Why You Need to Make Some New Friends and How to Do It

When it comes to addictions, and especially porn addictions, there are many people and groups scrambling to define the cause(s).  I have recently come across an article from Huffington Post that I believe really nails it on the head!  You can read the article here.

Essentially, the article is making the case that the likely cause of addiction is lack of human connection.  It makes a very strong argument and one that I’ve found to be true in my own life.  A nagging, sad loneliness always seemed to push me to seek unhealthy ways to feel better.  As I look back through my life, I realize that there have been many, varied ways that I have tried to cover up the pain of loneliness that just didn’t seem to ever disappear (except temporarily).  There were drugs.  There were relationships with girls.  There was porn.  There were less obvious things like music, activities, pursuits.  All of my attempts to find satisfaction in life always ended with the same result.  They didn’t work and often ended up hurting me even worse!

We truly do live in a society and culture that has grown more and more lacking in human connection.  Sure, we go to work and have conversations and even fun interaction with coworkers.  We may have thriving social skills at school, work, or wherever we find ourselves.  But, we often lack genuine, heart-felt interaction–true connection–with others.  This lack, I believe, brings about loneliness even though we may be constantly surrounded by others.

Just the other day, I was at a restaurant with a couple friends of mine.  There is nothing more irritating to me than when people have their cell phones out during a social engagement.  I sat there at the table, all alone, while my two friends checked their Facebook, texted their “significant others”, and perused the news, etc.  I thought to myself, “how important AM I to these people?  I’m sitting right here–in real life–being completely ignored while they are having some kind of virtual interaction with an online social life!”  So, I brought it up.  I told them to look around in the restaurant.  Notice how those over the age of about 35 don’t have their phones out.  Instead, they are actually engaging each other in conversation.  I’m 42 and my friends are 31 and 25.  We sit on two sides of a generation gap.  A terrifying gorge in my opinion.  People under 35 can’t seem to engage.  They have lost their ability to focus and to embrace human connection in real life!  My two friends are already showing symptoms of this new disease.  They are both obese due to addictions to binge-eating.

I can only imagine the devastation that is coming upon our society as we grow even more and more disconnected in these younger generations.  I thought my generation was bad.  We were duped into excessive T.V. and Video Games and self-absorption.  We didn’t really have cell phones and Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat.  We became lonely addicts.  The new generations are sure to suffer even more exponentially as the disconnect skyrockets!

So, what can be done?  I’ve found there is a loophole.  You don’t have to get suckered into the human disconnect if you don’t want to.  You can skirt the popular trends of isolation.  All you have to do is decide to be intentional about it.  First stop, Meetup.com!  If you haven’t experienced Meetup.com, it’s time.  Meetup.com is the flip-side to the isolating online media.  It is one of the only places online that pushes real engagement with real people in real-life scenarios.  It is an online tool to help you meet people with like interests and then put down your cell phones and computers and get-together to interact face-to-face.  I have joined a lot of different groups on Meetup and have met people in my community and have made genuine friendships.  I have even started my own Meetup groups to draw in friends more specific to the types of people I especially enjoy meeting.  My current, and favorite, group idea was to form a group for couples in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s who want to hang out and do fun things together.  My wife and I are meeting very interesting couples in our community in this way and we feel like we’ve found the answer to life’s loneliness in this way.

What I find interesting is that there are so many others in our community (and most likely yours as well) who are seeking interaction beyond Facebook and Instagram.  There are still people (even younger ones) who want real relationships with others.  One group I formed has almost 400 members in it–all people just seeking to connect.

As you get to know people, I’m finding that it is also important to find ways to engage on a deeper level.  You might host a game night or something and pick a game that brings out more of a personal aspect.  One amazing group I’m a part of has a monthly couple’s circle where you and your spouse gather at the home of the host and are guided through a series of activities and questions designed to get you talking to your spouse and to other couples in deeper and more engaging ways.  Yes, it takes some commitment to open up to others, but it is truly worth it!  It is so invigorating and empowering!  Once you start to experience it, you will want more and you will begin to see just how much all of these artificial social networks are lacking.

So, there you have it… why you need to make some new friends and how to do it.  I hope I’ve inspired you to get out there and do it and I hope Meetup.com will provide you with the tools to find some new, meaningful interaction in your life.  Get started today, friends!

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My Review of the “Fortify” Program and the “Fight the New Drug” Campaign

don't fill your head  I’ve been on this journey to recovery from Porn Addiction for awhile now.  In the last two years, I’ve really been getting clean.  But, I’m always interested in checking out resources that are available to help us either get clean or to stay clean.

I came across the “Fight the New Drug” Campaign online several months back and have become an avid supporter.  I also went through their “Fortify” program to see what it was like.  I thought I’d take a moment this morning to give you my thoughts on it.

When you first visit the Fortify website, you are met with a very clean, attractive presentation of the Fortify program.  It has a very clean and calming appearance and feel to it–similar Apple’s presentation of the IPod/IPhone.  They have given a nice taste of what the program is like–very nice marketing!  The program consists of 52 video-based lessons that run anywhere from about 2 minutes to 10 minutes tops.

The videos are as well-polished as the website–almost perfectly done.  The presenter is young, articulate, and uplifting without being too annoying.  His youthful demeanor can come across as somewhat naive; however, if you look past that to what he is saying you realize that it’s about the information and not the presenter.

As far as the information goes… I felt it was very good.  There was quite a bit of material in the beginning videos to get you motivated and ready to dive in.  Several of the videos go over the effects that porn has on the brain and on relationships, etc.  Then, there were several videos that walked you through preparing your mind for what you are truly seeking to accomplish.  All along the way, there are little activities/challenges that you are invited to accomplish prior to viewing the next  video.  Each video you watch unlocks the next video in the series so you can’t skip around.  Some of the most memorable videos, to me, were the ones that provided strategies to fight temptation and to prevent temptation and to build up your resolve to live a healthy, porn-free life.

Overall, I found myself feeling very inspired by the program.  All along, I was encouraged, empowered, and felt hopeful for my future.  I still think about several of the strategies that were presented from time to time.  I even took my wife through the second half of the videos because she struggles with eating to cover her pain.  The videos can be helpful to anyone who wants to stop something that they are addicted to–not just porn.  Although the program specifically addresses porn, the concepts presented are universal to all addiction.

The program also offers a “Battle Tracker” which is simply a calendar that you mark off the days that you were porn-free and the days that you stumbled.  It is a helpful little tool to help keep you motivated as there are badges you earn the longer you are successful.

A few other thoughts:  Although the program is developed by Mormons, it does not preach religion and will not be unsettling to those who are not religious.  I felt they did a good job of appealing to all while still being true to the help we need from outside of ourselves.

The cost of the program is $40 if you are over 21 years old.  For those under 21, they offer the program for free.  I believe the program is worth $40.  Once you acquire the program, there is no time limit or anything.  You can continue to log in and watch the videos and use the Battle Tracker indefinitely.  I have gone back and watched several of the videos over again.

Another thing that makes this program special is how it ties in with the “Fight the New Drug” Campaign.  This campaign is more of a marketing and lobbying group for freedom from porn addiction.  They are strong in their social media presence, in their appeal to the youth–making freedom from porn seem popular and cool.  They are also aggressively seeking to educate the public who, generally, sees nothing wrong with porn.  They are doing a great work and to be affiliated with them is infectious.  They invite you to become a “Fighter” and join the movement against porn and its harmful effects.  They have some cool products that they offer in their store.  The red “Porn Kills Love” T-shirt seems to be the most popular item and they post almost daily pictures of some cool, younger person repping the movement in their shirt somewhere.  It’s a great concept done well.  They hired a top-notch marketing person/graphic designer and it has paid off in a very impressive campaign!

So, if you’re not already, get on board!


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Finding Yourself…

During a midlife crisis, it is common for a person to re-evaluate their life.  One one hand, that can be dangerous because it has led many people to make decisions that they have regretted later.  On the other hand, I feel like some self-evaluation is a good thing as long as the decisions you make from it are well thought out and responsibly made.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life and who I am.  I’m in the middle of a career change–just finishing up my X-ray program in May.  I’m happy about this change.  I think I made the right decision.  But, there are other areas of my life that seem unsettled.

I feel like a very important aspect of my life is my spirituality.  Currently, that part of my life is very unsettled.  I went through a very long period of time in my life where I became very “religious”.  I’m evaluating that right now.  I didn’t like the person I had become, yet there are aspects of it that I can’t leave behind.  There are aspects of it that I do not want to leave behind.

Lately, I’ve been taking a step back from church.  I’m still attending, but I’m not involved.  It has allowed me some space to think.  I’ve been finding that my simple spirituality is returning ever so slowly.  I used to find moments with God throughout my day in simple things.  I was awake to hints and suggestions from nature and from things around me.  The world was magical and full of wonder.  Things were mysterious and exciting.  That seemed to go away when I was steeped so deeply in “religion”.  Religion seemed to pretend to have everything packed neatly into a box.  It seemed to strip away the mystery.  It was all about having all the answers–marketed so well in all of those Bible study guides.  Religion had taken all of the magic of God and commercialized it into programs and seminars.  I missed the beauty of my grassroots spirituality–just me and God and all the little evidences that were unplanned and spontaneous.

I’m so happy to see the return of God.  It’s also becoming more simple in some ways.  God is Love.  Love is God.

Along with my spirituality, I’ve been re-evaluating other things of my life.  I’ve been spending a lot more time creating relationships lately.  I think this is a great new path for me.  I’ve been such an antisocial person for the last several years.  But, not I’m conscientiously making friends and including others in my life.  This has been a big change.  In some ways, it has been difficult because it is new not only for me but also for my wife.  She is somewhat resistant to the change.  She used to have me all to herself and now there are others that she is having to share me with.  We continue to work this out.

I’ve also been spending more time being thoughtful.  I’ve started an e-mail list and a Facebook page called “Thought For The Day”.  I select an interesting quote for the day and then spend some time discussing my thoughts on that quote.  This activity has opened up some dialogue with people that I might not have had otherwise.  It has also caused me to be thinking daily about what is most important to me.  It has focused my attention on happiness, success, love, etc.  It has encouraged me to be a more mindful person and a more caring one.

There seems to be so many things I’m re-evaluating… almost everything in my life.  In some ways it’s overwhelming.  I need to stop and focus on one thing at a time.  On the other hand, it’s exciting.  So many possible changes for the better!  But, again, I need to remember to be careful about the changes I’m making.  It’s better to slow down and be sure before making certain decisions.  It’s important to be responsible.

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Struggling with Who You Are versus Who You Want to Be

Caged in sm

“Caged In”

I do Conceptual Art Photography as a hobby.  I created this photo with the idea that we all struggle with something.  We are all trapped in cages of addiction.  I believe that no addiction is worse than any other–they all create the feeling of powerlessness, lack of control, and sadness!  We all have things about us we would like to change.  But, we find it very difficult.  The door to our cage is wide open, yet we stay trapped inside unable to get out.

I recently watched a movie called “The Double”.  A very artistic and amazing movie about how we struggle with who we want to be versus who we are.  My favorite line from the movie is as follows:

“I know what it feels like to be lost and lonely and invisible…
I don’t know how to be myself.
It’s like I’m permanently outside myself–like you could push your hand straight through me if you wanted to.
And I can see the type of man that I want to be versus the type of man that I am and I know that I’m doing it, but I’m incapable of doing what needs to be done…
I’m like a Pinocchio…  I’m a wooden boy…
not a real boy…  and it kills me.”
What I’ve learned in my life is that we should never give up trying to be better.  I spent several years where I was in doubt that I could ever change.  I wrestled with God.  I cried in despair.  I struggled with depression and the desire to be dead.  But, a fine line of hope carried me through.  Today, I am almost daily blown away by the realization that I made it to the other side of my porn addiction.  I’m still working on the lust part, but I realize it’s progressive.
Whatever you’re struggling with, you need to know 2 things:
1)  You CAN overcome!!  Believe that.  Hold onto the hope of that fact.  Don’t ever give up–no matter how long it may have been or how much longer it will be.
2)  You are still valuable and important–even while you’re struggling.  Never give in to the idea that, because you’ve failed so many times, you are worthless.  If you are spiritual (and even if you’re not) you need to also know that God loves you even while you’re struggling.  Always remember that.  God doesn’t give up on you.  If anything, He holds you tighter!
Those two facts can be the thin threads that holds you steady in the storm.  Trust me, I’ve weathered some tough mental hurricanes and the waters are finally still.  Keep fighting!
Posted in Addiction, lust, midlife crisis, Pornography Addiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Lost in Porn Blog” is now “Men’s Guide to Freedom from Porn and Lust”

As I’ve grown in my recovery, my struggles have changed and my blog has taken some new direction.  So, as a result, I’ve decided to change the title of the blog.  I think the new title more reflects what I’m writing about.

The blog will still bring out the details of how I’m growing as I continue to fight the battle against inclinations toward porn addiction, lust, affairs, and a mid-life crisis.  There are also tips and techniques being offered.

All of the original content remains.  I hope this change bring clarity and continuity to this blog.

Posted in Pornography Addiction | 4 Comments

5 Simple Ways to Show Your Wife Love.

I came across a good article from Mayra Bitsko a few weeks back.  It offers 5 simple ways to show your wife you love her.  I’ve been telling you how amazing my wife has been at showing me love. But, I wanted to reverse it and share these ideas on how we can give back!

  • A gift

    If your wife points out to something she likes, but, unfortunately, cannot afford it at the time, take a mental picture of the item. On a day you are alone, buy it for her. This will show your wife you were listening to her and that you care. Another idea to consider is writing a sentimental note and placing it in her purse.

(My wife has been writing all these random little notes for me lately and including a fun little gift.  It doesn’t have to be expensive!  Women who give gifts also love receiving them.  The other day, I grabbed some flowers from a street vendor for $5.  She loved them.  Flowers are obvious… but let’s try to get really creative and notice those little things she would love.  The notes are a really good idea too.  Tell her in each note what you love about her!)

  • Be supportive

    If you see your wife in distress, without telling her, start working on her to-do list. Help the children with their homework and school projects or do the food shopping on a day she’s working late. Your wife may develop stress from work. Take out time to talk to her about why her job is stressing her. Sometimes talking things out relaxes a person.

(As you probably know women love to talk!  Men love to try to solve problems.  One way we can show love is to just listen sometimes without trying to solve everything.  Women need a shoulder to cry on.  They just need to talk out their feelings.  Are you being the guy she can do that with?  If not, she might find someone else at work or something.  Also, being helpful is another way to give free gifts.  I absolutely hate grocery shopping, but I enjoy finding things I can do to lighten my wife’s load.)

  • Reminisce

    Walk down memory lane.Talk about a memorable moment you both shared. Maybe the memory was something that happened at your wedding, at a friend’s party or a simple walk in the park. The memories will bring back magical feelings.

(Hmmm…  haven’t done this for awhile.  Have you? This could be fun to try tonight or this weekend.)

  • Attention

    When your wife needs someone to talk to, turn off the television, the computer and put your cell phone aside. A slight sign of distraction will send off the wrong signal to her. She will think you do not care. Giving your wife undivided attention only shows her you are interested in what she has to say.

(Yes, I’ve found this to be important.  It is also important if you have children. They need to know that you care enough about them to give them all your undivided attention.)

  • Advice

    If you find yourself troubled or confused over something, ask your wife for advice. Let her know her opinion matters.

(I love running things past my wife.  She usually has interesting ideas and can be helpful. Plus, just having her support when I make a decision makes me feel more confident about that decision.)

We need to realize just how important it is to be conscientiously showing our wives love.  It’s not only essential to making our wives happy, but it’s also essential to making us happy in our marriage.  Love is a verb.  If we’re not pursuing our wives, there is a strong chance that we will be pursuing something destructive to our marriage like porn or affairs.  Loving our wives is the way to keeping our wives!  And our own faithfulness!

Posted in marriage, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Greatest Secret to Remaining Faithful during a Crush or a Midlife Crisis

I have to tell you about one of the strongest and most effective things that is helping me to remain faithful during my midlife crisis…

It’s better than any book I’ve read.  It’s better than any strategy.  It’s better than a list of rules.

It’s my WIFE!!

I have to say, my wife is absolutely and completely amazing to me.  I’ve talked about how amazing she is throughout my blog.  She has stuck with me through my decade of porn addiction.  She stuck with me through the times I have developed crushes.  There were a couple times when my crushes became very dangerous to our marriage and I was having thoughts about leaving my wife.  She stuck with me through those times.  She has stuck with me through this most recent crush and the struggle I’m currently having with just being friends with this girl from school.  She is amazing.

I have to tell you about something she is currently doing in our relationship that is so awesome.

A few weeks ago, I picked up my daily quote book to do my morning reading.  That morning’s quote said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

The quote was appropriate because I had just talked to my crush the night before about the feelings that I had developed for her and the mistakes I felt I had made leading up to them.  I made a commitment to do better at just remaining friends.

In that same page in my quote book, there was a little envelope with a card in it.  The card was from my wife.  The card said, “There are many reasons why I love you.  I can think of 52.  The first reason why I love you is because you care about me.  I can feel your love for me and I really appreciate it.”

This card has started a whole chain of thoughtful surprises from my wife.  A couple days later, I opened my backpack at work and found a box of Hot Tamales inside with a note written on the box that said, “Reason #2 that I love you is because your my Hot Tamale”.

A few days later, I got another envelope taped to my lunch which said, “reason #3 is because you’re patient with me.”

Today, I opened my backpack and there was a little present inside.  It was a little smiley face guy with outstretched arms and a note that said, “the #4 reason that I love you is because you give me free hugs.”

I’m assuming that there will be another 48 of these little surprises to come and I’m really excited about them!  I’m seriously surprised every time I find one of these hidden treasures and I can’t wait to read the reason.

It is truly making me love my wife so much more.  It’s so thoughtful of her that I feel deeply touched by it.  I can’t wait to tell her I found it each day and to thank her for it.  I have also been trying to do more things to surprise her too.  Yesterday, I bought her some flowers and when she came to pick me up, they were sticking out of my backpack.  She loved it.

Gift giving is a great tool for couples.

Paul wrote in the Bible concerning people that “if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Cor. 7:9).  I have a lust problem–many people do.  The Biblical answer is to have a spouse!

I have had a spouse all along, but that doesn’t mean it has solved my problems.  I feel that you can be married but not really gain the benefits that a marriage should provide.  You can have a wife, but not really appreciate and love her unconditionally.  That’s what was happening with me.  For the benefits of marriage to be active, the relationship really has to be healthy and based upon true love.

My wife is loving me like never before.  These things she’s doing are seriously effective.  I’m trying to return the favor.  It’s working!

I’ve previously mentioned several rules to prevent or reverse a crush.  This one is the grandest rule of them all–if you have a spouse, learn to love her unconditionally and fully.  That is the most effective way to keep your heart where it belongs.

I just wanted to mention what my wife is up to because it might give you (husbands or wives) some ideas of what you could do for your spouse as well.  He or she would love it!

In the future, I intend to offer more advice about how to make your marriage fulfilling enough to keep you faithful.  I’ve got a good article I’m hoping to share some tips from very soon.  I’ve also mentioned the book “the Love Dare” in previous posts.  I want to give you the cream of the crop from that book as well.

Take care and keep on fighting for faithfulness!

Posted in crushes, lust, marriage, midlife crisis, Pornography Addiction, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

How to Prevent or Reverse a Crush… the Mistakes I Made (#5-7)

My last post covered the first four rules to preventing or reversing a crush.  The rules are taken from an interesting article written by Gary and Joy Lundberg.  This post will pick up with the next few rules.

#5  Chatting on the internet with someone of the opposite sex

According to the article, “Some have engaged in what they considered innocent talk with a former boyfriend or girlfriend from high school or college days, or even a stranger. One thing can lead to another and before you know it, your marriage is in jeopardy.”

My crush and I were somewhat careful about this rule because there was something scary about having our conversation permanently recorded.  At one point, in the middle of it all, I deleted all of the Facebook messages between us.  It just so happened that my wife noticed that which turned into a major problem.  She accused me of destroying some kind of incriminating evidence.  The truth was that I got rid of them because I didn’t want my wife to see them because she was always hurt whenever she would see them.  They were usually harmless conversations, but just the fact that we were having conversations at all was frustrating to my wife.  So, I just got rid of them so there wouldn’t be anything to see.  Big mistake!  She never really believed my story.  Anyway, it would have been better to just not even have those online conversations in the first-place.  I have since learned!

The Lundberg’s recommendation is, “Don’t do it. It will only end in sorrow and heartbreak for your family.”

#6  Dressing to attract the attention of someone other than your spouse

I mentioned how last week my crush was looking really good on one particular day.  She wore a dress that fit really well and just happened to be my favorite color.  Her hair was done just right.  Her makeup looked nice.  She looked pretty good and I wasn’t the only one who noticed.  She received complements all day.

I don’t know if she did that intentionally for me or anything–probably not.  But, I have worn things I knew she liked just to be more attractive to her.  I’ve also noted her preference for particular colognes I’ve worn.

A few of the mistakes I’ve made have been kind of innocent and ignorant.  But, this mistake was completely intentional.  If you find yourself dressing for another guy or girl, let that be an indication that you are on the wrong track.

#7  Writing personal intimate notes or letters to someone else

I can’t believe I totally failed at all 7 rules!  This one might have been the worst!

A while back, I came across a little book entitled, “I Think I’m in Friend Love With You”.  It was a cute little book about being friends with someone of the opposite sex.  It talked about wanting to spend time chatting online with them, enjoying their company, yadda, yadda, yadda…  Pretty much all the mistakes were covered in there.  But, at the time, I thought it was an innocent way to tell her that I really liked her “as a friend”.  I bought the book for her and even added my own little notes that were customized to pinpoint some of the intimate things we had between us.  I felt like the book was fun and harmless.  But, I knew my wife would absolutely kill me if she ever found out about it.  So, I tucked it away in the bottom of my nightstand until I could wrap it up and give it to my “friend”.

Amazingly, my wife needed a note-card a couple days later and went digging in my nightstand where I keep them.  What are the odds!  She never needs note-cards!  And do you think she found the book???  OF COURSE SHE DID!!

And did she fly through the roof???  YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!!  That was one huge fight we had over that one.  My wife even threatened to take the book and give it to my friend’s husband.  Thankfully, she cooled off and I threw the book away.  But, “the book” has never gone away.  It still lingers as a hot spot in our relationship.  Whenever I am try to minimize the relationship I’ve had with this girl, my wife brings up THE BOOK.  My heart is racing just writing this story.  THE BOOK was probably the single biggest mistake I made in all of this and it will likely haunt me until the day I die.  Let this be a lesson to all of you.  Never, never, never let there be any physical evidence of your crush.  I’m not saying you should hide things from your spouse–just don’t have anything to hide.  It’s amazing the intuitive, bloodhound sense that seems to be built into spouses to just come across that piece of evidence that will completely destroy you!

Take these 7 tips very seriously.  Also, let my mistakes be a warning to you.  These 7 rules, if followed, should prevent you from developing those feelings for another woman that are very hard to wrestle with.  If you’re already struggling with those feelings for someone, start following these tips immediately.  A long-distance relationship usually dies.  So, create the distance you need to create for everything to settle.  I’m finding that the distance cools things off enough to start making right decisions and allows the emotions to balance out.  Good luck!  Be persistent and consistent!  Save your marriage!

Posted in Addiction, breaking up, crushes, lust, marriage, midlife crisis, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to Prevent or Reverse a Crush… the Mistakes I Made (#1-4)

I’ve been planning to write this post for awhile now, but have just been keeping it on the back burner to simmer.  I feel like now is the time!

I recently read a good article from Gary and Joy Lundberg entitled, “10 ways you are being unfaithful to your spouse–and you don’t even know it.”  It discusses 10 things men often do that lead to either emotional or physical affairs with other women.  I’ve been taking these things very seriously because I have broken a lot of these rules and it has led me to the emotional affair I’ve described recently in my blog.  Now, I’m feeling the pain from those mistakes!  I want to share what I did and didn’t do to prevent my developing feelings for this other girl and also emphasize what we need to do in the future to protect our hearts from falling into affairs.

#1  Flirting

This is a big one for me.  Flirting is just how I tend to interact with females that I like.  It starts out innocent for me–just having fun–just being friends.  But, with time, the flirting has started to get deeper because I enjoy seeing how far I can take it for some reason.  If a girl is open to my flirting, it becomes a challenge and I get deeper than I intended and feelings can arise that I didn’t want.

With my recent crush, I didn’t start out being attracted to this girl at all.  She was sweet and friendly to me.  We were working together and studying together and that’s about it.  After awhile, the flirting started.  We both realized we were open to flirting with each other and it just kind of progressed.  I soon noticed I really liked her eyes and her smile.  Then, it was her hands and her hair I was becoming attracted to.  It grew as the flirting grew.  And the feelings grew right along with it.

According to the article, flirting “usually involves speaking and behaving in a way that suggests a mildly greater intimacy than the actual relationship between the parties would justify, though within the rules of social etiquette, which generally disapproves of a direct expression of sexual interest. This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony… Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, etc.”

We were having all kinds of eye contact and suggestive conversation.  There was touching–starting out brief and lasting longer and longer.

The article goes on to state, “Married people should never engage in this type of behavior with anyone other than their spouse. It is a full-on form of unfaithfulness that leads to no good. The one you’re flirting with may take it as an invitation and pursue a relationship you never intended.”  Their advice is, “Avoid it like the plague. It’s dangerous. If someone flirts with you, ignore it.”

Well, that’s great and truthful advice.  But, for a guy like me it’s a bit easier said than done.  It’s not easy to just change how you interact with the ladies!  But, it’s also not easy to lose your wife!  I’ve been hearing all the horror stories in the comments from the guys who were left by their wives because they couldn’t get past a crush.  I don’t want that!  I have to learn to stop flirting.  I’m making some strides, but I still have a ways to go.  Even with the girls you would never consider yourself to become attracted to or involved with, it has to stop!

#2  Confiding in the opposite gender

We all want someone to be close to.  It feels good to pour out our problems or struggles with someone who seems to understand how we feel.  It’s called relationship!  But, this one got me in a lot of trouble with my crush.  She shared things with me that she said she had never told anyone else.  That made me feel pretty special.  I talked with her about the deepest things in my heart as well.  She knew practically everything from my past–including my greatest struggle to date which was my decade of hidden addiction to porn.  I talked to her about everything–even my relationship with my wife.  These deep secrets between us drew us close.  I don’t think I’ve felt closer to another person except my wife.

I think it’s pretty obvious the danger this presents.  I was drawn to it because it made me feel so good to be understood.  She seemed so non-judgmental.  Even though she knew my darkest corners, she still liked me and respected me!  I loved that about her!  But, I was setting myself up for strong feelings that didn’t belong between me and another woman.

The article suggests, “If you’ve got a problem, talk about it with your spouse. That’s your best-ever shoulder to cry on. If that’s not working for you, try a trusted relative, clergyman, or therapist.”

The problem is, you’re probably not going to feel the same satisfaction from talking to those people.  The stimulating satisfaction of sharing secrets with a crush can be found in only one place and there’s no substitution.  I would say the only answer is to just not do it at all.  It’s not worth it!  JUST DON’T GO THERE!!

#3  Spending time alone with someone else

Yet another mistake I fell headlong into.  When it all started, it was just out of necessity–we needed to eat.  So, we’d stop by someplace and get some food.  I think we began to realize we enjoyed getting food together, so we started intentionally trying different places.  I found out she likes to try different kinds of international foods just like I do, so we made a point of trying all kinds of different ethnic restaurants together–but just as friends.  I was deceiving myself.  There was more than just friends going on in my heart.  These were little dates which I was rationalizing away as nothing.  But, sitting across from her, staring into her eyes, having intimate conversation was not “nothing”.  Very dangerous!  I don’t recommend it.  I still have some changes to make in this area because we carpool alone together two days a week for about an hour.  But, the dining dates have stopped.  We also used to take little walks into the hills or on the beach during some of our free time.  Those walks have also ended.  Do I miss them?  Of course!  But, I’d rather have the freedom that comes with not having feelings for someone you can’t have!

In the article, they say, “What appears to be an innocent lunch out with someone of the opposite sex or stopping by for a chat at that someone’s home without your spouse is definitely in the category of unfaithful behavior. You or the other person may say, “Hey, we’re both adults. Nothing’s going to happen.” Well, things do happen. It’s not appropriate. Go home and spend that time with your spouse.”

I agree fully with this advice!

#4  Talking negatively about your mate

My wife is a pretty good person.  I love her.  I didn’t really have too many negative things to say about her.  But, when my wife caught on to my “friendship” with this other girl, she started to get jealous.  I would talk to my crush about my wife’s feelings trying to get advice from her about women.  Over time, my wife’s feelings got stronger and she was gripping tighter and tighter to me.  I was starting to feel a little bit choked in my marriage.  I wanted some freedom.  I realize I might have been asking for too much, but that’s how I felt.  I now realize there was a midlife crisis situation going with me in my heart at the same time.  I wanted to run out and experience new girls–be young and free again.  I was fighting all of these terrible feelings.  I was talking to this girl about these feelings.  I was including feeling and thoughts I was having about my wife in those conversations.  This was all wrong–but especially breaking the family circle with this other woman.

Looking back, I realize there was only one conversation I should have been having.  The article supports it.  “Let your conversations with others focus on the good things about your spouse. That’s being faithful.”  You’ve always heard, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”  Well, that’s true!  The only things you should be sharing about your spouse with any other person should be the good things.  In fact, I would take that even a step further and say that the only thing you should even be thinking about in your mind about your spouse is the good things!

I read a book that started to help me get out of this crush situation I was in.  It was called the Love Dare.  There is a chapter in there that talks about thoughts.  We tend to spend a lot of time in what they call “the Depreciation Room”.  This is where we think about all the things that annoy us about our spouses.  Instead, we should be spending all our time in “the Appreciation Room”.  We need to be intentionally thinking of what it is about our spouses that we like.  Whichever room we spend the most time in will, ultimately, be how we wind up feeling about our spouse.  So, it’s important to guard our thoughts!  If we only have GOOD THOUGHTS in our head about our spouse, it will be easy to only share GOOD THINGS about him/her to others, right?!  That’s how it works!

So, this post is getting long!  I’m going to pause with these four.  I’ll pick up with #5 in my next post.  I hope you’ll spend some time thinking about these four mistakes we make and try to live a life free of them.  If you want to have a life free of wondering emotions for other girls/guys, they are a must!  If you want to live a long, happy life with your spouse you’ve got to get these things out of your interactions with others.  Do you agree?

Posted in Addiction, breaking up, crushes, lust, marriage, midlife crisis, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Week after Telling My Crush How I Felt about Her…

Here’s an update on how my first week went after telling my crush how I felt about her:

So, everything started off pretty well!  At clinical, we were just friends again.  My feelings for her were under control.  I was really happy that she didn’t seem to be treating me any differently.  She would kind of joke when she went to pinch me or something that, “oh yeah, we’re not doing that anymore”.  I appreciate that she is making an effort to help me out with my runaway feelings.

We were getting along very well, in fact, and it really felt good to be “just friends”.  Then, a couple days ago, she came to class in a dress that I really liked.  It was kind of short and a little revealing and my favorite color.  Her hair looked really nice and she just kind of seemed to get everything right that day and I found it kind of attractive.  I liked it!  But, I didn’t want to like it!  So, that posed a little problem.

But, by the next day, I was over it.  I still have a lot to learn.  In some ways, I think it’s best if I keep as much distance between me and her as I can.  It definitely helps.  When I’m around her, I still enjoy it.  She’s a really nice girl and she’s fun to be around.  But, I know I’m still kind of sensitive to her.

There are times I can’t really avoid being with her–at clinical, in our study group, etc.  And there are times I can avoid being with her but don’t choose to.  I’m still carpooling with her.  But, I’m finding that I just have to work all of these things out and it takes some time.  When I’m with her, I’m trying not to be flirty with her like I used to.  But, there’s a balance between not flirting and still being a fun person to be around.  I’m trying to create that balance.  I feel happy because I think I’m making progress.

My wife still doesn’t really like us being around each other.  But, she is doing good at trying to exercise trust.  She is also trying to be understanding about the situation and the attempts I’m making to do better.  She has given me permission to study with her and I have told her that she can come along any time if she wants to or just pop in.  I feel like that adds a bit of transparency to the situation.  We’re only studying maybe once a week now where it used to be two or three.

That’s about it.  I’m going to post a really good article I found recently about steps you can take to guard yourself from getting a crush in the first place.  I need to be practicing these steps very carefully.  Look for the new post soon!

Posted in breaking up, crushes, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments