Monday, December 27, 2010

Please Stow Your Baggage Away--Permanently

Not long ago I was at the grocery store picking up a few odds and ends. It was one of those hurried I’ve-got-to-get-this-done-right-now-no-matter-what kind of trips to the grocery store because I was providing end-of-life care for my dad, and I had to get back to him as quickly as possible.

Making my way to the check out lane, I saw a friend…and I immediately ducked into a different aisle so I didn’t have to see her (I told myself it was because I was in a hurry, and maybe that was partially true…but I think in reality I didn’t want her to see me in my disheveled state).

Of course she saw me (isn’t that the way it always works?!).

She approached me and before I even had a chance to say hi she said, “Oh my God, Kelly. What. Is. Going. On? You look terrible. Talk to me, something is wrong.”

[Okay. I know I was tired, but I didn’t think I looked that bad.]

Anyway, I told her that my dad was ill and didn’t have much longer to live…and she didn’t buy it. She knew me well enough to know that there was a whole lot more going on than I was telling her.

So she pushed further (like good friends do) and said, “Look, I don’t know what’s going on. But I’m telling you this right now: This is the kind of stress that will bring your cancer back. You either find a way to deal with it, or you won’t live to see your grandbabies.

I can’t write here what my immediate thoughts were because the thoughts included some very sailor-like language.

But I let her words soak in for a few seconds.

And she was right. My dad’s illness was just the tip of the iceberg. I was dealing with a lot of emotional baggage. A lot.

Trapped emotions—baggage—are emotionally charged events from the past that still haunt you. And, just like trying to schlep a too-heavy bag through the airport weighs you down and slows you down, so do these trapped emotions.

Trapped emotions create lots of problems.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies: Your [Bondage] Sexual Fantasies

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies:
What Are Your Sexual Fantasies?

Sexual Desire. Sexual Response. Sexual Fantasies.

Ladies, when it comes to sex we are comp. li. ca. ted.

Mucho. Much. Very.

We do have sexual fantasies, and we do fantasize about bondage. But much to the fellas’ disappointment, we don’t frequently daydream about the dominatrix-whip-gurl type of bondage.

Sisters, our sexual fantasies are almost always about emotional bonding. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Intimacy: Is Your Past Holding You Hostage?

What's keeping you so tied up that you can't be intimate?

Did you know that the fear of intimacy or being rejected by another person is the 7th most common fear people experience?
Yep—fear of being jilted hurt by a jerk creep is only trumped by being afraid of super creepy things.
Does she look a lot like your ex-girlfriend?
Like snakes.
Yes, you used to date him.
Or spiders.
Understandably, some of you have probably dated your fair share of snakes and spiders, so you have every reason to lump your fear of intimacy right up there with fear of creepy-crawling things and things that go bump in the night (another top-7 common fear).
The problem is, these fears can cause a lot of damage because they set up barriers to ever becoming fully intimate—fully self-disclosing and trustful—with another person.
Fear of intimacy is often the result of a lot of interacting factors. It can be the result of having parents who were not affectionate or tender and warm. It can result from friendships that went wrong or being the victim of bullies.  And it can even result from being burned by someone you once had feelings for.
But it doesn’t have to be permanent. 
The first step of overcoming this fear is to acknowledge that life is full of risks—and relationship life is no different! It’s just that relationships are tougher because we have to put ourselves out there so much, making us feel even more vulnerable.
So, how do you start over?

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's Your Intimacy Phobia Score?

“Our fear of intimacy…inspires ingenious ways of avoiding it.”
Intimacy requires that we unmask ourselves and become vulnerable and risk rejection. Because of this, many people fear intimacy.
Do you find that you’re afraid to establish and maintain close relationships with other people, or that you put up walls that prevent people from getting too emotionally close to you?
Have you ever found yourself having many friendships—but avoiding one close personal relationship with someone?
Do you ever become overly involved in work or use work as an excuse not to hang out with others? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, it’s been ____ days and other than work, I haven’t really had any contact with anyone.”?
If you answer yes to more than two of these, then you may have a fear of intimacy.
But what exactly is it that people are afraid of? Fear of intimacy comes in many forms and can manifest itself in any of the following ways:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies: Goodbye Body Image Worries, Hello Orgasms!

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies
Let go of the body image and hang on to the sheets!
When you become preoccupied with the appearance of your body outside of the bedroom, these worries and concerns ultimately end up in the bedroom.

Because for women sexual arousal and response require attention and focus, when you focus on how your body looks—rather than what you’re experiencing and feeling—you are less able to let your guard down and fully enjoy sexual pleasure and sexually pleasing your partner.

For a great relationship—and great sex—redefine what sex is all about!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Are You Capable of Intimacy? Take Your Intimacy Quiz!

Although intimacy is thought to be an inborn, innate drive and that all of us need intimacy in order to survive, some people are just better at giving and receiving intimacy than others are.

This is because, just as with your love map, your intimacy map develops as a result of your relational life experiences. In other words, who you are as a relational, intimate person is the result of every relationship you’ve ever had in your life—from your parents, to your friends in grade school, to your high school peers and buddies, to your college friends, to every positive and negative hook up or sexual relationship you’ve ever had.

Your intimacy map has been created over time. This is why intimacy doesn’t always come easily to everyone—and why it’s essential that your love partner knows as much about your relational background as you are comfortable sharing.

In fact, most of the time establishing and maintaining a close personal relationship with another person requires a lot of hard work. With this in mind, it’s important to remember that if you find yourself having to work at your relationship, it doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong or that you’ve chosen the wrong partner.

If you desire someone to openly, honestly, and completely share with you, you have to be willing to be open and honest about your needs and desires. This is the only way the seeds of intimacy will have a chance to flourish and thrive!

Do you get it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

When You Say "Intimacy," I Think of.....Create Your Intimacy Pie

What does it mean to have an “intimate” relationship? And what do you think the one factor is that seems to deepen your intimacy experiences with your partner more than anything else? Can you pinpoint intimacy components in your relationship? Do you know if your intimacy map is similar to your love partner’s?  

Because intimacy is so vital to the health and longevity of relationships, researchers have been studying what “intimacy” is for years. Of course, everyone’s definitions of intimacy are different, because just like your love map and sex script, your intimacy map is built over time…as your experiences change, so does your meaning of intimacy.

Are you ready to build your intimacy map? Put the Snuggie on, crank up your Pandora, and settle in…this is a lengthy one, but oh so very well worth the effort you put into it!  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wine Wednesday for the Ladies: Sexual Desire & Response

Ladies Night: Wine Wednesdays

Earlier I talked about sexual response and I mentioned that the problem for most couples is that men and women differ as to how long they reach and remain in the various response stages.

These differences almost always cause



in a couple’s sex life…and sadly, most sex problems almost always spill over into each and every other aspect of a couple’s relationship.

Sure, a lot of us can fake it make it without knowing everything there is to know about sex, and maybe we can even have enjoyable sexual lives.

But I’m a firm believer in knowledge + practice [infinity] + patience [to infinity and beyond] = fantastic sex lives [and relationships]. Understanding how and why your body works the way it does, and how and why your partner’s body works the way it does, greatly [as in Oh. Em. Gee.] enhances your sexual pleasure.

I’m also a firm believer in ignoring it + hoping it gets better + trying to figure it out on your own = frustration and less-than-satisfying sex lives [and relationships] and faking it (a lot more than you are now).

So, pull up a chair pour a glass of wine, gals, and let’s get real about what turns you on--and why. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Couple Challenge: Your Intimacy Needs

All forms of intimacy develop over time, and keeping that intimacy once it’s developed requires nurturing attention to the relationship. Print this off and fill in your answers to the questions, have your partner do the same.

Get together in a quiet setting and talk about your answers together.

When we are emotionally close, I feel _____________________________.

I would describe our intellectual closeness as ___________________________.

As far as intimacy in our relationship is concerned, I am most satisfied when ________________________________________________________.

I am least comfortable about our relationship when ______________

When you express your emotions and feelings, it makes me __________

When you express physical closeness, it makes me _______________

Spiritual closeness is ______________________________________________.

When I experience intimacy with you, I feel ____________________________.

When I am with you, my individuality is _________________________________.

Some people resist intimacy. This makes me think _____________________

When I reveal my innermost thoughts, feelings, emotions, and fears to you, I expect __________________________________________________.

When you reveal your innermost thoughts, feelings, emotions, and fears to me, it makes me __________________________________________________.

Intimately relating with you might carry a risk of rejection. The possibility of being rejected by you makes me feel ________________________________.

In general, I am trusting of others. This makes me ______________________.

In general, I am not trusting of others. This makes me ____________________.

If I were to sum up the role of intimacy in my life, I would say it is

© Kelly J. Welch, Family Life Now (2nd ed). Boston: Pearson Education.
Photo Credit: Mag3737 (

Everybody's Searchin' for Intimacy

We are relational creatures—we need to be with other people. Even Aristotle once observed that people who don’t want to be emotionally connected to others are either “a beast or a god.”

Yep--everybody's searchin' for intimacy. Everybody's hurtin' for intimacy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cover of the Rolling Stone: Intimacy

Cover of the Rolling Stone: "The Unbearable Bradness of Being"

Brad Pitt:  I know all these things are supposed to seem important to us—the car, the condo, our version of success—but if that’s the case, why is the general feeling out there reflecting more impotence and isolation and desperation and loneliness?

If you ask me, I say toss all this—we gotta find something else. Because all I know is that at this point in time, we are heading for a dead-end, a numbing of the soul, a complete atrophy of the [human] being. And I don’t want that.

Rolling Stone:  So if we’re heading toward this kind of…dead-end in society what do you think should happen?

Brad Pitt:  Hey man, I don’t have those answers yet. [My] emphasis now is on success and personal gain. I’m sitting in [success and wealth], and I’m telling you, that’s not it. I’m the guy who’s got everything. I know.

But I’m telling you, once you’ve got everything, then you’re just left with yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it doesn’t help you sleep any better, and you don’t wake up any better because of it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's Your Sexual Fantasy Type?

Sexual fantasies fall into four categories.
Take the quiz to determine your
primary fantasy type.

1. Imagine that you are one of four people in a room. One is tied to a bed, one is holding a whip, one is sitting in the corner and one is applying nipple clamps to the recumbent. Which one are you:
a. The one tied to the bed? (P)
b. The one with the whip? (D)
c. The one in the corner? (R)
d. The one applying the clamps? (A)

2. Which of these is closest to your ideal setting for a fantasy?
a. A Venetian brothel (P)
b. A dungeon (D)
c. A bedroom (R)
d. A prison cell (A)

3. Which of the following animals would you choose to feature in your fantasy?
a. A unicorn (P)
b. A snake (D)
c. An octopus (R)
d. A tiger (A)

4. Which of the following eras would you choose as the setting for a fantasy?
a. The present day (P)
b. Victorian (R)
c. Caveman (D)
d. Far future (A)

5. Which of the following toys are featured in your fantasy?

a. Feathers and whipped cream (P)

b. Handcuffs, panty hose, and a necktie (A)

c. Whips and chains (D)

d. Ice cubes and a cold beer (R)

6. Which Disney character are you (female)?

a. Nala (the Lion King) (D)

b. Snow White (R)

c. Sleeping Beauty (P)

d. The Little Mermaid (A)

7. Which Disney character are you (male)?

a. Mufasa (the Lion King) (D)

b. Peter Pan (R)

c. Jack Sparrow (P)

d. Woody (A)

8. Sex in a glass elevator is

a. unsanitary (R)

b. illegal (P)

c. boring (D)

d. exciting (A)

9.  Sex on the beach

a.  can lead to sand crabs in places you can’t reach (R)

b. is an alcoholic drink (P)
c. or in the snow, or in the jungle, or in the rain forest… (A)
d. is better if the beach is rocky (D)

10.  In “Elf,” your favorite quote is
a. Buddy to the fake Santa: You stink. You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa. (D)
b. Buddy: First we'll make snow angels for two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-dough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle. (A)
c. Buddy: I’m a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. (P)
d. Buddy: Ow!!! Son of a nutcracker! (R)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What a Day for a Daydream: Sexual Fantasies

Research shows us that about 95 percent of the population say they fantasize about sex….and the other 5 percent lie.

Sexual fantasies are sexual thoughts and images that we create in our minds. Everyone fantasizes about sex, and it’s the most common daydream people have—it’s also the most common type of sexual behavior that people engage in.

Understanding your sexual fantasies is important, because it helps you to better understand “who” you are as a sexual person, and fantasies give you great insight into your unique sexual script.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sex Talk: What Sexually Excites You?

Part of understanding your sex script is knowing what turns you on, what increases your sexual desire, arousal, and response. Jot down your answers to the following statements. When you’re finished, share your answers with your partner. This is the stuff that creates a ssssssteam-heat sex life (not that new vibrator).

I am most often in the mood for sex when ________________________.

I am least often in the mood for sex when ____________________________.

The most sensitive parts of my body are _______________________________

The least sensitive parts of my body are ______________________________

When I think of my partner exploring every inch of my unclothed body, it makes me feel _____________________________________________________.

This is because _____________________________________________________.

When I think of exploring every inch of my partner’s unclothed body, it makes me feel ____________________________________________________.

This is because ____________________________________________________.

The one thing I wish my partner would do to increase my sexual desire is to _______________________________________________________________.

When my partner _____________________________________, it decreases my sexual desire.

When someone suggests that I view erotic materials to increase my sexual desire and arousal, it makes me feel ____________________________________,
because ____________________________________________________________.

When someone suggests that I masturbate to increase my sexual desire and arousal and to better understand my body, I feel __________________

My sex drive is ___________________________________________.

I wish I knew more about ______________________________________________. 

Photo Credit: "Pink List," cogdogblog (

Sexual Response: In 5...4...3...2...1...

In the 1960s and 1970s, sexologists Masters and Johnson outlined their revolutionary Four Phases of Human Sexual Response.

Through their research (don’t ask…it involved a lot of not-so-fun electronic devices, like a penile strain gauge and the photoplethysmograph, placed into a lot of different body cavities), they discovered that sex—whether it’s masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, sex with a toy, or penis-in-vagina sex—causes a chain reaction of sorts.

(Or, as my husband says, “the launch sequence has been initiated!”)

Friday, November 19, 2010

He Said She Said

Okay, so by this point you get it. You get that love is different things to different people. You get that love is different things to the same couple at different times.

You get that your definition of love is under constant construction, and that your love map (and your partner’s) changes over time. You get that early in a relationship, because of passionate love, couples are eager to care for one another and they’re highly motivated to satisfy each other’s emotional needs, to nurture one another’s love needs.

You get that, as you self-disclose, intimacy levels deepen in the relationship, to the point where you and your partner become mutually dependent and reliant on each other for the fulfillment of your intimacy and love needs. You get that when your love needs are met, you feel happy and content.

But guess what? There’s one more puzzle piece we need to put into place in order to complete the picture: Men and women don’t prioritize love needs in the same ways.

Big. Huge. Important.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lovin', Touchin', and Squeezin' : What's Your Sexual IQ Score?

Touching him. Touching her. Licking. Biting. Tickling. Sighing. Cuddling. Fighting. Hesitating. Giving out. Giving in.

Fighting it. Faking it. Wanting it.

What is sex?

The Kiss Still Works

I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on.

The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that.

Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.

Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private.

Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily?

The young woman asks, “Will my mouth always be like this?”

“Yes,” I say, “it will. It’s because the nerve was cut.”

She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. “I like it,” he says. “It’s kind of cute.”

Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works.

(Source: Selzer, 1978).

What is it that strikes you most about this story? 

Photo Credit: Bob.Fornal (

Friday, November 12, 2010

What's Your Intimacy/Passion/Commitment Score?

Do you want a marriage that lasts? Do you want to live [almost] happily ever after? Then consummate love (not to be confused with consommĂ© soup!) is what you want to strive for! 

Consummate love is thought to be the most complete form of love, the love that’s associated with “perfect couples.”  Consummate means to develop something or to bring something to the point of perfection.

A perfect marriage? For real?  Yep.

Psychologist Robert Sternberg developed his Triangle Theory of Love, which conceptualizes eight different types of love relationships. Sternberg says that love isn’t a fixed experience—it’s a process that undergoes change over time, and it’s made up of three main things:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Starter Marriages: A Great Little Fixer-Upper?

Flipping houses? Flipping marriages? 
Passionate love wanes. Passionate love ultimately fades.

If couples don’t have this realistic expectation going into their marriages—knowing that passionate love will fizzle—it’s a very real possibility that when this romantic love gives way, partners (especially gals) no longer “feel” that they’re in love.

I think this is one of the reasons why we’re seeing an increase in a frightening new trend, that of starter marriages. Starter marriages—a first marriage that lasts five years or less and ends before a couple has children—are on the rise in the US and Europe.

One researcher writes about starter marriages here. The author is spot on when she says that today’s couples get sucked into “matrimania” (the planning of the gazillion dollar wedding), and that they don’t give much thought to the marriage that comes after the wedding.    

These marriages are kind of like flipping houses.  You know, the trend where people purchase a little fixer upper, pour love and attention and resources into it, and then get out of it—hoping to make a profit? Hoping to benefit somehow from the experience?

Take this from a TLC junkie: People who try to flip houses almost always discover that it’s much harder to do than they thought. Much. Harder.

Seeing young adults’ marriages trend in this direction worries me quite a bit, because these marriages aren’t benign, innocuous experiences. Make no mistake about it: These types of relationships carry lasting effects, because they etch yet another mark on the love map.  

Could this matrimania/starter marriage craze be the result of passionate love? I’m betting yes.

Have you ever heard of starter marriages? What’s your opinion about them?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mr. Happy Gets Married

The other day I introduced you to Mr. Happy and his “Stop! Don’t use that pole anywhere near her no-no hole” sex advice.

But Mr. Happy’s “secrets of sexual intimacy” don’t end there.  It looks like a night of explosive, make-Mr.-Happy-blow-like-Mr.-Mount-Vesuvius sex starts with the wifey.

“Ladies, learn how to wrap yourself, to wrap the room in a seductive allure tailor-made to your husband.” [Observation #1: Tailor-made to my husband?? That would mean something involving snow. And ski poles. There’s no way this can end well.]

But Mr. Happy’s wife seems to be an eager beaver (oh yes I did), so let’s see what gets him going.

Meet Mrs. Headlights.

Would You Like Fries with That? Drive-Thru Love

In my previous blog I talked about the science of love, and how the brain releases chemicals that make us feel blissful and euphoric when we are first “in love” with someone. Because of this flood of brain chemicals, it’s common to feel love intensely (just like our Bachelorette).

How long does the craziness of love—passionate love—last? And why does knowing about passionate love even matter?  Don’t all couples experience passionate love at some point? And don’t they do just fine?

Ummm….no. <cough, ridiculous divorce rates, cough><cough, ridiculously high cohabitation rates, cough>

You see, passionate love experiences are only temporary, usually lasting only about 12 to 36 months.  Yep, you read me right—the I-don’t-ever-want-to-leave-your-side-make-love-to-me-forever-and-ever-and-ever-amen feelings of passionate love only last for about a year to about 3 years (at the very most).

Don’t get me wrong. Almost all of us experience passionate love early on in our love relationships, and I would venture to say that this is a very, very necessary process that draws young lovers closer together.

But let’s stop here for a little Reality 101: Passionate love does not last! The very nature of passionate love is that it will wax and wane. It will fade!

Do you see the problem?

Faaaaaaaaar too often, couples today make decisions about cohabitating or marriage while they are still in the throws of passionate love.

We’re a society that needs demands immediate gratification. And while this instant satisfaction may be okay when it comes to driving through Mickey D’s to satisfy an urge for carbs and cholesterol, drive-thru passionate love certainly isn’t a way to determine if “that” girl or “that” guy is the one we should live with or marry.

So, a huge step toward divorce-proofing your relationship is to determine: Is what I’m feeling passionate love—or love that lasts?

[This is usually the point where students freak out. They’re afraid that after passionate love fades, their attraction to their partner or their gotta-have-it sexual desires will fade, too. Nope. Not gonna happen. Come back later and see why real love is even better than passionate love!]

Photo Credit: freefotouk (

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What's Your Passionate Love Score?!

Are you a passionate lover?
Bachelorette: “I’m veeeeeeery in love. I feel giddy and blissful and excited and my heart feels really really really joyful and happy and at ease when I think about Jake and I’m in love and I’m happy and I really really trust Jake with my vagina heart and [I want to] kiss him for hours and hours and hours and I just really really really really love being in love.”

Bachelor: “Umm….we have had such an amazing time getting to know each other (read: sexually) and there are so many things I love to do to you about you. I do love you and you’re just perfect.”

Bachelorette: [Cue beauty queen tear-fest]

Bachelor: “But .....ummmm…..  Something doesn’t feel right.”

Bachelorette: [Cue devastation]  Wait for it....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Come On Get "Happy," and Other Stoooopid Sex Advice

I read about sex. I read about sex a lot. I write about sex. A lot. So much so, sometimes I feel as though I need condoms on my fingers as I type out another chapter.

When you’re a professor and author of intimate relationships and sexuality, it’s kind of an occupational hazard. Reading and writing about sex comes with the territory (no pun intended—yet).

Some of the stuff out there is pretty good…it’s accurate enough so that no one gets hurt in the process of trying the “advice.” And it’s at least somewhat based in reality. (Let’s face it—doing a striptease and a lap dance for the hubs every night may be what Reality TV is all about, but anyone who’s been married for more than 10 minutes knows that this isn’t what Reality Reality is all about. This definitely falls in the "are you freakin' kidding me" column).

After sitting here all morning trying to write a sex advice column and answer college students’ questions about sex, I came to arrived at the conclusion that there’s a lot stuff out there that is just downright, well, ridiculous. Ludicrous. Absurd. Outlandish. Bizarre. Nonsensical. (I know, I know. How do I really feel?)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chocolate Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

What is love, actually? What is the basis of the giddy, walking-on-air feelings we experience when we fall in love? Recent advances in science may reveal the answer.

The initial feelings of love don’t have much to do with romance, but instead have more to do with functions of the brain. Information between brain neurons is communicated by the movement of certain chemicals—neurotransmitters—across areas of the brain. When we begin to fall in love, the “high” we experience is the result of the release of these neurotransmitters.

When two people are attracted to one another, the brain becomes flooded with a gush of neurotransmitters that mimic amphetamines (commonly referred to as “uppers”). The neurotransmitter culprits are dopamine, which makes us feel good, norepinephrine, which causes pounding hearts and racing pulses, and PEA (phenylethylamine), which causes feelings of excitement and euphoria.  (Did you know that, because chocolate has PEA, it has long been rumored to promote passionate love between lovers?)

The neurotransmitters then signal the pituitary gland (located in the region of the brain known as the hypothalamus) to release a multitude of hormones that rapidly flood the bloodstream. The sex glands, in turn, release even more hormones into the bloodstream.

It’s the combination of the flood of neurotransmitters in the brain and the subsequent release of the hormones into the bloodstream that allow new lovers to make love all night or talk for hours on end.

When these chemicals are produced over a period of time, people interpret the physical sensations as “falling in love.”

Love, actually, is a cocktail of neurochemicals. Who knew?!

Source: Welch, Kelly (2010). Family Life Now.

Photo Credit:

Lust? Love? Or Love That Lasts?

1978. South Padre Island. Spring break. Size [much smaller than I am now]. Sun and sand and surf. Shoulder to shoulder college students. And all I could think about was, “Do I love Dave?”

Not the oh-my-gosh-he’s-so-slammin’-hawt kind of love. That kind of love gripped me the first time I saw him (1976. At a high school debate tournament. I beat him.). 

The question I struggled with during that infamous spring break trip was, Did I love him with a marriage kind of love?  The kind of love that lasts? (Not that he was even considering marriage at that point….but a gal has to be prepared, right?)

On that trip, one afternoon I happened to have a pool-side conversation with an elderly woman. When I asked her how she knew her husband of 50+ years was “the one,” she said something like, “When you see his face in the clouds and hear his voice in the wind, you’ll know.”

I’ll looked up to the sky. Nope. Nothing.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Attachment is a developmental phase that we never outgrow.

Our experiences with early attachment relationships to our parents become the foundation on which all future love relationships are built—both our ability to love others, and to allow others to love us in return.

There are different classifications of adult love relationships:

·     Secure attachment types: Like securely attached infants, secure adults have little difficulty seeking and maintaining closeness (physical, emotional, affectional) with another. They don’t fear being abandoned or losing their partner. They allow others to get close to them and depend on them. They experience enduring, happy, warm, trusting relationships.

·     Avoidant attachment types: Avoidant types feel as though they never find “real” love. They are uncomfortable when too emotionally or physically close to another person. They show discomfort with intimacy and are hesitant to trust others. They find it difficult to allow themselves to depend on others.

·     Anxious/ambivalent attachment types: Insecurity is the hallmark of this adult attachment type—it is not a matter of if a romantic partner leaves them, but when. With the constant fear or worry that the partner isn’t really in love with them, anxious/ambivalent adults cling to their partner and push for commitment. They may also withdraw and pull away before they get rejected.

What is your adult attachment style?  Take the quiz here! 

Now that you have an understanding of your attachment type, reflect on how this understanding of “love” affects your marriage or your intimate relationship.

In what ways does this help you to better understand and appreciate your love map? How does it help you to better understand and appreciate your spouse or fiancĂ©’s unique love map? 

Photo Credit: Northern Star (

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why Is He Always So Analytical?

Mr. Fix It
Men's underlying genderlect is that of helping and
fixing the problem at hand.

It’s been said before that the “Y” sex chromosome came about because since the beginning of time, men have been questioning, “Y do we always have to talk about this $#%! relationship?!”

In an earlier post I talked about women’s genderlects, and how most women are taught from an early age to communicate in certain ways with others. So engrained are these behaviors, researchers say that understanding and caring is the context in which women frame nearly every conversation that they have. In short, the underlying message in women’s conversation is connecting with others—and they do this by talking (a lot).

But what about guys? Are boys, like girls, socialized from young ages to stick to certain communication “rules?” Do guys have an underlying genderlect?

Researchers think so!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Why Does She Talk So Much?

Photo courtesy of Cian

Do women talk more than men?

As we grow up from infancy to adulthood, we’re taught how to be a “boy” or a “girl,” or a “man” or a “woman” in a lot of different ways. Each day we are bombarded with messages from society—from parents to teachers to friends to the media—that send very clear-cut gender cues, or the “correct” ways we’re supposed to act and think and feel.

And communication is no exception—boys learn how to communicate one way, girls learn how to communicate another way.

According to one researcher, men and women are taught so differently about how to communicate (and in what they focus on when they talk) that it’s as if they understand communication messages in entirely different ways!

In other words—you may think you are clearly expressing yourself, and you just may be….but that doesn’t mean that she’s hearing the intended content of your messages!