Are your Ready for a Long-term Relationship?

 

According to society, the media, our family, and perhaps even friends, a long-term, monogamous relationship is the only legitimate kind. Dating around is considered something for impetuous youth, and for the eternal playboy who flaunts societies rules and fails to slow down. Women are judged even more harshly if they do not want to find “The One.” Though many powerful, innovative female role models in the past never settled down, the fact is gleaned over, if not forgotten. Even after a painful breakup or divorce, folks will reach out, try to set you up with someone, ask when you are going to “get serious” with someone again, or merely inquire, whether politely or otherwise, why you are still single. The fact is, there is no right or wrong way to manage a love life. It is really all up to each, particular individual, what works for them, and where they are in life. No one can tell you if you are ready for or even want a long-term relationship, right now or ever. Only the voice in your own heart can tell you. If you rush into one with the wrong person, or with the right person at the wrong time—failing to allow things to develop at their natural pace, tragedy can ensue. It really is out of anxiety for others or societal expectations that we jump into a long-term relationship when we do not want one, or when we are not ready. So if you are interested in a long-term relationship, and that is your goal, how do you know when you are ready?

Did you just get out of such a relationship? If so, jumping into another may not be the smartest move. If you are seeing someone to get over your ex, to make them jealous, or if you know in your heart of hearts that this is just a rebound, do not move forward. You would be doing so not because you want to but out of expectation. A house of love built on a flimsy foundation will sooner or later come crashing down. You will have broken the heart of someone you had no intention of truly loving. Do not set up false expectations. Let the person you are dating know where you have been, where you are at, and how you aren’t looking for anything serious right now. Do not open the door to future seriousness with them if you have no intention of doing so. You will only set up a false expectation.

There is nothing wrong with a rebound or dating casually, as long as each party is aware of exactly what is going on and everything is consensual. Another time to avoid a long-term relationship is when you are expecting big changes soon. If you are moving away, starting a new job, entering into medical school, or taking some time off to take care of a sick relative, your time will be limited. Do you really have the time and energy to make this relationship work? Spreading yourself too thin will only cause arguments, derision, and heartache. A Long distance relationship needs even more of an investment. Talk it over with your love interest and let them know where you are at, and where you are going.

Some people love singledom and hate being tied down. Then they meet someone that they like, and even though becoming a unit doesn’t feel right, they do it to not lose the person. But they are never truly happy in captivity. Whether it is a temporary thing such as you are at a transition point and need to do some soul searching, or you have always been a lone wolf and will always be, do not settle for what you know in your heart will never work. State who you are and what you like clearly. If they won’t take no for an answer, you probably shouldn’t be dating this person to begin with. Perhaps you feel as though you need to keep your defenses up. You cannot trust anyone to get close. This is not the time to get serious with someone. They will attempt to get closer to you, while all you will be doing is pushing them away. This situation makes both of you dissatisfied. Instead, work on yourself. Why do you have these trust issues? Where do they stem from? Get yourself where you need to be, and once you get there, you will know how to manage your love life in the way that is right for you.

For more up a copy of Every Single Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise (The Every Man Series) Workbook by Shannon Ethridge.

When Your Partner Isn’t Into Your Fetish

When Your Partner Isn’t Into Your Fetish

In the honeymoon stage sex is happens spontaneously and often. But when things move on it takes a little more effort to find novelty in the bedroom, or else things can grow stale. This is a good time to explore deeper fantasies together. Everyone has them, although in our culture we are often taught to suppress them. But it is psychologically healing to be able to reveal your inner self and have it be accepted by your partner. That said, many of us are living with the psycho-social residue of sex as being taboo. So it becomes difficult to open up to our partner about areas we would like to explore. In this case, couples can be a perfect match on all things, and yet be mismatched in terms of sexuality. Common difference include a frequency differential—one person has a strong sexual appetite than the other, and differing interests. For example, one person is kinkier than the other. Or one wants to be submissive while the other could never see themselves as dominant. In any case, a couple doesn’t have to break up just because you do not share the same sexual interests at the outset. Negotiation, open-mindedness, and an I-will-do-this-for-you if-you-do-this-for-me, mentality applies. Here is what to do if your partner is not into your fetish.

Your course of action depends upon whether or not your partner is aware of your fetish. Let’s say for instance you are a female who desires to be tied up and ravaged. But your husband grew up with an overbearing, feminist mother who instilled in him a deep and resounding respect for women, not a bad quality, but it could hamper your desires in this case. He may just need some introduction into what you are interested in. First, get in touch with every aspect of your fetish. You will need a deep understanding of it before you can truly communicate it to someone else. What is it that turns you on? Why do you think that is? Next, try subtle things like watching pornographic videos where this is portrayed, reading certain erotica together, bringing up interesting through pertinent anecdotes, or talking about little aspects that interest you or turn you on. It is important to slowly get your partner acclimated to the idea.

Now try moving things up a level. First, start with dirty talk. Get him to call you derogatory names, and give him what he wants in return, as a part of positive reinforcement. As things unfold, sometime in the near future during another session, ask him to tie you down while incorporating the aforementioned language. Now try role playing and have him in a very assertive role such as a dirty teacher, police officer, or soldier. Next, have some time alone together where you share your fantasies and elaborate farther. Make sure you state this is a realm free of judgment before discussing. Explain to him what turns you on about it. Be patient and be ready to explain in many different ways and on different occasions until he in this example, or she understands. What makes something repellent to us as a species is not understanding something. But once we get it, the weirdness comes out of it, and we are more willing to take part in it, and make our partner happy.

If it is something they already know about but are not interested in, do not give up. Let him or her get used to the idea. Start out slow. Discuss it on multiple occasions. But be sure that they get to talk about their interests too, and you do your best to fulfill their fantasies. Negotiate using the process of “How about instead of (whatever is objectionable) we do (something similar).” Workshop the entire process if it is a role play so your partner doesn’t get stuck. Always be sure to practice safe play. If he or she is still uninterested, leave the door open. If and when they agree to take part, always take baby steps letting them get acclimated, and each time getting a little closer to what you want.

Both of you need to understand that the bedroom sphere is completely different than the outside world. The rules in one do not apply to the other. Some of the things that really turn us on in the bedroom would be the same things we would fight against tooth and nail in the outside world. If your fetish is too far beyond the pale for your partner, even after long negotiations, and this is one of your needs, talk about what to do next. Are they okay with you interacting with another in this manner? Visiting a club or social group where this interest is held in common? Would they be okay with you seeing a provider to have these needs met? In closing, do not feel bad about your fetish. Understand that we all have our kinks. They are one thing that makes us human and ultimately, interesting. Most couples can talk through impasses, and in time learn to enjoy the other’s fetish, or at least making one another happy.

Want to know more about exploring the world of kink with your partner? Then read, Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Navigating and Exploring the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities by Lee Harrington.

Marry for the Right Reasons

Marry for the Right Reasons

Lots of girls fantasize about their wedding day where she will look gorgeous, and take the princely man of her dreams as his lawfully wedded wife. It is a spectacular event mimicking the fairy tales of childhood. The wedding industry perpetuates this myth and is rewarded handsomely for doing so. Whether it is a deeply fulfilling, edifying experience or not after the honeymoon is over, and moving forward into life depends upon a lot of things. If it is a marriage of two well developed, sound, and self-actualized equals, the marriage while still needing lots of work, and tender, loving care, but will be by and large a happy one. Trouble is lots of women and men too marry for the wrong reasons. This is where things get into trouble. Because whatever one person’s problems are, instead of being muted by the marriage, it is amplified by it. Each person’s problems affect the other, and is reflected back on one another, affecting the relationship as a whole. Marriage unfortunately is never a solution to problems. It only makes them worse. It is like those people who to try and solve the problems of a relationship by having a child, never thinking that the extra stresses that child brings could only make things worse. So make sure you marry for the right reasons, and avoid a painful divorce. Here are some reasons not to get married.

Some people marry to escape a bad situation at home. They have abusive or neglectful parents. Perhaps their closest family members ignore or criticize them. Though flight may be a solution, throwing one’s self into a marriage will only compound your issues. In this scenario their selection process may not be so well honed. They are thinking of the situation they are escaping, instead of carefully vetting their partner to see if this person is who they want to spend the rest of their life with. Some people get married because it just seems like the next logical step. Maybe they were high school sweethearts, and have a long history together. Their parents get along. They have a good group of friends, and everyone seems to be expecting them to tie the knot. But when we enter our twenties, we start to mature quite a bit. Those who marry so young often feel cheated, like they missed out on some great experiences in life. The two may also grow apart. Sometimes these relationships last. But usually, each person ends up going in their own separate direction. If you are young, wait and if it is right, go for it. But even with older people, if you do not in your heart feel that marriage is right, and are doing it just because it is expected, you may not give the marriage your all. Your partner will feel it, and so will you. And this will taint the relationship.

You should never get married to fix your soon-to-be spouse. If one person’s says he or she cannot live without the other, will even kill themselves if the other leaves, marriage is only going to make this situation worse. You cannot fix anyone and you cannot save anyone. The only person who can truly save someone is themselves. They have to come to the realization that their path is wrong and they need help. Unless you are a certified psychologist, though you may be savvy with people, begin to realize that this is beyond your scope. When we get married, we more or less take on the emotional baggage and psychological trauma the other has faced, and this is reciprocal. This situation is draining when one has serious issues to address. The saver spends all their time on the savee, who becomes a suck on their energy, and their life. No one in this situation can develop as a person, and the martyr gets stunted as a result. Both people will end up resenting one another and the marriage implodes.

Lastly, do not get married just to have company and avoid being alone. These are the folks that always had someone. But later in life when the demands of career, perhaps children, and a lack of meeting someone new put them through a dry spell. They fear going home to an empty apartment, and the approach of the weekend fills them with dread. But this is roulette. This person is likely to marry the first lover who shows any interest. They may be compatible. Or they may end up being toxic to one another. When one has issues with abandonment, familial issues, obsessive guilt, or moves from outward expectation instead of inward motivation, a marriage is shaky from the beginning. Become someone who is comfortable in their own skin, and find a partner you love but are also compatible with, and your marriage, while it will have its ups and downs, will be a happy one built to last. Otherwise there is painful litigation, the splitting up of assets, child custody battles, and a lot of emotional turmoil to look forward to. Understand that the person you choose to marry can uplift you to the firmament, or send you crashing down into the abyss. Choose wisely.

For more pick up a copy of, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary D Chapman.

 

How to Get Your Partner to Give You Some Time to Yourself

How to Get Your Partner to Give You Some Time to Yourself

Most of us whether consciously or not come to love with all sorts of presuppositions. We have a preconceived notion of what it is like to be in the perfect relationship, what the opposite sex is really like, what a marriage should be, and so on. But living it, that’s a whole other thing. Though we often assume that being together all of the time is a sign of a healthy relationship, after the honeymoon phase is over our needs change. That is only natural. In this next phase, each of us needs some time apart from our partner. Coupledom comes with all different kinds of interactions. You do not have to be Siamese twins to share your love. In fact, it is unhealthy if you never spend time apart. When we are with our partner all the time, we cannot appreciate them as much. Things get stale. We take them for granted, get irritated more easily by them, which increases the chances of relationship strife. Then there are identity issues that come with coupledom. You have to always think in terms of “we.” You have to take your partner’s feelings into consideration. You have to constantly accommodate them. Sometimes we just need time away from our lover or spouse to be who we are without them, to get in touch with our feelings, digest the complex goings on in our lives, and just feel who we are without our blending into someone else.

Some people feel guilty asking for time alone. But realize that you are a big part of this relationship. If it is good for your mental health, it will be good for your partner too. In truth, getting a little time to yourself will actually rejuvenate the relationship. You will have thoughts, experiences, and insights to share. Remember that self-love is just as important as loving your partner. Every once in a while go on an adventure by yourself, or at least without your partner. A day trip, a biking tour, an afternoon at a museum, an evening with a good book, or a few hours at a coffee shop can really help you center yourself again. You will come back to your partner refreshed. Explain to them all of this so they understand. Be sure that they see that you just need a little me-time. It has nothing to do with them. Make sure they don’t feel rejected or lonesome. If so, help them find something to do, and encourage them to take part in personally fulfilling activities by themselves, or with friends.

Asking for some time alone can feel as though you are rejecting your partner. Instead, you are asking for exactly what you need. Anyone in a solid relationship should be able to openly and honestly communicate their needs and have them met. If your partner is resistant, take a good long look at them. Are they needy or clingy? They may have self-esteem issues. Reassure them that this is perfectly natural and reasonable. But also help them to build up their self-esteem over time. Reflect on their positive qualities and accomplishments. Encourage them to take part in interests, hobbies, and spend time with friends. If they are overbearing, manipulative, and try and guilt you into not having some time to yourself, rethink this relationship. This person may not be healthy for you. But a good partner will understand where you are coming from and support you. They may even be dying for a little time to themselves.

For more on how to run your romantic life smoothly read, Managing Relationships: Bridging The Communication Divide by Jemayne L. King.

Men Provide Less Emotional Support to Their Partner When Stressed

Men Provide Less Emotional Support to Their Partner When Stressed

Ladies, have you ever turned to your partner when he is stressed out, looking for emotional support and validation, but instead receive the sound of crickets in return? If you are lucky you may get cold, calculated logic, instead of understanding. Now you could just call up a friend, your mom, or your sis. But a significant part of any romantic relationship is providing emotional support for one another. If you cannot get that, what are you in this relationship to begin with? Don’t blame it all on the male portion of the population. Men are not socialized to express their emotions in our society. So they already come at a disadvantage. Those men and women in supportive relationships feel closer to their partner, and that ultimately is what everyone wants. They feel more confident too. The sex is better since both parties feel close to one another. Intimacy abounds. And this support spills over to other areas of life too. We have a rock to depend on, a partner to carry us through the hard times, and to help us reach our educational, career, and personal growth goals. Emotional support for both men and women is often sought from their primary, romantic relationship. But a new study published online by the journal Psychological Science, has some bad news. Researchers discovered that when stressed, women do a better job of providing emotional support to their partner than men.

An international team of psychologists conducted the study, led by Thomas Bradbury. He is the co-director of the Relationship Institute at University of California (UCLA). Bradbury said that men manage stress differently. The male of our species, or at least in our culture, when stressed are less comforting, supportive, or nurturing than women, according to Bradbury. This becomes more evident when a partner expresses her feelings in an emotional way. 189 highly satisfied couples, who had been together for a little over four years, participated. The average age for the men was 28, and for the women 26. The couples were then split up into three cohorts. The first had couples where the man was the only one suffering from stress. In the second, only the woman felt stressed. For the third, both parties were stressed. First, Researchers conducted a fake job interview with each active subject individually. Then they were asked to count down from 2,043 by 17 each time, as fast as they could. They also had to start over again from the beginning each time they make an error. These tasks as you might imagine caused participants tremendous stress. Researchers then took saliva samples from each, testing their cortisol level—the stress hormone. Afterward, the couples were put into a room and videotaped for eight minutes.

When each active participant went back to their partner, they all complained, talking about the stress they were feeling, and what they had experienced. Researchers analyzed the videos later on to see how supportive each partner was, and whether men, women, or both were equally supportive even when feeling stressed. Investigators measured the number of positive, supportive responses, to the number of negative or dismissive ones. They also recorded non-verbal cues such as hand holding, eye contact, lack of eye contact, and whether they sat close together or far apart. And even when feeling stressed themselves, women were more responsive to their partner’s emotional needs than men. Bradbury said that each partner can be emotionally available and supportive of the other. But women should also realize that their partner operates a little differently. When he has had a particularly stressful day, and use another method of approach than a full onslaught. On these days, perhaps wait until he has had some time to unwind, or talk and vent but in a calm, matter-of-fact manner. This may elicit better responses. Meanwhile, both partners can recognize the role stress plays in their own separate lives, and in their relationship together. But each person must remember that you cannot tell how stressed your partner is until you ask them.

If love is stressed-filled battle field, learn the rules of engagement by reading Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex by John Gray.