Thursday, June 25, 2015

I've Got a Secret; Sex isn't What the Media Says It Is

By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

How many of you have bought into it; that is, what the media represents sex to be? You know, they portray sex to be a wildly exciting and fun activity that you can do with anyone and that the more you do it the more exciting and fun it is. And, after that opening sentence, if you now expect that I am about to lecture you about the evils of sex, then I’ve got you right where I want you! Because remember – I’ve got a secret. And that secret is not that sex is evil or that everyone who is enjoying it needs to Stop Right Now!
Sex isn’t bad or sinful. The problem isn’t that the media and the culture have made sex so prominent. The problem is that the media and the culture don’t know what sex is about and so they misrepresent its essence. And when you don’t understand the essence of a thing, like say using a fire hydrant to take a shower, then you undermine its value and you lose out on the blessing. You see, what I am saying is not that the culture loves sex too much; it loves sex too little. And when you don’t really understand and love something, then you take it for granted and use it in disparaging ways.
Unfortunately, most of those reading this are folks who have been highly influenced by this very culture. And so I recognize that it will be quite difficult to convince you that sex can be more than what you now think and what you now generally experience. But some secrets aren’t meant to be kept.
 I want to help you get back a sense of the essence of sex. Ready?
To begin, we’ll never get down to the essence of sex from simply our own human point of view. From our point of view, sex is pleasurable (for most men and a good number of women at least, generally so), sex is the method of procreation and, well, that’s about it, without getting into moral conceptions concerning the boundaries of sex. But those are not defining the essence or purpose of sex. But the only one who can enlighten us about the purpose and design of something would be the designer. In this case, that would be God.
Oddly, even thought the culture or segments of it, want to represent Christianity and the Bible as being anti-sex, you only have to go a couple chapters in to get your first presentation of sex, starting with Adam and Eve. From the story line you get the notion that they were both naked around each other. And God doesn’t give them skins to cover themselves until after they feel ashamed of their nakedness. Also, take note that the first sin is not related to sex, but about disobeying God, which was also not about sex. It also talks about them walking with God in the garden. By the way, can you imagine taking a leisurely walk with God, while you are naked?
So, God presents the first woman to the first man. And they are designed just as we are (or that is, us like them). And so they had hormones and sexual desire and all that. Yes, they are told to procreate. And that is an element of the essence of sex. It is a process that is meant to result in the blessing of children. This is not a small element either. It is significant. It is the vehicle by which human men and women bond and build a family. By the way, what I just said is really different than producing a child, isn’t it? There are lots of people having sex that results in children, but that does not result in the building of a family. That’s the first way in which we miss out on the essence of sex. Sex that does not bond and build a family is falling short of its essence and is less valuable and less satisfying than it could be. But I’m going to piece that together with what follows, so hang with me.
As much as sex was designed with this process of family making, in terms of procreation, that is not all sex was designed for, as maybe it was viewed in the Victorian Era. God designed sex to be very sensuously exciting and pleasing. But again, if culture then takes that and determines that self gratification is the purpose and design of sex, it will mislead the people and undermine something designed for more. It’s kind of like taking a gold bar and using it as a cutting board. Yeah, you can use it that way, but you aren’t getting out of it what you could.
Let me just point out that for all the prestige that sex gets in the media and in our minds nowadays, that there really are more problems and issues with sex than are represented. If you believed movies and TV, everyone is just having the time of their lives. But, oh my, is reality something that is grossly under-acknowledged. Statistics say 43% of women and 31% of men are suffering from some kind of sexual dysfunction, as reported on WebMD and other sites. But of course these numbers are likely to be low because they are based on people’s reports, meaning only those willing to report it. A Fox news article from last year offered that the number may be closer to 60% (it wasn’t clear if it was referring to one gender or both). My point is that, for all the glamorization of sex in our culture, the reality in a high percentage of people’s lives is a far different story.
And, issues with sexual dysfunction doesn’t even come close to the full impact once you include the relational and emotional elements of sex. Movies and TV represent some aspects of these, in terms of stories of rejection, manipulation, break ups, mocking, cheating on someone, rape, and such, but these often turn out “nice” in the end, because, well, it’s a movie. However, the disastrous effects of the ways that people hurt others with sex are so ubiquitous that likely everyone reading has suffered from it directly or at least has learned of it from someone you know. 
The bedroom seems more to be a breaker than a builder of families in our current times.  But it doesn’t have to continue to be so. When you understand the essence of sex, you can experience the blessing that God designed.
First of all, God said engaging in sex is designed for a special kind of relationship. This relationship is unique among human relationships. It is not a friendship, nor is it a working relationship or a contract agreement. It is the way that humans will build families with people that are not their family, the making of a new family. This concept was a big deal to God, because it represents to humans that he wants to make a new family from folks that are not a family as well: the family of God. You see, we are born biologically into an earthly family, but we are “born again” into God’s family through Christ. And this is why the Bible talks about Jesus being married to the church, in I Corinthians 5:31-32. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”  So, God is in the business of bonding people together in love and in making families. And it is called marriage.
You see, when someone puts their trust in Jesus they come into the family of God. And we are united with Christ as he gives us the Holy Spirit to live in us. “But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.” I Corinthians 6:17. The amazing reality is that there is something similar that happens between human men and women when they have intercourse with each other. That is why the former passage in I Corinthians refers to a “profound mystery” about marriage; that sexual union is not just a biological act, but also a spiritual one. That is the essence of sex!
Maybe that seems all heady and academic and theoretical to you. I get that. So, let me help to make it practical. First, how do these concepts lead to better sex? I believe that when you understand better the essence of sex you will approach it differently. You will reevaluate the messages from the culture that say, get it anywhere, get it as much as you can, focus on your own satisfaction. You’ll be able to be discerning, and you’ll reject those messages. You will see that that is not how you will find fulfillment or build anything of value with someone else. And you will then consider how God’s spirit lives in you and that God loves to give and bless. And so you’ll come to embrace that you are meant to give of yourself and bless someone else. And you will connect those dots and see that just as sex represents our union with God, that you can make sex about blessing someone else through your bond with them. You’ll be less preoccupied or worried about your own pleasure or performance, and you’ll seek to express your care to this other person. And along with that, guys especially, will find themselves coming to understand their wives better and will see that sex is in many respects the expression of a healthy and whole relationship and so they will work at listening better and being sensitive and patient in the rest of their relationship. And women in particular will come to understand their husbands better, and so they will seek to be more supportive and work to be more understanding of their husband’s insecurities and work through the areas they are judgmental about. In these ways, couples will communicate with more honesty, including their issues and needs concerning sex.
The second way that I can make this practical is to address the whole sex outside of marriage issue. It’s clear, isn’t it, that God designed sex for marriage. But I hope you can see now that God isn’t keeping sex from you because he is a prude. That’s not it at all! Rather, the issue is that God wants you to have sex, but in the way that he designed it. And if you don’t, he knows that it won’t go well for you and for others. God actually wants your best! I realize that putting that out there opens up a whole series of challenges for the single or divorced person. And I’m not insensitive to those. But that will have to be addressed at another time.
The secret is out! I feel relieved. You know, it’s hard to hold secrets in.
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Matt Sandford is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and has been counseling for 8 years. Previously he worked in student ministry for 14 years, including two years in China. He has been married for 21 years and he and his wife are raising twins. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Five Healing Steps to Take After Your Pastor Falls

By Christine Hammond, LMHC

The news is out. Your Pastor did something completely out of character. Perhaps they had a physical or emotional affair, stole money or misappropriated funds, secretly abused a family member, or hid an addiction. Whatever it was, it has devastated the church, shocked the community and perhaps destroyed their family.

Understandably, you will experience conflicting emotions and racing thoughts as you process what has happened. This is a normal response as you begin to grieve over the loss of your Pastor. Here are some of the possible reactions that might occur.

“My Pastor couldn’t have done that.” Usually the first initial response is to disbelieve that your Pastor could have done anything like this. After all, who wants to believe that any Pastor is capable of such a thing? Nothing makes sense. The person you know and trust doesn’t match with the accusations. So, you refuse to acknowledge the evidence. This is why denial is a powerful defense mechanism because it allows you to disregard information that is contrary to your belief system.

“How could my Pastor betray us like this?” Once the realization of the truth has settled any remaining doubt, you become angry. There is outrage that a Pastor could do such a thing, irritation that others did not foresee it, frustration that you trusted, and infuriation that God seemed absent. It is not uncommon to experience feelings of wrathful vengeance. While some anger is normal, don’t allow it to take over and control your behavior. If it does, you could act in an equally inappropriate manner as the Pastor.

“If only I said something sooner, this wouldn’t have happened.” When the anger simmers down, the “If only…” game begins. In a desperate desire to control the outcome, you begin searching for ways the problem could have been prevented. You relive the past hunting for warning signs that could have signaled the trouble. But all the deals you make for the future cannot change the current situation. Your bargaining is in vain.

“What’s the point of going to church?” The frustration that there is nothing you could have done to change the outcome quickly leads to sadness. The once joyful church becomes gloomy as members disappear. Hopelessness begins to settles in as you become more aware of the vulnerability of believers. Positive outlooks are replaced with melancholy as the whole thing seems like an illusion. The entire church including the individual members suffer through depression.

“I guess the verse, ‘All have sinned,’ really means all.” Ironically, it is only through a storm like this that the full meaning of the Gospel becomes transparent. If sin did not exist, then Jesus would not have needed to die and no one would need forgiveness and mercy. It is the fullness of the Scriptures that transforms lives, not just the bits and pieces that are more palatable. True acceptance acknowledges the susceptibility of all church members to sinful behavior, including yourself and Pastors, and supplies ample grace.
Most importantly, be gracious to yourself. These steps take time to process and healing should not be rushed. Each needs to go at their own pace; this is not a time to compare journeys. Rather it is a time to show love for one another through patience and kindness.

There is hope for your exhaustion.  Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you need more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 or send me a quick email at

Friday, June 12, 2015

How to Spot an Immature Person

By: Matt W. Sandford, LMHC

“Grow up!” people will say, usually when you are doing something that annoys them. But I wonder how skilled you are at actually identifying immaturity? I wonder this because of the frequency in which I encounter folks who have gotten into a relationship with someone and they can’t understand why the other person does what they do, or why they have the conflicts they do, or why the relationship is so on and off, or why they can’t seem to work some things out. And so I started to wonder if some ‘immaturity-spotting skills’ would be worthwhile. Let me offer a general concept and then flesh it out. Keep in mind, there are many ways to view maturity and this is just one perspective. Generally, we can find immaturity living on the edges of the continuum of some characteristic, meaning either too little or too much of something. Maturity is often developed through learning a balanced perspective.  This is not a comprehensive list, but rather intended to get you thinking.

1.       Either too strongly opinionated or lacking an opinion.
The first type are those who may at first seem very confident and self assured, but over time you find out that what they really are is arrogant and controlling. The second type seem to be easy going or accommodating, but you later realize that they are passive and actually are manipulative by what they don’t say and what they avoid.
2.      Emotions are either not managed at all, or there is a lack of emotional connection and expression. Emotions have much to contribute to mature living, but when they are either given over to indiscriminately at all times, or if they are stuffed, then the result is immaturity and dysfunction. 
3.       Either overly self centered or others centered. It’s probably obvious how being self centered is immature, but I bet you didn’t expect that you can be too others-centered. There is more to say on this, but for here I’ll point out that you can’t give well to others if you don’t take care of yourself.
4.      Being extremely rigid or overly flexible.
5.      Being too quick to judge or unable to make a judgment. Again, judgmentalness is likely obvious. But there also comes a time when we need to assess a situation and make a decision, or a judgment. When someone can’t or won’t follow through, there are signs of immaturity.
6.       Being overly busy and endlessly driven, or being unmotivated and lacking in drive or purpose.
7.      Being overly critical or overly accepting.
8.     Talking too much or talking too little. I realize these may fall under gender generalizations, but I’m not buying that. Anyone can be a blabber mouth and anyone can withdraw or withhold expression. This one is not so much about volume as it is about timing and situation. There is a time to shut up and a time to speak up. Maturity knows the difference.
9.      Being overly flattering.
10.  Lacking in the strength to delay gratification, or to restrain one’s appetites in the short term for the sake of gaining a long term goal.
11.   Lacking in integrity.
12.  Lacking in self awareness.

Something that I have not done is to spell out what maturity or immaturity looks like in a clear and obvious fashion. That is because the concept of maturity doesn’t work like that. Being able to spot maturity’s absence is really about discernment rather than some cut and dried list. But I think that the more we are attuned to looking for it, the more we hone the ability to identify it.
And I do know this. If you want to build a healthy and satisfying relationship, aim for finding a mature person – as well as work on your own maturity!
I will follow up with – What to Do if You’ve Already Married An Immature Person – so be on the lookout for it.

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3 Reasons Good Girls Marry Bad Boys and Then Work Themselves to Death to Cover it Up

By: Dwight Bain, LMHC

Right now you know a woman working at least two jobs, (not counting parenting her children and running a household), who is married to a “bad boy” who takes advantage of her. I don’t mean domestic violence; it’s more subtle than that, because she works incredibly hard to cover up how her partner is mean or unmotivated.
She may be a co-worker, a sister, a neighbor or friend at church, but you know this woman and you know she has a good heart. Here’s what you don’t know.
She’s hurting more now than she ever has before. Why?
Because the reality of her desperate situation creates crushing sadness
Bright women who married the ‘bad boy’ every one warned them about have a major problem. Deep down they usually believe they really love the guy on the couch who won’t keep a job and expects her to fill in the gaps for his irresponsibility.
This causes another major problem, because they don’t want their children to suffer or do without the basics, like new shoes, braces, school supplies or playing little league. And so they do the only thing they think they can do- they work, and work and then they work some more. Work is all they do because an average family needs 60-80 hours of income to take care of their home budget, which means that both parents are working 30-40 hours per week, or one person is working two jobs just trying to keep their family afloat.
Obviously not every man who is out of work is a “bad boy” partner who takes advantage of his good hearted wife, (why does that sentence sound like a country music lyric?) he could be a great guy to everyone else, but who secretly makes life miserable for his wife by demanding more. A “Bad boy” thinks he is right, in fact, he may be so busy being “right” that he won’t do anything to support his wife or kids during tough times. This leads to his wife feeling emotionally insecure that he would ever provide for her and the kids.
This article isn’t about irresponsible “Bad Boys” who figured it out, who found a mentor, or went to counseling to gain some maturity, or even found God so they can live out the words of their wedding vows to be there, ‘in sickness and in health, for richer- for poorer’,  This article is about a very different kind of relationship and one that gets much worse during difficult economic times. When a “Good Girl” meets and marries a “Bad Boy” it spirals down into disaster. Let’s start by looking at both of the major problems this exhausted woman faces, and then a third problem often overlooked.
1.  Bad Boys or just Lazy Losers?
First, what’s up with the guy on the couch who isn’t providing enough income to meet the needs of his family- what makes guys like this so unmotivated? Well, some guys are just lazy- they grew up without any self-discipline, or self-respect and they just won’t keep gainful employment or even help with chores around the house because they expect their wife to do it all.
Their mother’s didn’t do them any favors since some guys never grow up, and marry someone to take over where their over-committed mother left off… they expect hot meals, clean clothes, healthy children, the bills to be paid and someone to function as an attractive personal assistant- but they refuse to give back anything to the relationship. This type of marriage isn’t a partnership at all, it’s sort of like the medieval system of a master and peasant, and the woman is basically expected to be a slave to meet his every need.  100% about him- and 0% left for her. It’s like the “Me Channel” on Cable… “All me – all the time.”

Then there is another group of unmotivated men who can’t keep a job, whom society labels, the ‘losers’. They may have failed in their education, or failed in their career aspirations, and have just given up on finding a stable job to meet the needs of their family. Some guys in this group will go out to work at a job well below their potential just to avoid feeling like a failure again, which is better than nothing, yet eventually the bills will overshadow the gap in their income, leading to another major financial failure if they don’t change, and more pressure for the good hearted woman who is carry the whole load– alone.
Often women want to make excuses for their husbands continual failures, or blame it on his low self-esteem, but there comes a time in life where a bad boy has to step up to the plate to become a responsible man, which often means going out to seek some professional help from others so he doesn’t fail again. However, many times he just keeps repeating the same mistakes, which just dumps more problems onto his wife to fix while he escapes by watching sports on TV or porn on the computer.
It should be noted that sometimes a “Bad Boy” stays unmotivated because of substance abuse or addiction. Potheads, alcoholics, gamblers or porn addicts don’t think about providing for their family, they only think about themselves. Sometimes what may look like a motivation problem is actually due to bigger psychological or substance issues, which would take professional intervention, psychological diagnosis and treatment. The problem is that Bad-Boys who are addicts don’t seek help until they crash, and if they are enabled by others, they can stay addicted for years while creating terrible pain and hardship for those around them. Sadly – a “Good Girl” wife can become so enmeshed in the situation she is more of a stumbling block, than stepping stone to create positive change.
The last group of “Bad Boys” aren’t lazy losers they just work at any job available which tolerates irresponsible men. They may work hard for years, but will struggle to get ahead because they haven’t found career coaches, leaders or mentors to guide them in moving up the career ladder.
They end up staying unmotivated because they feel the desperation of being alone yet often are just too afraid to seek out help to discover their career strengths, so they slowly sink financially, while watching other more motivated guys get ahead. The old saying that “Nice guys finish last” isn’t true because the hard-working guys earn the respect of their peers, children and most importantly, they gain the trust and respect of the woman they promised to love forever.
An interesting problem is that this bad boy might actually sabotage any efforts to try and help him because he feels so hyper-sensitive about even discussing how he is trapped in a dead end job. He may fight against those who reach out with good advice on making some positive career changes to experience the financial freedom to provide for their family in a stable way.
Oddly enough, even though it’s their greatest fear, they can often be so insecure and prideful they don’t let anyone come alongside to help them face it with courage and so they stay stuck in a downward career spiral, leaving the growing financial burden on their wife. Their fear of making a career change hurts the people they say they love the most. But that’s what Bad-Boys do. They hurt others and never seem to change.
Good guys – or Bad Boys in disguise?
Some men may appear to be clean-cut, all-American, likable husbands and fathers who volunteer at church, mow the grass, don’t act mean, hateful or abusive, but they are still married to an exhausted woman with a good heart. This is because financial recessions are tougher when a woman is trying to bridge the financial gap in their family budget by overworking to make up for the areas where their husband is unmotivated to change. Bad boys happily sit back to watch their partner work harder to prove a point. And the point is usually that they are selfish and afraid.   
2.  How much is enough?
The second major problem this kind-hearted woman is facing deals with a combination of expectation and entitlement. There is tremendous pressure placed on parents to ‘do the right thing’ for their kids, which often is interpreted as being forced to provide the latest and greatest cell phone, elaborate birthday parties and expensive forms of entertainment or vacations for their family. It is not a sign of bad parenting to say ‘no’ to things you cannot afford it’s actually a sign of strength and will help a child learn that you can’t have everything you want. Part of being a responsible adult is learning how to control and manage financial impulses.
This situation can create a downward spiral of spending because some moms try to over-compensate for the lack of parenting from their passive “bad boy” husbands, then add the guilt she may feel from being gone so much of the time trying to make more money to pay the bills and you have a recipe for a spoiled child, strained marriage and pending financial disaster.

The financial reality that some activities can’t be done in a given month may be hard to deal with in the short term, but it’s a lot better than collecting massive debt to create an artificial lifestyle to keep everyone feeling happy for a while. Some women live in continual fear that the credit card lifestyle they secretly use to fill the gap of living with a “Bad Boy” their parents and friends warned them not to marry can one day come crashing down, so they keep this credit spending hidden like an addiction inside, hoping every day that she will make it to the mailbox before her husband discovers her secret. 
3.  Hidden roadblock to living with a “Bad Boy” who won’t change
Mark Twain said, “If the truth hurts- it should.” Women married to an unmotivated or mean “Bad Boy” often don’t want to hear the truth about their husband.  They may fiercely defend his moodiness, his lack of employment, his bad luck with bosses, speak up about how he loves the kids but just doesn’t have time for them, because once they openly acknowledge that their husband is an unmotivated or hard-hearted man, it makes it real, and once it’s real, it means something has to change.
It’s hard to face this reality, and it’s hard to confront a man they care about, so to avoid the risk of hurting his feelings they silently carry the burdens inside. Another common way women avoid making their husband uncomfortable is by secretly asking their parents for money to make it another month, and grandparents are suckers when it comes to providing for the needs of their daughter and grandkids. Even if they were the number one source of warning about not marrying the “Bad Boy” they will still financially support their exhausted daughter. So it goes on month after month until someone runs out of cash. No more cash means things eventually will crash. 
Recessions force things out into the open that might have gone unnoticed in a better economy. Bad Boy partners are a big one. Exhausted women feel desperate when they reach the end of their financial rope… without access to lines of equity, retirement accounts or the inability to get a family loan from parents who may be financially stretched from a deflated stock portfolio or undervalued real estate market.
When she runs out of options a woman has to face a painful reality. Get honest about the problems caused by the moody, mean or unmotivated man in her life and then confront them boldly, or silently find some negative way to cope, (like overeating). She will slowly and silently drown in her sadness if someone close to the situation doesn’t step in to ask some direct questions and offer real help.
This isn’t about blame shifting or attacking a man’s character as a human being, it’s about the basic financial reality of a shared financial partnership to run a family together. It’s about sharing marital responsibility instead of dumping everything onto an exhausted women going through life alone like a single parent, (except she just happens to be legally married to a “Bad Boy” non-producer who financially drags her down).
Sadly, it may take an exhausted women feeling completely overwhelmed to finally take action and say, ‘listen Mister- I desperately need help running this household and it’s time for you to grow up’. A husband-wife partnership requires both people yet some women are so used to the dysfunction of living with a “Bad Boy” she is almost numb to the idea that things could ever change.
Change requires Confrontation
No one likes conflict, but this type of relationship problem can’t improve without direct communication and confrontation. Most women won’t be able to do this alone, because most women have tried many ways to get their unmotivated husband to change and it didn’t work. So if talking to him doesn’t work, a woman has to have some back-up to confront in a way the unmotivated man can begin to hear. This may come from a parent, a trusted friend, pastor, counselor or career coach.
Be sensitive to this tired woman, she needs someone to help her turn her husband around, but she doesn’t need to be judged or criticized - she does enough of that against herself every day. If you want to really help her, don’t blame, just point out the realities of her painful situation and ask how you can help. There is an ancient principle that says, “in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom and safety.” And this woman needs both… wisdom and safety, so be kind as you move forward to gently, but firmly offer help.
Sometimes it may involve the immature “Bad Boy” having someone come alongside to create a step by step approach of accountability that includes building confidence through attending men’s groups, leadership events, personal development seminars, career coaching or personal development retreats on learning new skills as a healthy husband and father. The information for “Bad Boys” to grow up, take on responsibility and change is available- it’s out there. He still has to be the one to go out and seek it. She can’t do it for him and you can believe she has tried a hundred times. He has to make that decision and he has to take the steps with the help of other professionals to move forward and become a Good Man, while leaving the selfishness and arrogance of being a “Bad Boy” behind.   
Often he won’t begin to change until being hit with some very hard realities. The most severe that he may lose everything of value to him if he doesn’t take bold action to turn things around for his family before it’s too late.
Leading families in partnership together
He has to move from being a selfish “Bad Boy” to becoming more self-disciplined as a leader for his family, and if you say that word very slowly, you will discover the real answer to solve many of the problems of an exhausted wife… she needs someone to ‘lead –her’. Not a boss lording over her- she needs a partner. She needs a mature and responsible man who wants to build a great family by her side, no longer like a married ‘single parent’ no- now as partners building memories, instead of being in misery.
When a Bad-Boy learns how to be a responsible leader things can turn around rapidly, and no matter how deep the financial debts and pressure; if a husband and wife are working together they will not just survive it, they will thrive from the blessings of being partners pulling together through the toughest of times, instead of slowly drifting apart. 
Someone you know is the exhausted woman in this article. May these words challenge you to reach out with kindness to let her know that she is not alone and that she can count on you for support as she takes action to finally end the painful problems that come from being married to a Bad Boy.
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About the author- Dwight Bain guides busy professionals to rewrite their story from stress to success. He is a Certified Life Coach and Nationally Certified Counselor in practice since 1984 at the LifeWorks Group in Orlando, with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Stay connected with him for other coaching and life change strategies at or  Find the full coaching strategy to achieve career success in his book "Destination Success" discounted through at

Thursday, June 11, 2015

When Your Knight in Shining Armor Turns Out to be Wearing Aluminum Foil

By: Emily Long

Taylor Swift said it perfectly in a song: “you got that James Dean daydream look in your eye…” when it comes to describing bad boys. Your friends have dated them, you’ve dated them, your mom, sister, cousin… every woman you encounter has experienced a “bad boy” at one point or another. How can you spot the “bad boys” and identify them? You can’t. They don’t walk around wearing signs of indication, dress a certain way or hang out in a particular area. They just are. When your friends or family date them you can normally spot them more quickly than Waldo in a Where’s Waldo book. But when you’re dating a “bad boy” everything isn’t so crystal clear. 

Categories of “Bad Boys”
When someone thinks of the bad boy image, their perception is all based on experience. Why? Shouldn’t a bad boy be obvious? Bad boys can earn their classification by their charm. They could be perfectly groomed in an Armani suit and know the exact words to say to a female to win her over. The intentions behind what he says is what truly defines a bad boy. If a man walks into any form of a relationship with a woman and leaves it having given her the respect she deserves, he is not a bad boy, even if the relationship ended badly .

But WHY do women fall for bad boys?
If a man is leading you on and not treating you as he should, why would you keep going back to him? Why would you keep dating the same type of guys that fall into the “bad boy” category? Typically women enter into a relationship with hope and with hope comes imagery about their knight in shining armor. Many women probably have some form of a Pinterest board with the finest details of their dream wedding even before they are in a relationship. That fantasy mixed with a man’s promises only fuels the attraction.  The fantasy will only differ in women’s minds by their influences growing up and the qualities they look for in a man. By wanting so badly to find her knight, a woman will alter her checklist of attributes she looks for in a man to accommodate the man that stands in front of her, falling into the imagery trap over and over again. Eventually, the “knight” that has walked into her life will suddenly lose his armor and be seen for what he really is, a “bad boy” AKA  “Mr. Wrong.”

Every relationship in life comes with a lesson. Your reaction to that lesson molds you to become even more of a unique individual.  Several failed relationships only mean you haven’t met the person you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with. Don’t give up hope just because of the few bad apples you’ve experienced. Take those experiences and either change the things you need to in yourself, or resolve to stick firmly to your checklist of qualities. The only time your checklist should change is when you’ve learned the lesson and decide what you DO or DON’T want in your life. By settling for “the next best thing” you open the door for the bad boys to walk in and out of your life. The knight you’ve been looking for won’t ever lose his armor because there will be no armor for him to lose. He will keep his promises and be (or at least have the potential to be) everything you wanted and waited for. Waiting is hard to do when your heart has been broken but it is worth it especially when you use the time to learn more about yourself. As cloudy as the sky may be, you’ll soon understand that the people that have broken your heart have only done so because they themselves are broken. As long as you never lose hope and truly learn from the lessons that life has put in your way, you’ll be all the better for it and the door will open for your “Mr. Right.”

Breaking the Bad Boy Cycle: Why Good Girls Choose Bad Boys

By: Cara Griffin-Locker, IMH

Why do good girls often flock to bad boys? Well, they are fun, adventurous, familiar and more often than not they need to be fixed.  What girl does not like a little project?  As women we tend to want to fix things and that may include the man in our life. How can a good girl avoid dating a bad boy? The answer lies in understanding herself as a woman, having expectations of what she wants in a man and being able to identify her value. A girl’s desire for the perfect man can lead to a fixation on finding a boyfriend. Having a boyfriend does not define you but your self-worth and spirituality do.

Relationships experience intimacy when both parties can sacrifice for one other. By definition, a bad boy is unable to offer sacrificial love.  Women often fool themselves into thinking that they are immune to falling for a bad boy. The affection of a bad boy is always performance-based and challenge-driven. Here are four reasons why good girls choose bad boys.

1.     He can be fixed. Women sometimes allow their nurturing instinct to affect their better judgment when it comes to choosing a boyfriend. Some women like a project or a fixer upper; they think they can change a guy and his character flaws. Women who were abused or ignored by their father may not know how to identify real love. Worse, they may think that their past pain can be erased by marrying a bad boy and making everything work out right. This is a lie; it is impossible to make a man improve his character. He may fake integrity for a time but his true colors will eventually shine through. 
2.      He is exciting. Society tends to glamorize all the wrong things including the bad boy image.  Bad boys draw attention to themselves; their popularity and playful personality can be very attractive. Dating a bad boy is appealing and the notoriety of dating one can touch a woman’s need for acceptance and significance. What some women do not realize is that their personal reputation can be tarnished by associating with a notorious person. Bad boys may be fun, but the party does not last forever. Vain pleasure will eventually wear off over time. A bad boy may shower you with compliments, attention, and excitement, but the moment you cease to keep him happy, he will lose interest in you.
3.     He pursued me. Bad boys tend to be more assertive when it comes to initiating a dating relationship. Since most women want to be pursued, this aggressive approach can be appealing. Additionally, a bad boy may seem driven to make something of himself. Women usually like a man who seems to have purpose in life. However, dating a guy with poor character, even if he pursues you, will still equal a poor relationship.

There may seem to be more bad boys around than men with character, but waiting for a man with integrity is worth it. So ladies, kiss those bad boys goodbye!