“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”
~ Mandy Hale
Trust in a relationship is key.
Once you decide to be exclusive with a man, it can be difficult to find out that he was intimate with another woman while you two had dated. If your partner has let you know about this, value that he was honest with you.
If you asked to know more about the time you dated, and then you got this answer, see if you can ask more that will help you understand his experience.
- Did you feel misled?
- Did you feel less than?
- Did you feel betrayed?
- Did you feel devalued?
Share how it makes you feel and see how he can validate your feelings and be supportive.
Let this become a starting point to talk about each of your own feelings about sex and intimacy. This can be a great place to learn more about your man’s ways of giving and receiving love.
Not all people see sex as intimacy if it’s not with someone they are in a committed relationship with.
It can just be about fun consensual exploration in dating. It’s okay if two people view sex differently but be clear about how you view it and how you want to move forward with sex and intimacy in your relationship.
Don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel with your partner.
Remember that honesty in this conversation will get you much further along in feeling heard and respected as you grow your relationship.
Rachel Armstrong, Psy.D. – www.rachelarmstrongpsyd.com
I read Twilight for clinical reasons, after numerous clients lamented the fictitiousness of Edward Cullen and unfavorably compared their husbands to him.
What was it about that pale stalker that reframed their husband as a selfish dud?
Sure, getting the entire house cleaned in the three minutes since hearing you leave the grocery store a mile away, then zipping out to the garage to carry everything in before you ask is great, but can’t be the whole story.
Another characteristic of this particular vampire is he never experienced lust or love for anyone before Bella, and never would. Talk about feeling special.
Sadly, this characteristic doesn’t translate to humans.
We are capable of experiencing attraction or feelings of love for a number of people throughout our lives, in varying flavors and degrees. Phew!
Could you imagine how daunting it would be to have to find the one person in the entire world you could connect with romantically? Evolutionarily it would never work – we’d die out. People are hard-wired to connect with others, emotionally and physically. This is healthy and normal.
It is also normal to sometimes feel bad about it. So, what to do?
1. Label your feeling.
What kind of “bad” do you feel? Worried? Angry? Sad? The more specifically you know what you feel, the more effectively you can resolve or tolerate it.
2. Identify the thought leading to that feeling.
Anxiety might be coming from something like, “Was she more fun than I am?” while anger would stem from, “What a jerk! I was saying no to other men!” Sadness would be the result of thoughts like, “I guess he’s not that into me.”
3. Rationally challenge that thought.
That anxious thought could be challenged with, “I know I’m fun, and a whole lot more!” the anger thought with, “To be fair, we hadn’t had the exclusivity discussion yet.” The assumption that he’s not into you could be debunked with listing the evidence he is.
4. Check it out if it’s not resolved.
Sometimes rational challenging and a bit of time is all we need. But if not, check out your interpretations with your partner by giving them the whole story: what you feel about a specific thing they did because of the story you told yourself.
- “I feel worried knowing you slept with her when we were dating because the story I tell myself is you still like her more.”
- “I feel angry you slept with someone when we were dating because the story I told myself is it’s unfair, since I wasn’t.”
- “I felt sad that you were with someone else after we’d met because the story I tell myself is if you were really into me, you wouldn’t have wanted to.”
The story I tell myself is a magic phrase because it shows willingness to be vulnerable, open-mindedness that your interpretation might be incorrect, and an interest in hearing their side of the story.
Team skills even Bella and Edward could use.
Erica Blystone, LCSW – www.wakeadultcounseling.com
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