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Today on the show, we are joined by Alaina Schwartz to talk about her marriage of 17 and a half years and her subsequent divorce. Alaina grew up on long island in New York in a family of staunch disciplinarians that was incredibly emotionally dysfunctional, emotionally violent and sometimes even physically so. After high school, Alaina moved away to New York where she went to law school, and eventually was a lawyer in the music industry for almost 18 years.
Today she is a successful transformational mindset and business coach, who teaches her clients the same mindset tools that radically changed her life. In this episode we talk about everything from how her husband was incredibly romantic at first, how she started to realize something wasn’t quite right in her relationship, how she earned more than him, and also how she stayed positive since divorcing him. So for an incredibly honest, and insightful conversation, be sure to tune in to today’s episode.
Key Points From This Episode
- Alaina’s background story and her early life.
- The day the Alaina met her ex husband: love at second sight.
- Timeline and story of how Alaina’s ex husband proposed.
- Alaina’s fairytale wedding in Central Park.
- The first couple of years of their marriage.
- The incident that led up to their marital problems.
- Alaina’s heartbreak and challenges with her in-laws.
- The lowest point Alaina experienced in her marriage.
- When Alaina finally decided to move on with her life.
- Facing the allegations of being called an “unfit mother”.
- How Alaina’s life has turned out differently than what she expected.
- Why Alaina has no regrets from her past.
- Advice for listeners who are going through a divorce: mindset shift.
“I was determined to try to make it work every day I was there and every day I was rejected by him.” [0:25:25]
“There was no doubt that I thought we were going to be together forever that we would figure out a way to make that work.” [0:26:26]
“There can be multiple people that are really good for us in our lives at different times in our lives, depending on how we grow.” [0:26:46]
If you want to give your man back-arching, toe-curling, screaming orgasms that will keep him sexually obsessed with you, then you can learn these sex techniques in my private and discreet newsletter. You'll also learn the 5 dangerous mistakes that will ruin your sex life and relationship. Get it here.
Resources, extended show notes and Annabelle’s details can be accessed by clicking here.
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[0:01:20.4] SJ: Today, I’m talking to Alaina about her marriage of 17 and a half years and her subsequent divorce. We talk about everything from how her husband was incredibly romantic at first, how she started to realize something wasn’t quite right in her relationship, how she earned more than him, and also how she stayed positive since divorcing him.
Alaina, thanks so much for coming on the podcast to tell your story.
[0:01:48.6] AS: Thank you so much Sean, it’s a pleasure.
[0:01:51.4] SJ: I’d love to start off with your background before we talk about your relationship. Could you just fill us in a little bit about where you grew up and what your family was like.
[0:02:04.0] AS: I grew up on long island in New York and my family was incredibly dysfunctional, very emotionally dysfunctional, very emotionally, I wouldn’t say kind of emotionally violent and sometimes physically so. They were staunch disciplinarians and used a lot of wait till your father came home and when your father came home it usually meant getting hit in some way. There was a lot of that growing up in my childhood.
When I was 13, my parents relocated to south Florida so I grew up just outside of Fort Lauderdale where I stayed through high school and college and then moved back up to New York to go to law school. I was a lawyer in the music industry and a music exactly part of that time for almost 18 years.
[0:03:00.9] SJ: Awesome. So at some stage, you met your husband. Could you describe maybe the day you met him? Just as much detail as you can.
[0:03:11.5] AS: I absolutely can. Yeah, our first date was pretty amazing too. When I met my husband, I was working in a law firm, a boutique law firm in New York City with a father and a son-in-law and the father-in-law had – was living across the street from my ex’s family and was doing work for them. My ex was buying an apartment in the city and so he was doing the closing for them so he had come in and his son-in-law said, “Uou guys would be a perfect match, can I introduce you?” I said, “Sure.”
I went in to his office and we met and we talked for a minute and he said that he remembered that as I was walking out to go back to my office to work that I put my hand on his shoulder and I said, “It’s lovely to meet you,” and asked if he could call me and then three weeks later he was going away for – on a vacation and when he came back, he called me and we went out on our first date.
I would say it was love at second sight, not first sight. Not in that office that day. But love at second sight.
[0:04:19.9] SJ: What was he like then when you first met him and during those first few dates?
[0:04:24.8] AS: Well, what was amazing is that he was a man who was so ready to be in a relationship. There was absolutely no game-playing whatsoever. He just was really excited. We went out on our first date and I had a client of mine who was DJ’ing at a party and I asked him if we could go after we went out to dinner and we went and we danced and, you know, we had this wonderful date and then he went away for the weekend and he literally wrote love poetry to me and read it to me on the phone the next day, which is pretty amazing.
So that, the first few days, he was all in and made it clear, there was no, like I said, no games, there was no need for that sort of chasing. He was just right there with me and we just really felt like we met each other straight on, ready to be in a relationship.
[0:05:24.0] SJ: It certainly does. So how did he propose then? How long after meeting him did he propose?
[0:05:31.5] AS: Well, we were together, we moved in with each other nine months after we started dating and almost exactly two years, as a matter of fact, it might have been on our two year anniversary. The week before our two year anniversary, we had gone out to the Hamptons and he had us collect all of these stones and it was such a magical evening where literally, when you looked on one side, we were on this bay, in between the ocean and this bay and you could see the sun setting on one side and then full moon rising on the other side and I thought, “Oh my god, he’s going to propose to me,” but he didn’t.
But we collected all of these stones and then the next weekend, we went back out to the Hamptons and he had us put a different, I don’t know, energy or love or whatever in each of these stones. Then he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. It was immediately, “Yes!”
[0:06:28.9] SJ: Then, was there a long buildup to the wedding? Or was it all a whirlwind.
[0:06:34.4] AS: It was pretty quick. You know, both of us had been married before for short periods of time in our earlier 20s. This was in my early 30s. It was pretty quick and we were really clear we wanted a small wedding with only those people we really love and so it was – we got married, actually, in Central Park, which was pretty awesome. In the conservatory gardens in Central Park.
[0:07:03.0] SJ: Awesome. Could you describe the wedding a little bit?
[0:07:07.0] AS: Sure. It was really beautiful. You know, we’re both Jewish but he’s more religious, I’m not religious at all. As a matter fact, I’m kind of a-religious. We did get married by a Rabi and we did get married under what Jews called a hookah, which is literally was just four poles. He carves wood so he carved these four poles and I created this silk top for it and we were there with my parents and my sister and his brothers and 60 of our closest friends and family.
What’s funny is that rain was expected that day, but just as we were getting married, friends told me that all of these butterflies came out and the sun came out too. So it was totally magical.
[0:07:55.9] SJ: Wow yeah, it certainly sounds like it. So what was the first couple of years of marriage like?
[0:08:02.2] AS: That’s a really interesting question because it goes back to approximately six to eight months after we started dating together. He had taken me up to his parent’s house up in the country for the first time and wanted to take me for a midnight Jacuzzi and shut out all the lights and didn’t tell me that there is stairs down to the Jacuzzi down the stairs and I fell. I actually, very much injured my arm and needed surgery after that.
There was something that happened that his mother actually said to me about him not telling me about the stairs that triggered this feeling of not feeling totally safe with him. I rejected him a couple of times sexually, right after that. His rejection was so deep that he never fully recovered and so what ended up happening is we turned this amazing relationship and amazing sex life we were having into pretty much a sexless relationship.
Even though the first couple of years we were best friends, we were really supportive, we had other forms of intimacy. For the entire marriage, it was pretty much a sexless marriage. It was hard.
[0:09:20.6] SJ: I’m sorry to hear that.
[0:09:23.5] AS: Yeah, me too. Very much so.
[0:09:25.9] SJ: Was that the first sign that something wasn’t right in the marriage?
[0:09:29.9] AS: Well, I think that was the first sign, for sure. What followed closely and was really connected with that is because we tried to do some counselling together. He wasn’t really very open to it and, you now, counselors would say that he was, you know, some therapists would say that he was repressing his feelings a lot. We could never get to the root cause of how to get back to a place of being open with each other and when things were going well, we were amazing communicators with each other, but when things were — when there was any conflict, we were awful communicators with each other.
So that for me was the real side in that we had difficulty moving through conflict and what’s really interesting about that is that he was a mediator in the beginning part of our relationship and actually he helps people move through conflict. But yet it was a classic example of like you know, the shoemaker’s kids not having shoes.
[0:10:27.2] SJ: Yeah, for sure. Did you ever feel like maybe, you know, obviously it sounds like part of the blame lies with him but did you ever feel that you’re partly responsible for how things were turning?
[0:10:41.8] AS: Yeah. I didn’t know until I started doing some deeper mindset work later, after my son was born. But in the beginning, I wasn’t clear what my part was and how, why it had triggered me the way it had. But it had triggered this place in me of not feeling safe with him. Like the place of feeling secure and safe, probably because of my childhood I’m sure, of not really being safe as a child really came up profoundly and because we were having such difficulty working conflict, that never really came out.
I started personal development back then, some deeper personal development. But we were never able to work through that together. But definitely, I was sure part of that. My son and I have this really bizarre or had, not anymore, thank god. But had this really bizarre sleep connection where it was causing massive sleep depravation for both me and him. Then, ultimately my ex. As a result, I literally at times was getting three or four hours of sleep. Like not even connected sleep at night but just three or four hours and it lasted for years.
I couldn’t imagine going back to work doing anything at that point because life for me was a living hell. I went through what they call the dark night of the soul, what some call a dark night of the soul, and all the structures around me just started to collapse. You know, my relationship with my ex was awful, what was happening and unfolding with my son was awful, I lost so many of my friends from the city, we’d obviously moved out of this city to a place where I knew no one and starting all over again, his parents who were closer to me than my own parents turned on me and then we went from having –
[0:12:41.6] SJ: Do you mind me asking, just interrupting, why they turned on you? What happened there?
[0:12:48.4] AS: Well, first of all, they took his side when we started to have difficulty and also, I’m a pretty natural person and I didn’t want TV around my son when he was an infant and a baby and toddler and I didn’t want sugar or certain foods around him and I didn’t want even, you know, for their very early ages, plastic toys and they just saw me as like a Nazi and a helicopter parent that wasn’t allowing them to spoil their grandchild the way they want to and really resented that.
[0:13:25.2] SJ: Would you mind maybe you have a story of something that happened or specific incident maybe to give people an idea?
[0:13:35.1] AS: I remember when my – I don’t even remember how young my son was but he may have been around two and I told my mother-in-law that I really wanted to have a second child, that I felt like having a second child would balance things out in the family and help resolve it. She basically went, “Ha, you can’t even handle the first one.”
I remember how devastating that was to me and then there was another time, they have this apartment in Costa Rica that we used to go to regularly. They spend three months of the winter there and we were visiting with my son and my son had major attachment issues, insecure attachment. If I would leave, he would have these bizarre tantrums where he would throw himself on the floor and just be inconsolable for up to a half an hour and she was taking me somewhere, she wouldn’t let me drive this standard car that they had because she’s a control freak and she was taking me somewhere and he was freaking out and she said to me, “You need help. You need help learning how to parent, this is not healthy that you’re creating this.” And I went, “I’m not creating this. This is not me creating this. I’m trying to help this,” but that’s not how she saw it.
[0:14:55.2] SJ: I can’t imagine the frustration and heartbreak you felt there.
[0:15:00.0] AS: My god, yeah. Even my ex and I, when we did find the end, we can go backwards too but when we did finally end, had an agreement with my husband that we would continue to share holidays after we were divorced with each other so that we didn’t have to divide up who gets my son for what, that we would continue to share it and when we were still married, almost all the holidays, we spent with his parents who literally lived right next door to where he lives now.
They basically said to me, they weren’t interested in having me at their house and I said, I got on the phone with my mother-in-law and I said, “I’m okay with this and I only want to be where I’m welcome and if I’m not welcome here, you realize that it means that you won’t get your grandson for holidays too.” She said to me, “Everything you say is true.” I was like, “Wow.”
[0:15:58.1] SJ: It’s like an ice queen right there.
[0:16:00.3] AS: Yeah, exactly.
[0:16:05.7] SJ: So what was your lowest point? Let’s just go back a little bit but what was your lowest point then? You mentioned that in your marriage.
[0:16:13.5] AS: The lowest point was when I was experiencing like I said what I would call the dark night of the soul, where we were trying to sort out the sleep thing, we were waking up in the middle of the night all night, we were literally yelling at each other in front of my son. I remember one time I said to him, “I am sick of this!” and he said, “I am sick of you, you’re a bitch,” and I remember going, “Oh my god!” Like I would never say that to him.
As much as I might be sick of this sick of this situation, I would never say that and I remember one time in particular my son was two and a half years old and we had somebody come into our house to try to help us and work with us as a family, a family therapist and we sat down at the table with her and she asked my husband what he would hope for as a result and he said he can’t imagine it ever getting any better than it is and how we could go somewhere where we are now to a place that was livable and I looked at him and I said, “She didn’t ask you what you think could happen, she asked you what you hoped for and if you can’t even hope that we can come to some place with being in a loving relationship again, it would never happen,” and that’s when I believed that it would never really change after that and it never did.
[0:17:42.4] SJ: And so how did the divorce happen?
[0:17:47.0] AS: Well, I started on this quest to get myself out of the darkness that I was in and I started discovering a whole bunch of mindset tools and there’s this one woman I was working with who did inner child re-parenting work and my very first session with her, she requested that I not make a decision about my marriage until I was no longer triggered from my marriage, from my husband and I committed to doing that work.
What she said to me, which is one of the things, you know, I’m a mindset coach now too and one of the things that I teach my clients is if you are in this relationship where things aren’t looking like you want it to look and want to leave, if you leave then all of the issues that you are having now will show up in your next relationship because you haven’t worked through them and better to work with them now in the relationship that you have so that if you do end up moving on — because one of two things will happen, either your relationship will get better or you’ll end up moving on anyway. But if you do then your next relationship comes in at such a higher level where you don’t have to do all of that work again.
So she asked me to commit to that and I did and I committed and stayed with doing the work for a few years more before I finally looked at him one day when he was raging on me for things that I have done five years before and three years before and a year and a half before and I was in a total state of bliss. Like I wasn’t doing that dance with him anymore. The music had changed, I was doing a completely different dance and I just had such compassion on how stuck in the past he was and I smiled and it freaked him out. He thought I was just being sassy with him and I went, “No, I just have a lot of compassion for you. I am just not there anymore.” I am just not there anymore.
When that happened I thought, “Okay things are going to get better,” and within two months of that behavior continuing and it not getting better I went, “I am done and I am ready to move on and I don’t want to be married to you anymore,” and we had lived at that point in separate rooms from each other for about six years. So he just figured that we would continue to cohabit with each other and co-parent and not move on and I went, “That is a little twisted to me. I want romance in my life, I want a new life. I need to move out of here,” and that freaked him out in the beginning because he realized he would end up not losing my son completely but losing my son half the time at least and for a while, he set out on trying to create evidence to bring a case against me of being an unfit mother to take my son away from me.
[0:20:44.4] SJ: So how did he do that? Did he lay traps for you?
[0:20:49.3] AS: He both laid traps and he had his family members give him affidavits and I found out about this because my printer connected to my – we both worked at home. He worked in the city a bunch and my printer wasn’t working and so I sent something to his email account and asked him if I could print it out and I went onto his email account to print it out and I saw all of these other emails and I went, “Holy shit!”
[0:21:17.3] SJ: And what did do they say?
[0:21:18.6] AS: They basically, he had been talking to an attorney and getting advice from an attorney on what evidence he needed to bring this case and he had started to accumulate, and I read the affidavits from his parents and from his other family members about how I was unfit, how crazy I was, which is really disconcerting to say the least.
[0:21:43.1] SJ: Did you confront him or you did you say anything at all?
[0:21:47.0] AS: Well what ended up happening is about a couple of days later because it really freaked me out and I started then to talk to other attorneys. I wasn’t a matrimonial attorney so I started to talk to other attorneys about what I can do to protect myself and he came into my office one evening after my son had gone to sleep and said to me, “I really want to work with you. How can we work this out to work together?” and I basically said, “You’re a f***ing liar. You don’t want to work with me, I saw what you’re doing. I saw what you’re up to and that is not the way to work this out with me.”
And he apologized to me and said he had been going down that route but then literally the day before he had an epiphany of that would do for my son and wanted to come back to me and try to work it out, and we did. We were able to work it out after that.
[0:22:39.5] SJ: And so during this whole time of the relationship deteriorating, was your intimate relationship deteriorating? And I am guessing it was if you were in separate rooms for six years.
[0:22:54.5] AS: Yes, we went to the place of I would say before — because what ended up happening is when I first started to go through the dark night of the soul, we were still living in Woodstock and then when my son was four, we moved up our financial like we have blown through all of our savings and it was almost like $100,000 in debt at that point and he was still struggling to work and we ended up moving into my former in laws, have two houses on 15 acres on their one house and we moved into the other house, which made it even worse.
So all of the issues that we were having when my son was, up until the age of four, got even more compounded when we moved next door to his parents and we would literally barely spend time with each other. We would trade turns having time with my son but we rarely did anything as a family together. We rarely saw each other. When we talk to each other, it was usually conflictual and unpleasant and there was no kissing, there was no hand holding, there was no niceties, there was no “I love you”. There was just us living in the same house barely wanting to have anything to do with each other.
[0:24:10.8] SJ: So did you ever consider looking elsewhere for a romantic partner or did you even have time to do that?
[0:24:19.9] AS: Well, I did and here’s the funny thing, there was one point in time when not long after we moved into next door to his parents where I talked to him about the need to bring back intimacy and that the only way we’d find a way through it is to recreate the intimacy in some form in our relationship and he basically said, “I don’t want to have anything to do with you. This is non-negotiable. I am not having sex with you and if that is important to you, just let me know you’re going to have somebody else,” and I went, “That’s serious and we need to see somebody to help us with this,” and he went, “I am not,” and I said, “Well, if sex is non-negotiable but then seeing someone is non-negotiable,” and we did but he was not – he wouldn’t really show up and it wasn’t helpful and so we only saw them for a few sessions and stopped and I thought about it. I thought, “Okay, well he is basically giving me carte blanche to go do something else.” But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I knew if I had, I would have sealed the fate on my relationship and if every day I was going to be there, I was determined to try to make it work every day I was there and every day I was rejected by him and every day once I started to get really deep into the mindset work, every day I’d come back and open my heart and try again and every day he’d reject me. Every day I’d come back and try again and this went on for two years until I finally said, “I can’t do this anymore.”
[0:25:51.2] SJ: Then I am guessing you got divorced.
[0:25:53.2] AS: Then we separated and then a year after that we did get divorced, yeah.
[0:25:58.0] SJ: How has your life turned out differently than what you expected or hoped for?
[0:26:05.0] AS: When I first married him, there was no doubt that he was a soul mate and that we were best friends and so in love with each other, so supportive of each. Supportive of other professionally. In the first four years of my marriage, my income nine times what it was at the beginning of my marriage. There was no doubt that I thought we were going to be together forever that we would figure out a way to make that work and it didn’t end up like that at all. It didn’t end up like that at all.
It made me realize that there can be multiple people that are really good for us in our lives at different times in our lives, depending on how we grow and the brilliant part of what happened in my marriage is had it not gone down the way that it did, I wouldn’t be person that I am and I wouldn’t have discovered my true purpose in life, which is to be a transformational mindset and business coach and help other people change their patterns and their thinking and their life to create the life that they want and it is through that darkness that I came into my own awakening.
[0:27:24.8] SJ: So do you have any regrets then from your past or are you happy with them?
[0:27:33.5] AS: No, no. No regrets at all. No regrets, because that whole experience gave me all the tools that I use in my life and that I teach my clients now and it was like the perfect design by infinite intelligence of helping me create exactly what I needed for this next phase in my life to truly step into the person I am meant to be and there’s not a single regret that I have.
[0:28:02.0] SJ: So would you have any advice then for listeners that might find themselves in a similar situation?
[0:28:09.5] AS: I would. I would say that it is really easy. You asked me a really brilliant question at the beginning which was what was my part of it and I think that there is a tendency to focus on the other and not take responsibility for our own feelings, our own thoughts and beliefs and our own actions and the only thing we can control is our own thinking and how we change our beliefs and when you start to understand the patterns that you are running in life and the beliefs that are really dictating your experience of life and that you absolutely have the power to change it, that you can really change it to create the most unbelievable, spectacular life, such happiness and joy in your life and the most loving relationships then it is really empowering and it allows you to move into your relationship in a completely different way and if you end up moving on from that relationship then you do but you do it from an empowered place not from a victim place.
[0:29:13.2] SJ: Awesome. Alaina, I think that’s a great place to leave your story and this episode. Thanks so much for coming on the show.
[0:29:22.3] AS: So, I just wanted to close by thanking you so much for having me on the show and just let anybody know that if they’re ready to do that kind of mindset work then I am happy to talk to them and I can be reached at alainaschwartz.com.
[0:29:44.5] SJ: Awesome. Alaina, thanks so much.
[0:29:46.6] AS: Thank you so much.