I've seen a good amount of traditional tie-the-knot ceremonies, and they are all wonderful in their own way, don't get me wrong. But for some reason whenever I come across an elopement, I get all misty-eyed in a way I just don't with run-of-the-mill big days. Elopements stand out as more romantic, personal, and sentimental than over-the-top ceremonies because they are really all about the couple. And modern-day elopements now incorporate many of the perks a traditional wedding has — cakes, professional photography, a reception/party later on — making it a sort of best-of-both-worlds hybrid event. To see what I'm talking about, I've rounded up some of my favorite elopements for a show-and-tell on the beauty of an unwedding.
This question is from a Group Therapy post in our Community. Add your advice in the comments!
My husband has a friend "John Doe," who hasn't had sex in many years. He is handsome — I think he looks kind of like a young Tom Hanks — and super sweet. He likes seeing romantic movies and miniseries and sometimes watches them with me. He is the most intelligent person I know and has an IQ of something like 180. His problem is that he was abused as a child and has depression. He was 9 the first time he attempted suicide and eventually turned to burning — he calls it "branding" — himself as a coping mechanism to avoid suicide. He doesn't do this stuff anymore, but he still has issues with depression. My husband has asked me if I would be willing to open our marriage to this friend of his. I am so conflicted about this. Here are my pros and cons.
- "John" is the nicest man I know, and I would love to be with him. If my husband ever dies or leaves me, I would marry him.
- I really think that I can help him with his problems with intimacy and women.
- My husband has talked about doing this for a long time and insists he is OK with the idea of me making love to his friend. He even says that if John and I fall in love he will be OK with it as long as I don't leave him or fall out of love with him — which would never happen.
- The idea of being with two men at the same time who both love me and accept each other is awesome.
- We don't have children, and even though it would tear me to pieces to lose my marriage if things go terribly wrong, everyone that would be involved is a consenting adult.
- I am really worried that John will be upset with my husband and I if we offer him this — he refuses to even go to strip clubs. I worry about ruining our friendship with him. I know he likes me a lot, but he still might refuse.
- It seems impossible that my husband won't eventually get jealous even if he promises he won't.
- Will I be jealous if John eventually gets another girlfriend? I don't think so, but I might change my mind if I fall in love with him.
I need some advice. What do you think?
Have a dilemma of your own? Post it anonymously on Group Therapy for advice!
We're happy to present this excerpt from one of our favorite sites, YourTango. Think all affairs happen for the same reason? Scott Haltzman debunks the most common myths about cheating and cheaters.
Knowing the truth can help you get back on the path to healing.
An affair could happen to anyone, from the local politician who gets caught with his pants down to the next-door neighbor who sleeps with her kid's karate teacher. When people find out about infidelity, they often make all kinds of assumptions about why people are having affairs. Even if someone cheated in your life, you may have thought you understood what affairs are all about.
We live in a hush-hush culture when it comes to infidelity, and it's not so easy to sort fact from fiction, and many of the common beliefs about affairs are wrong. Here are the 10 most common myths and the truth behind the scenes:
1. Most people who cheat are looking for an affair when it happens. In fact, the majority of time, an affair happens to people who aren’t looking for it. This is particularly true in cases in which a partner had only cheated with one person. Affairs often begin as friendships, which are followed by intimacy, which can then shift into a full-blown tryst.
2. Most people drift from their spouses toward someone younger or more attractive. Think of the Arnold Schwarzenegger affair with his housekeeper. While in some cases, the chronically philandering corporate CEO might seek out younger sex mates, typically paramours are no younger, richer, or more attractive than spouses.
3. Affairs almost always spell the end of marriage. More than 50 percent of marriages can survive infidelity. Although the relationship may break up because of other issues in the future, many couples are surprised when they find that they can stay together after an affair.
4. Once a cheater, always a cheater. While it is true that some individuals have repeated affairs, many affairs are a once-and-done thing. What happens after the affair can set a marriage on a course for stability or blow it out of the water. After ending the affair, the person who cheated must be completely honest for healing to take place.
For six more myths, head to YourTango: 10 Common Myths About Infidelity Debunked!
Check out more great stories from YourTango:
It's that time of year.
The photo albums from the bridal showers. The lovey-dovey status updates. Wedding season has taken over your Facebook page.
And while your friends may be entering a new blissful stage in life, things have remained the same between you and your beau. Does this mean you should be hurrying to walk down the aisle or is your relationship headed to Splitsville, population you?
As it turns out, you may be experiencing a very common dilemma thanks to social media.
"'Wedding envy' is definitely a phenomenon that exists," says Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent. "You may occasionally hear of a cluster of friends getting engaged around the same time, and even scheduling wedding dates in close proximity. This is because many young women can't bear the feeling of being 'left out.'"
Experiencing jealousy after witnessing your friends' blossoming love lives on Facebook isn't a new concept. In a recent study conducted by two German universities, it was reported that one in three people felt more dissatisfied with their lives after browsing the world's largest social networking site. Relationship success was recognized as the third most envy-causing incident. And with the warmer summer months comes wedding season, which means many women in relationships are likely to fall prey to such a phenomenon.
However, experts advise thinking twice before discussing this social media-induced marriage itch with your significant other. "Wanting to get married is basic, but it doesn't mean you are with the right person or that you are both ready," says Nina Atwood, dating coach and author of Temptations of the Single Girl. "You are ready for marriage when you have spent enough time together to know exactly who you are getting, warts and all. The other thing is what makes you compatible or not, such as religion, children and finances. When you have acceptance, plus you are aligned on your core values, you are ready to marry."
According to psychologist Karen Sherman, seething in resentment is not only unhealthy, it can quickly strain an otherwise stress-free relationship.
"I think it's dangerous to be tempted to get married because you get the itch based on social media," says Sherman. "Based on social comparison theory, we look to others to see how we're doing. Social media certainly makes it easier to do this. But the decision to marry is a serious commitment and one that should not be entered just because everyone else has done so. For all you know, others who are announcing their plans have been influenced by other social media postings!"
Dr. Walfish adds that focusing on your relationship reality is far more important than trying to keep up with your friends.
"Don't talk with your man until you are crystal clear on your goals and expectations," she says. "Then share them with your partner. Listen to his. It's also very important to examine how as a couple you resolve conflicts. You don't always have to agree, but you must be able to bear differences with mutual respect."
Another way to deal with wedding envy? Chill out.
"Be careful you don't let it impact your relationship with your guy," says Atwood. "He will probably not understand it and will only feel pressured. The very best proposal is when he initiates it instead of you pressuring him to do it sooner than he is ready. I say talk it out with your friends first, let it go and relax."
— Stephanie Nolasco
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We're happy to present this excerpt from one of our favorite sites, The Good Men Project. Sexually frustrated men often claim that women hold the sex card. Life coach Steve Horsmon disagrees.
Since before we were born, we men have been aware of our emerging sexuality. Sonograms have proven that we become "in touch" with our pleasure points right from the start.
If you are like most men, and like me, a large part of your life has been spent thinking, wondering, and worrying about how those pleasure points will be satisfied. You likely imagined that the solution was ultimately in the control of others — specifically, women.
The sexual epiphany I am talking about is the point in a man's life when thinking, wondering, and worrying changes into leading, romancing and enjoying. This epiphany does not just happen with age. It must be earned. It is simple but not easy. If it were easy, every guy would be doing it and would be happy with his sex life.
Your transition from horny to happy is based in your transition from expecting things from your wife to expecting things from yourself. This personal transformation is part of the journey which is full of surprises.
This change brings the brand new benefit of having more self-confidence, more self-respect, and more control over your emotions.
When you discover these feelings and learn how to consistently expect them of yourself, something else changes. I hear this from frustrated wives all the time.
Your sex appeal shoots through the roof! You achieve the status of "sexy man." Your wife sees you in a new attractive light which is the only light that allows her to see you this way. In fact, many other women notice as well — wherever you are. You morph into that man other guys envy and women adore. And until now, you had no idea that it had everything to do with how you think about yourself.
Today, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage, marking another significant step for gay rights. Following Iowa's 2009 legalization, it's only the second state in the Midwest to approve a gay marriage bill, as most of the states who support gay marriage are on the East Coast. But the love is spreading. Six states have adopted a same-sex marriage law over the past six months, doubling the number of states where gay marriage is legal. That's a lot of change in a fairly short amount of time, so to keep you up to date, we've created a simple timeline of legalization across the US. Keep reading for a look at which states now support gay marriage.
Today, New Zealand became the 13th country to legalize gay marriage with a new law that will take effect in August. This news comes just a week after lawmakers in Uruguay made history by passing a gay-marriage law, making the country the third in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage. The French Senate also voted last week in favor of gay marriage with a bill that should become law this Summer. These LGBT wins come as our own country's government is in the midst of deciding on same-sex marriage laws that could potentially legalize gay marriage across the US.
We're seeing more and more wins for marriage equality around the world, but there's still a long way to go, especially considering that homosexuality is, sadly, punishable by death in some Asian and African countries. So as we hope to see more acceptance of the LGBT community globally, let's cheer on the countries that have paved the way for same-sex marriage by legalizing it nationwide:
- The Netherlands: In 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. The country's first marriage was performed in Amsterdam's city hall on April 1, 2001.
- Belgium: The country's gay-marriage law took effect June 1, 2003.
- Spain: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since July 3, 2005.
- Canada: On July 20, 2005, Canada became the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.
- South Africa: Same-sex marriage became law in South Africa on Nov. 30, 2006, becoming the first and so far only African country to do so.
- Norway: Norway's gay-marriage law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2009.
- Sweden: Same-sex marriage became legal in Sweden on May 1, 2009.
- Portugal: On June 5, 2010, same-sex marriage was legalized in Portugal.
- Iceland: Iceland's same-sex marriage law took effect on June 27, 2010.
- Argentina: Same-sex marriage in Argentina has been legal since July 22, 2010. Argentina was the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.
- Denmark: On June 15, 2012, Denmark's gay-marriage law took effect. The country had been the first in the world to legally recognize same-sex couples through registered partnerships in 1989.
- Uruguay: Last week, on April 10, Uruguayan lawmakers voted to legalize gay marriage, becoming the second South American country to do so.
- New Zealand: Today, April 17, lawmakers in New Zealand have passed a new law legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill will take effect in August.
As we wait to hear how the Supreme Court will rule on gay-marriage laws in the US, we're celebrating same-sex big days with some of the most touching and beautiful gay weddings we've come across.
Just like other lifetime lovers, same-sex couples incorporate many well-loved traditions, and the heart of the big day is the same: two people in love dedicating the rest of their lives to each other. We've picked some of our favorite gay weddings to share with you that are paving the way for the union of "man and man" or "woman and woman" to be the traditional weddings of the future.
With two major Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage in the works, there is the possibility that America will finally start seeing a lot more same-sex weddings. With gay marriage legal in several states already, we've seen the "I do" industry become more welcoming for gay and lesbian couples. A part of this inclusion includes wedding-planning books, which historically have catered to hetero couples but are now tackling the common questions and hurdles gay partners face leading up to their big day. If you're planning same-sex nuptials or know someone who is, then check out these handy wedding planning books for LGBT lovebirds!
In the midst of the Supreme Court hearings this week on gay-marriage laws, the Human Rights Campaign is urging supporters of same-sex unions to "go red" with their Facebook profile picture by using this red and pink version (to symbolize love) of its blue and gold equality logo. The campaign got a major boost when Star Trek star and gay-rights advocate George Takei posted about it on Facebook to his 3.7 million followers, writing:
For those friends wondering, this special "red" equality symbol signifies that marriage equality really is all about love. Thanks to the Human Rights Campaign for this effort. Please consider changing your profile today in support — esp if you are a straight ally.
So no matter what your sexual orientation is, will you be "going red" with your Facebook profile picture?