Q: From a male perspective, what does Stephen think about heartbreak and giving up on love?
S: I honestly don’t think I’m the best person to ask when it comes to questions like these. I went through a major shift in my early twenties where I transitioned from being a people pleaser/doormat to a man who valued himself and worked to improve myself. I read a lot of books in the manosphere (term for the community men go to seek answers from men) and started taking working out more seriously, my education, and my attitude. I say all that to say I believe we all have immense value. People try to tell us what that value is and we even get confused what our value is based off how we’re feeling. Heartbreak and giving up on love is hard but also a part of life. We’ve all experienced varying degrees of it but the fact is that we deserve someone who will respect us as much as we respect ourselves. If someone doesn’t want to be with me and not date me for who I am, I’m ok with that. There are a lot of people in this world and I don’t believe in soulmates. If you believe you’re the best version of yourself, you find someone who will love you for that. If you feel like you need someone or you’re not your best version, improve yourself first then find a partner. I believe heartbreak is better managed that way and feelings of giving up on love will dissipate as you are fulfilled with who you are and know you have options.
Q: I’m getting married in 3 months, how do you deal with normal doubt?
C: Honestly, I didn’t have any doubts with Stephen. I do think that nerves are normal, but I believe there is a difference between being nervous and doubtful. It’s okay to feel nervous about the future since there are so many unknowns. However, if you’re having specific doubts about your future spouse then I would definitely take a look at those and ask yourself where they are coming from.
S: I agree with Claire but I would also add talking to someone. It’s easy to stay in our own head and come up with answers we make up. I would tell a trusted person in your life exactly what you’re feeling and if you don’t know if you can put it into words, talking it out will help you realize what’s going on. I would also say talk to your partner about it if you feel comfortable. Maybe they’re feeling the same way and this could be a bonding experience. I would say just rehearse it if you’re going to talk to your partner first. I’m sure it would be easy to think you’re getting dumped with the wrong wording.
Q: How do you deal with one partner feeling needier than the other?
S: Claire wanted me to answer this as I’m self admittedly the needy one in the relationship. I am just upfront about it. I think needy people (how I used to be) will unknowingly give their partner a lot of attention and really display their love language (mine was touch) and expect the partner to reciprocate. That didn’t work and so I would get offended or feel unloved because of it. Since then, I am now just upfront about it and we had a talk over dinner about what my love language is and how I am. I guess that makes my answer communication, but I also think there is a line. If you have a partner (or are that partner) that is needy to the point of being controlling or causing major problems and fights, you need to evaluate yourself. No relationship can “fix” that and it’s unfair to put that responsibility on a partner. I would get that person a therapist (or seek out therapy if you’re that person).
Q: How do you avoid always talking about work and not working 24/7 when at home?
C: The first year of our marriage it was really hard not to do this. Stephen was transitioning from his full time job into a full time student, and I was at the hospital more-full time but trying to grow my brand and blog. That being said, I really wanted my blog to be successful because A) I loved it and B) because my nursing income alone wasn’t ideal for a 2 person household. So during this first year we talked about work a lot. From taking photos all the time, to strategizing, etc. And there were definitely moments where Stephen would be like, okay I get this is important to you but we need to stop talking about it 24/7. So we starting putting boundaries on it (ie. date night, no talking about work).
Now, things are a little different. Even though we’re still working a lot from home, we have systems in place, and people hired, so things are running more seamlessly. I have other people to help me and talk business too, so our relationship isn’t inundated with everything. We both now are in a place where even though it has stressful moments, work is more enjoyable for us to talk about together, but that can lead to us working until 9-10pm and not sitting down for dinner, etc. So we definitely make it a point to “turn it off” by a certain time and I think we’re getting a lot better at this!
Alright onto finances! Lots of questions around this topic, so I’ll be sharing in tomorrow’s newsletter how to start the conversation around the topic, and there will be a separate blog going into more detail 🙂
Q: Do you tell Stephen how much botox, eyelashes, etc. cost?
C: Mmmm depends. Stephen doesn’t usually know how much those things cost lol. Perfect example, I left yesterday to get my eyelashes filled and he was like they cost $85 a month?! Hehe. However, a couple years ago when finances were a lot tighter, I’d tell Stephen things like, “Getting both eyelashes and manicures are too expensive, so I need to pick one.” I guess my point is, I don’t do shit that we can’t afford. However, with bigger purchases like my Gucci bag, I obviously talked with Stephen about it. Yes, we could afford it but I wasn’t going to drop $2K on a bag and not talk to him about it.
Q; How to keep things fresh (convos, etc.) when you know each other so well?
S: Going to new places together and experiencing new things creates an environment to break up the monotony of day to day life. Traveling is the obvious answer but even going to a new restaurant/brewery/coffee shop and ordering something new creates conversation. In Italy I looked up “questions to get to know your wife” and we had a fun conversation about our answers. I also think working on yourself personally to strengthen a weak area opens up yourself to change and keeping things fresh too as a more abstract answer. Claire and I both have changed a lot as people since getting married and have talked through that process.
Q: Do you believe if 2 people are meant to be that things will just workout in the end?
S: Absolutely not. We don’t live in a movie and relationships and attraction need to be managed and worked on. I also don’t believe in soulmates which I attribute with the phrase “meant to be”. Claire and I love each other unconditionally and ended up working out because we worked at it. I also believe that if both people feel they’re meant to be but fight all the time and aren’t compatible, it won’t work. Take divorces – no one goes into a marriage thinking it will fail (for the most part) but divorces happen all the time. Things don’t always work out in the end – it’s up to us to work at it and make sure it lasts until the end.
Q:How do you keep it exciting in the bedroom? do you find yourself having less sex and if so what do you do to avoid that
S: Truth be told the sex is less but I think that’s normal. I would say our sex drives have matched for the most part but I will always want more sex than her. I’m attributing that to the testosterone. We’ve had talks that we need to up our sex game to which she agreed. That usually results in changing up the flirting. When we were earlier in our relationship we didn’t need a reason to bang, we just did. As we’ve grown and become more comfortable it became less of a priority. Enter the new ways of flirting. Some days call for more subtle flirting in a build up kind of way and others are more assertive. Switching up foreplay I guess is the best way to put it. IMO, when it comes to sex and creating desire – actions speak louder than words.
Q: How do you handle difficult conversations? Does one personally normally stay more calm?
S: When I think of difficult conversations I think either I screwed up royally and need to confess or something really bad happened. I would say in either circumstance time is of the essence. I address it ASAP and try to be whatever the situation calls for. If it’s explaining I screwed up I address it ASAP and just tell the truth and let her feel whatever she’ll feel. If I needed to talk to Claire about something I needed her to seriously change I would try to do so empathetically while standing my ground on the issue. As to your second question, I don’t think Claire or I has done more serious talks. I’m also a little more animated in my responses depending on the situation. Claire is more grounded.
Q: Did you move in together before or after marriage?
A: We talk all about that in our youtube video here
Q: How do you deal with the things that REALLY FUCKING ANNOY you about each other?
S: I annoy Claire all the time. Mostly on purpose. She also does the same. If Claire does something really annoying and keeps doing it, I would probably get a squirt bottle and squirt her like a cat. If you’re really fucking annoyed I would use the word “seriously” a lot when you explain to the person why they need to stop. I stop when Claire stops smiling and legit looks pissed. I think realistically you can’t expect people to quit bad habits over night. Keep at it and if they don’t stop get the squirt bottle.
Q: Y’all got engaged in less than a year, do you think its still okay to still be dating someone after 5 years?
C: I think age depends on a lot of it! We met at 26 so I feel like we both were old enough to have an understanding of what we were looking for in another person, so getting engaged shortly after didn’t seemed rush. And yes, I understand that most people even at that age don’t get engaged that quickly but if we were 22 and were talking about marriage after 6 months I think that would be a different conversation (no judgment on people who getting married younger, just my personal opinion/experience). That said, I’ve had friends who were dating for 10 years before they got engaged but they met when they were 18 years old, so waiting a 5-10 years to get engaged doesn’t seem weird to me! So I think it all depends, and if you’re on the same page about when you want to take that next step. For example, my sister and her fiance got engaged earlier this year (shes 28) and they have been dating for 8 years, but they were waiting for him to finish med school before making that next step. That was something they both discussed and were on the same page with!
S: I agree with Claire. That question to me is very much based on life circumstances. Does it make sense to get married right now? I’m assuming your question is coming from a place that is asking “I’ve been dating this person for going on 5 years and we still aren’t engaged – should I leave?”. I could be way off with that but those were the vibes I got. IF that’s really what you’re asking – it sounds like you’re frustrated. If you already had a talk with your partner and they keep putting it off I would give a reasonable deadline for an answer. Or if you had the talk, address the reasons why it hasn’t happened yet together – and if you can’t/don’t want to, leave.
Q: Did you both want to get married quickly after dating or did one push more than the other?
C: We were both on board with the same timeline. Both of us just felt like we had found our person and really wanted to get married!
S: I wouldn’t say we wanted to get married quickly we just acted on how the relationship was progressing. We both knew we had found our forever person so what was the point holding it off? I will also say we were at a life stage where it made sense. I’m sure there are 16 y/o kids out there thinking they found the one and want to act on it. Have common sense but still do your thing!
Q: When do you think you’ll be ready to have kids?
A: Probably 2-4 years.
Q: Have you noticed that arguments have gotten better as you’ve been together longer? How do you prevent fights? (don’t prevent, we disagree but are respectful and bring shit up before it brews for too long)
S: I would say the argument intensity has remained the same for the most part. The frequency is also about the same. Every once in a while we’ll get into it but we’re also pretty good about expressing what’s on our mind. Literally this morning Claire and I disagreed about something and she said something I thought was disrespectful. (This is Claire, I said “you’re being fucking annoying” oops!) Instead of holding it against her I told her right there she was out of line and being disrespectful and we hashed it out. You said it in your question too – you can’t prevent fights but you can prevent resentment by talking it. When you don’t openly communicate and bottle things up, that’s when big fights can happen. To paint a picture, our fights usually involve a situation that we have different opinions on and will argue our point to each other – not so much argue with each other if that makes sense. The intensity depends on the intensity on the subject at hand.
Q: Do the chores fall more on one of you? Or do you split evenly?
C: Right now, more of the chores fall on Stephen since he is home more. But with my work schedule at the hospital recently changed, I feel like they will be split more evenly. In general though, we don’t have designated chores. It’s more like, “hey today we need to do laundry, which one of us is going to be home?” We also hired a maid service recently, so about 1x a month they will come so we aren’t doing the chores like dusting, scrubbing the showers, etc.
S: I take the chores on myself. I don’t mind as I recognize Claire is supporting me so I can finish school. The fact that I can do school full time without a traditional job (I’m still working – but on projects I can do at home) is very fortunate. I recognize that and am thankful for it. Plus how hard are chores anyway? Unless you’re stressed af, chores are a breeze.
Alright guys, that’s it for now!! Hope you enjoyed!! xx C & S