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It's inevitable that after you break up with someone, he or she will move on to someone else. And it will be painful. But for many women, after they split with a man (usually of a certain age) who then falls into the arms of a much younger... Read More
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Signs Your Partner is Too Controlling

Our founding fathers understood that freedom is an essential part of human happiness and their words can be taken as excellent dating advice.

While most of us value our freedom in everyday life, sometimes we can lose sight of it in the context of a romantic relationship. Excessive control is one of the most common relationship complaints -- and one of the top reasons cited for the demise of a romance.

When a woman first meets a man, she may not notice his domineering tendencies. Often, the watered-down version of his controlling traits is what she'll be exposed to first, and ironically, these can be pretty appealing in a man.{relatedarticles}

In many ways, he can come off as the "perfect" guy: protective, decisive and utterly devoted to her. However, in time, she may begin to notice behavior that crosses the line from chivalrous to downright domineering.

Of course, controlling behavior isn't always incurable; there are ways to address this issue if both partners are willing to confront it and take steps to deal with it. The first step is recognizing that a problem exists. The following is a quick checklist of signs that your guy might be controlling.


  • He snoops. The FBI, the CIA -- they've got nothing on your man. He checks your email, your phone and your FaceBook page in order to keep close tabs on you. It's a sneaky game, and it can make you feel as though your privacy has been violated. It's always best to keep your passwords secure and to discuss privacy issues early.
  • He isolates you. At first, it might mean he gets pouty whenever you feel like having a girls' night. Later, as the relationship gets more serious, he may try and draw you away from friends and family so he can have you all to himself. Learn to recognize disparaging comments about love ones and realize he might turning you against your significant others.
  • He thinks he's the wardrobe police. This is surprisingly common. Many men feel that their female companions should dress in ways that make them (the men, that is) happy. Whether he wants you to dress down so other guys don't notice you, or wants you to dress up all the time so he can show you off, this type of controlling behavior can wear on your nerves and make you feel uncomfortable.{relatedarticles}
  • He gives you no space. Being smothered is no fun; everyone needs room to breathe. No matter how much your guy says he loves you, it can be annoying and stressful to get excessive cell phone calls and texts throughout the day. Does his world revolve around only you and your relationship with him? Does he have few or no other strong friendships?
  • He's extremely jealous. Jealousy is at the root of the control issue for most men. They act the way they do because of an overwhelming fear/anxiety that they will lose the women in their lives. To avoid the pain, they will try and control every aspect of the relationship.
  • He makes unilateral decisions. It takes 2 to make a relationship, and the partners need to respect and consider each other's preferences. If your partner thinks he knows best all the time, it can lead to many uncomfortable exchanges and frustrating scenes.

Controlling Behavior: Why it Exists and What to Do About It

Sometimes, people just have dominant personalities and don't learn how to give in and share power with others. In other cases, fear and insecurity is at the root of a controlling nature. The latter can be especially difficult to address because insecurity and fear can wreak havoc on a relationship.{relatedarticles}

He will tell you that his emotional outburst is because his ex cheated on him with half the guys in town/spent all his money/was mean to him/insert bad behavior here. Whether this is true or not, it doesn't mean he can use it as an excuse or that you should use it as an excuse for him.


As long as you're looking at your significant other in a realistic light, take the time to look at yourself in the same way. Is there anything you do that enables his controlling behavior?

Many relationships in which excessive control is an issue are actually mutually controlling. People with similar psychological traits often gravitate to one another. Take a look at your own behavior and ask yourself whether you may also be letting insecurities and fears take over your relationship.

Or on the flip side, if you sit back and let him take the reins in most matters just to avoid having to deal with things yourself, he will feel that you're OK with him being in the driver's seat all the time.{relatedarticles}

There are ways to handle a controlling partner, but it's rarely an easy undertaking. If your relationship is far enough along that you're committed to each other and the controlling person admits to the problem, you can set some goals and limits together.

For example, discuss how you'd like more autonomy in decision-making and set a schedule to take turns deciding what activities you'll do as a couple.

For insecure/jealous partners, you may need to set some strong boundary lines when it comes to personal space. If you don't, the behavior will continue unchecked. Unfortunately, your demand for increased privacy will probably just reinforce his fear that you are indeed seeking outside relationships.


 

In many cases, these issues respond better to couples' therapy. A therapist can help you both work through the problems and can give you a course of therapy designed specifically for the 2 of you.

When to Leave

If the relationship is in its early stages and you're not in too deep, your best course of action might simply be to end it. You can talk with him first and see if things improve, but be realistic. You won't do yourself or your man any favors by allowing things to progress when you can already see the warning signs of failure.{relatedarticles}

Leaving a controlling partner is even more difficult when you've been together long enough to share bank accounts and children, so bailing early sometimes can be the smartest course of action.

Abuse is the most important reason to leave a controlling partner. Not all controlling men are violent, but excessive, one-sided control is a prominent feature in the clinical description of an abusive relationship. If your partner shows signs of violence toward you, and that includes frequent vicious verbal attacks, you need to seek help and leave the relationship for the sake of your own safety.


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The Dos and Don'ts of Contraception

If you don't know the importance of having protected sex by now, you have probably been living under a rock.

Society has repeatedly driven home the magnitude of safe sex. The message is simple -- if you don't want to end up pregnant or with a sexually transmitted disease, cover up during your intimate encounters. The most effective way to prevent pregnancy or an infection from an STD is abstinence. While refusing sexual contact does eliminate the risks of pregnancy and potential illness, it can also limit the development of a loving relationship.

If you choose to add a sexual component to your life, make sure to examine the wide selection of birth control methods at your disposal. Just as having sexual intercourse involves personal preference, so does picking a contraceptive. Not all types of birth control fit every person's needs. Luckily, there are a number of alternatives out there.

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Contraception for Women

To avoid pregnancy, some women find the birth control pill to be best. There are 2 different types: combined oral contraceptive pills and progestin-only pills.

Each kind of pill operates differently, so it's important to understand how they work. Then you can decide which one suits your lifestyle.


The combined oral contraceptive pill includes two hormones -- estrogen and progestin. These hormones work together to stop ovulation, or the release of an egg, and limit the sperm's movement. Although this pill is a good way to prevent pregnancy, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV. It is recommended that condoms be used in conjunction with these pills.

When prescribed and taken properly, this kind of birth control pill has many benefits; among them are decreasing a woman's risk for ovarian cancer and reducing the chance of benign breast masses. The pill can clear acne and make premenstrual cramps more bearable.

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But with these attractive features come some issues as well. One of the biggest problems with the pill is remembering to take it at the same time each day. If you ingest it a few hours later than your normal schedule, you could be unprotected. This means you run the risk of ovulating and potentially becoming pregnant.

Additionally, the combined birth control pill can cause:

  • nausea;
  • spotting;
  • headaches; and
  • depression.

Blood clots are also a risk that can occur from taking this pill, though it is rare. Smokers are 1 risk group who should not take the pill.


The other type of birth control pill is the progestin-only variety. Its greatest advantage is that it does not contain estrogen, so women don't have to worry about suffering from the side effects associated with this hormone. Also, the amount of progestin is less than in the combined version. Therefore, the overall hormone intake is reduced in this form of contraception.

Like the combined pill, the progestin-only type of birth control reduces:

  • menstrual cramps;
  • headaches; and
  • mood swings.

However, an irregular menstrual cycle is a reported problem with this kind of pill. Women also have complained about weight gain or bloating because of regular use of this contraceptive. A healthy diet and exercise can make these side effects much more manageable.

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If possible side effects and the burden of remembering to take a pill every day don't sound very appealing, another option is the cervical cap. Spermicide is placed inside this latex device before it fits into a woman's vagina and onto her cervix. It's designed so that the suction prevents sperm from entering the uterus.

Women who choose this form of contraception should make sure to get a new cap on a yearly basis through a doctor or nurse. This is not an over-the-counter purchase. Besides this, it does offer a lot of flexibility to the user.


Not only is it small and easy to transport, but it also can be inserted up to one hour before sexual intercourse. Also, at the time of its placement, it works continuously for 48 hours straight.

A couple can have sex multiple times, and the cervical cap will still be effective as long as it's left in at least six to eight hours after the last interlude. Although it's constantly at work blocking sperm from entering the uterus, it does not interfere with the pleasure of having sex. In fact, a woman's partner won't know it's there unless he's told.

There are risks, however, to using this kind of contraception. The cap can cause inflammation on the surface of the cervix. If a woman is allergic to latex, irritation could result. But the greatest danger of all is a serious infection called toxic shock syndrome. This can happen if the cervical cap is kept on for more than 48 hours.

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So if you choose this birth control method, be very aware of how long the cap has been in place and make sure to remove it after a suitable amount of time has passed.

A diaphragm is another way a woman can block her cervix from any sperm. Like the cervical cap, it is fitted by a physician and can be inserted several hours in advance without causing any hormonal side effects.


However, this birth control tool does have several risks. Not only is toxic shock syndrome an issue if the diaphragm is left in for too long, but it's been known to cause urinary tract infections.

There is also the chance it could move around during sex, so women who use it should consider sexual positions carefully and check to make sure the diaphragm is still in place.

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Contraception for Men

Women are not the only ones who are responsible for making thoughtful contraception choices. Men also have a role in this process. The most common form of birth control for men is the condom. They're made of polyurethane and are designed to prevent bodily fluids from mixing during sexual intercourse.

In addition to protecting against most STDs and the transmission of HIV, they stop sperm from entering a woman's uterus to block pregnancy. This form of birth control is the best way to prevent any kind of sex-related infection, too.


However, not all STDs are preventable with the use of a condom. Genital herpes and syphilis, for example, are immune to condom use because they can be passed from one person to another through infected skin surfaces. Also, condoms can be ripped or torn by fingers, jewelry or anything sharp, so great care needs to be taken when putting on this product.

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No matter what form of contraception you choose, be sure to understand the risks and benefits before engaging in any sexual activity


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What You Should Know About Swingers' Clubs

Whether it's going to the same restaurant every week, doing laundry every Wednesday, or hitting the sack at exactly 11 p.m. every night, routines can get boring. Similarly, having sex with the same person - and only that person - for a long period of time can get boring, too.

But if you still want to be in a relationship with them, what do you do? You can't cheat, as that will destroy the trust and honesty in your relationship. So what other options are there? When that feeling of sexual routine begins to set in, many forward-thinking couples nowadays consider swinging as a solution.

Swinging began in the 1960s during the hippie era of sexual revolution. It involves bringing other sexual partners into the bedroom; often this is done as a couple with another couple or a partner, individually while the other partner watches, or just individually and one-on-one.

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All activities are done with the permission of the significant other, though, so there are no feelings of betrayal or hurt.

Swinging is usually not just a one-time thing. Most couples who consider themselves swingers treat it as a lifestyle, regularly attending swingers' parties, meeting other swingers, and going to swingers' events. The most popular place for swingers to go is swingers' clubs.


What is a swingers' club?

A swingers' club is just what it sounds like: a nightclub for swingers. Now, not only swinging couples are allowed into swingers' clubs. These clubs typically allow couples, single women and single men, though there is usually a limit on the number of single men allowed in the club at one time.

Whether part of a couple or not, most people who come to a swingers' club are interested in exploring new sexual partners or sexual fantasies. Swingers' clubs serve as a place for these people to meet others with these same interests. Many clubs even have backrooms or VIP areas in which visitors can partake in sexual activities with other patrons.

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Many swingers' clubs have a bar and serve alcohol to help keep the conversation flowing and visitors' inhibitions low, even featuring:

  • a DJ;
  • a dance floor; and
  • sometimes even stages or dance cages for entertainment.

What might I see at a swingers' club?

A swingers' club is not the place to go if you are conservative or modest. Though not all clubs offer a VIP or activity room, it is very likely you will see some nudity and possibly even illicit sexual activities.


At the very least, you will see many other couples and singles, dressed to impress and meet potential sexual partners. There is also likely to be a good number of intoxicated people and dancing. Depending on the location of the swingers' club and the time of night, you could really see any age, race or size at a swingers' club. From 21 to 80, members of the swinging lifestyle span all generations.

Be prepared to be approached or propositioned. Since the premise of a swingers' club is to connect people interested in exploring other sexual partners, most patrons will be very blunt and upfront about what they are looking for. They won't be shy about complimenting you, propositioning you, staring at you, or asking you sexually illicit questions.

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How do I get in?

Typically, swingers' clubs charge a high admission price at the door. This is to keep out anyone who is not truly serious about the swinging lifestyle. It also goes toward keeping the club clean and safe for all patrons.

When you get to a swingers' club, you will have to check in at a front desk area. You may be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, stating that you will not share any details of what you see in the club during your visit. You may even need to turn in your cell phone; this helps guarantee privacy of the patrons, ensuring that no pictures of activities at the club are taken or transmitted.


If you want to visit a VIP or activity room, there may be additional charges, as well as precautions (such as wearing a condom), to which you will be required to submit. Each swingers' club is different, however, so these requirements will vary.

What else should I know?

Many swingers' clubs have a BYOB (bring your own beverage) policy. This is either because they don't have an alcohol license with which to sell alcohol to patrons, or they discourage the use of alcohol, because it impairs peoples' judgment and makes them less likely to act safely and use protection.

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If you plan to drink at a swingers' club, be sure to check the club's policy before going. You may need to bring your own beverages.

Most swingers' clubs have an abundance of condoms available for patrons. In order to ensure your health and safety, though, bring your own condoms if you plan to participate in any sexual activities during your visit.

For couples in a committed relationship who are interested in exploring other sexual activities and partners, swingers' clubs may be an option. Before visiting a swingers' club, however, ensure both you and your partner are in agreement as to what's allowed and what is off limits.


This will ensure neither of you is hurt in the event one of you participates in sexual activities with another patron while at a swingers' club or event.

Swingers' clubs can also be good options for single people who are not looking for a monogamous relationship and are interested in experiencing a free sexual lifestyle. As mentioned previously, though, many swingers' clubs will limit the number of singles allowed in on a nightly basis.

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Remember, swingers' clubs typically do not advertise or make themselves very well known. It may take some research through online swinging groups to find a swingers' club near you.

Also, it is important to note that the legalities of swingers' clubs and their activities vary from state to state. Before you make plans to attend a swingers' club, make sure to investigate your state's laws first. Otherwise, your first foray into swinging could very well be your last.


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