Something that has become increasingly real to me is that Phase Four is a sudden energy state switch. It’s akin to a religious conversion. There’s a moment where everything suddenly hinges and the relationship changes direction.
I know that sounds horribly woo-woo, but bear with me.
I’ve now seen hundreds to thousands of people really running their MAPs and doing well at it. Getting through the phases and generally doing well. They get fit, they get the money together, the house is cleaner, they dress better… but whatever they are doing has still not worked to create the change in their partner that they want.
There’s always some sort of blockage there and I know to break that blockage, they need at a minimum to get to a Phase Four moment and really state their intentions super firmly and directly. They may need to go beyond Phase Four of course, but you have to go through it to get there.
But no matter how you beg, plead, encourage, push, frown, or whatever… they get to what I call Phase Three Point Nine and stall out. They say they understand they need to get to Phase Four. They talk the talk. They really do get it. I know they get it, but it’s like they are scared of heights and trying to jump out a plane. Can’t do it. Want to do it, but can’t. They get right to the edge of flipping the switch and then turn into emotional rodeo clowns diving for cover.
It used to be really frustrating watching this. It’s still a little frustrating, but not overly so nowadays.
I’ve seen people sit on Phase Three Point Nine for over a year. Some two years. I could say I’m talking to their hamster the whole time, and that would be true, but I get it. It’s really hard. There’s no perfect assurance if you stand up for yourself and demand to be treated right, that your partner will do it. We can try and stack the deck in your favor running the MAP, but that only increases the odds. There’s no magic dice. There’s no “I win” button to push. It feels like upgrading to Windows 8.1, the damn install option pops up at you and in theory it’s meant to be better, but that’s what they said about Windows 8. So, hmmm…
On the other hand, there’s some people in Phase Two or just getting into Phase Three, who still have lots of work to do improving their attractiveness before I’d even suggest a Phase Four. We’re still trying to see if the earlier Phases get through to their partner. Lots more time to go yet…
…and I get the call or email and they went to Phase Four already.
“Hi Athol, well it’s been a weird week. First X happened and it was fine, and I did just what you said, and she did Y and it was okay. Then on Thursday she did [completely screwed up thing for the 23rd time] and I just flipped out at her, but it was this really strange anger where I was [really controlled angry / like I was watching myself in a movie / completely exploded], and I said [super intense statement of what exactly sucked about my partner and how they needed to fix it, or get the hell out].”
This is where I think to myself “Ahhhhh shit, we weren’t ready for this yet.”
Instead I say in my least facepalming voice possible. “So what happened then?”
Most times they say some variant on,”She started bawling her eyes out and saying she was sorry.”
Phew! Well, alright then.
Then at some random point in the future, I’ll hear back from a Phase Three Point Nine person. About half the time their still orbiting right there where I left them, the other half it seems to be a Phase Four hit at some semi random time. After I all but gave up on them, they moved to Phase Four.
So in some ways you can’t plan for it, because it seems to hit at random, but more likely it’s triggered by something the partner does to set off the emotional cascade that is a real Phase Four moment. But like I said at the start of the post, there’s an energy switch. So you can plan for it in a sense because it seems to require baseline of a sense of positive energy and emotional strength to do it.
Going back to the Four Outcome Matrix, where a relationship in a bad place can only have four outcomes, (1) Toleration, (2) Cheating, (3) Divorce or (4) Improved Relationship. Phase Four is in very real sense, the exact moment you take Toleration off the table. Not just in an intellectual sense, but in an emotional snapping sense, where Toleration of whatever nonsense you have been tolerating, is absolutely no longer an option.
Which is also why it can’t be faked. It has to be real. It has to have that emotional snapping where Toleration is dealt a deathblow. But you can’t get into the mindset where it can happen, until you get your MAP up to speed.