534. Bouncing Out of Bad Relationships & Finding the Love You Deserve

Matthew Hussey

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Matthew Hussey, bestselling author and top YouTube love coach, discusses essential insights for successful relationships, the realities of modern dating, core values for partnership, and his new book, Love Life: How to Raise Your Standards, Find Your Person, and Live Happily (No Matter What).

Matthew Hussey is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and coach specializing in confidence and relational intelligence. His YouTube channel is number one in the world for love life advice, with over half a billion views. He writes a weekly newsletter and is the host of the podcast Love Life With Matthew Hus­sey. Hussey provides monthly coaching to the members of his private community at LoveLifeClub.com. Over the past 15 years, his proven approach has inspired millions through authentic, insightful, and practical advice that not only enables them to find love, but also feel confident and in control of their own happiness. He lives in Los Angeles.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

If you’re curious about how to approach the modern dating landscape and what is truly essential for a successful partnership, today’s guest has you covered. Matthew Hussey is not only a New York Times bestselling author and the #1 love life coach on YouTube, but he's also someone who has revolutionized the way we approach relationships and personal confidence. 

With over half a billion views on his channel, Matthew continues to change lives with his profound insights on love, life, and happiness.

In this episode, we cut through the noise about modern dating and laser in on what’s really important in cultivating a strong relationship. Matthew and I explore the common hurdles that many face in seeking relationships that truly align with their desires for peace and fulfillment.

We discuss a prevalent myth surrounding the role of common interests in partnerships and how embracing acceptance can dramatically expand your romantic horizons. Matthew also shares the core values that he believes are the backbone of any successful relationship, and what aspects you can afford to be flexible on.

He also shares a sneak peek into his latest book – which is available TODAY – Love Life: How to Raise Your Standards, Find Your Person, and Live Happily (No Matter What).

Expect to also hear about the importance of relational intelligence, the power of authenticity in love, and how to maintain a sense of control over your happiness. Don’t miss this enlightening discussion that’s sure to enrich your perspective on love and its role in your life.

(00:00:31) Uncovering the Layers of Modern Dating Challenges

(00:16:58) Are Common Interests Really Important in Dating?

  • Advice for people who are dating in an environment with people who don't share the same interests or values
  • Exploring whether or not shared interests is in fact important in a romantic relationship
  • Why you might want to reevaluate the criteria of your potential partner 
  • Catching tendencies for judgment in evaluating others’ experiences

(00:31:00) The Power of Acceptance in Dating

  • Why it can be good to have different paths and backgrounds from your partner 
  • How acceptance plays into the capacity for intimacy and feeling safe
  • Why questioning your instincts can be helpful in dating 
  • Why we’re wired to chase the wrong things & mistake chemistry for trauma bonds

(00:41:12) Exploring the Key Fundamentals of A Successful Partnership

  • The four levels of importance in any relationship 
  • The myth of unrequited love 
  • How to determine fundamental compatibility 
  • The biggest indicator of if a relationship is going to work or not 
  • The importance of finding someone who understands how you think
  • Viewing relationships as a vehicle for growth

(01:01:32) Helping Women Become More Confident in Dating

  • How and why his work resonates more with women
  • Busting the myth of how to know if someone is into you or not 
  • What Matthew has learned about women and dating over the last 15+ years
  • Lessons from growing up with his mother and aunt
  • The main pain points in dating he aims to address in his book

[00:00:01] Luke: Well, Matt, this is officially the earliest morning podcast I've ever done in eight years.

[00:00:06] Matthew: Is that true?

[00:00:07] Luke: Yeah. I usually have my booking link start at 1:00 PM, and even then, I feel like I'm never ready. I'm running around. So yeah, it'll be interesting today to see. Luckily, you're very articulate, and you're a great orator, so you'll be able to carry me if I'm still brain dead.

[00:00:24] Tell us about your new book, which is sitting right here Love Life. Beautiful cover design, by the way.

[00:00:30] Matthew: Thank you. I was thinking we were going to have to redesign it 100 times, and the first time I saw this design, I was happy, which is a miracle. But it's Love Life: How to Raise Your Standards, Find Your Person, and Live Happily No Matter What. For those of you who don't know me, I've been doing this work for 17 years of my life, helping people find love.

[00:00:55] And I wrote a book around 10 years ago that I still am very proud of. But I realized, God, there's so much that's changed, and there's so much I've learned in the last 10 years. In the space of writing this new book, in my own life, I went from being single, heartbroken, to being married.

[00:01:17] I feel like I've been humbled in so many ways. I've worked with thousands and thousands more people, and I wanted to write something that spoke to people where they were at now, which is a really interesting place, I think, for a lot of people in the struggle to find love and try and understand what's going out there, what's going on with us. Why does it seem so difficult to find this thing that we all want? How can we do love better? And hopefully, how can we be a little happier along the way so that we're not deferring our happiness until the point where we find that partner we've always wanted? And so this book is designed to be a co-pilot for anyone who is looking for love and also wants to find a lot more confidence and happiness on the road there too.

[00:02:22] Luke: The landscape has changed a lot in 17 years. Obviously, social media, the internet, dating apps, in this country, there's such a cultural divide. There's so much polarity. It's much more pronounced than before. There are definitely camps here that are diametrically opposed to one another in terms of their value systems and beliefs.

[00:02:47] It's a treacherous path out there, and I'm excited to talk to you because in all these years, I always say this on the show, I feel like I've covered every niche topic in health, personal development, spirituality, and I've done many shows on conscious relationships and communication and all those things related to what happens when you're in a partnership.

[00:03:11] But amazingly, I've yet done a show about the process of dating and getting into relationship, and as I was studying your work, I'm like, oh my God, I wish I would've found your stuff when I was single. Could have saved myself a lot of mistakes and probably a lot of broken hearts on both sides of the equation, just stumbling through.

[00:03:33] So that brings me to, there's an interesting social phenomenon I've observed in that, and you'd be more tapped in than I on this, but there seems to be some sort of, to some people, a resistance or social stigma to having a dating coach or taking dating training. To be taught how to relate, seems to be something people are judgmental of or resistant to.

[00:04:00] For me, I don't know if there's anything more important that one would need to learn. We have education for finance, and business, and science, and all of these different areas of life that are meaningful, but perhaps less so meaningful than our ability to connect with other human beings in an intimate way.

[00:04:23] So what have you observed about how you've been received? Obviously, you have the biggest relationship-based content on YouTube, which is a, I'm sure, no small feed. There's tons of people teaching this stuff. Why are some people resistant to the idea of being taught how to date and build relationships?

[00:04:42] Matthew: It's funny. I feel like I've been through every phase of encountering some form of that, and I really understand it. I think what's been interesting for me is that I find at times, when I look at resistance to learning how to find love in more productive ways, or ways that avoid pain or unnecessary suffering, or ways that help us have a bigger impact out there, my own kind of, don't know what the word is.

[00:05:21] The way I oscillate between these two places is sometimes vehemently resisting that idea that we don't need to learn anything and we just need to be ourselves, and other times wanting to agree with it. Because I understand the instinct that makes people go, I want this part of my life to be truly authentic.

[00:05:45] I don't want to be something I'm not. I hate the idea that I have to try to be something I'm not, or something that goes against my way of being, my nature, that feels antithetical to the idea of finding someone who accepts me for me.

[00:06:03] I find it an interesting debate because I agree with that, but it's also true that if you take it outside of the love life context, which can be incredibly personal for people and put it in a, let's say, business context, we all know some of the most incredible people or products or services that never get off the ground because they never capture the imagination or the attention of the people that they need to reach.

[00:06:40] Whether it's because they're not marketing right, or they haven't got the right sales department, or they haven't got the right branding, but there's something amazing there. It's just missing some of the components that it needs to get itself out there. I started, when I began out, I think was leaning into the competence side of dating.

[00:07:04] If you go back and you look at my videos from 10 years ago, so much of it was about the specific kind of what to do, or how can you present yourself when you are out there in the world, how can you talk to people in a way that captures their imagination, that helps you become a person of more impact?

[00:07:27] Originally speaking, I wasn't coming from an even a dating perspective. I was 11, 12 years old when I first read Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People. And I, myself was someone who was both shy and introverted, who learned a lot of ideas and techniques about how to present myself better and how to make more of an impact.

[00:07:51] I always remind myself of that, that that was a revelatory idea for me at the time. This idea that I wasn't stuck with my level of impact in life. That there were things that I could do that by getting better at those things, I would have more of an impact with my teachers at school, with my friends, with girls at the time. That was a huge idea for me.

[00:08:17] It was like one of those big light bulb moments in life was that, oh my God, there are books written that show you how to have more presence in this world. Now, of course, we know that that can go too far. We've all been around people who feel so practiced and so constantly conscious of the very specific ways that they're having an impact, that something gets lost.

[00:08:42] We no longer feel we're with a person. We feel we're with someone who's working us, or a performance, or we're no longer seeing the humanity behind it. And so there's definitely a point at which that goes too far. But that was where my work started.

[00:09:00] And then over time, what happened was, and this is really what led me to this book, is I realized that there are clearly deeper things going on with us that are getting in the way of us finding the love we want, of us leaning into the right types of people, and instead giving our time and attention to the wrong kinds of people in a way that is really leading us further and further away from our peace and our happiness.

[00:09:36] There are things getting in the way of us accepting ourselves, and therefore we're not presenting ourselves vulnerably. We carry so much shame in our dating lives. We carry so much self-judgment, and we have a way of passing that onto other people. And so that has become the graduation of my work in so many ways.

[00:09:59] I will still occasionally talk about how people can have more impact, and it can be fun to do that because in everything in life, there's a competence aspect to it. We, right now, are having a conversation that if neither of us had any experience of having a conversation like this on camera, for an audience, would be a lot less interesting, entertaining, engaging than the two of us that come to the table as people who have been broadcasting for years.

[00:10:34] That's more than us just being our authentic selves. It's integrating our authentic selves with a competency in that medium. So I still enjoy talking about those things, and I very much believe in it, but I also am now really preoccupied with some of the deeper reasons why we're struggling, which is so much of what this book is about.

[00:10:58] Luke: Awesome. Yeah. Thinking about that concept of us needing to learn these skills, the mating rituals. Thinking back, I don't know anyone personally that I'm aware of that had these rituals, these tactics, practices, modeled for them in a healthy way by their parents, or overtly taught to them.

[00:11:26] My parents taught me be respectful of women, just fundamentals of being a moral person, but not what to do when you walk into the high school-- not that I ever went to a high school dance because I was out in the parking lot smoking weed with the punk rockers.

[00:11:42] But just as a case example, what to do when you walk in the high school dance and there's that girl from your math class, and you really want to ask her to dance, but you're afraid, like, here's what you do. Here's why you're afraid. Going to the deeper underlying issues that you address. So I think it's a really important study.

[00:12:05] Matthew: And the things that happen to you when you do take that risk. And especially, so many of us have had such awful experiences of that. Some have had some great ones, some not so great. But you can ask that girl out, and it can go terrifically wrong and you can do it in all of the ways you think is going to be a good thing or you think is going to be respectful and then you-- I remember times where I would go in in the most respectful, kind way, and it didn't go very well.

[00:12:47] Then I would see someone do the complete opposite of that and it go well. And that's a hard thing. You're learning all of these bad associations that you're trying to also untangle because as you say, you're trying to learn this healthy way of integrating ways of having impact in the world with what is right, and what is kind, and what is authentic, and what is the moral character you want to have.

[00:13:17] And there's a lot out there that can make people very cynical and disillusioned. And I think that's happening for a lot of people right now as well, which I find hard to see because I don't think that having impact has to be at odds with things that don't align with your character or your deepest sense of wanting to be kind or good.

[00:13:38] But we all learn these things growing up that trying to do the right thing didn't work for us. Trying to be respectful didn't work for us. Trying to be brave didn't work for us, but holding back didn't work for us either. And it's hard. It's really hard, and it doesn't seem to get easier for a lot of people as they get older.

[00:14:01] You want to grow out of high school and go. It all changes after that, but then they find in so many ways it doesn't seem to get easier. And each age you encounter a new set of struggles. And then, of course, I deal with the people who are on the other end of that spectrum too.

[00:14:18] Whether in a season of their life where they feel invisible or they feel like no one is noticing them anymore, and they're trying to figure out how to feel relevant and find love in a world that is completely changed maybe since they were in a marriage or in a long-term relationship that they're now not in anymore, and trying to find love again after all of that, which is a different, scary proposition.

[00:14:46] Luke: It's like the high school anxiety all over again. Because if you've been in a relationship-- I literally can't imagine having to date again. I'm so happy that I'm happily married. I wouldn't know what to do even now, and I've only been in a relationship for a few years. Thinking about someone who's a bit older, who's maybe been married for 20 years, has kids, the kids went off to school, and now they're like, wow, I would really like to connect with someone. Where do you go? You know what I mean?

[00:15:17] And this brings me to a question that I think will be relevant to many of the people listening. And I have to admit selfishly on this podcast, I often have conversations with people who are teaching something that I want to learn right now from my own, selfish might be overstating it, but something that I'm really passionate about and curious about because I really want to learn that for my life.

[00:15:40] So I could give two shits about dating tools now at this point in my life. But I do know based on feedback that I get from listeners to The Life Stylist, who are, I would say, skew a bit more female based on what I can tell just on comments, and emails, and things like that. Many women that listen to this show specifically, not so much men, but women report, I am really interested in the lifestyle that we're talking about on this show, so alternative healing, biohacking, spirituality, plant medicines, breathwork, meditation, all the things.

[00:16:20] And I get reports from women quite often that are like, where do I find my person who's into all that? Because I'm in a social construct where that's not popular and I'm the black sheep, or they're geographically situated in a smaller town in the Midwest or something where they're-- it's not like Austin.

[00:16:38] There's 10 plant medicine ceremonies, and breathwork, and ice bath parties every day. It's like there's so much of what we do here on the show in this particular city or in a city like LA. What would you say for people that are in a social circle that doesn't share the same interest or values or in a location where there are fewer people that they can identify with?

[00:17:01] Matthew: The literal kind of direct answer is to find whatever communities revolve around that thing where you are as sparse or as limited as they may be, and engage with those, because, a, you never know who you might meet in those communities. But b, you are doing the things that tick that box for you by doing those things.

[00:17:30] So even if you don't meet anyone there that you see romantically, you still are ticking that box for yourself. Because ultimately you being interested in those things is your thing. It's something you enjoy. So we might find it slightly odd if we were really into reading history books and we said, I'm struggling to find other people in my town who like reading history books.

[00:18:02] The rest of us might go, you can find someone who isn't into history books who will be awesome. They don't need to be into history books. So that leads me onto to the slightly more indirect answer, which is to say, I do think we have to be a little bit careful to have figured out something we are into, and then to tell ourselves that it therefore follows that we have to find now love that it essentially means a person that is into that in the ways that we are.

[00:18:48] Because it should have massive importance to you if you find it really important. But I think the distinction is this. The person you are with has to respect what you find important, or at the very least, has to respect that you find it important and therefore make space for it with you in your life. Be a teammate in helping you make space for that in your life.

[00:19:18] But I don't think that they need to be into that thing with you. The world is full of relationships with two people who are into different things, and they don't have to-- you don't want to be with someone who every day mocks your thing, whatever that is, because that's-- again, I don't think they have to like it.

[00:19:43] I'm not even sure on the deepest level, they have to respect the target of your energy. I think they have to respect that it's important to you and therefore know if it's important to you, a, I'm not going to spend my time critiquing it or criticizing it or mocking it, because that's not a nice thing to do to someone you're within a relationship.

[00:20:11] I respect the fact that this is important to you. It's not my thing, but I want to help you make space for that in your life because it's important to you the same way I'd hope that you'd help me make space for something that's important to me and respect that it's important to me.

[00:20:26] And I think that if you go in with that criteria for a relationship, the world opens up to you. And by the way, you might also be surprised at how many people who weren't originally interested in the kinds of things that you're interested in notice the effect that it has on you, notice the way it makes you feel, notice that you're a very, let's say, peaceful person as a result of this.

[00:20:56] If you are with someone who meditates a lot and that person happens to be a very grounded, peaceful person, and that you see that and you want more of that for yourself, and every time you talk to them about what helps them, the answer is the same, you might just find yourself gravitating towards that in a very organic and natural way where you discover it yourself.

[00:21:24] You might be surprised even on that level, but even if you are not, I just think that finding someone who connects with the importance of it to you is a much more realistic criteria to have, and I think that it's surprising how much it doesn't impede on our life or what we enjoy doing if we have someone who really respects it.

[00:21:49] I like Brazilian jiujitsu. My wife couldn't care less. It's like if I was trying to find someone who is into Brazilian jiujitsu, what kind of barrier would I have constructed to me finding love? And why is an ice bath or breathwork any different to my Brazilian jiujitsu? To me, they're all just things that we, at some point, have discovered.

[00:22:17] And I'll say this. There was a point at which we hadn't discovered those things, which to for some people who are saying they're now really important to me to find in a person was two years ago.

[00:22:29] Luke: That's funny.

[00:22:30] Matthew: So it's like a weird lack of compassion or judgment towards yourself from two years ago that you would rule people out who hadn't come across that influence in the same period of their life as you did yours.

[00:22:46] But it doesn't mean then that they're not curious people. It doesn't mean that they're not interested. It doesn't mean that they're not open to life in all sorts of other ways. It doesn't mean that the same effect that these things give you isn't the effect that fixing up a car gives them. That might be their meditation, and I think it's really important to connect with that.

[00:23:13] Otherwise, we get into this very interesting world that I think becomes very restrictive where we say the freedom, the peace, the calm, the transcendent feelings that you have have to come from the exact vehicles that I have had them come from for me. That I think is a way of not just excluding vast amounts of the world, romantically, but it's also a way of cutting yourself off from extraordinary swaths of people that can teach you things in any area of life through friendship, mentoring, or anything else.

[00:23:52] Luke: I'm seeing also, as a former professional love avoidant, building this hard line set of criteria by which you vet a potential partner could be a way to actually hide in the avoidance of avoiding that vulnerability. It's like, well, I'm going to make my checklist so robust that there's no human possibly on earth that could ever meet it.

[00:24:25] And therefore I can trick myself into thinking, well, I'm trying. I'm dating. I just can't meet the right person. Because the right person has to meet everything on this list, regardless of where we might actually meet in our values on that list. It's just, well, they don't meet my preferences or my cultural attributes, and interests, and things like that. So yeah, I can see how that would be something that someone could unknowingly use to wall themselves against, vulnerability and intimacy.

[00:24:53] Matthew: Yeah. Because there is a little bit of an inherent judgment in that too, of like, people who aren't into these things, there's something about them that would make either less good as a partner or they're not the kind of partner I want. And there is a tinge of judgment in there.

[00:25:12] And any kind of judgment can be a form of avoidance when taken past the point where it's helpful in just finding the kind of character that we want to align ourselves with. Because at the deepest level, I think that so much of it is about that. What kind of human do I want to align myself with?

[00:25:35] But the more rules we put in place of how that looks on a surface and superficial level, the more that judgment can trend towards its own kind of avoidance. Because it's a common thing I hear from people who do any form of self-development, which is, now that I've grown, or now that I've done these things and I'm doing all this work on myself, it's hard for me to find someone.

[00:26:07] And I apply the same thing there, which is that it can be this quite a myopic way of looking at the world that whatever you've done as your form of growth is better than whatever they may be doing as their form of growth. Because there's so many different ways there. They may have been living on a farm.

[00:26:31] Luke: Learning from the land.

[00:26:32] Matthew: Exactly. They may have had a completely different experience of life to you. They might not know who the hell Eckhart Tolle is, but it might be an experience of life that has taught them something in a very different way than the way it showed up in your experience of life. And that also might be the most interesting thing about them to you.

[00:26:54] That fact that they have come from a very different background or a very different place, that might be the thing that creates a really unique synergy between you. I would never have wanted to find someone who had taken the same path as me in every way or is the same as me.

[00:27:14] One of the things I love most about my relationship is the ways that she showed up having lived a very different life. And that felt like we had so much to bring to each other. So I think we can't discount that.

[00:27:29] Luke: Well, it brings to mind the principle of acceptance. I know for me in the past, in relationships that I've had, the degree to which I withheld who I really am is the degree to which I felt accepted.

[00:27:47] And there were relationships where I sensed that I wasn't accepted, and so I self-edit it and really betrayed myself and abandoned myself, trying to fit myself into the mold, what I thought that person wanted, rather than just walking in and going, here's my messy ass self. Take it or leave it. But I'm willing to improve, but I'm not going to change because you'll want me if I change.

[00:28:09] It's like, if you don't want someone as they are now, you're never going to want them. Because won't your expectations never be met if you can't accept them? I think there's a real feeling of safety that I've experienced, particularly with my wife. I remember my dad used to say something to me when I'd have relationship problems.

[00:28:31] He said, Luke, when you meet a girl and it feels like a drug, run. And I said, well, that's the only way I know how it feels. He said, no, you want it to feel like home. You want to feel safe. And there was something about-- even though I couldn't get it at the time, I think I only got it until I felt it. And that's what I felt when I met my wife, for example.

[00:28:51] I just felt like, right out of the gate, from the first moment we met, I could absolutely be my imperfect, authentic, amazing self, and she just never flinched. And so we could speed up the getting to know one another because there's less pretense. There's neither one of the us as pretending because we already accept the other person as they are. So how does acceptance play into the capacity for intimacy and feeling safe?

[00:29:21] Matthew: Everything you just said was so great.

[00:29:25] Luke: Oh, thank you. Hard earned and hard learned lessons.

[00:29:30] Matthew: Yeah. You were so lucky to have a dad who said that to you. My God, that's such a fantastic lesson.

[00:29:39] Luke: Because he learned from pain just like I did. Another thing he used to say, he said, Luke, you know when you walk into the bar, you walk into the party, and you see the one and you just start sweating and you're just boiling, he would say, run, run. Do not talk to her. And I'm like, no, but that's your instincts telling you that's the perfect partner. He said, no, that is your trauma bond. Get the fuck out there. Run.

[00:30:01] Matthew: That's amazing. Yeah. No, but that's amazing that he was telling you those things. There's a chapter in this book called Question Your Instincts, which is really the opposite of what we're told so much of our lives, is trust your instincts. And I had a boxing coach once that taught me a valuable lesson because he said, when you get in the ring, your instincts will get you killed.

[00:30:29] He said, when someone's throwing a punch at you, your instinct, if you're not trained, is to blink. He says, you do that as soon as you see something coming towards your face. He said, but that's not going to help you when a punch is being thrown. What helps you is slipping, parrying, dodging. doesn't help you to blink. But the instinct for someone who's not trained is not to parrying. It's to blink.

[00:30:55] Luke: For me, it'd be to jump over the rope.

[00:30:59] Matthew: Well, that's not a bad instinct. That's a pretty good instinct. But no, he, also would talk about a rip tide. He said, in a rip tide, you get pulled out. Your instinct is just to fight against the current and trying to swim back in. But actually, your training in that situation, if you know what you're doing, will tell you to swim parallel to the shore and take a further way where you actually have to be in the water for longer. But so that you can get out of the current and then you can swim back towards land.

[00:31:29] But you actually have to swim sideways first before swimming back in. If you give into your instinct to just, I'm being pulled out. I got to swim back, that's where you drown. And so that instinct we have that says, this is really important, it can be the thing that's actually sending us straight into heartbreak, is by valuing someone more because they're scarce, valuing someone more because they're making us feel unsafe, because we're not sure if they like us, trying harder when someone stops texting us than when they are texting us.

[00:32:11] These are bad instincts, but we've learned them because there have been things in our life that have wired us to recognize that kind of behavior, to value that kind of behavior, to have our nervous system activated when that kind of behavior is present. And the right thing can feel bizarrely alien to us at first.

[00:32:36] Luke: I relate to that very much so.

[00:32:38] Matthew: Yeah, me too. In the beginning of my relationship, I would actually say that my wife who was just this person at the time that I'd met didn't in her interests or her life didn't feel like home, didn't feel very recognizable because we were living very different lives.

[00:33:04] But her nature or her soul, or her way of being, the way she made me feel, felt like home because I felt so accepted. I was too stupid to realize it at the time, which is why I resisted, because it was like, in other ways, on superficial ways, it didn't feel like home. But on a deeper level, what I didn't realize at the time was, oh, what feels like home about this is I feel really seen, and I feel accepted.

[00:33:37] And this is a person who is making space for me in a really authentic way. And that was the thing that I learned to start to really value, was, this is an incredible thing. This is where it's really at. But at the beginning, when you are used to some kind of trauma bond, when you're used to your nervous system getting activated by the wrong things, it keeps leading you astray, and you can have something incredible right in front of you, and it feels alien to you.

[00:34:15] It doesn't feel like the thing your nervous system recognizes. And that's why I have an entire chapter called How to Rewire Your Brain, because I really believe that so many of us are wired in love to keep chasing the wrong things.

[00:34:31] Luke: Oh man. Speaking my language, dude. Something that I've become aware of is that on that phenomenon of meeting someone, when there's that massive charge, that instinctive charge, and you'll hear people say, and I'm sure you hear this from people that you coach, like, it just feels so right, and they're so excited and elated, and they're like high on it.

[00:34:53] And I thought one day, it's not. You don't feel like that because it's right, just speaking to myself. Maybe I feel like that because it's familiar, as someone that just has a long history of codependency and just incredibly dysfunctional relationships in all areas of my life, not just romantically.

[00:35:12] And so it felt right when you have two unhealed people that are karmically drawn together to work out their shit in a really painful way. I was friends with my wife for some time before we became a couple, but when we first got together, sometimes I would get in my head and wonder if something was wrong because it didn't hurt enough. It's not that it was boring. It's just like, is something missing? Because I don't feel in fight or flight enough.

[00:35:49] Matthew: Which we confuse with chemistry, right?

[00:35:52] Luke: Yeah.

[00:35:52] Matthew: We are in fight or fly, and we go, this is so passionate. I have so much chemistry with this person. But it's really fight or flight.

[00:36:01] Luke: Oh God. Such a painful lesson. I want to go back to something again to serve the listeners that are like, I can't find the right kind of person where I am or in my social circles. Let's talk about, I don't know how you frame this in your work exactly, but the way I think about it in the model I built that served getting me in my relationship now is you have all these different, like a vision of a perfect partner, and there's all of these areas of compatibility.

[00:36:36] And some of them are negotiable, like, I like football. She likes yoga. Well, we can work around that. And then as you go up in the hierarchy of compatibility or values, there is a level at which things become non-negotiable. And for me, that would be just fundamental values, morals, the direction we're headed in life.

[00:36:57] If we want kids. Do we want to get married? Where do you want to live? Where do I want to live? There's things that are workable and unworkable. So how do you frame that for people that you teach in terms of being able to create that vision and understand what you want to need and which things you can bend on and which things you can't?

[00:37:16] Because I think that will maybe supersede some of the more superficial preferences and lifestyle choices, and what kind of music you like, and the diet you're on, and all these things that people seem to get really caught on.

[00:37:28] Matthew: That's such a good question. I'll say this because I think it'll just help people frame this up in their mind as well. In the book, I talk about four levels of importance in any relationship, but you'll see that some of these levels don't even relate. They're not even a relationship, but it's like, you need these four things for something to be something truly, truly valuable.

[00:37:55] The first is admiration. It's level one, which is to say, not important. It's important that we admire someone we end up with, but when we admire someone in some way from afar, or think they're hot, or think they're charismatic, or there's something about them, there's nothing there. It's just us in some way thinking they're great.

[00:38:18] The second level of importance is mutual attraction. That's where you have two people who both like each other. It's not just in one direction. We call that chemistry, connection, whatever. Then the third level is commitment. That's two people actually saying yes to each other.

[00:38:36] That's a stage that people often forget is really important for something to be that valuable. They get so caught up with the mutual attraction they have with someone that they forget that this person's not saying, yes. This person's not saying, I want to be with you. This person's not saying, I want to be exclusive.

[00:38:56] This person's not saying, let's build something, you and me. You just have an amazing time when you're together, and it feels like there's this incredible connection, and so now you're going, Matt, what can I do about this? I'm telling you, this is like the person for me. And it's like, what's the problem?

[00:39:13] Well, they just say they're not ready. Then you really have nothing. We have to get out of this idea that this is so important because you feel something. Without the yes, it's not that important.

[00:39:29] If someone said yes to you and you're in a committed relationship and then they get taken from you, they get hit by a car tomorrow, that's tragic. That's real grief. But if someone is out there that you think is the one and they're right now shopping at Target and they're existing and they just don't want to be with you, then limit your grieving.

[00:40:03] Luke: Right. Well, by definition, they are not the one, clearly, because they're only the one for you. You're not the one for them.

[00:40:10] Matthew: Yeah.

[00:40:11] Luke: Otherwise, they would've made time and space for you to pursue.

[00:40:13] Matthew: Yeah. Unrequited love, I think, is just a complete myth in the first place. Love is this thing, you're going to share it. It's not, I love them so much, if only they could realize. That's a different thing. That's the idealization, idolization. It's creating a story in your mind about what this should be when in the real world, in this world, it's not that thing. So it's just science fiction.

[00:40:46] Luke: Oh my God. I've totally done that.

[00:40:48] Matthew: Same. Everyone has. And I think that the wake up call is that it's a story we've created. It's not reality. If it was reality, it would be. So we can't live science fiction stories for our love life. We have to live real stories if we actually want to create something real. So the third stage is commitment.

[00:41:09] Commitment isn't enough on its own either. Unfortunately, we think love is all you need. If you just have someone who says yes and you're committed together, it'll work. But the fourth level is compatibility.

[00:41:22] And if you guys are not compatible, then you can find that you're both saying yes, but you're not able to make this relationship work. You're certainly not able to make it work to where you are happy. And you only need to imagine extremes of that for it to be true.

[00:41:39] If one person thinks that lying all the time is okay and another person really values honesty, then you have a fundamental level of incompatibility that's going to make this relationship a living hell for you. We can find that on less morality based and ethical issues and find it just in, you want to go out and party all the time, and that's really not my idea of a good time.

[00:42:05] And it would be okay if it was once a week, but you want to do that four nights a week. And I want a partner who actually wants to chill with me at home, because that is not my idea of a good time. Then you can get into problems there.

[00:42:16] I think for me, when I look at certain fundamentals like kindness, that's a really hard thing for you to differ on. If one of you is intensely kind and the other one does not value kindness, that is going to show up in all sorts of ways in your relationship that isn't just you are someone who loves to have a project, and I'm someone who enjoys my free time.

[00:42:55] And it's okay that you love to have a project. I get that about you. I don't need that in my life. You could still make that work so long as the person who likes a project keeps enough free time that you feel like you get what you need from the relationship. And then in the time where they're busy away with their project, you can do something that you enjoy, but it's not this type A work related thing that you need in your life that your partner does.

[00:43:20] That's okay. But if you differ on something as fundamental as kindness, that's going to be a problem. I think in any relationship that works, teamwork is a really, really powerful value to have. I haven't come up with a name for it, but I almost feel like there are these foundational values that can make everything else work, most other things work if you have them.

[00:43:50] So teamwork is a great one because if the two of you both really value teamwork and then there is a challenge where you both see something differently, you can overcome so much of that by coming to the table as two people who love each other, have kindness as a foundational value, and really value being a team and figuring out how to solve challenges together. Then you can overcome a lot else.

[00:44:20] Which is why I always say to people, if they're trying to figure out whether to leave a marriage or whether to leave a relationship, it's in some ways one of the biggest indicators of whether that relationship is going to work or not, is, given that you are already at the point of wondering whether you should leave, could you state in kind and compassionate terms the challenge with that person from a place of, I'd love to figure this out and be met with a person who says, I really want to figure this out too. Let's solve this.

[00:45:09] Now, it doesn't mean automatically that you'll be able to overcome whatever issue is between you, but if that kind of value of teamwork isn't present, then you have no chance. Then that thing that's bothering you or that you are wondering whether you can live with or without this in a relationship has no hope of getting better because you are someone who values problem solving and teamwork, and that person wants to bury their head in the sand and say, I don't want to know.

[00:45:42] So I try to orient people towards these deeper, more foundational values. A practical example in my relationship, my wife is a vegetarian. I'm not. At the beginning of the relationship, I had this idea that that was just going to be an issue because--

[00:46:06] Luke: Where are we going to go eat?

[00:46:07] Matthew: Yeah. I'm a foodie. I love food. It's one of my joys in life.

[00:46:12] Luke: She's going to be asking the server a million questions. Not getting on with it.

[00:46:16] Matthew: And I really felt that. I felt like I had this idea in my mind of what that would be like. Not that I didn't respect people who are vegetarians, but I just thought this is going to be this thing that's going to really impede on my life in a way that I might not because food and travel are just two big things I really love. And it felt like I'm never going to be able to do those things in the way I want to do them.

[00:46:44] Firstly, this is where the example gets a bit deeper. We both adore animals. As a someone who eats meat, I'm not coming to that as someone who doesn't love and respect animals. I absolutely love and respect animals.

[00:47:05] In truth, if I think too hard about me eating meat, I end up having a problem with it. I just haven't reached that point in my life where I can actually act on that, but I really get it.

[00:47:22] So she doesn't feel not understood for being a vegetarian. It's just that on the surface, we do act that out in different ways. I don't judge her for it, and she doesn't judge me for it. We just coexist with that difference.

[00:47:41] She doesn't get mad when we go to a barbecue restaurant in Texas and it's all about the meat. She's like, I'll figure it out. I'll have the mac and cheese. I don't care. I just

want you to enjoy your food.

[00:47:56] Luke: That's what I was just thinking. They got some good ass mac and cheese out here.

[00:48:00] Matthew: Are there times where if we're traveling, I'm like, oh God, I'd really love to share this with you right now because it's so good? Yes, but it's okay. That's not a huge sacrifice for me in the context of how incredible the relationship is. That is not a hill I'm going to die on.

[00:48:30] But again, there's that foundational set of values there of two people who love each other, respect each other, and don't come from a place of judgment in the way that they see those two things. Now I can, I'm sure, think of issues where it's like, if we butted heads on those things, we might end up having more judgment or more contempt for that thing.

[00:48:55] But I think that it's actually possible on a much wider range of issues than we realize to find the commonality of the values beneath them, and that we happen to have arrived at different superficial conclusions about how to execute those values, how to embody those values. But actually, at our core, we're not very different. It's very synergistic at its core. I hope that doesn't sound too flowery or abstract, but I do think--

[00:49:27] Luke:  That makes perfect sense to me. And that's been my experience too, is like, sometimes getting hung up on superficial things that are workable and don't really matter, just out of some rigid preconceived ideas or vision of what I think I need or want, and then at other times, also ignoring fundamental like life values, things that are important, that are non-negotiable, like you mentioned, someone being honest.

[00:49:59] There is no conceivable way I could ever be in a relationship with someone who lies ever knowingly. We all might make a mistake, but someone who's deceptive or not trustworthy, not loyal, never going to happen. I don't care if we like the exact same music, we eat the same food. They're into all the things. They want to meditate together every morning, just at the time I do and the way I want to do it, whatever. None of that matters. Everything is out the window if there's not just a core quality of character.

[00:50:32] Matthew: Yeah. That's exactly right. Christopher Hitchens used to say, it's more important how you think than what you think. And finding someone who thinks how you think, that, I think, ends up being something that's quite important because if you are with someone who doesn't think how you think, if they don't think through things in certain similar ways, you can wind up feeling very, very lonely in your relationship.

[00:51:03] And I'd had that experience in my life where I brought up a challenge that I had with something in general, and it was very evident to me that even if that person thought differently about it, they couldn't even understand the way that I was thinking through the problem or the way that I was skeptical about the situation or the challenge. Just how I was thinking about it.

[00:51:32] And as a result, me feeling alone, like, oh, we are speaking different languages. Me and my wife Audrey, we do not end up at the same conclusions about everything, but how we think is very similar, which means that whenever we're having the conversation, I never feel alone.

[00:51:54] Even if she says yes to all of that way of thinking, and I have arrived at a different conclusion as a result, that's okay, but the how of the thinking beneath all of that, that's where I feel not alone in the world, not that having been through the arguments, not ended up in the same place.

[00:52:14] Luke: Yeah. When you were speaking of teamwork, it brought to mind this idea that placing high value on the team, and when I think of team, I just think of the relationship as almost its own living, breathing entity apart from the two people in relationship. Do you subscribe to that? Do you think that valuing the relationship as a tool of growth as its own sort of autonomous energy is important?

[00:52:48] Matthew: Yeah, I do. I do. I think that that's a beautiful way of putting it. If you make your North Star the good of the relationship and what makes that better and more authentic and filled with more love, and then you are no longer-- if you are in relation to someone, then quickly, it can become two egos where I'm trying to be right about this, or you are trying to be right about this, and then we're just butting heads because your North Star is you want to be right, and my North Star is, I want to be right.

[00:53:29] But if our North Star is the relationship and how do we make that as strong as it can be, then we're both looking at this thing, trying to make it better. We're both trying to solve the same problem, which is how do we improve our relationship? How do we resolve this for the good of that relationship?

[00:53:49] Whereas if the problem I'm trying to solve is how I end up being right here, and that's the problem you are trying to solve, then we're both trying to solve a different problem, and we're constantly going to be fighting about that.

[00:54:03] Luke: That's good. That's good. That's very true. Oh man, I'm so bummed. We don't have much time today. We will have to do another one

[00:54:11] Matthew: I feel like the way we think about these things is very aligned.

[00:54:15] Luke: Yeah, yeah. I agree. Yeah. As I've been diving into your content, I've not found anything that I bristle against. Not that you have to agree with everyone that shows up on your podcast, but it's always an easier flow when you're like, yeah. Nailed it. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. I think your content's great.

[00:54:34] One thing I didn't want to ask you is, why do you suppose, and I could be wrong in this, but it seems just in terms of the optics that much of your work serves the female portion of the population? Was that something that was intentional? How and why has that been the case?

[00:54:53] Matthew: I think it has been a combination of things. I started out with women asking me if I would help them because, at the time, I was actually working with more guys, and women would ask me if I would do some of the same work for them. This is going back now 17 years. And I didn't really feel as though I understood women well enough to do that job.

[00:55:22] But, really, all I felt I understood was the male experience. And I was hearing what women were saying, and some things just either didn't add up. I was seeing some of the advice that was out there for women was telling them, hey, if a guy doesn't come over to you, he's not interested, so don't bother.

[00:55:44] And I was like, that's literally the opposite of what's been true in my life. The more I'm into someone, the less likely it is I'm going over there. Because the more into you I am, the more terrified I am of your rejection.

[00:56:00] So I would see certain things like that that just seemed like, oh, well, I don't need to understand women intricately just to point out that there's a discrepancy between what you're being told and the reality of what so many guys are experiencing or what the male experience is.

[00:56:17] But I also sympathized with what was going on with women, which was that so many of them felt they wanted more agency in their love lives, but wanting more agency seemed to butt up against the social norms of, I have to wait to be chosen, or I have to hang back and a guy has to make the move.

[00:56:41] And of course, culturally, there's been a shift even just the logistics of people being able to approach each other because dating apps have allowed either men or women to approach each other with much more ease. So there's a difference there from when I started, but still there's, for so many women, a general sense of I want him to do the asking out.

[00:57:09] I want him to text me after the date. As a recovering control freak myself, I couldn't imagine being in a situation where I wanted something and I had to wait for someone else to come and offer it to me or to ask me out, so I sympathize with it, and I wanted to give women tools that they could use to be more proactive without feeling like they had all of a sudden reversed the polarity of what they wanted the dynamic to be.

[00:57:42] They didn't want to suddenly become someone doing the chasing. But I think the more time I spent in it, three things happened. One is what I did with women went from being five people in a room to 10 people in a room to where it is today, which is over half a billion views online.

[00:58:08] Luke: That's insane. This shows you how important love is, and how it's such a fundamental need, whether we like to admit it or not.

[00:58:16] Matthew: Yeah, 100%. And I know a huge part of what I want to do is take the shame away from people who want to find it. There's no shame in admitting that that's a huge life goal of yours. And maybe in some ways, the most important or the one that you want the most, despite your successful career or all of the other ways that are fancy and important in life.

[00:58:38] It's okay to admit that you are lonely, that you're struggling, that there's a chronic sadness in your life because you haven't found what you're looking for. And it's okay to want to do something about that and to seek help in that area. But no, what happened over time is that grew exponentially.

[00:59:02] I ran out of time, and I realized I can't do it all, And so I have to try to do the best job I can with the audience that I've built. I fell in love with women on a deeper level than ever. I was lucky that I didn't grow up with a whole bunch of bad associations around women.

[00:59:23] I grew up wishing I was more confident or a bit more brave with women because, funnily enough, I had the experience of always being chosen, but never being brave enough to do the choosing. But I had great relationships with women.

[00:59:37] My mom raised me beautifully. She's an identical twin, so my aunt was someone I was so close to growing up. My cousins, half of them are female, and they were my best friends. When you have a mom who's an identical twin, sometimes you have cousins who are more like brothers and sisters than they are cousins.

[00:59:59] And that was my experience. So I grew up with female energy being really, really close to me. But I had an even deeper love for women the more I did what I'd do because I just saw how much pain there was. I saw how many struggles there are. There's a whole chapter in this book called the Question of Having a Child that deals with women's biology and the panic that sets in for so many people that-- and even if it's not panic, the anxiety that has them making some really bad decisions that lead to a lot of pain down the line.

[01:00:38] And I address that because I've spent so much time with women now that I've heard these things ad nauseum. And I don't claim to be an expert on that subject, but at this point, I feel like I'm an expert at seeing how much pain it causes. And so the more I got into the world of that, the more I just realized, God, there's so much here that I want to be able to help women with.

[01:01:04] Now, that being said, Audrey will tell you that when a guy comes up to me in the street, whatever city we're in, there'll always be a guy somewhere that comes over and says, I know your work. A lot of it's for women, but man, I've taken so much from it, and it's really helped me.

[01:01:20] I immediately feel a little smitten because I'm always like-- I have women come over to me a lot, but I don't like when it's a guy. I am always like, oh man. I want to give him a hug. And my heart breaks a little bit because I wish I had just as much content out there that addressed men and made them feel like it was for them. I actually think it is.

[01:01:42] I think that if you listen to everything I do, 95% of it is truly universal. I know that because it's helped me in my life. Most of what I talk about is something that's helped me at some stage, so I don't know how any man could claim that it wasn't for them.

[01:02:00] Luke: I don't think, based on my experience of your content, it's much of a stretch for, a guide to reverse engineer.

[01:02:07] Matthew:  No, I think he literally just ignores the first 10 seconds, which I do, by the way, increasingly less these days. But historically, I think they ignore the first 10 seconds where it looks like I'm addressing women and they can apply everything to them. And I hope they do because it's made me a better person.

[01:02:24] It's made me more successful. It's made me able to go through the world better and make myself happier along the way. I was someone who was very unhappy in my love life for quite some time because I didn't date in a way that was conducive to my happiness or my peace. And it took me a long time to figure this out, which is a tough thing to do at the same time as helping everybody else.

[01:02:49] But so much of what I put in this book is not just things that have worked for everybody else. It worked for me too. It helped me find peace finally, and happiness in this area of my life. Because happiness isn't just finding a person. You can be someone who finds people and you're never happy, finds people, and you're constantly doubting whether it's the right thing, constantly wondering if this is the thing that you should settle on.

[01:03:20] There's so many ways we can become chronically dissatisfied and unhappy in our love lives. And I so, so, so believe that there's ways to do it better. And I've helped many, many, thousands of people do that. And that became the real intention of this book because, my God, our love lives have the potential to make us so unhappy.

[01:03:45] Whether it's the absence of one or the presence of the wrong one. It can really poison everything else. So I hope that this book clears a lot up for people and helps them find the peace and the happiness they're looking for.

[01:03:58] Luke: Beautiful, man. Well, thank you. And I want to let everyone know listening that on the day this is released, it's the date your book comes out.

[01:04:07] Matthew: Oh, incredible.

[01:04:07] Luke: Yeah. And so if you guys go to lovelifebook.com, they'll be able to buy it.

[01:04:14] Matthew: They'll be able to buy it. It'll be available right now, which is really exciting for me to say.

[01:04:18] Luke: April 23rd. Is that the day, Jared, this thing drops? The exact day.

[01:04:22] Matthew: That's amazing.

[01:04:23] Luke: It's rare that we work it like that.

[01:04:25] Matthew: No, we so appreciate it.

[01:04:27] Luke: One of our team did a really great job.

[01:04:28] Matthew: Well, there's something so fun about ordering a book that's available right now and can be with you today or tomorrow. And the really exciting thing right now is that on May the 4th, I'm doing a big event for everyone who gets a copy of the book. It's a virtual event, so you don't need to travel.

[01:04:46] But everyone who buys a copy of the book, once you've bought it-- you can buy it through lovelifebook.com. You can still do it through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or wherever you want to get your book, but if you come back to that page, you can use the receipt, the confirmation number from your book, wherever you bought it, put it in the field on that page, and I'll email you with a ticket to this event on May 4th. It's called Find Your Person. And it's for anyone who wants to pair the book with live coaching on how to find your person this year. So super excited about that event. It's going to be a wonderful pairing with the book, and you'll get the book too, which I could not be more proud of it, and I just can't wait for people to read it.

[01:05:31] Luke: Awesome, man. Well, thank you for coming by today. It's been a great chat.

[01:05:33] Matthew: Thanks for having me, Luke. It's been a pleasure.

[01:05:36] Luke: Can't wait to do it again.

[01:05:37] Matthew:  Yeah.


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