After a whole year of experimenting with applying agile scrum to relationships, the Multiamory crew is proud to present our new and improved relationship check-in model: RADAR! Learn about the benefits of establishing a regular monthly check-in for your relationships, plus follow our easy step-by-step process for creating a safe, supportive, and productive way to foster intimate communication. For an easy way to start, download our PDF Template: Relationship RADAR.
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Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast we're talking about possibly the most important tool that you can bring to a relationship. It is our new and improved monthly relationship check-in.
Emily: Also known as, "Agile Scrum" now. Well, also known as, it used to be known as.
Jase: Yes, the check-in formerly known as, "Agile Scrum Your Relationships".
Dedeker: It's Agile Scrum. Yes, we ended up here today because, gosh, I think we discovered the agile scrum process and applying it to your relationships over a year, a year and a half ago.
Jase: It's almost a year and a half, yes.
Emily: Yes, it is. Yes.
Dedeker: Then, at that time we tested it out for a couple of months. Then we recorded out initial Scrum episode, about a year ago today, actually.
Jase: Yes, episode 97.
Dedeker: Yes, in that time, we've continued to use it. We've picked it apart, put it back together, improved some bits, added some stuff of our own and taken out some other things. Basically, what we're presenting to you today is Multiamory's new and improved version of Agile Scrum.
Emily: Which we have called, "R.A.D.A.R".
Jase: Yes, we'll get into what that acronym stands for later on. First, you don't have to go back and listen to the previous episode in order to listen to this one. Because we're going to cover everything that you need to know about using this, why it's amazing, and how much we love it. To start of, first of all, why do a monthly check-in at all? Right? A lot of people say, "Well, why don't you just talk about things when they come up?" or, "Well, if you just communicate all the time, then you don't need to do that."
There's all sorts of excuses where people say, "Well, that's only something you'd need to do if your relationship was having a lot of problems." Right? There's all sorts of excuses that people can give of why they don't want to have a monthly check-in. What we found is that doing this, and doing it consistently; when things are good, when things are harder, regardless of what's going on in your life, is hugely impactful. Hugely, positively impactful, in terms of improving the communication that you already have, building intimacy and communication, and just improving all the factors of your relationship regardless of where they're at when you start doing it.
Dedeker: Yes, I find I end up telling my clients to do some form of scrum, or now R.A.D.A.R, all the time. All the time. I think it's especially helpful for people-- Especially if you've been in a relationship for a long time and you have really set in communication patterns, whether those patterns are good or functioning or neutral or possibly really bad or toxic or unhealthy, I found that establishing a monthly check-in can be a really good way to reset that. Without having to be like, "Okay, we just got to restart our communication from the beginning, even though we've been communicating this way for 10 years".
Jase: Right, which is much harder to actually do, than it is to say.
Dedeker: Exactly, exactly. Having a monthly check-in, having an actually established space for communicating about a wide range of topics, which we'll get into. Especially including topics that maybe you have not been able to communicate about before. Setting aside that space and time where it's intentional, it's deliberate, it's safe, can really make all the difference in a relationship. Whether it's a new relationship, or like I said, whether it's a relationship where you've been together for 10, 20, 30 years.
Emily: Yes. Jumping off of the safe thing, I found how wonderful it is just to create that really safe space. Because a lot of times any interaction that you have that might be potentially bad, could be really emotional and may cause a lot of strife or anger or just a reactionary behavior. Scrum/R.A.D.A.R now, R.A.D.A.R gets rid of that and again, like you said, creates a safe space where you're just being really intentional in everything that you're doing. We'll get into more of that shortly.
Jase: Yes, I've also found that, I know in a lot of relationships of mine in the past, say if there's something that you want to bring up, that maybe it's not even a big problem. It could be. Sometimes it is a big problem. Sometimes it's just something you want to bring up, but you're not sure how it's going to go or it might be a little bit of a vulnerable conversation, or--
Dedeker: You're not sure of the timing on it.
Jase: Right, I'll find that when we're doing really well, when we're really happy, it's like, "I don't want to bring it up now because I don't want to ruin the happy times we're having." Then, if you're having a bad time or you're in a fight or something, that's obviously a bad time to bring it up because you're not going to be as productive discussing it. Having this monthly space. This monthly time that you're going to spend where you get to talk about those things and very intentionally come-- This could be any little thing from a new thing that you want to try or that you'd like to have more dates or there's a certain amount of time you'd like to spend with your partner or it could be something really heavy that could cover the whole range. By having a time that you know it can be addressed within the next month, there's a lot less stress day to day of like, "When should I bring myself?" Or "Is this a good time? When can I get their attention long enough to really sit down and talk about this?"
Dedeker: Let's quickly review just the basics of why have a monthly check-in at all. Obviously, we're going to tell you about R.A.D.A.R today. Some people do different things like either the agile scrum process or they maybe will say they'll call it a monthly relationship maintenance meeting or a state of the union meeting, things like that. There's a number of very concrete tangible benefits that having a regular monthly check-in meeting can produce includes things like; first of all, building intimacy and connection with your partner. When you're entering into this space where you are intentionally doing something that is for the health of your relationship that isn't passive, it's not like, "I guess us going out on this date together probably helps our relationship." And it probably does but as they were both sitting down really intentionally with this mission of, "We are fortifying and helping our relationship and our communication right now." That instantly can build a connection between you and your partner. It minimizes the amount of day to day processing that you have to do--
Jase: Like I was talking about that daily stress of.
Dedeker: Yes, one of the primary complaints particularly that we hear from people who are opening up their relationship for the first time is like, "Oh God, we're just talking about everything all the time."
Emily: We're talking constantly.
Dedeker: We're talking constantly. Yes, talking is great, however, being able to have this specific space set aside for communication means that there's less time that you have to spend day-to-day whenever something; especially when small things come up that they don't -- Especially if it's something that's small that doesn't need to be brought up right in that moment, you know that there's going to be a time where it's going to be addressed. Because you're minimizing that day to day processing that means that you're also maximizing your day- to-day positive interaction.
I found, for me, where this often manifests is maybe a partner of mine said something to me that hurt my feelings or maybe there was some kind of misunderstanding or maybe something happened in another relationship that I need to tell my partner, but we have a date at Disneyland planned. Then I can know--
Emily: That happens all the time to you.
Dedeker: - maybe not something as extreme as that maybe something a little bit more realistic. We're about to head out to lunch together, I can know like, "You know what? There's a time and space set aside for us to talk about this," and so I can just sit here and enjoy lunch with my partner and we can talk about whatever else we want to talk about or I can enjoy Disneyland with my partner and I don't need to worry about bringing up these things.
Another thing that helps is it prevents what we call problem backlog or ambushing your partner with a bunch of problems because that's something that we often see in relationships is if you're not sure about the timing of when to bring something up or you're concerned about a partner's reaction to something so maybe you bottle up your own issues or maybe you decide just not to talk about that. Then eventually, that grows to a point where you need to talk about it--
Emily: The dreaded, "We need to talk about something."
Dedeker: Yes and then it becomes the, "We need to talk about text," and then it becomes you just like vomiting all over your partner all of these problems that you've been hanging on to for the past two weeks or months or however long. Then your partner maybe who had other plans that day is like, "Whoa, shoot. Now I've totally been ambushed by all these problems that we need to process," and it definitely helps to prevent that.
Jase: Yes, I think along these lines too something that can happen is you'll be having some kind of a disagreement or a heavy talk about one thing and then it's like 10 other things all come up that actually aren't related to it, but have just been in that problem backlog that we're talking about. Having this regular time every month to just see how everything's going and, hopefully, avoid those before they even become problems, but even if they are that there's a space so you're not having to just throw those on to a discussion that's actually about something else.
Emily: Also avoiding super past, past discussions. I felt like I don't have to keep revisiting something that maybe happened six months ago or a year ago even that keeps coming up, that might have kept coming up in a regular relationship without those monthly processing just simply because we have such an intentional space in which to speak about it and hash it out and figure it out without that emotion behind it. That's been really great for me.
Dedeker: The best part is you can still talk about things organically as they come up. We're not trying to tell you, don't talk about anything serious with your partner outside of just this once a month meeting. Of course if something comes up and if you feel it's more appropriate to talk about it at that moment, then yes, talk about it at that moment. I think that what I love about this is just that it helps-- I suppose the way I think about it in my mind is it's like defragging communication a little bit and just distributing it across my time or my month in a way that's just a little bit more feasible and manageable and in my opinion, healthier for my relationships.
Jase: Something that Dedecker and I actually do pretty often if something does come up that we'll start talking about it. Sometimes we'll have a little bit of a conversation and if we don't either have a ton of time or we would rather get back to playing fun video games together or doing something else. We can say, "Let's add this to a list that we can talk about it in our R.A.D.A.R which is coming up in a week or two weeks or whenever the next one is." Well go "Yes okay cool," We have an idea so now we can both think about it and prepare to talk about it then.
I do want to make a quick note here that our new name and acronym for this is R.A.D.A.R. I am aware that R.A.D.A.R is already an acronym, but it's kind of a bullshit stupid acronym because it stands for Radio Detection and Ranging. I'm one of these people who really-- I really don't like it when you double up letters to make an acronym work, that always just seems like cheating to me. Ours is actually R.A.D.A.R where there's a dot between every single letter, so each one stands for its own thing.
The other thing that we wanted to say before we actually get into some of the details of doing this is the importance of doing this regularly even when you don't feel like there's anything that needs to be discussed and we suggest monthly. We found that in our relationships monthly is a really nice combination of- It doesn't seem like they're constantly happening but it's also often enough that you're getting regular check-ins. I wouldn't suggest going longer than a month between them, but I do know some people who will do them more frequently. For example some people will do them every two weeks. Some people even every week.
To use Dedeker's example of someone who's just opening up a formerly closed relationship, that actually might be a really good time to do one once a week for a little while because there's so much more to talk about and waiting a whole month might seem too long. Anyway just to say that it is really important. Also, to schedule the next one at the beginning of the current one so you know that it's on the calendar. You're going to have it instead of saying, "Yes we'll plan that later." Then you forget and now it's been six months and you haven't done it.
Also, to give yourself enough time to be sure that you have a good block of time. We suggest at least an hour and a half although usually hours end up being closer to three hours. This is Dedecker and I our longest one so far was six hours, but that's definitely an exception. Normally they come in right around three hours. Anyway plan for that especially if you've been in a relationship for a long time and haven't done this before, your first one or several might be on the longer side too. Just give yourself time because you don't want to rush through it, because trying to rush through it can sometimes leave you feeling unsatisfied by the process or it could even lead to conflict if it feels like you're rushing through something that is really important to you or to your partner.
Emily: Some things to definitely keep in mind when you're doing your either monthly or your weekly R.A.D.A.R is just being nice to each other, so practice things like compassion and empathy. I know for myself I've definitely come into certain R.A.D.A.RS and been a little nervous about how it was going to go with my partner, but when I continue to keep in mind a sense of compassion and a sense of empathy for what they went through that month, it definitely lessens my anxiety and allows me to be there and be an active listener.
Also, to ask for things like the Triforce of Communication which is our episode 83. That one also is amazing because you can ask if someone just wants to open up and use the first Triforce and just connect or if they want empathy in a situation which is the second one or if they really want advice which is Triforce number three. Ask for all of those things, be kind and compassionate to your partner during this time. because potentially it could get volatile but hopefully, it will be a session that is very rewarding for the both of you, and very helpful in your relationship long term.
Dedeker: The space that you are exploring during R.A.D.A.R, it can hit many different levels. It can be everything from, “Let’s talk about our vacation plans for next month," than like "Let’s talk about making list of things that we want to see in the city," to, "Talking about the fight that we had two weeks ago that never got resolved and still feels very hurtful." Things can get intense when you’re talking about it. If that’s the case, of course, it’s important to remember all the things that Emily just said, using non-violent communication techniques can be very helpful. Also, using halted dah, dah, dah. [laughs] It was halt, then became halt dah, dah, dah, which is you’re hungry and you’re lonely, tired, drinking-- Are there other ones that I'm forgetting?
Jase: The super long jacket, which is now HHALTTD is--
Dedeker: Too many. Too many orders.
Jase: Is corny, hungry, angry, lonely.
Emily: Oh, no.
Jase: Tired, what’s the second T?
Jase: The last D is drunk. That don’t--
Dedeker: I know it’s drunk, drunk or drinking, yes.
Jase: Now, I’m blanking on what the second T is
Emily: T, I have no idea.
Dedeker: Well, someone will come up with I'm sure.
Emily: Turned on, but that’s the same.
Dedeker: Well, that’s horny.
Emily: That’s horny.
Dedeker: As I was saying, if you’re feeling any of those things, really horny, really hungry, angry, lonely, tired or if you’re drinking, probably not a good time to be digging into really intense things. I can come up maybe you’re in the middle of your scrum and then 30 minutes, you realized, “I haven’t eaten in three hours. We need to take a break to eat something, and then come back to it.
Jase: Mid scrum food break is key. [laughs]
Dedeker: It’s a good thing. Jase mentioned our six hour scrum, that was not six hours of discussing all the way through. That was probably at least two hours of us needing to be in separate rooms just chilling because we’ve gotten to some intense stuff. We were both upset, emotional, but we knew that just trying to push through while both of us are angry was going to have you know, meaningful productive R.A.D.A.R meeting. We took that time to kind of be a part and take care of ourselves for a little while, and then come back together. It’s totally okay to do that within a R.A.D.A.R meeting. I think I just stressed the importance to make sure that you do actually come back and finish it. I’m leaving it half-finished just probably not going to be very effective.
Jase: Yes, another great suggestion that we got from our listener and friend, Michael Webberman, and that’s to attempt to have some kind of a date or a video call in the case of a long distance relationship within a few days before your R.A.D.A.R. It isn’t kind of feeling this role of a date, and it doesn’t feel like, “To have this meeting means we’re taking away from you know fun times we were going to have watching a movie or going out somewhere.” Be sure that you’ve gotten those needs met because at point that he made with halt, with the hungry, angry, lonely, tired.
That lonely might in this case, not mean just lonely in general, but lonely for that specific relationship. If you’ve got a few relationships and one of them, you don’t see as often, you might be really longing for that particular person. Be sure you have some of those needs met before going into this if possible. Have some kind of a date or a video call or something like that. That's something Dedeker and I have found to be really helpful as well, of being sure that we have some other dedicated time to just hanging out and socializing with each other. This isn’t like our only interaction that week.
Finally, before we get into the real meat of this. It’s very important to actually write down notes as you do this. We have a really cool template that we’ve created. If you go to this episode’s page on Multiamory.com or if you look at the write-up, which you can find on iTunes if that’s where you’re listening to this, there will be a link to that document. That’s a really helpful thing to do. What I recommend is actually write it down, don’t just say, “Ah, yes, yes, yes. We’ll just keep it in our heads.” Actually, write it down. Not like notes on everything, but the discussion topics that you talk about, and then any action points you decide at the end, we’ll talk a little bit more about that later, and try saving this, actually all in one document. You just add a page to it every time.
Dedeker and I really like Google Docs as a way to do this because even if we’re long distance, we can both be editing the same document in real time and seeing each other’s changes as we’re doing it. If you do it in person, you could actually write it on physical paper. You could have a notebook that you use for this, I personally like having it digital so then wherever I am, it's easy to get to. We've even done some where we've done the notes just on our phones, pulling up Google Docs on our phones.
Anyway, just want to say that to just be sure that you actually write it down because then when you come back the next month, the first step that we're going to talk about-- Spoiler alert-- Is reviewing what's happened in the past month. Part of that's going to be checking in on what did we talk about? How did we do with that?
Dedeker : Okay, this is so exciting. We're actually going to take you through the steps of R.A.D.A.R. Quick review of what R.A.D.A.R even stands for. It stands for Review, Agree the agenda, Discuss, Action points and Reconnect. We're going to start out with step number one which is review. You sit down with your partner and you start out by reviewing the past month. You just update each other on what's going on in your life, what's going on in your relationships. When I sit down to do this with my partner, usually the first thing I do is, I pull up my Google Calendar and I just look at, what did I do in this last month. It can be anything. It could be things that you did together like, "We went out and had that really nice dinner that was fun. We had that argument about chores or maybe we should make a note about that."
Jase: Like, "We stayed up all night watching the new season of Stranger Things."
Dedeker : Right or things that you did by yourself. It could be like, "I started this new job. I went on a couple first dates." Gosh, I don't know. "I got full marks in my company netball league," that sentence probably didn't make any sense.
Jase: I'd love to hear the mythology around that sport--
Jase: - scoring system.
Dedeker : But as your review, I recommend writing down just a couple little notes especially on things that you think might need some discussion. For instance, maybe you want to discuss those first dates that you went on or maybe you're thinking, "Maybe we need to revisit that chores argument that we got into". As the two of you go back and forth sharing what happened in the past month, take some notes just keeping in mind things that you might want to revisit.
Jase: Yes, and then also you're going to look back at your action points from the previous month's R.A.D.A.R meeting. Now if this is your first one, obviously you won't have those yet, but you will at the next one. That's of your action points, look at them and say which ones did we accomplish and celebrate the ones that you did. For the ones that you didn't do or feel like still need work or something like that, also take notes and put those back into the discussion list so that you can look at them and then you can -- This is a fun little business productivity hack here is to look at the four Ds. That's to either do, defer, discuss or delete.
If you look up the four Ds, you should be able to find that, but it's basically do we just say, "Hey, we actually need to do it this time. Do we say defer and go, you know what? Maybe another time later in the future would be better. Let's table this for now. Do we discuss it? Do we need to rethink how we're going to go about this or rethink what that goal is? Or do we delete it or drop it," is the other term for that, is to just say, "You know what? Maybe this isn't something we actually care that much about." You're going to take these notes that you had from the first part that Dedeker mentioned and also from your action points from last time, then you're going to add those to your list to discuss which we have in step two.
Emily: Which is agree the line up list or agenda. Agree the agenda is what came out of the original scrum. We didn't come up with anything better than that. It was good as it was so we kept it agree the agenda. There are two parts of the agenda, one is that you will set topics that you will discuss every single time plus any topics that came up during your review session. In addition, we've made this long list of set topics which those ones can be customized, but amazingly like I did my very first R.A.D.A.R a couple weeks ago and everything that is on this list I used because it was -- I feel like every single one of them in some capacity or another, could be used even if you're in a monogamous relationship, maybe not one of them if you're not in a monogamous relationship but they're just kind of all encompassing and they're great. I highly recommend using this list which is very different than what we used to do in scrum. But it's crazy helpful.
Dedeker: This is one of the biggest differences that we made from the original scrum process which is that we came up with this list of set topics. Because I think we found as we were doing it is that, sure it's great that you talk about things that come up that may be our problems, but there's so many things that need to be talked about in a relationship even if there's not a problem, even if you want things to develop just in a good healthy matter. For instance, talking about your sex life, maybe you're both happy with your sex life, maybe there's no problems with your sex life, but this gives you an opportunity to talk about, "Is there anything new that we want to try?" I think I love that because that way talking about trying new things in the bedroom, is not in response to something being wrong. It's not into response of like, " I don't feel like having sex anymore, or I'm not satisfied with the sex, so let's try something new. It's, "No, we feel good, how can we enhance this, and make it feel even better?"
Here's our set list of topics, I'm going to go through briefly. You can look on our template to see this list of topics. Of course you can always be customized, but we do recommend that you go through all of these topics, and check-in in all of your relationships. First of all, we have is quality time. Again this is another one of like it's good to talk about this even if there's no problems of thinking about, "Is there a new restaurant we want to try? Is there a new hobby we want to get into? Is there a new video game we want to start? " That's not in reaction to, "We're so bored with each other and we haven't been spending time together."
Of course sex like we talked about, talking about each other's health, about what's going on, if there's any-- When Jase and I do this it makes a range, usually it's just complaining about different sore body parts, but that could also extend to sexual health, or things that you're seeing on the horizon, or things like that,
Jase: Just in a discussion that I went to the other day, talking about new drugs that you're trying, especially if you're in the earlier stages of treating depression, or something you might be going through different drugs each month, or each couple months to figure out which ones are right for you. Having an opportunity to discuss that during this health section can be really useful, especially since you're taking notes, so you could actually use that to look back and go, "How was this? How did I feel while doing all these different things for my health?"
Emily: Yes that's great.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely. The next one on the list is talking about other partners, or other relationships. This one feels very important to me because I love having this set determined space for talking about other relationships because I cannot tell you how many times I've had clients, or friends, or listeners to podcasts reach out to me or to us asking, "Well, I just said, I love you to a new partner, and I'm really excited about it, but I don't know how to tell my husband. When do I tell him that? Do I just like text him that? Do I tell when he gets home from work? If he's having a bad day then I don't know how he's going to-- "
It helps to take the questioning out of, "When do I give my partner updates about my other partners?" You can give a State of the Union. Again, even if nothing bad is happening, it could be something like, " Oh my goodness, he and I just said I love you to each other and that's really exciting." Or it could be, " I haven't gone on any dates in a while, but I just started talking to someone." And, "Okay Cupid, we've been talking for a couple weeks, and we might set a date next month." Something like that. It's just this good neutral safe space to talk about what's going on ideally. Again, I keep coming back to this, not when the context is that there's a problem used to be solved necessarily.
Jase: I think this is also a good time to emphasize that doing R.A.D.A.R is not only something for primary type relationships or ones such you live with, but this can also be with the newer partners, or partners that you don't see as often, or even more casual partners. This opportunity to talk about all your other relationships is also really useful, because I found that if there's a partner that I'm living with at the time, they're usually going to get most of the updates on everyone else as they're going. Often the other partners who I might not be seeing as often right then based on where I am, I might just not even think to mention something to them about something that's developed in my other relationships or that a relationship I had has ended or has started. So, having this opportunity to just go, "Oh yes, let me update you on everything to just make sure I didn't miss anything this month."
Emily: Even if you are in a monogamous or monogamish relationship, these other partners could act as, "Well, are you interested in never-- Joe and Jane are talking about maybe having sex with us at some point, or is that a thing that we could potentially do?" I know my partner and I aren't seeing other people right now, but we use this slot as just a placeholder to develop what we're thinking about that, and just if we want to continue the non-monogamous conversation, and what makes us happy there. I think it's a really important section even if you are in more of a monogamous mindset. You can also use it as like, " What's happening with your friends? There's not a friends one on here," but these other partners one could be like, "Hey so and so I had a tough time with them this month" or "We're going to go on a trip together. A girl's trip or whatever."
Jase: Maybe other significant people might be a way to--
Emily: There you go.
Dedeker: That's a good one. Moving along down the list there's fights/arguments. This can be good if there's something standing between the two of you as in maybe things start to get a little bit heated a couple of days ago and then you decide, "You know what? Let's wait for a couple of days and just talk about this in our scrum," maybe talking about ongoing conflicts or disagreements that need to be resolved. I found that this section is also very good for thinking back and thinking about maybe arguments that we had that did resolve and just double checking up of like, "Do we still feel good about that? Do we still feel good about how that ended?"
This is a great place to discover so long as you could discover like, "I thought that was totally resolved, but you're still really upset about that so let's talk about that again," or vice versa. Moving on, we included a section about money. I know Americans, as a whole, we're very uncomfortable talking about money. Currently, in my relationships, I do not share finances with anybody, but I still find this very important just to talk about. Again, you don't have to print out a freaking financial report and hand it to your partner of what's going on in your life, but it can be useful to discuss money to the level of which you're comfortable about just so that you're partner's in the know.
Again, it can be a thing where it's like, "This month is really tight" and so I don't really have a lot of money to go out to eat all the time, but my partner's always inviting me out to eat and I feel bad I don't want to say no that this can be a good opportunity to at least let your partner in on that and like, "Hey, things are a little tight right now," so that they have that awareness.
Jase: Yes, this was another thing that came up in the discussion that I went to the other day up here in Seattle, which was about discrepancies between amounts of money between partners and that sometimes that can be a point of tension or stress if you have a partner who makes a lot more money than you do and the things that they want to go do are more expensive and so you feel like you either have to say no to them or you're stretching yourself too thin financially.
That having this place that's not in the midst of, "No, I can't do that thing" or "I want to, but could you pay for more of it than me," all that negotiating can happen in this safe space where it's like, "Hey, let's talk about this is where I'm at financially and what things I'm okay to spend money on this month." Then also by checking in every month it's not just like, "Hey you're the rich one in this relationship and I'm the poor one," it's like, "No, this is an ongoing discussion because money is always going to be changing through our lives."
Dedeker: Definitely. Continuing to move on we included a section on work;projects. Again, if you have a regular nine to five job talking about development there or if you're gunning for a promotion or if you're really unhappy at work and you want to do something different or if you live in more freelancer lifestyle like I know that Jase and I do which goes more project to project talking about those things.
Moving on, we included a section on travel. I know from my relationships since I travel a lot that section becomes more relevant for other people that may not be as relevant and may be more about vacations that you're planning or maybe there's family obligations that you're going to travel for. That's the section for you to discuss that and to talk about logistics regarding that. Moving along down the list, there's family and that can include things like kids if you and your partner have kids together or if you're just dealing with relatives or talking about your parents. It can be good to just check in about what's going on in your individual family lives.
Also, closely related to this is the next one which is household. This is very important for people who are sharing a household, for people who are cohabiting. This is where you can talk about things like chores or if you own your house, for instance, like, "Are we renovating something?" Or "Are we going to look for a new place to stay?" Or "Are we happy with cohabiting? What are the things that we could be doing to make our cohabiting experience feel better?" Things like that.
Then last but not the least is the miscellaneous catch-all category where if during your review section things came up that don't fall into these categories then here's the catch-all to make sure that things that are important to you still get discussed. That's our full long list. You're not expected to remember it from memory I certainly don't.
Jase: It'll be in the template document.
Dedeker: It'll be in the template. We're at this stage number two which is where we are agreeing the lineup. We have our list and then we also agree, is there anything outside of this list that needs to be discussed that we can throw into this miscellaneous category and we agree together, what are the things that we want to tackle for this particular meeting. Then we move on to the next step?
Jase: I did want to say the one thing is that, I do think it’s important to look at the order of it quickly before you go on to the discussion. To just say, “Is there anything that we maybe want to discuss first or anything we want to save till last.”
Emily: To get it over with.
Jase: Yes, either if it’s get it over with or sometimes you could structure it as like, “Let’s talk about some more serious things that take more of our energy first.” Or it could be, “Hey, let’s talk about some easy, quick things first then get into some heavy things, and then talk about some fun things at the end.” Whatever it is, but just take a look at that, and see if you want to move things around it all in the order.
Then, we discuss. This is the middle of the R.A.D.A.R. This the D; to discuss. You’re going to go down this list and talk about each of the topics even if you don’t think there’s anything to talk about. That there are sometimes where we’ll be going down the list and it’s just family, it’s like, “How’s your family? Are they fine? Pretty much the same as before. I talked to my brother the other day." "Okay, cool. How is your family?" "Yes, they’re fine. I’m going to see them in a couple of months." Right? It doesn’t have to be anything, but it’s good to just check in because it gets your brain thinking like, Is there anything relevant.” Or, “Hey, you know actually that made me realized that my sister’s birthday is coming up.” I should figure out what I need to do for that. Whatever it is, talk about every topic on the list even if there is nothing to talk about, even if it’s just, "Everything is great, right?" "Great. Hey, remember how awesome that was?" "Yes, that was awesome." As Emily was saying--
Jase: Sorry, what are you going to say, Em?
Emily: I’ll just said, fuck yes, was.
Jase: As Emily was saying at the beginning that this is a really important time to remind yourself of coming to everything with compassion and empathy. That this is a space where you can talk about some of those harder things that I know in my R.A.D.A.R meetings that I’ve had with various partners. During one meeting, there might be moments where you know, we’re dealing with stuff that makes us angry or we might be crying out of sadness at one point or frustration. Another point, we might be crying because we’re so happy and we’re laughing so hard. Another point, just feeling really affectionate and in love with each other. Another time being, very logical and pragmatic about stuff, that you can cover this whole range, suggest coming in with this compassion and empathy and understand that you might go through a lot of different things, but you’re in this together.
Also, using the Triforce like Emily was saying, actively communicating whether you are looking for problem solving and feedback or you just want to share something or you just want some understanding or appreciation. Be active in your listening, stay attentive. Don’t be on your phones while you’re doing this discussion phase, really be there engaged with each other, and take notes when you need to. Using non-violent communication, which I’d recommend going back and listening to our Five Ways to Suck Less at Communication episode to learn a little more about that. Of course, remembering to HALT or HHALTTD. If you’re realizing that you’re not being as effective at communicating because you’re hungry or you’re angry or lonely or tired or horny or drunk or whatever it is.
Emily: Yes. The number four section of R.A.D.A.R is action plans. This is just essentially creating very achievable goals that are specific as possible for that next month. Not every single topic that you’re going to talk about on your list will have action points, but when you create some, and usually I have like three or four for my R.A.D.A.RS. I don’t know what the two of you have.
Jase: Yes, some more, some less, but that sounds about right actually.
Emily: Yes, it kind of depends month to month.
Jase: We try not to overwhelm ourselves with a to-do-list.
Emily: No, exactly. There are things that you can sort of comeback to during the month especially if you write them down which you should. Then, you can reference it throughout the month. It just ensures that we’re actually like taking steps forward in this relationship. It provide us very easy way to check in and say, “Okay. I’m in that moment right now, the pattern that I keep on doing. What was the actionable thing that I was supposed to work on during a moment like this. I’m going to go back and reference that and try to actually do it.
It also allows you to review on your R.A.D.A.R, did I do that thing? How well did I do that thing this month? Then bounce back and forth between the two of you on what was actually done in the previous month. It’s fun. I have my first R.A.D.A.R, well, it was scrum back then, but was in December of last year. I’m about to come up on December-
Jase: Okay, almost one year. Nice.
Emily: - exactly, one entire year. It’s very cool to look back at all of the different action points that I had throughout the year, and see how far we've come in this relationship.
Dedeker: I think that's my favorite thing about the action point step is that it is ensuring that we're actually taking action on the things that we're discussing because so many times, I've both experienced this in my own relationships and I've heard this from clients, it's like, "When my partner and I had this long heavy talk about this thing and I know that he heard what my feelings are but then nothing happened or nothing changed." Or we talked about "Yes, maybe someday we should go to a springer's resort, that'd be fun" and then we never ever made any plans about it.
Actually, once you get through your discussion phase and you've decided on what are some actual action points that we're going to take? You have something concrete to work towards. Some examples of how this may come up, maybe when you're in the sex segment of your discussion, you may be like "Yes, we watched this porn together that had had that shibari scene that we both thought that was really hot, you thought that was really hot, right?" "Yes, no, we both thought that was really hot." Maybe let's make an action point of, "We should actually go to the sex shop and get some rope and see if we want to try that for ourselves."
Jase: I actually recommend ordering it online, you can generally get better quality stuff, that's actually the right type of hemp rope but anyway that's a different--
Dedeker: Yes, thank you.
Emily: It's neither here nor there.
Dedeker: You could go to Adam $ Eve and use our promo code 'multi' and probably get a good discount.
Jase: That's true, that's actually not a great place for shibari stuff, but-
Dedeker: I'm trying to-
Jase: I know you're trying but I just-
Emily: - do an advertisement here-
Jase: But, I've got to be real our listeners here. For shibari rope, don't go to Adam $ Eve, I'm sorry, but for all the other stuff if you want to try pegging, for example, Adam $Eve is a great place -
Emily: For pegging suppliers.
Jase: - to get some cheap supplies for that.
Dedeker: Okay, fine, I'll change my example. Maybe you're like "We talked about maybe incorporating some pegging into the bedroom, let's actually make an action point to go to adamandeve.com -
Emily: Use promo code M-U-L-T-I.
Dedeker: Can I please move on to the next example? Good Lord.
Dedeker: Another example, maybe in the household section when you realized, we had this argument early this month about the division of household chores. Maybe our action point is, "Let's just try this next month and just one person will be responsible for washing the dishes and doing the laundry and other person will be responsible for ironing and vacuuming the floors, let's try that for the month and see how it goes." That's the other great thing about the action point thing is that it has this built-in trial period because you're going to revisit it at your next R.A.D.A.R meeting next month. So you get an opportunity to be like "That worked really well let's keep doing that." Or "You know what? That didn't work out so well, let's revisit it in this R.A.D.A.R and see what's something that we can do better this month." It helps prevent anyone feeling like they're stuck for too long trying something new which I really like.
The other thing is that, the action point section, they can be used for your personal goals as well. It could be when you're talking to your partner about how things are going at work, you mention how you feel like it's time to ask for a raise, but you're nervous about it, but you want to do it within this next month, so you ask your partner to be your accountability buddy a little bit to a certain extent of setting that goal of ''You know what, before we have our next R.A.D.A.R meeting, I would love to ask for that raise".
Again, you have the opportunity next month to check in, did it happen? Did it not happen? If it didn't happen, why, what can we do to actually make sure it happens this month, and so on and so forth.
Jase: Yes, I do want to emphasize how important this action point phase is, to really give some time because often we'll have a discussion about something and we'll reach some conclusions about it. But then, when we get to the action points phase, being like, "Okay, what can we actually do to make sure that we actually change something about this" and that feel free to be creative here too.
If I can give an example from our own lives, a while back there was something that I would do when I get excited about some new project or a new thing I want to do, but the way I would talk about it is, "I can't wait to do this but oh no, but what if this happens or like, but man, man, I'll have to figure out what size that's going to be or how often I could do this or get this new program to do it." And that Dedeker would interpret that as stress, she would be like, "Oh gosh, Jase is stressing out about this thing," and feel like she needed to fix it or try to help that whereas for me, that was just my way of being excited. We're like, "Okay, how can we make this into an action point?" We came up with this thing of, if that's happening and she recognizes, "Is this that?" She would ask, "Or are you being a puppy? A puppy who's just getting excited? Or if I realize I'm doing that, my code word was just to say, "Woof woof." I'm just really excited and working myself up over this thing, it's not actually because I'm stressed, this is my way of getting excited about it.
All right, so it could be some silly thing and that's something we'll still mention from time to time, but just having an actual concrete thing that you can do and you can check in with each other on throughout the month, is super helpful for actually sticking to some of these changes.
Dedeker: Can we bring it home to our last step.
Emily: Yes finally here we are at the last R which is reconnect. Something that we still yet again from scrum is the appreciation round. I guess this is just from the, relationship agile scrum.
Jase: Yes,in scrum for business this is just like, end on a good note, is usually on how it's said and then in that article on Using Scrum in Relationships, it was an appreciation round and we have now expanded that into reconnect.
Emily: Yes, but appreciation round we definitely still recommend that you do every single time which is sharing and taking turns sharing and listening with your partner something that you appreciate about them, which is really nice and very lovely often the part in which we cry and have our hearts just full of love for one another. In addition to that, you can just give each other compliments;, "Your ass looks amazingly sexy today," or do a fun activity afterwards or do some massage or cuddling that might lead into some sexy times. I know after the last scrum that I did with my partner we went out to a nice dinner. It was awesome and we felt super connected afterwards and then just led organically into this lovely dinner so, I highly recommend that.
Dedeker: I think the reconnect step is another reason why I think it's so important to make sure that you get through all of the steps of R.A.D.A.R. Because as we said, you may be covering some very vital territory or some very intense territory and you may go on an emotional roller coaster with your partner like Jase said of like going from super logical and discussing logistics to being really happy and playing with each other to being really sad or being really angry or frustrated with each other. It can be an exhausting ride, but knowing that at the end of it you're going to have this reconnect, knowing that even if we go through some very uncomfortable discussions whether it's uncomfortable because we're revisiting an argument or uncomfortable just because I'm uncomfortable talking about money or whatever it is, that knowing that on the other side of it is this chance to reconnect with your partner and the chance to make each other feel good at the end can really help motivate you, really help drive you and really help you to walk away from an uncomfortable discussion feeling really good. Which is not something that we often get in our day-to-day lives.
Jase: Right. It's not often something that you go to couples counseling or therapy it's not often that you walk away from that just being like, "Man we feel so connected now," sometimes it's like, "Gosh, we have so much to work through, now," right?
Dedeker: I make my couples do an appreciation round--
Jase: Well that's good.
Dedeker: - if working with me, yes.
Jase: I'm sure some other counselors or coaches or therapists do but that is something I love about this. I also think it's important to really be creative in your appreciation round too. Really think about what it is that you appreciate that's maybe not just saying the same things every month too, or the same thing you say to them every day. It could be something related to the discussion itself, like, "I really appreciate how honest you were able to be with me about this thing that I know is hard to talk about," or it could be something more general of like, "I was just thinking recently about how much I admire what a hard worker you are and that you're always working so hard at your job. That's something I really admire." Whatever it is to really like spend some time thinking about what are some real things that you appreciate about this person that you might not say every day. Before we recap our steps at the end here, I did want to point out that R.A.D.A.R is a palindrome which means it spelt the same forwards and backwards.
Emily: Like Hannah.
Jase: Like Hannah, yes. What I was realizing about this that's kind of cool is that actually, the steps work that way too. It's almost like it works its way down into some deep stuff and then comes back up. If you think about the first step being reviewing and the last step being reconnecting, that both of those are about your relationship as it is right now and looking at, "Hey what have we been doing and also reconnecting so we can move into the future," That's the bridge to your existing relationship.
Then agreeing the list and setting action points are both steps about kind of making a list and organizing stuff that you're discussing and then this middle step which is the meat of it where you'll spend most of your time is this actual discussion. I think it's cool that it makes this symmetrical shape going into the discussion and then coming back out of it.
Dedeker: But not quite like a sandwich. I thought that's what you were going for
Jase: You could think of it like a sandwich, I guess.
Emily: It's like an open faced Sub.
Dedeker: Yes, I guess. Okay, anyway. Again, just to recap: you start with your review, you move on to agree the agenda, you discuss, you decide on your action points, and then you reconnect. Again, if you guys check, if you all check the show notes, then you will see that we'll include a link to a template that we have created for all of you.
Jase: Yes. that you can copy into Google Docs, or print out, or use it however you want to use it.
Dedeker: I keep having this idea of maybe Jase, you and I could record one of our R.A.D.A.R meetings one time and release it as a bonus episode. I know that sounds really intense.
Jase: That sounds so intense.
Dedeker: Maybe we would edit some of it out, but just so people get a taste of - how these things go.
Emily: That's an interesting idea.
Dedeker: Yes. I don't know if people would be into that or if that'd be way too much of an intrusion into our personal lives.
Jase: Let us know if you'd be into that. Maybe that's something we could release just for the Patreons and the private Facebook group.
Emily: Yes, you have to pay to look at your private life.
Dedeker: Because sometimes, especially when we do workshops on this, sometimes I get frustrated, I want to be like, "I want to just show you. I just want to demonstrate for you how this goes, instead of having to lay it out."
Emily: It's very personal. I'm sure that it looks potentially slightly different for each person who does it.
Dedeker: Of course.
Jase: Yes, for sure.
Emily: Yours may look very different than mine. I think mine is awesome. I'm sure all of yours out there are awesome as well.
Dedeker: Well, great.