Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Do You Know These Nine Secrets to A Successful Relationship?

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

 

By Ronn Jerard

First thing I want to make clear is that some people who know me think that I am not an authority on what constitutes a successful relationship.  However, having had my share of them over the years, including three marriages, I have learned a thing or two about what does and does not make my relationships work.  Some of what I have learned will no doubt apply to some, while others may think that I am full of hooey.  Nevertheless, anyone committed to self-improvement might find some useful tips in this article. So, here goes…

Secret #1: Tell her you love her, every day.  If you really love her, she will appreciate hearing you tell her so.  I don’t allow a day to go by without telling my mate that I love her.  She “gets” that I mean it, so my joy comes from watching her reaction when I say those three little words.   And, because I love her, I want her to experience joy through hearing from me how much she means to me.  Warning: if you don’t mean it, don’t say it, because she can tell if the reality of your relationship does not match your words.

Secret #2: Show her that you love her. I live by the adage “what you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”  At the end of the day, she will judge how you feel about her by your actions.  Do the obvious little things,  like taking out the trash; putting the toilet seat down after using the bathroom; doing the dishes; cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom; preparing a meal for her before she gets home; and buying her flowers and other gifts without having a specific reason to do so. These are just examples; they don’t have to be elaborate.  She will notice how frequently you do these things, and she will interpret this to mean that you love her and are concerned about her happiness.  And you just might benefit from how she expresses her gratitude.

Secret #3: Pay attention to what she says and does.  Most women want their men to know what they like or dislike, and that only comes from what women say and do.  Listening and observing her reveals many insights into what makes her who she is.  And even though who she is today may change tomorrow, paying close attention will arm you with what you need to be a beneficial presence in her life.  She will love you for it.

Secret #4: Maintain eye contact when you are talking with her.  This is related to Secret #3, and is a lesson that I had to learn the hard way.  In previous relationships, I was not always present when talking to my mates, and they knew it before I did.  Women are right-brain intuitive, and they know when a man is “just not here with me.”  That can cause a lot of problems, including having to sleep on the couch now and again!  Today, I give my lady my full attention when we talk, looking her in the eyes and responding to her comments and questions.  If I don’t have time to do that in the present moment, I suggest that we have our conversation later, when I know that I can give her my full attention.

Secret #5: Share her interests.  It’s great if a woman shares a man’s interests, but it is essential that a man shares hers; at least some of them.  Failure to do so may land you in the proverbial doghouse.   There is nothing wrong with taking her to see a “chick flick” from time to time, and it could land you some brownie points when you need them  A relationship has two partners, and sharing each others’ interests is healthy for both of you.  If you are never open to doing what she likes, she will begin to wonder if you care for her at all.  Let’s face it, women think and react differently than men, and rather than fight this fact, it’s best to work with it.  Once again, don’t do this as if you are being led to slaughter.  If you love her, find a way to appreciate and enjoy what makes her happy.

Secret #6: Make her laugh.  Surveys highlight the fact that one of the most consistent attributes that women look for in a mate is a sense of humor.  In fact, it often trumps a guy’s physical appearance.  Imagine that!  I make my lady laugh every day, and she loves me for it.  It took a while to learn this secret.  Years ago, when I thought that I was NOT funny, I was not as successful with women.  If you don’t think you are funny, and you value your relationship, learn how to make her laugh.  I bought a book of jokes and started there.  Later, I found a better approach in just seeing the humor in everyday situations, and started laughing at them.  She laughed at me because I was laughing; and I kept developing my personal humorous style. In my present relationship, my humor strengthens our bond.

Secret #7: Hold her hands in public: This may sound stupid, but many women have told me that it is romantic when guys hold their hands in public.  And yes, I do it all the time with my lady!  Just notice couples holding hands and you will see how attached they are to each other.  They appear to be connected and committed to each other, for them and for everyone else to see.  It is a public declaration that they love each other, and that they want the world to know it.  After all, isn’t that one of the perks of being in love: a visible expression of commitment?

Secret #8: Touch her in non-sexual ways, a lot.  I have female friends who complain that guys only want to touch them when they want sex.  That may be alright for men, but women desire touch as a way of emotionally connecting to their mates, and not always for sex as an end result.  Women need to be touched often; and guys who do this with gentle and genuine finesse deepen the connection with their partners.  Try this: softly rub her shoulders, back, forehead, temples, neck, hands, arms, feet, and legs; not all at once but over a wider time frame, while not doing so expecting to have sex, and you will deepen your connection with her.  Trust me, I have found out the hard way.  (Truth be told, I’m still finding out.  After all, we men don’t know as much about relating to women as we think we do.)

Secret #9: Learn how to become an expert lover to her. I have never heard a guy admit that he needed to learn how to be a better lover.  Most guys believe they are the greatest in bed, and that they know how to please a woman better than anyone else; especially their woman.  So why do some women cheat?  Recently, a researcher on television revealed the results of a survey that found that the highest percentage of women cheated on their husbands because they are not satisfied in bed.  Wow! Whether men want to admit it or not, we weren’t born with the knowledge of how to please a woman. There are many reasons for this, but I believe a primary one is that all women are different.  Yes, there are similarities, but each woman is unique.  What works for one woman may not work for another. Each new woman with whom sex is an option is a lesson to be learned.  Thinking you know what pleases one woman in an on-going relationship based on your previous relationships, can be traumatic for both partners.  While I continue to educate and train myself in how to please my woman, I now know that it is an ongoing commitment to being the best lover I can be to my mate.  When I think I have attained the level of Master, I do something (or don’t do something) that reminds me to focus on my mate’s needs and check my ego at the bedroom door.  And that has worked well for us.  Not to brag (well, maybe just a little!), but my mate continues to tell me that I am the best lover she has ever had; not because I came to her with knowledge-aforethought, but because I take the time to learn HOW to please her in every way that I can. That’s my story, guys. 

There may be even more reasons why relationships are successful. So you may agree with me or not, but these notes are from my experiences. If you have others to share, please leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you. After all, I’m still learning.

The Sucking Sound of Slipping Friendships

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

After all, what are friendships? Do we really need them, or are they just nuisances? Are people too busy with their own lives and careers to appreciate and nurture friendships? Or has the need for actual friends been usurped by the ever-expanding demands on our lives by today’s technological advances?

I have always believed that friendships ought to be nourished and, if needed, repaired immediately. Of course, sometimes they can’t be repaired, in which case one should just cut losses and end the damn thing. But that’s extreme, and I believe that every effort should be made to preserve a friendship before it is cast aside.

I want to examine one aspect of what it is to be a friend. While there are others, of course, I question whether or not our communication technology has shifted the emphasis to a different paradigm of behaviors associated with being a friend. My mother used to call them “fair weather” friends: those individuals who professed to be friends as long as it served their selfish needs. They expected you to be there for them whenever they needed you; whether to chat, help them out, listen to them, advise them, or lend them money. But they were nowhere to be found when you needed them!

Back in the day, before communication technology exploded onto the scene, it was easy to stay in touch with a friend. You simply called him on a phone (a land line because cell phones had not yet been born). He, she or a family member would answer, insuring that you would talk with them enthusiastically, sometimes for hours. This was especially true for girls. Or, you would trot a few doors down the street and just walk into their house; back then, there was no need to lock doors. Once there, the two of you would play games in the yard, or watch shows on one of the few TV channels that existed at the time. Since your parents knew where you were, there was no need for them to be overly concerned about your whereabouts. And when it started to get late, you simply walked home, remembering to call your friend to let him know that you made it back okay. And this call could also develop into another long conversation.

Indeed, a variation on this scenario continued throughout high school. Wow! What a wonderful era that was. Friendship at its best. Not so these days. Recently, I became aware that I have several of these so-called friends in my circle. With one of them, a colleague whom I have known for thirty years, I have made futile attempts to reach her for over six months now. I left telephone, email and Social Media messages at least once a month during this period, but she still has not yet responded. Another example is a dear friend I’ve known for more than seven years. We used to hang out together regularly, and mentor each other professionally and spiritually. True, she keeps a busy schedule now, and has messaged me back twice in the past two months, promising to meet me for coffee. I keep trying to reach her, but it has not happened yet, and no further efforts to reach me have been made.

There are other examples, but you get the picture. I have to ask myself, “Is there something about me that is keeping my (so-called) friends from staying in touch with me?” My inquiring mind wants to know. I value friendships and keeping them healthy. And I value my friends especially. Admittedly, I’m pretty discriminating about who I embrace as a friend, so if I call you “friend,” be assured that this is a high honor for me to bestow on a person. Similarly, if you regard me as your friend, that’s a blessing, for which I remain grateful.

I’m a pretty busy fellow myself; what with caring for my family, pursuing my career goals and building an online business presence. I realize that other people also are busy, but I can always find a couple of minutes in my daily schedule to return phone calls; or to respond to their text, email or Social Media messages. If I can do this, I submit that others, including my friends, can do the same. After all, nobody is busy every minute of every day; otherwise, he would not be able to get any sleep!

I live by the adage, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” I admit that my standards are generally high, but I hold myself to the same lofty standards to which I hold others. So if I can stay in communication with my friends, especially in responding to their attempts to contact me, then my friends can at least attempt to duplicate my example. After all, actions do speak louder than words.

I would regret deleting any contact information of my friends, but I would do so if he or she persisted in not responding to my attempts to stay in communication with them. Because if I make time to nurture my relationship with friends, and they don’t return the gesture, I must conclude that I am not as important to him as he (or she) is to me. It then becomes a one-way relationship that needs an adjustment, which I would be forced to make. Simply, you may consider me your friend, but under these circumstances, I must conclude that I am not YOUR friend; in which case, cutting the strings that bind us seems the best course of action for me to take.

And concerning the two so-called friends I mentioned above, I have since removed them from my contact lists, and have stopped trying to reach them. And that sucks.

How To Make Your Written Communication More Efficient

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

This is a guest post by eugie831

In an age where text messaging, tweets, Facebook messages, and email are the predominant forms of written communication it is very easy to fall into the trap of forgetting how to write properly. Some people will argue that it is no longer necessary to know how to write. They are wrong. Written communication is still an essential part of any successful life. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you are getting your message across as effectively and correctly as possible.

Think about who you are writing to: Not all written communication is the same, that is clear. But before every piece of text that you write, you should ask yourself who it is that you are writing to. An introductory email or typed letter to a new client should never be set about in the same way you would send a message to a colleague you see every day. The problem here may not be that what you say is wrong, but the way in which you are saying it. Effective written communication speaks directly to the person you have sent it to. There should be no grey areas in the communication, no assumptions made on the part of the writer. So, think about your audience, ask yourself exactly what it is you would like to tell them, and always write a first draft before you send the final piece.

Do you really know your ABCs?: It is a tough question to ask, embarrassing even, but how many people out there really know their own language. Aside from a few academics and teachers, most people do not have a great grasp of basic spelling, grammar, correct word order, etc. For this reason it is not a hanging offence for you to face up to the face that your grammatical skills could do with a little bit of brushing up. Bounce your written pieces of work of a close friend or colleague. It is amazing how a new set of eyes can spot a glaring error that you had become blind to. And friends will also not be afraid to suggest small alterations where necessary.

Read: If you don’t read on a regular basis it is highly likely that your written communication skills have declined since you last studied. Reading is an excellent way to improve your written communication skills as doing so puts you in constant contact with well-written pieces of work. You may not realise it at the time, but by reading you are automatically going back to school in terms of grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. And it can be enjoyable too, really!

Go Back to School!: If you can’t be bothered to read. If you are too embarrassed to show your friends or colleagues the mistakes you are making in your written work, then perhaps the only solution is for you to take up a written communication course. These courses are easy to find, can be done in a classroom or by distance learning, and they will definitely help you to make your written communication more effective.

It’s a worn out phrase that nothing is easier than ABC, but the truth is that it is not all that easy to be an effective writer. Practice, revision, and a slice of humble pie are probably needed for you to be communicating as well as you should be. And when you are, don’t forget to dot that i and cross that t!

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Three Ways to Keep the Fire Burning

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Three Ways to Keep the Fire Burning

What happened to that burning fire that raged in my body when I first fell in love? Where did it go? It was here last week. What went wrong? 

Do these questions sound familiar? It still amazes me that even the most enlightened person can be blinded by the initial emotions associated with falling in love. There is that euphoria that surrounds you with constant thoughts about your new-found love object. Your senses are fired up with endorphin-propelled hormones, and all you want to do is be with this new person. You can’t get enough of talking to her on the phone, exchanging text messages, emailing her, seeing her, holding hands with her, thinking about her, and looking forward to the day when you first make love with her. You are convinced that these feelings and longings will last forever, and that nothing will ever diminish this fire that burns in you. 

Alas, nothing is farther from the truth. I know because I have been in love enough times to know that this elation – this passion, this fire – will run its course in due time.  But try to remind one of this when all he can do is experience this heady exhilaration brought about by “the woman I have been looking for all my life,” and he will tell you point-blank that there is something wrong with you for not understanding what he is feeling! “This one is the real deal, man”, he will offer, and to anyone who is within earshot. Bizarre, isn’t it? 

The truth is, over time, a relationship settles in to a routine, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as a couple gets to know each other one day at a time. During this phase, feelings become less driven by hormones as both persons begin to see things about their partners that remained hidden in the early days of getting to know each other. “Why didn’t I see that in her before?” you ask, truly believing that she hid this trait from you until now! Actually, she didn’t, and even if she had shown that part of her personality, you would have been too much in love to see it.

And, of course, there’s the issue of sexual compatibility.  “I could have sworn that she was so much more romantic and willing in the early days.  Why is she less so now?” After all, sex was hot, creative, adventurous, frequent, and you did it almost everywhere! What happened? Now there are times when she is totally indifferent, leaving you to wonder what happened to that passionate heat, that fire that kept you pawing away at each other as often as both of you felt the need, which was very often. Should you be concerned that you might be losing sexual prowess and the ability to keep her interested? Oh, no, that can’t be it. Surely you would know if that was happening, wouldn’t you?    

Welcome to the real world! Simply put, the level of passion that you experienced in the early stage of your relationship cannot last for more than a few months. If it did, it would signal something strange and abnormal about one or both partners. The honeymoon period must end; otherwise, you can’t get on with the growth phase, which is necessary for any healthy relationship. The real work of a relationship begins in this phase. When you remain blinded by the realities of sharing your life with another human being, you cannot grow in areas that are essential to building a mature, adult union that can stand the test of time. Here is where you settle down to constructing a meaningful bond that can have longevity. 

Now, that fire does not have to disappear. In fact, a spark of it is necessary to keep passion alive, especially during the challenging times. And, if a couple is together for any measurable length of time, there will be challenges. If mutual love, respect and commitment are present, then that original fire still remains as an important part of the relationship. It just takes a conscious effort for each partner to keep the fire burning.

I have found three sure-fire ways to keep the fire burning:

One: Open and honest communication. 

The better a couple can communicate in this fashion, without blame, guilt or recrimination, the more likely that their mutual love, respect, and desire for each other will grow. My lady and I do this a lot, and it strengthens our bond. True, we had to learn how to remove blame from our communication. But it has paid off in bringing us closer together. And that, after all, is part of the growth process.

Two: Share each other’s interests. 

Another strategy for keeping the fire burning is by sharing mutual interests. If, for example, I know that my lady enjoys visiting…let’s say, fashion shows, I make it my conscious effort to share this activity with her.  She in turn, might share my love of museums with me. We do this enough that we actually enjoy sharing each others’ interests. Conscious couples work hard on this aspect of their relationship, and this, too, adds a deeper bond between the partners.

Three: Spice things up.

I spice up my relationship by surprising my lady with flowers from time to time, especially when it is for no special occasion.  She loves this, as do most women. I also like to send her e-cards and cards through the mail, for no other reason than to remind her that she is on my mind, and that I love and value her. And she really loves it when I buy silky, sexy lingerie for her. These actions tell her that she is still sexy and desirable and that I value her and appreciate that quality in her. 

So, if you love her, you can keep the fire burning in your relationship. It may take work, but there are few greater rewards that the joys of a bond between two people who love each other and are continuously committed to strengthening the bond that ties them together.  Here’s to the fire.   

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Clint Eastwood, Dick Van Dyke, Tony Bennett, Woody Allen, and Me…..

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
Clint Eastwood at the 2010 Toronto Internation...

Clint Eastwood at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dick Van Dyke in December 2007.

Dick Van Dyke in December 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Ronn Jerard

No, I am not famous like these guys, but we all have one thing in common: we are all involved in May-December relationships.  Come on, you know what that is, don’t you?  It’s when there is a large age gap between two people involved in a love relationship.

There are countless other men who have much younger mates, and many of them are celebrities.  The supposition is that these relationships occur more among men who are wealthy and successful.  I question the validity of that premise, but it does feel pretty good to be a member of that group.

In my case, the age gap is 32 years; and compared to Clint, Dick, Tony, and Woody, I’m the baby of the group.  Not bad for an ordinary, un-famous guy like myself.  Now I don’t know what my celebrity counterparts experienced, but I’m still getting “the eye” when my mate and I are out in public.  That’s when people stare at us as if we have something hanging from our noses.  Actually, they focus more on my nose as they try to reason why a guy my age has a beautiful young woman clinging to my arm.

I have been mistaken for my lady’s uncle, older brother, and father.  Most of the time, it is amusing to watch the embarrassment that comes over a person who makes that mistake.  Only once was I complimented by a young woman who surmised (rightly so, I must confess) that I must be one incredible lover to be so obviously adored by the woman holding on to me.

I find it interesting that many people in the United States look with disdain upon this type of match-up.  They suspect that what they see publicly is an example of a man who is either a “dirty old man,” or a “sugar daddy” (or both); while the woman is a “gold digger.”  Never mind that this kind of romantic pairing is considered normal in certain cultures; as in some parts of Asia.

I reason that if it was good enough for Bogie and Bacall (and for Charlie Chaplin and Oona O’Neill), why shouldn’t I give it a whirl?  I admit that my ego is somewhat inflated, but before you say that I landed this lovely lady for a less than honorable intent, let me say that I was not actively looking for a younger woman when I met her.  (The operative word, of course, is “actively,” but that’s for another post.)

Truthfully, being in a committed relationship with a woman who is thirty-two years my junior is both a blessing and a challenge.  We genuinely love each other, and we work hard to build a union that is mutually satisfying for both of us.  She loves me in spite of my age, but she is quite aware of the challenges that accompany our situation.  For my part, I accept the generational divide that we face with a clear awareness of what I need to do to close that gap from time to time, at least from a mental and emotional point of view.

I am not an expert on relationships, although I have been in a few before my current one.  It was never my intention, however, to find a younger woman with whom to live common-law.  As our relationship progressed from its initial stages to a more committed involvement, we discussed the long-range potential that lay ahead of us.  When we were clear of our growing love for each other, we determined that marriage was the only option that we wanted to pursue.  “Shacking” was just not an option.

So now we are planning a wedding.  Having been married once before, my fiancée has some trepidation about doing it again.  In her case, her first marriage ended poorly.  I, too, have been married before, but my experiences were different.  Nevertheless, we function as a married couple already, so I am not as fearful of another walk down the aisle.  Already we are dealing with the emotional aspects of living as a married couple, instead of as a domestic couple.  So marriage seems the next logical step for us.

That’s another thing that I have in common with Clint, Dick, Tony, and Woody.  Woody may have waited longer, but all of these guys are married to the younger women in their lives.  Not that I am doing so, but if I had to emulate icons of age-gap marriages, these guys are as good to follow as other lesser known men.  At the very least, if those relationships hit a snag, their celebrity would cast eyes of public scrutiny in their direction.  And we could learn from that.

As for me, I’m just optimistic enough to believe that my lady and I can make it work.  And if we fail, it won’t be because there is a thirty-two year gap between our ages.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

Tags: Age-gap relationships, older man younger woman marriages, relationships, sex between older men and younger women, Tony Bennett, Dick Van Dyke, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, celebrity marriages, shacking up, dirty old men, sugar daddy, gold digger, committed relationships, Bogie & Bacall, Charlie Chaplin & Oona O’Neill (more…)