Archive for June, 2014

Feeling sexy eh?

June 23, 2014

Maybe it is the long dark night of Canadian winters but yet another study has indicated that Canadians have robust sex lives.  Almost 7,000 Canadians answered Canadian Living magazine’s annual sex survey of preferences and practices.

Researchers are not necessarily confident that respondents don’t exaggerate their answers inflating their answers in order to feel good about their sexuality. Nevertheless, the results indicate Canadians are generally satisfied with their sex lives and also embracing new trends in enriching their sexual expression.  Nearly 45 per cent of Canadians said they use technology to enhance their sex lives. 25 per cent sent  sexts;  15 per cent sent erotic photos and 4 per cent sent racy  videos.

And Canadians are eager to try new things to keep the spice in their sexual relationships. Some 58 per cent of respondents said they had tried anal sex;  33 per cent had tried bondage, 24 per cent had tried cyber sex , 30 per cent had tried role playing, 19 per cent had a threesome and 11 per cent had someone else watch their sexual encounter.

Some results aren’t a surprise, such as the fact that on average, men wish to have sex twice as often  as women or that the number one reason for lack of sex is relationship conflict. As one respondent put it, “when I’m mad at him, he’s in the penalty box of no sex!”

When asked where Canadians like to have sex, there were some memorable lines such as “We do it carefully in a canoe like Canadians, eh?” And  some old fashioned advice from an Alberta reader: “don’t try have sex while you are both swimming in the lake –fyi- it doesn’t work!” There’s a story behind that line!

See the survey results or click here: canadianliving.com/sexsurvey

2014-Sex-Survey

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Negativity creep

June 17, 2014

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Ever started out on a house renovation and the project just kept getting bigger and bigger…adding one more change, one more fixture, and even one more room? Contractors call it “scope creep”.

Well, relationships experience their own painful version of creep: “negativity creep”, which we will define as the unconscious process of allowing painful, defensive dynamics to slowly replace loving intimacy in a primary relationship.

Jeannie Ingram, an Imago therapist from Atlanta, Georgia has been noodling on negativity; more specifically, how to work towards eliminating it from our relationships.  She offers the definition above and describes how it creeps into a relationship, often so slowly that we don’t know it’s happened until it’s too late.

Harville Hendrix, co-founder of Imago Relationship therapy, says that “negativity creep” is so pervasive that it’s like air for us or water for fish. We don’t see it. It’s the atmosphere of our eco-system”.

Those of us who are attempting to reduce and eliminate negativity in our relationships find that we have to work on it every single day. As Doug Wilson, another Imago therapist from Houston, Texas says, “Everything can be going great and than one slip, one digging comment….and, instantly it is like flies at a picnic.  One fly attracts another and soon you have a swarm.”

And Carole Kirby, an Imago therapist from Ann Arbor, Michigan reminds us that we easily slip into negativity without much awareness because the alarm centre of our brain (the limbic area) takes charge and slides us right into negativity as it tries to protect us. Unfortunately, instead of protection, it catapults us with one comment, accusation, or a look followed by the other’s comment, accusation, or glance into a quicksand of negativity.

Dare y’a: – Are you doing the negativity creep? C’mon, be honest with yourself! We can all find ourselves there when we don’t  even realize it. Here’s the antidote for the negativity creep….change the climate in your relationship by focusing on your body language. Remember to smile a little more, have a positive and kind voice tone, HUG your partner, do a caring behaviour, and ….whatever you do, be sincere about it.  Dare ya!

Yours truly,
Tamara and Maureen

Resentment is a sneaky emotion

June 9, 2014

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Those of you who have been to our Getting the Love You Want workshop may have heard Lawrence speak about resentment as the heart disease of relationship. Our guest blogger – Seattle therapist Claire Hatch, LCSW, says that resentment in intimate relationships can take more forms than you might realize. She says resentment is a sneaky emotion and can creep in as boredom. Read on to learn the difference between this and simply being in a rut.

Feeling a little bored? Doing a lot of small talk? Has your quality time dwindled down to screen time with some silly T.V. show? Feeling bored can strike panic in your heart. This isn’t why you got married! What is going on? Are we doing something wrong? Have we just turned into boring people? Or is this just the natural drift of a long-term relationship?

At least, those are the kinds of questions that run through my mind. Because that was my view of marriage when I was younger. And that was the experience I swore I would never have. When I find myself having even minor feelings of boredom, my system goes on high alert. But there’s no need to catastrophize. (As I need to tell myself from time to time.) You don’t have to settle for a boring relationship. Once you know the reason for your boredom, you can take steps to put more juice back into your interactions. You’re probably familiar with the common causes of boredom. Everyone gets lazy from time to time. We fall into ruts, often when we’re working too hard or dealing with a lot of stress. We go for a long time without bothering to try anything new or get a change of scene.

But there’s another, less obvious cause of this problem that you might not have thought of.

I often say resentment is a sneaky emotion.

One of the sneakiest things it does is masquerade as boredom. How? Well, for starters, you can’t pick and choose which feelings you’re going to suppress. If you’re bottling up feelings of sadness or anger, you end up suppressing all your feelings. You’ll find yourself feeling less joy and love, as well.  So, if you can’t get a dialog going about something you’re unhappy about, you’re going to feel less of everything toward your partner. Less warmth, less affection, and yes, less curiosity and fascination.

Then too, when you’ve got resentment building up, you feel like your partner doesn’t care about you.

At least, not the way she used to or the way you want her to. Or he doesn’t care about your feelings about a particular issue. When you feel like that, you unconsciously start to edit what you say. You stick to safe subjects. Keep at this for awhile and, voila! Your conversation gets stale. I know that when I’m afraid to open up to my husband, but then I finally do it; I feel a sudden whoosh of affection for him. I look at him with new eyes and marvel at his good qualities. He’s fascinating! He’s tons of fun! He even looks cuter! And all those loving gestures come back again naturally.

So, how can you tell whether you’re resentful or just in a rut?

My advice is to do some of the common-sense things that wake up a relationship. Greet your partner warmly when she or he comes home and offer a hug and a kiss. Instead of half zoning out, when he talks about the report he’s writing, give him your full attention and try to really get it.  Spend an evening with just the two of you. Send romantic texts or emails. Make a point of telling him or her why you appreciate them.

Now, don’t just give this one or two shots and then give up.

That is one of the biggest mistakes long-time couples make. If you’ve had a dry spell, it’s going to take some time to warm up the climate between you again.  If your problem is just laziness, and one of you starts to put in more effort, pretty soon you’ll get a virtuous cycle going. The more love you receive, the more you’ll want to give, and soon you’ll be back on track. But what if you aren’t? Your hugs feel forced. You feel like you’re going through the motions. You get the babysitter, make the dinner reservations, and then sit there, fidgeting, not knowing what to say.

That’s when I put my money on stockpiled resentments.

One of you (or both!) has an important unmet need, and is longing to be understood. Once you find a way to open up and get that understanding, you’ll find that your partner turns back into the interesting person you thought she or he was.

Dare y’a:    First of all you have to acknowledge that you are resentful. Once you’ve taken that step, you can now take step two ….get curious about your resentment… What need is not being met? It’s usually about not feeling connected to your partner and feeling unacknowledged for something you think you should be acknowledged for. So what’s the answer ? Acknowledge to yourself what you really want from your partner and take responsibility for the fact that you might be putting something on to your partner that has no business being there. Try and meet your own needs. Then tell your partner what you need from them without being CRITICAL ! Dare ya! Yours truly, T

*** About Claire Hatch, LCSW Claire Hatch is a LCSW in Kirkland, Washington and creator of Save Your Marriage: Get Rid of Your Resentment, an audio seminar for women. She loves giving couples the tools they need to put the hard times behind them and get their connection back. See her website for more information. http://www.clairehatch.com/

Another Workshop to inspire us all – May 2014

June 2, 2014

We just ended our weekend Getting the Love You Want workshop at the beautiful Liu Centre for Global Studies at UBC. I can’t even begin to write about how inspiring it was.

BobjLchCEAI9O1oAs usual the  couples arrived on Friday, feeling anxious and tentative about what was going to occur. Some even looked as if they wanted to run out of the room. As the night progressed, however, and we built safety together they were more able to relax. There was laughter, curiosity and much hope that they would feel positive change throughout the weekend. By the end of Friday evening we made a pact that we would all work our hardest to end all negativity, criticism  and  blame for the entire workshop and replace it with curiosity. If anyone fell off the wagon everyone agreed we would apologize and get back on track as quickly as possible. That in itself created hope and the opportunity to see one’s partner through different eyes.

By Saturday morning everyone was more open and patient. Then the transformation really began. Each partner worked to create safety in their relationships and the energy of the group helped everyone to feel supported to work they needed to do. Wow -what an honour it was to work with such amazing couples who really want to look at themselves and grow in their relationships so that they can be the partners they want to be. Everyone worked so hard and the benefits were clear.

BogujIgIEAI7kJx-2By Sunday night the love in the room was palpable. What a pleasure it is to facilitate a workshop where people actually make the shifts they need to so that they can continue on their relationship path with respect, new found commitment and so much love in their hearts.

Dare ya– For everyone who was at the workshop make sure you make a time to have a couple’s dialogue this week. For those of you who weren’t at the workshop please come to our next workshop November 14-16, 2014 and find out what all the fuss is about !

Tamara and Maureen