week, we'll be delivering smart and fresh relating
tips. We know you are busy, so let these quick ideas inspire
you to create your ideal relationship! Each edition will include
helpful information in these three categories:
- Dating – tips on finding and keeping the
- Mating – take the Passion Perks challenge
and perk up your love life!
- Relating – tips on making your connection
We'll also be including news of note for singles
and couples, from Coupling Connection and all around the US,
keeping you abreast of relationship happenings you may find
Remember, information is only good if you USE it. Research
shows that if you don't use a new piece of information within
two weeks, you won't ever use it! So if you want an extraordinary
relationship, try something new today!
Sex- Now or Later?
If you read men’s magazines like GQ or women’s
magazines like Cosmo, you’d get the idea that a lot
of people have sex on the first date. What’s more, they’d
have you believe that you are positively square if you haven’t
done it by the third date. Although I think these magazines
exaggerate the truth, I know that it is awfully tempting for
people to become sexually involved quickly. And many people
do it without much thought. After all, sex feels good and
it’s hard to resist the urge in the moment. But having
sex very early in a budding romance is probably not a smart
idea, for all sorts of reasons which I know you are already
familiar with so I won’t belabor them. But learning
to judge the right time for you to have sex is a critical
dating skill. So let’s look more closely at this topic.
Since you are reading this newsletter, I am going
to assume that you are someone who’s goal is to find
a serious, committed relationship in the shortest amount of
time, with as little emotional anguish as possible. So we
are going to focus exclusively on that situation.
Let’s face it. Sex complicates things. And
many people have a very difficult time separating sex and
emotion, especially women. So, once you have sex, it usually
ups the ante, changing things like your expectations and your
vulnerability to rejection. It blurs your thinking, making
it more difficult to make a rational decision based on the
facts. And when you are looking to find the right partner
for you, this is not the state you want to be in.
So, if you are truly serious about finding your ONE,
here are some guidelines:
1. DO NOT rush into becoming physically intimate.
2. Wait until you decide this is definitely someone that you
think has long term potential (umm, and you can’t decide
that until you’ve had more than 4 dates!!).
3. Only proceed with a sexual involvement AFTER you have a
conversation and decide to focus on one another exclusively.
99% of people cannot handle the negative emotional effects
of being sexually involved with someone is who still seeing
4. Wait until you are 100% comfortable with this person and
can trust them.
5. Ask yourself honestly, “If we had sex today, and
I never saw this person again, how would I feel?” If
you are worried that they may not call again or there is any
chance that this person is about to abruptly disappear from
your life, this is not the time to have sex.
Of course, when to have sex is an intensely personal
decision, and it should be based largely on your values and
beliefs about what sex means to you and who it should be shared
with. It should also be based on a very realistic assessment
of what type of emotional connection you need to feel most
comfortable with having sex. A lot of people think that having
casual sex will be ok, because it feels good in the moment.
But many have regrets later, when their heart is on a see-saw
because the other person is not treating them well and the
relationship is not going as planned.
So, if you are serious about finding a healthy, happy
relationship that lasts, I encourage you to consider adopting
this belief: Sex is a gift of yourself
that you are only willing to give to others who are worthy
of receiving that gift. Because while sex is good,
sex can only be great between two people who care deeply about
one another and are committed to each other’s well being.
And you must ask yourself if the risks of becoming
sexually involved are worth it, in the absence of this loving
commitment. Maybe they are for you, and that’s ok. Casual
sex works for some people. But there are lots of people who
think they can pull off casual sex, only to discover that
they cannot. If you’ve made this discovery once, by
all means, honor and respect yourself and don’t put
yourself in this position again. And if you know you are weak
of will in the moment, plan ahead and avoid the type of close,
intimate situations that will be hard to say no to!!
Action Step: Have a
general plan about when sex is right for you- and STICK TO
IT!! To develop this plan, take these two steps.
1. Consider your past sexual involvements. Think about what
time frame you became physically intimate, what this did to
the relationship, and the predominant emotions you experienced.
What do your experiences tell you about when the right time
is for you?
2. Now consider your beliefs and values about sex. Have they
changed as you gotten older- say from “get all the sex
you can” to “sex should be meaningful”?
Has your behavior changed with them? Is there a way of thinking
about sex that would be more beneficial to you now- say from
“sex is fun” to “sex is a gift”?
Feeling like you really want to have sex with your latest
potential partner? My general recommendation is to wait a
little while longer. It’s hard to screw things up by
giving it a little more time. But boy, can things blow up
fast if you move too quickly.
Tip: I know it’s hard to wait. But when you do,
the build-up is much more intense, making your first time
both more meaningful and pleasurable. Who wouldn't want that?
**Is going slow hard for you?
Is it hard to know when sex is right for you? Learn tools
to help at the upcoming FREE group call on the How To Avoid
Marrying a Jerk(ette) Program. Rescheduled
for Wed May 17th, 7pm Eastern, 5pm Mountain. Email
for more info and to register. **
Expectations play a pivotal role in every area of
our lives. All of us have expectations that are conscious
(that we are aware of) and unconscious (that operate without
our awareness). Both types of expectations can wreck havoc
on our relationships, especially if they remain uncommunicated.
And unfortunately, due to their personal and private nature,
many of our sexual expectations have gone unexamined and largely,
have not been discussed with our partner.
Because attitudes and beliefs about sex form our
expectations, it's important to spend some time looking more
closely at them. Our beliefs and values about sex were ingrained
during our childhood, from the messages we received from family.
After that, the media and society, as well as our friends
and our previous romantic experiences affect our attitudes.
If all of these experiences were positive, we'd probably not
have any problems, but many of the sexual attitudes or beliefs
we acquire are negative, shaming, or no longer helpful.
To discover what expectations may be holding your
sex life back, it's important to discuss this topic with your
Some evening when you are both relaxed, sit down
together and discuss the following topics:
1. What messages did your family
send about sex? What information did they provide, if any?
Was sex seen as a positive part of life to be enjoyed or a
shameful thing to be ignored? The attitudes we heard as children
often automatically become a part of us and frequently have
to be unlearned, if they were not positive.
2. Spend some time talking
about how your body image has affected your sexuality throughout
your life. When you are not comfortable with your body, it
often has a negative impact on your sexual enjoyment. Body
image often changes so discuss how these changes have affected
your sex life, from teen years to pregnancy, gaining weight,
or simply getting older.
3. What messages did your friends
send about sex? How about as a teen, and how about now? The
attitudes and behaviors of our friends often serve as a comparison
point and can affect how we feel about our sex life.
4. What affect did the media
have on your sexuality, both growing up and now? We live in
an intensely sexual media culture, with mostly unrealistic
images of lithe bodies and unbelievably pleasureable sexual
encounters. Constant viewing of such images can lead to feelings
of inadequacy, in terms of how you look, how much sex you
are having, and how good your sex life is.
5. What have been your positive
and negative sexual experiences in previous relationships?
For example, a negative and critical partner may leave you
sexually insecure. Or a demanding and stingy partner may make
you resentful and unwilling to participate freely. Maybe you've
felt sexually "used" in the past so it's difficult
to trust. Or perhaps you had positive experiences which helped
you feel comfortable and secure. How do these experiences
carry over into your sex life now?
6. What are your general attitudes
about sex? Is it something for all to enjoy or something meaningful
to be shared only between committed partners? What are the
"duties" of each partner in a sexual relationship,
Lastly, consider what your hidden expectations might be about
your current sexual relationship. Do you expect your partner
to read your mind? Have you been hurt by something that has
happened and need to discuss it? What does it mean if someone
says "no"? Is it ok for only one partner to climax?
etc. Consider what is different about your sex life now from
when the relationship began. What would you most need to really
increase your enjoyment?
Challenge: Discuss the above topics and see where your attitudes,
beliefs, and expectations may be holding your sex life back.
Decide which old beliefs and habits no longer serve you best
and substitute new attitudes or behaviors. Together, devise
a plan to overcome any obstacles you've discovered.
Taking the time to have this type of conversation and getting
to know each other more deeply is bound to increase your sense
of connection and intimacy- which is the best aphrodisiac!
Super Glue Your Relationship Commitment Tool 1: Devalue Attractive
After you make a big decision (like buying a car,
a house, or choosing a mate), one of two things can happen.
Let’s take that car purchase. You’ll either start
looking around and noticing all sorts of other cool cars and
second guess your decision. This is commonly known as buyer’s
remorse or the grass is always greener phenomenon. Or you’ll
protect your decision by devaluing attractive alternatives,
a concept you are probably much less familiar with. In this
case, when you see a fancy BMW, rather than focus on it’s
positive attributes, you’ll say to yourself, “Boy
that’d be nice, but I bet the insurance on that pretty
thing is outrageous, and I know the repair costs are monstrous,
and besides, they are SO yuppie. Nah, my new Honda Accord
is perfect for me.”
Well the same thing happens in relationships. Although
buyer’s remorse doesn't usually settle in right away,
like it does with a car or a fancy home entertainment system.
In fact, devaluing of attractive alternatives usually happens
naturally in the beginning of relationships. But once the
new glow fades, the grass is greener mentality threatens to
eclipse your commitment over and over, in cycles throughout
a relationship. And this is natural. Once you’ve committed
to something, it means you’ll have to take the good
with the bad. And when the bad is right under your nose, it’s
human nature to start considering alternatives that appear
more attractive. But, here’s the kicker with relationships-
engaging in grass is greener thinking is a serious slippery
slope that can easily lead to increased unhappiness, if not
the demise of your relationship.
You see, it’s one thing if you start ogling
that BMW with all the neat gadgets, you may feel some displeasure
at your plain little Honda sitting in the driveway. But when
you start building up in your mind all the reasons why being
with your young, hot secretary would be better than the wife
you’ve grown bored with. Well, that’s playing
with fire- a fire that can burn up your love in no time, leaving
So- here’s a secret. While devaluing of attractive
alternatives happens naturally (automatically, without thought)
when couples are happily committed to one another, you always
have the option to use it as a conscious, intentional tool
to protect your relationship.
Let’s see how that would work.
You’ve been together a few years or ten. You barely
remember the butterflies you used to feel, and quite frankly,
you’re in one of those lower spots where you’ve
become disenchanted with your partner. You’re weary
of them leaving dirty laundry around the house, you wish they
would help out more with chores, and you can’t remember
the last time they did something sweet and romantic for you.
Then, a new attractive co-worker joins your office. You find
yourself daydreaming about what it would be like to be with
them. You figure it’s harmless. You project all sorts
of great qualities onto them: they would be smart, witty and
charming. Or even worse, you start having lunch together sometimes,
and you actually experience some of these positive traits
first hand. Either way, you compare your partner with this
mostly imagined person and find them lacking, growing a discontent
which may lead you down the slippery slope to involvement
with someone else.
But, you always have a choice. You can go with Grass
is Always Greener thinking which might look something like
this: Gosh, I bet they would help with dinner, pick up the
dry cleaning, even give the kids a bath without being asked.
They would look at me like I was the most attractive person
in the world, making me feel special, more alive. And I’d
bet they are the most generous lover imaginable!
Or you can realize that most of these thoughts are
just idealized projections of what you wish were true and
purposely chose to protect your relationship with Devaluing
Attractive Alternatives thinking which might look something
like this: Gee, my new co-worker sure is attractive, but you
know what? I bet they are really high maintenance. I bet they
have lots of annoying habits, like coming home late or overspending.
Sure, there might be a spark of chemistry between us, but
I know that won’t last. In fact, I bet they would be
a selfish lover, etc.
You get the idea. In fact, this type of thinking
can be boiled down to an easy to remember, pithy little phrase
that a friend of mine has coined: “Somewhere, someone
is sick and tired of their crap!” Remember this, and
you can’t go wrong. The important point is that the
second type of thinking does not add to your unhappiness with
your partner, it actually protects your commitment to the
relationship. And while the example we used is a rather obvious
one, the grass is greener phenomenon can happen in more subtle,
yet equally insidious ways. So it’s important to pay
attention to how YOU think about attractive alternatives.
Because your thinking will either strengthen or weaken your
Action Step: Begin
to notice your thought patterns. Are you a Grass is Always
Greener person or do you regularly devalue attractive alternatives.
The next time you are tempted to make the grass larger than
life, consciously chose to devalue the attractive alternative.
It may take practice to become aware of when you are doing
this and even more practice to become adept at having more
pro-relationship thoughts. But doing this can improve your
happiness, save your love, and help it regain it’s bloom.
If you notice Grass is Greener thinking, don’t get too
down on yourself. You can actually use it to improve your
relationship! When you begin thinking that something is better
than what you have, it’s an important clue to what’s
missing in your life. Talk to your partner and see what you
can do together to bring that quality back to your relationship.
Fact: Infatuation by definition means to “cause to be
foolish,” “deprive of sound judgment” and
to inspire with an “extravagant love or admiration.”
It’s interesting how something that sounds a bit negative
(being foolish or deprived of our sanity) can feel so good.
Strategy: But let's not forget that infatuation can make you
a fool. This is where love is blind comes from. Vow not to
become blind, but to assess love with both your heart AND
*FREE* Virtual Group
Wed May 17th, 5pm Mountain
Time, 7pm Eastern
How To Avoid
Dating and Marrying a Jerk:
to Selecting Your Perfect Partner
Haven't yet had an opportunity to learn
about this program? Now is the perfect opportunity to get
an introduction to the most important principles- free! Email
for more info and bridge line phone number.
*NEW* Singles Workshop
How to Maximize
Your Happiness and Create the Life That You Desire
Learn to empower
yourself to create the happiness you deserve! In this course,
you'll learn the benefits of happiness, the nine choices you
can make to live a more joyful, satisfied life, and three
tools to help you get there.
Dates for Singles
University course to be announced soon. Email
for course outline or for info on E-course.
WEEK! One time Workshop Opportunity
Hi Church YES Group Friday Night Enrichment Series.
12, 7-9:30pm. Lakewood, CO
Attraction Traps: Reclaiming Your Love
Life from the Patterns of the Past
is an excellent opportunity to learn everything you need to
know to break out of your habits of the past, at a reduced
cost from the normal workshop! Cost for members of the YES
Group $10, non-members $15
Tickets will be sold at the door.
Note: This is the same seminar as "They
Are Just Not That Into You."
New Spring Workshop Dates at Singles
Thur May 25, 6:30-9 How
to Avoid Dating and Marrying a Jerk(ette)
See website for more info or Enroll
at Singles University.
Sick of being single and ready
to get started on your path to the perfect partner?
Take advantage of two exciting opportunities.
For a limited time, Inventories are half off! Clarify
the characteristics of your perfect partner and learn how
to get out of your relationship ruts. A powerful step toward
an extraordinary relationship. Cost: $40.
*NEW* E-course: They
Are Just Not That Into You
Now offered as an Email Course!
You get six weekly lessons emailed to you to read at your
leisure, including a weekly homework assignment that will
help you gain personal insight and apply the information to
your own situation. Once completed, you email each assignment
back for personalized feedback. Cost: $45.
See the website for more information on either of
these opportunities or email
if you are interested!
News For Couples
Strategy: Remember the Blame Game that we spoke about a few
issues back. Well, Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love and Respect,
a best-selling Christian book on marriage has some advice
about it. The central theme of his book is that couples have
to stop the "crazy cycle", which is this: Feeling
unloved, the woman reacts in ways that feel disrespectful
to him. Without respect, he reacts in ways that feel unloving
to her. Sometimes a simple statement can end a fight or stalemate,
Eggerichs suggests that the woman might say something along
the lines of, "What you're doing right now feels unloving.
Did I come across as disrespectful? I'm sorry, I didn't intend
to." The man might say, "That felt disrespectful.
Did I come across as unloving?"
See how these types of statements give
your partner the benefit of the doubt because you offer to
take responsibility? This can immediately diffuse an argument
and is a very loving way to interact.
*NEW* Couples Workshop
It can be tough to keep the love alive
over time, especially with busy schedules, work and financial
stress, and children! But with the right attitudes and skills,
everyone can keep the passion burning. Come learn how to deepen
your connection, increase your intimate passion, and protect
your commitment from infidelity. Leave with tools to revitalize
your love. Email
for more info.
* Have you tried
a tip or tool from the Relation Smarts E-newsletter? We want
to hear about it!? Let us know what your experience was like.
Did it improve your connection? Or no?
Email us! *
Do you have a
topic, idea, question, or concern you'd like to have addressed
in an upcoming newsletter? Email
Know someone who could use a little RelationSmarts?
Feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends!
May your relationships bring you the happiness you
Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D.
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