Posts tagged counselor rancho cucamonga
To ask, or not to ask?
 
Infidelity
 

“Every time she asks me who I was talking to it puts me on the defense.”

“I can’t do anything without being questioned!”

“He has the password to everything, I am an open book.”

These are some of the things I hear in sessions with couples who are trying to rebuild trust in their relationships. They come to me after they’ve discovered their partner has been unfaithful, and they are devastated and wanted to know what the next steps are.

After I help them through their initial crisis phase, we talk about rebuilding trust, and what that’s going to look like going forward. I’ve heard many creative solutions to this from wary spouses who have been cheated on, and sometimes they are exhausted with the constant checking they are doing.

Checking the emails, checking the texts, checking the location of their phone and making sure it matches up to their story. How long should it take to get home from the grocery store? Is that story about having to stay later at work even true?

This can become the reality in the aftermath of an affair, and quite frankly I too become exhausted just listening to all the extra lengths people go to in order make sure their spouses are being truthful.

But the honest truth is, if your partner wants to cheat, they will cheat.

You can’t affair-proof your relationship.

I know that can be incredibly difficult to hear for some.

But it can also be relieving when you really break it down. The truth is, no amount of checking is going to keep them faithful, so you can stop driving yourself crazy doing so.

In the initial stages after an affair has occurred it is important to negotiate boundaries. No contact with the affair partner, checking in frequently, and giving up passwords for devices if that’s what makes you feel better at the time.

However, trust is truly built on the interactions you have with one another after you decide to stay together. Trust is built on faith, and faith must sometimes be blind.

I often tell partners who have strayed, if you place even a tenth of the energy you put into your affair into your marriage, imagine the happiness you can have in this relationship. There’s a good amount of reconfiguring, time stolen, and effort put into meeting an affair partner. Imagine if you did that with your partner?

It’s easy to get defensive as the questions are asked over and over, but if you’ve strayed then you need to understand it’s not necessarily about your partner wanting to get a different answer from you. It’s really about them having gone through trauma and wanting to regain some sense of normalcy.

The person they trusted most and likely didn’t think was capable of cheating broke their trust, and so they are trying to regain their bearings and in some ways, their sense of control.

If you are the partner asking the questions, I suggest you ask yourself this: Do you want to know the answer to that question, or do you want your partner to know that you have this question?

Those two things are very different. It may seem like you want the answers to all your questions, but if you take a step back and really think about it, are the answers really helpful to you? Once you receive the information you can’t go back, and you can’t “un-see” the images that will float through your mind.

I’ll ask you again – do you want to know the answer to your question? Or do you just want your partner to know that you have this question?

You may want your partner to know that you have questions about how they were able to sneak away and make time for their affair. This question is different then, “when did it happen?” or “did you do it in the car? In the office? In our home?”

Similarly you may want to have access – phone, computer, and email passwords. Having access doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be checking daily. It’s really about your partner’s willingness to give you the passwords and access that means all the difference.

If you’re having difficulty navigating your way through reestablishing trust with your partner in the aftermath of an affair, I’d love to help. You can click here and schedule a phone consultation that’s totally free and we can talk about how therapy might help one or both of you through the recovery process. 

8 ways to have a great experience in Couples Counseling
 
 

So you’ve decided to work on your relationship, and get some assistance from a therapist, kudos! Or maybe you’re still on the fence, questioning whether it’s the right time, and wondering what the process is like, check out my previous post to determine if now is the time.  

While couples therapists can't necessarily gurantee the exact outcome of your relationship, here are 8 things you can do to understand the process and have a great expereince regardless of what happens between you and your partner: 

1.     Find a therapist who specializes in working with couples.

Think of it as you would with your regular health care. If you were to walk up to a clinic to see a doctor, and on the door a sign read, “Specializing in all ailments, from A-Z,” I’m not sure about you, but that wouldn’t elicit very much confidence in me that I had someone who truly specialized in what I was looking for.

There are many generalist therapists, and many of them are wonderful, however if I’m looking for help with my eyesight I’m going to go see an optometrist because that’s their specialization. The best way to find out a therapist’s specialization is to ask them over the phone before setting your appointment. If you’ve already set an appointment you can use the first session to ask any questions you might have about their specialization, and the way they work with couples.

2.     Ask about the process.

Walking in to a first session can feel overwhelming, and you might not know what to expect. Most therapists use the first session as a opportunity to get to know you, and some will do what’s call an intake, where they ask many background questions that may not seem specific to your presenting issue, but are still important.

Others may include an intake questionnaire in their initial paperwork and have you complete it prior to coming to your first session. Either way, asking about what to expect for your first session over the phone or by email before walking in the door will help to alleviate some of the anxiety that can come up when you start couples counseling.

3.     Use the first few sessions to learn more about the therapist’s process and gauge for good chemistry.

One of the most important parts of therapy is the relationship you will have with your therapist and it is often one of the best predictors of successful treatment. If you’re not totally comfortable, be sure to let the therapist know what it is that’s causing you discomfort. This will give the therapist an opportunity to address your feelings, and change course if necessary. 

4.     Take notes.

A lot can be discussed in a single session and because you can get caught up in the emotions that you’re bringing in to session, it’s important to write down any recommendations your therapist may be making including homework that they may request you do throughout the week.

5.     Follow through with any homework that’s being given.

This may seem pretty obvious, but many clients forget and show up to their next session without working on things at home. Life can get in the way but if your relationship is important, then the things that your therapists is asking you and your partner to work on throughout the week will only help you reach your goals quicker. Some things may feel uncomfortable and are in fact designed to get you out of your comfort zone and to try things you may not have in the past. Trust in the process and do your best to complete tasks assigned in therapy.

6.     Know that sometimes things can get worse before they get better.

You will likely be touching on things in session that are uncomfortable. They may be things you and your partner may have been avoiding due to the difficult emotions those topics bring up. It’s normal to find yourself feeling a little down in the beginning of therapy, so be sure to take notice of what you’re feeling between sessions in order to discuss them with your couples therapist and ask for recommendations about dealing with those emotions between sessions.

7.     Continue to provide your therapist with feedback.

While many couples therapists make it avhabit to periodically check in with their clients about their level of satisfaction, some may not, but remember that you are the consumer and have the right to bring up any concerns or questions about the course of your treatment. If there’s something they haven’t addressed that you’d like to discuss let them know. A good couples therapist will be happy to accommodate or address any issues you may have.

8.     Check in with your partner regularly regarding your progress in therapy.

It’s easy to get caught up in doing the work and engaging in the process of couples therapy, but in couples therapy there are two customers. Be sure to check in with your partner about how they feel things are going throughout the process. You may feel like you and the therapist are really hitting it off, but if your partner isn’t feeling the same, it should be addressed with the therapist. Again, the relationship between the therapist and clients tend to determine the outcome of therapy.

It’s also important to remember that while therapists are professionals and have many years of training that have helped prepare them for working with you and your partner, they are also human. Most therapists I know are life-long learners who are happy to make any adjustments needed to be sure you feel like you are getting the best services possible, but they don’t know what isn’t shared with them. Having an open relationship with your couples therapist is a beautiful thing, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and provide feedback!

If you’re looking for a couples therapist in the Rancho Cucamonga area, I’m happy to help. Feel free to reach out by phone or email and we can talk about ways couples counseling might benefit you. 

The Revenge Body: Is it healthy?
Revenge Body

The “Revenge Body” is apparently a thing now that Khloe Kardashian has coined it and turned it into a new reality show. It’s quickly becoming a hot topic among those healing after heartbreak, but is it really that healthy?

Exercise in and of itself is great, we all know that we should be getting at least 30 minutes every day, and that we should accompany it with a healthy diet and good sleep. If you’re suffering after a break up though, those things can be difficult to come by. You might find yourself lacking in the sleep department, eating as a means of comfort, and lacking the motivation to get you out of bed and into the gym.

Once you do pick yourself up and begin to heal a bit, hitting the gym and getting your sweat on can make you feel amazing. It creates those wonderful endorphins that send the “happy” signals to our brains, and the strength gained over time can be wonderfully empowering, but just like anything, it has to be done in moderation.

If you’re hitting the treadmill to blow off steam, create a sense of empowerment, and channel anger over the loss of a relationship, it can be easy to become addicted. The concept of the revenge body goes a little deeper than this though – with technology it isn’t just about improving confidence and weight loss, it’s more about flaunting bods in front of exes in hopes of feeling revenge – and that’s where it becomes a problem.

Over-obsession about body image and the premise that this revenge body is being created with the intention of brandishing it for an ex to ooogle over can set you up for some major disappointment.

If exercise has become an outlet for you, so be it. I’ve seen many clients run their first half-marathons, lose a healthy amount of weight, and reinvent themselves after a break-up, but when it borders on obsession and becomes over-consuming it’s no longer healthy.

Pushing yourself hard in the weight room and fantasizing over your ex’s reaction to your scantily clad Instagram post might fuel your workout, but that mentality quickly fizzles. Unless you are working hard for your own intrinsic motivation, it’s not likely to last, and you won’t necessarily keep it up over the long term.

Uncovering the need for revenge can be even more beneficial in the long run. I always tell my clients, “You can leave your relationship, but you have to take yourself with you.” Many times people think that they can move on with someone else and not have the same issues that caused their last relationship to crumble, but that’s not typically the case.

You can only control yourself, and learning more about who you are, what you want out of life and your relationships, and your contribution to the end of your relationship will give you far more rewards as you move forward than any revenge bod picture ever will.

Hit the gym, take a yoga class, go on a hike, whatever you do, do it because it feels good to you, and nothing else.

If you’re struggling to heal after heartbreak, and would like to learn more about healing in the most positive way, be sure to get on my interest list for The Starting over Series, an e-course I’m developing to help women everywhere heal from heartbreak and become the best version of themselves, so click to sign up below.

In case you missed it

What am I doing in your inbox on a Friday? Well, I don't have a new blog post to share with you, but I do have some great articles and content that I've been busy contributing to and wanted to make sure you didn't miss out, and so I thought I'd put together this round-up with all the goodness in one place: 

Psychology-Today-logo.gif

Do you ever struggle with the thought of quitting and wonder what the right way to quit something might be? Check out this article, What is the 'Right" way to Quit and learn how to quit a relationship, a job, or anything else that might be begging you to throw in the towel. 

Seattle Bride Magazine

Getting married too young can lead to divorce, and getting married when you're too old or set in your ways can also cause problems, so what's the right age? Check out this article, and gain some insight about the best time in life to tie the knot. 

talkspace.com

 

There are so so many questions people have about starting therapy, and sometimes images from movies where the main character goes to see a therapist is the only thing they have to draw on. In this article, the writer does an excellent job of sharing what he wishes he had known, and what the experts want people to know about therapy and how it works, What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About How Therapy Actually Works. 

can't sleep insomnia

Having trouble de-stressing or falling asleep? Check out this video and learn the 4-7-8 Breathing technique that will have you drifting off the the land of nod in no time. 

 

 

 

As always, don't forget to tune in to KCAA radio if you're in Southern California's Inland Empire. This Monday morning 3/21, I'll be discussing ways to find healing after heartbreak. You can listen at 6:35am on 106.5 FM, 1050 AM, or at KCAAradio.com. 

Wishing you a fabulous weekend, talk with you next week! 

 

Once a cheater, always a cheater?
cheating infidelity

Once a cheater, always a cheater. At least that’s how the saying goes, right? In my line of work I’m often the one doing the questioning, but I also get lots of questions from clients and professionals and one that comes up a great deal is, is this saying true?

My short answer is no, but then of course I have a lengthier version, which I will share with you today, and that is - it really depends. It depends on the reasoning behind the infidelity that will determine if the person will cheat again.

If someone is cheating because they are addicted to the excitement of being caught, or they are addicted to the spark of new romance, they may continually seek out affairs to find that spark, and to put themselves in a place of secrecy. While I’ve said that most people cheat in order to feel alive, and to rekindle life within themselves that they’ve lost in their relationship, I think this is different than what I previously described.

Although most people cheat to feel excitement, being addicted to that excitement is very different than seeking outside of your relationship to find something you’ve lost that you likely once had.

When people take the time to understand themselves and put in the work necessary to understand what lead them to stray outside of their relationship, it’s not likely that they will do it again. But the key is really that they’ve done the work. They’ve shown up, they’ve looked at themselves, they’ve looked at their relationship, and they’ve found understanding and insight into their motives for straying. And that of course is as intensive as it sounds. It takes work.

While the infidelity may have caused their relationship to end, someone who cheats still has to take themselves with them into their next relationship, and unless they’ve taken a good hard look at themselves, they are likely to continue in a similar fashion.

There’s often a misconception that if the relationship ends after infidelity, that’s the end of it. The person just wasn’t happy, they looked outside of their relationship to have something fulfilled, and it ultimately ended up killing their relationship, and they must then move on.

Many times infidelity can be the best thing that happens to a relationship. While I’d never wish it on anyone, nor is it something I suggest you do, it gets couples talking in a way they haven’t in many years, if ever. It serves as a wake-up call, and marks the start of a new, different relationship with the same partner. It definitely takes couples a long time to get to the point of seeing this, but it happens, and the new relationship that couples create following infidelity is one that is often more fulfilling, more intimate, and connected.

You can never “cheat-proof” any relationship, but it’s much less likely to happen again if both partners are truly invested in finding understanding for themselves and one another, and have a commitment to do things differently as they move forward. Once a cheater, not always a cheater is what I say, but that’s because I’ve been across the couch, asking the tough questions, and helping my clients find understanding.

If you could use some help sorting things out after infidelity, and could use a nonjudgmental third party, I’d love to help. Feel free to contact me at (909) 226-6124, and we can talk about ways therapy can help you understand yourself and your relationship. If your partner has recently been unfaithful, and you're struggling to figure out what to do next, click here to download my free guide on communicating after infidelity.