Is Your Partner Having an Affair?

There arguably can be no greater fear in a relationship (besides the prospect of the one you love tragically passing away).

There are few if any betrayals stronger in life than your partner having an affair.

Virtually every person in a committed relationship has at least entertained such a fear—even if they have ample reason to trust their partner.

But, perhaps for you, trust is beginning to erode and you’re starting to fear the worst. If that’s you, here are some potential signs your partner is having an affair.

A Spike in Protectiveness of Their Devices

If you notice this diminished transparency, it certainly is a reason for concern.

Maybe you find that where you once shared cell phones, email or computers, there is now a hard line of secrecy.

There are your electronic devices and there are your partner’s. The mutual sharing of these that once existed clearly no longer exists.

You now find yourself locked out and when you bring up the change, your partner becomes angry, defensive or intentionally unclear.

For the affair to take place or continue, there needs to be a way to communicate. If you have access to these devices, their cover will be quickly blown.

Unexplained Time Away

Not surprisingly, if you have fears of an affair, part of the issue is that your partner is away more than normal.

Maybe they’re going out with friends when previously there wasn’t as much of a priority or staying at work longer.

Along with this, there will be an attempt to hide what’s really going on. You find that your partner doesn’t act themselves or is defensive when you ask them where they were.

You also feel a relational coldness previously not experienced.

Unusual Smells

Without realizing it, you’ve grown used to typical odors in your home. Unusual odors are a common way for a partner to blow their cover.

They’ve grown used to these odors on their clothing and no longer smell them but you, not being immersed in them, do.

It could be smoke, perfume, cologne or other odors that typically aren’t in your home that make you question what your partner’s been up to.

In Conclusion

There are times when partners will exhibit some of the symptoms of an affair and still be faithful. Do your best to suspend judgment until you know for sure.

Whether you’re convinced of an affair or aren’t yet sure, seeing a licensed professional can help you voice these concerns in a healthy, discreet and safe way.

Whether this all ends up being just a scare or more, your counselor will help you navigate through these challenging times.

You can also work through the possibility of an emotional affair that may not yet have turned physical and discuss other warning signs not mentioned in this post.

If it is time for you to schedule your counseling appointment, you can do so online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 430-7269, or text us.

Do You Want to Create Drama or Memories?

Hopefully, everyone answers this question by choosing “memories” when it comes to their significant other. But answering the question is one thing. Living life that way is quite another.

Most people are maxed out these days. We have so many more stressors than our ancestors could ever have imagined.

The high pressure of the times we live in makes it increasingly difficult to handle our emotions in a healthy way.

What can that lead to?

Big. Time. Drama.

But let Hollywood handle the drama—that’s their job. Drama makes for great movies but large amounts of it will royally screw up your relationship.

Agreed?

Good.

Here are three steps to cut the drama and create some kick-butt memories instead. It comes in the form of “stop, drop and roll”.

When You Feel Attacked by Your Partner: STOP

Let’s face it. It’s just a matter of time until your partner gets irritated with you about something.

It’s just life even in the best of relationships.

How you handle it is what matters. The first thing you’ll need to do is STOP!

Yes, you’re angry. Yes, you may even be right. But while you’re angry isn’t the time to iron things out.

An untold amount of damage can take place in a short of time.

Think about it: Would it be easier for someone to bust all the windows out of your house or install new ones.

Building up something that matters takes time and hard work. Destroying a relationship takes only moments and then you have to spend a long time cleaning up afterward.

Totally leave the situation if you must. Just calmly say that you’re too angry to talk about things right now but that you will once you cool down.

This is a step you’ll have to decide to do ahead of time. You’ll never choose it in the heat of an argument if you haven’t already made up your mind about “stopping”.

Next Is the “Drop” Step for Handling Conflict

Rolling on the ground is messy for someone in a fire. They’re going to get dirty.

Really dirty.

But they just don’t care because this is about survival. They’ll be able to clean up and worry about the condition of their hair later but now isn’t the time.

They’re way more focused on putting out the fire to care about their dignity. The drop stage is humbling.

The relational “drop” stage is dirty and tough but completely necessary. This is the stage where you step back and figure out how to put out the fire so you, your partner and family don’t get burned any worse than you already have.

It’s a time to work through why you’re upset and find a solution now that you’ve removed yourself from the fire.

It’s a chance to admit when you’re wrong. Try to look at the situation like your partner and a third party would look at it.

Ask yourself why you’re so upset and what you want. Most arguments are over dumb things. Everyone knows that.

But what many forget is that those volatile arguments over dumb things are signals that something bigger is causing a problem.

This can be a good time to get the help of a therapist if you feel it’s too difficult to sort things out alone. There’s no shame in that since we all need the help of others in life.

Time to Roll: Start Making Memories Instead of Drama

Talk through what’s bothering you together with your partner. Do your best to see things from their perspective without becoming defensive.

Resolved conflict can make your relationship even stronger. The relationship has been tested in major ways but still survived.

Not only do you roll out a new plan to handle conflict and problems, but you roll into a happier life together.

It’s truly exhausting always fighting and cleaning up messes. As this negative cycle fades out, you’ll have more time and energy just to enjoy life.

And that means you can create memories together instead of creating drama.

Let’s face it: no one likes drama. You don’t have to keep riding that roller coaster.

Still having trouble getting off the “drama coaster”? We can help.

It’s time to build memories that’ll make you smile instead of grimace!

If it is time for you to schedule your counseling appointment, you can do so online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 430-7269, or text us.

How to Be Patient in a New Relationship

Are you in a new relationship? If so, you’re likely well-acquainted with the battle to be patient.

You’re trying to balance going too far with your affection with your fears and apprehension.

How can you be patient in this phase of your relationship? For starters,
(no pun intended), here are some ideas.

Mentally Prepare Yourself

Think of your best friends. How did they become such great friends?

You likely didn’t just walk up to them one day and ask, “Hey, do you want to be my BFF?”

You probably would’ve weirded them out, right? You may have lost the potential for a fantastic friendship before it ever started.

There needed to be a gradual time for the friendship to grow into your life naturally.

The same makes the most sense and works best in romantic relationships though it can be way harder to be patient.

Keeping this in mind will help. Otherwise, you could push a potentially great fit away.

Mentally preparing yourself will minimize the stressors of a new relationship. Some things just won’t happen until the proper time no matter how hard you try.

And they may never happen at all if you try too hard.

Be Considerate of Your Date

Welcome to the ongoing give and take of any relationship no matter how new or advanced.

Ironically, being too pushy accomplishes exactly the opposite of what you want.

If you pressure your new date to be more physical than they’re comfortable with they’ll shut down and push you away. Or, worse yet, they’ll give in to the pressure and later regret doing so.

If you pressure your date to spend too much time too early, they may start avoiding you.

The reason there’s resistance to impatience is that the impatient person is only thinking about what they want.

The person feeling pressured notices this selfishness and instinctively resists it. This kind of impatience, if not kept in its place, can cause your new and vulnerable relationship to break down and possibly even fail.

Do your best to notice cues from your date and be considerate of their feelings. That’s what healthy relationships are all about—a love that’s willing to sacrifice.

Set Boundaries for Yourself

Lastly, before getting too far into a relationship, take some preventative steps to stay patient.

Ask your good friends or a therapist for some advice about ways to protect yourself and your new date.

Suggestions may include a specific plan to limit time spent, doing things with your date in public instead of going home together and limiting texts, for instance.

By learning patience in your new relationship, it’ll grow the quickest it can and you’ll both get what you want in the process. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How to Get Rid of A Break-Up Emotion

Perhaps a better title for this article would begin with “how not to.” 🙂

That’s because we find an absurd amount of ways to cope with intense break-up emotions.

The problem is that these coping strategies aren’t always good for us or the people around us.

Oh, we find any way we can to numb our lives. We all but knock ourselves unconscious in attempts to forget and feel “normal” again.

If we’re not careful, we can end up worse off than we started.

So, how do you get rid of a break-up emotion? Here are some ideas.

Remember You Need Time

You aren’t going to read this article and walk away miraculously healed of all your bitterness, volcanic anger, jealousy and despair.

You’ll hopefully gain some empowerment, though. A few more shreds of hope you can sanely pull this off. Because you can.

That takes time. In some cases, a lot of it. Keep reminding yourself of that.

If you’re experiencing strong emotions you at least at one point cared about the person you were with.

Maybe you ended the relationship, it was mutual or maybe it wasn’t your decision at all.

Depending on how much you invested in the relationship, we could be talking weeks, months and even years to feel completely normal again.

Vent Your Emotions

Time by itself, will not cause your break-up emotions to vanish, though. Those powerful emotions need to come out.

Slapping your ex, yelling at an innocent bystander, breaking something or eating an entire Texas sheet cake obviously doesn’t count.

Nor does quickly jumping into another relationship or finding every bottom of every bottle you can.

Any one of those things could be tempting especially depending on how you’re wired and your background. Many others besides could seem tempting, too.

Instead, try some of these much-healthier options:

Rigorous physical exercise—Gets out aggression, gives you better health and no one gets hurt.

Journal through your emotions—It’s beautiful. You can unleash all the thunder and lightning you need to and no one needs to see.

Take up a self-forgetting hobby—For some, that’s shopping, fishing, painting or reading. This will keep you calm.

Talk to a trusted friend—Just admitting what emotions you’re feeling can help.

Eat healthier—A healthier body leads to better ability to handle emotional stress.

Seek out a professional—You’ll get plenty of compassion and solid help to deal with those complex feelings.

At the time, break-up emotions can feel like they’ll go on forever. Thankfully, they won’t. Start today towards something better! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Men Get Sad and Lonely Too

The idea that only women struggle with this problem is a myth. Although men can process sadness and loneliness differently from women, men still are quite vulnerable. Lack of Communication and Loneliness

Men generally aren’t as quick to communicate compared to women. There’s more of a struggle to connect with others on a meaningful level.

It’s not an uncommon challenge for men to develop vital and deep friendships with people they rub shoulders with at work and in their communities. Many feel like they know hundreds of people but their relationships are a mile wide and an inch deep.

Because of this, loneliness in men is fairly common. It’s not that men desire to be lonely. Loneliness is a terrible feeling.

Some men don’t know how to build deep friendships, don’t realize the need or just figure that’s how things must be.

But that isn’t true. Things can and need to be different for men to be healthy

This doesn’t mean that men are to share every gory detail of their lives with others hoping that transparency leads to friendship. They must test the waters and see if there’s trust first.

Some of the best friendships, ironically, are more of something that happens to a person instead of trying to force something to work. Forcing things almost never leads to deep friendship connections.

Men desperately need other people who are “in their corner.” They need people who believe in them.

Sadness and Emotional Stability

There’s a lot of pressure for men to be emotionally stable and strong. While that’s honorable, sometimes attempts to play such as role breaks down.

Men have hurts just like women do. And stuffing those injuries deep in the soul to give the appearance of strength can mean big-time trouble later on.

Men aren’t invincible. There is no superman. The strongest men aren’t those who ignore their sadness.

The strongest are those who realize they have a problem. Men can’t fix their life difficulties on their own. They can’t make their sadness and loneliness vanish while remaining in a vacuum.

Men need others to help them through these struggles. Everyone does.

Although some level of sadness and loneliness are normal, when this becomes constant or ongoing, it isn’t. If you experience consistent sadness and loneliness as a man, you aren’t alone.

You can experience a much higher quality of life than that. You can take courageous steps towards something better.

Whether that means help from a significant other, venting to a loyal friend or seeking the support of a trusted professional, there is hope!

The strongest men aren’t islands. The strongest men know they need others and that others need them.

These realizations and steps towards something better will go a long way in relieving sadness and loneliness in men. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

3 Ways to Stop Settling for Less Than You Deserve

This subject can be a bit tricky. Taken to one extreme, we can become spoiled, privileged-thinking people that only care about our own needs.

Taken to the other extreme, we can feel like it’s bad to aim for good, meaningful and healthy things in life.

How about we cut to the chase and explore the balance between those two sides.

Non-Abusive Relationships

Let’s be up front, no one deserves that. In every single relationship, both parties hurt the other. Unfortunately, it’s bound to happen even when we make great strides at improvement.

But what is one to do when there becomes an ongoing pattern of physical, emotional or verbal abuse? “Business as usual” is not a realistic option—no one deserves to be treated like that.

Finding a competent, caring professional to help work through this can be beneficial. There are also times, for the safety of a spouse, children or both that temporary or permanent separation is the best option.

If you’re in an abusive relationship, get help as soon as possible. No one deserves that, not even your dog. You deserve love and affection—everyone does.

Follow Your Heart

When you come up to the end of your life, others aren’t going to experience your regrets. You’re the only one who will vividly feel those.

Oh, there are so many people ready to assign you to a box, though. They say, “This is who you are, this is all you’ll ever be.”

But you have your suspicions and for good reason. You don’t fit into their carefully crafted compartments. You have creative abilities and talents that must find healthy expression.

There is no one in the world like you. Act like it! Be different!

The world doesn’t need more conformists. What it most desperately needs is for you to be you—to follow your heart.

Ignore the current of conformity. Blaze your own path. And never apologize for it.

Of course, there will be naysayers along the way. But there will be those even if you conform. So, don’t bother being like everyone else. How drab that would be!

You deserve better. Painfully pick through the rubble of life to unearth the reason you were born. And once you find out, never let go of your dreams, your heart.

Everyone has dreams they must listen to and follow. Everyone deserves to follow their hearts.

Be Loved For Who You Are

Let’s wrap things up with a reminder that you deserve to be loved for who you are. Being asked to change who you fundamentally are to be deemed “lovable” is not fair practice.

If there’s something you know you need to change, then you owe it to yourself to get better. If it’s something you can’t or shouldn’t change, then don’t.

Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are, not for what others think they should be! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Introverts Are Not Party Poopers –They Are Pooped By The Party

There are two types of very different people: Introverts and extroverts. Most are a combination of both. Usually, though, one or the other is dominant.

In short, introverts are energized by being alone while extroverts are energized by being around people.

Both kinds of people sometimes have a difficult time understanding each other. We’ll zoom in on the introverts for this post.

Not A Personality Flaw

Being an introvert is not a personality flaw that needs to be reformed or changed.

It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, either. You’ve just found out on a deeper level who you really are. Trying to change who you fundamentally are will only lead to frustration.

You’ll struggle to find your deeper purpose in life if you do that. If you’re an introvert, don’t try to be an extrovert.

Excess social interaction will exhaust you. Being drained by or even hating your job if it requires you to be an extrovert is possible as well.

There’s A Reason for Your Uniqueness

Imagine a world where everyone had interests in the same things. Where everyone was an extrovert. Our world would literally come to a grinding halt.

All of humanity would clamor for the limelight or socially immersed roles. Careers like auto mechanic, airline pilot, web designer, accountant or lab technician would be avoided like the plague.

Oh no, my friend, our world needs all types. Our world needs you just as you are. If you try to be someone you’re not, you’ll miss the greatest contribution you can give to others.

Introverts Don’t Dislike You

At least not most of the time. Their batteries are just charged in different ways. They’re often lost in contemplation, found walking in the woods, taking vacations away from people and declining busy social events.

They, as the title of this post suggests, are pooped by the party and can’t help it. Introverts can hurt the feelings of extroverts without meaning to.

They may come across as rude, awkward or disinterested when you want to engage in small talk with them.

They also tend to decline invitations to go to parties, sporting events, a weekend in the city or similar activities.

If you’re an extrovert, don’t be discouraged if your friend turns down a social event. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to spend time with you. Try offering to get together with them one on one and away from people as an alternative.

Are you an introvert? Congratulations for recognizing that fact. Knowing this will cause your life to make a lot more sense. Now you have permission to stop trying to be someone else.

The world is starved for authenticity! Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Changing the Way You Look at Yourself

“How could they say that about me? I thought they were my friend,” we say. We pick up the broken pieces of our lives after hurtful comments. Deep down, our greatest fear isn’t whether we’ll be hurt again. Our greatest fear is that the comments may actually be true, revealing that we’re fatally flawed.

Others’ unkind words damage or end friendships. They can lead to bitterness, pent up anger and, eventually, depression.

“Out with the haters,” we say. Sometimes just for the simple fact that we need to survive, we need to distance ourselves from others who hurt us. Those negative comments can stick with us for years, decades or even a lifetime.

We spend our lives worrying about what people think about us though we don’t want to admit it. We begin to worry about how every new person that we meet could wind up hurting us in the end. We put up the walls and get every conceivable defense mechanism in working order.

All of that self-protection is full of some serious irony, though. What if the greatest danger isn’t found outside of us? After all, history reveals powerful nations that experienced self-destruction. There was little need for an outside enemy. All the while, the enemy was lurking inside the city walls.

We’re hyper-aware of what others say about us but often oblivious of what we say about ourselves internally. It’s easy enough to avoid a negative person. That is, unless the negative person is us!

How do you change the way you look at yourself? Be kind to yourself. Take a day and listen to what you say to yourself:

“You always fail at friendships.”
“You were never successful.”
“You are so dumb.”
“You’re ugly.”

Would you stay in a friendship or relationship if you were told those things? Hopefully not!

We all have flaws. The truth is that all of us have negative character traits. It’s actually healthy to improve upon them. We all thrive on progress.

But the last thing we need is more putdowns. That makes our positive traits invisible and paralyzes us from changing for the good. The first and most important step to changing the way we look at ourselves is telling our negative internal critic to get lost. The next step is to replace the negativity with something better:

“I’ll try again.”
“I have a good sense of humor.”
“I can help to ease the suffering of others.”
“I’m worth getting to know.”

In summary, carefully evaluate whether something you want to change about yourself can or should be changed. Consistently change the way you think about yourself and you’ll be on the fast track to a better you!

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Myths about online dating…

Back in the 90’s, when people said they “met someone” online, all sorts of red flags would go up!  Friends and family would automatically think those people were losers or wonder why they couldn’t meet someone in person, rather than spending hours searching online.  Not so much anymore.  Since there are now many happy couples who met online, even some who have married and stayed together, people, in general, are more accepting of people close to them meeting their dates online.

That said, there are still many myths about why and how people meet online and exactly what people are looking for in a mate.  And, it is still important that certain precautions are taken to maintain your safety.

●    Myth #1 – Online dating is only used as a vehicle for affairs and to participate in casual sex with someone who is looking for the same type of interaction.  Not so much.  For centuries, people have been hooking up, whether they do so with someone they work with, someone they hang out with, or just someone they barely know.  Online dating doesn’t make this the first place for searching for companionship or simply just a physical relationship.

●    Myth #2 – Much older men look to connect with much younger women who are most likely only in their 20’s.  Sure, there are some much older men who search for the best looking babes who are in their 20’s; however, overall, men tend to look for someone within 10 years of their own age.

●    Myth #3 – Nobody tells the truth on their online profiles.  Some people don’t tell the truth on job applications.  Some people don’t tell the truth to their bosses.  And some people don’t tell the truth to their family and friends.  There are untruthful people everywhere.  Online dating profiles are not the only place.  Just as you would consider whether or not to date someone who’s standing right in front of you, you have to consider the information provided online and first see if you make a connection and feel comfortable enough to even want to take it any further than messaging.

●    Myth #4 – Most of the users on dating sites use phony photos.  A lot of people probably think of the show “Catfish” on MTV where the hosts help people find the people they have been communicating with but have never met, other than online.  That’s entertainment television.  Not everybody posts phony profile pictures.  In fact, when truly looking for communication, companionship, and connection, why would you want to pretend to be someone you aren’t?

So yes, when searching online it is extremely important to weed out the phony profiles, and it’s extremely important to realize your safety is at risk if you post or message someone and include intricate details about yourself, where you live or work, or about your family.  However, in a world that is fast moving with electronics, the Internet, and dating apps and sites, it’s not uncommon for people to see who may be interested and available.  Use your head, keep your personal safety in mind, and don’t be anything but authentic yourself.

If you find you have met someone online who has not been authentic, or you find you have met someone online but nobody close to you is supportive, you may need some help in dealing with your emotions.  This is when you may want to reach out and let the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you. 

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Getting Along With A Parent

Struggling to get along with a parent? That isn’t much fun! Whether you just have the problem occasionally or frequently disagree, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only one in the world who has these issues.

The reality is that every child or young adult struggles to get along with their parents from time to time. Some friction can actually be healthy since it shows that you’re gradually becoming more independent. Ultimately, that’s exactly what both you and your parent want. As you work through these completely normal struggles, here are some things you can try to help ease the tension.

Journal Venting

Your emotions and words have great power for good and for bad. Although your parent may not show it, when you say mean things to them, it hurts them. They’ve hurt you with their words, too. Everyone feels like lashing out at people sometimes.

If you feel the urge coming on, try writing out your intense emotions in a journal instead of saying them out loud to your parent. Write out whatever you need to say even if it wouldn’t be appropriate in any other setting. After you’re done, crumple up that page in your journal and throw it away. No one will get hurt in the process and a bad argument could be avoided.

Random Act of Kindness

If you’re having a tough time with a parent, try doing something kind for them. It’s probably the last thing that you’ll initially feel like doing. Try it even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll feel good afterwards knowing that you did something kind and your parent will appreciate what you did too.

Something funny happens when you do something nice for someone you don’t feel nicely about. That person doesn’t seem as bad as they did before you did that thoughtful thing. There are many kind things you could do. Compliment your parent, water their flowers, write them a letter, bake them some cookies or do something of your choosing.

Have Fun Together

You and your parent likely have some of the same interests even though you don’t always get along. Work and school obligations can make you both forget to have fun. Find something fun that you can do together. Go shopping, take a hike, go fishing, go out to eat or whatever you want.

By doing something that you both enjoy, you’ll strengthen your relationship. Hopefully you’ll get to talk without conflict, smile, laugh and build some memories. You’ll remember that your parent isn’t that bad after all and they’ll remember the same thing about you.

Complete a Task Together

The last piece of advice was to “play” together. It’s a human need to have fun things to do. It’s also a human need, believe it or not, to “work.” It makes people feel purposeful. You can look for a job that needs done and suggest helping your parent with that task.

Although it may not be an easy job, this will help to make your relationship stronger. It’ll remind you both that you’re a team instead of rivals. You could do yardwork, organize your attic, paint a room or help to detail your parent’s car. Again, don’t worry if you don’t feel like it. Just try it anyway. Some of the greatest human achievements have happened from people doing things that they didn’t feel like doing at first.

Final Thoughts

Things may be going badly between you and your parent right now but that’s not how things have to stay. You may feel like a victim of your unpleasant situation and that you can’t do anything to improve it because you’re young. That isn’t true, though.

Some of these tips will work better for different people. If one that you try doesn’t work as well for you as you’d hoped, don’t get discouraged. Just try something else and watch your relationship with your parent improve in the process!

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.