Couples with Successful Marriages Have These 13 Things in Common

Not surprisingly, there are some things that successful marriages have in common. So, for people who want to have a successful marriage, these are the things they need to focus on. They will work for every person in every relationship and just need to be applied to work.

Ready? Here are the 13 things every successful marriage has:

1. Have Realistic Expectations

Notice this article is about what “successful” marriages have, not perfect ones. That’s because there’s no such thing as an ideal relationship. Every relationship will have good times and hard times, and those who are in successful ones know that it’s not always going to be butterflies and rainbows.

Setting realistic expectations for the relationship, however, is not nearly as important as setting realistic expectations for partners. If a person sets up unreachable expectations for their partner, they will always be disappointed since their partner can’t meet their expectations.

2. Have The Right Motives

When two people get together, their best chance of success comes if they’re together for the right motives. Not wanting to be alone is not the right motive for getting married, and neither is following family or religious traditions.

When two people are together because they genuinely love each other and want to spend every moment together, that’s the right motivation. When two people are together because they’re ready to do whatever it takes to stay together, that’s the right motivation.

3. Are Two Successful People

A successful marriage always has two successful people, and that’s not to say they’re both at the top of their career tracks. It is to say that each partner is mature, healthy, and able to say that they are successful on their own, that their success in life is not tied to their marriage.

When a marriage has an unhealthy member, that person will always look to the other for support and validation, and the healthy person then has to work twice as hard to keep the marriage working right. When both individuals are emotionally unhealthy, it just gets worse.

4. Be Completely Honest

The worst thing someone can do in a marriage is to reach out to someone outside of their marriage when they have a problem with their marriage. The only person that can solve that person’s marriage problem is the person they’re married to, so that should be the one they’re going to with a question.

The more painful a subject is, the more critical it is that it be brought up to a marriage partner rather than anyone else. Part of that honesty means both partners need to be trustworthy and open to hearing harsh truths. Only then can they be worked through successfully.

5. Respect The Other

Even more important than communication is respect. Every successful relationship has two people who respect each other in every imaginable way. If a person loses their respect for their partner, it usually isn’t long before the relationship starts to fall apart.

In successful relationships, each partner respects the other for who they are as a person, what they believe in, what their interests are, and what their dreams and aspirations are. They recognize that they won’t always agree on everything, but they still respect each other.

6. Have Good Fights

The measure of success in a relationship does not come from how infrequently or even how gently a couple of fights. The truth is that couples that fight more often (and sometimes even more loudly) are more successful than those who don’t fight.

The key is that they both allow the other person to express themselves and say what they need to say, then they resolve the problem. Sometimes, it’s not entirely settled as a compromise can’t be made, but what’s important is that it’s left in the past when it’s over.

7. Feel Genuine Forgiveness

Even more important than fighting is the forgiveness that follows in successful relationships. When a successful couple forgives each other, it means complete remission, which means wiping the slate clean and not allowing the offense to affect their relationship.

Something that successful marriages don’t do is keep bringing up old fights and hurts because they have genuinely forgiven the other person and no longer allow those things to come up. Forgiveness is the only way for couples to keep moving forward without allowing past hurts to hurt their future.

8. Have Rules

Although it seems strange for a loving, thriving relationship to have rules, these are incredibly important for making sure that both partners are on the same page and will prevent a lot of conflicts, frustration, and problems.

Relationship rules should be written out and cover everything from finances to how often a couple goes out on dates. Successful relationships stick to these rules and allow them to improve their lives and their relationships by encouraging them to keep their relationship healthy, open, and consistent.

9. Have Space Between Partners

Without some space between two people, it can be complicated to be able to enjoy each other since they don’t spend any time apart. It can often lead to co-dependency as each partner begins to need to get everything from their partner alone.

Having some space for each person to pursue their own interests and have their own friends allows each partner to get social interaction and personal fulfillment elsewhere that they can then bring into their marriage. It also gives them something to talk about.

10. Embrace Changes

Change is inevitable, and successful marriages continued to love, accept, and support their partner through every type of change that life may bring. It could be as something small as a haircut, or something as major as a change in religion.

As people go through life, they’re going to change, and in successful marriages, both partners accept the change that happens and are willing to fall in love with the person their partner is becoming because they recognize that marriage is a lifelong commitment.

11. Focus on Little Things

Little things in marriages always add up to big things. This can be positive or negative, depending entirely on what little things are happening in the relationship. Successful couples pay attention to the little things because they know what can happen if they don’t.

Snarky comments and little insults will add up to resentment and big hurts. Washing dishes and kissing before leaving the house will add up to mutual contentment satisfaction. When it’s little negative things, the sooner they’re dealt with, the better.

12. A Lot of Sex

Of course, the frequency of sex varies significantly from marriage to marriage, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it’s something that many couples miss the importance of in their relationship. But, when there is an emotional disconnect or a hurt, lack of sex is often the first sign.

Some couples have even used sex as a way to repair their relationship when things are feeling a bit dry. They merely commit to having sex every day for a week no matter what, and immediately feel closer to each other by the end.

13. Surfers

A surfer rides the waves of the ocean as they go up and down, and can be stronger or weaker. In a successful marriage, both partners surf the emotional waves that naturally come. They recognize that sometimes will be better than others, but they stick with their partner no matter what.

Sometimes, these waves come in the form of feeling a lack of love towards a partner, something that can last for a few days or even a few years. But in a successful marriage, that partner sticks with it, rides it out, and rediscovers their love that they would have missed had they bailed.

 

Was this helpful? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this post!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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Five Legitimate Reasons Why Marriage Should Be Abolished

When you are young and free, the summer is a time to be off school, travel, and lament that you aren’t beach-body ready. But once you get a bit older, summer means one thing: Wedding season. Just, so many goddamn weddings. Whether it’s traveling to a destination wedding, sitting through an hour-long mass, or just hanging out in someone’s backyard, you are expected to be there, smile, and bring a gravy boat for the happy couple that will undoubtedly never be used.

But … what if we just got rid of the institution all together? Don’t worry, I’m not some bitter spinster, I’ve been happily married for ten years. But bear with me here, because for millennials, it might make more sense to just stop getting married once and for all. Here’s why.
1. Society Is Failing At It
Let’s say you’re in high school and you really, really suck at math. You never get better than a D on any of your tests. But you decide you want to study math in college. Then you want to go on and get a master’s degree, and even a PhD. Everyone around you is trying to talk you out of it: your friends, your parents, your creepy guidance counselor that keeps touching your knee. But you are insistent. How crazy would that be? Now pretend math is actually marriage. Because society is totally failing at it, yet we keep trying to make it work.

The divorce rate in America is estimated to be between 40 and 50 percent. For millennials, it might end up being even worse thanks to all the divorces our parents went through. If your parents got divorced, you are up to 60 percent more likely to get divorced yourself. It’s called “intergenerational transmission of divorce,” and it means that your parents pass on divorce to their kids just like they do other terrible things like heart disease or ginger hair.

Then there are the infamous “starter marriages.” These are marriages between people in their 20s that usually last less than five years and don’t involve children. The problem with these is that getting divorced once means you will probably divorce again. 67 percent of second marriages and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. A recent survey of millennials found that 43 percent of them would like a starter marriage that could be either “renewed” or easily dissolved after two years. 36 percent thought that marriage licenses should be treated like mortgages, on fixed year terms that have to be “renegotiated” once they run out. If this is how we really think marriage should be approached, why have it at all? Why not just live together for as long as you want, and if you break up there is no legal aspect involved?
2. It Fixes Some Legal Issues With Other Types of Relationships
Remember way back in the hot summer of 2015, when it seemed like Obama would be president forever and gay people finally got the right to get married? It was the end of a decades-long slog toward equality, and there was every chance it wouldn’t happen. Until the decision was released, people still thought the five conservative judges might block marriage equality. Fortunately, one of them flipped. But it is easy to forget just how long and hard the fight was, and how close it came to not happening.

Within hours of the decision, think pieces appeared on the “next logical step”: legalizing polygamy. Now, we’re not talking about weird old guys in cults forcing dozens of underage girls to marry them. This is about three or more consenting adults who want to be, for lack of a better word, a couple. Is there really anything wrong with that? If there is anyone out there who loves to cook and clean and maybe knows how to fix cars, I would gladly welcome you into my marriage. In 2015, only 16 percent of people found polygamy “morally acceptable” but that was more than double the 7 percent who thought so in 2001. But it will be another long hill to climb before any case on polygamy gets to the Supreme Court. The simplest way to fix this? Take the legal aspect of marriage out of the picture entirely.

This will work for millennials as well, who are more likely to be in polyamorous relationships than any other group. According to one poll, only 51 percent of people under 30 say that their perfect relationship would be completely monogamous. This is compared to the 70 percent of people over 65 who only want to bump uglies with one person at a time. If we get rid of marriage, millennials can form lasting relationships with any number of people and have them all be equally important.

3. It Ends The Wedding-Industrial Complex

You can’t spend an hour online without finding some millennial talking about the unfairness of student debt. And they’re right, it sucks to start adulthood with negative money if panhandling wasn’t your dream in life. Now that you’ve graduated, you’re right in the sweet spot, age wise, for marriage. Time to bust out the calculator.

According to a survey of 13,000 brides and grooms who got married in 2016, the average American wedding now costs over $35,000. That doesn’t even include costs like the engagement ring, the honeymoon, and the interest you will be paying for years. And sure, some people’s parents pay for their big day, but not everyone is that lucky, which is why a full one-third of couples go into debt to pay for their wedding.

That is worse than it sounds. Money is the biggest cause of stress in a marriage. According to a study of 4,500 couples, money arguments last longer and are more intense than fights over anything else. And if you fight about money issues early on in your marriage, the same study shows you are more likely to end up divorced. One older study found that 10 percent of people broke up mainly because of financial problems, and a whopping 57 percent said it was a primary cause of their divorce. Suddenly that $35,000 party you put on your credit cards isn’t looking like such a brilliant idea.

Look, I get it. Women especially are conditioned to want the big day. I used to buy wedding magazines with my friends and have fun imagining. If you are madly in love with someone you want to show everyone just how huge your love is by proving it with an even bigger wedding. But why do we need to prove anything? If you love someone and are a happy, functional couple, you are proving how committed you are to everyone already. We don’t need weddings to do that. You don’t need to put yourself at the risk of divorce if you never spend the money and never even get married. You can still stay together as long as you want, and have an even better chance of lasting if you don’t start off with money issues and fights about whether or not you invite your fiance’s racist uncle.

4. We’re Already Putting It Off Longer Than Ever

Marriage ages for millennials is already higher than any other generation. These days the average woman gets married at 26.5 and the average man at 29. But that is just the average. In some places, as many as 81 percent of young people are single.

And this might not change much according to one study. The researchers determined that unless marriage rates changed drastically in the near future, up to one-third of millennials will never get married. And those that do find it less important than other generations. Gone is the time where you had to be married to live with someone, or even have a kid with them.

Millennials are putting off marriage for lots of reasons. Some have no money to pay for a wedding (see the wedding-industrial complex above.) Some want to be able to own a house. Others want to live with a partner for a few years first. That might all sound fine, but there are dangers if marriage is still your final goal. Living with someone prior to getting hitched makes you 8 percent more likely to get divorced than people who don’t. And if you put off marriage for too long the same thing happens. Your risk of divorce rises by 5 percent for every year you wait after 32. You know how to avoid divorce? Don’t get married. If we are putting it off for so long already, and so many people will end up single anyway, why not just end the institution once and for all?

5. It Might Be The Natural Way

Thanks to Marilyn Monroe everyone knows about the supposed seven-year itch. But surely that was just made up for a movie, right? No way does everyone want to cheat on their spouses after being tied down for less than a decade.

Wrong. It just takes even less time than seven years. One study looked at animals and found that many of them are serial monogamists. They stay with one partner just long enough to have and raise their children, and then once they fly the nest (in some cases literally) they move on to another mate. Then the same researcher looked at humans and found that in more primitive societies, the same thing often happens. Once a child is four, and is weaned and old enough to be looked after by older siblings or grandparents, the parents move on and find new partners. Biologically, this is a good thing, since having children with different genetic makeups means at least one is likely to be healthy enough to make it to adulthood.

And our biological urge to split up after four years carries over into more advanced civilizations. The study found that four years is peak divorce time for couples. Something about that time makes us want to run off and find a heartier mate. So why tie ourselves down for life when our biology might be telling us to end things much, much sooner? We could take the idea of the starter marriage, get rid of the legal aspect, and expand it throughout our lives. You could find one person to party with in your twenties, then someone more responsible to have kids with, and finally someone fun and financially stable to enjoy your retirement with. It won’t be slutty if we all start doing it.

When you think about it, no other area of life expects you to stay in it forever. Friendships come and go, as do jobs. Why are we expected to legally bind ourselves to one person for life? No one should have to smell the same person’s farts for that long.

I hope this was helpful. I’d love to hear your feedback on this subject.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish everyday at 8am & 12pm EST.

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Michelle – Thanksgiving Weekend Visit

I loved writing this post.

I know that Michelle is going to be visiting the area for Thanksgiving. She’s been in Delaware mostly with the collective families, but will come to Philly for one day to meet up with friends. (See: Michelle – A Brand New Day) She texted me to let me know she was flying in and that she’d maybe be available for an hour or so on Saturday. I said possibly, but that I may not be around. She normally texts me on a weekly basis. She always asks me about what I have planned for the weekend and I do the same.

The last few weekends I’ve been spending time with Cherie. But I haven’t said anything to many people about her, including Michelle. So I’ve been telling Michelle that I’m not really doing anything, just hanging out. But in reality I’ve been spending Saturdays with Cherie. Michelle flat-out asks me if I’m seeing someone. I tell her I don’t want to jinx it. But she knows me really well and she guesses who it is. She really wants the inside scoop, so since she’s an old friend of nearly ten years I tell her a little bit about Cherie.

She says she’s happy for me. But there always seems to be a twinge of something there. I spoke to this cool psychiatrist that comes to the salon, and ran it by him. He said the reason Michelle stays in touch with me, is there’s something her husband isn’t giving her. Keeping me a secret from him gives her a life line to a possible escape if he fails her again.

I don’t know. I just want Michelle to prosper and be happy.

I really mean that.

My work is done.

I tell her Cherie has to work Saturday and won’t be down until around 5:30 so if she still wants to hang out, I can. She says she’ll text me and let me know.

So I did all of my domestic, bedroom babe lair set up Saturday morning, and I’m just picking up a couple of last-minute items for tonight. Just snacks and some bottled water. It’s around 3:30. Michelle says she’s finishing up with a friend at The Bards, the Irish Pub on Walnut. I drop off my stuff at the apartment and head up to Rittenhouse Square.

I head into the park. The Christmas tree is up but not decorated yet. Every holiday season they decorate the a big tree and hang lights from all of the trees. It’s really a beautiful time of year in this part of the city. I know the Bards is at 20th and Chestnut so I know she’ll enter the park at the northwestern entrance. I obviously go to the statue of the lion and the serpent.

French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye helped establish a 19th-century school known as the animaliers, artists who focused on animal subjects, frequently as stand-ins for human emotions. Barye’s portrayal of a lion subduing a serpent illustrates his fondness for dramatic animal battles.

The lion, however, is not an ordinary beast. It represents the French monarchy, and the serpent is a universal symbol of evil. Hence this sculpture convinced the French king to name Barye to the Legion of Honor.

Just sayin’. Pretty cool place for me to meet her since I’m a Leo. I’m waiting and she’s taking forever. Which in German time is like fifteen minutes late. I’m standing there and people are coming by to take photos. I’m assuming they’re visitors or tourists. I start telling them the story that I just wrote above. They love it, but all seem a bit tipsy. It’s the holidays so I expect that. One drunk guy thought for a moment that I was part of the display! Then I started talking.

Day drinking!

I’m standing there and waiting and then I see Michelle as she enters the park. She’s approaching and then suddenly sees me.

She starts running toward me.

Running.

I love Michelle.

If you’ve made it this far on this journey, you know that Michelle and I have an extremely rich history. So running is almost a requirement when we reconnect. She comes up and hugs and gives me a safe peck on the lips. (because she’s married!) But she is exuberant and so am I.

It’s Michelle.

We’re a legendary couple in this city. I met her almost ten years ago and she looks just as beautiful as the day I laid eyes on her. But she’s grown so much. I always called her the emerging Michelle. She has emerged and flourished. She’s better today than ever before.

I think in that moment if she had stayed with me here back in Philly she would have descended into a dead-end series of empty drunken weekends of bars, movies and whatever else. It was elegant and we both grew through it but ultimately didn’t work for her. She was younger than me and wanted a husband and kids. I had already burned through that years ago. Knowing that, the relationship was doomed from the start.

I once told my late father the entire story. He had a similar experience. There are people you meet, and they are the loves of your lives. Sadly, we sometimes ruin our partners for future relationships even though we’ve saved them in the process. I helped fix her. When I met her she was a beautiful girl that everyone loved but didn’t really know. She was covered in armor that was impenetrable by any suitor. I taught her that it’s okay to be herself.

I was the first man that she felt safe around in her whole life. It’s okay to cry. You don’t have to be on point all of the time. When she learned to cry her tears rusted that old armor and it fell away. I taught her that she still had her armor but was no longer sheltered and hidden by it. She had a new power that was an armor she could apply in the real world. Most of all she would be heard and was safe.

I brought Lorelei into this world. No big deal. Anybody can make a kid. It’s easy.

But being a parent. That’s the tricky part. But to help build a person that’s already here is something special. If you can help fix or save a person…. that’s comething.

Even if it’s only one person, you’ve changed the world. I felt that I had that with Michelle.

She was never a project. I loved her madly and will always love her.

There’s a history we have than no one on Earth can take from us. Michelle is family I will take to the grave.

But I want her to live a happy and healthy life. She’s made the life decisions that she feels are best for her. I think that’s admirable. As fun as our life seemed in my writings you can’t always be that couple. Everybody either settles down and gets married and has kids or you break up.

That’s life. I’m up to a thousand words right now. Writing about a one hour encounter with my love, so you can see what that does to you.

I’m editing it now again so it’s perfect for my Michelle. I don’t have to do this. I know it’s fine, but I want it to be right for her.

I’m happy she’s married and living a prosperous life. That’s what Michelle chose and that’s where she is now. She set a goal and attained it. Michelle emerged like I said she would and I’m honored to have been a part of her life for the time she allowed me to be in it.

It was absolutely magical.

All of it.

As you can tell I do what I do and live on. Sometimes I think I’m done but love comes  for me and takes me again. But I know we’re only here for a short time. Why settle for mediocrity? I’ve done it many times for all of the wrong reasons and the results have always been the same. Most people date, love, fail, settle and marry and then kids.

I did it. But I was able to continue to grow and evolve and learn from my mistakes. We should always be evolving. If we don’t we die. A comedienne once said I can be lonely some times or be in a committed relationship and be frustrated and angry. I have felt all of that but I still believe true love exists.

Many couples have it. Most don’t. They settle into grinding mediocrity. For some it saves them. They live a happy sober life. That’s so good. Settle down and fall into domestic bliss. But for me I’ve been in love many times.

It’s glorious.

To fall in love is like heroin.

I’ve never done it but falling in love is like playing rock on stage and people cheer for a song you wrote when you were heartbroken in your bedroom.

So I choose the latter. I will keep hoping for love but if I don’t find true love I’ll at least die trying. But you never know. Love could be on the next bus that stops at your corner.

Never give up.

But I digress… Ha ha! Michelle and I walked around Rittenhouse on that overcast Saturday together.

Two old friends with an amazing history that belongs to no one but themselves. Passing the spots we once commanded.

Drinks flowing and people loving us. Dancing through the streets of this city and making it our own. Only for us.

We visited her old apartment that she lived in when she first came to Philly. (No we did not try to break into it) Her apartment on Spruce, and walking down Delancy and lovely Addison St. with all of the trees decorated in lights. We talked and reminisced about our lives.

In San Francisco she and her husband are being priced out of the market in regard to real estate. They’re going to have to move back in the next year.

She has a fantastic job that she’s earned and it pains me that she should have to leave it, but life is what it is.

We were doing a tour and about to go look at our first apartment on 18th and Kater when we both got texts at the same time from our significant others.

Her husband was wondering where his bride was. She got paranoid and said she had to go. I assured her she didn’t do anything wrong. (She’s already done way worse. That’s my girl!)

My text said Cherie was looking for parking. So I had to go too. I will always love Michelle, but I need to take care of Cherie…

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

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The Number 1 Predictor of Divorce (and how to fix it)

After four decades of research, a clear pattern emerged

The number 1 predictor of divorce (and how to fix it)

John Gottman, Ph.D, author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, is one of the world’s foremost marriage therapists. He’s spent four decades studying couples at The Gottman Institute in order to determine what really causes a rift between two people — and how to fix it. After all that research, Gottman noticed a clear pattern among couples that didn’t stay together, identifying what he says is the number one predictor of divorce.

It’s contempt.

Yes — as in eye-rolling, disgust-feeling, negative-thinking contempt. Many of us have felt it for a partner before — but even if you’re feeling it right now, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to separate. Here, Gottman Institute expert Mike McNulty, Ph.D., LCSW, breaks down what every couple needs to know, including why contempt is so detrimental to a relationship, how to spot it (in both your partner and yourself) and — perhaps most importantly — how to stop it.

How contempt occurs

It’s normal to feel annoyed at your partner or to disagree on things, but when you allow yourself to reach a level of contempt or disgust for them, that’s when McNulty says it becomes unhealthy. Every couple fights, and every couple has issues: “All relationships involve ongoing, perpetual problems that will resurface,” says McNulty. But it’s how you handle them — either with kindness or contempt — that can make or break you as a couple. “Partners who do not handle discussions of these problems well are at the most risk of divorce,” he says. Imagine discussing a recurring issue, such as a difficult mother-in-law or major difference in libidos.

The number 1 predictor of divorce (and how to fix it)

“Partners who are headed toward divorce have the following tendencies: They become angry and use what we call the ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse or negative patterns of communication, which are criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness,” says McNulty. “This leads to something we call ‘diffuse physiological arousal’ or ‘flooding’ [which involves] one or both partners’ bodies releasing hormones as heart rates accelerate, muscles become tense, the skin becomes hot or sweaty, and the stomach feels nervous.”

Sound familiar? If you’ve ever experienced a “heated” argument in which you felt your voice or blood pressure rise, you know that this mental state isn’t conducive to a civil conversation. “In this state, partners cannot take in new information and they lose their senses of humour and creativity,” explains McNulty. In other words, you’d be better off speaking later when you’re both feeling more calm. “All of these factors make discussing the important ongoing problems totally unworkable,” McNulty says.

The good news about anger

Even if you and your partner have been having some heated arguments lately, it doesn’t mean you’re headed for disaster. “Relationships die by ice rather than fire,” says McNulty. “Some couples eventually stop trying to have a dialogue. They find working on key conflicts to be too difficult or painful. They give up. They grow more distant, and live more like roommates than spouses. In the end, emotional disengagement is truly the ultimate sign of a relationship headed towards divorce. “If you’re both still arguing you haven’t yet reached the point of surrender,” says McNulty.

What to watch for

Rolling your eyes at something your partner says is one of the most common ways people express contempt. “Besides the eye roll, another sign is the lifting of the upper lip to make a sneer,” says McNulty. “It’s an overall attitude of disgust at one’s partner and/or a sense of superiority.”

Sometimes it’s subtle: “For example, when discussing how to keep their home [tidy], one partner may say to the other, ‘In my family, we cared more about our house.’ The unspoken ending to that sentence is, ‘…than your family did.’ The implication is: ‘My family is superior to yours.'” McNulty adds that people who are perfectionists can easily fall into this trap.

How to handle conflict better

Now that you know how harmful contempt can be, here are five things you can do in your relationship to handle conflict better:

  • Be on the lookout for common no-nos, like rolling your eyes, sneering, or making passive-aggressive comments.
  • Give your expectations a reality check. Remind yourself that your partner is a different person with different opinions and a different set of fundamental needs. You will not agree on everything, and you have to learn to be okay with that in order to maintain harmony.
  • Turn the issue around on yourself. When something really ticks you off, “Think, ‘Why does the behaviour bother me so much? Can I learn to live with it?'” If not, you can seek counselling to learn some coping mechanisms, but as McNulty points out that “in marriage, we have to learn to pick and chose our battles.”
  • Instead of feeling anger as your partner is speaking their mind, challenge yourself to listen more deeply to your partner’s point of view.
  • When it’s time to voice your feelings, remember to “complain gently without blaming the other person,” says McNulty. Talk about your feelings, and how you feel, versus blaming or criticising their actions. “These shifts in behaviour are fairly simple but really do make a difference.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am and 12pm EST.

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Dina – 2011 to Present – In The Vault

“These clowns come in and are fans of Prova and act like crazy drunk, loud assholes. I fucking hate that. I literally want to call the cops and say these middle eastern looking guys were talking about taking flying lessons and not landing lessons and there was talk about the new Comcast tower being built.

They were that annoying.”

I crush it at the salon on a Saturday because I’ll be gone for 3 days. Dina, my friend and broker and I meet up at 1518 Bar & Grille. She’s 4’11” and adorable. She also has the metabolism of a bee. She loves Smores, fried chicken, Oreos, and ice cream.

Dina orders a lemon martini. I’m on my 2nd straight up with a twist and Asha the bartender hooks me up with house but it’s Ketel One.

She looks hot.  Boots, dark jeans, and custom leather jacket. Cute as hell. Dark curls tumble about her shoulders and of course that hot pouty mouth of hers.

I introduce her to  her to Prova the bartender. (See: Prova – 2015 to Present – Glow of the Sun) She looks amazing as always. Those dimples!

These clowns come in and are fans of Prova and act like crazy drunk, loud assholes. I fucking hate that. I literally want to call the cops and say these middle eastern looking guys were talking about taking flying lessons and not landing lessons and there was talk about the new Comcast tower being built.

They were that annoying.

Dina is amazing. She’s such a no bullshit girl who is so sure about herself. I love her plus she looks 18. I always knew she was too good for any life or job i saw her in. I’m also happy her husband is such a chill solid pup he doesn’t mind his hot wife hanging out with the Dark Lord and having drinks.

We need to get out of here. These Indian guys suck. So loud and annoying. I can’t think straight.

We close out and I let the staff know that there’s no hard feelings but that’s why we’re leaving. We need to talk and I need to hear her. I miss my friend.

We never go out on Saturday night. It’s all young drunk people around city. The women are extraordinary though.

We decide to check out Square 1682 but the staff sucks and we head to Sofitel. Liam is on and so is the waitress who likes to go topless when she gets drunk. Let’s just call her Tulip. I usually do a rock trivia thing with Liam but tonight I have a different one.

“You wake up and look out your front door and see the sun rise out of the Atlantic Ocean. Later that day, you walk out your back door and watch the sun set in the Pacific Ocean. Where is your house?”

Tulip looks great and I intro Dina to the crew. The bar is full so we sit and a quiet table in the lounge, which is glorious. Tulip brings a snack tray for Dina because as we all know, she loves to eat.

Dina’s happy and we order wine. She’s hungry, so more food is on the way. I got the drinks at 1518 but I know she’ll cover everything from here which is clutch.

We catch up on my life. Daughter Lorelei, the fitness center I should be opening in Rittenhouse in the next 60 days, and what’s happening with this blog, the book, and TV series we’re developing about it. Dina and her husband just settled on a house in Rittenhouse so I love that they’ll be in the neighborhood with us.

Liam is texting me solutions to my puzzle and they’re all wrong.

She says she has a strange story about a former colleague of mine. This person has since cut me off a couple of years ago for no apparent reason, but he likes to keep weak inferiors around him, and I hate his friends and wife anyway so its no loss to me. We could have been mighty but he never did what he was supposed to do with the business so now it’s just a trust fund baby’s way to play work. I loved the guy, but he has to make the juvenile choices he needs to make.

She tells me about this dinner she had with this other dude, I used to know that always had a thing for her. He’s harmless. We all still think he’s a virgin, so there’s that. He’s a really smart guy that is always super excited about everything that is before him, and it comes off as childish. I like the guy, but to me he’s just a bore.

If he would just get laid he’d probably chill out and get a different perspective on everything. I hate to say that, but that would probably fix his ass.

She goes to this dinner with this guy, as a friend or a wing woman or whatever with my former colleague and his horrible wife. I remember Everybody hated this guy’s wife years ago. She’s awful. She’s kind of hot. But only in the sense that if I were marooned on a desert island with her I would bang her for a few months but it would only be a matter of time before I became so annoyed with her that I would eventually kill her and eat her to survive just to not have to listen to her endless bullshit.

So they have their awkward dinner, little virgin guy gets an UBER with Dina back to Rittehouse. He gets in the car with her and says:

“So they are separated. She wanted it.”

I know this guy has a pre-nup so he’s well protected in regard to his daddy’s loot.

“Really?”

She thinks the wife is awful just like the rest of us.

“Yea, he went to an event and told her he could only get one ticket because they were really expensive, but he went with is new editor.”

“Oh wow. That’s a shame.”

“Yea, and his wife is living at the house, (because she doesn’t earn shit) and he said he’s living at a hotel but he’s really living with new editor girlfriend at an apartment somewhere.”

I am not shocked about this news because I knew he was miserable with that harpy years ago. She cheated on him in college and is crazy. She has destroyed property at the house, assaulted people at concerts, fights with him all the time, withholds sex all the time, has flushed his weed, and cigars, and is just an all around child who behaves as if she has fetal alcohol syndrome. Thank God she never wanted kids, because he dodged a huge child support bullet and should just cut that beast loose.

But he’s cut me off and I take that as a smite to me. I loved the guy and we were tight. I don’t know hat’s happened to him, but I’m sure he’s in a world of pain right now. I hope he gets through it okay, but I’m German and so is he, and if you read this dude, then schadenfreude is a bitch baby.

Karma can be a real fucker. You reap what you sow. You make bad life choices and that shit comes back on you like a hurricane. I just hope he can cash her out and flush her from his life and hopefully move on with the new mistress he’s fucking.

Dina and I eat and drink like Gods at Sofitel and I’m happy just to have her in my presence and hear her voice. I adore her. She’s so sound as a woman. I wish I could replicate her into five more to hang out with. Maybe a lawyer, and accountant Dina would be a start.

I go out for a smoke and she pays the bill. (Love her!) We both trust each other implicitly with all of our honesty and the relationship is wonderful. She takes care of my money and knows how to keep her mouth shut. Obviously we discuss everything that’s going on in our lives and it’s so intimate that I can’t talk about it here but maybe someday if this becomes a TV show our characters can talk about children, and marriage, but I can’t divulge our secrets here. Don’t worry’s it’s not that exciting, but this is a dating blog and not a forum for right and wrong.

We decide to head out and Dina needs Ben & Jerry’s. Of course I stand and put her leather jacket on her slight frame. You have to be a gentleman 100% of the time with everyone, guys.

We step out into the night. It’s stopped raining and the street is wet and the air is cool.

Happily there’s a store half way down the block from the hotel bar and it’s still open. I’m a wine, cocktail and carb guy. I’m just not really into sweets or dairy anymore. It doesn’t agree with my physiology. Middle age. But she’s 28 and looks 18 and loves sweets. She says we MUST stop there. I’ve walked by the place a hundred times and have had no desire to ever climb the steps and go in. (Even on National Ice Cream Day, where they give away free cones all day!)

We go in and this is alien to me. I never go into ice cream parlors. It’s clean and bright. I like it but prefer a dark bar.

The kid with the hat and dreds and tie-dye shirt is sweet and articulate. He knows his products. I always admire that. Dina knows this place so well that if she asks for endless samples of every crazy flavor combination they will let her put them in her mouth endlessly. I have this arrangement with Prova but she does it for me with craft beers so I get it. The ice cream flavors seem delicious, and she devours a few samples lovingly.  She encourages me to partake in the samples but I know what rich dairy will do to my colon so I only do one. It is some sort of chocolate, vanilla, cookies and nuts and crushed cone concoction. It is exquisite in my mouth.

I get it. But there are things in my life now that are far sweeter than any frozen treat can match.

Dina decides on some lethal combo and they put it all on a sugar cone. This is actually a really sweet moment in my mind. I adore Dina. I trust her with my money and my secrets. She’s one of my favorite people in my life.

I’m not getting an ice cream cone but this reminds me of some of the sweet romantic moments of my young life. Getting an ice cream cone with a young pretty girl on a Saturday night. She manages my financial portfolio and is a trusted friend but in this moment I am just happy to walk her home.

She’s loving her ice cream cone as we stroll through Rittenhouse with me walking on the inside so she doesn’t get splashed by a passing car.

I love this.

I like walking her home to her stoop and giving her a hug goodnight. We promise to keep in touch and have a lunch in our future. She unlocks her door and goes back to her husband and her little dog Lily.

I light a cig and walk home. The streets are wet and slick. They reflect the lights and sounds of the city. I’m happy after a long day at the salon, and a sweet night with a feiend.

I look forward to tomorrow.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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Liz – 2003 – Bridal Blues

“How dare you stand me up?”

Probably one my worst two dates were with one girl in particular. This was a few years after my first marriage had ended. In this period I had been on lots of awkward dates, lots of lovely dates, but never had any where I really clicked with anyone.

Anyway, a friend suggested I should go out with a friend of hers. She was sure we’d be a great match, so she gave each other our email addresses.  She lived in a city around 70 miles away, (Seemed a bit far for me) so we emailed and called each other quite a few times over a couple of weeks and seemed to get along quite well, so we decided to meet up and go on our first date. She said that the coming weekend she had a friend’s birthday party to go to and suggested that I be her “plus one”. The party was being held at a restaurant in the city where she lived, and it was decided that I would meet her there.

I arrived, she texted me she was running late, but she was with the guest of honor, so it wouldn’t start until she arrived. Eventually she arrived, with the birthday girl…  my ex-wife!!!  Well, that was awkward! My ex and I hadn’t parted on good terms back then.  I suggested I should leave, but my date said she wanted me to stay. I remained polite, as did my ex, but it kinda put a damper on the evening. It turned out my date and my ex had been childhood friends, had fallen out of touch, and had encountered each other only a few months prior. Consequently my date knew nothing about us having been married. After the evening my ex briefly spoke with me, and wished my date and I well. My ex suggested we should get along well.  OK, so after the initial shock, the evening ended on a positive note. But I didn’t really get to know my date at all.

The next week, I was invited to another party with my date. This was pretty uneventful, and to be honest I can’t really remember any of it.

I was getting along well with this girl, but still hadn’t had any alone time with her, so the following weekend we decided to go out for lunch on the Saturday.

This is where things went sideways.

I was to pick her up, but she wouldn’t give me her address. She said her place was hard to find, so I should first go to a particular strip mall, call her once I was there, and then she’d give the directions to her place. So once I arrived there, instead of giving me directions, she told me to wait there and she would meet me there. OK, this was a big warning sign, but I went along with it.  I had to wait for nearly an hour, and got to the point where I decided I would leave if she didn’t show up by a certain time – she arrived just before the deadline.

She arrived, but had a friend with her. Apparently that’s why she was late. She hadn’t seen the friend in years, and she happened to drop in this morning, so she invited her along. This was supposed to be our first date with just the two of us, but apparently not. She seemed to have issues about being alone together, but maybe the story was true.

Anyway, I suggested we all jump in my car (My black Mazda Millenia), but she insisted we take her car, and I had to ride in the back. Her car was an old Mazda (the shitty 3 series) – it was a mess inside, had no air-conditioning, springs were coming out of the back seat, it was horrid. In retrospect, I should have told her not to bother right there, but I went along. She decided that we would go to a swanky restaurant in a resort town about 50 miles away, so off we went, with her and her friend in the front, and me in the back. Her and her friend talked the whole way, with absolutely no conversation including me. Not that I could have been included, the noise in the car was so bad, that I couldn’t hear anything they said anyway.

We got to the restaurant, and again her and her friend talked the whole time. I was only included in the conversation occasionally. I may as well have not been there. Well I was there for one thing – her and her friend left me to pick up the bill, for all 3 of us!

The return trip was a mirror of the trip down, except my mind was absolutely made up, that I wasn’t going to bother seeing this girl again.  So we get back to the strip mall (thank goodness my car was still there unharmed, as it was a sketchy area), and she says to me that we need to talk.

OK.

She starts by telling me that she really enjoys my company but that I’m too demanding on her time (what?), that I can’t expect to see her every weekend, and she thinks it best that we stop seeing each other. At this point I’m just agreeing with her, because I really didn’t want to see her again and if she’s breaking up (not that we had anything to break up from), then as far as I’m concerned she’s saving me the hassle. Inside I’m happy, outside I’m trying to look a bit disappointed but agreeing with her.  But, when she said we stop seeing each other, she hadn’t finished her sentence. She didn’t mean stop seeing each other completely, she meant stop seeing each other as regularly because…

Because she was planning our wedding for June the following year, so we had heaps of time to see each other before then.  To say I was dumbfounded is the understatement of the century. I didn’t know what to say, and didn’t say anything. I just got in my car and drove home in shock. We had been on 3 dates, had never spent any alone time together,  I didn’t even consider that we were “an item”, definitely not engaged.

We were supposed to get married! We were (my name) and Liz! We were “Chiz! My friends could refer to us as Chiz!”

Should I just move to another country at this point?

After I got home, I didn’t contact her, and she didn’t contact me, so I figured maybe she was just trying to shock me out of her life.

Some time had passed and I was happy, had started seeing someone else, and had pretty much forgotten about crazy “fiancee” lady.

Until some 6 months later, I was at a function and she happened to be there. I politely said hello, and her response was literally “Hi. Did you know there’s a ball on next Friday night at [venue], I’d love to go but I refuse to be asked out a week before. Oh, there’s [friend], bye”. I thought it was weird, but didn’t think any more of it.

That is until about 11pm the next Friday night, when the phone rang. “How dare you stand me up?”
“Huh?”
“I waited all night at the ball, but you didn’t show up.”
“I never said I was going.”
“You’re a terrible boyfriend for doing that to me, I’ve devoted 6 months of my life to you, and you can’t even take one night out for me. I don’t want to break up with you, but maybe we should.”
“Uh, yeah, maybe we should.”
In the middle of sobbing I was called every bad name under the sun, before she hung up.

That was more than a dozen years ago, and thankfully haven’t seen or heard from her since.

Recap: Date unwittingly invited me to my ex-wife’s birthday party. Third date she brought someone else along and expected me to pay for them all. When I thought she was breaking up from something that never was, she announced our wedding date. I considered it over, but six months later she rang me to break up because I stood her up for a date that I hadn’t agreed to go on.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

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Ann Marie- 2015 to Present – Rose Among Thorns

“Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!”

I did some work in the morning, and then was to meet up with Church for lunch. We met at one of my favorite Monday lunch spots in Rittenhouse. Can’t beat a $5 cheesesteak and fries or tots to kick off your week at Cavanaugh’s.  I get there and of course my girl Ann Marie says hello and immediately delivers to my table a water and diet coke. She always uses my name and provides outstanding hospitality. I always get the same thing when I go there on Mondays and she knows exactly what I want. It’s a little slow in this sports bar, so Ann Marie hops up in the chair across from me and we start chatting.

I ask her how her trip to California was with her Mother. Ann Marie is getting married in October so she and her mom and sister went out there to pick up a special Vietnamese wedding dress.

While traditional clothes of Vietnam have always been very diverse depending on the era and occasion, after the Nguyen Dynasty women began to wear elaborate Ao dai for their weddings. These dresses were modeled after the Áo mệnh phụ (royal Áo dài) of Nguyễn Dynasty court ladies. The style of the Nguyễn Dynasty has remained popular and is still used in current-day Vietnamese wedding attire. The difference between the Áo mệnh phụ and the typical Áo dài is the elaborateness of its design. The former is usually embroidered with imperial symbols such as the phoenix and includes an extravagant outer cloak. This gown is preferably in red or pink, and the bride usually wears a khan dong headdress. The groom wears a simpler male equivalent of the dress, often in the color blue.

Apparently she’s having a Vietnamese wedding and then a Catholic wedding after that. Then there is the reception of course. So basically Ann Marie’s wedding day is going to last from 11am till the last person stumbles out of the reception.

An engagement ceremony usually occurs half a year or so before the wedding. In the past, most marraiges were arranged by the parents or extended family, and while children were sometimes consulted, it was nearly always the parents’ final decision. It was not unusual for the bride and groom to meet for the first time at the day of their engagement. However, in the last few decades, Vietnamese women and men marry based on love rather than arranged marriages.

Preparation for the traditional Vietnamese wedding begins with choosing a date and time for the marriage ceremony. This is decided by a Buddhist monk, Spiritual leader, or fortune teller due to the spiritual nature of the occasion. This tradition may change if the family is Catholic. (Which our westernized Ann Marie is)

The wedding consists of an extensive set of ceremonies: asking permission to receive the bride, receiving the bride at her house, and bringing the bride to the groom’s house. Both Vietnamese and oversea-Vietnamese who desire to have a hybrid traditional Vietnamese and Western-style wedding will often incorporate the last two ceremonies with the Western-style wedding.

And then obviously at the end of the ceremonies, there is one reception for the two families and guests. Sounds like it’s going to be a big day for our girl.

“I told my bridesmaids to just keep me hydrated and energized to make it through a very long day!”

I’ve known Ann Marie for a few years now. We never hang out, I just know her from the sports bar. There are a million sports bars out there, but your staff is really what makes the difference. That goes for any business. There are bars I go to and I love the guy that works every Monday night, but I wouldn’t set foot in that place on a Wednesday if he’s not working.

Ann Marie’s great. It also doesn’t hurt that she’s really cute and fit. There’s a group of construction workers that come in and drink some afternoons and they only come in when Ann Marie is working. They love her like we do. There were days I would be sitting at my table in the back and I would be working on my laptop. I’d pop out for a smoke and one of the guys would be out there and we’d be chatting. Next thing you know he’s sending me a drink back to my table. Just good hard-working fellas.

I remember another time I was sitting at the bar and I was eating my sandwich. That same group of guys were there and they were drinking, laughing and busting on each other. The one guy says something like, “Oh come on Jimmy, we all know why you always sit at the very end of the bar. Just so you can check out Ann Marie!” Of course the guy laughs but doesn’t disagree with them.

I think to myself… “Fuck! That’s why I always used to sit at the end of the bar in the Spring and Summer, so I can check out Ann Marie’s legs. If you’ve been following this blog, you know I’m a leg man. Ann Marie may be petite but she has well turned legs.

Church arrives and we order our food. We go with the special. He goes with fries and I choose tots. This way, everybody wins. The place gets busier and Ann Marie is running around taking orders and serving at the bar.

Church and I are chatting after lunch and Ann Marie cruises by. “Can we get the check? I thought you were keeping me here.”

“I’m going to keep you here forever, dear.” She says with a wry smile.

That’s what I’m talking about. You come for the $5 cheesesteaks, you stay for that kind of hospitality and charm.

Update: Ann Marie has since left her post at Cavanaugh’s to pursue a career in Marketing. Oh well, hopefully her replacement can live up to the high bar set by Ann Marie. Oh, and if you’re reading this dear, You’re going to be a beautiful bride to a lucky gentleman.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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