No “We” Without “Me”

No We Without Me. There Is No We Without Me. There are  many people out there who grow up thinking they need to find someone to partner up with sooner rather than later. I came across my 6th grade autograph book. As I would be entering middle school the following year, the main message from my classmates, female and male friends was “hope you find a boyfriend” next year. Of course, there were other messages that included, “you are such a nice person,” etc. But I do recall the main focus of our desires back then was to get a boyfriend. Almost as if it were some kind of status. If you had one, you were cool, if you didn’t, something must be wrong with you.  How absurd! Can you imagine what kind of pressure that puts on a person? Not to mention taking up so much thinking space from your brain.

No “We” Without “Me”

Becoming the person you are to become doesn’t start off with, “who do I partner up with so I can feel whole?” Developing a sense of self is the key to individuating and differentiating. Becoming the individual you are to be and becoming more different from the family that raised you and all relationships you are a part of is what enables interdependence with a relationship. Being an autonomous person within a relationship is what makes marriages work. 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

A healthy and happy relationship starts with taking charge or your own thoughts and actions, and learning how 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.

No “We” Without “Me” Growing up I followed the”rules” for a happy life. When I grew up I discovered there ought not to be “rules.” There is no one size fits all for finding happiness. Concentrating on self is a key part of actually growing up. Not just chronologically (physical age) but emotionally (psychological age). Understanding what it is you want for yourself, really helps in finding and maintaining a relationship that works for you. In my book, Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In a Relationship I take you through easy steps to do just that.

If you are able to understand who you are and what you want, not what others want for you, you are on the right road to finding your happiness. Your happiness will be different from my happiness. When I ask my clients what they want, most say they don’t know. They tend to want what other people want to please and be liked. People-pleasers are the most resentful and frustrated people I know. The negative energy (anger) affects all their relationships and they wonder why they are not happy. Being your true self will open the doors to what happiness will look like for you.

For more information on how to do that contact me at (858) 735-1139 or through my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Life Expectancy Of Extramarital Affairs

Life Expectancy Of Extramarital Affairs. Finding out your partner has cheated on you is probably the most devastating piece of news you’ll ever hear. Whether you discovered the affair or it was disclosed to you it hurts like hell. The pain we experience feels like an attack on our body. It’s almost surprising just how much it can hurt. Your first response may be shock which then turns into panic. Of course, you’ll feel anger, but anger is secondary to the range of emotions you’ll be experiencing. Feelings of hurt, disappointed, sadness, and betrayal are typically the underlying emotions to anger. Finding out about the affair either blindsides you or confirms some suspicion you’ve had for some time. Betrayal makes us feel unsafe.

Life Expectancy Of Extramarital Affairs

With infidelity, there is the affair partner (the cheater) and the hurt partner. In Affair Recovery the couple talks about whether they want to stay together or move on . Affair recovery helps determine whether saving the marriage is feasible.

How long do extra marital affair last? Extramarital affairs vary in duration. About 50% may last between one month to a year. Long term affairs may last for about 15 months or more. And about 30% of affairs last about two years and beyond.  And some can last a lifetime.

As an Affair Recovery Specialist, I work with couples whose affairs consist of a one night stand to ones that continued for more than a decade. Tools are acquired but the single most indicator in moving forward is the affair partner’s ability to articulate his/her insight about why the affair happened and why it won’t happen again, while the hurt partner appropriately manages their emotions for the long haul. Affair recovery is three steps forward and two steps backward until enough time goes by for stability.

I have successfully worked with couples on both ends of the spectrum with much success. Being able to save your relationship rests on your desire to want to. That, coupled with affair recovery with me, can make that happen.

Please contact me for an appointment at (858) 735-1139 or through my website: CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Infidelity In The Time Of Coronavirus

Infidelity In The Time Of Coronavirus. With social distancing and being semi-quarantined to our homes it’s harder than ever to physically meet up with people with whom to cheat. According to the New York Post, Ashley Madison, a dating site that encourages people to have affairs is seeing a surge in users. Some are just looking to chat with someone other than their spouse, some are seeking emotional validation or the fantasy of pursuing a secret sex life. As a Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I haven’t seen an increase in people having affairs as much as I see a constant. People who want to cheat will cheat. People have affairs for many different reasons. Men and women have affairs even if they are in happy relationships. I don’t condone this, but I don’t judge or criticize either. Affairs enable a person to feel a sense of aliveness. The newness of any new thing is exciting. And like all new things that become normalized so do those new relationships. Normalization includes whatever they were trying to escape from in their primary relationship.

Infidelity In The Time Of Coronavirus

The rise in infidelity in the time of Coronavirus makes sites like Ashley Madison attractive as it is used as a release valve for the tension that’s built up at home.

Popular pet peeves of couples engaging affairs during quarantine based on 2,047 respondents:

58% “They have not initiated any sexual intimacy

28% “They are glued to their device”

19% “They are rude, moody, and/or constantly picking fights with me”

18% “They never give me any space or time to myself”

15% “they are messy and I’m constantly cleaning up after them”

Biggest benefit of an affair during isolation:

34% It’s something to look forward to

23% It’s a great distraction

14% I have someone to talk to

13% I can maintain some normalcy

10% It keeps my libido up

Members were asked if they’re trying to spice up their sex life with their spouses while socially distancing.  76% of respondents said no. As an Affair Recovery Specialist, a remedy for couples who have difficulty with monogamy is developing a New Monogamy.  A new monogamy agreement is designed with both partners’ input.

Just like love in the time of coronavirus, infidelity in the time of coronavirus is an opportunity to think about what you want in life moving forward. If the last 9 weeks have been unhappy being isolated at home do something about it. As a Marriage Counselor, I see some couples who have become closer due to the proximity of time and space. For others, that time and space adds to their unhappiness. A woman I’m working with said her husband doesn’t interact with her at all. She said it feels lonely while being in her relationship. She also said she’s taking this time to reassess her marriage as status quo is no longer wanted.

Rather than say, “life is short, have an affair,” how about saying “live is too short to live in a relationship that isn’t working for me.” Pick either option 1 – keep status quo, option 2 – move forward with an action plan, or option 3 – move on and find another life that best suits you.

If reassessing your relationship because of infidelity is something you know you want to do please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Decide what your “new normal” is going to look like.

 

 

 

 

 

Starting The New Year With A Breakup

Starting The New Year With A Breakup.  The beginning of a new year is typically the time when couples either become engaged or separate and divorce.  As a Marriage Counselor working with couples deciding whether to stay in their relationship or leave it, January 1st is an important deadline for ending relationships.  Breaking up, separation, and divorce can be devastating.  It can also provide the opportunity for self-examination and a New Beginning.

Starting The New Year With A Breakup
There’s nothing easy about ending a relationship. Breaking up is seldom the ideal resolution to problems within relationships, but all too often is the outcome, despite our best efforts to prevent it. The person who was once your best friend and your companion for life, the one who knew you better than anyone else, has now in some ways become your enemy. You cannot believe that this has happened. How could that love have been destroyed? The breakup of a relationship is one of life’s most emotionally painful experiences. The depth of pain depends on many factors – how sensitive you are to the meaning of your life experiences, how much you have idealized the relationship, and how much you depended on your partner to make your life worthwhile.

Starting The New Year With A Breakup. A broken relationship shatters much that we have known and dreamed about. Our relationships, especially intimate relationships, help us define who we are. Our values, our views of the world, and how we define our most intimate feelings are all embodied within our love relationships. When our relationship comes to an end, our lives enter a chaotic period for which we may be unprepared. We suddenly find ourselves dealing with a host of emotions and thoughts – grieving, despair, anger, revenge and retaliation, hoping for a miracle, negotiating, feeling out of control, hoping for happiness again and not knowing how to get there, fear, and loneliness – and little of it seems to make sense.  Most of us have never acquired the tools to deal with a loss of this magnitude. When we entered the relationship, we put our energies into building a life with our partner. We put little effort into learning to be alone again. A breakup forces us to jump into an overwhelming, and often dreaded world of new experiences.

There are stages of grief that we all go through whenever we experience a loss.  During a Break-Up individuals will undergo a Grieving Process.  These are predictable stages commonly experienced by those in the process of a breakup.  They include:

Denial – Denying the truth of the breakup actually helps us postpone the pain, so denial certainly has a place in the process, at least initially. A problem occurs when we experience so much denial that we are unable to come to terms with the reality of the task before us. There comes a day when “this is not happening to me” is no longer an effective way of coping. Ending the denial stage involves a major shift in our thinking about ourselves, what our partner means to us, and where we must go from here.

Fear – Most people experiencing a breakup are forced to come to terms with a number of fears. What will people say? Whom can I trust to talk to? How can I handle my partner’s anger toward me? How do I deal with my own anger? Am I a complete failure? How can I be a single parent? What about money? Can I do the banking and buy groceries and pay bills and fix the car? Can I handle my loneliness? Am I completely unlovable? Will I ever love anyone else again? Do I have the energy for this much change? When we are dominated by our fears and feel unable to do anything about them, we increase the likelihood that these will be the very areas where we experience trouble. The best way to handle fear is to accept it, with awareness, planning, and support.

Loneliness – The loneliness a person experiences at the time of a breakup may feel overwhelming. The finality of ending the relationship, uncertainty about the future, as well as the knowledge that your partner will no longer be there to comfort you or to spend time with you, all contribute to an empty feeling that seems as if it will never away. While you were in the relationship, you defined yourself as being partnered and you felt that you always had someone there to share your experiences. And now you don’t. The clue to dealing with this is to change the feeling of loneliness to “aloneness.”  Loneliness suggests a longing to be with another person. Aloneness can be a time to observe who you are – you have the opportunity to explore your independence and challenge yourself to do things on your own. It can be a valuable time of self-exploration and self-enhancement.  Because aloneness may not last very long, or not long enough, it can be seen as a valuable opportunity.

Friendship – The breakup is a true test of just who your real friends are. It is important to draw on the emotional support of friends during this time. Unfortunately, many of your friends were those who knew you as a couple and they may have to choose between you. Those who try to stay neutral may find it difficult. Some may feel that your breakup somehow threatens their own relationships, and some friends may now find it difficult to relate to you as a single person. Not only that, but you may find it difficult to trust others during a breakup. Getting out, feeling free, trusting wisely, and opening up to others become major goals of healthy adjustment.

Grieving – It’s normal and necessary to experience a period of grieving over the end of the relationship. You may feel depressed for some time and experience changes in your energy levels, as well as your sleeping and appetite patterns. You may dwell on negative thoughts for a period of time and find it difficult to find pleasure in everyday events. If your negative thinking turns into self-destructive thoughts, you should find a  therapist who can help you through this challenging time. As unpleasant as this period of grieving may feel, comfort yourself with the knowledge that this is a temporary phase and it is how you are saying goodbye so that you can move on to a healthier and happier future.

Anger – People ending their relationships usually say that they never knew they could have so much anger. The rage seems overwhelming at times. Think about it – you have just lost one of the most important things in your life and your partner may seem like your enemy. You have a lot to be angry about. Use this opportunity to look within – explore your anger and find out how it helps and hurts you. One rule: don’t engage in any behavior you will regret as in Acting Out Behavior. Because it may be difficult to contain your anger at this time, your partner is not the appropriate target for your anger. Instead, process your anger by talking about it with a trusted friend or Counselor. Anger is helpful in the sense that it helps us end the loyalty and trust we used to feel for our partner, and this allows us to move on. Starting The New Year With A Breakup.

In Marriage Counseling I help Couples and Individuals think of the ending of their relationship as a process, which is taken one step at a time. Some of these steps are challenging. Not only do we have to confront all of the stages listed above, but we must also deal with making the final break emotionally, understand what really went wrong, learn to feel comfortable with ourselves again, see ourselves as single people, make new friends, forge new purposes and goals, and learn about trust and love again.  There’s never pressure in rushing through any of these stages as everyone grieves losses differently.  As painful as this journey may seem at first, it can lead to a life which is more satisfying as being in a relationship that isn’t working isn’t healthy. Starting The New Year With A Breakup.

You don’t have to do this alone.  For more information on the process of breaking up please contact me at (858) 735-1139

Dumped The Week Before Christmas

Dumped The Week Before Christmas. My Husband Left Me The Week Before Christmas. Talk about a hurt ego. I got married after I finished college. That was what I was supposed to do. I did the first-marriage route with all its trials and tribulations and had a beautiful daughter, which made all of it worth the journey. But unbeknownst to me at the time, I had married for the wrong reasons. My lack of a well developed sense of self made me an unhappy person. I believed my “wonderful” life was a facade for how it was “suppose” to look overlooking the feelings of my discontent. That discontent made me behave in ways that were not always appropriate, and often, unkind toward my first husband. My husband left me the week before Christmas because I was controlling and made everything into a power struggle. In December 1986 I had given my husband a 30th birthday party at one of San Diego’s finest hotels. A week later, I was blindsided, as I came home to a note on the garage door stating he was leaving me and needed space. I acted out my emotions of feeling abandoned, hurt, scared, and fear of loss of control. Dumped The Week Before Christmas.

After months of therapy and self reflection, I realized I wanted to reconcile and try to move forward taking responsibility for my part in our relationship. In winning my husband back, I thought if I identified and exercised appropriate and more loving behavior, I would have the successful marriage I wanted.

Nine years later I was divorced and in the trenches of regaining and reesestablishing the life I wanted.

Throughout that reconciliation I realized I never had the intimacy I needed for an emotional connection where I was vulnerable enough to ask for what I need and want, and share my thoughts and feelings. My “tough guy” attitude plus my husband’s narcissistic traits made for a poor prognosis for happily ever after. Happily ever after starts with a well developed sense of self.

With years of gathering information and getting the insight I needed I understand that a happy me makes for a happy we. In relationships we are individuals first. When two individuals come together they are independent in an interdependent relationship. Having a strong sense of self helps keep the boundaries in check as individual issues affect relationship issues. If the individual is happy (me), then the relationship benefits (we).

Happy Me Happy We

My book, Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In a Relationship helps individuals understand what they want and how to get it. 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. By using the six steps, you will find your me–first, before all else–so you don’t jump into finding we before you are ready. These steps empower you to understand what you need and go get it.

A healthy relationship can be yours. Bad relationships can transition into good relationships with the understanding that a Happy Me is a Happy We.

For more information please contact at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com of call at (858) 735-1139

My Husband Left Me The Week Before Christmas