Tag: Marriage

Chocolate Vent’s Question of the Day – What do people have no business being proud of?

I Had An Affair & Ended It, But Now I Miss The “Other Woman”

Many, have been caught cheating and were upset about how things had turned out. Or they were people who had chosen to end an affair but still had feelings of sadness about it.

In some cases, the affair had been discovered and they were working through this with their partner with the aim of staying together – so felt they couldn’t let on they missed the person they had been cheating with. In others, they had managed to keep the affair well hidden, so their spouse had no idea what had gone on and they had to mask their distress.

Over the past 50 years we have become far more tolerant about all kinds of things. However, infidelity remains taboo.

Anyone who cheats is still cast as a ‘baddie’, and as such must be punished. There is no scope for them to have regrets; to have complex reactions to their affair, and little sympathy if they feel upset after one ends.

When a relationship ends there is often grief, sadness and regret. Feelings can be complex, so while you appreciate it was right to end the relationship, you may still be sad it is over, or miss the person you were seeing. That can apply whether or not it was an affair or not.

Because of the stigma attached to infidelity, those that have cheated may feel they don’t deserve help, or discover friends and family, who ordinarily might be supportive, are more likely to take sides or scold them.

Some therapists are excellent at supporting people to heal after infidelity, but many still operate on a model where there is a wronged spouse – and a ‘bad’ cheater. The person who has cheated therefore only gets one narrative – that of regret and apology.

Doubtless people reading this who have been cheated on will be furious at me for suggesting this. I understand. If you’ve been betrayed and lied to then you are not going to feel sympathetic to someone who’s hurt you. You want them to be sorry.

For this reason you can’t expect your spouse to listen or support you in your sadness. They are unlikely to appreciate you have willingly ended the affair but still have complex feelings about it – and that you miss the person you were cheating with.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t seek help elsewhere.

Some people find writing about how they feel helps. That might be documenting the whole timeline of the affair to work out what happened and what they might do differently if temptation arose in future. Or it might be letters that you never send. Here, you can share emotions you don’t feel able to express elsewhere.

If you have a sympathetic friend you can talk to that might help. Or it could be anonymous; online forums are places you can find other people like you – working on their marriages but with regrets about the past that aren’t simplified into ‘I’m sorry I cheated’ or ‘I’m sorry I got caught’.

Because affairs are taboo, you don’t hear that people may have loved the person they were cheating with. That they grieve for what didn’t happen, even if they are pleased to have the chance to work on their marriage. It can feel like a bereavement. They may miss the excitement. Or maybe they just miss the other person.

You are entitled to these feelings, even if they are not ones you can easily express. Indeed, if this is how you feel, pretending otherwise can be counterproductive. Healing isn’t just about approaching your marriage in new and honest ways. It is also about feeling stronger and better yourself, which isn’t going to come if you are unable to admit to being sad or missing someone.

I don’t know if you are still seeing a therapist, but it may be appropriate for you to see someone by yourself, to work through these hidden residues of your affair. The fact you can’t be in touch with the person you were seeing, the regrets and the sadness could all be explored with an understanding therapist without placing additional burdens upon your spouse.

Alternatively, you may recognize, as with any breakup, that over time things can feel easier. That may work if you allow yourself to accept that the way you feel isn’t unusual and to recognize there are going to be times when you experience remorse and regret; where you wonder what they are doing; when music or a movie makes you think of them; or dates that might have been significant to you. Planning for this could reduce any anxiety you feel that your spouse will notice any odd behavior that might lead to tensions in your marriage.

Some people take a different approach and raise this either with their spouse in conversation, or in mediation via a therapist. They explain how they are happy to still be married, but still have feelings for the person they cheated with.

This can work if you have a competent therapist, but brings the risk that even the most understanding spouse is probably not going to find it easy to hear and it could cause further rifts. It does, however, provide complete honesty, which some people find essential in relationship recovery.

You say that you are glad to still be married and that the affair is over, but it may be worth double-checking this is true. When an affair is discovered, one reaction may be to double-down on the marriage and try and save it. Considerable pressure can come from a spouse, wider family and society to do this. And efforts put into salvaging things can be a distraction from the other painful feelings associated with an affair ending.

But not all marriages do work out, even if you try and fix them. It doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Or that you can go back to the person you were cheating with (although some do). It might be that, despite trying, your marriage isn’t working. Or that you need some space to work out what you want. Or your spouse does.

This is why noting complicated feelings that arise after cheating is important. Giving yourself time to focus on all of this is not self-indulgent (unless you make it so). It is fair to you – and your spouse.

*Originally published on Telegraph.

10 Good Reasons You Should Flirt With A Married Man

Bat an eye at a married guy without becoming a home-wrecker.

Before getting your moral molars all impacted, let me make clear that I’m NOT endorsing having an affair or ruining a perfectly good marriage (or an imperfect marriage, for that matter).

Whether you’re single or taken—flirting is fun.

Look, getting hitched definitely helps out in the taxes and health care departments, but married social life begins to feel like a blur of “dinner at the Newman’s” and “mommy nights out.”

We already know that flirting at the office helps women get ahead and is actually a great form of substance-free spirit-lifting. Unlike flirting with single blokes, hair flips and deep conversations with married guys aren’t automatic green lights for either of you making a move.

Here are ten other GOOD reasons to flirt with a man with a wedding ring:

  1. Flirting with an unavailable man can make you feel good about yourself without any pressure to “seal the deal”—or face any sort of actual rejection. If he makes an unwanted move, you can always say “You’re married! I didn’t think this was going anywhere!”
  2. You can try out crazy pick-up lines, silly stories and generally act however you want without worrying that he thinks you’re a fool.
  3. Batting your lashes at him can make an off-the-market man feel good about himself. (This will only appeal to the altruistic among us.)
  4. Sometimes social gatherings are so dull, it’s either flirt with this guy or punch out that chick who will not stop talking about her Christian Louboutins.
  5. Coy smiles at Mr. Married will make you seem more in-demand to Mr. Single. Translation: This helps get that guy from way over there to come over here.
  6. Entrapment. Save his wife the trouble of finding out later in life that he’s a scoundrel. (Again, only for altruistic souls.)
  7. It might improve your (solo) sex life: Sir Wedlock could be a new addition to your fantasy repertoire.
  8. Hey he might have a cool, available friend who’s super into forward women who aren’t afraid to chat up married guys.
  9. Exchanging witty banter allows you to enjoy meeting someone new and feed your brain with interesting conversation. (Duh!)
  10. Drinks don’t pay for themselves, ladies

 

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*Originally published on Your Tango.

Should Couples Break Up To Make Up?

My favorite part of working is taking a vacation. As stressful as work can get sometimes it’s nice to be able to take a break and get away from the office. Whether it’s just a 3-day weekend or a whole week off, I always feel refreshed when I return back to work. Wouldn’t it be nice if relationships worked the same way?

Think about it – What if you & your partner agreed that whenever you felt like you needed to you could take a vacation with the understanding that you would come back “new & improved” ready to take on a new chapter in the relationship? How great would that be?!

Vacations can come in many forms. It doesn’t just mean not talking or hanging out together, it can mean other things as well. Here are some ways you can take a vacation from your relationship –

  • Reconnect with your friends – Go on trips with your girlfriends or have a guy’s getaway. It could be a casino night, a big party or even a group birthday celebration. My girlfriends & I always reconnect during our college Homecoming and there are no men allowed.
  • Hobbies – Go back to doing the things that you love. If your partner doesn’t enjoy doing these things with you then this is the perfect time to enjoy them all by yourself.
  • Spa Day– While this may be more appealing to women than it is to men, everyone needs a day of pampering. If you don’t have much time, then a quick day at the spa would be the perfect way to rejuvenate.
  • Go to a sporting event – I’m sure most men would love to be able to go to a game. Super bowl, the Playoffs, or even All-Star weekend is a great way for men to have some space & do something that they enjoy – watching sports.
  • Road trip – A little time on the open road can be very soothing and will definitely give you space away from your partner. Not to mention all the fun you’ll have once you get to your destination!

Different people take relationship breaks for different reasons so the rules should be negotiated accordingly. If you’re sure you want to be together but you’re having problems getting along, you might agree not to see each other for a while but also not to date other people. You should also agree on whether or not and how often you will be in contact with each other during your break. The rules can be anything you want but make sure they’re clear and that both of you agree on them.

Here are some sample rules:

  1. Don’t cheat – You are still in a relationship so you should remain faithful. Hooking up with someone new will only make things more complicated.
  2. REALLY take the break – Use this time as “me time” & reconnect with yourself.
  3. Don’t tell everyone your business – Friends & family don’t necessarily need to know what’s happening in your relationship. Be careful with who you share your business with because it might come back to haunt you when the break is over.
  4. Set an end date – A break is just that: a break. It isn’t meant to last forever, so you should determine exactly when it should be over.
  5. Don’t change – You don’t want to lose the essence of who you are. You want to be the same person that your partner was attracted to in the first place.

If you do decide to take a vacation from your relationship, be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. A break should not be used to: 1) Segway into a full breakup, 2) Intimidate your partner to get your way in the relationship, 3) Spend more nights out with other people, 4) Play hard to get, or 5) Try to gain more control in the relationship. If your intent is any of these 5 things, you should reconsider your intent behind taking a break.

Sometimes we can get too involved with someone when we spend a lot of time with them. They can be such a large part of our daily lives that it influences who we are as individuals. Remember, absence does make the heart grow fonder!

You may be wondering how long this break should be. Since the whole purpose is to rejuvenate yourself, the break shouldn’t be too long (like months & months) but should be long enough to make a difference and break your regular routine. For some people this could be anywhere from a few hours all the way up to a few days or even a few weeks (not if you’re married though).

There may be some people who might tell you that this is not a good idea. They’ll say that taking a break might cause you & your partner to grow apart, not together. Remember, the whole purpose of taking a break is to grow individually so that you can ultimately grow stronger together. We are constantly evolving & you’ll be different after the break than you were before. That’s when you should really be able to communicate to your partner who you have become & what you’ve learned during this time.

At the end of the day, sometimes people need a break from work, from parenting, and from life in general. Why should relationships be any different?

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Women Don’t Really Want A Big Engagement Ring. Or Do They…..?!

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Most women dream of receiving a big engagement ring when they get popped the “big question”. The perfect guy, a romantic proposal and a nice big engagement ring all make for the perfect story, don’t they? A woman who truly loves her man will be more than thrilled to get a proposal with any ring, regardless of its size, shape or cut. However, the engagement ring business is a multi-billion dollar industry, so suffice it to say that plenty of women would rather get a big ring. And the bigger the better!

While it may not be a woman’s personal preference to have a big flashy ring (I am not one of those women), there are some valid reasons for not wanting a big ring:

People may be jealous of you – Jealousy is such a nasty beast. People who have what you want or make you feel guilty for having what you have are the worst! Instead of being happy for you having a fiancé loving & generous enough to gift you with a big beautiful ring, they waste their time & energy hating on you. Shame on them, but in the end it can be stressful on you.

If you have a big ring, you have to have all the trappings to go along with it – It’s a lot of pressure to keep up this façade. Whether or not buying you a big sparkling ring fit reasonably within his budget or not, this does not mean that everything else you own has to be “sparkling” too. There is nothing wrong with you or your fiancé driving a 10 year old car, renting instead of buying or even cutting coupons with that brand new ring on your finger. After all, buying the engagement ring was just the 1st step; don’t you have a wedding to pay for?!

It’s hard to complain about anything in your marriage because your husband must really love you since he gave you a big ring – This is like saying I can’t complain about having to walk a long distance in bad weather, because at least I have legs to walk with, right?! C’mon! That’s absurd to tell someone they don’t have the right to complain about their relationship because they seemingly have it pretty good. Unless both husband & wife are perfect, there will always be something in a marriage 1 person could complain about. (Now, whether or not they choose to complain is a different matter) Buying someone a nice gift for Christmas doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to say something negative about you on December 26th. In the same vein, a big ole engagement ring doesn’t mean that a woman’s life will be perfect. Nor does it mean that her husband will be.

You might lose it – This goes without saying. Murphy’s Law tells us that anything valuable is bound to get lost. And the more expensive the item is, the easier it is to lose. Ha! What good is having an expensive garnish around your finger if you’re worried about losing it all the time? Although, I always say: that’s what insurance is for. You shouldn’t be afraid to have something for fear of losing it. If that were the case, no one would ever get married!

What do you think? Women, do you want a ring that’s big & flashy or something that’s a little more simple? Men, do you have any other reasons NOT to buy a large engagement ring? Other than costs, what are some downsides to giving your woman a big ring? Sound off in the comments below –

Singles Getting It In While Married People Stay Abstinent?

The Apostle Paul gives tips to married people on how they should render to one another due benevolence in the form of sex and how they should only “abstain” from having sex when both married parties consent, but make sure they don’t “abstain” too long so that Satan doesn’t tempt one of them because of his or her lack of self-control, or incontinency.

It’s funny how even the Bible recognizes how for married people the biggest challenge is that they continue to come together as one by having sex on the regular, while for us, singles, the biggest challenge is to not have sex and remain celibate until
marriage.

In other words, the flesh is a beast! It wants what it wants now and wants the opposite of God’s will.  (Romans 7:18)

But God be thanked because it is He who gives us the strength to walk out His perfect will in our every day lives.

As long as we continue to acknowledge Him about every thing, including our relationships, and as long as we look to Him to keep us while realizing there’s no way we can ever keep ourselves, then He will continue to give us the power to be kept.

So yes, we, as singles, can remain abstinent until marriage – and from henceforth we will while our married brothers and sisters continue to get it on like popcorn (and we won’t hate on ’em either ‘cuz our time is coming real soon 😉

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy {Jude 24}

As always, Be and STAY Encouraged!  
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*Excerpt taken from the Kim Brooks blog