Surviving the Seven Year Itch

Seems it doesn’t matter if it’s been two, four, or seven years; more studies are finding that whatever year mile marker you’re in can place their toll on a marriage.

Whatever recent statistic you choose to accept couples tend to head for divorce after certain periods of their married life.  Whether it’s after the two year mark, the four or five year mark, or that infamous 7-year mark – more than double the number are divorced after they meet their relationship peak for whatever their reasons.  This period of time is comically referred to as the “seven-year itch.”  There are Four Phases couples go through in relationships.  There is the Honeymoon Stage, the Conflict Stage, the Stability Stage and the Commitment/Co-Creation Stage.

1.  The Honeymoon Stage is where you feel the most in love.  For most couples, the beginning of a relationship is the easiest.  Some say it’s like a drug addiction.  This is where you feel the most chemistry. You seem to be on the same page about most issues. Getting along is almost effortless. Some couples describe this as a merging of two people.  The Honeymoon phase typically last about eighteen months to 2 years.  Part of the thrill of falling in love is due to the fact that you see only the best in your partner.

2.  The Conflict Stage – As time goes on, each partner realizes that everything really isn’t perfect. This is the Conflict Stage where power struggles emerge.  It is typically around the 3rd or 4th year as each look at their differences and respond to them where they either predict a happy relationship or continuing struggles. This is the stage where most couples break up or survive.

This is where Couples Counseling comes in.  Marital discord peaks around the 4th year and then starts to taper off.  This period of time may be a combination of dwindling sexual chemistry and adjusting to each other’s idiosyncrasies.  The early years of marriage are when you replace the illusions with reality.  The “good behavior” put on at the beginning of the relationship is now normalized by being “just you” which could include being messy, displaying short temper, and not being as romantic as before.

3.  The Stability Stage is when conflict resolution and coping skills are learned and both have clear boundaries about each other.  The relationship is more balanced and both partner’s are usually getting their needs met and are fairly happy.

4.  The Commitment Stage is where the couple chooses each other consciously deciding they want a future together and whether have children by co-creating or blending families from previous relationships and making a stronger commitment for longevity in their union.

So the Seven Year Itch can be easily referred to as the “However Long You’ve Been Married Itch,” as it depends on where in the cycle your relationship falls for problems to occur.  It’s important to have conflict resolution skills and be able to dialogue about an issue and have the effective communication skills to discuss and move forward.  In Marriage Counseling you acquire the necessary tools to listen to each other’s concerns and quickly identify the problems.  Help is given to each partner to understand their mate’s concerns and communicate his/her own.  Couples Counseling is where you go when you’ve tried to make it better by yourself and it isn’t getting better.


If you believe you are in the Conflict Stage of your relationship and need some guidance to get back to the Stability Stage please give me a call at (858) 735-1139 and we can point you back in the right direction to a more fulfilling and happier twosome.

Why Your Spouse May Be On Ashley Madison

Why Your Spouse May Be On Ashley Madison.  Why do men and women cheat?  There are a slew of reasons why people cheat.  Reasons don’t necessarily mean they don’t love their partners any more.  With living through the routine “details of life,” paying bills, parenting the children, cleaning the house, buying the groceries, cooking the meals, etc., life can become very hum drum especially when the passion in your relationship has run its course.  As a Marriage and Couples Counselor I hear statements like, “I’m too tired, there’s never enough time in the day, the kids were getting on my nerves, the bills are giving me anxiety, you work too much.”  What happened to that courtship behavior we all displayed in the “Honeymoon Stage” of our Relationships?

Marital relationship expert and writer Charles J. Orlando went undercover and joined Ashley Madison, an online dating service that caters to married people who want to have affairs.  He wanted to discover reasons why married women put up a profile to meet men.  What he discovered was actually more of a valuable love lesson for himself.  He polled 250+ women and reached an important understanding.  As his own wife become emotionally reactive to his project he gained insight that his cheating behavior, although done in research, is basically effort being put forth into seducing women for the sake of the chase and excitement.  His wife stated she was more hurt than angry that he put in so much time and effort to take these women out to lunch for no particular reason and asked him when was the last time he did that for her.  His insight brought to his attention and resonated with him, that when adulterous men are found out, there are many women that can get past the sex act itself, but the real problem is where his EFFORT had been going.  The wining and dining at romantic restaurants, laughter, gifts, spontaneity, passion and sex that people give to other people outside their relationship translates for those they are with that they are not worth the EFFORT.  This blow to a woman’s self-esteem and self-worth is terminal to any marriage or relationship.  This complacency in men is not intentional but due to the neglect women can feel taken for granted and sometimes another man can make her feel appreciated.  Men in marriages and established relationships need to remember that women are women FIRST and foremost.  And wives and mothers second.  If you stop bringing home the passion and effort and stop treating your wife as a desired woman, you shouldn’t be surprised when she feels the need to fill her needs elsewhere.  Same goes with women.  Equal opportunity here.

Let’s face it after we’ve been with the same partner for “X” amount of years things can get a little stale and we all can get a bit set in our ways when it comes to taking care of everyday details of life.  Sometimes it’s just too much work to regain that spark of a feeling with the one you love.  But with a stranger, that’s a different story.  There’s a different kind of energy that goes into making a new relationship hot and interesting.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  In Couples Counseling I help people regroup and find that missing element that they think they’ll feel with someone else.  Yes it can be exciting to experience different people and see how you are with them, but you can experience that same behavior with the one you love acquiring new tools and ways to communicate with each other outside of what you’ve learned during your time together.  Exploring new ways to share thoughts, feelings and what turns you on can change the dynamics in how you relate to one another outside of your business/roommate partnership holding down the household and managing your everyday routine.  Many Couples find the process of counseling quite helpful and beneficial when done effectively.  Let me help you reconstruct your relationship with sensible guidance to the moving forward of a new found way of enjoying each other.  Call me at (858) 735-1139 if you want more information on how to continue to make concerted effort and investment in each other, and in yourself, so you don’t stop bringing the passion into your relationship.

What Men Really Want

What men really want.  Men are more sensitive than most women realize.  Men are just as interested in intimacy as women and truly wish to share their thoughts and feelings with a woman.  Women are attracted to confident men, but most men, however, are not.  They are socialized at an early age to be strong and capable suppressing any emotion that may make them appear weak or not in control.  Their confidence is masked with “machismo” like behavior which often times is not appropriate or desired from their counterparts.  Many women wonder what men are really looking for in a romantic relationship.  It really isn’t much different from what women look for their counterparts.

1.  Sharing of Feelings.  – Men want to be able to share their thoughts and feelings with a woman without being judged.  Men don’t find it easy to share their emotions to begin with so eliminate any judgments or criticisms and they are likely to express themselves more.

2.  Woman that are Self-Assured. – Confident women are more attractive than the ones that can be manipulated.  The latter are the women who are typically used and discarded but rarely engage in a relationship.  Women who know what they want and assert themselves to get what they know they deserve are also a quality that men appreciate and admire.

3.  Independent women.  –  A woman who isn’t “needy” or too available is always the better choice as men love their individual time, as well, making for two independent people being mutually dependent upon the relationship and each other.

4.  Appreciation.  Men respect women who appreciate them and have the ability to compliment and thank them.  They want to be loved for who they are and not for what they do or what they can buy them.  So a materialistic female is a turn off.

5.  Sweetness and Kindness. – Men appreciate and want women who make them feel good about themselves.  Who wouldn’t?!

Men want a woman who can ask for what they need and want trusting they won’t ask for anything unreasonable and would give the same in return with good integrity.  Relationships are about putting aside your immature acting out behavior to try and get what you want.  It’s about making the relationship you committed to nurture last through the test of time implementing your developed coping skills to resolve conflict, effectively communicate, and show each other love and understanding.  Couples counseling can give you the tools you need to nurture that commitment. Please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or email me at [email protected] for more information in developing a long lasting healthy relationship that meets both your needs.

The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages. What speaks volumes to you may be meaningless to your spouse.  Different people express love in different ways. Just because you may be a giver doesn’t mean your partner is.  What one person appreciates another may not. When you go to a foreign country to effectively communicate it would be helpful to learn their language. The same is true when people join together and form a marriage/relationship/union. In my 25 years of providing marriage counseling I find it is helpful and beneficial to the relationship when couples speak each other’s Love Language. It is essential in enhancing the connection between them.

The Five Love Languages

According to Gary Chapman there are five love languages that people speak. They include Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

Words of Affirmation: One way of expressing words of affirmation is by encourage words or giving verbal compliments. Using kind words in the way we speak. Humble words in that you make requests not demands. Remember words are important so the more positive things that come out of your mouth the better.

Quality Time: Giving your spouse undivided attention. When you’re at a restaurant it would be nice to talk to your spouse and not just eat and look at other people or pay attention to your cell phone. Quality time includes togetherness, quality conversation, learning to talk to one another, and sharing quality activities together.

Receiving Gifts: Gifts can be purchased, found, or even made. They don’t have too cost very much as it is the thought that counts.  This can include an intangible gift such as the gift on self which speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one’s hand. Being there when your spouse needs you can speak loudly as physical presence in the time of crisis is the most powerful gift you can give if this is your primary love language.

Acts of Service: Are things you know you’re spouse would like you to do. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, vacuuming the living room, taking out the garbage, changing the cat litter box, and walking the dog are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort and energy. If done with a positive spirit they are expressions of love.

Physical Touch: Holding hands, kissing, embracing, and of course sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating emotional love to one’s partner. For some men having their wives make them a fabulous meal meant they were loved.  But if physical touch was his primary love language that wife wouldn’t be benefiting as much as if she were to make love to him or give him a massage.  Tactile sensation (touching) will resonate more with someone whose primary love language is physical touch.

Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse primary love language you will have discovered the key to a longer lasting and loving marriage.  If we want our spouse to feel the love we are trying to communicate it is important to express it in his or her primary love language

Marriage Counseling will enable you to apply the right principles, learn the right language, and soon you’ll know the profound satisfaction and joy of being able to express your love and feel truly loved in return. Please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or and you can start learning your spouse’s love language today.


Alone On Valentine’s Day

Alone on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is among us. Scary words when you’re single. Everywhere you go there are red and pink heart displays. Chocolate and champagne offerings are abundantly brought to our attention to act as aphrodisiacs to romantic interests. But what if you don’t have that special someone to lavish hearts and flowers to. I used to host a dinner party for my single friends and family members and called it the “Lonely Hearts Club.” I looked forward to every year where I treated these special guests to a Valentine’s Day evening with good food and company. If you don’t have a Lonely Hearts Club I recommend doing some fun things to make this Valentine’s Day a self care day.

Alone On Valentine’s Day

“Be My Valentine” recommendations for those alone on Valentine’s Day:

  • Pamper yourself.  Rather than wait for someone else to give some loving attention to your body, mind and soul treat yourself to a nice hot sensual bath with lavender oils and scents. Make the mood right by lighting up allot of candles and playing spa music to relax by. Afterwards order a great meal and have it delivered. Enjoy eating your own box of chocolates or favorite dessert while watching a movie you’ve always wanted to see and never made the time to see it.
  • Send yourself flowers. Flowers make you feel happy and add beauty to your environment. Sending flowers to yourself tells you that you love yourself and don’t have to wait for someone else to show you this kind of care.
  • Wear something Red or Pink and play Cupid around the office passing out candy and handing out Compliments.

  • Drink Champagne, Sparkling Cider, or even soda pop in a champagne flute.
  • Do a nice thing for a couple who has children and babysit for them so they can go out and enjoy an evening together to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s good Karma and you might get an appreciation for the single life after a night with kids.
  • Celebrate your Independence. You won’t always be accountable for yourself when you have other people you will be responsible for. Enjoy this time where you concentrate on yourself being able to sleep until whenever you want, eat whenever you please and decide whatever it is you want to do.
  • Ask a Friend out for a Platonic Date and split the meal check at a special restaurant. Check out all the couples around the restaurant and guess which ones will stay together based on their body language.
  • Lastly, indulge in a decadent dessert.…you deserve it!

When working with individuals who suffer from depression a coping skill is doing something nice for someone else. Whatever holiday it is do something that makes you feel happy.

Happy Me Happy We The mindset of a happy “me” makes for a happy “we” creates the space for someone to come into your life so Valentine’s Day for the rest of your life can be filled with the one you love. But more importantly, it is a day to love yourself.



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