Weekly Audit 4: Face the Scary Stuff

Every couple goes through a rough patch at some point in a relationship. Maybe it isn’t a rough patch, but a period of discovery. What’s the topic on the table? Do you have something you’ve been meaning to ask your partner but just can’t? Why is that?

S and I have learned to communicate whenever possible if there’s conflict. Communication is still probably the most important key in a relationship, but just because you can talk doesn’t mean there isn’t any lingering darkness from time to time. Maybe you’re just in your head, right? Get to the bottom of whatever it is. 

Don’t get me wrong, every talk doesn’t have to be sitting around having therapy sessions every night, but it’s important to check in with each other. Go on a walk and chat. Explore a new bar; someplace vibey and romantic.

Not every conversation needs to be heavy, but addressing any hurt feelings, disagreements, and new territory in your relationship is of the utmost importance if it’s going to last. 

There’s always a slight feeling of, “ugh, I don’t want to talk about this yet…” but you have to get over it – come into the light! Face the scary stuff in your relationship. If love is present, the support and love of  your partner should help you through the conversation.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH YOUR PARTNER OR FRIENDS, AND SHARE YOUR RESPONSES IN THE COMMENTS. Ciao!

Advertisements

Weekly Audit 3: The L Word

How do you say I love you? Is it the way you look at each other or in the little isms in your day to day with each other? Think about this for a second. How important is it to you that you hear the words I love you, and if this does matter to you, how often?

S and I aren’t terribly expressive in person. We say I love you here and there – sprinkling the phrase throughout the week, but not necessarily each day – and this isn’t something that’s been an issue for us.

 

jamal stony 2012 (1)

(This picture was taken the night we first told each other we loved one another… Awe.)

I tend to show love with physical contact, while S translates the little things as me caring for him. For example: I’m not a big toucher… Family, friends, I won’t really hug you unless I haven’t seen you in quite some time. I’m the complete opposite when it comes to S. I’ll mess with his hair or sneak up on him in the kitchen; hugging him from behind. My favorite is holding a free hand while he’s driving or resting my hand on his leg.

S usually tries to bat me away as he’s got a different love language – acts of kindness. He stays pretty busy so I try to accomplish whatever I can in our home – chores, errands, taking care of our fur-child – before he even has to think about it. Whenever he has a moment to relax and decompress, I make sure he can enjoy it fully. 

Don’t get it twisted though… I usually save the hardwood floor cleaning for him 😉

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! ANSWER THE QUESTION WITH YOUR PARTNER OR FRIENDS, AND SHARE YOUR RESPONSES IN THE COMMENTS. OFF YOU GO!

(If you haven’t already, I suggest you dive into finding out what your love language is… do that here.)

Coming Next Week! Weekly Audits.

Hey there,

How often do you check in with your partner and yourself? When is the last time you both sat down and asked yourselves “are we happy?” A couple that’s cohesively existing together, under one roof and in a good place with their relationship would say they are happy.

Now don’t go looking for problems in every nook and cranny of your relationships! All I’m saying is that it’s important to talk about your relationship with the person you call your other half. Couples fear asking the hard questions because they’d have to be honest with themselves. It’s amazing how grown people freeze in the face truth.

“What makes you most happy about our relationship (or marriage)?”

“Are you okay? Honestly, how have you been?”

“What’s something we need to work on as a couple?”

These conversations don’t have to be hard at all. Put on some music to set the vibe, mix a couple cocktails, and chat about your relationship. This person is supposed to be your best friend, you know… And this should be fun! Think of it as free weekly therapy sessions.

If you’re a couple in a more turbulent relationship or going through a tough time, I suggest you face the issue(s) head on. Trying to dodge and avoid what needs to be faced will only cause your mental health harm. Get everything on the table, hash it out, and make a plan for improvement.

Starting next week, Gays in the Life will post weekly audits. These audits will consist of questions and thought provoking activities – to be done with your partners – that will inspire conversation about your relationships with one another.

Answering the questions together, listening and processing every word shared, will encourage openness. These audits only work if you’re honest and open with yourself, your partner, and your relationship.

I can’t wait to get this going!

Cheers,

 

Unpack with These 3 Tools

What’s next when you reach the point of feeling like two bumps on a log? There’s talk of this and talk of that, but how can the message be received when it’s coated in moodiness.

Interpretation can be a very helpful or disastrous factor when it comes to this. A joke that’s taken the wrong way after a long day can feel like sandpaper on a fresh sunburn. A half-smile or a noticeably thoughtful demeanor could be an opening to ask “hey… you okay?”

It’s best to process these signals without ego though. You’ll quickly enter a downward spiral if ego is your focus. Be wise and truthful in your interpretation.

Or maybe it’s action… it all comes back to action really. Because what do you have outside of what you’re doing – what you’re both doing together – to inspire growth. A lot of us talk extremely well but drag our feet when the time comes to perform.

Is this you? We’ve all had our moments, so be honest with yourself.

Be present. Be present in your interpretation, your actions, and your relationship as a whole. Not every moment together needs to be filled with words or deep thought, so keep that in mind if you feel like you have just one more thing to say.

Let love breathe, let whatever nonsense go, and remember these few items when things seem a little foggy.

The Key

Gays in the Life

Communication is the key to life. Communication is the key to love. Communication is the key to us… Will you communicate with me? – TLC & Dallas Austin. “Communicate-Interlude.” Fanmail 1999.

Communication will make or break any relationship. What do people fear when they’re finally in their own relationships, or marriage? One thing I knew I would have to respect – maybe “fear” is the wrong word – within my relationship was the communication aspect.  This stems mostly from growing up in a two parent home, up to the age of sixteen, just to watch it all fall apart because my parents did not communicate properly within their situation. Do I think my parents would have stayed together if they did communicate effectively? No, probably not, but I think they would have gotten to a better place as peers – raising their three children together – faster than…

View original post 289 more words

G r i n d r

Grindr has been something that’s been off my phone for at least three years now. A few weeks back, I decided to put it back on my phone, just to take an innocent peek at what was going on these days on the app. Remember: Communication is key. “I feel like we’re comfortable enough in our relationship and marriage that we can both put Grindr back on our phones.” I’d been thinking about putting the app back on my phone, out of pure boredom, to browse on breaks at work, or just to peer into the scandalous lives of Indy’s thirstiest queens, hungry bears, and the romantic hopefuls who still try to meet honest guys on these hookup apps. Bringing up any and all feelings as they come up has always been a strong suit of mine in relationships, and this was no different. S agreed with my thought, and so here I am.

Back when S and I were only months into our relationship, I’d freak out, and act extremely possessive if I saw the app’s reflection in his glasses. Typical Scorpio behavior – acting absolutely insane, insecure, and powerless at the thought that I may’ve not been the center of his attention at that point. Flash forward to today, where I’m off and on the app a few times a week, pushing Gays in the Life, and striking up conversation with a handful of decent human beings. I have no judgement against people on apps like these. I once was a regular user, and had my share of fun via Grindr’s services, but that time is done. When did I begin to see Grindr as a marketing tool? Oh, how my times have changed. After mentioning I’m married, the follow up inquiries usually consist of the other user wanting to meet the both S and I  – keep in mind my profile picture is just me, and my name on the app is the blog title – or they’ll want to see pictures. “We respectfully decline, but you can read more about our adventures at Gaysinthelife.wordpress.com” is my standard response.

 
S and I openly talk about the attractiveness of other guys in each other’s presence. It’s not this taboo topic, or fuel for the fire, when we’re both watching a show and one of us says “he’s hot.” We have fun teasing each other in these situations, and enjoy being in a relaxed and mature relationship. “Of course you would think he’s hot…” is a regular, and shared, response when one of us comments on some eye candy.  There’s never a malicious or suspicious tone. We’ve learned each other, and we have fun with that fact. S and I are both regular listeners of Dan Savage’s weekly podcast, Savage Lovecast, and realize that at the end of the day, it’s about that works for us in our situation. I’ve made a couple online friends via Grindr, and make it a point not to frequent the app. My profile says everything it needs to, and one of these days, we’ll actually make it out to a bar or event to grow our gay-friend bubble.  

You do you. We’ll Do Fat.

FATboys: A Mostly Ketogenic Health Journey. I named this category of Gays in the Life “FATboys” because the lifestyle we follow promotes a low carb, high fat diet.  We love butter, coconut oil, bacon, and all the (good) fatty things in between. When people hear “low carb,” they tend to freak out, and I’m not sure why. My husband and I have been following this lifestyle for almost two years, and have witnessed amazing results in each other. We have energy throughout the day, we don’t get that two-o-clock feeling at work, and weight loss is just a bonus. Like any diet out there, you can over consume, but when you’re living a ketogenic lifestyle – rounding out your day’s meals with a 70-80% fat to 15-20% protein to less than 5% carbohydrates – you don’t get hungry. Your body fills up on gloriously healthy fats, and you just don’t get hungry. Don’t believe me? Add a half cup of heavy whipping cream to your coffee, and see how long it takes before you’re hungry again. Try it! And keep in mind that the feeling of thirst is notoriously confused for the feeling of hunger.

We’ve learned to listen to our bodies, and not rely on the “calories in, calories out” concept. We don’t plan on counting calories for the rest of our lives, and with low-carb/keto living, we grasped a way to do just that. I know it’s hard to be open and change what we’ve been taught as a society; how we’ve been programmed as a society. When S first told me he was going low carb, I resisted. It took me a month before I got on board, and decided to try it out. Low carb is all I know now. I’ve seen the science in my own health. I’ve seen the change in my body – with weight loss not being the goal, but an added bonus – and am more and more hypnotized with the various stories I find on the internet, and in podcasts we follow. I work out for a half an hour each day, and do yoga whenever I feel like it, and see plenty results. We feel good, our bodies respond crazily – keeping us energized and sexy – and we aren’t killing ourselves with hours and hours a week on an elliptical or treadmill.

I won’t get into all of the science just yet, because my goal here is not to convert anyone. If you’re reading this, it’s because you enjoy Gays in the Life, and you’re taking a peek into another room in the house that is our life. Everything presented in FATboys will apply to our life, and our lives only. I’ve received some pushback on social media from old high school associates and close friends regarding the low carb world, and to them I say – and to any comment or reasoning that I’ve lived, read about, studied, and researched – “That’s fine. You do you, and I’ll do me. We’ll see who’s healthier in the long run.” I say that with humor, because we as a people are so stubborn; myself included. I’ve learned to listen to others, to give ideas a chance, and if the pro-carbohydrate police showed up on my doorstep, trying to sell me on their views, I’d listen and think. The science of the life I’ve been living for the past two years is too rich for me to seriously leave it now, though.

Today my husband shared this TEDx talk with me, and it made my day. Watch it if you want, and be open. We FATboys were pretty excited to see another doctor helping the low carb and keto communities spread awareness. The proof is in the (carb-smart) pudding!

Playing with Fire

A handful of months back, I asked my husband to help me with one of my entries for Gays in the Life. I had the crazy idea to write a blog entry where we shared our pet peeves, and talked openly about the things that secretly drive us crazy when it comes to one another. He let out an incredulous laugh, and then proceeded to ask “is that a good idea?” I believed deep down that it was a good idea, but perhaps my inner artist was feeling a little too hungry. Writing a blog entry like this with my husband could offer a fun, real, and honest peek into our marriage and everyday life, but I wondered if my ambitious spirit was approaching an edge that we – because I’d have to consider his feelings, along with mine – weren’t quite ready to dance upon. Would I be taking a bite out of something we couldn’t quite chew? Issues we couldn’t quite swallow?

Almost all of my friends were in and out of relationships before I met my husband. Having a front row seat to every argument, scolding, and various other quibbles helped me realized that, depending on the couple, the smallest annoyance could cause a relationship to crumble, crash, and burn. Remembering those couples and scrolling through memories of their successful, or failed, relationships ignited my current thoughts on whether or not our relationship – our fresh marriage – could survive knowing each other’s hidden pet peeves. Obviously I would say my marriage could survive, but we have to keep a realistic view in regards to our relationships with ourselves – inside the marriage – and as one unit; because every moment isn’t peaches and cream. At this point, we know what sets each other off, but these triggers were discovered as our relationship developed over the years.

Knowing if, and when, the truth is too much, is another factor that should be considered. Initially when I was playing with the idea of doing this joint piece with my husband, the spirit was light and fun, with no thoughts of potential darkness in mind.  Couples can be one hundred percent open, and still have things they keep to themselves. S’s questioning whether or not the unborn blog entry was a good idea bred life to this notion, and invited a small amount of darkness and negativity into my well-intended burst of creativity. Surely we, of all couples, could survive knowing what makes the other tick like a time-bomb, right? The answer to that question would depend on what each trigger was, and the only way to obtain the answer, is to actually move forward with my plan – for the joint blog entry – and discuss them. It’s a devilishly hilarious thing, and the answer remains unknown.

Huh?

“What’re we doing again?” he presents this frequently asked question as I bring up pending plans for G’s birthday celebration down in Bloomington.  “We went over this!” I tease, waiting to repeat the information for a third or fourth time. “Ugh, just tell me!” Selective hearing is a trait he, his brother, and father all have in common. You could be sitting next to S with a cigarette lighter in hand, mention a gas leak, and get nothing – maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s humorous nonetheless.  The manifestation of quick, mischievous panic is the usual expression displayed when he tunes back into our conversations; sharing nothing but wide eyes and a smile. Softening to his plea, I administer a small dose of guilt with one of my very own frequently asked questions. “You didn’t hear anything I just said, did you?” And the beat goes on.

Burrito Bowls

Do you ever feel like you’re talking to yourself? You get some bright idea, mention that idea, and end up going in a completely different direction by way of his idea. I’d been craving a burrito bowl for quite some time now. In passing, I would bring up the idea for dinner during our weekly grocery shopping together; never sulking or souring if we didn’t get ingredients for the meal. When you’re following a low-carb diet – and we have been for over a year now – it can be hard to keep your eating options fresh and exciting. I retain a subtle want for a burrito bowl because I know I’d never be disappointed with one, and it would mix up my day-to-day eating habits.

I can’t remember the last time we had this favored menu item of mine, and while red meat is zero carbs and high in good fat – perfect for our diet – burgers and steaks get old. “Hey, would you want to make the burrito bowls this weekend?” The inner chubby kid of my past burned more calories exerting a disgustingly thirsty grin at the mention of the desired meal. My craving for this specific meal is well tamed as long as the thought is out of sight, and out of mind. As soon as I hear any mention of a burrito bowl, I immediately want one.  I’m not one to hound anyone over what’s for dinner, but I know I’d made a solid attempt in pitching the idea more than a few times between early October and now.

Pan-seared chicken over cauliflower rice, with chopped onions, crisp spinach, Verde salsa, jalapenos, Pico de Gallo, spicy guacamole, and a dash of shredded Colby Jack cheese. It was the purest form of delicious. What made the meal even better was that he listened. Sure it might have taken him a while – and sure, I could have organized the meal myself, or pressed him more about it – but he came through.  Part of being a significant other is listening to each other, and it’s the little things like unplanned burrito bowls that help remind you that he is listening.