How to Balance Dating When You Have Kids

If you have kiddos in addition to a developing relationship, you know firsthand the challenge this can be.

Sometimes it feels like a tug-of-war match. The only thing is, you feel that if both sides don’t win, then everyone loses.

If you’re looking for some tips to help, here are a few.

Good Enough is Good Enough

The first thing to realize is that you won’t magically find the perfect, ideal balance. As bad as it sounds, you’re looking for good enough–Good enough with all its rugged edges.

This will be roughest at the start of your relationship. That’s because there should be a healthy distance of your potential mate from your children.

Because you do so much separately, either your date, children or both will feel left out at times.

You want to protect your children and rightly so.

What if they grow attached to your date faster than you do and the relationship abruptly ends?

What if you “make” your kids abruptly accept your date as a part of the family when the date hasn’t earned that honor yet?

Sometimes it will seem like one side is more of a priority. Just work at making a balance.

As the relationship progresses, this will become easier once the time is right to spend time with your significant other and children at the same time which leads us to our next point.

Just Ask Them

We all can be good at feeding “the elephant in the room.” You know, the nagging fear that your kids or date aren’t getting enough quality time. We tend to avoid touchy subjects instead of tackling them straight on.

Ironically, this usually makes more work for us in the long term.

Ask your date and kids if they’re getting enough time with you. Sometimes the responses you get will be emotionally charged and leave you scratching your head.

You’ll wonder if they are accurate assessments or just feelings. You’ll have to decide that for yourself.

But at least you won’t be playing the guessing game.

One caution with this: be prepared that you may receive an answer you don’t want.
Prepare yourself beforehand not to become angry or defensive in that case.

You want to keep lines of communication open. You also want to make sure that you don’t discourage transparency and honesty from your date or kids.

Do Things Together

If your date and children start doing things together at the proper stage in the relationship, things will gradually become easier.

As the level of commitment increases, so should the time you all spend together. At first, you’ll have to decide when to even introduce your date. Then, you’ll get to decide how to slowly include everyone.

Dating emotions can be strong. You know that already. Don’t make these decisions on the highs and lows of emotions. Ask the opinion of those closest to you or a skilled therapist.

This likely won’t give you an exact answer. But you won’t be shooting in the dark anymore. You’ll likely hit close to where you should be. 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 Introduce Your Kids to Someone You’ve Been Dating

Looking for the ever-elusive relationship fairy to give you the nod? For her to tell you that you should marry your partner?

Good luck with that one!

Although there are plenty of emotions that go into a budding relationship, deciding if your partner is the one doesn’t need to be a mystical decision.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to deciding. But here are some ways to help determine if your partner is “the one.”

Most Of The Time, You’re Happy

This is an important one because if you ask 10 different people how they knew their spouse was the one, you may get ten different answers.

It may have been because their partner made them laugh, was kind, romantic, responsible, physically attractive or any combination of things.

But boiled down, it meant that, most of the time, they were happier with their partner than unhappy.

It sounds very similar to what makes someone conclude they have a satisfying job. Most of the time, they are happy with it so they stick with it.

Conversely, if you increasingly find you’re unhappy in your relationship, this could be a sign to hold off.

Others Say Your Partner’s The One

You shouldn’t necessarily give up on a relationship if someone close to you doesn’t like your partner.

However, if you have more than one close friend or family member who thinks your significant other is the one, that’s worth paying attention to.

Your friends and family are able to maintain a less biased view of your relationship. While you’re worried about your relationship working and doing all you can to make it a success, they’re just watching.

Most of the time, those who know you best have a pretty good idea. They can easily tell if you become a better person because of the person you’re with or the opposite.

If you’re consistently happy, they pick up on that. If there’s a consistent dark cloud over your life that wasn’t there before your relationship started, there’s no way those closest to you won’t notice.

Spend A Lot Of Time With Them

Lastly, spend plenty of time with your partner before deciding to marry.

Spend enough time with them to know if you’re happy most of the time with them or not.

Marriage never should be a knee-jerk or desperation move. Those who hope marriage will “clean up” their relationship problems are almost always disappointed.

Make the reason you marry be because you can’t imagine going through life without your partner.

The more time you spend together, the less you’ll second guess your decision. You’ll just know. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Single Parent Dating

There’s no way around it. Single-parent dating can be a challenge.

Don’t let that discourage you, though. The ultimate goal of single-parent dating is an eventual happier life with increased stability for all. And that certainly is possible.

How so? Here are some quick tips to help you get there.

Plan Time for Everyone

The infatuation or “in-love” stage of a relationship is a blast. The temptation is to unknowingly spend all your time with your new-found potential mate.

This can lead to emotions for your children that are difficult to keep in check. They’ll likely feel they already lost one of their parents and now they’re losing you.

Fear, anger, sadness and jealousy are normal emotions for children to struggle through during just about any single-parent dating scenario at some point. If most of your time goes only into your dating relationship, your children will really struggle.

Also, if you’re not careful, you may feed into unrealistic expectations of how much time you’ll be able to devote to your potential mate in the future. You certainly don’t want to create the bad habit of neglecting your children once the relationship grows more serious.

At times, you may wonder if your kids are totally against your date. But that may not be the case at all. They just desperately NEED time with you.

So be sure to spend time with your date and children separately and, later, together when the time is right.

Your Children Are Dating Too

The reality is when you date someone when you already have kids, your potential mate has children or both, everyone’s involved in the dating process.

This means that if you can’t see a healthy fit with your date into your family, then it’s best to end the relationship sooner than later.

This also means that even if you think you’ve found “the one” there needs to be sensitivity towards your children.

Be careful about showing affection too early in a relationship around them. This could be difficult for your child to handle.

Also, realize that just as you’ll experience ups and downs in your dating relationship, so will your child.

At one point, your child may be excited about the prospect of a new family dynamic. Another time, they may be strongly opposed.

Frequently talk to and prep your child about where the relationship is going being careful only to share what is necessary.

Only include your children in activities with your date when things become more advanced. Especially young children can develop a quick attachment with your potential mate.

It could be a challenging loss if they build a relationship with your date only to see it dissolve before their eyes.

Wrapping Things Up

Sound challenging? It is.

But is it possible to have success in single-parent dating and reach a conclusion everyone’s happy with? Yes.

It’ll be work. Then again, is there really anything good that doesn’t require work?

Keep researching ways to become an all-star at single-parent dating, talk to others who’ve been through the process and consider reaching out to a trusted professional to increase your chances of success.

With the help and encouragement of others, you can do this! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

What Your Mate Needs From You

What do we fixate on most in our relationships? The exact opposite of this title.

If we were honest, we’d admit that, much of the time, we think, “What I need from my mate” as most important to us.

But the surest way to get what you need in a relationship is to give your mate what they need. What you need will naturally flow back to you in that case.

Does this mean we should do unselfish things with selfish motives? No. Instead, it highlights how important it is to take care of our mate.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you do just that.

Listen Without Judgment

Everywhere you turn there is criticism. A lot of the criticism is true. We all have problems and shortcomings after all. But consistent criticism and judgmental tendencies from others cause people to shut down.

As a result, most people find it difficult to be honest with others. What if those we thought were trustworthy use what we tell them as ammunition against us instead of understanding better where we’re coming from?

In your relationship, your mate needs the ability to share about the messy details of their lives. They need the ability to do so without attacks and judgment.

This is crucial because attacks and judgment are everywhere. Your mate requires a safe place to share their thoughts, process shortcomings, admit fears and talk about their dreams.

This must happen without someone stepping on their thoughts and feelings and driving them into the ground.

The best thing to do is let your mate vent and share their feelings and emotions without you initially evaluating whether they are correct. Do your best to refrain from getting angry if something is said that upsets you.

If you quickly interject disagreement with how your mate processes life right away, they’ll be less inclined to be open with you in the future.

Your mate needs the ability to express their feelings and get them out. If you’re patient, you’ll be invited to offer advice or input at the right time.

The proper time to offer advice almost never means doing so in knee-jerk fashion.

Wait and then wait some more as you stay attentive. Doing so will strengthen your relationship, increase transparency and, as a result, build trust.

Your Mate Needs a Friend

Your mate needs a friend that will be there for them no matter what.

You and your mate require other friends besides the two of you. But your mate should be your best friend.

Will you get warm and fuzzy feelings every time you’re in the room together? No.

Will you constantly feel romantic thoughts towards each other? No. That will come and go.

But what you need is a fellow life journeyer who will never leave you. Who takes on the resolve to get through life together with you in the good circumstances and the bad.

Your mate needs someone who makes them a better person. That doesn’t always mean happiness. But it means something even better than happiness: purpose.

It means that, together, you work to make the world better than you found it. It means that you leave a lasting contribution that makes a positive difference.

That is where the deepest and most satisfying form of happiness can be found! 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.

Agree to Disagree

The other kindred saying to this title is “pick your battles.”

Imagine a nation that went to war over every petty provocation. That would be disastrous, wouldn’t it? And plenty of innocent people would get badly hurt in the process.

No one would deny there are times when a hard stance should be taken. But pushed too far, key relationships dissolve. Children become bitter towards their parents. Parents towards their children. Friends stop getting together.

There are certain things worth fighting for. Still, battle points often need to be dropped, axes buried and good will must prevail though complete understanding of the other side may not.

Is it time to agree to disagree? It could be. Here are some things to think about as you strive for an answer.

So Incredibly Different

It’s remarkable how differently people think and act. Even within the same family, members often shake their heads during tense times. How are such varied viewpoints possible within a close-knit group?

Step outside of your family and bring in different ages, races, nations, genders, childhoods and life experiences and things get way more interesting.

The first thing to remember is that this world is incredibly diverse and that isn’t about to change anytime soon. There’s no way everyone will ever fall in line and start thinking and acting exactly like we do.

Anyone who’s about to embark on a crusade to get others to think like they do at all costs is in for disappointment. Not to mention, a life strewn with wreckage of broken relationships.

Deciding on the Cost

Here’s a quick way to decide on whether to agree to disagree or to hold your ground. Picture a scale in your mind with a place to set something on two opposing sides. You can even draw a picture of this scale.

On one side, mentally place or write down the costs of dropping the conflict. On the other side, write down the cost of not giving in. After you’ve taken a close look at your results, decide on what to do.

Whichever side will cost you and others the most is generally the one you’ll want to avoid.

Most of the time, the necessary or best choice is to agree to disagree. Yet, there are times when this isn’t the best option.

We all tend to be biased toward our own preconceived ideas. Include a trusted friend into deciding what is best. This will help to bring in a more objective opinion.

In conclusion, agreeing to disagree, when done properly, is a huge way of showing you care. It’s a bold though friendly way of saying that you value a person’s friendship more than being right or pushing your own agenda. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Why Nagging Your Mate Doesn’t Work

There are plenty of lies we buy into about relationships. Let’s face it, we’re all working to get better in that area.

One tempting misconception is that nagging a mate will encourage and motivate them to change for the good.

It actually causes the opposite. Why is this? Let’s explore what nagging really is and why it doesn’t work.

What Is Nagging?

Simply put, nagging is an ongoing attempt to get someone to change but the attempt is carried out in a persistent, uncaring way.

A nagged mate feels demeaned, put down, treated like a child and attacked. This leads us to the first reason nagging doesn’t work.

Because of Human Nature

The natural human response to ongoing negative criticism is to rebel. This may be more commonly attributed to children but adults respond the same way.

A nagged mate won’t say, “You know, I finally see it. All along you were right!”

Instead, they’ll say, “You want to be mean? I can be mean too. You want to confront? Then I’ll just avoid.”

Since the nagging partner takes an adversarial role, for a nagged mate to give in to their critic would be to admit defeat. Human nature is to hold the high ground, not to grovel in this case.

Opposite Of What a Relationship Should Be

A good and healthy relationship is a shelter. It’s a safe place from the storms and “haters” of life.

When a mate is nagged, the one relationship that should be the safest and most supportive painfully becomes everything but that.

This inevitably leads to resentment, hurt feelings and anger. Some nagged mates live a miserable existence for years in this state.

Others quickly hit the eject button on a relationship like that. They search for someone who will be a safe, loving and admiring mate instead of a naysayer.

The Endless Nagging Cycle

Here’s how the downward spiral works.

One mate nags their partner. The other partner resists, avoids, becomes frustrated or angry. The nagged person begins becoming more “nag-worthy” because they don’t want to conform.

As a result, the confronter increases the amount and severity of their criticism. This causes the amount and severity of the push back from the receiver to multiply at the same time.

Over time, the nagging cycle grows stronger and more destructive. The nagger feels it necessary to nag because their mate is failing so badly.

The nagged person no longer wants anything to do with their mate who, in many cases, has become the most difficult person in their lives to deal with.

Summing It Up

Nagging isn’t fun for either mate. It’ll put both parties on the fast track to misery and greatly increase the chance of relationship failure.

Stop the nagging cycle by complementing your mate, talking openly about your struggles and by being more patient. You can also find an outside party to help you work through your frustrations in a healthy way.

You can break free from the nagging cycle one good choice at a time and experience a much higher quality of life in the process! Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

The Right Way To Talk About Your Past Relationships

Depending on your past, it can be awkward to bring up previous relationships. You
may feel like you’re in a lose-lose situation when your significant other asks you.

Although doing so can be difficult, there are some practical things you can do to
share appropriately. Consider the following ideas.

Share According to Personality

There’s something many advice resources fail to mention. You’re not dealing with a
robot here but a person you love. One-size-fits-all advice may work great for one
couple and completely backfire for another.

Think about the uniqueness of your partner. How much can they handle? Maybe
they’re very sensitive when you bring up your past. Be considerate of their feelings
and need for security in your relationship.

Withholding Details

You may worry that withholding details about your past means you’re being dishonest. That isn’t necessarily the case.

Imagine if you spoke out loud everything you ever thought. You’d get yourself in
trouble in a hurry! In the same way, you need to be wise about what you share
regarding your past and how much.

Sure, you don’t want to come across as dishonest because you appear to be holding
back. But you don’t want to scare a new potential mate off early in the game either.

Share Based on Commitment

The reality is that trust needs to be earned to share the intimate details of our past.
Especially if it’s early in your relationship, you should be extra careful.

You should never feel pressured to talk about every gory detail of your past
relationships.

If you’re new to a relationship, share small things first to test the water. As your
relationship grows and trust is built, you’ll feel comfortable sharing more.

Don’t Compare

One of the most important things to avoid is comparison between your significant
other and those from past relationships.

Doing so can needlessly upset the one you love. They may feel like they can’t
measure up to your previous loves. This can cause anger and arguments that don’t
need to happen.

Your partner may even try to outdo those you were in a relationship with previously. Insecurities can come out where your partner is constantly asking you if you are still happy with them.

Although navigating the tricky issue of your past may seem daunting, with a little
practice you’ll do great. Someone who truly cares about you will stick with you
regardless of your past.

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

Building the Bond in Your Relationship

Ever have a job around the house that required a repair? Perhaps, you finally decided that glue was your best bet to make the fix. However, you knew that it would take a better-than-average adhesive.

A glue stick that little kids use for crafts wasn’t going to cut it. You pulled out both guns and got the stuff you don’t want to get on your fingers. The last thing you wanted was for that glue to fail at the most inconvenient moment.

Did you know that there’s a major parallel to that analogy and relationships? A general gluing rule is that the stronger the materials you’re working with, the more powerful your glue must be. It shouldn’t surprise you then, that developing and applying “glue” in relationships requires a much stronger bond than anyone can create in a laboratory.

This involves applying the right glue but it also means that you must work hard to make sure that nothing eats away at the glue you already established.

What’s the best glue to apply? Every person is different so finding a custom-glue solution that’s best for your relationship will take some time and effort to figure out.

In our culture, we’re often over-focused on the physical aspect of a relationship. That’s an essential element but focusing only on the physical will not create a strong enough bond to keep you together over the long haul. Here are some quick ideas, though, since some of the major ingredients of relationship glue are universal.

Laugh Together

You’ve heard it more than once. “I was attracted to him or her because they made me laugh.” In effect, they were saying that it felt good to be around that person and they wanted to keep feeling good which meant spending more time with them.

Listen

Our world is flooded with talkers. It’s in short supply of listeners, though. If you learn to listen to your significant other, you’ll place yourself in a unique category and strengthen your bond.

Just a quick warning before you start, sincere listening is likely one of the most difficult things that you’ll ever do. Still, it’s completely possible and worth it.

Tough Times Together

Seriously? Absolutely. If you were ever on a sports team, you likely built some great friendships. That’s because you and your teammates worked hard together to overcome adversity. If you go through a tough time together and stick with each other anyway, you’ll develop staying power and a new, bonding respect for each other.

There are plenty of other ways to build the bond in your relationship. The more you work at it, the more successful you’ll become. In time, you’ll develop a relationship that can withstand any challenge that comes your way! Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How to Live a Happy and Satisfying Life

Everyone desires to be happy and to lead a satisfying life. It could even be argued that every decision that we make is done with the attempt to be happy. Although this may be the case, one thing’s for sure. Not everyone is happy or fulfilled. So how can you lead a happy and fulfilled life? That’s a question that people have asked since the dawn of time. Here are few ideas to help you get there.

Positive Perspective

The most unbearable aspect of bad things that we go through is often our perspective. Perhaps trust was breached in a relationship, you lost your job or you have an ongoing health problem. It’s easy to believe that negative life circumstances can make you unhappy. The reality is that bad circumstances can throw you on your head for a while. It is even natural to experience some sadness, but that’s not where you need to stay.

A positive or negative attitude will determine the rest. A negative attitude can injure you long after a painful life problem occurs. Negative self-talk, internally putting yourself down and bitterness will eat away at you. In contrast, a positive attitude will speak tenderly to you, heal your pain and lead to a smile.

A perfect life isn’t a prerequisite for a happy life. If that was the case, no one could be happy. Even if you only had one small negative aspect to your entire life, if you focused on that one thing, you would become miserable.

Conversely, if your life was full of mostly trouble but you focused on the good, you could become happy. Although it’s often difficult to believe at first, unhappy circumstances in your life are not the greatest barrier to you becoming happy. It is your attitude about those unpleasant problems.

Delayed Gratification

Here’s something crazy to think about. Do you realize that the surest way to be unhappy is to attempt to be happy now at all costs? Imagine what your life would be like if you only thought about making yourself happy for the moment.

For example, if you thought that eating pizza was the chief means by which you could be happy, what would happen? You could wind up very overweight, rack up large dining expenses, experience high blood pressure and lower your life expectancy.

One of the reasons we struggle so much to find happiness is that we often reach for what we think will fulfill us now instead of keeping long-term happiness in mind. This could be seen in someone who quits a job after a bad day even though the job was a good fit for them. Sometimes people seek out romantic happiness at the expense of a committed relationship. True happiness is much more than what we think will make us happy now. A truly fulfilling and happy life means aiming for long-term goals that will make us happy, too.

Wrapping It Up

Another quick way to boost your happiness is to seek the happiness of others. This could mean helping someone out who is struggling financially, offering a sincere compliment, refraining from anger with your child or staying committed to the one you love. There is nothing more like an air-tight casket than a life that helps only itself. If you make a positive difference in the life of someone else, you will find deep fulfillment!

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