Welcome to LifePix Relationships helping you understand and live in your marriage through various perspectives and experiences of others who found a way to prioritize what's really important in life. From new love to those who have weathered the storms let's get ready to take your relationships to the next level with your host ST.
ST: Hey, LifePixers hope you're having an awesome day. First things first, if you have any relationship questions you know where to put them, lifepixrelationships.com on the podcast page there is a place for you to go and put in all your marriage questions so that way they can go and get answered on this podcast. I am really excited for today's guest, the no-tie guy.
A guy who on his wedding day wasn't happy how his shirt flopped down and didn't stay up so nice and neat. So, the idea was born to stick in a piece of cardboard to make it stand. Obviously, cardboard isn't going to go and last forever but the idea was really cool. So he spends another 3 years going and inventing the Million Dollar Collar. Which you can now go find on milliondollarcollar.com or on Instagram Million Dollar Collar. I am going to put all his links in the shoe notes. He actually did a bunch of other businesses before. A lot of high-end things like real estate, diamonds, he's been working a lot. Thank you so much Rob for being here. I am super excited to be speaking with you. Do you want to start by describing to us your worst dating story?
Rob Kessler: Firstly, my dad set me up with ..
ST: Dad set you up, I wasn't expecting that.
Rob: Yeah, he's a pretty big businessman so he ran in some good circles. It was a daughter of a Green Bay Packer or something like that. It just happened to be one of those nights that we were out and about and I kept running into everybody I knew. Everybody was like, "Hey what's up." It was like, "Hey this is so and so" and sometimes I would forget to introduce her. Finally, she got super clingy and she would start injecting, "We're out on a date." I'm like what is going on. I ended up having to go into a bar and she went into the bathroom, and I just bowed out. I couldn't do it anymore. That was super bad. Then my dad was like, "Dude what happened?" We got lost, we just got separated. I don't know what happened, just put it that way.
ST: Pressure and build-up. Okay I know now you're married for 7 years and you have a great relationship but it hasn't always been like that. Before I get into your past let's hear what your marriage is like today?
Rob: It's 8 years now.
ST: Oh, 8 years I'm wrong.
Rob: It was early 2013, February 11th, guys don't forget your wedding date. So we're both very... I don't know if I'm type A. I think I am type A maybe. We're both very dominant, we're both type A, we both know what we want and so when we disagree it's earth-shattering. We just can't see eye to eye and finally, somebody will just knock some sense into the conversation and say look dude you are not hearing me at all. Then that's when we will start taking a step back and come off our pedestal and say okay what are you really trying to say, what am I really trying to say, and then it's like we're really not that far off let's get together. I heard a piece of advice that I have been trying very, very hard to work on. "If it won't matter in 5 years, don't waste 5 minutes."
ST: I love that.
Rob: It's great but at the moment you're like I am going to scorch the earth and win this argument. Sometimes I just have to remember that 5-year thing and just say I'm going to throw in the towel. Then she makes one last freakin' snide remark I'm like, you just couldn't let it go and we're back at it again.
ST: Oh yes, fighting hard but he still both will stick together really fast afterward. I really think, and this is not based on any research just from my own personal observation. Most fights that people have like you said are because they're not really defining so much what they're fighting about and what they want so they're both just yelling at each other without understanding each other. As you said, you're so close together and it's not that hard to go and figure out how you can go and make this work. Take a step back and see what's going on here.
Rob: Yeah, yeah. It's hard with two strong personalities when it's good it's amazing but when we battle we battle.
ST: It goes both ways right? How would you say your marriage is different from when it was 8 years ago?
Rob: I think at the beginning for us at least we were both dating other people when we met. It wasn't like... We didn't cheat, we didn't overlap, we didn't do any of that. We just really connected on a different level. The dating went really fast because she was bitching about her boyfriend, I was bitching about my girlfriend and we knew what not to do that the other person was doing that they hated. So dating, once we started dating, she moved in within 5 months, we were engaged for 14 months, we were married 14 months later.
The dating went fast, we got in and dove into business quite a bit right off the bat. It didn't really change a ton. Now it's more about spending quality time together. We spent more time apart in the last couple of months than we did in our entire relationship. Growing up I started in real estate when I was 23, 24, or 25 years old and I would watch these couples that would wake up in the morning next to each other, have breakfast, and then go to work all day and go and have dinner and go to sleep together. I was like that looks awful, but we've done that and we've basically packed 10 years of relationship into the first 3 years we were together before we even got married. She quit her corporate job, she opened her gym, I had my company, we bought a building. Our offices separated the two work areas so we sat back to back all day long and then I'd help her with her business and she'd help me with mine. There was a lot of that, now our businesses are integrated into each other's lives and things that we do together and things that we do separately. It's been wild, we appreciate the time together a lot more now because we've actually spent more time apart than we had in the past.
ST: Why are you spending... What happened that you're spending more time apart than when you were in the past?
Rob: So, Linda is a Hollywood stunt woman, she is a super badass chick and there are two main hubs in the U.S. There is Los Angeles and Atlanta, Georgia and so we had everything established in Los Angeles, we have our yacht charter business, we have all these things going on there. She got a job in Atlanta and she was gone for 2 months I think and I saw her once in 7 weeks. The longest before had been 10 days that we had not seen each other. She started to go back and forth and we decided to buy a house in Atlanta so we left within 2 weeks. She found a house, dropped an offer, closed on it, and packed up our house in Los Angeles. I drove across the country with 2 dogs and moved all of our stuff out to Atlanta and then of course no sooner than I got to Atlanta she got a job for 3 or 4 weeks in California. Now she's back in California and I go back on the weekends while we close out the sale on our yacht charter business. I got back last night and I'm going back on Friday morning. It's back and forth now.
ST: Crazy, crazy life. I'm sure it has a major effect on your own body physically and mentally and on your relationship. What's that like?
Rob: I tried a red-eye overnight, that was freakin' brutal. I'm 6' 2", 220lbs so sitting in one of those airplane seats has never been that comfortable for me. I even had the exit row and had the side and I was trying to sleep but just couldn't get comfortable. After back to back and 9 hours on the water, I got and I went right to the airport and got on a plane for 5 hours and that was brutal. I think I've lost a lot of weight because I'm not really eating all that much because I have been working on the house and just get distracted and just haven't been doing that.
On the relationship side because we would spend so much time together, especially the last year of COVID. We were all in 90% of our life in the yacht business because that's the only thing that was generating any money. We were literally spending every minute of every day together doing everything. doing all the charters, doing all the bookings and that was getting like a lot. So now when she is across the country there are multiple phone calls a day, what's up, what's happening. There are actually developments in our personal lives that the other one doesn't know about because we're not next to each other all day long. It's actually having good conversations and learning about what's happening and finding out after the day and getting a cool recap instead of oh I just hung up with so and so. Like I know I just heard the conversation we're sitting 3 feet apart.
ST: You're actually curious to go now and find out. Just curious, if that was the only thing that was making money at the time why did you decide to sell it now?
Rob: We had to get out of Los Angeles. That was my thing. The taxes, the regulations, with 5 LLCs between us it cost us $4,000 a year just to reside in California. We bought newer cars and the registrations were asinine and literally and I hate that word. Our house that we rented in Los Angeles was about 1200 square feet. We bought a house that is 4 times larger here in Georgia, it's on 5 acres and it's less than half the price of what we were renting. I just think the quality of life is going to be so much better here. We have a bunch of stunt friends, we're putting in a volleyball court in the backyard so we're going to have everybody come over and this is going to be the party house. It's way too big for 2 people and 2 dogs.
ST: Yeah, that's going to be fun. I'm curious to hear what's going to become of it later on. Now you say you had a whole past before you actually got to your marriage. I am curious to hear what that was and then afterward how it actually affected your marriage today?
Rob: I interviewed a lot of women before I got married.
ST: When you say interviewed what do you mean?
Rob: I was a total player, slept with everybody I could. I worked at a real estate office and I slept with 7 women in that office alone. After 3 or 4 word got around but apparently, people still didn't really mind. I saw it as a challenge, I loved the chase. I do love LOVE, my dad is in the engagement ring business so I saw couples come in and you can just tell.
I think what works with Linda and me is we are on the same level of maturation with each other. You can see when the guy is gaga over his chick and she's not really into it or vice versa. If that balance is that far off it's just not going to work. There are definitely days that Linda is more into me than I'm into her. I think overall we're on that same level.
I definitely slept around, I definitely had a lot of encounters. I feel like I got all... I'm not curious about anything. The guy that gets married at 23 right out of college hasn't done all this stuff that he probably watches on his computer when his wife is not around. I don't think I'm curious about any of that stuff, I pretty much did all the things that I would be curious about. I had a group of friends and one of the guys was married and we would go out on the weekends and travel and he was trying to bang every chick he could. I was like it is just so scummy that you would commit your life to somebody and then go do it. In my heart of hearts and just my moral code said if I'm going to put a ring on someone's finger and commit my life to them I am going to commit my life to them and not cross that line.
When I met Linda there was just something about her. I would always push with a girl, what can I get away with and what can I get away with, hey call a friend, and let's have a threesome tonight. They'd be okay. You can't marry a girl like that. I would push, I would push Linda. We connected on a business and more of a long-term life goal plan but I pushed her a little bit and she said no. I respected the fact that she would say this is what I'm about, this is who I am, and there's just stuff I am not willing to do. She just stood up, I cheated on every girl I ever dated except for my first real girlfriend in high school. She went off to college in Madison, Wisconsin, and cheated on me by Halloween I think. She shattered my heart pretty good and I was like I'm ready to play the game and I did for quite a while.
ST: Going back, what would you tell yourself at that stage, all those years now about what happened? If you could give yourself advice then what would you tell yourself?
Rob: About my past?
Rob: I wouldn't change anything about the way that I did it. I might be more aggressive with talking to girls. I'm pretty introverted.
Rob: I don't know how... Yeah. This we've been introduced to, I'm open, I can flow. But if I was just in a bar by myself it would be really hard for me to strike up a conversation with somebody and I would sit by myself and keep to myself in those situations. I would definitely try to be more open but the things that I did, the girls that I dated, the one-night stands whatever led me to Linda. The decisions that I've had business ideas that I didn't follow through with, ones that I did follow through with. I wouldn't change anything, where my life is right now, I love where I'm at, I love the relationship I have, I love my family. I think if you try to look back and you try to say I wish I would have done this differently, that's just living with regrets. The past is the past and you can only change the future so I wouldn't change anything.
ST: Totally. What do you think led you up to Linda? What do you think was the greatest thing that you took from the past and how do you view your marriage now?
Rob: The biggest thing far and away is not to settle. I knew what I wanted in a partner and I knew I wanted in a wife from the way that she looked and the way that she held herself to what she believes and who she wanted to be and I just never settled. When I sold engagement rings for my dad I felt like you would come in and see that... You'd hear it all the time, we've been together for 10 years so we just got married. That's not exciting, I said something off the cuff we're going to settle down and get married and Linda goes why would we settle down let's go. We got married in 2013, 2015 I took her to Los Angeles for her birthday. Surprise trip, it was her favorite TV show my buddy was on and we got premiere tickets. We came home from that trip, we had met so many incredible people she said, "Dude let's do it!" I said, "When?" She said, "By my next birthday."
So within those 362 days, we sold my business, sold my house, sold a car, sold a boat, sold all of our furniture. If it didn't fit in our truck we didn't take it and we started over completely and that was 2 years into our marriage. So again we're in LA for 5 1/2 years and she's like you know what Georgia is not so bad let's do it. Within 2 weeks I had the house packed in the back of a truck and driving 3 days across the country with 2 dogs.
ST: You're not sure if you type A? You are definitely married to a type A I think. Just get it going and get it hard. I like that. You knew so much, you tried so much, you learned a lot before you were married. Was there anything that you wish you knew before you got married or were you totally prepared?
Rob: About marriage?
ST: About marriage, about your relationship, about everything.
Rob: No, it's an adventure. We figure out as we go, we've learned that we like things, we've learned that we don't like things. I asked a lot of questions when I sold engagement rings and anniversary rings because people were married 20, 30, 40 years. My parents got divorced when I was in fourth grade, my dad has since been re divorced. My mom is still together with my stepdad, he's 15 years younger. Well, my mom's got a guy 15 years younger. I'll date a girl 15 years older and see how that is. I tried everything, I was open to anybody, I didn't have... You never know who you are going to meet. I think in the right circumstances any two people can fall in love.
ST: Do you think that had an effect on you on your own relationship, on your dating past the fact that both your parents were divorced, and your father re divorced?
Rob: The only fact was that if I was going to do it, I never wanted to go down that path. Linda's parents have been together for 40 years, they were high school sweethearts and that's all they know, I appreciate that. I like the fact that they stuck it out and got through the hard times. In our boat, our little ski boat, we actually bought for $100.
Rob: Yeah, team Kesselberg it was half my last name, half her, but it was always a team. We are going to do this, we, we, we, we. it was never like an I and an I. So I know that if we stick together we're so much stronger together. The times we fight are the times we look inside and try to be more I-centric instead of we-centric. Okay, I was being a little selfish there and we can straighten it out.
ST: Do you find, I'm curious, I am doing more research on this trying to find out if it's true or not. Do you find that there's one of you, when you're both fighting, one of you that will break the fight? Realize we have to step back from this, more, or is it about 50/50?
Rob: I never been a huge confrontation guy, I like to get my point out, and then I need to walk away. I am in the fight and say look we're going in circles we're not going anywhere I am just going to walk away. It's only going to get worse from here because we said what we need to say and we're not connecting so let's let it cool down. I could get my piece out and she can get her piece out and I can go to sleep that night and say let's start over tomorrow. She is I want to finish this tonight to make sure that everything is good. So then it sparks back up. I want to finish this tonight, I feel like I am good and I just want to go to sleep and I don't want to yell anymore. Then we're trying to figure out...
ST: Then it's like a fight in a fight. Yeah, the whole debate whether you should go to bed angry or not?
Rob: I don't know, I can just go to sleep, reset. To me, every day is a new day so let's just leave that where it is and let's go to sleep and if there's more to talk about in the morning we can usually 9 times out of 10 I wake up the next day and I say, "How are you? Good Morning." Kiss, have a great day, let's crush it. That's how I am.
ST: Yeah, you think the opposite even though most people think you have to go and work it out. I think that there's a right or wrong, or one way or another. You're going to sleep, you're not going to sleep angry anymore, you're going to sleep. Okay, I'm done with this, I'm finished with this, you're not angry it's a new day. Even though you didn't figure it out, you're not going to sleep angry actually.
Rob: No. I get a chance to cycle it in my head in silence. She says this and I was saying this and I think about it and then eventually I'll fall asleep and tomorrow is a new day.
ST: Yeah you process the whole thing?
ST: Do you use the 5 Languages of Love in your marriage?
Rob: I think we try to, we both have read that deal. I am not super conscious about it but I know there are definitely times where some of those are lacking. That being said, I have to pay a little more attention to this, I haven't gotten her flowers in a while or I haven't left her a card or done little surprises and she loves that stuff. Not super conscious about it but I'm sure we're doing most of them.
ST: You do what you would do and what works for you. What was your biggest surprise about Linda after you got married?
Rob: I don't know, I wasn't really surprised and I didn't want to have any surprises so we spent a lot of time together and worked through a lot of things before we got married. I don't feel like I am surprised about anything. She certainly didn't change, I don't think I changed after the wedding.
ST: You really came prepared and knew what you were getting yourself into, knew your past, knew her past? Ready to go and crush it?
Rob: That's called BL and BR, Before Linda and Before Rob. We don't get into deep details but she knows who I was and she had plenty of girlfriends that said don't date this guy he's totally going to screw you over and thank God she's independent and stuck to her guns. I think that's the point of dating, getting that stuff figured out before you commit your life to somebody. You don't want to be finding out something about somebody after you signed on the dotted line so to speak. We took dating seriously, neither of us had been in a relationship for more than 2, 2 1/2 years and now it's 11 years in August or September.
ST: She sounds really, really strong. Between her friends, between you, she sticks to her guns.
Rob: When she turned 18 she was out of the house, off to college, she was making a ton of money working at a bar in college. She got out of college and got into a corporate job, she was the right hand to a CEO of a very successful snack food company. She was in it doing 5 stars everything at 23, 24 years old. She was just cranking so that's who I wanted.
I did not want to be the guy who was paying for the arm candy. I wanted to build stuff with her, we compliment each other so well so I came up with the idea for the yacht charter business. We are both into boating but I had a friend who was doing yacht charters and we sold our commercial buildings. I said I think there's an opportunity to get this boat and do this thing and then she implemented its back end, contracts she figured out, follow up she figured out, a website she built. She did all that stuff.
I take them out, she's the first mate and together we just crushed that business. Grew it from nothing in less than 3 years and sold it for a pretty significant profit. We like taking stuff from concept to reality and then selling it. That's the third or fourth business we've sold. Not sure what the next one will be. Probably along the lines of horses because that's her passion. So we have to figure out something for horses.
ST: Love horses too so you better let me know when that happens.
Rob: She booked us... she did it a couple of years ago. We're doing a horse drive so for 4 days in June in the Sierra Nevada's we're going to take a 100 head of horse up the mountains for 4 days. We ride 8 hours a day, I've taken a couple of lessons. I am not a horse guy. We're doing that in June, she loved it.
ST: It's going to be fine.
Rob: It's going to be a blast. We're living on 5 acres now and we're trying to get the 5 acres next door. So if we had 10 acres we could have up to 8 horses on this property. Maybe there's a chance to help some friends and let them rent some space or something. We've got so much land they can just graze out here, it's the perfect grass for it. She's been riding since she was 8 so we'll figure something out.
ST: You guys really sound like you both respect each other and complement each other so well so you just make it work. Now for our final question, how do you describe an extraordinary relationship without using love, connection, and intimacy?
Rob: Balance, one of my tattoos that I had before the wedding was I wanted a really loose Yin-Yang. So I have 2 koi fish swimming in a Yin-Yang pattern, one is green, which is my color. One is blue, which is her color and...
ST: You got this before you were married?
Rob: Before the wedding, I knew that... It was for her, it was us that's why I got it. I always said from the beginning, and we always said it, we balance each other out. She's very organized and she's got that side and I'm wild and creative and we respect those things out of each other. That's when we're the best.
She gets mad at me because I'm not organized and don't write stuff down in a calendar. You know that's not who I am, that's who you are. She carries this calendar everywhere she goes, so she can look back on any day and know what happened. That's amazing and I will try it but it's not going to work. But I will be the one that makes a bunch of money on the boat and says let's go do this and sweep her off and go up to wine country for a couple of days or we'll go do that so that's me. So the balance between us and respecting that we're different in those aspects is why we have been so successful I think.
ST: I love that. Like the quote, "Appreciating the similarities and respecting the differences is what makes a relationship work."
Rob: That fits.
ST: Awesome, well thank you so much. This was amazing and have a great rest of your day.
Rob: Thank you.