Dating The Married Man? Know the Consequences

By Ken Pile

What should you do when you find yourself connected to a married man?

What should you do when you find yourself connected to a married man?

Many women find themselves involved with married men. If you’ve found yourself in this relationship rut, then please, pause and take this advice to heart.

Dont take his word for it and think of his wife:

Despite all that he would have told you, remember you’re only hearing his side of the story. And he is allowing you to see what he wants you to see. Consider his wife who has been married to him for however many years, took care him when he was ill, made sacrifices for him and so forth. What are your actions doing to her? Moreover, he is allowing you to intrude in his marriage, which is really “HER TURF.” That doesn’t say anything about her, but speaks volumes about what he ultimately thinks of you.

There are no guarantees:

Even if your married man decided to leave his wife and family for you, that doesn’t guarantee relationship success. If he is willing to have an affair with you, he will also do it to you. If he’s living this deception with you today, how could you ever trust him if you did get into a legitimate relationship with him? You already know he’s a liar, because he’s living a lie with his wife. How can you be sure whether you’re the only “other woman” he has? Entertain the possibility that he is lying to you, and that you are being used.

Think about STDs – Youre not the only one:

Many times, married men still have sexual intercourse with their wives and or other females as well. And of course, they are not going to let you know this. Now, let’s say one of his other women has an STD, and unknowing to him, he has sexual intercourse with her, guess who’s next in line for it? Understand that because he’s sexing you, doesn’t mean he’s staying away from others.

Bring the relationship to an end

You will hurt, you will feel broken-hearted, but ultimately, you’ll be better off for this decision. Take some time to get really clear with yourself about who you are and what you want. The most important relationship you’ll ever have in this world, is the one you have with yourself. And eventually, you’ll fall in love again with someone who’s willing to make you first in his life

Ken Pile is the Editor of ASK THE LOVE DOCTOR 246; a blog and online community, designed to give women a better insight about love and relationships from the point of view of a man. Find him on Facebook at Ask The Love Doctor 246

Surviving Infidelity

Surviving infidelityIn my experience as a counselor, I’ve come across a variety of cheaters and cheating styles. There are those who cheat with one-night stands where there is a one-off never-again-to-be-repeated episode (hopefully) of infidelity. There are those who have long-standing, deep emotional and sexual affairs, where very often the individual fancies himself/herself to be in-love with someone else. Then there are those no-sex affairs ; those close friendships and soul-ties which can prove lethal to the marriage or primary relationship even when they remain only at the emotional level. There is also serial infidelity, as in, sex with a different person every time even when trying to maintain the semblance of a primary relationship. Flirtatious infidelity, describes the behaviour of one partner which is inappropriate either through language, touching or looks, even when this never leads to sex; the problem here is that the affair is alive and well in the heart. Finally, there is cyber-sex or techno-sex; sex that is aided and abetted by the use of technology and or the internet.

If you’ve been cheated on, chances are you may not be interested in an intellectual or academic discussion of the thing. So much has already been said and analyzed as to why people cheat and many of us already understand that cheating occurs for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the cynics among us will say that as long as there are relationships, there will be cheating. As long as there are rules, boundaries or parameters for relationships, people will break and defy them; that’s just human nature. If this is at all true, how then does a victim of infidelity cope? How does such a person live with the reality of betrayal, especially since cheating is evidently here to stay?

Factors like relationship philosophy, personality, and even gender will to a large degree significantly influence the way we choose to respond. The following represents some of the options which victims may have at their disposal after an experience of infidelity. Please note that these do not refer to initial responses but to the ongoing or long-term way an individual chooses to handle being cheated on.

Going It Alone

Some decide that they want out of the relationship that has caused them so much pain. The hurt from the betrayal has lodged in such a deep place that a separation or divorce seems like the only viable option. For such an individual, infidelity has already sealed the deal on the question of loss. Since in their books their partner is already lost to them, walking away is just a formality.

Deciding to “go it alone” has the distinct advantage of giving individuals the option of starting over again in the future. It can also provide a vital space for clearing the head and soothing the emotions. The down-side can be seen when the decision is based on unresolved anger and bitterness.

While being alone is sometimes a good thing, it is seldom a permanent state. Failure to deal with the why and the how of the infidelity as well as failing to forgive can be lethal to the victim’s sense of self and can affect the “peace” of future relationships. At the same time, a decision to distance oneself from any romantic involvement and to take the time to reflect and regroup, can lead to an amazing experience of self-discovery, especially when victims grow to understand their own self-worth.

Infidelity in a pre-marital arrangement can and perhaps should halt or delay wedding plans. It provides a window of opportunity for the engaged couple to re-evaluate their choice of a life-partner before a serious covenant vow is made. Of course deciding to leave an already established marriage is serious business and should be well thought out from all angles before a separation or divorce is finalized.

Seeking Revenge

Deciding to do a “tit-for-tat” is perhaps one of the more common and understood responses to cheating. This can be a well thought out and premeditated response or it can occur almost inadvertently because the victim’s hurt causes him/her to more readily let their guard down with another. Those who themselves pursue an affair in response to being cheated on, have decided to maintain their primary relationship but seek to exact revenge for being hurt.

Such individuals are intensely angry and seek to salvage their own hurt by inflicting pain on the one who caused it to them. Some pursue an affair in an attempt to repair damaged self-esteem and to assure themselves that they are still desirable. While some will themselves keep their affair secret and allow it to function more as a psychological boost, others will deliberately engineer a discovery in order to inflict a similar wound on their partner.

More often than not, however, the satisfaction obtained from revenge is short lived, since it is built on a faulty notion that causing pain eases pain. The retention of anger and bitterness which motivates this behaviour means that the source of the first affair is never exposed and dealt with. Such a decision of revenge is likely therefore to be counter-productive and simply ensures that the cycle of pain and disappointment continues.

Staying Depressed

A decision to stay in a state of depression usually exposes a significant problem with low self-esteem. There are admittedly different types and levels of depression and this is not meant to trivialise the issue. It is obvious that an incident or incidents of cheating cuts at the core of a marriage or of an exclusive relationship. Because we look to others for love, acceptance and affirmation of our worth, we can misguidedly take on the opposite message when infidelity occurs. We can believe that we are undesirable and unlovable. Many women especially blame themselves when their spouses cheat and this can be debilitating to the psyche. Dwelling in self-pity encourages depression and a feeling of powerlessness. This can rob victims of the belief that they have the power to act on or change the challenging situation in which they find themselves. Victims find it easier instead to focus on their pain, to own it and to repeatedly re-live the details of the affair in their minds, until the effect is emotionally crippling. This response spells disaster for the future of the relationship.

Flying Free

In Tyler Perry’s “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”, the main character played by Kimberly Elise describes herself as being “mad as hell” after her husband turns her out of their house so that he can finally be with his other woman. Although she subsequently meets a very charming guy who turns out to be everything that her husband was not, she is unable to totally relax in this new love. Instead she discovers that she must process her anger, hurt and pain, articulate it to the one who hurt her and then choose to forgive. Her decision in fact “frees her” to love and live again.

Forgiveness is an act of ultimate self-empowerment. It reflects the choice to extend grace towards an individual who has done us wrong. This should not be interpreted as weakness or as an act of cowardice which condones what was done. Instead it reflects an inner resolve to be free from the hate, anger and bitterness which places the victim under the emotional power or control of their partner.

Forgiveness in fact places victims of infidelity in a psychological and spiritual space where they are better able to assess what happened to them and make the right choices. Forgiveness should never be rushed prematurely. Although it is an act of the will, it is a process and not an event. This means that it involves the articulation of anger and hurt and individuals must believe that they are “ready” to forgive, before they can actually attempt to do it.

Many individuals are unable to arrive at this place on their own but often need the intervention/assistance of a counselor, therapist, pastor or friend to help them through the process. Because women are socialized to articulate emotion, they tend to be more comfortable with the expression of anger and pain through sharing, crying and journaling. This often makes forgiveness an easier process for women than it appears to be for men. Men who have been cheated on are in fact more likely to hold on to anger and bitterness because they see expressing pain and hurt as a sign of weakness. This affects their ability to ever be free from the effects of the cheating and this baggage they take to subsequent relationships.

While forgiveness will not cause an automatic erasing of painful memories, it at least robs those memories of the power to control an individual’s pursuit of happiness or peace. If individuals are to survive infidelity and live to tell the tale, this means getting in touch with a well thought-out response which should be in their best interest. For those who choose to walk away, without forgiveness, all future relationships will suffer the effects of the infidelity. If both parties value the marriage and want to make it work again, then choosing the path of forgiveness is the better option.

When Sex Clouds The Issue

sex gets cloudyThere’s a belief going around in some circles about women and broken relationships. It’s commonly said that the only way for a woman to get over one man is to get underneath another one. There are some women who swear by this standard and will move quickly into another intimate relationship after their marriage or relationship fails. Whether or not you believe in using sex as a means of ridding yourself of a new man and cementing yourself with a new, there can be no question that sex can be relationship-defining.

While some proponents of casual sex will say that using sex to grease one’s ego, to make oneself feel good, or for recreational and relaxation purposes is no big deal, the research confirms otherwise. Sex has an inherent component which glues individuals together; regardless. In other words, we don’t just have sex and get away scot free; there are consequences to sexual joining, no matter our motivation.

The hormone Oxytocin plays a significant part in our sexual encounters. It fosters feelings of connection and belongingness when we hug, kiss, touch and orgasm with our partner. While this binding is an aspect of the built-in spirituality of sex, it does not need ideal relationship conditions to occur. There is nothing written in the fine-print of sex to suggest that sexual oneness or binding or connection, only occurs with marriage vows or when there is love in the relationship. It in fact occurs with all types of sexual encounters. This means that when we misuse sex to prove a point about our worth, value or desirability; when we seek out new sexual opportunities just for the fun of it, we may actually be doing more harm than good. We may be contributing to our own emotional confusion by connecting ourselves indiscriminately to someone else, while still being tied to a previous spouse or partner.

Premature sex can encourage a false sense of intimacy. Even when we think we’re simply being casual, the passion of sex can mess with our heads. It can mimic love through its intensity and this can cause us to gloss over the glaring flaws in the new individual we may be having sex with. The headiness of sex can also prevent us from facing our own neediness or low self-esteem. Sex alone can never be an adequate therapy for feelings of worthlessness. In fact, the individual who falls too quickly into sex after a break-up proves that she is unable to stand on her own two feet.

Because sex is what it is, it should never be used to test-drive a new man, particularly after a woman has been hurt. Sex too soon will cloud the issue of the pain and rejection a woman must deal with in her own heart; particularly if her previous relationship has been marred by infidelity or abuse. This type of replacement sex, especially if it’s ‘good’ will get the hormones going and will foster feelings of attachment. Such attachment, however, is premature and shallow and is hardly the foundation for a better relationship with someone new.

So what should we do in the face of a relationship’s demise?

Evaluate: Understanding why a relationship ended is a critical aspect of moving forward into emotional health. This involves knowing our relationship style in terms of whether we were too clingy, insecure, demanding or even the model partner who just got a raw deal. This is also a time for taking responsibility, if in any way we contributed to the breakdown of the relationship. This should allow us the capacity to change those aspects of ourselves which we may need to and is also critical for our personal growth.

Reconnect: Using the time when a marriage or relationship ends to reconnect with ourselves, to clarify our relationship values and to determine what is really important to us, should be far more important than indiscriminately jumping into another man’s bed.

 Treasure Transition: In the event that we are entirely the victim of a cheating or abusive partner, then our relationship transition period is a time to take fresh stock in determining what we will no longer tolerate from any man. It should also be a period of self-affirmation and even forgiveness. Taking bitterness and resentment forward will be harmful to any prospective relationship. This is why we need time to grieve what we had so that we can be healed of the effects of a painful relationship before moving on. Sex can cloud this issue and leave us exposed and vulnerable to further abuse.

While the desire for human connection and intimacy is understood, using sex as a short-cut to such is counterproductive. If at the time of a break-up, we forego this essential period of reflection, healing and growth, we could easily find ourselves smack dab in the middle of another bad relationship.

Denise J Charles is Director & Relationship Coach at Better Blends Relationship Institute e mail betterblends@gmail.com

Sex After Infidelity

cheating-husbandAfter a confession or the discovery of sexual impropriety, a decision to stay together is going to be filled with challenges. One of the primary places where the effects of infidelity are likely to be experienced is the bedroom. How does a couple reclaim their sexual groove after one of them has cheated?

The Cheater
Waiting It Out: If you’re the guilty party it may be important to communicate that while you still want to connect sexually, you are willing to wait for as long as your partner needs, to feel emotionally ready to resume intimacy. This communicates genuine remorse and a willingness to be selfless; especially since your act of indiscretion will reek of selfishness.

Talking It Over: Understand that the period of waiting is likely to be punctuated by long questioning sessions which will pry for sexual details; it is likely that the victim of infidelity will be consumed by a need to know incidents and details of time and place. Curiosity may also be extended to the nature of sex acts participated in. This time can be made easier by not erecting further barriers with silence but by answering questions as honestly as possible.

Sensitivity In The Sack: Most likely, your partner will be consumed with thoughts of the other man or woman. It is imperative that you go slowly when the time for lovemaking comes or at least take the lead or cue from your partner who has been hurt. This sensitivity should include lots of verbal affirmations which are intimate and loving. Be sure to let your partner know why you married her, how much he is loved and how much you appreciate her staying in the relationship. Affirm your partner’s beauty or brawn and use loads of eye contact which confirm how truly sorry you are.

Maximising The Moments: Sex with your spouse after confessing an affair is likely to be more about emotional and spiritual re-bonding than about the quality of an orgasm. Use this time, nonetheless, to cement your reconnection by focusing on your spouse’s pleasure. The vulnerability that occurs, because everything is out in the open, can actually increase the intensity of passion.

The Cheated
Admit Your Pain: There is no greater disservice you can do to your marriage then to attempt to trivialize the impact of an affair. It is imperative that you articulate your disappointment and hurt. This may involve screaming, crying, throwing things, journaling, talking to a counselor or even moving out of the bedroom for a while. If you are to experience great sex again without feeling victimized, sharing the depth of your pain with your spouse is critical.

Focus On You: There is a huge temptation after being cheated on to blame yourself—your lack of attractiveness, lack of sexiness and the like. This is particularly true of women. It will take a Herculean effort at this time to reach inside yourself to find the worthwhile, sensual woman who deserves to be loved despite your spouse’s act of indiscretion. For husbands as well, images of your wife making love to another man can be disconcerting to say the least. It is critical, therefore, to disassociate yourself sexually from what your spouse did and to refuse to accept blame. It is also critical to pay attention to your own sexual health by getting tested for any STDs.

Resist The Temptation To Compare: Wondering if you are better in bed than your spouse’s lover is likely to be an obsessive thought but is actually counter-productive. Studies consistently show that many have affairs while still having great or adequate sex at home. The motivation for an affair usually has little to do with the quality of sex and tends more to be linked to life-challenges, transitions, depression, a weak moment or feelings of inadequacy. When these thoughts come, focus on how you can make your love life even better. Dwell on the fact that you and your partner have decided to stay together; this must mean something in terms of how you feel about each other.

For Both of You

Putting Sex in Perspective: After the confession of an affair, resuming sexual intimacy may be the last thing on your minds as a couple. Anger, bitterness, resentment and remorse are likely to be the dominant emotions and not sexual passion or desire. While communication about the affair and even counselling by a professional will be critical at this stage, resuming an exclusive sexuality in your relationship is also important. Sex, however, should not be used to cloak or cover the serious issues which may have contributed to the infidelity in the first place.

Redefine To Reconnect: If you, your marriage and your sex life are to survive this juncture, it is critical that you seek to redefine your marriage. This involves acceptance of the affair as an event of the past which cannot be altered. This process is, of course, a lot easier if the guilty partner cooperates in these efforts by developing new levels of openness and honesty. The result is likely to be improved communication and greater levels of intimacy, which are often precursors to a better sexual relationship.

Denise J Charles is Director & Counsellor/Coach at Better Blends Relationship Institute e mail betterblends@gmail.com

Can This Relationship Be Saved?

An intimate relationship is not without its problems; follow the fortunes of Sean and Tricia to see how they cope with their relationship challenges; especially in the bedroom and beyond. These two short films explore the issues of communication, sex and the “other woman”. Produced by Better Blends Relationship Institute, Ultimate Prestige and Fresh Productions, these films were shot on location in beautiful Barbados.

Follow the links to watch and please feel free to comment

 

 

 

Bouncing Back From An Affair

sexless-marriageThe idea of “bouncing back” from an affair actually doesn’t sit very well with me. It seems somehow to suggest a happy, cheerful recovery period and belies the stress inherent in dealing with the aftermath of infidelity. When I think of the movement past an affair, I tend to think more of a difficult, painful, reluctant crawl back to wherever that couple was before or hopefully to an even better place.

When a relationship which is designed to be sexually exclusive, is threatened by a third party, then that relationship runs the risk of becoming unglued at the seams. Sex with an “outside” partner, threatens the core of what marriage stands for; the idea of forsaking all others. While there are a variety of reasons why people cheat, if a coupe desires to move beyond the affair, then there is the need for honest reflection, to determine why the affair happened.

The source

People cheat for a variety of reasons including relationship neglect, boredom, sexual dissatisfaction, emotional disconnection, sexual greed, unhappiness, low self-esteem, and this list goes on. This knowledge of “why” is critical because it identifies the relationship’s weaknesses. If the couple intends to go forward, this information will be necessary to preserve relationship health and to safeguard it against future threats. This of course assumes that the underlying issues are exposed and remedied through honest and open communication.

Responsibility

While a knowledge of what made the relationship vulnerable to infidelity is great, the reason for cheating should not be used to excuse the act. In other words, the partner who understands why he/she cheated must also be willing to assume responsibility for the affair. It is therefore never kosher to intimate that your partner made you do it. The guilty party must own up to a moment of weakness, bad judgment, a lack of integrity, selfishness and the like. Admitting where you went wrong is critical to the experience of forgiveness.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness should be seen as a mutual, active process and not as a one-time event. The words “I forgive you” must never be forced or said prematurely. The victim of infidelity needs to be given time to grieve the relationship which was. This grieving process is experienced differently by individuals and may be evidenced by emotional and sexual withdrawal, depression, anger, rage, crying or sessions of screaming and throwing things. Whatever the case, it is critical that the victim of infidelity is allowed to vent before there is even am attempt at “fixing” things.

This venting is also often a process and not a one-off event which is characterized by the convenient forgetting of all that has occurred. An affair forever changes a relationship and even though healing is possible, what was lost can never be regained and as painful as this might be for both parties to accept, it must be, if there is to be true progress. This process may be assisted through counseling, therapy or personal pursuits like journaling which help to clarify difficult emotions.

Redefining

Redefining the damaged relationship is necessary and should be seen as an on-going part of the healing process. Deciding together how you want your new relationship to look is going to be a major step in getting your couple groove back. Since an affair involves a fair amount of deceit, then coming clean about all aspects of the affair will be critical to moving forward. This means a new commitment to honesty and accountability, in an attempt to rebuild trust. Questions are to be expected and should be answered candidly.

Since rekindling a healthy sex life is likely to be more challenging, the guilty party should take the cue from his/her partner. While sex itself can be a great healer, it should never be forced prematurely. At the same time, carving out special time together for meaningful communication, attentiveness, romantic gestures and the like, are useful strategies for reconnecting as a couple.

Protecting Your Relationship From Emotional Infidelity

We have to exercise clear controls for ensuring that our relationships do not cross the emotional boundaries which could harm our primary relationship.

We have to exercise clear controls for ensuring that our relationships do not cross the emotional boundaries which could harm our primary relationship.

As human beings we all have an overpowering need for human connection. We want to feel as though we matter. It is important that we are affirmed and that our worth is validated. Most of us therefore enter marriage expecting that our spouse will meet our deep need for love and acceptance. In an ideal world where we all came from well-adjusted families, this would probably be true. Since, however, we enter marriage with our own individual, often flawed emotional life-scripts; sometimes we are not exactly poised to meet someone else’s emotional needs. This is especially so, if when growing up ours were not met.

In other words, inadequate parenting or abuse, can affect our ability to reach out to someone else. So while our spouse may have a valid need, we may not be in an emotionally healthy place to either recognize or meet that need. Additionally, unmatched marital expectations, different socialization, poor communication, even gender-influenced ways of relating, can contribute to emotional disconnection in marriage or other committed relationships.

This leads us to the issue of emotional infidelity. In the same way that we pursue extra-marital sex because we need to have specific needs met, we also pursue extra-marital, emotional attachments because a basic need may not be met in our marriage. In the same way that sexual exclusivity defines marriage, there should also be a peculiar or distinctive quality to the emotional intimacy which should characterize our marriage or committed relationship.

Does this mean that we should not have meaningful friendships outside of our primary relationship or marriage? I don’t think so necessarily, but when such friendships are with the opposite sex, we have to exercise clear controls for ensuring that such relationships do not cross the emotional boundaries which could harm our primary relationship.

So what exactly does an inappropriate emotional attachment look like and is it always dangerous? Deep, opposite sex, emotional friendships are indicated and become lethal in a number of scenarios. These include when:

1. The relationship replaces the deep, meaningful communication which should take place between a couple

2. The friendship causes divided loyalty in the marriage or primary relationship, where the partner prefers to spend time sharing with his/her friend as opposed to sharing with his/her spouse or partner

3. The connection fosters sexual attraction. It is known that the more we open up to someone we feel emotionally connected to, the more vulnerable we are to becoming sexually involved with that person; in this way emotional infidelity becomes a precursor to sexual infidelity

4. The spouse feels uncomfortable or threatened by the friendship and perceives that the intimacy of the marriage or relationship is under threat

5. The emotional tie is accompanied by flirting, touching, or sexual innuendo but stops short of actual intercourse. This can encourage the guilty spouse to be misguided into thinking that nothing wrong is being done while the marriage is actually being steadily eroded.

Guarding Against Emotional Infidelity

Preserving the emotional sanctity of the marriage may not be a big deal for couples who have solid relationships and connect regularly. For those with communication challenges, or for relationships with tensions or unmet needs, greater vigilance may be required. Whatever the state of the relationship, however,  some thought and discipline is needed if the uniqueness of the marriage or committed relationship is to be preserved. The following tips should be helpful.

1. Be open and honest with your partner about your expectations in the relationship; share your feelings about the issue of your emotional needs and please make them known in detail.

2. Cultivate a close relationship by spending more time together. If you are tending your relationship, then it will be very difficult for your relationship to be intruded upon by any outside source.

3. Set rules with respect to boundaries with friends of the opposite sex. Insist that any close friend also becomes a friend of the couple.

4. As a couple, agree not to have secret liaisons like lunches or after-work dinners with someone either of you feel emotionally attracted to.

5. Practice disclosure when appropriate, if you feel yourself drawn to someone other than your spouse or partner. Being open about extra-marital attraction, dis-empowers it and encourages accountability in the relationship.

6. Don’t expect your partner to meet your every need. Seeking ways to develop yourself or to enjoy your own company lifts some of the responsibility and weight from your partner and makes you less emotionally vulnerable to others.

Can A Man Be Satisfied With One Woman?

While the propensity for men to roam the virtual hills of life in search of a sexual utopia has been well-documented, it is important that we dissect this practice, if we hope to get close to understanding this mysterious thing called male sexuality. That sex is of primary importance to a man goes without refute. While we may accurately blame socialization and culture for much of what most males practice today in terms of sexual behaviour, I honestly believe that the sexual DNA of the male pits sex right up there with breathing oxygen. In other words, it is an indelible part of who he is. Through sex, a man is defined and affirmed. Through his sexuality, his identity is made concrete. Is this merely a western socio-cultural phenomenon or is this part and parcel of the spiritual or essential make-up of a man? And what does this have to do with his ability to stay faithful to one woman?

While space and time does not allow me to delve into all of the pathologies that may contribute to male promiscuity or failure to be satisfied by one sexual partner, it is perhaps necessary that we re-examine a few ideas being bandied around out there. There is a popular school of thought, I’m sure invented and promoted by men, that when it comes to their sex-drive and sexual needs, basically they can’t help themselves. And many men hold this driven-by-my-primal-sexual-instinct dogma as gospel; particularly handy when attempting to justify their cheating  ways. Whether or not  we swallow the idea, it is pretty clear to many of us women that the male sex-drive is a distinct animal with a life of its own.

No matter how great the sexual encounter, it’s amazing that a few hours later a man still wants more! Yes; men love sex and we women generally speaking don’t have a problem with this notion. We just want that our man only loves it with us! In putting their super-charged sexuality into operation, I believe that quite a few men have simply learned dysfunctional ways of handling their overpowering need to connect. Men don’t have an innate inability to commit to one woman; it just sometimes serves their social purposes not to.

When we examine the human sex-drive in both men and women, we can’t help but notice how it reflects our God-designed need for intimacy. This is literally spelt out in the physical, emotional and spiritual connection which is experienced during intercourse. I believe, however, that since sex is a disrobing, naked moment (literally and otherwise) inherent in the act is the ability to expose both strengths and weaknesses.

Because the inherent nature of sex strips us, exposing our limitations and vulnerabilities, many men recoil from this by erecting what I call psychological guards; a major one being “the other woman”. One of man’s best-kept secrets is therefore the guard or mask of the “player-personality” who refuses to commit or settle down. This has become a useful social construct designed to give men the appearance of being in super control of their sexuality and their emotions. Regretfully, many of us women have erroneously schooled them from boyhood days to behave in this way, by discouraging them from displaying emotion for fear that this would feminize them or make them appear “soft”.

Many men will therefore seek to retain one-upmanship or what they perceive to be sexual power or superiority by not surrendering their vulnerability to any one woman. A man’s natural drive for human connection (which he may or may not be aware of) propels him to connect through his sexuality or to search for intimacy; his super-sexual drive does have a purpose. His dysfunctional way of acting this out, however, encourages him to hold out on the woman with whom he is involved and to hold on to flawed concepts of power and self-preservation. This results in a string of unsatisfactory sexual encounters which leads to a cycle of shallow, connectionless sex. Ironically, this “multi-partner-mode” while at the surface can bring a high, fails to bring any lasting sexual fulfillment and so the cycle continues.

Men, through personal coaching and counseling, can be taught to relinquish these limiting notions of their sexuality. They can unlearn the concept of sex as a display only of dominance and power. Even the language of sex as we focus on “penile-penetration” provides a sense of imbalance to the act of sex which as one friend of mine puts it, should also be thought of in terms of “vaginal-envelopment”. Only when men become comfortable with the concept of surrendering their sexual power, will the idea of commitment to one woman take on new meaning and significance.

Can a man learn to surrender emotionally without first deciding to commit in a loving, exclusive relationship? I believe that a relationship can be that place where a man is forced to finally “grow up” sexually and emotionally. While I will not excuse men for their philandering ways, many times we women enable this behavior by settling for it in our relationships. We literally think that it comes with the territory and even when unhappy, our silence communicates our acceptance of such. As women we must remain resolute in communicating our emotional expectations in our relationships. This includes our expectations for sexual fidelity. We must not settle for less by allowing our men to think that we will just be their dispensable “sex objects”. Even  though some males may go  as far as to make a marital commitment, they are unable to come to grips with what this really should mean at the highest level; keeping all their sexual eggs in one basket.  At the same time, how we as mothers socialize our male children, also has a significant part to play in their comfort with concepts of emotional exposure and surrender to another person in the context of love.

Many men who hop from bed to bed do not recognize the disconnect which exists between what their bodies want and what they really do need to be emotionally satisfied. It is, therefore, not inherently unnatural for a man to be satisfied with one woman. He was made for this. He does have the emotional capacity for this but it is his mind and body which must now be trained to play “catch-up”.

Excerpt adapted  from “How to Have  Mind Blowing Sex Without Losing Your Brain!” by Denise J Charles  © 2011,  available here.

Relationship Responsibility 101 (For All Those Women Not Interested in Being Super Woman)

“How would it make you feel if your husband or boyfriend told everyone he meets that you’re the “perfect” woman? That he’s giddy every time he comes home to you…That there’s no woman in the world he’d rather be with…That he worships the ground you walk on…Would that be pretty cool? Would that FEEL pretty good? I bet it would   . . . there are 13 skills that some women have that make them a man’s ultimate fantasy… the “perfect” woman… the woman he’d never want to leave and wouldn’t even dream of cheating on . . .(this course) teaches you EXACTLY what they are and how to use them to make your man addicted to you. ”

Do we need to be Super Women to make marriage work?

Sounds like some promotion for a primitive ‘magic potion’ to make your relationship just right doesn’t it? In some respects, that description just may come close. However, it’s actually part of a modern, detailed infomercial, which arrived in my Inbox, guaranteeing women the ability to “snarl” their guy, by developing thirteen essential skills (on their way to being Super Woman). To my amazement, this “program” is being supported and promoted by qualified and licensed sex therapists and counselors; I couldn’t believe the advertisement when I read it. It’s sad to see that although we’re in the twenty first century, not much has changed since Eden; apparently. We’re still basically blaming women for everything wrong; including their partner’s failure to stay faithful and avidly interested in them.

There are several things inherently wrong with the philosophy behind this infomercial. Firstly, it presupposes that men are clueless cads just waiting to be controlled by the whims and feminine wiles of the women in their lives; somewhat like “doggy go fetch you’ll get your reward”. It promotes somewhat beneath the surface, the notion of a deep abiding weakness in men, which can only be “fixed” when the wool is pulled firmly but obliviously over their eyes by the women in their lives. By promoting such, this philosophy and by extension the infomercial, seeks to absolve men of their relationship responsibility; a responsibility which should be hinged on their own personal integrity. Instead, it lays squarely at the feet of a woman ALL the responsibility to tend to her relationship and to literally try all the doggy tricks in the bag, to keep her puppy guy wagging his tail. It is in fact one of several, which perpetuates the idea that it’s mainly a woman’s job to fix her relationship.`

And please guys don’t get offended, I mean you no disservice or disrespect, but the point I’m seeking to drive home is that this ad seeks to rob you of your balls. It attempts to divest you of your power of choice and of your ability to abide by sound decisions based on your sense of decency and on your level of commitment. Why should a woman in a committed relationship or a marriage, need to “trick” her partner into being faithful, loyal and trust worthy by developing these ‘secret’ skills? Can’t a man decide for himself what he really wants? This ad buys strongly into the stereotypes about men which exist today and which are for the most part, seriously media-driven.’  For example, it suggests that:

  • Fidelity is unnatural and difficult for men.
  • Men cannot be trusted to do what is right on their own.
  • Women control and manipulate men because men are weak and basically clueless.
  • A man only stays faithful if his woman is an expert at the latest sexual tricks.
  • Men need to be trained by their women, if such women are to experience happiness.

Then there are the female stereotypes:

  • A woman must perform for her man to keep him guessing and interested.
  • A woman can be the perfect “superwoman”, if she tries a little harder at improving herself.
  • A woman can get her man ‘eating out of her hand’ as it were, if she learns the essential tricks of the trade.
  • A woman is largely responsible for her relationship.
  • Any woman worth her salt knows how to manipulate her man.

Must we really play relationship games?

Then there is the underlying idea which suggests that relationships are really all about manipulative game-playing. He’s not behaving as you want, a la “worshiping the ground you walk on” or being “giddy every time he comes home to you”  et al?  Then learn these simple tricks and have him bowing to your every command in no time. Is this really where we want our relationships to be headed in the twenty-first century? We know that there is a certain amount of relationship game-playing which is rife on the dating scene. Men and women both act in particular ways and there is almost a predictable response from either sex. We attempt to learn each others’ trigger-buttons and attempt to work them for all they’re worth. Perhaps the social anthropologists will say that this behaviour is an age-old game between men and women. Some admittedly do have this game-playing down to a Science but maybe this is where we are going wrong in our relationships.

Playing games or learning tricks to keep each other interested or faithful is to my mind the weaker route and is counter-productive. If we begin our relationships under false pretenses, maybe we will feel compelled to carry them on in this manner; even in marriage. My relationship is not a game of predictability which says “If I do this therefore you will do that”. Life is NOT that simplistic. We are all different with individual personalities and life-scripts which influence how our relationships will pan out. Relationships involve a huge amount of sacrificial risk-taking. This one-size-fits-all philosophy robs our relationships of their individual uniqueness and as to my case in point, absolves men of the responsibility which they MUST share if our marriages are to succeed.

Admittedly, as I have noticed in my counseling, a greater percentage of women are reading books and seeking help for marital challenges. We are traditionally the guardians of our relationships. This does not, however, mean that men should not be responsible or held accountable for their actions. The idea that there are specific skills which any woman can learn, which will guarantee that her husband will not cheat on her, is ludicrous! It means that she is being held accountable for his cheating ways (if he does cheat). Moreover, the thinking behind this ad implies that a wife has her work cut out for her, in ensuring that her husband remains “addicted” to her.

This theory raises several other questions. Where is the husband’s responsibility in all of this? And is he too not required to work to ensure that his wife stays interested in him? Where is mutual commitment in this entire scenario? And why pray tell must a woman be “perfect” for her marriage to work successfully? Why are we repeatedly letting men off the relationship hook yet still expect them to grow up?

In order for our relationships to thrive, working on them must be seen as a two-way street. Yes, I do agree that we have to learn each other and find new ways to keep our marriages interesting and exciting; especially as the years roll by. This is, however, a system of give and take and not one where there is a one-sided servicing of needs. We need to navigate away from reinforcing these negative stereotypes which have traditionally governed our relationships. It’s definitely time to beckon the ‘equal opportunity’ relationship of the present and the future.