8 posts from May 2006

May 30, 2006


Sometimes we can forget that our partners are human just like us. We are quick to be on them when they make even the most minor mistakes. We can be snappy when they forget, yet again, to follow through on something they swore they would do. And, we can have little patience for their humanness.

What we have to remember is this: At any given moment we can just as easily make mistakes.
Our mistakes may not be the same ones our partners make. However, they are just as “human” and can be just as annoying. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you “aren’t as bad” as your partner or as irresponsible or (fill in the blank)… your mistakes may look different, but they are mistakes just the same.

We each need to have the courage to be forgiving, the humility to be nonjudgmental, and the strength to be accountable for our own mistakes rather than pointing out the mistakes of our partners. When we are more forgiving of our partners, our partners may be more forgiving of us.

Our partners are human…just like us. They make mistakes everyday—even with the best of intentions…just like you and me. Rather than emotionally beating our partners up for being human, let’s try to look in the mirror and realize that we are just as human.

Challenge: For one week, focus on being more forgiving, less judgmental and more self-reflective. Look at your side and change your usual moves in response to your partner’s mistakes.

May 26, 2006


A common issue with couples impacted by affairs is how many details to share or not share. Often the partner who was cheated on has this insatiable need to know all the details. S/he wants to know how often, how good and how different the sex was. Did it happen in the couples’ bed? If so, how many times and on and on. Usually even when the questions are answered, there are twenty more coming.

Although some questions are healthy and necessary, I believe the minute details about the sex life that occurred during an affair only intensifies the pain and disconnect between the couple. Stop asking your partner about these. Instead pay attention to what’s going on in your own relationship.


May 23, 2006


Okay so I have realized that one of my “shadows” as Debbie Ford calls them, is being irresponsible. Yes, I know it sounds horrible and I’m not proud of it, however it’s true. I struggle with sending thank-you cards, birthday cards, calling people back in a timely manner and many other things I’m sure. Responding to RSVP invites is another disaster all together…

Since I have been able to truly “own” this less than attractive side of myself, I have found it quite interesting to hear people’s responses to my new insight. My coach tried to reframe it as perhaps being overwhelmed; I quickly replied that although I was quite busy, I truly could be irresponsible. He struggled a bit with this. My friends then tried to say I was tired and worked hard so it made sense that the last thing I wanted to do was write a thank-you card or the like. I said, “No, pretty much it’s just me being irresponsible.” They were a bit stymied, similar to my coach, with this response. Another friend tried to show me proof that I really wasn’t irresponsible by pointing out all the ways that I am responsible.

Continue reading "ME AND MY "SHADOW"" »

May 17, 2006


Safety is a prerequisite for all healthy relationships. If you are using physical violence against someone in anger, that person is not safe. Intense anger acted out physically will break a connection instantly.

Being angry is a human emotion that all of us feel at various times; it’s not good or bad, it just is. How we handle our anger however, is a different story. Speaking firmly and respectfully, telling your loved ones that you are angry and setting limits are healthy ways of expressing your anger. Yelling, swearing, throwing things, hitting, pushing or hurting someone in any way in anger is not okay.

The only time it is okay to put your hands on someone in anger is if you are in danger and you are using self-defense. Other than that, it is never okay. Physically harming your loved one no matter how angry you are makes healthy intimacy impossible. If you “can’t” control your anger, then live by yourself until you “choose” to control it. Get help, take medication, join an anger management group--work to change it. Make a decision to not be violent and don’t be.

As important as it is that you not be violent with anyone, it is equally important that you not allow anyone to be violent with you. You have the right to be treated with respect at all times by all people; if someone is not honoring that, leave the situation.

Challenge: Make a decision to take physical violence (any violence for that matter) out of your life. If you need help for your anger—get it. Don’t contaminate others with it.

May 14, 2006


When my brother-in-law passed away I struggled with how to best help my husband through his grief. I wasn’t sure if I should give him space, try to get him to do more things, recommend a grief group, talk about his brother, not talk about his brother and on and on. What was even worse is I’m a relationship coach and trained therapist--I should know what to do.

So for anyone who’s wondering how to support his/her partner through grief let me tell you what I learned:
1. First off, grief is a highly personal process and often the best thing we can do is just be there for our partner…in anyway he/she needs us.
2. It is not uncommon for people to want space and more alone time than usual when in grief--give it to them.
3. If your partner wants to be alone, don’t take it personally--it’s not about you.
4. If your partner begins to talk about his/her loved one, listen and don’t try to avoid the topic.
5. Help out with everything more, the kids, the house, errands etc.…and do it without resentment or keeping score.
6. Give a little extra TLC whenever possible.

Grief can hit like a tidal wave without warning or directions. Know that the sense of loss may linger much longer in your partner than in you. It is not uncommon for grief to last well over a year so be patient and know that grief is a process.

These are just some of the things I learned. Feel free to comment on any tips you may have learned even if they are contrary to these.

Challenge: If you’re partner is grieving ask him/her how you can help. Don’t avoid talking about his/her loved one and

May 11, 2006


It seems to me there has been a huge increase in the prevalence of sex addiction of late. The Internet has opened doors to some amazing things and some potentially damaging things. One of the most damaging I have seen is Internet porn.

I have worked with many couples where Internet porn has become a big issue in their relationship. More people are turning to the Internet to numb out. The Internet has made it easy to view porn in the privacy of your own home. No longer do people have to go into the local store to buy a magazine or into the video store to buy an x-rated movie. All you need is a computer and Internet access and you’re good to go. You can choose any fetish of your choosing and can easily view it in private.

So what’s the big deal? It’s not like you are actively having an affair is it? Okay let me answer that…the big deal is pornography is breaking up relationships. It’s that simple. And before you ask—no I am not a Christian Fundamentalist or a Feminist or anything else. I am simply sharing what I have witnessed in many couples.


May 08, 2006


In a recent post I talked about step one of “Changing me, Changes we”: if we don't like what we're getting, then we need to look at what we're giving. Today I’m going to talk about step two: looking at what we're accepting.

Sometimes I’m blown away by what people accept and choose to live with day to day. I see people stay with partners who are openly having affairs, are verbally abusive, emotionally cold, blatantly selfish, un-accountable and on and on. Accepting these behaviors only intensifies them; the more they accept, the more their partners give.

Accepting unacceptable behavior trains your partner to give you more unacceptable behavior. If you don’t respect yourself enough to be treated well, then your partner certainly won’t. In fact, the people who are being hurtful and disrespectful are the first ones to say they don’t respect their partners because their partners don’t stand up to them.


May 03, 2006


Integrity requires that you live your values moment to moment; not just speak them. If you can’t act upon your words, then don’t say them.

I believe acting with integrity means acting with honor and authenticity. Acting with honor requires that we do the right thing even when it is the most difficult move we can make. Acting with authenticity is respectfully speaking your truth even when it may be hard for someone to hear or for you to say.

Judging what the “right” thing is requires putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes and making a decision from that place; what would you want someone to do if you were in that same situation? I’ve witnessed, read, and heard about many hurtful incidents over the years and what often bothers me the most is the inaction of bystanders…on top of the brutality. I was at a concert many years ago and I remember a guy hitting his girlfriend in front of a crowd of people. I was furious. I looked around to see no one was doing anything and I walked right towards him in a huff. Miraculously he stopped hitting and yelling at his girlfriend, stared at me and yelled “What?” I was a bit startled (since I was running on adrenalin, I hadn’t thought about what I was actually going to do when I got there), so I said something like, “Nothing!” I just slowly walked away, eyeing them the whole time.


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