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

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.

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.

 

 

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s. What exactly is Asperger’s? Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that impairs development in communication, social interaction, and behavior. The precise causes of autistic disorders have not been identified, although an inherited (genetic) component is believed to be involved. Supporting this idea is the fact that Asperger’s syndrome has been observed to run in families. Based on my clinical observations of my husband and his parents, he may have inherited it from one or both of them. Does your husband ever display these types of behavior. I know mine does.

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s

Signs My Husband Has Asperger’s:

  • Is your husband not thoughtful?
  • Is he forgetful?
  • Does he appear to have no self-awareness?
  • Tends to be late all the time?
  • Shows little to no Empathy?
  • Seems Antisocial?

My husband is a kind, generous, and intelligent man. We’ve been married for over 20 years. Often quiet in his demeanor and less animated than myself, my friends thought we were an unlikely match. I know now what I didn’t realize then is my husbands’s comments and behavior offended some and made others feel uncomfortable. As the years went by I started to observe and experience a dynamic between us that consequently lead to feelings of loneliness, frustration, and irritability. He behaved in ways that were almost hurtful and rude.

Situations I now understand:

  • We were in Bora Bora on our Honeymoon. After a long flight, we were escorted to our beautiful over-the-water bungalow. As we were settling in I heard a knock at the door where room service brought my husband a refreshing Mai Tai cocktail. I asked where mine was and he said he didn’t order me one. I thought that was strange and nicely called him out on it. He said he didn’t think to ask me. (Aspie’s are often times not thoughtful)

  • When our daughter was 5 years old he forgot to pick her up from school after being reminded several times. (Memory problem)
  • Whenever I had a conversation with him he wasn’t able to show empathy and continued to talk about what was of interest to him. (Lack of Theory of Mind or Mind Blindness)
  • He could go on and on about a topic that was of interest to him and fail to recognize facial expressions denoting I was becoming uninterested or even bored. (No self-awareness)
  • He can go MIA (missing in action) for long periods of time working on his computer and not realize it and is often times late. (Time management problem)
  • I made a lovely Brunch one day and when we sat at the table to enjoy it he didn’t talk much and appeared troubled. I asked him later what was up as I was angry, more hurt, actually as I was expecting him to appreciate my efforts. He later told me the sun was brightly shining and hurt his eye. (Sensory Issues)
  • Unable to show compassion. My dog was bitten by a rattlesnake and the Vet said he may not make it. (No motion to comfort me as I was breaking down crying)
  • Doesn’t like change. Our daughter was part of a carpool. When parents made changes to the schedule, which benefited my husband he would become aggravated and unappreciative.

As a Marriage Counselor who is married to someone on the spectrum, I work with Neurodiverse Couples (one partner has Asperger’s AS and the other does not, Neurotypical NT). Because I’ve lived with my AS husband for over 20 years, I am able to help women who suffer from what is referred to as Cassandra Syndrome where the NT partner experiences psychological trauma from attempting to have a close personal relationship with a person who has deficiencies in interpersonal relationships, in areas such as reciprocity, compassion, empathy, recognition of facial expressions, putting themselves in another’s shoes, and a constellation of features known as “mind blindness.”

During the first decade of our marriage, I was experiencing psychological and emotional distress. The daily trauma of living with an AS can best be described as ongoing traumatic relationship syndrome (OTRS) aka known as Cassandra Syndrome. Even if someone comes into a relationship with a strong sense of self-esteem, it can still be demolished by a partner who has difficulty showing empathy. During the years before we obtained an unofficial diagnosis, I was quite troubled. I was so unhappy I wanted to leave the relationship. I didn’t like the way I felt as I was acting out emotions where I was angry, unreasonable, hurtful and verbally abusive. There was either something terribly wrong with me or there was some psychological challenge with him.

As I didn’t want a divorce I started to educate myself on this syndrome and acquired coping skills to manage my emotions more appropriately, while getting my husband the tools he needed to be more relational. We acquired a process and put systems in place for better communication. With the commitment to moving forward, I can honestly say I am so much happier. There was never any doubt I loved him but the Asperger’s was making for too many challenges to want to stay. 

For more information on being able to move forward with your Aspie husband please contact me at (858) 735-1139. I know I can help.