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Question: How do you deal with sensitivities and hurt feelings between each other?

Dear Lounge Advice,

I need advice on the male psyche....my husband is the one who first brought up us being involved in this lifestyle. We talked for a long time about it and I finally got it! I totally understand how freeing and wonderful this can be! We have always had a good relationship, and this lifestyle has done nothing but strenghthen it. We have good communication and always discuss our adventures before we go out. However, it always seems to be him who comes home with some problem or hurt feelings. It's like he doesn't feel free to tell me stuff when we're out, but waits until we get home. I am not a mind reader and if he appears to be enjoying himself, why should I think otherwise?? Of course, now I do think otherwise and try to be more sensitive, and even when he says its okay to go off and do something, I just don't because I don't think he really means it. Thing is, I have fun whether we get together with other people or just go home with eachother and he doesn't seem to understand that! Neither of us wants to discontinue our new found excitement. It really has enhanced our relationship physically and emotionally. And after we come home, if he had a problem with something he always tells me, we always talk about it and it's always okay in the end. I just want to know if there is some way to read him better or something I can do to avoid having to wait until we get home to talk about a problem. In reality, even if I had a fantastic time out, if we get home and he's upset about something, it's not longer a fantastic memory. I don't know what to do or what I can say to him. I just try to be patient, understanding, and always make sure he is having a good time. Just seems that I don't always get it right. Any advice??

Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

We can certainly empathize with what you are going through. This is all supposed to be about having fun, and it’s very difficult to have fun when you feel like you are walking on eggshells all the time.

One of the main requirements of the lifestyle is for couples to have effective communication skills. Although it seems that you guys are communicating about situations, the way you are going about communicating is not being effective because your hubby is waiting “after the fact” to discuss it. In a sense, you are being set up to fail and that is not a good situation to be put in.

It would have helped if you could have given us an example of something that you could have done which upset him. Absent that info, here is a general suggestion. Perhaps he is having a difficult time in verbalizing his unhappiness with something at the moment its going on. Maybe it has something to do with others present and his concern about saying something in front of others.

In those situations we find it helpful to make some sort of verbal or non-verbal cue (we use a discrete pinch or something like scratching your elbow A LOT, etc ) which is a sign that you or he are not comfortable or want to speak in private about something. When anyone gets the cue… you can make an excuse and take each other aside in private and talk.

It will seem awkward at first… but we have been in situations where couples (including us) have said, “Can you guys excuse us for a second, we need to talk to each other for a minute.” And we pull ourselves aside and address any concerns either of us may have.

If he is hesitant or puts up any resistance to that, then there is some deeper insecurity that you guys need to address.

You need to be able to go out and enjoy yourself without having to constantly be concerned about doing something that is going to upset him. There are two of you in this relationship and he has to own up to his responsibility to you and to communicate with you more effectively if he has some concerns.

Let us know if this suggestion helps at all.


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