Archive for ‘Sex education’

February 15, 2018

Tribal code

by Rod Smith

Each of us brings to every relationships a backdrop of how we view the world, understand commitment, view, and value people, join groups, terminate friendships, love, and leave home, nurture babies, pack the dishwasher, engage in or avoid conflict, and many things too numerous to mention.

Everything about our relationships is influenced by who, where, and how we were reared – among countless other variables, including natural endowment, and deeply held dreams and desires.

From these countless sources, experiences, and codes, both known and unknown, each of us was handed a Tribal Code or our truth about how life ought to work. How life was done, how relationships were conducted, talked or not talked about, became the folklore, the “correct” or the “right” way to live.

Your formative years did what they were supposed to do: they formed (and informed) you.

They taught you what, and how, to see, think and feel. They showed you what “normal” is to your family, and your experience became your measure of how life is supposed to work.

Then, when entering relationships, be it in marriage or if you are talking with your child’s teacher – the person opposite you has his/her own, and different, tribal code. He/she has his/her own lenses through which to see the world.

No wonder we can have a tough time getting along!

December 6, 2017

The two E-s

by Rod Smith

Enabling is rampant in many families.

It can involve:

  • Covering for someone so outsiders do not notice or find out about his or her undesirable behavior (drinking, gambling, addictive habits).
  • Relaying lies to a workplace – calling in to say he or she is ill when he or she is unable to work because of the addiction.
  • Permitting, turning a blind-eye, cooperating, letting things go unnoticed to keep the peace or because it feel easier.

Enabling behaviors are often subtle way of disguising who it is in a family who is in need of help. The enabler often appears to be the strong or the healthy one. Control is the name of the game – and family life can feel like one.

Empowering is common in healthy families.

It can involve:

  • Getting out of each other’s way so people can learn from errors and get credit for their successes.
  • Allowing natural consequences to follow choices so people can learn just how powerful really are.
  • Trusting and believing in each other even when things do not go to plan or appear to be falling apart.

Empowered people require the company of other empowered people and all require a strong sense of self. Freedom to discover and to learn are the hallmark of the empowered.

October 17, 2017

Will you be my friend?

by Rod Smith

I am very aware that people don’t analyze their connections in the manner I’ve described below. We’d have healthier communities and families if we did!

  • Will you search with me when I am searching, stand with me when I am standing, and drop to your knees with me in prayer if and when I need it? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you stand up to me with firmness and kindness when my many blind spots are blocking my thinking? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you join me and examine our connection (as casual acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors, partners, or spouses) so that we remain mutual and equal and respectful no matter the degree or significance of our connection?
  • Will you take time to listen to me? I will try to take time to listen to you?
  • Will you allow me my quirks and eccentricities and try to regard them as interesting rather than regard them as things you wish were different about me?
  • Will you seek my highest good as far as you are able given the knowledge we have about each other? I will try to do the same for you.
  • Will you try to be as unafraid of me as I try to be unafraid of you?
July 12, 2012

Draw the line…..

by Rod Smith

There is no good reason ever why any person ought tolerate poor treatment from another.

You teach people how to treat you.

I know you may feel trapped and without an escape route or a friend in the world, but you must get help if this post is reaching deeply into you.

June 5, 2012

Affairs are seductive, they seduce you from what’s important

by Rod Smith

Extramarital affairs are very seductive. They appear to offer better, more intense passion than the marriage. Hide and seek will do this, spawning the kind of relationship we wished was possible with a spouse. It’s amazing how “attractive” someone can sound, look and feel when you add large amounts of adrenalin. The secrecy idealizes the other, not love or truth. Deception, the “ducking and diving” past family can give vitality to the stolen hour.

What is so ridiculously seductive (and hurts so badly when the truth comes out) is the belief that affair is about you. Actually, it is about who you are not. It about what you do not represent. You are not the wife or husband; the “routine.” Yours is not the other name on the mortgage, you are not one who owns the other car in the garage. You are not the one whom the children sound like when they are at their worst (and best). It’s not your beauty. It is not your charm (although you might be both beautiful and charming). It is the difference from, the contrast with, what your affair knows. In his or her boredom and selfishness, you become so very appealing in the heat of it all. It’s the contrast he or she “loves.” The secrecy, the chase, the conniving makes it all so surreal and convincing and such a turn on. It is not you. It is not he or she who has met you here in this rendezvous, but the secret itself, the fact that you will share this secret, that’s lighting your fire.

The seductive thing is that for a period of time one or both of you actually believe in the affair as if it is a real and enduring relationship, able to offer you each something you really want. For a time you will give so unreservedly, so wildly, and be sucked in by passion. Every meeting will feel like you were meant for each other and that it is a cruel world forcing you apart. The really sad thing is that even your children will feel, to you, as if they are in the way, obstacles to your freedom, hindrances to your finding true love. When you are with your lover the first hours will slip past feeling like heaven. The approaching absences and those times when you are apart, will begin to fill with suspicion, heaviness and demands that come with cheating. You will think your love is cheating on you (even when with his or her spouse) every time the cell-phone is off, a call is not returned or a weekend happens without you. The moment the clandestine activity began with you, the scene was set for it to occur around you and to you. He or she who cheats on a spouse will most certainly think nothing of doing the same to you.

The affair itself, born in secrecy and lies, itself begins to lie, making the participants believe they have been short-changed, deceived in marriage and that a fling can offer what’s really wanted. It is not so. Affairs seduce the participants from what is real, what is important, what is enduring and significant. If I cannot talk to my wife, talking with someone who is not my wife (or who is someone’s wife) doesn’t help anything one iota. Learning to talk with my wife is where the real action is, it is not in talking with some other lost person looking for a temporary shelter from her own storm.

Affairs are always a poor substitute for a relationship. No matter how intense, how willing each person is, inevitable pain and suffering lies ahead for each person in the seductive cycle. If this is your dilemma break it off today. Go cold turkey. See a professional. Change locks. Change phone numbers. Quit your job if you have to. Run home to your parents! Get out of it. No, you do not owe him or her an explanation or closure. Everyone you love, or thought you loved, will be better off for it.

Copyright 2002, Rod Smith, MSMFT

June 27, 2011

I hope your “partner” reads this and sees it as her impetus to bail……

by Rod Smith

“Women put everything on the MAN! Talking about they need to be in the right mood. They need romance. Don’t get me wrong, I try to look at her point of view about sex but they never put US in the mood. We’ve been together for a year and engaged since February and I already feel like I’m 50 or 60 years old! These types of problems are supposed to happen around that age! I’m only 24 and she’s 29! I can’t win!” (Edited of hard language)

Clean up your language. It might (emphasis on the “might”) make you more attractive all round. If you swear (cuss) while you are writing about your most intimate relationship, one can only imagine what you must be like face-to-face.

How a person treats outsiders (those whom you do not know and who will read your writing) is a powerful indicator of how a person treats insiders (those close to you).

If you shifted your focus from what you want to what you can contribute you might see some change.

Diminish your desire to control. (“I can’t win” — healthy relationships were never about winning and losing).

Become less demanding, needy, and a lot more loving, and you may grow up a lot and be ready for the kind of sex a partner wants.

You are totally off in your understanding of men in their 50’s and 60’s. You, it is clear to me, don’t have enough behind your eyes (life experience) to have good sex – and if you keep on with your current manner of operating, which I call being “penis propelled”, you might never have it.

I hope your partner reads your post and identifies you (which you sent anonymously –another indication of your immaturity) and regards it as an impetus to bail. If she stays, and you continue to be as demanding as you clearly are, she is in for one sad, sad ride.

June 9, 2011

Son (8) asked if boys can marry boys and girls can marry girls….

by Rod Smith

My son (8) recently asked me if girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys. I didn’t know how or what to answer and so I changed the subject. I know that avoiding his question is wrong and I am mentally preparing myself to answer his question soon. I am not homophobic. One of my close friends is a homosexual.

Attraction is only enduringly poss

Relax, and then talk about anything

Tell your son that in South Africa (origin of Email) men and women can love and marry whomever they want to marry. Inform him that one day he will be old enough and wise enough to marry anyone he loves and who, in turn, loves and wants to marry him.

Now, before I am pummeled with both hate and love mail from all sides, please remember that your answer to your son’s question will not determine or change his sexual orientation. Parent-son conversations are simply not that powerful.

Your openness and comfort in having meaningful conversations about personal topics with your son will not determine his sexual orientation, but it might determine if he keeps talking with you and asking you questions about personal and important matters for many years to come.

July 20, 2010

He’s (She’s) divorced! How can I know he’s (she’s) ready to date…..

by Rod Smith

How to know it’s “a go” when dating someone who is divorced…

1. His/her divorce has been finalized (that means completed) for more than a year.
2. He/she takes appropriate responsibility for his or her part in the breakdown of the former marriage.
3. He/she wants a healthy spiritual, emotional, and intellectual relationship with a diverse range of people before becoming intimately involved with any one person.

It MUST get rough to get better

It will be a rough ride if red flags are ignored.....

4. He/she is involved in his/her children’s lives and willingly, generously, and punctually pays child support.
5. He/she places a high priority on rearing his/her own children, while being respectful toward your children and your relationship with them.
6. He/she can conduct meaningful conversations with the former spouse about matters pertaining to the children. That the divorce is REAL is clear – so there are no intimate, or “throw-back” conversations.
7. He/she is very respectful of marriage, sex, the opposite sex, despite the previous breakdown.
8. He/she remains non-anxious by your occasional encounters with his/her former spouse or persons associated with the former marriage.
9. He/she remains non-anxious by your occasional encounters with your former spouse or persons associated with your former marriage.
10. He/she has deep regard for the time and patience required to establish new relationships and is willing allow necessary time for intimacy to properly develop.

July 13, 2010

Can abuse stop?

by Rod Smith

“Can abusive behavior like controlling behavior, badgering, jealousy about other relationships, monitoring things like a partner’s phone, and physical pushing, shoving behavior and even more violent outbursts stop?”

[Yes – but often not within the same entanglement. With close counsel and strong third party monitoring (at least for a period of time) the perpetrator can gain insight, grow, and self-monitor his or her use of unhelpful and destructive interpersonal behaviors.

While it is NEVER the victim’s responsibility (no one is sufficiently powerful to make another abusive) a lot can hinge on the degree of “fed-up-ness” within the victim.

Abuse (all categories) continues and intensifies when the victim covers for the perpetrator, “rewrites” the behavior, excuses it, or when the victim feels he or she deserves to be poorly treated.

Most perpetrators will back off (at least temporarily) when met with a sound and early refusal to allow an abusive repertoire within the relationship’s behavior cycle.

It is never the victim who causes the abusive behavior, but the victim must immediately remove him or herself from the abuse (which is seldom easy because people are attracted to persons who are similarly relationally mature or immature) or the behavior will intensify.

April 8, 2010

Reader has lost all interest in sex….. your response valued…….

by Rod Smith

“I’m in my early thirties and married for two years. I have lost all interest in sex. My wife has been trying to help but now she is angry, frustrated, and hurt. I feel more and more depressed. I love my wife and it hurts to see her cry. When she kisses me I shut down. I tell her to stop; I laugh it off, or pretend I’m busy. I am trying to figure this out and I can’t. The best conclusion is that I am very stressed. I have a lot of anxiety right now. I don’t know why but I went from being the ‘alpha male’ to avoiding confrontations. I don’t know who I am anymore. My wife has been an angel and I seem to be getting worse. I don’t want to go out of my marriage. I am being 100% honest when I say that my wife is very attractive and fit, and sexy. I am frustrated and angry with myself. I am at the end of my rope and I think so is she. I am not gay. The worst part is we want kids and just the thought of having to have sex. I am just considering going to the doctor and getting anxiety pills to help me.” (Edited)