Your Relationship Is Like A Broadway Play

Your Relationship Is Like a Broadway Play. A metaphor top keep relationships vibrant and alive. It’s great news for actors to get a role on Broadway and star in a play that lasts for years. But here’s the bad news: when they play a demanding role six times a week for several years, the part can get stale.When performers start sleep walking through the role, the end is near. The challenge is how to stay fresh and leave the audience interested after a thousand performances.

What do they do? They keep finding fresh ways of expressing themselves while maintaining the integrity of the character and the play. This requires creativity and the willingness to dig deep within themselves to develop the nuances to stay fresh for every performance. Screen actors only have to hit the perfect notes once and the performance is captured forever. Live actors don’t have that luxury.

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Stuart Miles

Your Relationship Is Like A Broadway Play

So what is this connection to your relationship? It seems to me in the beginning of a relationship, the Honeymoon Phase, most of the right notes are a hit. They are easy and effortless. Couples find it easy to be in the relationship. Over time, however, in the Conflict/Resolution Phase, routine sets in. The script becomes predictable. You stop digging deeper to keep things fresh. The play becomes stale. The finger pointing whether explicitly or implicitly begins. The show is in danger of shutting down.

But you do have advantages that the best actors on Broadway don’t have. You are not limited to the same script every day. You are both the actor and director in your relationship play. If you don’t like how a scene is being played out, you can change the dialogue, the intensity, the meaning of it, and even the timing of it. You can say….“Let’s finish this scene later when we both have more energy or “let’s do a redo” when we want to exercise more relational behavior.

Your Relationship Is Like A Broadway Play

Because you and your partner are both the writers and the main actors in your play, you have enormous latitude to energize specific scenes like, coming home after work, going to bed, sex, vacations, holidays, parenting, daily responsibilities, managing money, etc.

As a Marriage Counselor working with Couples for over 25 years I help them keep looking for ways to energize and keep their relationships fresh acquiring essential tools for communication and harmony. I say do the behavior and the feelings will eventually come. The phrase “fake it til you make it” helps keeps the effort going.

If you need help energizing your relationship and keeping it from becoming stale please do not hesitate to contact me at (858) 735-1139 or email me at [email protected]

Marriages Can Survive Infidelity

Marriages Can Survive Infidelity.  Affairs can heal broken marriages and even reveal relationship dysfunction. Author and Sex Therapist Tammy Nelson and respected Colleague provides a 3-step process for Recovering from Infidelity that I implement in working with my Couples in Marriage Counseling that is highly effective in helping them move forward.  As a Marriage Counselor who specializes in Affair Recovery I am often asked “can marriages survive infidelity?”  I always answer, “I believe so, as long as both parties are willing to commit to the process of Affair  Recovery.”

Marriages Can Survive Infidelity

I’ll share a couple’s process I’m currently working with but have obviously changed their names to adhere to confidentiality.  I started working with Diana 4 months ago who came into therapy with her husband Steve, for couples therapy after he caught her cheating. They’ve been married for 8 years.  He has expressed feelings of hurt, disappointment, anger and of course, betrayal.  He sat on my sofa with his head in his hands saying, “I can’t believe she did this and how are we going to get past this?  Diana says she wants to work this out, but I don’t know if we can put this marriage back together again after what I’ve done and I don’t know if I even want to work this out.”

Steve apparently read emails and texts between Diana and her Affair Partner (boyfriend) that suggested how much they were enjoying participating in cybersex together. This was no doubt devastating to Steve.  He thought their sex life was good, but knew having children affected their relationship in that they spent more time with the kids than with each other.  He believed they still loved each other and and Diana agreed.  They didn’t know why the affair happened and wanted to salvage what they could of their marriage.

Affair Recovery has three phases:  The Crisis Phase, The Insight Phase and The Vision Phase.

The Crisis Phase – Is right after the affair is disclosed or discovered, when couples are in acute distress and their lives are in total chaos.  The focus of therapy isn’t on whether or not to stay together or if there is a future for them, as it is to:

  1. Establish safety
  2. Address painful feelings
  3. Normalize trauma symptoms

The Insight Phase – Is where whatever vulnerabilities are talked about that might have led to the affair.

  1.  As individuals become observers of the affair they can tell the story of what happened.
  2. Repeating endless details of sexual indiscretion is not helpful and counterproductive.
  3. Looking at what the Affair Partner longed for and couldn’t find in the marriage is important.
  4. Looking for what the Affair Partner looked for outside the marriage is essential.
  5. Finding Empathy for the Hurt Partner, who obviously was clueless, can make a shift in how both partners see the affair and what it meant in their relationship.

The Vision Phase – This phase includes seeking a deeper understanding of the meaning of the affair and helping the couple with the Moving Forward process.

  1. This phase is where the couple decides whether to move on separately or stay together.
  2. Here they acquire tools to develop a relationship built on what the couple Want from each other to be happy and content for their future.
  3. As their sex life has been destroyed this is where the Erotic Recovery work for connection will be renewed (or created) and desire will be revived.
  4. Monogamy changes from a moralistic, blanket prohibition on outside sex to a search for a deeper intimacy inside the marriage.
  5. A vision of the relationship going forward includes negotiating a new commitment; hence a New Monogamy with contractual agreements.

Marriages Can Survive Infidelity

So my client, Diana, revealed she felt that she had no space of her own in the marriage. Her husband had a home office, but she had no comparable space for herself.  Her dependence on him was all encompassing as he paid the bills, earned the money, and gave her a monthly allowance.  She’d never been encouraged to or allowed to feel empowered and independent.  As a result, she’d started rebelling against him like an adolescent against a strict parent, sneaking around having sexual encounters.

In the insight phase of treatment Diana realized that the affair had to do more with her marriage than with her husband.  She said she loved him and wanted to stay with him only if it could become more of an equal partnership.  We worked to identify the key areas where  she could feel more autonomy and still be in a relationship.  Steve started to appreciate her more as she was able to take on more responsibilities within the household and take some of the burden off his shoulders.

During the 25 years of providing Marriage Counseling with infidelity and affair recovery as my niche, my belief is that even after the heart wrenching pain of an affair, we have the opportunity to help create new relationships with better communication, deeper intimacy, and realistic hope for moving forward.

 

If you would like help with the healing process of Infidelity and Affair Recovery please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or email me at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

What is Affair Recovery?

What is Affair Recovery? “My cheating spouse doesn’t understand that saying, “I’m sorry” just isn’t good enough.  Neither is saying, “I’m really sorry.” Finding out that your partner is having an affair is one of the most devastating things that can 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.  As a Marriage Counselor and Affair and Infidelity Recovery Specialist, I help couples answer the question, “What do we do now?”

couple in Affair Recovery

Couples Counseling can help the betrayer and betrayed find their way back to a deeper and more intimate bond the strong urge to leave or divorce.  Notable author and Therapist Ester Perel states, “an affair doesn’t necessarily end a marriage and can possibly make it stronger.”

Recovering from infidelity involves the willingness of unfaithful spouses to demonstrate sincere regret and remorse.

About Affairs:

  • Affairs are less about love and more about boundaries.  Affairs can happen in good marriages.
  • The major attraction in an affair is NOT the love partner but the positive mirroring of the self.  In other words, it’s about “the way you look when you see yourself in the eyes of your extramarital partner.”
  • 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.
  • Most people think that talking about the affair with the spouse will only create more angst, but that is actually the way to rebuild intimacy.
  • The single best indicator of whether a relationship can survive infidelity is how much empathy the unfaithful partner shows for the pain he or she has caused.

Affair Recovery:

  1. The unfaithful partner must demonstrate sincere regret and remorse.
  2. The unfaithful partner must be willing to end the affair (sexual or emotional) and do whatever it takes to win back the trust of his or her spouse.  Doing whatever it takes must be demonstrated through actions not lip service.  You have to walk the walk.
  3. The betrayed spouse must be willing to find ways to manage his or her overwhelming emotions so the couple can sort out why the affair happened, and more importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again.
  4. Teamwork – both spouses must be fully committed to the hard work required to get their marriage back on track.  It takes two.
  5. Gradually rebuild trust – through actions, not promises.
  6. Allow time to heal, but remember, time alone (without dedicated effort) is not enough.
  7. Honesty is the most important factor in rebuilding the marriage. The future of the marriage is not determined by what happened during the affair but what happens after.
  8. As a trained and educated Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I have specific training and experience needed to help uncover the sources of infidelity and offer sound guidelines for mending your relationship. I can help you cope with your raging emotions, guide you toward thoughtful and informed decisions about your future, acquire the essential tools to move forward, and should you choose to recommit, reclaim a new life together.

The couples I work with either:  1) relive their trauma and bitterness over and over again; 2) revert to the status of life before the affair; or 3) use the affair as a transformational experience and catalyst for renewal and positive change for moving forward. Couples can survive infidelity, as long as both partners are willing to look honestly at themselves and at each other, and acquire the tools needed to guide them through the storm.

If you are struggling through an affair and asking yourself Should I Stay Or Should I Go?,” please call me at (858) 735- 1139.

Couples and Valentine’s Day What To Do And What Not To Do

Couples and Valentine’s Day What To Do And What Not To Do. Valentine’s Day is that special time where lovers have the opportunity to express their fond felt emotions toward one another.  Marriage Counseling brings about many discussions about disappointing Valentine’s Days. Often times expectations aren’t met and emotions come up that need to be shared so individuals can know what to expect for future event planning.

 

Couples and Valentine’s Day What To Do And What Not To Do:

1.  Forgetting About The “Day”

Acknowledge the day.  The world around us will be surrounding ourselves with pink hearts, red roses, and chocolate candy.  Don’t make your partner feel left out.  Validate their existence and show how they make you feel during this day of Love.

2.  Just Showing Up At A Restaurant

Make sure you have a dinner reservation.Valentine’s Day is the busiest night of the year. If you don’t have a reservation you chance not getting into a restaurant of your choice or can wait over an hour to be seated which isn’t very romantic, shows poor planning on your part, and makes for an unpleasant evening.

3.  Having Other Engagements

Keep your calendar clear that day. Even if you plan on working for just a few more minutes on a project, you can run into a time crunch and become late for your evening plans and create unhappy feelings toward your partner. Eliminate any risk of things that could interfere with a successful outcome.

4.  Avoiding Discussion About Overwhelming Gifts

Even though you may feel strongly about your loved one, especially if you are still in the “New Love Phase” of your relationship, it would be good to talk about appropriate gifts of affection so that one partner doesn’t go overboard when the other may plan on doing something simple.  This eliminates any embarrassment, hurt feelings or awkwardness because one of you is feeling like what they contributed wasn’t enough.  Even if the day is a surprise, it would be good to talk beforehand, in terms of a general feel about your Valentine’s Day plans. That way both can of you can enjoy the experience and eliminate unhappy or guilty feelings.

5.  Buying into Marketing Messages

You don’t have to spend tons of money to show your love and affection. It’s not about getting the biggest bouquet of flowers or most expensive box of candy.  Even jewelry doesn’t have to send you over your credit limit.  It’s about showing your loved one behaviorally, what they mean to you. Enhance the experience by expressing thankfulness and appreciation, as well, as you spend your special time together.

And remember love and romance isn’t just for Valentine’s Day….keep the “in-love” behavior ongoing and you’ll continue to feel like being “in-love.”

If you want to learn more about how to do that, call me now at (858) 735-1139.

 

Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity

Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity.  Couples who come in to see me after a breach of trust due to some kind of infidelity; whether they were caught having intimate conversations with an old high school sweetheart online, new friend from a chatroom, or having a full blown sexual affair, ask the question “how can I ever trust my partner after what they did?”  In Marriage Counseling people who have experienced infidelity talk constantly about the need for trust and want to learn to trust that their partners won’t stray again.

In rebuilding trust the more the couple talks about the affair and what they learned about it the better the chances are for their relationship to move forward.  I know, that sounds counterintuitive in that nobody wants to talk about it as much as they want to put it behind them.  When the Hurt Partner brings up their feelings of hurt, anger and mistrust, it is recommended that the Affair Partner exercise a process where they show empathy and validate those feelings so the Hurt Partner feels heard and understood.  Empathy is a very powerful tool in regaining trust for someone who has betrayed you.  Showing empathy rather than becoming defensive or offering excuses for your inappropriate behavior shows the Hurt Partner you are truly remorseful as the Affair Partner is not concerned about caretaking their own feelings or defending their actions.  It shows a good change in character to be concerned with someone other than themselves when they stop defending their affair and validate and show empathy for their partner who they have caused distress.

In Marriage Counseling I help couples learn a process that includes Reflective Listening, Validation, and Empathy to help with developing an emotional connection to reach a deeper level of intimacy to be able to want to trust again.

Through the process of affair recovery rebuilding trust after infidelity can be restored if both parties are sincere about making the necessary individual changes to move the relationship in the desired direction.

For more information about rebuilding trust and affair recovery please contact me at (858) 735-1139.