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A letter to my husband who preferred porn to me

Porn ruined you. Ruined us. When people asked, shocked, how I could leave such a funny, clever man, father of my children – “a good earner” as my mother put it – what could I say? I said it was me. My fault. I’d changed. Only it wasn’t me. It was your love of porn that slowly diminished my love and respect for you and destroyed my self-confidence. I couldn’t tell them and I’ve never said it straight to you but you must know, you must remember those conversations. The rows.

I’m not a prude. I’ve done burlesque. I love images of sexy, strong women. My house – once ours – is full of kitsch Lynch prints, 1950s bombshells and Art Deco nudes. And I love sex. Even children and the exhausting slog of being a working mother didn’t diminish my drive – though I had to bury it, pretend it didn’t matter.

 

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The top 10 reasons why couples argue

Do you argue with your partner? I do. If you don’t, frankly, you’re weird. Or passive aggressive. Or just passive. Or all three. It doesn’t matter – the thing is, partners disagree. Perhaps the disagreements don’t make it even to the argument/discussion stage – but the disagreements remain. I expect most relationships have much the same arguments most of the time. Here’s my guess at the top 10 reasons for relationship conflicts:

1. Sex. This is one of the most likely to be unexpressed, as bringing up the subject can make both parties self-conscious when they get in between the sheets, and losing self-consciousness is what sex is all about. However, the differences can be summed up pretty simply. Either one partner wants more, or one partner wants less, or – in a worst-case scenario – both.

2. Tidiness/cleanliness. Never have there been two people who had exactly the same standards in these areas. To one person, the other will always be a slob. To the slob, the other will be a control freak. Accepting these differences and that there are limits to the amount that the other is capable of changing, is the secret of solving this conundrum. Or, on the other hand, arguing.

3. False memory syndrome. Many arguments are not about the facts of what happened but how it is remembered. Everybody mythologises the past in order to put themselves in the best light. So when it comes down to trying to work out what went wrong when you had a disagreement, it becomes very hard, as each party uses imagination to supplement memory – indeed, create memory. As therefore you can never quite agree on common facts, this is rich territory for conflict.

4. Messing with the cooking. Let the cook do it their way – even if it’s very, very wrong.

5. Blame addiction. One thing most of us don’t grow out of is that when things go wrong, we need someone to blame. We find the force of circumstance too threateningly random an explanation. Introverts blame themselves. Extroverts blame other people. This is why they often end up together.

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Bring in blame-free divorces

Resolution, which represents lawyers and professionals dealing with divorce, say families have changed while laws around them have not.

Blame-free divorces and fairer property rights for cohabiting couples should be introduced as a matter of urgency, a leading family law organisation has urged.

In a manifesto aimed at influencing parties in the runup to the general election, Resolution, which represents lawyers and professionals dealing with divorce and separation, has called on politicians to tackle problems that successive governments have neglected to resolve.

The report highlights six areas where it says laws affecting how couples and their children separate are “unmodern” and in desperate need of change.

The manifesto states: “We have a divorce system focused on blame,” provides “little support for vulnerable people going through a separation; restricted access to alternatives to court; a lack of financial clarity for couples on divorce; and no legal protection for people who split up after living together.”

Parting couples consequently cannot focus on the needs of any children they have, Resolution warns. According to the latest official statistics, there are about 118,000 divorces a year. Nearly half of those divorcing have at least one child under 16; the most common age for divorce is 44. The number of cohabiting couples rose from 2.2m in 2003 to 2.9m in 2013.

Launching the manifesto, Jo Edwards, a solicitor and Resolution’s chair, said: “The fact is that despite the family justice system going through a period of huge transformation in recent years – not least with the devastating cuts to legal aid – the laws governing it are woefully outdated, inadequate and unfair to many people.

“Successive governments of different political compositions have failed to address these issues. Divorce without blame was actually provided for in the 1996 Family Law Act, but was never enacted and actually repealed last year.

“We still have this charade of having to assign blame [adultery or unreasonable behaviour] if you want a divorce and haven’t been separated for at least two years – even if both spouses agree their marriage is at an end.
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“This is a huge barrier to amicable dispute resolution and unnecessarily introduces conflict into the process. There have been repeated calls for no-fault divorce from the judiciary and policy makers. Whilst families have changed, our laws have not.”

In 2007, the Law Commission recommended reforming the laws that apply to cohabitants if they separate but no legislation followed. There are nearly 6 million unmarried people living together, many under the illusion that they have the same rights as married couples if they separate.

Resolution is calling for a legal framework of rights and responsibilities for unmarried, cohabiting couples to provide some legal protection and secure fairer outcomes at the time of a couple’s separation or on the death of one partner.

The other priorities, identified by Resolution, are providing free initial advice to those separating so they can discuss options with professionals; making mediation more widely available to enable couples to avoid court; introducing a ‘Parenting Charter’ to help parents understand their responsibilities when they separate; and giving greater financial information for those entering into divorce.

The removal of legal aid from family law cases has led to a rise in unrepresented litigants with more than 50,000 people representing themselves in family disputes in 2013, Resolution says.

Full article here

To My Porn-Watching Dad, From Your Daughter

Dear Dad,

I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well.

I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman. First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing.

Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.

As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.

As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face.

When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life.

I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us.

Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.

Love, Your Daughter

*This has been posted anonymously due to the nature of the topic.*

Full article here

Would You Get Along Better with Your Spouse if You Made More Money?

This is an excellent article that really underlines what we already know – money does not buy you happiness!

 

Many people believe that if they only made more money, they would be happier and they’d get along better at home.  Without the financial stress they’d have nothing to argue about they believe.  My own experience tells me this is a bunch of hooey.

I’ve been talking to people about money for over 25 years. People who do what I do for a living get to know other folks pretty well. I can tell you, based on my observations, you can be miserable with your partner no matter how much money you make.  How’s that for encouragement?

I’m not saying that money doesn’t make a difference. Its clearly easier to have a good life when you have a little cash in your pocket. But having financial resources isn’t a guarantee of a happy life either. In my opinion, it isn’t the amount of money that is the problem. Expectations, communication and partnership are the keys.

To read a lot more click here.

Kissing is fun!!

Scientists in the Netherlands have reported that we share about 80m bacteria during a passionate 10-second kiss: a finding that makes puckering up seem cringe-worthy – and downright unsanitary.

But take heart: we’re more likely to get sick by shaking hands throughout the day than through kissing. And the science behind this behaviour reveals that along with all of those germs, we share plenty of benefits with a partner as well.

Kissing is not all about bacterial exchange or romance. Our first experiences with love and security usually involve lip pressure and stimulation through behaviours that mimic kissing, like nursing or bottle feeding. These early events lay down important neural pathways in a baby’s brain that associate kissing with positive emotions that continue to be important throughout life.

Our lips are the body’s most exposed erogenous zone. Unlike in other animals, human lips are everted, meaning they purse outward. They are packed with nerve endings so even the slightest brush sends a cascade of information to our brains, which can feel very good.

Kissing activates a very large part of the brain associated with sensory information because we’re at work making sense of the experience in order to decide what to do next. Kisses work their magic by setting off a whirlwind of neurotransmitters and hormones through our bodies that influence how we think and feel.

If there’s real “chemistry” between two people, a kiss can set the stage for a new romance. A passionate kiss puts two people in very close proximity – nose to nose. We learn about each other by engaging our sense of smell, our taste buds and sense of touch. And through that information all sorts of signals are being sent to our brain informing us about the other person. In fact, the scent of man can provide subconscious clues about his DNA to his partner.

Evolutionary psychologists at the State University of New York at Albany found that 59% of men and 66% of women say they have ended a budding relationship because a kiss didn’t go well. It’s nature’s ultimate litmus test, nudging us to be most attracted to the people who may be the best genetic partners.

Research by Swiss biologist Claus Wedekind found that women are most attracted to the scents of men who carry a different genetic code for their immune system in a region of DNA known as the major histocompatibility complex, or MHC. Scientists suspect that when a couple carry distinctly different genetics for fighting disease, their children are likely to benefit by having a strong immune system. We may not exactly be thinking about parenthood when we connect with someone at the lips, but kissing provides clues to help us decide whether to take a relationship further. (However, it’s important to add that women who take the birth control pill show the opposite preference toward men with MHC genetics most like their own. This suggests that when we are on contraceptives, we may be fooling our bodies in more ways than we realise.)

Aside from helping us find a great match, kissing sets off a cascade of neural impulses that bounce between the brain and the tongue, lips, facial muscles and skin. Billions of little nerve connections distribute information around the body, producing chemical signals that change the way we feel.

A passionate kiss can spike the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is linked to feelings of craving and desire. Oxytocin, known as the “love hormone”, fosters a sense of closeness and attachment. Adrenaline boosts our heart rate and can make us start sweating as our bodies begin to anticipate what might occur later. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, also dips to reduce uneasiness. Blood vessels dilate, breathing can deepen, cheeks flush and our pulse quickens.

Kissing fosters the sensations we often describe when we are falling in love. In this way, a kiss can herald in a new romantic relationship. It can also solidify the strong bonds we share with family members and friends. Kisses come in many varieties and are inherently tied to the most meaningful and significant moments of our lives by providing a means to communicate beyond what words can convey.

Science has barely begun to study kissing, despite its obvious evolutionary and personal significance, but what we already know demonstrates that there’s a lot more going on than meets the eyes – and lips.

To read more click here

Yes, divorce is bad for children

We are all terribly concerned about the adverse affects of divorce on children – sometimes our own children, who we feel we have let down terribly. Today’s headlines will fuel the guilt of any person who has failed to stay married, for whatever reason. A survey by Resolution, an association of Family Lawyers, has been spun into a scare story about the awful cost of divorce for children. (Never mind the awful cost of lawyers, eh?) After a family split, your kids are more likely to be on drugs, fail their exams, self-harm – and that’s in between the eating disorders and alcohol problems.

The advice is the same as always: to minimise stress and conflict for the kids; that mediation is better than adversarial battles; that children should never be made to feel it’s their fault. In an ideal world we would all achieve this, as we know it to be intellectually true, even if we cannot always carry it through emotionally.

This latest survey, conducted on a mere 500 young people, is deeply problematic. I don’t seek to minimise the harm that a bad divorce causes children, but what are we comparing it to? How much emotional harm does a bad marriage cause? Is staying together in silent hostility or ongoing rows better for children?

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Kissing parents less likely to shout at children

How embarrassing Public Displays of Affection by parents are the secret to happy childhood – and women are more like to find their partners annoying than men.

The thought of parents kissing is enough to make most children cringe with embarrassment – but a new study has shown that it could be distinctly to their advantage.

Analysis of the home lives of more than 5,000 families has shown that the more often parents kiss the less likely they are to shout at their children.

The study, part of a major research project into modern fatherhood, found that couples with more affectionate relationships area also more likely to be better parents.

But tensions between parents are also likely to spill over into their relationship with their children.

The study, published by NatCen Social Research and involving the Institute of Education and University of East Anglia, also offered fascinating glimpses into the state of British relationships.

It reveals that women are more likely to believe that their husband or partner “gets on their nerves” and even secretly harbour thoughts of divorce than men are.

Researchers asked parents of both sexes a series of questions to gauge the state of their own relationships as well as family life overall, including examining how often parents eat with their children or help them with their homework.

Overall 44 per cent of fathers claimed that their wife or partner “rarely” or “never” gets on their nerves, only 36 per cent of mothers said the same.

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Divorce doesn’t just hurt small children – its effects last years

Penelope Leach has raised a storm by talking of how separation harms very small children. But the bruises and pain are deeper and longer-lasting.

No matter how civilised a divorce is, it always makes children unhappy, says Penelope Leach, hurling a grenade into the cosy liberal consensus on the matter. The veteran child psychologist has infuriated fathers with her new book, Family Breakdown, in which she suggests that very small children whose parents separate should not stay overnight with the absent father (or mother). “You get situations,” Leach says, “where children are spending a week in Mum’s house and a week in Dad’s house and all kinds of horrible arrangements. I call them horrible because we do know that they are desperately wrong for children, who need the security of a place called home and who, when very little, shouldn’t be taken away overnight from what is usually the mother – the person they are attached to.”

Leach’s view flies in the face of evidence which shows, consistently, that it is better for the child to have regular contact with both parents, though she is right and brave to point out that divorce, which now affects nearly half of all marriages, is too often about the selfish interests of the parents, with children seen as property to be haggled over.

A friend of mine found out, shortly after her daughter’s second birthday, that her husband had a longstanding girlfriend. Aggressively, the man pursued joint custody of the little girl; though, after a long and bitter legal battle, Vicky was able to hang on to Tilly for the majority of the time. During the weekends with her dad, Tilly often regressed, wetting the bed, pinching and lashing out. Vicky hated what the custody arrangements were doing to her child, but she tried to remain civil, even when her former partner failed to return Tilly at the appointed hour. It was not about his love for the child, but exerting power over his former wife. Mothers, too, can use small children as pawns in a strategic battle of The Ex Files.

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Dreams of ‘self-discovery’ destroying marriage

High divorce rates and low marital satisfaction are a direct result of partners’ inability to meet ‘psychological expectations’.

Time was when a roof over your head, food on the table and occasional bouts of sexual activity were the hallmarks of a successful marriage. Not any more. According to a US psychologist, the modern marriage must fulfil far deeper demands, and most couples are struggling to cope.

Eli Finkel, director of social psychology at Northwestern University in Illinois, said couples today looked to their marriages to help them “grow as individuals”, and support them through “voyages of self-discovery”. But their expectations are rarely met, he said, because of the investment of time and effort involved.

Finkel claims that persistent high divorce rates and low levels of marital satisfaction are a direct result of couples being unable to meet the psychological expectations of their partners. While overall demands on marriages have not changed much over time, he said, the nature of the demands has shifted and they require more time and effort to satisfy.

“In the past, you married someone who helped you meet your basic needs, but over time, love increasingly conquered marriage. Now people are looking to their spouses to help them discover who they are, and to achieve the best version of themselves,” Finkel said.

Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Chicago, Finkel said that most couples struggle because the change in demands calls for more investment in marriage in an age when many people have less time on their hands.

“People used to marry for basic things like food and shelter. In the 1800s, you didn’t have to have profound insight into your partner’s core essence to tend to the chickens or build a sound physical structure against the snow,” Finkel said. “Back then, the idea of marrying for love was ludicrous.”

“In 2014, you are really hoping that your partner can help you on a voyage of discovery and personal growth, but your partner cannot do that unless he or she really knows who you are, and really understands your core essence. That requires much greater investment of time and psychological resources,” he said.

A blissful minority are in marriages that fulfil these deeper demands, and those marriages are better than the best marriages of yesteryear, Finkel claims. But the average marriage falls short because the time and effort required were impossible for most to meet.

To read more click here.

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