Archive: January, 2010

January 29, 2010

Does the way you feel about your body, affect your relationship?

I talked about body image on “Keep It Local” this week.  

Body Image.  It’s a concept that is tossed around a lot.  “She has poor body image” or “He needs to work on his body image.”  What does body image mean and how can it affect you?

Your body image is basically how you view your body and how you feel about it.  There are many things that can affect your body image.  As you age, your body image may change as your body or appearance changes.  If you gain weight that can also affect how you feel about your body (and yourself).  When a woman has children, her body changes and that often can impact how she views herself.  Images in the media may also affect how someone feels about her body.  Magazine covers may show ideals of beauty that feel hard to attain.

How might body image affect your relationship?

Sexuality – When someone feels uncomfortable with his/her body that can impact his/her intimacy or sex life.  If you don’t feel attractive or sexy, it might be hard to be sexual.  It might be hard to be naked in front of your partner if you have a hard time looking at yourself without any clothes.  It might be hard to allow yourself to be touched if you don’t like certain parts of your body.

Intimacy – In addition to sexual intimacy, it might also impact affection or physical intimacy.  If you are uncomfortable with your body it might be difficult to cuddle up with your partner.

Confidence – How you feel about your body may impact how you feel about yourself as a partner.  If you are unhappy with your body, you may also think your partner is unhappy with your body…this can lead to insecurity or jealousy…

Mood – When someone feels negatively about her body, it can affect other areas of her life as well.  It can lead to sadness, depression, or anxiety.

So what can you do to boost your body image?

  • Do something that makes you feel sexy – This can be a dance class, another creative pursuit, lighting some candles, taking a bath or putting on lingerie or clothes that make you feel great.  (for men – if “sexy” isn’t something you are aiming for, doing something that makes you feel confident or powerful may make a difference)
  • Learn to love your body – Spend some time with your body.  Focus on the parts you do love.  If you can accept yourself (even if you feel flawed) that can make a big difference.  Have your partner give you a sensual massage and tell you what s/he likes about your body.  And really hear it when s/he compliments you.
  • Get some exercise (together) – If you are truly unhappy with your body and want some things to change, you can try working on it with your partner.  Do something fun.  Go dancing or for a hike.  When you exercise your adrenaline and endorphins start flowing and that can feel great…who knows, the activity could lead to something sexual…

If your relationship is affected by your body image, you are not alone.  You can however, make some changes in how you view your body and that can have a positive impact your relationship.

Filed under: Body-Image,Intimacy,Relationship,Sexuality — admin @ 8:15 pm

January 26, 2010

Technology – revisited

Technology has permeated our lives in so many ways…I couldn’t just fit it into one post!

When I talked about technology on Keep It Local last week, I talked about some of the ways it can affect relationships and also the feelings it can create.  I think I missed the “feelings” in my last entry.  Not only can technology get in the way of intimacy or connection, it can also create jealousy or loneliness.

If you are feeling jealous of an old flame your partner has connected with, have you let him know?  If you are feeling lonely or a little left out, can you ask your partner for a little more one-on-one time?  Or if you have connected with someone new (or from your past) online and are finding your thoughts straying a bit, what can you do to focus on your relationship?

Can you commit to “unplugging” one night this week and really focusing on your relationship?

Filed under: Relationship — admin @ 7:00 am

January 20, 2010

Technology – A Blessing or A Curse?

In this fast-paced world, it seems that people are becoming more and more attached to technology.  In many situations technology brings us closer.  I love using Skype to connect with my friends and family who live far away and I also am tickled when I reconnect with an old friend through Facebook.  In these situations (and others) technology can be a blessing.  It can bring us closer to people who live in other areas.  However, what I’m seeing more and more are ways that technology gets between us or keeps us from connecting with the people we see face-to-face.

Have you seen the couple who is out a dinner – one of them gabbing away on a cell phone while the other sits there with nothing to do?  Have you been on the road trip with your family where one person sits buried in a handheld game and another person is in his or her own Ipod induced world?  There are times that technology can keep us from connecting.

If you feel like you, your partner or your family are connected to technology; it might be time to focus on “unplugging” and connecting face to face.

  • Plan a Date Night – Can you set aside some time for just you and your partner without any other distractions?  Turn off the tv, leave your phone at home and head out into the world with your honey.
  • Family Fun – Schedule some time for your family.  Whether it’s a game night, an outing to a sporting event or even heading out to a park, it can be very powerful to turn off any distractions and spend time with the fam.
  • Technology Free Time – Have you set any limits around when you accept phone calls or when you surf the net?  Do you watch tv during dinner (while you use your lap to reply to email messages…)  What would it be like to sit down as a family and eat dinner together?  Or is it possible to have a designated time to return phone calls or respond to email?

You don’t have to go cold turkey on technology to improve your relationship, but a few subtle shifts can go a long way.

Filed under: Family,Intimacy,Relationship — admin @ 11:23 pm

January 13, 2010

Chores and Division of Household Labor

Do you feel like you do all of the work around the house?

Do you feel like what you are doing around the house isn’t appreciated?

Are you tired of fighting with your partner about who does what?  or who does more ?

I did not realize what a HUGE topic is this until I started talking to people about it.  I posted something on twitter and facebook to see how this topic affects relationships and I was flooded by stories, conflicts and solutions.  Many people said that even if division of household labor isn’t causing problems in their relationship now, it did in the past.

If chores are causing some resentment or anger in your relationship, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Ask for help – I hear from a lot of women that they notice when things need cleaning before their husbands do.  And because of that, they may start cleaning and cleaning and then resenting that they are doing it all.  I know it can feel hard, but asking for help can help diffuse your resentment.  And if directly asking feels difficult, you could try creating a chore calendar or assigning a “cleaning day” where you work together.  You may also consider hiring someone to help out around the house, if it helps your marriage that it is worth the expense!
  • Define chores – What do you consider chores or household labor?  Making sure you each share what you are doing can make a difference.  For instance, if he is doing all of the cleaning and feeling like you aren’t holding up your end of the bargain, maybe it’s time to let him know about what you do to keep things moving smoothly (grocery shopping, cooking, paying the bills, yard work, or buying gifts for holidays or birthdays, etc)  When you have a conversation about all that you are each doing, you may be able to redefine what a “chore” is.
  • Don’t keep score – Even when you have negotiated who does what and when it is supposed to happen, things don’t always go as planned.  It’s important to have some flexibility.  If your partner has extra responsibilities at work this week perhaps you can help out more at home.  If your partner forgets to do something, a gentle reminder can go a long way.  Whereas saying, “I knew you would forget, you don’t do anything around here.  I do it all.”  Well, that’s most likely going to start a fight.
  • Show your appreciation –  Just because taking out the trash is your partner’s “job”, doesn’t mean you can’t say thank you for it.  It’s important to let your partner know that even though you may expect them to do something, it is still meaningful to you and you appreciate it.

There is no magic “chore ratio” that will fit every relationship.  Responsibilities with child rearing or jobs outside the home may also affect who has time to do things around the house.  What is important is that each partner feels good about the division of labor.  You may also think about this comment I received from someone who has been married for 39 years, “We don’t look at the chores as work anymore. Instead we now look at it as an opportunity to help each other out. Maybe it’s really about attitude and gratitude.”

Filed under: Family,Relationship — admin @ 4:11 am

January 7, 2010

New Year’s Resolutions for your Relationship!

It’s the time of year when we often reflect on our lives and what we want to change.  Think about your relationship. What would you like to leave behind in 2009 and what do you want to create or inviting into your life in 2010.

When creating “resolutions” or “intentions” it’s important to get specific.  You want a clear picture of what you want to achieve (that way you will know when you are successful).

Feeling a little lost about ways you can improve your relationship in 2010?

Here are three areas you can focus on –

  • Make a Date – Schedule some time together.   You can get dolled up and go out on the town, make some time to go for a walk or go to the gym together or even spend a night on the couch, watching movies.  The important thing is that you are making time for each other and making your relationship a priority.
  • Try something new – Trying a new activity or hobby and be exciting and it’s great if you two can share that excitement together.  Check out a dance class, join an organization or even take a trip to your local adult toy store to pick up some new bedroom accessories.
  • Focus on the Positive – Sometimes relationships can get bogged down my negativity.  We all like to feel appreciated and loved.  When is the last time you told your partner how sexy she is?  or how much you admire him?  or how proud of her you are?  Instead of focusing on what your partner isn’t doing, what would it be like to focus on what he is doing?  It’s nice to receive compliments.  It’s nice to feel appreciated.  It’s nice to feel loved.  What can you do this year (and for years to come) to make sure the positive interactions outweigh the negative in your relationship?

You can also see me talk about New Year’s Resolutions for your Relationship on Keep It Local below.

Here’s to a love-filled (and sexy!) 2010!

Filed under: Change,Holidays,Relationship,Sexuality — admin @ 4:57 am