Posts tagged Rancho Cucamonga
Am I to blame for my partner’s Affair?
Am I to blame for my partner's affair?

Hindsight is always 20/20. Always. It’s just too easy to look back on an event and not see the signs, find the flubs, and scrutinize the details that were missed.

When you discover that your partner has had an affair, it’s common to press rewind on the last year of your life together and look for all the signs you should have seen and things you missed. The times they were out late and didn’t invite you, the times they were on the phone way too long with their work colleague and you gave them the benefit of the doubt, not wanting to rock the boat.

When hindsight is 20/20, it’s easy to place blame on yourself for missing the signs, or not acknowledging them or acting on your gut feeling in the moment. But the truth is, relationships are generally built on trust and it isn’t foolish to trust someone you love and are committed to.

As much as you’d probably like it to, the past can’t be erased, and the future of your relationship is what matters.

Many times I have clients who say things like, “I guess the last year was just one big lie. When we took that romantic vacation, and he said all those wonderful things to me, it must’ve been a lie!”

I beg to differ. Your partner saying they love you, and having an affair are not dependent upon one another. People can compartmentalize things in such a way that makes this possible. While I acknowledge that it’s confusing, I don’t believe that what is said in a moment of romance between you and your partner isn’t true for them. Just as what’s happening for them in the moments they share with someone they are having an affair with are also very real.

What you do in the aftermath of an affair is what matters most. How you handle and set new boundaries for your partner moving forward is where you can take charge, and ask for what you need.

I have seen clients that feel as though it is now their duty to punish their partner at all costs after discovering their affair. They tell their kids, they tell their friends, their family, and anyone else who will listen in an attempt to get their partner to feel shame for their transgressions.

When this happens, it creates a space that is no longer safe. Trust is one of the most difficult things to rebuild after infidelity, but when the injured partner creates a space of punishment at every corner, things can truly backfire and this often sends the straying partner back into the arms of the other.

So while you are not to blame for your partner straying in the first place, it is your responsibility to create a space and relationship after the affair where communication is open, and you are both able to be authentic as you push towards creating a new normal.

Looking back on the signs that you missed won’t do a lot of good. What will be beneficial is to identify your responsibility and contributions towards the rocky patch in your relationship that lead to your partner’s affair.

Did you stop communicating? Did you put your job ahead of your relationship? Did you stop nurturing the friendship between you and your partner? Once you can identify your role, you will have a good place to start the healing process.

You can only control yourself, and you can only work on changing yourself in the aftermath of an affair. You can change how you relate to your partner, how you communicate with them, and how you show up in your relationship, but without looking at yourself and really taking an inventory of what you need to change, there is no starting point.

Starting over can be a challenge, whether you’re starting over after an affair, or starting over completely, I’d like to help with the launch of my new e-course, The Starting Over Series. To get on the interest list and to receive more details about this at-home course that will be launching in the very near future, click here

Choosing Joy, Love, and Peace after Tragedy
joy love peace tragedy

Admittedly this was going to be a very different post, but in light of the recent mass shooting that took place in San Bernardino, CA, I just had to write about finding happiness in the wake of these tragedies we are hearing about all over the world.

This is a personal post for me to write as well, as I want to be completely honest with you - I’m struggling a bit on how to do this gracefully, but I’m slowly moving forward, choosing joy, love, and peace, and I’ll tell you how.

This tragedy hit very close to home for me. This is my community, this was a place that I had frequented for meetings in a previous job, this was a conference room that I sat in, and these were people that I worked closely with in the past.

I was all gung-ho with Christmas spirit, and shopping happily for family and friends when a woman stopped me in the store to tell me about what had taken place, and I immediately lost every bit of joy from my being. I sat in my car and wept. I then went through the rest of my day in a haze, and was glued to the TV and Internet, listening for details about how this could have possibly happened in my backyard.

I didn’t sleep well the night I heard the news, and was hoping that waking up the next morning would mean it was just a bad dream, but turning on the TV, I realized in fact that it was true. I then inundated myself with more media coverage, trying to piece things together, and find understanding about what it was that could lead these people to take innocent lives.

After hearing the same story be told in various different ways, with no definitive answer about a motive I realized, I’ll never know, and I’ll never fully understand. Regardless of what the media reports the motive was for this couple to commit this horrible act, it will never be good enough, and I will never be able to completely wrap my head around it.

What I can wrap my head around, and what I can understand are the 300 law enforcement officers who responded in the aftermath of this tragedy. I understand the thousands gathering for a candle light vigil, the hundreds of thousands of prayers for victims and their family members, the hundreds of people rushing to give blood to help the wounded, and the countless fundraising campaigns popping up all over the internet to help support the families of the victims.

I understand because I know there is good in the world. I understand because I am choosing to see the love that exists surrounding a tragedy like this.  

I have a choice to push past fear and anxiety, and choose to be present with my children, family and friends. I’m not denying the sadness that I feel when I think about those who lost their lives, and I’m not denying the overwhelming grief their families are feeling right now, or that I’d be feeling had I lost a loved one in this horrific way. All of that exists. I’m also not denying that larger changes need to happen, but I’m not getting into any political debates, because I don’t pretend to have the answers.

The couple responsible for this terrible event is made up of 2 people. Their intent was to rob people of their lives, of their joy and happiness, and create a sense of terror. That was their wish, and I have chosen not to let them succeed, and I urge you to do the same. In order to reduce and manage my distress I am doing the following:

I’m allowing myself to experience my emotions when I feel them, going from shock to sadness, to anger and grief.

I am recognizing that my difficulty sleeping and concentrating are temporary. On the way out of the store after hearing the news, I dropped a bag filled with breakable items – the cute Christmas plates I had bought were shattered, and although I cursed myself in the moment, I understand that my butterfingers were a common side-effect of hearing the shocking news.

I’m surrounding myself with family and friends, and talking about how I’m feeling in the aftermath of all of this.

I’m turning off the news. Although I want to stay informed of the investigation, and want to be sure that there are no other safety threats, it just becomes the same thing over and over, and keeps me stuck in negative feelings.

I’m practicing being present. I’m hugging my children a little tighter, sitting on the floor playing, and looking into my baby’s eyes. I’m savoring the moments that really matter, and loving just a little bit harder.

I’m continuing my regular routines, eating healthy, and taking care of myself. I love a good workout, and I’m using that to decompress and lessen the stress I’m feeling in my body. 

I’m dedicating my meditation and yoga practices to feeling more love, and I’m spending time praying for all involved.

I understand that I can control the way I parent and teach my children to show love, honor and respect for others in hopes of creating a brighter generation.

I’m choosing joy, love, and peace. I hope you will too.

 

*If you are experiencing grief as a result of this tragedy and don’t feel you are able to get back to your daily functioning, and as though your emotions are very intense, it’s time to get help. Reach out to a mental health professional that can assist you with moving forward. I am also available for a consultation and am happy to help you find a suitable therapist or counselor. 

Getting to the emotion and Getting your message heard by your Partner
talking about emotions counseling

When you’re going through it with your partner, and there’s an ongoing argument or issue, it can be so easy to get caught up in the words that are being said. You might start an argument about something that was said that didn’t sit well with you, but end up dissecting the words, or focusing on the time and place an incident happened.

What you wanted to talk about doesn’t get addressed, and you end the argument and go to bed angry because things just weren’t going anywhere. But where did you go wrong?

If you’ve ever worked with me, you know one of my favorite questions to ask is, “but what’s the feeling behind that?” I tend to get a little excited about this question, and typically say this with emphasis because I think the answer is what leads to the magic in a relationship.

It’s the key to truly getting your message heard, and getting a response from your partner that may change the course of an argument, and a skill that can change how you fight in the future.

When you begin an argument with your partner, the way that you engage in that argument can happen in many different ways. Couples tend to do a sort of dance, where their arguments take on a familiar pattern.

Your pattern might be: I’m angry with my partner for (fill in this blank with something like, I’m feeling ignored in the relationship), so I’m going to pick a fight about (fill in the blank here with something completely unrelated, such as not putting the laundry in the dryer), your partner engages in this unrelated argument, and you take this as an opportunity to fight about the laundry, but also throw in a piece about feeling ignored. Your partner ignores the part about being ignored, and becomes upset because he/she’s tired of being criticized. You both become tired of arguing. No solution is reached, and you go to bed angry because you’ve run out of things to say. In the morning you go about your days, hardly saying a word, and as the day goes on, you forget about the argument and go back to business as usual.  

In this scenario, the issue that was really bothering you was never addressed or even really discussed with your partner. When you don’t get the things that bother you addressed or resolved in your relationship, it becomes like a thorn in your side, and can cause that dirty little word – resentment.

The land of resentment is a dangerous place to be in your relationship because it greatly impacts the way you love and interact with your partner, and it can sometimes be difficult to initially detect.

Avoiding Resentment by getting to the feeling

Let’s go back and redo that argument in a more productive way: I’m angry with my partner for (fill in this blank with something like, I’m feeling ignored in the relationship), so I’m going to address the issue head-on, you engage your partner in a conversation where you talk about feeling ignored in the relationship, and how it makes you feel. Instead of picking an argument about something unrelated, you get to the feeling and say something like, “I’ve been feeling sad lately, and like I’m being ignored by you. This makes me feel like I’m not important to you.”

Going to the feeling, and openly sharing that with your partner gives them the opportunity to respond to your emotion. In 99% of cases, your partner isn’t trying to hurt your feelings, and will respond with concern when given the opportunity. This opens up an opportunity for you to make a request about their behavior moving forward, and clarify what you need.  

Simple, right? While it’s easy for me to write out this simple formula, it’s often more difficult to do and takes practice. It’s easy to get caught up in building your argument, and fear of vulnerability sets in at times when you get to the point where you share your feelings. But my hope is that you can ask yourself, “what’s the most important thing that I need to communicate to my partner in this scenario?” Hint: it’s your feeling behind what’s happened; the emotion it’s evoked.

If you find that you get caught up in other things and have difficulty understanding and getting to your feelings, I’d love to help. Couples counseling can be a great way to improve your communication skills together, and get your relationship back on track. Give me a call at (909) 226-6124 for a free consultation.

I’m Sorry! Tips for an appropriate Apology
apologizing couples counseling

We’ve all been there, you have a fight with your partner, and whether it’s about something big or small, when it’s all said and done you have that icky feeling in your gut, and you know that it’s time to apologize.

You swallow your pride, and take a stab at “I’m sorry,” but things go horribly wrong, and round 2 ensues. As you start your fight all over again, you think “what the hell?? I said sorry!” 

Chances are, the apology was either premature, or not executed properly. Here are a few things to consider when crafting an appropriate apology:

Before you utter those two powerful words, ask yourself - What am I apologizing for?

As a therapist I can tell you, there’s nothing worse than sitting in session with a couple and hearing one partner say, “I’m sorry you felt that way.”

An apology is taking action for something you did, said, or thought, and so you can’t apologize for someone else’s feelings. When you do apologize for another’s feelings it has a negative connotation and sends the message that their feelings aren’t important.

Understanding your part in what’s taken place might take some time, and while you might not feel you did anything wrong, the bottom line is your partner had a negative reaction to what was said or done, so take some time to think about your part in the matter and go from there.

A premature apology can do more harm than good. If you’re still upset or angry, and yell out, “I’M SORRY!” you’re not likely to get the best response.

The look on your face, the positioning of your body, and the sound of your voice all have to be in line with the message you’re trying to convey.

If you’re still angry, and not truly sorry for what you’ve said, then don’t apologize. But do take some time away to collect yourself, calm down, and get in the right headspace so you can come back with all things aligned.

An appropriate apology starts with you and ends with a suggestion for ways to create a different outcome in the future.

No one likes hearing someone tell them they’re sorry for something they did, just to have them do it over again. If you’re sorry for name-calling or blaming, then own it, and come up with ways that you’ll avoid doing it in the future.

If it means taking yourself out of a certain situation, or asking for time alone when you feel yourself getting to that point, then practice asking for what you need, and doing so in a way that shows respect to both you and your partner.

Arguments in relationships are inevitable. We don’t always see eye to eye, and that’s ok because that’s what makes us individuals. But when we do something to cause our partner hurt, a great apology can go a long way, and it can be the start of great conversation that will lead to better outcomes in the future. 

If you know you have an apology due, I hope these tips were helpful, and you can become a master of the appropriate apology! Don't forget to share by hitting the button below :)