The Quest for Intimacy and Passion: Challenges for the ACDWritten by Kenneth A. Sprang and Carol Sprang, MA, RNC, LCPC
As you may know, divorce rate continues to hover around fifty percent, where it has been now for some time. If half of marriages end in divorce today, it is likely that many of you—like me—are ACD’s—Adult Children of Divorce. How has our parents’ divorce affected us and our own quest for love and happiness? My parents were divorced when I was three. From childhood I vowed not to be one of fifty percent—I was going to succeed where they had “failed.” Yet, I too, became a statistic when my first marriage of 25 years came to an end, despite valiant attempts by my first wife and me to save it. So now my adult children, too, have joined ranks of ACD’s. Much has been written about effect of divorce on children. However, very little research has been done on impact of divorce on adults and challenges of ACD’s in general. A recent study at University of New Orleans sheds some of long awaited light. Among findings of study, is that for ACD’s intimacy, trust, commitment, loyalty and passion are more complex issues than for children of intact families. For example, many of us crave intimacy, yet female ACD’s tend to experience more relationship conflict and to have an increased number of sexual partners than those from intact families, though same is not true for men. There is some suggestion that in our quest for intimacy we may confuse casual sexual relationships with emotional intimacy. We also have a tendency to get into relationships or marriage at a young age or to seek to fulfill our emotional needs in relationships that are not healthy. ACD’s also demonstrate an overall lack of trust with regard to intimate relationships and marriage. Sadly, many of us expect our marriages to fail, at least unconsciously, and we may even sabotage our intimate relationships because of a fear of rejection and lack of trust. Ironically, while we long for affection, seeking affection which we did not see or experience at home, we may withdraw emotionally from our partners, repeating a coping mechanism learned in childhood.
Are Women From Utopia And Men From Wal-Mart?Written by Allie Ochs
It is surprising how many writers, psychologists, or scientists have made it their life’s work focusing on gender differences. In our male-dominated society it is no coincidence that men have undertaken bulk of this work. They made an effort to help men and women get along, but deep down sexes are much more alike than world cares to admit.
Today, most believe that men and women are significantly different in every respect. The focus on these differences has divided men and women, instead of bringing them closer together. More importantly, it discourages both sexes to grow and unify on a human level.
Still viewed as inferior sex, women feel compelled to assume utopian attributes such as nurturing to extreme and giving to point of running empty. Women are expected to live up to expectations of their families, employers and society. To add to their burden, they ought to stay slim, sexy, attractive, loving, caring and emotionally balanced. In their attempts to meet these expectations, many women lose their identities, values, self-worth and even their minds.
In contrast, “superior” male sex has been praised for its Wal-Mart attributes of being realistic, practical, efficient and logical. Consequently, men still run country, hold most of assets and control majority of public and economic affairs. Yet, men experience their own stress in a competitive world that expects them to be pillar of their families. Many men are still programmed to be sole economic provider in their families and suffer their own anxieties. Feeling pressure of maintaining an affluent lifestyle or even just making ends meet, many become workaholics, grow bellies, lose their hair and become candidates for heart attacks. Both men and women alike experience stress trying to be super-humans in a society in which they feel they never quite “cut it.”
Preoccupation with differences often prevents men and women from asking each other for help. Consequently, both suffer silently through their own pain blaming each other for their differences and lack of understanding: “Men are never this” and “Women are always that.” As a result of generalization of their differences, men “shut down” and women turn to friends, therapy or medication. The outcomes are unfulfilling, frustrating relationships that increase stress or even lead to divorce. Consequently, we wonder whether men failed women, or vice versa.
So much effort and money has been spent (and made) on exaggerating emotional, intellectual and communicative differences between sexes that we indeed believe ourselves to be from different planets. We must look beyond differences and realize that women cannot live without Wal-Mart, nor can men live without utopia. Women need Wal-Mart for practical, logical and task-oriented aspects of their lives and, in fact, may be shopping at Wal-Mart more often than men. On other hand, men need utopia to experience all beauty and humanity of life, and are visiting utopia more frequently than they admit. We are all from same planet. It is about time we bridged gap between sexes and realized that we are human beings with many of same needs, desires, dreams and hopes.