Affairs Can Keep You In Your Marriage

Affairs Can Keep You In Your Marriage. I know, this sounds strange, and even evil to some people. There are so many reasons for starting an affair. People don’t start affairs because they hate their partners. In fact, individuals in affairs still love their husband or wife. Being in a long-term marriage, especially if you married quite young, can be a challenge when it comes to keeping the relationship alive and exciting. As a Marriage Counselor, specializing in Affair Recovery, I believe all needs cannot be met by one person within a relationship. I understand when a commitment to be monogamous has been made it is important to keep that promise. Most wedding vows include the monogamy piece about being faithful to each other above all others. I believe monogamy is a choice and is taken seriously.  Long-term marriages can become challenging in sustaining that feeling we all want. To feel alive, be noticed, validated, seen and heard.

 

Affairs Can Keep You In Your Marriage

I am working with a woman who has been married for 15 years with two children ages 17 and 13. She immigrated to this Country to provide a better life for her children. She claims her husband is a very good man but does not have intimate feelings for him. She has been a good wife and mother, and contributes to the household financially with her job. She turned 41 last year and wants a life that is more fulfilling. She believes she married her husband because her family thought they’d make a good fit. He is a good provider and is fine with decisions she makes within the household. Sounds like a dream, right? Not if you’re not happy with the decisions you’ve made because of family/peer pressure.

She wants to allow herself to feel the emotional intimacy that intimate couples feel. She found just that with a co-worker she’s known for several years. They began as mentor and mentee. She was a naive woman new to America. This man was more experienced and knowledgeable with work and the American culture. She was fond of him and appreciated his attention. She was drawn to him because he made her feel alive and desired. Her husband is a complacent man. She states he has little ambition and is content with where they are in their marriage. The marriage consist of taking care of household responsibilities and care for their children. She does not want a divorce and says she will never ask for one. She feels guilty, but at the same time wants to honor her feelings. She’s in a struggle between what she should do and what she wants.

This woman is developing a sense of self.  Individuating and differentiating from the family that raised her into a person who has wants of their own. Counseling is a space to share her thoughts and feelings and continue to get the insight needed to make the right decision for herself. There is no judgement or criticism in counseling just a venue to ponder thoughts and get some guidance.

She doesn’t know where this road will lead her. But for now she feels grounded with how she feels. She is taking the time to understand herself and what she needs to move forward. Life isn’t easy and when you’ve entered into a relationship that isn’t working it makes life even more difficult.

If you need to talk to someone counseling is a safe place to share those conversations. Please contact me at (858) 735-1139 or visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com

 

 

Mother’s Day As A Single Mom

Mother’s Day As A Single Mom. As I was the one who asked my husband for a divorce I became a single mom in 1991 raising a three year old and starting a Master’s program in Counseling Psychology. Divorce is never a happy experience. Even when you’re the one who wanted the divorce. There were mixed emotions for me when deriving at that decision. Included in mine were feelings of love for my “ex” as a person and father of my child, but not “in love” feelings, guilt for breaking up the family, and fear as I was becoming a single parent. In my family there was a degree of shame that came along with my decision.  My parents couldn’t even tell extended family members I was divorced for two years.  When we were at family parties when asked where was my husband they would respond “oh, he’s working.”  Of course I felt terrible and brushed it off as that was their problem and tried to not make it mine.

Mother’s Day As A Single Mom

Mother’s Day As A Single Mom. During this period of my life I had to adjust to doing “life” without anyone taking care of me anymore. My father was the first person to step in that role then my husband. Although I was viewed as quite an independent and strong person I felt scared to be on my own and with a with a 3 year-old daughter to boot. The first time I pumped gas into my car as a single mom I felt so liberated and free. I was pampered for most of my life and small things like getting my car washed, oil changes, and gas filled were primarily the job of the men in my life. I exercised learned helplessness in those days and I don’t recommend it. It debilitating and made me feel bad about myself. I was an angry person in those days as I knew there was something I wanted and needed to do but was so busy getting other people’s needs met I neglected ME. In my book, Happy Me Happy We: Six Steps To Know Yourself So You Know What You Want In a Relationship. I share my story of individuating and differentiating, learning to become the individual I was to become and becoming more different from the family that raised me and all relationships.

So during the next 7 years of my single mom life I got to work. Let me share with you now it wasn’t easy but definitely worth the journey. My daughter who is 32 years old has given me the gift of feedback that validates my efforts in making our lives work for the better. The process was one that I encourage anyone to take who believes they want more from their relationship to validate your own beliefs about how you want to live your life and role model for your children what that looks like.

For more information about needing to make changes in your life or adjust what’s not currently working please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

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.

 

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