Talk To Wendy: Our Expert Answers Your Relationship Questions

Wendy Olsen, MFT, answers all the relationship questions you were dying to ask, but just couldn’t muster up the courage to. You can email questions to editor@southseattleemerald

Q: I’ve been having a fling with a colleague from work and things have been working fine, in that we both seem to be getting what we want physically out of the deal without any commitment. He however has started expressing that he wants more of an actual relationship with me but I honestly value my freedom a lot at this point in my life, and while I could see myself, maybe, dating him one day, now just isn’t that time. I don’t feel like I’d be stringing him along if I told him that someday I might be open to it but now I’d just like to continue the status quo, as sexually, things are great. I feel men do this all the time without shame, so would I be wrong?

Wendy: Being honest about how you really feel is the kindest thing you can do.  By being honest with him, you are allowing him to make the best choice for himself:  continue with sexual play and see what the future holds for the two of you or look for something more involved with someone else.  You both have choices in the matter.  Kudos to you for wanting to give him the truth and the option to opt out.

 

Q: I recently proposed to my girlfriend after two and a half years of dating. She said yes, but then revealed to me a couple weeks after we got engaged that she cheated on me with an ex-boyfriend a few months after we began dating. She says that it meant nothing and that it was early in our relationship. I respect that she told me even though she didn’t have to, however it does make me look at her in a different light, and somewhat makes me rethink our relationship and whether I should even marry her now. Am I overreacting or should I just appreciate her being honest and let it go?

Wendy: When someone reveals something that happened in the past, they’ve had time to resolve their feelings over it.  However, when we hear it for the first time, no matter how long ago it was, it is fresh for us.  Your feelings and confusion are normal.  Yes, she was honest with you and at great risk to herself and to your relationship.  She made herself very vulnerable by disclosing her indiscretion. In disclosing to you, she allowed you to fully give what I’ll call” informed consent” in your relationship. Now you know something more about her, a fault or mistake.  When she says it meant nothing, that very well may be the truth.  However, I would encourage both of you to explore why she cheated.  It is important for you both to have a clearer understanding about how that happened in order to avoid it happening in the future.  It may be as simple as, she was seeing you, but not yet committed.  The ex came back into the picture and by being with him again she realized that she didn’t want anything more with him and really did want a relationship with you.  Indiscretions happen.  It doesn’t mean that all is lost.

 

Q: My husband and I have been married for a little less than a year, and over time it’s been revealed that he likes some fairly lewd pornography. It’s something I’ve gone along with in terms of watching it with him, however it’s something I’m having an issue with tolerating any longer. He says that he needs it to “get in the mood,” but “hello” that’s what I’m supposed to be for. It makes me feel a bit disparaged knowing that this is what he needs. I’ve told him several times how I feel, but I’ll catch him still viewing it. I want to tell him, “It’s the porn or me,” but is that realistic?

Wendy: The porn issue is a common one in relationships.  Porn is the opposite of intimacy. When going solo, it is something that people use to become aroused and climax without worrying about meeting someone else’s needs. You only have to worry about yourself.  It’s fantasy. Some couples use it as a form of foreplay. On the other hand (no pun intended), if you are feeling sexually invisible to your husband, that is problematic.  When you say he tells you that he “needs it to get in the mood”, that may be something that you two need to talk more about.  If you are at the point that you feel his relationship to pornography is at the expense of the intimacy between the two of you, seek professional help.  A professional can help both of you understand your different needs sexually and emotionally and help you come to some sort of resolution.
Wendy Olsen is a Marriage & Family Therapist, specializing in Sex Therapy. You can find more of her advice at http://www.talk2wendyolsen.com

Wendy_Piano

Civic Salvos: We Can Get There From Here

by Sandra Vanderven

I went to The Evergreen State College, a place known for activist students who are nicknamed “Greeners”.  This is where I first realized that corporations and the wealthy were taking control of our democracy and that the media is complicit.  The symptoms of this situation are more than I can list here:  our climate is changing, our education system is being undermined, and most major life transitions now require tithing to banks which themselves are crime-ridden and impervious; to name just a few. Here To There

I went to Evergreen in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.  I would come back to Seattle to visit my friends and family, where the change in context, from radical college town to mainstream middle class upwardly mobile city, made me uncomfortably aware of how few people had access to the kind of info I was absorbing there.

Fast forward to now, and things are different.  We in Seattle get it.  In fact, 75% of us think that a $15 minimum wage is a good idea.

A few years ago, I decided to change what I do in life to include activism and organizing.  It is the best thing I ever did outside of family, and I can’t believe there aren’t more people working on this stuff.  Where are the torches and pitchforks?

People are busy.  I get that.  I’m busy too.  With most of the people I know on the same page with me philosophically, I often wonder why people don’t get involved more deeply than clicking online petitions.

I think there are a few answers in play.  One is people don’t turn out if they don’t think it will make a difference.  It is a simple value judgment.  I have a certain amount of time, and it never feels like enough, so I won’t spend a minute of it on something I am not persuaded will change things. There is also a bandwagon effect, meaning people look to see what others are doing and decide on action or inaction based on that.  Right now, the norm is that we can volunteer in a soup kitchen and feel righteous, but if we work to make soup kitchens obsolete we are considered a little deluded.

These attitudes have lots of causes.  Most of the progressive organizations wielding an email list have found that they can get people to click with a message of doom and gloom.  This gives them good short term results, but at the same time, our collective perception of whether we have a shot at making a difference is eroded.  People get overwhelmed.

It isn’t a part of our culture right now to engage politically.  Our country has been influenced by an anti-intellectual movement, and by a cult of fierce independence. Both of these things have undermined who we are fundamentally, and by that, I mean as a species.  We are social.  Interdependence is part of our makeup.  But deeply antisocial forces have turned us against our own intrinsic natures—turned us against the instincts that in the past have allowed us to thrive.  So now here in Seattle, the friendliest of climates in the world of organizing, a place where so many of us understand how the oligarchy is shaking us down, when we picture organizing or activism, the image that pops to mind is not of ourselves.

It isn’t accidental that people are skeptical about making a difference, and they won’t discover they can be effective by accident, either.

How do we change “I” to “we”?  How do we move from fierce independence to fierce cooperation?  How do we sear into minds the image of people doing better by working together?

For a start, we need a beacon to rally around and push towards.  We need to talk more about the world we want—what makes a life well lived, and how can we all have access to that, not just stomp our feet and yell about our corporate rulers being mean to us.  We, the movement builders, need to do a better job of demonstrating what we are working towards, showing glimpses of the future we are trying to attain.  Second, we have to give people a sense that we can make a difference, because as it turns out, we can.  Third, it has to be fun.

If we are going to win, it will take a movement that belongs to all, not just us Greeners.

Sandra Vanderven is a Senior Organizer at Fuse Washington and Board President of the Backbone Campaign. She can be contacted at sandra@fusewashington.org

 

Rainier Health And Fitness: A Gym For The Rest Of Us

by Emily Williamson

While gyms are traditionally known to celebrate slim figures and body-builder images, Rainier Health & Fitness has a different purpose: to encourage healthy lifestyles, strong bodies and authentic community. For Amal*, her husband and seven children, Rainier Health & Fitness has been a key part of developing healthy practices. Every family member exercises regularly and Amal herself walks to the gym from their Beacon Hill home to hit the treadmill or participate in a yoga class.

Amil on the treadmill.
Amil on the treadmill.

Amal’s friends ask her, “Why do you go to the gym? You’re already skinny?” Amal replies that exercising is about staying healthy and feeling well, not just being skinny. Her mom died in 2008 and had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so she wants to prevent suffering from the same preventable conditions. Plus, if she doesn’t work out, her muscles get tight and she has migraines. The migraines are actually what drove her to join the gym in the first place in April 2010; Amal’s doctor said she should go to the gym, a stress-free environment, for her migraines. Now they only resume after not coming for a week or two. “Coming here is good for my heart and brain,” Amal says.

In addition to regular exercise, Amal’s family has also made healthy changes to their diet thanks to the influence of their vegetarian daughter. Amal used to drink lots of coffee, but now has reduced her consumption to one cup per day. Coming from Somalia where many dishes are prepared with oil, she has steered away from this ingredient and has quit frying food. Instead, she serves the family only brown rice, oatmeal and whole grain bread, spaghetti and cereal. She also checks the labels of food and looks at calories before purchasing. As a result, no one in her family is overweight.

“Health is number one.” Amal says, “It’s worth $30 per month.” She tells everybody to come here and has met lots of new friends while working out.

* pseudonym, name changed to protect privacy

About Rainier Health & Fitness   

Rainier Health & Fitness first opened its doors in March of 2005 with the dream of using exercise to address health disparities in its neighborhood. Since then it has grown to over 1600 members. The volunteers and staff at Rainier Health & Fitness are dedicated to improving the health of their Rainier Valley community by encouraging healthy lifestyles and strong bodies. The fitness center makes exercise fun and accessible by offering affordable prices and creating a non-intimidating workout environment, especially for those who are new to exercise. A variety of group classes including yoga, ZUMBA fitness, Pilates, turbo kick and cycling are available to members at no additional cost while personal training, group training and CrossFit are offered through certified trainers for comparably low additional fees. Regular memberships are an affordable $30 a month with a one-time membership fee of $99.

NBA Conference Finals Predictions

by Antonio Foster NBA

 

Western Conference Finals: San Antonio Spurs vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Down to the two best teams in the west. They happen to be the #1 and #2 seed. This is a matchup that lots of people expected this late into the playoffs. The Spurs are veteran ball club with a lot of bench production. The Thunder are led by MVP Kevin Durant as they try to reach the Finals again. Both teams are matched up evenly so the key factor is bench play. Whoever has more production out of their bench will advance to the NBA Finals.

Winner: Oklahoma City Thunder in 7 games

 

Eastern Conference Finals: Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

The most anticipated match up of the playoffs by far. Since day one of the NBA season everyone has been saying the only team that can dethrone the back-to- back defending champions is the Indiana Pacers. The Heat are the best team in the playoffs sitting at 8-1 in the postseason. Lebron James and the rest of the team are firingon all cylinders. The Pacers on the other hand are struggling as of late. However  the Pacers do happen to have home court advantage in this series, and if they can get things together they ill be the Heat’s toughest matchup. The key factor in this series is Roy Hibbert. The Pacers can’t win unless he has a monster series scoring on the low block and controlling the paint with rebounds and blocked shots.

Winner: Indiana Pacers in 7 games

Biz Bio: Spinnaker Bay Brewing: Where The Best Beer In Seattle Docks

by Marcus Harrison Green

What: Spinnaker Bay Brewing

Where: 5718 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118

Website: www.spinnakerbaybrewing.com

 

For those of you whose dedication to wine and cocktails as their primary drinks of choice is akin to religious fixation, and consider beer only beerspinbayas the pariah of the adult beverage family, to be purchased reluctantly during cash strapped periods, a  visit to Spinnaker Bay Brewing in Hillman City just might be enough to stimulate a conversion to beer as your preferred libation.

Founded, owned, and operated, as the realization of a lifelong dream, by Head Brewer Janet Spindler and her partner Elissa Pryor, with equal measures of love, passion and zeal, Spinnaker Bay Brewing, and its savory signature brews -with names like Little Dinghy Blonde and Fraid Not Pale Ale™ – has become synonymous with bringing Christmas Day to your taste buds, and developed into a magnet for attracting the residents of the broader Rainier Valley area.

On any given night its warm and welcoming atmosphere, complemented by carefully curated vintage decor, houses collars both white and blue – hipsters from Columbia City, hyperlocals from Hillman, and the beer curious from Mt.Baker, Seward Park, and Rainier Beach. All are often immersed in good-humored conversations, while sharing home made pastries or delicious eats provided by the local food vendors just outside the brewery. While serving as an incubator for community, its main allure remains its herculean tasting beer, which many have christened as the best brewed in all of Seattle, north or south.

A testimony to this fact, is that most of its servers – who it should be noted  in an era where customer service has become as archaic as silent movies, and chivalry, appear to have graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Nordstrom School of Client Relations – labor there for incentives that trump the financial, as in response to why she loved working at the brewery, one of the staff replied: “To be honest, before here, I never knew Beer could taste this good!” So speaks another convert.

Seahawks 2014 Draft Review

by Clint Elsemore

Courtesy Seahawks.com
Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider Courtesy Seahawks.com

 

If you are a Seahawks die hard like me you probably spent the weeks leading up to the draft looking at Mocks, reading insights about the prospects likely to be there around the end of the first round and hoping it all fell into place so that the Seahawks got a top 10 talent that somehow fell into their lap.  Instead the Seahawks did what they have done for the last three years and picked individuals rated by “experts” far lower than the spots the Seahawks took them in, leaving us all running to our computers to learn about who these mysterious players are.

Full disclosure, I am no scout, and I cannot break down tape and tell you why the Seahawks took the players they did when they did.  Based on their track record, I do have confidence in their ability to find underrated prospects and develop them better than any other team in the NFL.  I will attempt to breakdown the draft to focus on the positions taken, how prospects in the past have fared under this coaching staff, and the likely contribution of this draft class for this season.

Wide Receiver – Seahawks took Paul Richardson in the 2nd round out of Colorado, and Kevin Norwood in the 4th round out of Alabama.  They are different players with Richardson offering pure speed and over the top ability versus Norwood closely resembling Jermaine Kearse and boasting strong hands and the ability to catch the ball in traffic.  The only major contributor to the receiver position via the draft under John and Pete was Golden Tate, and he did not contribute much his rookie or second years in the league.  With Harvin, Baldwin & Kearse locked into the top three spots both rookies won’t be relied upon for high snap counts this year.  I believe Richardson will have big play opportunities, and might score 3-4 touchdowns this year in his limited opportunities, but the receiver position is generally very difficult to find immediate contributors as rookies.  Expect both players to make the roster and contribute as supporting cast member this year.

Offensive Tackle – Seahawks selected Justin Britt in the 2nd round out of Missouri, and Gerrit Scott out of Marshall in the 6th round to add to the right tackle competition with 2nd year player Michael Bowie.  The both possesses all the prototypical size and speed tools, and offers toughness and depth to a position in need of it.  In the past the Seahawks have drafted former first round pick James Carpenter to play RT opposite Okung, but he struggled with speed on the outside and was moved inside to guard where he has struggled with injuries and been moderately successful when healthy.  The Seahawks also drafted Russell Okung in 2010 as a top 10 pick, and when healthy he has played at a pro bowl level.  The Seahawks have been as effective developing undrafted players, late picks, and practice squad players like Bailey, Bowie, & Giacomini at OT as they have in drafting players in the first round like Okung and Carpenter.   Expect a healthy competition to exist between Britt and Bowie throughout camp, but Bowie to have the 2nd year advantage and to play significantly better in his second season winning the starting job, Scott is more a developmental prospect not likely to play this year.

Defensive Line – Seahawks selected Cassius Marsh in the 4th round out of UCLA, and Jimmy Staten out of Middle Tennessee State in the 5th round to help offset the defensive line losses of Red Bryant and Chris Clemens.  Defensive line is an area the Seahawks have targeted the two prior years in 2012 draft and 2013 draft but saw little time on the field last year due to injury.  I expect 2012 late round pick Greg Scruggs returning from knee surgery as well as 2013 draftees Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill will play much larger roles this year, but these two rookies have a chance to contribute this year.  Rotational snaps are up for grabs due to free agency departures, but I see it more likely that the second and third year players fill these gaps and barring injury these two rookies again have minor roles to play for the 2014 season.  If I have a dark horse for 2014 it would be Staten because he is such an unknown.  The Seahawks have an outstanding track record of taking players late completely off the experts radar and developing them quickly in Sweezy for 2012, and TE Willson in 2013.  Staten was the most off the radar pick the Seahawks made this year making him possibly the most likely to contribute early.

Linebacker – Seahawks selected Kevin Pierre-Louise in the 4th round out of Boston College to add to the outside linebacker depth.  Pierre-Louise is a slightly undersized linebacker that timed the fastest 40 at the combine, and provides even more athleticism to a group that has it in spades.  The Seahawks have been incredibly good at drafting linebackers to play right away in KJ Wright & Bobby Wagner, and well as developing talent over time in Superbowl MVP Malcolm Smith.  The position and physical attributes match up well with Smith, and with both he and Wright approaching free agency next year Pierre-Louise is a good developmental prospect who could grow into a starter next year when budgetary decisions might have to be made.  Expect Pierre-Louise to play special teams this year and limited snaps on defense as Seattle currently has 3 starting caliber outside linebackers in Smith, Wright & Irvin for only two starting jobs.

Secondary – Seahawks Selected Eric Pinkins in the 6th round out of San Diego State.  He played a hybrid safety/linebacker position in college at 6’3” and 220 pounds, but due to his size and speed the Seahawks plan to convert him to CB over time.  The Seahawks’ secondary is the envy of the league boasting late round developed players in Sherman, Chanceller, & Maxwell.  None of these players started immediately with Sherman playing halfway into his rookie year only because of two injuries at the position in front of him.  Maxwell also became a starter due to suspension and injury after two and a half years of development, but when given the chance played exceptionally well last year.  Pinkins sets up to be a practice squad player based on the position switch and the depth in front of him, but could be a key player for this secondary down the road learning from the best and competing every day during practice. I don’t anticipate any contribution this year other than potentially special teams.

Fullback – Seahawks selected Kiero Small out of Arkansas in the 7th round to compete with existing fullback conversions Kevin Ware and Derrick Coleman.  The past two years have seen the Seahawks take bigger running backs in Ware and Coleman and convert them to fullbacks to compete or replace Michael Robinson.  Ware was hurt in the preseason last year and placed on IR, and Coleman also had a significant injury forcing management to bring Robinson back midyear.  Both existing players are hybrid fullbacks with a running back history, and significant room for improvement in their fullback duties.  Small in short in stature, but heavier than both Coleman and Ware, and seems to bring a natural aggression to the position.  Coleman was a major contributor on special teams last year possibly making it hard to move on from him, but Small brings a skillset on offense the Seahawks don’t currently have.  Expect him to make the team and possibly play a larger role than most of this draft class this year, as we attempt to re-establish our ability to consistently run between the tackles on any defense again this year.

Early 2013 draft picks barely saw the field last year due to health at their positions holding up, and a sharp learning curve for any rookie new to the NFL.  The players that saw the most time were Bowie (7th round), Bailey (undrafted), and Willson (5th round), and in each case there were significant injuries to the OL and TE positions last year forcing them into action.   The 2014 draft class’s contributions this season are likely to again hinge on the health of starters already on the roster, with limited apparent holes that need to be filled.  The Seahawks have built one of the deeper rosters in the NFL by thinking long term in their draft approach, developing talent through excellent coaching, and embracing competition at every level of the organization.  I expect we don’t hear much from this rookie class this year, but in 2015, 2016 and beyond we very well could be looking back at this draft providing multiple starters and hopefully a pro bowler or two that once again the “experts” never saw coming.

Clint Elsemore has been a fanatic Seattle sports fan for his entire life, and possibly several past lifetimes should reincarnation be proven to be a fact.

 

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