Couple Goals! Andrea and Graham – How ”The Work” Leads to Love

Dr. Tari talks with couple Andrea and Graham who recently celebrated their one year wedding anniversary and they discuss how Andrea’s decision to get a Relationship Reading and engage in self-work paved the path for their relationship and marriage!

We also discuss how being upfront from the beginning attracts, not scares away the right partner. And how Andrea knew that Graham was the right guy for her (and vice versa). Andrea started with her own self work and now this couple does the work together. Couple goals, Baby! What you want does exist. But you have to be ready to do things differently.

Andrea swiped right on Graham the day she began her work with Dr. Tari! Andrea and Graham recently celebrated their one year anniversary in Hawaii! They have a beautiful blended family of 3 boys and 1 girl. They live California in the Bay Area.

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Episode Transcript

Couple Goals! Andrea and Graham - How ”The Work” Leads to Love

Dr. Tari: Welcome to Dear Dater, the podcast for people who want to change their disappointing relationship patterns and finally access the love they deserve. My name is Dr. Tari Mack and I am a psychologist and celebrity love coach. My journey has been one from disconnection and loneliness to love and miracles.
And I want this podcast to give you the tools and awareness to help you create an access; the love you want in your own life. What we yearn for is meant for us. So if you yearn for love, you’re meant to have it, when we change, our relationships change. I’m so glad you’re here.
I have with me today, one of my past coaching clients, Andrea, who I loved working with. And it’s been what, it’s been five years, I think?

Andrea: Probably yeah. Four or five. I should know this though, because the first day we worked together was the day that I swiped right for Graham. So the exact day, so he’ll know, but I think it’s like 4 years.

Dr. Tari: Oh, my gosh. Yes. And Graham’s going to be joining us at the end of this interview because you’re actually married now,

Andrea: Yes,

Dr. Tari: to this man. And it’s so funny how the universe works. Because honestly I tell women this all the time, like when they commit to doing this work, it always happens that they need somebody, really good within usually like two months of starting this work. So Graham, you swiped right on him the day we started working together?

Andrea: Yes.

Dr. Tari: Wow. Yeah, because I remember when we started working together, you were single, you were divorced and you’d been divorced for four years, right?

Andrea: Hmm, exactly.

Dr. Tari: Two young boys.

Andrea: Yeah

Dr. Tari: And, why did you decide to start this work with me? Do you remember?

Andrea: So I think it had been four years of being single. I realized I was just ready for something more serious. I think at the time, I didn’t necessarily know if I wanted to meet the person I was going to marry, but I was ready to make a change. And then you and I spoke on the phone, and you told me about how you could help. I realized that’s what I need, is help with relationships. Some of the stuff you said early on just resonated with me just about the universe and listening to it and it just piqued my curiosity. And, I felt like I was just at a time that I was ready.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. And that’s so interesting because I think the people and opportunities come to us when we’re ready.

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Tari: Right.

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Tari: And you know, yes. It’s relationship focused, but it encompasses all relationships in your life, not just the romantic ones. Right? So the feedback that I gave you wasn’t just about romantic relationships, but our romantic relationships to the place where like our fears play out in the biggest way.

Andrea: Yes. And, I think I liked that you sort of, um, you went deeper, like in terms of what were some of the patterns I developed when I was younger. Right? Like it wasn’t just, you didn’t look at me as an adult post divorce, but it was like, what was I like before I was in my previous marriage and when I was younger as a child. And I think that really helped.

Dr. Tari: Yeah, because our pattern starts in childhood. So yes, that’s something I always look at. So, do you remember some of the early feedback that I gave you?

Andrea: Definitely. It was putting myself first. I was always a pleaser and like I would go into any kind of relationship or meeting and I would think like, what can I do for this person?

Right? How can I add value to this person’s life? I think you, you were the first person to tell me you don’t want to enter a relationship and think, how do I want to please them? I should really be more focused on myself and make more space for myself. So that was definitely a shift. Just holding space for the other person. I remember you telling me, you know, if the other person gets upset with something that happens in our relationship, it’s not necessarily something that I did wrong. Like I always thought like, somebody is upset, I’m the trigger. And it’s like, no, they can just be upset. Just like I could be upset, but it’s not like they’re the cause or the reason. They didn’t do anything wrong. So that was very eye opening. Not doing so much work. Like I was always trying to do so much work to make it happen like stretching. You used to tell me and you know, you’re like, if you have to start stretching in a relationship, then where are you going to go later?

Dr. Tari: Hmm, and what did that look like for you? Like how would you stretch without knowing it or be so accommodated?

Andrea: Maybe it’s like putting in too much effort, right? Like I want to put in effort. I want to do my best always. Right. And whatever I do, but letting the other person meet me halfway. It was a big thing. Like, if we’re going on a date and the person lives in San Francisco and I live, you know, 30 minutes away, like, why would I always be like, oh, I’ll go there first or I’ll go meet you.
Right? It could be something. Simple as that, but it’s like, let the person come to me. Try not to always accommodate my schedule, cancel things that I’m doing with people just to accommodate the person. Right. So I think that was a big lesson because once I let Graham do a little work, it just, I think everything flowed better.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. I remember with you. Like, telling you, you have to make room to receive.

Andrea: Yes.

Dr. Tari: Right. And the right person will move toward you and they’ll do their share of the work. And you don’t have to do all the work. And if you don’t make room to receive, you’re not going to receive much.
Andrea: Yeah. And that’s kind of the pattern that I was in. I felt like. Why am I always doing everything? Like, why am I the bill payer, the organizer of everything, making plans all the time. So I think it’s like, who wouldn’t want to date someone who does everything. Right?

Dr. Tari: Right, right. And one of the things we talked about, I was looking at , the summary that I gave you when our work ended. It’s just like your worth does not come from making someone’s life easier or the value you add. Right.

Andrea: Yes.

Dr. Tari: I like the fact that they get to be in your life and they get to be around you. That’s the gift. You’re the gift!

Andrea: Right? I remember when you first told me that and I, I. I couldn’t even fathom. Right. I was like, wait, I’ve never heard that before. I don’t have to do anything. I don’t have to do something to add value. My value is inherent. Yeah.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. And that’s so common. I think again, like we learn these templates and patterns in our childhoods. Not because our parents are bad, but just because they’ve learned things from their parents and they get passed down. And the other thing I remember that we really focused on is you communicating so first, like tuning into Andrea, what does she need, but then communicating it, if something was bothering you, you know, with the person you’re dating and it was with Graham, letting him know, and that was so scary for you, it was really scary.

Andrea: Yes, that was very challenging because I think my pattern would be to not say something, then it would fester and then you build resentment and then you taught me just do the hard work upfront. And then the reaction was never as bad as I anticipated it to be.

Dr. Tari: Yeah.

Andrea: That was very key early on.

Dr. Tari: Well, yeah. And I think we learned about Graham. You learned about Graham, but me as well.

Andrea: Yeah!

Dr. Tari: No, he was a healthy partner,

Andrea: Right!

Dr. Tari: Because you would just vocalise your frustration or your fear, your worry, whatever it was.

Andrea: Right.

Dr. Tari: And he listened.

Andrea: Yes. Yeah.

Dr. Tari: And he responded.

Andrea: Right.

Dr. Tari: He didn’t get defensive. He didn’t mean. Dismiss didn’t get angry. Like he cared about knowing how you felt.

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Tari: And so by you vocalising your needs, you also got to get information about him.

Andrea: Right.

Dr. Tari: Right. And you’ve married this man now. Right. And blended your families.

Andrea: Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Tari: Um, and I’m guessing, you know, you continue to do that work. Like once we learn something it’s, it’s not like, okay, well now it’s easy. You probably have to keep leaning in.

Andrea: Yes. Yeah. I mean, I think it was good that I was open with him about doing the work. I told them very early on and so. He would frequently be, kid me, like, good job for doing your work. And so it would encourage me,

Dr. Tari: How did you tell him or what did you tell him? Because I love that.

Andrea: I think I just told him that I was working with you and that you were helping me. Yeah, correct. Or just, I don’t know. I want, I don’t want to say correct some dysfunctional patterns in my life or previous relationships, but more or less that, um, and that you would give me homework. So I really liked that. That was one of the things I really enjoyed is you would give me homework when we would work together. And then you gave me this feedback. So I always had something to actively work on. And so. I told them that you would give me homework and, usually I wouldn’t say I’m doing my work now. Like he would sense I’m doing my work now. So he would call it out.

Dr. Tari: Can you remember a piece of homework that I gave you?

Andrea: It was probably around communicating. I remember something about him. And a person, like not quite an expert, but a person that he had gone on dates with and they had kind of dated.
We had started to date and decided that we would only date each other. And then he had talked about like continuing a friendship with this person and still, uh, going to happy hour and that kind of thing. So that was an opportunity for me to say, Likely not, I’m not comfortable with you continuing to go to happy hours that involved alcohol and solo time together. Um, but I was very nervous about communicating that because it was early on in our relationship too. So I felt like, oh no, it’s not going to come across. Like I’m telling him what he can or cannot do.

Dr. Tari: Right!

Andrea: But it was not, it was just, you taught me that it was just me telling him I’m uncomfortable with something it’s me. Right? Like I’m uncomfortable. I’m not telling him he can’t do with.

Dr. Tari: Right.

Andrea: So that was very challenging.

Dr. Tari: Yes. I remember that. And then it, it went so beautifully. He really cared about your yeah. And you were just like letting him in on what you felt and it can be so scary. And I think for a lot of people and you included, you worry the other person’s going to go away. Right, right.

Andrea: Right. Like, they’re going to be like, oh, I don’t like that. So then yeah, they would leave or something.

Dr. Tari: Yeah, well the wrong people leave and the right people stick around because they want to know how you feel.

Andrea: Right!

Dr. Tari: So you said you swiped right on Graham the day we started working together. And so you started seeing him during our work.

Andrea: Right.

Dr. Tari: You told him about our work and he was very supportive and very interested in it. And what’s happened since in your life?

Andrea: We continued to date. I use a lot of the strategies that you taught me. We moved in together after like a year and a half And merging our family. Not too long after that we got engaged and then the pandemic hit and then. You know, we wedding planning and what not, but we ended up doing a really, intimate ceremony just with him, myself and, our kids and actually our therapist married us so in the process of merging our families, we decided we should go and speak to someone just to, have someone guide us, with navigating blending families. So we ended up working with her for several sessions and she ended up officiating our wedding.

Dr. Tari: So amazing when you told me that I just, I loved it.

Andrea: Yeah. So it was great. And we got married in the redwoods so,

Dr. Tari: You just celebrated your one-year anniversary, right?

Andrea: We just celebrated our one-year anniversary last week.

Dr. Tari: Wow. That’s amazing. So how do you think this work impacted you and your life and your relationship?

Andrea: I think the biggest thing is probably being open with communication. Right. I think that’s kind of the themes throughout the entire relationship thus far, like if there’s an issue, I need to speak up about it because if I don’t and if it sits with me too long, I do really think resentment builds. Right. And so I think that’s the biggest thing. That was probably challenging for him. Maybe also too. Like he learned also to speak up right away. Like if I’m always speaking up right away, then he sort of should do the same thing. So then being on the receiving end of that, you know, I always, I have to keep in mind. Right. It’s like, hi, not to take it personally, always. Right. And that it’s not like an attack against me. Just be open to listening, hold space for his feelings. So I feel like that definitely is a consistent area of work. Correct.

Dr. Tari: And I think that’s one of the hardest things for couples to do is still hold space for each other’s feelings, even when you don’t like each other’s feelings. Right. And not to take them personally.

Andrea: Right. Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of, it’s hard to do that.

Dr. Tari: Yeah.

Andrea: Especially if you’re a sensitive person. But then I just have to think, I frequently tell him when things bother me and I still love him. It’s not anything against him personally.

Dr. Tari: And what do you love most about your relationship with Graham?

Andrea: Probably that it’s exactly what I want because I was open and clear from the beginning. Yeah. So,

Dr. Tari: Tell me more about that.

Andrea: So it goes along with like me always doing too much. Like I think I remember. So even before I met you. I think in my profile, I was like, I want someone to meet me halfway, and then I met you and then we did some work. I’m laughing, but we re-read my notes the other day. We were looking at the reading and it said something like. You’ll get someone who meets you halfway or even more three-quarters of the way round feels like he beats me more than halfway, almost all the time. So it was just really funny to read that. So I think I, I love that he’s okay with meeting me somewhere between half and three quarters of the way.
Dr. Tari: Yeah. You, you learned how to receive.

Andrea: And he knew what he was getting into.

Dr. Tari: Yeah.

Andrea: Is he there? He’s there now. He walked in the room.

Dr. Tari: Graham, get in here.

Graham: Hey.

Dr. Tari: Hey Graham.

Graham: How are you?

Dr. Tari: Happy one year anniversary.

Graham: Thank you. Thank you.

Dr. Tari: Pretty cool. So Andrea said she swiped right on you the day that we started working together. And she was very upfront with you, from the beginning that she was doing this self-work with me.

Graham: Yes. I think like the, one of the first times I spoke to her on the phone, she was telling me how I am her homework.

Dr. Tari: Wow. Wow. What do you remember about that? And how did you feel about it?

Graham: I mean, it was a little interesting because. Should I say extremely new to dating.

Dr. Tari: Hm.

Graham: Right. So it was different than the other like date sites I’ve been on. She was very upfront and forthcoming about what she was looking for and what she needed. And, I think that was probably helpful for me being kind of clueless.

Dr. Tari: Can you say a little bit more about that? Because I think having a guy on here now, and a guy who married somebody who is doing the work and was open and up front about it, I think a lot of women get scared that if they are clear about what they want or what they need, that it’s going to scare a guy away. What would you say about that?

Graham: I mean, it just turned out to be totally refreshing. Right. It made it so much easier to process those issues. I knew what they were right away. They didn’t linger fester. And it turned out the decisions that I had to make as a result of her telling me those things were, are fairly easy. Once you know, once you thought about it.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. So something that was really scary for you and Andrea. You leaned in and did it, and it was actually really helpful. It sounds like even though it wasn’t always easy.

Andrea: I think when you do it from the beginning too, you’re sorta like, what do I have to lose? Cause if I was upfront from the beginning, then I wanted him to be up front.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. It sounds like you guys have worked on that actively on your own and therapy, which I think every couple, every specially, every married couple should be in therapy at some point, you know?
Cause relationships take work. Graham, what would you say is your favorite part about your relationship with Andrea?

Graham: I mean, she’s like my favorite person, right? Like, so everything about being married to her is, is just, it’s just, you know, I get to be with the person that I like most in the world. So. I mean, there’s so many things, right. She makes me laugh a lot, you know, we just have fun. You know, we were talking about like the advice and like going over the notes and stuff and looking at it,
I don’t know in reading it when I was like, I gotta be true to me. I gotta be right. Somebody’s gotta meet me more than halfway. I’m thinking to myself, we were both like, whoa, like what if both parties took this approach and how would that work? And then I thought about it more today while I was at work. It worked fine because it’s not like I was having to do stuff that made me miserable or uncomfortable. I got to be with her and she was doing what she needed to do to be at peace and happy in our relationship. So like, why wouldn’t I meet her halfway? Right. It’s not like she was asking me to jump through these hoops that are like, I need you to do this to prove something. And it was just like, I need you to do this so I can be comfortable. And then if we’re both comfortable then awesome. We win.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s such a good point because, Andrea, when I met her, she was coming out of these patterns of being such a people pleaser and so accommodating and doing too much of the work. Right. And so, you know, the notes for her were like, you gotta take care of yourself first, so you can be in alignment and then actually you’ll be able to fully show up in the relationship. But yeah, it’s absolutely not like your partner has to do more of the work. It’s just like you, you can’t forget about yourself.

Graham: Yeah.

Dr. Tari: Yeah.

Graham: She definitely shows up in the relationship

Dr. Tari: Yeah,it’s just so cool. You’re one of my favorite couples. I just, I love your story. Because when I met you, Andrea, you were single and you made the decision to do this work. And now you’ve created this family and this life that makes you happy and is just so full of love, which is why I’m talking to you because I think when people understand what this work is about and how it can help them in their life, they’re more likely to do it themselves. So what would you say to somebody who’s contemplating getting a relationship reading or doing this kind of self-worth?

Andrea: I think the person has to be ready. And it’s not always going to be easy. I feel like it’s going to be uncomfortable, but that’s the purpose of doing it, right? So if I always want him to just stay comfortable, then I would just do what I’d always been doing, which wasn’t successful. I hadn’t achieved what I wanted using those old patterns. So you make a decision that you really want to live your best life, but it’s true. Right? So you want to, you just want to find the right person for you, and you’ve got to be active about it, right? Like it’s not going to just happen. That’s what kind of drives me nuts when people think it’s just going to happen. You just have to be ready to be an active participant and do things that are uncomfortable, but stick to your true feelings and desires. One of the things you told me that was very eye opening when we first met was like, the universe is not just like random, like it will give you tests. And I always joke about this because it’s just crazy to me.

Right. So, you know, many women are like, oh, my ex reached out to me. Like we haven’t spoken in like six months and then he reaches out to me like, oh, that must mean he like likes me or whatever. Right. But then it always be like, oh, but it happened right when I met this new person. Right. And so you taught me that like the universe is going to throw tests at you to see, are you really ready to change? Are you really ready to, they know. And I don’t know, that was just like a light bulb for me. Right. Cause it was like, that will happen.

Dr. Tari: Right. And it did for you.

Andrea: It did. And then why entertain those things when you’ve already decided they’re not good for you, right? Like that’s all I’m going to hold you back. I was ready to be like, no, and then I can move on. I think if you’re like, if you want it. Reaching out to your ex or have urge, or responding when your ex reaches out, you’re not ready.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. You have to see that as a test. And when you start this work, you’re going to get a lot of tests and growth opportunities, which are really hard.

Andrea: Yeah!

Dr. Tari: So you’ve got to kind of prove and demonstrate that what you say you want is really what you want. Right?

Andrea: Right

Dr. Tari: And for you Andrea, you wanted a partner who would meet you halfway or more. So you had to learn to create,

Graham: Not good

Dr. Tari: Oh yeah, not good.

Andrea: Because I didn’t like it when like someone would, if he would travel and not speak to me or fall off the planet not text me or call me.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. So when you started this work, you had opportunities to, to show up and let Graham know what you liked and what you didn’t like and how you felt.

Andrea: Yeah.

Dr. Tari: He had the chance to respond!

Andrea: Right!

Graham: Yeah. She always really, really good too about, and I’m sure that was part of her homework. It was what she would tell me. You can’t continue to see this woman that you were previously romantically involved with, but I don’t feel comfortable with it. Right. She would say I’m, I’m just not okay with that.

Dr. Tari: Yeah…

Graham: You can do whatever you need to do, but I’m just telling you how I feel about it.

Dr. Tari: Yes. And what was that like for you? Cause I remember that test in particular.

Graham: It was okay. Right. I mean, it was pretty easy to step back a little bit and understand why, especially with a new relationship that’s important, right? To give it space to develop, I think.

Dr. Tari: Yeah, Andrea and I were talking about that. She wasn’t saying you can’t do this. She was saying, this is how I feel. And the way that you responded to that, the way you considered her feelings and the decisions you made meant that you guys were a good match, right. You could work with each other.

Graham: Yeah!

Dr. Tari: And, now you’re celebrating your one-year wedding anniversary. Thank you so much.

Andrea: Of course.

Graham: Thank you.

Andrea: Yeah, thank you. I’m not sure what would have happened if I didn’t do my work. Right. If I hadn’t met you, I’d probably be, who knows!

Dr. Tari: Who knows? But you were ready. We crossed paths. I wish you guys many, many more anniversaries! Keep in touch. It was nice to meet you, Graham.
Thanks for tuning into Dear Dater. This is Dr. Tari reminding you that if you want love, it’s meant for you.