Why Do Couples Fight?

Why Do Couples Fight? Fighting (relationship conflicts) can actually be healthy. Fighting demonstrates separateness and passion. I work with couples who claim they never fight and have many similarities yet do not feel the intimacy needed for that emotional connection. Over the years being polite and deferring, which I refer to as being “conflict avoidant” gets them to the state of feeling like roommates, and bad roommates at that.

couple sleeping with back towards each other

In marriage, conflict is inevitable. Even the happiest couples argue. They argue over inadequate attention or affection, jealousy and infidelity, chores and responsibilities, control and dominance, future plans and money, children, in-laws, and sex to name a few.

And these arguments will continue over and over again if tools for communication aren’t acquired for being able to come to a consensus or compromise. As personal issues tend to trigger relationship issues it would be good to get yourself more grounded/(differentiated), the active ongoing process of a person being able to define their thoughts, their feelings, their wishes and their desires to one another and to be able to tolerate the partner doing the same thing. Which isn’t always easy.

differentiated couples having conversation despite conflict

Undifferentiated couple arguing shouting blaming each other of problem

When fighting fair know where your responsibility lies and try not point the finger. Your partner should do that, as well. Couples therapy pioneer, Ellen Bader, says “stay in your own skin” when managing fights. That’s basically what arguments consist of. Two perspectives trying to get one another to acknowledge the other. Both are correct but what do you do about it? Having a dialog (conversation), showing each other empathy for their feelings, and validating their point of view is the place to start. After which, a consensus or a compromise is to be executed.

Differentiated individuals are able to have such conversations. In helping people who ask the question…”should I stay or should I go?” I stress the importance of couples having the where with all to maintain their sense of self in their relationship. In relationships, the individual is independent in an interdependent union. Keeping good boundaries enables both to get their needs met and receive the harmony desired to live a happy and prosperous life together.

My book: Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In a Relationship helps you better understand about concentrating on yourself and becoming that differentiated (grounded) self.

For more information contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

Halloween With My Asperger Husband

Halloween With My Asperger Husband. Before we understood my husband was on the autism spectrum he displayed some odd behavior. During the beginning of our marriage this odd behavior was challenging in that his communication was a bit hit and miss. Because I love and care about him I just thought he was peculiar in a “geek” kind of way. He is quite cerebral so his IQ is so much higher than his EQ (emotional quotient). IQ tests measure your ability to solve problems, use logic, and grasp or communicate complex ideas. EQ is important for emotional connection because without it couples can feel like they are roommates rather than romantic partners.

Halloween With My Asperger Husband

During Halloween I noticed my husband felt comfortable in his costume of choice. It was somewhat of an alter ego where he could comfortably behave as the character he was dressed up as. Asperger’s and comorbidity of anxiety and depression can make social situations very taxing. As easy as it is for us neurotypicals to engage in conversation, asking questions of my husband is like a deer in front of headlights.  It is nerve racking and uncomfortable.

In costume my husband could feel free to express his feelings as being in character felt safer than being himself. He tends to feel awkward in most situations and appears quiet and antisocial. As a pirate he can become animated and sound like Captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean. As a cowboy from Toy Story he comes to life as Tom Hank’s character Woody. As a gangster he takes on the enigmatic persona of a powerful ladies man. I love Halloween because it gives my husband the opportunity to strut some of his emotional intelligence. And I find that very sexy.

When I need him to behave in a certain way for particular social situations I tell him to get into the Jack Sparrow character, or the cowboy Woody. When I want him to be mysterious and assertive in the romantic arena I suggest he behave like the gangsters from The Godfather. Some of you may think this is strange but it works for us. Every year we look forward to selecting new costumes and acting out the roles of each. It’s fun, but more importantly, it can be a great tool for someone on the spectrum when needing to know how to behave.

When the costumes are put away for another year they may be in storage, but are still utilized as useful tools in helping my husband not only in social situations, but, in our day to day interaction to enable us to behave in a way that makes us feel less vulnerable.

When working with neurodiverse couples I help them put a systems in place, acquire tools for communication, learn to become more relational, and continue to coach them so both get what they need and want out of their relationship.

For more information on neurodiverse couples counseling please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

Do You Know What You Want?

Do You Know What You Want? Are you good at making choices? Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell. When I was sixteen years old a friend of mine and I went shopping for shoes. We didn’t come from rich families so deciding what to purchase was very important because I wanted something practical yet pretty. The shoe salesperson brought out several pairs in my size and I made a decision rather quickly. My girlfriend said, “gee you picked them out rather quickly.” And I replied, “that’s because I know what I want.” When it comes to relationships I wasn’t that quick to making good decisions.

 

Do You Know What You Want?

Do you know what you want? Often when I ask my clients what they want, they say they don’t know. I’m not surprised to hear this. I’ve been in their shoes, thinking the same way. Concentrating on yourself develops your sense of “me.” Without a good sense of “me” you may not ab able to find the “we” that best suits you. The world is full of all kinds of people we can love, but not all align well with your “me.”

Do You Know What You Want?

I am working with Sally in affair recovery. She wants her relationship to become as stable as needed to get what she wants long term, which is a reconciliation and remarriage. This requires Sally to concentrate on herself as her personal issues affected her relationship hence making for some bad choices. She continues to focus and obsess over what she wants and isn’t showing her husband the empathy needed for him to regain trust in her for moving forward. It’s good Sally knows what she wants but needs to stop focusing on the end result. Focusing on the end result shows self centeredness, typical in affairs, rather than showing that her husband has his own process and choices to make. When you concentrate on what you need to do and not so much on what you want others to do you may or may not get your end result. When individuals within the relationship do their own work in counseling sometimes the end result can be in choosing to not reunite. Putting the carriage before the horse isn’t the appropriate route to take.

Buying a pair of shoes is much different from choosing the right person to spend the rest of your life with. Choices are empowering, both in your general life and within your relationships. That’s why it’s so important to know how to choose as well as what to choose, so that the choices you make create better outcomes for you. In my book, Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Are You Grounded Enough In Your Relationship?

Are You Grounded Enough In Your Relationship? Are you grounded enough to even be in a relationship? Groundedness is about stability. It’s about being in your functional adult, rather than the “adaptive child” (aka your inner child) who reacts emotionally. Groundedness means that your functional adult is able to be neutral in terms of opinions and perspective when it comes to both yourself and others. Groundedness comes from knowing who you are and what you want. That comes from being fair, not critical, having good judgment, and listening calmly to the other side. True groundedness offers stability, equality, and neutrality.

Are You Grounded Enough In Your Relationship?

Do you know what you want? Often when I ask my clients what they want, they say they don’t know. I’m not surprised to hear this. I’ve been in their shoes, thinking the same way. Concentrating on yourself develops your sense of “me.” Without a good sense of “me” you may not ab able to find the “we” that best suits you. The world is full of all kinds of people we can love, but not all align well with your “me.”

Alex (30 y.o.) and Andrea (31 y.o) together since they were 22 years old, come in for affair recovery only to find out that the affair is a symptom of the underlying problems. Those underlying problems stem from Alex’s low self-esteem and confidence. In counseling we determine the affair represented attention-seeking behavior. The woman he was seeing gave him much attention that stroked his ego. Albeit, during any honeymoon stage, attention is a given and the “high” from that when you aren’t receiving it from your partner is addicting.

Are You Grounded Enough In Your Relationship?

Alex is struggling with career and developmental issues. In life we individuate and differentiate developing a sense of self. The developmental stages help with that process. If you don’t meet emotional and psychological milestones you could be stuck in a younger developmental stage despite your chronological age. So as you grow old, your emotional where with all may not be congruent with your chronological age. Meaning you can be a man of 30 years old and feel like a child or teenager when trying to figure out what to do in life. This is the case for Alex. He states he loves his wife but doesn’t feel much intimacy. They are great friends with so much in common.

Rather than continue in marriage counseling they are now doing individual work with me. I explain their relationship is like the cart in front of the horse. For Alex, the cart represents his poor sense of self and needed work developmentally to understand he needs to meet his needs first and not the needs of other. In doing so he will become the individual he is to become and be more differentiated in healthy ways from his relationships.

In doing the individual work a healthy relationship can be yours. In my book entitled, Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship is utilized to guide Alex and Andrea as they give themselves the opportunity to learn and understand that knowing what you want will get you the relationship of your dreams. You won’t have to settle.

For more information about my services in working with couples please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

Do You Know What You Want In A Partner?

Do You Know What You Want In A Partner? When your relationship is in trouble, it affects every part of your life. But it doesn’t mean you have to accept things as they are — or give up and walk away. Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship is all you need to be in a healthy relationship.

Happy Me Happy We

Do You Know What You Want In A Partner?

When you think about what you want in a partner do you refer to a check off list you’ve created? Tall, dark, handsome? Makes good money, social, wants or doesn’t want children? How about independent, has a job, and has conflict resolution skills? I work with many women who have these types of lists. Many remain single because they are concentrating on others rather than themselves. Having a good sense of self will lead you to and attract the right person for you.

Happy Me Happy We helps people understand what they want and how to get it. Concentrating on yourself develops you ME. Without a good sense of ME, you may not be able to find the WE that best suits you. The world is full of all kinds of people we can love, but not all align well with your ME.

You can have a healthy, happy relationship. It starts with taking charge of your own thoughts and actions, and learning to be your own person. With a better understanding of self, a firm foundation of healthy communication skills, and the insight to make better choices, you’ll know how to interact positively with others. You’ll be able to create the healthy, loving, supportive relationship you know you deserve.

You may have all the qualities on that check list checked off but without understanding what it is you want you may be settling. You won’t stay in bad situations just because you don’t want to be alone, or because grieving the loss of the relationship is too hard.

Call me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com to get yourself grounded enough to know what you want for yourself so you know what you want in a partner.