#57 – Women’s Accountability Partner | Melissa Manor

Ep. 57 - Podcast Thumbnail
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“I understand God’s heart more because this is what God deals with on a daily basis.” 

– Melissa Manor –

As you build towards sexual integrity, it’s best to have an accountability group or accountability partner to help you throughout the process. And Melissa Manor shares more about the positives of having an accountability partner for women.

An accountability partner isn’t someone who’s going to “tell you off” or lecture you on what’s good or bad, or what you should and shouldn’t do. An accountability partner is someone you will journey with as you sift through the challenges today’s world and culture pose.

Women in particular have a more difficult time to come forward with questions about their sexual integrity due to the surmounting pressure brought about by peers and society in general. This is why having a Women’s Accountability Partner makes a world of difference.

  • An accountability partner is holding someone’s hand and provides love and support while on that journey towards sexual integrity or porn recovery and sexual integrity support
  • Don’t over commit but also you should push yourself
  • There is a deep friendship and connection formed out of the healthy-give and take relationship
  • Sharing not just struggles but who you are as a person
  • Difference between men who struggle with porn or masturbation and women:
    • For men, you feel like you’re stuck in a prison and you’re trapped by this, but you know that you’re in prison with other people
    • For women, it’s like you’re in the same prison, but you’re in solitary confinement
  • Porn and masturbation is such an undiscussed topic but so many people are struggling with it
  • Remind people they are not alone and someone is there for them with their struggles
  • Accountability Partners also share their own story and open up about their own journeys and challenges
  • The crisis of sexual integrity is more prevalent in the younger generation and they don’t even know what’s going on
  • Encouraging people to sign up and become accountability partners

Episode Transcript:

Andrew Love: Welcome back to Love, Life and Legacy, the one and only podcast that you will ever need if you want to build sexual integrity, create amazing families that inspire you to have fun and have a wonderful life that radiates goodness and wholesomeness and wonderment, and in today’s episode we have pretty much the coolest young lady ever, her name is Melissa Manor. Double M, it’s an alliteration, already winning in the name game, and she’s been with High Noon from the beginning. She came to the High Noon Summit in Las Vegas, and although her story didn’t mirror that of a struggler, she was so empathetic towards those who are struggling with porn that she decided to get in the game and start helping by being an accountability partner, by being a facilitator. She’s been around. She’s a consummate helper. She’s a wonderful heart. She has the coolest laugh ever. I really like her. Anybody who’s ever met her really likes her. How could you not love Melissa Manor, everybody.

Sammy Uyama: Hello, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome. I’m here with another episode with an awesome person introducing the one and only, the coolest cat on the entire East Coast, Melissa Manor.

Melissa Manor: Coolest cat on the East Coast?

Sammy Uyama: Great to have you with us. Hey, Melissa.

Melissa Manor: Hey, thank you so much. Thanks for inviting me. 

Sammy Uyama: Of course, I’m more excited that you said yes, so I feel honored, it’s a privilege because you have been a really important part of High Noon in the background, right for a long time and it’s about time that the light is shown on you, and all the awesome work that you’re doing. 

Melissa Manor: Thank you. Thank you so much. 

Sammy Uyama: First and foremost, for all you guys listening, why Melissa is the coolest cat and you definitely need to listen to this episode, is that Melissa, with a lot of his work of High Noon is that we do porn recovery and sexual integrity support, and we’ve got ministry for men, and then we’ve separate ministry for women. Melissa has been an integral part of the women’s support for years now being an accountability partner, and holding people’s hands on that journey towards sexual integrity, and a total baller. So that’s why we have here with us, Melissa, talk about that. And what else would you like to say about yourself? What do you know, like a little bit who you are, what you do?

Melissa Manor: Yeah, real quick, I guess. So I guess, my title or my job was, for a really long time, youth pastor. So for a long time I was doing youth ministry, so helping youth and I think that’s where being an accountability partner also comes in, that supporting people, being there for people, working with kids and especially high schoolers. I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen everything, heard it all and so it’s really helpful, I think, in helping people in general. Yes, otherwise, I’m from Maryland. I’m 27, I’m studying at UTS. So that’s fun learning to enjoy all my studying.

Sammy Uyama: What are you studying at UTS?

Melissa Manor: Studying? I guess theology, religious studies, in general. Yeah, different courses. Right now, I’m taking a class on world religions.

Sammy Uyama: Is this an undergraduate?…

Melissa Manor: Yeah.

Sammy Uyama: You’re a Master’s in theology, cool. Involved in youth ministry. What’s something just really cool going on in your life right now, that we can all be happy about?

Melissa Manor: Oh my gosh, I’m nervous.

Sammy Uyama: Because you got to have the coolest thing like you just trained your dog, how to do backflips or something like that, or..

Melissa Manor: I wish.

Sammy Uyama: Whatever. What’s making you happy these days?

Melissa Manor: Honestly, making me happy is just being home. I think being able to spend time with my family. I was traveling a bit, I was in Brazil, visiting my family. But to be able to come home now and rest, and shift my focus. Yeah, I guess doing more at home. Something cool, though, my dog got a really bad haircut. She was super ugly. But that’s not really cool, but she turned 11 so that’s cool.

Sammy Uyama: All right. She turned 11 and she’s got a bad haircut, we can sympathize with you about that. So anyway, for all of us listening, yay, Melissa made her home and she’s relaxing back with her family now.

Melissa Manor: Yeah, I didn’t get COVID, not yet.

Sammy Uyama: That’s great. Great things to celebrate. So thank you. We’re here at this impasse where, okay so Melissa is the coolest accountability partner ever and of course everyone’s wondering, wow Melissa, how did you actually end up becoming an accountability partner? What’s your story?

Melissa Manor: Yeah. So basically, I actually got asked by Andrew to be a facilitator for a group, for the first women’s group back in I think 2018. So I had heard about accountability partners at the High Noon Summit and I was like: Oh man, that’ll be cool. But personally, I never struggled with pornography and so I felt a little bit like, I can’t really help or I don’t really have the experience, I think, usually think of an accountability partner like a mentor, you think: Oh, so they’ve had to go through that, overcome it. I felt for a while that I was like: Oh man, I wish I struggled but I wish I could support more. So anyway, when Andrew gave me that, he called me and I’ve shared this like a couple times, but I was like: I don’t think I’m the right person because of this, this and this reason, and I was like, you should ask this person, and he was like: Already asked him, they said no, and I was like: What about this person? They said no. 

Sammy Uyama: Sounds like you did everything possible to avoid.

Melissa Manor: I did, I did everything possible. I didn’t feel like I was the right person. Then he was like: Honestly, we need someone that can support people and I feel like you’re qualified. And then I was like: I did say I wanted to support people so I guess I got to do this. So I started out with that, and then one of my group members actually asked me to be her accountability partner. Actually that relationship has been the most long lasting, so we’re still really, really close. Anyway, that’s how it started.

Sammy Uyama: Okay. And you’ve kept it up for a couple years now, there’s not a lot of things anybody does, or has anything that they do for that long. Does that make sense? That’s really remarkable consistency, and so how does that relationship actually look like for you, when you set up an accountability partnership with someone?

Melissa Manor: Yeah. So usually, my first question for them is, what do they need? Because I think ultimately, people need different things. Some people, they need someone to talk to every day, which some of my accountability partners, or not the right terminologies, but to call them my sisters, some of them they need it, they would want to check in every single day. Other people, when I started with my first person, it was twice a week, but for the most part, I think most people generally do once a week. Yes, so it’s just checking in, and then I usually explain that I’m here for you so whatever you need, of course, if they need to be pushed sometimes then I’m willing to do that, but usually it’s ultimately for them. I always say like: Don’t over commit but also you should push yourself. So yes, that’s usually what it looks like. It’s usually through texting normally, but then sometimes a call and then some people they really like to call and check in, so it depends on what they need.

Sammy Uyama: You’d like to start out with some needs… some flexibility, and what works for people. So it turns out to be primarily texting, how many times a week? Sometimes people like to call. So how is it having a texting relationship, do you feel like that works for making a really close relationship with someone, having a lot of intimacy and trust? And do you think that there’s limitations to that?

Melissa Manor: Yeah, I think it honestly depends on each person. I’ve had people do that, because I’ve been doing it for a while, so I’ve had some partners, I guess that have been easier to talk to, or they’re more open, and then I have some that they don’t want to talk about. Some culture things, it’s like they’re doing it because they know they have to have a feeling. That’s usually when I feel more concerned too, because I feel what you put in is what you get out. So if someone’s really committed to it, then usually my favorite thing to do is I like to have a call with someone first before I start and just hear what their story is too because when someone says they need an accountability partner, it’s like, what does that mean? What do you actually struggle with? What does your struggle actually look like? What does it mean? Usually when people report they’re like: Yeah, it was a good week, but what does that even mean? What does a good week mean? Yes, so I usually like to do that, but some people, they don’t want to share too much, and so I try to push them but also not push them away, type of feeling.

Sammy Uyama: So you’ve had this relationship with a number of people, and what are some things that people get from this? Your accountees, your cohort, your partners, what have they gone from that experience? And how have you seen them grow?

Melissa Manor: I’d say the greatest thing that they get and that I also get in return is a deep friendship or connection, relationship, if that makes sense, because for a lot of people, the issue with pornography and masturbation is something that is so secret. It’s something that they don’t talk to you about with anyone else, but here’s our relationship or that’s not the purpose, but at the same time, kind of the purpose. So it’s totally like an instant depth, if that makes sense, and so I would suggest to all the people or just want to get an accountability partner, they feel like they need to get an accountability partner, to really give it your all. Don’t just share about your struggle but really share about who you are as a person and try to create a relationship because the people that I’ve really connected with, still to this day, we’re so close. It’s like a relationship that I can’t put into words because it’s like a depth that you don’t have in any other friendships. Because even with your own friends, it’s not like you talk about pornography. That’s not …usually… I mean, maybe it is, if it is, that’s awesome. But for the most part, I think it’s especially for sisters, we don’t really talk about that, even in our closest friendships.

Sammy Uyama: This analogy I’ve heard before is that the difference between men who struggle with porn or masturbation and women, is that for men, you feel like you’re stuck in a prison and you’re trapped by this, but you know that you’re in prison with other people. And then for women, it’s like you’re in the same prison, but you’re in solitary confinement, and you don’t know that there’s uncounted number of other women, a couple feet from you, just on the other side of the wall. 

Sammy Uyama: Like you said, it’s already such an undiscussed topic but there’s this understanding of not understanding the assumption. That’s something guys struggle with. So women who struggle with porn or with masturbation, they feel extra, abnormal like: This is something I’m struggling with that I’m not actually supposed to be struggling with, what is wrong with me? and it creates such a sense of isolation. It’s really lonely, not like there’s a person helping them deal with something bad, there’s an actual friendship that’s created that maybe would not have existed otherwise. That’s really good.

Melissa Manor: Yes and I mean, that’s the thing. Every time I talk to someone for the first time, in our first phone call, initially you start the partnership or whatever you want to say, the relationship or friendship. It’s always like: You’re not alone, I know because I work with people. I know that there’s so many people that struggle with this, and then I know that there’s so many more people that struggle with it that don’t say anything. Every time that we do, sometimes we’ll do anonymously, I guess my questionnaires or they called surveys and stuff, and it always shows that way more people are struggling with it than people think, and so I’m always trying to remind people that you’re not alone. 

Melissa Manor: I think as soon as you think you’re alone in something, it’s like: Well, this is just the way I am, and as soon as you accept that has some form of truth, that’s like the worst, because then you’re stuck in that mindset. So I always like to remind people that you’re definitely not going through this alone, this isn’t of course, something that no one goes around proclaiming. Maybe some people do, but it’s that I’m here for you, you’re not alone, you’re not weird. I always want them to be honest, because I think if they can be honest with me then they can start being honest with other people too. I think that’s ultimately the secret to a good accountability partner, like how nice can you be with that person? And then also for, I think, other accountability partners are the one that’s supporting, they have to also be willing to be open and honest too, also good and bad too. Sometimes it’s really questioning them, especially when people are struggling, and like: Well, what is actually going on? asking those tough questions.

Sammy Uyama: What have you gotten out of this experience?

Melissa Manor: So much. If I can put it into simple words, but definitely friendships and relationships. You have the accountability partner, I’m supporting, more than the supporting role, but with that also comes sharing my own story, or opening up as well, and being able to just hear. Help that person know that you’re 100% there for them, you care about them, and I think, yes, that’s obviously a huge thing. But then I think another thing is understanding. People are really cool, people are so cool. People are so unique. And to really be able to take in someone’s biggest struggle or biggest secret, I think having a person just helps me to, in a sense, connect more to God. I understand God’s heart more because this is what God deals with on a daily basis. When people are explaining their, whatever you want to call it, their mistakes, their issues, their struggles, a lot of times I feel, not like I’m God, obviously no. In a sense, I’m in this position where I’m allowing God to work through me as well, so that’s why it’s so important when people report something, that is difficult to always respect that and honor that, and be grateful for that and to be able to work with them through that. So I think that’s been a big thing too, is understanding God’s heart more and understanding what God goes through.

Sammy Uyama: I mean, that’s such a central part of our faith. It’s to be the vessel of God as a central figure towards someone, and that experience is what it gives you, exactly what you said, that you can actually deeply experience what God’s heart feels like. That in this life, we’re the gift.

Melissa Manor: Yes seriously, so grateful.

Sammy Uyama: I’m thinking I need to be an accountability partner. Who doesn’t want to do it?

Melissa Manor: It’s so fun, friendship, you know? I don’t know. Yes, it’s so cool. It’s such a cool experience, and it’s like every other relationship you have, nothing compares to it exactly. Such a specific type of relationship.

Sammy Uyama: We’re at it, there’s these women that you’ve been having this really intimate relationship with this whole time. If you’re going to give them a shout out, what would you want to acknowledge them for? I’m sure they’re going to listen to this.

Melissa Manor: I just wanted to thank them, honestly. I want to thank them for myself, but also for God, or for people that care about them for really being able to be courageous enough to get help, get support, be honest with what they’re going through. And also, I know, for the most part, most of these sisters, they have a huge desire to also give back. So I think that if you’re getting support, then you’re also in a position where you can also give support, especially once you reach a certain point where you’re really at peace, I would say. I think that’s really a good time to take the other role on and be like: Okay, how can I also support someone? I want to thank them, honestly, for working so hard, and I think also having this mentality of never giving up, I’ve had some sisters that have struggled and of course when people stop communicating with me even though I might try, I know that there might be something else going on. I would just say to all of those sisters to keep going, please reach out to me, I’m here. I’m literally here right now, I can text you or call, or anything. Yes, please reach out but if anything, always look for support and never give up. I think that’s such an easy thing, once you get into the habit of having a setback, sometimes it can get really hard to get over that. But if anything, that’s when you really need to, get help and get support, especially if you feel stuck, because you are totally capable. 

Sammy Uyama: Wow, thank you. And maybe another question is what do you wish people knew about pornography? Or about women who dealt with porn and masturbation? After all that you’ve experienced, going from someone who didn’t really know anything about it to working really closely with people who are dealing with these things?

Melissa Manor: I think what I would say is that it’s a real thing, and that it’s way closer to home than you think even if maybe you don’t struggle with it, I can guarantee one of your younger sisters or older sisters probably struggle with it, or daughters. And especially what I’ve been noticing more recently, especially working with young people is that, actually with the younger generation it’s way more prevalent, and a lot of times they don’t even know what’s going on. They don’t even know that it’s wrong, and so we had a recent workshop, and we brought that up, a couple workshops actually, in the summer, too. I was surprised at how many people really, these young kids that were about 13 14 15, they were bringing up that they’re struggling with pornography or with masturbation. I felt very wow, it’s way more prevalent than you think especially in the younger generation. I would encourage any, especially sisters out there, especially older sisters, to really check in on people, especially the people that you care about, because it’s definitely there. So that’s something I think I wish people knew, but also, I wish people would know that you’re not alone. You’re not struggling alone,  absolutely not. Like I said, there’s so many people, it’s being able to take that first step to open up to someone you really trust. Sometimes parents don’t understand things, so if you’re in that situation then find someone who you can trust. It could be an art. So that’s something I wish people would know.

Sammy Uyama: Thank you. Maybe the final question is, we’ve come this far, I’m sure so many people are inspired and moved by everything you shared, and there’s going to be people listening that they’re at a crossroads. Either the person that’s considering: Oh yeah, I’d really like to be able to do what Melissa’s doing, I’d like to be able help people, I want  to be an accountability partner. And then there’s those who are dealing with porn, dealing with masturbation, and they’re at this crossroads too, they’re like: Oh wow, I’d really love to have that kind of relationship. This is describing and then considering reaching out and trying to find an accountability partner, what would you want to say to each of these two types of people?

Melissa Manor: I would say just do it. Honestly, I think if you’re questioning it, then you should do it. If you’re considering then you should definitely do it because one, it doesn’t hurt anyone. And it’s a sense, it’s almost like eating vegetables like when you eat vegetables, sometimes you’re like: Oh, this is hard. But you never finished eating vegetables that are like: Man, I wish I’ve eaten vegetables. It’s one of those things where it’s going to be good for you whether or not you really get everything out of it, or I think, depending on who your partner is, and have that relationship. No matter what, you’re going to  grow, whether you’re the person getting help, or the person that  is supporting. I don’t know what the right term is, I’m sure cooler terms…

Sammy Uyama: …went up and let us know we’ll use that.

Melissa Manor: I don’t really know, I wish I was good on the spot. But I think either way, it’s an opportunity to really put yourself in a position where you can serve and love, and also be loved. And so I think that if you’re questioning it, then you should definitely do it. It’s not going to hurt, if anything, it’s going to help you. Just to have someone to check in with and talk about goals too, because that’s the thing also, is when you’re in a partnership, I would encourage everyone, don’t just make it about porn or masturbation, like this is what we talk about. I don’t care about anything else, but really make it a deep relationship and talk about other things going on. Other things that that person is dealing with and feel free to also share. I think a lot of times people are like: Oh, but I’m like: You  know, I’m still sometimes struggling or maybe you’ve been through the program a couple times. I think you’re a great candidate because you can be honest enough to share that. I’m not perfect too but I’m still here, and I want to support you. So I think that if it’s even a question on your mind, then go for it.

Sammy Uyama: Beautiful last words, just go for it. If you’re in that position, you’re ready to go for it. Send us an email, go to our website, highnoon.org. You can find all the info there. Send us an email, admin@high noon.org. We’ll link all this in the show notes and in the description. You can find Melissa online. I’m throwing you out there, I’m sure if she’s happy to have you reached out to her. If you think she’s cool, if you think that she’s as cool as we think she is and you want to talk to her, and we have a whole team of women, accountability partners, facilitators, men as well. So reach out to us and we can find the right person for you. Any other last words, and then we’ll wrap up.

Melissa Manor: Last words, honestly, please feel free to reach out to me even if maybe we don’t get to become accountability partners, I’m totally here to answer any questions. I’m on Facebook, Instagram. I don’t know. Anyway, if you ask me with the other High Noon people, I’m not on TikTok.

Sammy Uyama: You’re my last connection to anyone under 20, you know the lingo and you use the words that I didn’t know people used…ask you and you can translate stuff for me. Gucci, you know what Gucci meant for, that’s probably old now, isn’t it?

Melissa Manor: Yes. Someone was telling me the other day, they’re talking about flipped or something like that, or stacked, being stacked and it’s like when you stack pancakes and that I was like: Wait, what? Anyway, there’s so many weird terms but I think something else, I would also say just to end it, is don’t give up on yourself in any way, no matter what you’re struggling with. I’m sure people are listening to this and maybe they don’t struggle with pornography or masturbation, but please don’t give up on whatever goals you’re working on, and always seek help. Even if you don’t need help, you should still get help, still have someone that you feel is supporting you in some way. Sometimes having an accountability partner doesn’t even have to be solely focused on pornography or masturbation, but with anything else that you might be struggling with or dealing with. There’s always available.

Sammy Uyama: Well, you said that focusing on both sides is like the challenges that you’re dealing with, whatever it is, and then also the ideal that you have, and the vision that you have of being able to have someone to support you in that too, I think that’d be really awesome.

Melissa Manor: That’s exactly what accountability partners are for. And if you’re considering being an academy partner, imagine being like a cheerleader for someone, it’s pretty cool. Seeing them grow, not just in pornography/ masturbation aspect, but in life in general, and seeing them graduate from college and hearing them share about maybe a difficult situation that they’re going through, and seeing them overcome it. It’s so fulfilling, as well as the heart of a parent, heart of God, of course, when you’re really like: I saw you when you were struggling, and it’s really cool to be able to support someone in that.

Sammy Uyama: Thank you, Melissa, appreciate you tuning in with us. It was a pleasure. Thank you for sharing everything you did, and just thank you for all of your support for all these women. Like I said, you’re the coolest cat on the entire East Coast.

Melissa Manor: Thank you so much, thank you for having me. I’m grateful that I can support and I look forward to continuing to support forever. Forever and ever, even in the spirit world.

Sammy Uyama: Wow.That’s a long way. Thank you, and thank you all for listening. We’ll see you guys next time.

Andrew Love: Before you go, I want you to consider checking out High Noon Connect. So if you go to our website, highnoon.org, you’ll notice first of all, we have a brand new website, which is beautiful, and also you’ll notice that there’s the opportunity to join High Noon Connect. The essence of what High Noon is morphing into is a community. We are better together, and sexual integrity involves other people. If you’re struggling with pornography, you need the help of brothers and sisters of people in a community dedicated to helping lift you up. And even if you’re not, if you’re in a relationship, and you just want more intimacy, more love, more joy or if you’re single, and you just want to be a person that can live according to their values in the area of sexuality and you want to be around a group of people who are fighting in the same way then please go to highnoon.org and sign up for High Noon Connect. There’s a free version and a paid version. We want to make this as accessible as possible, and we’re nonprofit so we’re not trying to make a buck here, we’re just trying to create the community off of Facebook that gives a focused conversation, focused energy, focused attention on building sexual integrity as a cultural intention. So go to highnoon.org. We’ll see you there.

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