Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful? Recovering from an affair is a very difficult process. The mere disclosure of the affair may set the tone for these kinds of questions:

–  “Are we going to stay together or separate?”

–  “Are we a couple or aren’t we?”

–  “Will I ever be able to trust you again?”

–  “Does the lover know more than I do?”

–  “Did our friends or family members know about this before I did?”

–  “Are you going to continue seeing her/him?”

–  “Where did you two meet”

–  “Where did you have sex?”

– “How many times did you have sex?

–  “How long did it take before you became engaged in the affair?”

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

A partner obsessing about the details of the Affair can be annoying yet hurtful if you are the Affair Partner (the person who had the affair), you continue to feel the pain you created for the Hurt Partner. Hearing about the Affair over and over again can become tiresome and the Affair Partner can become weary and discouraged that the relationship is unable to move on. While the Affair Partner is remorseful and is willing to do anything to repair the relationship, listening to the details about the Affair over and over again is counterproductive.

When two people date they get to know each other. Some fall in love intensely and decide to become a couple. Others are more thoughtful as they consider differences in culture, age, social class, religion, etc. Whether they decide to marry or live together in a homosexual or heterosexual partnership, the decision puts a boundary around the two of them as a Couple. This decision completes the initial bonding stage of a relationship and paves the way for a healthy growth-promoting process to be able to differentiate (that is, become different from one another). It is this security of their bond that provides the support for each other’s differentiation to become whom they will become as individuals within the relationship.

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

In this culture, marriage/committed relationships come with an expectation of Sexual Monogamy, unless otherwise agreed upon. When one partner discovers that the other has had a sexual encounter with another person it is an assault on this security. An affair can be defined as one person secretly violating an actual or implied expectation of the other’s Primacy. The secrecy is more disturbing than the actual sex. The Affair Partner has disrupted the commitment with the Hurt Partner, therefore, this disruption violates this boundary around them as a Couple.

Because the commitment and boundary have been disrupted and violated, everything is open again and the inevitable questions get asked. All the questions that existed before becoming a couple are back on the table again. This time it’s more challenging because there are more dependencies (other people), like children involved. Each partner must re-decide whether he or she wants to start over and reinvest in their previous relationship. This decision can come with soul searching dialogue and self-confrontation of issues with the help of a trained counselor specializing in working with Infidelity.  It is important to seek the help of a trained Counselor to effectively direct the process as continual questioning can become hostile and persecutory and stagnate therapy, which may turn it into “beat up” sessions.  Confusion surrounds how to handle the persistent search for more facts and answering of questions.

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

Is it valuable for someone to obsess over details of the Affair? It’s a way of working through the trauma of the affair. It is through this process that each partner decides whether to recommit to the partnership. When the Affair Partner answers the questions truthfully without being defensive or belligerent, it helps the Hurt Partner put an end to the “crazy” feeling since he or she is left fantasizing or sensationalizing answers to the questions themselves. When the evasiveness continues, it signals that the feelings leading to the Affair still exist and the Primacy of the committed partnership does not. Being honest about the details of the Affair helps put the blown up fantasies about the “other” woman or man into perspective and they are seen as being human, and not perfect or better.

As the Primary Couple deals with the betrayal of secrecy and deception created by the Affair they may create shared meaning by talking about these questions in detail. This process is essential to rebuilding trust and commitment.  Developing a New Monogamy Agreement also helps with generating a new relationship preventing similar situations from occurring again.  (See my article on The New Monogamy and look for How To Develop New Monogamy Agreements).

 

No Time For Weekly Therapy, Try A Couples Intensive

No Time For Weekly Therapy, Try A Couples Intensive. An Intensive is an in-depth intervention to create dramatic and long lasting shifts in your relationship where you acquire valuable tools needed to help make you move forward creating the life you want with your partner. In this one session counseling venue couples will learn to make implicit assumptions and agreements explicit so that each partner knows exactly what is expected from one another. Couples intensives are designed for those who can’t attend weekly sessions, have childcare challenges, and busy schedules receiving results sooner rather than later.

No Time For Weekly Therapy, Try A Couples Intensive

A Couples Intensive can focus on special issues and problem areas such as:

  • Communication and Conflict Repair
  • Intimacy and Connection
  • Emotional Closeness and Passion
  • Affair Recovery
  • Infidelity Disclosure

  • Sexual Desire Issues
  • Pornography and Internet Abuse
  • Sexual Addiction or Compulsion
  • Open Marriage or Polyamory Issues
  • Separation and Divorce Coaching
  • New Monogamy Visions

Everyone has their own concept of what “monogamy” means—and most people assume their partners and spouses are on the same page. Couples may assume that they are monogamous, but never discuss exactly what the monogamy agreement means to them. What happens when this implicit agreement is broken? After infidelity, relationships can become strained as both partners lose trust and faith in each other.  Having a dialogue about what monogamy means to you and what you want it to look like moving forward offers a way out of these difficulties for couples struggling to stay together, especially after infidelity. Counseling helps regain the trust, romance, and intimacy after infidelity by redefining their marital contract. 

A Couples Intensive can help you and your partner increase the passion in your relationship and maintain the Erotic Connection you truly deserve and desire. By learning to communicate with your partner you become motivated to stay connected. A vital and healthy interest in sex and a passionate curiosity in life is the way to keep a relationship alive for a long, long time.

Whether you are looking for marriage counseling, want to work on relationship issues, or want an Intensive to resolve conflict or improve your Sex life please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

The New School Year and Your Relationship

The New School Year and Your Relationship. School has started. Summer vacation is over and you’re back to your normal routine. That fabulous family vacation was wonderful except you felt no connection with your husband/wife. The kids had fun but what about you? Just thinking about that same old routine is making you feel really desperate and lonely. Do you think your spouse is thinking the same way? Do you and your spouse go through the motions but don’t really feel that spark any longer?

The New School Year and Your Relationship

As a Marriage Counselor, I work with couples who after so many years of being together have lost their individual selves in their relationship. They have concentrated on meeting everybody’s needs but their own. Does this sound like you? Did you know that in every relationship their exists a “ME?”  The “WE” in a relationship can never be quite satisfied until that “ME” has fulfilled certain stages throughout their  life span. My book entitled Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationships details just that.

I work within a Developmental Model and I help couples understand that the first step to finding a healthy relationship is to first develop a healthy Sense of Self. In other words, there is a starting point to being with your soul mate. You need to find YOURSELF first and determine what you are all about. I can help you go through the process in finding out just who you are and what kind of “ME”  you are bringing into your relationship.

If too much time goes by where your run of the mill routine is taking over your ability to be romantic you most likely will turn into roommates not feeling the emotional connection desired. The worst part is you role model for your children a lack of connectedness as the household is more transactional than relational.

Call me at (858) 735-1139 for more information about learning something new.

 

Symptoms of Relationship Addiction

Symptoms of Relationship Addiction. Addictions come in many forms. There is alcohol addiction, drug addiction, eating disorders with food addictions, even addiction to healthy things like exercising. What can be troubling is when a once healthy relationship turns into a toxic one. Relationships are wonderful until you start to put boundaries in place to take care of your needs oppose to others. A healthy partner will respect those boundaries and your need for self-care. An unhealthy partner with unresolved personal issues can take this as a bad thing. Some individuals continue to accept bad behavior and before you know it you’ve become addicted to the vicious cycle of something that is not good for you.
Symptoms of Relationship Addiction
Symptoms of Relationship Addiction:
  • Premature Bonding
    Relationship addicts have an overwhelming need to bond with someone. This goes beyond a healthy need to connect with others. Unfortunately, this need to form an instant attachment tends to overwhelm other people and pushes them away. And it leads to poor decisions about whom to let into one’s life.
  • Excessive Fantasies
  • Throughout the course of the relationship, the addict spends a great deal of time thinking about the other person and how perfect things will be. Even after the relationship has ended, the fantasies about getting together again may continue. Of course, a healthy love relationship also involves fantasies, but addictive fantasies have an obsessive quality about them. These fantasies tend to take over one’s day. The need to fantasize takes precedence over socializing with others, work, taking care of normal daily routines – and they tend to become dreams or expectations that must come true.
  • The Need for Excitement
    Addicts in general crave getting “high.” Relationship addicts base their ideas about a relationship on romance, and this involves creating drama. They might pick fights just to experience a rush of excitement. An ordinary argument becomes a war. They see reality in terms of their own needs, so they easily read between the lines (“No matter what she says, I know she really loves me”). A love addict fails to understand that a normal relationship involves a series of highs and lows – in real life, lows do not mean that the love has ended. They see an ordinary relationship as boring because it lacks a sense of constant excitement.
  • Symptoms of Relationship Addiction
  • Exaggerated Anxiety and Jealousy about the Relationship
    Relationship addicts typically have fears left over from earlier experiences in their lives when they have been neglected, rejected, or abandoned. Their greatest fear in adulthood is feeling lonely because this reminds them of their earlier negative experiences – and they never want to endure that again. They need to feel attached and find it difficult to live independently. So, in their relationships they tend to look constantly for signs that things are not going well. They become possessive of their partner, experiencing anxiety when the partner is not present and frequently accusing or nagging the partner.
  • Ineffective Expression of Emotions
    The relationship addict, because of difficult earlier life experiences, is confused and overwhelmed by emotions. For example, she/he might feel that anger leads to rejection or abandonment, so she/he doesn’t express anger and instead holds in all emotional expression – and when someone expresses anger to the relationship addict, she/he is unable to tolerate it. She might harbor painful feelings that seem unrelated to present circumstances. She/he may become stoic (relationship addicts have a great tolerance for suffering and endure substantial pain rather than face the prospect of a breakup of the relationship). Because she/he suppresses her normal, flexible emotional expression, she/he may revert to polarized expression of feelings (“all or nothing”) – for example, love or hate (but nothing in between), vigilance or complacency, fear or courage.
  • Loose Personal Boundaries
    Because many relationship addicts have issues with self-esteem, they have weak personal boundaries. They lose their sense of individuality and become enmeshed with their partner. They don’t know where their needs and emotions begin and where their partner’s end. If their partner feels happy, they feel happy. If their partner feels sad, they feel sad. If they sense that their partner wants them to be a certain way, that is what they become. They have difficulty saying “no.” Unfortunately, this sets the stage for being treated with disrespect. Addictive relationships show a lack of equality between the two partners.

Symptoms of Relationship Addiction

The healthy love relationship can be viewed in terms of two independent people who come together and make a commitment to each other. They each have the freedom to live as they choose within the boundaries of the commitment, and they are loved by their partner for showing integrity in how they live. Their partner encourages them to follow the beat of their own drum. The commitment enhances each partner’s ability to experience a full life – with love, security, and support.

If you believe you or someone you know can relate to any of the above symptoms it would be good to seek the help of a counselor or therapist who can make an assessment to determine whether or not there could be a relationship addiction in the making.
I work with individuals and couples in San Diego and its neighboring communities.  I also provide telephone and internet counseling so please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Emotional Unavailability – When Your Partner Can’t Connect

Emotional Unavailability – When Your Partner Can’t Connect. When we commit to a relationship, we usually expect that our partner will reciprocate with roughly the same level of emotional involvement that we put into it. Many of us hope to find a soulmate, a partner who can share and understand our feelings and ways of thinking on an intensely personal level. Others don’t expect such an intense level of involvement and feel more comfortable maintaining personal privacy within a relationship with more appropriate boundaries. Conflicts may arise when the two partners differ in their expectations of how close they should become. One partner may feel emotionally stranded, feeling abandoned and craving more closeness, while the other partner may feel smothered or pressured into providing more of his or her emotional self than can possibly be given.

Emotional Unavailability – When Your Partner Can’t Connect

The course of a relationship follows a predictable path. The early weeks, months, or even years of a relationship, in fact, are a time of togetherness – when partners search for and experience the similarities that bring them together. It is common for a couple during this first phase to experience a level of emotional sharing so intense that they want to carry their relationship to a more committed level. The next stage, however, is when boundaries are established, when we focus on our differences and in maintaining our own individuality. Couples who can negotiate their way through both of these stages are moving toward a successful long-term commitment. Both of the initial stages typify a good relationship – the coming together phase, followed by the firming up of our own identities within the relationship. A solid relationship is one in which feelings can be readily expressed and shared while each of the partners is able to experience a sense of their own identities.

Emotional Unavailability – When Your Partner Can’t Connect

All too often, however, there is a discrepancy between the two partners in terms of how much of their emotional life they make available to the other. When one partner is able to share emotionally and the other is not, it is usually the emotionally available one who feels more pain. Take the classic example of a couple who has an intense courtship. One partner lavishes the other with flowers, expensive dinners out, and intimate phone calls. Sweetness fills the air and it feels like a dream come true. You have finally met “the one” you had always hoped to meet. But then, almost as quickly as it began, your partner fails to reciprocate when it comes to sharing emotional feelings. Dating comes to a stop, voicemail messages are not answered, and it’s over. There is no fight. There is no discussion about why things are coming to an end.  You’ve now experienced being “ghosted.”

After you accept that it’s over, you struggle to make sense of the relationship and notice that the focus was always on you, and that’s why it felt so good. In fact, your partner knew a great deal about you, but you knew virtually nothing about him or her. You confused flattery and attention with emotional involvement. You may finally realize that your partner was unable to connect with you or anyone on an emotional level. He or she was an expert at luring people in, but had no ability to sustain an emotionally available relationship over time.

It is a painful ride, but you can learn a valuable lesson from it – that relationships entail reciprocal self-disclosure and sharing. The next time, you’ll have the wisdom to know this before being drawn in.

For more information about emotionally unavailable people and how to avoid them or try to live with them contact me at (858) 735-1139