What Phase In Marriage Is Infidelity At High Risk?

What Phase In Marriage Is Infidelity At High Risk? Seems it doesn’t matter if it’s been two, four, or seven years; more studies are finding that whatever year mile marker you’re in can place their toll on a marriage. Whatever recent statistic you choose to accept couples tend to head for divorce after certain periods of their married life. Whether it’s after the two year mark, the four or five year mark, or that infamous 7-year mark – more than double the number are divorced after they meet their relationship peak for whatever their reasons. This period of time is comically referred to as the “seven-year itch.”  There are Four Phases couples go through in relationships.  There is the Honeymoon Stage, the Conflict Stage, the Stability Stage and the Commitment Stage.

What Phase In Marriage Is Infidelity At High Risk?

Remaining in a committed relationship can be incredibly fulfilling and incredibly difficult, even for the healthiest couples. Our definitions of “love” and what it means to be in a satisfying relationship also weighs heavily on our ability to weather the difficult and disconnected times that can actually be a bridge to even deeper levels of intimacy.

People often confuse the rush of excitement and infatuation that characterizes the start of a relationship with true love. They are then disappointed when this rush fades and they encounter serious challenges in the relationship. These challenges, though, can be a doorway into deeper and more satisfying phases of the relationship. Here are the 3 phases of marriage (which build on each other), that emerged during Dr. John Gottman’s research:

1.  The Honeymoon Stage is where you feel the most in love.  For most couples, the beginning of a relationship is the easiest.  Some say it’s like a drug addiction.  This is where you feel the most chemistry. You seem to be on the same page about most issues. Getting along is almost effortless. Some couples describe this as a merging of two people.  The Honeymoon phase typically last about eighteen months to 2 years.  Part of the thrill of falling in love is due to the fact that you see only the best in your partner.

2.  The Conflict Stage – As time goes on, each partner realizes that everything really isn’t perfect. This is the Conflict Stage where power struggles emerge.  It is typically around the 3rd or 4th year as each look at their differences and respond to them where they either predict a happy relationship or continuing struggles. This is the stage where most couples break up or survive.

This is where Couples Counseling comes in.  Marital discord peaks around the 4th year and then starts to taper off.  This period of time may be a combination of dwindling sexual chemistry and adjusting to each other’s idiosyncrasies.  The early years of marriage are when you replace the illusions with reality.  The “good behavior” put on at the beginning of the relationship is now normalized by being “just you” which could include being messy, displaying short temper, and not being as romantic as before.

3.  The Stability Stage is when conflict resolution and coping skills are learned and both have clear boundaries about each other.  The relationship is more balanced and both partner’s are usually getting their needs met and are fairly happy.

4.  The Commitment Stage is where the couple chooses each other consciously deciding they want a future together and whether have children by co-creating or blending families from previous relationships and making a stronger commitment for longevity in their union.

As couples move through these phases over years and decades, life happens. As wonderful as it is to have children, most couples experience a sharp decline in their marital satisfaction during that time. If we live long enough, we’ll lose jobs, face significant set-backs, and dear friends and family will pass on. Our partners will inevitably disappoint and hurt us.

The marker of a good marriage isn’t whether or not the dark times will come (they most certainly will), it’s whether or not the dark times will permanently damage the relationship or whether they’re used to eventually create an even deeper level of commitment, intimacy, and sense of shared purpose.

For more information on prevention and affair recovery contact me at (858) 735-1139.

 

When Are People Most Likely To Cheat?

When Are People Most Likely To Cheat? There appears to be a rise in infidelity with social media and a plethora of dating/hookup sites available at a click of a switch or a swipe of a hand.  Men and women cheat for many different reasons. Some men are looking for friendships in affairs while some women are looking for affection and vice versa.  As a Marriage Counselor and Affair Recovery Specialist, I’ve come to believe people cheat because sometimes it’s just easier to be different with a different person.  There are many facets of our selves. Infidelity keeps some of those facets alive when others have become numb. There are signs that indicate whether or not a partner is cheating. We often associate summer with flings and fun, but new data shows it’s also the season for something a little more sinister, like the most popular time for cheating.

When Are People Most Likely To Cheat?

When Are People Most Likely To Cheat? Time of year is one sign.  According to Daniel Kruger, evolutionary psychologist, there is a surge in cheating during the summer months as warmer weather enables people to socialize more.  With more exposure to the sun there is an increased level of serotonin where people feel happier.

With sun exposure during those summer months people tend to feel more confident making it easier to kick start the decision to start an affair, allowing them to feel better about their decision. Dr. Kruger states, “increased chances to be unfaithful” during summer months enables the rise of affairs to the fact that people are generally more social in warmer weather.

Travelling makes for possible high risk to cheat.  Being away from your partner makes for convenience and access to having an affair.  Business trips can be stressful and finding a partner for a one night stand is not unusual.

Disharmony within the primary relationship can make infidelity more of a reality than a fantasy.  When couples don’t feel emotionally or physically connected a third person can become a substitute for that loss.

Many people cheat so they can remain in their relationship/marriage.  The reasoning being they want to keep their family together.  Not all people who engage in affairs are disgruntled in their relationship.  Some people just want to feel something different or manage a non physical or emotional disconnect.

For information about when people are more likely to cheat  contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Are You Seen and Heard?

Are You Seen and Heard? Everyone wants to be loved. To feel significant. To be seen. When those needs aren’t met, we end up in power struggles without even realizing it. We feel cut off and don’t have the intimacy we used to have. We can’t come to a happy concensus, because we don’t know what we want. Even if we do, we don’t know how to get it in a healthy, honest way.

Are You Seen and Heard?

There are no college classes on relationships. No one teaches us conflict resolution. When problems come up, we feel angry, disappointed, and overwhelmed. Of course we wind up frustrated and resentful. Disappointed, we keep rehashing the same problem with no relief. We end up stuck in a loop. Crushed that someone who used to be so important to us no longer feels that way, we wall ourselves off. We try to make sure we can never get hurt again. That emotional disconnect grows worse and worse, and the pattern starts all over again.

Are You Seen and Heard?

How many of these statements describe your disappointment with your relationship?

  • Conflict resolution is hard for me. I don’t know how to talk to people.
  • I have thought, heard, or said, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.”
  • I feel cut off from my partner. I even feel disdain for my partner, and it affects the intimacy in our relationship.
  • I feel angry, frustrated, disappointed, overwhelmed, and resentful.
  • I’m frustrated with the state of our relationship, and I’m deciding whether to stay or go.

  • I’m upset about not being heard. My partner doesn’t listen, and we no longer come to a happy consensus when we disagree.
  • My partner and I fight a lot. This creates immature or acting-out behavior.
  • I keep going over the same problem without my relief. I’m stuck in a loop, and I don’t know how to break it.
  • My perspectives are never validated or understood. I don’t feel I can speak up and share my opinion.
  • I have an idealized version of what a relationship should look like, and when it doesn’t meet that vision, I’m disappointed and upset.
  • I’m sad because my needs aren’t being met.
  • The person who was once the most important person in my world doesn’t act like we still share the bond. I don’t feel important anymore. There’s an emotional disconnect.

There are common problems in relationships, and they can feel insurmountable. But they’re not. The pattern can be broken.

It’s time to get back to yourself, to remember who you are–who your intuition, insight, and choices want you to be. It’s time to get back to me. When you know yourself, your me, you know what you want–and how to get it. My book “Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship” shows you just how to do that.

Please contact me for more information at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

Is Couples Therapy Worth It?

Is Couples Therapy Worth It? Is couples therapy worth the cost?

When couples get engaged the last thing they want to do is spend money on couples counseling. Why? Reasons include:

  • They want to save the money for the wedding
  • We don’t believe we need any premarital counseling because we get along just fine – which could be code for: On still a deeper psychological level, the prospect (or anticipation) of being in couples therapy may induce (influence, cause, or bring about) one or both of the partners’ (largely unconscious) fears of intimacy and closeness
  • Partly in denial about not being made for each other
  • They don’t see view counseling/therapy as offering sufficient value to them
  • They were brought up to believe that you solve your problems on your own — without the help of a third party — especially one you have to pay a fee to
  • They previously have seen a clergy person, coach, or another human services professional not specifically trained or experienced in conducting couples therapy
  • They may be afraid of, or not be ready to face the unpleasant (or even devastating) “emotional reality” that their relationship can’t or won’t work out
  • They may have heard about someone else, or others, who saw a professional couple therapist but didn’t have a particularly good, positive, or successful experience or outcome
  • They have negative expectations of what the therapist might say and recommend to them. They may anticipate judgment, criticism, blaming, shaming, ridiculing, and/ or scolding, etc.
  • Financial considerations sometimes play a major part
  • They’re cheap

Is Couples Therapy Worth It?

As a Marriage Counselor, most couples fall in the category of believing they didn’t need counseling and/or are cheap. Money is a valuable commodity and most of us learned at a young age that money can place value on things. Ex. people, items, services, etc. Just like at the reading of a Will. If you receive something, typically money, you’re valued on some level from the person leaving you an inheritance. If you don’t get “jack” you typically feel unvalued and it really hurts.

Your relationship is a worthwhile investment; it has incredible potential to grow and enhance your life. With that said, many couples, understandably, struggle with whether or not therapy is worth the cost. Here are some points to consider related to this question:

  • The immediate cost of divorce (e.g., attorney fees) averages $12,000-$15,000, not to mention the ongoing expenses of maintaining separate households.
  • Couples in troubled marriages are significantly more likely to have compromised immune systems, elevated stress hormone levels, and other markers of early mortality (Robles & Kiecolt-Glaser, 2003). Yes! A bad relationship can actually shorten your life.
  • Creating as healthy a marriage as possible can have intergenerational effects, as children witness and experience the effects of a healthy relationship.
  •  The average wedding costs about $23,000.  Personally, my daughter’s wedding cost over $80,000.
  • An investment in preventing divorce and setting as good a trajectory for a marriage as possible is also a worthy investment.
  • The vast majority of couples (around 75%) experience significant improvement in their relationship when the therapist is able to help with creating effective communication, teaching how to show empathy, share thoughts and feelings, and being able to ask for what you need and want.

In short, the vast majority of people receive a significant return on their couples therapy investment. I believe that competent, quality therapy is a great investment in significantly moving towards greater happiness, satisfaction, and joy in life. It enhances both the couple and each person as an individual – often in many ways that one might not have anticipated or predicted initially. Couples therapy is a challenging yet exciting journey of psychological and emotional growth and development.

Is Couples Therapy Worth It? So to answer the question…yes couples therapy is absolutely worth it. At the very least it helps answer the question….”Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” because the process helps make an informed decision where there are no regrets.

For more information on Couples Therapy and how to get started contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

“From early childhood, people with Asperger’s syndrome are less likely to recognize and understand thoughts, beliefs, desires and intentions of other people in order to make sense of their behavior,” writes Tony Attwood. My husband is happy to do any job which needs doing. He runs errands, does household chores, repairs anything broken, assists our children or dog after an accident or brief illness. But when I slipped during a hike and fell to the ground and scrapped my knee, all he did was look at me and said, “you’d better get an alcohol wipe and band aid up that cut.” He made no attempt to comfort or help me.” I thought he was insensitive because if he was the one who got hurt I’d be showing him some empathy saying, “that scrape looked like it hurt.” There’s another time our dog got bit by a rattlesnake and the Vet said he might not make it. I cried like a baby in the examining room. My husband just sat there and looked at me. Didn’t come toward me to comfort me. I vividly remember shaking and hyperventilating I was crying so hard. Thank goodness my dog made it, but that was a most disturbing memory. He showed he cared by paying the $5,000 hospital bill. Again, as generous as that was, I could have used a hug and a kiss.  Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married.

Tips to help stay married to an Asperger husband:

  • Pursue a diagnosis; even if the diagnosis is not formal
  • Understand how AS impacts the individual
  • Manage depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Self-exploration and self-awareness
  • Create a Relationship Schedule
  • Meet each other’s sexual needs
  • Bridge parallel play
  • Cope with sensory overload and meltdowns
  • Expand Theory of Mind – limited ability to “read” another person’s thoughts, feelings, or intentions
  • Improve communication
  • Manage expectations and suspending judgment
  • Co-parenting strategies;

Asperger Husband – Tips To Stay Married

A skilled counselor, can help implement the suggested tips to able to gain awareness of the AS and NT’s own individual patterns of behavior, and learn how they can make both attitudinal and behavioral adjustments to become more relational with one another. A counselor can also facilitate conversations, and help both partners learn to be more relational. With acquiring tools for better communication, implementing a process utilizing the tools, and putting a system in place the couple will be able to connect emotionally, and problem-solve around sensory integration issues, meltdowns, and co-morbid conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Being in a neurodiverse relationship myself, I know first hand how difficult it can be to get the life you want given the situation at hand. Nothing changes if nothing changes. With any challenge if changes aren’t made to adjust and manage them there is poor prognosis for a long and happy life together.

For more information on managing your neurodiverse relationship, understanding Asperger’s and how it plays out in a relationship, or managing Cassandra Syndrome please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or go to my website at CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com