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How To Cut Through The Fog Of Relationships

If You Want Real Clarity, You Have To First Get Down To What’s Real.

As a relationship coach, I occasionally get called in when there is a real disagreement that is getting in the way of what people say they want. Even though I’ve been brought in to assist with some pretty serious and even heated deadlocks, I am nevertheless surprised how quickly we usually negotiate some kind of agreement. The truth is, there’s something very powerful about a neutral third party who focuses on solutions, not problems, while at the same time, finding common ground and building a bridge to understanding.

Saving Face May Just Save Your Relationship

There’s also something very powerful about the fact that people are a LOT more mindful of not looking bad in front of a third party so those little careless, incendiary comments or even digs tend to disappear. Imagine that. That’s remarkably helpful when it comes to resolving conflict. It’s very important to remember that when emotions run high, decision-making goes low. That’s because of your body’s hard-wired fight or flight response that was installed as a safety mechanism to insure survival of the species. So even though it may feel bad when you are triggered by a situation, that response is actually an evolutionary advantage that keeps you safe.

Beware Of Foggy Conditions

One of the other ways I help people get beyond stuck is because I really listen to what the people say and help translate so I can quickly help them get down to what’s real. Most arguments tend to happen “up in the fog” where things get murky…hard to see…and the brain has trouble making clear decisions. It’s the same reason we talk about “The Fog of War”  because under extreme stress, decision-making suffers greatly, occasionally resulting in tragic, friendly fire accidents. I believe the fog metaphor is incredibly accurate. That’s why I tell my clients about my “low beam strategy.” Just like when you’re driving down the road on a foggy night when conditions are less than ideal, hitting your high beams and speeding ahead is risky and dangerous to say the least. The safest thing to do is to slow down, hit the low beams to see what’s underneath the fog…then proceed with caution.

Emotional “Fog” Clouds Judgement

It’s important to remember that what you think you’re arguing about is seldom what you’re arguing about – there’s always a root issue below the fog. For example, I once had a couple having a protracted and emotional disagreement that they thought regarded finances and estate planning issues…but underneath all of the math and madness…was a couple who simply couldn’t trust one another after too many disappointments and betrayals. Once we addressed the underlying trust issue, we were able to make much more progress. As Albert Einstein famously said, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.”

Clearing Things Up Quickly

If you or someone you know is trapped in “the fog of war,” it can be a dangerous place to try to navigate alone. I can help clear things up much quicker – all the while helping to safely rediscover a clearer, brighter and much more compelling future. All you have to do is reach out.

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Dave Elliott is A Relationship Coach and the founder of Legendary Love For Life. Check out his site at www.legendaryloveforlife.com.

  • Toriarules

    A man I’ve been dating for 3-4 months now has been in his “man cave” for a week now. We spent labor day with his family for a few days, returned home and he told me he’d be incredibly busy, so I told him I’d stay out of his way (my way of being supportive of his goals). A week later, still very little communication. We have had daily phone communication since we began dating, now nothing. We have never gone more than 4 days without seeing each other and it’s been 9 now. Is this normal? There is otherwise nothing ‘obviously’ wrong, no fights, but still wondering what this is all about. I’m doing my best to not make up stories in my head regarding this distance. Help!

    • CoachDave

      Hi, Toria…thanks for writing. I can definitely see why you have so much uncertainty here. It really is hard to say because there is so much unspoken here. Since I don’t know anything beyond what you’ve shared and I have no frame of reference for “before” or “after,” I couldn’t even venture a guess about the state of your relationship. 

      The encouraging news I can give you is that because masculine energy is very focused, purposeful and analytical, it is possible that your guy really is genuinely busy trying to solve some kind of problem or accomplish something. Furthermore, masculine filters out a great deal of emotional input so it’s much easier for them to disconnect, disappear and then come back again like nothing ever happened…especially when he’s in that “focused” place. Unfortunately, disconnection is an entirely different story for the feminine…it totally takes away your number one need which is safety/security…and it unleashes A LOT of anxiety and second-guessing. Sound familiar? This will become a bigger problem every day it continues…

      If you’d like to connect off-line, I could get more info from you that will help me advise you even better. I definitely have some concerns and thoughts that could totally shift the dynamic in this or any other relationship…if you are interested. Bottom line, while I honor your attempt to support him by being patient, reasonable and even “staying out of his way”…we both know this is unsustainable for too long under these circumstances. If you are open to it, I can teach you how to be a total “keeper” so you never have to settle for a man who thinks he needs to “keep away” again. Let me know if you’re ready to learn a much better way.

      • Toriarules

        I’m ready, how can I contact you?

        • CoachDave

          Toria, I replied to this thread last night but for some reason, it’s not showing up. Sorry about that; not sure what happened. My site is http://www.legendaryloveforlife.com and all my contact info is there. Skype contact is “coach.dave.elliott”….phone is 443-858-7129. I’m not sure what time zone you are in but I’m in EST, near Washington, DC, USA. I should be available around 4pm…just under 4 hours from now?

  • ashleydz

    I can definitely say my boyfriend of 9 months and I are in the “fog”.  He got divorced almost 2 years ago (was married 18 years), has 2 teenage children and has uncertainty and anxiety when it comes to moving forward with me in our relationship because of my goals of marriage/family of my own.  We are at the “stuck” phase because we love each other and want to be together but are in different places and he can’t seem to get unstuck, see clearly and let go of his fear of starting over again.  As a result he becomes distant from me from time to time and we’ve come to a point where we don’t know what is next. This impending decision is constantly lying over our heads and it makes it hard to enjoy and live in the present. I am not trying to push him into an answer, obsess over the future or give an ultimatum but at some point I need to know where we stand, but I don’t want to give up or turn my back on the relationship because I know in my heart it is real love…something I have been searching for my entire life!  I believe the root cause of him being stuck is that he won’t move forward in our relationship until he knows he wants to have more children, because that is what I want and it seems as if there is no in-between.  I feel as if he wants to looking in a crystal ball to see his future before progressing in our relationship but that is not realistic.  Is there a way to get out of the fog to progress in this relationship? Does he have guilt or sense of failure because his last marriage ended in divorce thus him being scared to do it again? How do I help him to see clearly again? 

    • CoachDave

      Ashley, this is a great question & I have not only had it come up for clients, I’ve experienced it in my own life so I understand it very well. This is a huge issue because it deals with “age and stage” for your bf. You weren’t specific about the ages of the kids or if you and your bf have an age difference and that is a factor as well. As the divorced father of 2 almost grown kids, it’s entirely possible that the idea of starting over again with a new woman might be the very last thing he wants to do…even if he would never want to take that from you. It’s complicated because a man’s job is to protect and provide. Although I don’t know the details, essentially you are theoretically asking him to extend the period of time he is responsible for children from 18 years to maybe 36 years depending on the age difference. As you can see, that’s a huge responsibility. Then when you throw in any previous wounds, fears, insecurities, etc., that only compounds things, no matter how your relationship is going.

      If you’d like to speak offline, contact me. I can help you adjust the way you’re showing up so that even if what I’ve described is happening, you have a better chance to influence him in the direction you’d like things to go. Of course, this is a huge decision that both of you must make jointly. Whatever you decide, Ashley, I send my very best…