Sometimes we have to treat our relationships like a business arrangement. When traditional, lovey-dovey methods of communicating don't seem to get the job done, it's time to get formal. It's time to use things like "agendas" and "action items." Enter Tokii.com's Trading Post feature, which encourages you to haggle in the name of love. "I'll wash your car on Saturday, if you agree to give me a one-hour back rub." One person suggests a trade and the other half either accepts or negotiates the terms.
The other day I was talking with a woman I know fairly well (let's call her Mary), and asked her what has kept her 25 year marriage going strong. Mary replied that she was a bit embarrassed to tell me this, but that she and her husband practice something they call night on-night off in which they have sex on the nights on, but not on the nights off.
There's a huge difference between having sex with someone and being able to comfortably share the bed with them. It's a big step and in some cases involves a bit of compromise.
The Marriage Puzzle: To Be Or Not To Be? This month I had a pleasure of being invited to a beautiful wedding. This invitation came over just a few weeks after the one of my young clients showed up in my office with a huge uncertainty about herself, her future life and most importantly, a big confusion about her previous relationship. This is what she sent me after this session:
When my husband requested a trial separation, his reasoning was that we weren't a good match anymore. He felt that we shouldn't have to compromise in order to find happiness, and that love should be easy. I briefly considered the fact that I might be married to a delusional maniac, then rejected the thought and explained to him that marriage was all about compromise. People change over time and, as a result, relationships must shift in order to accommodate that change. I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. According to the results of YourTango's Power of Attraction survey, 33 percent of people feel that "getting [their] partner to change" is a good way to reignite attraction. But should you even be together if you need your partner to change in order to be happy?
When two people get married, they're essentially agreeing to be on the same team. "It's you and me against the world, baby." It’s easy to feel that way in the beginning, but it takes work and focus to stay on the same team. Once you add kids to the equation, it's even more important to keep your team together, but it takes more work.
Interfaith dating: What happens when an atheist falls in love with a Christian? "For our second date, we opted for a movie followed by dinner. It was just after the entrees arrived that TD mentioned casually that he was a Christian and attended a church near my neighborhood in Brooklyn. I grew up thinking Christianity was something for "the other people"—red staters, conservatives, people who owned guns. If you did grow up in the Church, it was something you cast off as you became educated and matured. But here, sitting at the table across from me, was someone who was both of these things and still avowed his faith."
There are necessities, like running water, and then there are "necessities," like HBO and a weekly pedicure. When you're single and supporting only yourself, you have every right to declare keeping your toes in the latest shade of blush a priority. But once you join budgets with your partner, it's important that you both agree on which expenses qualify as non-negotiable.
It was 11:45 p.m. on a Wednesday night. My wife and I were exhausted and cozied up in bed together. We both had one thing on our minds. Unfortunately, it wasn't the same thing. I was craving sex and she was craving the season three finale of "Friday Night Lights." We were at a standstill, experiencing what some might call a "21st century marital pickle." It seems Netflix and sites like Hulu just might be the modern couple's greatest obstacles to a steady sex life. The continuous supply of great TV is so accessible and so compelling, many a good couple become hooked like crackheads and forget about making their own entertainment. Through burning eyes and next day regret, couples machete through a season of "Lost" or "The Wire," ignoring or forgetting to fuel their loins. But on this night, something in me snapped and I drew a line in the sand … with my penis. "Babe," I said, "we're in a losing battle against awesome TV. It will never end. There are too many TV shows out there; when do we get to do it?"
Over the weekend, my husband and I moved from our cramped, rundown, one-bedroom apartment near crowded Times Square in Manhattan, to a spacious, gut-rehabbed, state-of-the-art two-bedroom brownstone on a quiet, tree-lined street in Brooklyn. It was a long time coming, and in the weeks leading up to the move—the very first move Drew and I have ever made together—I wondered if we'd even make it to our first wedding anniversary next month. Few things in life challenge a relationship quite like moving does, but I'm happy to report we survived the hurdle.
Smart daters know when to compromise. Those who never compromise will always remain single. Discuss.
The hilarious Bethenny Frankel, of Real Housewives of New York City fame, debuted her own reality show last night. Bethenny Getting Married? follows Bethenny as she gets married, has a baby, and settles down with fiancee Jason Hoppy. We tuned in for the sassy star's hilarious one liners, but we got something else, too...relationship advice! Here, the five love lessons we learned from Bethenny Frankel.
For every email or comment I get thanking me for writing my book, How To Get Divorced By 30, or for expressing in articles and blogs how a first marriage can be a positive rite of passage, I get an angry email or comment asking, "How dare I destroy the sanctity of marriage!"
With shows like The Pickup Artist remaining perennially popular, it seems that male narcissism is flourishing if not becoming epidemic while being fueled by our culture and the media. While egomaniacs may make for irritating but good TV, they can have a truly destructive impact on the lives of their loved ones. A Chicago Tribune article about dating narcissists offered some handy tips on how to diagnose and, more importantly, decide to live with (or leave) a narcissist. The American Psychological Association lists nine core traits of narcissism, but someone only needs five of these to qualify for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Yay!