It's easy to forget everything when your babies are little. You forget minor things like where you put your iPhone or keys, you forget medium things like birthdays, showers and friends. Sometimes you forget big things, like you are married. Well, maybe not that you are married (because the chain attached to your leg rattles so much) but more like you forget that you love your spouse. You forget that they are special. When your kids are little there doesn't seem to be enough time or energy left to do the things you used to take for granted. That's why they call them the lost years.
My husband and I had two children 18 months apart. A raucous evening with a few drinks resulted in an early addition to our mini-van stick figures. We were barrelling full speed ahead into the zone of perpetual, tongue-dragging fatigue and gapping memory voids. We were in the lost years; the days, months, years stretching between the birth of our first child and ending the day our youngest turned three. If you have your kids close together like we did, the "lost zone" can stretch up to five years -- in a row. That's a long time to be living together but doing different things.
And this is what happens when you are married and have kids. You divide and conquer. You exercise and then he exercises. You eat and then he eats. You go out with your friends and then he goes out with his friends...again. It's a simple equation. Two parents and two small babies means no one is doing anything together.
Staying together after the lost years means remembering to spend time together during the fog. Simple time; a drive, a coffee, a drop in on friends. Time. Time that doesn't involve using the dreaded three-word combinations, "Why didn't you...?" "I wish you...?" or "Can we talk...?"
Remembering to be married means remembering to be together on a basic level, kissing, touching, nice words, helping each other. Because once those lost years are past and you remember where you put your head, you are still left with each other. The person you started this journey with, the person that you thought would make your life better. The person that seemed exactly right -- so much so, you created more people together.
It's easy to forget in the lost years -- but you must make it worth remembering to love each other before they turn into the long, lonely years.
Foreplay begins hours before a couple gets in bed. Flirt with your partner and do little things to build up their sexual excitement. By the time you hit the bed, you won't be able to keep your hands off each other!
If you meet someone who seems heaven-sent and they want a quick commitment and marriage, slow things down and be very careful. Most people are what they say are -- but some are dangerous sociopaths. Take a lot of time to get to know someone before making a serious commitment.
All relationships do better with more touching, hugging and hand-holding. These simple displays of affection will strengthen the bond between you and your partner, and serve as a physical reminder of your emotional connection.
Sex can be painful if the vagina isn’t lubricated enough. Vaginal dryness can be addressed by a topical estrogen (approved by most physicians), a lubricant (Pink, Pur and Eros are good ones) or a vaginal moisturizer that plumps up the tissues (Replens). Causes range from depleted estrogen in peri-menopause or menopause to the impact of birth control medicines or anti-histamines and anti-allergenic drugs.
When you are making love, communicate. Tell your partner what you like; when it's perfect and when it's not quite right. Ask them to tell you their preferences too. It may feel weird at first, but the payoff will be huge.
Don’t give up on online dating if you encounter a few (or many) people who turn out to be completely wrong for you. Sooner or later, the law of large numbers may work in your favor, and you could meet someone you can love.
Sex is boring if you use the same efficient way to satisfy each other every time. Change up your routine by making love in a new place or at a different time of day. Try incorporating sex toys into your lovemaking. Be playful -- read a sexy book together or try a blindfold.
Before dating, have a friend comment truthfully on how ready you are to put yourself out there. Are you too needy or too defensive? Don't start dating until you have an open heart.
If you have something important to disclose to your dates, tell them right away. Honesty is the best policy in dating. Otherwise, the relationship is founded on quicksand.
Sex is a great thing, but you should always be cautious and use protection. Condoms are the only way to prevent transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Don’t dismiss condoms as something that deflects from the pleasure of the act. The new ones are sexy, thin (sometimes you can't even feel them) and definitely worth using.
Amp up your sex life by experimenting with a vibrator. Sex and orgasms can be increased in pleasure by using a vibrator during love making.
Don't let your partner walk all over you. If someone insults you, tell them that you refuse to be treated that way. Compromise with your partner during civil disagreements, but don't always let them have their way. If an argument becomes too heated, just walk away or leave and take some time to cool off.
Quality and quantity time are linked. Spend focused time together -- don't be two ships passing in the night and in the mornings. Spend a weekend together every now and then, and if that isn't possible, at least take date nights.
If you have a sexual fantasy, don't keep it to yourself. Your partner might have the same fantasy, or may take great pleasure in helping you fulfill yours.
Kiss every day -- morning and night. It may seem like a small act, but it will bring you and your partner closer together.