Managing Your Temper When Fighting

Managing Your Temper When Fighting.  The Course of Relationships mature over time. The initial attraction may be physical, and this may carry the relationship to the point of making an emotional commitment. Then the excitement and promise of sharing our life with another person can lead to a stage of heightened expectations where we ignore or minimize the discomfort that we may feel from time to time in the relationship.
 Courtesy of and David Castillo Dominici

Managing Your Temper When Fighting

But this stage comes to an end and we finally express our frustration. Welcome to the Conflict Resolution or Crisis Stage. Questions like….Why are you always telling me what to do? Can’t you give me any time to myself?Don’t you know who I am? Why don’t you shower me with love like you used to? Notice in these examples that blame is cast on the other person. The one hurling the blame doesn’t look within (for example, I have difficulty because of my own issues when someone tells me what to do). This is a particularly vulnerable stage in the course of an emotionally committed relationship, and can serve as a make or break challenge. It is at this stage that an equilibrium or, more accurately, a standoff is reached by the two partners. I won’t challenge you and you won’t challenge me, and we’ll just accept the fact that we will be distant from each other.
In Marriage Counseling I help individuals develop the Self Focus that is needed to see what their part is in the dysfunction or miscommunication.  If you can look at what you did to contribute to the negative situation or argument chances are the two of you won’t engage in hostile behavior toward one another.  Remember resolution is what is required whenever conflict arises.
In contrast, healthier relationships move into a different and more mature stage where both partners look within to find the source of their own anxiety, find ways to soothe themselves without trying to change the other person, and learn to accept and love the other person despite their frustrating quirks. When this occurs, and when the distance between the partners has been resolved, the genuine excitement and passion of the relationship can continue to flourish this time in a mature, accepting, and integrated manner.

We blame our partners when we feel discomfort, and this tends to create distance within an emotionally committed relationship. The distance, then, creates a feeling of further discomfort. The clue to dealing with this dilemma is to learn how to soothe your own emotional pain. This can open the way to more passion and closeness in your relationship.

Tips for  managing temper when fighting:

1.  Don’t take your partner’s behavior personally. Even if your partner doesn’t make all the changes that you’ve made, it shouldn’t be taken personally. If you and your partner are having a conflict, try some inwardly focused relaxation techniques. Focus on your breathing. Stop talking and try to slow your heart rate. Lower the volume of your speech and work on relaxing your body.

2.  Put the current conflict into perspective. Think about past instances of the same type of conflict. What resources did you use in the past for dealing with the conflict? Think about how discomfort will surface again in the future and if you learn now how to deal with it, you will be better off in these future instances.

3.  Control your behavior, even if you can’t regulate your emotions. While we may have difficulty in controlling our emotions, especially in the face of a conflict, we can have control over our behavior. Prevent yourself from saying and doing things that you will regret later. Tell yourself: I don’t have to take action on my feelings…acting then out.

4.  Stop the negative thinking. Our thoughts drive our feelings and behavior. When you find yourself engaged in negative thinking, make the change to more positive thoughts. Accept what is happening and then calm down.

You may have to break contact temporarily with your partner until things cool down. When you are engaged in a conflict, you may need some time to get in touch with your self again. Look on this as a time-out, not a separation. Tell your partner that you need some time alone to calm down and that you can discuss the issue better later, after both of you have had some space from each other.

Self-soothing does not involve substance abuse, the abuse of food, or emotional regression. You need time to confront yourself and understand what your part in the conflict may be. This does not mean hiding out, sleeping, binge-eating, or the use of drugs or alcohol, which are all ways to avoid self-confrontation.

In Couples Counseling I help couples acquire the tools needed to effectively communicate their wants and needs to better serve one another in the relationship.  It’s fine to feel anger and be angry.  It’s not fine to “act them out” inappropriately.

For more information on managing your anger appropriately and self soothing please contact me at (858) 735-1139.


What To Do After An Affair Is Discovered

What To Do After An Affair Is Discovered.  You’ve just discovered your husband or wife is having an affair. You’re flush with a range of emotions and are feeling very vulnerable. You’re overwhelmed because you think your relationship – and life as you know it – is over.

As a Marriage Counselor who specializes in Affair Recovery, I would urge you to slow down, breathe deeply, and not do anything impulsive.  Acknowledge your feelings but don’t act on them.  Try to exercise appropriate behavior as you begin the recovery process.

girl holding a shirt with the imprint of lipstick.

As a Couples Counselor I provide these helpful steps to help you deal with the discovery of an affair:

    1. Normalize your emotions – You will be on an emotional rollercoaster.  Don’t ignore your feelings, don’t be in denial about the seriousness of the situation, and don’t exacerbate the situation by telling everyone that your husband (wife) is a lying, cheating, adulterer. Keep it private.
    2. Give each other space – Don’t get into each other’s face and start judging and criticizing.  This will accomplish nothing and only produce more bad feelings.  Give yourselves the gift of time away from each other to talk to a Couples Counselor; Affair Recovery Specialist, someone who can get you communicating productively and moving forward.
    3. Don’t rush into discussing explicit details – Wait until you get into Marriage Counseling with a Marriage Counselor before airing out the dirty laundry.  A trained Marriage Counselor will guide you through this awkward and difficult process so that you can make emotionally intelligent decisions on the path for recovery.
    4. Tell only select and trusted people in your life –  Empathic support is vital to the healing process.  Don’t isolate yourself.  Good friends create and maintain the momentum needed to through this difficult time.
    5. Seek professional help with a Marriage Counselor – Find a Marriage Counselor who specializes in Infidelity and Affair Recovery.  They have the tools and the training you will need to survive and move forward.
    6. Your children see and hear more than you know.  Remember, your children are under your protection.  They suffer when you speak badly of the other parent, so don’t.
    7. Keep the faith – Your Marriage Counselor may be able to offer more choices than separation or divorce.

Dealing with infidelity can be excruciatingly painful. Focus on understanding where your best interests lie.  As you consider your options, don’t wallow in self-pity; be compassionate toward yourself.

Some partners can overcome an affair and make their relationship work as well, if not better, than ever before.

I specialize in Infidelity and Affair Recovery.  If you want more information about what to do when an affair is discovered, please call me at (858) 735-1139.






Warning Signs You’re With An Unavailable Person

Warning Signs You’re With An Unavailable Person. As a Couples Counselor I work with men and women who say they want to be in a relationship and eventually want to be married. Some of these individuals happen to be with people who are already married, have a girlfriend or boyfriend, or who don’t want to be in a relationship, and has made that quite clear from the get go.  Why then, do they pursue and stay in such a relationship? The intensity of an emotionally or sexually charged feeling you can have with unavailable or commitment phobic individuals can be confused and mistaken for intimacy.

Warning Signs You’re With An Unavailable Person

Unrequited love is not a good thing despite the feelings it may give you.  For a relationship to work a connection must go both ways.  People either can or won’t reciprocate your feelings.  It’s never good to put your life on hold for someone who cannot or won’t commit to you.  Keep your options open to avoid getting entangled in dead-end or delusional relationships.  Look at what is behaviorally going on and not necessarily what is being spoken.  Words are not always the truth. Look at the follow through and see if what you are asking for is being met.

Here are some warning signs you are with an unavailable person:

1.  They are married or already in a relationship.

2.  They can’t or won’t commit and have commitment fears from past relationships.

3.  They are emotionally distant or shut down and can’t deal with conflict.

4.  They are interested in sex and not relating emotionally or spiritually.

5.  They are involved in some kind of substance abuse or sex addiction.

6.  They prefer long-distance relationships, texting or emailing rather than face to face communication.

Warning Signs You’re With An Unavailable Person

7.  Don’t introduce you to family and friends.

8.  Have limited contact, are elusive, sneaky and are frequently working or tired.

9.  Seductive and make empty promises – their behavior and words don’t match – no follow through.

10. They send mix messages – you’re always trying to “de-code” what they really mean.

11. They are Narcissistic, only considers their needs not yours.

12. They entice you with their potential to be loving only to withdraw, stringing you along.

As a Marriage Counselor working with Couples and Individuals in Relationships it is apparent people are commitment-phobic for various reasons.  Research has shown that people are afraid of being clung to or smothered, which could stem from having had a controlling or abusive parent.  Some of the men I work with prefer sex without love as they fear being controlled by feminine energy and rationalize by thinking women need more than they can give.  Some of the women I work with keep themselves at a distance due to their fear of intimacy and making themselves vulnerable.

No matter what your issue may about being in a relationship with an unavailable person, remember the electricity can feel incredible and rare, but if any of the warning signs exist, you may be mistaking that intensity for intimacy when in fact it is not the reality.

For more information on healthy relationships and getting the relationship you want please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Is An Emotional Affair Worse Than A Sexual Affair?

Is An Emotional Affair Worse Than A Sexual Affair?  Just because you didn’t have sexual intercourse doesn’t mean it wasn’t an affair.  An affair is the act of behaving unfaithfully and cheating on a spouse or significant other.  As a Couples Counselor I believe it is a breach of fidelity when inappropriate relationships and behaviors are kept secret from your significant other.  An example could be when you are communicating with someone online and start including sexual innuendos, sexting, flirtatious banter, and sharing thoughts and feelings that lead to intimacy. Whenever personal information is shared with the opposite sex an intimacy, albeit, an inappropriate form of intimacy is developed.  The process of sharing such personal information makes people vulnerable and vulnerability makes people feel intimate or emotionally connected.  As a Marriage Counselor I see couples who illicit my help as they have triangulated another person into their marriage by sharing their marital problems, as well as sexual problems with their friend of the opposite sex, and now feel close to that friend.  As their friendship strengthens they feel an emotional connection and sometimes this leads to a sexual affair.  If it doesn’t the fact they have been sharing intimate information about their marriages and one another to each other develops a deeper connection between them and that leads to trouble as an Emotional Connection now becomes an Affair.

Side view of unhappy young couple standing back to back at home

Is An Emotional Affair Worse Than A Sexual Affair?

A dating site for people seeking affairs, Victoria Milan,  surveyed 5,000 of their members to find out their attitudes about cheating — specifically, how they felt about sexual affairs versus emotional affairs. It turns out, men and women have very different ideas about what’s forgivable and what’s not.

Here’s what they discovered:

  • 72 percent of men said sexual affairs were worse than emotional affairs.
  • 69 percent of women said emotional affairs were worse than sexual affairs.
  • 76 percent of women would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair
  • Only 35 percent of men would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair.
  • 80 percent of men said they would forgive an emotional affair.
  • Only 30 percent of women would forgive an emotional affair.

“Many people are searching for affection, a deeper connection that can lead to real, feelings, not just sex,” said Victoria Milan CEO Sigurd Vedal in a press release. “What kind of cheating is more painful? It totally depends on the individual, and maybe on gender as well.”  Researchers from the University of Michigan found that women viewed “forming a deep emotional bond” during infidelity as a much bigger concern than men.

Whatever your views on the subject Betrayal never feels good.  Working as a Marriage and Couples Counselor in private practice I specialize in Affair Recovery.  I believe affairs are symptoms of other issues effecting the relationship.  Of course, affairs are also part of a personality challenge in some people known as Philanderers.  I am here to help those who want to learn more about why they do what they do and how to move forward so their behavior stops hurting themselves and their relationships.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Infidelity Knows No Boundaries

Infidelity Knows No Boundaries.  It was all over the news and media when Donald Trump smeared Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign by dredging up her husband’s past infidelities while he himself is not innocent when it comes to faithfulness in marriage.  As the information reads, Trump too has had an infidelity in the form of Marla Maples, his second wife, while he was still married to his first wife Ivana Trump. His now adult children were of grade school age. “The pot calling the kettle black” seems an appropriate phrase to use in this situation as it claims that a person is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another. While it is stressful running the highest office of the land, it is still important to hold oneself in high regard when exercising appropriate behavior as the whole world is looking to him as a role model. 

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump

Courtesy of Getty Images and CNBC

Individuals are responsible for their own behavior and in my opinion as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Infidelity and Affair Recovery if your husband cheats on you, often times it has nothing to do with you as a person.  It’s difficult to accept the discovery of an affair while also having to manage the overwhelming range of emotions. This is a process that takes much time to overcome.

Finding out your partner is having an affair is one of the most devastating things that could happen to you. Cheating shatters the core of your existence leaving you with feelings of rejection, mistrust, anger, betrayal and grief.  It damages your sense of self and leaves you overwhelmed with pain and confusion.

A husband’s indiscretions or affairs, in this case former President Bill Clinton’s, should not taint a wife’s community standing or political aspiration, for example the former Secretary of State, First Lady, and Senator of New York.  Each person is an individual making individual choices in the course of their everyday life and their loved ones shouldn’t be affected with “guilt by association.”  To judge Mrs. Clinton’s foreseeable inability to make good decisions based on her association with her husband is not only inappropriate as she is her own person and has made great accomplishments of her own, but it is ludicrous in that no one should be responsible for the “sins of their fathers.”

Husbands who have affairs, just as with wives who have affairs, have them for very many different reasons. Affairs are less about love and more about boundaries and can happen even in good marriages. The major attraction in an affair is NOT the love partner, but the positive mirroring of the self; the way one looks when one sees himself/herself in the other person’s eyes.  Affairs are more about how the person having the affair feels (excited or aroused). The novelty and newness creates much passion.  The conventional wisdom is that the person having an affair isn’t getting enough at home. That may be true, but often the truth is the person isn’t giving enough.  

An affair doesn’t necessarily end a marriage.  Contrary to what some people believe it can possibly make a marriage stronger.  Recovering from infidelity involves the willingness of unfaithful spouses to demonstrate sincere regret and remorse.  Cheating husbands, Bill Clinton included, probably love their wives very much, as Clinton is undoubtedly very proud his wife.  They have a history together after over 40 years of marriage.  No one wants to give that up.  None of us is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  Rather than concentrate on the act of infidelity, find out what happened and what is needed to move forward.  After all, there was a time when you couldn’t live without the person you married for all of those wonderful reasons. Finding out what went wrong and adjusting for the future will uphold the integrity of the intimacy you once had for one another as well as keep and nourish it for always.

For more information on Infidelity and Affair Recovery please contact Sarah Cook Ruggera, MFT at (858) 735-1139.