Inside this Newsletter:
Message from Carolyn:
Happy Valentine's Day! It's
been an interesting winter here in Tucson. I've kept
myself busy and gotten involved in several groups and
activities and planning some seminars here for next
winter. I also have several new karaoke buddies to sing
with, but also miss all of my Denver friends and
Alan & I will be having
Valentine's dinner with some Denver friends, Bruce &
Sandy, who come down here several times during the
winter. Then we'll be coming back to Denver by May 1 to
attend their 50th wedding anniversary party.
As everyone knows, the movie
"50 Shades of Grey" comes out this weekend. People who
have previewed it gave it mixed reviews, most saying it
is not as good as the book, a few saying it's better. A
review in Forbes says, "50 Shades of Grey is a female
power fantasy...an entertaining, witty, and occasionally
sexy fable of female assertiveness disguised as a tale
of submission." I did not read the book, but I certainly
look forward to seeing the movie. One of my clients,
however, not only read the book, but actually lived the
S&M lifestyle for two years. She agreed to give us a
first-hand account of those two years, what it was like,
and what she learned. Working with her was amazing. See
her article "50 Shades of S&M -- a Client's True Story"
below (written by her and edited by me).
As you may know, I often
give expert quotes to the magazines. I gave a quote
today to In Touch and Life & Style regarding Miley Cyrus
and Patrick Kennedy. Miley was kissing Rita Oro at a
pre-grammy party while her boyfriend Patrick Kennedy
watched. The question was: Did I think he enjoyed
watching or felt like fool? My guess is that he might
have enjoyed watching if it happened somewhere private
(as some men do enjoy watching women together), but he
probably felt like a fool in this situation as he stood
there with nothing to do as they were all being
photographed. However, Patrick knows by now that Miley
loves to cross the line, so he may be used to her antics
by now. The article (with my quotes) should be one the
stands in either Life & Style or In Touch magazine next
Thursday, February 19.
Years ago someone said to
Alan & me as we were being affectionate in public,
"What? Is every day Valentine's Day with you two?" We
often remind each other of that and it's why I included
the article below: "Make Everyday Valentine's Day." I've
also included a excerpts from my book Loving Him Without
Losing You, "The 8 Key Ingredients of Love."
I just finished a marriage
counseling session with a couple in their 70's who are
on their third marriages and who are now ready to figure
out the relationship mistakes they've been making all
these years. Even at this age, they are beginning to
understand that neither of them is a bad person, their
bad behaviors simply come from what they learned from
their parents, that neither wants to hurt the other, and
that they both just want to feel loved. I'm teaching
them how to put the love and warmth back into their
relationship and "How to Create a Healthy Relationship"
(see article below). It was very touching to see them
understand and begin to feel close again as they kissed
and walked out the door arm in arm.
I hope you all have a great
Valentine's Day and remember I'm still available at the
other end of the phone, so call me if you need me:
am not an expert on S & M by any means, but I have read Fifty Shades
of Grey, and experienced an S & M relationship myself. A few years
ago, I met a man (we'll call Sam), on a normal dating site, not an S
& M dating site. Sam seemed just like any other guy at first. I had
never dated much before I got married so I would say I was kind of
naive. Sam and I started dating and I thought I was doing everything
right from the start. We had 4 or 5 dates, and then I felt ready to
have sex. However I wasn't ready for what happened next. The first
time we had sex, he began tying me up -- and I let him. The next
thing I knew he was spanking me with a belt. I was shocked, but
again I did not stop him. In fact, I have to admit it was kind of
exhilarating. I decided to go with it. This was the start of a whole
new world to me. Of course, at that point I had no way of knowing
that he was just a man looking for a slave. I thought we were two
people developing a relationship with some added fun in our sex
From the start he had to always be in control. He told me that when
we go out I was to wear a dress or a skirt, no panties, and
stockings with a garter. He told me he preferred me to wear dresses
not jeans around him as he wanted to have access to me at all times.
He introduced me to sex toys that I never knew existed, whips, butt
plugs, nipple clips, candles. You name it, he had it. He also had a
lot of porn. He also told me that if I wanted something from him I
was to ask for it in a submissive way not a telling way. I did what
he asked, but I really never asked for anything. When we had sex he
initiated it and always controlled it. We never had what you would
call vanilla sex. I would bath him, pleasure him, thank him for
whipping me. He would control when and how I had my orgasm. He
always referred to me as a naughty girl, a slut, or a whore when we
were having sex. Never in any of the times that we had sex would I
ever say we "made love." I remember one time when he was hitting me
and calling me names that he told me it was hard for him to be so
mean to me. That gave me hope that he was finally developing
feelings toward me.
I went along with this for a few years, even trying to make myself
believe he loved me and that I loved him. But after a couple of
years went by, the light bulb started coming on that it was not me
that he wanted but the S & M lifestyle. I would come home from work
to find him on the computer looking at sites for S & M., which of
course added to my insecurity as a woman. He made me feel like he
was looking for something better or someone else to replace me with.
Around this time, I started feeling depressed and like I had lost
myself. I knew this wasn't what I wanted in a relationship. But what
I wanted never happened. And at this point I was so beaten down that
there was no way I could tell him anything. All I knew to do was
start staying back at my own place, taking back control of MY life.
I did that and never looked back. And of course he tried and tried
to get me to come back, but I knew my soul was at stake here. Do I
ever talk to him? Yes, but it is on my terms not his, and I won't
see him in person. It has been over 7 years now and I am still
finding my voice. I am embarrassed that I allowed someone to treat
me this way. I have done a lot of soul searching as to why I would
have settled for this kind of treatment. I've realized that part of
it has to do with something that happened to me as a child, which I
had never told anyone about, including any therapist, until two
years ago when I told my therapist Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C. She
helped me understand why I so easily fell into the S & M
relationship with Sam.
Let me tell you a bit about myself and what happened to me that I
believe taught me to be okay with being treated badly. I grew up
Catholic and was from a large family. When you come from a large
family you are somewhat starved for attention. I got my attention
from a distant male member of our family by marriage. When his
sister married my brother, I was 11 years old, and he (we'll call
him Mario) was 5 years older than me. I thought Mario was cute and
he told me I was pretty, and we saw each other a lot at family
gatherings. Soon he was driving me to school, and his attention
turned into sexual encounters. I knew what was happening was wrong,
but I couldn't help myself as it felt so good. And as young people
do, I built a fantasy in my mind that this meant something and that
maybe we would have a future together. I soon found out that in
reality, it meant nothing to him. I knew this when others told me he
was engaged to be married. But once he got married, he still carried
on with me on the side until I was about 14. I'm sure there were
signs that something was going on between us, but no one said a word
or questioned it. So this experience more or less set the path on
how I would allow men to treat me. He took all my power away, I
never stood up for myself, and I learned that men only wanted me for
sex. I never knew what a healthy relationship was supposed to be
like. I became a giver, never a taker. I would let people walk all
over me in every way, just to have their attention. I never knew it
was okay to speak my mind.
It took me a while in therapy to realize that this was not my fault,
and that Mario had set me up to behave like a victim in my future
relationships. I was a child and naive and he took advantage of me.
Also, any parent or teacher who may have seen what was going on here
and did nothing about it is also at fault. So when I met Sam, and he
crossed the lines sexually with S & M, I became his perfect
It is obvious to me now that Sam has some serious issues of his own.
I now see the red flags of his controlling ways (even when we were
not having sex), the degrading porn, the disrespect for women, the
lack of warmth and kindness. I believe that anyone who has to be a
Master of someone else all the time is not capable of love and
respect toward women or themselves. I believe that somewhere
something happened to him that shut all these things down. I also
believe that someone that wants to be a slave has no self-esteem or
respect for themselves. I know I didn't. But I do now, and will
never let something like that happen again.
I do understand that all S & M is not exactly what my experience
was. I believe you can have sex toys, and S & M role playing in a
relationship in a healthy way, and I have to admit it was exciting
at first. When it's just sexual role play, that's one thing, but
when someone treats you in a sadistic way day to day, putting you in
masochistic role, that's a totally different story. I think that the
author, E. L. James, in selling the book, glamorized S & M, when the
story was really about developing a relationship. I think it's
important that people know how degrading it can be and what it can
do to your life.
~ Rose, Denver CO
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Every Day Valentine's Day by following these 10 Secrets to Staying
in Love Forever.
Make "having fun together" a
priority. Work and children and every day life are all
important issues, but "fun" is the glue that bonds two
Talk about the good times.
Create good memories now, and then reminisce. Never forget
why you choose to be with this person.
Don't keep secrets. Secrets
erode the love and the trust. You can have private thoughts,
but that's different than secrets from your mate. Here's a
rule: don't share any information about him/her with others
that you haven't shared with him/her first.
Think of your mate as your best
friend. Then behave in this relationship like you do with
Give each other a break. People
aren't perfect so allow for human error. Don't assume that
your mate is trying to hurt you when he or she makes a
Celebrate your differences.
Don't fight to be right. Having differences creates sparks
between you (some of the sparks cause arguments, but others
cause passion). Realize that men and women think
differently, have different values, and behave in different
ways. Show that you appreciate his or her quirks, i.e.
"That's so cute, you're such a man!" Or, "I know you like
things perfect, so it's okay that you re-did that project
and are running late honey."
Make deals that work for both of
you. When you're upset, state how you feel and what you
want. Then compromise, finding joint solutions to those
issues so they don't occur again.
Keep your own friends and
hobbies. It keeps you both interesting and less likely to be
jealous of your mate's time and friends.
Make yourself happy first. It's
a myth that it's a mate's job to make the other one happy,
and it doesn't work. Instead, focus on your own happiness,
making a deal that each of you will let the other know if
and when there is a problem.
Focus on how much you are alike.
Regularly make statements like, "It's amazing that we both
like that, and that our mothers were both .., and that you
feel that way too."
These are the 10 secrets to staying
in love forever. Take this list to your mate and discuss it.
Then put it into action so that you can have the romantic
relationship you have always wanted or keep the one you just
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Carolyn Bushong, L.P.C, is an expert on
relationships and a licensed therapist. She is known for being one
of the top relationship therapists in the country and the author of
3 relationship books. She has appeared on Oprah, the View, and many
other TV shows, and she has been giving relationship advice on
Denver radio for more than15 years. She has been helping people like
you improve your life and relationships for more than 30 years.
Cosmo, US Weekly and other magazines quote her expert relationship
advice, and McCall’s named her one of the “Top 6 Passion Doctors” in
the country. Carolyn Bushong always has fresh, up-to-date, hot
information on topics that will inspire you and change your life and
improve your relationships. She has clients all over the country,
some who come into her office and others who receive Carolyn's
expert advice through phone counseling. Carolyn Bushong is an
excellent psychotherapist, but she also lives what she teaches, as
she is in a happy, healthy relationship with Alan, her mate of 27
You can find articles by Carolyn on her
FOLLOW ME ON
as I post all of my articles there.
How to get Carolyn Bushong's Relationship Advice:
Individual Counseling: l hour or ½hr sessions in office
or phone, Health Insurance covers a portion. Couples Counseling:
1 ½ hr. sessions, Health Ins. covers a portion.
Purchase Carolyn Bushong's books: for sale in her office,
website or B&N.com.
Subscribe to free email newsletter:
Phone Counseling is a great way to do therapy, especially for
the really busy person who's constantly on the go, or the person who
is shy or hesitant to talk about their problem, or when the weather
is bad and you don't want to drive to a therapist's office. It just
makes sense in this day and age to be able to call and discuss a
problem and get advice on a situation with having to leave work and
drive to my office.
Email Advice: Visit
Carolyn's website for more information.