You are a goddess. And no, I am not a god. But you and your body hold my heart and mind in fascination. If your man is not ravaging you, something might be amiss. (Now, I realize I’m writing this as a middle-aged man, but… Sex can inform you about the state of your relationship, maybe at any age…)
Worshiping Your Most Perfect Body
Notice I did not say “mostly perfect.” Your man will see the perfection in your body, in all of its states, weights, and statuses. As we age, we get more refined in our ability to cherish and appreciate our partners. And it’s not all about sex, but it is about adoration and the endless possibility of loving one partner for the rest of our lives. Well, that’s MY goal anyway. And I know from my sensual energy and attraction to my partner, that I have the focus and attention to go the monogamous distance. I’m committed to it. I work on it. I dream about it. I let my partner know that I’m IN for the long haul.
Your body is 100% perfect. It is all of you that I love. It’s the imperfections. It’s the things you say you don’t like. It’s your little belly when we’re coming out of a pandemic. It’s your gray hair showing through. It’s your ability to celebrate the simple things of life, like a loquat tree in bloom.
If you are feeling out of sorts with your body, or have some body image problems, like most of us. (I know I do.) Your lover can provide that reassurance that you are beautiful, loveable, and absolutely perfect just as you are. We love you right now. All of you. We love loving you. And we’re willing to work at loving you, in all the ways you enjoy, and maybe exploring some ways neither of us has explored before. (That gets me a bit excited just typing it.)
Okay, So Sex and Miscellaneous Affection
I believe the continuous act of sharing and cherishing your affection for your partner is part of the work we must always put back into our primary relationship. It’s easy to get focused on the kids, the job, the stress of the mundane jobs of parenting and working… BUT, we must always put a bit of energy (first) into the affectionate gestures and words for our lover. If we always give our partner the end of the day, the last drop of energy we have before we keel over in bed… If we give them the final dregs of the day, we’re probably going to get exhausted just thinking about sex, or connecting, or snuggling. We just want to go to sleep. The phrase, “I’m done,” has become synonymous with “Let’s go to bed, I’m too tired to even talk.”
Miscellaneous affection is an ongoing act of appreciating your partner. Appreciating what your partner says, what they do, how they look, how they smell, how wonderful their smile looks to you first thing in the morning as you hand them coffee. “Ah, yes! My lover!” That’s the phrase we want to cultivate in our love relationships. It’s easy to get into “I’m exhausted.” But being exhausted because you gave all of your time and energy to your chores, your children, or your never-shortening “list” is simply shortchanging your relationship and yourself.
We get low energy when we are not participating in enough activities that we love. When we love less we have less love to give. Again, I’m not talking about sex, I’m talking about simple gestures of connection and affection.
How Do We Get Back to Yes?
As stress runs high, often the first person to feel the drop in energy is our partner. The first one to say, “Are you okay?” is our partner. When we’re feeling burned out, stressed out, unloved, and unlovable, we should have our priority list clear.
- Our health and mental well-being is required for us to be good partners, good parents, and good friends.
- The health of our relationship is essential to keep the team moving in a positive direction
- The health and well-being of our kids come 3rd! (hard to believe)
Wait, What? My Kids Are My 3rd Priority?
I’m going to get some pushback on this idea, but I’m pretty sure you will come to my point of view in a few minutes. Listen.
If we are not functioning at a high-level our entire family and those around us suffer. Mostly we suffer as we are not getting our needs met, we’re tired, our energy is tied up in crisis management rather than aspirational parenting, loving, and being.
As they say in airplanes, “Secure your mask first, then help your kids with their mask.” If mama passes out in the plane (in the home) then we’re all going to struggle for oxygen.
Okay, so I still have a hard time letting go of my management and focus on my kids’ happiness. The divorce took that option away from me when my kids were 5 and 7. I no longer had access to them every night, to check-in, tuck-in, and reassure them. As a non-custodial single parent, I got my kids every other weekend. (About 30% of the time – to my ex-wife’s 70% of the time.) I simply did not have the ability to even talk to my kids each night. My access to my kids was dependent on a woman who now vilified me. But the divorce was her idea. And she got exactly what she wanted.
So, when you can no longer focus 90% of your love and attention on your kids, you begin to remember your priorities. If you have not been taking care of yourself, you are liable to be suffering from physical ailments. You are liable to be burned out and unable to see the positive side of self-care.
“Self-care?” you ask. “Who has time for self-care, I’m too busy doing everyone else’s care!”
Ah, the true words of a people pleaser. A fine sentiment, but poor priority management. When your partner says, “I get zero alone time,” the responsibility is on them to ask or manage that problem. We cannot manage another person’s priorities for them. We cannot put self-care as numero uno on their list when they are still hyperfocused on their kid, their kid’s activities, their kid’s happiness over their own. Remember the phrase, “When mama’s not happy, ain’t nobody happy.” That, unfortunately, is too often the status quo for moms. Sure, dad’s too get into the people-pleasing mode, but women tend to be the more nurturing of the species.
How Do We Return to Joy?
First, we’ve got to get clear on SELF-CARE as a priority. If we like to run we need to run. If we like to sleep in on Sunday mornings, we need to ask our partner to make that happen for us. We have to ask (100%) for what we want. Our partners cannot mindread. And our bodies will breakdown if we don’t take time to restore and rejuvenate ourselves. Some of that attention needs to be put on ourselves. THEN, we need to connect and reconnect with our partners. We need to TELL THEM WHAT WE WANT.
It’s hard. I’m still holding a few things back. I’m afraid to ask. I’m afraid to get a “no.” But that’s my problem. If I don’t ask, I am likely to get something other than what I want. I have to ask. I have to make my own happiness a priority. And as I refind my passion, I will bring that energy and love back to my partner, and ultimately back to my kids. But the ME (self-care) must be the priority. Otherwise, we are shortchanging ourselves and our energy. Your partner and your kids want to see you EXCITED and HAPPY. The only way to get there is to BE HAPPY. Focus on things that make you happy. And bring your partner and your kids into that circle of joy.
Put Yourself First
Your lover, your kids, your family, even your colleagues will notice the change as you get more of your own needs met: for alone time, for rest, for exercise, for walks alone, for recharging you. Then you can bring that love, energy, and joy back to your relationship and all the relationships in your life.
Summary: I’m not sure I shouldn’t have split this post into two topics, but here we are.
Appreciate and adore your partner and their body.
If you are feeling depressed, exhausted, and unavailable, reset your priorities and give yourself a few of the first ENERGY UNITS rather than only the last one, and the ones left over after you have taken care of EVERY. ONE. ELSE.
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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See more from The Positive Divorce section:
- 10 Positive Thoughts for You About Your Upcoming Divorce
- A Single Dad Sends His Hope and Greetings from the Other Side
- The Fear of Divorce: Holding On When You Should Let Go
- Divorce, Depression, and My Ex-wife: Humans of Divorce
- Nine Years Into My Divorce: Finding My Single Parenting Superpower
- Father’s Day: Love Fiercely, Because This All Ends
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Brené Brown
Here are a few of my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End
- Dating 2.0: Aiming for the Love of Your Life