Tag Archives: Marriage

FOR WOMEN: Is Your Spouse Being Financially Unfaithful?

Man taking euros banknotes with stealthy expression.Does your spouse keep a separate safe deposit box? Do the family’s financial statements get mailed to an office address, not the home? Is he or she an ATM junkie? If so, there’s a chance your spouse could be stepping out on you with the family money. And this behavior is far more common with men than women.

It’s one thing to fear that your husband might stray with his heart and/or his body, but what most women don’t realize is that the risk of financial infidelity is far more dangerous and could lead to longer term consequences for women and their children.

“Most divorces are not impulsive decisions. One party or another checks out emotionally three to five years before they file for divorce,” says, Stacey Napp the CEO of Balance Point Funding, an investment firm that invests in women who have become financially disabled during a divorce proceeding. “Long before a man leaves, he begins to squirrel away assets so that he’ll hold the power in divorce court.” The behavior is more common with affluent husbands because, as a family’s net worth rises, couples tend to move into traditional gender roles, with the woman working less and handling more child rearing and household management chores. And if divorce happens these women are left unprotected. Since it is illegal in most states for a family attorney to work on a contingency (taking a percentage of the final settlement) the exit game becomes one where divorcing husbands strive to leave their wives with no assets to hire a good divorce lawyer — who may demand as much as $20,000 on the first visit.

“Divorce isn’t pretty, but it doesn’t have to be dirty,” says Napp, who founded her company after her own divorce and the financial infidelity she experienced that nearly cost her her entire lifestyle. According to Stacey Napp, there are six red flags that women should be on the alert for:

Is he being financially unfaithful?

1)      Your bank, brokerage or financial statements are sent to his office, and not to your  house
2)      You’re not the beneficiary of his life insurance policy
3)      Like clock work, the same amount of money is  being withdrawn from your joint account every month
4)      He has a separate safe deposit box
5)      Significant repeated cash withdrawals on your joint credit cards
6)      Does your husband own his own business and have his family as employees and/or partners in that business?  That alone isn’t a red flag, but if any of the above are also present- watch out!

So, if you do suspect trouble, is there anything you can do to stop the leakage? Yes, according to Napp, you have to act like your own forensic accountant and gather intelligence before he hides evidence from a real court. That may mean photocopying every document he ever brings home — including his entire wallet and briefcase. Since people stay in contact with their money, photocopy cell phone records, check frequent flyer miles, even the home telephone bill. Ever the financial sleuth, Napp says that calling fast food delivery restaurants in areas where phone calls have been made, can reveal what address goes with what number. And always, wives should request a once yearly free credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus. This report can contain information regarding financial institutions that he may have established relationships with that you were unaware of. It would also show any aliases and/or alternate social security numbers being used by your spouse.

With the enormous emotional pain that women experience during divorce, financial unfaithfulness adds another layer of injury. Injury that can have tragic consequences for children who might be yanked from school after losing tuition and women who many lose their home and community support system. Stacey suggests that women who are full-time mothers are especially vulnerable to this kind of infidelity.

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FOR SINGLES: Is Marriage Becoming Extinct?

The shape of our families is constantly changing. People are marrying for the first time, and the divorce rate just keeps soaring, giving way to many single parent households. Single life is no longer a short rite of passage; it’s an important consumer demographic. For the first time in history (since the immigration of mostly male, early settlers), almost half of adult Americans are now unmarried. There’s even Singular Magazine, devoted to the lifestyles of those who have made a commitment to being single. It even includes ads for commitment rings to purchase for oneself.

But has love changed? Has committed love been replaced by a revolving door of dates? Is long-term monogamy even necessary for our species’ survival? The answers are complicated. Marriage may be changing, but it will never go out of style.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a fight going on right now in America to allow more people to be granted marital rights.

Marriage may not be going away, but its purpose has shifted. Historically, marriage was a place for women and children to have economic protection. It was a place where religious values could be taught and extended to the next generation, and a place where family fortunes could remain intact. More recently, marriage became a place for a relatively new invention: romantic love. But since dating and hooking up have morphed into America’s favorite pastime, full of hopeful highs and disappointing lows, even romantic love is losing its luster.

So why choose marriage today? Because it is an intellectual decision that leads to survival of the species. Anthropologists have always said that it was human’s sophisticated social structures, including the adoption of long-term monogamy, that help our species procreate and thrive.

Humans are the animals that require a huge amount of nurturing for our psychological and physical survival, more than virtually any other animal on earth. While most newborns are up on four legs and running with the herd just hours after birth, we Homo sapiens have a vulnerable in-arms (or stroller) phase that lasts almost four years. And it’s really, really hard to nurse and carry a baby while extracting resources from the environment. Just ask any single mother. Doable, yes, but very difficult. Remember the mission: to grow up healthy and create offspring that are also healthy and ready for careers and parenthood.

Family therapists know that dysfunctional family systems eventually fall out of evolution’s chain. Each generation has fewer and fewer offspring that survive through the next procreation, until the family line finally dies off. Apparently, neglectful parenting can create drunk drivers, criminals caught in crossfire, hermits, drug addicts, and narcissists too selfish for parenting — all people with lower chances of reproducing. But let me make one thing clear before I get inundated with e-mails about this: I am IN NO WAY SAYING that all single mothers create dysfunctional families. What I am saying is that every time one factor is removed from a system that has been selected through evolution, the chances for dysfunction increase. Plenty of single mothers are raising healthy kids with the help of extended family, surrogate male role models, and friendship villages that act as a de facto family. And this is part of our changing family structure.

Evolution has shown that our best chances for survival and for the survival of our offspring’s offspring is a team approach to raising humans. And the best team captains are people who have a biological interest in the child. And to create that, we need to sometimes put the notion of romantic love aside and make an intellectual decision to do what’s best for our genes, ahem, I mean kids.

Watch my youtube video: What is Slow Love?

Can’t Afford to Marry? Have Expensive Kids Instead.

Child giving a kiss to his mother on the cheekThe research is clear. Marriage has become a luxury for the upper classes. The more educated and the higher one’s income, the more likely they are to get married and have children born into wedlock. The less educated, most notably those without any college education, the more likely to choose parenthood before marriage. And the most common reason single mothers site for having children before marriage is “We can’t afford to marry.”

The idea sounds counter-intuitive. Eighteen years of parenting will surely come with a more sizable bill than, say, a small reception at a Hilton Garden Inn. But we are comparing apples to oranges here. For both men and woman, parenthood is a deep-seeded evolutionary need. Marriage is a cultural convention, the usefulness of which is currently under debate.

There are two big problems facing woman today.The first is the partner crunch. As women are surging ahead in education and careers, they are leaving young male peers in their dust. These suddenly “under achieving” men are knocked out of the running as lifelong partners, if only because most women prefer not to date below their league. No matter how much money a woman makes, she still tends to choose a good provider for a wedding groom. And the few alpha males who are earning back and attaining a traditional version of young males success? They are riding the wave of free sex that has come along with the high supply sexual economy. Since men don’t have a fertility window, they can ride this wave well into their forties and marry a woman in her twenties or early thirties.

The second problem for women is the fact that the option of parenthood has an expiration date. Women’s fertility window begins to swing shut at thirty, is reduced to a crack at thirty-five, and closes completely in her forties. And that window of time has competing interests, like work, school, not to mention the frustrating task of sifting through a hook-up culture to find a commitment oriented mate. In the end, single parenthood may look like the only way a woman can keep her genes in evolution’s chain.

Economically, having kids before marriage doesn’t make sense. But emotionally, it’s a no-brainer. Parenthood is often sited as one of the most meaningful events in a person’s life.

For Couples: Dealing with Mismatched Libidos

iStock_000023453813LargeOne of the most consistent challenges of marriage and long-term monogamous relationships are mismatched libidos. Research psychologist, Robert Epstein, Ph.D., estimates that in many couples the issue is so extreme, that approximately 40 million Americans face the challenge of a sexless marriage.

For most people, sexual pleasure is a highly individualized experience. Because of that individualized experience, it’s not realistic that a couple is going to be in sync with each other 100% of the time. But beyond basic differences in the sexual needs of each partner, external pressures can negatively impact a couple’s ability to maintain a healthy sex life over a long period of time. Stress, anxiety, children, and even boredom can all impact a couple’s sex life.

The first step to addressing the problem of mismatched libidos is developing and showing empathy toward your partner’s side. Getting a sexual needs met by someone you are angry isn’t exactly a turn on. Understand that there is frustration on both sides of a mismatch, and talking respectfully about the experiences of each partner can take some pressure off. Acknowledging the problem in a non-judgmental manner is crucial to resolving it.

Next, create a space for non-sexual intimacy in the relationship. Sometimes it is difficult for one partner to engage physically because they fear that any physicality will have to lead to sex. In fact, most sex therapists prescript a strict “no sex!” rule for the first six weeks of sex therapy in order to get couples in a sex rut to explode others forms of touch and other erogenous zones. Don’t rush through things, and remember that intimacy doesn’t have to be sex! Feeling comfortable with physical intimacy is essential for a healthy sex life, and can jumpstart a transition back into a sexual relationship.

One company that understands this is Hello Cheri. A new brand of adult accessories for your love life, Hello Cheri believes that intimacy and physicality come in all styles. They want to help you to improve your romantic life, whatever form it might take.

Hello Cheri provides an entire line of scented massage oils and handmade massage stones. For those not ready to rush back into sex, these are a wonderful place to start, and a low-pressure way to be physical with a partner. Massaging builds intimacy and, importantly, sexual tension, and can help reduce stress surrounding physical engagement. Adding small touches like a scented candle can easily change the mood of a room, and help your partner relax and engage.

Communication and physicality are two large steps towards reconciling mismatched libidos, but sometimes couples do need professional advice. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists is a phenomenal resource for locating trained therapists with the knowledge to help you develop a sexy health life. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to discuss intimacy with your partner and find ways to explore physicality that make you both comfortable!


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FOR WOMEN: Six Sexuality Facts That May Surprise MEN

Couple having sex - woman on topThe study of women’s sexuality is relatively new in the grand scale of research history, but now science is finding statistics about women’s sexuality that make most women say, “Duh.” Here are a few recent studies that might surprise some men:

1. Women tend to become aroused by erotica involving men, men and women, and just women, indicating a bisexual arousal pattern. This doesn’t mean women all behave in a bisexual manner. It simply means they can be turned on by both thoughts or images of both genders. This is different from most straight men who only become aroused by heterosexual erotica, and gay men who mostly become aroused by homosexual material.

2. Women’s brains can separate mental arousal from genital arousal. For instance, even if she is not mentally stimulated, a woman’s body can have a physiological reaction to sex. (Thus the confusion of some rape victims who experience a spontaneous orgasm during the trauma.) And women can sometimes be mentally aroused and have trouble becoming wet and wild down below.

3. Body image is connected to sexuality for women. Women who feel more positively about their own genitals find it easier to orgasm and are more likely to engage in sexual health promoting behaviors, such as having regular gynecological exams or performing self-examinations.

4. For women, physicality grows out of emotionality. Emotional availability activates their physical sexuality. Women are more apt to show up physically and sexually when their partner is emotionally present, while men tend more to just show up.

5. Women fear emotional infidelity more than physical infidelity and men fear the opposite. In one study women preferred that their husband see a prostitute once per week rather than have platonic, though intimate, lunches with a co-worker. This points to the fact that women fear a diversion of resources that might come with an emotional connection.

6. Women have less ability to have a stand alone physical relationship because their body releases oxytocin during orgasm. Oxytocin, the female bonding hormone, is also released during breastfeeding. For that reason women sometimes become bonded through sex even when they don’t mean to.

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Five Sex Myths That Keep Women Single