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.

Valentine’s Day For The New Relationship

Valentine’s Day For The New Relationship.  As a Couples Counselor in private practice for over 20 years I’ve helped many relationships during this romantic yet somewhat highly commercialized day of expectations for what to do on Valentine’s Day.  Even when you’ve been in a long term relationship preparing for the day can be challenging.  What more when you’ve only been dating your new love interest for a short period of time?  What do you do?

Valentine’s Day For The New Relationship

I remember when I was newly married and my then husband sent me a beautiful bouquet of red roses.  My entire office thought I was a princess.  I shared that with him and he thought I was a little embarrassed about all the attention and the following year I didn’t receive the bouquet.  Needless to say I was disappointed and angry.  The years we were married he was quite the romantic and did shower me with flowers and chocolates.  But, what if you were dating your new love interest for a short period of time, say a few weeks?  What would be the appropriate thing to do on such an occasion?

New relationships can be wonderful but you don’t want to rush into anything that can put pressure on it make people feel uncomfortable.  Here are some suggestions for a Valentine’s Day for a new relationship:

  • Have a dialogue with your partner of what you want to do for that day.
  • Make a plan based on what the two of you agree on.
  • Keep it simple.
  • If you decide to give a gift – suggestion: give your favorite book or movie; bake something
  • If you decide to give a card – suggestion: give a cute rather than romantic card
  • If you go the Classic route – suggestion: flowers, candy, wine, champagne.
  • If you want to plan an event – suggestion: go out to dinner (maybe another day outside of Valentine’s Day as restaurants are crowded and high priced that night), cook dinner, grab drinks, coffee, picnic, Theme Park. 

Remember Valentine’s Day is only special because the culture acknowledges it to be, but it’s really just one day out of the year. Don’t worry about it too much if your relationship is new. If it’s meant to last, you’ll have many Valentine’s Days ahead to celebrate your feelings for one another, though you can also celebrate it every day you spend together.

For more information on how to nurture your relationship please contact 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.

Overcoming Codependency – Stop Being A Chameleon

Overcoming Codependency – Stop Being A Chameleon.  Just Be Yourself.  Some don’t know how to do that. Do you find yourself constantly trying to please other people? Do you seek their approval? Do you like the label people pleaser? Do you know that most people pleasers are not happy people.  Being a people pleaser can be exhausting and they can become a resentful and angry person.  Most of us were raised not to be selfish and help those in need.  That’s a good thing if you’re able to place appropriate boundaries and set good limits in order to do so.  Some people don’t know the difference between being helpful and being Codependent.

A working definition of Codependency is an “Underdeveloped self esteem (dysfunctional boundaries) combined with an inappropriate caring for others (invading a boundary), and an inappropriate reliance on another’s response (having poor boundaries), in a negatively reinforcing loop”. In “Codependency for Dummies” Darlene Lancer defines it as someone “who can’t function from his or her innate self, and instead, organizes thinking and behavior around a substance, process, or other person(s),” thus all addicts are included.  Codependents are caring people, and there is nothing wrong with nurturing; we are meant to be interdependent.  Just a little self-examination, and redirection, may have you on a more fulfilling path.

Some symptoms of Codependency include:

  • Overfunctioning or doing more than your fair share
  • Having bad thoughts about yourself
  • Tolerating bad behavior to avoid being alone
  • Taking responsibility for other people’s bad behavior
  • Becoming upset when people don’t take your advice
  • Getting caught up in other people’s drama
  • Putting yourself down so as to bring someone up
  • Feeling of not being good enough
  • Having an addict, abuser or narcissist in your life
  • Approval seeking, or people pleasing
  • Fear of being alone or abandoned
  • Feeling selfish, or guilty for not meeting the needs of others
  • Saying “yes” when you really mean “no”

Codependency often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others.  When you lose your Sense of Self because you are doing too much for others you become an angry person who may present with Depressed symptoms not to mention physical ailments.  It is recommended to talk to someone who can help sort out what is healthy behavior in a relationship and what is Codependency.  In Couples Counseling or Marriage Counseling I refer to individuals who experience some Codependent symptoms as Cameleons because they tend to become whoever it is they are in the present company of.  They tend to overfunction and take on too much responsibility for others in their life becoming resentful and angry people as those people tend to underfunction making life for the Codependent exhausting and frustrating.  I always thought Chameleons change color in response to their environment. However, after doing some research it seems they change color based on temperature, light intensity, and mood.  In the same respect Codependents can appear like Chameleons in that they change to accommodate who they are with rather than just be who they are

If you are experiencing unhappy feelings in most of your relationships you may be exercising some codependent behaviors. Treatment for codependency will enlighten you on how to give and live well, without guilt or fear. In counseling you learn much more than just saying “no” to others. You’ll learn how to say “yes” to yourself independently and interdependently to develop healthy relationships.

For more information about how to start concentrating on yourself and getting your own needs met so you can have more appropriate relationships, please contact me at (858) 735-1139.