Feb 062013

Real Relationship Advice

romance pictures5 300x216 What is Romance?

People are always harping about things being romantic, as if that makes them better. Women are constantly asking us how to make their husbands more romantic and men are always asking what else they could do. CoupleDumb is here to let you in on a little secret that seems to elude the media and romance novelists around the globe: What they show as romance is hardly ever romantic.

Romance is simply a mood. When a woman is requesting a romantic evening she is really asking for the following:

1. Take time to plan things out.

Showing up to your favorite place where you can share an appetizer and a dessert and each get an entrée for less than 20 bucks is great for a movie night but not for romance. Make the effort.

2. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful.

A picnic is more romantic than a crowded restaurant. When your wife knows you actually thought about her likes and needs when it wasn’t even her birthday, that is more romantic than beluga caviar on pearl.

3. It doesn’t have to be about sex.

A walk while holding hands and talking about life is romantic. Monkey sex, where you break the headboard, is fun but hardly romantic.

So you are setting a mood of love. Unfortunately, men don’t always see things the way women do. Women tend to see love as affection whereas men equate it more with sex. Both can be satisfied with a nice evening but let’s understand the male of the species a little better.

1. Men want to feel wanted.

We have said this 1 million times. One of the worst feelings in a relationship is to always initiate sex and never receive the same from your partner. When someone makes advances, even if they are unwanted, it does subconsciously get recorded. You are wanted. If you are always initiating sex, you never get to feel that.  Make him feel wanted. Make the effort.

2. Men like to be pursued too.

There is nothing wrong with sending your guy flowers. If you are on a budget, a naughty text message or a simple, ‘I miss you’, will make his day.

3. Make it about him.

Sometimes, if we are tired, it can be all about him. A nice massage followed by a happy ending is just the way to show him you care.

This Valentine’s be there for each other. Be romantic for each other. Be thoughtful and considerate to each other’s needs.

Jun 132012

Real Relationship Advice

MH900409323 300x300 Date Night: The Good, The Bad and the Stupid

We have been married for 23 years. We have three kids with ages ranging from college to kindergarten. We work almost constantly. We are pushing 50 and yet still make time to be intimate and have sex. We have done all of this without having a date. Are we bragging? Yes, we are! Date Night is a panacea that may make marriages even more vulnerable. Here are the CoupleDumb pros and cons on Date Night.


1. Any time alone together is good.

With the hustle and bustle of life, finding a few moments let alone a few hours alone is very difficult. Date night allows a couple to speak with one another without the monotonous Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy… interrupting you every time you open your mouth.  It is an opportunity to create intimacy.

2. It is a definitive boundary.

Many couples tend to lose sight of their boundaries when children and the stresses of life become overwhelming. We forget about our role as men and women and only focus on our career and parenting roles. When we go on a date night, we are refocusing our attention on the men and women roles.

3. Everyone needs a respite.

Sometimes you need to detach. Most adults are sleep deprived but even more than that, most adults are overwhelmed with responsibility. Taking a respite is the only thing that will charge the batteries.

But Date Nights are not the Marriage Blahs Silver Bullet.


1. Lulls the couple into a false sense of security

Couples actually believe that going out with their spouse shows that they have a good marriage. Date Nights are not spent parked in Lover’s Lane making out while listening to Kings of Leon’s ‘Sex is on Fire’. Most Date Nights include dinner and a movie.

2. Date Nights are planned to maximize the time.

Dinner and a movie is a fun night but is it really a good way to create intimacy? A Date Night generally lasts between 2-4 hours. If dinner takes an hour then you need to rush over to the theater to watch a movie. Date Night is spent rushing around and, aside from not having kids around, how is it different than going out with your children?

3. Date Nights can be expensive.

Dinner and a movie will run you an easy $100.00. If you are paying for a sitter then add another $40+ to the expenses. We would suggest putting off Date Night for a couple of months and book a weekend cruise for you and your spouse instead.

Every day is an opportunity to communicate your love to someone. It can be as simple as holding hands while watching TV or an unexpected passionate kiss while getting dinner ready. It doesn’t need to cost you a cent and will have better results than dinner and a movie.


Jun 122012

Real Relationship Advice

p1b 246x300 Romance Without The Fireworks

If sex is the language of passion and lust, then romance is the language of intimacy. Romance has been hijacked by the Greeting Card Company, poorly lit restaurants and sky writers. At this very moment there is a man considering renting a high school marching band to play Bryan Adams while fireworks light the sky and a perfectly timed small parachute drops with an engagement ring in the middle of a football field; the bigger and more expensive the better. You have to ask yourself, if this is how you are starting your marriage, what do you think she will expect in the future? Engagements have reached the absurd. If he doesn’t pull out all the stops to propose marriage then he is not romantic. Romance has become perverted and currently means ‘large overtures and public proclamations of love’.

The first 5 years of marriage are the ‘primary divorce danger zone’. If you survive these years, then your next tests will occur every decade. Those who divorce in the infancy of marriage report a high degree of conflict. However, when couple’s divorce after a decade of matrimony the reason most sited is ‘loss of intimacy and connectedness’.  These reasons are directly linked to romance.

Couples forget to remind each other about being in love. We get so overwhelmed with life and children and work and responsibility that the last thing we have time for is intimacy. On top of all of that we worry more about our sex life rather than sharing intimacy. It just doesn’t seem that important to sit around and talk about relationships. ‘He/she knows I love him/her’ is the mantra for these couples.

Once or twice a year we give each other gifts or flowers and make a big deal about a birthday but is that enough? I love you becomes a phone call sign off but when was the last time you actually looked into each other’s eyes and said it without it being a sex prelude? How many times in the last year have you talked about your dreams or shared your fears? How many times in the past year searched a crowded room to find each other and locked eyes for a moment briefly communicating that you are connected? As a therapist, I have often worked with couples who have ‘lost that loving feeling’. Yes, their sex life is waning but more importantly, they have no intimacy.

Romance is about the kiss, not about the sex. Romance is regard and respect. Romance is remembering the moments that matter. Romance is being told that you are the most important person in someone’s life. There is no need to buy anything. There is no need for a reservation, appointment or even washing a dish. It’s the music behind those overtures that make those things romantic.  What society is considering romantic is really a physical manifestation to the emotional content behind it. Flowers are not romantic. Thinking about your significant other enough to pull over and pick up a bunch of flowers is romantic. It’s the thought not the buds.

If we communicated our love and/or if we maintained a high level of intimacy on a daily basis, we would put the flower industry out of business. All it would take is a look and that is the entire overture you would need.

Jun 112012

Real Relationship Advice

MH900446460 300x300 Romance, Love, And Dirty Dishes


We see it in the movies. The candles. The over the top proposal. The public displays of affection. We are obsessed with romance and yet we have very different ideas of what romance is. For some, romance has to be this overture of love with flowers, a flash mob dancing to that Dirty Dancing song and a horse drawn carriage. For many younger couples, romance is a point of contention. For older couples, the concept of romance has evolved. To give you an idea of how varied our idea of romance is, take a look at these examples from some married women:

Kelly Kinkaid from kellyology.net: “Taking over one of my responsibilities around the house or with the kids without asking. And actually listening to what I’m saying…”

Emily Vanek from Coloradomoms.com: “romantic to me is getting a sitter all by himself and actually choosing the movie and restaurant. Or at the very least, picking a channel and sticking to it when we watch TV. ;)”

Melissa Steinberg Brodsky from Youwontgoblind.com:  “romantic to me is when my husband, who is so NOT romantic, calls to tell me that we are going away, just the two of us, overnight. And…he made arrangements for the kids. He did that last year for my birthday and he did it again, today.”

Kelly Gehrmann Whalen from thecentsiblelife.com: “It’s really about showing how much he cares whether that’s by helping me with my responsibilities, doing housework, or going out of his way to something unexpected and kind. I think we place too much value on ‘stuff’ and big romantic gestures. I’ll take him getting up with the kids and making me coffee any day of the week over a dozen roses.”

Jo-Lynne Shane from Musingsofahousewife .com: “I always say there I nothing sexier than a guy doing the dishes. But truly, I need time together to feel romantic. And little thoughtful things help too-like bringing me a coffee in the morning or planning a date so I don’t have to.”

Jessica Rubin Cohen from foundthemarbles.com: “To me, romance is not contrived or fake or too planned out. Romantic is what comes authentically, whether it’s a few stolen moments or a glance across the room.”

Annie Shultz from mamadweeb.com : “It is romantic if my husband does something out of the ordinary that took effort. So if he leaves me a note, finds a sitter for me, or even if he does a load of dishes without being asked (he NEVER does that). That is pure romance at its best. “

Kadi Cobb Prescott from kadiprescott.com:  “I am not a romance girl. It kind of freaks me out. It may be that my parents were never lovey dovey in front of me and I never saw what romance was. I don’t know.”

So, if we were to define romance for the modern married woman, we would be able to distill it to the following ideals:

*House work          *Surprising   *Taking over the planning

We suppose that after reading the above you know that CoupleDumb will throw you a curve ball and tell them that they are all wrong. You know us so well but that isn’t exactly what we will do.

Romance is simply communicating an emotional love. So, if you feel loved because your husband does a load of laundry, the spin cycle is your love language.

Come back tomorrow where we tackle real romance and how it eludes the recently married.

Question: What is the most romantic thing you have ever experienced?

Mar 222009

2632 60403138937 798093937 1485899 6296855 n Ill have the independence with a side of bipolar. 

Buenos Diaz our faithful readers and Happy Heavy Monday!  We hope your weekend was pleasant and you had the opportunity of spending some time outside during the first weekend of Spring.  The weather in Miami was interesting; warm, then rain, then cool, then sunny.  It was switching up so much it reminded us of the topic of the week.  WOMEN!

Lee says: As a woman, I know I will get in some trouble for what I am about to say.  However, CoupleDumb is committed to being honest and to the idea that we can educate and entertain.  Edutainment!  So what can I say about me and my gender that hasn’t been said before.  We are soft and rough and tender and cruel and powerful and weak and beautiful and ugly.  All this can happen in a minute! 

          As we mentioned last week, men are rule makers.  But men do something very interesting to us females, they write it down. They even bind it for us in the forms of policies or playbooks or directions.  They want their rules to be known and understood so we all play the same game.  Women, on the other hand, are also rule makers. However, we create rules for the purpose of creating relationship.  As supervisors, we tend to want consensus and harmony.  The problem we have is that we never really bother to inform anyone of the rules. 

          Women have a tendency to want people to guess at their intentions or assume that people should understand them.  For men, who operate like computers (data in/solution out), this is extremely perplexing.  We are of the belief that men should understand our behaviors and extrapolate from them how we feel.  If we are smiling but silent, does that mean we are content or does it mean we just poured rat poison in our hubby’s food?  If we are frowning and looking out the window, does it mean the FedEx guy hasn’t shown up with our latest cyber purchase or are we yearning for Giancarlo to come and take us back to Sardinia with him and escape our wretched lives?  How would he know?

          For years men have said that women are complicated and we simply laugh at them.  We think they are stunted and stupid for not understanding us.  But let’s be honest, why would they?  We don’t explain things and when we do, we tend to blame them for our moods.  We go into a relationship believing that it will be the panacea of all our woes to find out that our woes are still there and now compounded by this guy who keeps asking us ‘what’s wrong?’  Ladies, we are the architects of our discontent and the directors of our own soap operas. 

          We have no hope really.  How many of us read Harlequin romances growing up?  While boys were creating teams and fighting dragons, we were fantasizing about being whisked away and taken to a castle in Scotland (wait a second, I still fantasize about that).  We cut our teeth on syrupy love stories and understood early on that we wanted a man to TAKE US!  Meanwhile, we were learning to stand up for ourselves and took self defense classes to learn how to kick a guy in the nuts so we would never be victimized.  We were encouraged to go to school and learn to never depend on a man.  But all that education never touched us where those romance novels did.  Learning to be independent didn’t make us tingle in those special parts.  That was Roderick’s job while standing on the bow of the galleon with his pirate shirt open.  He would save us from all that because he would take us and then let us be ourselves.  Right?

Paul says: I’m pulling out my tight jean and pirate shirt from the closet.