4 Steps to Surviving Infidelity – What You Need to Know

affair healing hi
Crushed. Devastated. Hopeless. These are some of the emotions you may be experiencing if you have recently discovered that your partner has been having an affair.  Your world has been turned upside down. You feel like you don’t know your partner anymore. And you are desperately, desperately sad. You wonder if surviving infidelity is even possible. It is. But how? There are four broad stages you’ll need to go through. They aren’t easy. But they’re also not impossible.  Here’s what the road ahead looks like. 1. Feeling the Pain – The First Step to Affair Recovery Let’s be honest – this i...
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The Escape Room: A Message for Couples and Families

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Recently I had the great pleasure of going to an escape room for a bit of family fun. If you’re not familiar, escape rooms are a newish form of entertainment where you enter a room designed with all kinds of clues hidden around it and you are supposed to figure them all out in order to achieve a certain objective, like catching a thief, finding a stolen object, and/or escaping the actual room which you have been pretend-locked into, within a given amount of time (usually an hour). These rooms are designed to be solved in a team.  It’s a group activity, not a solo hobby or a date night idea....
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Making Your Marriage a Priority

empty nesters hi
Recently I was interviewed on the radio to discuss the question of how to prioritize your relationship with your spouse vs. your kids. You can listen to the 20-minute segment here. Here’s the spoiler: I come down firmly on the side of keeping your spouse #1 on your list. This of course doesn’t mean that you ignore your children’s needs or that you spend 100% of your time and energy on your spouse. It just means that your relationship with your spouse comes first. Many people think that “the children come first” and end up putting too little, or nothing at all, into the marital relationship....
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How to Save Your Marriage

thinking about relationships hi
Are you trying to save a marriage that’s on the rocks?  Hoping to turn things around from anger and resentment to happiness and love?  It can be done.  Most marriages can be repaired if both parties really want it – but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  You will likely have to have some difficult conversations, take a hard look at where you’ve messed up, and make real changes to the way you do things in the future.  If you want to know how to save your marriage and are up for the challenge, read on. 1. Find a marriage counselor. This may seem like a cop-out answer, but it truthfully is the...
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Is Texting Good or Bad for Your Relationship?

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Texting is a very wonderful thing.  It allows us to send quick ideas and comments to our friends and families without having to catch each other at the right time.  It’s great for adding to the shopping list at the last minute or reminding each other of an appointment.  It can add all kinds of useful benefits to our relationships.  And, of course, as with any tool, texting can be seriously misused and can be a real detractor from relationships as well.  Let’s look at some of the ups and downs of texting as they relate to your relationships.  Certainly this applies to marriages and other romant...
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Is It Okay for Married People to Watch Porn?

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No. Okay, that was a little harsh.  But hear me out.  This is not a moral discourse on the propriety of pornography in general but rather a consideration of what it does to your marriage (or other committed relationship). While some writers have waxed enthusiastic about the benefits of porn watching, common sense – to say nothing of my clinical experience – tells me that the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits.  This is true of both the folks watching it solo and those watching as a couple.  Let’s take it one at a time. (Warning: this post doesn't pull any punches - be prepared for frank la...
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Don’t Start Couples Counseling Before You Read This!

marriage counseling hi
If you are considering seeing a couples counselor/marriage therapist to address a problem in your relationship, there are a few things it’s vital for you to know before you jump in. 1. Be prepared to change Many people come in to couples therapy feeling like their spouse or partner is causing the problem.  They ask their therapist, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, to “fix” their partner.  But more often than not, both parties will have to do some changing to make a difference in the problem.  Importantly, this is often true even when one of you is objectively doing something wr...
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Are You in An Abusive Relationship?

abusive relationship hi
All relationships have ups and downs. Some seem to have more downs than others. A relationship that’s on the rocks can often be fixed with commitment on the part of both partners and with professional counseling.  However, some relationships are abusive, and these cannot be repaired until the abusive partner decides to change his or her ways. However, since abusers often bring a strong sense of entitlement to the relationship, they rarely look at themselves as doing anything wrong and therefore rarely take stock of their own views and behaviors. If you are the victim in an abusive relations...
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Couples Counseling: Not a Last Resort

need couples counseling hi
All too frequently, the couples I see in my office for marriage counseling/couples therapy are at the end of their rope.  There has been trouble in the relationship for a long time; months, years, or even decades of fighting, harsh words, and distance have seriously worn away at their bonds of love and commitment.  They might be angry, exasperated, and hopeless.  And it is in this state that they come before me asking me to help them make it work. Certainly, it can be done.  I see very few cases where the relationship is a lost cause (often this involves a pattern of abuse on the part of on...
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The Five Love Languages: Finding Your Language

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Okay, so, we’ve talked a lot about the different Love Languages. But how do you know which is yours? Below we’ll discuss a couple of ways you can try to determine which language fits you best. You and your partner can both try to figure out for yourselves, and for each other, what your love languages are and share your answers with each other. 1. It’s obvious Sometimes, one of the Languages just jumps out at you.  You read about it (see our above posts) and it really resonates with you; you know that’s YOU.  If so, consider yourself lucky, and pass the info on to your significant other so s/...
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The Five Love Languages: Physical Touch

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The last of the Five Love Languages is Physical Touch.  This one is in some ways very easy and in some ways very hard. It’s very easy because it’s pretty clear what we’re referring to when we say “physical touch.”  But it can also be very hard because for many people, it’s simply not natural. Let’s explore further. What it Looks Like As with all the other Love Languages, Physical Touch is for some way the main thing they need to feel loved.  Words are nice, gifts are delightful, but they don’t help such a person to feel truly connected and loved.  To bond with a Touch person, then, you need ...
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The Five Love Languages: Acts of Service

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The fourth of the Five Love Languages® is called Acts of Service.  For some people, actions indeed speak louder than words. Of course, just as with Words of Affirmation you can’t speak nicely while neglecting the other aspects of your relationship and expect to come out on top, so too it should be noted that if you constantly say nasty things to your partner while you do nice things for them you probably won’t get very far either. Acts of Service are things you do for your partner as opposed to things you say; they are ways to take care of that person’s needs.  You may envision providing a ...
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The Five Love Languages: Receiving Gifts

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The third Love Language is Receiving Gifts.  This one is easy to grasp, but it sometimes gets a bad rap because to some people it smacks of materialism.  In fact, a person whose Love Language is Receiving Gifts may or may not be materialistic, just the same as anyone else. There is a big difference between giving a gift to someone for whom it is the primary way of receiving love and giving a gift to someone who is out for material gain. What Are Gifts About? The dictionary definition of materialism is “a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than sp...
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The Five Love Languages: Quality Time

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In the last post I described the love language of Words of Affirmation.  The second language is called Quality Time, and you probably have a fair idea what that’s about without needing much a definition.  As you would expect, it means that some people primarily feel loved by spending time with you.  There are various ways this can be accomplished, as well as some pitfalls to avoid. Let’s explore. For Quality Time people, being in the presence of a person they love fills them up and allows them to feel loved.  Naturally, there is more to this than just being in the same room.  Two people sit...
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The Five Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

Words of Affirmation hi
Words of Affirmation is the first of the love languages described in Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages system. For people whose primary love language is Words of Affirmation, it’s what you say that counts.  This of course does not mean that you can act like a slob, forget your wife’s birthday gift or cheat on your spouse as long as you say nice things while you do it. It just means that in order for your spouse to feel truly loved by you, you will need to use the power of speech. This is in some ways very easy and in some ways very difficult.  On one hand, we all know what it means to spea...
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The Five Love Languages

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The Five Love Languages® is a great tool for improving relationships, whether you’re at the beginning of a new relationship or you’ve been married for decades.  It is a very simple and understandable method of connecting with your significant other – as well as your children, parents, siblings, friends, and anyone else you are in a relationship with.  There is an extensive array of books, quizzes, and online resources you can look into at http://www.5lovelanguages.com.  Here I will offer a brief overview of this concept which you can use as a springboard for further exploration; I will continu...
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How Long Does Couples Counseling Take?

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This is a question I get asked all the time. How long will it take?  How many sessions do people usually need?  People rightly want to know how much time and money they will be investing into this process.  Unfortunately, there is really no way to give any useful answer to this question.  Let me explain. Imagine you call up a doctor and you tell him, “I’ve got a headache.  What will it take to get rid of it?”  What kind of answer do you think you are going to get?  Without doing a thorough checkup, he can’t possibly know what the cause of the problem is or how to fix it.  Were you at a loud...
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Couples Counseling – What’s It All About?

What is couples counseling like? hi
What is couples counseling? Couples counseling goes by various names: couples therapy, marriage counseling, marital therapy, relationship counseling, and more. These are all ways of framing the same process, namely, trying to help a couple (whether married or not) achieve a better level of functioning. What this means is that when one or both parties in a couple are not happy with the relationship because of the way they are interacting with each other, a couples counselor can help them change the way they relate to each other in order to help restore the happiness in the relationship. (In th...
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Is Your Relationship Worth It?

Is your relationship worth it? hi
Ever wonder whether the relationship you're in is worth the trouble?  Worth the fights, the arguments, the crying?  On one hand, you love your significant other. On the other hand, when things get rough, they get really rough.  What do you do?  How do you know? Check out this latest article at http://www.blogher.com/your-relationship-worth-it to read more about it. And, as always, contact us to find out how we can help you with exactly this kind of situation!
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“I Caught My Husband Watching Porn”

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If you’ve just discovered your boyfriend or husband watching porn online – perhaps extensively – you may be feeling shock, anger, disappointment, betrayal, and more.  You also may be confused about what this means for your marriage. Or, you might be very clear about whether you want to fix it or end it.  Many women feel if their husband has turned to pornography it means he is no longer interested in her or no longer finds her attractive.  This can take a toll on your self-esteem, to say nothing of your relationship with him. In reality, any reaction you have is understandable. There is no ...
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Save My Marriage!

save my marriage hi
I’ve noticed that a lot of requests for help that come through e-mail, text, or sites like Thumbtack.com list “save my marriage” as the reason for seeking help. So I thought I’d let you know in advance – I can’t do that. A lifeguard can save someone’s life often even in the face of their resistance. They’re trained to swim to shore with a struggling, uncooperative victim. But I probably won’t be touching you during couples counseling, and I can’t forcibly make your spouse stop yelling or nagging or being lazy or whatever it is you think is the problem. In that respect, I can’t “save” your m...
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After the Affair: The Importance of Coming Clean Entirely

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When someone has an affair and is discovered or comes clean on their own, their instinct is often to soften the blow and/or minimize the damage, especially if they still care about their partner and want to cause the least pain possible. As a result, they will reveal only a part of the information, or no more than what has already been found out. The thinking is that more information will only hurt the betrayed partner more, and why do that to them? In fact, the only way to repair the problem is to come clean – fully. In the same way that the betraying partner believed they could cover up t...
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Making Marriage Last

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I have a new catchphrase: To make your marriage last, make your marriage first. I’m pretty sure I invented it, and Google seems to agree. (So does Bing!) So you heard it here first, folks. Although the line is new, the idea is certainly not. We therapists and marriage counselors have been saying it for a long time. You can’t maintain a fulfilling long-term marriage if you don’t make it a priority in your life. And yes, I’m aware of how hard that is – there’s kids, work, bills, friends, parents, and on and on. Life moves at a breakneck pace these days and it sure is hard to find time for our...
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Single on Valentine’s Day?

Single and lonely hi
Many people seek out counseling to help them answer the nagging question: “Why can’t I find the right person for me?” Being single can be a real drag, especially as you get older and watch your friends date, marry, and build families. If this is your situation, let me first recognize your pain and frustration. It’s not easy. It’s lonely. Your parents keep dropping obnoxious hints. I know. I’m sorry you’re in this boat and I wish I had the magic answer. Which I don’t. But I do believe I can help. The first step towards finding your way out of this stage is to get a good read on yourself. Sel...
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