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Is your relationship suffering from the Putt-Putt syndrome (Pt.1)

Is your relationship suffering from the Putt-Putt syndrome (Pt.1) - Patrick Wanis


Is your relationship suffering from the Putt-Putt syndrome (Pt.1)
Is your relationship suffering from the Putt-Putt syndrome (Pt.1)

he following is a transcript of Joanie Winberg, host of the Single Again! Now What? Talk Radio Show, interviewing Celebrity Life Coach and Human Behavior & Relationship Expert, Patrick Wanis Ph.D. about The Putt Putt Syndrome and relationships and marriages. Patrick Wanis is the exclusive relationship expert to the movie The Putt Putt Syndrome.

In a thorough and sometimes shocking interview, Patrick Wanis PhD shares his expertise on the mistakes husband and wives make; shares strategies & tips to relight the fire of romance & passion; reveals the most dangerous mistake parents make with their children; reveals the top 4 things a man wants and the top 4 things a woman wants, and, how you can use that knowledge to strengthen and deepen the bond, connection and romance in your relationship.

To listen to the interview, click here:

JOANIE WINBERG: Hello and welcome.  This is Joanie Winberg, your host of the Single Again! Now What? Blog Talk Radio Show.  I am very excited to introduce my guest today.  But before I do, I would like to take a few minutes to, once again, welcome our listeners.

If you are single again, either through divorce or the loss of a loved one, then you have come have to the right place.  We have created this show especially for you.

Being single again is an emotional rollercoaster ride, but you don’t have to face this challenging time in your life alone.  So please join myself and my special guest from around the world each week who will be sharing tips to support, inspire and encourage you.  Maybe these tips will make you laugh or be just the right thing you need to hear at this time in your life.

The Single Again! Now What? Blog Talk Radio Show is brought to you by the National Association of Divorce for Women and Children.  For more information, go to

Our show is live, so if you have any questions for myself or my guest, please call 347 215 6997.  And that number again is 347 215 6997.

And today’s show is very special.  We’re actually going to be addressing the question “Does your marriage have signs of a Putt Putt Syndrome?”  And this is all about the movie called the “The Putt Putt Syndrome”.

And we’re going to be talking to my special guest tonight, which is Patrick Wanis.  And he’s going to tell us a little bit about this movie.  But Patrick is also the exclusive relationship expert for the movie.  And let me tell you a little bit about Patrick before I bring him on.

He’s originally from Australia.  He’s a Celebrity Life Coach, Author, Expert in Human Behavior and Relationships, and a Clinical Hypnotherapist with a PhD in Health Psychology, Human Behavior and Hypnosis.

Patrick has appeared on Fox News, Extra, MSNBC, the Mike and Juliet show,,, The National Enquirer, and much, much more.  Over five million people have read his books in English and Spanish.  And his website is  And that’s

And, Patrick, welcome to the show.  I’m thrilled you’re here.

PATRICK WANIS: Thank you, Joanie.

JOANIE WINBERG: Well, this is quite a movie.  I am very excited to learn more about this because, I think, we hear a lot about this, don’t we?  The Putt Putt Syndrome of marriages.

PATRICK WANIS: Well, of course, this is a new term; a new phrase created by the writer and director of the movie, Allen Cognata.  And we were just talking about this yesterday.  And although it has a very interesting and very catchy term, it’s something that hasn’t been labeled before.  And the best way to sort of describe what is “The Putt Putt Syndrome” is to use something straight from the movie.

And there are two key characters in the movie, Tony and Johnny, and Tony and Johnny are best friends.  And Tony is about to go through divorce, and he’s got a couple of kids, and he’s trying to work out how did this happen; why did his wife cheat on him.  So he’s doing all the research and trying to come up with ideas and reasons and, you know, with graphs and statistics about why did this happen and why do wives cheat.

So Tony is speaking to Johnny, and he comes up with his latest theory and he describes the “Putt Putt Syndrome” as that quiet surrender in life after one has been married for a while.  And he says, and I quote, “Some of the symptoms are the one minute missionary sexual romps, the plaid pajamas that one wears at home, the recliner chair that becomes a throne, and the remote control that becomes the scepter.  But the most serious symptom of them all,” Tony says to Johnny, “is not being able to look at your toes or your, you know what, while you’re taking a shower.  That’s how you know you’re in it.”

So, of course, suddenly, Johnny is really listening and Tony’s descriptions begin to ring a bell.  Now, that’s the way that it’s sort of described in the movie, and, of course, I, based on my expertise and experience, would add to that to elaborate and say it encompasses a lot more because, of course, that’s a really a quick, fast way of describing it.

But I think for anyone that’s ever been married, anyone that’s ever been in a long term relationship, unless they’ve worked extra hard at being really aware of what’s going on, “The Putt Putt Syndrome” basically means that you’ve gotten into that stage in life where you’ve lost your dreams; you’re settling for second best; you’re living a life of mediocrity; your marriage is stalled.  There’s no passion, there’s no romance and your partner, instead of being a lover and someone you become excited about, has become like your roommate.

JOANIE WINBERG: Uh-hmm.  Absolutely.

PATRICK WANIS: Yes.  And instead of talking about passion and all the things you want to do and all the excitement and the romance, and instead of still seducing your partner and courting your partner, you’re discussing bills and problems.

JOANIE WINBERG: So, Patrick, let me ask this question as far as I think it really applies to both men and women.  They’re both feeling it, wouldn’t you say?



PATRICK WANIS: Although in the movie, Tony says to Johnny, “Look, you know, you’re in the Putt Putt Syndrome when you’ve looked down and you can’t see anything other than your belly.”  And, you’re just sitting there in your remote control.”  As the movie progresses, you see that it really does affect the man and the wife.  It’s not to say that the man is wrong and the woman is right, or vice versa.  It’s to say that both partners contribute to this.


PATRICK WANIS: And, of course, you, as a woman, and with all of the people that are part of your list and your listeners of the National Association of Divorce for Women and Children, understand that this is something that is real and something that happens.


PATRICK WANIS: And it’s something that doesn’t just affect marriages, it affects long term relationships.

JOANIE WINBERG: Well, actually, what you’re saying, patrick, is what I hear a lot from my clients after they’ve been divorced.  And they describe, basically, what you’re describing.  But I’m curious as far as how did they come up with the name “The Putt Putt Syndrome”?

PATRICK WANIS: Well, I’ve got to speak in more detail with Allen Cognata about this, the writer and director.  But, you know, I view it as an analogy of sort of like the car, you know.  You’re driving along, and it’s about to stop, you know.  It’s stalling, and…


PATRICK WANIS: Putt, putt, putt, and you’re waiting for it to completely crash, you know, completely just shut off, switch down.  And now you’re stuck in the middle of traffic.  That’s the same as the “Putt Putt Syndrome” in marriage, where you know, it’s not just slowing down, it’s not just stalling, it’s almost going to completely come to a stop or it’s going to break down.  And once it breaks down, what happens, the marriage breaks down.  And the two of you go separate ways, whether you separate, whether you divorce, or whether something else, even worse happens.  But I think it’s a great way to describe it.


PATRICK WANIS: Yeah, because, here’s another way to think about it.  And that is, imagine that you’re a car, and you’re all polished up and you’re shiny.  And this is an analogy both for men and women, of course.  But you’re a car, you’re all shiny and polished up, you’re revving, and it’s got this beautiful sound to it, and off you go.  The race is on and you’re just speeding along, and you’re feeling really powerful and then suddenly you start to run out of gas.  And you’re slowing down and you’re slowing down.  And now you’re about to come to a dead stop.  And that “putt putt” sound is the engine almost giving up, you know it’s almost gone.

Well, that engine represents the passion, the romance, the fire, the bond between the husband and wife that’s almost gone.  And now there’s no connection, there’s no spark between the engine and the rest of the car.  There’s no gas, there’s nothing.  It’s just completely shut down.

And although it may sound, you know, colorful and flowery in the way I’ve described it, anyone that’s been through this knows it’s not a pleasant experience.  And, you know, when the team came to me to say “Patrick, will you be our exclusive relationship expert to help us to not just promote the movie but to talk about this and help draw up the solutions?”; when we were talking about this, I said, “Look, although I’ve never used this terminology before, it’s something that I usually relate to through my clients.”

And I’d like to use some examples.  So I’ve clients that come to me, and they may not even be having the one-minute sexual romp.  They may have not had sex in years, and sometimes it’s just the husband that comes to me and says to me “I don’t know what to do.  My life is so boring.  My wife is just, you know, she doesn’t give me any attention.  We don’t have any sex.  There’s no passion.”

And then what you come to find out is that the husband spent years and years focusing on his business, focusing on his career.  Why?  Because the man, the male believes “My role is only the provider, and what I must do is work hard and make money to look after my wife, look after my children and family, to make sure that they go to college so when they grow up they’ll do the same thing.”

Meanwhile, the wife is starting to feel neglected, lonely, isolated by the husband because he’s working long hours. He comes home and what are they going to talk about now?  The bills and the children.  And maybe he’s tired and he goes, “Oh, I just don’t want to talk about anything right now,” and he wants to pull out a drink from the fridge, throw his feet up on the sofa and watch some TV to try to mentally switch off.

Now, the wife starts to see that, “Well, we’re losing this connection.”  And then what happens is she’s also caught up in the day-to-day running of, the whole family, the house. Maybe she’s running the house, and she’s working, and she’s looking after the kids.  Now, what she’s going to do is put all her energy into the children.

So now you have these two adults who made a pledge to each other, who came together because they loved each other so much.  They were so excited, they wanted to create a life together, but they’ve really created two different worlds.  The man is losing himself and escaping in his world of work and career.  And the woman, the wife, is escaping and living in her world with the children.  And it’s almost like two separate worlds.

And please step in, Joanie, and tell me if I’m right or wrong here or if this belief relates…

JOANIE WINBERG: Well, and what I’m saying, too, now, I can see young people and they are both working full time.


JOANIE WINBERG: They decide to have children, but today the woman still works.  And so now even if both parents are helping taking care of the children, I can still see the same thing happen where they’re both trying to have their careers and earn the money, they both need to pay the mortgage, plus, you know, who’s raising the children.  So someone’s picking them up, someone’s running around.  And the supper is kind of thrown on the table, and someone is putting the kids on the bath.  And they repeat this day in and day out, and they still get lost in the shuffle because they don’t have time for each other and they’re exhausted.

PATRICK WANIS: Right.  And I’m going to give you some solutions, some strategies, advice, techniques and some other insights into how to get out of this syndrome.

JOANIE WINBERG: Well, I think let’s break it up in two parts, I’m thinking, Patrick, being a coach, myself, I love to help people prevent from getting a divorce.  So I’m thinking if we go from maybe that direction of what people, married people, can do to maybe save their marriage, if that’s the route you’re thinking.  But, also thinking, okay, if you are single again, you’ve gotten a divorce, and you’re starting to date and get back in the game again, the dating game.

But we know that the second time around, divorce is even higher for the second marriage.  So it’s almost like needing to prepare and prevent that from happening.  So do you think that’s a good angle for our listeners?

PATRICK WANIS: Well, you’re exactly right.  And I think you’ve raised an important point that if you don’t learn the first time around, you’ll just end up approaching the second marriage, the second relationship exactly the same way…


PATRICK WANIS: …making the same mistakes.  And as I said again, I’m going to, in a moment, come back with solutions and strategies.


PATRICK WANIS: But, I want to talk a little bit more about the syndrome itself and keep building on this example.

So you mentioned young people.  Now, of course, young people are working two jobs because of all of the financial strain and the expectations that “we got to have more, we got to, you know, we got to do this, we go to do that, we got to cover our bills, et cetera.”  So they’re both very physically, mentally and emotionally tired from working as well as raising the children and then having to develop a relationship amongst themselves but, you know, their relationship with each other.

Now, the people who are a little bit older are also living another version.  The other version, which, I guess, to some extent affects young people as well, is where the parents are now putting the children first.  And what I’m finding is clients are saying to me, particularly women, “Look, you know, my mom and dad were too busy when I was growing up.  And they didn’t have much time for me.  And they didn’t come to all my co-curricular activities.  And they didn’t do this, and they didn’t do that.  So I want to make sure that my kid doesn’t miss out.  So I want to take my kid to every co-curricular activity.  And I want to spend lots of time with my child or my children.”

Now, the danger with that, particularly women, is that that they they’re doing the right thing, and, of course, they have the best intentions.  And I’m going to be radical here, and I’m going to say please bear with me, and I’ll explain why this is completely wrong.


PATRICK WANIS: So what the woman does, and again, I’ll say this, with her best intentions, she says, “I want to make sure that my children have all the options, all the choices.  I want them to see that the world is an oyster.”

And so what she does is, she jumps in the car, she’s driving them to every single game, every single hobby, every single co-curricular activity that there is, and she has no time for herself and no time for her husband, no time for the relationship.

Why is this so bad?  First thing is, if you’re a woman—ladies, please listen to me carefully—if you’re a woman and you’re raising your daughter, and she sees that you, as a woman, are putting everyone else first and not giving yourself any time, not giving yourself enough respect, enough significance, she’s going to grow up and do the same thing.

So what I’m saying to you is you have to still look after yourself, your own needs, your own quiet time, your own personal time.  You need to still be exercising, not just to look good for your husband but because your body needs it and you need the time so that you can regenerate, and regroup, and recuperate.

The other thing, as I’ve said, is the message you’re sending via your actions to the girl, to your daughter, which is, “Women are second class citizens.  We don’t need to be first.  We need to think of everyone else’s needs.”

Then the other thing you’re doing is you are neglecting your husband.  You’re neglecting your partner.  I’m not saying to put him first.  Here’s what I’m saying, when you neglect the relationship because you are thinking, “I’ve got to look after the children.  I’ve got to put the children first,” when the marriage breaks down, the very first person who’s going to suffer even before you do or your husband does, is the children.

So what parents forget, you must actually put the relationship first.  If you put the relationship first, children who learn three ways – by what they see, by what they hear, and by what they experience – look at the parents and see the parents expressing love and affection to each other.  They hear their parents using terms of endearment and cute pet names, et cetera, and they have wonderful experiences of open love and affection and open communication, then that child grows up in an environment of love.  It’s a nurturing environment.

It’s okay to say to your child, “No, you cannot go to every single co-curricular activity.  No, you don’t have to do every activity that’s on offer.  You must learn to choose and you must learn to find out what your passion is.“ I’m not saying that the child is going to know what they’re going to want to do for the rest of their life, but let them make some simple choices.  Let them experience some independence, and give your relationship and your marriage some priority.

And I want to refer to a couple of things that are really interesting based on research with couples that have been married 40 and 50 years, Joanie, and that sounds like a shock to us.  Okay.


PATRICK WANIS: These are like the masters of marriage.  You know, they’ve lived it, and they’ve had wonderful experiences and great tales.

One of the things that they say, and this is an actual couple who said, “You know what we do?  We have a time when we go upstairs and we put – we put a sign in our bedroom door that says, ‘Do not disturb.  This is our time.”  And they do whatever they’re going to do in the bedroom.

The point here is that they haven’t forgotten why they’ve come together.  And even though children, young children, go “Oh, yuck, mommy and daddy are kissing.  And mommy are doing – oh, I don’t even want to mention what they’re doing.”  In fact, it is something that they like.  Because just a couple of weeks ago, I was working with a six-year-old child who happens to be the son of a movie producer.  And he came to me and said, “Patrick, please work with my son.”  And I said to him, “You know, I don’t work with children.  I usually work with adults, you know that.” And he said, “But please, my child has been to a child psychologist for about six sessions, and he’s been to another therapist, another expert, and he’s having problems at school.  Please help me.”

So what I did was I sat down and I did a couple of things to very quickly build rapport and what I got him to do are some drawings.  And there are a couple of drawings that I do.  One is known as Kinetic Drawing Analysis.  And this has been around since the 1940s, where you basically ask kids to do a drawing of the family, of each member, but in action.

So when the child draws this, he’ll do a figure of his mom, his dad, his brother or sister, et cetera. And what I saw was a completely separate world.  Mom is out there, working with her clients, doing nails and make up.  Dad’s behind the camera producing the movie.  This particular boy is at school, and the other boy is standing in front of the house.

The boy that I’m working with is only six years of age is sad.  Because the boy (my client) and I describe this boy in the drawing – his feelings. I’ll call him Robert in this interview to protect his identity. Anyway, I’ll say, “What is Robert doing here?”  And he’ll say, “Robert is at school.”  And how does Robert feel?  “Robert is sad.”  Why is Robert sad?  “Because mom and dad are not together, they’ve just separated.  They’re about to divorce.”  And what about little brother?  “Oh, little brother is mad.”  And then I do another unique drawing to help him to establish to me what is his connection with his mother, what is his connection with his father and to give me insights into his world.  This other drawing is a creation of mine (involving a house, sun, water and snake), and it gives me even greater insights. And this little boy’s drawing revealed to me that he is emotionally closed, his mother is also emotionally closed, he and mom have almost no connection, and there is a lot of emptiness right now.

[I then did a special visualization]

The point of me going into these details is to say to you that children are deeply affected by what happens in the relationship between mom and dad.  And you know what this one boy wanted, Joanie?  He wanted his mom and dad to be together.

JOANIE WINBERG: Of course.  Yes.

Click here to keep reading Part 2 of the interview:

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