Uncomplicated

Uncomplicated is one of those words that makes me cringe when I hear it dripping off a guy’s lips.  He’s intending it as a compliment but it really isn’t and I’ll tell you why….If your relationship is uncomplicated, then one of you isn’t being authentic and most likely, it’s you.

You know what a synonym for uncomplicated is?  Easy.  I’m not saying that your job in a relationship is to make his life difficult but you can be too accommodating, too understanding, too afraid to rock the boat.  Sure you want to put your best foot forward but make sure you’re being your true self.  Don’t create an image of yourself for him to fall in love with because it’s unsustainable.  Don’t be so intent on winning the guy that you lose yourself.

Some guys (not all guys – there are good guys out there) will use this word as a behavior modifier.  It’s a bit of a veiled threat – keep the relationship simple and the relationship continues; make the relationship complicated and the relationship ends.  It’s manipulation.  If you’re involved with one of these guys – run and don’t look back!

So if you’re with a guy who suddenly comes up with this little gem – ask him what it means and listen to his response with your brain, not your heart…because a guy who wants an undemanding relationship doesn’t want all the marvelous complications that real life holds.

Advertisements

I’m going to leave her just as soon as…

File this under “lies married men tell.”  I can hear you gnashing your teeth as I type!  One of the biggest is that he’s going to leave his wife once x, y, or z occurs.  It’s usually anything from his ship coming in to the kids leaving the nest.  The simple fact of the matter is, if he was going to leave her he would have already.

Why say it?  Because if he were to tell you that he’s perfectly satisfied in his situation as it stands and what he’s interested in is sex on the side, you’d run a mile.  “But there are girls out there who will give them sex,” I can hear you say.  Yes but most men like a bit of a challenge, and a woman who believes they’re in a relationship is less likely to out him to his wife.

So why does it work?  Hope.  You want to believe him.  You want to believe that you’re not the other woman.  You want to believe that there is some unseen force that prevents him from divorcing his wife and being with you.  Unfortunately, you’re lying to yourself as much as he’s lying to you.

Tell him to get his proverbial sh*t together, leave his wife, and then come see if you’re still interested.  If he never comes back, the only thing you’ve lost is a guy who will lie to you and who will eventually cheat on you in much the same way.

Paying him to go away

I’ve known a number of people who remained in relationships for money, or rather, for a lack of money.  Sometimes there is an honest lack of money but sometimes it stems from deception or inertia.

If it’s merely a matter of inertia, you need to make some hard decisions.  Have you overstayed your exit strategy?  Have you gotten comfortable in a poor relationship?  Are you sure you’re ready to leave?  Crunch the numbers again and then decide if you’re ready to rip the band-aid off.  (Oh, and if you stay, you need to commit to the relationship, relationships do not take place in gray areas.)

It could be deception, either conscious or subconscious, by either party.  They could be saying that they don’t have enough money to make it on their own all the while they’re going out and partying every weekend.  You could be telling yourself that you’re worried they don’t have sufficient financial skills to make it on their own.  None of this changes the fact that you are not responsible for the other person once you’ve severed the relationship.

If, on the other hand, there is an honest lack of funds – like your partner says that he doesn’t have his half of the money to pay for the divorce paperwork or to afford to move his belongings to a new place – my suggestion is radical, pay for it yourself.  If all that stands between you and your new life is an amount of money you can easily afford, pay it and go be happy.

Direct from my desk – week 41

So what if you’re the one who cheats?

First and foremost, own what you did.  Even if you decide not to fess up to your partner (more on that in a minute), you certainly shouldn’t live in a state of denial.  You were in a relationship and no matter how bad or good it was, you weren’t faithful to your commitment.  It doesn’t make you a horrible person, it just means that your actions don’t always live up to your expectations.

Analyze why you did it.  Was it unhappiness?  boredom?  fear?  Put some time into figuring out why you did it and how you can fix it.  Cheating is rarely about your partner so you’ll need to find what it is about you that needs to be improved upon.

If you decide to tell your partner, pick your moment carefully.  Be calm.  Answer their questions.  Do not give details.  Understand their anger.  Suggest a way to get the relationship back on track but don’t expect that it will be accepted.  Realize that they will need to be healed from this experience and that it won’t be easy or pleasant.

If you decide not to tell your partner, consider why you’re in the relationship.  If you’re thinking that it was a one-time-thing, then make sure that it was.  If you prefer not to burden them with your mistake then you need to make sure that they’re never going to find out.  Think long and hard about it before you take this course of action; honesty is long regarded as an essential component of any successful relationship.

Lastly, forgive yourself.  Neither you nor your relationship can move forward if you’re clinging to that past.

My mailbox is open:  girldontbestupid@gmail.com

Sandcastles

Attempting to rebuild after cheating rocks a relationship can feel like building a sandcastle, one wrong move and the whole thing comes crashing down around you.  However, there are some things that you can do to increase your chances of success.

  1. Make sure both of you are on the same page in terms of rebuilding your relationship.  Both of you must be committed to making it work.
  2. Counseling.  A skilled counselor will bring the issues to the surface and assist in resolving them.
  3. Open communication is a must.  Both partners must feel that they can express what they’re feeling in a safe environment.
  4. Forgiveness of all issues surrounding the cheating.  You don’t have to forget but without forgiveness there is no moving forward.
  5. A fresh start because a partner who is constantly reminded of what they did wrong will soon grow to resent you.
  6. A support system that actually supports your relationship.  If someone is not supportive of rebuilding the relationship, do not confide in them.

Putting your relationship back together is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do.  You will have to make it through the difficult times to get back to an even keel.  It may always be there in the back of your head.  Your day-to-day reality may change.  You may decide to change the rules of your relationship.  Surround yourself with a supportive environment and do your homework.

Cheating, not just for income taxes anymore

Unfortunately, a person isn’t always forthright about their cheating.  This then requires that the person be confronted (or not).  If you choose to confront, do so in a controlled manner.  If you choose not to confront be aware that your options are limited to leaving or living with it.

Remember, men never like to be the “bad guy” so don’t expect that it will be an easy conversation.  Even when asked a direct question, he may be evasive or even lie because you “didn’t ask the right question.”  So take a few moments ahead of time to do your homework.

You know your partner better than most people.  Determine your approach by considering his possible reactions.  Are your suspicions justified?  What tone would best elicit the truth?  What questions would get him to open up?  What words would upset him and cause him to clam up?  I realize that it may seem a bit counter-intuitive to think about how he may react when you’re the one who with the suspicions but if you want to get him to admit the truth, perceptive questions will work better than loud accusations.

When you’re ready for the confrontation, make your preparations carefully.  Choose a calm time, preferably after you’ve had something to eat (low blood sugar will not help matters), and ask your partner for a few minutes.  Keep your voice calm and as unemotional as you can.  Ask your questions and listen to the responses.  Trust your gut instinct and watch his body language.  Is he being evasive? Be gentle with your prodding, the ultimate goal is getting an answer to your questions, not to get your pound of flesh.

Do not ask for details, just get to the truth.  You can not progress in the relationship if you’re both living under a cloud of suspicion.  The bigger question is what will you do now that you have your answer?

Spank the monkey

Okay ladies, I’m going to share a secret with you:  guys masturbate.

No matter your personal feelings on the issue, you’re just going to have to accept this little fact of life and move forward. It’s not dirty.  It’s not personal.  It’s not contrary to being in a relationship.  It simply is and unless it’s impeding your sex life, it’s nothing to be concerned about.  (If it is hurting your sex life, please seek counseling as a couple.)

So let me explain how guys masturbate, at least how it was explained to me.  They’re not giving themselves a storyline surrounding a specific person.  It’s a bit more like ADD – pictures frantically flitting through their heads, not really able to attach to one image for any measurable amount of time.  The action (both mental and physical) is rapid and to the point.  It’s over within a few minutes.  The whole process is efficient and unemotional.

Why do guys masturbate if there’s a woman around?  Honestly, it’s McSex.  It’s a form of quick relief without having to consider the feelings of someone else.  (Think about it – would you really want a guy to go from start to finish with you in under two minutes?)

Why do guys lie about it or hide it?  Generally because they’ve been told that they need to hide it/lie about it from the moment they discovered it.  Those guys that say that they don’t masturbate?  They’re lying.  With few exceptions, men masturbate.  A wise woman will make this work for her.

What should I do about it? At the very least, let your partner know that you are okay with his masturbation.  If you want to go a step further, incorporate it into your sex life.  Whatever you do, do not make him feel bad about it or you’ll push it underground and this will cause a fissure in the bedrock of your relationship.

Creating a win-win environment

It’s hard to fathom creating a win-win environment when you’re in the middle of an argument.  This is why it’s important to create a fair and balanced relationship ahead of time and hope it helps influence what happens during  fight.  Remember – they’re challenging to create and easy to destroy so handle it with care.  The one thing that you must keep in your head at all times is we’re on the same team.  That is your partner to the end (or to the bitter end which can happen if you’re not in a win-win).

You create a win-win environment in a relationship incrementally.  This is all about trust.  Can you (both) be vulnerable and trust that the other person will protect that vulnerability?  If the answer to that question is “no” then you either have a lot of work to do or you need to get out of this relationship.  You create trust by being trustworthy.  Never lie but more than that, be pro-active in your honesty.  Be fair in your dealings with him and with others.  Listen to what he has to say and make him feel heard.  Be consistent so that he knows what to expect.  Do this from the beginning and continue it through-out your relationship and you will create an environment where both partners feel that they’re on the same team.

When you argue, do not undo all of your hard work. When you feel that desire to go in for the kill shot, look into their eyes and know that you’ll be living with that nasty comment for a very long time – you can’t un-ring a ball.  It is more important that you both win rather than for you to win.  If you win the argument but lose the man, what have you really won?  Try to see his side of the argument.  Take time to consider what he’s said and if you’re being unreasonable.  Be first (and quick) to apologize for any mis-steps you might have made in the course of the argument.  Negotiate a reasonable solution that both people can live with (note:  I did not say skip through fields of daisies singing its praises, I said live with).

Privacy in marriage

How often have you heard couples say, “we share everything” while you roll your eyes and think gimme a break!  The truth is that most couples have some secrets from one another.  Although you should strive to be as honest as possible with your partner, privacy is still allowed in marriage.

Omission is a form of lying but it doesn’t mean that you should tell your mate everything (think of how tedious that would be!).  However there are a few things that you should never omit (although you may want to pick your moments carefully):  the name of anyone who has seen you naked and is still in your life, flirting or more with someone outside your relationship, unhappiness with any major aspect of your life (work, family, relationship), money issues of any sort, health issues, or any change in your life philosophy that would subsequently change your expectations.

Outright lying is not acceptable in any form.  If you can’t tell your spouse where you were, you shouldn’t have been there.  If he/she asks you a direct question, you should answer it honestly.  If the answer will cause problems, you may want to answer it in the safety of a marriage counselor’s office.  If you’re trying to better yourself and you can’t tell your spouse because he isn’t supportive – you may want to reconsider your relationship.

So what privacy is allowed in a marriage?  Details of previous relationships, unflattering opinions of your spouse held by friends or family members, sexual fantasies, embarrassing childhood stories, etc.  Basically – anything that wouldn’t have a significant impact on the direction or health of your relationship.

Of course I trust you

Trust is huge in a relationship.  Trust issues are insidious and can quickly undermine an otherwise good relationship.  Unless your partner has specifically broken your trust in the past, trust issues are generally about the person who has them.  My advice – quit trust issues cold turkey.

  • If you have been hurt in the past please realize that this has absolutely zero to do with your current relationship.  Take each person as an individual and don’t make them pay for another person’s mistakes.  If you can’t start fresh with someone, you may have to look a little deeper into yourself or your relationship.
  • Snooping is unacceptable.  The more you dig, the more paranoid you become -even if you don’t find any “evidence”.  If you don’t trust your partner, you may wish to reconsider why you’re in the relationship.
  • No interrogations.  Discuss any concerns rationally but don’t get emotional and don’t browbeat your partner.  No one wants to be involved with someone who is constantly suspicious of them.
  • Believe what your partner tells you.  I’m not saying to believe lies (if he’s lying to you, this isn’t the right relationship) but if he says that he’s playing poker with his friends, believe that he is playing poker with his friends.  If it turns out later not to be true, it reflects badly on him, not you.
  • Refuse to give into your desire to “check it out”.  If you’ve already looked him up on the internet, searching again will not make you feel better and you’re not likely to find any new information.  Calling his cell phone at all hours won’t yield the desired results.  Following him is bordering on the insane.  If your relationship is driving you to these lengths, you should reconsider your involvement with this person.
  • If you honestly believe he is being deceitful, break up with him.  Do not bother confronting him because a conversation will not resolve your insecurities.  Consider that if you ask the question you will get one of two answers.  One answer will kill you.  The other answer you will not believe.

Are there men who lie?  Absolutely.  However, living as though every man lies will not improve the quality of your life. If you go looking for bad news, you will invariably find it.