Who I am

Hey there, I’m Sven Masterson. I am a master coach with Goodguys2Greatmen. My mission is to repair and restore the hearts of men, help them improve their relationships, and show them the path to intimate, deeply satisfying, emotionally and physically connected relationships.

I’m happily married to Zelda, who I married 28 years ago and with whom I’ve been in a continuous romantic relationship for over 30 years. 

What I will share with you and why

I spent about half of our marriage in pain, misery, and frustration before encountering a handful of life-altering perspectives that helped me turn everything around. Today, I have a great relationship: one I often laugh about in sheer surprise, amazement, and gratitude.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been sharing these life-altering perspectives as four “keys” that I had discovered that put an end to my suffering and unlocked a thriving and connected marriage. If you missed last week’s article, here’s a link.

Today, I will tell you more about the fourth key I discovered, brotherhood – the empowering key I use to create clarity, encourage confidence in my heart, and expand into new undiscovered territory. It’s a story I’m eager to share with you! 

Was brotherhood a fable?

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for my wife, Zelda, to cook meals, bake cookies, prepare the guest room, and even put little mints on guests’ pillows. But not just any guests, men I’ve gotten to know over the internet, thanks to our marriage problems.

Can you believe that?

If you’d asked me what I thought about brotherhood several years ago, I would have said, “meh, nice idea in principle, but unrealistic and unachievable in reality.” 

How come?

Not long ago, I couldn’t get men that lived ten minutes away from me to get together. 

Now, men travel thousands of miles to spend 48 hours in my home, experience Zelda’s excellent hospitality, and listen to my kids trying to convince them to signup for their “newspaper.”

Zelda does this because things majorly changed between us, and they changed between us, in no small part because of brotherhood.

You know what? It almost didn’t happen. I had a cynical view of relationships between men back then due to many failed attempts to establish long-term connections with other men.

I’d had a handful of excellent male friends in my life, but life seemed to get in the way of every spending time with them. The times I spent with them and other men were few and far between. Something always seemed to be missing, and I left most encounters feeling dissatisfied and restless.

In my hubris and blindness, I never considered that I might be experiencing the natural fruit of how I’d learned to get along in the world. I would soon know this in the loneliness and suffering of facing marriage trouble in isolation.

I thought I was a good brother and that everyone else sucked

The trouble with being a “nice guy” is that we tend to be one everywhere, not just in romance. 

It’s painfully obvious now that the ways I had gone about trying to secure and experience brotherhood were all based on transactional regard and covert contracts. It wasn’t a problem of few opportunities, but I was squandering them by giving to get. I always felt like I was giving a whopping amount to other men and getting crumbs in return. 

I wanted to be valued, appreciated, respected, and understood. Being the doing-oriented overachiever, I told you about over the previous few weeks resulted in schemes and strategies that sought to secure these things in others.

They all fell flat. Consistently. 

Regardless of how generous I was with my time, finances, and other resources, I could never find what I hoped to experience. The “love” I thought I was showing everyone never seemed reciprocated. 

I didn’t know at the time that true love doesn’t expect reciprocation and that I wasn’t loving; I was manipulating.

In reality, I was needy and looking for love in all the wrong places, including my brothers. The deeper issue was that I didn’t know how to be a good brother and was experiencing the consequences.

My brotherhood paradox

Because of this, my relationship with brotherhood was paradoxical during those years. 

Though I didn’t know it, I desperately needed brotherhood to overcome being a needy nice guy. I would have significantly profited from finding a few high-caliber men who could genuinely help me to grow without being too put off by my insecurity, fear, and anxiety. I’d always wanted to find such men but had lost hope that such men existed.

Worse still, because of my neediness, convert contracts, and ego-based manipulating strategies to get people to like me, few brothers seemingly wanted to be around me. That is, except for those who enjoyed the material benefits of my methods. It’s no wonder I wasn’t consistently living as my authentic self. 

Back then, I thought my absence of male friends was because other men were all shallow. I felt that good men who could talk about something other than sports, booze, and hobbies were proverbial unicorns in the world.  As a result, I struggled to develop close bonds with other men. 

I suffered for this because I did what most men do without masculine friends – I looked to feminine sources for camaraderie, friendship, and closeness. I thought women were just better at understanding me and could be deeper. 

This pattern was a recipe for disaster and my sense of well-being. The feminine could not validate any part of me and became a catalyst for even more insecurity, shame, and despair! 

It was made even more complicated by encountering any woman more available and willing to connect than my wife was at the time. Since she didn’t seem very interested in connecting back then, that meant most women.

A new direction and affection for reflection 

By serendipity, I happened to get connected to Steve Horsmon and GG2GM. 

At that time, Steve was just getting the Roundtable community going and invited me to join. I was reluctant to join, believing I already knew what it would be like among men. A bunch of arrogant macho pricks or stone-silent sheepish men awkwardly engaging in some sort of manliness competition or trivial banter that would prove to be another dissatisfying waste of time.

When I showed up in the Roundtable group, no one had made any posts in the community except for the coaches. “This should be interesting,” I remember saying to myself as I made the first member post. I think I said something like, “So, what brings you all here and what are you hoping to get out of this?” and had low expectations for what would happen next.

Much to my surprise, over the weeks and months that followed, I didn’t encounter macho bravado, shallowness, sheepishness, or any of the things I’d fearfully expected.

Instead, I encountered authentic, open-hearted, earnest men, all humbly sharing their painful experiences and the amazing transformations they were undergoing as a result. Every man’s story was different, yet it always felt familiar to my own. When I read about a man in pain, I got clarity on my own. When I saw a man share a victory, it felt closer and more achievable in my life too.

As I interacted with this rich band of brothers, I noticed that doing so was like walking through a hall of mirrors. Brotherhood was offering me a form of self-reflection that was unlike nothing else I’d ever experienced with men before. This reflection that was taking place by sharing experiences with others resulted in tremendous growth. I started to see that we were all gaining more by giving more. 

My affection for brotherhood was taking root!

My proving grounds for unconditional high regard

Roundtable provided a place to begin kicking around new concepts, ideas, and discoveries. 

Three weeks ago, I wrote to you about unconditional high regard. It was there, in Roundtable, where this emerged, developed, and matured for me. The brotherhood of men became a proving ground as I learned how to hold myself and each man there in such regard.

In brotherhood, I learned to set aside judgment, look for better explanations, and assume the best. Somehow, beginning that journey with my brothers was far more forgiving than trying to start with those within my home.

These men were helping me become a better and deeper lover and providing me with the perfect environment to learn these new skills of the heart and how to use them without the immense pressure of trying to understand them on my own in my marriage.

A refiners fire for ownership

Two weeks ago, I wrote to you about ownership. It was there, in Roundtable, where the seeds of ownership were planted, nurtured, and began to produce fruit. 

Each time I’d find a new source of pain and discomfort in my life – thanks to that power of reflection I mentioned a moment ago – I’d encounter challenges to let go of blame and embrace a better story. There, I learned to repossess the power I’d given away in life.

The launch pad for confident self-reliance

Last week, I wrote to you about self-reliance and how learning to look within my being as whole and complete allowed me to start to overcome limbo and waiting for what I need, want, and desire in life.

It was there, in Roundtable, where my self-reliance matured from being doing-based to being-based, leading me to have confidence in myself and that I’m worthy of living the life I long to live.

All of these core virtues could mature because of being part of an exceptional brotherhood.

A final observation and bit of advice

I’ve been privileged to work with many men to overcome significant challenges like separation, divorce, emotional and physical affairs, and sexless marriages. No man who experienced transformation and began to experience the life he wanted has done so without brotherhood.

Likewise, after experiencing significant turnarounds, many of those men drifted from a deep connection to other men and back into mediocre lives and relationships.

As I’ve beheld this, it’s become apparent that I will never outgrow my need for brotherhood, nor will I ever stop prospering from the company of excellent men.

As the old African proverb goes… “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

As I’ve approached middle age, I’ve concluded that going fast just means dying sooner, with less to show for it. I’ve found that I much prefer going together and the daily enrichment it offers along the way. As a result, I won’t ever forsake brotherhood, which is why I spend every day connecting with brothers. 

I encourage you to start deeply connecting with other men immediately if you’re not doing so.

Coming up next week

Next week, I’ll conclude my series by explaining how brotherhood and the previous three keys all work in tandem to unlock the path to everything a man yearns for in life. I’ll tell you about my 100% free, no-B.S. Four Keys course and what to do next to use these keys to unlock the door to a life of passion, intimacy, and deep connection with even a cold and avoidant partner.

Can’t wait til next week to discover more about the Four Keys?

Click here for my free introductory class on the Four Keys to Masculine Mastery & Thriving Connected Relationships (no email or credit card required)

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