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The Slow Burn

Ep #39

The Slow Burn

How many of you spend time looking back at your previous relationships? I mean really looking back at you in those relationships. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in these streets, looking back at the way I used to date. And let me tell you renegades, “fail” is my second favorite F word. I’m a big believer that failures are full of rich data that you can learn from. 

Your brain doesn’t care if something feels good or bad. What it cares about is being right. That the stories and beliefs you tell yourself are proven right. And when you tell yourself that love is supposed to feel like a sugar rush of instant gratification, that’s what your brain will seek. To your brain, failure is not getting that rush. 

Tune in today to find out why I much prefer the slow burn over the instant gratification of a dopamine hit. Delayed satisfaction doesn’t sound appealing to the brain, especially when it’s used to feeling anxiety in love. I’m sharing what I learned about my brain in past relationships and what happened when I channeled my time into things that gave me delayed gratification. I want you to consider what would happen if you channeled the time you spend finding that dopamine hit in love into pursuing whatever else lights you up. That’s what I did, and renegades, it’s been my best love affair yet.

What You Will Discover:

  • Why “fail” is my second favorite F word.
  • The different phases I’ve experienced in dating.
  • Why we might think there’s something wrong with calm, consistent love.
  • Why the brain will always choose instant gratification.
  • How dopamine is the chemical of “more,” but not morality.
  • How to use dopamine to fuel your plans and actions.

Resources Mentioned:

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Renegades,
How many of you spent have spent time looking back at your relationships? I mean really looking back at you- in your relationships.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time deep in these streets. looking back at my relationships and they way I used to date. I’m a BIG believer that our fails, anything we’ve done that didn’t turn out the way we expected is rich in data.

Fail is my second favorite F word Renegades. The bigger the fail, the more I can learn. And for me, if I really want to see where my drama comes up- drama being all the thoughts and feelings that I have to hold myself back or create a crazy story, all I have to do is look to my past relationships.

I’ve made a career out of dating and finding the one. It’s quite spectacular actually. I used to look back at my divorces and dating life and make it mean
I’m not good at relationships.
I’ll never find the one.
I’m not lovable, only fuckable.
I don’t know how to do commit.
Relationships are hard.
You can imagine where these beliefs led me. Into more relationships that proved me right. Remember; your brain does’t care if it feels good or bad. It just wants to be right. You will attract the people places and things to prove you right every damn time.

I took a long hard look at these beliefs and saw how they made me feel how I acted and what I attracted. I followed the Renegades guide. Inquire Seek Reveal. You know how we do.

There was no judgment but rather curiosity about the results I got.
What happened in that relationship? What was going on in my brain? What did I feel doing that relationship? So much data. Like a scientist in a lab. We want to examine how we work in relationships and see our results so we can find new solutions.

I discovered two different patterns I had when dating. I had a phase of gimme gimme gimme come and get me - also known as instant gratification. And I had the long slow burn. The, I’ve been friends with you for some time and never realized how attractive you look telling me how your day was. Also known as delayed gratification.

I’ve had relationships where a man is telling me he loves me and I’m all he’s been looking for and he’s not sure what I’m thinking but he’s not going to be seeing anyone else. He’s all in.
My instant gratification brain LOVED this. LOVED it. My dopamine transmitters would light the fuck up and the control station would start sending out messages; well that was a quick one. Well done team. Record time. Prepare for landing.

I was always shocked when it ended a few months later. I think it’s safe to say that I can confirm based on the amount of time this has happened to me, without a doubt that the pace set at the beginning of the relationship dictated the length.

Meaning; the stronger and faster it begins the quicker it dissipates.

And the relationships that started this way and didn’t end right away were dragged out because these feelings had me under the influence that even though I’m riddled with fucking anxiety and this isn’t fun it might be toxic, I feeeeel so much so it must be worth fighting for.

It begs the question… more like questions;

Can you really know love in less than 3 months?

Should anyone start making life plans with someone they just met?

When do you know if it’s real or not?

How do we not become jaded?

Are the feelings we are experiencing in the beginning a true gage of what’s to come?

Then there is that unexpected love. That one that takes it’s time with you; you wake up 6 months later wondering when you fell in love with your best friend or the guy you’ve known all these years.
This love is calm. And though you weren’t expecting this love it’s predictable and consistent.
This is delayed gratification. This is a love that releases all the chemicals of, I don’t see anyone else. As a matter of fact, you are so grounded in the presence no one else exists. Phone is off or away… you don’t know. Maybe you lost it. You don’t make plans but instead gravitate towards this person each day. Dopamine is messaging the control board, Houston, We have a problem. Oxytocin serotonin and other chemicals that produce growth hormones start releasing -the here and nows. these actually shut down dopamine. You are in a more conscious state of being when you are falling in love and in love. Amazing right? You think; I’ve never felt felt this good.

This is where things can get a little fucked for some of us Renegades. If you aren’t used to this steady and stable love you might feel like something is missing. Unfortunately, this high, like all highs will only last you so long and you will start slipping back into the your subconscious way of being.
So for me this translated to something was missing. I worried that I would get bored. Now I know exactly what was missing; There was no drama or thrill from being chased. The constant spinning out of what is this and where is it going? It’s clear to me now exactly what was missing; anxiety.

More data. Which led to more questions;

how many people do you think you’ve turned away or found yourself not attracted to because you didn’t have ‘the feeling?’

Is it possible that we are dismissing potential love and possibility because we are not feeling that immediate rush of excitement and thrill - we therefore assume we are not attracted and they are not worth pursuing?

Are we subconsciously dating for instant gratification even though we say we are out here looking for the one?

The chances are a very likely yes. For one, if you aren’t paying attention and conscious of how you want to date and making deliberate choices, but instead letting your brain operate its usual program it will always choose instant gratification. It’s wired to do just that; seek pleasure. Avoid discomfort. Be efficient.

All you have to do is look to dating apps and the hook up culture for an example of how your brain works - they make it very easy and quick to meet greet and engage.

I was watching SATC and there is this scene where Carrie Miranda and Charlotte are out on a walk when they run into a guy that Miranda had dated. They had all the questions and Miranda said I had sex with him twice and didn’t orgasm so I didn’t call him back. Charlotte said you broke up with him over that?

Miranda pipes back; Orgasm? You mean a major thing in a relationship?

Charlotte says yah, but it’s not the only thing… orgasms don’t send you valentines day cards and they don’t hold you hand in a sad movie.

And for the first time in my life, I thought Charlotte is right.

Orgasms and great sex will keep you coming over for more in the beginning but it won’t keep you together in the end.

This is the difference between dopamine and the here and nows. This is the difference between instant gratification and delayed gratification.

Dopamine has you falling in love with a make believe future with someone. An idea that is not part of your reality yet- it’s out of reach. This lights up your brain and creates all sorts of new neuropathways to get you chasing it. It’s the imagined. It’s the something more is possible.
And It feels intoxicating.

When you aren’t aware of how dopamine and the brain works, you will find yourself doing, feeling and believing that what you desire needs to be in your life. And NOW. It seems like you have no choice in the matter. Like it’s all just happening to you. There’s an intensity here.

Your brain is wired to go after what’s easy. What feels good now. Your brain learns very quickly the fastest ways to feel good and lunge toward those things.

This is why sex, alcohol, sugar are well, no brainers. Your brain knows its going to get some sort of chemical release almost instantly from them which is why you crave or desire them.

It’s instant gratification.

As opposed to the idea of working out, eating a healthy lunch everyday - the benefits and results from these choices you won’t see for months… I mean, sure you’ll have an endorphin high from working out an hour later, but it requires a lot more time and energy to get it. This is known as delayed gratification.

Unfortunately, what dopamine does’t register are the effects from what it was wanting; Think hangover, heartache or sugar crash. There is zero connection between dopamine and the results. This disconnect is what leaves many of us questioning what’s wrong with me? Why do I keep going back? Choosing the same thing over and over even though it hurts.

Delayed gratification doesn’t sound sexy to your brain. So what you’re saying is that if I brush my teeth tonight and every night I’ll get my reward in a few years? But I want my golden goose egg now, daddy.

And that is exactly what your brain thinks about dating; you mean he’s not going to call me everyday and tell me he loves me in 3 weeks? Your brain thinks boring. Definitely not romantic. They are steady and stable? Ummm, that’s that turning me on.

A friend of mine is one of those guys that admittedly can’t help himself - the chase is what moves him. He’s all about the hunt and pounce. He also says that normally he can maintain a relationship; he’s perplexed that he hasn’t been able to these last few years.

He mentioned he was dating a blonde and said, but we all know that won’t last. He believes that he can enjoy some time with blondes but they can’t hold his attention.
I think what he says is they can get his attention but they can’t keep it.
Obviously I had all the questions;
Why are you dating her?

If you know it won’t go beyond a few weeks of sex and you claim to want a relationship what are you doing?

But first, did you tell her this?

He did. She replied with: “Maybe I can change your mind.”

I gotta give it to her. For verbalizing what most every woman thinks when a man says this isn’t going anywhere. We smile, nod and agree while cooly saying, “I’m not looking for more either” while thinking, “I’ll change your mind. I’ll be the one that does it.”

I asked him why are you dating her? He said, "well, personality wise, she checked off a few boxes.”
And I gave him my classic, are you fucking kidding me look. He said I know ! Gah, I guess I was hoping I had evolved.

Renegades, first of all, evolving is not having sex with the people you know won’t hold your attention long term when you claim to be looking for long term. second. When someone tells you they aren’t looking for more, believe them. If you are looking for more, don’t have sex with them.

Side note; This is why we bitches lose our shit sometimes. And I’ve been guilty of it, is when a guy tells you he’s not looking for anything serious; he just wants casual he’s not ready for a relationship - and she’s like, oh perfect. I’m not either. Until they have sex. I swear, it’s like a switch goes off. Because one does. A very chemical one. You can’t help yourself. You start thinking all the thoughts about how you might be the one he actually decides to get into a relationship for. You know he said he wasn’t looking for more but how many girls has he been with that are cool with him not wanting more? You’re not like the rest.

And God forbid the sex is good- you’ll find yourself dickmatized. And it’s game over for most any logical person.

It’s a triple whammy. Your brain is wired to work against you. The chemicals you are feeling are other level. AND now the sex is good. You don’t stand a chance.

I digress…

Another characteristic of dopamine you should know is that it’s the molecule of more, not morality. I quote “it doesn’t come equipped with a conscious” The author’s of the Molecule of More go on to say that “The surge of dopamine feels good, but it’s different from a surge of Here and Now pleasure, which is a surge of satisfaction. And that difference is key: the dopamine surge triggered by winning leaves us wanting more.

If you are the least bit competitive, you must assume you are with sex and dating to some degree as well.

Understanding that your brain operates like this - seeking pleasure, creating patterns and forming new thought patterns will make a difference. Doing the inner work increases your awareness and well being - you will be less likely to act from impulse. You can learn how to sit through these urges- truly understand where they are coming from and channel your energy into experiences that will offer you delayed gratification.

When we are conscious of what we want and planning our lives deliberately we can use this dopamine to fuel our actions. We can make long term plans and still get a rush from dopamine -by experiencing delayed gratification, but if you are in a subconscious state and sleep walking through life following wherever your desire leads you, you will find yourself gravitating towards the fast and easy highs of instant gratification.

I want to encourage you to consider channeling your energy and time to the things in life that will bring you delayed gratification. These are the things that evolve you and your brain. Bring deep satisfaction and confidence.

Take a look at how much energy you spend on dating, texting, sexting, chasing- where are you going for quick highs? Maybe it’s drinking or social media.

After I evaluated my relationships I became aware of my patterns and behaviors and was able to see how much energy I was giving to ‘finding the one’ AND I saw how much I was willing to feel, give and take emotionally in the name of love.

Remember; your a scientist in a lab. Don’t make the results mean anything negative about you!

I found that I was impressed with my dedication to the end goal.
My commit to the process.

I thought, “ If have this drive and energy to obtain this thing called a relationship, couldn’t I channel it to something else?
Choose a different outcome?
The mindset I had developed after all the years of relationships proved to be one that could overcome the unknown rejection, obstacles and failures. Not to mention the capacity I developed to experience all of those emotions. Could I not apply all of this to something else?
Of course I could.
So I decided that day I would replace finding a partner with my work. I would pursue my career and creative desires the same way I did a life partner. Why not?

Renegades. Feelings are feelings. Energy is energy. When you give your brain the opportunity to imagine something outside of itself, something you haven’t done that you think will make your life better you activate your dopamine. Your brain is going to want to come up with all the reasons why this is hard and you can’t. That is normal. But you can. Just look to your past relationships to see how much you can do and overcome.

When you start to go after this new goal and replace your former go to dopamine highs of activities like checking your dating apps every 12 minutes or juggling dating 4-5 people your brain will want to rebel. My rebel brain is like teenager who isn’t allowed to go out. She offers thoughts like, sneak out the window, no one will ever know. YoLo bitches. What’s worse than missing tonights party?! Your brain knows it’s missing out on the easy high.

You can handle manage this;

When you are operating from your modern brain and you can remind your teenage rebel brain - you want to do the easy thing to feel high fast but we’ve decided that we are finding new ways to feels good. And brain, don’t worry you’ll be fine. You’ve been told no many many times before. You can handle this.

Channeling my thinking from find the one to build a business has brought up every range of emotions that I got from dating; the thrill of the idea and chase to the I can’t this is hard I’m over it to the holy shit, this is happening.

I’m experiencing the delayed gratification - the years of hard work and commitment that I’ve made is something I celebrate. I’ve reached many milestones and all of the feelings of pride and accomplishment. All those juicy chemicals of satisfaction, the growth hormones and endorphins have been releasing for sometime now and I’ll tell you. I’ll take these over any one night stands or morning texts.

I’m seeing a return on who I am and what I’m doing. It’s the best love affair I’ve had yet.

The Silver lining? You will slowly start to attract different people to date. Ones who won’t want to turn your life upside down for a good time. You aren’t feeding their impulses fast enough and they lose interest. Suddenly you are drawn to slow and steady and find yourself choosing differently.

Lastly, there is a belief that I adopted earlier this year that I want to share with you Renegades. It’s Love isn’t anxious. Ever. If you are in a dating situation, romantically involved or otherwise and you feel anxious; get curious there. Love doesn’t produce chemicals that cause anxiety. Love isn’t anxious.

I want you to tell yourself that 10x daily. Love isn’t anxious.
Have a great week,

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