The New Year And Your Relationship

The New Year And Your Relationship. Another year come and gone. What are your expectations about 2022? There are still uncertainties about the pandemic. The way I see it COVID-19 is still not being managed effectively. Our new normal seems to include feelings of paranoia, fear, confusion and anxiety. The way we behave has changed as we continue to social distance and wear masks. These types of physical boundaries may have psychological long term results. If you’ve had COVID there are the residual long term physical health concerns that “long haulers” are managing.

The New Year And Your Relationship

When the vaccine became available people received their two inoculations. Many, like myself believed this would keep us safe from getting the virus. Then the boaster became available and like many, I believed we would be extra safe. I contracted COVID after both doses. I, like many others, became less diligent about following the CDC’s best practices for protection. Wash hands, use sanitizer, stay six feet apart, and wear a mask. Even with testing readily available on some level this pandemic may be here to stay.

Happy Me Happy We

As a marriage counselor working with couples dealing with issues of infidelity (affair recovery), neurodiversity (Asperger marriage), and relationship discord, I know they just want to be happy and content. With the uncertainties of life it’s important to know what you want so you know what your relationship needs. Happy Me Happy We was launched during the pandemic and is still a best seller helping individuals do just that.

Relationships in the time of coronavirus is an opportunity to think about what you want in life moving forward. If the last couple years have been unhappy due to 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 says she feels lonely in her relationship. She also said she’s taking this time to reassess her marriage as status quo is no longer working or wanted.

Life is too short to remain in a relationship that isn’t working for you. I help people who ask the question…”Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” Through my counseling process I help couples look at and choose from three options. 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 is something you know you want to do please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website

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




Not Every Marriage Counselor Is The Same

Not Every Marriage Counselor Is The Same. Sarah Ruggera, M.A., LMFT Helping People Who Ask The Question….”Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” Sarah is a licensed marriage and family therapist working with individuals, couples and families. She specializes in Affair Recovery and Neurodiverse Couples. Her expertise includes psychotherapy and coaching to help people in the decision making process. Important decisions should never be made impulsively or haphazardly. Sarah Ruggera helps her clients make informed thoughtful decisions.

Not Every Marriage Counselor Is The Same
Sarah Ruggera, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Not every Marriage Counselor is the same. She is different because she offers extended sessions that include her 3-hour Couples Intensive. Designed to create dramatic and long lasting shifts in your relationship where you acquire valuable tools needed to move forward. In this one session counseling venue couples will learn to make implicit assumptions and agreements explicit so that each partner knows exactly what is expected from one another. Couples intensives are designed for those who can’t attend weekly sessions, have childcare challenges, and busy schedules receiving results sooner rather than later. Talk to Sarah Ruggera to find out if her work can get you what you want out of your relationship.

As a marriage and Family Therapist and Affair Recovery Specialist, she has helped over two thousand couples answer the question, “Should I stay or should I go?” A results-oriented therapist, Sarah puts strategies in place and focuses on innovative and hands-on tools for effective communication and personal relating. Every couple is different with their own set of circumstances so there is no “one size fits all” approach. Sarah develops moving forward plans based on what each partner wants from one another to move forward. She develops a system in which to implement the acquired tools for meeting the couples’ objectives.

You can have a healthy, happy relationship. It starts with taking charge of your own thoughts and actions, learning 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.

Sarah’s book “Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In A Relationship” helps her clients get grounded enough to know their part in any relationship conflict so there is no finger pointing but end results that work for both.

Call her at (858) 735-1139 or visit her website

Rated Top Three Best Rated Marriage Counselors since 2018.



Gold Digger

Gold Digger. I’m not talking about gold diggers from the California Gold Rush. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase commented upon some women, men, too, but this article is focusing on women, “she’s a gold digger,” a person whose romantic pursuit of, relationship with, or marriage to a wealthy person is primarily or solely motivated by a desire for money. I find this phrase insulting when the woman in question happens to have her own resources. Meaning she makes a good living for herself. In my opinion, this phrase isn’t so reactive from men as it is for women. I believe men who say this about their women do so to place their insecure selves in a “one up” position. I also believe if a woman is with a man who continues to position himself in a “one up” position should carefully examine why she’s with him to begin with. But to say she’s a gold digger is surpassing any boundaries of good intent. And when confronted with this derogatory term, if any behavior exercised other than remorse and regret, I wouldn’t waste any time defending this form of domestic violence.

Materialistic Woman and Gold Digger Lady Concept

Abuse isn’t always physical. Domestic violence aka Intimate Partner violence has been widely known to include physical, emotional and sexual. Whatever form of abuse often follows an escalating pattern where the controlling behaviors worsen over time. What’s scary is the abusive partner may use oppression systems already set in our society to assert their bad behavior against the other person. These perpetrators of domestic violence are highly intelligent individuals who scare their victims into situations that are highly conflictual and dangerous resulting in Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD), a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. As domestic violence is ongoing and tends to escalate PTSD is what keeps victims in this toxic cycle. No one wants to remain in an abusive relationship. Victims feel shame and a sense of helplessness because they stay in a situation they know is beyond bad.

Teasing name calling or “put downs” also place a women in a “one down” position. When being criticized for what you say or do is also abuse. Having to live in the perpetrator’s reality is also abuse as their reality is typically that of “one up” and “one down.” Common sense would dictate leaving such a relationship but again due to the subtle and ongoing trauma that keeps you in a “one down” position PTSD keeps them stuck in the cycle of abuse. I work with highly intelligent well read women who hold post doctorate degrees who are absolutely disappointed with their lack of being able to leave these toxic relationships.

In Alyce LaViolette’s bestseller, “It Could Happen To Anyone: Why Battered Women Stay” states just that. All women not matter race, age, socio-economic level, or education level, are at risk of entering the cycle of abuse. By developing a greater sense of self you prevent yourself from that possibility and developing a support system where resources lead you to that exit.

So the next time someone tells you or you hear the term gold digger directed at an innocent victim, speak up and correct the slight. Domestic abuse is nothing to laugh about.

Call me at (858) 735-1139 for more information.



When To Become Engaged

When To Become Engaged. When is the right time to get engaged? After dating one year, two years, three? In reality it could be after a few months or even decades. Male and females have different perspectives about marriage. Research indicates men benefit from marriage more than females. So why do some men hesitate moving forward? As much as getting engaged is exciting it can be very scary for men because life as they know it is about to change. Young men associate marriage with increased responsibilities and with a greater possibility of financial loss. Men begin to see themselves as fathers, providers, and protectors when they transition into marriage. But change is the biggest factor.

Some couples get engaged prematurely and neglect getting premarital counseling. These couples also tend to marry for the wrong reasons. Some young adults get married because their peers are getting married. Other reasons can include pressure from family, timing, desire for children, etc. I’m working with a 32 year old female, Gloria, who now lives with her boyfriend, Greg, 33 years old, of two years. They have been on and off but want to make a go of moving forward where marriage is in their future. Gloria broke it off months ago as she claimed Greg had some behavioral issues she wanted adjusted. They have acquired tools to become more communicative, however, Gloria still has issues with Greg. We work through the issues in couples counseling. Greg has tried to demonstrate his ability to make the changes requested but Gloria still complains about outstanding issues.

One outstanding issue is the topic of when they are going to get engaged. She states she is not getting any younger and most of her girlfriends are getting married. She doesn’t expect to get married right away but would like to be engaged. Some young women get wrapped up in the whole “happily ever after” fantasy where they get their ring, wedding, and prince charming. They tend to think after marriage all their issues will be less stressful. In reality, if issues are not resolved they become worse after marriage.

When asked how long a couple should date before getting engaged, I say it all depends. It’s appropriate to get engaged when:

  • Both partners have a healthy sense of self
  • The female maintains her sense of self
  • They are no longer in the Honeymoon Stage of their relationship
  • Both partners allow time to know each other in good situations and challenging ones
  • Both partners can demonstrate identifying and exercising appropriate behavior
  • Both can demonstrate effective communication and problem solving skills
  • Issues are managed and resolved
  • Premarital counseling has been completed

Society and family could put a lot of pressure on getting engaged and marrying. If it’s not your choice to do so then don’t rush it. Getting engaged is an important decision. Make sure you move forward for the right reasons so there are not regrets. If your partner is the one pressuring you, perhaps that person isn’t the right partner. Getting married because you want a ring and a wedding is definitely a red flag for any man or woman. A substantial woman makes for a grounded wife. A grounded wife makes for a very good mother. A man making the decision to propose is his choice. When the choice is his the outcome for a harmonious life is in the future.

Call me for more information about your relationship and where’s its headed at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website at



Will Cheaters Cheat Again?

Will Cheaters Cheat Again? This is a difficult question to answer because everyone is different with their own set of circumstances leading to infidelity. Whenever I’m asked that question I say, “it depends.” In affair recovery the single best indicator of success is the Affair Partner’s (cheater) ability to show insight about why he/she cheated and articulate why he/she will not cheat again. While the Hurt Partner (typically wife) manages her emotions appropriately through the affair recovery process as it’s a roller coaster of a ride with good days and bad. In working with couples for over 25 years, I find the success rate for good prognosis is where both partners are committed to developing a new healthy relationship where they are able to put the affair behind them but manage the underlying symptoms that lead to it.

Will Cheaters Cheat Again?

Insight allows you to engage in heartfelt reflection. Insight helps you understand what’s going on in your relationship at any given time, whether you’re in conflict or things are going well. It gives you a strong understanding of what’s going on with you and how that contributes to the state of your relationship in general. Insight means you realize what you could be contributing, what your perspective is, and most important, how you feel about that. When you trust your ability to process information (understand what’s going on), you can learn to say the things that you need to say, despite the possible ramifications.

Information gathering is an important tool in every relationship. The best way for you to gather information is through understanding what you are thinking and feeling and whatever you are trying to process. When you take in information, your brain processes it and provides introspection into what you know and how you feel. It takes the information you’ve gathered and digests it in a thoughtful, rather than a half-witted, way. Insight is the ability to gather information, and finally be able to articulate what that gathered information means to you.

Will Cheaters Cheat Again?

In the case of Sam, 42 and Sandy 41. They have been married 25 years with two children. Sam was discovered having an affair with his office mate and is remorseful. Sandy doesn’t want to divorce as they have two young children and spent the better part of life building a life together. She is understandably hurt and confused. She has lost all trust and is not confident she can regain Sam’s trust ever again.

Sam is asked a set a questions about his affair where it is important to get meaning and motive rather than detective details about it. Sam believes he strayed away from his marriage because he like the attention he received from this office mate. He also shares as a young boy his parents never had time for him as they were busy running their family restaurant. He remembers receiving attention from his nanny and felt close to her. He said he knew his parents loved him but the neglected paying him the attention he now knows he not only wanted, but needed.

Will Cheaters Cheat Again?

Sam and Sandy grew up together and she apparently gave him the attention he longed for. As they both were each other’s first love and became consumed with the details of life, work, children, etc. They placed more attention on the day-to-day details of life than with each other. Sandy received a lot of attention from her children as she was the primary caretaker. Both worked and with motherhood, Sandy admits the relationships needs were neglected.

In affair recovery we acknowledge Sam’ office mate was a third party entity that enabled Sam to feel a feeling. That feeling was feeling wanted and validated. His shame and guilt along with his insight about why he stepped out of the marriage and why he will not in the future is a big first step in the affair recovery process. Of course, they have acquired tools to be able to initiate conversation, share thought and feelings, and ask for what is needed and wanted.

As Sam continues to gather information about why he made this bad decision, both are learning how to show each other empathy and become more vulnerable so they can talk about anything, despite the discomfort of hard topics.

For more information contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website

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