The Secrets: Should We Tell All?

There is nothing like meeting a sexy guy for the first time and wanting to impress. For you unattached girls out there who are longing for someone to really call your own, meeting new guys can, however, get really technical; or so I have been told. It’s been said that the ratio of women to men is somewhat alarming; In other words, there seems to be a marked shortage of guys to match all the girls out there looking to settle down with one. For the woman who feels desperate, this often means that she thinks she needs to employ a few “relationship contortions” in order to nail the guy of her interest. In other words, she feels a need to plot, scheme and manipulate in order to “win” the competition for the most eligible bachelor. This often means packaging herself as the woman of every guy’s dreams, while beating all other girls into extinction.

As women, many of us have mastered the fine art of creating a great first impression. It just comes with the territory of being female and is something which we do almost instinctively. We definitely know how to dress to impress. At another level, the array of “enhancements” available for today’s woman means that when a guy meets a gal for the first time, he really must assess whether what he is seeing is what he will be hopefully getting (that is, if the relationship gets that far).

These “enhancements” run the gamut from false hair, to false nails, to false lashes, to coloured lens (changed eye colour), to false breasts and even padded hips. Yes, these are all fashion practices that many of us women have grown accustomed to using at some level, from time to time. As a lover of fashion and beauty trends myself, I do identify with that feminine need to creatively reinvent ourselves on occasion.Where it can get tricky, however, is when we allow our true selves to be masked into oblivion and this then spills over into our love lives.

Today’s practice of hiding or masking who we really are, may actually speak to deeper issues which can impact on our intimate relationship. The woman, who fears exposing what she perceives to be her physical flaws, may also be harbouring a deeper fear of being exposed in other areas of her life. This then leads us to the question of secrets. When a woman is bent on impressing and perhaps keeping a man for the long haul, should she spill it all? Should she expose all of her shortcomings, weaknesses and past relationship issues as her new relationship progresses or should some information remain off limits? Just as she seeks to hide her body’s imperfections, should she continue this trend by also concealing the things from her past (or present) which she thinks might make her appear less attractive to her new love interest, or should she expose all of her emotional and sexual stuff in a bid to “keep it real” in the relationship?

Women at different stages of their emotional development will no doubt answer these questions differently. A woman’s sense of self, inner confidence and her ability to balance strength with vulnerability, will to some degree, determine how she chooses to handle self-exposure when a new man comes along. This is also likely to be affected by things like her age and relationship experience.

The woman who is really on the look-out for a long term relationship with the possibility of marriage is likely to value openness and honesty. This is likely to be so because more often than not, this is what she also expects from her partner. With an acknowledged shortage of men, however, a woman may fear losing a romantic prospect if certain elements of her past are laid bare. While I am one who steadfastly promotes intimacy in relationships, I do not believe that it can be forced by indiscriminate exposure of everything, just for the sake of it.

Yes, we live in an age of reality shows where we have grown accustomed to being exposed to everyone’s business. The concept of privacy as we know it, will soon become a thing of the past. Even prime time television has jumped on the bandwagon with not only the portrayal of intimate sex scenes but even treks to the bathroom have now become standard television fare. So to some extent, we are accustomed to “baring it all”. This public trend of exposure, however, does not necessarily transfer to our romantic relationships where the stakes are high for disapproval and rejection.

What then are some of the major secrets a woman would perhaps seek to hide in her relationship? I’ve thought deeply about this and have arranged what I think would be some critical issues in order of their assumed importance:

  • The number of men she has slept with
  • Her participation in any sexual activities that would be considered risqué, for example, group sex or a ménage a trios
  • Her involvement in a lesbian affair
  • Her hatred of sex
  • Her love of sex
  • Her experience of sexual abuse
  • An experience of rape
  • Enormous, enormous debt
  • A deep connection to her ex
  • Past infidelity
  • An addiction to shopping
  • An addiction to illegal drugs
  • An addiction to prescription medication
  • Chronic depression
  • Her very large salary

This list is not exhaustive by any means but I think you get the idea. These issues admittedly are diverse and cannot all be lumped together. An issue of a sexual nature will tend to be treated with far more seriousness than an issue of over-spending.  A woman often knows from experience, that a man can be intimidated if she earns significantly more money than he does. If she appears to love sex too much, or had many partners, she may fear that he thinks her a slut. If her debt is really high, he may think she’s really on the look-out for a “Sugar Daddy” or that she lacks personal discipline and the list goes on. In spite of the diversity among these issues, each has the potential to break or harm a relationship if left unresolved.

The woman who has endured painful experiences from her childhood or from past relationships, may choose not to share if these issues are still painful to her. If she has experienced emotional healing, has extended forgiveness to those who hurt her or has decided to change some shame-based element of her lifestyle, then sharing her life-story may just be a matter of course. At the same time, if she feels close enough to her guy, she may seek comfort in sharing matters which for her still remain unresolved. Talking about her sense of shame over some past behaviour or delving into a past hurt, may actually be therapeutic and can serve to deepen the bond between her and her guy.

At another level, the woman in her twenties, who is still basically “finding herself”, may respond differently to the idea of total self-exposure, than the woman in her forties who possesses a lot more self-confidence and has experienced a bit of life. The younger woman is likely to panic and to be a lot more secretive in a bid to hold on to new relationship. Conversely, the older woman’s attitude might very well be one of, “been there, done that, take me as I am or go look elsewhere”.

This woman knows exactly what she wants in a man and is not so much sold on the idea of impressing others, as she is on the idea of self-acceptance and personal growth. In other words she may have learnt from her past mistakes and may simply want to re-write her life-script on her own terms. She may also feel no regret for some of her past actions and this is where the aligning of a couples’ value system becomes critical to the life of that relationship. If for example, one partner has cheated in the past, but is not remorseful, then this may hold implications for how much he/she values fidelity. If you plan to be a faithful spouse, then having a spouse with an identical belief system will be paramount.

Issues like substance abuse, addictions or chronic depression can also impact on the quality of the relationship. While none of us are perfect, the more emotionally healthy we are, the better the prospects for a long and healthy relationship. When significant elements are kept hidden, the danger is that they can rear their ugly heads at an inopportune time and can cause friction and emotional estrangement. If, for example, a divorcee has not severed emotional ties with her ex, this baggage can haunt her current relationship and she can easily project her anger towards her current partner or husband. Knowledge and understanding on her partner’s end can only be applied if he is made aware of her issue in the first place.

Am I suggesting then that a tell-all session is always vital to a good relationship? Not necessarily. I believe that a woman must assess the true status of her relationship and the maturity of her partner before she decides to divulge all. Even then, exposing her past is not an end in itself, nor should it be forced. It should also never occur in the early, uncertain phase of a relationship when commitment has not yet been voiced. In fact, premature exposure can actually destroy the prospects of a relationship even getting off the ground.

Don’t scare the guy away before he even has a chance to say hello. Be wise, weigh the situation and ensure that your end of the table is not the only one from which a detailed life-story is forthcoming; intimacy is after all, a two-way street.  There are no guarantees that it will all pan out as you like but true love is often worth the risk.

When a Woman is the Vulture and Your Man the Prey

We’ve all met this kind of woman I’m sure. We can sense her a mile away. She is a bird of prey and most likely, she’s preying on your man. Lest I be misunderstood, this article is not an attempt to absolve men of any of the guilt or responsibility which they must acknowledge when it comes to cheating. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Men are not babies. They know what they are doing when they decide to take that plunge and sleep with another woman. Be that as it may, it is critical to note that when men fail sexually in their relationships, they don’t do it alone. Their weakness is cheerfully egged on and facilitated by the women they make themselves vulnerable to.

This comes as no surprise because as long as there have been Sampsons, there have been Delilahs. For those not familiar with that story, Delilah was a woman (in Biblical times) who got the better of the man she targeted by playing the oldest trump-card in the world; sex. Even though she had somewhat of a Political agenda, basically she was a spy for the Philistine nation, she understood how to “work it” to get what she wanted. Centuries have passed and not much has changed. There are women who are experts at plotting and planning for men just to get what they want whether that be money, status, bling, more money or plain old sex.

Vultures have a particular way with men. It’s not just that they may be physically appealing (and very often they are) but they have an intimate knowledge of men. They understand what makes a man tick and are very good at breaking down a man’s defenses to their own advantage. Usually this intimate knowledge of men comes about as a result of their wide and varied experiences with several men. Make no bones about it, these women have been to the school of life and have studied men like an out-of-print textbook. What makes a woman a vulture therefore is not her innate sexiness, charisma, nor her ability to befriend, empathise with or “counsel” although these are all vulture strategies. Women are categorized as vultures because of their selfish agenda. Primarily Vultures care about numero uno. You see this woman is never what she appears to be at face value simply because she doesn’t have a genuine bone in her body. She wants what she wants, when she wants it and to hell with you if you try to get in her way!

If you live on this planet earth, chances are you will meet a vulture in your lifetime. She may be your husband’s or guy’s work colleague. She could be a neighbor, an old cherished friend of his or the girl he meets at a game or at the Gas Station. She might even be one of your girlfriends. The point is, if she fancies sinking her teeth (and other parts of her anatomy) into some fresh prey, then she could very well pose a problem.

Vultures are good at inventing excuses as to why a guy needs to spend time with them. It could seem as innocent as a request to have a tyre changed, the need to have something heavy lifted, or the need to have a shoulder to cry on. Whatever the case, Vultures know how to make a guy feel needed and wanted and they really don’t care if he’s married or in a committed relationship. In fact that seems to make him even more attractive to Vultures! That being said, don’t make the mistake of believing that every Vulture is a desperate single-woman, some are married but live their “other-woman” existence underground.

The woman who is categorized as a Vulture, like her name-sake, watches her victim from a distance. She studies him carefully, assesses his wants and weaknesses and then moves in for the kill. As a Vulture tries new ways to get close to your man, she is really gathering the information needed to guarantee his downfall with her. If he’s a man on the look out for some extra sex, then her job is made even easier.There is really no rocket-science to her having her wicked way with this guy. However, if her prey is a family man, a husband who loves his wife but maybe a bit bored or needy in some way, she understands that her tactics have to be a lot more studied and sly.

The Vulture will therefore seek to undermine a marriage by pointing out very underhandedly, all the ways a man’s wife has not been meeting his needs. If she’s smart she might not actually bring up the wife’s name but will find ways and means of presenting herself as a viable and better option. So a Vulture, unlike most wives, will always make herself sexually accessible. She never says no. She might even do those things that some wives would never, ever dream of doing in and out of bed. She is a connoisseur at being the “better other woman” and knows how to play her cards well.

The truth be told, some Vultures are hardly interested in marriage to the guy. Being tied to any one man may actually cramp her style since she may like to leave all of her options open to new and potentially more promising experiences. So why go after any man in the first place you might ask? It’s important that you understand that a Vulture thrives on power and on exercising it. (And contrary to what you might think, not every woman out there wants the husband and the white picket fence). She just wants to know that she can steal your man from right under your nose; so beware of the “best-friend” who ogles your husband when she thinks you’re not looking. It boosts her sexual ego to know that she is able to “get” your husband or guy literally from right under you because a Vulture really believes she is in some unspoken competition with every other woman out there.

 

If a woman is to guard her marriage against the permanent threat of the Vulture, then there are a few things she must take to heart:

  • be weary of late-night telephone or cell phone calls to your husband from other women, especially those he keeps hidden
  • be suspicious of women who want to befriend your man but are not interested in being a friend of the couple or family
  • if your partner spends an inordinate amount of time on social networking sites like Facebook, observe whether this “habit” is open to you or if you are free to peruse his page at any time
  • as a couple, set parameters and boundaries in your relationship where other members of the opposite sex are concerned
  • have a common philosophy about the “best-friend” issue; (there is no way my husband should have another woman as his “best-friend” I don’t care how much of a childhood friend she is)!
  • be honest in your relationship about expectations, needs and disappointments; relationships become vulnerable to adultery when they are built on dishonesty and a lack of communication
  • strengthen the levels of intimacy in the relationship by spending quality time together
  • keep your man sexually happy and fulfilled without being his slave (a delicate balancing act I admit)
  • preserve a sense of sexual-mystery in the marriage relationship by keeping things fresh as much as possible (in spite of the pressures of the “rat-race” which we face as couples)
  • demand respect from your partner by not tolerating emotional or sexual infidelity in any form or fashion
  • listen to and trust your intuition; most of the time (if not all) that you are suspicious of another woman’s motives where your man is concerned, YOU ARE RIGHT!
  • act on your intuition; if your partner displays suspicious behaviour and there is any reason to doubt him, CONFRONT him
  • don’t be the naive woman because you want to be liked by all; know that Vultures don’t play; don’t befriend one, she is the ENEMY
  • if you decide to keep your husband even if he has fallen prey to a Vulture, make sure that he accepts responsibility for his actions and seeks help independently of you, through counselling, therapy or mentorship by a man who has his head screwed on right
  • if your relationship is to survive the attack of a Vulture, then you must learn to forgive; this is a process, not an event and should not be rushed; take time to examine the relationship, access its weaknesses, vulnerabilities and strengths and together plot a path to progress so that it never falls prey again to the wiles of the “other woman”