Tag Archive | Integrity

Choose Chastity Because You Have Self-Respect

The idea of remaining a virgin has always had religious connotations with it because this is where the concept has the strongest need. In our modern society many people are ashamed to associate with a faith, which is very sad because it is important to value spirituality as well as mind and body. Parents are refusing to provide religious instruction through some avenue of persuasion, opting to “let them choose,” which is about as ignorant as allowing a child to vote. So by writing about chastity here, I want to put it in the context of self-respect.  For some reason modern women writers tend to focus on making sex acceptable and I think it is more important to make self-respect acceptable and a priority. This is not a conversation about religion but it is about being a feminist and it is not about hating men.

Not having sex before you are married is a very beautiful step toward choosing the right partner. It takes a certain amount of maturity, wisdom and focus to make this decision. I am always so proud of my female clients when they tell me they have opted to go in this direction. Some make the decision because of religion and some because they are smart enough to know they are not ready. When my female clients have chosen to embark on the path of sex before marriage, I am proud of them for choosing birth control and safe sex (a majority of young women refuse to use birth control). I know these women are not getting any support from their girlfriends because the “in” crowd is focused on their sexual appetites and what brand of sex they choose. The latter is ridiculous because you cannot be sure of your identity until you are an adult and even then, it takes time to adjust to being in the real world. Many people, I believe, are going to rue the day they made drastic changes to their sex and persona as a young person – wait and see. We have already gone through the plastic surgery guilt and the sudden surge in sex changes and sexual confusion is next. We, as psychology professionals cannot even give certain diagnoses to minors and this is because they are going through identity confusion.  So this is my main argument for chastity. Teenagers are going through an identity crisis and it is best to wait until they are an adult to make any sexual decisions. Regret is a painful feeling to deal with throughout your life.

With chastity before marriage so many benefits come with this decision. You are free to focus on your future without any inhibitions or “responsibilities,” [to someone]. In the meantime, it is important to date and befriend lots of people but be very open about your boundary of not having sex. By doing so, you will get rid of the bad people immediately who are only about pulling down your drawers. You don’t have to worry about disease or babies that “accidentally” occur because you have chosen not to use birth control. You can think about college or career aspirations. You can focus on building a financial portfolio so that you can buy a house and a nice car. You can enjoy having fun with friends and dates because you are not tied down to anyone. When you are dating, you are taking the time to get to know one another and finding out what it is you want in a relationship. When you finally do choose to marry, you are wearing a white wedding dress with pride and because you respect the meaning of the color. The long term benefits are that you will have a lot more happiness by choosing to respect yourself and you will be more successful in life.

The cons that come with sex before marriage are that once you have gone down this road, it is hard to turn back. You can with perseverance and strength and a willingness to start over though. Sex at a young age often becomes a place to perform. Young people get caught up in size, quantity, positions, acting, what they are able to do, and how great they are. This is a very shallow path toward a future because you become focused on your statistics and performance rather than your life. Many people, I have spoken with, who start out at a young age get so lost that they forget who they are. I spend time in sessions coaching them on how to find the human being that rests within. Of course because our society has decided it is not politically correct to discipline a young woman or the young man, for not using birth control, so many women have determined they can take the chances. They see these hideous reality shows where women have multiple partners, have babies before marriage and men see that it is practically acceptable to abandon a woman once she is pregnant. Our society is more focused on feeling sorry for than teaching values. Celebrities have no sense of their role in society and how they are ruining our young people by setting poor examples. It is great for a wealthy person to have a baby at 16 because they have nannies to take care of the unwanted child. The average person has nothing financially to contribute and this can end up leading to social services intervention and/or the public welfare system.

Sex is not a bad thing; it is a very wonderful way to be with a person that you love. It is icing on the cake but much more worthwhile when you have taken the time to get to know someone. Building a friendship and having trust and respect with your partner is foreplay. Foreplay is not a conversation on a first or second or so on date that you end with sex. It takes time to build this emotional connection and once you have a commitment, don’t end this by having sex. Wait to get married to do this, you’ve gone this far so why not? Young people are not able to make a decision that they are in love with someone when their friendship is about sex.

Emotional instability is often the very reason that women end up being unfaithful to their partners because we have “emotional infidelity” (before the act is performed of having sex) whereas men have physical infidelity upfront. When women don’t have a strong emotional connection to their partner, they seek someone else to fulfill this wish. You can’t love someone just because you have had sex together. That is infatuation. You can’t expect to build a relationship on a one night stand or a fling. Most women try to do this and they fall short or end up pregnant hoping to force the issue. Obviously none of this works. To quick to jump in bed is behind so many failed marriages.

The degradation of our current society is at an all-time low that I often wonder if it will ever be possible to repair it. So many inappropriate messages are being thrown out into our culture which unfortunately is witnessed by everyone, including the very young. When I grew up these topics needed to wait until after the nine o’clock hour which was reserved for adults. Even then, the topics were hardly an issue of concern to young people, not when you compare this with our world today. The focus on death by suicide and suicidal ideation is really missing the point. It is not about encouraging people to be sexually open; it is about encouraging self-esteem and abstinence as a way toward a happier and more successful life. I wonder if the rate would be so high if minors were not so focused on coming out or having sex in general? If we made the priority in schools about academia and goal planning for the future rather than passing a test and getting out of school. The idea of focusing on bathrooms rather than education when a person should not be choosing their sexuality as a minor (especially changing the gender) is so harmful to the young psyche whose brain doesn’t even stop developing until they are an adult. Young people won’t need to worry about bathrooms and sexuality if they are focused on their academic future. When they are out in the real world and beginning to see what life is all about, than they can make choices with a clear mind that is not intimidated by peer pressure, family, or religion.

Young people, often, do know what their sexuality is at a very young age but it is more important that they behave like a child and have fun. It is more important that they are groomed for adulthood and are taught principles to grow on. This means learning about religion – with their parents there to instruct as well as the religious sector. It means getting a good education – with their parents taking this seriously and being involved with the school. It means the parents need to teach values, i.e., work ethics and family beliefs. The only thing a young person should be choosing is which sport or type of dance to be in or which school club to join or which elective they want to take. Even then, this should be a decision agreed upon with the parents based on finances of course.

By not focusing on sex a child will have a much stronger and healthier sense of self. Being chaste will more than likely cause a child to be better educated in the long run and this will help them to make better choices in life. It is time for us to take a step back and reflect on the values we, as older adults, were taught growing up and realize how great we had it. Then we need to re-think the messages we are sending out on the Internet and how it is affecting the young minds. A young woman is more of a feminist by respecting her mind, body and spirit and a young man respecting feminist ideals when it is not about getting her in bed. Wait to have sex or to determine your sex and focus on your future. You will thank me one day.

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Before You Say I Do

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Benjamin Franklin

Weddings cost an average of $26,720, according to costofawedding.com. The average cost of a divorce is $15,000-$30,000 according to a 2006 Forbes.com article. In my experience the latter figure will vary based on children, assets and EGO. The American Psychological Association reports that 40-50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Many couples wait until they are very married and very upset before they come into therapy. When there has been an affair, when there is about to be an affair, or when they are so over this person that it would take a fairy Godmother to make any difference in the relationship. With all this negativity why say I do in the first place?

On the heels of the Benjamin Franklin quote above, which I absolutely love because it sums up what I am about to say right here. Pre-Marital counseling is a must to add to that wedding budget as you will get a greater return on your investment. In fact, pre-marital counseling can be the most important money you will spend before you say I do.  Yes, it is possible that you will realize you made a mistake (but this is $15-$30,000 saved). It is also possible that you will save yourself a lot of heartache in the days after the “big day.” Here are some tips for making pre-marital counseling work.

  1. Schedule the onset of counseling at the same time you are sending your “Save the Date,” cards (six to eight months) prior to the big day. You need time to do the work and it may involve individual as well.
  2. Communicate with your therapist what your specific needs are. Even when the therapist has an agenda, make sure to let them know if they are missing something or a new issue has popped up (I always do a check-in before we begin the session). If you don’t tell the therapist, how are they supposed to know?
  3. Self-Awareness – Therapy doesn’t work if one person thinks it is the other persons fault. It takes two to tango and you have to be willing to be held accountable in counseling.
  4. Respect for the therapist and for yourself – paying for sessions on time, showing up on time, being committed to your partner and your future. Psychotherapy is a business first and a healing profession second. This is why you are coming: to get the advice, coaching, and support of a professional – not from a friend or family member.
  5. Homework is there for a reason.  To practice this new way of communicating. Don’t expect results if you are going home and behaving in the same manner.
  6. Be open to recommendations of the therapist – If there are addictions with one or both parties, couples counseling is not ready yet. If there is domestic violence a domestic violence agency should be consulted first for batterers work and counseling for the victim. If there is a history of abuse, there may be a need for individual work for that person before they are ready to begin couples. Your therapist will assess your situation and let you know what is necessary to begin.

Unmet needs from childhood are the majority of couple conflicts. Think about what you didn’t get from your parents growing up – love, nurturance, listening, guidance, a father/a mother, validation, whatever it was this is what you will look for in a partner. Unfortunately, since you aren’t really sure what this looks like, you often get exactly what you don’t want. This is because we are more comfortable with what we know and so this is what we attract. For example: someone to take care of (rather than being taking care of), or someone who just doesn’t give you the love you wish for and you are constantly struggling to attain this. Couples come in talking about small things but what is behind it is something so much larger. This has to do with expectations that have been mulling around in their head but no one has ever spoken of.

Effective communication is the key to a successful marriage. Each time I have attended one of those 50 years + type anniversary parties, they have all said the cliché phrase “communication,” when asked what made their marriage work. I have listened to couples tell me their grandparents or aunt/uncles have said the same. What this means is something that often takes people many years of mistakes to figure out. For older couples I can tell you it also means a lot of compromising along the way because they were married in a time when there was no acceptance of pre-marital counseling other than a few sessions with their spiritual leader.

When I work with couples, I am using the training I took at certified Gottman.com led seminars. These are the principles of Dr. John Gottman which are based on his years of research with couples. If you just “google search” his name you will find loads of articles, videos, interviews, photos and of course their website. His work was introduced to me long before I began my studies as a therapist and after becoming a therapist, his name came across my path once again and off I went to the advanced trainings.

In my personal background, I was 17 years old when I married and I was six months pregnant at the time. I was divorced a couple of years later because of abuse and addictions on their part. I later learned, while doing my thesis and again from Dr. John Gottman with his partner Dr. Neil Jacobson that I was in a marriage with a Pit Bull (When Men Batter Women: New Insights Into Ending Abusive Relationships, 1998). I have never remarried but I have been in several long-term relationships that did not last. It was a long time before it finally hit me in the head what I had been missing all along. Fortunately for you, who might be working with me, you won’t have to wait at all. The reason why I love doing work with couples is so that I may give them the advantages I never had. Experience, Education, Intuition, Insight, Holistic thought process and continuing education post-graduate school is what you will get when you come into my office.

A therapist cannot promise you miracles because it is up to you two and what you are willing to commit to working on. When my coupleS work as hard in session as they do out of session – on practicing these principles I am teaching them, I do see success. My belief is that a couple should not be married without some form of pre-marital counseling (see paragraph one).

 

Tips for Online Dating

I’ve recently utilized one of the online dating services and have learned quite a bit about what goes on in this modern society and the world of singles. Firstly, you want to make sure you are on the right website. Since dating, hook-up and sex sites just want your money, they are not taking any time whatsoever to explain their format, give examples or basically provide you with a reason why you should want to pay them money. They all say they are free and none of them are except a couple. But who wants to be on a free website when this tells you how much the other is willing to invest in their future? Dating websites JUST want your money, they don’t care what happens after that. Be conscious of this and the choices you make. Click on Top 10 list below:

Ask Men has a really good list of Top 10 dating websites which explains the costs, what the site is really for and gives you the pros/cons. Once you read their article, click on the numbers below it to start learning about each of their picks that they chose based on their research.

TIPS

1. If you are just trying to hook-up, or have sex, don’t go on a “Dating” website. Look at the Top 10 list above and find the right one for you.

2. If you have a sexual perversion, again, don’t go to a “Dating” website. Look at the Top 10 list above and find the right one for you. A decent woman is not interested in looking at your Cross-Dressing YouTube videos.

3. Beware of Scammers – yes, they have now taken over dating websites. Look for someone who appears to be American White/Black but the text they write has tons of grammar/content mistakes that someone would not talk like if they were born here. Of course if they are honest and say “I here from Belgium,” okay but if they don’t, be leery.  I’ve heard women say they are usually living in a very small town and often mention being a Widow. If they seem to want you to Text – DO NOT. They scam you through Texting.

4. Players – Beware of men who have two email conversations with you and then say they want to meet you and DON’T or you never hear from them again. I have read Elizabeth Stone’s article “5 Sketchy Reasons Why Your Online Match Won’t Meet You In Person and What to Do About it.” You should read this too.

5. Photos – There is a lot to say so I will break it down. 

            a. Don’t take photos of yourself as a selfie – it looks ridiculous, especially when the camera is right there in the photo. I have seen people where their heads are up in the air and you mostly see their neck, a profile, their mirror, selfie’s are for kids not grown-ups looking to find a person to have a relationship with. Get a friend to take the photo and look into the camera.

            b. Don’t have a woman/man in your profile photo if you are the opposite and looking for a partner. I have seen some photos with only a woman in the photo, which at first made me think the wrong sex was sent to me. No, the guy was heavyset and too afraid to put his photo on his profile.

            c. If you have photos with kids or women/men please identify that these are your kids, grandkids, niece, etc… so that someone doesn’t think it is your young date, ex-girlfriend, or your kids when they are your grandkids.

            d. Don’t do goofy photos because it makes you look like a moron. It is one of those “you had to be there,” moments and well, we don’t get it. Present yourself in a mature manner or try-out for a comedy club instead.

            e. Men love to do “I am a man” photos which show them popping wheelies, running in Ironman, working out in their basement etc…  This makes me think of a little boy looking for a mommy who will allow them to play. Think how you would feel if you saw a woman turning a cartwheel  or doing the splits, in a ballet pose or bouncing on a trampoline. There are pictures that say “Looking for a fellow skier, skydiver, rock climber,” and photos that say “My main priority in life is playing.”

           f. Photos of Nature??? Even if you are a photographer, women are interested in seeing you, not what you see in life. My first thought is, why are they afraid to show me themselves? Showing a photo of your home or backyard isn’t really that great either unless you are an interior decorator or landscape artist. You can say in your profile that you own a home.  If you were gay and knew how to make a stunning looking house, that is showcase ready, that is one thing but if you were gay you wouldn’t be on a heterosexual dating site. Looking at a dull house or a brown colored grass yard isn’t what a woman is going to get psyched about.

             g. Multiple photos of the same. It is not very clever to show two-three of the exact same photo.  Also, if you aren’t capable of posting them right side up, then don’t.

             h. Sexualized photos – If you have these types of photos, you really need to be on a sex/hook-up site not a dating website.

            i. Dress like a man who wants to find a woman – Don’t expect if you show photos of yourself dressed like a slob or in a rock concert T-shirt that you are going to get a sexy lady wanting to go out with you. If you don’t know how to dress nicely, pick up GQ magazine or another stylish men’s magazine  to see how you can upgrade your style a bit. Birds of a feather flock together. You want a decent person, act like a decent person.

             j. Don’t put a photo on there that has your text attached to it. SCAMMER!! If you can’t afford the dating service go to a free website that really is free.           

6. I am out of your league! Don’t see a pretty girl and go crazy sending emails to every single one to see who will bite. Emails that start out “Hey Beautiful,” or ” Hi Princess,” or “Hi Sexy,” don’t get a woman excited. This is bar room talk and meant for the bar and a beer, not a serious person looking for a man.

7. Read the profile – If it says “Looking for a God Fearing man,” then don’t send an email if you are an Atheist or some other thought process. Religion is important to people, especially when they say this. I saw quite a few profiles that said “If you voted for Trump, we aren’t a match.”  These are pretty strong words but weed people out that will waste their time. So pay attention. People take time to write profiles for a reason.

8. Be honest – Seriously. When someone meets you in person, it will be obvious that you are not “Athletic and Toned.” If you are a cheap skate and have no intentions of paying for the woman, don’t wait to go on a date to suddenly look up in the sky when it is time to buy the tickets for the movie. Put on your profile – I only do Dutch on dates. Please don’t insult women by saying you are a feminist. That is such a low blow and it only means you are cheap, not a feminist. If a woman is a feminist and big on doing Dutch, this will be made clear by her, so you need to be honest too.

9. Steer clear of online dating websites that don’t let you see photos immediately or make you pay extra after you have paid the bill to see them (very dishonest). A mutual attraction begins when you look into someone’s face. I live in Ohio, lots and lots of really, really, nice, great, men here. Unfortunately, I am not attracted to every single one of them. It is not what a person looks like either but the energy that is emitted from their photo. You are attracted to it or you are not.

10. If you say “let’s meet in person,” then you are expected to do just that. It is called integrity. Don’t brag about being a professional on your profile and then say one thing and mean another.

11. Coffee Meetings – these are meant to be a way to single out if there is chemistry, conversation, begin to build if there is. It is not a marriage proposal so don’t get so egotistical about this and fear the first date.

Guys, you are the reason why dating websites get a bad name – for the most part. I have talked to many women who have been on these websites, read articles, etc… Don’t ruin it for the good guys. Don’t ruin it for us women. No one who is on a serious dating website wants to be played, spend money on your Nigerian adventure, or be told “Lets meet” and then your never heard from again. It wastes everyone’s time and energy. Don’t be so egotistical to think a woman is dying to meet you, she is afraid too. We are all on dating websites because we are tired of trying to meet a person live, the old fashioned way. No one wants to meet at bars, except if they are an alcoholic. So be mature, have some integrity and be a real man who embodies these rules. A real man wouldn’t show photos of himself popping wheelies or in a baseball cap w/a beer bottle (unless you are looking for an alcoholic). A real man would show a professional, well-groomed, clean appearance that would make a woman get excited. No one gets excited to see a man in a t-shirt, beer belly, baseball cap, sunglasses, hoodie, pants pulled down, gold teeth, etc… you get the picture. Women are looking for a responsible, well-behaved, mature professional man. I have talked to women in the inner city and even they are not looking for gold teeth and pants pulled down. They are too smart for that!

Keep it simple and sweet. Don’t go into long monologues because the more you put on there the easier it is to weed you out. If you say too much, it is easy for a woman to see things she won’t have in common with you.

Dating websites are meant to be ways to meet people and it is hoped that someone will take their time to get to know you and if you seem interesting ask to meet you somewhere in public and then see what happens next. Act like a responsible, mature, professional man with integrity and you will find the right person to share your life with (since that is what you keep stating in your profile). Otherwise save your money and sit at home watching football.

 

 

Making America Great Again

I hope with all my heart to see this take place. Several years ago I saw and predicted the next president of the United States. I told this to people wherever I went that I really felt Trump was going to win. This was a gut feeling not my politics. After returning to Ohio in 2010, I began to be in shock at the devastation I saw in this great State. I was already getting a glimpse of this driving cross country from California and noticing that people had changed to a very drastic level while I was gone. In 2010, this was my third time to drive cross country; once in the early 90’s, then in 2003 and again in 2010. It was difficult to see this change on the West Coast because I didn’t grow up there and people in that state can convince you of anything.  They believe they are in paradise even though so many live a faux existence on loan by a lot of deep debt. Driving cross country in 2010 I was now seeing franchise after franchise taking advantage of our quality of life and stealing the local man’s hard work and dedication to his restaurant that he had been known for, for decades. I saw people who had given up on local people in favor of fast, quick, predictable junk food and having travelled out of the country, the same processed unlovingly made food around the world.

In Ohio I saw the small beautiful farm and factory towns I grew up around, turned into meth labs. I heard about the rising drug culture here and how the doctors and pharmacists were playing a small role in this. I saw how the inner city, once a small segregated population of Columbus on one side of town, was now on all sides of town. People who once did not need to depend on a house key were now installing alarm systems, buying large dogs, and they were talking about their guns as if they were a pet but really a crutch to make them believe they were safe. I saw tagging in small neighborhoods that once were nice decent places to live. I feared that soon we would see bars on the windows and doors, just as I saw in Oakland and Baltimore, MD.

I saw locally a political system that has no term limits which creates a lack of democracy and a dependence on pretense of small victories. The only thing people could tell me that their mayor had done for them was give them a park to walk in downtown – after 20 years. On a national scale I began to open my eyes to the destruction of Made in China, created by Clinton and saw documentary after documentary and began to piece together for myself how the working class person’s lives were in such great ruin in America. Yet the Chinese are upwardly mobile to the U.S. with all the fortunes the company executives were bestowing on their children thanks to our country giving away our own families economy. Locally I am seeing young guys begging for money on the streets, a sight I never once saw growing up in Columbus. These guys are fewer than 30 years of age, who no doubt are unable to pass drug tests, but most likely a product of parents who gave up after losing factory job after factory job.

 I saw how this Obamacare insurance policy not only ignored the recession but also how it created havoc for the average person. Entrepreneurs like myself, who have to pay for their own insurance policy and hoped to get a great system. The mockery of us as a people, ensuring that this was going to be a good thing for us and then learning it was worse than what we had before. Leading us on into a second presidency as the insurance policy did not take place until after that time and then learning what it really meant. Huge unrealistic deductibles and paying 100% until you met them. Medication, in my case, that went from $30 to $700 so that I had to fight hard to find alternative measures. Finally, when tax season rolled around, the entrepreneur is punished for making more money than expected. As a result healthcare.gov comes after you for the discount; thereby making your profit less. For a one person company this is a financial upset that follows you into the next year.

Of course listening to my clients from all levels in these big companies here in our city, I began to see a pattern. The employee is expendable. From the executive down to the phone rooms, I learn about businesses that at one time cared and nurtured their staff, rewarded them for their hard work and then one by one cut back and took away every reason they had to get up in the morning. With the greediness of big corporations, seeing the increase in profits because of outsourcing, they began doing whatever they could to make even more money. Lowering their work ethics, sending mixed messages to the employees, rewarding those who played games rather than stood strong and determined, all to get rid of the larger paid for weak minded cheap labor that is easy to find. Even their customers are no longer people they care about. Why should they when the customer will easily be replaced by someone else. Or, why care when the company holds a virtual monopoly on the product and know people don’t have a choice in the long run. I hear stories of wonderful hard working, dedicated; loyal people who after decades were let go or suddenly given made up reasons by HR to put them on written reprimands which used to be a reason to re-train and now are a used to antagonize and destroy.  The cliché “it is their word against ours.” In my generation 40+, after being let go after years of dedication have a difficult time finding new employment. My own generation weakened by computers that hire people instead of human beings. Amongst my friends, so many unemployed trying to create businesses, using retirement money, taking jobs they don’t want just to make it through the year.

All of these things lead to value systems in the family unit being destroyed. A rise in the use of substances, a continued decline in long term marriages, people creating children to self-soothe their own inner wounds and as a result more and more children raised by one parent. This is creating children raised to feel entitled because they are soothed by guilty parents who give in to their demands because they are too tired to deal with the child’s confusion and frustrations in life. The kids are often pacified by toys and the internet (which replaced the television) and not being taught the value of a dollar or the importance of hard work and education. As a result they don’t feel a need to work, when they get money on the streets, or can become an expendable employee going from job to job without any repercussions. In some cases I am seeing young boys depending on girlfriends as substitutes for mothers, now expecting these young girls to continue pandering to their entitled lifestyle. Young girls than continue the cycle by not using birth control, hoping a baby will change him or get him to love them. Hoping the baby will give them the love they never found at home growing up.

In a modern society for women, fashion has now become about selling the self to whoever will take it. Girls wear skirts only a few inches under private areas with nothing underneath and walk on stilts of 4-6” with their breasts hanging very closely to the exits of tank tops or very low cut pieces of fabric stitched together to form a covering. If not this, they are in jeans that have holes in them because fashion designers have just created the newest look in what to do with dungarees and flip flops. Clothing once worn by miners and farmers are now the most needed staple fabric in America. This is the best we can expect right now and no one seems to complain. We are seeing very low standards in dress that are accepted now in many companies or big corporations that once expected good work ethics and were known for their policies on dress. Now that they are expendable, the company really doesn’t care what they look like. They are going to get rid of them next week, month, or year anyway.

It makes sense that many people in this country wanted to see a better America. Having been raised by working class people who held me to higher standards and taught me good work ethics and the value of a dollar, and knowing and trusting that most of the people I grew up with, from my generation heard the same, I knew our country was desperate for change. I knew they were holding these thoughts in silence, afraid of being politically incorrect, having to hide with friends in dimly lit areas to talk about their fears their frustrations yet online pretending to go along with the flow. The faux sense of socialization and temporary fame garnered from ridiculous ploys online to take advantage of those exercising freedom of speech because it didn’t measure up to their own worldview. A message was sent yesterday. It was a terribly close divide of our country though and will take time to heal from. Major change always takes time to heal and grow. This is a time to break down the political system and re-look at what to do next. It is not going to simply happen overnight and an inexperienced average person (meaning non-political) will be taught quickly and make mistakes along the way. We have a lot more fights ahead of us, people who don’t want change, who don’t want to give up their power, who have enjoyed taking advantage of people, enjoyed being greedy at the expense of so many. It is a scary time right now because of all of this. I am scared because it is a huge change and I don’t know how people are going to react to this and I assume they will try to take it out on others. I am not scared of the person running the country now but of the enemies who will be focused on collapsing this new system and will use the Internet and our country and our world to vindicate their feelings and cause people to join in. The election, more than anything, should show us how disturbing the Internet can be to our sense of right and wrong. Of course I had already seen this in families that I serve because it is destroying them. While there are some good and useful ways of being helped by the Internet, it is getting less and less easier to find them and much more likely you will find the destroyers instead.

As with every presidency that have shocked our systems in the past, and we have lived through it to tell, we must be patient, trust, give it a chance and try to think about the possibilities that could come from this. It is a historical moment and would have been no matter who might have won. Instead of attacking and going on the defense, think about what we can learn. Let’s come together and be a positive part of this change by questioning (because you want to learn) and listening.  How will this change our lives? Where will be in four years? What plans can you make for your future? Take time to contemplate rather than react.

No Caretaker Needed in a Healthy Relationship

Many times people talk about being a caretaker in their relationship. They want to change their partner. They aren’t doing enough in the relationship. I try to turn this around by asking a simple question, “Are they worrying this much about you? Do they feel they are not doing enough in the relationship? Do they feel a need to take care of you?” Often the answer is going to be no. When there is a caretaker in the relationship, this means the couple has fallen apart and now someone is desperately trying to pick up the pieces and salvage what is left. There is no unity or a sense of “we,” in a couple, if only one person is dedicated to the partnership. In this case you have two individuals going in separate directions. If you are trying to be someone’s caretaker, it is probably time to end the relationship.

When two people meet and take the time to get to know one another, not by jumping in bed and declaring they are soul mates, instead they begin toward a healthy relationship that is fueled by conversation rather than sex. This does not mean there is no sex or passion as many people tend to confuse. It means that you are interested in what each other has to say and you respect one another’s opinions. It means that when you have a difference of opinion you are still able to be respectful of your partner. It means that you allow the other person a voice.  It means that you know and respect each other’s boundaries. It means that you share the same values and beliefs. When these things occur then you begin to explore intimacy and it is so much the better because you have generated a lot of excitement for your partner. Does anyone really love to have sex with someone that does not have respect for them? Or can you be passionate about someone you can’t even have a conversation with? An orgasm is a waste of time if you are then sobbing into your pillow once your partner has fallen asleep (or worse, left to go home). If you are just out to have sex, that is one thing but be clear what you want in life. Whatever you choose, make sure you can live with your choices, don’t make it the other person’s problem (also, be clear about your choice up front). If he/she doesn’t agree with you, then they aren’t willing to play your game, it doesn’t make them wrong. It is not okay to set up vulnerable people.

Conversation doesn’t mean that you have told your partner your deep dark secrets and so now they owe you. Your partner isn’t your therapist and there is a difference between sharing childhood abuse or family drama vs. sharing who you are, right now. What is more important in a relationship building process is that you talk about the type of person you are. For example: what motivates you, what do you enjoy doing in your leisure time, what type of friends do you have, what are your goals for the future? A new relationship is not going to understand how to handle the trauma in your past until they have a solid foundation with you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come clean on mental health issues. For example: “I don’t drink, I am a recovering alcoholic.” That sentence is a mouthful. It already covers the meaning of I don’t drink. This doesn’t open the door to re-telling how you hit bottom and what your last 10 years have been like on the bottle or being sober. It could mean this though if your partner says “I am too,” and then proceeds to ask “How did you do it.” If they don’t, leave it and be comfortable that you have gotten this part off your chest. Never lie to anyone about anything but save the therapy conversation for a rainy day when your partner asks. Saying too much too soon is a sure way to end a relationship. This is because someone is being set up to be a caretaker and many times people are willing and this spells disaster. You are beginning the process by saying “I need help,” instead of saying “I am ready to share my life with someone.”

Two people can have a healthy relationship, even if they have had a hell of a life. First, they need to get into therapy and deal with this trauma. No, (1) you can’t fix it yourself and (2) a relationship is not your therapist. Love will not save you from a dad who harmed you in some way or your mental health condition. Love is not really happening if you are merely trying to save someone. That is your ego saying to you “If I love them enough…” Ego and love are an oxymoron. Second, you have to know what you want in life. It isn’t as simple as “I want a nice Christian…” Lots of religious people have been known to be abusive, alcoholic, drug addicts, and just plain jerks. But guess what, they thought they were a good Christian person or whatever religion because they were in denial about their vice or issue of concern. You have to really be grounded in what you do want from a person and what to look for when you see it. Be careful with admiring role models. You don’t really know what they are really like behind closed doors. Thirdly, you have to know how to present yourself when you meet this person. This doesn’t mean you find out that you have shared values on a first date, have a great conversation about it and then jump into bed. Again, you are not soul mates. You are just horny and happened to meet someone who was too. A person who gives up their body too easily is going to be seen as someone who has no self-respect. Sure, they slept with you too but that doesn’t mean they should now be in a commitment with you. You can’t blame the other party in a situation like this either.  If you both do choose to fall into a relationship and move in, etc… etc… don’t be surprised when it falls apart after the honeymoon is over.

Be a person who is the person you state that you are. Act like a professional when you get to know someone. This doesn’t mean you can’t flirt but have some patience. Don’t take them into your home right away. Don’t even drive with them (which will make the situation much easier). Keep your dates personal and in the field (vs. at home). Get to know their families and friends but again, be cautious about how much to say about the family or friends. Don’t set your partner up before they have even gotten a chance to get to know them. Be sparse with details. For example: My dad can be a bit controlling with my mom or my brother and I are not really close. Instead of saying “My dad has been in and out of jail three times now for domestic violence,” or “My brother molested me when we were kids.” A partner who is respectful of you is not going to choose sides and say “Well, he sure seemed like a good guy to me.” This is because a healthy partner would understand that you have a better grip on your family members than they do.

Now, how about someone who is reading this and did seem to do all the right things in the beginning but ended up in a bad place nonetheless? A healthy relationship has to work at continuing down this path and this means that you continue working together as a team throughout your lifetime together. If someone starts going off on their own, as in picks up the bottle, has an affair, becomes abusive, then the relationship is no longer a healthy relationship.  A healthy relationship is one where no one “takes their eye off the ball,” so to speak. Yes, it is hard work but so is owning a horse, living on a farm, keeping your luxury car in good shape, or running a business. If you don’t look out for either of these things, they will die or fall apart. It is no different with a relationship.

To recap, a healthy relationship that is nurtured over time is one where you (quoting the Gottman method directly now) – have started with trust and commitment and then:

  1. Get to know one another’s world,
  2. Share fondness and admiration,
  3. Turn toward instead of away,
  4. Keep a positive perspective,
  5. Manage your conflict by a. find relevance in what each of you have to say, b. self-soothing, c. dialogue about problems,
  6. Make each other’s life dreams come true; and
  7. Create shared meaning.

If you want to learn more about a healthy relationship, I recommend reading “The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work,” by Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver. I also recommend reading “The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts,” by Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee. If you want to meet someone to have this relationship with then be patient, set your boundaries, trust your instincts, know what you want and then, when you meet this person, take your time to get to know them. To be on the safe side, wait a few months before becoming intimate, don’t move in until you have spent at least a year getting to know them and only then, move in for love not convenience. Don’t move forward at all if you have any doubts whatsoever – they won’t change with a bigger commitment.  Finally, only get married because you love someone and the two of you have gone over your idea of what being married means and can agree on this. I definitely recommend pre-marital counseling with a therapist or at your place of worship. Don’t have children until you have gotten married and have waited at least 3-5 years. Children don’t need desperate parents. They need parents who have nurtured their relationship as a married couple and are again clear (and have discussed) that it is the right time to move forward.

A good business plan is necessary to have a successful company. Once the doors are open you have to keep on top of your firm by having good communication with all of your employees, from top to bottom. The business is not YOU, it is all of them plus your product and your customers. Each year you have to continue to look back as well as focus on the future. What do you need to do differently in order to continue this success in the changing times?

A relationship requires a plan too. You can’t just run out there and start a partnership. Take your time, focus on what it is you want and then don’t second guess yourself. Get back together each year and re-commit yourselves to the year ahead. If there have been problems, tackle them head on. Don’t wait ten years to then decide to see a therapist. Continue to create new goals for each year and help support each other in making these dreams a reality.  A cute person is not so cute when they turn out to be someone who you knew was wrong from the beginning. A cute person that you have gotten to know and taken your time to build a relationship with becomes very handsome and more interesting over time.