Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Guy Talk: Infidelity, Communication Problems, & Surf Trips with Sean Galla of Mens Group | Episode 78

January 13, 2022 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 78
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Guy Talk: Infidelity, Communication Problems, & Surf Trips with Sean Galla of Mens Group | Episode 78
Show Notes Transcript

Ryan discusses how men can improve relationships, communication issues and other related topics with Sean Galla, the founder of mensgroup.com.

MensGroup was founded by Sean Galla, an experienced men’s group facilitator, community builder, and serial entrepreneur.

Sean was a hockey player and pro DJ in his youth. When he moved down to Mexico to pursue his dream of learning surfing and Spanish, he lacked people to talk to about the things on his mind.

He missed the locker-room-type conversations where guys talked about stuff that was really going on in their lives, so Sean started checking out men’s groups.

Disappointed with what he found – a lot of kooky stuff and poor leadership – Sean decided to start his own community for men who are interested in personal development and discussing these topics with others.

That was over 10 years ago. Sean has been building communities, leading men’s circles, and adventure retreat weekends ever since. Now he focuses full time on MensGroup.


What is Divorce at Altitude? 

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado. 

To subscribe to Divorce at Altitude, click here and select your favorite podcast player. To subscribe to Kalamaya | Goscha's YouTube channel where many of the episodes will be posted as videos, click here. If you have additional questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 970-429-5784 or email us at [email protected].

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DISCLAIMER: THE COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THIS PODCAST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE OR AREA TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY OF THESE ISSUES

Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey everyone. I'm M Ryan Kalamaya

Amy Goscha (6s):
And Amy. Goscha

Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to the Divorce at Altitude. A podcast on Colorado family law

Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me. I know besides being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a divorce.

Ryan Kalamaya (21s):
Whether you are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney listening for weekly tips and insight into topics related to divorce, parenting and separation in Colorado. Welcome back to another episode at Divorce at Altitude. This is Ryan Kalamaya this week. We are talking about guys, guy stuff, and we are joined by the founder of men's group, Sean gala. And we'll get into how Eric Wolf has. Most of our listeners know our hypothetical divorce client, why men's group and the issues that in particular, Eric is going to face. But first, Sean, welcome to the show.

Sean Galla (1m 3s):
We'll be here, man. Happy to chat with you about Eric Wolf and the other for the other guys that are listening right now, we have a lot of guys going through divorces and men's groups. So it's a topic near and dear to my heart.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 13s):
Before we got on, we talked about skiing and you are in BC. I'm actually heading there on a heli ski trip here in a couple of weeks. So you had some issues with some snow.

Sean Galla (1m 23s):
Yeah, yeah. I was a little late for this cause we just got a big dump of snow and actually just got back from a ski trip through the Kootenays with my girlfriend. We spend nine days up there and got a bunch of great snow and lovely part of BC.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 33s):
Well guys, can, we can talk about skiing. We can talk about hockey. You were a hockey player. I was a baseball player, but why don't we set the stage? I think for our listeners about you were in Mexico, living the life of Instagram and Facebook, and everyone thought that you had a perfect life with surfing down there. So can you tell us about what the outside world was seeing with Sean in Mexico and what was actually really going on? Totally.

Sean Galla (2m 1s):
So like you said, I grew up kind of as a hockey player and I grew up in a household that was quite had a lot of disapproval. And so I was always trying to prove myself through hockey. And then when that ended, it was like trying to prove myself through businesses and stuff. And then it was trying to do things that were flashy that would make people say, wow, that's really cool that you did that. And so deejaying, I was a professional DJ for awhile. I tried that after college and stuff and then ended up moving down to Mexico. I thought, wow, that's really cool. I've always wanted to surf. And I genuinely do love the ocean, but that'd be great. And maybe then I feel good about myself. You know, if I was doing something cool like that, I wasn't actually thinking that. But I think that was the emotional drivers behind the process. So I ended up dating a woman from Spain and we fell in love and she was managing a four seasons hotel in Vancouver and ended up a position became available in Mexico.

Sean Galla (2m 45s):
And so we packed up the car and drove down two weeks later, we intended to stay there for a year and we ended up staying for six.

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 51s):
Where in Mexico cellular Salita

Sean Galla (2m 53s):
Little surf town in the west coast. Yeah,

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 55s):
My wife and I were married in cellulite. It's certainly changed since been seven, eight years now. And, but yeah, I know Sayulita well, so you're out surfing the brake prune to meet in and around the <em></em> area, but what was going on? Yeah, it was like,

Sean Galla (3m 11s):
It was a lovely first year learning the culture and I learned Spanish and I was surfing every day. Like I said, actually I live in, in Punta Mita. Most people just don't know where that is. So I'll be surfaced right near my house. Like literally walking distance to, I don't know, 10 or 15 bricks, not many people on them. My partner was beautiful. She was successful. I had a business that was interesting. I was teaching deejaying online. I had the first online DJ school and realized nobody was doing that. And so I launched that online then. Yeah, just after the first year there, it just got lonely man. Like people come down and visit for a week or whatever, but then especially in the summers, like there's nobody around. And so I kind of longed for connection with people like me and I couldn't really find them down there.

Sean Galla (3m 51s):
I had local friends that I'd surf with or, but they're from Mexico. So relationship could only so deep because of language and cultural differences. So I was running into relationship issues, especially as that relationship went on. There's some family drama, I'm my own, just emotional stuff and a nobody to talk to about it. So it, it, I ended up feeling kind of like a prison, oddly enough, even though I was living on the beach on a surf wave with a beautiful partner and all the air, the things that look good on faces.

Ryan Kalamaya (4m 16s):
And so tell us about what that next step was. How did you develop meaningful relationships with other guys and kind of break out of that prison? Which I think, you know, guys like Eric Wolf or entrepreneurs I think can really relate with where they are kind of a capture or prisoner of their own success. And sometimes it can be very lonely. So tell us about what you did to break out of that.

Sean Galla (4m 41s):
And I can relate to what you just said, almost being a prisoner of my own success, that old saying it's lonely at the top is true. I wasn't really at the top, but I was doing different things than most of the people around me and I was living a different kind of life. And so it was really, it really was a little isolating in a strange way. Like I was popular, I had lots of friends and stuff, but it was still, nobody could relate to what I'm doing or how I was thinking about my life for the world. You know? And so what I did is I actually threw a bunch of friends into a Facebook group, which was a new thing at the time. So these days, you know, most people avoid Facebook groups, but back then back then it was like, wow, this is cool. And I through women and men of all different ages, I just thought, Hey, we can have some conversations about life. This could be beneficial, kind of scratching my own itch, you know, and the women didn't really get involved and the guys were like, Hey, this is, this is interesting.

Sean Galla (5m 24s):
I don't really get to talk about this stuff. You know, I think I was talking about my relationship stuff and considering breaking up with my partner and those kinds of things. And yeah, the other guys felt similar things and wanting to talk about similar things. And so they started inviting their friends and these were very like interesting successful men. Some of them were public celebrity kind of characters or athletes or, you know, lawyers, those kinds of things. They were quite successful. And yet they still even living in these big cities like London or New York or wherever, they still felt the same isolation that I was feeling. So I was like, huh, there's something here. And then it just kind of started to take on its own life. And

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 57s):
So you guys started a group. What was that eventually known?

Sean Galla (6m 2s):
I actually called the brotherhood. It was a men's group. It turned into a men's group for entrepreneurs. Again, I had no intentions of doing that. It just seemed like men needed this more than women. And then also men who are entrepreneurs who are, or guys that are high up the corporate ladder were like, it was another level of isolation. They felt like they put so much energy into their, their careers and their families that they didn't really have a chance to build other support pillars, other friendships and community. So yeah, it turned into a, it was just a Facebook group. And then we started going on adventures together. So the first one was a surf trip and we did a ski trip and we did a sailing trip. So.

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 34s):
And how would you describe the conversations and the points of those adventures together? Why is it just guys and how did you really start getting into emotional issues and support for one another?

Sean Galla (6m 49s):
So why is it just guys again? I never intended that, but it just sort of hadn't naturally happened. And then also I noticed that when like one of the first Hangouts we had, it was actually in Vancouver. I flew back to see family and a bunch of the guys in the group were in Vancouver. So we went to have dinner and cause I was a DJ before I happened to know a lot of beautiful women around town because all the servers, they were just became friends because we were working in the same industry. And so I remember a beautiful friend of mine rolled in. And while why is I'm dinner with a bunch of the guys? And the guys were talking about real stuff, their relationships, their businesses. And as soon as this beautiful girl walked over to say hi, all of a sudden their Chet, they popped out their chest a little bit. And it was like, they were throwing out little indicators of like their value and their vulnerability went to zero. So I quickly realized that men are so conditioned to like look strong in front of their potential partners.

Sean Galla (7m 34s):
For the most part, at least in traditional generals. I'm not sure how that applies to the gay community or whatever, but they, we, we have a hard time being vulnerable as it is. But especially in front of potential partners, even for guys that are happily married, I noticed them doing it. There's just this impulse to like look strong, you know,

Ryan Kalamaya (7m 49s):
Right now I think that a lot of the Eric wolfs, they come to our firm, they're confronting a divorce and they are very reluctant to engage in deep conversations, generally speaking. And so one thing that my firm, we always encourage clients going through a divorce is to seek mental health or therapy and counseling. And a lot of guys will be like, oh, that's so woo, woo. Like I don't need that. I'm a guy. Right? You're a hockey player. I think that there's an element that you've heard that before. So what would you say to Eric Wolf when he says, I don't need a men's group or therapy or counseling, that's just too, you know, soft for me.

Sean Galla (8m 33s):
I say that that that's a naive perspective. I would say that I understand where it's coming from because our fathers and their fathers were like that, but that's not how our physiology, our biology, our nervous system is hardwired. We're actually evolved from 2 million years of living in small tribes and talking about things. And it's just in the last couple hundred years where unfortunately, our ancestors went through a pretty tough time, difficult times with lots of wars, at least for north America, you know, with our European kind of ancestors, lots of wars and lots of depressions. And like my dad's dad grew up working in the coal mines in Ireland and started when he was 11 and set out for a new life on his own when he was 15 for Canada, gone a steam ship by himself and set up for a new life. How fucked up was his life that he had to leave his country and everything behind it, 15.

Sean Galla (9m 17s):
And then he had 11 kids. And so my dad isn't getting much love. Right. My dad got a handshake when he moved out, he never got a hug. He never got an, I love you. So like that's where that's coming from. That that resistance to emotions is because we didn't have the opportunity to in past generations. But don't mistake that for being the way that we're wired, because 2 million years of being in tribes actually has made us actually programmed to share that stuff. And the mental health research, the stats, all the science around this verify that this isn't my opinion. It's deep research.

Ryan Kalamaya (9m 43s):
And what would you say to Eric Wolf if he came to a men's group or came to Sean gala and said, you know, my wife was cheating on me. I am embarrassed about this. I don't know where to go. What do you tell someone like Eric, when he's dealing with infidelity

Sean Galla (10m 1s):
Back to your question of like, what do you guys talk about in that, on, in your men's group? And like, what does that look like? So I never intended to run men's groups. Like I never, I do have a counselor personality by nature. I got down to like a business track trying to prove myself. I probably should have been a counselor cause I love this stuff. But yeah, I was actually surprised that on these guys wanted to engage in these conversations about everyday guy stuff, you know, Hey, my wife and I are in conflict a lot. How can I show up better? Hey, I'm having trouble setting boundaries as the people at work. Like how do I do that better? Hey, I don't have any guy friends. How can I make more guy friends? But the real kicker was like when I was on these adventure trips and I'm sorry that this is a long winded answer, but I think it exemplifies it. Well, the first is the adventure trips we did. We're on the surf trip and these guys are doing this adventure and we're talking about work and a little bit of life, but not a lot of stuff.

Sean Galla (10m 45s):
Guys are kind of guarded. And then we sit down in the circle at the end of the trip and I think it's going to be a business mastermind where we're supporting each other through business, you know, Hey, I'm going through this challenge. Can you offer resources? And the first guy just by happenstance says, my wife just had her third myth miscarriage. And I've no idea how to support her. She's feeling depressed. I'm feeling down. What do I do? And he started crying. He was a little bit, and it was fascinating because that changed the tone in the room. And immediately guys were supportive. And then what happened is the next guys in the circle also shared the real stuff that they were actually going through because they had observed that, oh, this guy isn't going to be judged as being weak for sharing something emotional or sharing something personal. So, and then the next guy went talking about how, he's not sure whether you should live his new kid, like his young son around his alcoholic father, you know, like read, these are real scenarios that we all feel kind of heavy stuff.

Sean Galla (11m 35s):
And then other guys it's not as heavy, you know, it's like, oh, I just came into some inheritance. What do I do with it? Or there's all these personal topics, just day-to-day stuff as well. And I realized that guys want to talk about this stuff we all do because it's it's pressure in our minds. Right. But we just need to be in the right environment. We need to feel like we're not going to be judged as weak or gay or whatever, just for sharing that. You know? So that's what I'd say to your buddy. There is, Hey man, there's lots of guys that are going through that and you don't have to share if you don't want to, but these are the guys that do it with, if you have the chance. So, and then we just hang out and naturally, he'd see other guys talking about it and he'd probably start to feel more comfortable.

Ryan Kalamaya (12m 8s):
And I know that you've been pretty transparent about your struggles with both health infidelity. Can you share a little bit of an insight into what you've personally had to address?

Sean Galla (12m 20s):
Oh man, how long do you have? I mean, I feel like my whole life is a work in progress. I mean, I came out of my households as just being like a, quite a validation seeking like externally, trying to feel good about myself. And so that set me up for all kinds of issues, chasing sex and women for validation. Also just being really that creating whole bunch of emotional issues behind the scenes, just feeling really low about myself, low self-worth having trouble setting boundaries with people. And as a result, like, because I don't feel good about myself, I'm too keen to be in relationships, shows poor partners. They cheat on me and had to dig myself out of those lows. The first big business I launched went bankrupt, put me through personal bankruptcy from the stress of all that stuff. I then got chronically ill for a couple of years, just like deep fatigue and brain fog and stuff like that.

Sean Galla (13m 5s):
Just basically a burnout. I mean, I can keep going. I've had betrayals. I've had like, what you see on Facebook is holy shit. Sean's traveled over the world and he's lived in Mexico when he was a DJ and he's now he just skis and surfs a lot and stuff, but it's like, man, I've been through the fucking ringer.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 21s):
I think that the surfing and the skiing was your way to process that or distract yourself.

Sean Galla (13m 30s):
I think it was a good way to do that. And I think it was a healthy outlet, especially when you get cheated on or a lot of these events where there's anger involved, I've found in myself and just by observing other guys in men's group that guys really need to move that energy. Otherwise it starts to blow out at people around us or whatever. So I think that was very helpful also. It's just, it's one of the few places I can go and get out of my head and feel that flow state, it's almost like meditation cruising down a ski hill or whatever. And I think a lot of people don't understand that about these sports. They just think you're a thrill seeker, but for me, it's actually quite grounding and quite meditative.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 59s):
My office is at the base of a ski mountain and my clients know that my best ideas, I tell them my best ideas come inadvertently or subconsciously when I'm sitting on the chairlift or I'm out hiking or, you know, doing those sorts of things. And I am a better lawyer because I ski a lot and that I think everyone has to have their own process. And I have, you know, one of my favorite clients, he went through a divorce. He is your ideal candidate for men's group. And we'll talk a little bit about that, but he set a goal of hiking, the bowl in Highlands, you know, it's about 30 to 60 minutes of a hike.

Ryan Kalamaya (14m 40s):
And then you ski 3000 vert down and heated a hundred bowl laps in the year that he had a divorce because he was dealing with that. And I think that that's something that we can all appreciate is when you are in those stressful environments, there's a healthy way. And then there's an unhealthy way. So, you know, you could have, you know, hookers and blow and that could be something gambling, porn. You know, those sorts of addictions, which I know is a common topic for you guys in men's group addiction. So can you talk about some of the common topics or other issues that you guys talk about in men's group, specifically with addiction? This episode is brought to you by our law firm.

Ryan Kalamaya (15m 22s):
Kalamaya Gosha Amy and I describe our law firm as an innovative and ambitious trial team that pushes the boundaries to discover a new frontier is in family law, personal injuries in criminal defense in Colorado. We currently have offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Denver, and Boulder. If you want to find out more, visit our website, Kalamaya dot law. Now back to the show.

Sean Galla (15m 48s):
Yeah, for sure. So just to touch on your last point. Yeah. Anger management is a common one, I think, no matter what adversity you guys coming in with, there's a component of anger and doing that for your physical body to move that emotional energy seems to really do wonders across the board for every man. Yeah. So I, you know, anger is a topic that we eventually get into a lot. The big ones for us are boundaries. A lot of guys read the book no more. Mr. Nice guy. And they learn. They realize they have no idea how to set boundaries or get clear on what they want to break up. Recovery, divorce, recovery, infidelity, recovery. That's a big one. What else can we communicating? Better saving relationships is a big one guys coming in and trying to be better and save their marriage or whatever depression. Yeah. Purpose and meaning. I think those are the big ones. Yeah.

Ryan Kalamaya (16m 28s):
It sounds like you guys have some resources. Can you give us a little preview in terms of books or programs that men's group that you guys do for example, to improving communication and relationships? I know that's a common topic that guys really struggle with is the communication in relationships, whether it be children or their partner, if they're trying to save their marriage or, you know, after a divorce. So what are the resources or tips that you would have for improving communication in relationships?

Sean Galla (16m 58s):
That's great. By the way, one, I forgot to mention that you mentioned for porn addiction, that's our, one of our most popular groups. It seems like there isn't a guy that hasn't dealt with some degree of that. Yeah. And around the communication stuff and what resources we offer and stuff like, what's cool about what we do is that we have facilitators either, either qualified counselors or coaches like leading the meetings. And so they have resources to offer, but really we are not really telling people what to do or trying to give them advice. We're just bringing the guys together that want to talk about the same thing. And then we're encouraging the conversation. And through that, these guy, these other men that show up to these meetings, or even just in the discussion forum, they've already found resources and they're recommending resources to each other. So around communication, you know, there's like a lot of books that I recommend to do with guys particular situation, but it's like, it just, most of these and most of this comes from the members themselves.

Sean Galla (17m 44s):
We're not really telling people what to do. Are they,

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 46s):
Are there common books or resources you see are shared that universally, you know, someone like Eric, he comes into men's group where the things that he might help benefit from

Sean Galla (17m 58s):
Yeah. A hundred percent. There's like a couple books that come up over and over and over again, I've read them in love. First one would probably be no more. Mr. Nice guy that just comes up so much. And it's just a book about boundaries. Like, cause a lot of guys they're going through a breakup like Eric Wolf, if he's, you know, a lot of learning about relationships ends up coming back to boundaries like, oh yeah, right. I wasn't clear enough about what I wanted and or maybe I was, but either way I let somebody like cross a boundary and I didn't put my needs first and didn't communicate that well. And so boundary setting is just like one of those ubiquitous topics that applies to everybody. And it was very like, everybody seems to struggle with it in different parts of their lives attached. That's the best book on relationships I've ever read. The science of attachment, the attachment styles.

Sean Galla (18m 38s):
Often people choose their partner and based on, and she's friendships based on some of the drama they have with their parents. And that sounds fluffy and woo, but it's a simple dynamic either you're secure, which is the lucky ones or you're anxious or you're avoidant and anxious, avoidance typically track each other. But the problem is the avoidance lean away and the anxious lean in more and more. And I just, as soon as I read that book, I was like, holy shit. And that's what I've been doing that really helped me approach dating differently. A lot of the guys feel the same way becoming the kind father. That's a book that comes up a lot. I don't know where it is here somewhere here. It's a book about a man who didn't have a kind father. And he learned that he had to become his own kind of father. And so he'd go for walks in the morning and learn to talk to himself as then, the way that he wished that his father had like, you're doing great, man, look, this is good.

Sean Galla (19m 19s):
Just keep, you know, keep going. That kind of stuff. That's a great book. The obstacles, the way my Ryan holiday

Ryan Kalamaya (19m 25s):
Love Ryan holiday. I frequently give his books to my male clients. This stoicism, that thread I think really resonates with guys. And it's, you know, I've spoken on other podcast or I'm on this podcast about stoicism and Ryan holiday. But that definitely is something that I see resonating with people like

Sean Galla (19m 48s):
Wolf. Yeah, definitely. And that, that was huge for me is understanding that actually the most successful people of all time, they all have the same attitude towards adversity, which is that there's always some gift or opportunity in that. And so that's made it from like me having emotional lows around setbacks to like actually out looking forward to them. But knowing while I'm in it, even though it feels uncomfortable that like something good is going to come from this,

Ryan Kalamaya (20m 7s):
Indeed. I think a lot of guys that are going through divorce, it feels like the world is kind of collapsing. They want to have that light at the end of the tunnel. And you know, I know you've experienced family loss and, and address that and, you know, losing your, your marriage. There is definitely the seven stages of grief from my observation of guys go through it. My sister passed away very early age in a very tragic manner and just, well, nobody, it's one of those things where we can share that. And those are shared experiences. I've never been through a divorce, but I can relate to my clients because loss in processing that, but also looking for an opportunity to, you know, for rebirth.

Ryan Kalamaya (20m 53s):
I mean, we're going through right now with COVID, you know, a, another wave of, you know, pandemic and fatigue. And so it's, how can we look at this as an opportunity for growth? And I think that that's something that your group men's group, really guys look at that differently than women. And that's just it, we have common problems and we have to have that support group and redefining masculinity. I know that that's something that you have spoken with about, so how do you redefine masculinity or when you hear that term, what does that mean to you?

Sean Galla (21m 29s):
And it's funny because people ask me about masculinity all the time and I'm like, I don't really think about it. It's like, I don't really sit around and think about masculinity. And I don't think about how about my own masculinity. I'm just like, I hit people in sports. I have, I'm a bigger, you know, I've got a deep voice. I got hair on my face. Like I like being a man. I don't think about it much beyond that. But how I do think about it is I've seen thousands of guys now in these circles and these men's groups and communities and stuff, and without fail there, isn't a man alive that doesn't want to talk about whatever it is. That's on their mind. They're just scared to, I'm talking about 300 pound biker bros with tatties professional athletes, celebrated athletes, guys that are on TV, investment bankers in Shanghai. You know, just like there, isn't an archetype of man that I haven't run into who doesn't want to share.

Sean Galla (22m 12s):
And so for me watching these guys actually do that and actually work through divorce in a healthy way, instead of blowing out into hookers and cocaine and yelling at their kids or whatever, you know, it's masculinity is, is the definition of masculinity for me is being the rock is being the stable one is being emotionally unfeasible. And the way that I've seen guys get there is that actually go into that stuff instead of avoiding it, avoiding it, you end up with this weird emotional childlike male thing where guys are moody and they're upset, they're upset. And like behind closed doors, they're kind of dramatic with their wives, with their kids. That's how my dad and was unfortunately, you know, when you see guys, when they get drunk at the bar or whatever, all of a sudden they're just, oh, there's a lot coming out there.

Sean Galla (22m 54s):
Where's that coming from? It's cause they're, they're avoiding the stuff, the energy that th the emotions that are stuck in the body. And so I've seen guys go into that and they come with you to express that stuff through crying or hitting a punching bag or whatever, like actually accepting their feelings finally. And then they come out the other side and they're not as triggered by that stuff. Cause they released that well, that pressure cooker or pain or whatever it was, and then they're unfeasible, then they have dependable. Then they can be that rock that people look them to be as a leading man. So I think it's kind of counterintuitive. It's like, it's like the way out is through, through the pain, through the sadness, through the angry.

Ryan Kalamaya (23m 26s):
Yeah. And I think that going back to, you know, stoicism and Ryan holiday, which is why I think it resonates with so many guys is acknowledging that being angry and, or being sad, those are, you know, they are inevitable human conditions, but it's what you do with that and how you address that. And you can avoid it or you can address it head on. And maybe that is the redefinition of masculinity is to kind of accept that and be vulnerable. I know that's one of the things that you have spoken about in the past is about being vulnerable.

Sean Galla (24m 1s):
Can I be really direct about that? Let me put it in terms of the guys will understand you're a fucking coward. If you're afraid of your own feelings, it's like guys will show up. So masculine their lives work, this, that take risks, but they're scared of their own feelings like that is not masculine. What's masculine is being like, like you do with a car, Hey, if there's a problem, you take it to the mechanic and get it fixed. It's addressing the EPOS certain challenge to work through. Or some, some emotions to get into getting into it, getting some tools to help you do that. Like a men's group, like a coach or a podcast like this or whatever. And then like improving that is the hero's journey is like that self, self growth that comes from addressing problems and taking action. Like that is the most masculine thing you can.

Ryan Kalamaya (24m 41s):
So tell us about men's group and what, what do you guys experience or what can they expect if, what you say and what I say resonates with them, Sean, what can they expect in, in men's group? Like why do you have a men's group?

Sean Galla (24m 55s):
Yeah, good question. So guys have a man's group because they get really focused on their careers and they get really focused on their families. And then sometimes when they go through divorce, often the look around and there'll be nobody else there. Or they put all their emotional needs and all their intimate needs. And I don't mean that physically or sexually, but like, you know, closeness into their partner. They don't have friends that have that. And so that's a really difficult place to be. That's really difficult to not have anybody to talk to or anybody to say, you know what man you're going to do. Okay. I've been through that. It's fine. And so there's an increasing number of like guys that are feeling this way because society seems to be pushing men towards isolation. And so that's why there's men's groups. Now what we used to do, where when we were building a house together or going to war together or work in a farm together or hunting together, we now don't have a spot to do that.

Sean Galla (25m 39s):
Even our grandparents, they used to go to the Legion or these veteran bars, you know, those things don't exist anymore. So that's why minuscule success. It's just like, it's a more efficient way to find guys like you going through similar things, you could go and find, build it yourself, but it's like, it's a lot of energy. And how are you going to find guys? And most guys don't want to talk about this stuff. So you can just show up to a men's group. And it's guys who have self-selected, they're like want to be there. They want to be talking about real stuff. They want to make friends with guys like you and support guys like you and talk about stuff that you want to you're going through. And so that's why they exist. And there's a bunch of different varieties. There's lots of kooky ones where people dress up and chant or, you know, getting those go into the woods and get naked or whatever. And it's like, that's cool. But we realized that there's a bigger population of guys that they're just like, I just want to talk about guy stuff.

Sean Galla (26m 23s):
They don't want to do emotional exercises. They don't want to be talking about masculinity or being vulnerable, not to TZ Ryan, but like, they don't want to be vulnerable or feel like they need help. They just want to talk about how they can communicate better in their relationship or like how to deal with this conflict with their boss or, you know, everyday nuts and bolts guy stuff. And so that's what we did differently. We just make it really approachable. It's like, Hey, come in, have a chat with the guys we'll connect you with that are going through similar things and just talk about whatever.

Ryan Kalamaya (26m 46s):
So do you guys have an overall group and forum or is it small kind of groups that are selected? You know, YPO is a well-known kind of group of, you know, and, and so they, they are there's forums, but then there's also a larger thing. So can you paint a picture of what the structure and how things are organized with men's group? Do you guys communicate online? Is it then you, do you guys have trips? Can you tell us a little bit more about how you guys have things organized? Yeah.

Sean Galla (27m 13s):
Great question. We try to make it as simple, as approachable as possible. So you come to the website, men's group.com, everyone in the website. It's like, Hey, submit your email. You can check out a free men's group or be a part of our free discussion community. So you can do that. You can start there and you can just come into our discussion area and see other guys posting about their divorces and their lives and just general personal development topics. And you can check out one of the free men's groups. Social typically be about 10 guys, just showing up to support each other and talk about whatever's going on. We also have like a paid area where guys pay to be a part of it, 29 bucks a month, right now, super reasonable. And basically you come into the community hub, which is like a big discussion area and all of our events are listed there. And we'll introduce you to guys going through similar things so you can get some one-on-one conversations going.

Sean Galla (27m 53s):
And then you can select from a wide range of all of our men's groups that are going on. So we have general support groups. We have men's teams that we can place you in like eight to 10 guys where you meet every two weeks. We have topic specific groups around divorces, breakups, separations, communication, pressure, and porn addiction, veterans, group, old guys, group, young guys talking about dating and confidence group. So we have all these different groups that you can choose to self select and choose to attend. If you want, we bring in speakers for podcasts like this, the guys can be a part of and ask questions. So it's really like choose your own. It's like a buffet, choose, choose your own adventure kind of thing. And you can do the intimate men's team thing of eight to 10 guys where it's like the same guys and you really get to know each other and you support each other. And you know everything about each other over the weeks and months and years, or you can just tune into the drop-in groups on, around that one topic you want to learn about or hanging out in the forums.

Ryan Kalamaya (28m 39s):
And is it a kind of video based? Is it chat?

Sean Galla (28m 43s):
Yes. We have the community discussion area, which is online discussions, which actually work really well. A lot of guys don't think they'll like that, but they like the fact they can get such quick answers and they also liked the anonymous, the anonymity of it. But yeah, most of our meetings or all of our meetings over zoom. So it's all online right now due to COVID. We were doing the adventure trip thing before, quite heavily for close to 10 years. And then COVID with COVID and a lot of guys being stuck at home with families. We're like, let's focus on this online model. And because there are a lot of guys that wanted to tend the trips that couldn't because they were stuck at home. So we're like, how do we make this approachable? How do we help a guy in a rural area or a guy with three kids or a guy who can't afford to come out to one of our, you know, Dick waggy, venture trips. So it's all online right now. And,

Ryan Kalamaya (29m 23s):
But for future assuming kind of safety precautions, you guys would organize surf trip or a ski trip or some kind of a adventure based trip that guys can go and really guys get to meet, have drinks, talk about things, go out to dinner and do guy things. Totally. Yeah. We like,

Sean Galla (29m 41s):
Before we whitewater after done the grand canyon, we did yoga retreats. We did supercar racing. We did golf trips, wilderness survival training with Navy seals. Like all this stuff in the Rocky is actually up in near you in Colorado. Yeah. So like, we'd like to get back to that. Cause that's the stuff that I love. We're not in a rush too though, because this online model seems to really be working like a lot of guys want, even though they think they won't like the VDA, a video meeting thing, it actually works really well. Like even though in person is better when somebody starts talking about, Hey, I just got cheated on or Hey, my wife's trying to take my kids away from me and there's there's emotion behind it. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's a video or not, or in person like that's engaging. And that's really cool. So that's kind of what we're focusing on right now is the online stuff.

Ryan Kalamaya (30m 22s):
Yeah. I think that for us, with what mob surveys has been is that, you know, the zoom and the, And you and I are, I mean, you're in BC and I mean, in Colorado, we have some things in common we're dudes, we've got some facial hair, we've got snow outside, but it's not the same as when you and I are in the same room if we're grabbing a pint at a bar, but it's close to it. And the fact is that if you have two people, two guys that have been cheated on or two guys that are running a business and they're worried about, are their employees burnt out or am I going to be able to keep my house? Or what should I do for my spring break or my next guy strip that, you know, the video, the, the fact is that we can kind of connect and that's more important than the vehicle by which we connect.

Ryan Kalamaya (31m 14s):
It's more important that we have something so in common as opposed to kind of being in common, but in person. Yeah,

Sean Galla (31m 22s):
Yeah, totally. It's but number one is better than nothing. Number, number two, it's way better than nothing. It's like, I've been amazed how I wasn't sure if the online thing would work because I thought the in-person was it, we just did. In-person basically for 10 years, but then yeah, like these guys, like you said, it only takes one person you meet that's going through the same things that thinks the same way you do kind of like you and me, I could see us being friends, you know, skiing together or whatever, you know, it's like, and we see guys doing that where they meet on a meeting with a couple other guys, like in one of our men's groups and then they break off and they start to build a friendship and they start talking on the phone, we've got a group of guys, we have nine guys that meet every morning for breakfast. We got guys who cook together and this will sounds weird, but like, if you're going through a divorce, it's just a lonely process is it's just, and so like to have bunch of guys there while you're cooking and you're all cooking and you're just hanging out and bantering and talking about just whatever it's like, that's pretty cool.

Sean Galla (32m 7s):
And sometimes it flows into personal stuff. Sometimes it's more bantery, but yeah, it's, it works. I'm constantly shocked by how well it works.

Ryan Kalamaya (32m 14s):
You know, there's a fair amount of research about older men and women. And when one of their partners passes away, the research is pretty compelling that the guys, they generally, you know, the widows, they will pass away fairly soon after. And the reason is because their whole lives are there, their wives and that they don't have these independent relationships. Whereas the women they tend to continue to do well, they live longer. And that's because women just generally are better or not. I shouldn't say better, but they're more focused on those independent relationships. And I've seen that a lot with guys like Eric Wolf, going through a divorce where they, it magnifies their isolation. And it's because they pour all their energy into their work and their family.

Ryan Kalamaya (32m 57s):
And when the family erodes, then they're left with really nothing else. And so to really encourage them to have that support group, because it's then going through a divorce that it really is eyeopening for them to develop those relationships. And that's where you guys come in.

Sean Galla (33m 14s):
Yeah. And then at that point, you know, like the, your, your social skills of building new friendships have atrophied because it's been 10 years since you've done it. A lot of the guys that come into men's group, they're like, I realized that, you know, since college, like I haven't made a new friend or like a renewed real friend, you know, it's like slowly, my numbers of friends have been dwindling and the stats this fast back this up, this isn't just your, in my opinion, Ryan. And it's like, they did a study where 40 years ago, they walked around and just asked men on the street in north America. How many costs on us? Do you have, how many people in your life do you feel that you can talk to besides your intimate partner? And maybe, actually, maybe it was just in general, like how many people can you, do you feel like you can talk to you about real stuff if you were going through a problem or something. And the average 40 years ago was four and a half.

Sean Galla (33m 54s):
So the average person had 4.5 people they could talk to. They did the study again a couple of years ago. Guess what? The answer was 2.5. So that means that half the men in north America don't have a single person to talk to. So that's not good. It's not great. And then you wonder why the depression rates are going up. The anything anxiety rates for men are going up, the violent crime rates for men are going up. It's like they don't have any healthy outlets, man. You know? So, and then the second part of this, this, this that I find fascinating is when we were doing the in-person trips, I would put guys together at tables and stuff that I thought had commonalities. And I've watched two guys struggle to make conversation, both skiers, both in the same business, both going through a similar relationship problem, both this and that. And they didn't know how to find the commonalities because of what we're talking about here, the skills of atrophy.

Sean Galla (34m 35s):
And so that's why some sort of a community like men's group, whether it be us or a different organization, you know, there's, men's groups in your local town or whatever can be so beneficial. That's what we're experts at is like getting guys to start talking and then they can, once they find the commonalities, then it's easy to break off and build a friendship. It's like, how do you, how do you get there? I think a lot of guys

Ryan Kalamaya (34m 52s):
Struggle with that. Indeed. I think the simple, small talk of, you know, how did the Broncos do or how the Vancouver Canucks, like what, just talking about those things. We're not used to it. And it's become even worse because of the pandemic with the kind of social, you know, restrictions that we have. But I think we could go on and on Sean, I look forward to sometime maybe catching you on the, on the slopes, coming up to Whistler and taking a few turns, but, and Sean, where can people find you?

Sean Galla (35m 21s):
I just said, manuscript group.com. That's it. You can go there and check out our community for free or one of our few men's groups. We got great, a bunch of great resources there we have around podcasts, all that stuff. Just the last note. I just want to say Ryan, I appreciate what you're doing because I've seen it firsthand from like literally half of our members are going through some kind of a or divorce or trying to save a relationship. And I honestly think it's one of the hardest things to me I can go through. And so I just wanna encourage men out there to continue to access tools like Ryan, like a men's group, like or any other tools you find interesting to take that step. Don't avoid this stuff. Just like get into it. You know, the only way out is through

Ryan Kalamaya (35m 52s):
Well, John, thank you for your time. Thank you for joining us here on Divorce at Altitude and look forward to catching you on the flip

Sean Galla (35m 59s):
Side. Yeah, me too, Ryan. I enjoyed this. Thanks, man. Keep up the good work.

Ryan Kalamaya (36m 2s):
Yeah. Thank you everyone. This is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight or discussion, helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast for show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode. Visit Divorce at Altitude dot com. Follow us on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me at Kalamaya dot law or 9 7 3 1 5 2 3 6 5 that's K a L a M a Y a.law.