Statistically, most couples strong in the romance department: frequent sex, spontaneity, passion. Then a few months passes, and comfort sets in. Then... a series of events create a deeper level of what can only be described as complacency: They get married. They have a baby. She goes back to work (or is inundated with the boredom of homelife), he gets back to the grind. They get tired and into the humdrum of toddlerhood. He stops shaving... and so does she. Both wear sweats on the weekend.
Why do people cheat? Are affairs a natural result of long term relationships? We live in a culture where almost fifty percent of us still get divorced. And second marriages are ending at a rate of over 70%. Many of these marriages end as a result of infidelity. Whose fault is it? Americans never think of themselves as being the type of person to have an affair. In 1973 research showed that 70% of Americans said affairs were always wrong. In 2004 the numbers increased to show that 82 % of respondents said affairs were always wrong.
Exactly why is it that married people get fatter? For they do—studies consistently show that singles gain less weight over time than the partnered. And those who are actually married gain even more than those in unmarried relationships. So what’s going on? And can you enter that state without losing your shape?
My generation came up with a term to assuage the guilt of breaking up a family. We divorced our partners and then told our children we would be spending quality time with them. We did this for the right reason, seeing their big tears in their eyes as we left. We told ourselves many things, but we forgot to tell ourselves the truth. Kids see quality time as a time to get something or to be with the parent who doesn’t live with them anymore. If you don’t believe me, ask any child. I did just that, I asked ten of them under the age of 7 years what quality time meant.
A little known fact: babies begin masturbating to the point of orgasm while they are in utero - still in the womb! Our cultural insistence to see children as asexual is a form of denial which creates a lot of damage. As an incest survivor, I am well acquainted with how debilitating adult/child sexual interaction is. I am adamantly opposed to anything which removes the incest taboo for a variety of reasons and I understand how fearful we as a society have become about child molestation.
Does your boyfriend or girlfriend still have a relationship of a platonic nature with his or her ex? Does this relationship with the ex keep popping up in your relationship to the point where you feel threatened by the relationship? Do you worry about their past, and their history together? Do you feel inadequate or insecure about their conversations and interactions?
We heard it might happen. . . some were certain it would. As we walked down the aisle to become Husband and Wife – bound together in a true soul partnership, we heard from other “childless by choice couples” that we’d lose friends over this lifestyle decision. We thought, “Okay, maybe those peripheral friends, those ones we see only a couple times a year at best.”
I know a lot of women will not agree with me. I also am aware it might be wishful thinking, but I don’t think so. I have very candid conversations with a lot of men. So, I might be going out on a limb here, but I’m just going to say it. I believe the vast majority of men would rather be with a real woman, with womanly curves, who is comfortable in her skin and with her body, then a size four model type who is hiding in the dark and under the covers.
Couples enter counseling with me often with the question, “Should we live together or get married?” As a psychologist and couples therapist, I have been trained to explore questions first, prior to giving an answer. And the truth is, for this question, I don’t HAVE an answer, though I do have access to a great deal of data and I do have a response.
I read a great blog on hoarding the other day (check it out here). It got me thinking about the different things people hoard and reminded me of an epiphany I had a few years ago. My kid used to hoard things—scrap paper, broken toys, the prizes from Happy Meals—which drove me nuts. Every few months I’d have to go into her room with a big trash bag to get rid of it all.