Category Archives: Personal

3 Steps in Getting to Know You, a romantic lifestyle #MondayBlogs entry.

It’s about time I got back to the love and romance stuff, right? Launching a new book in a new series kept me distracted for the past couple of weeks. But now, I’m back to it, giving advice gleaned from twenty-four years of married bliss. By bliss, I mean no one’s been murdered, yet.

So. You’re in love. Can’t live a moment without each other. This is forever, and you know it. This time, anyway. Which was a lot like the last time, oddly enough.

Really, though. You’ve found the perfect for you person and want to make the relationship work. Today it’s easy. Tomorrow? Eh, your tomorrows tend to fall apart.

What do you do?

  1. Road trip! Pick a place as far as time will allow you to travel and spend the night. The best thing to do is find somewhere neither one of you have been before and go. Why overnight? No reason and you are encouraged to make the trip longer. A road trip will tell you what another person is like when they’re lost, tired, hungry, or at the end of their compromise limit. I would recommend sharing a room even if you don’t share a bed quite yet. If you can tolerate the other person’s bedroom habits, it’s a checkmark in the Keeper column. Once you’re back home and remembering the trip, your feelings will tell you how much longer the relationship will last. Relieved to be alone? Yeah, unless your excursion lasted a week or so, it’s a warning.
  2. Family or friend reunion! Does the idea scare you? Before you pull the ripcord on either your loved ones or loved one, think. Are you worried about them liking him or her? Or is his or her perception of your roots the problem? If you can’t introduce your significant other without qualms, you might rethink the whole in love thing. I’m assuming your relationships with reunion attendees are somewhat normal. A family with extreme dysfunction or toxic friends might be the ones you reconsider keeping in your life versus the love you’ve found.
  3. Share the disinterested! Huh? He used to ski, you used to antique shop. Or, she used to run races, you used to put together model cars. Now, you both do neither for now. And that’s a point to consider. Train for the 5K with her, hit the slopes with him. Even if one or both people can’t get into their partner’s interests, they should at least be able to empathize.  My husband doesn’t knit, and I don’t Knights of Columbus, but we appreciate how the other likes doing so. He brings me Tootsie Rolls from their fundraising, and I’ll knit him sweaters. I’d say if one person has a destructive habit or a red line activity, really take a step back and reconsider if this is a relationship you want to work on. Expanding your interests or point of view are all right but compromising them is quite another.

Are there more ways to truly get to know a person in a hurry? Leave a reply and tell me your ways!

Who Do You Want To Be? A #MondayBlogs Post.

I’d spent the weekend hibernating which means I’m playing catch up today.

I had this lovely blog post typed up with so many words to say in relationships, don’t look to others to fix you. Don’t look to others to complete you. Don’t look to others to improve you.

Or to put everything in a positive light:

Fix your broken parts first. Take care of your heart, mind, body instead of putting the responsibility on someone else. Unless…they happen to have letters after their name like MD, Ph.D and you’re not dating them. In that case, let them fix you because it’s their job.

Be an entire person for yourself. “You complete me,” is a lovely quote but in real life? No one should be another person’s missing half. Stronger Together is always better than Need Each Other To Survive. Another unless…unless you’re in a frozen wasteland like my backyard in the above photo and have only the two of you to rely on for survival. Then yes. No rules.

Self-improvement is best done by yourself. Not someone else’s self. My final unless? Unless you’re paying fees to a trainer, nutritionist, life coach, or doing another sort of expertise swap, your significant other isn’t your guru. In a perfect world, each person is improving and sharing the improvement instead of dragging each other along.

Bottom line? We aren’t puzzle pieces but whole human beings. Situations and people knock chunks out of our well-being and it’s up to each one of us to Spackle our own wounds. When you’re looking for a new relationship or trying to keep a marriage strong, go in as a complete person.

 

Thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Betrayal and #MondayBlogs

My husband is going to see the above title and think, “Finally! She’s talking about her books!” Which is somewhat true. Yes, I have a book named Betrayal in my Nova Scotia Murder Mystery series. It’s awesome, and it has two short stories in the beginning. You should download a sample from the vendor of your choice.

But no, this is a post about betrayal in a relationship. I’ve been on both sides, the one doing and the one receiving. I’ve also been the other woman in a relationship. Let me tell you what I’ve learned.

  1. If or when your significant other cheats on you, it’s not entirely about you and your defects. While the event feels so very personal, it isn’t. There are a billion reasons a person will stray. Things like they don’t feel special, their physical or emotional needs aren’t being met, or even the ever-popular they cheat because they can. Name the most beautiful, attractive, (no, they’re not the same) and wonderful person you know, and I’ll bet someone has cheated on them. We mate for life but aren’t always monogamous animals.
  2. If you cheat on your partner, for shame. Really. Did you at least try to get what you needed from them first? Made the concerted effort to not stray? I know I’m being Judgy McJudgerson, but a person really needs to have done everything to avoid stepping out. If you’ve not communicated with your partner about what’s lacking, you’re the problem and cheating is not the cure. On the other hand, if you’ve talked yourself to death and they’re not paying attention to your PowerPoint charts, it may be time to move on or at least get counseling on how to communicate more effectively.
  3. So. You’re the homewrecker who can’t resist the cheater. Not cool and you know it. I’ll assume you’ve heard the if they cheat with you, they’ll cheat on you. The missing piece in your guilty partner isn’t you. It hurts, I know. You want to be better than what they have at home and their solution. Sorry. You’re not, and no one is. This isn’t the first time they’ve betrayed their spouse or significant other, nor will it be the last. I know you want to think what you have is unique, a love to transcend all time and space. Thing is, you’re not the one washing their dirty underwear, cleaning up the mess when their kids get sick before reaching the bathroom, or any other of a hundred things a committed person does that another wouldn’t.

All this is kind of rough and sad isn’t it? Sometimes, love is ugly and the wrong needs to be dealt with as much as the good is enjoyed. If I were a professional counselor, I could list definitive things to do. Everyone is different, and I’m unwilling to order people around. Instead, I have a self-care list for each person in the triangle or quadrangle.

  1. They cheated on you. Again, it’s not about you and if it is, no. It isn’t. Whatever excuse they gave is bogus unless you have this need for humiliation. Even then, their betrayal says far more about them than you. Take care of yourself by doing kind things you put off for later. Fill in your own blanks for “I didn’t _____ because they needed _____.” And go out to change “I didn’t into “I did.”
  2. You cheated on them. For shame. Does your partner know? If yes, you’re going to be reminded until your transgression doesn’t matter to your partner anymore. You will endure this like you should or just get out of the relationship you don’t deserve. Your partner doesn’t know yet? Good. You will take the affair to your grave because your guilty conscious doesn’t deserve to be cleared by hurting another person. You’re in the wrong, and we both know it. My suggestion is to treat your partner like you wanted to be treated by your fling, special, loved, unique. If they return your love, great! If not, the relationship has problems which need a professional’s help more than a romance blogger’s.
  3. I can’t even with the other person and yes, I was one. My ex had slept with escorts, so I had a deep need to know what the other women had that I didn’t. Turns out, nothing. We live in a world where beauties like Elizabeth Hurley, Jackie Kennedy, and Deepika Padukone have been cheated on. Some people are drawn to the seamy side of love. A fact I know you’re ignoring is you deserve your own undiluted lover. You deserve to be the one and only for someone who’s not a sneak. Care for yourself enough to demand your place as a partner’s #1.

I’ll admit, this was a hard post to write! How to be helpful to everyone without being preachy or sanctimonious? Ug! It’s not a disclaimer to suggest professional help if my post isn’t enough. I want to improve the romance and love lives of people and have no problem admitting my influence can only go so far. Everyone and every situation is different. Please do what’s best for you and your loved ones.

Next week? Curing the commitmentphobe! I’m writing a short romance about a guy with commitment issues. Of course, he’s met his soul mate. I’m having a blast torturing him with a woman he can’t resist.

 

Love, Sex, and #MondayBlogs

Programming note: FAQ answers have been pushed to next Monday because of VALENTINE’S DAY!!!! OMG!!!

Yes, I am very married and very happily. Thus, I don’t hate the V-Day.

I do remember what it was like to be single and sans romance back then. It sucked until the 15th, aka Cheap Chocolate Day. Then the 16th was horrific because of Migraine Because I Ate Chocolate Day.

By now, my husband and I both know what, when, and how we want our romance. We also talk to death everything and anything. This isn’t as bad as it sounds because even early on in our marriage, no one was ever surprised by a problem. If one of us cleaned out the house and were gone in a U-haul, the other would know exactly why. Something we agreed on before we married was to make communication a priority. Be kind, always, but don’t hold back if something’s going wrong.

So our plans? Earlier, we picked up the dinner for two at Hyvee. Not the deluxe because we already have a couple of lobster tails getting freezer burned. This saves us the time, expense, and irritation over sharing a romantic dinner with several hundred other cranky couples. We’re also verbally duking it out over fresh flowers versus potted plants. He wants to give me roses or at least flowers to put in a vase. I want a couple of Boston ferns to replace the ones I accidentally killed while on a book deadline. (Ferns need water more than once a month, oddly enough.) You and I know who’ll win this argument. Me.

So the bottom line for your own happy Valentine’s Day? Talk about it! Tell your crush they’re not half bad or remind your significant other of why you fell for them in the first place. You’re alone and enjoying the solitude, so nothing applies? Cool! Treat yourself, a family member, and/or a pet. Plan the route to stores you’re going to hit as soon as they open for the discounted candy. Go buy the floral rejects for yourself and enjoy. Or the best ever, take yourself out to dinner on the 15th and enjoy the quiet.

Next Monday, the faqs for reals. Before then, there’s so much going on for me professionally, and I’ll have to write all about it later this week.

Alone vs Lonely: A #mondayblogs post

Alone is pretty easy to define. You’re by yourself, a party of one, and the time where a team does have an I in it.

Lonely? Not so easy after all. Where alone is a state of being and a tangible, lonely is so much more ethereal. Everyone has heard of being lonely in a crowd and has probably experienced the feeling at least once in their life. Very few have never been the new kid in a classroom, even if they have to wait until college.

But now, Valentine’s Day is looming. All that red and pink reminds some of us how lonely being in a partnership can be. Surprisingly, I never felt one second of loneliness in the time during my husband’s deployment to Kuwait. How did we manage to stay in touch and still feel the love? Communication.

Chitchat during a war is different now that it was as recently as a couple of decades ago. In 2003, we had international phone calls once a week and email all the time. Skype and other video conferencing were new, and mail was okay but slow. I did happen to send him care packages of things he mentioned missing. With the once a day check-ins and weekly chats, we probably talked more than most busy couples have a chance to under the same roof.

How to combat this? In knitting (one of my fave hobbies), there’s a saying of “Take time to save time.” We’re supposed to do a test knit to make sure the stitches per inch is accurate. For a marriage or any other relationship, I’d say block out your time to interact with each other. Make doing so a priority and necessary for each of you. Both people must care because nothing’s sadder in a couple than being the one hand clapping.

If you’re the one initiating and not getting a response, there are a few things to try on your own.

  1. Kick it old school and write a letter by hand. Then rewrite in case you were angry about having to write one at all to get their attention. I know I’d have to.
  2. Text them a kiss. Emoji or your lips in a kiss, either work.
  3. Stop off on the way home from wherever and grab their favorite anything. No reason or occasion necessary.
  4. A phone call can be a problem for some to give or receive. We’re lucky because I’m my own boss and my husband’s workplace isn’t a pain about phone calls. I know I always love hearing his voice instead of a robocall or telemarketer. So speed dial if you can.
  5. Sex it up! Oddly enough, this wasn’t effective for me in the first couple of decades of my marriage, but this third decade is turning out to be very unusual. <-not a complaint! Everything I do now is a turn on when it never was during the early years. What do I mean by turn on? Well, for you, it may mean wearing the sexy clothes as a normal instead of a special occasion. Wear the boxers with lip kisses or the red teddy in the evenings. (Now that I think about it, our kid is older and not around as much. Sexy is a lot easier with just us in the house. LOL! Light bulb moment, right?)
  6. To get around the kids might know/hear sexytimes issue, letting your significant other pick the sexy unders you wear. This makes the undressing time after the kids are asleep a lot more fun, too.
  7. Find a similar activity you enjoy. We like long walks in the park and watching Canadian television shows, but our finding these likes didn’t happen overnight and haven’t been constant. In the beginning, we liked the Civil Air Patrol and dining out. Clearly, our tastes have changed through interest or necessity. We still have separate activities, but the ones we share are a lot of fun, too.

 

Photo0087[1]

It’s all fun and games until someone needs CPR.

Finally, if none of these ideas brings you closer together or you’ve been there, failed that, you know what to do. Talk to a professional. My job is to write about a fictional couple’s conflict and communication problems. So far I haven’t had a character seek counseling, but you never know. A story might make it necessary someday and if you need it, take advantage of the help.

Next Monday: Answering FAQ’s because my husband needs me to do so on my new website. You won’t even notice the switch except everything is much prettier.

#MondayBlogs and I want to be alone!

This post idea was shared with my husband this weekend, so no worries. It’s all good in Lauraland.

Now, on to the blog post. What happens when you’re somewhat happily married, but sick to death of the romance looming ahead on Valentine’s Day? You’ve tried everything, talked to your partner until you’re blue in the face and can’t feel the infatuation. You love the spouse, like them most of the time, but a night out or a romantic anything? Bleh and no.

What to do?

starfish on the beach at sunrise

This starfish is enjoying the peace and quiet because he’s sick of his wife’s shit.

Nothing together, that’s what. I know, I know. I’m supposed to say something about working together, getting a counselor, upping this or increasing that. Which is great if you’re newlyweds or newly anything but if you’re in your fifteenth year as a couple and are feeling more done than a charcoaled steak? You both need a relationship vacation from each other. Not that this is an excuse to play around or get into serious trouble. The goal of a relationship vacation is to remember what being alone feels like. Note: Alone is different from lonely, and I’m going into fixing that problem in the next post. 

Right now, I’m recommending giving you two enough space, so you’re able to see the other’s great qualities. The relationship vacation can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The duration depends on your own personal needs. Some couples are refreshed in a short while, and others might need months to remember why they enjoyed their partnership.

What’s the best way to take a break? There are a lot of fun ideas, depending on your time and finances. A class in something you’d wanted to learn, a weekend out of town visiting museums, or a week visiting family and friends are all good options. A solo road trip in a luxury vehicle, a week in Tuscany, or a weekend spa treatment would be terrific on the upper financial end, and I vote yes for any of them.

Something else to notice? If you happen to have the urge to share all of this with a new love interest, find a good couples counselor. Wanting a new partner is a symptom of a deeper problem any blog post can fix. There’s a deep unmet need to deal with that requires professional help, or at least more expert than I am.

If you have any other ideas of what do to on a relationship vacation, comment below! I’d love to hear them. My husband and I spend so much time together, we do have to plan time apart just to take a small break. How about you? Is too much time together a problem, or would you like my take on a different issue? Again, comment below and thanks for reading this far.

 

Next Monday: How memory lapses and procrastination can hinder Frequently Asked Questions being answered as well as alone versus lonely. I don’t even want to go into it right now.

A #MondayBlogs About Smug Marrieds.

Single people and the theory of relativity. How are they related?

Very simple. There’s a reason the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side,” exists. Earlier in the week, I’d read something about married people being condescending toward singles. As if being married is the ultimate goal in life and you’re not a real person unless hitched to someone else. Add in the recent political remarks about some countries being much better than others, or some people weighing less or more than others, and the Theory of Relativity covers everything. No matter where you are, how low or how high, someone either wants to be where you are or would do anything to keep from being in the same place.

In my point of view, I think there’s a lot of jealous people out there trying to upsell being chained to one person. Seriously. No marriage is 100% wine and roses, and if someone says theirs is? They’re lying, delusional, giving in to their spouse, or all of the above. Married people see a single person and remember back when everything in life wasn’t a committee decision. They could eat what they wanted or not at all. Sleep the hours they prefer or not, and not be hassled about it. When you start counting everything else needing a “discussion” with a partner? You know what I mean.

man putting wedding ring on woman hand

With this ring, I chain thee to me forever. Get me a beer.

Meanwhile, singles are looking at marrieds, envying the whole partner setup. As a married, it IS nice having a best friend and business partner. There is a shared income, shared responsibilities, and a “In case of emergency” contact. I could add in the terrific sex part, but my husband would become flustered and turn nine shades of red. Let me leave it at he’s adorable and admirable.

Like everything in life, both sides have their pros and cons. I think the main thing anyone should do is embrace where they are right now. Things always can and do change, often when you don’t want them to.

Side note: All this assumes you are satisfied with your current situation. If there’s abuse, depression, or serious issues, get help and don’t delay. Life is short, and there’s no reason to tolerate the intolerable.

Next Monday: Answering Frequently Asked Questions.