Category Archives: Relationships

Is an Office Romance a Good Idea?

About 75 percent of office romances don’t survive. However, a small percentage do. Here are the pros and cons of dating a coworker:

Pros:

  • If you’ve had a hard day, he or she will get it because you work at the same place.   
  • You get to see them – a lot.  It’s very sweet to see each other at the water cooler and touch fingers.  (Although, I’m not entirely sure this should be on the “pros” list because couples do need breaks from each other. However, it’s a pro in the beginning of a relationship when you feel like you need to be in each other’s pockets all day).  
  • You get to learn a lot about them in different circumstances with colleagues, pressure, etc.
  • You have one more thing in common because you’re both experiencing the same work environment.
  • If you or your boyfriend or girlfriend are having some troubles at work, you can give each other advice because you both know the atmosphere.

That being said, office romances require two incredibly mature people, and the odds of two incredibly mature people being in the same place at the same time is not great.  So let’s move on to the cons.

Cons:

  • Gossip: You think it was tough in high school?  Everybody is going to notice.  You’re going to become part of a scenario of guilt, discomfort, and sibling rivalry. And, most importantly, the soap opera will distract you from what you’re there to do – work!
  • Whenever you fight, going to work won’t be a haven. Instead, it will be yet another place to be aggravated (but you still have to act civilly – good luck!)
  • Envy. If you’re dating a superior, be prepared for office envy. Other people are going to have a hard time with it because they will assume that you have perks they don’t, and that’s not good for business. 
  • You see them all the time. The flipside of seeing each other all the time is that you’re seeing each other ALL the time, which can create its own stresses.
  • If the relationship goes south, you’ll still be in close proximity to each other, which may be uncomfortable.

As I said before, office romances only make it about 25 percent of the time, so statistically, you are taking a big risk.  In my case, it did work.  My husband and I both taught at a major university, and we fell into the small percentage that makes it happen.  However, I still wouldn’t recommend it because we were in the minority.  Frankly, I would go elsewhere if I were you.

How to Pillow Talk

Should you and your spouse engage in pillow talk when your heads are on the pillow? 

Most people don’t communicate about sex in general, much less when they are in the middle of it.  There are some reasons for that.  You could be afraid of your husband or wife getting angry and interpreting it as criticism.  You may also be worried about making them feel inadequate or spoiling the mood.  Or, you may simply not care about pleasing your spouse (yes, there are people like that out there).  But generally, I think that while you’re having sex is not the best time to be talking about it.

There has been significant research showing that non-verbal communication while having sex is a lot more effective and fulfilling.  “Non-verbal” means the way your body moves and the sounds you make (e.g. the moaning and the groaning, the “Yes, that’s good, a little more to the left…Oh, that’s fabulous,” and the “Let’s try ___”).  Even though you’re speaking, it’s not really verbal – you’re just egging on the situation.

However, it is still very important for married couples to talk about these things because it leads to more satisfaction in their relationships.

So when is a good time?

When you’re not in the bedroom. 

At some point in the near future, say to your spouse, “You know when you did such-and-such?  That really turned me on.”  He or she may not even remember that they did it, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s really important that you give each other positive strokes – literally and figuratively.  It should all be enthusiastic, and none of it should be critical.  The second your statements start turning critical, it’s over.  Your spouse will realize that they didn’t please you, or even worse, that you’ve been miserable for a very long time. 

In addition, when you are talking about it, try saying something like, “Oh yeah, honey, that felt good.  Do you want to try doing ____ while you do that?  I think I’d like to know how that feels.”  In other words, you’re not critiquing your spouse – you’re exploring your own body. 

Husbands and wives are usually enthusiastic about pleasing each other, and yours will most likely be willing to try something out (unless you’re asking for kinky, weird stuff).  Just remember, people who communicate their enthusiasm, interests and positive reactions have more fulfilling sex lives with their spouses.

Shacking Up Does Not Lead to a Stronger Marriage

Remember this little ditty?: “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage.”  Nowadays, this rarely happens.  For a lot of adults it’s, “First comes love (maybe), then comes ‘shacking up,’ then comes a heartbreaking split involving children.” 
 
Many shack-up couples claim, “We’re living together to improve our chances of having a great marriage.”  I recently even had a young woman on my program whose own father told her to do just that.  I couldn’t believe it.  As research shows, shacking up actually has the OPPOSITE effect.  I have been saying this for 30 plus years.

For the small percentage of cohabitants who actually go on to marry, the majority of them end up getting divorced, or they experience spousal abuse and infidelity.  The simple fact is that shacking up does not lead to stronger marriages.  I love it when someone writes to me saying, “Well, I shacked up and my partner and I are still together.”  So what?  That doesn’t mean shacking up is good.  There are people out there who smoke like crazy and don’t get lung cancer.  Does that mean we should tell people to smoke because some people have dodged a bullet?

Of course, if two people want to shack up it’s their own personal choice, but they should know it leads to reverberations – even when there aren’t kids involved.  For example, how is your extended family supposed to accept someone as “family” when you’re not even willing to make them family?  People become family through birth, adoption or marriage.  If you’re not willing to make somebody family by making a commitment to them, then you can’t get angry when the rest of your family says, “Leave him/her home, they’re not family,” or, “Of course we don’t want them in the family photograph, they’re not family.”   Furthermore, don’t be surprised when other family members with kids don’t want to hang out with you because they don’t want their kids to think your behavior is OK.

There’s enough research to show that cohabiting dissolves families, impacts children, and increases instances of sexual abuse, drug abuse, crime, illiteracy, and out-of-wedlock pregnancy.  In addition, studies reveal that only 45 percent of couples who live together go on to marry, and of those who do marry, there is a 45 percent higher risk for divorce than people who have never shacked up.  Only 15 out of every 100 shack-ups will result in a “long-term successful marriage”.
 
When cohabitants do marry, they tend to be less committed to the long-term future of the relationship, and they are less reluctant to terminate it.  Cohabitation is, in part, an acceptance of leaving.  One study found that the more months young people are exposed to cohabitation, the less enthusiastic they become about marriage and having kids.

Most importantly of all, since shack-ups have such a high dropout rate, there’s a better chance that kids will end up devastated.  All too often, kids are made or hauled in to a shack-up situation.  Moreover, kids who come from divorced parents frequently go on to shack up themselves.  It’s a ripple effect. 

Kids who live in homes with parents shacking up are more likely to:

  • Become involved in unmarried sex because their lives are very sexualized outside of any context of marriage and family. 
  • Experience sexual abuse in the home.
  • Have emotional and social difficulties due to problems with forming permanent emotional attachments.  When they reach adulthood, they struggle to find happiness and productive marriages.
  • Experience poverty, poor achievement in school, and a litany of other problems.

So, what should you do if you have already gotten yourself involved in a shack-up situation? 

  • Stop!  If your relationship matters to you, then you and your partner need to cease shacking up.  The longer people shack up, the less likely they are to move on to a long-term successful marriage.
  • Seek premarital counseling.  This is really important in establishing the communication and relationship skills needed for a successful marriage.  If you have already been shacking up, then developing these skills is even more crucial because you’re used to living with insecurity.   
  • Protect your kids.  If you’ve put your kids in a shack-up situation, understand that this is not in their best interest.  Stop being selfish, weak, scared, or any combination thereof. 

If you know someone who is revving to shack up or is currently shacking up:

  • Talk to them.  Bring the facts to their attention.  Although facts seem to bother some people’s emotions, make them aware anyway.  
  • Celebrate marriage. If you are happily married, share your experiences with other people – especially young people. They need to know that happy marriages exist.

Now There’s a Term for Letting Kids Be Kids: ‘Redshirting’

“Redshirting” is a term that describes college athletes who practice in red shirts but do not compete in games to receive an extra year of eligibility.  Recently, the same idea has been applied to young kids entering school.  More states than ever now require kids to turn 5 before they enroll in kindergarten, and more parents are voluntarily delaying their kids’ entry into kindergarten.  In short, a small percentage of kids are being “redshirted.” 

In my opinion, the primary reason for kids being redshirted, especially in private schools, has to do with academic competition amongst schools.  By putting kids in school later, they will be more mature, better able to sit still and do the work, and more likely to perform well.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. 

In 2009, The New York Times (despite its liberal tendencies) published an article that bolstered redshirting:

“A report out of Cambridge University recommend[s] that kindergarten begin at the age of 6 rather than 5 in Britain.  The Cambridge Primary Review is a sweeping study, requiring 14 authors, 66 research consultants, 28 research surveys, more than 1,000 ‘written submissions’ and 250 focus groups, all leading to the conclusion that British children are currently not allowed to be children.”

If you Google “what age should a kid start kindergarten,” you’re going to see a lot of obfuscating and confusing information.  That’s because it’s a political thing.  The liberal mentality is that kids should be taken out of the home and provided with government education ASAP.  I find that scary.  That is not in the best interest of children.  As the Cambridge study points out, kids simply need to be allowed to be kids.  If you ask really good teachers about this, they will almost always tell you not to put your kids in school too early.  The effects of starting too young begin showing up right around the third grade when kids get knocked off their feet because they’re not really ready.  Boys are especially unprepared because they take longer to mature neurologically and emotionally. 

I think kids should be allowed to be kids, and I believe parents should restructure their families so they’re able to raise their kids.  People should postpone having kids until they can do the right thing by them.  It’s the same principle as buying car: if you can’t really afford the upkeep and monthly fees, don’t go out and buy one.  Don’t put children in an awkward situation simply because you’re not ready to handle it.  It’s not right.  Most people have the biological ability and legal right to have kids, but that doesn’t give them a moral right.  People who aren’t responsible shouldn’t have kids.

One of the main complaints about redshirting comes from parents who don’t want to have to pay for an extra year of child care.  Seriously?!  They’ll put their kids in school at 4 if it will cost them less?  Apparently they don’t care what’s in the best educational interest of children.

Of course, some kids will be ready for school earlier than others, but for the most part, we shouldn’t be forcing them into school at age 4.  Homeschool them, and when they start kindergarten, they’ll be stars.  I’m all for kids not starting kindergarten until the age of 6.  Let them be kids.