Are You Flirting With Disaster?

Flirting comes in all guises. Maybe it’s an overly friendly message on Facebook to an old acquaintance or a second glance at the cute stranger passing you on the street. Flirting can of course be completely harmless if it’s done in good fun and doesn’t cross any lines; the quick thrill of flirting may be all there is to it for a person. On the other hand, many people in relationships may participate in mild flirting without even being aware that they are doing it. This is generally safe behavior and can be chalked up to a personality quirk.

So what about when you’re engaged to be married? Is it still okay to flirt? I would pose the question of why one or both parties in a couple headed towards marriage would find the need to flirt with other people. Perhaps the flirt needs to feel as if they “still have it” and can attract attention from strangers. Maybe it’s a person’s sense that this period of time is his or her “last hurrah” before tying the knot. In cases that have an underlying reason for it, flirting might be a warning sign that a person feels negatively towards his or her partner or that there is something lacking in the relationship. In this kind of situation it is a good idea for the person doing the flirting to take a step back and try to understand what is driving his or her behavior. For example, if a man finds himself flirting with the single brunette in the office down the hall because his fiancée hasn’t been giving him the time of day lately, he should bring this up to her and work on fixing the issue.

You also have to be careful when flirting, even if it’s done innocently. It has the potential to lead other people on and create awkward situations for you and the person on the receiving end. It’s all in good fun to you, but to him it’s welcoming affection and attention (despite your engagement ring). On the other side of things, think about how you or your partner would feel. Of course we want to do our best to always show one another respect, so it’s a good idea to think about whether flirting upholds that sentiment.

Being engaged (or even married) does not mean the flirting has to stop—flirt with each other! It’s fun and can do wonders with keeping the love alive in your relationship. That way the focus remains on you and your partner rather than on someone less deserving of your attention. It’s what brought you together in the first place, right?

Keep your marriage fresh – WPIX Morning Show

For many of us that are married or have been in long-term relationships, we know the everyday existence of being with your partner can become stale and uneventful, especially if you have been together for several years.

Well, in order to reignite the romance and put some sparks back into your relationship, I’m offering up some tips on how to keep a relationship and marriage fresh:

1) Communicate – As with any relationship and marriage, you have to keep the communication flowing. There are going to be issues with your partner that come up that are going to annoy you.

2) Compromise – When in a relationship or marriage, it can be irritating when your significant other always takes control of the decision-making – what you’ll do, where you’ll go, etc. The give and take of compromise will help strengthen your relationship.

3) Be Considerate – Always show consideration to your partner. Don’t throw your day’s frustrations on to them. Never talk down to them or humiliate them in public. Try to reflect on your behavior, have you been selfish over the past week?

4) Compliment – Often times in long-term relationships we become stingy with offering positive compliments to one another. However, we never seem to lack in throwing out negative comments when we feel like it.  Believe it or not, a sweet compliment might make their day!

5) Be Creative – It seems like whenever we are in a new relationship we tend to come up with all kinds of creative things to do with one another, but when we get into a long-term relationship or marriage, we tend to become creatures of habit – dining at the same restaurants, doing the same things every weekend. Try to change it up and be creative with your time together.

How much would you sacrifice for your partner?

Relationships are all about give and take. We want our partners to be happy, but we also don’t want their happiness to cost us our own. So, how much sacrifice is too much? This is a very challenging subject and one that many couples have to deal with today.

Of course, it depends on the situation and where the couple sees itself in the future. Each case is going to be unique. However, some careers do require relocating in order to advance. I would hope that a new couple would discuss the potential of this as they develop their relationship. If an opportunity surprisingly arises, I would hope they could sit down and truly weigh out all the options before making a final decision. The last thing they’ll need to deal with after the fact is the growing animosity that could develop if the wrong decisions are made.

Do you want to raise a family?

But how much sacrifice is too much? No one should be a doormat in a relationship and sacrifice their personal choices for someone else’s achievements. However, it depends on the couple. Obviously, if the intention of the couple is to raise children together, perhaps they should come up with a game plan where one makes the money while the other raises the children. The decision process should be mutual and rewarding — one advances as the breadwinner, the other advances through the joy of raising healthy, happy children in a loving family environment. Then, as a couple, they work as a team and both win.

But what if one half of the couple is making all the sacrifices? Well, unhappiness can be all-consuming. A clear stream of honest communication should be in place for all relationships. No one should just remain silent and keep their unhappiness under wraps. If therapy might help, I would highly recommend it. I have never heard of any relationship or marriage that has lasted if one of the two remained silent about their feelings of unhappiness. Eventually, the unhappiness will rear its ugly head and a large confrontation is inevitable.

So, am I saying it’s OK to be selfish? It depends on how you define “selfish.” Are we referencing the issues mentioned above? About giving up one’s advancement within a relationship for the benefit of the other? About being unhappy in a new situation? It’s OK to be selfish regarding your personal needs and shouldn’t be viewed as bad thing. As I mentioned above, you should never be someone’s doormat. You must defend your personal rights within the relationship by making sure both you and your partner are on equal ground and are both comfortable in the relationship. Without direct communication you’ll likely end up resenting each other and eventually part ways.

So, what do you think? Do instances exist in a relationship when it’s OK to sacrifice and/or be selfish?

Mr. Right … or Mr. Right Now?

There is something to be said about a bride who can’t legally toast to her husband on her wedding day.

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth

Miley Cyrus, best known from her “Hannah Montana” days as a Disney sweetheart, is the latest woman to join the ranks of teenage celebrity brides. Ms. Cyrus’s engagement to her 22-year-old “Hunger Games” boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth, was officially announced to the world this past Wednesday, sparking up the hot debate about “how young is too young?” for getting married.

Ms. Cyrus isn’t the first famous 19-year-old to entertain the idea of marriage; taking a look at only a small sampling of those who have walked down the aisle before her might give Ms. Cyrus some pause before taking the big plunge.

  • Drew Barrymore: married Jeremy Thomas at age 19, divorced two months later (Drew recently married her third husband, Will Kopelman, on June 2, 2012)
  • LeAnn Rimes: married backup dancer Dean Sheremet at age 19, divorced seven years later (LeAnn is currently married to her second husband, actor Eddie Cibrian)
  • Kim Kardashian: married music producer Damon Thomas at age 19, divorced four years later (Kim is currently in the process of divorcing her second husband, NJ Nets basketball player Kris Humphries)
Drew Barrymore and Will Kopelman

While the thought of getting married is often romanticized by today’s youth, the reality is that a marriage requires maturity in order to be successful.  The late teen years and early twenties is a time when most young people have just completed high school and are either beginning college or contemplating careers. It’s a period in life when opportunities seem endless and the hardest decision to make is which one to pursue. This is the ideal time for growing, learning, and exploring who you are as a person. It’s when you can take chances and make mistakes, but more than that —being young is also the time to have fun and enjoy yourself!

Many of my recently-divorced clients have shared with me that if they could do it all over again, they would have held off on marrying until they were closer to their thirties (if not well into them). The common consensus was that, had they been equipped with the experience and knowledge they’ve picked up over the years, they would not have chosen the person they did. Over time, they and their partners changed so dramatically that they soon found themselves with nothing in common – and no longer in love.

My advice for anyone in their early- to mid-twenties considering marriage? Take your time and don’t rush to tie the knot. Your youth is the best time to explore life and learn who you are and what you are looking for in a future spouse. People and relationships may be constantly changing and evolving, but no more so than when you are first finding your place in the world. Remember – the person who is right for you at 22 may not be the person you envision at 33!