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Six Years

Six years ago today, I stood in a church in the office of a priest, silently hoping my white skirt was appropriate for the occasion.  My little boy played on the floor with toy airplanes that were graciously loaned to him by the priest who stood before me.  To my side was the man who would very soon become my husband.  Our rings were blessed before being placed on our fingers, our vows were recited, and our lips met.  We became man and wife on that chilly Friday afternoon, nearly two months after obtaining our marriage certificate and only slightly over two months after I had moved 1000 miles to be with him.  To say we moved quickly would be quite the understatement.

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I’d be lying if I said that things were pure bliss for us from the start.  Love as strong as ours still can’t manage to conquer all.  We’ve been through some rough patches and we drive each other crazy at times.  The thing is, my worst moments with him are still better than my best moments with anyone else.  I’m incredibly lucky to have a husband who loves me with such passion and I’m happy to say that I can match that passion and then some when it comes to my feelings for him.  He is my world and I don’t ever want to be without him.

In the past few days, I feel as if he and I have been rediscovering each other.  We are nearing the time in our marriage where statistically, we’re meant to have a wandering eye and in danger of falling victim to the so-called “seven year itch.”  He and I have found the opposite of that.  I’m more into him now than I was during the puppy dog love/honeymoon phase where everything is new and shiny and exciting.  I’ll spare you the details, but I can honestly say that we’ve been acting like high school students whose parents are out of town.  Getting a break from being parents definitely helps as well (the boy is visiting family over Spring Break) and we’ve been taking advantage and giving each other the attention and affection we both deserve.

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I’m so in love and finally realizing exactly how lucky we both are.  True, it’s only been six years, but some marriages don’t even last for half of that time.  Some marriages are sexless, emotionless arrangements that people are just too comfortable with to leave.  My marriage is flawed just like everything else in life, but it’s also pretty perfect.  I look at my husband and see beauty.  He accepts me both when I’m beautiful and sexy and when I’m a crazy crying mess of a human.  We complete each other and thrive together.  I’m over the moon that we’ve made it to six years and I see so much for us in the future.  My heart is fully and completely in the hands of Jamie Curtis Baker, the only man in this world who knows exactly how to handle it.

 

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Who Are You Again?

It takes a lot for me to truly trust a person.  Other than my husband, I can’t think of anyone that I trust 100% with everything, which is something I’m perfectly okay with.  As far as my friends and family go, I’m satisfied if I can trust them with 75% of myself.  Even if I’m dealing with someone who only gets a small piece of me, I take that trust seriously and I’ll admit I’m probably too sensitive if that trust is broken somehow.  Mainly, I don’t appreciate being lied to about things that are so stupid and so insignificant that there is no point whatsoever in lying about them at all.

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It was brought to my attention recently that an acquaintance (I’m going to call her Helga, as that is an ugly name and she’s become an ugly person) has been telling these wild stories about all these guys she’s been sleeping with.  Thinking about Helga’s sex life is not something I have done or plan to do, so don’t focus too much on the subject of her tales.  What irked me is that the stories are about people she’s confided in me about and who are supposedly people who are either just friends or people she finds attractive but wouldn’t dare mess with due to the fact that they are MARRIED.  Half of Helga’s “conquests” are married men.  The other half probably wouldn’t touch her with someone else’s body.  And her next targets…. I don’t even know what to say.

I don’t care what (or who) Helga does or doesn’t do, as that’s her business.  What I don’t appreciate is being told a fairy tale about her life because that’s what she thinks I want to hear or because that’s the image she wants to present to me specifically.  We’re both adults and I have a hard time comprehending this high school mentality of “people will think I’m desirable and popular if I say I slept with X, Y, and Z.”  It makes me think that nothing that comes out of Helga’s mouth is true, which is unfortunate because I’m not in a position where I can avoid her 100% and make the problem go away.

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I’m not sure what people like Helga want out of life.  I don’t know how they keep their stories straight.  I don’t know who they are.  I cannot wrap my head around why a grown person who can obviously function in the real world would act like an insecure teenager when it comes to love, sex, relationships, or any other areas of life that are primarily ruled by emotions.  I’m one of the most emotionally crazy people I know and I’ve never thought to resort to telling real or imagined stories about my sexual conquests in order to impress others.  Hell, the last time I felt pressured to have sex was when I was 13, sitting around with my girl friends, trying to decide which one of us would lose our virginity first.  (Spoiler alert; it was not me)

Sex is an amazing thing.  Whether you’re happy with one partner or you’re playing around with many, sex is fantastic and I don’t judge a person based on their sexual activity.  Most of us have a phase where we bone irresponsibly, and some people never grow out of that phase.  I don’t care.  It doesn’t affect me.  Unless you’re trying to get into my husband’s pants or my own, my life is not altered by who you show your naughty bits to.  Except for the homophobic crowd and the prudes in the world, I imagine that most people think like me and simply aren’t bothered by your sexual behaviors.  There is no reason to create a fictional sex story to share with the world because, I promise you, the world doesn’t care all that much.

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The thing that Helga likely isn’t taking into consideration is how her nonsense could potentially affect the people she’s flapping her jaw about.  One of the guys she’s bragging about (I’ll call him Frank, as I don’t know anyone by that name and also because I had hot dogs last night) is married with children.  If Frank’s wife gets wind of this sexual escapade with Helga, what happens?  True or not, that is pretty devastating news for a wife to hear.  Even if the story is ridiculous and unbelievable, it’s never fun for someone to hear that their partner cheated on them.  It triggers the imagination, even if only for a split second, and has the potential to deeply hurt.

Unfortunately for me, since I can’t get rid of Helga, I’m going to have to do my best to pretend she doesn’t exist and hope I can do so in a way that doesn’t make it obvious that I now find her revolting.  Unfortunately for her next targets, I don’t have a good way of warning them that doesn’t make me sound like a teenage idiot, so I just have to hope they wise up and create some distance before they become the next tall tale floating around here.  I feel somewhat naive for assuming that people like this don’t exist anymore in the late 20s, early 30s world I’m living in, but now that it’s been made painfully obvious that they’re indeed everywhere, I suppose I have to again become a little jaded and keep more people at arm’s length.  Live and learn though, right?

Openness and Honesty in Relationships

One of the benefits of being in a committed, long-term relationship is the comfort that comes with being accepted and loved for who you truly are. Having a partner who listens to and tries to understand and empathize with you is key to a successful relationship.

According to eHarmony.com, “intimacy is developed through each person’s ability to be open about how they are feeling and what they want.” Typically, being emotionally open comes more naturally to women, simply because of cultural expectations that women talk more, develop bonds more easily, and are encouraged to show their feelings more frequently than men. It is important for both members of a relationship, however, to feel safe when having conversations that involve sharing feelings, desires, and concerns.

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Opening up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is a scary thing. Partly, this is because you are setting yourself up for potential heartbreak. If you reveal yourself fully to someone, you are giving that person the power to hurt you. Furthermore, a breakup with someone with whom you felt a deep bond, with someone who knew you well, hurts much more than a breakup with someone you didn’t reveal the deepest parts of yourself to. But there’s the rub: in order to have a successful, long-lasting relationship, vulnerability is key. As pointed out by PsychCentral.com, “a willingness to be vulnerable is a significant feature of lasting relationships—ones in which partners are allies, not foes.”

Here are some tips to help encourage honesty and openness in your relationship:

Set Aside Time for Talking
Sometimes, couples fully intend and want to talk about their feelings and open up the lines of communication with one another, but they lead such busy lives that it can be hard to find the time. Choose one night a month to not watch TV, to make a nice dinner, split a bottle of wine, and just give time to one another. Be sure to address any issues you’ve noticed and really talk about how you’re feeling on these mini date nights.

Listen
Listening is just as important as sharing. Make it clear to your partner that you want to hear how he or she is feelings. Also, you should be alert for signs of emotional distress so that you’re ready to ask how he or she is feeling, and then really listen to the response.

Explore and Share in the Bedroom
Sex and sexual intimacy are as important as emotional intimacy in relationships. Talking about fantasies, being communicative during and about sex, and being willing to try new things in bed are key features of a healthy sex life. To keep things fresh, why not try role-playing? If not that, how about bringing a toy into the bedroom? In terms of the latter, one reviewer at Adameve.com writes of a couples’ toy, “This was great! My husband and I love this…”. Being open and honest about sex is not only important for the health of your relationship; it’s fun, too!

Though it can be difficult or scary at times, really opening up and being vulnerable with your partner can take your relationship to a whole new level. And if you’ve been together for a long time already, keeping those lines of communication open is key for the maintenance of your already-strong relationship.

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Author bio:
Kristin Armstrong is a school teacher and writer who majored in psychology in college. One of her favorite topics to write or talk about is relationships. She has a wonderful husband and a dachshund named Jerry.

Rape

Last week, my husband and I stumbled upon a segment on the radio that hit a nerve.  The two hosts were discussing a woman who I’ll call Stacy, as they did not reveal her name.  The hosts were contacted by Stacy’s friend, Candy, who was seeking advice about a possible legal issue.  According to Candy, Stacy and her boyfriend went to a bar one night where the boyfriend was “feeding her Long Islands.”  Stacy became incredibly intoxicated and the next thing she knows, she is waking up naked in her boyfriend’s apartment with absolutely no recollection of how she arrived there.

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Candy went on to say that Stacy then asked her boyfriend what had happened.  He was not only unconcerned, he raved about how wonderful and amazing the night had been.  Stacy was horrified that she could not recall any details of this amazing sex she apparently had, which is why she confided in Candy.  Let me also add that Candy did confirm that Stacy and her boyfriend had in fact been intimate before; they appeared to be living together and this was hardly the first time that the two had engaged in intercourse or any other type of sexual activity.  Candy decided that Stacy needed to report this night to the police because it was clear that she was raped.

Now please tell me, am I clueless, insensitive, or simply stupid?  Because I cannot look at this situation and see it as rape, not even a little bit.  First of all, no one “feeds” you drink after drink; you choose to drink and choose to get drunk.  You can’t sneak drinks into people.  It would be different if Stacy was drugged in some fashion, but she wasn’t.  She chose to get drunk with a man she seemed to trust.  Second, a blurry night with your significant other is something that has happened to a lot of us.  I get drunk with my husband.  I’ve never lost an entire evening, but I have experienced tidbits of memory failure here and there where I won’t recall how we got from one point to the next.  If you drink and drink heavily for an evening, it is bound to happen.  If it happens frequently, you should not be drinking.

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Stacy couldn’t remember stopping for snacks at Taco Bell, couldn’t recall how she got home, and couldn’t remember the great sex she had with her boyfriend.  This does not equal a rape.  Candy was convinced that Stacy was in fact blacked out and her boyfriend forced himself on her.  If so, then I would agree that it was rape since she was unable to consent whatsoever and was obviously unaware of the activities.  But if Stacy was simply blitzed and having a blast with her equally drunk boyfriend, then this was just two people who had an intimate relationship and decided to drink way too much and end the night with sex.  That IS NOT RAPE.

Candy eventually admitted that she had been raped in the past, something she is obviously still traumatized from.  Perhaps she looked at Stacy’s situation, saw her own experience in it, and now desires her friend to seek out the justice that she never received.  Candy didn’t go to the police, but Stacy still can.  But is it even justified?  Maybe the boyfriend is a real dirtbag and maybe he did try to persuade Stacy to drink too much so she’d loosen up and be more fun in the bedroom.  But maybe not.  There is nothing here that suggests rape and it is an insult to women who do get raped to throw around the word like it’s nothing.

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I’m not going to throw a personal rape story in here for you now because it’s simply none of your business.  I will say that rape comes in many forms and sometimes, you have to leave it up to the victim when it comes to reporting the crime or staying silent.  Imagine what the police would do with Stacy.  There is no proof.  No trauma.  No bruising or cuts or evidence of violence.  No drugs.  Nothing illegal outside of driving while intoxicated.  What can they do with her, other than hit her with a barrage of questions, prod away at her life, and possibly traumatize her for real with the circus that is reporting a sex crime?  If she woke up with a black eye and torn clothing, it’d be one thing, but that was not the case here.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that rapes should be reported as quickly as possible both so the victim can be cared for and so the perpetrator can be arrested.  No one on this Earth should get away with violating another person in such a manner.  But it’s a dangerous thing to do what Candy has done and automatically assume rape in situations where it does not exist.  It’s dangerous to assume that every female who claims they can’t remember the night before has been raped.  It’s unfair to automatically make men into evil sex-crazed monsters when they’re honestly not doing anything wrong.

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Rape should be taken seriously, of course.  Part of taking it seriously means not seeing rape where it doesn’t exist.  You can’t claim rape because you regret a decision to sleep with another and want to feel guilt-free about it, and you can’t assume your friends have been raped simply because their situation vaguely reminds you of your own.  Rape is a heavy word and the accusation hits hard.  I cannot begin to imagine how terrible it would be if I was accused of such a crime when all I did was have sex with the person I loved (or lusted).

We also need to be responsible ourselves.  When rape happens, it is not the fault of the victim; there is no “she was asking for it” BS that the assailant gets to claim.  That said, we have a responsibility to ourselves to take steps to keep ourselves safe.  Maybe that means not drinking to excess.  Maybe it means having a wingman/woman around you to ensure you make it home safely and alone.  Maybe it means avoiding certain areas or people.  Just because rape isn’t the fault of the victim doesn’t mean that we have to act like victims.  If Stacy had just quit drinking after two or three Long Islands, she would have remembered the trip to Taco Bell, the drive home, and the maybe not-so-hot sex in the bedroom.  Or on the flipside, she would have remembered her boyfriend being far too pushy, holding her down, and ignoring her pleas.  Either way, the question of Was It or Wasn’t It wouldn’t exist, and she wouldn’t currently be struggling to find the truth.

I Just Had Sex

I’ve been married for almost five years now to an amazing man.  I find him incredibly intelligent, sexy, and the perfect embodiment of everything I could ask for in a guy.  I don’t have to ever wonder if he finds me sexy and I never feel ignored or neglected.  We live together, drive to work together, and work in the same building.  Throughout the day, we visit, email, text, and converse on Twitter.  If an hour goes by without a word exchanged, I miss him terribly.  I’m not the hottest thing to ever walk this Earth, but I feel like I am with my husband.  We have a pretty amazing life together on all levels.  He is the one person in this entire world that I am 100% comfortable with and who knows me inside and out, the good and the bad.

I consider us to be a strong couple who is going to go the distance; I’ve gone through enough and seen enough in my life to easily recognize when a relationship is based on the wrong things, based on lies, not a two-way street, or simply wrong.  Thankfully, none of that negativity is a part of my current relationship, of that I am 100% sure of for reasons that could fill another blog entry entirely.  Unfortunately, most of us never realize our relationship is flawed until it’s over and the damage is already done.  Generally, you don’t see how your guy/girl is worthless until you finally leave them behind or they finally take off for greener pastures.  You overlook the warning signs because you’re so infatuated with them, you mistake that feeling for love, and you subconsciously ignore their faults and bad behavior.  I know the chances of this helping are slim to none, but I want to touch on some subtle warning signs anyway; if it saves just one person from a bit of heartache, it’s worth it.

1.  You are objectified by your significant other.  If your guy/girl refers to you as something to do, treats you like a trophy, or is constantly showing you off to whoever is watching, you probably have a problem.  There is a huge difference between being happy and proud about being with someone and acting as though you achieved some sort of higher social status due to your newly obtained arm candy.  The “look what I got” attitude is fine (although annoying) when talking about a new car or tickets to some exclusive event.  When talking about your new love, it’s highly inappropriate.  This is a person, not a thing.

2.  Your sex life is secret to no one.  My husband and I have sex.  Obviously.  In a variety of ways.  This is probably the most I’ve ever publicly said about it, and even saying that much makes me feel odd.  The thing is, unless you’re a very virginal person, people are going to assume you and your significant other are boning behind closed doors.  They don’t need to hear about it.  If your guy/girl is constantly dropping hints to those around you (either in person or on social media) about your extracurricular activities, they obviously don’t respect you, don’t take you seriously, and are just happy to boast about the tail they’re getting.  This hardly creates a solid base for a good relationship.

3.  They are a social media whore.  There are two parts to this; your guy/girl has close to a thousand “friends” on Twitter (or more) or adds random people without thought on Facebook just to up their numbers AND they engage in flirtatious behavior in ways you aren’t likely to see without prying and snooping.  First, no stable and content person is out recruiting friends left and right via the internet; they’re obviously trying to fill a hole in their life that they don’t consider you or the core group around them qualified to fill.  The second part of this doesn’t require much explanation; you don’t need to be calling other people cute, irresistible, or flirting in any other way when you’re committed to someone else.

4.  You are the subject matter when your significant other wants to show off.  This goes hand in hand with number 1, as it is a way of objectifying you, but it’s a tad more specific.  When your guy/girl is actively trying to make people jealous of them by bragging about your dates, how pretty/sexy you are in comparison to others, or constantly telling everyone within earshot how “lucky” they are, they’re just showing off.  Can any sincerity exist in a person who would rather erect a neon sign to tell the world they’re on an extravagant date with someone who could be a supermodel than to simply enjoy being with that person and knowing internally that they are incredibly lucky to have captured their heart?

5.  You lose your individuality due to their possessive behavior.  If you’re having to check with your guy/girl prior to making plans with friends or if your friends go out of their way to thank your significant other for “letting” you go out with them, congratulations on becoming someone’s property.  If while you’re out, the two of you MUST text/tweet/Facebook back and forth, distracting you from your time apart, you have a problem.  Just hope you don’t turn into one of those couples with a joint Facebook page.  You may not even realize they are being possessive, but it’s easy to become shortsighted when your shiny new love distracts you with kind words while slowly but surely inserting themselves in every tiny aspect of your private life.  Who you are apart is just as important as who you are together.

6.  Your friends hate him/her.  This isn’t always a surefire way to tell, but it’s a great indicator if you look at your close friends and gauge their reaction to your new guy/girl.  This is not about your friend being jealous or having personality clashes; if it’s something superficial, it can go ignored.  If your close friends, those who know you the best, begin to shy away from hanging out with the two of you as a couple and begin to avoid you both or just your new love, it’s worth taking a closer look at.  Often, a true friend will not want to come out and tell you what a worthless person your love is out of risk of hurting you; they’re just waiting it out so they can be there afterward to pick up the pieces.

7.  You find yourself withdrawing from friends and family.  Prior to dating him/her, you were posting various updates on Facebook or your blog every day without fail.  Now, you barely log on to do a thing with it.  You’ve gone almost silent on Twitter, text message conversations are cut short, and you let your phone go to voicemail more often than you answer it.  Too often, fear of losing time with your significant other is actually fear of them getting annoyed at having to share you with others.  Because this fear is misunderstood, it’s quite easy to almost unknowingly withdraw from your loved ones.

8.  They embarrass you (and your close friends).  My husband laughs at me quite a bit, and I laugh right back at him.  We do NOT, however, take to Twitter and post godawful photos of each other, tell humiliating stories to friends, or overshare any other private and embarrassing personal details.  You are not being respected if your guy/girl is showing everyone the drunk photos of you acting a fool, telling and retelling stories about how you tripped up the stairs, or sharing anything else that makes you feel foolish.  The same goes if they do this to your close friends.  Being the butt of someone’s joke isn’t what a relationship is about.

9.  You’re becoming someone you’re not.  You were once an independent and strong person who loved a good book on a cold night and couldn’t get enough of cheesy romantic comedies.  Now, you’re ______’s boy/girlfriend, you must only watch horror flicks and action movies, and your free time has become Playstation time.  You hate cats, but are now a cat person due to their pets.  You love steak but now must believe meat is murder.  We all have to adjust ourselves when in a relationship and it’s great to be introduced to new things, but not when you abandon everything you once were in order to fit this mold of ______’s boy/girlfriend.  Obviously, they weren’t happy with who you were; why else would you have changes so drastically?

10.  You know it’s wrong.  Deep down, even the most deluded people in this world know when they are in a bad situation.  Maybe you feel shame in certain situations, maybe you feel discomfort, but regardless of what it is you feel, there is something there that tells you this relationship isn’t the right one for you.  I wish I had listened to these gut feelings in the past, especially in the serious relationship I was in prior to meeting my husband, but I chose to ignore them because I was “so in love” and it screwed a lot of things up for me.  LISTEN TO THOSE TINY WARNING SIGNS!!!  Love is about a lot of things, but it’s not about losing your common sense.  Make the right choices with both eyes open; it’s the only way you have any chance of truly finding happiness in a healthy relationship with a person who truly and purely loves you for you.

Help! Dating Questions Need Answers!

I’m conducting a survey to find out what the biggest annoyances are when dating or in a committed relationship for a project I have in the works. I need your help!

Please let me know:
1. What is something your date/significant other does that bothers you?
2. What is the ultimate turn-off or deal breaker?
3. What do YOU do that bothers your date/significant other?
4. If there was one thing you could make the people you date/significant other stop for good, what would it be?

All ideas used will be credited back to the person who contributed it (unless you wish otherwise). I thank you for your help!!

Til Death. Part Time Of Course.

I heard something the other day that annoyed me.  Because it’s secondhand information and because the person may not want me regurgitating their information, I’m going to be as brief as possible.  Single female, with children, dated two married men with the full and complete knowledge that they are married.  I suppose it’s all right to be brief in the description since this scenario is unfortunately quite a common one.

Being single with children is rough and I don’t think there’s a certain age range where it’s any easier than another; you either have children who don’t understand, preteens who are resentful, teenagers who act rebellious and unwelcoming, not to mention the depression and guilt that can strike any age when the child is left wondering why one parent isn’t around and doesn’t love them like they believe they should.  As a former single mom, I know how hard it is to date and shed the unwed mom image or the notion that you’re loose and your bad behavior is what landed you with a kid.  Other than the single moms I knew, guess who understood my dating dilemma best?  Married people.  I’m not quite sure why, but my married friends (both childless and parents) somehow got it and sympathized.  I can definitely see how a vulnerable single woman would be drawn to a married man who understood how lonely she felt.  That being said, there’s a very clear line there that cannot and must not be crossed.

To a single mom, a successful man is quite attractive and one who is a family man as well is even better.  Raising a child alone doesn’t make for the most stable environment, no matter how good you are at it.  To hear a man talk about the things he does for his kids after work and how proud he is of them could definitely be attractive.  To hear about how he pampers his stay-at-home wife could definitely make a woman feel a bit of jealousy and wish she was in the wife’s place.  That doesn’t justify trying to stick yourself there.  You don’t get a marriage license because it’s fun, you do so because a marriage is a legal binding agreement between two people.  If they choose to separate on their own without outside interference, so be it.  No one should insert themselves into someone else’s marriage, no matter how you feel or what promises the married party makes to you or lies they feed you.  If you’re giving up your goods, of COURSE the unfaithful married person will swear they’re getting a divorce or are already sleeping in separate beds, so long as you keep on taking your pants off.  Only a fool buys into that and only a fool puts themselves in that position to begin with.

I can’t imagine any man out there who would make me want to become a homewrecker.  Why would I want to teach my son that marriage vows mean jack shit by sleeping with a man who is promised to another woman?  What does that say about my self-esteem and self-worth?  What kind of woman does that make me at the end of the day?  If you simply want sex and no strings, there are plenty of single people out there who would be happy to roll around with you and never call you again, so there’s no excuse for going to someone who’s married.  If you want a sugar daddy/mommy, there’s also plenty of them out there who have yet to put a ring on their finger.  If you’re looking for love, do you really want the love of someone who is willing to cheat on someone they love(d) enough to marry?  I can’t imagine ever being secure with a man who left his wife to be with me; I’d always fear for the next new chick to come along and cause his eyes to wander.

Except for those instances where the married party fails to disclose their marriage, both parties are at fault for beginning and carrying on a relationship.  A man can throw the greatest lines at you, buy you diamonds, offer vacations, and come off as the most fantastic person to ever grace the Earth with his presence, but if he’s married he is OFF LIMITS.  Period.  His appeal is no excuse for carrying on with him.  As for the married part of this, don’t get married if you’re not done dogging around.  You can’t love your spouse AND sleep around, it doesn’t work that way.  Cheating doesn’t have a place in a relationship with true love; if you need or want to cheat, separate beforehand and then have at it.  If that’s too much work, keep your pants tightly belted on and keep your hands to yourself.

We all make mistakes and have moments of weakness, stupidity, bad judgment, foolishness, and regret.  It’s forgivable to fall in love with a married man, as emotions are tough to control.  It’s unforgivable to act on those feelings and taint his marriage, even if he says it’s all right.  It’s okay to want to recapture your childhood, find a sitter for the kids on Saturday, and go out and party like you’re in college.  It’s not okay to take a married guy home and give him an anatomy lesson.  Even if you find yourself in a near-perfect sneaky scenario, you’ve got to understand that people are smarter than you give them credit for and chances are, the spouse will find out, their kids will find out, and so will your kids.  What kind of piss poor parent wants to teach their child that marriage doesn’t mean shit and promises of love come with unfaithful acts and chances of catching a disease?

Listen ladies, the guy isn’t leaving his wife for you.  I don’t care what he says, it’s not going to happen.  It’s pillow talk to make your dress come off quicker.  Even if it’s just a fling, it’s still an equal amount of wrong.  There is not one single solitary reason under the sun that makes it okay to get involved with a married person.  Chicks have enough trouble being taken seriously and not being just a pair of boobs to the majority of guys, don’t devalue our gender more by making it okay for a married man to make you his piece on the side.  Have some self-respect.

Newt Gingrich Thinks I’m A Slut

“Contraception, when it first became available, was a revolution in this country.  It allowed women to enter employment and educational opportunities that had previously not been accessible because they were unable to control their reproduction in the same way.  And I just can’t imagine rolling back the clock on that progress,” – Sandra Fluke

“There is no compelling government interest in making contraception an “essential benefit” of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act – certainly not at the expense of religious liberty.” – Ben Boychuk

‘I’d rather health insurance cover birth control for the young than cover Viagra for old men’ – Vox Populi

I am the proud mommy of a 6-year-old boy and a happily married wife to an incredible man.  We plan to add another little one to our mix, just not yet.  I’ve been on birth control since the age of 16 when I was prescribed it to help with severe cramping and headaches, along with other symptoms that were less than pleasant.  As my parent’s insurance didn’t cover the cost, I paid $39 out of my tiny paycheck every four weeks for a new pack.  During my freshman year of college, insurance began to pick it up and I had 6 blissful months where my birth control was free of charge.  Unfortunately, that was short-lived and the company decided to cover only half of the cost, leaving me to pay around $20 for a 4 week supply.  When I learned that a generic version was available, cost dropped by half but insurance also stopped paying.  At this point in time, I pay about $480 a year to keep myself child-free until the day my husband and I decide we’re ready for it.

It’s painfully obvious that the cost of birth control is far lower than the cost of treating a pregnant woman to term or even to an unfortunate miscarriage.  It’s less costly than adding a baby to the insurance policy.  There is enough debate and figures out there already to support this, so I won’t focus too much on it.  I do want to point out, however, the ridiculousness of covering drugs that will improve one’s sex life and encourage reproduction, certain surgeries that will improve appearance and therefore make one more attractive and likely to have intercourse, yet not be concerned with covering the things that will prevent unwanted pregnancies that come as a result.

A while back there was a proposed law to declare a fetus a human life and therefore make abortion illegal, as it would be the murder of this life.  Abortion has always been a hot button issue with people both on the pro-life and the pro-choice side.  It would seem like a no-brainer to me to encourage insurance companies to fully pay for birth control for women, as this would reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and in turn, reduce the number of women who seek abortions.  One would think that this would be a go-to topic for the pro-life crowd to focus their energy on; if their goal is to abolish abortion, work to abolish unwanted pregnancies by making birth control readily available for every single person who requires it.

I’ve heard families like the Duggars say that they are leaving the number of children they have up to God.  Some religious people believe that whether or not they conceive is in God’s hands and they must not use birth control, as it’s not part of His plan.  If you believe in God, shouldn’t you also believe that He put doctors and medicines in place in order to help you?  How can God sanction hospital births but not sanction the use of birth control devices prescribed by the same doctors that are trusted in bringing babies into this world?  I had an unplanned pregnancy during a time I still had faith and I didn’t believe for one second that God decided a newly single woman working night shift at IHOP and living in a crappy room for rent was the right person to give a baby to.  If you believe in God’s plan, that’s fine, but you also need to have some common sense and realize that accidents happen.  God’s plan doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions in life.  You wouldn’t fail to buckle your seatbelt and ignore stop signs because God decides when it’s your time to die, not carmakers, laws and government road signs.

I don’t want to start a debate on the intelligence our government shows when it comes to responsible spending, but it’s safe to say that they have made a bit of a mess of things and don’t always act responsibly.  A federally funded program is allowing California teens to receive free condoms and have them delivered to their door, so obviously it’s somewhat of a priority for the government to promote safe sex and prevent pregnancies.  But what about people like myself in a monogamous relationship who isn’t ready just yet for a child, doesn’t wish to use condoms with her spouse, and who doesn’t want her husband to get a vasectomy or get her own tubes tied when we feel our family is complete?  What about women who use condoms, understand they are hardly fool-proof, and wish to have an extra level of protection?  What about women who were where I was as a teen and have severe symptoms that can be alleviated with the use of birth control pills?  Where do we fit in?

I would love to see government funding go into either making birth control pills (and certain other methods) completely free of charge or at least reduce it to $5 or less a pack and base the cost on a person’s income and/or whether or not the pills are name brand or generic.  It should be as easy to get birth control as it is to get laid.  Sex isn’t going to come to a halt, the abortion debate will never be settled, child abuse won’t vanish, and babies will keep popping out of people who don’t want them.  The cost of raising a child isn’t going to go down, promiscuous people aren’t going to wake up tomorrow and change their ways, and people in general aren’t going to stop having sex.  I don’t want birth control to be out of my reach or the reach of anyone else who needs it.  To make it so is terribly irresponsible and completely unacceptable.

A lot of folk who share my point of view raise the argument that a man shouldn’t be proposing any ways to control what a woman does with her body.  I agree with this 100% but I also don’t really give a damn if it’s a man or a woman telling me I can’t have my birth control.  Yes, you can govern certain things I do with my body, such as using it as a deadly weapon or using it to incite a riot or disturb the peace.  No, you are not allowed to govern how I choose to decorate my body (earrings, hair color, tattoos, etc.) nor are you allowed to govern how I care for it and what I choose to use it for.  Making birth control inaccessible to some is just as bad as making it mandatory; you’re sticking your hands where they do not belong.

NO Sex For You

Gabino Zavala, an assistant bishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles has resigned because he has a secret family, including two teenage children.  An announcement from the Vatican stated that “the pope had accepted it under the norm in canon (Church law) that says a bishop who is ill or otherwise unfit to carry out his duties should resign.”  Because the Catholic church requires a vow of celibacy from its priests, his resignation was accepted.  There was nothing reported of any type of abuse, sexual or otherwise, on the part of Zavala; the resignation appears to be solely based on the fact that he met a woman he cared for and decided to father children with her.

The Archdiocese of Bostonhas settled approximately 800 clergy sexual abuse claims, is providing care to about 300 abuse survivors at any given time, and has given anti-abuse training to nearly half a million children and adults.  This offender registry allows you to search your area for offenders affiliated with the church only.  That being said, the problem of sexual abuse and pedophilia is in no way an issue that lies solely within the church, nor is it an indicator that all men sworn to God are susceptible to becoming rapists, pedophiles, or other sexual predators.

Zavala’s story interested me because it’s quite different from most of the stories regarding priests that make the news.  He didn’t molest a child; in fact he “once urged Catholic media to report scandals such as clergy sex abuse in a spirit of love and mercy.”   Tod Tamberg, the archdiocesan spokesman, said he “knew nothing about Zavala’s affair except that it involved consenting adults and that no church funds were used.”  Unless some lurid details are being kept under wraps, nothing negative took place here other than the simple violation of what seems to be a very outdated rule; no sex, not even with someone you love and wish to have children with because you are promised to God and Him alone.

According to the BBC, the Vatican made no reference to the reason behind Zavala’s resignation and the Pope reinforced the church’s views on celibacy when he said it was “the sign of full devotion, the entire commitment to the Lord and to the ‘Lord’s business’, an expression of giving oneself to God and to others.”  I understand the logic but I also believe that the God he speaks of is one that would encourage matrimony and family building rather than a life of solitude, so long as the commitment to Him and to the faith stays strong.  Is God truly that selfish to demand that a person go through life without knowing the love of a spouse and the joy of having children?  Or would He prefer a dedicated family man rather than a dedicated yet desperate man who succumbs to human nature and sexuality in a depraved way?  Being a father Himself, of Jesus and of humanity, I would think that He would encourage monogamous and consenting couples to procreate, not deny the people most dedicated to Him the chance to marry and have children.

In no way am I about to suggest that the celibacy rule is responsible for pedophilia and abuse in the church, but I do think that it isn’t helping the matter.  It’s possible that a person who commits a terrible sexual act did so out of desperation because their nature is being denied due to the vow of celibacy.  If they had a wife to go home to, maybe they wouldn’t have taken a victim’s innocence away after years of sexual abstinence.  There are a lot of maybe’s there because to indulge in sex acts with a child is a horrendous thing to do and isn’t simply the byproduct of desperation.  Pedophiles outside of the church are allowed to have sex with any consenting adult that will have them and they still turn to children, so it’s obvious that allowing sex won’t cure a pedophile.  But just as some people in prison resort to gay sex because that is all that is available, perhaps priests resort to alter boys because they are not allowed a wife.

Organized religion is flawed, as is nearly everything in existence than relies on us mere human beings in order to function.  It’s sad that someone like Zavala, a person who appears to have been a shining star in the Catholic church, must now withdraw from his position.  His crime was one that is only a crime according to the word of God as translated by man.  I read a lot today about what the Bible says about marriage.  In general, it’s safe to say that God desires us to marry a person of the opposite sex.  Vows of chastity and celibacy aren’t anything new within the church; these practices have been in place for some time in varying degrees.

As we adapt to the world around us by changing laws, behaviors, and lifestyles, we should also make adaptations within the church.  The word of God hasn’t exactly changed much over the years, so either God quit talking or the creative minds behind the Old and New Testament are a thing of the past and no one living in present times is willing to speak up.  That aside, the bible can be interpreted in countless different ways and I am certain that the right person can find something within those pages to allow the celibacy rule to be lifted or at least be a rule only until a person finds their life partner and married under the eyes of God.

I was raised Catholic but don’t claim it currently; the last two times I’ve been in a church was to see my son baptized and to sell a guitar to some guy from Craigslist.  I have no doubt that an educated religious person can school me severely on why celibacy is important and why God demands his priests abstain from sex and marriage.  In my limited experiences with various churches within the Christian faith, I’ve found that the people I’ve connected to and been helped by the most have been those who were married with children.  They understood the life of an average parishioner better than those who have never known romantic love or parental bliss.  They were able to balance being strong in their commitment to God and being a loving spouse and parent, their faith working to strengthen them on both sides.  Perhaps it’s time for the church to stop acting as though love, sex and marriage creates a wall between the person and God.  Maybe it’s time to realize that those so-called forbidden things can actually strengthen the bond to God and the commitment to being a good Christian leader and follower.

To Each Their Own; I Don’t Want To Know

Due to my lack of good judgement, I attempted to watch an episode of True Life that highlighted a man with a foot fetish.  I’m not a prude, nor am I close-minded, but this particular fetish has always freaked me out.  It’s beyond my understanding and is the easiest way to make me cringe or run away.  I decided that his episode would be a good way for me to face my fear and get over it so it wouldn’t bother me any time I heard it mentioned.  Either facing your fears doesn’t work for me or this guy was simply on another level of creepy, but I would have been less uncomfortable in a room with dead-eyed porcelain dolls and hairy tarantulas.

There are all sorts of fetishes and preferences out there that I find revolting or too extreme, but none make my skin crawl the way a foot fetish does.  Even typing it makes me uncomfortable.  I totally understand appreciating certain parts of the human form, but some of the activities tied to foot fetishism disgust me thoroughly.  My first roommate, other than in my college dorms, had a foot fetish.  He took it upon himself to share this with me, someone who would never date him and therefore wouldn’t require this information, as well as with various other male friends and coworkers.  While part of me was glad to know so I could make sure to keep shoes on at all times, the bigger part of me wondered why in the world he would think it was okay to share this with us.

Foot fetishes seem to be fairly common and for some reason it’s also become common to tell everyone that you have one.  Other than my roommate, I’ve encountered nearly a dozen people who weren’t trying to date me or bed me or do anything with me that would require me knowing that would proudly share this information with me as if I’d be grateful to hear and was secretly wondering.  It was as if this tidbit of information had to be shared in order for everyone else to truly understand this person.  The only thing it ever accomplished for me was making me uncomfortable.

It’s one thing to want to be accepted but it’s crossing the line to try to get acceptance for something that does not and will not matter to 99% of the people you come in contact with.  Unless a couple is getting carried away with the public displays of affection or someone is taking inappropriate photographs in the mall or at a restaurant, it is impossible to look at someone and think “I bet they like feet in a naughty way.”  It’s not an obvious thing and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to make it public knowledge.  I wouldn’t tell my friends great tales of what goes on when the Jamies are having adult time and I expect the same consideration from others.

Having a foot fetish or any other kind is nothing to be ashamed of so long as it doesn’t involve farm animals or any of the other obvious no-nos.  It’s great that people can find avenues to take to make themselves happy and keep their relationship interesting.  But I don’t want to know about it.  I watched True Life by choice, knowing that I’d be weirded out, but I don’t want to hear about it from friends or family or anyone who doesn’t sleep in the same bedroom as I do.  There is no logical reason for me to have that information and nothing constructive that can be accomplished by me knowing.  I’ve heard revealing this being compared to coming out of the closet, which boggles my mind.  I would probably wonder if the guy I thought was straight started showing up with male dates.  I wouldn’t start wondering about a guy who thinks toe socks are sexy because it’s not an outward trait and doesn’t become so unless the person goes out of their way to behave inappropriately in public or begins running their mouth.

Being open and honest is very important but the level of which you are open needs to vary depending on who you are talking to.  My husband is definitely someone who would be appropriate for me to share things of this nature with, and vice versa.  Mo coworkers and friends, not so much.  Forget about family, they don’t need to hear it.  Nobody needs to be so much of an open book that they begin revealing their sexual turn-ons to anyone who will listen.  Those you date will obviously need this information prior to getting serious, but that’s it.  I don’t get why anyone would have a foot fetish, but that doesn’t mean that those who do should be ashamed of it.  It’s a little part of who you are and you should be proud of it.  Just understand that being proud and oversharing are two very different things.

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