Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting your needs met - while staying married!

I've been talking with a lot of divorced people lately for my series on Divorce and Dating. Hearing what they were missing in their marriages makes me wonder - can husbands and wives really meet each others' needs all the time? Are they even supposed to?

In this short video, I discuss this topic with Carol Moss, a licensed clinical social worker and life coach. She provides a unique approach for making sure your needs are met in your marriage.

If you want to stay happily married - watch it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

All straight guys love the Posse.

The Posse's main assets are their obvious physical charms combined with a wicked sense of humor. And if a man doesn't worship both, he's not gonna cut it.

Bunny is seeing someone regularly now, but I asked her about Ed, a guy she'd gone out with a couple years back.

"I was nuts about him," she said. "But he didn't appreciate me enough."

Oh really? I asked.

"Listen," she said leaning in close. "My current boyfriend loves my body. My ex-husband loved my body. Everyone loves my body, but Ed didn't - he's gay."

Bunny does have a fabulous body and expects it to be given it's proper due between the sheets. So, she's not going to tolerate a selfish or uninventive lover.

Unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of gay guys out there. Like the young stud who completely ignored the Posse on Vibe's dance floor, rushing past them to boogie with a striking Latin-looking woman. He was obviously gay.

"Gay and fourteen!" proclaimed Grace.

It takes a real man to handle the Posse, that's for sure. And until he comes along, Bunny, Regina and Grace are happy to dance with one another.

Next time, I'm switching gears. How to make sure YOUR needs get met!
For more on my series on Dating and Divorce, page down through my blog.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dancing with the divorcees. Oh the 'Posse'-bilities!

The Posse hit Vibe in Highland Park on Friday night and I went with them. The big draw was Famos! (right) the effervescent emcee from Bizar Entertainment. Famos! developed a big following among the single set when he used to be the regular DJ at Miramar a few years ago, back when it was considered the Studio 54 of the North Shore.

When I arrived at Vibe around 8:30 p.m., the place was just beginning to fill up. Bunny, Regina, and Grace had nabbed a comfy couch and chairs right next to the dance floor in front of one of Famos!'s huge, pounding speakers. This was obviously not going to be a night for deep conversation.

"Let's dance!" screamed Regina, and began clapping and gyrating to the music, her wild curly hair streaming.

"She's like Shakira," I said, impressed. No one heard me over the pulsating beat.

Bunny and Grace jumped up to join Regina, the three of them forming an exuberant, sensual troika on an otherwise empty dance floor. The rest of Vibe's patrons and I watched from the sidelines. If I was going to be any match these chicks' crazy-dance-partying 'tude, I needed alcohol. I gulped my chardonnay and checked out the scene.

It was still early and the pickings were slim. Definitely way more women than men, and the few unattached guys weren't attractive. Bunny spun by, pointing at a big reddish-bearded dude at the bar.

"Look at that guy!" she shouted. "He looks like Man-from-Pulp-Fiction! Man-from-Mask!" I was confused; John Travolta wasn't in Mask. Oh, I realized. She meant actor Eric Stoltz.

During a break in the action, Regina got inspired. She was going to become a professional dancer for Bizar! "You know, a middle-age dancer, to get all the old guys going at weddings and bar mitzvahs!"

Soon she had secured a Bizar t-shirt from Famos! and a pair of scissors from the bartender. In minutes, Regina created a sexy, middle-age dancing girl top, which she threw on. Prancing over to Man-Who-Looks-Like-Eric-Stolz and his friends, she beckoned them out on the floor. They just shook their heads.

"I got rejected by three ugly guys!" she squealed, not one bit put out.

The room began to fill up and, loose from my guzzled drink, I jumped up to shake it to Beyonce's All the Single Ladies.

"Hey!" I yelled in Grace's ear. "There's a really hot guy standing by the bar!"

Grace (looking kind of Flash Dance in her one-shouldered top) checked him out, nodded and shrugged. "If you think a guy is cute and he's gonna come up and talk to you, you're wrong. They never make the first move. Never."

For a minute I was really offended that the hot guy would never, ever make a move on me. Then I remembered I was married. It was getting confusing out there.

Regaining my journalistic objectivity, I realized it would take one very secure dude to approach the Posse while they were getting their dance on. The women seemed so happy, so complete, so engaged - all on their own. Only the most confident, cocky hombre would dare break into this group.

Later, I told Bunny I thought the Posse might be intimidating to guys.

"Really?" she said, surprised. "Well, we must not care that much about them then."

To read more of my series on divorce & dating, page down through my blog.
Next time: If you don't properly appreciate the Posse, you must be gay.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Warren explains the primal urges of the human male

Warren, the man who loves women, adores women of all ages but understands why men want to date the young ones. It's survival of the fittest.

"In nature, the young bull elk challenges the old bull. Young bull forces old bull out," he explained. "Older men want to feel relevant, not like the old bull. By attracting the younger animals (women), we're powerful, in charge. Younger women make their guy feel like the young bull."

And it doesn't hurt that compared to the old cows (sorry, that's the term for female elk) younger women are hotter, less bitter, and baggage-free.

Oh, come on, I said. Surely men are more evolved than that?

Warren shook his head. "We're so fragile - a guy's ego when he gets older is like a piece of glass, which is painful, because we don't want to appear weak. Men feel sad and vulnerable and neglected too, but we'll never tell you. We keep up a facade of strength."

The other thing that keeps that old bull feeling at bay is sex. No surprise, but men want lots of sex and physical contact. When Warren is with a woman, he likes to touch her shoulder, and (here it is again) grab her ass. With that contact, he's telling her "I'm admiring you, I'm glad we're in the same room together."

"Yes, I want the jungle sex, the throw down," said Warren, but he craves the intimacy too. The combination "is like food to me."

It's the age-old quandary. Men need sex to feel intimate, women need intimacy to feel like having sex. Or, as Warren quoted, "Women need a reason. Men just need a room."

Warren is so successful with women because he's very willing to put in the work. But he expects the woman to reciprocate, and tell him honestly if there is something he should or shouldn't do.

"It's unfair to expect the other person to automatically know what you're thinking. You have to tell me, be honest." This seems to be a consistent plea from men to women.

Getting back to the old bull elk theory. Now that Warren is 50, he finds younger women less worth the time investment. "I want good company," he said. "I want a woman who is cool to hang out with - funny and smart and confident. Younger women don't have the life experience. Now I think, what are we going to do after we fuck? I'm 50, I don't have time to educate you."

It's good to know we old cows have got something going for us after all.

For more on my series on divorce and dating, scroll down through my blog.

And coming up next: I went out dancing with the Posse on Friday night! Check back for the latest scoop on Bunny, Regina & Grace.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Warren, the man who loves women. Many women.

I've been talking with a lot of divorced men lately, but I can't quite think of Warren as one of them. He was married briefly in his early 30's, but he has been single for so long, he's really more of a bachelor.

Ah, a bachelor. What a devil-may-care, rogueish, sexy term. There's really no female equivalent, is there? The term "bachelorette" is only used for the TV show or the traditional pre-wedding hen party; both are precursors to the ultimate goal of marriage. No one says "she's an eligible bachelorette" or "she has a bachelorette pad." More often than not, the word used to describe a single, socially adventurous, carefree female is "slut." Still I'd take that crude word over the dried-up, old-maid legal term "spinster." But I digress.

Warren is the ultimate bachelor. He's fun, he's hip, he drives a cool car, he wears cool clothes, he has a great condo in a Gold Coast high rise. He made enough money trading when the market was good that he's pretty much retired. He just turned 50, but you'd never know it from his impish grin and full head of jet black hair.

"I don't dye my hair," was one of the first things he told me over lunch last week. The second thing he told me was that threesomes aren't all they're cracked up to be. All righty then. I could tell this was going to be interesting. But first I wanted to hear about his ex- wife.

"She was nice, but cold," Warren said."I wanted more of a physical and emotional connection, but she came from a rigid background and couldn't give me what I needed. We were emotionally incompatible."

As their relationship cooled from lukewarm to downright frosty, they mutually decided to go their separate ways. With no kids, the divorce was quick. Since their split 17 years ago, Warren has dated hundreds of women. Yup. Hundreds.

Warren isn't a rock star or a professional basketball player, so you might wonder how he gets all the chicks. Well, for starters, he's honestly interested in women - all types of women. For him, a woman is a fascinating puzzle who's worth making the effort to solve.

"I like girls, I love them," he said. "I notice things about them, pay attention, and I'm happy to do it. It's like giving a present, and it makes me feel good - putting in the time is fun, it's not work for me."

His curiosity and attention pay off, because wherever he goes - coffee shops, grocery stores, nightclubs - women respond to him. They talk to him, open up to him, and sometimes (after a shockingly short amount of time) go home with him.

"I call those encounters manslaughter," he said, laughing. "I had no intent to pick anyone up, it just happened." For Warren, the world is a friendly place.

He's an extremely confident and engaging man, but if you think he sounds like a heartless womanizer, he really isn't. Warren has had his share of hurt and disappointments too.

Sometimes a woman he'd been crazy about broke things off with him. Other times he jumped in too quickly, only to find out that the woman wasn't who he thought she was. Over time, he's learned to do due diligence, take things more slowly. Still, Warren thinks taking chances is what life's all about.

"Life's a risk," he said. "If you can't live it with bravado and zest, then what's the point?"

At the time of our lunch, Warren had been seeing a woman seriously for two months, and he doesn't cheat on his girlfriends. However, from his years on the dating scene, he's learned a lot about women, relationships, and romance. Check back next time to hear his views on a variety of intriguing subjects, including why men date younger women and the controversial male ass-grab.

(For more on my series on divorce and dating, please scroll down to my older posts!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Buh-bye cheating husband - hello world!

Monique is a beautiful 55 year-old woman who's glad her marriage is behind her. For years, she and her high-rolling, business-traveling, dirty-cheating husband shared the same large house on the North Shore, but lived separate lives. Now the kids are in college and the divorce is final and Monique is "relieved and happy to be free."

Having learned a lot from the drawn-out experience, Monique has one piece of for women going through divorce: get a good lawyer.

"Go to the best," she said evenly, when we met over coffee last week. "People ask - why does it cost so much? Because it's worth it, that's why."

Now she has her freedom and financial security, which cuts down on the strain and stress of being divorced. She can take control of her future while keeping things civil with her ex. With the kids on their own and the money all settled, there's not a lot of contact between them anyway. The Posse chicks would be so jealous.

After many years in a failing marriage, Monique is now in a good place. She has a lovely townhome, wonderful friends, a zillion interests and close relationships with her children. But a new man her life? That's harder to come by, especially since Monique doesn't feel like wasting any more time.

She did have one serious boyfriend, but he lived on the West coast. The long distance made it intense and exciting, and like all the divorced women and men I've talked to, Monique was "out of her mind" crazy about her new guy - at first. She was ready to pack her bags and move to L.A. Then reality set in.

"I couldn't give up all the important things in my life," she said. "My friends, my family, my life is here. I need to protect myself." In the end, practicality and maturity won out. She and her former beau are still good friends.

For Monique, friendships are the relationships she nourishes and treasures these days. She's still open to finding someone special, but she's not looking for him in a bar or getting over-eager about a fix-up.

"My girlfriends will get so excited about a first date, spend hours getting ready. They want things to work out so badly. You need to give guy a chance as a person before adding romantic expectations," said Monique, who takes a different approach when going out for the first time.

"I want to go see a concert or a show, not just have dinner," she said. "Then, even if he's not for me, we've done something worthwhile. Life is too short."

Monique isn't interested in getting married again - "If I even say the word, take me to the psych ward!"- but she's interested in a committed relationship. She's looking for someone distinguished-looking, independent, brilliant, with a sense of humor. And it wouldn't hurt if he were a little bit of a bad boy too.

But the pickings are slim. Many of the men who want to date women Monique's age are older, like the guy she met through a matchmaker who turned out to be in his 70s. When she told him she wasn't interested, he said "Well, you better hurry up because you aren't going to have those good looks much longer."

Monique says her ideal man might be a fantasy, but she's keeping her standards high. "If it happens, great. If not, I'm fine."

And she really is. She likes her own company and will pop into Bluestone for dinner or go to Space to hear music by herself. She finds excitement and fulfillment through pursuing the arts, travelling, running, and staying close to her adult children.

"My time is precious and I'd rather spend time with my kids than some dopey guy. Those are the quality relationships that are a sure thing."

All in all, this is an exciting time of life for Monique. "I didn't realize how much I'd lost of myself in my marriage," she said, echoing the sentiments of many of the newly single people I interviewed. And how does she feel about her husband's long-time girlfriend?

"I want to thank her for taking him off my hands."

Coming up next time: Warren, the man who loves women!
For more on Divorce & Dating, page down through my older posts - there's a lot of juicy stuff.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Unexpected Upside of Divorce

Divorce isn't easy for either party, but it's especially painful for the spouse who's left behind. As Armando said, "It takes two to get married, but only one to get a divorce." However, as the dust of their marriages settles, both Armando and Lance have begun to feel that they've grown from the experience.

Armando feels his divorce "has been an awakening. I have a stronger sense of character since going through the crisis."

Lance agrees. "Divorce in a weird way has made me feel that I have a more valuable life perspective to share with my kids," he said. "I've been through something. If you asked me - when did you feel like you were a grown man? I'd say just this year."

Although both men opposed divorce and fought to keep their families together, they now see that they weren't getting what they needed from their marriages either.

One of Lance's oldest friends told him "You dodged a bullet. You don't want to grow old with a woman who was gonna treat you like shit and doesn't like you."

Lance feels he deserves to be treated better - to be appreciated - and in his current relationship, he is. Armando has also done a lot of thinking about what he wants from his next girlfriend.

"Relationship problems stem from yourself," he said. "You need to love yourself in a healthy way. Be connected, but not dependent. Leave some space." Armando jokes about looking for some T&A, but says the most important quality he's really seeking is trust.

"Once it's been violated, it takes work to get it back."

Since they've split from their wives, Vince, Armando and Marlon have discovered there are parts of living alone they really enjoy - especially the lack of conflict.

"I feel more peaceful, not stressed out, " said Marlon. "I enjoy my freedom and I can make decisions for myself without having to compromise all the time."

Of course, being single again brings newfound drama, and that has its upside too.

As Vince put it, "It makes you feel alive."

Coming up next: Monique - savoring life on her own.
And then: Warren, the man who loves women. Hundreds of them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Divorced Guys want Romance Too

After talking to Vince, Armando and Marlon, three recently divorced North Shore men, I learned that men aren't just out for sex; they want romance too. Especially after going through an ego-crushing divorce. Vince is in a new relationship and it's almost too good to be true.

Vince met this wonderful woman through friends - the bar scene was not for him. When it was clear that his marriage was finished, he asked everyone he knew to set him up. The result was an introduction to 45 year-old Claudia (not her real name) and they instantly clicked.

"There was immediate physical attraction within the first 30 seconds," said Vince. "But not only was she attractive, she was easy to talk to, with no games or pretense."

Since meeting a few months ago, their relationship has blossomed. The sex has been phenomenal, but that's not what's most exciting to Vince. He's enjoying the dance, the courtship, the romantic process that gets lost when you've been married for a long time. And, as he says,

"It's fucking nice not to be treated like an old pair of socks for a change."

As we were talking at Bluestone, Vince got a text from Claudia. With a smile, he showed it to me. On the screen were the words -"I want to spend every waking moment with you."

"Wow, that's so sweet," I said, guiltily thinking of the boring, logistical texts I send my husband.

"She's awesome." said Vince. "She has really turned things around for me." He's very, very happy; his only worry is that they may have met each other too soon.

Armando and Marlon have also been dating and they both have experienced the euphoria of sex and romance with someone new.

"The first relationship after my divorce, I thought I was getting married," said Armando, who is no longer seeing that woman. "Now I'm trying to focus on friendships so I don't need to have a relationship." (Armando was definitely feeling friendship from the Posse the night he bumped into them. "Fresh Meat!" they'd squealed as they hugged and patted him.)

Marlon has been seeing his girlfriend, who is 40, for some time now. Falling in love with her helped him rediscover the compatibility, intimacy, and sense of adventure lacking in his marriage. But now practical considerations are creeping in. His girlfriend has young kids; Marlon's are older. Does he really want to get married and start all over with a new family?

"I'm happy with the relationship as it is," he said.

Ah, that's the problem with long-term relationships, I thought. How do you maintain the romance and excitement when there are carpools to drive and garbage to take out?

I took out my cell phone and texted my husband: I want to spend every waking hour with u.

A long pause, then Liam's reply: Ok, what's the joke?

Obviously, he wasn't buying it. I guess I'll have to come up with a different approach. In the meantime, check back in a day or so for more from the men!

Scroll down to read earlier posts about the divorced dudes and the women of The Posse!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Divorced men say - "Women, just tell us what you want!"

I've been having lots of cocktails with single men this week. After my raucous evening with"The Posse"- three divorced moms living on the North Shore - I interviewed three divorced dads to get their perspectives on dating and relationships.

I met Armando (remember him from Posse Part 4?) and his friend, Marlon (imagine a not-so-broody Brando), on Wednesday back at Flight. I talked to Vince, (think Richard Gere) earlier in the week at Bluestone in Evanston. My husband is being very patient.

The men are late-40ish and live on the North Shore, but they differ from the women in that they're very recently divorced and they don't have a Posse to hang with, at least not yet. The guys had a lot to say about the break-up of their marriages. Armando and Vince's wives initiated their divorces; Marlon was the one who wanted out of his.

"I've got a lot of guilt," admitted Marlon.

"You've got guilt, but I've got pain and loss," said Armando.

Vince was "surprised and heartbroken" that his wife wanted a divorce. All three men felt that no matter how hard they tried in their marriages, their wives were constantly dissatisfied.

"I had to change everything about myself to meet her needs," said Armando, "No matter what I did, it wasn't good enough. My wife expected most of her needs to be met by me. I gave up my friends, even my family for her. It was suffocating."

"I did everything,"said Vince, "but nothing was ever good enough. These women get mean and impossible to please and it's all our fault."

Marlon puts it more bluntly. "I kissed her ass," he said, even though he was genuinely perplexed about what his ex-wife wanted.

"You just don't get it." She would tell him.

"Then TELL me!" he'd say. "I can't read your mind!"

"That's sad. You should know."

I squirmed. I didn't know what the ex-wives had wanted either, but I do know we women want to be appreciated, to feel noticed and special. Maybe they weren't making their wives feel desirable, I suggested? No way, said the guys.

"I bent over backwards to let my wife know I still wanted her," said Vince. "I'd grab her ass, tell her how great she looked."

I had to laugh. "You know, not all women think having their ass grabbed is the most romantic gesture."

Vince said, "Grabbing your ass means hey, I'm noticing you, I'm hot for you. I may not be the Count of Monte Cristo, but it's what I got."

"My ex-wife is beautiful," said Armando, a bit sadly.

Marlon nodded. "She is. I'd go out with your ex."

Though they're still hurting from their divorces, Armando, Marlon and Vince have begun to see other women. Are they out looking for someone "young and stupid" as the Posse chicks accuse? As I see it, no.

They want someone attractive, of course. But beyond that, the men want a woman who is open and easy to talk to and most importantly, really, really wants to be with them. Someone who is nice, someone they don't disappoint. And that person doesn't have to be young.

"I have a lot to offer, but it takes a woman in her 40s to appreciate it," said Vince.

So, how does it feel for the guys to be dating the second time around? It feels damn good. Check back in a day or so, cos that's what I'm writing about next.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Men on Marriage - Even Einstein couldn't figure it out

In follow-up to my stories about The Posse (see below), I've been talking with divorced men to get their perspective on women, dating, and relationships. I'll start sharing their stories in a day or two, but first, take a look at what these wise men have had to say about the challenges of marriage.
"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility" -Leo Tolstoy

"Women marry men hoping they will change. Men marry women hoping they will not. So each is inevitably disappointed." -Albert Einstein

"When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part." -George Bernard Shaw

"It is easier thing to be a lover than a husband, for the same reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than now and then." -Balzac