What is your New Year’s resolution?

When discussing New Year’s resolutions, typically people want to lose weight, get their finances in order, be a better person, get organized, or something that can be physically seen.  How often do you hear someone say they want to make a difference in their relationships, strengthen their relationships, or work on having a stronger marriage?  Probably not too often; however, this would be a great suggestion for many couples.

Life is so hectic and busy with both people working, kids to take care of, sporting events to attend, and their own hobbies, many times couples become strangers in their own homes, and in no time at all, they begin to lose their connection to each other.  So, if you commit to making your New Year’s resolution about making a difference in your marriage, where will you begin?

  • First, you have to realize there is an issue if you are living your life like a robot or as a matter of convenience.  Many people stay in a relationship just because life is good enough, the mortgage is paid, and the kids are growing up and behaving like decent teenagers.  That is so not true.  You can make a difference just by reconnecting to your mate.
  • Be truthful and realistic.  Don’t just put on a happy face in public or in front of friends and family.  Work hard to where that smile is genuine.  Commit to making a difference and being truly happy.
  • Turn everything off; the television, the stereo, the video games.  Make time for each other.  Talk every day for at least 30 minutes.  Communication makes for strong connections.
  • Show respect to your mate, in front of everyone and in private.  Show respect in front of your children, in front of your parents, and in front of your in-laws.  Mutual respect can make a huge difference.
  • Take care of yourself.  Continue to learn by reading, doing crossword puzzles, watching educational shows on television, or whatever it is you like to do.  Don’t ever lose who are you because you spend all of your time trying to make things right with your mate.
  • Be patient.  Realize that changing your behavior and paving the road to creating a stronger relationship with your mate will not happen overnight.  It took time to lose the closeness; it will take time to get it back.

Throughout your transformation, realize what’s important and do whatever it takes to move forward, on a stronger path.  If you find you need to talk with someone throughout this process, you may want to reach out to the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County to help you.  Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Dealing with Anger Issues

Are you angry? If so, are you angry often? Do you know how to identify anger and the signs that might appear? If you feel angry often, your face may get hot, your heart rate may increase, you may grit your teeth, or you may even make fists without being aware you are doing it. Uncontrollable anger can lead to problems not only with your health, such as stomach ulcers and heart disease. It can also lead to problems in your relationships, with your friends, your family, and/or with your spouse. Try to identify the fact that you are feeling angry and take control of it before it takes control of your health or ruins your relationships. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not.

First, you have to realize when you’re angry and try to calm yourself down. You may lessen the physical signs of anger by practicing deep breathing exercises, taking a walk, or just removing yourself from the area before you act on your anger. Think before you speak. Hurtful words can come out of your mouth and be directed towards the most important people in your life before you even know what you said. Once you say something, you can’t take it back. Practice collecting your thoughts before you say anything. Think of all the good people or things or accomplishments in your life. Is it really worth being so angry that you want to destroy those things? After an episode of anger, don’t hold grudges. Chances are, if you insulted someone, they insulted you too. Forget about it. Apologize and let it go. Hopefully the other person can do the same. If this can happen, you’re on the right path to making a change in your behavior.

If your anger seems to become a trait that every single person you know relates to their relationship with you, or if you feel hopeless or helpless after an anger outbreak, you should probably consider seeking counseling. If you are causing conversations to turn into out of control exchanges and the outbreaks cause you deep regret, it can lead to depression and sadness.

This is when you may want to reach out and let the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Getting to Know Your Spouse … Again!

A Routine Relationship

When you first got married, the thrill and anticipation of learning about someone new kept the flame alive. There were so many new experiences for the two of you to delve into as a couple that boredom or mundane routine was the last thing on your mind. Fast-forward a few years and what was once an exciting experience has now come close to being an “obligated responsibility”. Your life is routine, and it seems that you have learned everything there is to know about your spouse…. So now what? When you have been married 5, 10, or even 15 years to the same person, how can you learn new things about them or create new experiences?

People are Constantly Changing

Even if it seems that you know your spouse from their favorite color down to the types of foods they like to eat, there are still some things about them that you do not know or have yet to discover. The truth of the matter is that we are always changing, while those changes may not be drastic, they are changes nonetheless.

For instance, before your children came into the picture your favorite pastime might have been going out to the newest bar or club, and now that you have children your favorite pastime might be just to have a moment of silence to yourself… People change as life changes; their point of view changes as they experience new things. So, even if you’ve been with your spouse for 10 years, the opportunity to learn new things about them still exists … and below are some tips on how to do just that.

Participate in Daily Conversation

This one seems over-simplified, but communication is not something that should only be done when there is conflict or something that needs to be resolved – and sometimes this type of communication can become a habit. Talking to your spouse is how you learn more about them. You need to set aside some time each day to just sit down and talk with each other. It can be as little as 15 minutes per day discussing nothing more than how each other’s day was, but really listen. Showing interest in what the other person is going through is significant in keeping the relationship alive. It is amazing how a conversation about work could trigger a flashback of a childhood memory. True conversations can lead you to a deeper level of connection.

Try New Activities Together

The world is filled with exciting things to do so why not experience them with the one you love? Pick up a new hobby together such as cooking or dancing and allow the experience to build a deeper connection between the two of you. You might find that your husband is a great salsa dancer or that your wife is an expert at making omelets. Even if you don’t learn anything new about each other, there is something about spending time together doing something out of the ordinary that can really bring some excitement back to the marriage. You create memories that you can later connect and reflect on.

Try Each Other’s Hobbies

Well they say opposites attract. Maybe the wife is a homebody who likes reading books and going shopping while the husband is a socialite who likes to hang out at the pub or get outdoors and play sports. Have you ever tried participating in what your spouse likes? If you usually stay at home, why not get adventurous and go out with your spouse? You might find that you like it, or at least you get to see your spouse in the midst of having fun and enjoying what they like to do. Your spouse will see your willingness to sacrifice some of your time for them and do something they enjoy ,and your actions can create an even closer bond between the two of you.

Enjoy Alone Time

Are you wondering why alone time would count as a method for getting to know your spouse better? Well, if you’re always around each other, how can you ever get out and experience new things to bring back to the relationship? If your spouse never goes out and plays sports, how will he be able to share his experiences with you? If you never have time to read a book, how will you know what your favorites are? Time alone allows you to get a sense of self and also allows you to appreciate your spouse for their individuality. Time alone does not have to be months apart, even a few hours away from each other can eliminate the boredom and create more experiences, conversations, and connections for the two of you.

As you mature as individuals through your day to day life experiences it becomes more and more important to keep evolving as a couple. Getting to know each other better requires more than just being in the same space, it requires conversation and participating in new experiences both as a couple and as individuals. It can be very easy to fall into the hamster wheel of boredom and routine, but it is essential that you make a real effort to continue growing and getting to know the person you married for who they are at this moment.

Your marriage was once your most important investment. We’d like to help you keep it that way. If you are considering couples counseling, let the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center help you.  Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar.

Transitioning Into Retirement

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Looking Forward To Retirement

How many people do you know who are counting down the months, weeks, or days until retirement?  If you are anywhere close to middle-aged, you probably know at least one person talking about retirement, sleeping late, staying up late, watching television, reading great books, traveling…  How many of those people do you hear talking about spending “quality time” or spending 24/7 with their spouse who has previously retired?  Many people counting down to retirement think of having no alarm clock and no “written-in-stone” schedule, but they fail to consider one thing.  Their spouse.  Their spouse who retired earlier.

Most likely, for the bulk of these people’s married lives, they were employed, had working relationships and friendships, and had other things going on during the day that kept them occupied.  Add raising children to the mix of things, and for at least 18 years, give or take, there were children to come home to, cook dinner for, and shuttle to various activities and events.  But now, it’s you and your spouse.  Wow!  How different will that be?

Make retirement an adventure

As you retire, you need to realize that you will be spending the next decade or century with your spouse, 24/7, for the most part.  Although the thought of having “quality time” with your spouse is appealing to most people, how much is enough (or too much)?  In order to make your retirement as enjoyable as possible, while keeping the peace with your spouse, here are some things to consider in order to maintain a happy home.

  • Keep trying new things – Don’t reach your retirement date and then just stay home and sit on the couch all day, every day.  Be adventurous and do new things.  This can be something as simple as an unplanned outing or as big as a trip to another country.
  • Plan for alone time – Both you and your spouse need some space.  It’s great to do things together, but everybody needs some “me” time as well – it is healthy.  Don’t try to spend 24/7 with your spouse, and don’t have a fit when your spouse needs “me” time.  Use it to your advantage as well.
  • Share the chores – Doing things around the house can fall on the spouse that is home or is working from home.  When you both are retired, divvy up chores in order to share the responsibility.
  • Maintain what is normal – Don’t suggest changing things that have been working fine.  You may have been a boss at work, but you don’t work anymore. Remember, it is an equal partnership at home.
  • Laugh (often!) – Don’t sweat the small stuff.  The ability to laugh at or with your spouse, instead of being annoyed with your spouse, is a treasure.  Lighten up!  You’re retired!  Who cares if he always walks through the kitchen with his boots on or if she always has to put hand cream on before she leaves the house!
  • Stay connected – Most likely, your kids, grandkids, other family members, friends, and neighbors will still have issues and will still be working through life’s many roadblocks.  As you get older, stress and turmoil over things you can’t control can be bad for your health.  Draw strength from each other and talk to each other when something is bothering you.  Do not bottle up emotion.

It’s true that retirement means many things, one of which is a different approach to your marriage.  Both of you need to be ready and able to give and take. This means being aware of the impact transitioning into retirement can have on both of you.  There are adjustments to be made, just as there are different choices to be made – together.

Prepare for what lies ahead

Here are some things that can happen after both spouses have retired and are now home alone, together.

  • The spouse who retired most recently can become depressed due to the extremely new routine and lack of interaction with others.
  • A spouse who was a boss can start giving orders to his spouse.
  • Conflict about whether or not to stay where you live or move somewhere else may arise.

Being aware that changes are part of retirement can make all the difference, as can entering retirement armed with a little education and the right attitude.  If you or your spouse are having a hard time adjusting now that both of you are retired, you may want to consider speaking with a counselor.  At the Orange County Relationship Center, our staff of trained professionals are committed to helping you with real-life issues.  Call us today at 949-220-3211 to schedule your appointment, or use our online tool to schedule at a time that is convenient for you.

There’s a New Kid in Town

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Although jealousy between siblings is not uncommon, if you’re the parent of a jealous older child you may feel clueless as to how to best manage the situation.  You’ll probably receive your fair share of unsolicited advice from people who feel they know best, but keep in mind that each family is different and each child is unique in how they may deal with jealousy over a new baby brother or sister. Do yourself (and the rest of your family) a favor and ignore the “armchair therapist” advice. What follows are a few solid, time-tested tips and some  common-sense advice to help siblings coexist in a happy home.

Above all else is communication; you need to talk with your older child about the fact that a new baby will be arriving.  Put yourself in the older child’s shoes, especially if they are a fair bit older than the baby.  If you’re having your second child, your first-born has been the sole recipient of your love and attention for as long as they can remember, and the center of their world has been Mom and Dad for a very long time.  A bit of competition between siblings is normal; however, once the baby arrives, the older child should not feel like they have to compete for attention.  If parents allow ongoing competition for attention or time, it is likely to become an unhealthy environment, as well as an unhealthy relationship. So communication with your child, regardless of their age, from the time you become pregnant is crucial.

What follows are a few thing that you can do to encourage healthy sibling relationships.

  • Talk about your older child’s new role as big brother or sister (leader, teacher, etc.) while you are pregnant.
  • Talk about the advantage of your baby having a big brother or sister and how important they’ll be to their new baby brother or sister.
  • Let your older child help prepare for the arrival of the baby.
  • Make schedule changes for your older child that will be in effect when the baby arrives, such as an earlier bath time or dinner time.  Doing this ahead of time will insure the older child doesn’t blame the baby for the new way of doing things.
  • Have your older child be the first to be introduced to their new sibling, shortly after birth, and let them choose what outfit the baby will wear to go home.

And some things to expect from your older child…

  • Expect grumpiness or clinginess in the first few weeks of the baby’s life.  This is a big change for your older child and no matter how diligent your efforts have been to prepare your older child, their natural reaction will be one of fear that they’ll be forgotten.
  • Praise your older child when they do positive things, related or unrelated to the baby.  For example, if your older child prepares a bottle for the baby, praise the child.  If the child goes ahead and does homework without being told, praise the child.  Praise, praise, praise, whenever the older child shows growth and understanding.
  • Ignore tantrums to show your older child that acting out is not appropriate.  Divert your child into something else, whether it is an activity the child likes, or humor on your part.  This should lessen the number, as well as the length, of tantrums.

Now, the hard part – especially if your older child is several years older than your baby.  Offer equal attention to both children.  Ask your friends and relatives to remember your older child first when they enter your home to meet the new baby.  Be sure that you and your spouse give your older child one-on-one time as well.  This will lessen the thoughts that the older child is no longer special to you.  Allow your older child to participate in caring for the baby by choosing a task that is age appropriate.  Beware, your older child is not a parent, and you should never treat that child as such.

If all else has fails, have a heart to heart with your older child.  Jealousy is probably the result of your older child fearing replacement in your life.  Do not tell your child things like, “That’s ridiculous” or “You are being silly!”  Instead, tell your child that the feelings are okay, but they need to be expressed in the correct way; and always reiterate how important they are to you AND the growing family, and how much you love them.

Many times, parents are overwhelmed with trying to deal with the jealousy in their households.  When your older child is jealous of the younger child and nothing seems to make the older child feel secure, jealousy can affect relationships, as well as the child’s self-image.  Extreme cases are when arguing, acting out and physical fighting occur, which oftentimes causes stress in the entire household.

If your family is in upheaval as the result of one child being jealous of the other and you feel like you’ve tried everything to stop it but aren’t’ getting anywhere, consider talking with a professional.  It may be helpful for parents to attend counseling, and then to bring the children with them to counseling once the problems are known.  There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed, and this is not a reflection of your parenting methods or style – it is a healthy choice.  Call us today at 949-220-3211 to make an appointment for you and your family members, or make your appointment using our online scheduling tool.  Speaking to a professional may be just what is needed to reestablish peace, love, and understanding in your home.

Dealing With an Emotional Affair

OC Relationship Center can helpWhat is an Emotional Affair?

Emotional affairs are more common than you might think.  Maybe it’s happened to you in the past, or it’s happening to you now.  Is having an emotional affair actually cheating on your spouse?  You bet it is.  Some people disagree that an emotional affair is the same thing as having a sexual affair; however, both are wrong.  Being closer to somebody other than your spouse on any level equates having an affair and is, therefore, cheating on your spouse.

So, you’ve developed a strong friendship with a member of the opposite sex at your workplace.  Nothing wrong with that, is there?  No, there isn’t.  Members of the opposite sex can be best friends for a lifetime; however, it is important that both realize they can never cross the line into an intimate, romantic, sexual affair.  It’s human nature that the more time you spend with someone, the higher chance that you may be attracted to that person.  It is not worth risking your marriage in order to maintain a close relationship with a member of the opposite sex.

How does it happen?

Maybe things aren’t going well between you and your spouse.  Maybe you are overwhelmed with raising children or running to sporting events.  Maybe your spouse did something that hurt your feelings, or maybe you hardly ever see your spouse due to things you can’t control, such as opposite work schedules.  Now, suppose you work full-time in an office setting.  Maybe you have a great friendship with a coworker with whom you work well and enjoy talking with; someone you find interesting.  Emotional affairs normally start as friendships and then something happens to take it to the next level.  Maybe your hands touch when you are handing paperwork or files to that person.  Maybe you brush up against the person and feel a spark you haven’t felt with your spouse in a long time.  Maybe the smell of the person’s cologne or perfume heightens your senses.  Regardless of how it happens, you’re now in dangerous territory but you feel energized, youthful, and playful.  This is the beginning of an emotional affair.

Emotional affairs can be devastating to a marriage or any long-term committed relationship. There should never be a time that you feel more connected to anybody more than your spouse.  If this is happening to you, you need to take a step back and end the emotional affair before it turns into something more.

Making the right choice.

In order to end an emotional affair, you need to be committed to ending the relationship with the person you’ve become close to, even if it means losing a friendship, and moving forward with your spouse.  Consider these ideas and how they may apply to your situation.

  • Understand your spouse’s needs.  For example, females normally need things like affection, honesty, conversation, and family commitment, and males usually need things like admiration, sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, and domestic support.
  • Be committed to fulfilling your spouse’s needs and telling your spouse what you need in order to be happy and satisfied in your marriage.
  • Focus your energy on communicating with your spouse and making your relationship your number one priority.

There are more direct things you can do to avoid the temptation of having an affair, such as avoiding time alone with the opposite sex and staying away from environments where affairs typically begin, such as bars and nightclubs.

If you have had an emotional affair, you and your spouse can get through it.  But it won’t be easy.  Although you are ready to be finished with the affair, be aware that your confession will only be the beginning of pain and heartbreak for your spouse.  Ask for forgiveness and work to gain your spouse’s trust.  This will probably be a difficult process and may take months, or even years, to work through.  Seeking help and support from a professional counselor who can help you work through the various stages of healing can help significantly.

When you’ve been hurt by an emotional affair.

You may have just found out that your spouse or partner is having an emotional affair.  You will likely go through many emotional stages.  You may not believe this is happening to you, but it is important not to immediately demand a divorce; you may regret it if you do.  This is the one time in your marriage where you will need to have a heart-to-heart talk, without blame, where you both decide if your marriage is worth saving.  You will both need to be committed to starting over and to doing whatever it takes to restore your trust and love.

No matter where you are in the mix, the person ending an emotional affair or the person finding out your spouse has been involved in one, the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center can help.  Our counselors are trained professionals who can help you get through this trying time in your marriage.  Contact us today at 949-220-3211, or book an appointment through our online calendar.  We are committed to working with couples to restore their love, trust, and commitment to each other.

Make Him Smile: Showing Your Husband How Much You Appreciate Him

Let the Relationship Center of Orange County help you keep your healthy relationship on track!First, remember…Men are from Mars!  Seriously, men are wired much differently than women.  Men are willing to give up or modify their plans for women, especially in the “beginning” stages of your relationship or your marriage.  As time goes on, admiration and appreciation of your husband can sometimes fade.  Some may accept this as the norm, but if your husband starts to feel less and less appreciated, it can slowly erode relationship that you once deemed the most important thing in your life. Unacceptable, right? Not to worry, it is never too late (or too soon, for that matter) to show your man how much you love and appreciate him, even if you’re not quite sure how to communicate it to him.

Maybe you find it difficult to express yourself to your husband.  What follows are some small things you can do to make sure your husband knows you appreciate him.  There are hundreds more, but these are sweet, easy to accomplish deeds that will show your husband how very much you appreciate having him in your life.

  1. Say thank you for whatever he does that lightens your load.
  2. Send a sexy text message.
  3. Ask him out on a date, and you plan it out.
  4. Take out the garbage.
  5. Load his MP3 player with his favorite music.
  6. Slip a note into his lunch box.
  7. Write a note on the steamy mirror while he is in the shower.
  8. Accept him for who he is.
  9. Hold his hand.
  10. Rub his back. 

Many times, problems in a marriage come to light after the “honeymoon” stage is over and the realities of life set in.  Additionally, if you have children, a house to take care of, etc., those things can also cause a breakdown in communication with your husband, simply due to your lives become busier as your family grows.  Adapting your lives to care for your children seems to fall into place naturally, but when life revolves around focusing on the children so much of the time, your husband’s need to feel appreciated is put on the back-burner. A caring partner should always make time for their husband as well.  Even if that time is limited to a few hours a week, there should always be time for the two of you to talk about things that are going on in your lives, to spend some time alone together and reconnect.

Another way of showing appreciation to your husband is to accept him for who he truly is – including what he enjoys doing in his spare time, even if his hobbies annoy you.  Most importantly, strive to show your husband appreciation without expecting anything in return.  The most you should expect is a “thank you”.  It is dangerous territory when you enter the “I’ll do this for you if you do this for me” realm.  Living your life in that manner only makes your marriage a tug-of-war, and it is likely to fail.  Instead, start by doing the small things to show your admiration and appreciation, and build up to the larger things.  For example:

  1. Put your husband first.  Give him the last taco at dinner, or offer to get up to get him another beverage when you don’t need to do so for yourself.  That’s easy.  Spending a long weekend away with his family is not so easy.  Try to adapt.
  2. Understand your husband’s feelings.  If you don’t know what he’s feeling or thinking, ask him.
  3. Don’t judge people in his family or circle of friends.  If you don’t like certain people, keep it to yourself.  There is no good that come from your telling your husband of your dislikes.
  4. Try to accommodate your husband’s request.  If he asks you for something, it’s probably important to him.
  5. Express that you care for your husband.  If you aren’t into public displays of affection, that’s okay.  Figure out something else.  Bring him a beer or take the kids somewhere so he can enjoy the football game without interruption.
  6. The absolute best way to show that you value your husband is to say, “Thank you”.  Women do a thousand things every day and never get a thank you; however, for men, it’s necessary.  It’s spikes their ego and they feel more appreciated if you say “Thank you” to every little thing.  Try it!

It’s important that you remember there are things you can do to reconnect with your husband and show him your gratitude without spending a dime.  Many people think romance is buying expensive gifts or going on exclusive vacations.  That could not be farther from the truth.  Sure, it’s great to get away, just the two of you, but let’s face it, getting through all the normal things in life, day by day, and still being in love and enjoying each other is an accomplishment in these busy times.

There are many ways to show your husband how much your respect and appreciate him, even if you only have a few hours a week to be together. As hard as it may be, do not spend your few hours a week talking about the kids, or anything else that is not specifically about the two of you. Try talking about things like when you first met, first fell in love, or any other particularly happy time.  Reminisce about those significant times in your life together.

Think about all the reasons you are blessed to have your husband in your life.  Over time, make a list of these things and share them with your husband.  Make the list specific; in other words, don’t write, “He is helpful”.  Instead, write, “He helps with gathering the laundry.”

Lastly, remember that you chose this wonderful, helpful, decent man to be your husband.  Right?  Your husband obviously has wonderful qualities that drew you to him in the first place.  All marriages hit a few bumps in the road at one time or another.  Rough times are often the result of communication breakdowns, as well as when spouses no longer feel loved, appreciated, or respected. Those rough times can also strengthen the relationship, when properly worked through.

If you are struggling in your marriage and need to talk about your issues and learn how to get things back on track, the counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County  can help you.  Call us today 949-220-3211, or book your appointment via our online calendar.

Financial Infidelity: What to Do When Your Spouse is Hiding Debt?

Let the Relationship Center of Orange County help!If you’ve never thought of hiding debt as infidelity, think again.  For most, infidelity is cheating–any type of cheating, lying, etc.–in a relationship.  Lying by omission is also considered by many to be a type of infidelity.  If your spouse has been hiding large amounts of debt from you, your spouse is guilty of infidelity.

Whether this money was spent on golf, dinners, mini-vacations, or illicit items, the consequences of racking up thousands of dollars in debt is most times worse than an affair.  Um, WHAT?  Yes!  The reason is that money is involved, and it’s usually large amounts of money being spent without your knowledge.  Additionally, if a stranger racked up thousands of dollars on your credit card, you could prosecute and be forgiven for the debt by your creditors.  However, if your spouse does it, the debt also legally belongs to you.

Fixing the financial side of things

The first step is to determine where the money went and how much is owed.  To find out what was charged on joint credit cards, request your credit report.  Realize, however, that your spouse may have credit cards in his or her name only.  Ask your spouse to come clean.  Go through all of the credit card statements carefully, and prepare for the worst. You could quiet possibly find things on those statements that pertain to secret items, secret relationships, or even illicit activity.

There are three things you will need to realize.  Your spouse needs to stop spending, the issue needs to be addressed, and the debt has to be paid.  You will need to make a repayment plan. Even though you didn’t cause this mess, it’s yours, and it will affect your credit score.

Have your spouse sell anything they bought while racking up this debt and put that money toward the debt.  Insist they get a part-time job or work overtime, and put all that money toward the debt.  It may be a good idea to consider credit counseling. Depending on the amount of the debit, some people in this situation may even consider bankruptcy.  Either way, cut up the credit cards, make a budget and reduce spending until the last credit card balance is zero.

Working on your relationship

Get counseling.  This racking up of credit card debt is a red flag that your marriage is not in sync.  Make time for discussions and talk about this issue, as well as the life you want in the end.  Few relationships can survive this type of betrayal without counseling.  If you’re intent is to say together, see a professional.  This is especially important if there is an addiction involved – gambling, illicit substances or compulsive shopping are all realistic possibilities in this situation.

Other suggestions …

  • Follow an intense plan to get out of debt.  This will require an incredible commitment by both of you.
  • Be unified.  If your children are of appropriate age, let them know there are some changes being made and how it will affect them.
  • Show leadership.
  • Set goals, and celebrate when you meet them.
  • Commit to a future of change when it comes to using credit cards.
  • Involve your children so they can see what it’s like to struggle and to lay the groundwork for them to not fall into the same trap.

If your spouse or partner has come clean about debt that you didn’t even know existed, and you choose to stay in your marriage or relationship, let the counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you.  It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end. Give us a call today at 949-220-3211, or book your appointment using our online scheduling tool. It’s time to make things better.

Why Nagging Won’t Get You What You Want

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They say you can catch more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar!

No relationship is perfect. At one time or another, one partner seems to end up doing something that upsets or annoys the other. It’s just the way relationships work sometimes.  Most times, the reaction is to nag the other about their behavior or the problem at hand. Nagging is never an effective way to communicate your needs and will almost always produce negative results.  Nagging can be harmful to a relationship and cause problems instead of solutions. There are many reasons why nagging won’t get you what you want in any relationship.

  1. Resentment – Nagging will almost always generate an angry response from your partner, making them resent you.  Whatever it is you’re nagging about is the last thing your partner wants to do.  It is unpleasant to hear; therefore, you will be tuned out, especially if you nag about the same issues over and over again. Your partner will simply stop hearing you, and the more you nag, the less they will respond to your needs.
  2. Negativity – Nagging is a form of punishment.  You are basically indicating, “When you do what I want you to do, I’ll stop punishing you by being an annoying nag!”  Being nagged makes your partner feel like they are being manipulated by a control freak.  If you are the one nagging, you probably feel like you are standing up for what you need without intending to stop until you get the desired result you are seeking.
  3. Implications – Nagging focuses on what is not being done; therefore, you are implying what your partner is doing is wrong.  Most times, your partner will feel that he or she is not worthy because they are not living up to your demands or expectations. When you nag, you find fault in your partner, and it tends to wear down your relationship instead of building up your relationship.
  4. Criticism and Hostility – Nagging is a form of criticism and creates hostility in a relationship. Continuous nagging is harmful because it is a constant and ongoing attack.  When you attack your partner, you are asking for defensiveness instead of cooperation.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel love and acceptance in this type of environment.
  5. Dominance – The person being nagged will immediately feel like you are saying they are unimportant and beneath you. When you nag your partner, you are treating them like you are dominant and what you say needs to happen at all costs.  This is an unhealthy approach to forming a long-lasting and meaningful relationship. Remember, a relationship is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

Nagging is usually the result of feeling frustrated or angry, and is done because one partner can’t understand why the other partner doesn’t just do whatever it he or she is asking to be done.  It’s also possible that you turn to nagging because you think it will change your partner and make their life better or easier.

There are ways to erase the damage of nagging; however, if you know you’re nagging, the sooner you stop, the better chance your relationship will have to grow.  There are more effective ways to communicate what we want or need.

  1. Stop Nagging – Just stop nagging.  Your partner knows your issues and what you would like to see happen or changed.  Your partner just might make those things happen once you stop nagging all together.
  2. Determine Worth – Decide if whatever you’re nagging about is really important.  Is it worth causing pain to your partner or damage to your relationship?  Think of nagging like taking a cheap shot at your partner while they’re not looking.  Would you willingly do that?  Probably not.
  3. Analyze Yourself – You can’t change someone else; you can only change yourself.  Consider changing your behavior.  It will take some time for your partner to be open to change, especially if you’ve been nagging non-stop for a long period of time.  You can tell your partner you are through nagging because you realize it causes pain and you want to eliminate painful feelings from your relationship.
  4. Offer Support – Ask your partner what you can do to help or what you can do so that they have time to do what you’re asking to be done.  If you partner tells you what you can do to help, do it.  Even if your partner doesn’t follow through, do what you said you will do so they can see that you will offer support.
  5. Compromise – Relationships function on give and take.  In order to grow, both partners need to give to create the final result or need to take to create the final result.  This may mean offering to help your partner (giving) or asking your partner for help (taking) in order to accomplish the task.  Most likely, once you show that you are willing to help, your partner will eventually follow your lead.

By eliminating nagging, you are eliminating negativity, resentment, criticism, hostility, and dominance.  Read that sentence again.  Do you really want to be involved in a relationship full of those attributes?  Probably not.  Over time, once nagging is completely out of the picture, your relationship will blossom and grow, and be best described as a partnership of equal responsibility and acceptance.  This is essential for any healthy relationship.  It is within your control to turn this situation around to be able to live a happy, healthy life with your partner.

If you are feeling nagged and criticized, why not get an unbiased third party to help you get along getter. Please give us a call at the OC Relationship Center today at 949-220-3211, or book your appointment online via our online calendar.

Working Past Trust Issues in a Relationship

Let the counselors at OC Relationship Center help.

“Trust enables you to put your deepest feelings and fears in the palm of your partner’s hand, knowing they will be handled with care.”
– Carl S. Avery

Great chemistry, communication, and trust are at the top of the list when it comes to having a successful relationship. While it is true that all relationships have their moments of happiness and despair, it is important to try and keep the down times to a minimum. One of the most common relationship problems, whether new or old, is trust. When one or both partners lose trust in one another, it can become very difficult to get over without the proper tools. Harbored trust leads to nothing but infidelity, arguments, and eventually broken relationships. If you are looking for a solution to your trust issues, these tips will help you in saving your relationship and getting back to growing closer together.

Admit the Problem

The first order of business before anything can happen is to first admit that there are trust issues. If you’re in denial about your issues with trusting your partner, you will never get anywhere. Since men have a more complex time with showing emotions, it may be more difficult for a man than a woman to express that they do lack trust in their partner and be willing to put forth the effort for change.

Let Go of Baggage

Some people come into a relationship with trust issues. Some have lost trust due to childhood experiences, and others have lost trust as a result of other relationship problems gone wrong. You need to really evaluate where your trust issues are coming from before trying to solve the problem. Ask yourself these questions: Has your partner ever given you a reason not to trust them? Have they ever lied? Have they ever made a promise that they did not keep? Did they ever fall short on a responsibility? If your answer is no, your trust issues were brought into the relationship from another source that needs closure.

Talk About it

Communication is important in any relationship. A lot of times you will find that trust for trust. For instance, if you believe your significant other is cheating on you because they’re out late hours in the night, your partner could communicate where they are going and an ideal time that they will be back. This small amount of communication can put fears to rest and keep the trust.

Put the Past Behind You

It is important to remember that everyone is human and are bound at some point to hurt someone whether intentional or unintentional. If you’ve had relationship problems in the past where your partner has wronged you and betrayed your trust, this issue needs to be addressed so that you can move past it. If you have agreed to forgive them for their wrongdoing, you have to learn to let go and allow the healing process to begin. Holding onto the past only creates resentment and makes it hard for the relationship to move to the next level.

Don’t Play the Blame Game

No one likes to feel as if they’ve hurt someone they love. If your significant other comes to you and expresses that they feel that they can’t trust you, don’t take offense. Lots of people get defensive and begin blaming the other person for their actions. For Well if you weren’t so busy snooping around my phone I would not have to lock it!” Instead you want to listen to what they have to say and actively make strides to making things right.

Create a Plan of Action

Talking is only half the battle in fixing relationship problems such as trust. You and your partner need to sit down and really discuss a plan of action within reason. For problem consider providing each other access to your cell phones, email accounts, and social media pages. You could also suggest sending a simple text message when you’re going to be working late or going out with friends after work so that there is no room for speculation. Your actions will show your partner how much you care to change and will essentially bring you guys closer.

Fixing and/or rebuilding trust is not something that’s going to happen overnight. The best plan of action is to address the issue, find the underlying cause to getting back to love.

If you’re having trust issues and can’t seem to get past them on your own, there is also the option of consulting a professional who can provide help you find your source of distrust and slowly put the pieces back together. Consider couples counseling. Let the counselors at Orange County Relationship Center help you.  Call us today at 949-220-3211 or book your appointment via our online calendar. As long as both parties are willing to try, rebuilding the trust can be very successful.