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Making “The Ask”

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Making the Ask…without pushing their buttons

It is that time of year again. The Terry Fox Run will be this Friday and there is a flurry of young children asking their parents and neighbours to give them money. Allow me to give some background information for my American readers. Thirty years ago, this young man had lost a leg to cancer and yet attempted to run across Canada. While he died before completing his run, his dream of raising awareness and funds for cancer has been realized to a far greater extent than even he could have imagined. His courage inspired a nation to take action.

Every year now, school children across Canada run in honour of his memory and get pledges in the name of cancer research.

Our daughter was first exposed to the legacy of Terry Fox two years ago when she was four. She had started school and the Run was one of the first activities that the school promoted. Since her father is a professional fundraiser, we were thrilled at the opportunity to teach Riley how to “make an ask”.

That first year, Eric sent around an email to the staff in his office, alerting them to the fact that his daughter would be coming to ask them for money. The request was fairly straightforward: Please listen to what she says and then ask her questions. Why is she raising money? Why is this an important cause for her? Eric then made it clear that the staff did not have to donate money, because learning to be gracious with a “no” is just as important skill set for Riley to develop as being grateful for a “yes”.

When she was four, she was so nervous that she flipped her long, brown hair as she stammered, “Will you support…my…cause?” Last year, she wasn’t a novice anymore so she went for the jugular, “Will you please give me money so that children don’t have to die of cancer?”

She is incredibly effective. The first two years, her class brought in more than any of the other classes in the school and Riley was personally responsible for a quarter of those funds, even though there were 20 kids in her class. Needless to say, we are glowing with pride.

But our pride exceeds the satisfaction of a parent who is teaching their child simply how to succeed. It goes further than watching our little girl grow up. It even surpasses the delight of seeing her grasp the foundational understanding that we are all responsible to give our time and money to causes that are larger than ourselves.

You see, over the past several years, Riley has been – in a very deliberate fashion – learning and practicing a skill set that many adults do not have – The Ask.  This year, she has realized that 3 of her grandparents died of cancer and so the Terry Fox Run is even more important to her.  She has her own page on the Terry Fox website here – in case you would like to donate to her cause.

Success gurus will be quick to point out that, to get wherever it is that you want to go in life, you must ask for what you want. In his book The Success Principles, Jack Canfield shares a story of going to a seminar at which his seat had a yellow folder sitting on it. But he hated the colour yellow. The instructor then told the class that, if they did not like the colour of the folder that they had, they should ask to switch with someone with a different colour. Turns out, the lady next to Jack hated the colour she had too and when the two of them spoke up, expressed their desires, and consequently traded folders, they were both much happier.

Folder colours? Really? Is it that important?

The story illustrates the fact that most of us put up with things that we do not really want in our lives. Why? Perhaps we were not given permission when we were kids to have an opinion. Everything in our childhood was scripted around what the adults thought was good and right. Perhaps we learned that we should always sacrifice what we wanted for the desires of others. Or maybe, we just never learned to ask for what we wanted. And don’t delude yourself, asking for what you want is a skill set that takes time and practice to develop.

Not surprisingly, a lack of this lack of skill set shows up in our sex lives. If you can’t make an ask in other areas, you surely aren’t going to be able to do it in the most intimate, vulnerable, exposed area of your life. And yet, if you cannot clearly communicate what you want in your sexual relationship, it becomes more and more difficult to fake your satisfaction over the years. “I just can’t do it anymore” is a refrain that I have heard far too often.

So how do you start? How do you reverse years of allowing your partner to think that everything is hunky-dory when it really isn’t? This is a question I explore with many of my coaching clients. And while I must stress that change in this area does take time and patience, here are a few pointers to get you started.

1. Take the time to clearly define in your own mind what you want.

What is it about your sex life that you want to change? Don’t be satisfied with vague concepts – get specific. If you “want more foreplay”, then you need to understand what “more” looks like. Does it mean that you want your partner to kiss you on the mouth for several minutes before attempting to touch you anywhere else? Does it mean that you want to be flirted with throughout the day? Does it mean that you want to be able to hug without it leading straight to sex? Does it mean that you want to orgasm first? Knowing what you want will give your spouse the tools to succeed in making the changes with you.

2. Prepare the person to whom you are making The Ask.

This is especially important when you have been in a long-term relationship and your partner thinks everything is going great. Just as Eric sends out an email to prep people in his office before Riley goes in for The Ask, your spouse might need a bit of warning ahead of time. Saying, “I want us to get better and better with time and so I have been thinking about some changes to make to our relationship.” If your spouse does better with the written word, then leaving a note in his/her lunch bag or on the mirror might work the best. The key to the preparation is that you pique interest.

3. Choose your timing carefully.

Men, even if you have followed step 2 above, launching into that conversation with your wife at the end of a long day of juggling work and kids is probably not going to bring success. You will most likely have a very angry woman on your hands who feels like this is just another area in her life that she is screwing up.  Women, if your husband is settling in to watch his favourite team play on TV, that does not make him a “captive audience”.   You might be better served to send the kids off to Grandma’s house and whisk your spouse away for a weekend – or at least an afternoon.

4. State The Ask in a way they can hear.

“Our sex life sucks,” is NOT the way you should introduce the subject. If you are talking about it together, focusing on what you want to see grow is much more positive.  Talk about what you do appreciate in your sex life, and then you can flow into ideas that build on the foundation you have.  Bring them into your fantasy – your perfect sex life.  Invite them to be the star in your imagination.  Use terms that they understand.  Discussions that are unclear will only serve to exacerbate the problem.  Don’t be embarrassed to be specific in your wants.

5. Watch and wait.

As Riley has learned, sometimes people say, “no”. For whatever reason, they are not in the place to join her in her cause. Likewise, your spouse might say no.  The idea of even talking about your sex life might be overwhelming for them.  Your sex life is not a sprint.  The purpose of this is not to get to the finish as quickly as possible.  Sex, like relationships, is a journey.  Building memories together is the glue that bonds and memories take time.  Your patience can overcome their fear.

Just because you ask, does not entitle you to a yes response.  Remember you have spent a good deal of time considering what it is you want.  Allow them time to consider what you are asking.  Give them a chance to reflect on what you want…and to think about what they want as well.  You may very well be opening a door for them too – maybe they want more too!  Help them express that by listening and not interrupting.

We have a rule in our household that every request that is made deliberately needs to be respected and honoured with consideration. If my husband comes to me and asks something of me, I need to listen and consider. (I am ignoring this principle in my life regarding his repeated requests for an iPad, but I digress.)  The point is that you make love through your conversations as surely as you do physically.

As the discussion unfolds you can direct them to questions that will help them talk to you: What is stopping you from taking this next step with me? What makes you hold back? Is the timing wrong? Do you not like the request? Does it make you feel fearful? Use this time and conversation to look for insight into your spouse.

Seeing things from a new perspective through personal coaching may be all that stands between you and the sex life you have always imagined.  If you need a little extra help on this subject, give me a call.

Four Kisses a Day – thoughts

Last week, I had the privilege of being my daughter’s guest at her school’s annual Spring Tea. In her class, there is a mix of 3, 4 and 5 year-olds and they had all been busy for weeks making the preparations to serve their parents at this special event. As the parents waited in the hall outside the classroom, the children came out one at a time to speak to their parent and say, “Welcome to our Spring Tea. Won’t you come in?” The little girls finished their request with a curtsy and the boys bowed. We were then escorted to our assigned tables, complete with place cards. The theme of the tea was Mexico, so once everyone was seated, the children served us lemonade, chips and hot sauce, and quesadillas. It was incredibly sweet to see them so very excited, and yet behaving like proper little hosts and hostesses as they fulfilled all their duties.

After we had our goodies served to us, the children when to the front of the classroom and sang to us (mostly in Spanish) for about 10 minutes. Cameras flashed and video recorders whirled as all the parents attempted to capture this performance for posterity. My favourite song was called “Four Hugs a Day”. They introduced it in Spanish, but not speaking the language myself, I didn’t have a clue what it was. I was fortunate because after the first verse in Spanish, they sang it in English. And here is how it goes:

Four hugs a day, that’s the minimum.
Four hugs a day, NOT the maximum.
Step One: Look them right in the eye
Step Two: Face to face
Step Three: Reach out your arms
Step Four: You can’t do any harm with
Four hugs a day, that’s the minimum.
Four hugs a day, NOT the maximum
.”

Needless to say, all the parents beamed with pride. How can you NOT hug your kid after a performance like that??!!

But evidently, the theme of Four a Day doesn’t seem limited to school Spring Teas!

If you follow me on Twitter, then you might have seen me retweet some things from @hismilkmaid (her Twitter name).  One of her posts was on a study out of England that I thought was really interesting.  Recently the UK newspaper, The Telegraph, reported that a new study has come out which says that couples who kiss four times a day are more likely to stay married.  (if you want to read the article you can, here.) In fact, if you want the whole prescription for success according to the study, it’s:

  • kissing 4 times a day
  • having sex 2-3 times a week
  • staying in touch during the day (by phone, email, text, etc.)
  • enjoying two romantic meals out each month
  • spending three nights of the week cuddling on the sofa together and
  • getting away for a couple of romantic weekends each year
  • one annual foreign holiday

These activities shore up the foundation of your relationship and helps ward off divorce.  I made special note of the “annual foreign holiday” to my husband, who smiled and said, “I guess we’ll have to take our chances” and winked.  Oh well, even if I don’t get a yearly trip to someplace exotic the rest of these really are great ideas for couples.

So in light of this study, here are my coaching tips for the day:

  • Kiss on your wife or husband today (yes, four times!). Try a couple warm kisses and a couple deep kisses (remember what those are??).  Why not throw in a couple of extra little kisses on the top of their head as you walk by them.
  • Send an email or text (their preferred method) telling them how much they mean to you.
  • Be intentionally intimate with your lover – have sex tonight!
  • Plan a romantic dinner with your lover.  Go out to a nice restaurant or stay home and make a romantic dinner right there in your own home – you could picnic on your bed for instance.

And for those wanting more than something that can be done today:

  • Start saving for and booking a getaway night or weekend for the two of you. Send the kids to relatives, do a kid-swap with friends (they take your kids one weekend and you take theirs another weekend), hire a young married couple to come for the weekend to babysit. Get creative and get it done!

And lastly, with apologies to my daughter’s pre-school class, and sing with me…

Four kisses a day, that’s the minimum.
Four kisses a day, NOT the maximum.
Step One: Look them right in the eye
Step Two: Face to face
Step Three: Pucker up your lips
Step Four: You can’t do any harm with
Four kisses a day, that’s the minimum.
Four kisses a day, NOT the maximum
.”

Oral Sex Basics for Him

Recently, due to an excellent question from one of my clients, I wrote an article on the Oral Sex Basics for Her. And, since I am an equal opportunity Passion Coach, (and because I was besieged with demands from the men out there) it is only fair that I follow up with some Oral Sex Basics for Him.

Man with Head in Hands

Here are some facts about women that you may not know:

  • Women typically have a more difficult time coming to orgasm than a man does. It can take women 20-40 minutes to warm up enough to experience that plateau of pleasure. Men, on the other hand, can take much less time to have an orgasm. Rather than finding this gap of time to be a frustration, figure out some fun and effective ways to fill it.  (Sex is not a race to orgasm – if your mindset is “I won” than obviously your lover “lost”.)
  • 70% of women need clitoral stimulation to have an orgasm. This means the vast majority cannot have an orgasm during penetration alone.  Oral sex is a phenomenal way to make sure that she is satisfied.  (And believe me, satisfaction is what you are aiming for here.)
  • The clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings – that is a lot to be packed into such a small area!  (Take your time and think of it as a challenge to try and find them all.)

Ready for the tips? Here they are:

  1. Prep for the event. Husbands, make sure your facial hair is well groomed. If you shave, then make sure you have shaved recently. For women with a sensitive clitoris, coming in contact with stubble can be incredibly uncomfortable and might even bring the whole session to a screeching halt. Wives, you too can be well groomed. Many couples report that shaving her pubic hair, trimming it with electric clippers or having it waxed enhances the sensations and increases the pleasure for both man and woman.
  2. Remove the Barriers. Just as I recommended with the Oral Sex Basics for Her, most couples I meet are nervous about two things when I talk about oral sex: the smells and the taste. As such, I highly recommend that you begin with having a shower or bath together and incorporate soaping each other down into your foreplay. This ensures that you will not be sidelined by hygiene issues and it gets you warmed up (literally and figuratively). The sensation of the water, combined with the slickness of soap, is a great way to enhance the sense of touch. If you enjoy the warmth of the shower and don’t mind a bit of splashing, begin oral sex there!
  3. Take your time. Men, I cannot stress this enough – DO NOT go straight for the goods! Remember the tip above, that is takes women about 20-40 minutes to get warmed up enough to experience orgasm? If you stimulate her on the clitoris immediately, she will most likely get over-stimulated before she gets close to having an orgasm. Instead, spend time exploring the other areas of her body and enjoy kissing her before you even get close to her pelvic region. Not only will this build intimacy between the two of you, but it will also give her time to become aroused. When you do begin to kiss her vagina, pay attention to it in its entirety, not just the clitoris.  If sports metaphors help you, then remember that this not a sprint; (and no, this isn’t training for a marathon either)
  4. Don’t get a tongue cramp. Ok, I don’t know if you can actually get a cramp in your tongue. However, it is a muscle (actually a grouping of muscles), so I guess it is possible. In all seriousness, do a little experiment right now. Stretch your tongue all the way out of your mouth and hold it there for a minute. Feel tired? A lot of men make the mistake of sticking their tongue out as far as possible and then battering the clitoris back and forth with it. They get tired and their wives get annoyed.  Instead, think of oral sex as kissing your wife with your lips and use your tongue creatively.
  5. Use variety of touch. The tongue is an incredibly flexible muscle, so try flattening it out, making it thin, put light pressure on her and then firm pressure, licking with it slowly or flicking it quickly, draw figure 8’s, spell out words and find out what her favourite letter is.  If you can multi-task at this point, then use your hands to caress her legs, stomach, inner thighs. You can also take a finger or two and slip them inside of her vagina. (Keep a lubricant handy so that this is comfortable for her.)
  6. Try an edible. There are a number of topical creams and gels on the market which add a flavour to the experience as well as help augment the blood flow into the vaginal tissue which make arousal easier for a lot of women. They are great options for all couples who want to add a bit of fun to their experience, and they are especially good for couples who are concerned about the smells and tastes of oral sex.   Edibles can be used directly on the clitoris, but are not meant to be inserted in the vagina.  Please take care here – never use anything with oils or sugar in a woman’s vagina as it can lead to infections.
  7. Keep the rhythm. As your wife is getting close to orgasm, make sure you keep the pace and rhythm of what you are doing consistent. Nothing is worse for a woman than being on the verge of orgasm and then feeling the touch change to something that isn’t as pleasant! If your wife is responding to what you are doing, for goodness sakes don’t stop!
  8. Get feedback. Every woman is different in what type of sexual touch she prefers, and so to understand how your wife ticks and what makes her tingle, you are going to have to ask her. I can give you all the tips in the world, but if you don’t get feedback from your lover, you are never going to make it to Oral Sex Connoisseur status. Some women need the hood of the clitoris to be pulled back so that you can get direct stimulation on her clitoris, some women need the hood of the clitoris to keep it covered because direct stimulation can be painful, some women need a very firm touch, other women need a soft touch. If your wife has not yet discovered what type of touch she enjoys, then encourage her to be honest and learn together!

Got the Basics Down? Here are some other ideas to incorporate:

  • Hum while you are kissing her to create a new sensation.
  • Put an Altoid, a mint or small piece of ice in your mouth to create a cooling sensation.
  • Whisper in her ear how much you are going to enjoy licking her.
  • Let her know what you are going to do to her, and then delay the process by taking your time undressing her slowly.
  • Talk to her while you you are performing oral sex – tell her what you like about doing it and what you like about her.
  • Blindfold her and talk her through the entire experience without letting her “see” anything.
  • Add a bullet vibrator for some extra fun.

Oral Sex Basics for Her

A client recently asked me, “So how do I give oral sex to my husband?” Excellent question! If you google “give a man a blow job”, you are bound to end up with lots of information (or pictures or a virus) that you really don’t want.

Your friends may not feel comfortable giving you step by step instructions, especially when you and your husband are coming over for barbeque this weekend. Your mom probably dodged the question if you even had the courage to ask. And your husband – well – he is probably so concerned that he might somehow turn you off the idea completely that he is terrified to address the subject.

you want me to do what!?

So, let me help you out. Here is a run-down on the things that I have researched, heard about, and even run by my R&D department.

  1. Relax – Remember that oral sex is great foreplay for a man, even if you are intimidated at first to bring him to ejaculation orally. Oral sex is a skill set to be developed just like typing. When you first started typing, it felt awkward and strange learning to move your fingers to push the correct keys, but after time and practice, it became second nature. Practice the first few steps of this process and then add more steps until you are comfortable with finishing all of them.
  2. Communication – You should communicate clearly before you get started about your intentions so that he is not disappointed by unrealistic expectations (ie: “honey, I want to get better at this but I am going to start slowly and I may not be able to finish you off right away.”). Moreover, asking him what he likes about the idea of oral sex so that you can incorporate it. Every man is different in what he finds erotic and stimulating, so the very best oral sex is always based on what he likes.
  3. Getting Ready – You probably want to have a good lubricant on hand (a water-based, flavoured lubricant is best) so that you don’t have to be concerned about using only your own saliva during oral sex. This also removes the necessity of having your mouth to do all the stimulating of the shaft (aka “deep-throating”) because you can use your lubricated hand to slide up and down his shaft while your mouth is elsewhere!
  4. Removing Barriers – Most women I meet are nervous about two things when I talk about oral sex: the smells and the taste. We will talk about the latter in just a moment, but for the former I highly recommend that you begin with having a shower or bath together and incorporate soaping each other down into your foreplay. This ensures that you will not be sidelined by hygiene issues and it gets you warmed up (literally and figuratively). The sensation of the water, combined with the slickness of soap, is a great way to enhance the sense of touch. If you enjoy the warmth of the shower and don’t mind a bit of splashing, begin oral sex there!
  5. Getting Started – Begin exploring by kissing and stroking the head of the penis, the shaft, the scrotum, the perineum (this area between the anus and testicles is rich with nerve endings) – whatever you are comfortable with and he likes. As you feel comfortable, take the head of the penis into your mouth, lick and suck on it gently. As you get more coordinated, use your hand to stroke the shaft while your lips are paying attention to the top of his penis.
  6. “Don’t orphan the balls!” – This is one of my favourite quotes from a client who was chatting to his wife about oral sex. Oftentimes, women focus too much on the penis to the neglect of the scrotum and perineum and yet these area are full of sensitive nerve endings. You can get creative with your touch – vary it from a gentle to firmer massage to running your nails across him to a very wet, sloppy kiss.
  7. The Gag Reflex – As you get used to the sensation of having his penis in your mouth, you can take more in. If you have a sensitive gag reflex, go slowly and take your time.
  8. Maintaining Contact – It is the stoking action on the penis which will bring your husband to ejaculation, and as you become more adept at oral sex, you will be able to recognize the signs that this is about to happen. The most important part of the finish is that you don’t break contact as this is one of the most intimate parts of the lovemaking. If you are not comfortable with the concept of swallowing, then keep moving your hand up and down the shaft until it covers (gently) the tip of the penis. This area gets very sensitive after orgasm, so ask your husband how much pressure he likes while he is enjoying his orgasm.
  9. Getting Feedback – This might seem like the most awkward part of the whole experience, but it really is one of the essentials and it goes back to the emphasis that I put on communication earlier. Ask him what he liked and what you can do better next time. I am not suggesting that you ask him the moment that you two are finished being intimate. Wait a day or two and then ask. You will never become an expert at this (or anything in life) if you don’t elicit feedback and, frankly, he is the only one who can give it to you here. Understand that talking about sex can be the hottest thing in your sex life because it shows that you care about making it great, you are interested in what he thinks, and you are enthusiastic. And those are all great turn-on’s for a guy.

Got the Basics Down? Here are some other ideas to incorporate:

  • Look up into his eyes while you have his penis in your mouth.
  • Hum while you are sucking to create a new sensation.
  • Put an Altoid, mint or small piece of ice in your mouth to create a cooling sensation.
  • Whisper in his ear how much you are going to enjoy licking him.
  • Let him know what you are going to do to him, and then delay the process by taking your time undressing him and touching him first.
  • Add a bullet vibrator for some extra fun. Put the speed on low and tantalize his scrotum with it.

Eryn-Faye on Marriage Uncensored with Dave and Christie

On March 15th, Marriage Uncensored with Dave and Christie asked me to come on the show and talk to them about my role as Canada’s Passion Coach. They wanted the discussion to revolve around the kind of questions that I get asked “behind closed doors” by women and men. The episode is only 24 minutes long (half-hour show) but we cover a lot of ground! You can watch the entire show here. Hope you enjoy!



Watch Eryn-Faye on Marriage Uncensored in Celebrity & Showbiz | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Learning to Date Again

Why is it that we stop dating when we get married? Theoretically, once we live under the same roof we should have more money to spend on each other because we have combined expenses. Are we afraid of spending time alone because we have forgotten what to talk about? Do we confuse quality time together with the fact that we are in the same room watching TV together? If we are going to keep that spark alive – the one that drew us to each other in the first place – then it needs to be nurtured. And one of the best ways to nurture it is to date each other!

Learning to Date Again

How do you do it? Here are five ideas:

1.    Start dating again. Choose to go on regular dates with your spouse. Put the date on the calendar, book a babysitter, make reservations at a restaurant, purchase tickets to the game and go! If you are out of the habit, then begin dating your spouse once a month and make it easy to remember (for example, the first Saturday of the month is date night). Make it your goal to decrease the time in between so that you eventually go on dates once a week.

2.    Don’t let cost get in the way. I promise you, the cost of having regular dates is far less than the cost of a divorce. Build the expense of your dates into your budget so that you know how much you can spend and not feel guilty about it. Remember that this money is an investment into your marriage. However, if you are really pinching pennies, then get creative. Set up a babysitting co-op with friends: you watch their kids one night, and then they watch your kids another night. Go on inexpensive dates: have coffee at a local coffee shop; park close to the airport and watch the planes come in; take a long walk together.

3.    Try a “Happy Camper” Date. For a lot of couples, just trying to decide what to do on their date causes conflict because they have different interests and tastes. Here’s how the “happy camper” date works: one week you go on a date and your husband gets to choose what he activity he wants the two of you to do. (He gets to pick the movie, the restaurant, the hockey game, etc.) You go on this date with a great attitude – you are the “happy camper” this week. However, the following week, it is his turn to be the happy camper and do whatever you would like to do without complaining. This experience gives us greater insight into what makes our spouse tick and it builds our common history together which, in turn, leads to a stronger marriage.

4.    Set the rules of the date. The focus of the date is the two of you deepening your relationship together as a couple. So consider limiting your conversations about the kids or work (these can often be all consuming topics). If this leaves you nothing to talk about, then think of things that you used to talk about before the kids came along, what is going on in the world around you, or get a book which gives you questions to ask each other. Learning to talk again as two lovers may feel awkward at first, but the more you practice it, the easier it will be.

5.    Put some effort into your appearance. Remember spending hours in front of the mirror or in the closet picking out the perfect outfit when you were first going out? Fixing your hair so that it looked just right (women – this isn’t just directed at you. I have known plenty of men who spend more time on their hair than women!) Doesn’t your spouse deserve the same now? The art of attraction should never be neglected or lost simply because your partner said “I do.”

One of my coaching clients had an amazing perspective on marriage. She told me that her spouse is the one person who will be witness to her journey through life. We leave our parents’ home, our kids eventually leave ours, we change jobs and friends move away. But our spouse stays with us and we build a common history together over the years. Solidify this history with memories of the two of you.

Enhancing Experiences

My husband and I have really nothing but positive things to say about Eryn-Faye.

Ever since we communicated with her, we have found that we experience more pleasure during intercourse. It also adds an element of excitement to know that your husband is thoroughly enjoying himself.

Her expertise, non-nonsense coaching and support allows me to relax and know that I will experience intercourse without any discomfort. Going to Eryn-Faye and even just talking with her is well worth it!

~ New Mother

Co-dependent Issues

Dear Eryn-Faye,

My question is how to handle a co-dependent relationship issue.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half and my boyfriend won’t let me keep anything at his place or introduce me to his parents. Exceptions are toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo. This took almost a year before I was permitted to leave these basic items at his home.

To say my boyfriend is territorial and defensive is an understatement.

My boyfriend says that he is protecting his mother and has had negative experiences in the past and does not want to cause her anymore stress from relationships that could possibly fail.

Furthermore, my boyfriend has asked me to marry him during sex and then afterwards, once back to reality, he changes his mind. He says that saying things like “he wants to marry me” heightens his sexual experience and that I take things too seriously. I am beginning to resent his lack of empathy for my feelings.

I love many things about my boyfriend and am perplexed in how to address these issues without causing a big argument.

I feel disposable in the relationship when my boyfriend treats me this way.

I have tried to address these issues with him and am at my wits end….

Suggestions are more than welcome…

Let me begin by saying that my heart goes out to you right now. I can understand that you are frustrated and need some outside insight on your situation!

In my practice, I often speak with couples about the three “C’s” – commitment, communication, and consummation (aka sex). These elements provide the foundation for a healthy, long-lasting relationship. If you are weak or lacking in one or more areas, then the entirety of your relationship is in jeopardy.

Commitment is the element which binds the couple together through thick and thin. It is not only the decision that “I am with this person”, but also the decision to make healthy sacrifices for your partner because you recognize their individual value. As we deepen our commitment, we realize that our own selfishness is a hindrance to our relationship and with it we will not grow as a couple. The tricky part about commitment is that both parties have to be on board. If one partner is constantly sacrificing for the other out of fear of making the other partner mad, or starting a huge fight, or being left by their partner, then there is a breakdown in the whole system.

Communication is the freedom to express what we are feeling and thinking with our partner without the fear of retribution. It is how we let that person really get to know who we are – our likes and dislikes, why we react a certain way, what our dreams are for our lives. It is also the way we do check-ups on our relationship – are we meeting each other’s needs, are we showing love to our partner in a manner that they understand, how can we work to correct the issue that we are facing together in our relationship.

Your boyfriend’s lack of desire or willingness to fully incorporate you into his life and his blatant lack of regard for your feelings lead me to think that he is not willing to develop the commitment or communication part of your relationship. I was horrified by his explanation for saying he wants to marry you during sex as just to “heighten his sexual experience.” (By the way, I did mention this situation to a few of my male colleagues, just to get a male perspective on your boyfriend, and they were all equally as horrified.) The general consensus was that his actions and comments do not reflect someone who is interested in a healthy relationship.

I am also concerned that you might be struggling with some underlining self-esteem issues which are the source of why you allow your boyfriend to treat you in such a manner. A counselor will help you understand your worth as a person, break patterns that you might have which lead you into unhealthy relationships, and shed light on ways that you can develop healthy relationships with people who value and respect you.

I realize that this is “messy” and maybe it is not what you wanted to hear from me. However, I would love to be here for you as you walk through these issues, and I welcome any further questions that you have. Please feel free to write back at any time!

Warmly,

Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach