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By Aaron Singerman

CEO of Redcon1

This month’s column introduces my upcoming book, Redcon Rising. The book will be out in November, and this is the first time I’ve shared any of it with anyone publicly.

The idea behind the book is to educate through my tale of successes and failures and to entertain simultaneously. Hopefully, the book helps people to overcome their struggles, succeed in business, and find happiness through the journey.

INTRODUCTION

Dichotomies of My Life

2006 HOUSTON, TEXAS

 

It was a hot, sticky, Texas afternoon. A normal summer day. Or at least what passed for my normal.

I woke up dope sick, same as always. Hustled the forty bucks required for my two daily bags of heroin. Same as always. Climbed into my fifteen-year-old Lexus that leaked oil and steering fluid to begin the daily commute to my drug dealer’s house in a Houston ghetto.

Calling it Red’s house isn’t entirely accurate. I mean, he certainly didn’t own the home. He wasn’t paying rent and his name didn’t show up on any mortgage. He was simply squatting in one of the countless vacant and dilapidated structures lining Northwest Houston’s Yellowstone Boulevard, most of them small single-family homes accommodating crack houses, gambling dens, and brothels – or, in Red’s case, all three.

I got out of my car without bothering to lock it. As with each visit, I didn’t plan on being inside long. This was a business trip. Besides, if anyone wanted to steal my crappy car or something inside, locking it wouldn’t prevent that.

As I did each day, I walked across Red’s dirt “lawn,” past the faded and cracked white paint peeling off the house’s exterior, up the crumbling steps, and knocked. The sun glistening off my head was only part of the reason why sweat beaded across my forehead. The familiar but no less excruciating cramps, cold chills, and muscle aches hammered my central nervous system with more intensity each passing moment. No answer. That wasn’t like Red – his dope business was open 24/7/365. As far as I knew, he never left this den. Doing so could mean a rival dealer moving in and taking over his territory. I pushed the door open with a creak. Any lock or deadbolt had long ago been punched out.

“Red? Hey, man, you here?” I called out, stepping into what, in a not-long-ago era, must have been the modest living room of a working-class family. It had since declined into a sea of mold, fast-food wrappers, cigarette butts, and drug paraphernalia. I remained largely unaffected by the filth and smell of stale weed smoke and mildew. I was used to it. It wasn’t much different than my own living conditions. Besides, this one-track mind wouldn’t deviate from its sole goal and purpose: scoring drugs. I had shown an aptitude over the years to overlook anything jeopardizing that endeavor.

Red’s house had no electricity. I’m not sure about water, but that didn’t prevent at any given time half a dozen to double digit drug users, sellers, gamblers, and hookers from populating each stained room. My gaze breezed past the soiled couch where Red’s prostitutes routinely sat, through the kitchen where dishes and trash were piled high, and settled on a crooked screen door leading to the backyard. A shout had come from the other side of it.

I still didn’t see Red, but either he called out that he was outside, or his “girlfriend” let me know that was the location from where he was presently conducting business. Red was a smallish light-skinned black guy, probably 5’8”, 140 pounds, his orange-tinged hair and freckles responsible for the nickname. Conversely, the former (?) prostitute he generally referred to as his “girlfriend” was my height and size. Around six foot two, close to 200 pounds. Several shades darker than Red and built well – athletic rather than fat. She looked like she could have been a track star in a past life. Today, only track marks remained.

I found my dealer in the rear of the house, standing on the three or four rickety stairs leading from the back porch down to a dirt patch considered the backyard.

“I need two,” I said quickly, taking out my forty dollars and walking down the stairs. Though I saw Red every single day, there was never much small talk. My goal was always to get in and out as quickly as possible. For Red’s part, the only conversation he ever attempted was when he offered me one of the disgusting five-dollar hookers he always had lounging around. He knew the answer was and always would be no, but that didn’t stop him from trying, more for entertainment than enterprise.

A shriek rang out before he could take my money. It was the girlfriend. “Motherfucker!” she screamed from inside the house. We both tried to ignore her, but she stormed outside and began to walk down the stairs with purpose, evidently quite angry with Red. “You didn’t get me no food?” she screeched at him, coming to a rest on the stair above where we were attempting our transaction. If I couldn’t actually smell her, I certainly imagined I could. “You didn’t get me no McDonald’s?”

Red didn’t say anything, barely reacted. Until, like a flash, his right arm shot out past me, a sharp jab that connected with the girlfriend’s nose. “Bitch, shut up,” he said calmly after the punch landed and she was doubled over, blood oozing through clenched fingers. Red went right back to digging into a sandwich bag full of smaller baggies of heroin from which to serve me, and the girlfriend retreated into the house. It was like nothing had happened; there was no indication this was the first occurrence of violence between the two. Red and I were again alone with the drugs and chirping Texas insects.

As he counted out my baggies, I heard the screen door slam behind us. He heard it too but didn’t turn around. I looked up. The girlfriend. Coming down the stairs. Fast and angry.

Oh, shitShe’s going to hit him, I thought, probably trying to signal Red, though I don’t remember for sure. Even so, he had to know she was there. Still, he didn’t turn, just continued pulling out my two baggies. Red stood face to face with me, his back to the stairs, about to hand me the goods when, suddenly, his eyes went wide with shock and pain. A shimmer of light caught my attention. I looked down; a giant blade was sticking out of Red’s ribs, up near his sternum. Glimmering steel, coming out the front of his body. For a moment, the two of us made eye contact, each trying to piece together what was transpiring. Then, I saw the blood. It began to spread across his belly quicker than spilled cranberry juice on a kitchen floor.

Red dropped the sandwich bag and spun around, grasping at the large butcher knife piercing his body. The girlfriend screamed, then ran back up the stairs and scampered through the screen door. I never saw her again. Red turned back to me, blood now pouring from his mouth and chest. I couldn’t believe how much blood there was. It was everywhere. He spun around, frantic, reaching for his back, trying to pull the knife out. The blood kept flowing, mixing into the dirt, producing a dark, deep, ruddy mud. Finally, Red got a hold of the knife handle but was unable to pull it out. He continued spinning around and around like a cat chasing its tail. Finally, he fell face forward into the bloody mud, landing hard enough on the knife that most of it pushed xx through his back. Blood continued to pool around him.

My brain had a hard time processing what its eyes were telling it. Holy fuck. All I could think was, I had no idea there was so much blood in a person, followed immediately by, I need to get the hell out of here.

I sprinted around the house, back to the front where my car was parked. I jumped in and started the engine. But I didn’t put it in drive. I didn’t leave. Not right away. I had to think. Yes, I had just witnessed extreme violence. But I also hadn’t gotten my drugs.

My internal thought process went something like this: I don’t know where to get more, and there are all those baggies scattered on the ground back there. Red doesn’t need them anymore. I should go get those baggies. That’s enough heroin to last me for weeks.

I remained in my car, contemplating. What should I do? Should I go back? What if the girlfriend comes back? Maybe Red is fine. Eventually, I decided I couldn’t take the risk and drove off, empty-handed. Any anxiety stemmed not from Red’s demise, but rather the loss of my only source of heroin.

The next morning, predictably, I woke up sick yet again. However, not my standard level of dope sickness. Much, much worse. I hadn’t had my fix the day before and was slamming headfirst into day two without injecting any heroin. Withdrawals crippled me. It was going to be tough just to get out of bed. And now there was no Red to buy heroin from. What was a resourceless addict to do? I’d eventually take this lesson with me into the business world, especially when dealing with manufacturers: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

I was mad at myself for not going back the day before. What an idiot. I should have taken Red’s baggie without hesitation. I’d have forty or fifty bags of heroin now. For free. No hustling, no sickness, just a string of carefree days before the supply ran dry. Now someone else was going to find them. If they hadn’t already. Fuck it, I decided. I’ll go back now. Maybe I imagined the whole thing. Maybe Red was just hurt and he’s in the hospital. Maybe the baggies are still there. Or maybe his body is lying in the weeds with fifty bags of heroin scattered around the corpse like manna from above. Maybe he’s gone but the heroin is still there. A plethora of possibilities, with no idea which was the most likely. I intended to find out.

Sick as a dog, sweating, puking, rife with diarrhea, I crawled into my car and took my normal route into the ghetto. Pulled up to Red’s house. It looked as it always did. Maybe sadder. More downtrodden. Maybe it just seemed that way. I didn’t care. I knocked on the door. No answer. I pushed it open. Empty. No prostitutes on the couch. No Red. No one at all. Just the cockroaches.

I headed for the backyard. Warped floorboards creaked underfoot. I could feel my heart in my throat. What would I find?

I scanned the yard. Empty. No body. Barely a sign that anything had happened. Could I have imagined it? I noticed the mud where he had fallen was pushed around a little, like someone had tried to clean it up. I looked closer. No drugs. Shit.

What am I going to do now?

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MARCH 31, 2021 – REDCON1 HEADQUARTERS, BOCA RATON, FL

I was annoyed. The papers had been signed for over twenty-four hours, and still no money. Significant proceeds from the sale of a minority stake in my supplement company should have already cleared and been deposited into my account.

“Where we at? Refresh it again,” I barked into the speakerphone as my gaze found one of the many framed pictures of my kids dotting my office walls, alongside military paraphernalia gifted to me by so many friends in the special operations community, books, and bodybuilding regalia, including a Mr. Olympia Sandow trophy I bought at auction. Our company controller, Stephanie, was on the other end.

“The Woodpecker” was what my old business partner, former best friend, and at the time, co-defendant, called me when I got like this. It was meant to be insulting, but I wore it like a badge of honor. The characteristic had served me well over the years.

“Nothing new,” Stephanie reported, exasperated. Everyone expected me to be happy, to be excited. Everyone – my lawyers, my new partners, my employees – all kept congratulating me, asking how I was going to celebrate selling a piece of my company that would allow my kids’ kids to never work a day in their lives if I allowed it. Celebrate? I wasn’t celebrating. The money wasn’t officially in my account yet. My dad taught me never to count chickens before they hatched, and until that money was in my account, I wasn’t celebrating shit.

My phone vibrated. A text from Stephanie. I opened it. A screenshot of the company bank account. It was our new balance. The money had landed. Generational wealth.

I’m not an outwardly emotional person. To say the least. Just ask my wife at the time, Darielle. The mother of my children. She always urged me to embrace my feelings more, to learn to revel in them. And she’s right, I should. But I rarely do. This was different. When I saw that number, a wave of emotion rolled through me. I couldn’t help it – I got choked up, for the first time in a long time. All the hard work, all the sacrifices, everything I’d overcome led to this accomplishment. It wasn’t necessarily a “fuck you” to everyone who had doubted me, screwed me over, or rooted against me (of whom there were and still are many), but – you know what, yes it was. Fuck you.

Celebrate? I went to the gym and trained calves and back. Darielle took our sons to baseball practice. This victory wasn’t just about the money and security, though that was wonderful. No, this was about validation. A multibillion-dollar private equity firm with a near-perfect track record in companies they backed believed enough in what I had built to invest eight figures for a minority stake in it. REDCON1 was my baby. A company I had started from scratch after being thrown out of my previous one. A company that my new partners estimated would soon be worth a billion dollars.

That stamp of approval was a statement to the world that REDCON1 was special. Something I had known all along.

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JANUARY 2022 – FEDERAL DETENTION CENTER, MIAMI

I was eating discarded food out of prison trash cans. Me, Aaron Fucking Singerman, the founder and CEO of the fastest growing supplement brand in the world, a millionaire many times over, using my bare hands to eagerly stuff the scraps other prisoners had thrown away into my mouth.

A month ago, I had been living in a mansion on the water with my model wife and three sons. I had private chefs, momentary access to my own jet, and more six-figure watches than I could count. I owned Lamborghinis, Mercedes Benzes, and a Rolls-Royce. But in here, none of that mattered. Besides, I couldn’t recall any of it being more satisfying than this pile of day old, mushy collard greens some other inmate had half-eaten and thrown out. Cut-off sandwich crusts and opened milk cartons rounded out the macros for this banquet.

After the feast’s conclusion, I sat in my cell, contemplating what had just happened. I was somewhat surprised to discover the overriding sentiment rattling around my brain was one of gratitude. I was actually grateful for the opportunity to eat garbage. Grateful to have been able to shower and wash my underwear that day, the first time in more than a week. To have briefly left the eight by ten cell I shared with another inmate after being locked down twenty-four hours a day for over a week due to gang violence in Texas.

I knew it could be worse: At least I had food. Prior to the dumpster spread, I’d barely been getting fed enough to stave off starvation. Sure, my wet underwear may have been hanging next to my head, but soon they would be dry. And then I’ll have clean underwear. If nothing else, I had to stay positive. Nothing lasts forever. Good or bad. A sentiment I have lived many times over in what feels like multiple lives.

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Pre-order REDCON RISING at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/RedCon-Rising-Falling-Again/dp/1955026556

Instagram @aaronsingerman

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The post Redcon Rising appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.

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Men, Dare to Be 100: Your Family and the World Needs You Now More Than Ever

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I turned 80 last December and I want to go for 100. I want more time to complete the work that needs doing in my world. I’m passionate to help men live fully healthy lives. Our families and the world needs us. At MoonshotForMankind.com you can learn about our mission. My wife, Carlin, will be 86 in July, and we have five grown children, seventeen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. I want to live a long and healthy life so I can be there for them. Too many men I know die before their time and leave family members who forever miss their loving presence, guidance, and support.

            Tom Perls MD, MPH and Stacy Andersen, PhD. are co-directors of The New England Centenarian Study (NECS). The program has been enrolling and studying centenarians and their family members since 1995. Their research has demonstrated that it’s not just that these people have lived long, but a surprising number are living well.

“They have not washed up at their hundredth birthdays like shipwrecked castaways, having barely survived life’s journey,”

says Dr. Perls.

“Rather they have arrived in full sail, bearing their most precious possession—their health.”

            According to Dr. Perls,

“More people are living to 100 than ever before. The number of people aged 100 and older, or centenarians, has been steadily increasing in the United States since 1950, when the Census Bureau estimated there were only 2,300. In 2021, there were 89,739 centenarians in the US and 85% were women.”

I want to be part of the elite 15% of men who join them. How about you?

Why Men Die First: How to Lengthen Your Lifespan and Healthspan

Marianne J. Legato, M.D. is the world’s leading expert on Gender-Specific Medicine. In her book Why Men Die First: How to Lengthen Your Lifespan, she details the fundamental biological facts that make men the underdog in the master-game of life. Here’s the truth. Can you handle it?

  • “You are less likely to survive the womb than your sisters.”
  • “You are six weeks behind in developmental maturity at birth compared to girls.”
  • “Men have four times the developmental disabilities of females.”
  • “Men suffer more severely than women from seven of the ten most common infections that humans experience.”
  • “You simply don’t have the vigorous immune systems that defend women.”
  • “Men are likely to experience the first ravages of coronary artery disease in their mid-thirties, a full 15 to 20 years before women and twice as many men die of the disease than women.”
  • Women are said to suffer from depression twice as often as men in virtually every country in the world. I think this is because men hide their pain.”

Men are often shamed by those who don’t understand the realities of manhood. They assume men don’t care about their health or they are too foolish or lazy to do the things that would keep them healthy. It just isn’t so.

An international team of scientists studying lifespans of wild mammals have found that, just like humans, females tend to live significantly longer than their male counterparts. The researchers looked at the lifespans of 101 different species, from sheep to elephants, and found that females lived an average of 18% longer than males for more than 60% of the species studies. In humans, females tend to live around 7.8% longer.

Human males are doing better than a lot of other species, but we can do better.

Clearly there are biological reasons that explain why male are more vulnerable than females. But here’s the good news. New findings from the emerging field of epigenetics show that we have greater control over our health than ever before. According to Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, author of Change Your Genes, Change Your Life, “Biology is no longer our destiny. Our DNA doesn’t rigidly determine our health and disease prospects.”

Ageless Aging and What Men Can Learn From Women

Like many men I didn’t think much about aging until I hit my 50s. I was too busy working, looking for love, finding a partner, having children, and supporting a family. You can sense my focus by the titles of my books that I wrote in my 40–Inside Out: Becoming My Own Man, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, and The Warrior’s Journey Home: Healing Men, Healing the Planet.

I began writing what would become my international best-seller, Male Menopause, when I was fifty. I began to recognize that many of the symptoms of the “change of life” I was seeing in my wife and other women, were also present in myself and other men I knew. Before I wrote Male Menopause, I consulted my elders, the women in my life, and read everything I could find about women’s menopause.

I learned that men and women weren’t as different as I had thought. In the book I said, “Male Menopause, also called Andropause or Manopause, begins with hormonal, physiological, and chemical changes that occur in all men generally between the ages of forty and fifty-five. Male menopause is a physical condition with psychological, interpersonal, social, and spiritual dimensions.”

            I went on to say,

“The purpose of male menopause is to signal the end of the first part of a man’s life and prepare him for the second half. Male Menopause is not the beginning of the end, as many fear, but the passage to the most passionate, powerful, productive, and purposeful time of a man’s life.”

            Maddy Dychtwald is an award-winning author and thought leader on longevity. With her husband Ken Dychtwald, she is the co-founder of the globally renowned think tank Age Wave. In her new book, Ageless Aging: A Woman’s Guide to Increasing Healthspan, Brainspan, and Lifespan, she says,

“We are in the midst of a longevity revolution, and women are leading the way, living an average of six years longer than men. If you’re a 50-year-old woman, chances are you will live 35 more years.”

I am guessing there aren’t a lot of men who will pick up this “Woman’s Guide,” but that would be a big mistake. The book is authoritative, readable, and helpful for both women and men. Published by the Mayo Clinic Press, here are some of the topics Maddy covers. I found them all very helpful. I suspect that you will too. She offers insider information from the top experts that show how you can:

  • Make use of your longevity bonus years with maximum impact and purpose.
  • Learn the truth about your hormones and their impact on your life.
  • Clear up the confusion about nutrition and supplements.
  • Supercharge your immunity and find more energy every day.
  • Take steps to potentially prevent or delay cognitive decline.
  • Explore key strategies for improving your sleep.
  • Create more financial freedom and security for a longer, healthier life.

She recognizes that women and men are different and we need a gender-specific approach to address many of these issues. But we can certainly learn from each other and apply the best of what Maddy can offer men like you and me.

Gender-Specific Medicine: The Challenge for Men to Live to 100 Begins When We are 50

            “Until now, we’ve acted as though men and women were essentially identical except for the differences in their reproductive function,”

says Dr. Legato in her book, Eve’s Rib: How the New Science of Gender-Specific Medicine and How it Can Save Your Life.

“In fact, information we’ve been gathering over the past ten years tells us that this is anything but true, and that everywhere we look, the two sexes are startingly and unexpectedly different not only in their normal function but in the ways they experience illness.”

Recognizing sex and gender differences can help us all live longer and healthier lives. We can all extend our lifespan and healthspan, whether we are male or female and whether we make it to 100 or not. To live long and well, men and women face different challenges.

What the research is showing us that if men are going to make it 100, we need to begin living healthier lives as early as we can, but most helpfully by the time we are in our 40s and 50s. I describe what we need to do in many of my books including, The Whole Man Program: Reinvigorating Your Body, Mind, and Spirit After 40.

            If we don’t get healthy in our 40s and 50s, we’re not likely to be healthy in our 60s and 70s and there is little chance we’ll make it into our 80s, 90s, and get to the magic three-digit age of 100.

            Women face different challenges.

“Women tend to spend more years in poor health at the end of their lives than men do, even when you correct for their longer lives,”

says Dychtwald.

“The net result is that millions of women spend the last years of life coping with aches and pains and undergoing an increasing number of treatments for chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.”

The One Place in the World Where Men Live as Long as Women

In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed with National Geographic, the National Institute on Aging, and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people lived measurably better, longer. In these five areas, dubbed “blue zones,” researchers found that people reach age 100 at a rate that is ten times greater than in the United States and with lower rates of chronic disease.

The five original Blue Zones were:

  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Loma Linda, California

Buettner and his team described the common practices of all these long-lived people which I detailed in an article, “Adopting a Blue Zones Way of Life.” But even in most of these long-lived people, the women lived longer than the men, with one exception—Sardinia, an island off the coast of Italy.

These findings were reported in the Journal of Aging Research: “A Population Where Men Live As Long As Women: Villagrande Strisaili, Sardinia.” The study is summarized as follows:

“Usually women live longer than men and female centenarians largely outnumber male centenarians. The findings of previous studies identifying a population with a femininity ratio close to 1.0 among centenarians in the mountainous region of Sardinia was the starting point of an in-depth investigation in order to compare mortality trajectories between men and women in that population.”

The study found a population where not only did people lived longer than most of the world, but the one place where the ratio of female to male centenarians was 50-50 rather than 85-15. We now know the practices that give us the best chance to live healthy lives into our 80s, 90s, 100s. Midlife is a great time to go for one hundred. So, my challenge to men is this: Who would like to join me in my quest to be the first in my family who lives to be 100?

Maybe we can get Mayo Clinic Press to publish a new book: Ageless Aging: A Man’s Guide to Increasing Healthspan, Brainspan, and Lifespan. If you would like to join me, drop me a note to Jed@MenAlive.com and put “Dare to Be 100” in the subject line.

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Divorce is Not the Answer: Why More Couples Over 50 Are Divorcing and How to Save Your Midlife Marriage

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Photo by: Kelly Sikkema | Unsplash.com

            I have been a marriage and family therapist for more than fifty years. One of the greatest tragedies I am seeing today is the rise of midlife divorce with women initiating nearly 80% of the divorces.[i] Divorce can be devastating for both men and women, but contrary to popular perception, men suffer greater emotional wounding. I believe strongly that divorce is not the answer and most midlife marriages can be saved.

The National Center for Family & Marriage Research (NCFMR), Co-directed by researchers Susan L. Brown and Wendy D. Manning, was established in 2007 to help improve our understanding of how family structure is linked to the health and well-being of children, adults, families, and communities. Dr. Brown’s recent article, “The Graying of Divorce: A Half Century of Change,” offers the following facts.

  • People over 50 are divorcing in record-breaking numbers, and three to four-family generations feel the effects.
  • Between 1990 and 2010, the divorce rate for U.S. married couples over 50 doubled and was even higher for couples aged 65 and older.
  • One in four persons who divorce in the U.S. is over 50, contrasted to less than one in ten in 1990.
  • More than half of gray divorces are couples in their first marriages, including more than 55 percent for couples married more than 20 years.
  • Divorce can be financially depleting. Women 50 and older experience a 45% decline in their standard of living; for men it’s 21%.
  • Baby Boomers are particularly vulnerable since they have a high rate of divorce and many went on to remarry. Second and third marriages have an even higher rate of divorce than first marriages (I know. Both my wife and I had been married and divorced twice, before we married. Third time was the charm).
  • As the divorce rate for adults over 50 soars, so does the number of adult children experiencing parental divorce.
  • In their book Second Chances, Wallerstein and Blakeslee assert, “Divorce is deceptive. Legally it is a single event, but psychologically it is a chain — sometimes a never-ending chain — of events, relocations, and radically shifting relationships strung through time, a process that forever changes the lives of the people involved.”

            The causes for divorce are varied. Each one is a personal tragedy for the people involved, but also for their children (including their adult children) and can ripple through many generations. No one says to their partner,

“I’m happily married. I love us and the partnership we’ve created. I want a divorce.”

I suffered as a child when my own parents divorced following my mid-life father’s increasing irritability, anger, depression, and despair when I was five years old. I grew up vowing that it wouldn’t happen to me, but it did. Being a marriage and family counselor did not prevent me from having my own struggles that eventually led to divorce.

Fortunately, I got help, learned why marriages succeed and fail, and what I could to ensure success. It hasn’t always been easy, but my wife, Carlin, and I have been happily married for forty-four years now. I have detailed what we learned and what can be most helpful to you in my book, The Enlightened Marriage: The 5 Transformative Stage of Relationships and Why the Best is Still to Come. I have also developed an online course, “Navigating the 5 Stages of Love,” that draws on the main issues I share with my private counseling clients.

We all want real, lasting love, whether we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or beyond. Yet too many relationships fall apart, just when the couple could be enjoying their marriage the most. Most people don’t know why. They become disillusioned, frustrated, and lost. They have fallen out of love and mistakenly believe that they have chosen the wrong partner. After going through the grieving process, they start looking again; but often, their efforts end up in disappointment.

The 5 Secrets For Finding Keeping Your Marriage Alive and Well

Have you ever wondered why finding the right partner and having a marriage that last through time and is passionate, nurturing, loving, and joyful has been so difficult?

Are you in a relationship that started off great, but seems to have lost something vital?

Are you in a mid-life relationship that could use some help? (My colleague, Chip Conley, author of Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Live Gets Better with Age, says with our increasing longevity midlife extends from age 35 to 75).

Here are five secrets for a healthy marriage that lasts and gets better through time.

Secret #1: There are 5 Stages of Love Not Just Two.

Many of us have come to believe that finding the right person (Stage 1) is the most important stage (Hence all the programs and dating sites that promise to help you find your soul mate). Once you’ve found that special someone, Stage 2 begins and you build a life together. We are told we are then entitled to live happily ever after. But that is not the case for most of us. Here are the 5 Stages I describe in my book, The Enlightened Marriage.

  • Stage 1: Falling In Love
  • Stage 2: Becoming a Couple
  • Stage 3: Disillusionment
  • Stage 4: Creating Real, Lasting Love
  • Stage 5: Using the Power of Two to Change the World

            Most marriages that fail do so when one, or both partners, become disillusioned.

“Is this all there is? I need more. I’m tired working to make things better and I don’t want to remain in a hollow marriage.”

But disillusionment is not only a feeling, but an actual stage of marriage that can be understood and successfully navigated.

Secret #2: Stage 3, Disillusionment, is Not the Beginning of the End But the Entre to Real Lasting Love.

If we believe there are only two stages for having the relationship we’ve always wanted when things start to go south we ignore the signs or wear ourselves out trying to fix things. When things don’t get fixed we often blame ourselves or our partner and feel we must get out of the relationship because it seems that no matter what we do, things don’t get better.

            There is an old saying that can help us at this point,

“When you’re going through hell, don’t stop.”

Most people either remain stuck in their pain or wear down and want to bail out. What is called for here is support and guidance to keep going deeper. One of the most important things I teach people when they come to me for counseling is how to understand the value of Stage 3.

Secret #3: Stage 3 Teaches Us to Get Real.

Falling in love is by necessity deceptive. We so want to find that right person, we all project our unmet needs and desires on them. We don’t see the real person, we see what we want and hope to see. We don’t fully share our real selves. We share the parts of ourselves we think will be most attractive to a potential partner.

As we get older and we spend more time in our marriages, we often become more and more afraid to reveal our true selves, speak about our real needs and desires. Men often ignore the warning signs or see the signs but never really know what to do to fix things. Little by little the disillusionment builds up and often leads to divorce if a couple doesn’t get help.

In Stage 3 we learn to recognize our projections and take the risk to slowly reveal who we really are and accept the gift of who our partner really is. We also recognize that there are unhealed wounds from our past relationships, most importantly from our first relationships—the ones we had growing up in our first family with our parents. We must get real with our past in order to have the future we all want.

            The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung said,

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

This is never an easy task. Stage 3, if we can get help navigating it successfully, can help us release the illusions that keep us from our true selves.

Secret #4: We All Have Faulty Love Maps That Must Be Corrected.

Most of us grew up in families where we got a distorted map of what real lasting love was all about. There were beliefs about ourselves and others that were implanted in our brains and became mostly unconscious. We were implanted with internalized messages that told us things like:

  • I am not safe.
  • I am worthless.
  • I am powerless.
  • I am not lovable.
  • I cannot trust anyone.
  • I am bad.
  • I am on my own.

Or we see our partner through the lens of these unhelpful belief systems.

Do you recognize some of these beliefs in your own marriage?

Secret #5: Real Lasting Love Requires Three Necessary Ingredients.

Most of us have no idea how to nourish a healthy relationship through all the challenges we face as we age. It’s as though we are given a beautiful and rare flower, but we mistakenly give it too much water or not enough. I thought all I needed to do when I got married was to be a good provider and refrain from being mean and nasty (Oh, and remember to shower regularly). But it took me a long time to learn the simple, yet necessary ingredients for real lasting love to flourish.

Psychologist, Dr. Sue Johnson, offers guidance in her book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. She helps us remember these three ingredients with one simple word: ARE.

  • A is for Accessibility: Can we reach each other? This means staying open to your partner even when you are tired, hurt, or insecure. Answering “yes” to questions like: Can I get my partner’s attention easily? Is my partner easy to connect with emotionally?
  • R is for Responsiveness: Can we rely on each other to respond to our emotional needs?  Answering “yes” to questions like: If I need connection and comfort, will you be there for me? Does my partner respond positively to my signals that I need them to come close?
  • E is for Engagement: Do we trust our partner to value us and stay close even when we are out of sync with each other? Answering “yes” to questions like, Do I feel very comfortable being close to and trusting my partner? If we are apart, can I trust that we are still connected and cared for?

Most of us didn’t learn how to give and receive real lasting love. We forget that like food, we need these three types of nourishment often, many times a day. A big splurge on anniversaries and special occasions never makes up for what we miss if we don’t get these regular gifts of love every day.

Divorce is not the answer because we know that these skills can be taught. I believe it is never too late to have a happy marriage. And most midlife marriages are worth saving.

I am planning to offer a course called “Divorce is Not the Answer: How to Save Your Midlife Marriages,” but I’d like to hear from you. If you would be interested in attending please drop me a note to Jed@MenAlive.com and let me know. Please put “Divorce is Not the Answer” in the subject line.


[i] Professor Scott Galloway, Divorce, https://www.profgalloway.com/divorce/

The post Divorce is Not the Answer: Why More Couples Over 50 Are Divorcing and How to Save Your Midlife Marriage appeared first on MenAlive.

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By: Jed Diamond
Title: Divorce is Not the Answer: Why More Couples Over 50 Are Divorcing and How to Save Your Midlife Marriage
Sourced From: menalive.com/divorce-is-not-the-answer/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=divorce-is-not-the-answer
Published Date: Sun, 09 Jun 2024 01:56:19 +0000

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Mens Health

How to Get a Full-Body Workout on a Cable Machine/Functional Trainer

cable 11 1

cable 11 1 1

Walk into any commercial gym, or even a hotel fitness center, and you’ll probably see a cable machine and/or a functional trainer.

A cable machine features two weight stacks connected by a cross-beam. The weights in each stack can be adjusted by the user and are lifted through a system of pulleys and cables that travel up and down a track.

A functional trainer sports a similar system, but is more compact in design, with the weight stacks sitting closer together. Most functional trainers also have a pull-up bar between the two weight stacks. 

Cable machines/functional trainers are pretty dang versatile. While a downside of weight-training machines is that they lock you into one position, a cable machine allows for movements that are more dynamic and exercise your balance and stability more than other machines. And with one machine, you can do multiple strength-training exercises and use movements that effectively isolate muscle groups and work them from a variety of angles. It’s possible to use cable machines/functional trainers to get an effective full-body workout.

This advantage is particularly beneficial when you’re traveling. Most hotel gyms are pretty basic: it’s typically a small, poorly lit room with limited equipment. But they do often offer a functional trainer, which means you can get in a good all-around strength training session while you’re on the road.

To learn a full-body cable workout that can be used either at regular or hotel gyms, I turned to Chris Contois, my physical therapist at Vitality Therapy and Performance here in Tulsa, OK. He’s also a competitive bodybuilder and has been doing some bodybuilding programming for me the past year.

Chris created a simple upper body/lower body split that can be done with a cable machine or a functional trainer. He noted that in the last two hotels he’s stayed in, the functional trainer had fixed handles; you couldn’t swap out attachments and put on a rope handle, for example. So he designed this functional trainer workout assuming you might only have fixed handles available.





Also, one of the downsides of functional trainers is that they’re not great for training legs. While you can do some leg exercises with a functional trainer, your options are limited. If you feel like you need a bit more lower body work, Chris recommends adding some plyos or some bodyweight movements, like air squats.

Upper Body/Lower Body Cable Workout

For a full-body workout, do all the exercises for both the upper and lower body, resting 90 seconds to two minutes in between each set.

Upper Body

  • Mid Back. Mid-Handle Position Single Arm Mid Row: 4 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Upper Chest. High-Handle Position Cable Crossovers: 4 x 10-15 
  • Lats. High-Handle Position Half Kneeling Underhand Pulldown: 4 x 10-15 (video shows an overhand grip, just switch to underhand)
  • Mid/Lower Chest. Mid-Handle Position Single Arm Chest Press: 4 x 8-12 
  • Shoulders. Low-Handle Position Cable Laterals: 4 x 10-15
  • Biceps. Low-Handle Position Single Arm Cable Curl: 4 x 10-15 
  • Triceps. Low-Handle Position Single Arm Behind Head Tricep Extension: 4 x 8-12 
  • Abs. Mid-Handle Position Rotational Chop: 4 x 10 

Lower Body 

  • Quads. Low-Handle Position Cable Goblet Squats: 4 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Glutes and Hamstrings. Low-Handle Position Cable Pull Throughs: 4 x 12-15 
  • Quads and Glutes. Low-Handle Position Split Stance Lunge: 4 x 8-10 
  • Hamstring and Low Back. Low-Handle Position Cable Romanian Deadlift: 4 x 8-10
  • Outer Leg. Low-Handle Position Hip Abduction: 3 x 10-12
  • Inner Leg. Low-Handle Position Hip Adduction: 3 x 10-12

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By: Brett & Kate McKay
Title: How to Get a Full-Body Workout on a Cable Machine/Functional Trainer
Sourced From: www.artofmanliness.com/health-fitness/fitness/full-body-cable-machine-functional-trainer-workouts/
Published Date: Tue, 04 Jun 2024 16:03:30 +0000

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