AskMiriam

Relationship Advice and Columns

Archive for the tag “communication”

Double Date

Last Wednesday, Ben and I moved from the city of Hai Phong, where we were staying, to Hanoi. We were excited to come here to have a more fulfilling social life and already, things are improving in that department. Ben had a date on Thursday evening, though the woman hadn’t fully read Ben’s profile which indicated he was polyamorous, so the woman was very surprised when he mentioned me. They still had a good time, but one would hope that in the future, people would read profiles more carefully.

Yesterday Ben and I met a few people, who we had had interactions with online. First we met a married couple who are interested in soft swinging, meaning they want to start off by having sex in the same room as another couple having sex. They have never done anything with other people before so they were understandably nervous and unfortunately, the conversation felt very stilted. When we found out the man was a doctor, we started talking about medical system issues in several countries and that aided things, but Ben and I are unsure if they’re interested in us, though they did indicate they might want to meet next weekend. We have never done anything this formal before – in Toronto, due to having a sex club in my neighbourhood, it was easy for us to wander down the street and meet people to have sex with; in Vietnam, more effort must be put in. However, it’s difficult to know what the exact etiquette is. The couple expressed that they don’t like pushy people so obviously we don’t want to be pushy.

In the evening, we met a woman, who I will call Huong. Ben found her profile and when I looked at it, I could see exactly why he messaged her. She looked very contrary to most of the women we had met here and even contrary to most women we’ve met in many places. Like me, Huong’s very straightforward and enjoys talking openly about love, sex, and relationships. We were also impressed that she quoted Nietzsche in the first paragraph of her profile. Upon meeting her, we thought she was attractive. She then mentioned about how she and her boyfriend allow each other to do things outside the relationship, but they don’t talk about it. Also, Huong told us that the man expects her to change once they settle down, though she doesn’t want to settle down with him. This is occasionally a difficult situation for Ben and I because we tell each other everything and we like it when we meet people who tell their partner everything as well. It’s also hard for us to see relationships where one partner is expecting the other to change. That being said, we had excellent conversation with Huong and all of us expressed interest in meeting again. Ben and I know it will be difficult to meet someone like her again, so despite not being fans of her relationship with the guy, we still want to see her. Anyway, it was a good weekend and we look forward to more social interactions soon.

If you have any questions about any sort of relationship, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca  Thank you as always for reading!

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AskMiriam about Friends with Benefits

Question: I am currently interested in exploring polyamory as a single female, not interested in finding a primary partner. I posted an ad online the other day and was bombarded by emails from amazing sounding guys who were also interested in a more serious FWB situation. I am looking for someone who is interested in being friends first, who wants to connect in an affectionate, sensual, and sexual way on a semi-frequent basis. At first I thought I wanted just one or two FWBs to start my journey with, but I have met three in the past week and have connected with all of them, and amazingly enough each one of them brings out strikingly different aspects of my personality, and I am very interested in pursuing all three relationships to not only explore how different I am with each of them, but also because I am very attracted to all of them mentally and physically, and we share great chemistry so far.

I am still in the early stages of figuring things out with these guys but was curious:
1) Do you have any advice on how to develop and maintain each relationship?

2) How I should approach discussing my position to them each(should I disclose that I have other FWBs, even though we are agreed to be non-monogamous FWBs?)

3) What kinds of boundaries are good to have? I know that each relationship is different and have read the Ethical Slut but I am curious if you have any specific advice for this particular situation, or what works for you with your lovers.

4) How do I explain these new visitors to the relative that I live with? They are obviously romantic encounters(meeting at night, sharing wine, sleepovers at times) and there are 3 different guys(at the moment, I may explore more but I’m not sure). How can I make the idea of polyamory seem normal and acceptable to someone who is older and has not been exposed to the new poly/sexual revolution?

Answer: Thank you so much for your question! Let’s take these one at a time. In terms of the first question, that will be totally up to you and the other person. In my experience, once you become intimate with someone, you may develop deeper feelings than you originally thought you would. Also, depending on the frequency you see them, you will probably feel closer to them over time. You may like this or you may decide to pull back a bit. As long as you have open communication with your FWB, you should be fine. That’s the emotional side of it.

On the physical side, I would recommend you get tested for STIs before embarking on this journey. I would also encourage your FWBs to do the same. I would want to make sure everyone is clean before you begin developing the relationships. You may find that if you are having sex with 3 people, again depending on the frequency, you may get a bit worn out. If you’re having sex with each of them once or twice a week and some amount of penetration is involved, that’s quite a lot of stimulation for your vagina. Start off slowly and see how you do. I had a 2 month period where I was involved with 3 guys and it was wearing physically.

Question #2: I would definitely encourage you to tell each FWB about the other FWBs. If not for anything else, you can see how committed they are to you and to the idea of non-monogamy. Let them know that you really appreciate what they give you and that you value what you have together. I think they will definitely like the fact that they are being kept in the loop; if they don’t want to know about the others, I might stop seeing them because they might become more possessive. You should also let them know that you are committed to non-monogamy in general and specifically, polyamory. Tell them that you are open to seeing where things go with them; if something serious comes of it, that’s fine, and if not, that’s fine too.

Question #3: For myself, I tend to keep my boundaries lower because I am open to a lot of things. Most people however aren’t like me, so I would talk to people who have more experience with FWBs. Boundaries can be for the protection of your emotions or your body. If you, for example, want to explore things like BDSM, having boundaries is very important. You can include things like safe words. You might want to write down what you want to try and what you don’t want to try and share those with your FWBs. Even if you’re not doing anything like BDSM, I would encourage you to write down things you’re open to and things you’re not. This will be a good exercise to think about what your boundaries are. You can also just try different things and see if you like them or don’t. One thing you may want to think about is fluid bonding – if you find, in the future, that one or more of the relationships becomes serious, you may want to have unprotected intercourse with one of your FWBs.

Question #4: This can be a tricky situation because you are living with them. There are many cases where, for example, one partner wants to try polyamory and will give their partner The Ethical Slut and/or the book Opening Up and then they can have a conversation about how to open their relationship. I don’t know what your relative is like – they may be more progressive or more conservative. If you think they would appreciate reading those books, you can give one or both to them. You can also just sit down with them and tell them what your intentions are with the FWBs; if you don’t tell them, they will figure out eventually what you are doing and/or they will formulate their own ideas about what you’re doing, which is probably not what you’re going for. Fairly early on in my polyamory journey, I told my parents what I was doing. I’m pretty lucky because my parents are pretty progressive and though they don’t necessarily like what I’m doing, they accept it. Of course, all of this can also depend on your relative’s schedule; if they’re home when you’re home, it becomes more important. If they’re not home when you have FWBs over, it becomes less important. Some people decide to tell their families about their polyamory only when relationships become more established. In my opinion, the earlier you tell your relative, the better. As with your FWBs, they will probably appreciate being kept in the loop.

Thanks for your question! If any of you out there have questions, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca

What Makes a Relationship Work?

Lately, Ben and I have gotten on each other’s nerves. Many of you know that this trip to Korea has been a bit hellish and it seems like things have finally come to a head. Over the weekend, Ben and I were walking around Seoul and he felt the need to take out some of his aggression on a flight of stairs by stomping very hard down them. This caught me off guard and I asked him what was wrong. He said, “you know how you’ve been remarking that I’ve handled everything here very well? In fact, it has taken a toll on me.” I wasn’t sure what to say, but I felt upset. I want to know everything Ben is feeling and he hadn’t been telling me everything. Of course, that’s partly because he wasn’t fully aware of it himself. We all know the common saying, ignorance is bliss. However, in the context of a relationship, this isn’t really true, especially for a person like me. I want to be in the know and as my mother says, one of my best qualities is the fact that I can’t ignore things.

All of this led to Ben and I having a conversation about our relationship given everything that’s happened. We feel better that things have calmed down slightly and Ben apologized for taking some of his aggression out on me. We also talked a bit about what makes a relationship work and I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject here. First, there is attraction. We meet someone and we think, I want to be with this person. For myself, I need to be with someone who’s smart. We need to be able to have stimulating conversation otherwise I won’t be interested at all. I’m usually not so concerned about what they look like because I’m attracted to different body types; they just need to have good character and a good heart. I will say I have a penchant for taller people with glasses and blue/green eyes, but I have dated others that look different from that. Second, communication. We need to keep each other in the loop about what we’re feeling and what we’re doing. This is especially important in the context of polyamory because we may have other partners and I like knowing what’s going on with the other relationships. Ben and I are both pretty direct communicators, so that part of our relationship works quite well. We usually say what we mean and mean what we say.

Third, I think sex helps make a relationship work. I like to have sex fairly frequently and it should be fun for both people. Ben and I have had some problems in that department lately because we haven’t had our own space. We’ve been staying in hostels and with others and some people have had objections to us having sex, even when we were very surreptitious about it. One girl at the hostel we were staying at heard us having sex and cried for hours. She never approached us to voice her concerns, so we’re not really sure why she was crying. Of course, we are in a pretty conservative country and I realize people here aren’t used to hearing people have sex, but I don’t want to change my practices, even in these surroundings.

Fourth, alone time is very important. I love being with Ben, but this trip has been slightly suffocating because we are together almost all the time. Over the past little while, we have made efforts to have some alone time. I visited one of the baths in Seoul and had several hours to myself. I actually missed Ben during those hours, so that’s a good sign. We all know the old cliche, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I think that is often true when we love someone.

Fifth, dependability. We need our partners to be there for us. I have definitely felt that way here in Korea with Ben. Even when we’re dealing with immigration, a lack of alone time, and the fact that it’s very hard to meet people here, we can be there for each other. We can laugh and cry at all of the crap that’s happened to us. Through a lot of my poly life, I have been a secondary partner. There are plenty of benefits to being a secondary partner, but I have often wanted someone to be there for me and someone who I can be there for. With Ben, I always get that.

Those are just some of my thoughts on what make a relationship work. There are plenty of other things and it can depend on the nature of your relationship. If you have more thoughts, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca I always look forward to your questions!

Love in Translation

Ben and I are in Seoul right now. We decided to come here for various reasons. As many of you know, we had to flee Changwon, the city we were formerly living in. First, we decided to go south because Ben corresponded with someone on OkCupid living in Geoje City, which is just 2.5 hours south of Changwon. We spent the weekend there and got to go to the beach and the forest. Unfortunately, we were spending time with people who drank the entire night and that isn’t really our style, but otherwise, we had a good time.

We thought to come to Seoul because it seemed that we would get jobs in China and Seoul is much closer in that regard. We did indeed get hired by a university in China and are looking forward to that. We were also in contact with people on OkCupid from Seoul, including one who I will call Bryan. He is Korean and speaks English very well. Ben and I had to figure out where in Seoul to stay and Bryan said he could talk to his friend who knows about booking places in Seoul. We met Bryan 2 days ago and had a pleasant time. First we all ate lunch together. He was very helpful when we went to an Internet cafe to print off our Chinese contracts. Then he helped us move all of our luggage to a new hostel and took us out to dinner.

After dinner, Ben decided to go back to the hostel and I took a walk with Bryan. I should mention that during the afternoon, Bryan had told me he was interested in me and was affectionate. I was attracted to him too. We took a walk through Hongik University, close to the hostel Ben and I are staying at. While walking, Bryan asked me if I wanted to join him at a motel and I said yes. He asked me if I had any expectation in terms of sexuality and I asked him to clarify what he meant. He said, I feel like we have a connection, wouldn’t you agree? I said I felt like we had a bit of a connection and he felt turned off by that. I told him we didn’t know each other that well and I didn’t want to rush into anything.

Once we got to the motel, Bryan took a shower and I relaxed on the bed. Once sexy stuff started happening, it was fun and Bryan took his time, which was nice. After some time passed, he said to me, can I say something spooky to you? I said sure. He said, I love you. I asked him why exactly he loved me. He said, getting to have sex with someone like you is awesome. Now, dear readers, we can always separate love and sex. Bryan had given me the impression that he hadn’t had sex for a long time so I’m sure he enjoyed the intimacy. I do believe that one can fall in love quickly, but I think this was more of a case of lust… I’m not sure if we will meet again, but at the very least, we now have good stories to tell.

Ben and I will be in Seoul until next Tuesday. Who knows what adventures there will be until then… We have been invited to the country house of Ben’s interpreter at the immigration office in Changwon- she happens to be from Seoul and we met her on Monday. I feel very grateful for all the people who have helped us along the way on this trip! After staying at the country house, we plan to go to Hong Kong and stay on organic farms until we start working in China in October.

If you have any questions, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca

Gender and Jealousy

I have written about jealousy before but it seems to be the topic that never goes away, so I felt compelled to write about it yet again. Over the weekend I went to a couple of poly events and I was asked repeatedly, do I get jealous? The answer is, well yes. The relationship between polyamory and jealousy is an interesting one. In some ways, we have more opportunities to be jealous because we might see our partner(s) with other people and feel jealous. We might hear our partner(s) talk about experiences they’ve had with other people and feel jealous. In monogamy, jealousy gets swept under the rug. Some people feel it shouldn’t even be discussed. I don’t think that’s a particularly healthy way to deal with jealousy and personally, I can’t sweep things under rugs.

I like talking about things and jealousy is sometimes one of those things. I feel that actually talking about it is the better thing to do because you can get to the root of why you feel that way. I think jealousy does come from a deeply ingrained place and we started learning about it as children. I think nearly everyone has some experience of abandonment in childhood and when you become an adult, it’s normal and sometimes healthy to feel that your partner may abandon you. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident in ourselves and in our relationships. Most relationships will end at some point and it’s important to know we can depend on ourselves and our friends and family for support when that does happen. However, I think that few poly relationships end due to jealousy because many of us are able to ask for what we need. For example, the jealousy may indicate that you want more time with your partner. If you don’t share that with your partner, they’ll never know.

So, what’s the relationship between gender and jealousy? Last year, I attended an academic polyamory conference in which one of the presenters gave a talk on jealousy. She compared poly men and women with regards to sexual jealousy, meaning you’re jealous because your partner is having sex with someone else, and emotional jealousy, meaning you’re jealous because your partner is forming emotional bonds with someone else. I was surprised to hear that her sample of poly men got more emotionally jealous than the women. Many people think that women are more prone to emotional jealousy, but I also think that many men are taught to take care for their partners, so when they see someone else starting to fulfill that role, they feel jealous. On the other hand, women are often taught to keep a tight hold on a good man when they find one. For thousands of years, women had to depend on men for financial security, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t want their men shacking up with other people. However, given that more and more women are in the workforce, this is of less concern. Thus, I think you can see that the relationship between gender and jealousy isn’t so clear cut.

So yes, I get jealous, but I can deal with it. Communication and a healthy sense of self are important, though they take time to be developed. Usually I just need a bit of reassurance that I’m important to my partner. I do believe though that having metamours (when your partner has a partner) has more benefits than drawbacks. As I mentioned recently, Tony and Ben get along and that makes me really happy. Awhile ago, Ben was dating someone and the 2 of them made a cake for me. I have to say, having metamours is pretty sweet…

If you have any questions, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca Ben and I leave on Friday afternoon for Korea. Either before then or during our long plane ride, I will write a blog on saying goodbye, an important part of most relationships.

Why (and How) We Fight

Ben and I had a very interesting experience a few days ago. I should say it started out in a very challenging way. As many of you know, Ben and I are moving to South Korea. My dad is letting me store things at his place while we are gone. This past week, we brought some things over to his building and agreed to meet at a certain place. Ben and I waited for my dad and he didn’t appear. I suggested to Ben that he check upstairs. We were in the second basement level and he went up to the first. I thought I heard he and my dad talking, but I guess my mind was playing tricks with me. A few moments later, my father appeared and was upset because he had been waiting for awhile in a slightly different location. I had apparently misunderstood where to meet him. I was nervous because Ben didn’t appear and my dad and I trudged off to his storage locker to put away my things. We put my things away and found Ben. My dad was still upset at the end and we left feeling irritated.

After that episode, we were on our way to Tony’s house, who had agreed to host us for a threesome and sleepover. Things were still tense with Ben and I in the car and we had to travel a good distance to get to Tony’s house. Ben was irritable and I told him not to get upset at me because I was also feeling sensitive after the episode with my dad. We found Tony’s street and then when I thought I was done navigating, I called Tony to let him know we were close and that we needed a place to park Ben’s car. In that brief phone conversation, Ben got lost, as Tony’s street curves a lot. We were able to find Tony’s house finally and parked the car. I went inside first and Ben followed, visibly despondent. I asked him if he was okay and he said that he felt I shut him down when I told him not to get upset at me. He admitted to me later that he expects navigators to know exactly where they’re going and in this situation, that was not the case. I explained to Ben that I had only been to Tony’s house once and had come from a different direction. Tony actually mediated us through this discussion. We successfully came to a resolution with Tony’s help, which was very heartening. This is another upside of poly- when multiple partners are around, they can really help. As a side note, since you’re probably all wondering, the threesome and sleepover were lovely and when we left Tony’s house, we felt good.

I have written previously that Ben and I have had some conflict. This has really been a growth experience for me because I hate conflict, but I want to be able to get through it in a mature way. In the past, I have always done what the other person wanted and ended up resenting them. I have expressed to Ben that he often takes things very personally and overanalyzes things. I also realize that I can take things personally. When you are in a committed relationship with someone, it’s very difficult not to take things personally because the emotional investment is often very high. After resolving our discussion, I realize that when Ben takes things personally, that doesn’t mean that I have to. Ben also said to me the day before we saw Tony that he can communicate things in a way that shows I’m not to blame. Thus, I think this is a case of meeting in the middle, and in a healthy way.

If you have any questions, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca Ben and I take off for Korea on Friday July 25! We are very excited and nervous for this journey…

The Importance of Laughter and other Notes on the Benefits of Poly

I have just returned from Montreal to Ben’s hometown in Eastern Ontario. My grandparents live in Montreal and we wanted to visit them for various reasons. My grandmother is planning to move to Victoria as soon as she can sell her condo. She’s giving away a lot of her things, so Ben and I went to stay with her and pack up dishes for myself, my mother, and my sister. I have never had the fortune to be in Montreal in July, which is when the Just for Laughs festival is on. I have seen Just for Laughs on TV many times and I’ve always wanted to go. Several weeks ago, I got a message on OkCupid from someone in Montreal and he seemed interesting. I told him we’d be coming into town and asked if he might want to go to Just for Laughs with Ben and I. Now, many of you know that I’ve had a penchant for getting involved with people with a certain name and the person in Montreal happened to have that name. A friend of mine said to me that the people I meet with that name have gotten better all the time, so I should meet him. That fellow got tickets for Ben, myself, and him to the festival. The show was very funny. Unfortunately, Ben and I both got colds just before Montreal and Ben’s was worse, so he didn’t come, but the fellow and I had a good time. I think the fellow is looking for direction in his life and I think I was able to help in that regard. I also definitely needed to laugh after spending time with my very sad grandmother, who lost her husband just over 2 months ago. Ben was able to spend some quality time with my grandmother, which I really appreciated. Just before Ben and I left Montreal, my grandmother and I had a very funny conversation that Ben walked in on. My grandmother is aware of the fact that I like women. She reminded me that I had told her about that 2 years ago. I told her that I still like women. Apparently 2 years ago I had said to her that sex with women is awkward. Ben walked in on this and we all laughed. My grandmother isn’t totally aware of my polyamory- I did talk to her about it last year and she didn’t seem to understand, so I thought it best not to talk about it this time. However, I have always been very close to her and I wish I could talk to her more about it.

Ben and I have spent a lot of time together over the last week, so I think it was good for us to be apart for a bit, thus I was happy to be at Just for Laughs and for him to be at home with my grandmother. I arrived in his hometown last Sunday and we’ve barely spent any time apart since then. We all need some amount of alone time and polyamory can allow for that. I will only realize that later because I’m an extrovert and I like being around people. Ben is a bit more of an introvert, so him having alone time when I’m out with someone else is sometimes a very good thing. If you’re a more extroverted poly person, you can plan to do things when your partner is out on a date and the distraction will be good. After all, we tick in different ways.

Another benefit of polyamory is the potential for more community. Last month I started seeing Tony and I’m happy to see that he texted Ben recently to say, if you ever need to talk, this line of communication is open. This is the kind of relationship I have always wanted. I have always tried my best to become friends with metamours (your partner’s partner/s), but I haven’t always seen that happen with my partners. If we can all support each other, jealousy will surely lessen and more friendships will develop. You also have the added benefit of being able to talk about your mutual partner and sort out any issues.

If you have any questions about relationships, send me an email to miriam@askmiriam.ca All posted questions are anonymous. Thanks as always for reading!

A Poly Emergency

The most important thing you should know regarding this post is that I’m an avid cyclist. I use my bike as my main mode of transportation. 2 days ago, I was hit by a car for the first time. I’ve been regularly cycling for about 10 years, so you can imagine my shock when this happened. I escaped with a scraped arm and a small bump on my head (I was wearing a helmet, but it came off). I was very lucky to be helped by 2 women who took me to my doctor’s office, which happened to be across the street from where the accident happened. My doctor wrote a note, which I took to the emergency room. The 2 women stayed with me until my mother arrived. My mom happens to work close to the hospital I ended up going to. I wasn’t horribly injured, but my mom wanted me to stay with her that night. I explained to her that I recently started seeing someone and I wanted to stay at his house. Her first reaction was, but you’re marrying Ben. Her second reaction was, does Ben know about this? My father had the same reaction when I told him about Tony last weekend. I wasn’t shy to tell my father about the birthday threesome with Ben and Tony, but I didn’t share this information with my mother.

Communication and consent are the cornerstones of polyamory. When the word polyamory was first created by Morning Glory Zell in the 1980s, the given definition was: The practice, state or ability of having more than
one sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full
knowledge and consent of all partners involved. I bolded the words knowledge and consent because they are very pertinent, especially in this case. Yes mom and dad, Ben and Tony know about each other. One would think that my mom would be happy that I have 2 men to take care of me, especially when one lives out of town. I realize that I deprived her of the opportunity to take care of me 2 nights ago, but one would hope that she’d be happy that I have Tony around; Ben certainly was. After I left the hospital, I walked myself and my bike home. I got a few things, talked to Ben, and then Tony picked me up.

In the car to his place, Tony and I talked about our relationship. We’ve known each other for less than a month, but we definitely get along well. However, the circumstances are somewhat strange because Ben and I might be leaving soon to go overseas. I realize that I often rush things. I want to put a label on the relationship, partly because I don’t like the beginning of relationships; there’s a lot of uncertainty around how things will develop. I asked Tony if he might want to attend one of my ultimate frisbee games. The week after next, Ben will be in town, so the 3 of us could go together. I told Tony that I would tell my teammates that these are my 2 boyfriends. Then we got into a conversation about the term ‘boyfriend’ – I think it’s a very juvenile label and prefer to use the term partner. He said, that’s a very serious label since we haven’t known each other that long. Of course, partner can be an ambiguous term. In this case, I think I need to let go of my need for labels and just let this relationship be. After all, this is no emergency…

Good Things Come in Threes

I’m sure that when you saw the title of this post, you thought I was talking about group sex or specifically threesomes. I actually want to talk about my theory of what a good relationship consists of. I have often spoken about this with friends and lovers, but I have never written about it here so I thought this was a good time to do so.

First, good communication. Yes I know I have written about this in many posts, but it can never be emphasized enough, especially with regard to polyamory. We have to be open about what and who we want. When we have partners, they have to know what’s going on. We have to check in and give heads up like there is no tomorrow. I think good communication is often missing from monogamous relationships. You can never underestimate the power of an amazing conversation or just sharing stories from your past. When secrets are revealed to me, I feel closer to the person I’m with. This is often multiplied in polyamory because if I’m dating someone who is in a relationship with someone else, that other partner and I can talk about our own mutual partner. I might tell that person things they didn’t know about our partner. Also, if my partner has an ex I am friends with, I can talk to the ex about what my partner did in the past. This can be very powerful stuff.

Next, good sex. Okay so this post isn’t entirely devoid of sex, but this isn’t specifically about threesomes. When you have good chemistry in life, this can often translate to chemistry in the bedroom. I once heard someone say that the best quality a lover can have is creativity. You have to mix things up sometimes, especially if you are in a long term relationship. Creativity can include lots of things like trying a new position, adding things like BDSM or other types of kink, having sex in different places, testing out whether different points on the body are sensitive, etc. Ok, it can also include things like threesomes and group sex. As long as all partners are satisfied, you’re on the right track. And remember, consent is very very sexy. If you’re planning to try something very different and new for everyone, talk about it first and if needed, plan for it. You may need to go out and get new things; another fun adventure to have together.

Finally, and I think this is something that can be neglected but is very important, good food. This is especially pertinent if you are living together or you spend lots of time in each other’s homes. Go food shopping together or go fruit picking somewhere. Cook together. Eat together and talk while you do so; turn off the TV and computers and I promise, you will be happier. Whether the relationship is romantic or not, good food is important. I just spent a few days at Ben’s mother’s home in eastern Ontario and played cook for a few meals, as they had lots of housework and yardwork to do. Ben’s mom really appreciated the effort I went to. I also happen to like cooking, so it’s not a bother for me. Ben likes doing dishes, so we complement each other well in that regard. Ben has told me before that when we’re apart, he misses my food. That is always a great compliment to get. The food you make doesn’t have to be complicated and many people have simple tastes. I personally like to make simple things because food usually gets on the table faster that way.

Of course, there are other things that make a relationship work, but I think these are 3 very basic things we need to get right. Good communication challenges our brains and good sex and food satisfies our bodies. If you have any questions on how to get these 3 things right, email me at miriam@askmiriam.ca  Thanks as always for reading!

Gender and Communication

I had an interesting exchange yesterday on my way to work that helped inspire me to write this post. I’m an avid cyclist and someone else was cycling behind me. He passed me and then we came to a red light. He turned around and said, maybe I shouldn’t have passed you, now we’re at this red light. I said to him, yeah and you don’t get to look at my ass. He said, I appreciate your refreshing candour. We ended up having a very pleasant conversation and exchanged emails. 

In our society, there are lots of double standards when it comes to gender and I think communication is one of them. This is definitely something that can affect relationships of all kinds. Women can get away with saying many things that men can’t. If a man hits on a woman in a crass way, women tend not to respond. On the other hand, if women hit on men in a crass way, many men would respond. When it comes to non-monogamy, I can do something like propose a threesome to 2 guys and they will usually say yes. If a man went up to 2 women and asked if they wanted to have a threesome, the answer would usually be no. Women are not expected to be so open and direct; it’s one of the reasons why I like being that way. I encourage women to be open about how they feel. I would encourage men to do the same because men are often taught to hide how they feel, perhaps even more so than women. However, there are many men who don’t know how to express their affection for someone in a nice way. A male friend recently told me that he asked people for their permission to flirt with them- I really like that approach.  

If you are a man who likes women, remember that women get hit on all the time. Using a bit of delicacy is called for. We don’t just want to be told we are good looking. Personally, I think you can start by saying ‘hi’ and getting to know the person- those are both very attractive and will win lots of points. Once you get into a relationship, you will know better how your partner likes to communicate and how best to communicate to them. I do think that openness is very important- whether it’s good or bad, your partner wants to know how you feel, so just tell them. 

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