Archive for August, 2010

elvinstar

Yours…  Mine… Ours.  “Our” marriage, “our” kids, “our” exes, “our” baggage, “our”……..happily ever after?  Here’s to hoping.  Blending together two families who each have their own set of family dynamics, daytime dramas, “well-meaning” grandparents, sappy traditions, unbending belief systems, and set-in-stone parenting styles is most often good in theory…but may feel like captive torture when played out.   Now throw in two exes, their new spouses, and more extended familial “strangers”…and what do you get?  Kids who don’t know which way is up, who to direct their anger at, or if anyone even cares that they’re angry.   To them, it may seem the adults are so busy being angry at each other…who’s listening anyway?

How do we, as parents, manage to successfully blend two families AND keep our children from feeling like the forgotten luggage we’ve tied to the bumper and drug along behind the moving vehicle that is our new life?

The modern blended family is quickly replacing its traditional competitor.  Divorce, followed by remarriage, is the new normal…whether our kids are ready or not.  And let’s face it…they’re not.  Kids are creatures of habit, rejecting any semblance of a new life.  After years of emotionally bonding with BOTH of their biological parents, they’re now thrust into the middle of a divorce…they have no idea how they got there, or why.  What they do know is it wasn’t their choice.  They then realize… their vote doesn’t count…it never did.  And now that the divorce is inked and official, mom and dad want to remarry.  Granted… blending a family is about as challenging as publicly disciplining our two-year-old, tantrum-throwing, eardrum-piercing, who-is-this-child? toddler without having “someone” accuse us of child abuse.  Amateurs!  But, Yes…it can be done…and Yes…it can be successful.  🙂

When thrown into a blended family, our kids typically act out and become rebellious, difficult, and withdrawn.  Unfortunately, we get angry, seek punishment, and get our heels so deeply dug into the punishment muck…we can’t get out, step back, and gain perspective.  We can’t examine what the thoughts, fears, and insecurities are that drive our kids to behave in such a way.

After having the cold ice bucket that is divorce dumped over his head, a child has already recoiled and felt the disappointment of parental letdown.  His safe, protected cocoon has been split and he’s been peeled out, limb by limb- against his will – into the harsh “elements” that make up life.  Reaction:  self defense… a.k.a. withdrawal, lashing out,  and self-imposed isolation.  This rebellious, difficult, withdrawn hoodlum –  who has hijacked our precious baby’s body and is now using it to wreak havoc in our new life- is simply hurt, frightened, and keeping his guard up.  If his guard is up, he can’t be let down again.   He feels powerless in the changes that are affecting his life…acting out is HIS choice… the only thing he CAN control…he will exercise it.  His self esteem, confidence, and security have taken a hit, and our job as parents is to do whatever we can to restore that which he has lost.  That means giving him space to express his disappointment, grief, and anger.  That means encouraging his continued relationship with BOTH parents.  With the steady love and presence of both biological parents, our child will adjust to his new blended family more quickly and have higher self esteem.  He needs this like he needs air to breathe.   Our kids need to know that though we couldn’t make it work, they are more important than the conflict that ended our marriage.  Knowing this, for kids, makes all the difference.  All too often, our emotions and resentments from the failed marriage dictate our behaviors, our attitudes, and our words when it comes to our kids and their relationship with the ex.  Though we may think otherwise, our body language is sometimes louder than our words.  So, even when we’re biting our tongue, we’re yelling criticisms from the rooftops.   Whether we’re tackling discipline, parental swap, or trying to help our kids cope…here are a few things to consider:

—-Drop kids off…never pick them up:  While it may seem harmless and more convenient to pick them up when doing the parental custody swap, try to avoid it.  Picking them up conveys the subtle insinuation that we’re taking them from the other parent.  Yes…sounds silly to an adult.  But to a child, it feels like a threat from one parent to another.  And once again, he feels caught in the middle.  “Do I go with this one, or stay with that one?”  A child’s mind in this situation is always one of self-blame.  “If I go with him, will it hurt her?  If I refuse to go to avoid hurting her, will I hurt him?”  When we drop them off, we send the message that we’re giving them permission to go have fun.  Kids are amazing little people who strive to please both parents ALL the time.

Routine:  A great way to give kids the predictability they crave is to create a special routine just for them.  For example, after every visit away, on the first night of their return to us, we might make their favorite dinner or dine at their favorite restaurant.  Kids find comfort in routine.  A traditional coming home meal, or any consistent routine we may choose,  can provide them a small security in an otherwise scary world of unknowns.

Verbal praises:  While kids prefer hugs and more physical contact from their biological parents, they prefer verbal praises from stepparents.  They may, in time, become more comfortable with physical praise, but in the beginning, keep it verbal.  It respects their personal space, allows them to slowly take us in – rather than our cramming ourselves down their throat –  and lets them call the shots where our connection is concerned.  Little choices like this give them a sense of independence and help them adjust.

Time alone:  There’s a time for the whole family to be together…and there’s a time for us to treat our biological kids to some one on one time with just us…no stepparent…no stepbrothers or sisters.  This strengthens the bond that has taken such a blow.  When armed with an intact bond with his biological parent, he doesn’t feel he’s being replaced.  He feels he is “sharing” his parent, rather than having HIS parent “stolen.”

Rules respected and followed:  Rules, as well as consequences, should be as similar as possible between the homes.  If our child doesn’t complete his homework and loses video game privileges while at our ex’s house, those consequences should be enforced at our house until punishment is complete.  Consistency and respect between the homes will provide security, keep expectations clear, and rob him of a loop hole with which to play one parent against the other.  Trust me…given access to a loop hole, he’ll jump right through.

Biological parent disciplinarian:  The last thing a kid wants is another bossy know-it-all.  When a blended family is in its beginning years, the biological parent should do most of the disciplining…allowing the stepparent to play the role of friend or counselor.  If a new person comes barging in, takes his parent away, changes life as he knows it, AND has the nerve to discipline him, the only thing he’s creating is a brick wall with no means around it.  That bond will never happen.  A child needs time to get to know us, develop a relationship with us, and come to respect us before he will take kindly to discipline of any kind.  If we stomp into his world beating our chest and barking orders, those orders will only bounce off that brick wall and smack us right in the face.  None of us enjoy having our words thrown back at us…do we?  😉  Once a bond has been established, discipline will be accepted and respected.

Kids so often carry around the burden of a divorce between their parents, wondering what they did to cause it, or what they can do to fix it.  Remarrying and introducing a blended family to them will be difficult – there’s not enough candy in the world to sugar coat that sour note.  But, the good news is children are resilient…and given time and room to grieve, they’ll come around.  Children who experience divorce and blended family life, children who are encouraged, and, above all, loved…these children learn adaptability and develop the compassion and empathy needed to embrace outsiders, making them more accepting, more flexible adults.

We’ve ordered this blended family.  We’ve added many ingredients to our tall glass of new life.  It WILL be stirred by the many variables butting heads in our glass.  However, with love, patience, and understanding, our blended family will withstand the stirring and remain strong…and unshaken…in the face of adversity.   Drink it in.

Chick Hughes

A glimpse into the mind of a child:

“My mom cries when I tell her about Dad’s girlfriend. I can’t help it if I like her just a little. She’s nice to me.”
Twelve-year-old girl

Dad left so suddenly that if I don’t take care of Mom, she might leave me too.
Eight-year-old boy

“Dad couldn’t really be as bad as Mom says he is.”
Nine-year-old girl

“My dad left because I wanted to ride my bike my way, and I told him to go away. He did and divorced my mom.”

“If I go live with grandma can you and dad stay married?”
Seven-year-old girl

evenementy

Gone are the days of “Leave it to Beaver”…a time when families were supposedly nauseatingly happy, the kids were a little too mild-mannered and obedient, and the parents were blissfully unstressed and free from the bondage of disagreement.  And can I just say…

What the hell was that about anyway?

When has life ever been that simple?   When was marriage ever easy?  When were kids ever obedient every second of every day?  And when were women truly content staying home all of their lives without any ambition or dreams of their own?  NEVER.  Life has never been easy… more repressed maybe, but not easy.  Thankfully, repression AND oppression went out of style years ago, along with that hideous, clunky wooden piece of furniture that brought the “Beav” into our living room.  Real-life adults are actual people with actual problems, rather than the brainwashed, robotic “Stepford Wife”  and the always dutiful, never over-worked, never over-stressed husband depicted on tv.   I much prefer a down to earth parent who owns his problems…how his relationship with his wife is suffering because of the long hours he works to make ends meet, how his wife is distant because — well, he’s not sure why, how she feels resentful because he actually gets to leave the house that has become her prison every day, make his own money, and be productive (rather than watching one day roll into the next washing dishes and behinds), how his kids are acting out because they sense the uncertainty in the household.  While certainly not ideal, they’re honest and very much the reality of our everyday lives.  Families are complicated… and synonymous with dysfunctional love.  Couples marry, divorce, remarry, and struggle to resist the urge of hiring a hitman to take out their “mistake”  every day.  But, instead of surfing the net hunting for the perfect hitman, we have to learn to make peace and co-exist.  Easier said than done, right?  We may have better luck convincing a  top modeling agency to grace the cover of Vogue with our tired faces, dark circles, and stress-induced extra pounds?  So, once divorce has taken hold and each remarries, how do we maintain a manageable relationship that allows us to co-parent our little look-a-likes?

Co-parenting after a divorce is about as fun as tossing our cookies on the tilt-a-whirl after overindulging on hot dogs, chicken on a stick, cotton candy, and popcorn at the county fair.  It was delicious going down…wickedly vile coming up.  Though it’s very difficult to make peace with the ex after a divorce, it’s also the healthiest and most essential thing for us to achieve…not only for us, but for the kids as well.  Hate requires much more emotional energy than forgiveness…and forgiveness is a way of life our children will hopefully emulate… if we display it.

When trying to co-exist, co-parent, and co-operate with our ex, there are a few R’s we need to practice:

Respect:  This will be difficult, but may also reveal our true maturity level.  We’re both parenting our kids, so keep it that way.  We should never disregard our ex’s opinions or feelings about issues with the kids.  On those issues we don’t have a particular opinion about, we should ask our ex what he/she thinks about the situation.  Always include the other on major decisions with the kids.  If we ask for our ex’s input on what should be done, rather than dictating what we’re going to do, our ex will feel validated and included in his/her kids lives.  Result: emotional walls will remain down, and communication will be fluent.

Restrain:  Keep our emotions in check where our ex is concerned.  Kids are extremely perceptive…so those little sneers we entertain on our faces when our kids are slamming us with information about their week away are not gone unnoticed.  They notice…and take note…of our opinion… and follow suit.  Remember, we may have chosen to move on from our ex, but our child will never move on from his parent.  The last thing we want to do is sabotage the relationship between ex and child.  Also, our kids are not our messengers.  They’re not responsible for informing our ex of his late child support or any other point of contention we may feel the need to “share” with our kids.  They’re kids…allow them to be.  They’re allowed to love our ex…and sending hateful messages back and forth only tells them they should choose sides.  If this is what you’re angling for, be prepared…when they’re older and wiser, you’ll lose.

Reply:  Take advantage of modern technology.  EMAIL!  We should communicate with our ex through email as much as possible.  This way, our kids won’t be watching as our emotional floodgate falters and threatens to wipe out everyone within earshot of our conversation.  Also, our ex will be less likely to “push our buttons” over email.  We’re much more rational through email than face-to-face confrontations.  When face-to-face, emotion runs the show, tempers flair,  and words become weapons.  Unfortunately, those weapons usually hit an unintended target…our kids.  The less emotion and shotty glances, the better.  So remember:  EMAIL…don’t raise hell.

Rebuild:  Regardless of who wronged who and who said what, we must accept that our ex is not solely responsible for our breakup.  While it’s easier to point a finger, rather than claim our own contribution, we must let it go and own our responsibility in the breakup.  The sooner we do that, the sooner we release some of the resentment…and the sooner we move on.  To rebuild, we have to do away with what our marriage was…and embrace what it is now.  Treat it as though it’s a whole new experience with the focus on the kids’ well-being…not on what did, or did not, happen between the two of us.  The marriage has been bulldozed.  Now it’s time to clean up, do away with the rubble, and rebuild our relationship from the ground up as co-parents.  A relationship “renovation.”

Trying to bring together adults who would rather forget the others exist is a difficult feat, but a necessary one if there are kids involved.  We all want a safe home with a white picket fence to keep our kids safe from “outside” dangers.  But a divorce will tear down that fence and leave our kids open to three danger doozies:  fear, doubt, and insecurity.  The only way to keep our kids feeling secure and loved is to forgive, rebuild, and mend those fences.  Otherwise, not only did we fail with our marriage…we’ll fail our kids as well.  Mend a fence…save a child.

Chick Hughes

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes

Eugilein

When it comes to sex, men seem to prefer beauty, boobs, and booty to brains.  Apparently, these are the qualification indicators for “high bangability.”  But, what boosts a man’s ego even more than “hitting” the hottest of the hot girls?  Her orgasmic talent…in a nutshell, if and how many times she climaxes.  Nothing makes a man feel more like a man than hearing her tantalizingly moan, groan, and make a “touchdown” in the end zone…over…and over…and over again.  But what he doesn’t know is that her ability to provide him that satisfaction is directly related to her emotions.  That rather than searching out that bodacious babe he has stamped in his mind who scores a 10 on bangability, he should be searching out an emotionally intelligent woman who will repeatedly validate his virility.  Of course, there’s always the chance he may find all of these qualities in ONE woman…if he can accomplish that, not only will he have every other heterosexual man’s green-eyed monster to contend with, but he’ll also have the “How to…” book market cornered. Men aren’t the only ones “standing at attention” at the mention of orgasm delight…women are even more interested in achieving the multi-orgasmic shudder-fest.  After all, it’s her world getting rocked.  He simply gets to enjoy the tremors.  So, what do our emotions have to do with our “bangability,”  and how do we convert it into “bangable bucks?”

Studies unanimously find that women with higher emotional intelligence (EQ) have better sex and more orgasms.   Yes ladies, intelligence pays…and it pays big…in the form of orgasmic currency.  EQ doesn’t refer to book smarts, ACT scores, or typical IQ scores.  So, your beautifully framed honor’s graduate degree from Harvard, your impeccable SAT scores, and your 4.0 average are all useful assets…on a resume…but of no use to you between the sheets.  Between the sheets, it’s your emotional intelligence that’s running the show, as well as the reruns. 😉

What exactly is emotional intelligence?  It’s a woman’s ability to accurately identify, accept, and convey her feelings to others…as well as identifying the emotions of those around her.   A highly emotionally intelligent woman is very much in touch with her feelings.  She is able to identify and utilize her own emotions (as well as those around her) to correctly solve emotion-related problems.  She is able to successfully combine her feelings with her logic and make a sound decision based on both.  Because she is able to recognize and convey her feelings to her partner, she’s likely to tackle relationship problems head on, rather than brushing them under a rug, suppressing them, and hoping they’ll never again rear their ugly head…lest she’ll stomp them back into the emotionless, orgasm deprived crack in the floor…where they belong.  She’s able to scan the faces of those around her and assess their feelings and thoughts.  Because she easily perceives emotions in others’ faces, she’s more aware and empathetic to their feelings.  She is also more adept at telling her partner what she likes and doesn’t like in the bedroom.  Who knew being bossy in the bedroom translated into “O, O, O?”

Women most in touch with their feelings experienced twice as many orgasms as their more inhibited girlfriends.  Studies also found that emotional intelligence isn’t determined by nature or genetics, but by nurture .  When sets of twins were tested, in every case, one twin tested high on EQ, while the other tested average, or low.  The twin rating highest on the EQ tests experienced more frequent orgasms and reported higher sexual satisfaction…obviously.  Because it’s said to be determined by nurture, we’re not stuck with whatever emotional intelligence we presently have.  It’s possible we can work on our emotional intelligence by focusing more on our feelings and effectively communicating those feelings to him.  Did I just hear every man moan in anticipation?  🙂  We can work to enhance it, or we can suppress and ignore our feelings… along with our orgasmic potential.  So, it seems sensitivity pays for women…and indirectly, for men, as well.

Men love to hate women who are overly in touch with their feelings, as it usually implies that he will also be expected to “share” sooner or later.  His idea of getting all touchy feely is, as we all know, not equivalent to her idea of getting all touchy feely.  But apparently, both versions will head in the same direction, eventually.     While he may not want to participate in the emotional commentary, he’s certainly eager to take credit for his sex partner’s “triple-header.”  After all, he really knows how to please a woman.  The proof is panting right in his awed, gratified face.

If we women learn how to use our emotional intelligence to our advantage, enhance our orgasm frequency, and rock his world, we could possibly reconstruct the “bangability” scale.   Too bad multiple orgasms aren’t advertised as readily as beauty, boobs, and booty.  But, let’s say a man is surveying his frequented gym…not for the perfect weight bench, but in hopes of triangulating the most “bangable” hottie within a 50 foot radius.  He’s found two such girls…both similar in physique and beauty, both wearing tight t-shirts while working the treadmill.  One girl’s t-shirt sports the Old Navy logo.  The other bears the bold words “Multiple Orgasms” with an arrow pointing south.  Which girl will he choose?  hmmm.  I wonder.

We know that men are visually stimulated.  Now, if only we could advertise our emotional intelligence with the same enthusiasm as our physical attributes, the possibilities would be endless.  And we would undoubtedly convert our EQ into “bangable bucks.”   Spend them wisely…redeem one orgasm at a time.

“Feel” your way.

Chick Hughes

dario27

Break up, break away, break free, break down…call it what you may…it means one thing…heartbreak!  Whether we ended it, or it ended us…the heart doesn’t take kindly to being smashed to pieces.  Sometimes, we get over a break-up and move on…sometimes, the break-up, or divorce, moves on over us, bulldozes our self-confidence, and leaves us in a perpetual state of regret.  Those of us able to move on and take a lesson from our breakup are better off, aren’t we?  Maybe…maybe not.  How do we know when to let our ex, along with our baggage, go and when to do everything in our power to get that ex back?

Before you decide to start tossing pebbles at windows and singing cheesy love songs that reveal you for the desperate static cling-on that you are, exercise a little self-analysis.  Are you simply bored?  If you’re desiring a reunion out of boredom, your attempt will be made in vain. The relationship will surely take the same route it took before, ending with that oh-so-familiar fork in the road.  Are you remembering the facts concerning your relationship, or are you being nostalgic…”retouching” them only to be reintroduced to the dirty truth upon reunion?  Consider what the true source of the failed relationship was.  Rarely is the obvious scapegoat the true culprit.  Fights are almost never fueled by the topic at hand. You didn’t break up because you never picked up your dirty underwear.  You didn’t break up because you were giving someone else the “eye.”  And you didn’t break up because you nagged incessantly or  spent too much on something he deemed “useless.”  You broke up for one reason…and one reason only:

The connection (emotional AND sexual) was no longer “connected.”  Whether you became too busy for one another, began to take the other for granted, or all out had an affair…all fingers point to a lost connection.  If your car loses it’s connection to the battery, you’re not likely getting out of the driveway, now are you?  In the same way, if your relationship loses its connection, you’re not “going” anywhere.  Without a connection or spark, your relationship is as dead and stagnant as the clunker sitting in your driveway.  The only way to get moving again is to reconnect, right?

So, if you’ve thought it over, you’re convinced you belong together, and you want to reconnect with your ex, below are some suggestions:

Don’t stalk your ex:  Don’t bombard him/her with an endless stream of emails, texts, or messages.  The only thing this will accomplish is proving to your ex that you are, in fact, desperate.  And the only message your ex will hear is “I’m a loser…you can do so much better than me!”

Don’t appear needy:  No one wants a needy dependent as a partner.  “I need you.  I can’t live without you.”  “My world is nothing without you.”  blah, blah, blah…if this is true, what you need is a mommy, not a spouse!

Don’t try to make your ex jealous:  This will usually have the opposite effect.  Showing your ex that you’ve moved on only sends the message that he/she should do the same.  It doesn’t communicate a willingness to work on your relationship.

Don’t be overly passive or agreeable:   “Whatever you want.”  “I’ll do anything you want as long as you come back.”  Can you say “doormat?”  If you DO get your ex to come back by acting as a doormat, the only thing he/she will be coming back to do is wipe those nasty feet again before “opening the door” to another relationship.

Don’t point fingers:  Laying blame and dumping the “YOU did_____ to me!”  and “It’s all YOUR fault!” bricks at your ex’s feet will only supply him/her with the materials needed to throw up that emotional wall…goal:  to block you out!

Now that you know what to avoid, here are some suggestions for possible success:

Do meet/get together to talk:  The only way to begin to reconnect is to talk.  Remember: no pointing fingers unless you’re able to contort your hand and point in two directions at once. 🙂

Do tell your ex how you feel:  Unless you tell your ex that you feel you should give it another go AND that you’re willing to work on things, the meeting is pointless.  Showing up, pretending to be righteous, and waiting for your ex to apologize and take the blame…Don’t shoot yourself in the foot…you’ll need it for walking away after you’ve been rejected yet again.  If you want your ex to know how you feel, then tell him/her. Remember: no “YOU ___” attacks.  Instead, try “It would make me happy if ______.”  “I’ll work on _____ if you’ll work on _____.”  Don’t provide those emotional walls with bricks…and they won’t be erected.

Do take responsibility:   Honesty is key.  Be honest about your part in the breakup.  A breakup is never the fault of one person.  It took two people to begin the relationship…it took two people to end it.  Even if you broke up due to an infidelity…an infidelity is a symptom of an already existing problem within the relationship.  The affair is simply a by-product.  Treat it as such.  Both parties should share the burden of the breakup.

Do be open-minded:  Don’t judge your ex.  We all make mistakes.  If you truly want to make it work, recognize that neither of you is perfect.  Accept that you both made mistakes as you will in the future.  Be prepared to consciously work on your mistakes, and be ready to understand and forgive when your ex makes a mistake.  It’s not a matter of IF both of you will make a mistake, rather a matter of WHEN you do.  Keep your mind open, free from judgment, and ready to make changes.

Do appear confident: Your life WILL go on if you don’t get back together.  Be sure your ex knows that…but make sure he/she knows that you’d rather stay together.  “If this is truly what you want, I can accept it.  I’ll miss you, and I think we should work on it.  I love you and don’t want to lose you.”  Be vulnerable and regretful, yet strong and resilient.  This can be difficult with all of the swirling emotions whipping you into your own personal tornadic hell.  Your emotions can get the best of you and betray you like nothing else.  While you want to show some emotion, you don’t want to reveal yourself as a blubbering, swollen-eyed, desperate disaster while trails of tears and snot compete in a drag race down your face.  🙁

Making a romantic relationship between a man and woman successful is the most challenging feat we will ever accomplish.  Life just gets in the way, does it not?  It can turn two otherwise in love people into enemies.  But recognizing that fact and refusing to play victim to the Love vs. Life wrestling match is the first step to making your relationship work.  If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life whom you’re willing to fight for (whether it’s an ex, or a soon to be ex),  then set your sights on the “ex” on your treasure map, and let nothing get in your way.  Maybe you’ll even find a little “booty.”

Chick Hughes

“Trying to forget someone you love is like trying to remember someone you never knew.” ~ author unknown

StillSearc

If there’s one thing we women aren’t equipped to navigate, it’s a one-sided conversation.  This feels about as natural to us as strapping on that delicate sexy bra over, rather than under, our favorite baggy sweatshirt.  It just doesn’t make sense to us.  Women need feedback.  We crave it.  We respond to it.  But according to men, conversation simply isn’t a valuable commodity.  However, if he knew the trade value of conversation with women, he may be eager to buy more stock.

She asks, “How was your day?”  He responds, “Fine.”  She waits for him to elaborate…fill her in.  She’ll be waiting a while.  He’s done with this conversation and is oblivious to her curiosity.  He walks away, moves on to another task, and leaves her feeling “left out” of his life.  She may push, but it’s unlikely she’ll get much more information than the mind-blowing ear-full she got the first time.  Still, she hopes.  To her dismay, her hopes are dashed by his complete disinterest in hashing out his day with her.  Resentment follows.  She may hold onto that resentment for later, more convenient use during a fight over something totally unrelated…or she may confront him immediately.  Disappointment makes for a good boomerang.  She’ll just hurl it right back his way.  But he’s blindsided by the boomerang.   He now knows that she’s angry, but left wondering “what about?”  He has no clue that she NEEDS to hear the details of his day.

Attention men:   she DOES…

Women exchange details of their lives as a means of connection.  If you’re not communicating your daily details with her, you’re not connecting with her.  Men, on the other hand, only speak with purpose.  If there’s no reason to give details, he won’t.  Ladies, it’s not personal…it’s just pointless to him.  He doesn’t need it, and he’s completely unaware of the fact that you do.  So, tell him.  Tell him that you need to know what’s going on in his life…not because you want to “control” him (which is what so many men choose to think), but as a way to stay connected to him.  Tell him…enlighten him.  He needs you to tell him what you need.  Otherwise, he’ll never figure it out…he’s not a mind reader, obviously.  Explain to him what you need…or forever hold your “peace.”

Aside from the fact that men just don’t have a need for excess talk, he may also feel intimidated by talking to you.  Let’s face it, sometimes we possess the uncanny ability to take in the things he says, swallow them, twist them, turn them, completely reconstruct them in the most negative way possible, and then regurgitate them in all their glory… right in his unsuspecting, utterly confused  face.  Poor guy.  Once we do that a time or two, he may – being the logical thinker he is – decide less is more…and be very careful about sharing his details, or feelings, the next time around.

And how many times have we asked his opinion about something, thought it over, and then proceeded to override his opinion with our own?  “Honey, what do you want for dinner?”  He replies, “Chinese.”  You come back with, “Really, I was thinking burgers?”  Now is this really a question?  Not a chance.  Burgers…it’s what’s for dinner.  😉  So, yet again, he realizes there’s no point in his expression of thought, as it will be vetoed anyway.  Guys are linear thinkers.  So, once he figures this out,  he’s no longer interested in engaging in the “What do YOU think?” game.

There may also be a neurological reason men don’t share feelings or daily details.  Our brains are divided into left and right hemispheres.  The corpus callosum is a white matter tract connecting the two.  It’s this connecting tract, or bridge, that allows for cross-talk between hemispheres…. Studies have shown that a woman’s corpus callosum is wider than that of a man’s.  This may be why women aren’t able to compartmentalize…we can think AND feel at the same time.  Having a more narrow “bridge” for cross-talk between hemispheres may contribute to his tendency to compartmentalize…separate his feelings from his thinking.  And consequently, engage in much less conversation about how this, or that, makes him feel.

No wonder he’s not as enamored with all the mushy talk as we women are.

So, if you want to know what he’s feeling, but he’s not volunteering…be more direct.  Men don’t respond well to vague questions such as “What are you thinking?”   Rather, asking a question like, “Do you think _____?”  or “Do you feel _____?”  will draw his details out front and center.  It’s not that he’s deliberately withholding his life.  He simply doesn’t know you need to connect in this way.  Volunteering the details of who said what at the office, which project isn’t going well, and what he ate for lunch doesn’t come naturally to him.  But with the right prodding, he’ll open up…all you have to do is listen.

Because of the communication gap between men and women, we tend to think men are distant and uncaring.  But upon closer inspection, you may discover that men are quite vulnerable and full of emotion…they’re just encouraged both by nature AND nurture to hide it well.  And hide it well, they do.

Tell him what you need.  Men need AND want to know how to make you happy.  Speak his language.  “Sweetie, you need sex.  I need connection to have sex.  Connect with me…and I’ll ‘connect’ with you.  Tell me all about your day.”  You put it in those terms…you won’t have to ask him twice.  He’ll be OH so happy to oblige.  His daily details will erupt forth like lava from a volcano after a multi-century long dormant spell.  You may have to go dominatrix to shut him up and tame his “volcano.”  🙂

Chick Hughes

Part of the reason that men seem so much less loving than women is that men’s behavior is measured with a feminine ruler.  ~Francesca M. Cancian

befresh

Ever considered handing over your bank card, along with your password, to a stranger and trusting that person to simply hang on to it and return it to your mailing address in a week?  What are the odds you would ever see that card again?  Slim to none.  Some of us wouldn’t hand over our bank cards to a family member, let alone a stranger.  It seems with our money, we’re extremely cautious.  With our hearts…not so much.   We’re much quicker to trust others with our hearts.  But should we be?  Why do we so badly need to trust others?

Just how trustworthy is this phenomenon we call trust?  We say one must earn trust…that once trust is breached, it cannot be restored.  We place such great emphasis and expectation on such a tiny little word.  We “trust” our best friend not to “spill the beans” on our most shielded secret.  We “trust” our spouse to be faithful to only us, and never want another,  for the remainder of our time on this planet.  We “trust” our religious leaders to live the life we, ourselves, cannot possibly duplicate.  We “trust” our family members to be there for us anytime, anywhere, every time, everywhere.  And when those “trusted” people fail us – and they have in the past, as they will in the future – we allow ourselves to play victim, our hearts to break, and our perceived “perfect” image of them to be exposed for the fraud it is.  I wrote a previous post on trust, believed in it, and once took the concept of trust at face value.

I didn’t over-think it…until now.

Do we trust simply because we need to?  Is trust an illusion we create to cradle us from the devastation of reality?  Do we simply need an insurance policy for our heart?

Each and every one of us is human.  Regardless of how much trust another places in us, we will, forever and always, look after number one first.  This trait is one that has kept the species thriving for centuries…a trait that is not possessed solely by mankind, but by every living species on Earth.  When a member of the animal kingdom turns on another, we call it the “circle of life.”  But when a human acts in his best interest (without regard for another), we call it “untrustworthy.”  Punishment: Social Exile.

As human beings, we will always act in the best interest of ourselves.  If we’ve committed some wrong-doing (whether it be adultery, flirting, stealing, lying, backstabbing, etc.), we’ll go to extreme measures to keep that wrong-doing hidden behind the dark cloak of  night – so hidden that no one will ever stumble upon it. This is why they say a little white lie will grow and grow…it grows because we’re in the throes of hiding our previous lie…at all costs.   And if, by chance, someone does stumble over our transgression, we’ll deny…deny…deny until slammed with hard proof.  But only then will we admit our mistake.

We’ve all lied.  We’ve all cheated…something OR someone.  We’ve all protected ourselves from getting caught with our “hand in the cookie jar.”  So, we know that we, ourselves, aren’t infallibly trustworthy.  We know – somewhere in the closets of our mind – that we have wronged someone…something.  Yet, we still choose to entertain the concept of trust, project that trust onto someone who will (one day) breach it, and insist that we, too, can be trusted with anything…everything.  The human mind is just one complicated trap after another, it seems.  🙂

We give trust “honestly.”  We accept trust “honestly.” – All the while lying to ourselves about our human capability of breaching that trust given the right circumstances.  Maybe the idea of trust is simply a self-preservation method.  Maybe we feel “safer” with a person if we include them in our “circle of trust.”  But the reality is every person we trust is capable of breaking that trust.  When they do, we feel betrayed and angry.  Our perception of that person has been shattered.  We feel we no longer know our traitor.  This leaves us feeling alone.  Nothing terrifies us more than being alone.  So, to avoid confronting that fear, we do most anything to cover our imperfect humanity with idealistic expectations, or trust.  We convince ourselves that those we choose to trust are somehow superior and incapable of committing a transgression against us.  But sooner or later, that trust collides head-on with humanity, and we’re left wondering how this “trusted” person could have hurt us…not put US above themselves…been so selfish…

How incredibly human of them!

When we put ourselves first and breach another’s trust, we’re acting out of selfishness.  When we trust others not to hurt US, regardless of the cost, we’re also acting out of selfishness.  So, even when we think we’re selflessly trusting or being trusted, our core motivation is self-serving.  However, we choose to deny that reality and lie to ourselves.  Why?  Simply put…the illusion makes us feel better than the reality.

Without the illusion of trust, we must see our loved ones unmasked as the imperfect humans they are, rather than the Photoshopped images we’ve created in our minds.  And ironically, when our trust is breached, we tend not to be understanding, not to remember that we too breach trust, not to forgive…instead, we tend to hold a grudge, to be hypocritical, to forget that we are equally guilty at times, and to ban our transgressor from our lives.

So, I wrestle with this idea of trust…an illusion we create to give ourselves a blind sense of security…but a necessary evil all the same.  We must trust those close to us in this life…to a point.  Otherwise, misery, suspicion, and solitude are inevitable.  Maybe the secret lies in trusting our loved ones to be the best human beings they can be, expecting fallacies, not judging those fallacies (as we have our own), and being ready and willing to forgive.

And celebrate our imperfection.

We will have stones thrown our way many times over in this life, just as we will throw stones.  Our strength is determined by our understanding that these stones are flying without aim in every direction on any given day…sometimes we dodge them, sometimes we get hit square in the face.  But all in all, it’s just a stone…a weak imperfection in the mountain of life.  Our job…keep climbing.

Trust is a fragile and fickle illusion, but a necessary one just the same.

Chick Hughes

LittleMan

As if the big “O” wasn’t big enough, experts are now giving us yet another reason to “get it on.”  Sex as a painkiller?  “O” yeah!  So, our doctor may instruct us to “Take 2 orgasms, and DON’T call me in the morning.”  The insurance industry just wet itself!  Pain – whether headache, cramps, or pain- in- the- ass husband  – has long been a woman’s chosen escape route when it comes to not being in the mood. We’ve all been either on the giving or receiving end of the “Not tonight –  I have a headache” excuse.

Sometimes fabricated…sometimes not.

Either way, the excuse may now be null and void when he finds out sex is actually a pain remedy.  Who knew?  But seriously, who can think about an orgasm while grappling with excruciating pain?  Physical discomfort doesn’t exactly bring out the sexual volunteer in any of us.   Any time we’re in pain, we opt to swallow a few over-the -counter pills, rest, and wait for the pain to subside.  Or we choke down prescription pills and await that blissful state of unconsciousness. . .

Since leaving our caves, we, as humans, have become progressively sensitized to pain…in other words, we don’t exactly have a liberal pain threshold.  Damn civilization!   But maybe our methods of pain relief haven’t been the best ones.  Maybe, we’ve been going at it all wrong…maybe, instead, we should just be “going at it.”

All this time we thought pain was a reason to avoid sex, but instead the opposite is true.  The orgasm is now believed to relieve all physical pain (and sometimes emotional)…from the common headache to arthritis to premenstrual cramps.  In fact, some patients recovering from serious injuries –  and needing morphine for pain –  report that their otherwise steady pain becomes nonexistent during sex.

Is the “old” orgasm the “new” morphine?

During sex, our brains release endorphins, hormones, and oxytocin in response to physiological changes in the body .    The more foreplay that’s involved, the more oxytocin that’s released.  The more oxytocin released, the better sex feels…and the better the orgasm. When our eyes roll back in our head, and we do achieve orgasm, our bodies release an additional surge of oxytocin into the blood.  While this is true for both men and women, women seem to release more.  YES!  Lucky us.  This chemical is responsible for many things including the cuddling and bonding tendencies that follow sex.  But most pertinently, oxytocin, when released during orgasm, causes our bodies to completely relax and feel a sense of euphoria…result:

NO pain!

Any discomfort felt prior to sex is now replaced with the famed “afterglow.”  And all this time, we thought that “afterglow” was thanks to the mind-blowing, wake-your-neighbor sex.   Well, we’d love to take the credit anyway, I suppose…convince ourselves that we’re just “that” good.  We had no idea it was actually thanks to our brains…and that wonderfully magical love potion, oxytocin.  So, it seems that the most erotic sexual receptor IS the brain, rather than our “perfect” bodies we so diligently strive for.   Makes you wonder whether we should be more concerned with brain size…less concerned with cup size?

Pain medications are a multi-billion dollar industry.   We, as a society, are all too eager to pop a pill in the name of comfort.  We can’t even turn on the t.v. without being involuntarily solicited by the latest in pain relievers…whether it’s back pain, PMS relief, allergy relief, or emotional relief (thanks to the ever “on your side” legal profession).  We civilized people just don’t like to suffer.  So obviously, our intolerance for pain fans the flames of the medical market.    We hand over millions of our hard-earned money and place our desperate hopes in the greedy hands of chiropractors, herbal healers, acupuncturists…and so on and so on.  All the while, we’re oblivious to the fact that our physical pain could be alleviated for free without ever leaving our bedroom.  Now that’s customer service!

Could this be one of doctors’ best kept secrets?  After all, this newfound painkiller couldn’t possibly be a plus for the medical profession.  It could, however, redefine prostitution.

If sex is the ultimate painkiller, the pharmaceutical market may be the one feeling the “pain.”  Unless…scientists find a way to bottle the orgasm, or oxytocin…in which case, world domination would be theirs for the taking.  😉

So, next time you think you’re in too much pain to do the dirty, think again.  It’s possible an orgasm is just what the doctor ordered.  The only down side to this news is that the orgasm is short-lived.  So, the pain relief will be relatively temporary…  depending on how multi-orgasmically talented you are!  However temporary, it’s definitely a fun and intriguing way to relieve pain…not to mention, a good excuse for getting laid more often.  Pain never felt so good.

Happy painkilling!

Chick Hughes

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~ author unknown