Monday, April 3, 2017

Relationship Destroyers

Relationship Destroyers - About Intimate and/or Sexual Relationships
by Dr. Charlayne Grenci

Who is a relationship destroyer? Sounds cruel? Do you know someone who you would label a "relationship destroyer"? Come on now... we're adults here. We're not being judgmental. We are simply having an intellectual discussion about one of the most important, controversial and debated subjects of serious concern. If you agree, continue reading.

If you are a "know it all" or you prefer to turn a blind eye to the importance of discussing relationships, discontinue reading and go find something to read or to do that's more appealing to you. In this case, I will believe you have had perfect relationships in the past, you are in an idyllic, loving relationship now, and that you are the ideal, faultless partner. Good for you. If that's the case, maybe we should clone you now or bow down to your holiness. 

But the reality is... most people do not have perfect relationships, in fact, most people, I didn't say all... I said, most people have demanding, troublesome, tormented and/or loveless relationships. Would you like to add a few of your own adjectives to this list?

Oh, did I forget abusive? Yes, abusive relationships. I'm not referring to people who physically abuse their partner; I'm talking about people who verbally, emotionally and/or physically abuse their partner. But this discussion isn't about domestic violence, though that is another subject of serious concern.

You can see why discussions about relationships are necessary, debatable and why there are many dynamics in relationships that can be studied and challenged.
The reality is this: we are all potential or confirmed relationship destroyers of one kind or another! It's not necessarily intentional. It's an element of the human condition. Some humans have mastered the art of being a relationship destroyer. Other humans are merely practicing it, slowly getting more efficient in their involvement with it, seeing it happen before their eyes but unable to stop it. And there are others who are completely oblivious to the endless dynamics which can cause the fragmentation and destruction of their relationship. 

So who causes this and why?  Men may say: it was my wife's fault or my girlfriend's fault. Women may say their husband or boyfriend is to blame. You may say: it wasn't me; I didn't do anything wrong, or maybe: I was a little to blame, but it was mostly my partner's fault. Who is right? Who is at fault? Now, are you being judgmental?

To begin with, unfortunately, the majority are at fault for taking a part in destroying a relationship or relationships. Period. Only the brave and confident will agree and admit to being at the very least, partially to blame for having their part in ruining or fragmenting a relationship.

As I see it, much of this is a result of what we learn in childhood from parents, family, and friends, how we interpret relationships as a child, and how we relate in adulthood to how and what we interpreted relationships as children. 

Another key factor is: what we are NOT taught as children and growing up. We are taught and study English, Math, Social Studies, and Science in grade school, then go on to the same plus Biology, a foreign language, electives, etc. and on to college for the advanced courses, majors, maybe adding psychology, human sexuality or sociology to the mix, etc., but what class or course taught us specifically how to have a successful relationship?

All the comments made so far are true and are the basics, the principles of what we were taught and that's was all well and good, but was it enough? Obviously not. Trust, respect, honesty, communication and fidelity are the main principles for most romantic or sexual relationships. Trust, respect, honesty and communication are the main principles of most all other relationships, too. But once again, do you think these basic principles are enough to ensure most intimate or sexual couples of a harmonious, fun-loving, romantic, successful, lengthy relationship? 

PART 3 - Are Your Ready To Get Serious Here?
I was pleased to receive your responses and everyone's comments in Part 2 were right because those were the main principles we were taught to abide by to maintain the best relationship(s) possible. To remember the conclusion of PART 2, we agreed that: Trust, respect, honesty, communication and fidelity are the main principles for most romantic or sexual relationships. I asked: "Do you think these basic principles are enough to ensure most intimate or sexual couples of a harmonious, fun-loving, romantic, successful, lengthy relationship?" The answer is flat out - NO! 

Before I continue with an explanation, I will tell you briefly about myself, because an insight to my thinking and philosophy is necessary for you to understand how and why I come to the conclusions I do. That, in and of itself, still might not be enough for you to follow my train of thought, and that's okay. 

I don't expect all of you to do so, for the simple reason we all come from different places in life at the present time, different lifestyles, different cultures, different belief systems/traditions, different educational backgrounds, different family values, different morals and different experiences, etc. That's what makes the world go round! That's all a beautiful thing! The conflict I foresee is this: because every one of us is basically so different, it may be impossible for you "to see through my eyes", to understand how and why I arrive at my conclusions? But I will continue.    

As you might know or bear in mind, I am far from being traditional or conservative on most levels and I think "outside the box", I always have. When I was 10 years old, I questioned religion. I asked my mother why do they tell me the same stories every week in Sunday School? Many physicians (after office hours), professors and mainstream people since the age of 12 years old, have kept me aside to "pick my brain", as it's called. It has been a common occurrence for me to hear this. 
Naturally, I have always willingly obliged, but I am able to learn as much from others, maybe more, than they learn from me. These interviews or discussions, as they were, taught me to be a good listener, which is most important, as well as a guest speaker and mentor. As the years flew by, the profound influence of frequent intimate, conversational interaction with amazing people, influenced me to be an educator/professor myself and thereby I discovered one of my most revered passions! 

Writing has become as much of a passion. So you're saying, if you have read thus far, "Come on now, Dr. Grenci, spit it out! Get on with it." And my answer to that would be: "Slow down, take a deep breath. Be patient. Subjects of this magnitude (such as: About Intimate and/or Sexual Relationships) cannot be rushed through! The topic I chose must be thought out decisively, discussed and reasoned with. That one of the issues with relationships: we have just identified one of the major issues with relationships, so number one is:

STOP, LOOK & LISTEN: Slow down, take a deep breath, listen/hear & be patient = most people are rushing through life with personal troubles, deadlines, medical concerns, family anxiety, job pressures, financial problems/stress and, and, and - we don't take enough (or any) necessary time needed to communicate 'thoroughly and respectfully', to hear and understand what our partner is saying/sharing, or to take them seriously. 

Therefore we are often - not on the same page. You may think you have listened and communicated because you have talked and aired your feelings, but in reality, if it was not done properly, you could have caused more harm than good. In addition - yes, a relationship IS a lot of work! If you think not, you're wasting your time and his/hers. What do you think about that? Your comment always welcome.  

PART 4 - The Famous 5 Plus - The Main Attractions - Is it Chemistry? 
Or Can Chemistry be an Umbrella Term? Are Our 'Five Senses' & Imagination Necessary for a Successful, Sexual Relationship? Are We challenged by Sexual Chemistry? 

Do we rely on these famous five - plus our imagination to tell us if we are sexually suited for one another? Do we, or should we have a daily diet or at least, a continuous diet of the 'famous five plus' to keep a relationship sexually alive? You better believe you should. My musing continues here.

For most people, I believe we would all agree, that initially, the main attraction from one person for another is a sexual attraction or sexual chemistry. With some couples sexual chemistry maybe be intense, but with others, it may be milder in nature, however, the important factor is that you have a compatible libido with your partner so that both individuals feel satisfied instead of neglected or pressured into intimacy they don't desire.

For the sake of argument, let's use 'chemistry' as an umbrella term because there are other things that can keep chemistry alive and functioning, but unfortunately, many people tend to forget what may have caused the chemistry in the first place so I will elaborate, as I see it. Like I said before, everything is debatable, because everything is "in the eyes of the beholder", and we all differ in our likes and dislikes.

Each term or terms number one to number five (below) can handle a chapter of their own, however, listed here to make a point. These are the factors that I feel deal with chemistry. 

1- Sight = Provocative or Debonair dress - is a sexual attraction. Sometimes it's the first thing you see about another person. It can have the power to make it or break it. Erotic, revealing wear and/or chic, elegant or trendy fashions might turn you on. Everyone has their own opinion of what kind of wear is sexy to them - what catches their eye and turns them on.

2- Sight and Hearing = Flirting - can be for the purpose of suggesting you are sexually interested in someone, or it can be done in a playful, entertaining mode. Flirting can be sexually provocative or fun-loving. Body language, facial expressions, and sex talk play in here.

3- Hearing = Sex Talk - many people use sexual innuendos to imply/suggest they are romantically or sexually interested. (not exactly dirty talk, yet - we'll get to that later). Sex talk is used to heighten sexual desire and/or arousal. Sex talk is good before or during physical sexual activity, though some people are either uncomfortable with it or not good at it.

4- Smell, Taste, and Touch - I like to think of these three as the "tantalizing trio. This is a chapter in and of itself. 

5- Fantasy = Imagination - we have the ability to use our imagination for sexual enhancement/stimulation.

Taking number one to number five plus Imagination into consideration, most all of which are typically important in the commencement and development of a sexual relationship. Do you find any of these 5+ more important than the others? Okay, I'm certain you favor some more than others, because some affect you more than others. Understood. As a sexual relationship progresses, do these five things stay in the limelight of importance? Or do some or all of these famous five+ start falling by the wayside as the relationship matures? 

Without getting into deep detail, the bottom line is this: as a relationship matures, people tend to pay less attention to the main attractions which were essential and/critical to initially launch their sexual relationship. They become more comfortable and less attentive, without realizing that all things still matter and attention is needed to maintain a successful, healthy, sexual relationship.... 

PART 5 -  Relationship Cages
Note: I may have a strange and unique way of expressing my views about relationships, but the reason is simply this... it's my opinion.  

Unless your passion is to be someone's submissive or sex slave or you are a devout masochist, relationship cages a turn-off, suffocating, threatening, and damned nerve-racking. Cages are relationship destroyers for many individuals. If you are a cage creator and cage keeper, you may be a relationship destroyer, depending on the personality of your other half. 

If you are thinking, what cages? I'm going to take a peek inside these cages and right into the heart of the matter, so if you are the cage keeper and you have keys to the locks of these cages - open them. If you are locked in cage number one.... ah, ... GET OUT! Cages number two and number three speak for themselves.

Relationship Cages Can Cause Weak Links or Destroy Relationships!

Cage #1 - JEALOUSY: Do you often find yourself in emotional turmoil? Do your emotions suffer in silence? Do you find yourself walking on eggshells in fear of upsetting your partner or spouse? Do you try to avoid doing things that will cause his or her jealousy to flare? Okay then, there you go.... you're locked up in a cage labeled jealousy; the boundaries you adhere to, to spare an argument (or not); the rules,  regulations, restrictions and expectations that are imposed on you because of someone's jealousy, can be emotionally unhealthy, can cause deep-seeded resentment and can destroy your feelings for that person in time. Some people may add possessiveness to this cage. In short, the restrictions a partner/spouse espouses and enforces on you is a relationship destroyer. The cage of/from jealousy!

Cage #2 - INSECURITY: yes, this is a big one, too. This cage is often self-inflicted. Are you in a relationship cage for reasons related to security or insecurity? Do you feel your insecurities are responsible for putting you in a cage - you do this willingly or unconsciously for protection and/or survival? Have you wanted to bust out of your cage and run away but your need for security/your innate insecurities keep you locked up where you are right now? For some people, cage number two can embrace loneliness and the need for companionship. The cage of insecurity!

Cage #3 - FANTASIES: Do you harbor your deepest fantasies? Do you feel you have to suppress your fantasies rather than share them with your partner or spouse because you're afraid of the reaction you will receive? I can tell you from experience that your fantasies are safe and secure left alone and lurking privately in your own imagination. It is true that most people cannot handle hearing about another person's deepest, darkest fantasies. They can be interpreted as demented, repulsive, bizarre, macabre, threatening, insulting, critical and/or adulterous. Some partners are told that masturbation is cheating! How fucked-up is that? Communication and sharing are great until it comes to 'fantasies', then you may experience what I'm talking about.

So, unless your partner/spouse is known to be extremely open-minded and non-judgmental, think seriously before divulging your dark, secret fantasies. Keep them safe and sound locked up in your fantasy mind - 'the cage' that keeps your deepest fantasies under lock and key. Of course, we know that most fantasies are better left alone in our fantasy mind anyway. Many fantasies can backfire in reality! Use caution here. The Cage for Fantasies! 

PART 6 - When two became one - or joined at the hip: 
RED FLAG - Haven't I Heard That Somewhere Before? 
Note: I may have a strange and unique way of expressing my views about relationships, but the reason is simply this... it's my opinion. 
Old school, maybe, but we've definitely become familiar with the saying, 'when two become one'. Another familiar saying is: 'joined at the hip'. You might think, cute, sweet, how wonderful that sounds, but the reality is... that philosophy is... a relationship destroyer. Maybe not today, maybe not when you first think it or say it, but on down the road, being up someone's ass after a certain amount of times can get extremely uncomfortable, or... painful. Yikes!

However, there is a lot of truth in the saying: 'too close for comfort' and 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'. Have you ever wondered where those saying came from? I realize when your love is new, or your chemistry is on fire, that's how you may feel, thinking: OMG, I want to be with him (or her) every minute of the day and night. 

I applaud your feelings and celebrate your reasoning... for now. But for most couples, that need and desire will eventually wane down to another level. I say eventually, giving most couples the benefit of the doubt, but for other couples, the need to be joined at the hip may end more quickly, even abruptly.

People require space to breathe. Individuals need to be just that... individuals. Each of us has our own uniqueness, character, talents and gifts. A person can lose the sight and significance of their own being and identity if they are tied up too tightly to someone else. (unless you're in an erotic bondage situation, of course.) 

Everyone has the power and privilege to shine on his/her own merit, without having to be 'joined at the hip' with someone else. It's not emotionally healthy. You can lose yourself effectively by thinking, 'he's or she's my whole life. I cannot bear to be away from him/her. I don't want him/her out of my sight. 

All well and good, for now, but time, circumstances and events change everything and they will change you to a degree or two, also. If someone wants to keep close tabs on you at all times, there is a critical problem. Trust issues come to mind. The trust issue is of gigantic proportions and we'll discuss that later, but for now, just bear in mind that if you or someone you love demands constant company and fifty calls a day when you are not home, you may be involved with a seasoned control freak. Don't take that lightly, unless you're on the same page and then I would ask you 'why'?

In my perspective, I enjoy someone's company much more if there are significant time lapses between our times together. Many couples, maybe most, don't agree with this philosophy and I understand that. That's a shame the way I look at it, because how many couples are truly happy and content with their partner? If the whole truth was known, most couples could not commit to describing their relationship as 'truly happy and content'. Folks, listen up. There's a reason(s) this is true. Do people even dare tell their partners how they truly feel? That's a scary thought and their privately disclosed answers might shock you. 

Take a breather here and there away from your partner. Do things by yourself, enjoy your own company, work on your hobby, enjoy your favorite sport, go shopping or out to lunch with a friend (a genuine, trusted friend who only has your happiness and well-being at heart, not one who is eager to ruin your relationship). When money or an injury is a problem, there are others ways to 'take a break'.

Take a book, puzzle or laptop out to the patio or into the study for a few hours of quiet time. Go to the park or the beach and enjoy nature for a few hours, or take in an afternoon matinee at the nearby theater; walk briskly inside, around a mall for some cardio with visuals, or window shop at an antique mall. It's not uncommon for me to spend a couple of hours in a bookstore, many times over three or four hours, but then I have a passion for books and research. 

The point I'm making here is that in order to keep your individuality, preserve your sanity, and help protect your relationship from becoming mind-numbing, stale and boring, there are particular, healthy, interesting things you can do for yourself that will keep you in a more positive, energized state of mind and a more exciting, refreshing person to be with. (to be continued in Part 7)


Charlayne E. Grenci, Ph.D. is a clinical sexologist and clinical professor, an author and a relationship expert; a graduate from Maimonides University, an affiliate of The American Academy of Clinical Sexologists and a Diplomat of The American Board of Clinical Sexology. She has a private practice in Southern Florida and is also a guest lecturer.

Dr. Grenci specializes in life coaching, sex education and instruction for individuals, couples, or groups who are seeking advice, information, and support for improving sexual relationships, sexual issues or alternative lifestyles.
Charlayne E. Grenci, Ph.D. has inspired, entertained and educated thousands of people for over thirty-six years with her knowledge, experience, and amazing life's story.

Dr. Grenci is available for book-signing presentations, guest speaker presentations and seminars, private office sessions and special educational courses. Dr. Grenci is also a specialist in relationship and marriage issues and pre-marital coaching.


Dr. Charlayne Grenci
For Information on Private Sessions and other Inquiries, such as  booking of Guest Speaking Engagements

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Twitter: @CharlayneGrenci

Readers can also order signed print books by Dr. Grenci directly at the author’s website:
Queen of Domination: My Secret Life
Marcel Proust EXPOSED

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