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Top Ten Technology Flirts

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Yesterday was a crazy day. You know the type where you have to carry a colour-coded schedule just to make it through the day without doing something foolish like, well, forgetting your kid at school??? (Don’t laugh too hard. We did that earlier this week) It was bonkers. Eric and I were flying in different directions, Riley had places to be and needs to be met. We ended the day flopped on the bed together, eating pizza and watching a kid’s movie about enchanted princesses and undying love.

After we put Riley to bed, Eric and I ventured downstairs with ambitious plans to work some more. This is one of the significant pitfalls of working from home. The lines between work and home life get completely blurred and it becomes exceedingly easy to work all the time. There is no such thing as a 9-5 work schedule. That could be a blog post in and of its own!

But on this occasion, we were just too tired to work. Instead, we ended up sitting right next to each other with our computers out. Then we found each other on Facebook. And we starting flirting. Outrageously. Which led to hearty laughter. Then our friends and family started to chime in on the discussion and we giggled even more. At last count, we were up to 32 comments and one “like”. I’m not sure what the record for comments on Facebook is – I am sure that we fell far short of that record – but that was a lot for us!

This interaction led me to think: who is your spouse flirting with on Facebook today? If it’s not you, there is a problem. This is a skill set you might want to pick up.

Realizing that this is a significant issue, I consulted one of my techy guru friends for his hottest tips on ways to use technology to flirt with your spouse.  Around here we call him JDog.  I think you’ll find him to be as refreshing and enlightening as we do.

J-Dog’s Top Ten List:

J-Dog’s Note: Ok, so Eryn-Faye asked me to come up with ten ways to flirt using technology, and I thought, “Oh, that’s easy!” Turns out that with the steady march of this thing we call ‘convergence’, the lines between various technologies are becoming less and less clear. Some of these suggestions will obviously cross over to others, and some won’t as much. The one commonality should be creativity – as long as you can think of something fun and creative to say to your lover, the technology can help you convey that message. I managed to come up with ten, although the last one is illegal, so don’t do it, ok?

Also, I’ll add the standard disclaimer that I’m a guy, and in spite my attempt to balance this with tips for both sexes, my own biases will show. Whatever.

1. Texting. Most people have mobile phones these days, and many couples each have their own. Texting is usually free, especially between family members (check your rate plan before going crazy with the texts, though!). Send your spouse a short, badly-spelled note informing them of just how hot you think they are. If you’re female, include details about your underwear. While this is quite effective if they are at work, it can be even more fun to do when you’re in the same room as each other. It’s a very good way to build the sexual tension between you when you’re at a party, for example.

A sub-genre of this is known as ‘sexting’, and is generally more risqué (and risky!) and involves sending sexy photos of yourself to your spouse’s cellphone or email. A couple things to keep in mind if you want to try this are that you shouldn’t be stupid and include pictures of your face, because it’s pretty much guaranteed these pictures will not remain entirely private (especially if the recipient is a guy!). Also, be very careful when selecting the recipient from your address book, as a slip of the finger on that tiny keypad means the wrong person gets to see your naughty bits! Again, check your rate plan to make sure it’s not going to bankrupt you to send that picture.

If you don’t have a mobile to send text from, most carriers allow you to send texts from their website, or via email. For example, for Telus Mobility customers, you’d send an email to tendigitmobilenumber@msg.telus.com. Check your carrier’s website for details on how to do this.

2. Skype. This would include other kinds of real-time text chat as well, such as MSN, Yahoo! Chat, or Google Chat. Whatever network you both use, put it to good use by turning up the heat now and then. If you are apart from each other during the day, try to get online at the same time now and then, and just talk about how much you love each other, or how much you miss them. Tell him about your underwear. If your network of choice supports video, use it! It’s amazing what a turn on it is just to see your lover’s face while you talk to them. And if you have the opportunity, live video can spice things up in other ways too!

3. Music. It’s long been known that music is a great way to romance a woman. Dudes, fire up iTunes and buy her a gift card or use the Gift This function to send a specific song directly to her inbox. Browse the Latin and Jazz genres, or find a new mix of one of your old favourites. Girls, just send him a song about underwear. There’s lots on there, trust me.

4. Twitter. You can say a lot in 140 characters or less. Tweet about your lover. Let your followers know how much you appreciate them. Just for fun, start a hashtag with their name, and use it lots. And use the private message capabilities to add some spice!

5. Facebook. Eryn-Faye mentioned this one in her post, and I have to say it was a lot of fun watching that conversation go on! Facebook is a great way to publicly flirt with your lover, and letting your friends inject their own humour into the process can result in some hilarious moments. Use your status updates to brag about how great your spouse is – making oblique references to their sexual prowess not only tells them you think they are ‘all that’, but it is a great self esteem booster to have one’s praises sung in public. Doesn’t hurt the libido, either – which is what we’re going for here!

6. Telephone. Sure, it’s old-school, but sometimes, it’s just what the doctor ordered. The ability to hear your lover in real-time, with no delays, jitter, or dropped packets can be very refreshing. Call her up and let them know exactly what you’d like to do with her when you get home. Or, call him up and tell him about your underwear.

7. Voicemail. If your lover works in an office, you can call the switchboard and ask the receptionist to transfer you directly to their voicemail, rather than ringing their extension. This way, you can leave them a surprise message – be sure to preface it with “Darling, please make sure your speakerphone is off”!

8. Email. Even those of us without mobile phones have access to email, and this can be put to great use in the flirting game. Guidelines involve not using corporate email accounts for naughty exchanges (get a gmail account – it’s free, already!), and remembering to be careful about sending incriminating photos. Underwear shots are great, as long as your face isn’t visible.

9. Video. The availability of video recording technology such as camcorders, cell phones, and webcams means that it’s easier than ever to create a visual delight for your lover. This can be a lot of fun, especially because it’s so very ‘naughty’. You know what makes your lover tick, so include those things in your video. As with other forms of electronic flirting, it’s very important that you ensure the privacy of your material: no faces or identifiable markings such as tattoos; don’t use workplace networks to send private files (most log everything, and copies can be made for auditors or investigators upon request); and make sure that your personal computer is secure, both from outside penetration (hur, hur) as well as from family members (especially children, for heaven’s sake!). I would suggest getting PGP encryption keys and using them to lock all your private files.

10. Hack one of those roadside construction signs with the big digital displays. Replace the warning message about the bridge washing out or whatever with something that tells passersby how amazing awesome your lover is. You have fewer characters than Twitter, here – so use shorthand! And wear gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints, ok? I’m just sayin’…

As with all types of flirting, it’s important to remember that the most effective methods will employ your lover’s Love Language. Once you have that figured out, technology and gadgets can really help you push those buttons!

Eryn-Faye’s note: Ladies, for what it’s worth, underwear seems to be a consistent theme!

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.

Isolation

The other day I was having coffee with another one of the moms from my daughter’s school. She mentioned that she and her husband had moved to the area shortly after her daughter was born. Struggling to balance all the responsibilities that are part and parcel of being the primary caregiver to a newborn, she would go to the grocery store just to have human contact. Inevitably, this would be when the child would start to cry, and Mom would leave so that she didn’t have to endure the caustic glances from strangers. In fact, she didn’t find any friends in the area until her daughter started preschool and she connected with one of the other moms. Surprisingly, I have heard many, many stories similar to this one.

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The sense of isolation is particularly profound when dealing with sexual issues. Despite the fact that we are besieged by media images about sex, talking about the “nitty-gritties” of our personal experiences is still very taboo. And so we fall into the trap of thinking that we are the only ones who deal with X, or put up with Y, or are hiding the secret of Z. Compounding this misconception is the belief that the ubiquitous “they” have a better sex life than we do. Allow me to burst that bubble for you. I have never met a couple who has a phenomenal sex life all the time. Despite our best intentions, life just gets in the way.

No matter what is impeding the sex life that you have always dreamed of, you are not alone. There are other women who are allergic to lubricants, hate having sex because they were molested as a child, are fearful that sexual odors will be a turnoff to their partner, would rather sleep than have sex, have husbands who are less interested in sex than they are, have never had an orgasm — the list goes on and on. Resources exist to help the situation you are in right now.

Realizing that you are not alone is the first step. Getting the right resources is the second. But there is a third, equally important step. When I speak to groups of women, I encourage them to broach the subject amongst themselves – a support group of sorts. I won’t always be there for them, but now that we have “broken the seal” on the subject, I encourage them to continue to talk about the issue. I don’t mean in such a way that embarrasses your husband or belittles your relationship with him.  Remember that talking about an issue is different than just talking about your husband.  However, talking together breaks the sense of isolation, and when this is broken, we can get the help we need to make our sexual relationship thrive.

Believe me when I say that each of us privately struggles with the question of if, how and when our secret anxieties should be divulged to friends.  But stepping out of fear is the premise behind trust.  Ironically, it is the fear of being different (isolation) that keeps us isolated.  Letting go of that fear is the risk we must take in order to forge the connections that sustain life and give it richness.

Recently, I was speaking to a group of ladies. After my talk, when all the other ladies had moved on to the delicious food and drink that was being served, one woman snuck back in to see me. She was obviously very nervous even though it was just the two of us, and it took her several minutes to work up the courage to say what was on her mind. Finally, she got it out. “You know, talking about this stuff was taboo years ago. If I had known then what you just told me, I might still be married.”   I, like her, was utterly heartbroken by that thought.  What a tragic consequence of silence that is unfortunately repeated over and over by women leading lives of quiet desperation, believing they are alone.

Isolation is a killer. Your marriage doesn’t have to be a victim.

Losing the Spark

Dear Eryn-Faye,

My husband and I have been married 40 years and in our early sixties. Five years ago our mom and pop business of 10 yrs went bankrupt and have done nothing since job-wise. Now one of us is getting a small pension, and we struggle to get by.  There is almost zero conversation between us, and we have nothing in common except for two married children who live.  I feel very alone much of the time. My husband does not like company so I never invite people over to save embarrassment. What to do–I have tried several approaches but almost anything I say–I get “oh woman” and remarks like that.  We are both educated but my level of confidence has gone down the drain and am depressed — Both have health problems which does not help.  For me-sex has become a task–help please!

As I read your email, a few thoughts came to mind. First of all, congratulations on having 40 years of marriage! That is quite a feat in this day in age! Sustaining a marriage takes work, and you have obviously been very committed to your husband.

From what you have written, it sounds like you are feeling quite isolated and alone. I would love to see you break out of this cycle and develop some friendships. If your husband does not like company at the house, then find it outside of the house. Here are a few suggestions of things you can try:

  1. Join a club. There are lots of organizations which are focused on social responsibility and volunteerism, such as the Lion’s Club. They are great avenues to serving your community as well as building personal relationships. Likewise, there are clubs which are formed around a common hobby, such as quilting, running, or reading.
  2. Become a volunteer. Non profit organizations are always looking for help to achieve their mandates. For example, you could check out your local food bank, children’s hospital, or home for abused women.
  3. Join a church group. Many larger churches have groups which meet throughout the week to meet the needs of their parishioners. These groups are often organized into age categories, or common interests, etc.
  4. Get a part-time job. You will need to check to see if this is an option given the fact that you are on a pension (sometimes working violates the conditions of the pension and is therefore not a good idea). Even if you are flipping burgers, you will be making a little bit of money (which will help on the home front) as well as connecting with the world around you. Don’t let your age get in the way – many people in their sixties are realizing that youth is just a state of mind and that they are too young to retire!

You might be asking yourself – how will any of this help my marriage? For a few reasons: first and foremost, the weight of being your only companion is very heavy for your husband to bear. Even if you are very involved with your children, having friends outside of your family helps you continue to grow as an individual and that will bring new life into your family relationships. Along those lines, men really don’t like to talk as much as women do. Biologically, they are “built” very differently than us, and they are very uncomfortable with the level of communication that we need. If you can create relationships with other women, you will find your need for communication much better satiated that expecting your husband to meet 100% of those needs for you. If you would like some books to read on this subject, Dr. Scott Haltzman’s books The Secrets of Happily Married Women and The Secrets of Happily Married Men and are both excellent resources.

Feelings of isolation and depression, as well as stress about finances, are all challenges to the intimacy of a marriage. It is not surprising that sex feels like a chore for you! As women, we reach out sexually when our emotional needs are being met. And for men, it is the opposite – when their sexual needs are met, they can reach out emotionally. So, continue to make sex a priority (I can give you a list of tips and suggestions to make it fun if you would like!), but branch out beyond your home to build friendships too.

I would love to hear back from you as you try new things and explore your options! Please write again to update me or ask new questions!

Sincerely,

Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach

A Lost Art?

Dear Eryn-Faye,

Being single again in my fifties, I would love to embrace another committed relationship but it seems all the fellows I meet want to go directly to sex. What happened to good old fashioned courting? A lost art in my opinion.

How can a fellow know he wants to be intimate with me unless he takes the time to get to know me first and then see if any fondness grows? I always tell possible suitors that sex is never my goal but could be an outcome depending on whether a deeper connection occurs on all levels (spirit, heart, mind, soul).

Am I from the dark ages wanting to get to know someone first and experience falling in love? It seems to be such an instant society… entitled to the prize without much effort!

Thanks for listening!

I love your comment about us living in an instant society. Most of us send email or a text message instead of a letter, and so we are unaccustomed to wait for what we really want. (Think back to times when people waited for weeks or more to hear back from the person they wrote) In my opinion, this decreases our ability to persevere, sacrifice and work for what we really want…and then to appreciate it once we have it! And you are certainly correct – this attitude translates into our perspective on sex as well. We are blitzed by media images of couples who meet, go on one date, and then fall into bed together. While this may work for some couples, many find that they start off on the wrong foot because they haven’t really invested in getting to know each other before they became sexually involved.

The other day, I was doing some research on cheating and was reading a book called “Close Calls”, by Dave Carder. He had a very interesting perspective on the beginning of sexual relationships that I would like to share with you:

“Your relationship is only as old as it is nonsexual. The relationship stops growing once it becomes sexual, because the physical aspect will become the primary focus. It is the sexual tension in a dating relationship that drives you to get to know the other person and that keeps you exploring the difficult subjects that are necessary to establish a long-term, well-matched experience.”

So allow me to applaud you in making the very wise and mature decision to slow down the sexual part of your relationship as you look for a good man. While it might be a rather lonely road to walk at times, I think you will be very satisfied with the results that it produces over the long-term. The fellow who wins your heart will be worth it (and yes, men who “court” are still out there!!).

Warmly,

Eryn-Faye, Passion Coach