Are You Cheating?

Are You Cheating? Do you have a dirty little secret you’ve been hiding from your partner? Have you been sneaking around and covering your tracks?  Maybe you’re caught up in an unquenchable love affair with designer handbags or it’s your partner who’s totally embedded in gambling.  If you’re living in fear of each other’s credit card bills, it may be a case of Financial Infidelity.

People tend to say your relationship with money is directly related to your personal relationship with each other.  Whether it’s a secret debt, undisclosed extra income, or out of control spending, once it’s discovered financial infidelity can be just as devastating to your partner as Sexual Infidelity.  Your sense of trust is just as violated and, just like an affair, you try to go back in time, recounting all the secretive behavior going on right under your nose.

To give you a better idea of how easy it is to fall into this trap here are a few examples of risky reasoning that can lead to financial cheating:

  • “I deserve it.” Feeling entitled to splurge on something you can’t afford to make up for a bad day at work or because your partner didn’t/won’t buy it for you.
  • “Keeping up with the Joneses.”  Materialism being a priority over intimacy and wanting to keep up the life you “believe” you should have…rather than the one you can afford.
  • “It’s my only real pleasure.”  Using buying and spending to fulfill unmet needs.

Just like Sexual Infidelity the recovery process is the same.  Trust has been broken and to reconnect and move forward both need to take responsibility for their actions. Marriage Counseling can help with the Repair process as the betrayal includes similar emotions.  Couples Therapy enables both partners to share their thoughts, feelings and perspectives about what caused their acting out behaviors and discuss new ways to prevent their relationship from moving toward the relationship they truly want.

If you think you have cheated this way or the other contact me at (858) 735-1139.

The New Monogamy Agreement

The New Monogamy Agreement So what’s all this talk about New Monogamy Agreements? New Monogamy Agreements are Contracts that are an Explicit Relationship Agreement created by each partner to openly, honestly, and safely share their desires, expectations, and limitations for moving forward in a new way of behaving within their Relationship. This agreement in no way creates an open marriage, but rather, an open conversation wherein each partner can have a say in setting the ground rules for their relationship.   If Open Marriage happens to be a desire for both partners then it would become part of the Agreement.

The New Monogamy Agreement

In Marriage Counseling with me there is no judgement or criticism while developing these Agreements as I am here to help guide the process enabling Couples to live the life they desire as we have entered into the 21st Century.  We do not have the marriages/relationships that our parents or grandparents had.  There are hundreds of “How To” lists for relationships and all seem to say the same thing.  Why not put something together that works for you and your partner.  We live in such a diversified and dynamic world where everyone is unique.  I help Couples in Couples Therapy develop New Monogamy Agreements to rebuild trust after an Affair or to re-establish Intimacy in a seemingly stale partnership.

When making your Monogamy Agreement try and keep in mind that it’s like renewing your Vows.  It’s important not to just make promises like you did when you got married or pledged your Fidelity.  This agreement will have fluidity and variety and will be renewed as often as needed.

Some of the questions to ask in your New Monogamy Agreement will be based on your cultural and religious beliefs, as well as your upbringing and traditional sex roles, family history and personal moral values.

Utilizing Tammy Nelson’s Book “The New Monogamy” I help Couples in the Moving Forward process answer questions that help create their new agreements.  Included are questions that incorporate:

  1. Thoughts
  2. Fantasies
  3. Desires
  4. Arousal
  5. Flirtation
  6. Emotion
  7. Action (Behavior)
  8. Connection
  9. Sex
  10. Love
  11. Detachment
  12.  And Extras – anything else you want to add that is important to you

The vision for your Monogamy should be described as if it is happening at present….in the “now.”  When the agreement is written and dated it is kept in a safe place where it can be updated whenever you are unsure about your commitment.   Talk about questions that come up and revise when needed.  When completed celebrate and do something special to concretize the experience for you.  Your New Monogamy agreement is one of the most important things you will accomplish.  It shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Give yourself credit for having a conscious relationship for moving forward in your newly established relationship.

How to Keep a Happy Relationship

How to Keep a Happy Relationship. It’s important to know what you want so you know what you want in a relationship. Do you wonder how some couples stay married for several decades?  A developed sense of self can make better choices when looking for a life partner. When you listen to your intuition and follow up on it you are more likely to select the right partner. It’s important to be self-reflective and independent. There are two people with individual wants and needs in any relationship. Being independent in an interdependent relationship while getting each other’s needs met is the determining factor for a happy marriage. A happy marriage is what makes a “happily ever after” marriage.

What Keeps A Relationship Happy?  There’s an internet-based study of 2201 participants which was cited in Time Magazine that poses the question that has been asked by Couples for centuries.  How do you find Love and how do you make it last?

Relationships aren’t just about sex and good communication although that is a good place to start.

Scientists have found while both can have a big influence on a happy relationship, other factors such as knowing how they take their coffee or what their favorite food is, along with maintaining employment to be able to support oneself also matter.

Top 10 Areas Important To A Happy Relationship:

  1. Communication (free of criticism and contempt)

  2. Conflict resolution

  3. Sex or Romance

  4. Stress Management

  5. Life Skills

  6. Knowledge of Partner

  7. Self-Management

  8. Know Your Partner Well

  9. Know How To Make Them Feel Special

  10. Maintain Employment (self-sufficiency)

Couples were asked to rate the qualities they thought were vital to keeping a relationship healthy and happy.  They were then asked questions that tested their competency in these areas and were asked how satisfied they were in their relationships.

Researchers then correlated each partner’s strength and weaknesses in each area with their relationship satisfaction.

The study showed Couples who communicated the best reported having the most satisfied relationships. But knowledge of your partner which included knowing their favorite pizza toppings, as well as their future plans and holding down a job, were the next biggest factors rated just as important.

The study also showed men scoring low in the area of knowing their partners.  Robert Epstein, the lead author, suggests men write simple information about their partners to better learn and share with them what they have learned about them.

Call me at (858) 735-1139 if your relationship isn’t where you’d like it to be.

Intimacy – You Have To Love Yourself First

Intimacy – You Have To Love Yourself First.  Intimacy is a state of closeness with another human being.  Our capacity for intimacy determines our ability to participate in a mutually fulfilling and satisfying relationship.  People I work with in Individual Therapy are afraid of getting too close to anyone.  They fear that if they open up and take a risk they’ll be vulnerable to pain.  Yes there are some risks, yet people who are able to achieve intimacy feel that a close relationship is worth the risk of getting hurt.  They can handle the risk because they tend to have high self-esteem, a sense of independence and a healthy respect for others.

Self Esteem

People who succeed in intimate relationships usually start out with a high level of self-esteem.  While they cherish closeness, they already feel complete before they enter a relationship.  They are not looking for someone to complete them or make them feel whole.  They understand they have value whether they are not in or out of a relationship.  The relationship may enhance the way the persons feel about themselves but the person already accepts themselves as an Individual.  They are also able to accept the partner’s individuality and enhance that person’s self-esteem.

Independence

People who are successful with intimacy understand the difference between that state and one of Mutual Dependency. While there is some mutual dependency in every relationship those who constantly rely on someone else are unable to see that there are two unique individuals within each relationship.  There is Oneself and there is the Other Person. Mutually dependent people are able to see themselves only as each is reflected by the other.

Respect

People who succeed in Intimate Relationships understand that Intimacy flourishes in an atmosphere of respect. Respectful partners accept  each other’s individuality but also carry it a step further.  Neither tries to change the other. Discovering what makes one’s partner unique can be one of the prime rewards of an Intimate Relationship

The Couples I see in Couples Counseling typically come in with good self esteem, however, they tend to concentrate on one another and not so much on how they as individuals are contributing to the conflict areas of their particular situation.  In my work in Couples Therapy I help the Individual develop a greater Sense of Self increasing their Self Esteem, encourage Independence within the relationship so that they enhance and not change one another, and learn to love and respect themselves so that they can appreciate the love and respect they receive from their relationship.

Think about whether or not you have the kind of Intimacy you want in your relationship. Are you an Independent person within your relationship where there is Mutual Dependency?  Does your partner have the same Self-Esteem you hold for yourself?

If you would like a deeper level of Intimacy please call me at (858) 735-1139.

The Sex Date

The Sex Date. This is not a normal Date Night where you go out to eat a big dinner and have a couple glasses of wine.  Usually, after a night like that, you come home full and just want to go to sleep.  Make a date with your partner for SEX.  Sex dates are an important part of creating spontaneity and special time with your partner so scheduling a weekly date shows that the relationship is important.

When the date night arrives know that you will have some type of Sexual Contact, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment. Sometimes arousal comes before desire….don’t wait for the desire to hit.  You are creating the environment where desire can flourish once it is aroused.  Sexual contact can mean a lot of different things.  Laying naked together, soft touching, massage, or pleasure through touching your own body while your partner watches are all erotic connections.

Leading up to the date make sure you put effort into preparing for your special night. Starting about four days prior to the Sex Date use small acts to help create anticipation for the big night.  For example, show your partner physical affection at least three times the first day.  Attempt to connect on the second day by whispering in your partner’s ear the things you want to do to him or her on your Sex date.

On the third day bring home a surprise like a card or small gift you can use for the date.  The fourth day is the important day so create an atmosphere in the bedroom that will remind both of you that this is a sacred and erotic space for you to play safely in together. Light candles, put fresh flowers by the bed, put soft sheets and blankets on the bed. Make extra effort to pick music your partner will like.

When the big night finally arrives keep your expectations open and reasonable.  If the evening goes well then wonderful.  If it doesn’t live up to your expectations, remember that this night can be anything that works for you and makes you feel connected to one another.  Massage, communication, and sharing fantasies can make this an important night of Sensual Pleasures.

In Couples Counseling I help Couples with specific exercises in preparing for their Sex Date nights utilizing techniques and putting systems into place.  As a Marriage Counselor, I have found that incorporating Sex Dates in Couples Therapy help the Couples I work with rekindle their desire for one another.  For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139.