Sean Toren
Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Did my partner Edna forget it again, as chronicled in last year’s column? You might be surprised to read that it didn’t matter to me. Reason One is because I really got her attention last year. Reason Two is that I’m also seeing the bigger picture — as evidenced by an upcoming prostate exam (which, for some reason, has become very important for Edna, who’s been showing more concern for my well being). I was on hold the other day, waiting to make the... more
Communicating with the ‘under’ dog
In my December column, I dove into the deep waters of how to open the door to harder conversations. In January we focused on over-communicators. This month’s installment in our communications decathlon brings us strategies for dealing with the under-communicators—‘underdogs’—who, in order to communicate, may force you to either push your... more
Tell me how you really feel
Ah, love. Relationships. The meet-cutes we’ve all heard about. But what we all forget to ask at the outset of a relationship is, “Is your new squeeze an ‘under’ or an ‘over’?”It’s because we are all blinded by cupid at the beginning. For example, things started off swimmingly for exhibit ‘A’—they were each a little misleading in their... more
Difficult conversations—tact or friction
No one ever said it was going to be easy living with other animals of the same species. Even though the process of mutation and natural selection has left us with nimble tongues, fingers, and frontal lobes, real communication is still one of our most difficult challenges. Sometimes it’s the communication channels that are the problem,... more
Can you hear me now?
In our world of partnered bliss, Edna and I have our…um, mumble, mutter, sigh….What’s that, you say? You couldn’t understand that last bit? Welcome to my world. For two people who communicate really well about the big stuff, a lot of our ‘little’ stuff gets lost in translation. I find our miscommunications fall into two categories: ‘... more
The stuff of life
Raise your fist high in the air if you have any stressors in your relationship. Yes? Now flick out those frustrated fingers to count them down. You’ve got your money, your kids, your sex life, your time management—and last but not least, peel back that pesky pinky for your keys. Well, not just keys, but keys and cell phones and... more
Facebook face-off
In almost any relationship there will be discrepancies between spouses regarding time spent on interests. Me, I’ll sacrifice almost anything to hit single track on my mountain bike. And Edna? It’s reading.Back before our son was born, I considered myself quite a reader. But I realized that I was deluding myself once I shacked up with... more
Sleep. The final frontier.
I’m a rough customer for the Sandman. I’ve never slept a lot, and I’m such a light sleeper that anything can wake me: a bird welcoming the morning, the cats practicing night ops, even Edna’s quiet, dreamy mumbling. If I get six hours I’m human; seven and a half and I’m a new man.Edna is the opposite. Eight is not enough. We’re talking 10... more
Slow down, you move too fast
Have your kids’ activities taken on a life of their own? Has your schedule started to plan things without you? Ours, too. For us it all started with one little word: “Yes.”My partner Edna fell into the trap of saying “yes” to just about every activity having to do with our kid. I became a de facto Yes-Man since I rarely say “no,” or even... more
Early to bed, early to rise
If you’re a parent of young kids and you’re like me (that is an overworked, under-exercised, time-robbed zombie of the new millennium), you’ve been through the ringer and seen it all, so I’ll cut right to the chase: have you and your partner been busy lately? If your answer is ‘no’ or simply ‘not enough,’ then read on, my friend, and... more
My lifeguard
Man, do I have advice about personal safety. For biking, climbing, and tornado aversion protocol—I’m your guy.Take water, for example. My wife Edna’s family has a cabin on the St. Croix river not far from our city home. They’re right on the water, with lots of shady tree cover and Ruby Throated hummingbirds and canoe fishing right out... more
The hunger games
My partner, Edna, is an excellent cook. But she’s also a terrible worrier about things like BPA emissions and our son Ed, Jr.’s magnesium levels. The collision of these two traits has turned her into a mad scientist when it comes to feeding him.At times, this causes…er, friction, since I worry too, but more about things like keeping him... more
On Romance (Belated)
What—it’s March already? Valentine’s Day missed again? It was blown last year, too. No drawn bath with scented candles. No babysitter and dinner out. No flowers or a Whitman’s Sampler or even a Hershey’s kiss.Is there a spouse in hot water? Pouting? Threats of moving my ass(ets) offshore? No, I’ve been through this before. I stayed... more
That's right: I'm 'Not-Mom'
I’d like to give a shout out to the long-suffering ‘Not-Moms’ in the world. A fist raised in solidarity for the underappreciated second fiddles and third wheels!            Yes, almost anywhere the sun rises and sets (and sharp toys are stepped on by bare feet), there’s likely one adult in a family who’s... more
The full catastrophe
Allow me to introduce myself—along with this new relationship column intended for couples with children.I’m presently a married man with one ridiculously busy kid, one troublesome old house, and two very large, food-stealing cats. Was I just born lucky, you might ask? No! Like many a formerly-single person, I thought I’d skate by... more