TOO OLD FOR SEX?

Long beyond child-bearing and child-rearing, parents continue to grow and change individually and as couples. Theories of family development suggest that family crises occur whenever family members join or depart from the family unit. Early on, many years are spent adjusting to the changing stages of children; later on, we must adjust to the changing stages of growing older. Consider the following relationship issues and how couples must adapt: Affection and Communication: Needs that never go away. We never outgrow our need for affection. While some people need more and others less, physical contact remains an important way to validate each other. Likewise, our need for communication is essential to help us feel important and to help us keep abreast of the world. When others speak with us, our greatest task is to listen well. Others sense when our attention is elsewhere; they also sense when we are judgmental, critical, annoyed or impatient. Even when we are sure we know what another is about to say, it is important to honor them simply by listening. Especially when someone seems to be repeating themselves, we must consider the possibility that they feel they have not been heard. Sexuality and Compromise. Among the greatest myths in our society is the myth that we grow to old to engage in sexual relations past our prime. On the contrary, regular sexual encounters serve to strengthen relationships and personal vitality. Some say that sex was designed to be lifelong, as evidenced by the fact that you can do it lying down. The secret to an ongoing sex life lies in a couple’s capacity to change and adapt as they grow older. Sex changes over the years along with every other aspect of our lives. Yet, the ability of spouses to enter into the closest of unions is not only possible, but highly desirable. As with other things in life, however, the ability to compromise and change together is an essential element of that closeness. Role changes and management of conflict. With changes in household occupancy and work schedules, comes the need to re-evaluate roles within a marriage. When kids are no longer around to help with certain tasks, someone will need to do them. When there’s an extra pair of hands around the house, it is only fair that the wealth of chores be spread around a little more evenly. When retirement or disability become real, couples must be willing to change what they do in order to adequately address the current needs for living. Without this ability to adapt, family changes are met with resentment, hostility and discontent. In contrast, we must be prepared to change our previous ways of doing things and willing to do so in the spirit of good sportsmanship. Understand the keys to lifelong happiness and personal satisfaction have never been as important as they are today. Couples are...

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LOSING LOVE IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY

There’s a part of the poem, No Loser, No Weeper in which Maya Angelou begins with the line, “I hate to lose something” and ends with, “…I mean I really hate to lose something”. In the poem, Dr. Angelou wrote of losing her doll, her wristwatch, and then, of losing love. In my work, I see people who have found love, lost love, abused love, and confused love. Here are a few thoughts on the matter. Sometimes parents and children lose their love for each other. Love between parents and children carries very high expectations. Parents and children alike are guilty of wanting to redesign each other’s personalities and increase each others’ strengths. Therein lies the loss. Instead, we must be willing to truly love each other as we are… imperfect beings who have some wonderful qualities that should be highlighted. Sometimes husbands and wives lose their love for each other. While dating, people tend to spend a lot of energy on being attractive to each other. The feeling of being in love is the incredible high that everybody seems to want. However, for some reason, after the wedding, some people stop making the effort to be attractive life companions to each other. Usually love relationships require a great deal of daily nurturance. So when love gets taken for granted, the people in the relationship become lonely. It takes continuous effort to keep a relationship synchronized, alive, fun and exciting. Emotional distancers prevent closeness in relationships. Things that are distancers come in all forms: they can be hiding places, activities, or substances. For example, the smoker who is confined to a certain part of the house may choose to spend a lot of time there alone. Some people like to hide inside their computers. Being an alcoholic is like having a love affair with the bottle. When this occurs, the intoxicated person is never really available to get to know others. Frequently, secret drug or food addictions cause people to withdraw from intimate relationships. It is easy for spouses to live parallel and separate lives when their work schedules conflict or they spend most of their time at home in different rooms. In the words of my best friend and husband, “If you’re not together, you’re not together.” Emotional losses occur when things become more important than people. Part of any relationship is a mutual process of sharing. Unfortunately, too many people are nonassertive “at the time” but carry away an unspoken grudge. Without the skills to communicate and solve problems, misunderstandings often lead to the demise of relationships between siblings, friends, and whole families. Sadly, lifelong relationships often end over money, opinions, or possessions. Being successful at marriage and family requires new skills. Today’s couples must learn communication skills, develop problem-solving routines, and learn how to work toward compatible lifestyles. When problems occur, we usually want to handle...

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ESTABLISHING RELATIONSHIPS

Today, for a variety of reasons, many adults find themselves living as Singles. Some have divorced, others are widowed, some have just not found their life partner… yet! So, it is not uncommon for those who have been in successive relationships to find themselves a bit battle-worn by the ups, downs, hurts and disappointments. Over the years, I have worked with a variety of singles of all ages. This post is dedicated to them. It takes time to heal from past relationships. Whenever we experience a loss, we are left with a sense of confusion. We wonder what went wrong, we replay our roles in search of understanding, and we question how to avoid the same mistakes next time. These are important learnings, and it takes “longer than you think” to learn them! It is important not to “hurry” or rush ourselves into the next relationship, even when it is difficult to be alone. It is important to learn from past relationships. In the end, we are left with memories. One constructive result is to analyze the relationship for the Red Flags that foretold of the mismatch in personalities, goals, and loss of communication. Many Red flags appeared at the beginning, and many were there all along. In new relationships, apply the principles of friendship. New “love” relationships often come with an acccumulation of expectations, but good friendships are built just one step at a time. As with any developing friendship, we must grow closer at a comfortable pace. When it feels uncomfortable, you owe it to yourself to step back and appraise how you feel. You may be experiencing a Red Flag. Each of us must be self-sufficient. No one else can bear the weight of meeting our needs; so we must be able to take care of ourselves. While single, become expert at standing on your own feet! Independence is a great personal quality; one which is often attractive to our next prospective partners. Interpersonal relationships are a great challenge… both to establish and to maintain. Healthy relationships require enough flexibility to allow for personal growth of all members, and enough time for enjoyable companionship. And if I haven’t mentioned it lately… we all deserve to be happy and fulfilled in our relationships!...

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