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7 posts from March 2007

March 27, 2007

WHY WOMEN ARE LEAVING MEN TO FIND HAPPINESS ON THEIR OWN

Someone (thanks S.) sent me the link to an article written by By SHMULEY BOTEACH about the reported trend of women leaving men to find happiness on their own. I really enjoyed this article and believe it has a lot of information you may find interesting.

Here’s the link:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1167467783716&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Here’re a few tidbits:

• Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women
• A majority of men who leave their wives do so for another woman, often younger and more submissive. In contrast, ninety-percent of women go off on their own, many of whom choose life-long single status.
• Fifty-one percent of American women are living without a spouse—for the first time in American history.

The author states, “We men have to be honest. We are part of a new generation of males who have silent contempt for women. At college we use them for sex. At work we reduce them to body parts. In marriage, we push them into domestic servitude. Is it any wonder they're telling us to drop dead?
And it's not the women who suffer most. It's the men.”

In case you are wondering…I absolutely see this trend in my work with couples. Women are tired of begging for connection so they shut down in their marriage and turn to their friends for connection. Eventually this isn’t enough so they leave the marriage for the pursuit of happiness—on their own. Although often the women have been complaining for years, the men are dumbfounded by this “sudden departure” and can’t figure out what happened.

Challenge: Check out the article and let me know your thoughts.


March 23, 2007

In Order To Create A Healthy Relationship, You Must Be Willing To Lose An Unhealthy One

Many people, men and women alike, are afraid to truly stand up for what they want in a relationship. They will say they don’t like what they’re getting, they may even say they don’t know if they can take it anymore, yet often they stop short of saying, “This has got to change or I’m leaving this relationship.” They don’t want to “bottom-line” it.

Bottom-lining it is not necessary for many minor issues; however, for major couple’s issues that have not changed over time, it’s often vital. Many people get caught up in the idea that bottom-lining something is like giving an ultimatum and ultimatums are not okay. I view ultimatums as honest assessments of what a person will and will not live with; they are a healthy form of self - and relationship care.

Healthy ultimatums include:
• “If you continue in this affair, then I will file for divorce.”
• “If you continue to abuse substances and refuse to get into a treatment program, then I want to separate.”
• “If you continue to rage and be abusive, I will no longer stay in this relationship.”

If you’ve asked your partner to end an affair, etc., and s/he does, there’s no need to bottom-line it. If, however, your partner refuses, it’s time to bottom-line it.

Continue reading "In Order To Create A Healthy Relationship, You Must Be Willing To Lose An Unhealthy One" »

March 20, 2007

LOVE IS NOT ALL SMOOTH SAILING…EVEN IN THE BEST OF RELATIONSHIPS

Who promised that marriage was going to be a smooth ride filled with love, belly laughter, and passionate sex every night? No one promised this…in reality anyway. Movies, TV, romantic novels, and the like, may have painted that picture, but we’re all adults and should know that life is full of bumps in the road, struggles, and hard times.

It’s also filled with good times, laughs, and moments of connection. It’s time we stopped thinking that relationships are supposed to be easy and instead, learn how to handle the bumps when they come without having them cause a major accident.

A healthy relationship is comprised of two people who love, respectful, and support each other…even in tough times. They also get angry at each other—without chopping one another down at the knees. Verbal, physical, and emotional violence is off the table. Healthy couples disagree, struggle with distance from time to time, and even have moments when the partners aren’t sure if they like each other. They may fight, make poor choices, and inadvertently emotionally hurt one another. They do not however, do any of these with ill will. These moments are also the exception rather than the rule.

If you are struggling in your relationship and wondering if love should be that hard the answer is yes…and no. Yes relationships are hard and do take attention, thoughtfulness, and self control. However, they are not meant to be a constant struggle.

Continue reading "LOVE IS NOT ALL SMOOTH SAILING…EVEN IN THE BEST OF RELATIONSHIPS" »

March 16, 2007

“I WASN’T GETTING MY NEEDS MET IN MY MARRIAGE SO I GOT THEM MET OUTSIDE IT”: IS AN AFFAIR EVER JUSTIFIED?

After working with countless couples impacted by affairs, I’d like to clear up a common misunderstanding. The notion that it’s okay to go outside of your marriage to get your emotional and sexual needs met because they’re not getting met in the marriage…is a crazy notion. Put another way, there is no excuse, justification, or rationalization to have an affair.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the state of a marriage used as an excuse for having an affair. Often both partners buy into this excuse; the person being cheated on says they knew their partner hadn’t been happy for a while and the person who cheated, says they’ve been miserable for a long time and nothing seemed to change.

It’s not uncommon for affairs to serve as a long overdue wake-up call for couples. Upon discovery of the affair, all of a sudden the two people, who were so miserable together prior to the affair, are now working their butts off to create the relationship they never had.

Too bad they deprived themselves of this opportunity prior to bringing a third person into their relationship and bed.

Continue reading "“I WASN’T GETTING MY NEEDS MET IN MY MARRIAGE SO I GOT THEM MET OUTSIDE IT”: IS AN AFFAIR EVER JUSTIFIED? " »

March 14, 2007

CARETAKING AND RELATIONSHIPS: IT’S NOT ALWAYS AS “NICE” AS IT SEEMS

Many women complain about irresponsible, selfish husbands. They even joke about their husband being another child they have to take care of. Some husbands sheepishly grin when they hear their wives say this, while others are offended.

I’m… often curious.

When I hear a woman (note: men also can be in this role) talk about how she’s responsible for: insuring the house is clean; dinner is on the table; all appointments are made and kept; the children are fed, bathed, and finished with their homework; her husband is sexually happy and emotionally taken care of; and on and on…I can’t help but wonder why she is married.

I view marriage as an equal partnership, a place for two loving individuals to come together to co-create a life together. Both partners are equally responsible for being a team player and doing his/her part. Each partner is responsible for getting their needs met within the relationship while also honoring their partner’s needs.

Some people are natural caretakers and enjoy doing a lot for other people. When this is returned, there’s nothing wrong with it. When one person continually does almost everything while their partner does little, however, this is a breeding ground for resentment.

When it doesn’t lead to resentment, there’s often a veil of co-dependence that is clouding the person’s ability to be an equal partner. This is no better than resentment.


Continue reading "CARETAKING AND RELATIONSHIPS: IT’S NOT ALWAYS AS “NICE” AS IT SEEMS" »

March 08, 2007

IS FEAR IMPACTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP? IF SO, ARE YOU READY TO TAKE BACK THE CONTROLS?

I work with couples and individuals everyday and have found that one of the most common blocks to change is fear. I would venture to say this is probably true regarding change in general, however with relationships it can be downright paralyzing.

A common cause of fear in many relationships is rage, intensity, or volatility. I watch men and women with very volatile wives and husbands walk on egg shells to avoid a possible outburst. I hear about, and watch in my office, people shut down in response to their partner’s intensity. If they’ve been brave enough to discuss the rage/volatility, they soon weaken their statement or withdraw it all together, not because they got it wrong but because they are too scared to speak it. They know that not speaking it and backing down teaches their partner that bullying works, however they are simply too scared to directly take them on. Taking them on would mean standing up for themselves, setting limits, and following through with consequences i.e. Calling the police, refusing to go someplace with their partner when s/he is being hurtful or intense, and so on.

When anger/intensity or rage isn’t the culprit causing fear, it’s often the threat of losing a partner that causes fear. Affairs, for example, are a great fear inducer. Even though the person who had the affair should be the one on the hot seat so to speak, I often find that the person jumping through all the hoops is the one who was cheated on! Why…Because of fear. They are worried that if they don’t jump through hoops, their partner will have another affair, return to the affair they already had, or will just plain leave them.

In addition to affairs, an unresponsive, stubborn, or emotionally distant partner can also induce the fear of losing a partner. Many women come into my office complaining about how emotionally distant, irresponsible, and/or selfish their partner is and they’re at a loss as to what to do. When I tell them they have to learn to set limits and take responsibility for creating a respectful, fulfilling relationship, they complain that their partner would leave if they did that. My response: “If that’s true, then it’s the best thing for you.”

Continue reading "IS FEAR IMPACTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP? IF SO, ARE YOU READY TO TAKE BACK THE CONTROLS?" »

March 02, 2007

LOVE HURTS—DOESN’T IT? The crazy message we get about relationships

How many times have you said, or heard someone else say, “Oh s/he didn’t mean to say that. S/he was just mad”? Or heard one partner say to anther that s/he didn’t mean to hurt them…it just happened? I’ve heard one form or another of these many, many times over the years. It’s as though people believe that pain is just a part of love. Many believe the old adage “love hurts.”

Here’s the problem, though, with going along with this adage: it’s wrong. Plain and simple, it’s incorrect. It’s a lie people tell themselves to help rationalize some very painful experiences inflicted by “loved ones.” It also sets people up to be in very painful relationships for very long periods of time.

Destructive messages are passed down to couples so much by our society that it’s amazing the divorce rate is only 50 percent. We see reports ad-nauseum about how common infidelity is, which sends a clear message that everyone’s doing it. If everyone’s doing it, then don’t feel too bad if you are too. We drive by billboards saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” which blatantly tells us that as long as we don’t get caught it’s okay--“No harm, no foul.” We’ve been told throughout the ages that “love hurts.” This lets us know that shouldn’t expect smooth sailing in any of our romantic relationships. In fact, we should expect rough seas often…it’s just a part of the territory.

These messages are crazy messages. Love should not hurt. Love should feel good, warm, and tender. Of course there will be times when you and your partner will have difficulties; however, these times should be the exception not the norm. It should not be painful, hurtful, or scary to be in love. Emotionally scary due to feeling vulnerable--yes, but scary in terms of physical or emotional safety--NO.

So the next time you go home and your partner hurts you, yet again, remember that the old adage of “love hurts” is a lie. Love doesn’t hurt, people hurt. When the people who hurt you are your loved ones, it’s not something to be expected, it’s simply even more painful.

Challenge: If you’re in a relationship where pain is the norm, be clear that this is not what love is supposed to be like. Make a decision to do something about it. Take steps to either turn this relationship into a loving one or move on and insure that your next one is.

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