Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Part II of Sunday, her two boys, and her marriage now! :)

Part II from Sunday's post, if you missed Part I you can read it here. I want to thank Sunday again for writing this. I know how hard it was for you and I appreciate so much that you took the time to do it. I have learned a lot. Shelle.

I met the man I am married to today at church.

I knew that if I was ever going to marry again my #1 dealbreaker was that I marry a man who shared my faith in Jesus Christ. I was first drawn to Mike when I heard him pray out loud during a meeting at our church's Divorce Care ministry. I remember feeling at home with his hand in mine and listening to his sweet southern drawl pray for guidance and for strength over all of us walking the difficult road of separation and divorce. His prayer was like a balm to my weathered and lonely soul.

Mike and I began dating during my separation from B. This angered some members of our church who believed that as long as I was not "legally" divorced from my husband I was not free to date or think about another man in a romantic way. A few even tried to have us formally removed from the church. After a meeting with our Pastor we were assured the few did not speak for the many and he urged us to join a couple's bible study held every Sunday after the service.

During this time Mike met my boys, Sam and Noah, and began learning more about them and about their diagnosis of autism. I had once been told that a woman should not introduce her children to a man until she has a ring on her finger. I suppose I could see the point in that thinking. Children become easily attached to others and it would be potentially hurtful to have them bond with a man you are dating if that relationship does not last. However, in my case I needed to know early on if my life with my boys was something Mike could handle and more importantly if it was something he was willing to commit to for the rest of his life.

We had a number of conversations during our first year together about the realities of autism. I wanted him to see what autism was and what it was not. Little did I know he would teach me a lot too. Mike has 2 sons of his own, ages 18 and 12, and at times when I was ripping my hair out over something my sons were doing he would assure me that their behavior was because they are boys and perhaps less about their diagnoses. It was reassuring to know that some of their antics are because they are normal. Normal, active, crazy-making, energetic BOYS!

So you may be asking yourself....What makes this marriage work? It is a million beautiful things that together equal what I always wanted but never thought I could have.

  1. We share a faith rooted in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior

  2. He makes me laugh everyday

  3. He is lighthearted and doesn't take life too seriously

  4. But he knows when to take me seriously

  5. He is a southern boy with the charm and chivalry to prove it

  6. When he makes a mistake he says "I'm sorry" and he means it

  7. His kisses make my head swoon

  8. His touch makes my heart quicken

  9. But his prayers bring me to the heart of God

  10. He loves the way I like to dote on him.

  11. He changes diapers.

  12. He cooks and cleans and does laundry

  13. He tells my boys he loves them when they leave for a weekend at their Dad's house

  14. He loves to take naps with me.

  15. He reads his bible and does his best to follow it.

  16. He doesn't gossip.

  17. He loves to watch movies and eat popcorn and have a picnic on the living room floor.

  18. He has a career but its what he does and not who he is.

  19. When I am with him I feel adored and completely loved for who I am right where I am.

  20. He could care less if I am skinny or plump, but he prefers plump.

  21. When he is mad he doesn't say things he will regret.

  22. He also doesn't storm out of the house and leave me feeling abandoned.

  23. He really listens to me and doesn't try to fix every little thing I talk about.

  24. But when he can fix something he does an expert job at it

  25. He's a big kid at heart.

  26. He likes to go to Toys R Us

  27. When I start a shopping list he will pick it up and buy everything on it.

  28. Including tampons!

  29. He plays Scrabble, Monopoly, and card games with me.

  30. He doesn't care if we have grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner

  31. He loves his Mama and respects his Father.

  32. He'll give you anything you need if he has the means or the item on hand.

Still, we realize that our marriage is not without some of the same stresses and concerns for my boys that I dealt with in my first marriage. The important difference is that we face them together as a couple. When either of us is feeling the strain we talk about it. Even when we disagree about something we don't use our words to hurt one another but instead we have learned to listen and to compromise when necessary.

Neither Mike or I know what the future will bring for my boys. We do not know if they will remain with us in our home until the day comes that one or both of us are too old to care for them ourselves, or if they will transition at some time to an adult group home, or if they will surpass all the odds and go on to attend college and live seemingly "normal" lives. But what we do know for sure is that we will face their futures together as both a couple and a family....albeit a more unique one than most.

Sunday can be found writing about her life, her 2 sons Sam and Noah, and her status as a second-time newlywed on her blog

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Disability & the relationships by Nolens Volens

This post is about people having successful relationships while dealing with their own disabilities. Shelle asked me to write this post because she knew that I would be the perfect guest blogger.

How can I be the perfect guest blogger? That's because I have a disability, and you wouldn't be able to tell what kind of disability I have unless I tell you or you talk to me in person. If you're smart, you'll have figured out by now that I am...deaf. Shocker, I know. LOL

People have asked either one of us how we could possibly maintain a successful relationship when it's widely known that the divorce rate for deaf/hearing spouses (my wife is hearing) is so much higher than the rate for those who are both hearing. My answer to that is "honesty and open communication".

I am pretty sure that the first thing that popped in your head upon reading the word "communication" is "How when he's deaf?" and that is quite understandable. This happens to me more often than you realize. Sure, it is very handy (if you'll pardon the pun) that my wife is fluent in sign language and is an interpreter. ;) However, that is not the point - she and I have always told each other exactly how we feel about anything without any fear or hesitation.

The second key to a successful relationship is remembering that I have been able to function in the world by myself. My wife, in the beginning, tried to "help" me by acting as my interpreter and I would gently remind her that I have coped successfully for 30 years...before meeting her. It can be too easy to rely on my wife to act as a liaison between me and the world. I only ask her for help when it is absolutely necessary.

The third key is respect. Without mutual respect for each other, we would be fighting about everything and nothing. We barely fight and when we do fight, it is always brief because we adhere to the "no kitchen sink" rule. Let me explain that rule with an example. You're arguing with your spouse about who should be doing the dishes when you bring up the chore of taking out the trash. You've violated the rule by going off the subject...which was about doing the dishes and taking out the trash has nothing to do with that. By saying "what does that have to do with what we are talking about?", you return to the subject at hand.

You know what's funny? All the key points I touched on in the post above...applies equally to every couple, even if both do not have any form of disability. This applies to friendships as well.

I love my wife very much, even if she frustrates me some of the time. Oh, I am positive that I drive her crazy too. Remembering the rules is our secret to a successful relationship. If I feel that she hasn't been listening to me, I will let her know. Relationships are just like streets - they work both ways. ;)

If you are very curious about me and you would like to learn more about me, please feel free to visit me at my new blog and ask me questions in there. My identity there will not be Nolens Volens, so I would like to ask all of you to respect my desire to keep both NV and DCHY identities separate.

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Relationship and dealing with autism Part I

Sunday is a Guest Contributor for today. When Nolens Volens offered this topic I thought of her. I really only know of her through twitter and one day she posted an About Me page for her blog, I clicked on the link and was moved by her story. I asked her through Direct Message if she would be interested in writing her story here for us as a female perspective on how a relationship is effected by either raising a child with a disability or having a spouse with a disability. She said she would and has also admitted how difficult it came to be for her to write it and we had to break it up into a TWO part series. So Part I is posting today... then Nolens Volens is doing his perspective tomorrow and then I am going to post her Part II on Wednesday instead of Group Therapy.

As a parent of 2 children on the severe end of the autism spectrum I am often asked how my children's special needs effect my marriage?

My answer... Which one?

Every parent of a child with autism has heard the statistic of Dr. Colleen Allen that warns us 86% of our marriages will fail under the stress of dealing with the ins and outs of living with a child diagnosed with autism. What is most interesting to me is a number of autism acceptance bloggers and organizations have attempted to locate the actual data Dr. Allen collected to prove her statistic and have come up empty. Because there is none to find.

However, another engaging study done by the Easter Seals Organization offers, "quantifiable information that families living with autism are significantly less likely to be divorced than families with children without special needs." In addition their Easter Seals: Living with Autism Study found that of those who have divorced only a third felt the stresses of managing the special needs of their child(ren) had anything to do with their divorce.

So, what does cause divorce in families affected by autism?

I can't speak for every couple but I know in my own marriage and eventual divorce the causes were very similar to couples who have not parented a child with autism. Including:

  • Lack of communication

  • Loss of initmacy

  • Feelings of inadequacy and being unappreciated

  • Hurtful words and bitterness

  • Financial woes

  • Religious differences

Any one or two of these issues in a marriage can leave its foundation rocked and cause an eventual crumbling. If I am completely honest with both myself and my readers I would say we had all of the above in place long before the birth and diagnosis of both of our sons.

The boys Dad ("B") and I had a fair amount of yin and yang from the beginning. I had always felt that being different kept things interesting and that opposites are always attracted to one another. And they were... for awhile. He had a JD degree and worked as an attorney, whereas I graduated from high school but didn't make it past the first semester of college. He was very active in local and regional politics but the art of debate and campaigning bored me to tears. I was a social butterfly and preferred to be out and about and always going places while he most enjoyed staying at home and reading or blogging on his laptop. I wanted to travel and see the world or be outside enjoying the local parks and hiking trails and B was always concerned about money and his job and building up a clientele. It was a couple short years before our differences starkly outweighed our similarities.

Just before our fourth anniversary we had our son, Samuel. It was a difficult process of getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and enduring a high risk pregnancy. These three stresses on top of the ones we already had in place were further straining our relationship and marriage. I had always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. B preferred to work. A lot.

Looking back I realize that the responsibility of providing for a wife who was no longer working and an infant were a very big stress for him. But, B had always thrown himself into his work. Prior to our having children it was not unusual for him to pull an all nighter either at his office or in our home preparing for a case. It seemed he never slept and when he did it was for very short periods of time. B was consumed by his job and so I spent my time and energy caring for Sam.

Sam was diagnosed with severe autism when he was 19 months old. The stress of having a child with special needs was only the tip of the iceberg of our expanding marital issues. B continued to work very long hours to support our family and I did the best I knew how by throwing myself into searching for answers and attempting to hide my grief over Sam's diagnosis. I often felt guilty for the grief I felt and very much alone in it. I would try to voice my fears and concerns to B but the responses I would get varied from his trying to reassure me or advise me on how to deal with the stress. What I most wanted was for him to be heartbroken with me, even if just for a moment. It was a dead end emotional roller coaster and I felt like I was the one running it.

Noah was born on March 21, 2005 and was developmentally the complete opposite of his older brother. He met or exceeded every one of his developmental milestones and both slept and ate easily.

During Noah's first year my husband resigned from his job and began working in the District of Columbia. The money was quite good compared with where he had been but the trade-off was a commute of almost two hours each way six days a week. Most days he woke before 5 a.m. and did not return home until after 11 p.m. For the next two years we hardly saw each other except on the weekends. He was physically exhausted from working almost nonstop and had become almost robotic in his schedule while I was left feeling completely closed off to the world and very much alone. We were like strangers sharing a house and caring for our sons in the best way we knew how.

Just before Noah's second birthday I had begun to notice a shift in his development. He no longer made eye contact, he didn't respond to his name and he had completely stopped talking. I raised my concerns to B and we agreed that having him evaluated was for the best, if only because of Sam's diagnosis. Friends and family thought perhaps he had learned the behavior from watching Sam. He hadn't. Noah was diagnosed with autism on the severe end of the spectrum when he was 26 months old.

By the time Noah turned three years old I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that all I wanted to do every night after the boys feel asleep was lay in bed, drink a glass of wine, and fall asleep. I had no energy or emotion left for being intimate or staying up late when B got home from work. It felt like when we did talk it was always about the boys, our precarious finances, or how much harder the other one was working and our frustration that the other didn't acknowledge it. I was tired of feeling like a single mother and I would imagine he was tired of feeling like an unappreciated paycheck.

Our marriage had weathered so much up to that point: Infertility, 2 high-risk pregnancies, religious differences, the unexpected death of my mom, financial difficulties, 2 diagnoses of autism, his grueling work schedule, and my mounting unhappiness and feelings of inadequacy as both a wife and a mother. I felt like I couldn't be both. I could either give 100% to my children who each needed all of my attention at the same time or my husband who much of the time acted as if he didn't need me at all.

In November of 2007 I told my husband I wanted a divorce. I know he was stunned and maybe a bit shocked. I had always avoided conflict of any sort like the plague. I never felt like I could adequately express myself when we had a disagreement. I was always left feeling belittled and unworthy of my feelings. The most difficult part was admitting to myself that I had not felt loved in a very long time and that I was okay with that because I didn't love him anymore either.

Almost immediately I felt a weight lifted from my shoulders. B began sleeping in the basement and I slept in the master bedroom down the hall from the boys' rooms. Now when we spoke it was without emotional upheaval. It was very businesslike and I was finding my own voice in the midst of the changes. The following few months were not without stress of their own as I prepared the home to sell and began the search for a new place to live, possible school changes, and preparing the boys and myself for what being a single mother really looked like. Our home sold quickly and by April of 2008 the boys and I were living in a local apartment complex.

It has now been almost two years since our separation I can easily say that autism was not a factor in the end of our marriage. I believe the true fault line that separated us was in place long before our boys were born and eventually diagnosed with autism. Raising children with special needs certainly added a degree of stress to our lives but the real strain was caused by our divided priorities, our failure to come together as a couple to work through our problems, and the end of our being able to communicate respectfully and lovingly with one another.

Today the boys spend every other weekend and one overnight a week with their dad and the remainder of there time with me. B and I talk often and many times at length over the boys' futures, their school performance, and our goals and hopes for them. We attend their I.E.P. and doctors appointments as a team and when we celebrate a birthday or other holiday we often do so together. When we ended our marriage we both realized that it did not end our relationship with one another in relation to our children and that for their sake it would be most important to co-parent positively with one another.

Our boys have remained rather unfazed by our separation and divorce. In some ways their autism was a blessing. I have many friends who have children who were emotionally traumatized by watching their parent's arguments, court battles, and dramatic hand-offs for designated weekends and in result have had to endure much more pain and anguish than any child should ever experience. Our boys are the same emotionally as they were in 2007. They show no signs of sadness over our living apart and if anything look forward to the change in scenery that going to "Daddy's house" or "Mommy's house" provides them.

Our children are happy and thriving amidst our separate, yet united environments and really I think that is the most important thing of all.

Shelle Edit: Who out there has been through a similar experience? How did you guys work it out? Or for those of you who haven't been through this experience what are you feelings on how it panned out for her relationship?

Sunday can be found blogging about her day to day life with Sam and Noah and her status as a second time Newlywed at

Friday, March 26, 2010

VENUS Perspective: Wardrobe Malpractice be warned

I don't even come close to topping Tysdaddy's post from yesterday… but here's my addition to Wardrobe Malpractice Wearing!

My husband is older than me. By 4 and some (almost 5) years, not a HUGE difference but enough that he grew up in the 80's and remembers it... and well...I don't.

The problem is fashion.

Don't get me wrong, my guy's a snazzy dresser, he's just 100% better since he married me, just sayin.

See when we got married he still owned clothes from High School-no you didn't read that wrong, he still had shirts and pants he had bought and wore in High School only they were a tad looser on him back then, then they were when we got married.

I should have known or been forewarned when he showed up to our first date wearing this shirt:

This isn't our first date, obviously.... day we got engaged.

Minus the bleach blonde hair.

Luckily he has a dang fine face because I almost wrote him off when I saw that, I thought maybe he was just testing me to see how vain I was, so I decided to pass THAT test (said sarcastically) with flying colors and just not say anything about the should-never-have-been-allowed-to-be-made shirt that I nicknamed, "The picnic shirt".

See to me it looked like something I would pack in a wicker basket along with other picnic supplies and drag it to the local park to spread as a tablecloth on top of a weather worn table and bench set. I honestly thought he was joking when he showed up with that shirt on.

After our first date he was hit and miss in the clothing department.

Some days he would show up in a t-shirt, pants, and flip flops and I would melt.

Then the next time I'd see him he'd be dressed up as someone that had just walked off a what-not-to-wear photo shoot… but he was so hot I'd just scrunch my nose and move on (I was less vain then I thought or less vocal about it).

That picnic shirt was there the day he proposed to me (see picture above), I had already told him how much I never wanted to see that shirt again, that I loathed it, but he thought he would get me on that proposal day by going to the same restaurant as our first date and wearing the same thing… (it worked) but only because he was still hot not because of the picnic shirt.

As much as he knew I hated that shirt he kept it for that very reason. Pulling it out often to smirk as he proudly wore it to work knowing it grated on my nerves. I would have trashed it early on in our marriage but I was afraid he'd seek revenge and I wasn't strong enough to take that chance, I mean, what if he threw away one of my coveted pair of strap heels because he's not to fond of them??? So I never did. However, I had headaches on those days he wore that picnic shirt… it was quite the coincidence.

As a wife it was my duty to slowly get rid of the old high school and fashion faux pas clothes and secretly add new and improved and CURRENT clothes.

I've done an incredible job and can proudly say that picnic shirt finally tore and we had to throw it away AND all of his high school clothes have somehow disappeared replaced with hot jeans and shirts that make me drool (and apparently girls at college also).

The only thing I have failed terribly at is his choice of foot wear. I'm afraid I lost that battle before it ever began. Luckily the 80's is making a terrible comeback and my husbands footwear is now completely "in" and vintage to boot!

I know a lot of people may think I'm completely loony by even caring what he wears, but I do. I think clothes tell a lot about a person and they give off your first impression as you meet other people. How you dress yourself can also tell someone of your confidence and how you carry yourself.

No in the grand scheme of things clothes are not the most important (hello I married the guy), but they do play a big role in our lives since we wear them everyday, and I am just vain enough that I care if he wears things on a daily basis where I am reminded how much I want him.

So what does your spouse have in their closet that you secretly wish you could burn… but like a ouiji board it never goes away only to be pulled out of the closet to be the bane of your life? Are clothes even that important as a first impression to you? What do you have to say? I'm interested!!! :)



Thursday, March 25, 2010

I May Not Know Jack, But I Dig His Purse!

I spent a small portion of this extremely busy week once again contemplating the “coolness” of my Man Purse . . .

On Monday I started a new job, and I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger. So many binders and training manuals. And I've decided that I need something to carry all my crap in while at work. I'll be moving around the plant quite a bit, doing different jobs as assigned, and hate to try and juggle my books and medication and other accouterments. So I dug out this book bag I bought several months ago. It’s heavy-duty, has a bunch of pockets inside, and a lifetime guarantee. But I wonder if it’s a bit too girlie looking . . .

Some of the folks at work will likely give me shit about it. Which doesn’t bother me, per se; I am confident enough in my manhood to carry a pink BlackBerry . . .

. . . which doesn’t really look pink in the picture, but you are an imaginative bunch. And what’s up with that look?! It’s so Attack of the Unibrow Man! Maybe if I struck a manly pose . . .

Nah! Perhaps I should go for the Jack Bauer Man Purse . . .

Now there’s a manly mug!

So what say you, dear Reader? Ditch the purse? Ditch the Unibrow? Both? Are they fatal wardrobe malfunctions? That's our topic today, and I'm up for any and all suggestions . . .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What would you Rather?

Okay here we go again another round of What Would You Rather Real World style!

We are going to ask you two questions. Tell us which one you would choose in each question.


Have plastic surgery on yourself OR have it to change your partners body? It would be free. Which would you choose AND describe what you would have done!


Date someone who is negative OR date someone who is always falsely positive?

There you go. PICK one from each scenario... the thing about this game is that you must choose ONE or the OTHER... no fence sitting!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lovin' in the mornin', Lovin' at night.... when is it right?

Out of the fog I feel it... it starts slowly. A hand on the hip, a not so subtle reposition, a rub on the back. All an attempt to wake me up for morning sex. Honestly, there are mornings where he would have better luck waking a grizzly bear up to run a marathon in the middle of January. It just isn't going to happen.

There are several reasons for this. Most of these reasons are physical,
Actually, I can't think of any of them that aren't physical.
1) I do not wake up smelling like roses and mouthwash... sorry, but it is the truth.
2) I am NOT a morning person. NOT even a little bit.
3) I can not go from zero to ooooh baby in .0002 seconds. I need to get my engine warmed up.
4) Warning: blunt truth coming up right ----> here: I do not like having "stuff" dripping down my leg for the rest of the day.
5) The kids are awake and need food, drinks, help with this that and the other thing, knocking on the door, or worst listening at the door. I can not separate me mom and me lover that well... my kids are still young enough that me mom wins.
6) Finally, I just don't like it as well.

I am sure Dearest could counter each and every one of these arguments with a perfectly logical and true statement of his own... but, I am not going to let him here. (that is what the comment box is for - but if you want any lovin honey .... just sayin....)

My dear sweet man has a hard time with night time "activities" because he works all day long, with very little down time and by the time the children are in the bed, and I have relaxed- allowing any such sport to begin- his eyes are getting heavy and his head is bobbing. He is out. Now, once he is down for the count - he is down.

Quite honestly the most amazing and perfect answer ever is NOONERS !
(too bad he has a job that doesn't allow him to come home during the day... sigh....)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Meet the Blogger: Daddy Geek Boy


Name: Daddy Geek Boy

Age: A spry 37

Kids #, age & sex: The Bean, 4, boy; Sprout 18 mos., girl

Maritial status: Married. Yes, married.

1. How many years in your current relationship: 8 1/2

2. Have you ever been divorced?: Nope.

***If so how many times?:

3. What do you do for work: Sorry, that's classified.

4. Education: Do Saturday morning cartoons count as education? No? Okay, I graduated from college.

5. Blogs you contribute to: Daddy Geek Boy;
Hot Dads; Venus Vs. Mars; Reeling (on

main blog: DGB

6. Religion: Jewish

7. Political affiliation- (republican, democrat, libertarian): Democrat

8. Basic philosophical leanings (liberal, conservative, confused): I'm usually confused, but lean liberal.

9. What is your motto in life?: I'm going to borrow from Google and say, "Don't be evil."

10. Who has had the most influence in your life?: Growing up, my dad. Now a days, my wife.

11. Why did you start Blogging? (100 words or less): To scratch that creative itch while creating a record of my kids' lives.

*What is the most favorite post you have written on any blog you contribute to?: I really love my four part post about my vasectomy (posted on Hot Dads). Not the procedure, mind you, but the posts.

12. Tell us in 100 words about your current relationship:

A geek and a non-geek, harmoniously living together. WonderWife™ and I have a lot of different interests, but we view the world in a similar way. That’s what makes us click. We love each other deeply. We trust each other implicitly.

Shelle's Edit: Daddy Geek Boy or DGB as I call him :) has been with Real World from the beginning (Even though I LOVE the movie Transformers and he, well DOESN'T, he's still around...imagine that!). The thing that I love about his writing is that I feel like I'm sitting on a chair across from him. His writing makes me feel like I'm right there in the moment of what he's talking about. If you don't know what I mean then you should read his blog, especially when he talks about his kids, wife, movies, or his extremely weird obsession with bacon-but he is his own self proclaimed critique of food (in fact, his top 5 categories are parenting, The Bean a.k.a. his kid, movies, food and his Wife!). He's definitely one of the best kind of people to work with and I'm so very very happy and lucky that he writes here at Real World as one of the Mars Team.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Group Therapy: Am I asking to much?

WELCOME TO GROUP THERAPY-Where we give each other advice through comments!

Before we start I did want to say: "Happy St. Patrick's Day" from Real World Venus vs. Mars- remember to pinch those not wearing green!!!

"I'm writing in just for advice. I'm at my wit's end really and since divorce for me isn't an option nor is it what I want I guess I'm just wanting opinions. Before we were married I knew my husband liked to drink, alcohol. I do not drink. As we dated he gave it up, I think partially for me because it was really hard for me to get intimate with him when I could barely stand the smell of alcohol on his breath.

After a few years of marriage he started taking up drinking on the weekends again. He's definitely a different person when he drinks and it's not that I hate that person, I just don't enjoy him. It's like he endures the week just to get drunk on the weekends. He's so into "relaxing/drinking" on the weekends with buddies and co-workers that I feel neglected. I don't go out with him because I have no interest in drinking. Sure it's usually one night a Friday or a Saturday but it seems selfish to me.
He works all week and I see him maybe an hour or so at night as we sit and relax before I drift off to sleep.

We just found out we are pregnant and I'm at a quandary. I want him to stop drinking for good, I don't want to have to worry about him getting "wasted" on the weekends or having that as an example for our children.
But is that asking to much? He doesn't drink during the week nor does he have alcohol around the house he only drinks when he goes out with his friends AND he sleeps in the guest bedroom when he comes home after one to many drinks because he knows I can't stand the smell of it. I can live with it if I absolutely have to, but I don't want to.

So readers of Real World Venus vs. Mars am I asking to much? Am I over worried? Should I approach him about it or will that bring unnecessary drama in our relationship?

***If you have any questions or problems that you would like to have addressed in Group Therapy please email me at blokthoughts@gmail dot com orrealworldvenusmars @ gmail dot com.

Leave your advice in the comments, comment on other comments, and feel free to comment Anonymously.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spouse: Overly positive or negative?

When I informed my wife of my impending post, she hung her head in shame.

I grinned at the act of her lowering her head because she wanted to avoid my steady and unblinking gaze. We both knew right away who was who.

My wife is the negative one. I am the positive one. We balance each other out.

There have been days where she has had a bad start in the morning. It gets hard for her. She can go into a downward spiral. Sometimes, she will crash 'n' burn and she just hates it when that happens.

When I have a bad start, I relax and focus on the positive. Sometimes, I will talk to someone and that does the job. My wife has asked me how the hell I can find my center so easily. I've told her that it comes to me naturally. Sure, I will go into a downward spiral but that is rare.

There have been times when my wife's negativity overwhelms me. No matter how hard I try to stay positive, I will lose to that once in a while. Granted, I don't like "losing" but the latest defeat is that...a temporary setback. I know she will appreciate what I tried to do for her. She has admitted that she couldn't have made it through some days without my support. We complement each other because it takes teamwork to make that happen.

I absolutely love teamwork. If you asked me to play a game with you, I will always answer with "Can we be on the same team?" You will always hear from me things like "Good job!" or "That was great!". I can engage in trash talk on a friendly term. Sometimes after my wife and I have said all the things we needed to say during a fight, I will say something out of the blue just to lighten up the mood. That always gets her and we are good once again. Nothing like teamwork.

Can a spouse be overly positive or negative? Yes. What can we do about that? We show support. What if support isn't enough? Use the teamwork - work with your spouse to find the common ground/goal. What if all of that doesn't work? You've stayed with your spouse all this time and there has to be a reason for that, so use humor and love.

Psst...did you see what I did? How I wrote this post? The style of writing? Didn't you notice that each subsequent paragraph had one sentence more than the previous one? Go ahead...scroll back and count. I won't be offended. I had an idea and I felt positive that I could do it. I achieved what I set out to do. See how positivity can prevail in the odds of adversity?

Monday, March 15, 2010

What Would You Rather?

Sage had this brilliant idea. And since we had technical difficulties for a post today... I think we will try out this fun or disturbing game of his.

You have probably all played, "Would You Rather"?

Well here it is RWVM style.

All you have to do is in comments... let me know which one you would rather if you had to choose, you can comment anonymously. And you have to choose one or the other!!!

"Would you rather have a partner who cheated on you OR was addicted to drugs"?

Leave your answer in comments!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Paternity Testing

Until I did some research for this post, everything I knew about paternity and DNA testing came from CSI and the Maury Povich show. And based on that knowledge I would agree that mandatory DNA/Paternity testing at birth would be a splendid idea.

But upon doing some research and putting some thought into it, I realize that there is no way I can support mandatory testing. The reasons are as follows: (I have to thank Hubman for helping me with the research and scientific facts)

The Practical Reasons
1. DNA/Paternity Testing is Expensive: Looking around the internet, I saw that DNA testing costs an average of $500. According to an article in the NY Times, 4.3 million babies were born in the United States in 2007. This means that $2.1 billion is going to be spent on testing that is largely unnecessary as the paternity is not in question for a majority of the pregnancies.

2. How will they collect the data from the Dads: If a woman is truly wondering who the daddy is, chances are he is probably not standing next to her in the delivery room. Who is going to track these men down? And who is going to pay for it?

3. There is no national DNA Database: Unless you have served in the military (as Hubman once did) or have had your DNA tested in crime processing your DNA information is not available unless you provide it. Even for those who have their DNA on file for the military it is not available for testing without probable cause. Are we now going to make fatherhood a crime and use that to compel men to provide a DNA sample?

4. This would create a huge new bureaucracy: In order to collect samples, test them report the results and store the information the country would need a whole new Federal or State Agency. As much as I want to have job creation, is creating the WYD Agency (Who's Your Daddy) really the best way to do it?

5. This would be a HUGE invasion of privacy: Now that your DNA has been collected, its going to go where? And be visible by whom? And destroyed when and how? Is this something we really want to leave to our State or Federal government?

6. DNA testing is not 100% Accurate: According to the DNA Diagnostics Center, their results for inclusion testing is accurate 99.99% of the time. Pretty good, right? How about the flip side of that, the 0.01% of the time their test is wrong. That's 1 in every 10000 tests. Back to those 4.3 million births per year, we now have 430 couples who are told that the dad, who really is the dad, is not the dad. Oops. Even though things might be rectified in the end, this could cause a lot of people a world of hurt.

7. DNA testing is not easy: It's not a perfect analogy, but consider the effort to identify the human remains from the 9/11 World Trade Center Attack through DNA analysis. Dr. Robert Shaler was the director of the Forensic Biology Lab of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of NYC at the time and wrote a book about the identification effort. There were ~20,000 samples from ~2,900 victims to be identified. And in almost every case, they didn't have to rely on parent or child's DNA for comparison, because through the family they were able to obtain an actual sample of that persons DNA (hair from a hairbrush at home, epithelial cells from a toothbrush, etc). You know how successful they were? They positively ID'd about 1600 of the victims. And it took 3 1/2 years. It's like looking for a piece of hay in a haystack in a field full of haystacks. So if the woman truly has no idea who the father is, locating the father through DNA is really an impossible task.

The Emotional Reasons:

1. Way to Build Trust: Having mandatory DNA testing is like having the government say to every woman in America-We think you are a lying slut.

2. Bonding: For some people, bonding with an infant can be challenging. Having a lingering question in the back of one's head about the paternity of the child could inhibit the bonding.

3. Its insulting to the couple: For a committed and loving couple, mandatory testing cheapens the whole wonderful lovely process that having a baby with your partner can be. I cannot imagine that I would fully enjoy the pregnancy experience while being made to feel like the Maury Povich trash.

4. It Devalues the Dad: Mandatory testing reduces the role of father to that of sperm donor. Fatherhood is so much more than that.

And finally, we already have a system that works. If the paternity is truly brought into question there are legal channels to look into this. If there is doubt and either partner does not want to confront the parent, you can collect the DNA sample without the knowledge of the partner.

I am up on Another Suburban Mom today and completely Safe for work.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Paternity? To check or not to Check, that is the question.

Should paternity be checked at birth.

Yes absolutely. I don't know how much this costs but if it is fairly inexpensive then I am for it being mandatory. Who could possibly be against this? The only place I think it might not be applicable would be if the child was conceived outside the womb or was done by a doctor (without the hokie pokie going on). In that case paternity wouldn't matter. There are so many reasons for this.

One would be of course to lay aside any doubts the guy has (or the chick for that matter). I mean if you hit up your wife for the test and someone else has been plowin her garden then shes gonna go postal up in there as a defense. Whats worse? If no other Friendly Henry has been warmin up her bed then she is REALLY going to go postal! So make it mandatory and that way everyone knows for sure.

The second reason is to GET BACK SOME OF MY DAMN MONEY! Think of it. Lets say a woman goes in there all bred up. She has no clue who her baby daddy is. Well since it is mandatory that the kid be paternity tested then we have on file the test and we check that against all known profiles! Well if this mother received heath care from the state (pre Obama and Socialism where the whole damn country goes bust for the unions and net loss voters) then we match the baby daddy, ding ding ding! He owes us. Then since the mother is raising the child alone well Big Daddy can bust out a monthly check to help with that, further distancing the state (me, the taxpayer and Net Gain person) from the child and its many expenses!

I might even have another effect of making doods be a lil more cautious where they plant their seed too! I mean if you knew there was a far greater chance that you were going to actually have to pay for the child then maybe you'd be a tad more careful. I havent a clue how much condoms cost but its cheaper than 18 years worth of monthly checks. Also it would help some percentage of single moms who chose to breed dead beats.

Also it could save some poor fellow from making the worst mistake of his life. If he thinks its his, or "loves" the chick so he just has blind faith. Or that even though he was boot camp for 3 months the middle of which was exactly 9 months ago and it is a miraculous conception he can keep from marrying up the low down two timing dirty lil dog. He should be man enough to ask if it is in question but some folks have "love" and just can't see the forest for the trees. I see it as net gain all the way around!

That is my take. What could possibly be the downside?

Go see what Hotdads has going on!

Southern Sage <----Today is HNT day here, it is vanilla today and fully clothed and safe for work, not only that but I think it is a must see. Hit that after you comment here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Group Therapy: Women have the power.


We don't have a write in today but I found an interesting article HERE that says Women have the POWER in the relationship, kind of. Here is an exert from the article. Do you agree with it?

"The study at least suggests that the marriage is a place where women can exert some power," said Vogel. "Whether or not it's because of changing societal roles, we don't know. But they are, at least, taking responsibility and power in these relationships. So at least for relatively satisfied couples, women are able to take some responsibility and are able to exert some power -- but it's hard for us to say why that's so."

"Women are responsible for overseeing the relationship -- making sure the relationship runs, that everything gets done, and that everybody's happy," said Murphy, "And so, maybe some of that came out in our findings in terms of women domineering and dominating -- that they were taking more responsibility for the relationship, regardless of whose topic was being discussed.

Vogel said that wives weren't simply talking more than their husbands in discussions, but actually were drawing favorable responses from their husbands to what they said.

"That's what I think was particularly interesting," he said. "It wasn't just that the women were bringing up issues that weren't being responded to, but that the men were actually going along with what they said. They (women) were communicating more powerful messages and men were responding to those messages by agreeing or giving in."

"There's been research that suggests that's a marker of a healthy marriage -- that men accept influence from their wives," said Murphy."

What about your guys' marriages or relationships? Does this apply to you? Women do you see yourself as the one exhibiting your man to "give in" and MEN what do you think about that? Does this ring true?

***We would love to hear from you guys! If you have something you want discussed in Group Therapy email me at blokthoughts @ gmail dot com-- Subject: Group Therapy.

Comment, follow comments, come back and discuss others comments, and feel free to comment anonymously!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Parent Projects... Who's the parent here?

I have always hated homework.

I hated it when it was mine and I totally hate it now that it is my kids problem.

Not to mention that "parent projects" make me crazy... you know, the ones the kids forget to tell you about until the night before.

"Um... mom... I forgot,  I gotta re-invent the wheel by morning."

On top of all this is the fact that I have no support from the "Duke" on this subject.  I doubt he ever did a lick of homework that didn't have to do with beer or training bras.

He never remembers to remind the kids about it.  If I'm gone for the night I can be so sure that when I return homework won't even be on the radar.  I think it is too much work for him to want to put up the fight.  He would rather pretend it doesn't exist.

Until of course the report card comes in and then the boys better represent.  How does that work?  Don't we have to guide them and show them what is expected?

So every night its the same thing.

Chief:  "Who has homework"


Chief:  "Hello?  It's time for homework"


Chief:  "If I don't see two kids at the table right now... buried in math books I am going to start busting someone's balls!  And Im starting with you, Duke."

and then there is a quick shuffle of papers and scratching of pencils and Duke puts on his athletic supporter for one more night of high octane parenting.

small print:  this is not really Duke... how I know this is Duke is bald.

Disclaimer: I love My husband for all he does that does not make me crazy.  Which is a lot.

Check in with me here, here, or here.

all photos stolen from the internet

Monday, March 8, 2010

Just A Little Homework . . .


The little clock in the bottom-right corner of my monitor tells me it's 7:48 AM. Eastern. Which means I have only 12 minutes to finish this post and hit Publish.

My homework. Assigned by Professor Shelle. She even sent me an email reminder last night at some point during that monotonous Oscar brouhaha. I had to read my invite from Google Calendar just to remind myself of the topic. Something about who helps the kids with the homework.

Not me.

For, though very few people would know this unless I told them, I am a chronic procrastinator. In fact, you probably wouldn't even know that I sat here at . . . 7:52 . . . piecing this masterpiece together if I hadn't brought it up.

My excuse? I work well under pressure. Some of my best material - for my blog, for my university classes, for my grandmother's funeral - were all crafted under the weight of an impending deadline, often only a few short moments over the horizon of time.

So I'm not the best example. Even though it works for me in most cases.

When the kids get home, it is my wife who gathers them 'round her desk, makes them drag out their assignment notebooks, tallies up the list of requirements for the evening, and then ensures that they take their place at the table and crack their books. I am there for support, for when the algebra or lit assignment gets overwhelming. I read the books they are reading and do my part to make sure they are getting the material and that they are ready for whatever test or paper is coming due.

But the whip-cracking is all my wife.

7:57 . . .

[twiddling thumbs]

So. There ya go. Homework sucks. But my kids get it done thanks to my diligent and organized wife.

Me? I need coffee . . .

Friday, March 5, 2010

Meet the Blogger: Donna


Donna (Esse
ntials Today)


Kids #, age & sex:
No Kiddos

Maritial status:
Painfully single

1. How many years in
your current relationship: 36 years, we've had a good run :)

2. Have you ever been divorced?: No

***If so how many times?:

3. What do you do for work: Human Resources for a staffing company

4. Education:
Associates degree

5. Blogs you contribute to:
This one! (Real World Venus Mars)

6. Religion:
Methodist (sp
iritual but not religious)

7. Political affiliation- (republican, democrat, libertarian):

8. Basic philosophical leanings (liberal, conservative, confused):

9. What is your motto in life?: Don't criticize someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

10. Who has had the most influence in your life?: There are so many people, but my sister is probably the biggest influence.

11. Why did you start Bl
ogging? (100 words or less):I have a lot to say! I've always wanted to try it, so one day, thanks to my good friend Anissa, I created one. It's been a great experience and I've *met* some wonderful people.

*What is the most favorite post you have written on any blog you contribute to?:
Donna didn't have one on this, but I love THIS post of hers.

12. Tell us in 100 words about your current relationship: I am single and dating. It's been a rough go and I'm finding that there are not that many fish in my pond, so to speak. The choices get much slimmer as you get older. Ugh, I can't believe I referred to myself as *older*. But it's been an interesting experience. I've met some great people, some not so great people and have been learning a ton about myself in the process.

13. BONUS or OPTIONAL: Tell us something we need to know about you that we haven't covered above. 50 words or less: I have a wicked sense of humor, did a speech for Geraldine Ferraro growing up, have what seems to be a freckle on my eye ball and I am a Disney freak!

Donna-- The Bare Essentials.

Shelle's addition: I just wanted to add that Donna's outlook on relationships has been so good for this site in comments and also in her posts. She is so relate able and that is how she writes. She is so open willing to lay it out there no holds bar. I love that about her. I am so lucky she writes over here for us. Thanks Donna!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Don't read these comics if you don't like to laugh.

We had some technical difficulties for our He Said She Said post for today.

So... here are some comics I have enjoyed reading. All of them I found on GoComics. Seriously you should go over there and join if you enjoy comics as I do!

Isn't that last one the TRUTH!!! I think I need to take up golfing? heh!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Group Therapy-Spouse or Friends?


Someone wrote a post similar to my concern, but my husband when he is around his friends or OUR friends is a different person than when he's just with me. That isn't to say he's horrible with me, but let's say we are in an arguement and he decides to play the silent treatment with me, he would go on for days if I allowed it! But as soon as we see a friend or someone he knows he's all chipper and talking about life and even how proud he is of me. Or let's say one of his buddies get's on his nerves, they argue a bit, he doesn't play silent treatment to them? He forgives them so much more easily than he forgives me. Does this makes sense? Why am I the one that has to deal with that? Is this selfish of me? Is it just part of marriage? I just feel like I should be given more leniency and easier forgiveness then he gives his friends or acquaintenances. What do you guys think? I want your opinion? Am I the only one that feels this way?

Thank you.

***Okay you know what to do guys. Leave your comments and comment Anonymously if you would like!

If you have an issue you would like to post for Group Therapy email me at blokthoughts at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shelle's Love Definition-which is WAY better than Sage's!

So you read Sage's take on LOVE yesterday? If not, don't waste your time--you won't get anything out of it ;)

If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought my husband wrote it.

So I thought I'd kinda respond on what I think LOVE is. From my perspective. Even though nobody asked me! :)

Every relationship I've ever been in I'm IN because I like the person. When it came to boyfriends I liked them AND I lusted after them which can often be confused with LOVING THEM and often is, especially when we are young and have learned "love" through media. But having now been married to the same person for 10 years I realize that he is the only person I have EVER truly LOVED that wasn't my family.

Sage asks in his post: "First what is it? I mean how do you know you have it? It always seemed to me that everyone that ever had or was in love cried all the time. How could that be good enough to want it? Why would anyone have it?" and later on he asks these questions, "how would I know? I mean do b
ells go off? Do I get something? Does my stomach feel like I'm gonna have the squirts?" (he has a way with words right? *snort* at squirts)

So... here is how I see love. Or how I KNOW I love my husband. Even though in no way did anyone ask me. I just want to share my opinion!

Love is built upon--Lust or Like. But like and lust are fickle. It's ever changing and doesn't last, but that is how most relationships start. You either lust after them or you like them enough to hang out with them more than once. (exception being your own kids. Most parents will agree that you LOVE them first)

Most people confuse love for wanting to be with a person all.the.time or wanting to jump on them and have their way with them or something like that. But to me, that is lust or a lot a lot of like. But not love. I was like that with a lot of people in my life. Especially guys I liked. I just HAD to talk to them or be
around them and if we dated and then kissed a lot...BOOM I thought I was in LOVE! Then after just a few weeks I'd get sick of them. The newness died away and life would interfere. Or they might have gotten sick of me (Pshaw! yea right! I just had to put that in there so you didn't feel I was cocky). Or I met someone else that I liked (lusted after) more. So I was never really in love. But by society's definition I was. I had my fair share of crying over people leaving my life... but I realized it was mostly because I didn't control their leaving. Funny right? With every situation like that I was already trying to find a way out myself, but the fact that I didn't control when it happened I felt more vulnerable... does that makes sense? So I cried over hurt pride not necessarily the person.

Or they confuse LOVE with Romance. That can't be true though. A person could never have someone do roman
tic things for them and yet still be shown love or feel love. And on the reverse, someone could be showered with romance and still feel as though they haven't been loved or been shown love. Romance is an added bonus for sure, but unnecessary to love someone.

So now that I have separated what most people deem as love. Here is what I think it means.

Love to me isn't as much an emotion, as it is an action. Do I love to hear my husband whisper in my ear, "I love you". YES! Very much so! But if he hadn't of already showed me he loved me, he could whisper until he was blue in the face--but I'd never believe it. For example: my weight. My husband tells me how beautiful my body is to him but in my mind I see my body differently. I don't believe it, so therefore I don't believe him. Get it?

Love for me is the things he does to SHOW me he wants me in his life by taking care of me. He protects me. He provides for me. He does random things to make my life easier. He will do things I ask him to do even though I KNOW he would rather be doing something else, meaning he would be ANYWHERE else rather than where he is. He respects me and treats me that way. He forgives me when I do things that I'm sorry for. He sees a need of mine and takes care of it and sometimes even my wants. He shoves me out the door when I need GIRL time or MY time. He is supportive when I try something new.

But also I know he loves me because at times he DOESN'T like me, yet he still loves me. I drive him crazy. He'll fight with me to defend his position. I'm almost sure he's held back from knocking me upside the head.

And see... I LOVE him because I want and I do those same things for him.

Also, love for me is the person I don't ever want out of my life even during those times I'm mad or angry at them. I'd rather be mad at them with them in my life then to not have them at all. I KNOW I love my husband because if he ever left me by death or some other way I wouldn't and couldn't just forget about him. Sure I'd still live my life, kind of like when you lose someone you love by death, you still continue to live your life after they are gone, but they aren't forgettable They are ingrained in memories that involve action and smell, they are always one thought away. My husband is the reason for most ups in my life and the reason for most downs. He is both the good and the bad. I think love encompasses both.

I don't know if any of that makes sense really to you guys... and I definitely think Sage was lost as soon as I said the word LOVE.

But in a nutshell. Love is an action more than an emotion. It is what you do daily in your life for the people you don't want out of your life.

What about you guys? How do you feel about it? How do you define it?

Late EDIT: Go ahead and add your list of what you think LOVE entails!