John Edwards has provided much relationship blog fodder over the past year or two – and now he’s fielding rumors that he’s engaged. To kick things all off, first there was revelation that he in fact did have an affair with the woman who produced videos for his campaign. Although he stated he had come clean to his family it was still a scandal that shed negative light on him politically especially in light of Elizabeth’s battle with cancer. Add into that the fact that Edwards fathered a child with his mistress and it’s enough to severely impact anyone’s life or career!
Then there was news that Elizabeth Edwards was writing a book about her experiences, in my estimation not only to set the record straight but to help her work through some of the issues that arose in her public and private life. During these struggles, Elizabeth had stated that she’d decided to stay in her marriage “for the kids” although later she and John became estranged.
Now, there are reports that just weeks after her death, John Edwards is considering getting married again. His attorney is denying claims that Edwards is engaged to Rielle Hunter, the same women he had an affair with.
Whether or not these rumors or true, it seems that Edwards is still struggling with what I call the bio-chemical craving for connection; something I think he’s been dealing with since Elizabeth was first diagnosed with cancer. The theory is that people experiencing stress, separation or loss often are inclined toward thrill-seeking behavior and this frequently manifests itself in the form of an affair. It’s a way of over-riding true emotions by opting for a “high” instead. It’s probably the case that Edwards couldn’t handle the idea of losing his wife to cancer – either after the initial diagnosis or even now, that she has actually passed on – and so he sought a way to cancel out that fear by deciding to have an affair. It’s a way of acting out – not talking out – extreme feelings in a person’s life. It’s also possible that, subconsciously, he was finding a “backup” for his wife, given her cancer diagnosis.
Traditionally, men have a harder time talking about their feelings and therefore seek “comfort” by engaging in risky behavior. Once this behavior is discovered – often in the form of an affair – it doesn’t have to signal the end of a relationship. Instead, it can be used as a spring board for honest discussion. I believe that just about any marriage or relationship can be saved, and divorce isn’t usually the best option – even in cases of unfaithfulness. Unfortunately, John and Elizabeth weren’t able to work through their struggles but there are no doubt many painful emotions associated with his wife’s life and death. It hardly seems a good time to be seeking out another relationship!
Saying you’re in an “old relationship” doesn’t sound too flattering – in fact, given a somewhat negative connotation we associate with the word “old,” attaching the word to just about anything is less than idea. Yet a so-called “old relationship” can be a comforting, reassuring, and – yes – even an exciting thing. What I mean by “old relationship” is simply a committed relationship that may have passed the initial spark or already experienced the honeymoon phase. In this type of relationship, both partners are now dealing with the day-to-day life of a relationship and learning how to relate to and nurture each other many months or years down the road.
Admittedly “old” is a bad adjective to use for this stage of a relationship as it brings many bonuses with it – you’re more comfortable around each other; you’ve gotten through some of the exciting yet awkward parts of getting to know the other person, their past, their hang-ups, their family, their good and bad habits and so on; you have a partner to rely on in any situation life throws at you. And there are many more such bonuses that come with a long term relationship; but what people can tend to focus on when things are lackluster, as they sometimes can be when you’ve been with someone for a long period of time, are the things they may be “missing out” on by continuing in a committed relationship.
Whether or not your long-term relationship is in one of these lackluster phases, as we begin the new year it’s a great idea to commit to renewing your relationship. You may not be able to go through the exact phases of the early relationship that can be so exciting, but you can inject some surprise and romance into it!
*Make a decision to fall in love again.
Fidelity – both sexual and financial – results from intent to REMAIN in love. These types of commitments don’t just happen. A strong relationship may feel fun and exciting at first, but it’s not based on those feelings! It’s normal that these initial impulses start to fade, but you have to commit to growing your love stronger than it was before.
*Treat each other like you did at the beginning.
Why does it seem to be the case that we only hurt the ones we love? We tend to show our “best selves” to the people who play less-important roles in our lives. Aside from learning to be nice to each other again, and learning to treat each other respectfully, bring back things that you did when you first met – and feel free to spice it up. Make these activities your top priority!
*Have an affair with your partner
Just about everyone craves some sort of excitement in their life – and some people push boundaries to find it. Anything from skydiving – to having a physical, emotional or financial affair. If you’re lacking excitement in your relationship and are heading into dangerous territory (i.e., considering some kind of infidelity), know that wanting to seek the high that comes from a risky experience is normal – but how you handle the situation can make or break your relationship.
The great thing about doing some of these things is that they’re even more meaningful when shared with someone with whom you have a history. So enjoy your “old” relationship in the new year!
See my book, Make Up Don’t Break Up, for more ways to connect with your partner and take part in activities that will last throughout the year.
We need to remember Elizabeth Edward’s courage and unrelenting faith as she simultaneously faced her most difficult battles towards the end of her life—infidelity and cancer. Elizabeth Edward’s faith and resiliency skills were tested when her husband admitted to having an affair and finally confessing he had fathered a child with Rielle Hunter, a 42-year-old woman hired to make campaign videos during his run for president in 2007.
In her book Make Up Don’t Break Up, Dr. Weil cites studies that reveal prolonged stress lowers the immune system. Edward admitted in her memoir Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities—that her husband’s infidelity made her physically ill. A recent 2010 study links cancer growth to stress (http://www.cancer.ucla.edu). “Adultery is one of the most brutal betrayals a partner can commit. We never know how long we, or our spouse will be here on this earth. I don’t think partners want the defining moment of their relationship to be about betrayal and cheating.”
“While adultery can be overcome, the uphill battle towards recovery includes healing physically, emotionally and spiritually. I ask couples to honor their marriage vows in memory of Elizabeth Edward’s courage, grace, and resiliency. And, remember to protect your relationship by nurturing instead of betraying. Monogamy may not be instinctual, but it is a choice,” Dr. Weil says.
Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil (Dr. Bonnie) is a relationship expert who was named by Psychology Today as one of America’s best therapists, and by New York Magazine as one of New York City’s best therapists. Known as “The Adultery Buster” and the “No. 1 Love Expert,” she is the best-selling author of Adultery: The Forgivable Sin (adapted into a Lifetime movie starring actress Kate Jackson), Make Up Don’t Break Up, Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples (Revised edition Feb 2010, including DVD How to Fall in Love and Stay in Love for Singles and Couples), Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery?, Staying Not Straying, How Not to (S)mother Your Man and Keep a Woman Happy, and Financial Infidelity (Making Money Sexy).
Dr. Bonnie has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, a three-day series on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating, Discovery Health documentary “Infidelity” and A&E on addictions. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN. Visit Dr. Bonnie at www.DoctorBonnie.com.
Dr Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, and author of Make Up Don’t Break Up responds to a recent poll that says 24 percent of 45-65 year old men say they are dissatisfied with their sex lives and sixty one percent of men think sex is a critical part of a healthy relationship while only 40 percent of women think sex is imperative for a healthy relationship. (http://www.lifegoesstrong.com/sex-poll). The poll also shows that women are more confident about sex than men. “This disconnect could be due to the dynamic differences between men and women. Women are emotional pursuers, while men are sexual pursuers and emotional distancers. So, women place less importance on sex alone, are less frustrated and more confident about sex,” explains Dr. Weil.
“Couples need to learn the tools that turn each other on, and the reasons why their sex life is not satisfying. This requires a commitment to meet each others needs, and honest discussions,” explains Dr. Bonnie.
“Couples should learn the Smart Heart Skills and dialogue that I teach on the DVD “Falling in Love and Staying in Love” which accompanies my book Make Up Don’t Break Up. The Smart Heart skills I teach are the glue to keep the relationship new,” says Dr. Bonnie Weil. “A commitment to marriage requires an intentional decision to stay in love.” In the book Make Up Don’t Break Up Dr. Bonnie teaches relationship building dialogue as well as ways to rekindle the romance magic and bring back those beginning stage feelings.
Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil (Dr. Bonnie) is a relationship expert who was named by Psychology Today as one of America’s best therapists, and by New York Magazine as one of New York City’s best therapists. Known as “The Adultery Buster” and the “No. 1 Love Expert,” she is the best-selling author of Adultery: The Forgivable Sin (adapted into a Lifetime movie starring actress Kate Jackson), Make Up Don’t Break Up, Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples (Revised edition Feb 2010, including DVD How to Fall in Love and Stay in Love for Singles and Couples), Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery?, Staying Not Straying, How Not to (S)mother Your Man and Keep a Woman Happy, and Financial Infidelity; The #1 Relationship Wrecker.
Dr. Bonnie has appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, a three-day series on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating, Discovery Health documentary “Unfaithful” and A&E on addictions. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN. Visit Dr. Bonnie at http://www.DoctorBonnie.com.
For interview contact Diane Dennis, Inspired Media Communication at 503-678-1356 or dianeden(at)centurytel(dot)net
New York, NY…………..Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD endorses the group of NFL wives who created Off The Market as an attempt to shore up their celebrity marriages and “cheat proof” their relationships. Author of Make Up Don’t Break Up, Dr. Bonnie explains that athletes are more apt to cheat for a few reasons. “People who become athletes are more apt to engage in risky behavior due to their biological make-up. There is a certain amount of stress that comes with the territory of being a celebrated athlete. The combination of media exposure, being physically attractive, and easy access to admiring fans adds up to opportunity.”
“Cheating is not an accident, it is a choice,” Dr. Bonnie explains. “The fact that this group of NFL wives have taken their secret fears out of the closet, exposed them publicly, and are willing to take steps to strengthen their marriages is a great step forward.”
The book Make Up Don’t Break Up offers tips to strengthen emotional intimacy—the glue of good marriages. “Kiss often, give long hugs, support more and criticize less are some of the tips I offer to keep a partner from straying.” Dr. Bonnie teaches couples that if they are not getting their needs met, or have issues in a marriage, cheating is not the answer. “Cheating is a temporary fix for an underlying problem that straying won’t fix. And, the recovery from infidelity is a difficult path. It takes years to recover from this type of betrayal.”
Inspired Media Communications*www.inspiredMC.com*Diane Dennis*503-678-1356
Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, author of Make Up Don’t Break Up warns couples that they must “holiday proof” their marriage and family in these economically challenging times.
“Holiday stress coupled with money anxiety is a set up for marital problems,” warns Dr. Bonnie. There is a direct correlation between stress and behavior that can be detrimental to relationships. From drinking too much, over eating, lack of sleep, and a myriad of other stress related behaviors a marriage on the brink can suffer irreparable damage.
According to a 2006 survey by the American Psychological Association (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/women-stress.aspx) women are susceptible to feeling more stressed and engage in unhealthy behaviors during the holidays.
Dr. Bonnie suggests that both partners engage in activities that counteract the stresses many couples are sure to experience this holiday season. “Kiss more, hold more, and look for activities that create playful fun that aren’t costly.” Dr. Bonnie also recommends that couples tell the truth to their extended friends, family and children about their economic situation. “Don’t write checks you don’t have money for. Send a card with a loving sentiment instead of gifts. Friends and family will understand, and are most likely in similar economic situations.”
Another stress to marriages is unhappy kids who act out. Parents must also realize that their children feel stress, and busy parents miss the cues. “According to a 2009 study, (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/11/stress.aspx), teens and tweens were more likely than parents to say that their stress had increased in the last year. Nearly half of the teens surveyed ages 13-17 said that they worried more this year, but only 28 percent of parents think their teen’s stress increased, and while a quarter of tweens ages 8-12 said they worried more this year, only 17 percent of parents believed their tween’s stress had increased. “This has two implications. Children are more stressed than ever, and parents aren’t aware,” explains Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie recommends that parents have healthy and honest discussions with their children about their fears and concerns, and teach appropriate behaviors to relieve stress, like playing ball instead of video games. Physical activity releases stress, while sitting exacerbates it.
Make Up Don’t Break Up offers communication tips, and assists couples develop skills to stay together when faced with adversity and the stressors of daily life.
When the news that 50-year-old Linda Hogan, ex-wife of famed wrestler Hulk Hogan got engaged to her 21-year-old boyfriend Charlie Hill, eyebrows shot up. Although it is common to see older men in relationships with younger women, the “cougar” dynamic of older women dating younger men remains taboo in the eyes of many. But statistics tell another story. A study compiled by AARP magazine shows that 34 percent of women over 40 are dating younger men. The study stated that the higher divorce rate over the last several years has contributed to the amount of single, 50+ women swimming in the dating pool.
Relationship expert Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, finds the cougar syndrome a boost to a woman’s waning sex drive and self esteem. As a woman ages, menopause can wreak havoc with her libido. “What better way to feel energized and more attractive, than to piggyback off a younger mans high libido. A younger energetic man helps a woman feel younger and more alive.”
Many women suffer from feelings of inadequacy as they transition into menopause. Dating a younger man can be a boost to the ego during a time when women often describe feeling invisible. And, it isn’t just the women driving the cougar relationships. Young men reportedly have no fear of being put down by their peers when there’s cougars like Demi Moore, married to a much younger Ashton Kutcher. For younger men, the attraction is finding older women confident, sexually mature, independent and knowing what they want.
In her book Make Up Don’t Break Up, Dr. Weil encourages singles to find ways to bring up that loving feeling, and for a woman facing issues of aging; a younger man might be the catalyst that picks up her pulse.