk about why high-achieving women have a hard time connecting in their marriages.
In our conversation Veronica and I dive into the challenges faced by women who are trying to do it all, relationship patterns that can develop, and how those are amplified when we get into the habit of drinking at the end of the day.
When I was drinking I thought drinking helped me connect with my husband, but I didn’t realize that it was also coming between us.
- I was less present a few glasses in, even though I was physically there.
- In the mornings I felt terrible so I avoided his eyes and rushed out the door.
- Waking up at 3 am made it harder for me to cope with my responsibilities so I resented everything on my plate.
And I was checked out most evenings once the kids went to bed. I would sit on the couch with my glass of wine, working my way through the bottle.
In this episode, Veronica and I dive into:
Why high-achieving women often feel lonely in their marriages
- How to communicate so you feel seen, heard, and understood
- What to do if your relationship feels more transactional than romantic
- Why you might feel guilty when you’re at work and guilty when you’re at home
- How to navigate guilt, resentment, conflict and indifference in your relationship
- Why alcohol increases isolation, loneliness and conflict in marriages
- How to notice, value and respond to bids for connection from your partner
- Why to look at your relationship patterns and prioritize your needs to improve your marriage
- How to foster intimacy and revive your sex life
The truth is that maintaining a marriage where you feel loved and connected when you have a busy life is hard. And checking out with alcohol can make it worse.
Drinking can prevent you from being able to resolve issues as they come up and can cause additional stress in your marriage, including:
💔 Communication Breakdown: It’s hard to communicate openly and honestly with your partner when you’re drinking. Sometimes we drink “at” our partners or drink to push down resentments and avoid conflict.
💔 Escapism vs. Connection: Alcohol disconnects you from the people around you, pushing you further away from the emotional intimacy you’re seeking.
💔 Impact on Emotional Health: Drinking messes with your mood. It increases your anxiety, is a depressant and increases stress. These emotions make it harder to find peace and contentment or navigate conflict within a marriage.
💔 Dependency and Resentment: Over time checking out with alcohol can make your partner resentful because they might feel neglected and unimportant.
💔 Escalation of Conflict: Alcohol can exacerbate conflicts, turning communication hostile and further damaging the relationship.
Resources mentioned in the episode
Youtube Channel: Outside The Norm Counseling
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Connect with Veronica Cisneros
Veronica Cisneros is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Marriage Coach, Course Creator, Retreat Host, Mother of 3, married for 23 years, host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast, and owner of a group private practice called Outside The Norm Counseling.
1 month away from divorce, Veronica realized she had to do something different. For years she had compromised herself to meet the needs of her husband and her child, she lost herself and was about to lose her marriage.
After years of personal growth and self-reflection, Veronica has not only reclaimed her identity, and celebrated 23 years of marriage but also helped hundreds of women transform their marriage from feeling like roommates to experiencing a deeper connection.
Learn more about Veronica and how she can support you at www.veronicacisneros.org
Listen and subscribe to the Empowered and Unapologetic Podcast
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Follow Veronica on Instagram @heyveronicacisneros
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Connect with Casey
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READ THE TRANSCRIPT OF THIS PODCAST INTERVIEW
Why High Achieving Women Struggle To Connect In Their Marriages (And Alcohol Doesn’t Help) with Veronica Cisneros
marriage, husband, therapist, couples, Gottman, conversation, drinking, alcohol, relationship, resentment, partner, work, high achieving women, veronica, podcast, divorce, insecurities, women, therapy, years, questions, personal growth, self-reflection, intentional, time, connection, communicate, meaningful conversations,
SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Veronica Cisneros
Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.
In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.
Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a buzz, how to sit with your emotions when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.
I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.
Hi there. Today, we are talking about
Why high achieving women struggle to connect in their marriages
and I know it’s something that so many women go through and it’s a trigger to drink.
My guest today is Veronica Cisneros. She’s a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Marriage Course Creator, Retreat host, mother of three, married for 23 years and host of the Empowered Unapologetic podcast. She’s the owner of a group private practice called Outside The Norm Counseling.
As I mentioned, a lot of high achieving women struggle in their marriages.
They struggle with setting aside intentional time to connect and communicate. They yearn for meaningful conversations that don’t lead to arguments.
One month away from divorce, Veronica realized she had to do something different. For years, she had compromised herself to meet the needs of her husband and her child. She lost herself and was about to lose her marriage. So, after years of personal growth and self-reflection, Veronica has not only reclaimed her identity, and celebrated 23 years of marriage, but also helped hundreds of women transform their marriage from feeling like roommates to experiencing a deeper connection.
So welcome, Veronica.
Hey, thank you so much for having me.
Casey McGuire Davidson 02:52
Yeah, I’m excited to have you here. Just for everyone listening, Veronica and I met at Podcast Movement, a conference in Denver. you were presenting on a panel, I was on a panel as well. And we got to know each other when I heard about the work you do. It seemed like a topic that a lot of women in my audience would resonate with?
Definitely, definitely. Same. I felt, when you and I were having conversation, it was like Holy moly. We can totally collaborate and serve, you know, serve our audiences and providing you know them with tools and resources that they need.
Casey McGuire Davidson 03:34
Yeah, well, so let’s just dive in. Why do so many high achieving women struggle to connect?
Well, you know, I did this podcast series on high achieving women. And one thing that kept on coming up, is how lonely we are. Lonely. We are not a lot of people get us. You know, our husbands don’t necessarily get us, our friends don’t get us. And one thing that I kept on hearing over and over while I was interviewing these, like, bad ass women, you know. It’s one thing that they kept on saying to me was, Veronica, I have to. It’s almost as if I have to dim my light, I have to minimize my level of success to protect my husband’s emotions. And a lot of women do that. A lot of us do that. Because we’re, we were so laser focused on our goals, our dreams on achieving, you know, this, this success on doing all of the doing the impossible. But while we’re doing the impossible, there’s so many people that don’t understand it. And so, that’s why we fall short of support. Yeah, I mean,
Casey McGuire Davidson 04:46
I think that’s really interesting that you said they’re lonely, because that’s definitely something that I hear as well. You know, you’re so busy. You’re busy. See work. A lot of times, if you are in charge, you’re the general manager or the VP or the head of the division. You can’t make as many close friendships with people in the office, you’re so busy, you don’t spend as much time with your friends as you used to. And then you come home. And there’s this weird layer of guilt with your husband and your kids, where you, you also feel like you somehow need to constantly make it up to them.
Yes, being busy for being away for doing your job. And you put those three things together, it’s, you’re doing so well, and yet you feel alone. But in terms of marriage, and struggling, connecting their marriage, I’ve seen in the women I Coach, two things. One, their husband might be very high achieving as well, which means they just aren’t around each other a lot, right? There’s just no, either they’re traveling for business, they both are constantly on email, they’re both constantly on their phones. And when they’re home, they want to, they feel guilty, right? They want to spend time with their kids, it’s just very chips in the night. The other thing I see is these really high achieving women, where it’s more of what you mentioned, where they’re trying to protect their spouse’s ego, which also leads to some resentment, where they’re doing all these things. And all they a lot of what they get home is sort of passive aggressive guilt of things like that. I don’t know, what do you see most of?
So, let’s go in and touch on the first couple. The first couple were both are high achievers, you know, they have, they have a whole lot on their plate. So, when you have these two high achievers, you know, they are so consumed with the test that needs to get done. They tend to forget the value of the marriage. And one of the main reasons why we’ll do that is because when we’re having conversations with our partner, we might struggle to really, really get out what we really want to communicate. So might feel like, we can’t have these sensitive conversations. And one of the primary reasons why we feel like we can’t have these sensitive conversations is because if I do, if I open this up, it’ll lead to conflict. And then we won’t talk for a day or two, or, you know, then we’re going to be criticized or then we’re going to you know, somebody’s going to be stonewalled or somebody’s going to be defensive.
And so, I just, I’d rather just keep things the way they are. And we’ll just go about our day and ignore the fact that I’m feeling this way.
Yeah. Right. So, you have this term that comes up often. It feels like we’re more like roommates or business partners, right? How many times have you heard that?
Casey McGuire Davidson 08:12
Sounds like if my husband says that to me sometimes and guilt is good bed early. He’s like, okay, I guess I’ll see you on Friday. And it’s Tuesday and I’m like, oh, for fuck sake. I just want to Philly it for bed. You know, anyway it up like, well, we’re going to see each other Wednesday night Thursday.
So-so with that right there, you know, what do we usually do? We’ll go to sleep. You know, okay, that was you know, that was a punch to the stomach right? Feels like a punch to the stomach and then we’ll go to sleep. You know, oh, it’s not. I’m going to see him tomorrow. He’s over exaggerating or Here we go. He’s catastrophizing again. In that moment, your partner, your husband is communicating something I know. I know.
Casey McGuire Davidson 08:57
It’s like let’s say you’re not going to one. Yes. I can’t fucking deal with you right now.
Yeah. So, what he’s what Gottman would call it and so Gottman, John and Julie Gottman. They created this theoretical approach for therapists to use to help couples in their marriage, it’s a form of therapy. So, what Gottman would say is, in that moment, your husband initiated a bid. A bid for connection. And that bid was shut down. I sat down and
Casey McGuire Davidson 09:32
I love the Gottman love right. I am so therapists on. Oh, talk about addiction. It was like basically couples in addiction a link to it. But keep going with it.
So, yeah, so your husband made that bid for connection. And instead of turning toward that bid with, you know, hey, tell me more. So, you say you’re not going to see me till Friday. Is that what it feels like? Like, and that’s so hard to do because we are this insecurity was exposed and we know that there’s a part of what he’s saying is right. But to get into that conversation is probably going to be two hours long. It’s going to probably ended a fight, you know? And here we go.
Casey McGuire Davidson 10:16
Very passive aggressive. Yes. Could it be? Hey, would you like to go on a date with me on Friday? I’d love that. Or the roommate comment feels like, we need to have sex like, yeah, that’s it. I was like, Oh, perfect sake. My alarm goes off at 5:15. Yeah, yeah.
Yeah, the last. Yeah, the last thing I want to do is, I’ve been entertaining everybody, all day. And now you’re passively aggressively require, you know, being passive aggressive requesting me to entertain you. And that seems plan Oh, it’s summoning go.
So sorry. No, no, no, I love it. It definitely applies. It applies to all of us.
So, and this is something our listen, you know, both of our listeners need to hear. Because it’s true. It is. We got to normalize this, why do we got to normalize this because the people that are experiencing this feel as if they’re on the ship by themselves? Right? And so, yeah, you know, in that moment, let’s, let’s just go there for a minute. In that moment, if you were to ask him, Tell me more. Like, what are you dreading? So, the minute let’s say, let’s say, you ask him, Tell me more. So, pretend I’m you. And I’m saying, Tell me more. What do you think he’s going to say?
Casey McGuire Davidson 11:34
What am I dreading him saying? Yes, yeah. So, let’s have sex. That’s, and I’m like, then I’m going to have to reject Him. That’ll get old sensitive, like, it’s easier to just pretend I didn’t hear that comment. Good. Really what I want to do, okay, so I just want to go to bed. And I don’t want to have a fucking conversation about why I want to go to bed. And I don’t want to hear about how you feel neglected because I could give two shits. The reality is, I’m doing a lot of work. You see that? I’m doing all this work. And then the fuck up? Like, no, no, like, wrap it up. Let’s go. We’ll have sex on Friday. If you’re lucky, if you ask me on a date. Yeah.
But here’s what happens. We weaponized sex. We do. we weaponize sex? Who’s that? Any? Is that the intention? Absolutely not? Is that how it comes across? 1,000%. And so that failed bed starts to accrue points over time. And so now we have our husbands who will she’s not going to she’s not going to pay attention to my bed. You know, and she wants me to have this conversation about, you know, whatever it is. But yet, when I asked for something, she’s not in line with it. So why should I? And then it becomes this game of resentment. Yeah, we’re keeping score. Right. And we, we all do it, we’re keeping score, you know, we’re paying attention all of the things we do for their relationship, and for the household. And then they pay attention to all the things they do for the household for the relationship for the kids, right, we’re all we start to keep score, which unfortunately creates this wedge in the relationship. And that wedge grows over time. You don’t even know you’re on that path. And that’s, that’s the scary part. We don’t even know we’re on that path. And oftentimes, you know, a high achieving women will say, like, how did we get here? Why is my husband making these comments? I am more than willing to bend over backwards and do whatever it takes to go ahead and support him. You know, why is the supporting me? And yeah, it right. There’s so much frustration, there’s so much resentment.
Casey McGuire Davidson
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Casey McGuire Davidson 13:51
One thing I remember too, is when I was stopping drinking, for the first time I went to my therapist, one of the reasons I stopped drinking and went to a therapist who specialized in anxiety and addiction was because my son was five and I was very confused about my marriage, I had a lot of resentment. I had a lot of hurt feelings I had a lot of, and I was just like, I cannot figure this out when I’m drinking kind of like I don’t have a leg to stand on. We would get in fights, and I wouldn’t remember what they were about in the morning. And my therapist said to me, because I was like, he goes out with his friends. He doesn’t invite me. I basically he has all these hobbies, I do work, work really, really hard, had a very busy position. And I do the kids like I don’t ever get to do anything else. And he said, so. Therefore, I have a party on the couch every night with my wine. And my therapist said to me, which was actually true, like he probably feels rejected when you’re drinking, you’re very much in your own world, your constant companion, he probably gets the sense, which is very true that you’re not interested in him, which is like that constant cycle of her rejection, like, Oh, you made plans with your friends. You know, we had little kids, so we couldn’t bring me out. And it is kind of a vicious cycle. And what Mike told me after we stopped drinking, I did a pot episode with him interviewing him is in the mornings, I felt very defensive. I didn’t want to talk to him, because I was hungover. I didn’t want him. I didn’t want to look at him or connect with him too closely, because I didn’t want him to see my bloodshot eyes. I was, you know, I was embarrassed, and I didn’t, you know, your husband’s there. So, we, he’d be like, Oh, couldn’t wake you up on the couch last night. You know, I’m like, Oh, dude, I don’t want to talk about it. But he felt very rejected, because it seemed like I didn’t want it. I was like rushing out the door, I was always irritated. And he didn’t realize it was so much about my relationship with alcohol and how I was physically feeling. He thought it was him.
It’s good to go ahead and look at it. Overall, if I’m in if I’m, you know, in couples therapy with my clients, and I’m having my clients say, you know, how is your partner impacted you, there’s so much shame wrapped around that already, already. And it’s so important that I provide this safe environment for both parties to develop an understanding, that is one way we do definitely go into, let’s go ahead and identify what your behaviors were, let’s go in and identify what certain patterns were, let’s go ahead. And let’s go ahead and draw them out. So that you are aware that Hell yeah, you are empowered, you are empowered to go ahead and make these changes. You’re 1,000% empowered and make these changes. However, I’m not going to create this bashing scene where these are all the things you did, yeah, right. Nobody benefits from it. Nobody benefits from it. So, collaborating those two, in my experience has really, really helped my clients not only maintain recovery, but also come together where they don’t feel alone in it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 17:17
Yes. Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I that I’ve never been to couples counseling, I’ve been therapy. Yeah, I’ve been married 2021 years now. And quitting drinking definitely helped my marriage like, oh, 1,000% it brought us so much closer. But we have never been to marriage therapy. I think I’m terrified too, but I was also terrified to have him on the podcast and hear what he would say about our marriage. After and he was much, much kinder. I thought he would be. I was. I was honestly very scared to have the conversation. Oh, he’s not. He’s, I’m much harder on myself than 1,000%. Yeah. So, they’re lonely. Yeah, they, they’re all these complicated dynamics of connection and resentment and bids.
So, me being a therapist, you know, what, my primary. My primary job here is, I’m listening. I’m constantly listening, you know, I’m helping people process through their pain. So, when I get home, you bet I am done. I am done. All of my energy has been used with regards to being a therapist. The therapist has left the building, you know, and one of the really big things Willie, and I do, and we make sure to do is have stress reducing conversations. And when we’re having them, I have it is very, very important that I am mindful of my eyes and where my eyes go, and how quickly they are to rolling. I am very, very mindful of when like, I’m, you know, how I’m breathing. Or like my reaction or my response, because their attention like okay, that’s awesome. And he’s like, I knew it. You didn’t want to hear me, why did you and like, oh, shit, there’s going to be another two hour come. I just added two hours to the timer down to apologize. But yeah, it’s like having those stress reducing conversations or 1,000% necessary with some limits.
Casey McGuire Davidson 19:28
So, I love that you’re dying. I mean, that sounds like a strategy or a tool to use. So, if you are in a place where how would you recognize that just that you feel lonely or that there’s tension in your marriage or how would that look or feel if you were in a tough spot.
So, there are a couple of signs. One of them is if you do get that feeling of you know being roommates, if either of your partner is saying things like, Well, I’m not going to see you till Friday. So those are things it’s not. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not where it’s like, oh shit, you’re on the verge of divorce? Not at all, don’t get me wrong, you can it can get there if left unattended. So, you want to go ahead and pay attention to like, how are you feeling in the relationship. And oftentimes for us high achieving women, it’s great, everything’s fine, everything’s fine. You know, I have all of these things to do. He’s good, as long as he just stays right there, like, just stay there look pretty, I’ll get back to you when I’m done. Right? Like, and we’re all guilty of it.
So, if we are doing that, if our husband’s making comments, if you’re keeping score, on all the things you’re doing, and all the things he’s not doing, if when you guys get into arguments, you automatically go into bad memories. Let me give you an example. Well, of course, he’s going to say this, he always does this, he’s never going to get it together. Once again, I’m going to be the one that carries the weight of the family, and he’s not going to get shit together, or I’m going to be the one that stands up, I’m going to be the one that reads that contract, he’s not going to do it, he’s never done it. The minute you go into that, those are bad memories. And the brain works. It attaches itself to negative memories, like Velcro. It attaches itself to positive memories, like Teflon. So those negative memories, they stay there, they’re retained, the positive memories, not so much. And if these things are happening, it’ll be very difficult for you to recall positive memories. You’ll start going straight to the negative ones.
And when, you know, people ask, you know, how did you guys meet? You’ll find yourself commenting like, oh, you know, he was late to our date. You know, we went here, and the food wasn’t so good. And, you know, I found it, you know, I found it difficult to ask questions, things like that.
Yeah, one of the other predictors, is in Gottman. You know, you mentioned them earlier, the four horsemen, one of the other predictors of divorce, or maybe there’s challenges in our relationship is in times of conflict. Is there a harsh startup? Is there criticism? When you’re having an argument? Are you criticizing each other? Are you criticizing him? Is he criticizing you? Is there content is one, one or both partners positioning themselves higher? I’m a better parent. You know what? The kids listen to me because you don’t do this. And the kids would listen, you write contempt, that’s when you position yourself higher. So, what you’re essentially saying is, you’re the problem. You need to be fixed. I’m an angel, maybe not an angel, but I’m good. Defense.
Casey McGuire Davidson 22:45
Right. Which, by the way, for a lot of high achieving women who are problem solvers. Yeah. There is some version of micromanagement control needing to be right. Yes.
Listen, I’ve been on myself 1,000%. So, you have that contempt, or you have what’s called defensiveness. The only reason why I did this is because you wouldn’t do this. If you would just do this. I wouldn’t. I would, I’d be cool as a cucumber. That’s defensive comments or stonewalling. Stonewalling is one, one person checks out a conflict, whether it be emotionally, physically, mentally, verbally. So, those are the predictors. Those are the predictors. And I will tell you right now, the only thing that sets us apart from a divorced couple is a divorced couple has forgot the value of marriage. And I want you guys to think about like, when’s the last time you went out on a date with your husband? Right? When’s the last time you had really good sex? When’s the last time you guys flirted? When’s the last time you guys had a really deep conversation, you were able to take it full circle, you know, those things that we avoid, that’s part of forgetting the value of the marriage.
And so, a lot of couples will come into my office, and I wish they would have come in six months earlier or a year earlier, when they weren’t necessarily at this state where one person has one foot in and one foot out, you know, I wish they would have come in a little bit sooner. You know, when they started to see some of these areas, and like I said, it happens to all of us. Marriage, marriage can be difficult, right? But with the right tools, we can establish a strong healthy relationship. Yeah, learn skills.
Casey McGuire Davidson 24:34
Yeah, one of the things that’s been a constant joke in our marriage, my husband and I have all these inside jokes, which actually helps us very much. Yes, movie quotes and inside jokes and all that stuff, but I like to go on trips just with him like we’ve always had together really, really well. And you know, it seems like a lot of money because it is a lot of money to go on trips, but we’ve been, you know, went to Amsterdam. I’m in Greece, and we went to Paris in Croatia when my son was two. Luckily my mom could come. But every time you know, he’s like, Oh, do we want to do it? I’m always like, no offense more fun, more fun than therapy cheaper than it is.
Love it. Oh, yeah, as I’m always true, our relationship is over on day two, because we’ve run out of all the transactional stuff to talk about, like, the kids in the schedule, and the mothers and the work and whatever. And then there’s like, one day when I’m like, Oh, my God, we have nothing to talk about, literally. And then, on day 3 to day 7 or day 10. I’m like, Oh, this is why I love you. You know?
Yes, yes. Bingo. So, when you guys don’t have anything to talk about, that’s when we initiate what’s called love maps. And love maps are, you know, basically, think about when you guys were dating? You guys, were starting to create love maps? You know, what type of food you like, who’s your best friend? What do you want to be when you grow up? Like all those questions? Were so curious, when we were dating, you that curiosity kind of left the building once we started having kids jobs, finances, or house, a dog all of those things, where you feel like they know the answer. Right? Well, and the truth is, you don’t? You know, there’s a couple of questions that I’ve you know, and I teach my clients this, but there’s a couple questions that, you know, I, I don’t even know the answer to and, you know one of them.
You and I went on this hike. And one of the questions I had asked him is, what would you say is holding me back from being successful? And mind you, we were hiking, and we were hiking on a cliff. And so, I was I keep it around through this, right? Otherwise, there was only one person that went on this hike, and it was me. I went on the hike solo. But we were able to have these uncomfortable conversations and were my insecurities exposed hell to the yes. But we’re able to have this conversation. And I was able to receive his feedback. And I was able to go out and hear him see or hear him say how he sees me. You know, and, you know, other things. What do I do in the bedroom? That just drives you crazy? You know, and I’d like to say, I totally know what they are. But the reality is, when he answers that question, it’s like, really, that right there turns you on. And he’s like, all it drives me crazy. And I’m like, huh, I got this. And he’s like, I mean, that’s good, too. But this right here, and it’s just, I get to see, like, him light up. And, you know, we’re having this very uncomfortable conversation, which is about like six positions and all these other things, right. But it’s, it’s providing me with this, this deeper understanding of like, who he is, what his likes and interests are. And I get to learn that about him. And we just practice this, we actually just had this conversation.
On Monday, we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. And we were asking like Siri, thank you. Yeah, we asked each other that question, what turns you on in the bedroom? Your what things that I do drive you crazy. And like we were sitting in the restaurant asking those questions, the waiter came to, you know, give us our poorest more of our drink. And they’re just like, oh, immediately, you know, kind of retreated, but it was just like we were so when we were so in the conversation.
Casey McGuire Davidson 28:26
Yeah. No, that’s good. Do you have like a list? I know. I so I’m going to link to I highly recommend the Gottman Book Seven, of course, absolutely.
But what about like, Do you have any questions that you recommend that people ask if they’re just getting started?
Yes, absolutely. There is a deck of cards that Gottman has, and you guys can get them online and they’re free. And I believe it’s let me try to find them. Now, here it is. card decks and it’s got men’s card decks, download them for free. And there’s so many questions on there. And it just provides you with the opportunity again, to really, really get to know your partner.
Casey McGuire Davidson 29:13
Oh, that’s good. I have to say one of the things that Mike, and I started doing. I don’t even remember when he always likes to walk our yard at night. And we have like an acre. It’s really pretty. He’s always looking at like what he wants to do next in the garden or whatever. But I started going with him on Friday nights like After dinner, we go on a walk, we just like look at the yard and what we need to do and talk about our week and whatever and it’s dark and so it feels like more intimate and you know, you’re not staring at each other over dinner. You’re sort of looking around, but my daughter’s gotten so used to it. She’s like, Oh, are you and dad going to go on your walk now? Every Friday night? Really? Yeah, we’re going to go. Oh, and then we come back in, but we feel like we’ve actually, like, caught up on the weeding, but also like, dreaming about what we want to do for the house or what’s, you know, bigger conversations?
Exactly. The one of the keys to really help your marriage thrive is obviously learning skills. But the other one is, you know, investing six hours a week into your relationship, you know, and it’s done by going on those walks, having those stressors.
Casey McGuire Davidson 30:32
Okay, I’m just adding sticks out. Yes. Okay.
So, this is where you’ll be crazy shots. Three, just Yeah. So this is where you’ll be crazy shocked. And you’ll be like, Oh, my God, I already have like four hours in. So, you know, you have the 20 Minute, you know, every week stress reducing conversation, right? Another one, think about when you guys have sex. That’s part of the six hours when you guys go on date nights, also part of the six hours, you know, when you guys what your tradition. So, like for Willie and I, before we leave, or when we get home, he and I share an intimate kiss, you know, and maybe that’s a minute, five minutes, whew. It all depends on where the kids are at. Right? But that also is time invested in the relationship. So though, that time accumulates really, really quickly? Really, really quickly. So yes, and those date nights? I mean, how long are you on a date sometimes are two hours, sometimes they’re longer? Sometimes they’re only one hour. But all of that time does add up? Okay.
Casey McGuire Davidson 31:36
So, tell me you’ve mentioned a couple of times the stress reducing conversation, but I’m not sure I know what that is. Can you explain it, of course, another tool from Gottman. So, stress reducing conversations, they’re basically check ins, each partner is given 10 minutes to go out and talk about their day. And you know, you have the person that speaking the speaker has 10 minutes, the listener, the listener is there to go ahead and hear them. Here’s the hard part of the listeners job. Maybe your partner’s saying, hey, you know what? At work, you know, Jared, once again got on me because I wasn’t checking my emails as the listener. And as a wife right away, we want to go into why aren’t you checking your emails? You know, Jared has a point because when I asked you to check the email that I send you, you never checked them, right. And then now we’re colluding with Jared, we form this coalition against her husband. That’s not what we want to do. When our partner is sharing this, you know, his frustrations or whatever is going on. It’s important to be on the team, husband versus Team, Jared or whoever else. And in that moment, where is it taking their side? Or getting to know? Being go? To best friend, right?
If your best Disley. This work is getting on me about whatever? Yes. Well, I think the deck has a point like you would totally think that, right?
Casey McGuire Davidson 33:10
About her husband, you might be like, well, he’s not that that guy, but you’d still be like, Whoa, what a jerk. Yeah, screw this. So, let’s go toilet papers, cars house or, you know, whatever, let’s egg it right, we will let your spouse here like, yeah, with your spouse.
So that, right, there is so important in that right there, as a key to a successful relationship being the best of friends, you know, but one of the primary reasons why we’re unable to have those conversations is because the amount of resentment that we carry, and that right there, interrupts our ability to really be there as a friend. And usually, what I see a lot of couples do is they’ll position their partners as enemy.
Casey McGuire Davidson 33:51
Which is crazy, right? Because listen, you spent one person this person and I say this as someone who yes, have has done that, you know, I think in any relationship, you go through ups and downs, and some parts of life are much harder than others, you know? Yes, absolutely, absolutely. But we do, we do position our partner as the enemy and it’s unfair, you know, but especially because they’re the one person that can hurt us the most, you know, so oftentimes, we’ll put our guards up, because we haven’t been taught how to go ahead and let down the guard, you know, in some way, shape or form. We have been taught that that Guard provides us with a sense of control, and so will mask or hide our emotions.
So, you know, it’s interesting. I mean, I think different periods and you know, better than me, at least I’ll just speak for myself. different periods in marriage with Mike were significantly harder than others. So yes, when our kids were young, it’s a major deal for your spouse to go fishing for 10 days like it is have really difficult if you’re working and you have to pick up a daycare and you’ve got a two year old and they’re difficult or whatever it is. So, when he would go away when the kids were young, I would have a ton of resentment, it or if he was in a bad mood when he got back or a bad mood before he left, I was like you’re being a dick in your gun like you better. Better be the best fucking mood I’ve ever seen. When you get when you come back.
Yeah, you better you better be willing to wash all the dishes, do all the background laundry and cook with that, like point, that point scoring and all that stuff. Yes. And at one point, I was really resentful. He was gone, blah, blah, blah. And I was like, I never do anything for myself. He’s constantly leaving yada, yada. And one of my good friends said to me, she said, is it that you don’t want him to be happy? Or is it that you’re not happy? And I was like, Damn, I’m not happy. And so now that our kids are older, I mean, I did little things then. And with quitting drinking, I had to get way better at boundaries.
For I love them. The feedback that your friend gave you, I would take it one step even further. Is it goes to? Or is it that you neglect to put yourself first. And one thing I’ve heard, and it’s really important, one thing I’ve said is, you know, it’s not his fault. It’s not the kids fault that you neglect to put your priorities yourself first. Right. But we do that. And we have 50,000 reasons why we don’t. But we do that. You know, and because we do that we get upset that our partner doesn’t do the same thing we do. Yeah.
Casey McGuire Davidson 36:45
No, that was entirely it. And you know, you have all these reasons, like, yeah, babysitters, or I can counter does x, but when I started getting happier, I was like, Alright, we’re going to, you know, like, I am not the only person who can do all this. There are resources to be brought in to the lovely girl up the hill, who I’ve never asked him she wants to babysit, you know?
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Casey McGuire Davidson 37:19
So, the stress reducing conversations, you’ve got your love maps, you’ve got, you know, figuring out various things about your partner and your, you know, what’s going on with you? I’ve heard a ton about love language, is that something that you look at as well? Or Not really?
Um, yes, and no. Yes. So, what I really focus on is, especially with my couples, what is your partner’s ultimate dream here? Like really being able to identify what is your partner’s ultimate dream? I matter of fact, before your podcast, I had a woman that was on my podcast, and I was supposed to record with her. And she had just came back from an assessment and there was a lot of things going on. And I’m just kind of watching her and, you know, her and her husband are trying to like, you know, figure out like, the microphone and all the things.
And so, I’m watching them. And, you know, I hadn’t received your speaker sheet. And I was like, you know, I can’t introduce you without the speaker sheet. Right. And, you know, I ended up saying, okay, hold on, hold on, and husband, you know, just kind of had just left the room. And I was like, Listen, if you want, why don’t we just have a conversation, see where this conversation goes? We’ll record it. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it’s okay. Or we can always reschedule. Because I could see like, there was a lot on her plate in that moment.
Yeah. And I was like, and if your husband wants to join us in this conversation, he’s more than welcome to. And she’s like, really? And I was like, why not? So, she’s, she then kind of like, went and asked her husband, and he was like, hell yeah, let’s do it. And I ended up, you know, I ended up asking them some questions. Asking him, you know, they work together. And it was like, my first question was, what are some issues that you guys come across working together? And then it was in that moment when they were both, you know, describing what some of the road bumps were for them, that I realized, what their common issue is. And then, so I paid attention, obviously, to what they’re saying, but I pay very, very close attention to what people are not seeing. And so, it was through that, that we were able to go out and take a deep dive into what is your ultimate goal here? Like, what is your ultimate dream here? And why is that dream so important to you? How has, you know, how has your past impacted this dream? How was your dream not met in the past, you know, as a child. In addition to that, what do you need? need from your partner in this moment? What do you ultimately need?
And for this gentleman, his, if we go to love language, his love language was acts of service. Yeah. But if I start to like, okay, you know, so and so, if you just go ahead and provide him with you do all of these tasks, he’s going to love you more. That’s Band Aid. Instead, if I help her see why he does all of these things, why his love language is acts of service, and develop this deep understanding without personalizing it, then what she’ll come out with, is understanding what he fears the most. So, and helping him protect that, versus trying to go ahead and convince him to love her by doing everything she thinks he needs her to do. Instead, she’ll have a deeper understanding that right there, that is what builds connection. That is what is a trusting environment?
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:00
That’s way more powerful than going out to dinner didn’t go? Well. And a lot of a lot of people will say, well, all you got to do is schedule dinner, all you got to do is schedule sex. Well, what I would say to that is, yeah, those are all band aids. Those are all band aids. But let’s go out and discuss why you’re not going out to dinner. Let’s go in and talk about why you’re not making the relationship a priority. Let’s start there. And the minute we start there, we start to see why these things aren’t being done. And we can start working at it. So that they will go out on dates.
Yeah, I mean, that’s super interesting. I can see why it’s so valuable. Because even when you ask the question of like, so you can realize what or communicate about what he fears the most. I was like, fuck, I don’t even know. Like, I mean, people don’t.
Casey McGuire Davidson 41:55
Don’t navigate, like note of being aware of that, right? They may not even tell you this is this, my parents didn’t teach us this. You know, I shared with you, my dad, my dad. My dad was very much in, you know, his addiction. He was, you know, he was in his addiction with heroin, alcoholism. They’re, they’re prevalent, like you, you could see it, you know, and watching my mom and dad in their dynamics of their relationship. For me growing up, it was like, Well, I’m not going to be my mom, I’m going to be my dad. My dad seems to have the upper hand and knows what he’s doing. He gets it. He gets to leave whenever shit gets hard, you know, and I’m going to be that person. And I wasn’t provided the skills. It wasn’t until I became a therapist, and I’m sitting across from a patient that I realized, oh, shit, I need to be sitting right next to you. Because I’m doing the same damn thing. You know, we’re Holy shit, we need to get help. And here I am wearing this hospital badge, and I’m going to help. You know, luckily, I had my supervisor with me, but it was just like, I never knew these things, because nobody had ever taught me. Yeah, so this is why I’m on these platforms, you know, serving the community, because me and my husband, my husband, we were one month away from divorce court, though, would you say that? Do you mind telling us what your marriage was like? Or why? Why it got to that point.
So, when I was 20 and he was 21. When we got married, we were young. Yeah. We had Aliyah. 3 close to 4 years after we got married. And I had no clue that our marriage was at all in risk of divorce, like none. And so, when my husband and I separated, it was like, What the what? Like, what’s going on? It 1,000% caught me off guard. That doesn’t present caught me off guard. My husband was going. He was a drill instructor at the time. And a drill instructor in the Marine Corps. And those were the ones with the Smokey the Bear hats, yelling at remotes. I was told I was warned. After he graduated, they took all of his wives in a room. All of his wives of drill instructors, they took us in a room, and they said, you know, look to your left look to your right. 98% of you will not be here after the three year term. And I remember looking at this, I don’t know if he was a Colonel when he was.
Yes. And I remember like, when you said look to your left, look to your right. I remember we’re wearing our name tags. I’m like, Hey, like looking at women waving? You know, we don’t know what he’s about to tell us. And so, we’re like, hi. Hi, you know, and then we’re looking at him and he’s like, 90% of you will not be here at the end of your husband’s term. And it was like, You’re an asshole. Like you’re an asshole. How dare you say that? Like, you don’t know me? You don’t know my marriage. And he was right. He was right. Only two couples survived. That 3 year term, family, and I, as well as one other couple. Karen and I’m getting brunch. Well, he’s not getting more he retired higher rate. But those were the two that was saying that to you just to warn you to get you to work on things to,
I think I don’t think it was to get us to work on things. Because the military will tell you they did not they did not. They did not assign your wife for a family like they didn’t they didn’t they didn’t give that to you. You did that. We assigned you a task or we assigned you a job. And that’s as far as we go. But yeah, I think it was more of like, be aware that this is not going to that this is hard. Yeah. And I didn’t know I had no clue. And yeah, we were, I want to say, Gosh, I don’t know how long, maybe half a year into it or a year into it because I got pregnant. Something Yeah, about a year into it. That’s when my husband had filed for divorce. And Willie, like if all my friends were here, they would all give you the same face. When he filed for divorce. We were all in shock. Because we were all we were all in shock. There’s no way we would ever fall for the worst. If anybody would fall for divorce. It’d be me. Oh, I had no clue. I had no clue. None. And now looking back at where we were both at as a therapist, holy shit, it totally makes sense. Yeah, I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that going in. And again, how the hell would I have known? Nobody had ever taught me? Nobody? What did you guys do to repair?
So, he ended up we both received a notice from the court saying that our you know, giving us the final court date in where our divorce was going to be finalized, like legit final. So, it was we were one month away from divorce. And he had come home. And he had said, I want to work on this. By that time, I had already started to do my own personal work. And I didn’t know if I wanted to be with him anymore. I for damn sure didn’t want to be back in the rat race. I knew that.
Yeah. And so, for me, it was like, you have to work on yourself. Like at that point, we already had separate bank accounts. You know, I had a job. I was going back to school. And so, for me, it was like holy shit. So, we went to couples therapy. And I’d love to tell you that couples therapy helped us. But we had a shitty therapist, she was so biased. And I mean, don’t get me wrong, she was on my side. So why am I complaining? But we didn’t, we didn’t know. And a lot of people don’t know that they have a shitty therapist, or they have a shitty whatever. But like, I, you know, she was totally on my side against him, she was pissed off at him because she was also my therapist when we were going through the divorce. And so, it was literally, you know, both of us working on ourselves, continuously working on ourselves, I was no longer trying to take him take care of him and build him up. I was laser focused on what I wanted, what I wanted my life to look like, what the insecurities were that I was bringing into the marriage, like I was laser focused on that. And it’s crazy, because by being an exceptional version of myself, that exceptional version of myself was given to my husband, not because it was for him. But I did it for me. And it was just the added bonus that he got to receive an exceptional version not perfect version of myself. And that took a long time to do. And this is why like, I use these skills on my podcast, you know, I provide my clients with the type of therapy or the type of coaching I provide them, because I don’t want it to take 10 years for them to figure this shit out. You know?
Casey McGuire Davidson 49:05
So, you know, it’s interesting. I know when we first talked about this episode, yeah. What we wanted to cover you said to me, you know,
the topic is why high achieving women struggle to connect in their marriages.
And of course, we’ve talked about lots of reasons. But then you said to me that it has to start with you recognize the seer patterns, the issues you’re bringing into the relationship and why we self-sabotage. Can you tell me more about that?
It starts with you. It 1,000% starts with you. If you are in a bad place, guess what? When your husband gives you constructive feedback, when your husband makes certain comments that she is going to irritate you like no other. Why? An insecurity was just exposed an insecurity that you’ve been trying to match and avoid for a very long time. So, use that as you go to war with your husband. And so instead, identify what the hell insecurities you have. What are your goals? What are your dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? Like really hone it? Are you happy? Are you really happy? Are you happy with where you’re at right now? And a lot of women will say, of course, I’m happy. Oh, shit, you got the house? You got the dog, you got your husband, you got the kids? But Who the hell are you outside of the roles you play? Who are you? Who are you outside of being a mom? Who are you outside of being a wife? Who the hell are you? Are you outside of being a friend? And a lot of women struggle to go ahead and answer that question, because they don’t know who they are. And why don’t they know who they are, because they put their nose down and have gone to work and have believed the lies they tell themselves over and over and over again, everything’s fine, everything’s fine. As long as I finish this, everything will be fine, as long as I check this box off. But the reality is, you’re not happy. You’re not happy, because you don’t know who the hell you are. So, find out what that happy looks like. So whatever insecurities are still exposed, when you’re having a conversation with a friend or partner, work on them, work on them. Those are key indicators, right there that those are the issues that you’re bringing into the relationship. Yeah. And if you can work on identifying what are these insecurities, you are on your way to becoming the best version not perfect, but the best version of yourself. And you’re not going to let anybody get in the way. And that’s why I call the podcast, empowered and unapologetic. Because we are empowering ourselves to be that best version, unapologetically. I can give two shits, what people think about me. I own who the hell I am. And it’s very much perfect.
Casey McGuire Davidson 51:53
You know, what’s interesting is when I stopped drinking, and I had a Coach and I started feeling so much better about myself and less defensive and less insecure and less feeling like I couldn’t cope. And I didn’t have any willpower. I remember, you know, just like unloading the dishwasher, doing something on a weekday, and my husband said something really nice and kind to me, and, you know, you’re a really good mom, and you know, all this stuff. And I all of a sudden was like, Is he being nicer to me? Or was he saying things these things before, and I dismissed them? Because I didn’t truly believe it was true. Or he was being sarcastic, or I felt guilty. I was like, Yeah, huh. You know, like, whatever. Yeah, I was able to accept those, you know, kind words and love and affirmations. Because I felt deep down that they were true thing though, that right, there is key. That right, there is key to the work that you’re doing, when we’re not able to receive those compliments, or when we brush them off.
Or when we add more to our plate. That right there is a true indicator that you are in self-sabotage mode. You’re 1,000% in self-sabotage mode. And, you know, my question to you, you know, to your audiences, why? Why are you not deserving of being intentional? Why are you not deserving of being able to like to experience the moment? Why are you constantly running away from the now? Are you constantly running away from the now instead of allowing yourself to participate in the now?
Casey McGuire Davidson 53:41
One of my favorite questions for women I work with or anyone listening to this podcast? It’s, it’s so interesting. The question is, what do you not have to think of when you drink? Yeah. And for some people, it’s their job. For some, it’s their fears. For some, it’s their marriage. For some, it’s the fact that they’re not happy. You know, they’re bored. They don’t like whatever in their lives, they feel trapped. But that’s the real issue. And it’s hard, hard to get to those. Do you suggest that if something and what we’re talking about is resonating with women, which I’m sure this is because I don’t know any woman who doesn’t struggle in some areas of her life? But do you suggest they do individual therapy, individual coaching, work through some stuff on their own or couples counseling? Like what? What’s a good first step?
So, if you’re in this struggle, and you find that you can totally relate with all of these things, there’s two options. One, definitely go and seek professional help. Seek, prefer additional help, a lot of people might, you know, shy away from therapy. There are, you know, like, I offer marriage therapy, you know, for marriage coaching, there are differences, you know, but definitely go ahead and find a professional like myself or someone else that has a licensure to back them up that has years of experience and is trained, like literally certified in a certain, you know, theoretical modality. You can’t play Russian Roulette with your marriage. And I’ve seen a lot of people, you know, go to certain professionals who do not have the experience or credentials to back them up, right.
So, when it comes to marriage, hell yes, you are able to go ahead and do this work in a marriage, you know, a couples counseling or couples coaching, setting 1,000% As long as you have the right professional, otherwise homegirls passing boundaries like no tomorrow, and that’s what we don’t want.
The second thing is, and I do have this for your audience, I do have a quiz. It’s called Marriage Predictor, you can go ahead and take the quiz and identify Holy shit, it’s time for therapy or you know, maybe I can do this, you know, in a workshop or a course. But really honing in on what exactly is going on in my relationship? And then making sure that you match what’s going on in your relationship with a professional, the expert that’s able to help you through this.
Casey McGuire Davidson 56:36
Is your quiz on your website, or do you want to send us the link?
Yeah, I’ll go ahead and send you the link. So, the link is veronicacisneros.org. Forward slash quiz.
Casey McGuire Davidson 56:47
All right, guys, I will, I will include that in the show notes. I did want to ask because I don’t know the answer. Tell me what the difference is between Marriage Therapy and Marriage Coaching.
So, a Marriage Therapist is able to go ahead and tackle, let’s say a diagnosis, right. So if you’re going you’re in couples work, and one of you is struggling with depression anxiety, the marriage therapist will be able to help you with that depression, anxiety, they will be able to help you with developing an understanding of how anxiety how depression or how any other, you know, symptom is impacting the marriage, right?
A Marriage Coach, that’s where we’re providing you with tools we’re providing you with skills. I, when I’m acting as a Marriage Coach, I cannot, even though I’m Licensed, I cannot treat depression. I cannot treat the anxiety or any other any other mental illness or mental health diagnosis associated with that. It’s very important that they’re able to stay in their lane.
Unfortunately, what we see often times is a Marriage Coach will, you know, saying that, oh mine could totally treat anxiety. They are practicing out of their scope. And that’s where a lot of the danger lies. So that’s just kind of quick, quick answer for you.
You know, that’s, that’s very helpful. Tell us more about where people can find you, your podcast, all the good stuff.
Of course. So, my podcast is on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, anywhere you listen to your podcast, it’s Empowered and Unapologetic.
You can find me on all social media platforms. My tag name is @heyveronicacisneros.
Awesome. That’s great. Thank you so much for coming on. I of course, wanted to have this conversation the minute I met you, so we did it. We did it.
Casey McGuire Davidson 58:59
Okay, awesome. Well, have a great day.
Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more.