SEX! From Boredom to Best Practice

 

 

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If you’ve been married for a while, chances are you’ve experienced some level of bedroom boredom. Like any often performed human activity, sex runs the risk of becoming routine and predictable. While we may choose from a variety of natural responses, if we really want to tackle this relationship challenge, it may mean stepping outside ourselves a bit and evaluating how we tend to respond. This is needed before we can craft our way forward to a what I will call sexual best practices.

The Auto-Pilot Response

This occurs where couples mostly have sex when either half-asleep or half-awake (just a matter of perspective). Sex occurs as a matter of course, pretty much like the necessary bodily function of going to the bathroom. There is absolutely no effort at creativity or ingenuity extended into the love-life. Sex is brief, functional, perfunctory and release-oriented;  pretty much along the lines of that well worn expression “wham-bam-thank-you-mam!” The missionary position becomes etched in stone and sometimes the wife can even do the grocery list during the act, if she can get her eyes opened wide enough.

The Sexless Response

Couples go sexless when the cares of life become so overwhelming that sex is no longer worth the time, work and effort. This couple begins to function almost along the lines of a brother and sister. There may or may not be a certain sense of warmth between them but life has become so centred on the activities of family (children and in-laws) that this couple has actually lost all sense of being a couple. In this response pattern, the practice of not having any sex (or as little as twice a year), is not necessarily a well-thought out or deliberate response. It usually occurs because one individual loses his/her desire and the other capitulates because he/she gives into a feeling of powerlessness in the situation.

The Nocturnal Headache Response

This response occurs when there is a simple lack of common sex, I mean common sense. One partner (usually the woman) gets locked into complaining of a nightly headache, while failing to realise that she’s having that headache precisely because she has not had some good sex in a while and perhaps needs that great orgasmic release. No seriously, the headache response reveals an escape-route mentality. Of course I am not denying that there may be times when illness may prevent partners from experiencing a good roll in the hay but that’s not the point here. Barring genuine illness, partners can become locked into various excuses as to why sex does not happen. “The kids will hear us”, “the dogs are barking”, “my mother lives next-door”, “there is a hole in the ceiling” all become viable reasons as to why sex should be circumnavigated. While this sex-avoidance behaviour may only be perpetuated by one individual, it becomes a significant road-block to sexual intimacy since it definitely takes two to tango.

The Roving Reporter Response

Perhaps this is the most lethal of responses to bedroom boredom. It occurs when one or both partners begin to look outside the relationship for the sexual excitement which they know is lacking. The partner or couple who gets locked into this response may not be necessarily interested in leaving the relationship. There may be a sense of security in knowing that they have built a life together. They perhaps share a mortgage, a car loan, kids, pets and the list goes on. What they don’t share however is an exciting sex life. When sexual boredom has set in and there is a lack of dialogue on the matter, the result could very well be a tendency to inspect the grass on the other side. This is a response that is grounded in laziness and a self-serving agenda. The energy, spontaneity and ingenuity that is often required to make an affair work, had it been applied to the marriage, would most likely have resulted in  a re-kindling of the sexual fires. The self-serving partner is however looking for a quick fix and working on a relationship can be time-consuming.

The “I Want to Have Great Sex With You” Response

There are couples who love to have great sex, and I mean with a capital L. There is however one condition. They only want to have that great sex with the person to whom they are committed. Sex for such individuals is not an end in itself. It’s not a case of “any sex will do”. They are not into trading vaginas and penises for their own personal aggrandizement. Do such couples experience boredom in the bedroom? Of course! Their boredom could be as palpable as the next guys. What distinguishes their response however is their level of commitment to the relationship and their intuitive understanding of the value of a good sex-life to the health of the relationship. Because they understand the basics of relational health, they are, therefore, willing to put in the extra work to alleviate the bedroom blues. They also understand that love is really about putting the needs of another individual before their own. This means that if each partner focuses on what to do to please the other sexually, then the result is likely to be one sexually fulfilled couple.

Regardless of the response mode you and your spouse may have found yourselves in when it comes to the bedroom blues, the following tips represent a starting point for your continued sexual renewal as a couple:

  • Schedule lovemaking sessions; especially when there are kids around. This ensures that sexual intimacy becomes as regular a part of your couple’s repertoire as taking a shower is to the individual.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of the quickie. Yes the long, drawn out, steamy, lovemaking sessions a la Hollywood and the romance novel may be well known to some of us, but a short, sweet sexual encounter may be better than none at all
  • Get deliberately creative. Using the powers of imagination from time to time can always add flavour to the love-life. This may involve using sexy lingerie, silk boxers and other little tricks like scented candles, fragrant oils, music, feathers, flavoured condoms, satin sheets, carefully positioned mirrors and you get my drift I’m sure.
  • Cultivate a ‘touchy-feely” relationship. Couples who understand how to be physically demonstrative to each other outside of the bedroom get to preserve a certain level of sexual tension which just goes kaboom when they come together.
  • Have a regular date-night. Spending time together regularly in other social settings helps an individual to see his/her partner in a different light. Taking the effort to dress up and go out together sends a powerful message that the individual is not being taken for granted.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Couples who fail to share what they really feel about their love-life run the risk of harbouring anger and resentment which can contribute to further rifts in the relationship. It is important for couples to practice emotional intimacy if they expect to have great sexual intimacy. This comes only through honesty, openness and a shared vulnerability.
  • Have lots of sex. Scientific studies have proven that the more sex we have the more sex we want. So there is perhaps no greater way to jump-start a flagging sex life that with some attempt at a sexual marathon (of course not forever but just so you could get those hormones racing again). Couples could perhaps set themselves an attainable sexual goal as an experiment or a challenge; for example, sex everyday for five or seven straight days. According to researchers, this is guaranteed to straighten out those hormones and have them and other parts of of your anatomy in tip-top working condition.

12 Steps for Cementing Relationship Commitment

by Denise J Charles

shutterstock_116979841We’re always talking about commitment in marriage but do we even know what it should look like? Follow these 12 steps to strengthen your level of relationship commitment. 

  1. Accept human imperfection in both yourself and your spouse and see it as a gateway for personal development and change
  2. Choose loving confrontation when unhappy or dissatisfied with some aspect of your relationship; this means that talking about how you feel is always critical; decide from the outset that you will not choose easy escape routes like emotional detachment or affairs
  3. Protect your relationship from negative external influences (friends, family, cohorts) who encourage you to bail out at the first sign of marital stress
  4. Set realistic goals for your marriage and work together at making them happen
  5. See love as a choice, not a feeling that is based purely on sexual chemistry or attractiveness
  6. Choose significant moments like birthdays, anniversaries or any day for that matter, to relive the memories of how you met, got engaged or got married; keeping alive the magic of your early relationship is still significant to the health of your marriage but understand that while this may be a tool to enhance your commitment, it should not be the basis for it
  7. Develop relationship loyalty by actively demonstrating that you and your spouse are on the same team; practice “having each others back” instead of competing
  8. Never neglect your sexual relationship; keep this “one-flesh” reality of your relationship going to demonstrate how exclusive and set apart your relationship really is from all others; this means actively working to make your sex better which will in turn strengthen your levels of intimacy
  9. Strive to demonstrate a “higher-order” love that is unconditional and loves “in spite of”and which also includes the practice of forgiveness
  10. Deal with relationship issues in a timely manner, before they have the chance to fester into deep-rooted anger or bitterness
  11. Never share your  marital challenges with someone you feel sexually attracted to; this represents the antithesis of commitment and loyalty
  12. If you sense your relationship  is becoming unglued and you both seem unable to handle it on your own, choose a reputable counselor, coach, pastor or therapist to help you get your marriage back on track

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

Are You A Size Sexy?

 

Size Sexy

 

“Fat is not the Kryptonite of sex!” Rebecca Rosenblat, Sex Therapist.

Those of us who follow the adventures of Superman, understand the impact of Kryptonite on Clarke’s ability to be super and strong. But does “fat” have a similar impact on our sense of our sexual selves or on our partner’s ability to enjoy us? Unapologetically, I say it most certainly does; not, however, because of some intrinsic flaw in having a few pounds or curves. While “fat” may not actually affect our ability to be sexy, what we think about it often does.

While some men may have a well-known preference for thickness or for the prominence of certain assets, many of us women still go to great lengths to ensure that our body size matches those images which are usually fed to us via popular culture. As a result, our sexual confidence is affected. So does size really matter when it comes to our emotional and sexual health?  Honestly, I do believe that we should all strive to be our better selves. That often includes shedding some pounds, getting into an exercise regimen, becoming more toned, eating healthier meals and getting adequate rest. In an ideal world, this is where we would all love to be. Being our better self, however, also includes knowing who we are outside the definitions of media, family, friends or sexual partners.

Each human being is special and unique. As women, we need to feel comfortable with our own sense of style and with our expression of our sexuality. This is going to be very difficult to accomplish if we are constantly beating up ourselves because we don’t look like someone else’s version of sexiness. Yes, I’m entitled to feel great if I’ve accomplished a weight-loss target but should weight-loss define my happiness and sense of self? Of course there are women with metabolic, thyroid or other medical issues which may make weight-loss a challenge. But even for them, self-validation is important. While our bodies are our windows to the world, we are in many ways more than a body. There is personality, soul and spirit.

Losing weight to make you healthier or to feel more energized is actually great. Doing it to “fit in”, to appease or to keep your partner, is another thing altogether. If a woman needs to move from an eighteen, sixteen, or fourteen to a six, to feel that she has suddenly struck gold as an individual, it’s possible that her sense of validation is shallow and overtly dependent upon externals. Anything will shake the foundation of a woman who can only feel fabulous when her dress size conforms to common media stereotypes. And why do we even encourage the double-standard since our men are usually nowhere near perfect? This striving for an elusive perfection is what is damaging to our sexiness. It can also rob us of the body-confidence we need to really let go in the bedroom or where ever our sex is happening.

What attracts a man to a woman is not the number on her dress tag but her wonderful personality and sense of sexual self-confidence. This makes her riveting and unforgettable. No matter what size you are as a woman, it is important that you learn to engage your incredible sexual energy in positive ways. The following tips could provide that head-start:

  • Strip naked and look at yourself in a mirror. Decide what you like and affirm yourself; for example, “I love my butt”, or “I have great breasts”. If there are attributes that you would love to change, devise a realistic plan and timeline to make those changes a reality. If you’re totally happy with what you see, then more power to you.
  • Think about your core personality and of the things that you feel passionate about. Find ways to engage your passion and your dreams. When we are emotionally fulfilled because we are connected with our purpose, it shows up in our walk and our talk; instant sexiness!
  • Treat yourself to a “spa-day” even if done at home; a facial, manicure, pedicure, re-locking or perm can go a long way to boost how you feel about yourself. See these things, however, as enhancers and resist the temptation to be totally defined by them.
  • If you are in a committed relationship or marriage, discuss the concerns you may have about your body-image with your partner but “own” your body and the decisions that you make to improve it.
  • Do not accept emotional abuse from anyone on issues of weight-gain. Those who truly respect you will lovingly affirm you, despite what you look like. When advice is offered, it should be non-threatening, non-derisive and sensitively communicated.
  • Understand that sexiness is a state of mind. Learn to love yourself, warts and all, by affirming that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and by thinking positive, sexual thoughts. A woman who really loves herself is ready for some good loving.

Ten Tips For Rekindling the Sizzling

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If you and your spouse have been together for a while, chances are that you’ve been dealing with relationship boredom at some level. There is no way around it; sex can and does get boring, our relationships grow stale and we can settle into a sense of inevitability. The passing of years, however, need not spell the death of novelty or excitement in our relationships. With a little forethought, planning and ingenuity, we can learn to turn things around. The following ten tips represent some of the strategies we may use, to actively keep  ourselves and our marriages fresh and interesting.

  1. Preserve a sense of mystery in the relationship by not doing every single thing together; whether man or woman pursue your own interests, bring something back to the relationship that you can discuss with your spouse; something with which he or she is unfamiliar
  2. Occasionally reinvent yourself; a new wardrobe, a fresh hairstyle, a manicure and pedicure can add some pep to your steps causing you to exude confidence and an irresistible sexiness; having the exact same hairstyle, using the same fragrance or the same method of applying make-up as when you first met spells bore, bore, bore. The same goes for the guys; keeping yourself well-groomed and making sure your wardrobe is current, shows that you understand that your woman is visual too
  3. Develop a new skill or pursue a new course of study, learn a second language or pursue a new hobby, which confirms that you are all about developing you
  4. Keep some personal rituals private; intimacy does not mean you have to “do the bathroom business” while having a conversation about the kids or the mortgage
  5. Keep your date-nights diverse; going out regularly does not mean eating at the same restaurant for five years in a row; introduce each other to new cuisine, remembering that eating together is a terrific way to bond
  6. Do something spontaneous and adventurous together; (bungee jumping, hiking, paragliding?) something that may reveal a whole new side of you that your partner may be totally unaware of
  7. Switch up your sex life as regularly as your busy schedule will allow; try sex in a new location, a different position, with new trinkets (lingerie, feathers, candles, music, silk, mirrors), you get my drift
  8. Agree to fore-go sex for about a week or so or longer if you can handle it (the longer the better for this experiment); practice lots of teasing touching and hot glances during this time with zero sex; come together afterwards for a night of explosive passion guaranteed to wake up the neighbours; this can definitely add some freshness to the routine which sex may have become
  9. Call your spouse with a surprise suggestion/plan that knocks him or her for six; for example, “your bags are packed and we’re spending the night/weekend at a hotel”, “I’ve arranged baby-sitting and we’re going out tonight”, “I’ve booked a spa day for you just so you could unwind”; being thoughtful or showing that you have your partner’s best interests at heart, is a sure-fire way to inject some needed energy into a flagging relationship
  10. Travel together as much as possible; being tourists in a foreign location can affect the way you see each other and you get to experience new sights and sounds in a mutually fresh environment

Seven Days of Sex

kissing-in-bed-lg-newFor those of you who are fitness buffs, the idea of pushing your body to its limits with something like the Insanity fitness challenge may make loads of sense. Whether your goal is working on strength and endurance, bulking up your muscles or losing weight, today’s popular fitness routines test how much you really want what you think your body needs. If we were to transfer this line of thinking to our sex lives, it would be interesting to discover how many of us may be up to the challenge of improving our sex.

The Seven Days of Sex challenge began as an idea calculated to strengthen a couple’s level of intimacy. As most relationship experts will agree, while sex is incredibly important to many couples, the humdrum of life is often very good at interrupting the flow of passionate sex. With the reality of children, shared financial responsibilities, work-stress and the busyness of life, a couple’s love-life can literally become unglued at the seams. Some relationships can even suffer entirely from sexlessness or low-sex because physical intimacy is inadvertently placed on the back-burner. Instead of allowing our sex lives to languish on automatic pilot, the Seven Days of Sex challenge becomes a doable way of injecting some much needed fuel into our sputtering sexual engines.

What is it exactly? The challenge represents a couple’s commitment to literally having sex for seven straight days without interruption. There are no limits or restriction on time and place as that is entirely up to a couple’s creativity. The proponents of this well-known challenge advocate that it deepens intimacy, injects fun and spontaneity into the relationship, reduces tension and protects the relationship from negative external influences. Apart from making most men sheepishly happy, (my own husband had an instant excited glow when I suggested that we try it), it can also increase a woman’s sense of her own sexiness and desireability.

The challenge, since its inception, has evolved into a Lifetime Television reality show, a book, a course and a movement with loyal followers. Those couples who participate yearly either independently or as part of a marriage-group project, confirm that the experiment in some way has turned their relationship around. Are we suggesting that seven days of sex is some type of magical potion for all manner of relationship challenges? I think not. If a marriage is threatened by serious issues like emotional abuse, physical abuse, or infidelity, then seven straight days of sex will not solve anything.

At the same time, the fact that sex does not occur as an act in isolation, means that it can foster an environment where intimacy is likely to flourish. Oxytocin, known as the love hormone, is released during hugging, kissing and orgasm. Since oxytocin fosters feelings of belongingness and connection, then it can be assumed that seven straight days of sex will strengthen the couple-bond in a reasonably healthy relationship. Even where things are less than ideal, regularizing sex will invariably increase a couple’s appetite for more sex, thereby opening up the channels for greater levels of communication and deepened intimacy.
For those of you interested in maximizing your sex through this experiment, then pursuing this challenge to a successful end may require some strategic action on your part.

  1. Prioritize Sex: Mutually committing to the finish line once the challenge has started will require making sex a priority. This may mean synchronizing your bed times if this is not the norm, being more accessible to each other and diversifying when or where you have sex if this is needed.
  2. Don’t Feel Pressured: The presence or absence of sex can equally make a couple feel pressured to perform. While completing the challenge may be important, relaxing and letting the process flow naturally will be important for your overall sexual well-being at this time.
  3. Extend Fore-Play: Foreplay should begin long before your bodies touch. Sexualizing your entire relationship through hot, intimate phone-calls and thoughtful, romantic, gestures will make your coming together more sizzling, meaningful and effortless.
  4. Diversify to Delight: While some may view seven uninterrupted days of sex as serious business, it shouldn’t allow you to lose your sense of humour or your inventiveness. Whether you’re mastering a quickie, working on a lovemaking marathon or being adventurous in the outdoors, seven days of sex should also be a time of playful ingenuity. Ultimately, the effort embedded in the Seven Days of Sex Challenge in not just about having more sex for the sake of it. Its focus is on using the exclusivity of this sacred act, to deepen your marital commitment.

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

Why Women Cheat

couple-lying-in-bed1While there is still plenty of debate about who cheats most, it cannot be denied that women’s changing social and economic circumstances have perhaps widened the opportunity for cheating to occur. We rationalize that women become vulnerable to affairs because of loneliness and a lack of emotional intimacy with their partners. Women are our mothers, sisters and social nurturers so we feel uncomfortable blacklisting them in the same way we do men and often try to provide excuses. Examining some of the more unconventional reasons why this cheating occurs should, therefore, be instructive.

Sexual Independence
The idea that women cheat for emotional connection while men cheat for sex, is a common stereotype and perhaps misperception. The fact is that today, we live in a society which is far more self-focussed. We want more education, better jobs, healthier bodies and yes; better sex. Women are encouraged to go after what they want and to define their lives on their own terms. In the sex department, this has led to some women seeking out men who they believe will meet their sexual needs in a way not currently being met by their partner. Admittedly, some men aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be in the sex department. Men can often have a very scripted, formulaic approach to intercourse which can drive any woman looking for sexual creativity around the bend; you know the usual two minutes of breast fondling and two minutes of vaginal groping, before setting out for candy-land. This boring and predictable approach to sex can influence a woman to seek sexual diversity elsewhere especially if she feels that she does not have a voice in her relationship. She in essence uses the affair as a way to speak or claim what she wants sexually because unfortunately, this may be easier than opening up to an insensitive spouse.

Empowerment
Does every dissatisfied woman just get up one morning and decide to cheat? I think not. For the most part, women do tend to have a greater sense of being responsible for the health of their primary relationships. There are, however, also several factors which may cause a woman to divert from this trend. Her age, sense of financial security, and the extent to which she may feel that she has been cheated out of relational happiness and fulfillment can also influence her infidelity. On the other hand, a woman who is financially dependent on a man and feels closeted and controlled by him, may also cheat as a means of attempting to reclaim her personal space and autonomy. Such a woman has an affair to have “one up” on her partner. She is secretly doing something of which, for all intents and purposes, he is totally unaware and this can cause her to feel that she has a greater sense of control in her life. The affair may seem like the one thing over which her partner has little say and she pursues it to feel a sense of personal empowerment. A constant need for novel experiences or a need to recreate the thrill of a new romance can also lure a woman outside the boundaries of her relationship where she begins to feel that she is finally getting all that she deserves both emotionally and sexually.

She Wants More
Sometimes a woman steps out because she just wants more. There can be a deep sense of emotional or spiritual dissatisfaction which she experiences and which she is hoping that her intimate relationship will fulfill. When her primary relationship fails to heal her damaged emotional state, she opts for an affair hoping that such will do the trick. Very often she discovers that more sex, expensive gifts, more orgasms and loads of attention, does not accomplish this. She may have been scarred emotionally and is struggling with self-esteem issues. Her sexual relationships are therefore an attempt to make her feel more desired and valuable as a person. Because her core issues are never exposed, she can become trapped in a lifestyle of serial affairs.

As commonplace as cheating has become among both men and women, it continues to offend most of us.  Whatever the reasons given, it is a serious act of relationship dishonesty and disloyalty which is not to be excused. The desire for commitment and sexual exclusivity is a core need which many of us share. Unravelling the reasons why cheating occurs has to be the starting point towards relational healing.

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

Beauty Brains And Bad Relationships

beauty brains and bad relationshipsWhile discussing the Rihanna-Chris Brown debacle recently at my hair salon, one patron attempted to sum it up philosophically with these words; “the heart wants what the heart wants”. For those of you not in the know, Pop sensation Rihanna has apparently re-kindled her romantic relationship with the man who literally pulverized her face a couple years ago. Why would a beautiful, wealthy, seemingly intelligent woman do this? For many of us strong, independent ladies, this leaves a decided distaste in the mouth. It’s not that most of us don’t have anything better to do than follow the love lives of celebrities but it is the principle of the thing that strikes a chord.

This prompts the question at the core of our discussion. Why do women stay in bad relationships? This is a difficult question to answer without perhaps asking several others.  For example, why should following one’s heart be advocated, if such is ill-advised or even likely to get one maimed? Should we always chase after what our hearts seem to want even if such is not good for us? Is the course of true love always that difficult or have we been fed a big lie with respect to the nature of love?

Most of us females schooled on stories of love have grown accustomed to the idea that we must find an all-consuming passion, in order to be happy or fulfilled. While love is characterized by self-sacrifice, we have mistakenly believed that this means sacrificing ourselves and our common sense on the altar of stupidity; all in the name of love. And Hollywood has not exactly helped.

With the names of popular romantic chick-flicks like “Crazy Stupid Love” “Only You” and “Head Over Heels” we’ve been steadily fed the idea that relationships are born out of some heady, magical string of coincidences which often force women, because of love, to act against their better judgment. I am not denying the headiness of being in love or the overpowering connection we can feel for someone. I am, however, convinced that we women need to look at love as a more holistic emotion; it should be one of strength and not of weakness. Loving a man should not mean having to sacrifice love of self.

Women stay in less than favorable partnerships for a number of reasons including low self-esteem, financial dependency, and co-dependency. Issues like children and finance, though resolvable, are external reasons why some women decide to stay. Self-esteem and co-dependency point to unresolved internal issues which need more specific attention. A co-dependent relationship is fueled by both individuals’ unhealthy need of each other and this need is powerful glue which can bind a couple together. A man may need his woman to be weak and needy or she may be stronger and need an indecisive man to feel in control. Some females from conservative back grounds may crave a “bad boy” type which makes them feel rebellious, powerful and worldly.

Dependency on a man or on a romantic relationship for feelings of worth makes a woman vulnerable to the point where she may tolerate anything to maintain that relationship. Tolerating emotional abuse, physical abuse or infidelity is a cry for help. Unfortunately many women are not in a place to assess their own behavior and hence continue in that place of weakness indefinitely.

What must a woman do if she needs to grow past the place of being victim especially when she feels at home in this role?  She should look deep within herself, to honestly evaluate her own happiness. Unfortunately, many women in unfavorable relationships are in denial and are blinded to their own victimization.  They, nonetheless, can be helped if they are lovingly confronted by friends and family. Forcing a girlfriend in this position to ask herself some critical questions may not make us the most popular friend, but it is a true demonstration of being our sister’s keeper.

Making a decision to walk away from a toxic relationship is a personal one which must emerge from a place of strength and resolve. While Rihanna may claim to “love” Chris Brown, we must ask whether or not she is demonstrating sufficient self-love at this time. And of course there is room for forgiveness and redefining of a relationship but a woman must be very sure; especially when abuse has been involved. Love does not make us responsible for someone else’s weaknesses but should actually help us lead that one we claim to love into personal accountability.

Many of us love too much pizza or too much dessert or even too much romance. Being a sucker to the latter can actually get us roped into unhealthy dependencies. Making a decision to stand on our own two feet even if alone for a while, is perhaps the ultimate salute to the idea of maturing womanhood.