Affairs: What do they mean for a marriage?

Publically, we all believe affairs are bad for a marriage…until we have one ourselves it seems….  An insightful book I’ve just read (Esther Perel, ‘The State of Affairs’) casts new light on the varied meanings and impacts of affairs on marriages (or long term ‘relationships’) and gives a very different perspective on how marriage is and should evolve to account for this common critical event, based on her professional practice.Read More »


Beyonce, Lemonade and You

I’ve been intrigued by the Beyonce phenomenon (what does she sing/do/say that makes her no. 1?) for some time. Recently I decided to buy (yes, pay for) her new CD, Lemonade, which she released, unheralded, with no standard distribution system, via her facebook page.  I was fascinated by the bold, anti-establishment approach, so listened to a song or two on YouTube (along with the millions who had already listened in the first week, really), found them compelling, and decided to buy it.  Analysis:  this is an amazing album that breaks/sets so many trends, you too should consider it.  Why?Read More »

Dear Sonia: Men Talking about ‘Gender Issues’ (aka Violence)

So, Sonia, you want men to talk about gender issues (Orchard, ‘I wish men were as interested in discussing gender issues as women are’, Daily Life, 2 Sep 16).  By which you meant, to quote you, ‘Why aren’t men discussing how they’re  feeling?’, eventually, why do men behave ‘appallingly’ and – rather conclusively – that men have ‘a warped perception of what a man is supposed to be’ (a rather biased conclusion when you ask for a discussion!).

OK, I’ll talk.  But first, I don’t think I’m your ‘normal’ man.  I think I’m pretty feminist and egalitarian (setting myself up here…).  I don’t like lots of men’s interests and pursuits (heavy drinking, men only groups, being out with the boys).  But I do have some things about me that I don’t like that are very ‘male’.  I don’t understand these aspects of me and I don’t think you, or women generally, understand them either.Read More »


I’ve just returned from a wonderful 6 day sailing walking trip. At the end of the trip, we hugged, kissed and shed tears with the guides, so close had we grown during the time.  But this was just a standard tourist trip from a brochure.  What made it so special?  Why would I – not known for showing my emotions – be brought to tears by guides I’ll probably never see again?  And why would they cry too?Read More »


As the domestic violence and sexual assault royal commissions roll on in Australia, revealing the extraordinary amount of inappropriate contact between people, and in the light of the Oxford University research showing us who can touch whom where (‘Maps show where touching is allowed’), the truth is: most of us want and need more touching, not less.

Personally, I’ve always struggled with the ‘right’ amount of touching, particularly for women or girls. The desire to show friendliness, affection, to commiserate, to share joy are all good reasons for touching another person.  But where to touch, how much to touch, for how long and how will it be construed by the recipient? Read More »


I’m too busy’, most people say.

Yet the saying goes, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person. It is generally busy people who say ‘Yes’ when you ask for help, or when new ideas, or groups or tasks come along, needing resources to make them happen.

Why do people volunteer?

Why would a busy person – indeed, any person – ‘volunteer’ to undertake an unpaid task, such as president, secretary, treasurer or other responsible position of a sports club, neighbourhood association, culture or interest group?

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Recently I went on a travelling and walking trip in the country with 4 very close women friends for 6 days.  We all got on very well and it was a great trip.  However, I realised after a couple of days how unusual it was for me to be the only one of my gender in a group.  What I noticed was how well they got on together in conversation without me being involved, even though they were from three different countries and were not friends themselves (they were all my friends).

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