Can couples’ mismatched libidos be cured simply by men doing more housework and occasionally letting their partners sleep-in? I had this revelation in the shower recently, while feeling on top of the world, after my husband granted me a rare sleep-in.
As a busy working mum, I’d felt so pathetically grateful for a few extra hours of sleep – after my beloved husband took the bullet and got up with our two small kids at the crack of dawn and let me stay where I was, blissfully warm and cosy, with one eye open, willing him to get up with them for once.
And you know what? My well-rested state and good mood continued for the rest of the day – especially after he helped around the house too, without being asked – and he got lucky that very afternoon. Coincidence? I think not.
So, ladies – what do you think? What would you much rather: sex or sleep? And are you more inclined to have mad, crazy sex with your husband, if he’d only help out more with the kids and the housework and let you catch up on some extra, much-needed rest?
Now, I’m no sexologist, but it seems to me this could be a solution – if only men would listen up –to many a marital conflict and discord over mismatched libidos. Why? I believe today’s busy, modern woman has more on her plate than ever before. In our quest to try to “have it all” we are wearing ourselves out in our bid to be the perfect businesswoman, wife, mother, friend and the list goes on. It’s called the “superwoman syndrome” and the struggle is real, very real. And so, many busy women I know, myself included, are perpetually exhausted due to struggling to fulfill all these taxing roles at once.
If I’m brutally honest, I’d choose sleep over sex every time right now. I just can’t get enough shut-eye, largely due to the fact I’m juggling so much and our two-year-old and three-year-old daughters still wake many times in the night. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like this. Indeed, a short poll of five of my closest friends – all busy professionals and mums themselves – three out of five would choose sleep over sex also. So, if men just stepped up more – would men and women’s sex drives be more in sync?
I mean, I love sex, don’t get me wrong, I just feel like I don’t have enough energy for it, every time. But should we women instead be focusing more on “getting in the mood” for sex?
Sydney sexologist, Dr Michelle Mars (pictured), who specialises in the sociology of sex gender and sexual well-being, says couples with mismatched libidos need to be open and communicative – and a little kindness and empathy goes a long way.
“Not many people like housework and resentment is a massive turn off,” Dr Mars says. “Signalling that a complaint has been heard and you are willing to do something to make the other person feel better is always likely to ease the pain. So yes, I think in many instances it doesn’t take too much more than a sleep-in and a little housework to boost women’s sex drives.
“Men could try doing little things like a foot soak, a shoulder rub or even making a cup of tea when a partner is a little spent and weary. This can have spectacular results. It doesn’t take to much effort to fill a bucket of water, pour in some bath salts and grab a towel.”
What do you think? What would you prefer: sex or sleep?
Images via irishexaminer.com, mirror.co.uk
Are you staying in a loveless and unhappy marriage, or worse still, a violent one because you feel like you’ve got no rights?
Domestic violence is a scourge on our society; shockingly, the vast majority of dangerous, abusive and violent behaviour which occurs in the privacy of people’s homes is committed by men against women. And with one in three Australian marriages ending in divorce, many women often feel trapped because they aren’t aware of their entitlements and the processes involved in obtaining a divorce.
Help is at hand here, ladies, thanks to leading Australian family law practitioner, Brett Hartley, a director of Brisbane’s Hartley Healy Family Law Specialists. Brett breaks down the most common divorce myths for SHESAID readers and separates fact from fiction. The family law expert has worked on some complex cases including high-profile international matters and high-wealth cases involving complex financial structure. And Hartley Healy is one of Brisbane’s leading specialised family law firms, practicing exclusively in family and de facto law.
“Even in 2015, divorce remains a taboo subject with many people not considering one until it happens,” Brett says, “And there are numerous myths that continuously pop up online.”
The 8 Most Common Divorce Myths:
- MYTH: I have been a stay-at-home mum with no income since marriage therefore I am entitled to nothing.
FACT: The Family Law Act recognises contributions you have made; it is not restricted to financial contributions. Your contributions towards domestic and household chores, having children, raising children and otherwise to the welfare of the family are all taken into account by the court. In addition, the law recognises the fact that one parent staying in the home and looking after children frees up the other parent to not only earn an income, but to advance that parent’s career. Therefore, a contribution of caring for the children and staying at home is viewed as an indirect contribution towards the other one’s accumulation of wealth.
- MYTH: My partner purchased our house before we were married therefore it will not be included in the divorce settlement.
FACT: The first step in any property settlement in family law requires a balance sheet of all assets and liabilities that exist at the current date to be taken into account. One must identify and value each and every asset and resource no matter when it was brought into the relationship. It doesn’t mean everything will be divided 50/50 in all cases and you will need to get advice from a specialist family lawyer as to your specific entitlements.
- MYTH: Superannuation is not considered during settlement.
FACT: Superannuation is always considered during any property settlement. Even though superannuation, in many cases, is not property (that is you cannot access it and spend it straight away), it is still notionally treated as property and included in the available assets for division. The law now allows for superannuation interests to be split between separating couples.
- MYTH: I have been in a de facto relationship for more than five years, but we were never married so I am not entitled to any of my partner’s property.
FACT: If you separate from a de facto relationship or from a marriage then the law regards your relationship as having started when you first started living together. Even if you are only married for a short period of time, the law will regard the commencement of cohabitation as being the starting date for looking at relevant contributions that you have both made.
- MYTH: I am in a same-sex relationship therefore family law does not apply to us.
FACT: In most states in Australia, the law is the same in relation to property settlement for a same-sex de facto couple as it would be if you were in a heterosexual marriage. As long as you can prove that you’re in a de facto relationship and certain other criteria is satisfied (such as relationship lasting for more than two years or a child being born in the relationship) then one may have an entitlement to property settlement.
- MYTH: I am already married; it’s too late to get a pre-nuptial agreement.
FACT: Under Australian law, you can still enter into an agreement (even during marriage) to divide up your assets in the event of any future separation. You do not have to have the agreement finalised before you marry. In the US, they’re referred to as “pre-nuptial agreements,” but here in Australia, family law experts refer to them as “binding financial agreements” and they can be entered into prior to, during, or at the end of a marriage or de facto relationship. A specialist family lawyer will know the best type of agreement to draft depending upon your particular circumstances.
- MYTH: Our divorce is amicable, however to get a divorce we must go to court.
FACT: In order to actually be divorced you need to lodge an Application for Divorce with the court. In most cases, you can do this without the necessity of a court appearance and it can also be done online. In order to obtain a property settlement, you don’t have to go to court and you should avoid fighting in court about property settlement if at all possible. If you and your partner come to an agreement, then that agreement can be documented, signed by you both and lodged in court and approved. In most cases, that won’t require an appearance in court at all.
- MYTH:I am considering a divorce; I should be stealthy in getting my affairs in order and hide my savings.
FACT: There is no need to do this. Sometimes, financial advisors, accountants and other lawyers say that people should, by stealth and prior to separation, accumulate as much documentation and information as they can. There is simply no need to do this as the law requires disclosure of relevant financial documents by each party prior to going to court and your family law solicitor will know what documents and information to ask for and how to get it.
It’s been said that kindness is the key to a long and successful marriage. And while its importance is indisputable, the ability to practice daily forgiveness can really be the defining factor in whether you make up or break up. So says a clinical psychologist I spoke to, who wishes to remain anonymous, and who has more than 30 years experience in couples and relationships counselling.
Of course, there are some things, like domestic violence and unfaithfulness, for example, which often can’t and shouldn’t be forgiven – definite deal breakers. It’s also important not to accept put-downs and cruel treatment – no one ever deserves that! But we’re talking here about relatively minor relationship disputes such as your husband/partner saying the wrong thing, forgetting something, being late and/or being inconsiderate and unkind at times.
After all, everyone makes mistakes, gets things wrong or says something that they later regret. So it is inevitable that our partners will do something to hurt, annoy or offend us from time-to-time. When this happens it’s totally normal and natural to get angry, but is it good to stay angry?
My psychologist contact says a big, resounding no! For prolonged anger can have significant negative impacts on our physical health and emotional well-being; the longer we feel angry the more damage is done. So, it’s vital we get over our anger as soon as possible and forgive our partner, she says.
“Whenever our partner makes a mistake, says the wrong thing or is lacking in tact and consideration, we feel resentful and angry. If we can’t forgive these slip-ups and each time hold onto the resentment and anger, we will eventually have such negative feelings towards our partner that any positive, loving emotions will be overwhelmed,” she says.
“An inability to forgive and let go of negative emotions will lead to resentment and dislike of one’s partner and could spell the end to a marriage. Conversely, being able to forgive and move on is absolutely essential to maintaining a happy marriage.”
So, how on earth do we mere mortals practise the art of forgiveness? Sometimes, the forgiving is really, really hard to do and it might take time to work through our thoughts and feelings. And, if you have a slightly overdeveloped sense of vengeance when someone really wrongs us – certainly one of my failings – it can seem impossible just to let it go and move on. However, move on we must – for the sake of our marriage.
The psychologist says it’s all about perspective, baby. “After the initial feeling of hurt and venting of our anger, it is important to step back and carefully assess how important to you this issue is. Is it something you feel very strongly about, or is it something you can talk through and let go? If it’s the latter, calmly tell your partner how you feel and why, explain why what was said was hurtful and perhaps suggest a better way or saying what he/she said or did,” she says.
“If your partner is open to this and willing to talk the issue through, try and let it go and move on. How? Ask yourself how important the issue is in the great scheme of things. Will it matter tomorrow, next week, in 10 years? If not, there’s no point in holding on to it, let it go now.”
The psychologist’s top forgiveness tips include:
- Be firm with yourself; engage in some positive self-talk, reminding yourself it’s harmful to hold onto negative emotions.
- Imagine blowing all the anger and resentment into a balloon then letting it float away.
- Remind yourself of all the things you like and love about your beloved partner. Think about great times you’ve had together, places you’ve gone and feel-good things you’ve done together.
In addition, the psychologist advises us to carefully decide if the relationship dispute we have with our partner is small and deserving of forgiveness, or actually something seriously damaging to the relationship, which you can’t overlook and need to address.
If it’s the first instance, we should forgive quickly whenever we can; forgive and forget the unimportant things. This is because forgiveness is good for our emotional well-being and the health and viability of our relationship.
So, ladies, hopefully that anger and resentment are gone by now and you can go pash/hug your husband and forgive him for his many failings, just as you’d like to be forgiven for yours. He is but a man, after all…
What do you think? Do you find forgiveness hard?
Images via Brain Body Beauty, Mamas Health, Motivational Interviewing Montreal, ter4ng.wordpress.com
Despite how loving the relationship is between you and your partner there are probably always going to be things you disagree about when it comes to parenting. This may be due to the fact that you were both raised differently, or you simply have differing views on how situations should be handled. When you’re both sleep deprived even the smallest triggers can set off a full blown argument which could probably have been avoided if we’d just opened the lines of communication a little bit better.
Let’s see if any of these parenting issues that couples fight about the most seem familiar to you:
Deciding who gets up with the kids
It’s no secret that after you have children the number of hours you sleep for each night usually decreases, whether that’s because you’re getting up to a baby in the middle of the night or at the crack of dawn with your toddlers. As much as we would all love a sleep in every single day, the most logical way to handle this problem is to take turns sleeping in and make sure you stick to it. It’s probably the only way you’re going to eliminate that bitterness about who is getting more sleep than who.
Dividing child and household duties
Before you had children, the duties around the house were clear – you did the dishes, the vacuuming and dusted whilst your partner swept the leaves, picked up the dog poo and hung out the washing. But now that you’ve thrown a baby into the mix there’s a whole new set of chores that need to done too, so who does all the extra work? That’s obviously something you’ll need to discuss with your partner to ensure that it’s fair for both of you. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the number of chores, then talk about it – your partner isn’t a mind reader and bottling it up will probably end in disaster.
Escaping for ‘me time’
Something else you have less of after you’ve had a baby is time to yourself. It’s quite common that partners will just slip off to ‘check on something’ and they’ll ‘be right back’ only to emerge or return hours later and wonder why you’re so flustered. It happens when parents are in desperate need of some time to themselves, but rather than running away and leaving your partner in the lurch, schedule in ‘me time’ for both of you each week. Having a schedule each week of work hours, daycare hours, family time and me time can be a great way of keeping track of those precious hours.
How to discipline your children
Something you and your partner need to be clear on is how to discipline your children. If you’ve created something like the naughty corner then both of you need to be clear on the rules and punishment that are associated with the naughty corner. If you’re not doing the same thing as your partner, you’re sending mixed signals to your children and the punishment won’t be as effective because you aren’t being consistent. Put aside some time to discuss how it’s best to discipline your children and stick to it.
What have you been doing all day?
If you’re a stay at home parent then you may have had this question from your partner in the past – it can be difficult for a parent who is away from the house all day to understand why it’s ended up so messy. Yes, babies are little, but they need constant attention and the chores that come with them are never ending. So rather than fight about it as soon as your partner steps in the door, sit down and discuss the best way forward once the kids are in bed. You might come to an agreement where the person at home will aim to have a certain amount of chores done each day whilst the parent who has been working all day can’t expect the house to be spotless.
Image via gottmanblog.com
The movies make dating and love look easy. Two people meet, they fall in love and live happily ever after. Really?
Whether you’re dating someone, engaged to your partner or married, you’ll come across common problems every day of the week. These problems can leave you feeling stressed out and confused about the state of your relationship, and wondering what the point of it all is. Before you decide to yell and scream, or pull the plug and end things, read on for some relationship advice for the common problems that plague couples.
Lack of communication
A lack of communication is one of the common problems facing couples of all ages. At the beginning of your relationship, you’re busy getting to know each other, and you can’t stop sharing with each other. But as the months and years go by, you find yourself with less to say to each other. And these days, we tend to think we can can send an email, shoot a quick text message or chat online instead of actually talking. It’s not the same thing.
When you and your partner reach the point where you rarely talk to each other, it’s time to stop and reevaluate things. Find simple things that you can talk about with each other, including how you spent the day, what you’re looking forward to doing on the weekend, or something interesting you read in the paper. If you feel like you have nothing to talk about, try a new activity or hobby to give you something to share.
More people seek relationship advice relating to financial problems than almost any other problem. Financial problems will always come up, so don’t bury your head in the sand. Whether it’s credit card bills or excessive debt, make time on a regular basis to sit together, talk things through and decide which steps you need to take next. Make discussing your financials part of your weekly routine so you don’t tip-toe around it and let it get out of control.
If your financial problems are controlling your relationship, speak to your bank or a financial advisor and create a plan to fix your financials. There is no shame in doing so, and the positive results are much more attainable than you think.
Lack of sex
You can’t expect to have the same sex life today as you had when you started dating. Accepting this should make things a little easier. But what’s important to realise is that even when the thrill that you once had is gone, you can get it back. But you need to work on it, and that’s the fun part. Take a weekend away together to get away from the kids, introduce role play into the bedroom, try out a few sex toys or it might be that you simply need to spend more time together.
Working long hours
It’s obvious: the more time that you spend at the office, the less time you have for your partner. Those long hours can wreak havoc on your relationship and lead to more problems at home.
If you work long hours, make sure you come home and tell your partner how much you love them and how much they mean to you. If your partner works long hours, try and make time for them when they get home, so they look forward to coming home. You should also sit down and talk about how you can make more time for each other. It won’t magically happen unless you discuss it.
Only you can decide if you can recover from infidelity. For some people, it’s a deal breaker, but for others, it’s an issue that can be worked on. Whether he cheated or you cheated, now is the time to sit down and talk about the infidelity – and what led up to it. You need to know why the cheating happened and what you can do to recover from the mistrust and discover how to trust again. You also need to learn how you can feel intimate with your partner again. No matter how big the problems between you might feel, there’s a good chance you can overcome those issues together.
What is your best bit of relationship advice? Share it in the comments!
Richelle Hampton, author of The Divorce Navigator, looks at practical ways you can prepare for divorce both financially and emotionally.
Standing on the precipice of separation and divorce can be daunting to say the least. Emotionally you feel as though you have just stepped onto the world’s largest roller coaster ride of fear and anger.
Anger is the most commonly recognised emotion in the separation process. It is a known fact that much of the pain and grief with separation is caused by escalating anger. The pain and suffering both parties are experiencing as a result of the relationship breakdown often transforms into a traumatic, costly legal battle.
Don’t allow your anger to take control of the situation. It may seem that you are thinking clearly, but anger and rage do not make you smart – the very opposite occurs. Your higher brain functions do not operate when you are angry and you will be at risk of making decisions that will be harmful to you in the long term, extend your separation process, and cost you more financially and emotionally.
Learning to deal with your anger constructively is one of the most important things to be gained from separation.
What is not as obvious when a relationship breaks down is the enormous amount of fear both parties experience, the emotion beneath anger. Just about everyone involved experiences some level of fear because of the uncertainty surrounding their future, of not having the answers or being in control of their lives – the fear of the unknown.
Facing your fears is an important step. Visualise the worst that can happen, make preparations for it, write down all the things you can do to ensure the situation never develops, take a step forward and know that you will be okay. By understanding that you fear a worst-case scenario you are in the position to make plans to avoid the situation.
If you do not learn to confront your fears regarding separation you will find it extremely difficult to make rational decisions and your financial future may be impacted.
The most important step you can take in your separation process is learn to deal with the emotional aspects of this process in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the legal issues involved. There is no place in the legal system for negative emotions.
How you act and react during your separation proceedings has a lot to do with how well you come out of it.
To financially prepare for divorce find out where you and your partner have bank accounts, life insurance policies, share certificates, and important documents.
Obtain statements and balances for bank accounts, plus copies of Wills and trusts. The more information you have, the better. If you do not know much about your family’s income, outgoings, and assets, it is important to find out immediately. Keep copies of financial documents in a safe place such as a safety deposit box or with a close relative or trusted friend.
Ensure you understand your financial information and the financial implication of any decisions you make. Costly mistakes can be avoided by seeking the advice of a financial expert such as an accountant or financial advisor. You will be in a stronger position to make informed decisions regarding your financial future.
Keep your expectations realistic as your finances will be tight. Don’t go into separation thinking you are going to be able to maintain your present lifestyle.
If you have joint bank accounts/loans/mortgages, consider changing the account withdrawal procedures so that you both have to sign as joint signatories to withdraw any funds. You might also consider limiting or cancelling any redraw facilities.
Consider opening a bank account under your own name and with a different bank. Have your salary and any financial gifts or inheritances post-separation transferred to this account.
You need to bring yourself up to speed on the costs of running your household. If you haven’t been the one who looks after the monthly outgoings, look through bank statements – see how much you pay in monthly rent or mortgage; check utilities and other regular outgoings.
Begin to assess (or reassess) the job market and brush up on your marketable skills. Start researching courses that will improve employment opportunities or that will further advance your career and earning capacity.
Being educated and prepared will help reduce the stress and fear of the difficult process ahead.
Taken from The Divorce Navigator: How to save tears, time and money, a must-read guide that contains practical advice, help and tips with budgets and checklists for anyone considering separation, about to separate or in the midst of a divorce.