February 2015

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 clients.

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:


50 Shades of S & M -- A Client's True Story

I 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 lives.

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 masochistic partner.

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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Make Every Day Valentine's Day

Make Every Day Valentine's Day by following these 10 Secrets to Staying in Love Forever.

  1. 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 lovers.

  2. Talk about the good times. Create good memories now, and then reminisce. Never forget why you choose to be with this person.

  3. 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.

  4. Think of your mate as your best friend. Then behave in this relationship like you do with true friends.

  5. 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 simple mistake.

  6. 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."

  7. 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.

  8. Keep your own friends and hobbies. It keeps you both interesting and less likely to be jealous of your mate's time and friends.

  9. 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.

  10. 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 started!

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The Eight Key Ingredients of Love

  1. Common relationship goals regarding the present and the future including (but not limited to) emotional intimacy, quality time together, pursuit of interests, marriage, children, social life, a home, financial security, sexual intimacy and companionship.

  2. A Feeling of goodwill that comes from warmth and truly wanting the very best for your mate.

  3. Excitement and interest created by bringing your separate and unique personalities to the relationship.

  4. Freedom to be yourselves and follow your own interests resulting from both feeling secure in yourselves and the relationship.

  5. Ability to search for and find solutions to problems because you respect each other and your differences, and seek solutions that meet both your needs.

  6. A deep bond between you that others can’t penetrate.

  7. Security that comes from trusting your mate and knowing that you are both equally committed to the relationship.

  8. Commitment to, and a vision of, your future together for many years to come.

Excerpted from Bring Back The Man You Fell in Love With by Carolyn Bushong, p 289.

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How to Create a Healthy Relationship

  1. Become friends first. Keep your emotional connection primarily with your mate.

  2. Control your own behavior, not your mates. His/her bad behavior does not justify yours.

  3. Keep some separate friends and interests. You need something interesting to bring back to the relationship.

  4. Take alone time so as not to lose your identity. Keep your personal priorities straight, don't lose yourself in the relationship.

  5. Make romance a priority. Date nights. Hugs and kisses. Loving talk.

  6. Spend quality time talking to each other. Discuss and share your lives about friends and work. Talk about everything that is important to you.

  7. Develop a united front—"It's you and me against the world." Don't let friends or family tear you apart.

  8. Accept each other's differences. Show more respect for your mate than you do your friends.

  9. Don't overstep each other's boundaries. Always ask before you give advice and say "stop" if your mate tries to give you unsolicited advice.

  10. Continually profess your love and admiration for each other. Don't forget why you chose this person.

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About Carolyn

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 years.

You can find articles by Carolyn on her website and Examiner.com.

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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.
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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.

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