Recovering From An Affair

Recovering From An Affair. Infidelity can destroy a marriage. It can also provide an opportunity to seek the silver lining that leads to a radical marriage upgrade. Depending on what you learned about healthy relationships and what it takes to be in one, acting out behavior is a symptom of the problem within the relationship. When thoughts and feelings are not expressed they can be acted out behaviorally, looking like an adult tantrum. Not effective and can feel embarrassing once you snap out of it. Poor boundaries and unresolved inner child trauma can lead to making poor choices. Engaging in an affair is a conscious choice even when alcohol is involved. That’s why it is difficult to work through.

Recovering From An Affair

The betrayal of trust and sexual infidelity require much talking together to heal. On such a sensitive topic, it is imperative that couples acquire especially strong cooperative dialogue while proceeding with caution in affair recovery. Recovery after upsetting events is a skill set that all couples need. One they especially need to utilize after the trauma of an infidelity. There is good prognosis for full recovery, even after long-standing or multiples affairs. Ideally, recovery ends up with both having learned and grown.

It’s important that the more aware the betrayed spouse becomes of his or her own role in the development of the affair, the more quickly he or she is likely to recover. I help both partners obtain the insight needed to understand why the affair happened where they both articulate their part in the breakdown of their relationship. I do this without judgement or criticism and reassure the hurt partner that whatever both contributed, the affair is never condoned.

Guidelines for recovering from an affair include:

  1. Seek couple’s therapy with a therapist who specializes in affair recovery
  2. End the affair (poor prognosis if affair continues)
  3. Structure the communication about the affair
  4. Acquire tools for communication
  5. Being able to initiate conversation
  6. Share thoughts and feelings
  7. Ask for what you need and want
  8. Have the ability to show empathy (different from having empathy)
  9. Validate each other’s perspective
  10. Reaffirm commitment to the marriage
  11. Create transparency and rebuild trust
  12. Exercise patience and reciprocation

As an Affair Recovery Specialist, I have written multiple blogs on affair recovery, affair prevention, and reasons to seek marriage counseling. The single best indicator of whether a relationship can survive infidelity is how much
empathy the unfaithful partner (affair partner) shows for the pain they have caused the hurt partner where the hurt partner is willing to find ways to manage overwhelming emotions so, as a couple, they can begin to sort out why the affair happened, and more
importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again.

For more information about relationships and how I work with couples please visit my Blog at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com/relationships or website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

Not all marriage counselors are the same. I have been working with infidelity recovery for over 20 years and can say my couples are able to move forward in developing a new kind of marriage that works for both.

Please feel free to contact me at (858) 735-1139.

 

 

Relationship Lies

Relationship Lies. Why Do Couples Lie? Why do people lie in general? Did you ever lie when you were a kid? Do you lie to your partner? Does your partner lie to you? As a young girl I lied to be able to get what I wanted. They were never bad lies but, nevertheless, was meant to manipulate something my way. As a teenager I lied so I could stay out past my curfew. We all lie to some degree to avoid punishment. Lying allows a person to establish perceived control over a situation by manipulating it. They may be white lies or fibs but, nevertheless, they are lies. Then there are bad lies that tend to hurt oneself and others. Lying can become a character flaw if there is a pattern with no regret.

Relationship Lies

Sadly, we live in a world where lying has become a fairly common occurrence. Thank goodness there are now organizations specializing in fact checking political statements and business releases to uncover the fabrications often presented. Of course, it’s not just politicians or business leaders with a monopoly on fibbing to us. Lies happen in most homes, whether it’s the little boy standing over the smashed vase he says he didn’t break, or the teenager offering a story for why she was an hour past her curfew.

For many lies, the reasons are complicated. Sometimes it’s to protect the liar from being punished, or to protect someone else from punishment. The lie might be to avoid being embarrassed, to hide an awkward situation, or to simply have others think better of the person telling the fib.  Such lying isn’t admirable, but not hard to understand why it occurs.

Reasons people lie in general:

  • trying to control a situation
  • to avoid disappointing someone.
  • It’s not a lie to them
  • Lies snowball
  • they want it to be true
  • avoid a consequence
  • survival
  • to present a good image
  • to keep a secret

woman lying to keep secret

  • to be liked
  • to manipulate
  • may have a personality disorder which includes Compulsive and Pathological Lying

Why do couples lie? People lie in relationships to save face, avoid conflict, protect their egos, protect their image, and just to avoid hurting their partner’s feelings. When I was a young married woman I would lie to my husband about what a piece of clothing or personal article cost to avoid judgement or criticism. Due to a low level of self-esteem in those days I didn’t think I deserved to spend money the way I wanted. Lying was my inner child doing what I learned growing up so I got what I wanted. In developing my sense of self I became a more grounded person to be able to ask for what I need and want. I don’t need to lie to get what I want.

Lying in relationships can be detrimental for long term harmony. For some it can end it as honesty is an integral part of moving forward. Being able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feeling, and ask for what you need and want makes it so you don’t have to lie to get what is desired.

Relationship lies:

  • You say you’re available, but you’re not…legally
  • You say you’re available, but you’re not…emotionally
  • You’re not fessing up about your past
  • Money matters

  • You really want (or don’t want) kids
  • You cheated

  • You’re not ill, and pretending to be
  • You’re ill, and pretending not to be
  • You’re pretending it’s OK with you, but it’s not—especially in bed
  • You say “yes” when you really mean”no”

Discovering one partner has been lying is not always a deal breaker. Just like any other couples issue working through this one can be a silver lining in making your relationship stronger than ever, if it leads to newfound openness and better communication.

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

 

Asperger’s And Intimacy

Asperger’s And Intimacy. Again, for those new to my Blog, I use the word “Asperger/Aspie” in a fond way with no demeaning label. Intimacy in a relationship is a feeling of being close, emotionally connected and supported. Being able to share a range of thoughts, feelings and experiences that involves both physical and emotional intimacy makes for a content romantic relationship. In my work with neurodiverse couples, it makes all the difference in moving forward when their sex lives are good. Being married to someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has many challenges. But I find with good sex lives, just like couples who aren’t on the Spectrum, makes for good long term results.

Asperger’s And Intimacy

Jennifer and Jerry have been married for 21 years. For the first 10 years Jennifer thought her husband was not showing her the attention she wanted. When they were dating he was shy and she thought it was endearing. He’s a brilliant man but lacked in social graces and fell short when it came to planning romantic outings. When it came to sex she noticed whenever he was interested he acted like a shy teenage boy making jokes to deflect intimacy. His physical approach to her was awkward if not clumsy and when going for her breasts he would grab them in such a way that she found it a turn off. Ok, there’s cute, then there’s “what’s up with that move?”

Sex is a hard topic to talk about whether you’re married to someone on the spectrum or not. In closed family systems members seldom talk about feelings, let alone sex. In neurodiverse relationships, it can be even harder to communicate because of the language difference. Sex is full of nonverbal cues that can be misunderstood. A wide range of emotions to a partner on the spectrum can be challenging as sensory triggers such as touch, smell, taste and sound can be overwhelming.

Sex is important in healthy relationships. Sex doesn’t necessarily have to be intercourse. Lying in bed hugging with or without clothes, kissing, touching, erotic massage and using sex toys are forms of giving and receiving pleasure. Oral sex can be a challenge due to sensory triggers but doesn’t necessarily have to be ruled out.

Maxine Aston (2001) in her study of Asperger’s and sexual intimacy found that fifty percent of Asperger’s (AS) and neurotypical (NT) couples had no sexual activity within their relationship. In fact, “there was no affection or tactile expression whatsoever.”

Tony Attwood notes, “one of the characteristics of Asperger’s syndrome can be emotional and social immaturity.” Rather than experiencing sex as an emotionally compatible act, AS-NT couples frequently experience themselves playing out, by necessity, parent-child roles which kills any chance of sexual arousal.

Is there any hope for couples in which one partner has Asperger’s? Yes, of course.  If both partners are motivated to change, then they can have a more satisfying sex life, one that makes each partner feel wanted and accepted. But a satisfying sex life generally starts outside the bedroom.  Partners first need to educate themselves about Asperger’s so that they can understand how it is affecting their intimate relationship. The best indicator for a good sex life is being able to communicate. Being able to initiate conversation, share thoughts and feeling, and ask for what you need and want is effective communication.

Developing sex date protocols may also be helpful to ensure both partners get what they want. Learning to give verbal feedback about sex without creating defensiveness is another valuable skill. Being realistic about what may or may not change in the bedroom is another facet of acceptance of the diagnosis of Asperger’s.

For more information about Asperger’s and sexual intimacy contact me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or call me at (858) 735-1139.

 

Relationship Coaching

Relationship Coaching. People often ask me what’s the difference between a life coach and a therapist? One of the most fundamental differences lies in the process and purpose. Therapists help clients explore the cause(s) of their problems. As we are products of our upbringing that often means digging into past traumas, hurts, or unhealthy patterns. Therapists help their clients understand how they got to where they are and how to break what can sometimes be destructive habits. Therapist are trained to treat mental, emotional, and psychological disorders.

Relationship Coaching

Coaches on the other hand, focus on their clients’ futures. They help their clients identify actions that will move them forward and introduce strategies for solving problems and overcoming obstacles. Coaches help their clients build the bridge from where they are to where they want to be. A relationship coach is someone who supports individuals and couples in learning vital skills for relating, especially in marriages and romantic partnerships. Relationship coaches teach you to develop conflict resolution skills and offer tools to deepen intimacy and pleasure. The couple determines what they want to work on or enhance. The coaching gets that couple results sooner rather than later unlike talk therapy where the process can take longer due to gathering information from individual sessions to assess for personal issues that may affect couple’s issues.

Relationship coaching includes:

  • Achieving clarity about each partners’ vision, goals, and values
  • Developing mutual understanding and acceptance of differences in personality and gender
  • Getting a reality check; each partner being accountable to their identified requirements and needs
  • Developing strategies for testing and decision-making
  • Addressing emotional and compatibility issues
  • Discovering and overcoming issues and obstacles
  • Developing mutual understanding and acceptance of differences in personality and gender
  • Identifying and negotiating mutual wants, needs, and goals
  • Building lasting intimacy, trust, communication, love, fulfillment

Reasons for relationship coaching:

  • You are serious about having a successful life partnership.
  • Working with a coach can move you farther and faster than you can move on your own or in talk therapy.
  • You don’t know what you don’t know, and your success may depend upon access to new information about yourself and relationships.
  • Using a coach can be the most effective means of translating knowledge into practice. One of the most indispensable roles of a coach is to help you use what you already know to make effective choices and take the actions necessary to be successful.
  • You deserve to get what you want. You do not want to settle for less or risk failure, and you are willing to gift yourself with the support and technology needed to ensure success.

As I have helped more than 2,000 couples over the past 25 years I have the professional and personal experience to move couples into the 21st Century getting them what they want. For more information on life and relationship coaching please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

Autism Spectrum Disorder Strengths

Autism Spectrum Disorder Strengths. Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disorder on the Autism spectrum. However, it is classified as a more low-support form of autism and considered high functioning autism.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Strengths

My husband has many of the positive strengths I indicate below:

  • He can fix anything that breaks down on computers
  • He’s an excellent problem solver because he has patience
  • He is the most honest person I know
  • He will do anything I ask; it helps to give him a timeline
  • He never gives me any “lip” even when I act out on him when I am frustrated and angry
  • Because we embrace his ASD when he is quirky and funny I totally appreciate and love it; in the past it would annoy me
  • He is willing to try new experiences; food, travel,
  • He wants and appreciates the relational tools to manage the ASD challenges

Now for the challenges that frustrate me:

  • He tends to have tunnel vision and can’t do more than one thing at a time (lack of executive functioning); I’m a multi-tasker
  • He forgets where he puts things; when I tell him where to look he still can’t locate it; takes him a loooong time to find things
  • He doesn’t apologize unless I tell him I need it; apologizing triggers judgement and criticism and low self-worth
  • He forgets to utilize the tools he has acquired.

You might be surprised to learn that many famous people have an Asperger diagnosis. Here are a few names that you’ll recognize:

  • Dan Akroyd, actor and musician
  • Andy Warhol, artist
  • Andy Kaufman, comedian
  • Daryl Hannah, actor
  • Susan Boyle, singer
  • Courtney Love, musician
  • Sir Anthony Hopkins, actor

Common Challenges include:

  • Difficulty with social interactions
  • Restricted interests
  • Desire for sameness
  • Distinctive strengths
  • Hypersensitivities (to lights, sounds, tastes, etc.)
  • Difficulty with the give and take of conversation
  • Difficulty with nonverbal conversation skills (distance, loudness, tone, etc.)
  • Uncoordinated movements, or clumsiness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Quirky

 

Strengths can include:

  • Remarkable focus and persistence
  • Aptitude for recognizing patterns
  • Attention to detail
  • Honest
  • Loyal
  • Kind
  • Quirky

 

 

Autism Spectrum Disorder Strengths

As I am married to a man on the Autism Spectrum I know what the challenges look like. I sympathize with my husband because those challenges are not only frustrating to our relationship, it is frustrating to him on a personal level. His strengths, however, do outweigh the challenges. When my husband realized he had Asperger’s, it all made sense. We speculate his father and brother were on the Spectrum and had limited resources to improve any of their challenges which affected their family dynamics.  My husband felt lonely in the family that he grew up in and had very few friends. He said he always felt something was “off” when interacting in social settings and in past romantic relationships as his anxiety and nonverbal conversation skills were part the problem.

With acquiring relational tools, putting a system in place, and implementing the process for moving forward his life is more meaningful, happy and functional. He is even more animated with his expressions and can make jokes that can really make all of us laugh…in a good way.

The world needs to recognize despite their inappropriate behavior and saying or doing things that others may find objectionable, they often do not appreciate the full implications of their words and actions, and very rarely do so with any ill intent. They were never taught that this was unacceptable. With Autism awareness comes more understanding and sympathy toward the challenges and greater appreciation of the strengths.

For more information on Autism Spectrum strengths give me a call at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com