9 posts from May 2010

May 29, 2010

“Oh Honey, Not Tonight”: Sex After Parenthood

This blog post is from the Soho Parenting Blog: Parentalk

“I’m too tired”, “We’re just too tired”, “Do we have to schedule it on our Blackberry’s”, “Who has time for sex, I need to pump”, are just some of the comments we hear from new mothers. The transition from being a couple without children to parents typically takes a pretty big toll on your sex life. Spontaneity, extra energy, tight tummies and libido may seem gone and never to return. Many couples really struggle to bring back an intimate, physically connected, satisfying sexual relationship after kids.
Sex is often hard to talk about even in the most communicative relationships. Often the subject is joked about, or argued about but not really discussed. So here are some suggestions given by women over the last two decades that have made the transition to being sexual and parents at the same time.
•    Don’t worry–this is all normal. Every couple goes through tremendous changes in their sex life after having children.
•    Don’t make assumptions about what your spouse is thinking. No one is a mind reader.
•    Talking is the best aphrodisiac. Getting close emotionally about the changes makes couples more apt to reconnect sexually.
•    It is normal to feel satisfied from the physicality with the baby and to feel less of a need or desire for sex.
•    Some lubrication is necessary be it wine or KY or both.
•    Do schedule it! It can become an exciting and fun private joke to know that Saturday nap time, or Thursday nights are your time.
•    Fake it ’til you make it. Many feel a resistance to begin having sex but once they push themselves past that point they are so happy that they did.
•    Just one night alone without the baby can have a lasting effect–so line up those grandparents or good friends and go to a hotel or just be alone in your own place.
•    Women are hard on themselves about weight gain. Don’t assume your husband feels negatively toward your body.
The added responsibilities, the physical changes, the stress that parenting brings, naturally shifts your sexual desire and changes to your pre-baby sexual frequency. Try not to focus on how it was- but more on how to make the present fulfilling for you and your partner.

May 27, 2010

Sexual Promiscuity and Its Ramifications in Relationships


One man has been having an affair for several months.  When his wife questioned him, he admitted to the affair and told her there was nothing she could do about it.  He subsequently went away every weekend with his mistress with no shame or remorse.  Upon his return home after each weekend, he would frequently speak to his lover on the phone in front of his children.  Obviously his children soon began to question him.  When asked what he thought the impact of his behavior was on his children, he said he was certain “they would get over it and be fine.” 

Another couple has been swinging for the past two years and is upset that their children found out.  The children are repulsed and not speaking to either of their parents.  While still a third couple has been swapping partners with their close friends on Saturday nights.  Shockingly (sarcasm here) the husband found out his wife and best friend have been having an affair outside of the Saturday “swaps”. 

I could go on with endless stories, but you get the picture.  Couples are becoming more and more promiscuous with little remorse.  In fact, many swingers, cheaters and porn addicts are justifying their positions.  Some people say humans aren’t meant to be monogamous, several say they’re unhappy in their marriages and they deserve to be happy, others say they have a high need for sex and on and on.

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May 24, 2010

Are Men Attracted to Strong Women?

  IStock_00strong woman

In my work over the past seventeen years, I’ve run across many types of women.  I’ve seen the stereotypical “nice” woman, who does anything she can to please her man and take care of the family.  I’ve worked with the over-the–top aggressive woman who’s determined to not take sh*t from anyone.  And, I’ve worked with hundreds of women in between.

Here are some of the things I’ve notice throughout the years:
1.        The “nice” women were often depressed, cheated on and so dependent on their husbands/lovers that they would take any kind of treatment in order to keep their man.
2.        The over-the-top aggressive women often had passive-aggressive husbands who were miserable, but afraid to take the women on.  Many husbands of these women came to see me individually to talk about what to do, how to leave or how to choose between their wives and their lovers, who were much less volatile and more loving.
3.        The men involved with the “nice” women wanted their partners to be stronger.  They did not like the level of dependency these women had on them, nor did they like that the women would mechanically do whatever the men said. 
4.        As the “nice” women got stronger, the men were more attracted to them—even though the women were voicing their upsets more and setting limits. 
5.        As the nice women grew stronger, they began to feel more confident and empowered.  They were finally able to create the relationships they had always wanted. 

Although I’ve known that women are more attractive when they own their space and worth, I’ve been surprised by the men’s direct reports of this fact.  When women stand up for what they deserve, it is attractive, clear and a relief to the men who live with them.  It is attractive, however, only when women use a centered strength—not an over-the-top aggression.  If women step in with aggression, it feels the same as it does to women when men bully—bad.

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May 20, 2010

Alcohol and Relationships: Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

IStock_00couple alcohol Too many couples have a third party creating problems in their relationship.  That third party is alcohol.  When alcohol is a source of stress in a relationship, it is typically because one partner thinks the other partner either drinks too much or is no fun to be around when they drink.  The other partner, of course, does not think this is the case. 

For those of you who struggle with this issue in your own relationship, let me help you out.  Below are several warning signs that your drinking is, minimally, a problem and possibly alcohol abuse or alcoholism. 
•    You’ve ever been worried about your drinking and tried to stop or cut back as a result.
•    You’ve experienced blackouts due to drinking.
•    You become mean-spirited and nasty when you drink.
•    Your drinking has resulted in your missing work, losing your job or not being able to perform your job as expected.
•    Your partner, friends, children or co-workers have commented on your drinking.
•    Your drinking is a source of tension between you and your partner (and not because your partner is opposed to drinking).
•    You “have to” have a drink to calm down or relax.
•    You often drink to get buzzed or drunk.
•    You seldom, if ever, stop at just one drink.
•    You use alcohol to loosen up and give you social confidence.
•    You drink alone or hide your alcohol use.

There are several signs that your drinking has moved beyond social drinking to problem drinking, but the best indicator I know is:  if your drinking is creating problems in your relationship or your life—your drinking is a problem.  The problem is not your partner’s thinking it’s a problem. 

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May 18, 2010

Fear and Relationships: Stop The Ducking

IStock_00man yelling
I recently wrote a post entitled We Teach People How to Treat Us.  I wanted to expand a bit on this post and provide more concrete pointers on how to create change.  Hope this helps…

Time and time again I hear stories of people accepting the unacceptable -- —rage in particular.  They accept what no one should accept because they’re too scared not to.  They’re afraid that if they stand up to the behavior they’ll lose their relationship, anger their partner or make things worse.

So they silently take it and secretly wish for better.

    •    Dan sits in my office visibly shaken with anxiety.  He loves his wife, yet can’t stand how she treats him.  She calls him a wimp, a loser and a sad excuse for a man.  When he attempts to set a limit, her rage intensifies and the words really start to fly.  Dan responds by backing down, apologizing and trying to calm her down.
    •    Sarah immediately shuts down when her partner Jim becomes intense.  He calls her stupid, a nim-wit and constantly dismisses her.  She knows she shouldn’t accept this treatment, but she doesn’t want things to get worse.  She just wishes he would see how poorly he treats her.  She feels bad for him because she knows that’s how his father treated him.  And she feels bad for her children, who are also afraid of their father.

Rage is killing marriages, families and businesses across the country.  It does not discriminate.  Rage attacks all socioeconomic levels, genders and types of business.  Parents are losing it with their kids, bosses are going off on their employees and husbands and wives are verbally abusing each other with little to no remorse. 

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May 13, 2010

Ten Signs That You’re Too Critical

IStock_00critical womanXSmall A common complaint I hear about women (usually) is that they are critical --  particularly mothers.  Unfortunately when women are critical and/or perfectionistic, their loved ones grow tired of their negativity.  It’s very tough to be around someone who is constantly remarking about your flaws. 

Many people who struggle with being critical have no idea how toxic it can be.  Because they believe they are only trying to help, they don’t get the impact of their negativity on others.  All I can say about constant criticizing is…it’s toxic. 

Below are some red flags that signal you may be too critical.  Read this list with an open mind.  While you’re going through the list, imagine what your partner or children would say about each item on the list.
    •    You frequently “suggest” a different hairstyle, outfit or “tip” for your partner or children upon seeing them wearing something you don’t think looks good.
    •    Upon entry into the home you “greet” your family by commenting about what a mess the house is or complaining about something they did or did not do.
    •    When your children or partner help, you are more frustrated by how they helped than you are thankful that they did help.

Continue reading "Ten Signs That You’re Too Critical" »

May 10, 2010

Forgiveness and Relationships

When I was in high school, my mother would constantly warn me about the consequences of holding a grudge.  I was the queen of grudge-holders.  If a person betrayed me, I wrote them off.  If they lied, I never trusted them again.  If someone hurt me, I made sure they never had another opportunity to hurt me a second time.  I had little patience for disloyalty or lack of integrity.

As I grew up, however, I realized that many of the behaviors I labeled “lies, betrayals or lack of integrity” were really just kids being human.  As I grew I had to learn how to distinguish between someone being human versus someone being hurtful...and therefore a person I might not want to be around.

When someone’s behavior truly was hurtful and seemingly unforgivable, I had to learn how to forgive, not for the sake of the other person, but for my own sake.  Holding grudges, takes up a lot of energy.  It brings on endless amounts of intense feelings and feels as though I have a wall around my heart.

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May 06, 2010

Is It Okay To Stand Up to Your Boss?

IStock_00angry boss
I often talk about the importance of standing up for yourself when others are treating you poorly.  It’s important to stand up at home, with your friends, your children and, yes, even with your boss.  People often struggle, however, with standing up to their boss.  They think that what their boss says or does is somehow off limits.  They worry that if they do speak up, they’ll get fired.  Many people believe they have to take whatever their boss throws at them.

In my experience, the more poor treatment people take from their boss, the more poorly their boss will treat them.  Just because your boss is in a higher position than you at work does not mean they have the right to treat you poorly.  It means they are in a higher position—that’s it.  That position never gives them the right to be disrespectful or, at the extreme end, verbally abusive.

Basic respect is about basic humanity.  Everyone deserves basic respect.  Your boss has the right to give you critical feedback, give you directives to complete, supervise your work, tell you when they are unhappy about something you’ve done, put you on suspension and even fire you.  Your boss does NOT have the right to yell, scream, intimidate, belittle or shame you in public or private. 

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May 03, 2010

Self-care and Relationships


Because today is my birthday, I thought I’d write about self-care.  I'm happy to report that today has been a great self-care day.  I was treated to breakfast and presents in bed (a family tradition), a day of shopping and a nice lunch.  Aaah, I feel rested and much more able to be present for my family when they return home.

So often in life, we’re running around so fast that we forget to slow down and enjoy the little things in life.  When we slow down, it allows calm to set in.  Calm is great for relationships.  Pausing long enough to feel some calm is great for us to do for ourselves and for us partners to do for one another.

Below are tips to help with the self-care; dare to pause and integrate some of these tips into your everyday lives.


•    Take time off.  Whether it’s for your birthday, mental health or physical health, learn to take a break.  If you work, schedule some free time occasionally—that’s why ALL companies provide vacation days.  Companies know that if you’re burned out, you’re not helping them as best you can.  If you’re work is at home managing the children and the household, get some respite.  You should not be working 24/7 anymore than your spouse should be at the office 24/7.  Stop the guilt and TAKE TIME OFF.
•    Treat yourself.  Think about all the things you like to do, have, experience etc., and commit to treating yourself at least once a quarter.  These can be lunches with friends, a day at a spa, a body massage, a movie, a walk in the park, a glass of wine with a dear friend etc.  What you do is not important; doing it--is. 

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