May The Flirt Be With You!

And may your nearest redeemer for frequent flirter miles not be a 3 ft tall, grammatically challenged know-it-all. Although, this little green ladies’ man seems to know his way around a flirt…and a skirt. Once again, men are left scratching their heads as the whole concept of “size matters” is shot to hell by this image of a seemingly studly Yoda regaling women with tales starring the forceful magic of his “light saber.” Tales so heroic, so sexually charged, they send women’s clothing plunging to a crumpled heap on the ground in a desperate plea of surrender. Or so says Photoshop.

Captivating I am. Seduce you I will.

Every Jedi knows the art of flirting is a mix of conversation, body language, and physical touch…and may just be our most vital form of communication. It’s the foreplay to our foreplay, so to say.

We flirt because it’s a necessary road to reproduction junction. It could be that the flirtee is just too hot to be denied our charms. And it could be that it’s just fun. Scientists say that flirting doesn’t necessarily mean attraction. That, hot or not, we’re evolutionarily programmed to be sexually alert, on our toes, and prepared for passionate throes. Married, single, or “it’s complicated” …our primitive libidos are in constant battle with modern monogamy. So, even if we’re off the market, we flirt with potential buyers to humor our libidos…and our egos. Met with success, or shaming mess, we flirt to advertise our assets…and remind ourselves we’ve still got it. When we flirt, we display our creativity, our humor, and our intelligence…flaunting our stellar skills for withstanding whatever poo pies life may throw our way (selling ourselves as the optimal life partner). But aside from our dung dodging skills, we spread our peacock feathers…display our bountiful (surgically custom) cleavage, our Baby Got Back bums, our Fabio-lously spray tanned flexing pecs, our firm afterglow-inducing light sabers. Saying, without saying, “I got that good hit! Don’t you want to bag me?”

We flirt. We bag. We ensure the survival of our genetic genius. And we settle into family life. We now have children to raise, mortgages to pay, bosses to mock, and spontaneity to block. Burdened by an endlessly overwhelming list of chores and responsibilities that would make even the most devoted Family Guy pimp out his wife for a break, we don’t take time to maintain flirting fluency with our main squeeze. The romance dies. We’re merely roommates…without benefits…tending to chores. Making it from one day to the next. We get comfortable in the notion that our spouse isn’t going anywhere. And realize…neither are we. We’re in a rut.

It’s then that we realize that somewhere along the way, we’ve become biologically washed up. With no sex life and no sex appeal, we’re no longer relevant to the circle of life. We begin to feel unwanted and depressed. We start to miss the flirt, the chase…the thrill of sexual possibilities. Ironically, both spouses will come face to face with his/her own feeling of sexual loss. However, neither will attempt to fill this void for the other. Usually because we’re both too busy trying to maintain every other relationship in the daily grind…forgetting that a happy sweetie promises a different grind altogether. We go out of our way to please other people. Bosses, friends, co-workers. Why? Because we know that our bosses, our friends, or our co-workers can, and will, walk out on us at any time. We don’t take these relationships for granted. So we see the value in the work needed to maintain them. But our spouses…we take them for granted. We don’t work on the marital relationship because it’s the one place we think we can afford to get lazy and fall asleep on the job.

Divorce…and remarriage…statistics beg to differ.

The cold hard truth is…what we take for granted, someone just around the corner is all too eager to appreciate.

Whatever the cost to our social or family life, we’re drawn to flirty appreciation like an oompa loompa to shoe lifts. It boosts our egos, stimulates our sex drives, and spices up our lives. We need to flirt to feel special…to feel connected. We need it emotionally and sexually. So, if no one is flirting with us at home, we begin to feel stagnant. We grow bored with our marriage AND ourselves. And we’re all the more receptive to outside flirts.

Marriage is monotonous…on a good day. If we want to keep it fresh and romantic, we can’t put away our dazzling peacock plumage just because we’re too lazy to strut it. We need to continue displaying our assets. Otherwise, life clouds our memory. And we both forget why we fell in love in the first place. The flirt, the tease, the challenge, the FUN…this is what keeps our spouse true and still believing in “I do.”

Why flirting with the one that matters…matters?

* It’s adult play. We never outgrow our need for play. Make your spouse your toy.

* It boosts both egos. Flirting gives us a sense of power. Whether we’re the hunter or the prey, we all enjoy a good chase. It validates our sexual worth.

* It’s the language of love…promising the continual emotional connection we seek so ruthlessly.

* It reminds our spouse that we’re still very much attracted to them…translation: “I don’t take you for granted!”

* It’s healthy for children to witness our playful love. It provides them a sense of security and models a healthy, loving relationship.

* It will eventually lead to sex. Filthy, dirty sex…somewhere. 😉

Teasing Tactics:

* Be witty and challenging.

* Tackle a chore your sweetie usually takes care of.

* Wear flirty clothes…or no clothes.

* Snuggle…give back rubs or massages.

* Engage in sexy, suggestive banter. Remember, the brain is our most sexual organ.

* Compliment. Flattery will get you everywhere.

* Send romantic/sexy texts or emails…either as yourself…or the sultry stranger who’s been lusting from afar.

* Create a special hand signal (sign language) for a romantic/sexy message just between the two of you.

It’s our nature to follow the flirt. When it comes to your sweetie, turn up your tease…

Lead the way.

Chick Hughes is a wife of 15 years, mother of 2, and lover of psychology. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and offers insight, advice, and humor on relationships, sex, and family. She has extensive experience with children, but now stays home with her own children, Patrick (9) and Anna (3), who both delight and challenge her daily. You can visit her website at http://www.chickhughes.comto read more of her work. Or you can visit her fan page on Facebook, Chick Hughes, where you can participate in discussions relating to her current topic.

10 Tips for Building a Strong (Re)Marriage

It amazes me at how many couples take marriage for granted, especially the couples who enter the marriage with challenges, such as kids and ex-spouses. For some reason, most are convinced that love some how conquers all and once it gets difficult, it must mean that you just don’t love each other anymore. Perhaps it’s the reason that our divorce rate in America is so high and the divorce rate for second marriages is even higher. Listen closely because I am about to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready? Marriage is hard and remarriage is even harder. Both take continuous effort on both participants’ parts to build a strong union. Below are ten tips to help  you build a strong (re)marriage.

Learn to Forgive

This is probably one of, if not the most important tip to maintaining a successful marriage. Forgiveness is essential to truly moving past any hurt that your spouse may have caused you. The truth is people hurt people all the time, be it intentionally or unintentionally; and because marriage involves two people, it is no different. Therefore, if you decide to stay married after the hurtful behavior then you have to make a decision to forgive and let it go. There is no room in your marriage for holding grudges.

Do Things Together

A strong union requires that the two people actually spend time together and like it. Spend time with your spouse doing or learning about something that you enjoy doing together. Take a dance class together, or buy a cookbook and prepare a different dish together every month. Do things that require team work, touching and communicating but are fun as well. Learning something new together helps to build memories as a couple and strengthens your bond.

Relive Old Memories

When you’re stuck in a rut it’s hard to remember the good times, but doing so can often times bring you out of that rut. Every now and then, bring up an old funny story that involves you both. Talk about your honeymoon or your first kiss or the first time one of you did something silly in front of the other. These serve as little reminders that the person you fell in love with and married is still in there somewhere.

Talk – A LOT

When you ask your spouse how his or her day was, act like you really want to know the answer. By that same token, when you tell your spouse about your day, avoid the “it was good” answers. Instead briefly let each other into your respective worlds while you were away from each other. Tell that funny story about a co-worker. Talk about something interesting you heard or the news. Describe something cute that the baby did. Engaging in friendly conversation (not about bills or problems) is  way of maintaining your connection.

Be Kind and Generous

This one seems kind of funny to mention, huh? Well, you’d be surprised at how many couples show kindness to people outside of their marriage, such as co-workers, soccer coaches or the Walmart cashier, but take their spouses for granted. Be kind, thoughtful and generous to each other. If you get a bottle of water out of the refrigerator, take one to your spouse too, without him or her asking. On your way home from work, pick up your spouse’s favorite candy bar or magazine – just because. Cherish and treat each other like the king and queen that you both are.

Focus on What You Like About Each Other

I often hear from couples that they each only notice and point out each other’s mistakes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like having my mistakes constantly thrown up in my face. If all you do is remind your spouse of their mistakes and wrongdoings, they’ll begin to question why you even want to be with him or her in the first place. Instead, focus on what each of you do that you like and make it a point to verbalize that you to your spouse.

Laugh Together

The old saying, “laughter is the best medicine” is so true. Be silly and goofy with and around each other. The couple who can laugh together and actually be friends, holds the key to longevity.

Stick Together

In a (re)marriage, there is no room for divided loyalties! If your marriage is under attack by an ex-spouse, in-law or even your respective children, stick together during these stressful times. Decide how you’re going to handle the situation and then present a united front. During stressful times remember that you are both on the same team so stick together.

Learn to Say I’m Sorry

You’d be surprised at how impactful those three little words are. As a matter of fact sometimes the words, “I am sorry” are more meaningful and powerful than “I love you.” If you had a bad day and you know you just berated your spouse for no reason, make it a point to apologize. Admitting when you are wrong shows humility and can help to build trust in your relationship.

Write it Down

It is essential that you remain on the same page (or at least in the same book) with your spouse on all issues, especially those involving the kids. Discuss rules and consequences for the kids, including bedtimes, homework times, computer and video time and allowance and write it down. Writing it down and placing it in an area that is visible to you both helps to keep you on the same page.

Rebuilding Trust in Your Marriage

Trust is the key component to a successful marriage and especially in a remarriage. You have to be able to trust each other in order to present a united front to your children. If you don’t trust your spouse, you won’t feel comfortable allowing him or her to be your co-parent with your children. You won’t feel comfortable allowing him or her to solely handle decision making with their ex-spouse and overall, you won’t be an effective team and life partners. That being said, remarried partners who bring children into the marriage, are also presented with more opportunities to break trust just due to the complex family dynamic.  If you and your spouse are trying to rebuild or maintain trust in your marriage, consider the following helpful tips.

Do What You Say You’re Going to Do – When trust has been broken by one or both parties in the marriage, remember it’s the little things you do that will help to rebuild it. Think about it this way – when you are trying to build and maintain trust with your child of divorce, it’s important to be on time for visitation, keep communication open and honest, and overall, do what you say you’re going to do, right? Well, it’s no different when you’re trying to rebuild trust in your marriage. Do what you say you’re going to do; even regarding the simplest things such as bringing sugar home on your way from work. If you’re consistent over time, even when it comes to the little things, you will start to rebuild trust in your relationship.

Safe Communication – it’s important to feel safe enough to communicate in your relationship to rebuild trust. Pick a spot in your home and label it the no judgment zone. In this zone, you are both free to communicate how you feel without judgment. BUT, use “I” instead of “you” statements. “You did this, or always do that” are statements that put people on the defensive. Instead say “I feel this way when you do this.”

Don’t Continuously Bring Up the Past  – Even when you are both working hard to rebuild trust, be advised that there are still times when you are going to disagree/fight/argue. When this happens, remember to fight fair. Don’t bring up old issues , if you have already resolved them.

Sticks and Stones Can Break Your Bones and Words CAN Hurt – Words that are spoken in the heat of the moment when you are both very angry can knock you three steps back when you are trying to build trust.  So if you and your spouse are arguing and are boiling mad, take a breather. Step away from the discussion, collect yourself and remind yourself that you are having an argument WITH YOUR SPOUSE; not a co-worker or a stranger off the street – YOUR SPOUSE. Don’t say things that you might regret or that won’t be easily forgiven or forgotten.

No Instant Fix – You have to gradually rebuild trust over a period of time. Be patient with each other as you both work to regain that trust you lost and find happiness again.

“We” or “Me” in Marriage

You, me, WE.  Yours, mine, OURS…c’est WE!  Who knew those bitterly plotting pronouns would follow us long after we bid adieu to our rigid English instructors’ bloody war zone of red corrections slaughtering our diligently written papers.  Stalking us like ninjas in the night…ready to obliterate us with their nunchuck skills the minute we utter our marriage vows binding “me” to “we.”  Singular pronouns D.O.A.  Your plans.  My savings.  Your house.  My car.  Your money.  My kids.  Married adults declaring “Mine, Mine, Mine, Me, Me, Me?”  Much like a couple of preschoolers brawling over the only light up Buzz Lightyear toy.  One difference…preschoolers are way easier to deal with.    We adults sometimes get so caught up in remaining individuals, we forget that we married for a reason…to join TOGETHER.  But, understandably, with a 50% divorce rate, we may find ourselves in self-protection mode, keeping assets, experiences, and problems separate…just in case.  The problem is “me” can’t manage a marriage.  The mindset of “we” is what keeps us bonded together.  Without it, “me” usually ends up becoming a divorce statistic.  Me, you, us, we, mine, yours, ours.  The language of marriage quickly devolves into one down and dirty pronoun throwdown!

It seems obvious enough.  For a marital union to remain happy, it must be…well, united.  A union is formed when two become one.  Two individuals merging together to form a singularity.  If two individuals don’t wish to become one ~ financially or emotionally ~ they should also avoid a marital merge  and should, instead, travel as a parallel pair on a perpetual dating road.  But for those who do choose a marital merge and wish to prevent fatal accidents, the traffic lingo must be WE.

A study published in the journal Psychology and Aging followed 154 middle aged couples and had a front row seat to their pronoun throwdown.  Blood and gore galore!  Last one standing:  “WE!”  Those couples who stuck to plural pronouns… “our,” “us,” or “we” …were happier with one another and showed less physiological stress.  When conflict did arise, these couples showed more relaxed heart rates, had lower blood pressure, and were better able to resolve their conflict.  Opposite the plural pronoun victors were those who emphasized their separateness…using singular lingo such as “I,” “mine,” or “me.”  These couples weren’t as content in their marriages, had more difficulty resolving conflict, and displayed more negative facial expressions, tones of voice, and body language.  Hmmm…they were sore losers even before they lost. 

In today’s modern matrimony, some couples predict their own failure.  Before the marriage license is even signed, they anticipate divorce and make it a point to keep anything and everything separate…mine, yours, no confusion.  Some see it as savvy business sense or self-protection.  Some see it as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Our expectations sometimes predict, or cause, our outcomes.  Things like prenups, while my logical brain can justify them, scream “red light” to my emotional brain.  Entering into a union that is based on trust without trust seems a moot point.  Why open the door if you’re expecting an armed stranger?  And if you do open the door and arm both yourself and the “stranger” with ammo, fear and self-preservation will eliminate one…or both.

But that’s just finances.  Some couples choose the more treacherous road…emotional singularity.  Rather than focusing on financial assets, they focus on more intimate day-to-day experiences and problems.  Day after day, reiterating their separateness.

~ to the sick spouse ~ “You’re sick?  Ok, you stay home.  I’m going out.  See ya.”

~ to the wife who pleads for help with birth control ~ “Your body.  Your problem.  I’m not getting a vasectomy!”

~ to the husband who worries about money and struggles to support the family ~ “I AM buying this for myself.  I deserve it.”

~ to the wife who’s crying over a lost connection ~ “What’s your problem?  I’m here.  What more do you want?”

“Sticks and stones may break my bones…”  but words can break our bond.

Turns out words are much deadlier than sticks and stones, acting as poison darts firing upon an already choking emotional connection.  When we disconnect emotionally, we tend to quit thinking in terms of “we” and focus on “me.”  We’re no longer a team.  Gone are the days of “us against the world.”  We divvy up our metaphorical weapons and prepare to stand alone.  We stop making together plans, stop considering the other’s feelings, and begin carrying out our days alone only crossing paths when absolutely necessary.  Result…LISTEN UP!  The fat lady is singing.  D.i.v.o.r.c.e…it’s D-Day.  He finally has those double D’s he’s been dreaming of since his pubescent afternoons spent in the john.  Unfortunately, the only thing he’ll be “jerking” on is his wallet as the divorce lawyer charges him for giving her half of everything.  Uh-oh…the fantasy has gone horribly awry, no?

So, how do we take back our marriage?  And control our looming pronoun throwdown?

Experts say it’s simple…equality.  Neither husband, nor wife, dominating the relationship.  No “his.”  No “hers.”  Just “ours.”  Whether it’s financial assets, debt, problems, or plans…the concept of “us” suggests a team…working toward a common goal and providing support and confidence for one another.  Without the team mentality to help us through life’s storms, we’ll be drenched in the pouring rain hoping our tiny umbrella for one won’t attract the crackling lightning from above.

Scientists say our pronoun lingo is as telling about what goes on inside our marriage as an x-ray is of what goes on inside our body.  It can show a healthy body…or it can reveal a nasty cancer festering, growing,  and destroying its host. They say to master our marriage, we must master the art of togetherness while maintaining our own identities.  That we must share interests, feelings, ideas, experiences, and memories.  When shared, this common ground serves as our marriage fingerprint…gives it a uniqueness all its own.  No two alike.  This fingerprint is bonding as a couple and helps to create a sense of “we.”  Together, we’ve survived terrible twos, teenage rage, job loss, and dysfunctional families that make us want to bitch slap the Cosbys.  On the other hand…together,  we’ve enjoyed births, anniversaries, school plays, vacations, and holidays that would put a tear in Clark Griswold’s nostalgic eye. “We” persevered…together.  And together, “we” stand united to face whatever more this fickle life has to throw our way.  As long as WE control our pronoun throwdown.

Ditch the “‘me.”

Say “OUI” to “We!”

Chick Hughes

“The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.” ~ Robert C. Dodds

Chick Hughes is a wife of 15 years, mother of 2, and lover of psychology. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and offers insight, advice, and humor on relationships, sex, and family. She has extensive experience with children, but now stays home with her own children, Patrick (9) and Anna (3), who both delight and challenge her daily. You can visit her website at http://www.chickhughes.comto read more of her work. Or you can visit her fan page on Facebook, Chick Hughes, where you can participate in discussions relating to her current topic.

Do You Have a Marriage Crisis Intervention Team?

fightingcoupleLike Chick Hughes just mentioned in her last article all couples fight! It doesn’t mean you’re headed for divorce court or that one of you will end up on the next episoded of Snapped. It just means that you are comfortable enough with each other to disagree and say so. The argument itself isn’t the problem; it’s what you do afterward that will make or sometimes break your marriage.

The first mistake couples make is turning what is often times a trivial argument into a catastrophic event. I’ve personally witnessed couples get upset over the silliest things, but call their lawyer to draw up the divorce papers. Many times, it isn’t that deep at all, but out of fuming emotion, one or both will take it there. Why? Because they don’t have a good marriage crisis intervention team in place.

A marriage crisis intervention team are the people you call when you’re standing on the ledge and about to jump. A bad team of people will give that well-meaning but detrimental advice regarding what you should do as a result of the argument. Instead of offering an objective view point, they feed off of your emotion by saying things like, “girl, you should leave him,” “he’s probably cheating,” or “he ain’t no good.” These are the people who convince you to jump off that ledge and do something stupid, like drawing up those divorce papers or packing your stuff and leaving. YOU DO NOT WANT THESE PEOPLE ON YOUR MARRIAGE CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM.

A good team will do the exact opposite and more. These are the people who will talk you off the ledge! They will remind you that you are just fuming with emotion and saying things that you really don’t mean. They know that you really don’t want your marriage to be over; you’re just mad right now. They listen, are supportive and remind you of how much you really do love your spouse. They convince you to wait a few days before making regretful decisions based on emotion. They ask thought provoking questions, like “Are you sure you’ve exhausted all of your options and you really want to end your marriage,” or, “Have you guys tried counseling?” This is the team that will fight for your marriage when you are too mad to do so. These are the people you should call if you need to vent after an argument with your spouse!

Again, ALL couples fight but the remarried couple provides even more opportunity for conflict. How you recover from those arguments partly depends on who catches you when you fall. A good marriage crisis intervention team will remind you that it really isn’t a crisis at all and make you realize that your marriage at least deserves a fighting chance.

Kiss My Azzzz…All Married Couples Fight!

couplebedfightHe’s mad.  She’s mad.  He yells.  She rebels.  He decides to call it a night.  She demands they stay up and finish the fight.   None of us is unfamiliar with the best marital advice this side of a divorce.  Drum roll please… “Never go to bed angry!”  It’s said that if we don’t hash through a disagreement before our head hits the pillow at night, it’ll lead to resentment and ultimately dismantle our relationship.  Well, I don’t know about the rest of the married world…but if I had to resolve every marital argument before going to sleep at night, I’d quickly resemble a zombie from the Thriller video.  And on that laughably inadequate amount of sleep, I’d be much less passive…think cross between “Zombieland” and “NightBitch On Elm Street.” Yeah, this is what happens when I “Never sleep again.”    But it turns out sleep-deprived fight nights and  groggy dark circle-eyed days don’t pave the spit-swapping way to make up sex.  So, in the event of a night brawl, should we stay awake and duke it out…or put our head to pillow while we internally shout?  Is “never go to bed angry” sound advice?

Psychologists say NO…it’s a myth.  They say couples are afraid of fighting…when, in fact, fighting (in moderation) is a sign of a healthy marriage.  We all fight.  It’s inevitable.  Spending minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day with the same person WILL lead to disagreement from time to time…unless you’re a deaf-mute…and even then the sight of their annoying breathing pattern may eventually tip your tolerance scale.  We coexist, therefore, we fight.    Sometimes over our passionately differing viewpoints…and sometimes over mundane little details of our deceptively delightful days.  Whatever we’re sparring over, experts say the fact that we’re sparring at all is a good sign.  It means we’re comfortable enough with ourselves, AND with our partners, to disagree.  That we won’t go along with whatever the other says just to avoid an argument.  They say it’s THIS bobble-headed “whatever you say” attitude that leads the bobbler to, one day, tire of nodding his head and leave the marital bed.  So, go ahead…speak up!

couplearguingIf you do speak up one late night opportune moment, emotions are running high, and the argument is going nowhere…pushing the issue while both partners are emotionally and physically drained will be more harmful and counterproductive than going to bed while angry.  When we’re exhausted and seething furiously, the last thing we want to do is LISTEN.  And just as important as sharing our opinion is LISTENING to that of our partner.  Listen, share, listen, share…compromise OR agree to disagree and move on.  But none are likely to happen in the middle of a war with lots of ammunition and little rational thought.  We’ll just keep hitting lower and lower below the belt trying to make our point.  In the end, we’ll still go to bed as our heads boil over with tears…however, now more damage has been done…and that damage cannot be undone.  This emotional unleashing is due to what psychologists call “flooding” …when we’re so overwhelmed with anger and emotion, all rational thought has evacuated our firehouse head, our hearts are pounding, and we lose all ability to fairly and justly resolve an argument.  It’s better to table the discussion until  morning and go to bed mad.

When you find yourself head on with a night fight, remember the three R’s:

Recharge: Go to sleep, get rest, and recharge your battery.  The issue at hand will be clearer with a rested mind.  With rest comes rational thought.  With rational thought comes perspective.

Regroup: Think about the point your partner was trying to make.  Was it valid?  Was yours?  More often than not, with a fresh perspective, we realize the argument wasn’t ALL THAT!

Revisit: Choose a time to revisit the issue with your partner.  Discuss it with a clear mind and emotions in check.  If the issue remains ALL THAT upon revisiting, then more discussion is needed.  If not…then let it go, apologize, and get geared up for make up sex.  Established emotional and sexual connections are the ties that bind our love.  Heated fights will unravel those ties.  And failure to reestablish them will burn the edges so they may never bind again.  So, manage your relationship and “tie” it up with a pretty little bow. 

We all fight.  It’s not a sign of the end times for our marriage.  It’s simply a sign that we’re together every day, we have our own opinion, and we’re comfortable enough with one another to vocalize that opinion.  A healthy couple will fight.  A smart couple will fight when the time is right.

So…go ahead.  Sleep on it!

Chick Hughes

“Do not teach your children never to be angry; teach them how to be angry.”  ~Lyman Abbott

chickhughessmChick Hughes is a wife of 15 years, mother of 2, and lover of psychology. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and offers insight, advice, and humor on relationships, sex, and family. She has extensive experience with children, but now stays home with her own children, Patrick (9) and Anna (3), who both delight and challenge her daily. You can visit her website at www.chickhughes.com to read more of her work. Or you can visit her fan page on Facebook, Chick Hughes, where you can participate in discussions relating to her current topic.

His Wandering Eye…Her Wondering Why? by Chick Hughes

Man taking picturesIf he has a pulse and a penis, he does it.  He looks.  He lingers.  He lusts.  While alone, his eyes are free to roam and take in the sights of all approaching T & A mountainous hillsides.  And he will…guilt-free.  However, while accompanied by his lady love, the hills have eyes.  And those eyes will burn him like the fires of hell if he’s caught checking out the view.  We’ve all felt said heat from time to time.  Let’s say…we’re out enjoying a nice night as a couple, when a sultry sexpot sashays by…seemingly, with the intention of owning every set of male eyes within a 5 mile radius.  He struggles to maintain control of his strong-willed peepers.  She awaits the inevitable turn of his head, as if an invisible string connects his nose to that sashay.  He tries, and fails, to cover his distraction.  Too late.  Not only did she notice, but she counted the seconds as his “distraction” sashayed by.  Upon regaining control of his eyes, he’s now aware of his mistake and awaits his fate.  Suddenly on the defense, he must dodge the onslaught of questions…  “Were you looking at her?”  “Do you think she’s pretty?”  “Have you no respect for me?”  He freezes…wondering at what turn his words will betray him.   And they will.

Though dramatic, this is a situation none of us is unfamiliar with.  And, yes, ALL men check out other women while in our charming company.  Some are more tactful about it, and wisely hover just under the radar like a graceful eagle…others, not so much, and ignorantly flail around over that radar like a one-winged vulture frantic to get its last meal.  Graceful or flailing…they look.

Women want to know WHY?   “Am I so unattractive that he must look elsewhere?”  And men want to know why she cares?  “Why is it such a big deal that I glance in another woman’s direction?”

Ladies, he simply can’t help it.  He’s biologically programmed and dominated by his testosterone to check out any and all attractive women who cross his path.  While his ogling may offend us, it’s completely meaningless to him.  He’s only noticing and appreciating.  With this glance comes no desire, nor intention, to jump ship and  rock someone else’s boat.  In fact, he attaches no feeling to his ogling object, whatsoever.  Experts say that when men are checking out other women, they unconsciously depersonalize them.  So, it’s nothing more than a once-over…then-over moment of admiration.  This depersonalization, experts believe, is a byproduct of human evolution…a method once used to ensure drama-free spread of his seed.  His primal goal was but one:  to mate.  No emotion, no commotion…wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

This is why men don’t understand what all the fuss is about.  To him, looking is as natural as breathing.  He’s irrevocably hard-wired to look at attractive women.  It’s the nature of the beast.  Studies on brain scans reveal that men have “reward centers” that are triggered when looking at images of women’s faces and bodies.  As we all know, men are visual creatures.  The simple act of looking at attractive women rewards his brain and encourages him to do it again.  The study also proved the reverse situation not to be true.  When looking at attractive men, women did not have a “reward center” triggered in her brain…different brains, different gains.

Beautiful woman thinking

Guess What? She's Looking Too!

Having said that, men must understand why she feels threatened by his sudden visual vacation.  Guess what though!  She’s looking too!  She’s checked out her competition just as quickly as he has…maybe quicker.  And while she may not be able to look away any easier than he, the last thing she needs is his validation that she’s fallen a notch on his hot-o-meter.  And when he does validate her fall, she gets angry.  Her anger isn’t driven by jealousy, but by insecurity.  She may feel hotter than a busty stripper in the Sahara desert, but let a slightly hotter female catch his eye…and she’s a slave to her insecurity.  She’s well aware of how visual men are, so if she loses his eye to another…even for a second…her loss of confidence eats at her, and at the most inopportune time…you guessed it…sex!  If she’s feeling insecure come bump ‘n’ grind time, she’ll likely invent an excuse to avoid it.  Guys, it’s in your best interest to keep your visual dessert desires to yourself if you want to enjoy the entree.

The last thing she wants is to be compared to a hotter woman…feeling inferior isn’t good for the ego.  And fellas, if the tables were turned, and she were ogling a hotter guy whose “goods” were wrestling with his shorts like an anaconda in a body bag…the same insecurity would fester.  Each of us is subject to being emotionally bullied by our “less than lusty” self perception.

Ladies, it isn’t rational to ask him not to notice other women…EVEN when in our company.  Asking him not to be visual is the equivalent of asking us not to be emotional.  Both are biological traits we have little control over.  But any control we can muster will greatly enhance our relationship with the opposite sex.  Just as we should scale back the irrational tears and attempt to spare him excess drama, he should make the same attempt to spare us the visual lust fest he feels when crossing paths with a beautiful woman.  Too much emotion is foreign to him…just as too much drooling  is misunderstood by her.

The least we can do is be aware of our biological nature and the feelings (be them positive or negative) brought on by that biology.  Yes, he has a basic, unfettered need to size women up.  Always has.  Always will.  Ladies… accept him…all of him…from his thighs to his eyes. Try not to be insulted.  Remember, it’s anything but personal…it’s instinct.  He places much less importance on a lingering glance than we do.   And guys…keep the ogling at bay…notice, appreciate, and quickly move on.  Lingering will kill her self-confidence, which in turn, will kill your sex life.  Your sex life is only as good as her biggest insecurity.  Make her feel good, and she’ll return the favor.

Tame the wandering eye, and she won’t have to wonder why.

chickhughessmChick Hughes is a wife of 15 years, mother of 2, and lover of psychology. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and offers insight, advice, and humor on relationships, sex, and family. She has extensive experience with children, but now stays home with her own children, Patrick (9) and Anna (3), who both delight and challenge her daily. You can visit her website at http://chickhughes.com/ to read more of her work. Or you can visit her fan page on Facebook, Chick Hughes, where you can participate in discussions relating to her current topic.

Divorce, Remarriage and Sex Talk with Chick Hughes

It’s official, Chick Hughes is my new girl crush. The new, as talk show host, Wendy Williams would say, “friend in my head.” I have been perusing her blog for quite some time now and was honored to have her grace the virtual pages of Today’s Modern Family when she wrote, “His No Drama Mama” for us.  She’s not only informative, but her combination of wit with just a hint of sarcasm keeps you plugged in and coming back for more. I like the way this chick – no pun intended – thinks! Check out my interview with her as we talk about divorce, (re)marriage and sex!

lettinggosmKela: I loved your article, called Ex Marks the Spot, about break ups/divorces. In it, I quote, “Whether we ended it, or it ended us…the heart doesn’t take kindly to being smashed to pieces.  Sometimes, we get over a break-up and move on…sometimes, the break-up, or divorce, moves on over us,” Do you think this is one of the reasons, women especially, have such a difficult time truly moving on after divorce/break up? And how is that feeling magnified if there are children involved?

Chick: Absolutely.  Women are more emotionally centered than men.  Men, being more logical, are able to see that if a relationship is over, there’s no need to dwell on it.  “It’s broken…can’t be fixed…ok.”  They’re better equipped to compartmentalize it and move on.  Women, on the other hand, remain more emotional and, therefore, find it harder to let go…even once confirmation from a judge has been received.  She may hang onto the memories…what has been…what could’ve been had they stayed together.  And, of course, these feelings are magnified when there are children involved.  Children are the ties that bind us.  Without children, once divorced, there’s no need for further communication.  However, when there are children involved, divorced couples are permanently tied together…forced to keep some semblance of a relationship going.  For women who find it hard to let go, this continued relationship only manages to pour salt into an already open wound.  She can’t forget him long enough to let go in a healthy manner.  Of course, this isn’t the case for all divorced women.  But generally speaking, yes…the heart holds on much longer than the hand.

Kela: What is your advice for people who have a difficult time letting go after the divorce/break up?

Chick: Hmm, that’s a tricky thing.  A divorce/breakup is a different animal for each person…and so is the manner in which he/she chooses to let go.  Difficulty in letting go is a form of denial.  Denial is essentially a self-protection mechanism for the heart.  When something is too difficult to digest, we deny it…and defy it.  Not only do we hate to admit failure, but the thought of starting over ALONE terrifies us.   After investing so much of ourselves in this one relationship, we’ve gone emotionally bankrupt.  And that’s a difficult reality to swallow.  Perhaps our perceptions are our biggest roadblocks.  Maybe, we shouldn’t perceive failure as such a negative entity.  After all, failure is the best teacher.  One learns through mistakes. Taking the lessons we’ve learned and using them to build a new foundation is the only way to survive devastation.  So, my advice would be to own our mistakes, take what we’ve learned, and start anew.  Think of it as a remodel.  And this time around, you be the architect. 

naggingwomansmKela: I’ve heard many husbands say that they feel as if their wife (stepmom of their children) just nag all the time. As a result, I feel this is why they tend not to pay much attention to her feelings/nagging. Explain your theory regarding the science behind nagging.

Chick: I see a distinct correlation between level of nagging and level of connection in a relationship.  When we’re deeply in love…stars in our eyes kind of love…women don’t seem to nag as much.  Why?  We don’t need to.  We feel strongly connected to our partner…emotionally and sexually.  Connection is a tug of war among couples.  She’s pulling for emotional connection…he’s pulling for sexual connection.  If one drops the rope, so does the other.  The result is a lost connection.  However, when connected, he’s providing her the emotional support she needs…she’s providing him the sexual support he needs.  All is right with the world.  Sex is his way of connecting.  So, when he’s getting sex, he feels connected. He helps out willingly around the house because he wants to please her.  She doesn’t have to ask him to help…much.  However, when the connection is lost, neither is getting what they need.  So, he retreats, stops helping out because he no longer wants to please her since she’s not “pleasing” him… (ironically, she doesn’t want to “please” him until he gives her an emotional connection…Feel the rope getting droopy?  🙂  She gets resentful that he’s pulled away AND that she’s the one left holding down the fort.  So, she nags…tells him what she needs done.  He tunes her out.  She gets more angry.  He gets more distant.  Until she restores the connection sexually, or he restores it emotionally, the distance will widen.  As I suggest in my article “Shag the Nag” nagging seems to be nothing more than a by-product of a lost connection.  Fix one, the other will follow. 

Kela: Okay, Chick, let’s talk about sex! I always say that men could have sex in the middle of the Iraqi war, but women need to feel safe, emotionally connected and appreciated, almost all the time, to have sex. Why do you think this is so?

Chick: Men and women are simply hardwired differently.  Women need emotional connection to have sex.  Men need sex to have emotional connection.  As much as we want to change that fact, it’s a useless endeavor.  This wiring could possibly be evolutionary.  Many, many years ago, men needed to spread their seed…no emotion needed.  Women needed to bear and raise children…and became more selective with a mate.  An emotional connection was perhaps an insurance policy for her that he would stick around and help with the family.   Still is.  🙂

sexywomansmKela: I’ve read research claiming that sex often puts you in this euphoric state. Is sex really the best medicine? Should women just give in to their need for constant emotional connection and just give him some?

Chick: During sex, the brain releases a chemical called oxytocin, which does, in fact, give us a euphoric feeling.  Not only that, but it alleviates other bodily pains such as headaches, cramps, etc.  This is what the “afterglow” is referring to.  As much as we need an emotional connection, sometimes, we just want to get laid as much as he does.  So, I would say, yes…sometimes we should throw emotion to the wind, throw our drawers to the side, and surrender to the man “within.”  😉   

Kela: In the complicated lives of the modern stepfamily, we tend to forget that we are even married sometimes. Your spouse can become “that guy/girl you have to work on a project [co-parenting the kids with the ex-spouse] instead of the person you fell in love with. What can (re)married couples do to bring back that loving feeling?

Chick: Without that loving feeling, that loveless project is doomed to wither under it’s own demise.  When entering into a new relationship where kids are already present, a couple isn’t afforded the “just us” luxury.  Their relationship dives directly into the deep end…a.k.a. family.  They never get the chance to dip their toes in and adjust to the shallow end.  Because of this, their relationship will immediately center around the kids, allowing little time for dates and romance.  Dates and romance are essential to remaining connected as a couple.  And connection as a couple is essential to successful parenting.  If kids can spot a rift between you as a couple, they’ll use that to their advantage.  And eventually whittle away an already weak ship.  The only way to keep that connection alive is to nurture it…set aside the days your children are with the other parent and make it date night (or weekend)…and keep that date.  No matter what! 

Don’t allow the kids to sleep in your bed.  After a hectic day of relentless work and bang-your-head-against-a-wall battles with children, nightly alone time in bed with your sweetie is likely the only alone time you’ll get until date night.  So, protect that time.  The kids have their own beds…use them.  A connection must be oiled and tended to…otherwise it creeks, squeals, and comes unhinged.  Don’t let life get in the way of love!

His No Drama Mama by Chick Hughes

The following was written by guest blogger, Chick Hughes

conflictToo much emotion.  Too soon devotion.  Too many tears.  Unfounded fears.  When verbalized, all synonymous with drama in the eyes of the all-American male.  Men love many things…a hot curvaceous girl invitingly shooting him come-hither eyes, a winning touchdown seconds before a game’s end, freaky uninhibited sex in…well, anywhere…location doesn’t really concern them,  a thick juicy steak big enough to consume the plate it’s served on…just to name a few.  Any combination of which will render him putty in her hands.  But one sure fire way to callously jerk him from his state of euphoric bliss is to throw a little DRAMA his way!  Men infamously hate drama…and, of course, women cannot seem to exist without it.  I once read a one-liner from a man that summed up how he claimed men feel about drama.  In reference to a particular girlfriend of his, he wrote “The juice wasn’t worth the squeezing.”   Wow, that says a lot, does it not?  Too much juice on her end and not enough thirst on his.  Men and women have so much to learn about one another…but in order to learn and enjoy the “juice,” he has to take the time to squeeze.  Otherwise, he’ll have so many different flavors of “juice” on his palate, his mouth will be in a permanent state of sour- induced contorted twists.  And, walking around with a face like that,  his “juice” problems will be all dried up.

Why do men hate drama?

To a man, a woman who is verbalizing her feelings in depth and dwelling on them is creating drama.  He hates drama because he doesn’t understand it.  Men don’t verbalize problems or feelings.  They internalize…go into their mental cave to fix the problem.  And if she tries to force her pretty little only-trying-to-help head into that cave, she’ll likely lose it.  WARNING:  NO interruptions while the “fixing” process is underway.  He’s a problem-solver, not a detail thinker.  If she complains, cries, or presents him with a problem, he immediately puts on his fix-it hat.  He feels he needs to determine the problem, triangulate a solution, and put that solution into motion…then, and only then, in his mind, has he done his job, protected his woman, and made her happy.  This is his way of showing his love for her.  But, too many emotional details cloud his plan of action and only frustrate him…however he forges on.  Once he’s zeroed in on and offered a solution, she gets angry.  He’s confused…she had a problem, he solved it, but she’s still angry?  He’s not sure what she wants from him.  Both have hit a dead end.  Let the fighting begin.  After going a few rounds, he realizes that he doesn’t know how to fix the problem because she won’t allow him to.  She’s just tied his hands behind his back while spoon feeding him a steady stream of drama that he doesn’t know how to digest…eventually he’ll get full and spit it back at her, walk away, and distance himself from the perceived problem.  If he’s not allowed to fix it, he feels like a failure.  If a man is made to feel like a failure, he pulls back.  If he pulls back, she assumes he doesn’t care.  Result:  more DRAMA…more pulling back…more drama…more pulling back…disconnect.  Tip for men:  Listen, don’t fix.  Determining the “whys to her cries” without attempting the fix may just turn those cries into bedroom surprise.

Why do women create drama?

Some have theorized that women create drama in an unconscious attempt to put a man on the spot and find out his emotional strengths and weaknesses…in essence, judge him on how he handles emotional situations…is he a listener?  encouraging?  patient?  selfish?  empathetic?  supportive?  It’s hypothesized that this “test” acts as gauge as to what her future may be like with him.  While this is not a scientific theory,  it’s a theory that very much intrigues me.  By nature, we strive to find the best suitable mate for ourselves AND the best possible father for our children.  His emotional gauge is vital information to this search.  A way of eliminating the “bad eggs” and revealing the “golden egg.”

 Some scientists claim that a woman who creates an excessive amount of drama and displays needy or clingy behavior was likely the child of neglectful parenting…that the child was accustomed to begging for love and attention and is, therefore, conditioned to think drama is the only way of achieving it.  Ironically, in the end, that drama will only achieve the opposite, as she’ll suffocate any man who attempts to love her.  Fan a flame, you see light.  Suffocate it, you see nothing.

Cold hard truth?  Women are emotional beings.  Emotional all of the time, yes.  More emotional once a month, absolutely.  You can bet…she hates her monthly friend more than he does.   He may be held captive and forced to watch the hormonal sideshow starring the two-headed,  flame-eating woman… but she’s the one tied up emotionally and taken hostage by her alter ego freakshow only to later wonder… “Who the hell was that?”  But that’s just once a month…best advice…lower your head and NEVER, ever look her in the eye, as it’s seen as a challenge.  And going up against two heads spitting fire cannot end well. She shares her feelings, emotions, and problems not because she wants him to “fix” them.  She shares them to establish and nourish relationships.  She shares them because  she loves him, because she wants to bond with him, because she needs to feel that he understands her.  It’s just that simple.  She’s not looking for a solution.  She doesn’t want, or need, him to fix her problem.  If she does, she’ll ask.  Otherwise, she only wants him to listen.  She wants him to validate her feelings and empathize with her.  She wants him to be quiet, listen…and say “I know.  You’re right.  I can totally see why you would feel that way.  Is there anything I can do?”  Validation…check.  Empathy…check.  This response will calm her,  reinstate him as her rock, and make her fall in love with him all over again.  Soon her meltdown will begin to solidify.  Once it does, she’ll be equipped to move on, get over it, and possibly get it on.  Emotion (hers, not his)  followed by sex is the ultimate connector.  With the almighty power of this combo, not only is he her emotional rock…he’s her sexual Hercules

Men must realize that women and drama go hand in hand…understand this, accept it, and learn how to respond in a way that will make her respond.  Cutting off her emotional sharing will in turn cut off her connection to you.  Keep all connecting roads open…and you will find many short cuts to the destination of your sexual choice.  Women must realize that sometimes we overdo the drama. While it’s a necessary evil with us, too much “evil” will wear down the devil himself.  Keep the emotional sharing on a short leash.  Too much running rampant will result in piles of crap everywhere.  And if he’s not allowed to clean it up, he may leave the park.

 Realistically, it’s not within a woman’s grasp to attain No-Drama mama status.  But, with a little understanding and effort, she can totally rock his world as his Low-Drama mama.

 

chickhughessmChick Hughes is a wife of 15 years, mother of 2, and lover of psychology. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and offers insight, advice, and humor on relationships, sex, and family.  She has extensive experience with children, but now stays home with  her own children, Patrick (9) and Anna (3), who both delight and challenge her daily. You can visit her website at http://chickhughes.com/ to read more of her work.  Or you can visit her fan page on Facebook, Chick Hughes, where you can participate in discussions relating to her current topic.

Marriage and Divorce: A Powerful Lesson

couplearguingBelow is a thought provoking, powerful story about marriage and divorce, written by an unknown author. For me, it further confirms my point that marriage is something that is to be cherished, nurtured and protected. If any of you reading this story is considering divorce, I sincerely hope it makes you think twice.

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.

She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.

She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.

She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don’t tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside
the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

coupleholdingOn the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.

On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me… she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office…. jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind…I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.

Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed – dead.
My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.– At least, in the eyes of our son— I’m a loving husband….

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage.

A CHRIST-CENTERED MARRIAGE IS A MARRIAGE THAT IS SURE TO LAST A LIFETIME.

So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. Matthew 19:6