Ask Me Anything

Below are questions that have been submitted for me to answer. Logged in members can upvote any question by clicking the up arrow next to it. Every few months I’ll pick some of the most upvoted questions (as well as some other questions I think are particularly good) and answer them in one of my Ask Me Anything videos.

Site members can go here to submit a question. If you’re not a member, you can learn more about the membership here.

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1

Everything in moderation, even smoking?

Am health conscious- eat well, minimal alcohol - 1-2 times monthly, exercise- weight train, low intensity cardio- no more high intensity nowadays (50 y.o). BUT have difficulty stopping smoking. Justify vice by having very few daily… (Show more)

Am health conscious- eat well, minimal alcohol - 1-2 times monthly, exercise- weight train, low intensity cardio- no more high intensity nowadays (50 y.o). BUT have difficulty stopping smoking. Justify vice by having very few daily x 2, on weekends x 5 and the fact that even non smokers die from smoking related diseases. Am pretty much a closet smoker. It’s my dark little secret! Fear the judgement of others. And deep down I know it’s wrong for me and is totally incongruous to my lifestyle. Any words of wisdom?

2

What's worse for your health: having too much empathy, or too little of it?

As an English teacher in Kurdish Iraq, I've been so challenged here by the widespread negativity and heavy emotional energy. Kurds and Iraqis have suffered gravely, and the society is in a state of emotional chaos… (Show more)

As an English teacher in Kurdish Iraq, I've been so challenged here by the widespread negativity and heavy emotional energy. Kurds and Iraqis have suffered gravely, and the society is in a state of emotional chaos and dysfunction. Empathetically, I really struggle here. Meanwhile, my male colleagues seem to hum along as if everything is normal. At what point is empathy worse for your health than just ignoring the shittiness around you to get by?

2

What the fuck is chemistry?

I know there's a lot written about compatibility, but can you go into more detail about chemistry? Why do we instinctively connect (both platonically and romantically) with some people and not at all with others, for… (Show more)

I know there's a lot written about compatibility, but can you go into more detail about chemistry? Why do we instinctively connect (both platonically and romantically) with some people and not at all with others, for better or worse?

Chemistry feels like an enigma and I was wondering if you could go through the invisible matchmaker known as chemistry.

1

Hi , I’m able to access the video and articles only . Whenever I try to access the course material it asks me if I’m a member even when I’m already logged in You do not have any support staff to field these issues ?thanks Janet

1

Hi , I’m having trouble accessing the courses . Every time I go into the course it asks me if I’m a member .

1

When do you know if the activity sucks because you suck at it and when does it sucks because it sucks?

1

What advice would you give to someone who’s dating someone who’s a little codependent - needy, but a good partner?

My partner of a little over a year treats me very well - helps with anything I ask, compliments me constantly, never criticizes me, handles conflict well, is loyal, says I’m their “everything” .. but at… (Show more)

My partner of a little over a year treats me very well - helps with anything I ask, compliments me constantly, never criticizes me, handles conflict well, is loyal, says I’m their “everything” .. but at the same time also displays some behaviors that seem less evolved - frequently asking why I love them, complaining about their mother and blaming them for everything, not directly expressing any of their own needs or wants, getting unreasonably anxious about prices of things (down to the cent), being close-minded, negative, self-deprecating and a bit angry at the world..

I feel like I should stay because they’re a really good partner and that there’s something weird about everyone, but at the same time I worry this person is a little unbalanced and will cause me trouble later on. I know you say everyone has a shadow side, but this person’s shadow triggers my fear that I’m making a huge mistake in committing to someone who’s bad news despite all their virtues.

How can I clarify this situation for myself? When we’re good we’re really good, but then occassionally comments will trigger my fears. I’ve tried to communicate these complaints but not much has changed - maybe they lack self-awareness to know when they’re doing these things?

2

What are the practical steps that I can take to move from an ANXIOUS ATTACHMENT TYPE to a SECURE ATTACHMENT TYPE?

1

I have had a fucked up life cause I fail just as I begin to master stuff. I have rotten false core beliefs about me. Tell me how to fix them. They suck and I am in my 6th decade and want to love and be happy(most of the time.)

If a person complements me, I don't believe it. If I achieve, it just ain't up to par. If I like something, I don't allow myself to get good with discipline and hard work. What the… (Show more)

If a person complements me, I don't believe it. If I achieve, it just ain't up to par. If I like something, I don't allow myself to get good with discipline and hard work. What the fuck is this crap. I need the mechanics of how to change this BS. Hope this was not to long or repetitive. Thanks anyway!!~~

1

How to squash projecting into a new relationship?

Mark, I am dating an amazing girl right now. I've had a rough time w/ my ex as she had bi-polar and didn't really know how to handle it. I was single for about 4 years,… (Show more)

Mark, I am dating an amazing girl right now. I've had a rough time w/ my ex as she had bi-polar and didn't really know how to handle it.

I was single for about 4 years, and I thought I was ok and moved on but my current SO really helped me point out that I hid the issues under the rug. I can't help but project at times. Although I catch myself doing this, my issue is the emotion is overwhelming and I don't know what to do.

Thoughts?

Max

1

How important is emotional chemistry?

I adore my partner, and he’s crazy about me. We have a high degree of compatibility, but I don’t feel very much spark in our relationship and never actually have. I always believed love was safer… (Show more)

I adore my partner, and he’s crazy about me. We have a high degree of compatibility, but I don’t feel very much spark in our relationship and never actually have. I always believed love was safer when it wasn’t practical. Lately I feel a pull to external attractions, and I’m questioning how important emotional chemistry is. Is it something worth sacrificing a strong relationship for? Can we really have it all in a relationship? I’m a 29 year old woman who never really dated around. I had my first relationship at 17, which lasted 8 years, and now this one which has lasted 4. I never took the time to experiment and understand this, and I’m scared to settled down and always feel like something is missing.

1

What to do if your your friend's girlfriend does not talk properly to you (repeatedly) ?

I have 2 good friends (4th level type) but their girlfriends are shitty and do not talk properly with me. Should i leave my friends or tell them to tell their girlfriend that behave properly ?

2

How to not be jealous about my girlfriend past sexual experiences ?

I asked my girlfriend about her past sexual experiences, and she told me about a guy she dated that made her discover crazy stuff that gave her lot of pleasure. Even tho our sex life was… (Show more)

I asked my girlfriend about her past sexual experiences, and she told me about a guy she dated that made her discover crazy stuff that gave her lot of pleasure.
Even tho our sex life was great, now i completely lost my confidence and think i can not give her this much pleasure.

2

What do you think about the (feminist) concept of the mental load? Do you agree women are the primary bearers? Does your marriage echo the illustration by Emma in any way?

Sorry it's a long one (again). And I promise I am not prying about your specific relationship, but the personal experiences you always share are very helpful. I've experienced the weight of the mental load, but… (Show more)

Sorry it's a long one (again). And I promise I am not prying about your specific relationship, but the personal experiences you always share are very helpful.

I've experienced the weight of the mental load, but even as a woman did not know the proposed philosophical term for it (I consider it philosophical) until this illustration. When I saw it, a very loud cord struck: https://english.emmaclit.com/2017/05/20/you-shouldve-asked/

Mainly, I saw this dynamic growing up with my parents, saw it in my friends' homes, and now that my friends are having babies - they all talk about THIS exact thing, to varying degrees. The details and miles vary as this can take on mildly abusive forms (like when you spill something and howl at your wife that something was spilled in order for her to come clean it....as seen, sadly, in my home) to healthy but never ending negotiations surrounding household organisation.

Do you agree women bare most of the mental load? What pratical advice would you give yourself and other men about it?

If you want to/can touch on conditioning, biology, and conditioning vs biology - please do!

3

Can chemistry be created?

I've been in an essentially sexless marriage for 10 years. We've always been best friends and never had that time when we were all over each other. In the beginning we both had our emotional shortcomings… (Show more)

I've been in an essentially sexless marriage for 10 years. We've always been best friends and never had that time when we were all over each other. In the beginning we both had our emotional shortcomings and married for security and companionship. Over the years I have grown and matured to a point where I can now see that my husband and I have compatibility but no chemistry. I know I want more intamacy, sex, and excitement in my life. I don't know if this is something that can be created between us or if it's time to let go so we can experience that with someone else.

1

Hi Mark, what are your values and metrics for each values?

2

What is your stance on alcohol and drugs?

Trying to quit some bad habits here but it's hard as hell. How do we cope with life and fully face ourselves and others without these 'crutches'?

3

What are some healthy ways to avoid, prevent, or deal with anger? Especially in loving relationships.

I get angry at my wife. Every time I do it feels like I get pigeonholed as "that angry guy". It's just horrible habits I inherited from my stable but imperfect home growing up. That doesn't… (Show more)

I get angry at my wife. Every time I do it feels like I get pigeonholed as "that angry guy". It's just horrible habits I inherited from my stable but imperfect home growing up. That doesn't excuse that I do mean, scary, stupid shit. I know how to make amends, but I'm more concerned with avoiding the situations in the first place, especially when my partner is potentially responsible for provoking some of my feelings. How do I get her to own some of the stakes and recognize her behavior when I am the one who took things over the edge and looked like the mean evil ass clown.

1

Do you believe making responsible environmental choices makes one a more ethical, or 'better' person on the path to self-improvement?

One could attach ethical responsibility to anything, say particularly effective waste management, provided systems exist (composting & recycling) in your area. This is regardless as to whether a collection company acts on its own responsibility to,… (Show more)

One could attach ethical responsibility to anything, say particularly effective waste management, provided systems exist (composting & recycling) in your area. This is regardless as to whether a collection company acts on its own responsibility to, in turn, ethically manage its own systems.

2

Where is the boundary of the victim and rescuer pattern in marriage? Where are the boundaries when I should support my wife and take responsibility, and when should I say that she should deal with problems herself?

Hi Mark! My question stems from your article on Strong Boundaries. Where is the boundary of the victim and rescuer pattern in marriage? Where are the boundaries when I should support my wife and take responsibility… (Show more)

Hi Mark! My question stems from your article on Strong Boundaries. Where is the boundary of the victim and rescuer pattern in marriage? Where are the boundaries when I should support my wife and take responsibility as a man, and when should I say that she should deal with problems herself, so as not to go to the rescuer? Does empathy have any relation to the strong boundaries and responsibility?

3

What is your advice to people who have tried improving their dating life for years and failed?

Should the focus change from improving the current situation to accepting it completely? What would you tell a 40 year old virgin who is probably never going to get laid? Surely not every single person who… (Show more)

Should the focus change from improving the current situation to accepting it completely? What would you tell a 40 year old virgin who is probably never going to get laid? Surely not every single person who tried to improve his dating life will succeed. How do you accept something like that?

1

What are your thoughts on Be, Do, Have vs. Do, Have, Be?

3

Where does the marshmallow test become the fallacy of sunk costs?

I’ve been with a company for just over 12years and promised a promotion for the last nearly 3yrs, but it keeps getting put off because of politics and bureaucracy. For the role I do, my salary… (Show more)

I’ve been with a company for just over 12years and promised a promotion for the last nearly 3yrs, but it keeps getting put off because of politics and bureaucracy. For the role I do, my salary is way below the benchmark, but it’s quite a niche thing and I do enjoy it a lot. Massive changes are coming over the next 5yrs that I would probably have a significant part in shaping and could boost my role/recognition/salary. It will (already has) caused significant stress and workload. How do I decide whether to put up with it for the chance of a much better payoff or cut my losses despite the investment of time and effort? How can I tell if it’s habit telling me this is the marshmallow test, or stress telling me it’s the sunk costs fallacy?

1

How do you manage your knowledge?

I've always struggled with finding a way to manage all the useful stuff I've read about. How do you make sure you aren’t forgetting half of the information you have learned about after a year or two?

1

Would you still focus on blogging if you were just starting out today, or would you be a YouTuber, Instagram star, podcaster etc.?

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