When You Want Kids but Your Partner Doesn’t

To say you’re devastated that your partner doesn’t want to have kids but you do would be putting it mildly.

Regardless of how this impasse came about, it’s like your nose is pushed against a brick wall. You want to simply back up and go around the wall but you can’t.

So, here you are still staring down the seemingly impossible. What do you do?

Don’t Sweep This One Under the Rug

The first thing you don’t want to do is ignore a problem of this magnitude. It’ll be like trying to house a full-grown elephant in your basement.

The problem will always still be there bubbling under the surface. Like molten lava, it’ll wait for the next best time to erupt. Unless dealt with, it’ll always be an active volcano–a perpetual landmine.

Do what you can to promptly address this issue. Discuss it but not when you’re stressed, tired and in the heat of the moment.

Try emailing each other so you can communicate with less emotion and with more precision. You can pull a trusted friend in to be with you when you discuss for accountability or see a licensed professional.

Find Out What “No” Actually Means

Now that you’ve gotten a “no” from your partner regarding kids, you need to find out what kind of no it is. Is it a “not now” no or is it a “never” no?

“Not now” can be a response to a variety of circumstances. It can arise because of what a partner perceives as instabilities in your relationship–the kind of environment he or she doesn’t want to bring a child into.

Other reasons for a “not now” no could be because your partner wants to achieve financial or career goals or get better housing. Your mate also may be going through a rough patch in life that makes them afraid to have children.
Maybe they recently lost a loved one or are experiencing a major job transition.

A “not now” no also could arise from fear of the unknown. Your partner may not have much experience with babies or children. Something you could try is to babysit or be more involved in the lives of the children of your family or friends.

It could be as simple as going somewhere for lunch or to the local playground. That opportunity to be around children more could help to calm some of the reservations in your partner or even make them excited about the prospect of having children.

Some Final Thoughts

If your partner doesn’t want to ever have kids, there may be a heart change in the future but there may not. Thinking you will change their mind in time is a dangerous assumption. The very best way to tackle a “never” no is plenty of safe communication.

Feeling discouraged because you want kids but your partner doesn’t? We are here for you.

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

Why Your Mate Sometimes Withdraws (It May Not Be About You)

When things seem out of whack in a relationship, it can be easy to think that you did something wrong.

If your mate is withdrawing, you likely have a lot of questions. You may be wondering if your mate is upset with you.

Here are some reasons why that tension may not be about you.

There Are Many Reasons People Withdraw

Sure, partners regularly withdraw because of their significant other. But they also regularly withdraw for a myriad of other reasons.

Withdrawing is a defense mechanism we use because the amount of stress we’re experiencing is too great.

You can see how that could happen if your relationship is odds, However, you can just as easily see how it could happen for any number of the following reasons and more:

  • Depression
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Ongoing work stress
  • Unresolved grief
  • A big life change: Like a new baby, moving or new stage of life
  • Conflict with people other than you
  • Health issues
  • Many more possibilities

Any number of the items on this list (or combination of them) can cause big-time problems in the form of withdrawing.

Finding the Reason Your Partner is Withdrawing

Although you can ask your mate what’s causing him or her to withdraw, they may not even know what specifically is causing it.

This could understandably increase your concern that they view you as the problem but don’t want to talk about it.

Often, that isn’t the case. They are just so overwhelmed that they can’t sort out their own emotions and defense mechanisms.

Although occasional withdrawing is normal, if it becomes ongoing, it’s wise to seek the advice of a trusted professional.

A therapist will help you identify what’s causing your mate to withdraw, offer third-party advice and help you come up with healthy solutions.

You very well may not be the reason your partner is pulling back but you can help with a solution.

Our team is committed to helping you work through virtually any difficult life situation including relationship withdraw. We’re happy to be there for you!

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.

What Are the Signs of Falling in Love?

For many—though not all— “falling in love” is the catalyst that leads people to decide on a long-term relational commitment.

Long-term relationships can be scary and many simply wouldn’t commit to something so life-altering without a significant “chemical reaction.”

So, what are the signs of falling in love? Here are some.

If You Aren’t Sure, Then You Likely Haven’t “Fallen in Love”

Though all peoples’ experiences are a little different, once you’ve fallen in love, it’ll be obvious.

You. Will. Just. Know.

Your thoughts will constantly go to your person of interest. You will do all you can to spend more time with them. You will go to great lengths to please that special person even if it comes at great personal sacrifice.

Is it possible for a great relationship to form without “falling in love”? Absolutely. But if it happens to you, you’ll just know.

You Feel Great Around Your Significant Other

It doesn’t really matter what activity you’re doing. When you’re in love, the more important thing is who you are with—namely the one who holds your attention more than anyone else.

You feel great, confident and elated. You just click with this person who you feel completes your puzzle.

You feel more alive than you’ve ever felt before. You feel happy, find it easy to smile and have a sense of humor around your favorite person in the world.

You feel the need for this person like you feel the need for oxygen.

You Find It Easy to Overlook Faults

When you’re in love, you have an amazing capacity to overlook faults. At this stage, you may find the faults of your significant other cute—the same faults you could grow to dislike later.

The in-love experience is wrapped with intense and often pleasurable feelings. But it’s important to remember that those feelings can lead you to the right place or equally lead you astray if you’re not careful.

For instance, you may end up going too deep with someone because you find it easy to overlook their faults. Those faults should be serving as red flags but you explain them away because of your infatuation.

Those in-love feelings can result in a committed relationship but they also can cause you to throw away a valuable long-term relationship because someone else made you feel better for the moment.

A Healthy, Long-Term Perspective

For anyone who’s experienced the feeling of falling in love, they can tell you it is the greatest high you can experience in life.

They will equally tell you that it can be lost as quickly as it came. “Falling in love” is a good description because it’s more something that happens to you than anything else.

The phenomenon itself is wonderful and leads to a powerful reason to commit to someone. However, that in-love feeling won’t sustain you over the long run.

Like a You Tuber going viral can be compared to the thrill of falling in love, there is a tremendous rush and seeming return. But eventually that “high” ends and daily “work” and commitment needs to take place for success.

Although falling in love is a great starting point, if you want a relationship that lasts longer than a few weeks, months or years, it will need to be based on more than mere feeling.

Debra Fileta well described what you need after that in-love feeling fades when she said the following:

“Love is deep. Love is commitment. Love is selfless. Love is costly. Love is life-giving. And ultimately, love is a choice. Because maybe anyone can “fall in love,” but more meaningful than that is when we choose to stay in love.”

That’s the kind of commitment that must replace falling in love for a relationship to survive and thrive.

Need some help sorting out your current relationship? We are here for you and happy to help you work through this 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 Deal with A Cranky Spouse

Living with a cranky spouse can feel like a constant stone in your shoe. If you’re especially bothered by this trait, you likely have a chronic case on your hands.

We all have our moments of being grouchy, grumpy, ill-tempered and testy (Those are a few of the many synonyms for “cranky”).

But living with a spouse who has a chronic case of crankiness can make your life uniquely miserable. It’s hard enough to keep a positive life attitude aside from living with Mr. or Mrs. Negativity.

Unfortunately, cranky attitudes and actions come out at home more than anywhere else. We feel more comfortable there. That’s where we use the release valve more often than not.

As a result, you tend to suffer from your spouse’s attitude more than anyone else. If your spouse’s crankiness is getting the best of you, here are some ideas to help.

Are You Dealing with Situational Crankiness?

In other words, has your spouse always been unhappy and testy or did something trigger it?

If you can think of a time they were happier, try to help them figure out what has made things so difficult.

After all, crankiness is really just an outward sign of not being able to handle stress in a healthy way.

An endless number of things can make it difficult for your spouse to have a positive attitude. Some include the loss of a loved one, a high-stress job, living in a harsh climate, an ongoing health problem, poor sleep, relationship stressors and financial challenges.

Usually, cranky individuals are dealing with a whole bag of potential triggers all at once.

Not fun. Not fun at all–For your spouse or anyone else.

If you can identify the cause, work at finding ways to minimize that stress. The most basic of these include proper sleep, necessary free time to pursue an enjoyable hobby, a healthy diet and consistent exercise.

Also, try complimenting your spouse about three things each day or consistently sharing a positive perspective on life.

This helps to neutralize the “acid” of a cranky attitude.

For Ongoing, Habitual Crankiness: See a Therapist

Maybe you can’t find a trigger and you’ve been dealing with this problem for a long time. If so, you likely feel like this is just the way things have to be at this point.

But if you were honest, this is not how you want to live your life. And deep down, your cranky spouse wants and needs something better.

Seeing a therapist can help you sort out these challenges. If the pattern of negative thinking is advanced enough, you’ll have a cranky spouse even in the best of circumstances.

A therapist can help you and your spouse work together to lessen stressors. But more importantly, your therapist will help your spouse think differently about problems instead of always jumping to the negative, worst-case scenario.

Even if you’ve decided that the cause of your cranky spouse is situational, a therapist can help, too.

Behind all that crankiness is a loving, supporting spouse. By seeking help, you and your spouse can find the relief and happiness that you so desperately need.

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 Neutralize Your Spouse’s Defenses

How do you neutralize your spouse’s defenses? That’s both an easy and difficult task.

It’s easy because, deep down, you likely know what you need to do. It’s difficult because actually doing it takes work and intentional action (at least at first).

If your spouse is always on the defense, there are some things you can do to minimize that.

Figure Out Why They’re Defensive

People aren’t always justified in their defensiveness or the amount they exhibit. But the fundamental reason people are defensive is always the same.

They’re trying to protect themselves. You may be knowingly or unknowingly hurting your spouse.

A negative childhood without enough praise and affirmation would also make it harder not to be defensive, too.

Even someone being confronted about an affair is defensive (though for selfish reasons) because they want to protect themselves. They may fear losing their reputation or a committed relationship among other things.

So, your goal is to crack the case for why your spouse is defensive.

Maybe it’s because they’ve screwed up in a big way and don’t want to admit it.

But it equally could be because they feel nagged, disrespected, underappreciated or that trust has been broken.

Step back and evaluate when and why your spouse becomes defensive.

It’s also valuable to ask your spouse why they are defensive and sincerely tell them that you just want to help.

The challenge may be for you not to become defensive if you don’t like the answer!

But at least you’ll know where you stand.

Compliment Your Spouse About Something

A relationship can turn adversarial and stay that way for a long time. Just like fish living in a toxic river or a cat hoarder living in filth, you start thinking that is normal existence.

Well, it’s not!

There’s is a much better way to live and it begins with “small” things like a well-aimed compliment.

Isn’t a large ship directed by a comparatively small rudder? Compliments or criticism are the rudders of your relationship.

Generously compliment your spouse and watch the toxicity drain right out of your relationship. Watch your relational “ship” take you to places you never dreamed of going before.

Do Something Besides “Paying the Bills”

Life can quickly become a never-ending cycle of responsibilities. It easy to become “business partners” in your relationship instead of soul mates.

Just the everyday stress of life can increase the defensiveness in others. Knowing this, intentionally schedule some times for you and your partner to de-stress together.

Pick a location or activity that you both enjoy. This can help you and your spouse let your guard down in ways that normally can be difficult.

Although spouse defensiveness is a real problem, things can get better little by little. As this area improves, expect the quality and quantity of your communication to soar. 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.

Coping with Spousal Abandonment

It felt like you were in a war zone—because you were.

The enemies were closing in around you. You knew you couldn’t fight alone. But you weren’t alone–thank God.

But just when enemy fire was strongest, that someone you depended on abandoned you. Left you all alone to fend for yourself.

You were going to do this together. You were going to fight together against problems, not fight with each other about them.

If you’re drawn to this topic, there’s a good chance you’re hurting right now. Your feelings are understandable. Here are some thoughts on coping.

Seek Stability Alone (At Least At First)

Is it possible your relationship could be restored? Anything’s possible.

But is it guaranteed? No.

Definitely, own any shortcomings you find in yourself without beating yourself up. After all, you’re the only person you can change.

Trying to control a spouse who walked out on you is the surest way to make yourself miserable.

Whatever you do, though, don’t make a knee-jerk reaction.

Keep your distance from easy ways to fill that spousal void if it’s unhealthy.

That temptation may run the span from risky relationships, overeating, substance abuse, to pornography among many others.

Take small steps towards stability on your own. That means (as soon as possible) setting a new and healthy routine.

That healthy routine will involve meaningful work, adequate sleep and time with those who want to help you, not exploit you.

Stay Away from Exploiters

Speaking of exploiters, they come in many forms and are the last thing you need right now.

There are certain people who can smell suffering like sharks can sense blood in the water.

They often dress themselves up as someone who’s genuinely concerned.

But watch out. Appearances can be deceiving. These are the “scab pickers” who always attend deep suffering.

Exploiters have many specific names: Moral-superiority specialists, Abusers, Gossipers and Controllers.

They make your life worse.

They kick you while you’re down.

If you find a romantic admirer like this, you especially need to be vigilant and quickly show them the door. Such a person can make your life a living hell.

Just like looters creep in and steal after disasters, these people see your emotional wreckage and look for what they can take from you. Helping you rebuild isn’t on their radar.

Find people who actually care about you and allow them to help protect you from the “wolves”.

Get Your Hurts Out

You don’t need to cut yourself–Bleed words instead. You have to get those emotions out or you’re in trouble.

Journal, talk to people you trust and consider scheduling time with a trusted professional.

Getting everything out is, at first, part of your survival strategy.

Eventually, it will be your healing and happiness strategy. 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.

Before You Marry—Setting the Stage for Happiness

Preparing for a happy marriage is much like the beginning of building a house.

Before you construct a house, do you find a rough piece of land and just start building walls?

Nope.

You make sure that land is level. You painstakingly work on your foundation.

What’s the point of building if there’s nothing strong to build on in the first place?

That’s a good question. After all, you want that house to stand for a lifetime. You want it to weather any storm.

So, how can you set the stage for happiness in your marriage? Here are some ideas.

Prepare Your Finances for Marriage

No matter how much you love each other, “living on love” won’t cut it—at least not for long.

Finances are not an exact science. There are many things you can’t foresee until they happen. Also, if you wait until your job and financial situation is perfect, you’ll never get married.

Still, there are some things you can do. Talk openly about your plans for work, housing and the ongoing pursuit of more fulfilling and higher paid work.

Identify areas you or your potential spouse may be weak in. Maybe one of you tends toward impulsive spending. Come up with a good way to handle this such as discussing purchases over a certain amount before buying.

It’s also wise to decide who will take care of your finances in the marriage.

You don’t want to worry yourselves to death because financial security isn’t everything. It doesn’t guarantee a happy marriage. There are plenty of financially secure and miserable couples out there.

That said, one of the biggest issues of contention and fights in a marriage involves finances. A little preparation can go a long way in setting you up for success and happiness.

Pursuing Something Bigger Than Yourselves

Before marriage, get to know each other as well as you can. This could prevent a bad marriage from happening before it ever starts.

Next, assuming you both still want to take the green light, spend plenty of time dreaming together.

Now is the best time for this. Once you have kids—as special as they are—it will be harder to stop and think about your hopes and dreams.

Find something more compelling and enduring to base your happiness on than money. Work together to answer the big “why” to your lives.

The Pursuit of Happiness

If you try to be happy at all costs in marriage, the irony is you’ll make you and your spouse just the opposite.

Plan on an enduring relationship based on an unwavering commitment to faithfulness and trust.

Not every moment will be happy, but you’ll build a deep satisfaction that will last a lifetime by staying committed.

True happiness, at its deepest level, isn’t based on superficial things like job success and finances.

Those are petty things compared to loving others and being loved. 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.

When Your Spouse Doesn’t Contribute Financially

There are few stressors that can wreak havoc on your relationship like financial ones.

In a healthy relationship, there needs to be an agreement about who makes the money.

Feeling shortchanged (no pun intended) because your spouse isn’t helping to bring in money for your bills?

Here are some ideas about how to navigate this challenge.

Our Current Culture and Unique Roadblocks

There was a time when a single-spouse income could provide pretty well for a family.

More than ever before, that time is over.

These days, families are maxed out. Many don’t know of any other way to provide for their expenses other than with two incomes.

Further complicating matters, spouses with young children often question if it’s even worth having a second income given daycare costs.

On one hand, that second job seems like a necessity. On the other, it doesn’t look like the second job will make much of financial difference.

Further adding to the stress is a continuing divide between the rich and poor. We now are the fourth-worst country on a long list of developed nations regarding that divide.

There are plenty of jobs but few good ones–Ones that actually pay your bills.

So, given these challenges, it’s not surprising that this is a hotter topic than ever.

Why Is Your Spouse Not Contributing Financially?

If you can come close to answering that question, you’ll have a better idea of what to do.

Here are some potential reasons your spouse isn’t helping with the bills:

  • They are depressed or experience other mental health challenges.
  • They’re so discouraged about the job market that they’ve given up.
  • There is an underlying physical health challenge.
  • There hasn’t been adequate communication for them to know they’re expected to help.
  • They’re already maxed out with taking care of kids, cooking meals, running errands and keeping the house (which is vital hard work though it doesn’t pay the bills).
  • Your spouse is battling an addiction.
  • Your spouse is able-bodied but still refuses to work.
  • Several other possibilities or combinations of the above-stated reasons.

What to Do Now

The number-one thing to do is communicate your frustrations in a healthy way even though you’re upset.

It may be that you can downsize and find some other ways to cut spending that would be equal enough to the extra money you think you need.

Yes, downsizing sounds scary. Ironically, many report that the experience isn’t what they expected. They anticipated slavery but, instead, found freedom.

There’s a saying that most in the western world can learn a lot from:

“The more you own, the more it owns you.”

Living above your means truly becomes slavery. Life consists of constantly making money so you have enough to spend on the “high life”. It isn’t focused on what’s way more valuable than money—people.

Every situation is a little different as is the solution.

Seriously consider discussing your challenges with a therapist to help you and your spouse work through them.

You do not need to feel alone in this struggle. You do not need to feel ashamed.

These days, many families are feeling the financial crunch like never before. 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.

The Best Way to Handle People Who Talk Too Much

Do you struggle to deal with people who talk too much? This is a surprisingly common problem.

More surprising, though, is the fact that many just live with this difficulty instead of finding ways to better cope.

Here are some quick suggestions to be more intentional so you’re less frustrated.

The Specific Reasons You’re Frustrated

Ok. You walked away from that conversation irritated once again. Why were you bothered? That’s the first question to ask.

Once you know the answer, your solution will be way easier.

Most people enjoy conversation. We usually feel validated when we make verbal exchanges about our lives and what’s going on.

Mutual sharing on both sides happens. The result is energizing and works to strengthen relationships and improve our lives. Sometimes, those conversations can be quite long without ever feeling draining.

When mutual sharing doesn’t happen, though, a five-minute conversation can drain the life out of you quicker than an hour-long one.

Besides the fact that someone you know talks too much, there likely are other underlying and specific problems that bug you.

It could be that the person you have in mind talks too much because of the following:

  • They only talk about themselves
  • Are consistently negative
  • Generally engage in conversation at inconvenient times
  • Talk about things that don’t interest you
  • Are prone to conflict with you
  • Don’t come across as trustworthy
  • Are entertaining romantic interest in you–which, if you’re reading this article because of them, you don’t feel the same way.
  • Several other possibilities

Once you’ve decided on a more specific problem, you’ll be able to come up with a more specific solution.

Stop Worrying About Being “Nice”

Yes, you want to be kind. That’s likely one of the reasons you have a hard time with this one. But is being “nice” in conversation really being nice?

Here’s an all-too-common scenario:

The person in question has now been talking for 20 minutes. Your eyes started glazing over 17 minutes ago. You’re engaging in a plethora of head nodding and uh-huhs and disheveled, anxious eye-contact. But the person you’re talking with (or more accurately, the person who’s talking to you) isn’t picking up on the cues that you’ve sunk into the perilous swamps of one-sided conversation and that you’re struggling to come up for air.

What you need to come to grips with is that the uh-huhs, head nods and pitiful eye-contact you’re exhibiting leave you feeling guilty for not being more engaged.

By pretending to be engaged, you’re actually not being “nice” even if the person rattling off to you hasn’t noticed.

Instead, be prepared to be honest. Admit if the person talking to you lost you or you’re too busy or whatever the reason.

If you need an excuse to exit the conversation, you needn’t lie. Your life is busy enough without having to do that.

You have kids to pick up, bathroom breaks, pressing calls, texts and emails and the list goes on.

Stop worrying about being “nice” and just be honest even if there’s risk of hurt feelings. By so doing, you’ll be well on your way to acing the talk-too-much problem!

Another way to deal with this challenge is to set a specific amount of time aside in your mind. It could be five or ten minutes. After the time is up, kindly but firmly share that you need to get going.

There’s a reason that person that frustrates you is in your life. It’s likely beneficial for them to share with you. By striking a balance, you can be an encouragement and help without becoming overwhelmed! 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.

First Date: 3 Red Flags to Avoid

It’s time for your first date. You want to make the best-possible first impression. But first impressions are a two-way street.

What if that first date winds up being an epic fail and it wasn’t because of you?

Worse yet is another fear. What if your first date gives you some serious red flags and you don’t even notice them? Because you don’t notice them, you later find yourself deep into a toxic relationship?

Although there’s a host of potential red flags, here are three to consider.

Your First Date Only Talks About Themselves

Want a major Red Flag?

You’re an hour into your time together and your date hasn’t ceased talking about themselves. It’s almost like you’re invisible—like you’re not even there.

Have you noticed or are you blindly overlooking that fact?

Your relationship will always struggle if only one side is numero uno.

Things aren’t likely to get better, either. Most sensible people are on their “best behavior” for first dates.

What’ll happen when familiarity sets in? The odds aren’t very good that your opinion will matter or that you’ll be valued.

All your needs, hopes and dreams will be eclipsed by the narcissist you’ve made such a large part of your life.

Your First Date Pressures You to Be Physical

You shouldn’t feel any pressure to be physical on your first date. Your date needs to respect that fact or you’re starting out on shaky ground.

No, you don’t owe your date a thing if they buy you something to eat or a memento.

Take some control and avoid opportunities or places that could lead you to compromise or even danger.

It’s best to decide ahead of time on this issue. If your date can’t respect your boundaries on a first date, tell them to get lost.

Your First Date Is Too Pushy

Your initial date should be relaxed. It’s better if you don’t go to a fancy dinner or do something that could feel high pressure.

If your date tries to make things feel otherwise, they could be intentionally (or unintentionally) moving too fast.

They may fear losing you and feel the only way to prevent that is to do something big.

The truth is that there’s already enough pressure on a first date as it is. Find something to do that’s fun and relaxing instead of cramped and potentially stressful.

There’s no need to feel pressured into another date. You’ll need time to process that later.

In Conclusion

Watch how your date treats other people and then decide if you’d like to be treated the same way.

No date will be perfect just like you’re not perfect. This needs to be understood.

At the same time, you want to look for patterns that could cause you more grief than it’s worse. And if you find patterns like that, put the brakes on and then change lanes. 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.