Dating, Romance, Sex

Is Anyone Out There Having Sex?

September 17th, 2015 → 9:15 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Here’s my latest for Huffington Post  … a bit edgy for me! :) Had fun writing it! Sex?

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Sex is as important as eating or drinking and we ought to allow the one appetite to be satisfied with as little restraint or false modesty as the other. Marquis de Sade

I find that I speak with many men and women about the state of their relationships. Friends, acquaintances, colleagues, people behind me in line at the mall, strangers sitting next to me on airplanes – they are all fair game! Lately, a theme has emerged which is very disturbing to me. At first I thought it could be the age of my subjects, but then I realized I have spoken with a cross-section of people of different ages. Then I thought it might be the stage of life they are in, but then I realized I have spoken with a cross-section of people at various stages in their lives and relationships. I’m puzzled. What is going on? Why are married people, seemingly committed spouses, both men and women, sharing with me that their love lives are nearly non-existent? Why am I hearing things like, “We haven’t been intimate in weeks (months!)”

Here’s what I heard about why this dearth of intimacy is going on in America!

We’re stressed. (Yes, life is hard. That’s a perfect reason for other things to be too!)

To succeed with the opposite sex, tell her you’re impotent. She can’t wait to disprove it (Cary Grant).
Being too stressed can lead to other “problems” and based on the ads I see on TV with handsome men talking about ED and gorgeous women talking about having a low libido, this appears to be a valid issue in our country. Engaging in sex should be a stress reliever! Doctors should be prescribing this instead of drugs for high blood pressure. Don’t you feel better after you and spouse have had a healthy sex session? The stress may still be there, but I bet you have forgotten about whatever was stressing you out at least temporarily!

We’re tired. (yawn!)

Skiing is better than sex actually, because for me a good round of sex might be seven minutes. Skiing you can do for seven hours (Spalding Gray).
Yes, I get it. We are overworked. Up at dawn, hitting the gym, off to work for a long day of meetings, home for family dinner, before heading off to coach little league, and finally home at 10PM. Don’t . Touch. Me. I. Just. Want. To. Sleep. What? This isn’t like you are signing up for an evening course to learn the art of Tai Chi (to reduce all that stress, of course). Tai Chi class meets every Monday evening from 6-9PM. Sex doesn’t need 3 hours. Damn! Don’t worry, you will be sound asleep in about 5-10 minutes.

We’re bored. (um, hello. Seriously? Make it fun! Sex isn’t supposed to be boring.)

Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question. “Yes” is the answer (Swami X).
Make it fun. There are lots of ways. If the two of you really can’t figure out how to make it fun, I understand there are stores which will help you by selling you toys designed to make it more fun. Remember how much you used to love going to the toy store when you were little? Perhaps it’s time for a visit! The answer is “Yes!”

We’re afraid the kids will hear us. (That’s not the worst thing ever!)

Kids. They’re not easy. But there has to be some penalty for sex (Bill Maher).
I get this point about not wanting to have your kids hear you and think you are passing a large kidney stone, but c’mon. I grew up thinking my parents only did it twice (once for my brother, and once for me!). Instead, wouldn’t it be nice for kids to be taught the importance and value of intimacy when it exists in the context of marriage? Mommy and Daddy need their special time too!

We aren’t feeling the love. (Yes, sometimes people need a reason to get fired up!).

Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place (Billy Crystal).
Up until now, my comments have really been aimed at both the men and the women, but this one is more targeted. Rightly or wrongly, many women seem to need a “reason” to make love to their husbands. Many women articulated an inability to feel romantic towards their husbands when they aren’t feeling appreciated and valued. Without opening a whole can of worms, I suggest this. Men, give her a reason to have sex. Empty the dishwasher. Give the kids their bath. Trust me. This is sexy … and a really good “reason.” Women want to feel appreciated and a little “act of service” goes a long way. Don’t get all bent out of shape on this topic. Remember, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

What do you think? Any reasons I may have missed?

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Dating, Romance, Sex

Danger Zone!

Don’t Worry … I was Only Looking!

September 16th, 2015 → 6:06 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony! Only Looking!

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cheating issues

“Cheating doesn’t mean you have to kiss, or meet up with someone else … Once you find yourself deleting messages or hiding your internet activity so your partner will not see it, then you are already there.”

I was in bed the other night, surfing the web, and, as is not unusual for me, I ended up looking at yellow labs available on PetFinder.com. I have two dogs. I really don’t need a third. Crazy people have three dogs. Or people who live on farms. Not people in suburbia that live on small parcels of land. Anyway, I clicked on the links and looked at so many beautiful yellow labs looking for friendship, companionship, and love. I read their stories. I looked at their photos. I imagined bringing them home with me. Then, I shut my computer and put it away.

My dog, Cedar, who we thought was a yellow lab (she clearly isn’t … she’s more like dachshund with yellow lab coloring!) when we rescued her as a puppy five years ago was snuggled up next to me the whole time. As soon as I shut my laptop, she climbed right on top of me and starting cuddling and licking my face. I said, “Don’t worry, Cedar, I was ONLY looking … I’m not going to actually follow through with it.”

My husband burst out laughing, saying, “I’m sure those exact words have been uttered all across America this week!” Ah, yes! I’m sure they have too as tens of thousand of husbands and wives have had to explain themselves to their spouses. “Don’t worry honey, I was ONLY looking … I was never actually going to follow through with it.” The hack of the Ashley Madison website for married people looking to have affairs, and the subsequent release of emails of those who perused the site, is going to have ripple effects for years to come.

I don’t buy it. The act of simply looking at a site like Ashley Madison means you are curious and perhaps open to the idea of engaging in an affair. Curiosity, in this case can be dangerous.

I tell myself that I’m not planning to get a third dog. I tell myself that I’m “just looking“ to see what’s out there. I tell myself that there is no harm in taking a look at the photos and reading the bios. But, I KNOW, with all my heart, that when I find that yellow lab who I make that instant connection with (yes, based on a photo over the internet) that I will be scrambling quickly to make arrangements to meet him! There is a certain “look” that I fall for every time. I know that it is just a matter of time before my curiosity and innocent “looking” turns into action.

Temptation is a dangerous thing. We start to make excuses. We go from, “I’m just looking” to “What’s the harm if I just send one text” to “What harm can come from a cup of coffee” to “It was just a kiss” and before you know it, you are in over your head, hurting your loved ones. The ripple effect is tremendous.

Would love to know your thoughts on this one! Innocent “looking” or a dangerous level of “curiosity?”

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Danger Zone!

The Joy of Purging!

August 13th, 2015 → 8:11 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest from eHarmony: Purging!

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get rid of baggage

“If you want to improve your life immediately, go clean out a closet.  Often it’s what we hold onto that holds us back.”

Purging! I’m not referring to an eating disorder. I’m referring to the amazing experience of getting rid of “clutter” in our lives. My family and I recently moved. It wasn’t a huge move. We simply moved 8.6 miles down the road, but oh my goodness, it was still a move!

As humans, isn’t it our nature to fill up our space? We tend to keep things far longer than we should (I said keep, not use). Or we buy new things before the old ones have worn out so we keep both. We shove things into cupboards and closets. We buy storage boxes, fill them, and stack them in the basement. We keep things that we really don’t need to keep. We don’t like to get rid of things, even though we know we will never use them again. Why do we let this clutter build up in our lives?

Our purge started innocently enough. We realized we needed to get rid of some items in our home as we downsized. It quickly turned into an addiction of sorts. One thing led to another and we started giving away, donating, and selling items from all over our house. I would find myself walking around the house grabbing things that we hadn’t used in a while and clearly didn’t “need” and would gleefully add them to the “time to go” pile growing daily in our garage. The extra baggage, the items that had no emotional or utilitarian value, were destined for a better future in someone else’s home.

When it came to the clothes in my closet, my mantra became, “If Justin hasn’t seen this on me, it’s time for it to go!” You see, Justin and I have been married for 6 years. If he hasn’t seen me wear something by now, then obviously I’m not wearing it for a good reason. And with challenge being the hurdle to overcome, out went my favorite chunky sweater from college. Out went my “skinny” pants that I hang onto for some unknown reason! Out went the cute (and by cute I really mean “frumpy”) dress that I wore to church when my daughter was 3 (does the fact that she is now a senior in high school tell you anything?).

This purging was cathartic. I felt freer and lighter with everything that walked out of our home. I started thinking about how cathartic it is when we purge ourselves of all the extra baggage that accumulates in our lives. And when I say baggage, I don’t mean just the extra sheets, shoes, and candles that I seemed to collect. By baggage I mean the people, the circumstances, or the emotions that weigh us down unnecessarily.

“The next time you decide to unclutter your life and clean up your space, start with the things that are truly useless: like regrets, shame, and anger.” Sandra Kring

I spend a significant amount of time talking with women who are divorced. So many of these women are weighed down by clutter in their lives. I encourage them to purge themselves of this clutter of anger, shame, and self-doubt.

Forgiving people removes that negative movie reel of anger from playing over and over in your head and taking up space. Removing toxic friends from your social circle who want nothing more than to see you continue to wallow in misery and self-pity only because misery loves company will free you up to add positive friends into your mix.

Purging regrets from your viewpoint and spending all of your time asking “what if” and looking backwards will free you up to ask “now what” and look forward at new horizons ahead. Give back the anger and shame that you picked up along the way. You don’t need them in your life anymore. Donate the feeling that you aren’t enough and accept that you are completely enough. Work on adding to who you are, not what you have!

What do you think? Have you uncluttered and purged your life? Are you happy with the results?

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Blogtalk

Taking Care of Yourself

Rule #7: Be On the Same Team

May 31st, 2015 → 10:04 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony: Rule #7

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marital advice

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” ~ Babe Ruth

Those of you have been following this series know that it began when I read an article with a great headline that said something to the effect of, “Follow these 7 marriage rules from divorce attorneys … and never end up in their offices!”  What married person wouldn’t continue to read that article?

I decided to write an article about each of the 7 rules, and we wrap up today with #7. If you missed the rest, you can find them here: Rule 1, Rule 2,  Rule 3, Rule 4, Rule #5, and Rule #6.

Today we find ourselves at the final rule. Drum roll please …

Rule #7 – Be on the same team. Being on the same team means that we don’t hold grudges against each other. It means that we are working towards the same goal, not pulling in opposite directions! It means that even when we are upset with each other, we are still rowing in the same direction. In my opinion, the cornerstone of being on the same team means you forgive one another.

Forgiveness is a huge point for me. I love to write and speak about forgiveness, and the quote by Gandhi referenced below is one of my favorites. We are going to be wronged by people in our lives. That is inevitable. How we respond to being wronged says a whole lot about our character.

Rule #7 says we always have to be on the same team. It’s all about moving forward. More importantly, it’s about moving forward together. Rule #7 says that even when we get upset with each other, as we inevitably will in our relationships, that we stay on the same team.

Remember, this article series is all about the 7 rules for marriage that will keep you out of a divorce attorney’s office. It seems fitting to end with a rule that brings in forgiveness. Relationships are hard work. Marriage is hard work. Things are going to happen that require us to offer forgiveness. Choosing to offer that forgiveness is huge. Offering forgiveness when we have been wronged doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to hold the person accountable for whatever he or she did. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be consequences. It does mean that when we offer forgiveness, that we aren’t going to play the movie reel over and over again in our head of how that person wronged us. It means we are going to release ourselves from that pain. That is exactly why it takes a really strong person to find forgiveness. Anyone can hold a grudge. It takes a strong person to forgive and truly desire to still play on the same team.

Many people who are reading this article series are looking to get back into a relationship. They want to find that person who is destined to be their life partner. For many of those people, they are back in the dating game after a prior failed relationship. Perhaps that prior relationship ended on a bad note – something happened that requires forgiveness – and you aren’t quite ready to forgive yet. Here’s what I will say: Rule #7 says that one of the ways to stay solid in your relationship is to stay on the same team, and practice forgiveness. I will apply this to the world of dating and take it one step further. One way to find a solid new relationship is to make sure that you aren’t carrying any baggage from a prior relationship. No one wants to deal with your ongoing anger and angst over something that happened in your past.

Forgiveness is an amazing thing. I don’t think I would have had a chance at meeting the man who is my husband today if I was still angry and bitter at my ex. I was able to honestly embrace the power of forgiveness, and I wholeheartedly believe that is what opened the path for me to meet the man to whom I am now married.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

What do you think? Is forgiveness an essential part of being on the same team?

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Taking Care of Yourself

Danger Zone!Taking Care of Yourself

Rule #6: Know That You Won’t Always be Happy

May 21st, 2015 → 8:51 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eH! – Rule #6

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rules of marriage

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” ~ Helen Keller

I recently read an article with a great headline that said something to the effect of, “Follow these 7 marriage rules from divorce attorneys … and never end up in their offices!”  What married person wouldn’t continue to read that article? Who wants to end up in the office of a divorce attorney? Been there; done that. No more, thank you very much!

As I read through their list of the 7 “rules,” I found myself nodding my head up and down. I agreed with the list. I decided that the 7 “rules” would make 7 really great articles and here we are already at #6. If you missed the rest you can find them here: Rule 1, Rule 2,  Rule 3, Rule 4, and Rule #5.

Rule #6 – Know that you won’t always be happy. Anyone who enters into a serious relationship thinking that everything will always be sunshine and roses is going to be very disappointed. Life happens. There are highs and there are lows, peaks and valleys, ups and downs! To falsely believe that you will always be happy is to set yourself up for tremendous disappointment, and frankly, an inability to handle the downs of a relationship when they do happen.

Sometimes the happiness disappears in a relationship because of relationship issues themselves. Other times, the happiness can disappear because of issues not in the relationship per se, but because of issues that impact the dynamic of the relationship and the intrinsic happiness of the individuals in the relationship. This could be one person losing his or her job. It could be one person dealing with a serious injury. It could be the stress of dealing with a child who is ill.

Regardless of the source of the stress or the unhappiness, how it is dealt with is of utmost importance. Recognizing and accepting that things will happen in our relationships that bring us sadness, or at least reduce our happiness, means that when these things happen, we are better prepared to skate through that season until we find contentment again.

When unhappiness finds you, do you retreat inside of yourselves and try to survive on your own, or do you lean on each other for support? Do you shut down, or do you open up? Do you batten down the hatches in your own survival mode, or do you recognize that two can be stronger than one?

Many people think that having to deal with unhappiness isn’t good. Most of us try to avoid being unhappy. The reality is that dealing with stressors in our lives, and dealing with periods of unhappiness, can actually serve to bring us closer to those who are important to us. When we are unhappy, we tend to be more vulnerable. That makes us more “human” and people respond to being needed and want to be helpful. When we are unhappy, we rely more on others. No longer are we invincible by ourselves, but rather we find we need to rely on others for support. This can actually serve to make our relationships stronger.

Think about it! Two parents dealing with a troubled teen. They can choose to shut down and fold into their own angst, or they can become partners and talk about how they are going to handle it together. Two lovers dealing with an unexpected bump in their road. They can choose to ignore each other and feign independence, or they can decide together how best to deal with this “issue” as a duo. Two spouses dealing with an unexpected financial crisis. They can process their stress and grief independently, or they can turn to each other for emotional support.

Most people don’t want to be operating in a cloud of unhappiness for extended periods of time. Those couples who recognize that stress is part of the natural cycle of life are going to be the stronger couples who survive that stress, and not the ones who are crushed under it’s weight. Those are the couples who choose to incorporate those moments as part of their story. They focus on what happened, and how they got through it together. Maybe it’s not about the happy ending. Maybe it’s about the story in between!

“The happiest people do not have the best of everything. They make the best of everything they have.”

What do you do think? When unhappiness comes along, how do you react? Turn in, or reflect out?

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Danger Zone! &Taking Care of Yourself

Rule #5: Don’t Expect Perfection

May 13th, 2015 → 4:43 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Here’s my latest for eHarmony – Rule #5

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illusion of perfection

“Life is better when you stop criticizing the faults, instead look for the beauty in the flaws.”

I recently read an article with a great headline that said something to the effect of, “Follow these 7 marriage rules from divorce attorneys … and never end up in their offices!”  What married person wouldn’t continue to read that article? Who wants to end up in the office of a divorce attorney? Been there; done that. No more, thank you very much!

I decided to write an article about each of the 7 rules. We are coming into the home stretch and today we are on Rule #5. If you have missed any of the others, you can catch up here: Rule 1, Rule 2,  Rule 3 and Rule 4.

Don’t expect perfection. Remember what our parents used to tell us? Nobody is perfect. They were right. We aren’t perfect. Our parents aren’t perfect. And, our partner isn’t perfect. We have to learn to accept them for who they are.

It’s interesting. We are usually willing to overlook “flaws” or things that bother us early in relationships. Some things are cute, and we find we can overlook them easily. They aren’t a big deal, and we ignore them. Or, we are so in love that we are willing to overlook them because all the great traits overshadow these few “annoying habits.” Or, we lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that these “flaws” – these cracks in perfection – aren’t a big deal and we will get used to them. Or, and this is a dangerous one, we believe we will be able to “change” them and “fix” them once we have some time to work on them. These are all reasons why we are willing to overlook perceived “flaws” and move forward with a relationship.

Most of the time, as these relationships progress, all the reasons and excuses we gave ourselves about the “flaws” we find in our spouses suddenly dim in their importance, and the “flaw” itself seems to become magnified. Sure, we told ourselves that it was a cute “flaw,” or that that we would get used to it, or that we could change them, but the reality is that “flaw” isn’t going anywhere.

You will also go crazy trying to change someone to make them perfect. Too often I’ve spoken with divorced people who tell me, “I thought I could change him (or her) … and when I realized I couldn’t, things got really bad.”

So now what? I’ve seen “flaws” that have gone on to create giant wedges between couples who could no longer see all of the great qualities that attracted them to each other in the first place. Suddenly all of those wonderful traits that you fell in love with – his wacky sense of humor, the way she wants to adopt every stray pet she sees, his special way with your kids – take a back seat to the fact that he leaves the toilet seat up or that she throws clothes on the floor in the closet.

We need to accept “flaws” for what they are: inevitable parts of every one of us.

Remember, nobody is perfect. And, if you married someone to begin with, it’s likely that their list of wonderful attributes far outweighed their list of “flaws.” It might be time to revisit what it was that you initially fell in love with, and then decide how important those “flaws” really are in the grand scheme of things. I’m guessing those “flaws” will turn out to rank pretty low on the totem pole in comparison with other wonderful qualities.

“Vulnerability is the essence of romance. It’s the art of being uncalculated, the willingness to look foolish, the courage to say, ‘This is me, and I’m interested in you enough to show you my flaws with the hope that you may embrace me for all that I am but, more important, all that I am not.’ ” ~ Ashton Kutcher

What do you think? Have you let “flaws” become more important than they deserve to be? Are you aware of your own “flaws?”

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Blogtalk

Danger Zone!

Rule #4: Be a Good Conversation Partner

May 2nd, 2015 → 8:14 am @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Have you been following the rules? Here’s my latest for eHarmony! Rule #4

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communication and couples

“Communication is the fuel that keeps the fire of your relationship burning; without it, your relationship goes cold.”  – William Paisley

I recently read an article with a great headline that said something to the effect of, “Follow these 7 marriage rules from divorce attorneys … and never end up in their offices!”  What married person wouldn’t continue to read that article? Who wants to end up in the office of a divorce attorney? Been there; done that. No more, thank you very much!

Welcome to this series. I decided to write an article on each of the 7 rules, what each one means, and how we can apply it! If you are just joining in, we are at the mid-point! You can catch up on the prior 3 rules here: Rule 1, Rule 2, and Rule 3.

Today we are on Rule #4. Be a good conversation partner. Many a couple has blamed “communication breakdowns” on the failure of their marriages. What does that even mean? I don’t think it is communication breakdowns that are the issue. If there are breakdowns, it means you are still communicating in some way, shape or form. Rather, I think the problems start when communication stops altogether.

Think back to the early days of your past relationships. You talked on the phone multiples times a day. You texted quick little updates or quirky little messages that had no real meaning. You couldn’t wait to share every mundane detail of your day. You could talk for hours and hours about your history, your stories, and those moments that made you who you are.

If you had so much to talk about then, how come you have so little to talk about now? The multiple phones calls a day started to dwindle. The little text messages dissipated. Over time you became too tired, or too busy doing other things to share those mundane details of your day. You feel your partner has heard all the stories that have shaped and molded who you are. Suddenly, there is no breakdown in communication; there is simply no communication.

One place for us to start being communicative again is to stop what we are doing and focus on our partners and really talk with them. Engage in a two-way dialogue. Be interested in what he or she is saying. Respond. React. Reply. In other words, turn off the TV and put down your smart phone. Replying to the emails that are chiming in, keeping up with the latest game stats, playing Candy Crush, and checking on the weather can all wait.

My husband and I have a couple of sets of cards called “Table Topics” that we keep around the house. We have a “couples” edition and a “family” edition. Every now and then we’ll get them out and pull a card and all have to answer the question. It’s a great way to get dialogue going. It was fun when we first started dating to ask each other questions that we might not think about and to hear the answers. We usually couldn’t get past more than a few questions at a time because they led to such great conversations. With two teenagers in the house now, we love the “family” edition. We recently had a great conversation amongst the four of us in response to the question, “Would you rather be the best player on a mediocre team, or a mediocre player on a great team?” The dialogue that ensues is always interesting, and I hope we are raising our “wired” kids to become good conversationalists!

The point is this: Talk. Share. Listen. Don’t let communication disappear from your relationships. It’s far too important. We are all going to have those days where we are just too tired to talk, and that’s OK. When I have those days, I simply tell my husband that I need some quiet time, and that I’m “talked out” from my day. I just don’t have it in me to talk more. He knows to give me time and I’ll recharge. The important thing is that I can’t have too many of those days in a row.

One closing thought. As this rule states, it is important to be a good conversation partner. And, it’s appropriate to recognize that being a good conversationalist means you are just as good at listening as you are at talking. It means actively listening and acknowledging appropriately. It means showing empathy and compassion. It means providing advice (if it is wanted), or just listening and soaking it in (when advice isn’t needed or wanted). It’s not a very healthy or productive conversation if one person is doing all of the talking. That’s not a conversation; it’s a speech!

“Communication to a relationship is like Oxygen to life. Without it … it dies.”  – Tony Gaskins

What do you think? Are communication breakdowns the problem, or is it when communication stops altogether?

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Danger Zone!

Dating, Romance, Sex

Rule #3: Enjoy More Intimacy

April 28th, 2015 → 7:14 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Here’s Rule #3 in the series for eHarmony – enjoy! Rule #3

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have more sex

 

“Kids. They’re not easy. But there has to be some penalty for sex” — Bill Maher

I recently read an article with a great headline that said something to the effect of, “Follow these 7 marriage rules from divorce attorneys … and never end up in their offices!”  What married person wouldn’t continue to read that article? Who wants to end up in the office of a divorce attorney? Been that; done that. No more, thank you very much!

I am writing an article about each of the 7 rules and really trying to expand upon what each one means and how we can apply it. If you want to catch up, Rule #1 was Realize You Can Lose Your Partner, and Rule #2 was Bring Back the Little Things. Today, we are on Rule #3 … and it’s a fun one!

3. Have more sex! If only I had a dollar for every person with whom I have spoken who has lamented to me that they are “roommates” with their partner. Think back to the roommates you have had in your life. Perhaps you roomed with a sibling growing up. Perhaps you roomed with dorm-mates in college. Presumably you weren’t having sex with them. To say you are living as a roommate in your marriage means you are not living as lovers and that you aren’t having sex. In the context of a happy, healthy, and committed marriage, not having sex is a real bummer.

Sex (when done right!) is intimate. It creates a connection. It’s an emotional experience. It brings two people closer together. To have those things lacking in a marriage is really sad.  Yet, as we celebrate more and more wedding anniversaries, and we have kids, and we get tired, and we get really, really tired, well, sometimes – often times – it’s the sex that starts to dissipate, then disappear. That’s tragic. I don’t care how old you are, or what physical state you are in, there is an emotional connection that happens when you make love to your spouse.

And, while sex is fun and important, let’s not focus just on the ultimate physical act. Many of the same couples who tell me that they are roommates with their partner, are the same ones who tell me that they aren’t just lacking sex, but rather all physical touch with their partner.

There is so much to be said for just touching one another. Holding each other’s hands. Giving each other a really huge bear hug. Giving a gentle kiss on the forehead. Participating in an all-out kiss that reminds you of when you first met!

Any kind of physical touch conveys love. When we were infants, we wanted to be held and touched. That was how we recognized love. Now that we are older, it’s no different. Most of us really like touch, and it’s the primary love language for many of us, and that tank can be filled in so many ways …be it sitting intertwined on the couch while watching a movie, spooning in bed, or holding each other’s hand while walking through the mall.

If you are one of those people who has LOST physical touch in your relationship, it’s not too late to get it back. If you are one of those people who has LOTS of physical touch in your relationship, good for you for keeping it a priority.

“Intimacy is not purely physical. It’s the act of connecting with someone so deeply you feel like you can see into their soul.”

What do you think? Once physical touch starts to disappear completely is the relationship doomed?

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Dating, Romance, Sex

Dating, Romance, Sex

Rule #2: Bring Back the Little Things

April 22nd, 2015 → 2:31 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

Here’s my latest for eHarmony! Rule #2!

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lovenotes

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

I recently read an article with a great headline that said something to the effect of, “Follow these 7 marriage rules from divorce attorneys … and never end up in their offices!”  What married person wouldn’t continue to read that article? Who wants to end up in the office of a divorce attorney? Been that; done that. No more, thank you very much!

I wrote an article about Rule #1 recently – Realize You Can Lose Your Partner  – and here is Rule #2. Stay tuned for Rules #3-7!

Rule #2 – Bring back the little things.  

To me, Rule #2 is a continuation of Rule #1. Rule #1 said, “Realize you can lose your partner.” I compared the attention that we give to a meaningful piece of jewelry or the care that we give to an important key as we try not to lose either item, and suggested that this is how we should be treating our partners. In an effort not to lose them, we should be showing them the same care and attention that we are giving to our meaningful watch and important key. After all, isn’t your partner just as meaningful and important?

Rule #2 is all about how we show our partner that we find him or her meaningful and important. Time and time again, people tell me how frustrated they are in their relationships because they feel they are no longer appreciated. Those “little things” that are so wonderful and prevalent in the beginning of relationships often begin to disappear. It happens slowly, and then one day, one person realizes, “Hmmm … my husband used to bring me coffee in bed every Sunday morning when we were first married … and now he can’t wait to get out the door to get to the golf course.” Or, he thinks, “My wife used to stay up late when I came in late from work so that we could talk about our day together … and now she’s fast asleep in her sweatpants.”

We are talking about little things … that are really huge, enormous, tremendous things that have the power to change relationships. Think about it. What “little thing” has someone done for you lately? Did it make a big impact on you? Clearly it did because you still remember it. Little things don’t have to be expensive; they don’t have to take a lot of time; they don’t even have to take up a lot of your energy.

Little things are just that – little things, and bringing back little things will do huge things towards bringing back love, energy, and connection in your relationships (and let’s be clear, we are not just talking about your romantic relationships, but rather all of your relationships). When was the last time you…

Did a little thing like send a friend a card to let her know you were thinking about her, or put a little love note in your partner’s suitcase before he left on a business trip?

Did a little thing like buy the person behind you in the drive-thru line at Starbucks a coffee even though you didn’t know them, or brought your partner a coffee (or diet coke or glass of OJ) in bed on a Saturday morning?

Did a little thing like give a fellow mom a huge smile of encouragement and a word of support when you could tell she was having a day where she just lost her bid for “mom of the year,” or gave your partner an unexpected foot massage after she had a long day on her feet (in those favorite heels you bought her)?

Did a little thing like offer to bring your friend’s kids home after soccer practice so that she and her husband could have a quiet dinner alone, or lined up a babysitter (all by yourself) so you could take your wife out for a romantic dinner?

Oh yes, we call those “little things.” A friend will thank us for the card, and we’ll say, “Oh no big deal … it was just a little thing.” Or we’ll thank our partner for the coffee, and she’ll say, “no big deal … only took an extra minute.” They are right. In and of themselves, these little things aren’t a big deal and don’t take a lot of time, money or energy, but the end-result is a tremendous … and a really BIG deal!

“Little things, little things, are much more important than big things. Big things hit you in the face with their bigness and obscure the little, more important things that really define a life and provide it with delicacy.” — Layren Roedy Vaughn

What about you? What “little thing” have you done for someone else lately?

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Dating, Romance, Sex

Danger Zone!

Rule #1 – Realize You Can Lose Your Partner

April 14th, 2015 → 2:51 pm @ // No Comments - Join the conversation!

My latest for eHarmony:

_______________

relationship tips

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. ” ~ Simone Signoret

I recently read an article with a great headline that said something to the effect of, “Follow these 7 marriage rules from divorce attorneys … and never end up in their offices!”  What married person wouldn’t continue to read that article? Who wants to end up in the office of a divorce attorney? Been there; done that. No more, thank you very much!

As I read through their list of the 7 “rules,” I found myself nodding my head up and down. Yes! These are great things to do to keep your marriage strong – and presumably are things that if you sustain in your marriage will ultimately keep your union strong and keep you from stepping foot in a divorce attorney’s office.

I decided that the 7 “rules” would make 7 really great articles. I start here with Rule #1 … and will continue with articles on rules #2-7 in the coming weeks. Ready? Here we go!

Rule #1 – Realize you can lose your partner. Marriage is a commitment. When you exchanged your wedding vows you made a commitment to stay married “until death do you part.” However, as I highlighted in a prior article called Dateable, “when you are accountable for something that you aren’t capable of, you are miserable.” Realize that you can lose your partner. In fact, if we listen to the statistics, in roughly 50% of first marriages we are discovering that you can in fact lose your partner.

Just as we tend to take extra care with and give special attention to other things that we don’t want to risk losing, so must we do the same with our spouses. Think about it. Perhaps you have a favorite piece of jewelry. Maybe it’s a fancy watch that your grandfather left for you. When you wear it, you are constantly checking to be sure the clasp is secure. When you take it off at the end of the day, you are careful to place it in a safe and secure location. You are cognizant of it, and attentive to it. You give that watch some special attention because it is meaningful to you.

Or, maybe you are a frequent traveler who leaves your car in the airport parking lot regularly. If you are like me, you are careful to zip your car key into a compartment in your briefcase or luggage so it won’t fall out as you go through security and your bags get tossed around. You give that key some special attention because it is important to you.

Similarly, this is the way we should treat our partners. We should be careful and attentive with him or her. We should be checking in to see if we are still “clasped” tightly. We should remain in a safe and secure place together. We should show extra care and attention to our partners because they are meaningful and important to us.

As we get caught up in our hectic lives, however, our jobs, our children, our hobbies, and our volunteer work can all place enormous demands on our time. Unfortunately, it is often our partners who pay the price. We tend to think that they will be the most understanding and forgiving and they are for a time, but after a while nobody wants to feel like they are consistently coming in second, third or fourth place. After a while, every partner wants to feel like they are that meaningful watch and that important key.

Relationships are vulnerable. While our partners certainly aren’t like a watch or a key, they too can get “lost” in the shuffle. This can ultimately lead to losing your partner completely and finding yourself making that visit to the divorce attorney.

The bottom line is this: marriage is hard work and it takes an ongoing commitment. Just because you said, “I do” doesn’t mean you are home free and that all the hard work is done. Turning your “I do” into forever means making your partner a constant priority in your life, and having your partner feel valued as a priority. Think about it. Are you treating your partner as a meaningful watch or an important key?

Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” ~ Barnett R. Brickner

What do you think? Do you operate on the premise that your relationship is something to be cherished, and are you cautious not to lose it?

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Danger Zone!