Skip to main content
/living

6 relationship decisions we've made for you

  • Story Highlights
  • Many people agonize over relationship issues, so here's some answers
  • Expert: Most sexual encounters last 20 minutes so you can sleep later
  • Run from any man who says his marriage is ending and wants to date you now
  • Expert: Settling for Mr. Right Now will hurt both of you eventually
  • Next Article in Living »
By Arianne Cohen
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
Oprah

(OPRAH.com) -- Here are the answers to some of the biggest relationship dilemmas.

Don't even think about getting involved with an unhappy man who says his marriage is over, expert says.

1. I'm married and exhausted. Sex or sleep?

"Both," says Paul Glovinsky, PhD, co-author of "The Insomnia Answer." "It's not just a question of sex but of timing. Often, women are stimulated by sex and can't sleep afterward." Which, as you know, means he crashes like a mighty oak while you lie awake and fume.

"If you can time things to coincide with the time of day when you're at peak energy, your sex life will be significantly more satisfying." (Remember sex in the morning? Weekend naptime?)

And speaking of time, Linda Young, Ph.D., a Washington-based therapist who specializes in helping women foster healthy relationships, adds this: "The average encounter is only around 20 minutes, so ask yourself why you're hesitant. Your resistance might be a reflection of your lack of satisfaction with the sex." Or your fear of intimacy, your performance anxiety, your anger about something else in the relationship -- the point being that sexual unhappiness can be a shield for many other types of issues. Oprah.com: Need a reason to have sex tonight?

2. My clock is ticking. Settle for the guy I care about, or hold out for The One, who may never show up?

Do. Not. Settle. "Both of you -- not to mention the children you might have -- may pay the price of a fractured relationship later," says psychotherapist Ken Page, founder of the dating workshop "Deeper Dating."

Don't Miss

  • Oprah.com:  What emotional style is driving you?
  • Oprah.com:  Men reveal their hidden thoughts
  • Oprah.com:  Live your best love life!

Marrying Mr. Almost The One is, on the other hand, perfectly admissible. "If someone is your match in 75 to 85 percent of the things that are important to you -- values, character strengths, how he treats other people, emotional fitness -- that's not settling," says Young. "But it's up to you to infuse 'good enough' with energy and passion so that it becomes fantastic. And chemistry counts; you need to be attracted to each other."

3. I've met a great guy. He never calls. Should I call him?

"It's 2008. You can call," says Steve Santagati, author of "The MANual" and resident expert at AskSteveSantagati.com. Still, Santagati urges you not to put the guy on the spot. "Let him initiate plans. You can just say hello to open the lines of communication, and he might hear something in the phone call that he didn't get the first time you met." The way he responds will tell you whether you have a future together. Oprah.com: Inside the male mind

4. He's married, but he says he's not happy and it's ending. I should stay away, right?

Run as though you're fleeing a burning house. Which, in fact, you are.

"He's already showing you he hasn't put enough distance between himself and his problematic relationship," says Young. "If you get involved, he's going to subject you to all his issues, and you're going to be a wonderful dumping ground."

5. When, if ever, is it a good idea to try again with a guy whose heart you've already broken?

About as often as pigs fly. "Usually, you can't go backward," says Manhattan-based matchmaker Janis Spindel. "It's a case-by-case scenario, but statistics show that it doesn't usually work."

The case where it might work: when the failure was unrelated to your attraction or personalities but caused by outside circumstances -- say, one of you was going through a family tragedy, or you were transferred to another city. Absent such extenuating circumstances, analyze what went wrong the first time, assume a similar dynamic will arise again, and then determine whether that dynamic is feasible in your current life.

6. I love my partner, but the sex is underwhelming. Stay the course or go?

Neither. Instead, you're going to do the hardest thing you've ever done. "Think about the things that turn you on in the deepest ways, the things that make you feel most loved and cared for," says Page. "What kind of touch? What words? What kind of pacing makes you feel the most affection for your partner? Tell each other, no matter how wild or tame your desires might seem. When the two of you are unafraid to be naughty and vulnerable together, the experience can be amazing." Sex thrives on risk and surrender, and you're probably missing one or both. Oprah.com: Should you stay or go?

Arianne Cohen is a Manhattan-based writer. Her exploration of the world of tall people, "The Tall Book" will be published in January 2009.

Additional reporting by Brooke Kosofsky Glassberg and Kate Sandoval.

Subscribe to O, The Oprah Magazine for up to 75% off the newsstand price. That's like getting 18 issues FREE. Subscribe now!

TM & © 2009 Harpo Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

By Arianne Cohen from "O, The Oprah Magazine," September 2008

All About DatingRelationships

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print
Quick Job Search
keyword(s):
enter city:
Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.