MATE DEBATE: CAN YOU FORGIVE A CHEATER?
08/11/2015 Sunday, November 8, 2015; Romantic Reminders

CAN YOU FORGIVE

By Romantic Reminders

This Side

Infidelity claims the lives of successful relationships around the world every day. What we’re looking at today is whether or not the cheater should be forgiven.

Our steadfast stance on the matter is no, absolutely not – like the Swiss, we lend no quarter. Relationships are built on trust and respect, among a few other indispensable elements. These elements are the sum of a strong support foundation that can provide both guidance and backing for future challenges that couples may face. If your relationship is the kind where both parties are comfortable with the opposing person interacting intimately with other people then the ramifications of cheating do not exist. If, however, you are in a clearly determined monogamous relationship, then it is paramount to the well being of your person and to the relationship that you close that chapter in life and begin to move forward on to the next phase. By excusing your partner for having cheated, you have directly encouraged the dismantling of the sturdy foundation of which your relationship is built on, quite simply because your trust has been severed and you did nothing to stop the bleeding. In addition, there is a mega chance that once your partner has tasted the fruits of faithlessness, they will become a full blown repeat customer and cheat again. In no way shape or form will that serve any positive purpose towards the strengthening of your relationship and the love shared between the both parties. Simply put, you should not excuse your partner if they’ve engaged in infidelity, it’s a lose-lose no matter how you cut it.  

That Side

Put on your boxing gloves, folks; this one could get ugly! Can you forgive your partner for cheating on you? Oh. Fo. Sho. Unless you have some sort of predetermined agreement (in which case I believe “swinging” would be the word), cheating is not OK. But it ain’t a black and white, if/then statement (i.e. If you cheat, the relationship is over). It’s one of those “it depends” statement. You know–to exercise your brain! Here’s the deal: First off, all couples define cheating differently. Is cheating flirting? Making out? Staying over? Texting? Getting horizontal? Grinding? Becoming Facebook friends? This is an important definition, but for the purpose of the argument let’s just go with the home run. Cheating is having sex with a person who is not your partner. Ugh. Yeah, that’s a tough one to come back from, but cheating should not be the act that defines the future of your relationship. Here’s why: In some cases, cheating can basically be the cowardly way to convince you it’s over. Cheating can be the symptom of a failing relationship. Cheating can be a sticky affair, a premeditated, selfish act. In some cases, the relationship wounds caused by cheating are harder to heal, and in those cases, perhaps calling it quits is the better option. But in other cases, cheating is a short lapse in judgment. The result of a few too many gins and charm at just the right (wrong) time. An indication your relationship–or sex life–could use a little TLC. Yep, in other cases, cheating can actually be a catalyst to change and promote growth. Or, it can be the beginning of the end. See, it’s up to you how you decide to proceed if you get cheated on, and all this chitter-chatter about it being unforgivable gets in the way of making a decision that’s going to benefit you. So screw all the messages in our culture that say to end it despite the situation…that’s just gonna blur your vision. It is possible to forgive, and it is possible to heal. It doesn’t mean you have no backbone, it doesn’t mean “it’ll happen again,” and it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. Humans mess up, and sometimes forgiving them is the best route. Now back away from the burning barrel filled with their clothes and call a couples’ therapist!


WHY THE HAPPIEST COUPLES GO TO BED AT THE SAME TIME
12/09/2015 Saturday, September 12, 2015; Romantic Reminders

BED-SAME-TIME

By Jamie Rea

If you read any article online only about ‘Things Happy Couples Do’ or ‘Things Successful Couples Do’ you will find ‘Go to bed at the same time’ on just about every single list out there.

It’s the truth. How you and your partner sleep, as well as construct your nighttime schedules, can have a dramatic impact on your relationship.

According to a study done on DailyMail.co.uk, 75 percent of couples go to bed at different times due to heavy workloads, hectic social lives, and surfing the web (hmmm, sifting through that virtual garbage). Going even further, over one third of these couples with varying sleep patterns said that it created arguments.

That, in a nutshell, means — the majority of couples go to bed at different times and many have claimed issues in their relationship with a direct correlation to their different bedtimes. So it shows that sleep patterns in your relationship can be a real determining factor that contributes to a happy and smooth union, versus a rocky and argumentative one.

So what do these varying sleep patterns look like?

Well a successful couple in this area looks like this…

They’re both on a similar circadian rhythm. They both work jobs that are relatively close to the same hours (i.e. they both work night jobs, or both work day jobs). While they may separate for evening activities, they converge at the very end of the day, right before bed. They set their alarms at the same time, read their books at the same time, while chatting about their day, as well as their plans for tomorrow. They use this pre-bedtime routine as a chance to check-in, communicate, and relax and enjoy each other’s company before turning out the lights. They also use this time to have sex, of course!

Why is this time so important for a relationship?

It allows both partners to feel relaxed and closer to each other. It leads to more kissing, cuddling, touching, massaging, back scratching etc. (all crucial forms of intimacy that are often overlooked). As well as obviously more sex. In fact, one leading cause of the old argument “we don’t have enough sex” can be largely attributed to couples operating on conflicting work schedules and sleep patterns.

So heading to bed at the same time as your partner has a multitude of positive factors on you and your relationship.

Such as…

Both you and your partner feeling more relaxed and at ease within the relationship.

Better communication.

Better sleep.

Less stress.

Fewer arguments.

More intimacy.

More sex.

And creates a deep, underlying feeling of camaraderie and partnership.

Now an example of a couple that is not successful in this area looks like this…

They always go to bed at different times; one partner always goes to bed much later, often barging into the room and waking up the other. Now the person who was woken up suddenly, probably ends up having a lousy sleep, which contributes to their irritable mood the next day. Now this creates susceptibility for tension and arguments, as well as a pressure point in the relationship if the problem persists. There are also couples that, instead of using the time before bed to talk to each other, end up spending that time with their attention being sucked into their cell phones as they check social media and randomly browse websites. Technology can become a huge interference during this time.

Growing up, my dad would always pass out on the couch, while my mom would go off to bed. It used to drive her absolutely crazy. This is because when someone doesn’t come with you to bed, or doesn’t reciprocate your invitation to come to bed at the same time, then they’re going to take it that their partner is directly turning down an opportunity to spend some time together, or at least doesn’t value the “before bed time” as a great opportunity to be close to each other.

Now many things are lost when this situation happens.

Firstly, they have less time to spend together, and if they both went about their busy, individual lives that day, then there is no time to communicate and reconvene. Secondly, they lose a perfect opportunity to be intimate with each other, to pillow talk and just be with each other in a quiet space after the noise of the day has subsided. They end up sleeping on far sides of the bed, with absolutely no bodily contact. Pretty soon this romantic relationship starts to feel like a friendship. And for couples who have children, this time before bed becomes particularly crucial as it’s often the only time they can be in each other’s company without their kids being around. They also lose out on, for many busy couples, the only chance to have sex. So now this couple is intimate with each other less often, and they communicate less often. Over time this can result in a huge gap between the couple.

You see, couples that are on conflicting sleep schedules experience more stress in their relationship, which creates more arguments. It can even be partially attributed to ‘poor sleep’ as well. When we get less than 8 hours of sleep, we become more irritable and more prone to arguments. It’s also particularly important for women to be on a similar sleep cycle, as according to Austria-based sleep researcher John Dittami, women are the sleepless sex. Meaning that they tend to have a harder time falling asleep than men and are more easily waken. Men fall asleep faster and have fewer complaints about their sleep. So if in a relationship, the guy tends to go to bed later, it’s likely that he’s going to wake his partner up when he comes to bed. She’ll not only be upset that he always wakes her up when he comes to bed, but also that he didn’t come spend time with her when she was heading to bed in the first place. So now she’s irritated by being woken up, as well as feels neglected that she goes to bed by herself every single night, as he sees random YouTube videos and Netflix shows to be more important than spending time with her. It’s also probably not a surprise, that according to DailyMail.co.uk, statistics have shown that people who sleep poorly have a higher divorce rate.

And all this over sleep!!

The argument that most people will have is that one person is a night owl and the other likes to go to sleep earlier, or that one person’s work requires them to be up late on the computer, while the other’s work requires them to be up super early. There is then the endless brigade of social obligations that keep couples out later and apart from each other.

But, the very important difference, which was noted by ‘Psychology Today’, is that it’s not so much about going to bed at exactly the same time, but rather couples getting in their “sacred time” together before bed every night. This doesn’t mean they have to be on the exact same sleep cycles, as that’s completely unrealistic every single night, but it’s about making the effort to use that time at the end of a busy day to find time to be close with one another. ‘Psychology Today’ goes on to say that couples that have different natural sleep cycles (night owl vs. morning rooster) should focus on spending quality time right before the bedtime of the person that goes to bed the earliest. The other person can then get up and do whatever they have to go do for the rest of the evening after they’ve spent quality time together, talking, cuddling, making love, or just being around each other and winding down after the day.

This difference between “sacred time” before bed and actually sleeping was further lamented by John Dittami when he said this, “sleeping is an individual thing. It’s not a duet.” What he meant was that most couples like to sleep independently from one another, i.e. very few couples actually fall asleep while they’re cuddling and spooning each other. This notion that couples always fall asleep perfectly caressed into each other’s arms has been blown out of proportion by romantic comedies, am I right? The majority of couples sleep on their own side of the bed. There is sex followed by cuddling, and then there is sleeping. Sleeping is its own thing.

We all lead busy lives. We all have social obligations. There are things we enjoy doing in the evening such as spending time on the computer, watching TV, movies, going out to see friends, and scrolling our Instagram feeds. But like so many other things in a relationship, quality time before bed is something that needs to be put into practice and done through a very concerted effort. It’s not about ALWAYS going to bed at the same time as your partner every single night, but it’s about trying to carve out that time in the evening, when the world shuts down, even just to be lying next to each other as you both read your books or make your schedules for the following day. As we’ve seen with so many other articles circulating the Internet, being on a complimentary sleep pattern is so crucial and evident in successful relationships, it leads to less arguments and more feelings of alignment and happiness with your partner.


MATE DEBATE: Six Months
03/07/2015 Friday, July 3, 2015; Romantic Reminders

THE SIX MONTH MARK

By Romantic Reminders

This Side

If you are in a relationship past the six-month mark, here are a few things you should definitely know about your...

That Side

The six-month mark can be a time of transition. The words alone have enough weight to bring about the inevitable truth: that you are officially...


MATE DEBATE: DRESSED TO KILL
08/03/2015 Sunday, March 8, 2015; Romantic Reminders


By Romantic Reminders

This Side

Ladies, did you know that when you get dressed up like a Siberian streetwalker with an accompaniment of friends looking like a bunch of lusty harlots, we can’t...

That Side

Guys, firstly, if your woman wants to dress “sexy,” you’re a lucky man. Enjoy it. A lot of us are too insecure to show our bodies off.  Secondly, have you ever been...


MATE DEBATE: THE EX FACTOR
19/11/2014 Wednesday, November 19, 2014; Romantic Reminders

ex-boyfriend1

By Romantic Reminders

This Side

This month we tackle the age-old debate of whether or not it is a good idea to keep in touch with your ex. Our thoughts: Not a good idea. The simplest way to...

That Side

What seems like a more threatening situation to you? Your honey catching up with the ex they’re no longer physically attracted to but want to maintain a...


WANDERING EYE…
31/10/2014 Friday, October 31, 2014; Romantic Reminders

WANDERING EYE

My boyfriend is constantly commenting on attractive women in front of me. I get that he’s going to find other people attractive, but it pisses me off, and, even more embarrassingly so, he does it in front of our friends. Is this some sort of weird way of putting me down? Or am I just being a jealous psycho? How do I get him to stop?

Some folks in Dating 101 missed the lesson about how telling their partner how hot someone else is usually doesn’t fly well. Feeling hurt, offended, annoyed, etc. in response to your partner’s comments, particularly in front of others, are completely natural and understandable reactions. However, our society tends to place the blame on women when they express their feelings (i.e. calling them “crazy” or “jealous”), leaving them feeling invalidated and hesitant to bring up their concerns.

Like you said, it’s natural that your partner is going to find other women attractive—just as you probably find other men attractive. This is human nature and doesn’t mean he intends to pursue the hot girl at the gym or the server on your dinner date. Still, it sounds like his acknowledgment of this attraction understandably leaves you feeling disrespected and inadequate, and thus asking for a change in his behaviour seems like a valid request.

Let’s look at why he might be commenting on other women. In order to do this, let’s explore things further: You mentioned he comments in front of others — does he comment when it’s just the two of you, as well? If so, does it leave you feeling the same way? My guess is that the humiliation and anger you feel are a reaction to the public violation of the “I only have eyes for you” rule that we hold in our society. Of course, there’s pressure not to get jealous or to express discontent in response to his interest in other women. Now, this very well may be a product of insecurity either in himself or in the relationship. The implicit message in these comments might be “I find other women attractive and believe I have other options,” and underneath that might be “I worry that you might leave me, so by commenting on other women I hope you’ll feel less secure and will choose to stay with me.” It might be that he has witnessed his parents interacting in such ways, or that his father/brother/role model did this, and so he believes it is a normal and acceptable behaviour in a relationship. Or, maybe he has done it with past partners and had the behaviour reinforced (for example, a past partner might have reacted to comments by dressing more attractively or becoming more sexual). Or, maybe he just appreciates human beauty and feels a need to point that out. Maybe.

But of course, knowing the “why” won’t get him to keep his attraction to himself. Sure, it can be helpful to know, because it might provide more insight into his intentions and change how you feel; but, what’s most important is that a behaviour is occurring that leaves you feeling disrespected, and you desire change.

My suggestion would be to address the issue with him directly (you’re not surprised). Be specific about the behaviour, and use “I” statements (for example, “When you make comments about finding other women attractive, it leaves me feeling annoyed/disconnected/confused/inadequate/etc. Can you see why I might feel that way?”)

Then, ask how he thinks mentioning these things out loud would benefit the relationship and what he gets out of it, or if there is something else he is trying to tell you by stating such things. Not in a sarcastic or accusatory way, but in a truly curious way about the intentions of his behaviour (.e.g “I’m wondering if you can help me understand better what’s happening for you when you tell me that you find other women attractive.”) Focus on intention and potential benefits/growth in the relationship rather than harm.

Depending on his reaction, you can then move to the next step of asking for change and defining realistic expectations together. For example, you are not asking him not to find other women attractive, as that is an unrealistic expectation. Rather, you are asking him to be more considerate in how he reacts to this feeling of attraction in front of you and in front of others, by not stating it out loud. Because he likely will not be able to completely extinguish the behaviour right off the bat, explore together a firm but compassionate response that you can have prepared for if he “slips up.” (e.g. “I’m noticing you’re commenting on other women. I know it’s a habit that is likely difficult to change, but I just want to remind you that I find it creates a disconnection between us.”) Theories of behaviour suggest that immediacy is important in successful change, so don’t wait until you go to bed that evening to bring it up. Try to do it as soon after the behaviour occurs as possible (ideally with as few curse words as possible). Finally, remember that change is not an immediate or linear process, so try to practice patience and compassion in the process. Good luck!

Warmly,
Megan Bruneau, M.A. RCC

Although many individuals share similar concerns relating to their relationship advice, no two persons or couples are the same. Romantic Reminders’ Registered Clinical Counsellor, Megan Bruneau, provides professional advice that some might find helpful influencing how they consider approaching their concern; however, her advice is by no means a substitute for couple’s therapy or one-on-one professional help. Megan advises all of her clients to seek relationship support in the form of a trained professional if their situation grants them the opportunity to do so. Additionally, if physical or emotional abuse, addictions, or mental illness are present in your relationship, this advice likely will not be suitable or sufficient for you. Instead, individual and couple therapy are strongly recommended.


BEING “OPEN”
28/08/2014 Thursday, August 28, 2014; Romantic Reminders


Recently, my husband suggested we try out an “open” marriage. I was pretty surprised when he suggested it, and it’s definitely not something I would have considered before. The thing is, I consider myself to be pretty liberal, so I’m thinking maybe I should give it a whirl? I’m also worried that if I say “No”, he’ll end up cheating on me… Thoughts?

I was waiting for this question! More and more attention is being brought to open relationships as couples aim to navigate declining rates in marital satisfaction and longevity. Marital longevity began to decline after the industrial revolution. Since then, women have entered the workforce and no longer depend on men for fiscal support, emphasis on religion (and religious values) has declined, no-fault divorce makes marital dissolution easier, society has developed more liberal attitudes around divorce and sexuality, and technology (dating websites, social media) gives more choice for alternative and additional partners.

Before I offer advice on testing out the trend, I think it’s important to address the hesitation I sense in your question. It sounds like you feel pressured into trying out an open relationship, because you worry that cheating is an inevitability if you don’t. This concerns me, because, assuming you share an egalitarian relationship characterized by mutual respect, agreeing to a relationship format you don’t feel comfortable out of fear of being cheated on does not sound ideal.

I strongly suggest having a conversation to answer the “why” and the “why now” questions, first. Is he feeling bored in your physical relationship? Is a friend doing it and he’s envious? Has he met someone else? Having sex with other people will likely not solve one of those concerns. Does he think it would benefit your relationship? Do you think it would benefit your relationship? It is essential that both partners be on board with this idea and discuss it thoroughly before engaging. Find out what “open relationship” means. Open physically? Open emotionally? How would you benefit? What would your expectations in an open marriage be?

Because there hasn’t been much attention brought to the subject in the past, there isn’t a ton of research available on what makes some open relationships work. However, qualitative evidence suggests that being “open” — in a communication and informational sense — works best. For example, having access to each others’ Facebook, text messages, email, etc; setting rules such as not exchanging last names or contact information, only engaging in intimate encounters with new partners (i.e. no “repeats”), and, of course, using protection and maintaining regular health check-ups.

However, some couples are more of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” mindset. They’d rather not know, and what pressures them to find out is a message from society that considers sexual intimacy with another partner “cheating,” and if they weren’t to know they might be considered naïve or pathetic. If you decide to try on an open relationship, this is something that should be thoroughly discussed. Consider what you’d want your open relationship to look like. After setting your expectations, your partner might change his mind, as the idea might seem less attractive with expectations and boundaries.

A few other points to consider? Jealousy will inevitably arise, so discuss how you plan to deal with it. Most people find compassion is a helpful strategy, and there are many resources available to help further develop this skill. Furthermore, discuss if and how you will share the details of your relationship shift to your friends and family. Be prepared that not everyone will be on board with, or supportive of this. You might experience social prejudice, discrimination, and lack of support.

To sum, above all, communication is the most important ingredient to facilitate a successful open relationship. Discuss, devise, debrief, and repeat as you go!

Warmly,
Megan

Although many individuals share similar concerns relating to their relationship advice, no two persons or couples are the same. Romantic Reminders’ Registered Clinical Counsellor, Megan Bruneau, provides professional advice that some might find helpful influencing how they consider approaching their concern; however, her advice is by no means a substitute for couple’s therapy or one-on-one professional help. Megan advises all of her clients to seek relationship support in the form of a trained professional if their situation grants them the opportunity to do so. Additionally, if physical or emotional abuse, addictions, or mental illness are present in your relationship, this advice likely will not be suitable or sufficient for you. Instead, individual and couple therapy are strongly recommended.


The Importance Of Texting Compatibility In A Relationship
04/07/2014 Friday, July 4, 2014; Among Men

By Among Men

The importance of texting in our 21st century is well documented. It’s now become the most dominating form of communication… read the full article here!


MATE DEBATE: Eye on the Prize
30/06/2014 Monday, June 30, 2014; Romantic Reminders

Man-and-woman-flirting-2502782

By Romantic Reminders

This Side

Ok, so crushes happen. At the office, the gym, during a night out with the girls – at some point in our relationship, we’re probably going to feel attracted...

That Side

Honesty is king. The strongest foundation for a long lasting relationship is honesty. You need to be honest with yourself and with your partner, because...

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