Tag Archives: Intimacy

Chatting or Cheating?

In the day, it was very clear what constituted cheating. You had sex with somebody while you were married or engaged, and you also had to make great efforts to have an affair. But with all the new means by which people can connect today, cheating has become a whole new monster. There’s texting, Skyping and emailing. There are websites that cater to people who wish to fool around on their spouses. And along with these advances in technology, what counts as “cheating” seems to have become less cut and dry (i.e. it’s no longer just the physical act of having sex with someone else).

However, I can simplify things for you. Ready?

If you have to hide or sneak around to do what you’re doing, or you wouldn’t say or do it in front of your children or spouse, it’s cheating. Simple as that.

Here are some red flags that your friendly correspondence with someone of the opposite sex is really cheater chatter:

Deleting emails

If you’re deleting emails, then you’re assuming that your spouse would be upset if they were to read them. Therefore, you are covering something up. Ask yourself, “How would I feel if I knew my spouse was corresponding with an attractive secret someone in the way I am doing right now.”

Fulfilling a sexual fantasy

Affairs are often about playing out sexual fantasies.  If you notice that your correspondence is feeding your fantasies, you’re doing something wrong.

Amount of time spent talking with him/her

It’s not just the content that can be considered cheating, it’s the amount of time spent sharing it. For example, if you are emailing a “friend” 15 plus times a day, I’m sorry, that’s an affair.

Rationalizing

“He’s/She’s just a friend” is something you don’t have to say to yourself when you’re involved in an innocent communication. Do you feel the need to justify it? Well, that’s because you know what you’re doing is wrong.

It’s meeting your personal needs

Your marriage is for meeting your personal needs, and that’s where they should be dealt with.

Talking about your marriage with him/her

Talking about your marriage with someone of the opposite sex is a breach of trust and disrespectful.

Your spouse doesn’t like it, or your good friend tells you it’s not right.

If your spouse has told you they don’t like it and they do it anyway, it’s an affair. It’s not right to be more concerned about connecting with this person than with your spouse’s feelings.

So again, if you wouldn’t say or do it in front of your spouse or kids, you’re cheating.  And even if your spouse is being a pain in the butt, there are healthier ways to increase your self-esteem than breaching your vows.

 

Top 10 Reasons the Steam in a Marriage Cools

 

What are some of the most common things that suck intimacy out of a marriage? Let’s take a look at a few:

1. You’re out of the habit

What you don’t keep doing, you feel less comfortable doing. For example, suppose you need to send someone a thank-you card.  You keep meaning to write it, but you don’t get around to it. The longer you allow time to pass, the more uncomfortable it is when you eventually do follow through. It’s the same thing with sex. The longer you put it off, the weirder and less comfortable it seems, and therefore, the less likely you are to do it. Habit is everything.

2. Erectile dysfunction

Almost half of men over 40 have problems getting it up and keeping it up. However, before just popping a Viagra, guys should:

  • Try exercising, eating healthier, and not drinking or smoking.
  • Find out if any of their meds for aches and pains are getting in the way.
  • Stop exhausting themselves at the office (and having nothing else to give when they come home).
  • Make suggestions to their wives about how to assist them (as guys get older, the thought of sex alone may not be enough).

3. Menopause   

Over 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their menopausal years. Menopause is like a reverse-puberty hormonal hell, except this time you’re checking out rather than checking in. One thing that happens to many women when they go through menopause is they gain weight; not specifically because of the hormones, but because they get lazy. They become sedentary and don’t eat well, which restricts circulation (i.e. less blood flow “down there”).  If your circulation is compromised, it’s like a hose with a kink in it, and it becomes more difficult to get aroused.

4. Lost looks

This is a biggie. Forty-three percent of married people claim that their spouse isn’t attractive anymore. This usually means their spouse has let themselves go.  So much of a relationship comes from your commitment to your own health and well-being, both mentally and physically.  If you’re not treating yourself well, you’re not treating the relationship well.  Being fit not only makes you feel better, but it also shows that you give a damn.

5. Sexual differences

Men are over five times more likely than women (45 percent versus 8 percent) to think about sex at least once a day. If you and your spouse aren’t reasonably matched or cooperative, it leads to blame, resentment, anger, and disrespectful speech.  Gender-based differences in desire are biologically built in to any heterosexual union, which is sad, but a reality.

6. Infidelity

Infidelity shatters trust and withers intimacy.  Infidelity is a result of one of two things: 1) the cheater is simply a bad person (sorry, there is no such thing as “sex addiction”), or 2) their spouse wasn’t paying attention to them so they went elsewhere to be fed. In either case, infidelity cuts into sex drive (primarily for the person who was cheated on).

7. Parenthood

A third of women say they experience no sexual pleasure whatsoever for the entire first year after giving birth as a result of messed up hormones, exhaustion, and stress.  However, even though we may not feel incredibly horny, we can still cuddle, play, and do things that bring pleasure to our day and alleviate some of the stress and exhaustion.  There’s something rejuvenating about cuddling, touching, hugging, and kissing.

8. Pregnancy 

Women’s sexual pleasure may drop by as much as 39 percent during the third trimester (when the kid’s ready to pop) due to body-image issues, financial issues, impending role shifts, and/or hormonal-based changes. Many spouses don’t understand this and get mad at each other. As I said earlier, if you cuddle, caress, and snuggle more, you’ll be less frustrated, miserable, and depressed.

9. No time

Eighty percent of married couples blame their declining sex lives on being “too busy”. Whoever thought when you were younger that you’d be too busy to get it on? If you’re not prioritizing sex, you’d better. Men need to organize their lives less around success and career, and women need to schedule less around children and extended family.  Spouses should come together at the end of the day to eat, play, take a bath, hug, caress, snuggle, sip a little wine, and get it on.

10. Not in the mood

It’s normal for one of you not to be in the mood. So what?  Put on a sexy video, don some sexy clothes or perfume, and/or behave and talk in a sexy way. The best sex is not always spontaneous like in the movies when all of a sudden everyone’s clothes come off and they’re humping against a wall.  You can schedule sex – there’s nothing un-romantic about that.  Say cutely to each other, “Tonight at 9 when the kids are in bed, I’ll meet you in the shower/tub/bedroom.”  It doesn’t matter how many times you do it, it just matters that you put in the energy and thought.

My final piece of advice: Think quickies. You can have a lot of fun with quickies.

 

 

Keeping Secrets from Your Spouse

Just because something is true doesn’t mean it needs to be said.  Everything that crosses your mind shouldn’t necessarily come out of your mouth.  Honesty is sometimes a cross between stupidity and cruelty, and when it comes to keeping secrets from your spouse, honesty is not always the best policy. 

The most successful long-term relationships are based on very strong emotional and physical connections.  However, intimacy is not necessarily equated with absolute and complete honesty. 

There are obviously some things you ought to be honest about:

Debt.  I’m amazed at how many times I talk to somebody who wasn’t told that their spouse-to-be had college loans, credit card debt, and no money in the bank until after they were married.  A lot of times people don’t find out that their new spouse is in debt until they see their credit when they’re applying for a mortgage.  Hiding bad money skills leads to feelings of betrayal and mistrust that can sometimes never be overcome.  A lot of people walk away from marriages in which their spouse put the family in debt due to their spending or unwise financial schemes.

Eating disorders and substance abuse.  If you have an eating disorder or a substance abuse problem, you have to disclose it in advance.  Ongoing substance abuse or addiction will almost always interfere with intimacy.   Why?  Because something else is more important than your spouse.  Unless it’s dealt with, addiction will destroy just about every relationship.  That’s the truth.

Past illegal activities.  It’s best to reveal and explain past crimes and jail time because not only are they available on public record, but keeping them hidden only fills you with enormous guilt.  And if you’re exposed, it will scare everybody into thinking that the behavior could be repeated.

Molestation.  There was a period of a couple days where it seemed like just about every woman who called in to my show had been molested when she was younger and had no interest in having sex with her husband.  I put a question up on my website asking women who had been molested if they thought female molestation victims should ever get married.  When reading the responses, I was shocked to find that most of them said, “No.”  That blew my mind.  Quite frankly, I didn’t expect that would be the answer.  Considering this, I think that if a molestation is clearly still part of your life today, you need to tell your spouse-to-be.  Generally when a woman is a victim of molestation, the molester never gets exposed and the woman feels residual fear and anger.  They feel bitter about justice not being served and get mad at their parents and whoever else failed to protect them.  However, it’s their spouse who ends up getting the brunt of it because that’s the one area where the victim has power.  Withholding sex from their spouse, for example, is a way they maintain that power.  It’s not really all that complicated.  Past molestation should be revealed because it can lead to a very painful marriage if left concealed.

Lack of sex drive.  There are a lot of women who keep their disinterest in sex a secret and fake their orgasms.  Some guys keep their Viagra in a hiding place.  Although we live in a culture that is erotic and pornographic, we don’t seem to be able to talk about intimacies with the people we’re closest with.  Every day I get a call from some man or woman upset because they have misinterpreted their spouse’s physical disinterest as a lack of love and caring.  The first thing I always recommend for couples to do in this situation is for them to each get a complete physical.  Check everything out.  Examine your hormone levels because they have a lot to do with your sex drive.  Next, take a look at your schedules and lifestyle.  What is it that’s making you tired or preventing you from being playful and affectionate?  It’s sometimes advantageous to talk to an independent third party like a therapist or a religious person who has counseling experience.  

Because of the above concerns, I think it’s important that you go through six months of premarital counseling with your spouse-to-be so these secrets get uncovered.

However, not everything needs to be shared with your spouse.  Intimacy and complete openness are not one and the same.  You need to share your vulnerabilities with each other, but you also have to be sensitive to the consequences that sharing brings. 

Affairs.  I’ve had a lot of people call in to my show saying, “Oh my gosh, I had a half-hour fling, but I know it was stupid and wrong.  I understand why I did it, and I take full responsibility for my actions.  What should I do?  I don’t want to lose everything I have.”  My response is, “Well, get yourself tested to make sure you didn’t contract a disease, and then keep your mouth shut until the day after you’re dead.”  A lot of times, the spouse who had the affair wants to unburden themselves so they can feel better.  However, if they do, they are only going to destroy the trust in the marriage forever.  If you’re truly remorseful and you’re not going to repeat the stupid mistake, it’s best to just get on with life.

Not everything that can be said should be said.  If you have fantasies about someone, don’t tell your spouse.  You’re only going to make him or her feel inadequate.

Just about everybody has a list of stuff they’ve done when they were younger that they’re not proud of and they’ve learned from.  If a past behavior is clearly no longer part of your present (e.g. speeding tickets, fist fights, etc.), file it in the “private” cabinet and keep it to yourself.  Keep it safely between you and you.  If it’s seriously no longer part of your life, leave it alone because you’ll be judged by what is no longer true.

Married with Friends of the Opposite Sex

If you are in an intimate, marital relationship, you need to be sensitive and appropriate when it comes to friends of the opposite sex because it’s a very complex and delicate situation. 

The most important issue you should be concerned about is the safety, comfort, and trust of your spouse.  Too many times on my program, I hear from people who care more about their friend than their spouse.  To me that’s a dead giveaway that the friendship line has been crossed, whether you’ve been naked with the person of the opposite gender or not.

I want to discuss some ways you and your spouse can be protective of each other, but still have friends of the opposite sex:

What does it look like?  If you are getting together for a drink with someone who is on the verge of leaving a relationship, lost their spouse, lost their boyfriend or girlfriend, or is known to fool around, it’s inappropriate.  Plain and simple.  You’re only fibbing if you say, “Well, I’m just trying to be helpful and solicitous.”   Especially if your spouse says they don’t want you to be helpful and solicitous to somebody in that situation and you argue that point, it means you’re interested.  Just have the person go see a counselor, a member of the clergy, or family.  Your marriage is always supposed to come first.

Be careful of that little “edgy” sexual tension.  If either one of you is feeling a little horny about the other, or if you’re touching, talking, or acting a little suggestive, seductive, or over-the-line cutesy toward each other, it needs to be over.  If your relationship with a friend in any way makes you question or stress about your boundaries and limitations (which every relationship does at some point), you could be led toward temptation, which will change everything in your universe forever.

You should always make sure you introduce all your friends to your spouse.  Have them over for dinner or a barbeque.  Have them be familiar with the family, and have everything be on the up-and-up and open.  Full disclosure makes it clear to everybody that it’s a friendship – solo time is where the problems start.

You need to socialize with others who are also in committed relationships.   People tend to hang with people who share their same values, more or less.  So, if couples are friendly with each other and everybody has clarity, then everyone is sharing the same values.  Your wife can go with your friend’s husband and do archery while you go do a mini-marathon with his wife.  As long as it’s all on the up-and-up and everybody is sharing the same values, that’s the important thing.

Be careful about using the words “sweetie” and “honey.”  “Sweetie” and “honey” should be saved for your spouse and should not be used on a friend.  Use the person’s name when talking to or about them, and save the lovey-dovey stuff for your spouse.

Give your partner power.  In addition to honesty and openness, you have to be willing to give your partner power.  If your spouse is really uncomfortable about a particular outside relationship, I recommend you honor that and make the appropriate adjustments.  However, if your spouse just freaks out at anybody with the opposite genitals, then that’s an insecurity that has to be dealt with, probably by a professional.

What it all boils down to is that all the choices you make have to be in the best interest of your marriage first.  Otherwise, you’re not being nice, and it’s all going to come back to bite you.