Romance, Guy Style

Couple-Relaxing

Romance, Guy Style

We all know what women find romantic. But what about when it comes to men?  How you do sweep a guy off his feet? Flowers, candle lit dinners and moonlit buggy rides aren’t it. It can be difficult to guess what gifts or gestures he’ll appreciate. But not to worry, here are some ideas. Here’s romance, guy style. First, when you do something nice for your guy, don’t expect something automatically in return. It kills the mood. You don’t want him to show up with a bouquet of your favorite flowers and just after you swoon say, “Hey, what are you going to do for me?” Instead, make sure a gesture or a gift is just that, an expression of your affection. Of course he’ll be overjoyed and won’t be able to wait to shower you with gifts and appreciation. But let it come naturally. Don’t force it or expect it.

For gesture ideas, why not cook him his favorite meal or bake his favorite dessert? Not so handy in the kitchen? Take him out to his favorite restaurant. If he’s a sports guy, take him to a sports bar where they have the best burgers for the game. For guys, it isn’t about a one size fits all thing like flowers or candy. It’s really about tailoring what his hobbies or interests are to your gift or gesture. Get to know your guy and what he likes and ideas will come up.

Tickets to the game or the concert, a nice watch, a weekend away, a ski trip, a party on the beach, a surprise camping trip to a national park he’s been itching to make it to, a massage, all of these will show him how much you care. Guys often plan dates, outings and so on, though certainly not always. But why not turn the tails on him and plan something that will knock his socks off? If you want to do something little, why not leave a little love note for him, or even a steamy one? Leave them in his briefcase, knapsack, jacket pocket, in a book he’s reading, his luggage or his satchel. Some guys don’t like it when things are too sappy. Others are the sensitive type. Know which type your guy is and write your notes accordingly. Why not write something funny or witty?

Sometimes just lazing around together can be romantic. Sitting by the pool with drinks, easing into a hot tub or coffee and a long brunch in a great café will do the trick. Don’t forget that for guys the physical aspect is an important part of romance. Surprising him in lingerie is always a great way to wow him. And it will make you two closer, too. Isn’t that what it’s all about? For more advice read, 31 Days to a Happy Husband: What a Man Needs Most from His Wife by Arlene Pellicane.

Using HEAL to Restore Trust

HEAL

Using HEAL to Restore Trust

A loving, supportive romantic relationship is one of the biggest joys in life. But it can also be a source of regret, guilt, anger, resentment and sorrow. We learn all about weddings and courtship as children and teens. But we really don’t learn much about how to make marriage work. This is reflected in the divorce rate. The latest is 41% for first marriages and 60% for second ones. Life’s stresses and having different expectations for things can railroad even the best of relationships. Something else that weighs heavily on a relationship is a phenomenon called “attachment injuries.” This is when a particularly stressful or painful event arises in our life and we need our partner to comfort us but they aren’t available either physically or emotionally. This leads to resentment and suppressed anger. Therapist Dr. Melanie Greenberg has come up with a certain type of therapy to counteract these issues and get relationships back on track. It’s called HEAL, an acronym standing for Hear, Empathize, Act, Love. It exchanges self-protecting behavior with reconnecting, loving, and compassionate behavior.

First you have to listen actively to your partner. Consciously take down your defenses and open up your heart to them. Look at their facial expressions, body language, register their tone. What else are they saying with these nonverbal cues? How are they really feeling? Are they actually expressing some sort of need that isn’t currently being met? Companionship, understanding, control, and love are all needs that perhaps are going unfulfilled. The best way to calm your significant other is to really listen, find out what need isn’t being met, and be open to changing and working hard to meet their need. Next, empathize with your partner. Realize what it’s like from their point of view. Feel what they are feeling and let it come over you. Sometimes one emotion such as anger resides at the surface, but is put there by another emotion lingering underneath, perhaps frustration, loneliness or feeling that you aren’t in control of your own life. Sometimes there is a deeper reason. But sometimes your partner just needs validation and compassion. Oftentimes these two are enough to quell the problem. The next step is act. Talk with your partner and find out what needs to be done or what you need to change in order to meet their needs. Finally, love. Feel love for the person and express it unconditionally. If your relationship has trust issues, restore it with HEAL.  For more advice read, I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum.

Co-parenting Responsibly

divorce

Co-parenting Responsibly

Co-parenting can be difficult in light of a separation or divorce. Sometimes the tension of the divorce pushes the kids aside or sticks them in the middle, rather than making them the center of each parent’s world. But the damage that can result to their psyche’s and self-esteem can carry though to lower grades, lower income, difficulty in relationships, riskier sex lives and a higher propensity to smoke, drink and abuse drugs. Surely each person must put their own emotions aside, as difficult as that may be and commit to co-parenting responsibly. Of course this is easier said than done and sometimes the wave of emotions can overtake logic, and what’s best for the children gets pushed to the wayside before we even recognize it. To prevent this from happening sit down with your ex and plan out exactly how co-parenting will work. The children of course are the most important thing. What parent would think any differently? If you approach your ex with these ideas, and both of you commit to making the children the number one priority for both of you, the kids will be well-adjusted and a lot happier. First, decide together that you two will both commit to a supportive and compassionate co-parenting model. Your ex doesn’t have to become your enemy, nor you theirs. If both of you commit to being great parents that’s what’s most important.

Remind yourself of what positive things your ex brought to the parenting dynamic. Even if someone is a lousy spouse or partner they can still be a good parent. Recognize the positive things that this person brings into the children’s life. This is an especially poignant reminder when you are ready to kill your ex. Don’t bad mouth your ex in front of the children, as much as you’d like to. Commit a pact with your ex that you won’t do it and neither should they. Make sure when you two make decisions it has the children’s best interest in mind. No one should be unloading the kids on the other because they have a date that weekend. Each person should attend the most important events in the children’s life such as graduations, sporting events, award ceremonies and so on. All decisions should be made first with the children’s needs in mind. If you have a new partner, make sure they don’t influence the co-parenting dynamic negatively. Your ex should commit to this as well. Don’t allow your new partner to give you grief and your ex’s new partner shouldn’t bring grief into the co-parenting relationship. This is between you and your ex. You two are the parents and no matter what you both have to make things work for the children’s sake. Believe it or not it pays to do a little favor for your ex now and then. You may be totally stressed out, drowning in responsibility or caught in a pinch and need them to bail you out. Even if they aren’t your favorite person, one hand washes the other. Be respectful. Drop the kids off on time and pick them up on time. But be flexible, too. Co-parenting seems awkward and difficult at first. But once you fall into a routine it becomes just part of your life. For further reading on this topic pick up a copy of Co-Parenting Works!: Helping Your Children Thrive after Divorce by Tammy G. Daughtry.

Three Ways We Put Off Divorce

Couple Grown Apart

Three Ways We Put Off Divorce

Marriage may feel like a constant thing. But actually each morning when you wake up, you make a decision, conscious or not, to stay with that person. There’s no force field holding you there. It may not feel that way. Of course every marriage has its ups and downs. In the ups we can’t even think of a day without our spouse. At the downs we are wondering why on earth we chose to be with this person to begin with. Most of life however resides somewhere in the middle. We just cruise along. After a while, there doesn’t seem that much worthwhile anymore. Sure, each of us at one time or another questions our marriage. That’s normal and healthy. But if you are obsessing over it from one day to another, that’s a different thing entirely. If the thought of should I stay or should I go consumes you, this is a warning sign that there is in fact trouble and things are sinking fast. If you’re always thinking about if you are happy or not, chances are you’re not. Happy people don’t wonder, they just know. It certainly isn’t a nice feeling to realize that something is wrong in your marriage. But it’s worse when you understand that it’s best if you end it altogether. Lots of people make appointments, go to see a therapist and ask them when they’ll know it’s the right time to get divorced. But the therapist will more often than not say only you yourself can answer that question.

Oftentimes, people put off divorce because of some other stressful event in their life; a close friend’s wedding coming up, you don’t want to ruin your son’s high school graduation or work has been a mess and you just couldn’t handle the extra stress. It should be timed right. But if you are just delaying the inevitable, how you feel will grow worse and worse. Some people wait for it to be the perfect moment, but that perfect moment will never come. Others want to know deep in their heart without one iota of doubt before they serve their significant other with divorce papers. But the truth is that moment will never come. There will always be at least a semblance of doubt. The truth is the decision to get divorced is a personal one. It varies from person to person who they can live with and who can make them happy. It takes a lot of soul searching. Plus a divorce is a very emotionally and financially draining prospect that isn’t to be entered into lightly. There won’t be any absolutes. Instead, you have to go through a process of thinking, of really getting in touch with your feelings and deciding what it is going to take for you to be happy, and if your spouse can be included in that picture or not.  No one can tell you what is absolutely right or wrong. All you can find out is what’s right for you.

If you feel you’ve been dragging your feet and are stuck in a psychological quicksand you can’t seem to get out of in order to decide whether to stay or get divorced, here are some questions that might help you refocus your search. Here are three ways we usually put off getting divorced. First, are you trying to persuade your spouse into conceding that your view on marriage is the proper one? It takes two to make a marriage and each person has a unique perspective on the matter. Neither one and yet both are valid. If one person doesn’t see marriage in the same way, stop trying to convince them. If they haven’t budged by now they are never going to. The reality is both of you have some truth to the way you look at it. Some things are about perspective and it’s important to let things go unless they are important. Pick your battles and choose your words wisely. Are you trying to convince your partner that divorcing or trying again is the right way to go? Oftentimes, when divorce is being considered one person wants to go while the other wants to work it out. If one person adamantly wants to go, let them. If one person adamantly wants to work it out, but the other doesn’t, how much effort and energy is the other person really going to put into this relationship? Don’t you want someone who wants to give it their all? Whoever isn’t into it isn’t going to magically turn around. It’s important that the aggrieved party find a way to move on, and to find their own happiness. Lastly, if you want your spouse to take responsibility for the destruction of the marriage don’t hold your breath. For more, pick up a copy of Should I Stay or Should I Go?: A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can–and Should–be Saved by Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi.

Try Dating Different Kinds of People

interracial-dating

Just a few generations ago it was illegal to date outside of your race. But today, it’s more and more acceptable. In fact, interracial, interreligious, and interethnic dating is on the rise. There are lots of people who feel strange or apprehensive straying outside their tribe. But you can derive a whole host of benefits from it, particularly if you are dating casually, exploring yourself, your identity, and how you react to different situations, and learning more about yourself and the world around you. Have you ever considered dating outside your class, race, ethnicity, and religion? It can be exciting and fun. You may even find the one you’ve been looking for, without even realizing it. If you are still apprehensive, read on to see if any of these reasons to try dating different kinds of people resonate with you. Have you ever heard of the rule of averages? It means that the more people you encounter, the wider a net you cast, and the greater your chances of catching the person you want. If you only limit yourself to your own race, ethnicity or religion you may be missing out on a whole available pool of men or women that have the qualities you are looking for.

You know how a little variety spices up your life? Trying new foods, going new places, listening to new music, exploring a new area, or trying out a new look can enrich your life in so many different ways. So can dating someone outside your normal sphere. If you have tried once but didn’t like it, consider the person, not their category. You were obviously willing to give it a try. Perhaps it was this particular person who wasn’t for you. Realize that you are empowered with an extra gift many people in other nations, cultures, and regions of the world can’t exercise. You can choose whoever you date and not fall victim to uncomfortable social situations. Why not choose to broaden your horizons? You will see things in a different way, and it will stretch your perception. But how do you date outside your race, ethnicity, and so on? Why not approach someone you find attractive? Flirt. Chat with someone and see if there is any interest. Make an online profile on one or more dating sites and message someone who is outside your tribe but has similar interests as you. Attend events, classes, networking events, take advantage of volunteer opportunities, meet people, mingle, and chat or flirt as you normally would. It’s just like meeting anyone else. For more insight on interracial dating and overcoming the stereotypes, read the advice of Karyn Langhorne Folan in her book, Don’t Bring Home a White Boy: And Other Notions that Keep Black Women From Dating Out.