Conflict

Relationship Boundaries

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Full Throttle or a Limiting Governor?

In previous posts I have encouraged my readers to get involved with their partners and discuss needs, wants and desires. Getting involved doesn’t always mean getting your way. In fact, there is no right or wrong in conversation, just that there is my side and your side, his side and her side, their side and our side. No right about it, just a point of view and, with luck, the reasons or feelings associated.

Having open conversation about sex and relationship boundaries will open up a world of exploration if done correctly. So how do we accomplish this? I’ll make a few suggestions.

First, share this article with your partner.

Second, ask how your partner feels about having a conversation of this type.

Don’t have the boundaries conversation at this time.

Third, schedule a time convenient for both of you.

Make it a date, something relaxing like drinks and dinner.

Fourth, remove all barriers to the discussion.

Have complete openness and acceptance.

Most important, don’t judge.

This is conversation not a boxing match.

It doesn’t hurt to talk. What hurts is the meaning we place on the words.

Fifth, have the conversation and see what opens up.

Get involved early in this discussion because finding out that you’re not compatible sexually is best done before the marriage, house, two cars and kids. However, if you are already at that place in life, use this discussion to gain control of each others expectations. Find out what works well and what’s lacking. You may be very surprised to find out what the other wishes to explore or has been keeping close to the vest.

If you haven’t read my previous articles regarding how to discuss and how to listen, this may be a good time to include them as well. These will also give you tools and guidance for an open dialogue. See the associated links.

Source:  The Language of Love

Source:  Listening Like A Lover

 Should Relationships Have Limits?

Absolutely and with out doubt! Emphatically, yes, and whether we acknowledge them or not our relationships have them either covertly or overtly. Talking about them just makes us aware and able to respect each others boundaries. Furthermore, by discussing them we may discover that limits we placed, for the respect of our partners, aren’t their restrictions at all.

Take for example, sexual positions. In my research and conversations with my partner, it is obvious that there are more positions and “styles” to sex than any one book could capture. In addition, I suggest that discussing ex’s is also okay when it comes to what we found pleasurable and what we did not. I get that it can be a jealousy issue, but we have to set that aside to get to the good stuff. If it felt good then and you’re in love with each other now, why not share, discuss and experiment?

Sexual positions are only one of the many topics couples can dive into. This one is easy, we don’t put too much into the emotional portion and the benefits can be wonderful. Talk it through; explore the good and the bad. If a subject is unearthed whereby one partner is less than interested, don’t shut down, talk it through. Why? Because, talking it through and completely understanding will lead to new subjects developing or opening up. Shutting down at the mention of something (oral, anal, toys…) will only stop the dialogue, not promote it. There is nothing wrong with being a little uncomfortable with the conversation. And it’s better than being uncomfortable when actually confronted in the bedroom.

Find out why a partner has discomfort about a topic. Is it a past experience, something he or she read, a story from a friend? What ever it is, talk it through and respect the conversation and the emotions in therein. Properly conveyed, the limitations will never be questioned or exceeded.

Until you have a complete grasp of the subject as well as each others likes, dislikes, desires and fears, the subject remains open and unanswered. Without completing that discussion, one or both partners will have questions remaining. Talk until you’re board, not until you’re uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is part of the process. Keep it up and before long you’ll be experts.

 Expectations Verses Reality

Managing our expectation is the basis of relationship boundaries. When one partner has an expectation and the other partner is unaware, reality and expectation do not align. This is when feelings get hurt, we get disappointed and possibly become cynical with our partners. All of this can be avoided with conversation prior to getting upset.

Considering men are very simple creatures and we enjoy the benefits of pleasing our women, why do you think we would hold back when it comes to your desires. We simply don’t know. Share with us and we will share with you, but let’s not shut each other down when the conversation gets going.

Our minds are programmed to run all the time. And if we don’t have good data for them to work with, the mind fills in the blanks in order to have, what it thinks, is the completed thought process. Providing the limits and boundaries gives our minds clear understanding of what is expected and leaves no gaps to fill in for a false reality. We love to please and if we could, we would read your minds. The sad thing is, we can’t. Jay Simcic posted a good article on this subject a while back. You may want to add this to your reading assignments as well. See the link below.

Source: Men and Women Read Minds Poorly

So get in to the conversation and if you have any trouble, let me know. If you have success, let me know also. And if anyone is interested and wants a list of subjects recommended for the Relationship Boundaries Conversation, email me and I’ll see that we get that out to you and your significant dialogue partner. Intercourse doesn’t always have to be sexual, but it’s a great place to start!

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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Relationship Advice In A Facebook World

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Relationship Advice For FacebookHow do you handle your relationship in a world of Facebook and other social sites?

First consider Facebook has over 901 million monthly active users.  Over 526 million of those people use Facebook every single day.

What does that tell you?

It tells you that TONS of people are using Facebook to communicate, interact, and engage with other people.  This site and others like it, have changed the face of how we connect .

Had it not been for Facebook I would have never reconnected with old high school friends I haven’t seen in 15 years or more.

Facebook makes it fast and easy to find people and engage with them.

You don’t have to sit on the phone for an hour catching up.  You can catch up with people on your own time.  For goodness sake, you can even be a voyeur of sorts because you can watch and never interact.

That’s kind of SCARY at the same time.

This connection engine has also created an ability to meet new people faster than ever before.  You have the ability to find people who like the same things.  It’s pretty easy to use Facebook to find your next fling or business relationship.

And that’s what some people are doing.  They’re sexting, emailing, and engaging in fantasies outside of their marriage or relationship with others using the inner workings of the biggest social site in the world.

Facebook isn’t the only site that allows you to do this, there are others out there.  It’s just that Facebook is the biggest.

Either way, if you want to meet people there is no shortage of ability.

How could Facebook impact your relationship or marriage?

It’s much easier to connect with old girlfriends, boyfriends, and partners.  You can sneak peeks of what those people are doing in their lives and then engage them.  It gives you the ability to rekindle old flames, even if you didn’t intend to.

It can definitely cause jealousy like you’ve never seen before.  Consider that you have the ability to have conversations in front of all your friends and many others.  If someone wants to post something about you that could impact your relationship, you don’t have much control over it and you’ll have some explaining to do.

Then again, much of it can be hidden through the email system inside of Facebook.  So then all you need is a password.

But it’s the public arena that can impact your relationship the most.  With digital photos and the ability to post them almost instantly you could be looking at problems.

How so?

You can be tagged in photos that you’re not interested in others knowing about.  You and some friends are out at a festival.  You’re dancing and having a good time while some woman you don’t know comes over and starts dancing with you and calling you the “King”.  She tries to get all up in your grill.

Just as she bumps up against you someone in your group takes a picture.  That picture gets posted to Facebook and you’re tagged.  The problem is the woman in the picture doing the grinding isn’t your wife.  And the picture doesn’t let everyone know that you pushed her way 0.3 seconds later.

You can control what you post but you can’t control what other people post and in what context.  That leaves everyone else to make their own decisions.  And these things can happen to both men and women.

Can you see the impact of our digital world.  Here’s a glimpse of the impact:

It turns out the kiss of death for marriages might be more like a poke.

A third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word “Facebook,” according to Divorce Online. And more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Divorce lawyer Marian Rosen, who practices in Houston, said she’s increasingly seen social media cited in divorce proceedings and child custody battles.

“We’ve had instances where they pull up Facebook in the course of a deposition,” Rosen told ABC News, adding that in addition to proving infidelity, she’s seen cases in which children’s profiles are cited as evidence to suggest bad parenting. “Once it’s out there for the world, it’s very difficult … to erase from the past. There are going to be trails that can be followed.”

Source:  abcnews.go.com

That should give you a taste of what’s going on.

How do you handle it if you see messages to your spouse or partner from someone you don’t know?

First don’t come to any conclusions.  You’ve just found something that has triggered emotions and right now you only have the context that YOU are making up.

You have no idea what the situation is so the first thing you should do is talk to your spouse or partner.  Find out what he’s thinking, what the message is all about, and what it means to him.

You also may want to come to terms with how you got the information.  Where you spying on him?  Did you already suspect him of something. You may have to answer to him.

Conversation is going to be the fastest way to diffuse any Facebook or social media related blunders.

It requires keeping cool and understanding the full situation.  Remember, you can only control YOU and how you’re acting in the situation.  When we get emotional we tend to let our brain fill in any blanks (Our brain already does that fine on its own, let alone in emotional situations.)

Either way, you can see how messages through Facebook or any other digital media can cause an impact on your relationship.  It’s important to keep the conversation open and understand the ground rules for each other.

Which brings me to a question that has come up recently…

Is sexting considered being unfaithful or grounds for divorce?

I guess that depends on your definition of ‘being unfaithful’.  It makes me think of the Clinton era… “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

I know that walks the fence but some people are ok with a relationship that involves digital flirting, sexting, and online adult play.  While others would find even a digital relationship as adultery.

Sexting and engaging in digital relationships can get you in trouble if it’s secretive and hasn’t been discussed in your relationship.

Do I think it would be the only reason to cause a divorce?

Of course not.  But I do think it can be used as evidence.

Here’s an excerpt from an attorney:

Silvana D. Raso, a New Jersey divorce attorney, says that “most courts will recognize this as a form of being unfaithful through an outside romantic relationship, ” adding that, “most people do set forth why they are getting a divorce and can use this as the reason.”

Read more: Fox News

None of this is new.  It’s just taking a different media that allows for it to GO VIRAL.  Before the internet it was letters, phone calls, and visits.  It was harder to hide.

Now with the internet and all of these social sites, it’s easier than ever to meet people and later hide the romance.  If that’s your thing, great.  Make sure it’s part of the conversation in your relationship.

Otherwise you may be in for a rude awakening.

What does all this mean to you?

It means we’re friggin human.  It means our brains act the same for all of us.  We fill in blanks we don’t know.  And the blanks we fill in seem to come from our survival mechanism.  We want to be right, protect our emotions, and prevent a horrible outcome.

In the process, if we act on these survival emotions, we may cause more harm than good.

What you should be doing is having an open and truthful conversation with your husband, boyfriend, or partner.  You should be talking about all the things that you DON’T want to discuss.

Why?

If it makes your stomach turn because you don’t know how the conversation will go, then THAT IS the conversation to have.  It will allow both of you to get to the core of the issue, get each other’s take and come to an agreement.

Maybe Facebook’ing with people of the opposite sex is ok but not flirting.  Maybe flirting is ok but not sexting.

I don’t know because each situation is different for every person.  I don’t expect you to tell me what to do in my bedroom and I won’t tell you what to do in yours.

The one thing that should be consistent is the communication between you.  But only if you want your relationship to last.

I want to get the conversation going on this topic.

Have you had Facebook situations in your relationship?  Have you found your husband or boyfriend flirting or having a digital romance?  I’d love to hear the story.

Till next time, I look forward to hearing from you.

PS- I want to note that it doesn’t matter if you’re man or women, heterosexual, bi-sexual, or homosexual these things can happen to you.

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Listening Like a Lover

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Listen First

             Up to this point I have written several posts about talking. Now don’t get me wrong, I want all my readers to engage in conversation. However I thought it a good time to reverse the tables just a bit and discuss the art of listening.

             Talking is the beginning of sharing our thoughts and ideas. But without a willing partner talking alone is akin to oral masturbation. If you’re doing it by yourself, the results can sometimes be less than spectacular. So when talking to each other, make certain that you have an active partner. If they are not interested or distracted, hold the conversation for a short while until things clear up and each of you can take an active role in the dialogue.

             With that said, it is equally important that you be a good listener and not just hear the spoken words. Listening can be a great way to pick up on subtle things that are conveyed through voice inflection and body language. In a relationship discussion what is not said can be more important than what is said. For example, if a partner uses the word “fine” to end an emotionally charged conversation while turning away and folding their arms, does it really mean “fine”. NO! It means exactly the opposite. Although this is an extreme example that could be picked up by the dumbest of all men, you get my point.

 

Why Is This Important?

 

            Regardless of the situation, by listening first, and I mean really listening, you put yourself in a very powerful position. As the listener you will get all of the information being offered. It gives you the ability to think about the message and create a reasonable, informed answer. This will help in advancing the conversation, learning more about your partner and if it is an argument, the listener has the power to shut it down with complete understanding of the other’s position.

           It’s better to understand than to push a point for the purpose of being “right”. In relationship dialog there is no reason for right and wrong. Being in a relationship is just that, relating to each other. There is no need to dominate, no need to prove the point, no need to be right. Just listen first and try to completely understand your partner. You may be surprised by what it actually conveyed.

          Several months ago I called my daughter and asked if she had spoken to her mother recently. In, what I thought to be, an angry tone, she replied, “Yes, she called me”. Very short and to the point, however I thought she was angry. All she really said was, “Yes, she called me”. Rather than ask why she was angry, I chose a position of power and asked her to share her thoughts about the conversation with her mother. We then had a wonderful, twenty minute, phone call. Had I chose to argue about her tone, the conversation could have been markedly different.

 What is the Benefit?

             In relationships we are emotionally invested. Our feelings are exposed for anyone to nurture or damage. And this leaves us feeling vulnerable to the next attack. In reality it is each of us who has the opportunity to choose to listen and engage in the conversation. There is nothing to fear when we are listening, because all of the information is coming to us. We are not hurting each other, merely listening to what is being imparted. If we choose to add meaning upon what is said it becomes our own fault.

             Listening can be sexy as well. If partners are discussing sex, desires or wants be open to what is being said. Engage by asking probing questions; 

  • Does that interest you?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Is there more there that we should discuss?
  • Tell me more…
  • What can I do in that regard?

 Any additional question or comment to keep the dialog moving can only help. Try not to use the word “No” until you’ve listened to everything your partner has to say. He or she may be nervous and not get the words right at first. Give them room to expand and listen while they relax and get comfortable with the exchange.

             I suggest never getting angry during times of conversation. This adds to those body language messages we discussed earlier. By remaining calm we have a better chance of getting our thoughts out clearly. And as the listener, anger dulls the senses and makes really understanding much more difficult.

             With anything, this takes practice and it takes two people. If one is angry, neither is ready for a conversation. If one is distracted neither can communicate. And if one is incapable, neither have a chance to properly share.

             So, give listening a try and let me know what comes of it. You may get a surprise, you may find something you didn’t know or you may just connect better than ever before. In any case, let me know how it goes. Your story may be what helps the next reader have a better relationship.

 As always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

 Bobby

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Are Men Intelligent?

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Who Are Men?

           The question has been asked for as many years as there have been men and women coexisting. We are driven to figure things out, find the meaning or just place meaning on things. This includes actions and behaviors. The funny part is that many times we, as men, don’t mean anything by what we do.

 Really?

            Then why do women get so upset by our lack of consideration for them or our poor behavior and habits? The easy answer is women don’t understand us. More to the point, women expect better from their man. Another reason, women tend to interpret our actions and behaviors into something other than we intend them. The women I speak to about this subject gravitate to a place where in they want men to behave like women. Not really like a woman, but think and care the way a woman does. See the problem?

            So, who are men? When is comes to relationships, we are providers, builders and breeders. Very basic, very easy and very clear, we are simple and don’t try to make us complicated. We hate that! When a woman tells a man that he is thinking complicated thoughts about the relationship, STOP!!!!!!!!!!! WE ARE NOT! Don’t make it into something that it’s not. We want to provide for our families, we want to build for them (house, education, transportation, recreation) and we want sex. It really is that simple. We can have big dreams and desires but basically we do what we do for these simple reasons.

 What We Do…

            Men tend to have a lack of focus on day to day things within a household the way women do. It doesn’t make us bad, it’s just is how we are. We don’t start the day off thinking about how we are going to piss off our women, but many times it seems that way. Take for instance, a man returns from a day at work, he walks into the house with dirt on his shoes and dirties up the freshly cleaned floors. None of us want for this type of situation to occur, but it happens and we, as men, know we do such things. It doesn’t mean we intended to do it, it doesn’t mean we love our women any less, it doesn’t mean we don’t value a clean home, It just means we didn’t think about it before we did it. And, getting upset about it won’t make it better for us or you.

            I get feedback from many women complaining that their men don’t tell them that they love them. Through follow up conversation it becomes clear the men actually do say “I love you”, but women want it in a manner consistent with their emotions. They want passion and romance brought into the phrase rather than a statement of ones dedication to the other. As men, when we say “I love you”, we mean it. It is the expectation of how the message is delivered that becomes the problem.

 What is Interpreted…

             Women have most of the power in any healthy relationship with a man. If you believe, as I do, that men are driven by the desire to provide, build and breed, then as women, you can guide and coach the entire relationship. But, if you choose to get angry when we do something the way us men do, well, then you give up your power and allow the relationship to be driven by our lack of understanding and we get hurt, disappointed and retreat into our shell.

             When we dirty the floor unknowingly, you can choose to yell or, you can calmly point it out and ask us to correct the problem. And guess what the better outcome will be. When he says “I love you”, you get to choose to accept it or argue the point. Consider we are simple creatures and telling us we are wrong will only reduce the effort we put forth. A more pleasurable conversation might be to thank him for the thought and suggest if he were to improve the manner in which he extolled his affections, perhaps he would be rewarded. In any case, women have the power in the relationship. Choose to coach or choose to give up the power by being angry. It is not the easiest habit to form and it takes practice, but the rewards are worth the effort.

             I personally have been told that I did not load the dishwasher correctly and that rinsing the dishes before putting them into the machine was not necessary. This went on for years; it caused actual fights between us. Do you think I wanted to continue to clean and load the dishwasher? Hell NO! And all I really wanted was a thank you. I eventually quit doing anything with the dishes and yet the power was all hers. She chose and was rewarded.

             So understand that we have very limited ideas and thoughts about our relationship with you ladies. We love you and want to do what’s right. By guiding us through our mistakes and coaching us with regard to our short comings, you maintain power and get far better results. Remember that we are simple in this aspect of life. Don’t make us into something that we aren’t and don’t view our errors as a personal affront to you. We mean you no offense and are very willing to be trained under the right circumstances and reward system.

 Give it a try and let me know what you experience. If it’s not working perfectly right now, what do you have to loose?

 And, as always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear.

 Bobby

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North Carolina Amendment One

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Political Issue? Religious Concern? Bigotry?

Today I felt compelled to release an unscheduled post. Jay has also released a post on the same topic and asked that I provide a more political view to the issue at hand, North Carolina Amendment One.

For those of you not familiar or residing out of the North Carolina area, North Carolina Amendment One is the stare constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage within the state of North Carolina. The amendment passed as of Tuesday, May 8th 2012.

I have many questions regarding the issue and no answers. I can see it from each side, I understand the why it is important, and I get that each side has made up “facts”about the issue. It is undeniable this is an emotionally charged issue, but I ask that we take a step back and look at two facets and this unusual gem.

Is There a Solution?

First, is there a possible solution? I have no idea, but I desperately want our readers to join in the conversation. Please, let me know if there is one, has there ever been one, or can a possible solution be conceived that could satisfy both sides of the argument? I truly don’t know and with all of the vitriol surrounding the dialog, it is impossible for me to get a real grip on weather it has ever been discussed.

I keep getting the feeling that we are fighting over a word and I want input on this. Is it the word “marriage” that gets everybody’s panties in the proverbial twist? If so, is there another way? Rather than suggest that one side is wrong and the other is right, can we work together to create a solution palatable to both sides?

I ask because there always seems to be something we can all agree upon. I spent six years serving in the military in a foreign country. When I first arrived on station the “old heads” gave me an overview of the area and the local people. For quite a while I took their “information” as being the truth about the situation. Once I began to see things as they were and not as I was told, I found the people to be no different than me and my family. I have that same feeling here. Am I getting all of the information and is it correct? I don’t think so on either count.

Where is the middle ground and why are we yelling at each other about it? And another thing, why have many prominent people remained above the fray? In a recent article, I read that many leaders in the Gay & Lesbian community have remained silent during this heated battle. Why? What do they know that the rest of us don’t. It just doesn’t feel right to me and I don’t think we have all of the pieces. Please jump into the conversation and let me know.

Looking from every angle, one thing keeps coming up and I find it very funny. The military has gone through a similar evolution over the last few decades. Should we allow Gays and Lesbians to serve in the military? Then there was “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and now open service. I have a news flash for everyone. There were Gays in the military prior to any regulations regarding them. There always have been and always will be. Now consider the same here in North Carolina. I have several Gay and Lesbian friends, they aren’t going to run screaming for the state boarders just because of this new amendment. In fact, (and here is the funny part) for them, nothing changed. They couldn’t marry before and they can’t marry now. So what did we really change? I mean really?

The Political Bullshit!

Second, the pure political bullshit smells like a seven day old port-a-john at an outdoor rock festival in July. You have got to be kidding me. Our President announces his thoughts on same sex marriage the day after the amendment in North Carolina passes. REALLY! Am I the only one who smells this shit? The day after? Oh wait, it gets better. Vice President, Joe Biden, has offered an apology to the President for releasing this information early. What? It seems that President Obama was going to take a stance in favor of same sex marriages but wanted to do so closer to the election. This is like a fart in a car. You can’t even escape the smell of this one. Roll the windows down and hope for fresh air!

If President Obama has reached a decision with regard to his stance on same sex marriage, fine. Why wait to give us his insights. One reason only, political. He was hoping to gain the votes of the Gay and Lesbian community. Why do I put it this way? Easy, if he really wanted to take a stand and prove that he was for same sex marriage, he would have jumped in and supported it prior to the amendment vote. However he waited for the day after and only because his side kick spilled the beans. There is no disputing that he had his thoughts all sorted out and shared them with his staff. I find it repugnant that our leader chose not to lead. Instead he opted for political gain. I ask you to consider this when casting your next presidential ballot.

 

So please let me know your thoughts. As you can see, I am confused and angry so help me out. Like it or hate it, just tell me about it.

And as always

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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