Coaching Case Studies – Are You Living With a Stranger?


Katie and James have been together for twelve years. They have two beautiful kids. Both are successful in their respective careers. Their marriage has had some mild rough patches but generally has been really great.

Recently Katie was at a work function with James. His company had hired a new account manager that Katie described as looking like a 25-year-old Heidi Klum. We’ll call her Julian. Julian is gorgeous, smart, and engaging. Katie struck up a conversation with her and it wasn’t long before Julian started gushing about how much she enjoyed working with James.

In a ten minute conversation, Julian talked about he funny he was. She seemed totally taken with how James was so good at his job and thankful he’d taken her under his wing. Julian even said at one point that James was one of the most interesting people she’d met.

In the days that followed Katie grew increasingly uncomfortable with the conversation. When she contacted me for coaching I assumed she was worried Julian was going to make a play for her husband and maybe she was a little jealous. I was wrong. The thing Katie was upset about was simple. Katie didn’t see her husband that way at all. Frankly, Katie thought James was kind of boring.

Katie described James as solid and predictable. The kind of guy you can count on. Katie didn’t see James as really interesting at all, let alone “one of the most interesting people she’d ever met.” Katie also said it had been a very long time since James had made her laugh.

Katie was very very worried that either James was a double agent or she was completely blind.

The brain catalogs information. When you see a cat, your brain immediately goes to work to find other cats like it in your memory. Your brain produces memories of other cat experiences. Before long you don’t really see the cat in front of you anymore. You see a representation of cat the way your brain interprets it. You are exposed to so many bits of information every day that there’s no way you could process it all if your brain didn’t organize information that way.

The problem is, over time, with people you’ve known for a long time, it gets very difficult to see them in a current way because your brain is constantly referencing current experience against past experience. That’s why perception is such a powerful force. No two people see things the same way because the lense of previous experience creates current experience. But here’s the rub. As time passes our perception becomes less accurate. The brain only sees what it’s conditioned to see. Everything else it distorts. This is why two people who have lived together for years can become strangers.

But here’s the rub. As time passes our perception becomes less accurate. The brain only sees what it’s conditioned to see. Everything else it distorts. This is why two people who have lived together for years can become strangers.

Katie had to let go of every perception she had about James and get to know him again. She started not just asking him about his day but asking him how he felt about it. She started going to watch him play in his softball league for the first time in years so she could see how he related to his friends. They started making time to have coffee together in the morning before work and going out for drinks at least once a week.

Katie really explored how his friends, their kids, and his co-workers saw James. She asked herself how she wanted to see her husband in ten years and when they were 80. To the best of her ability, Katie made an effort to see James from different perspectives. Over the course of several weeks, Katie realized she didn’t know the man she’d lived with for more than a decade. More importantly, she realized she liked the man she was living with a lot more than she thought she had before.

A relationship that isn’t current feels like going through the motions. It can be functional, but it can’t be truly connected. You can’t see inside the soul of someone you don’t actually see.

If you want to bring new life into an old relationship try seeing your beloved as a stranger would see them. Or really try to see them through the eyes of source. Find a way to walk the balance between the unknown and intimacy.


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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.

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