Broke Up with Your Partner? Here’s How to Emerge Stronger

If you recently broke up with your partner, you’ve seen some turbulent days lately. You may feel empty, betrayed and broken beyond repair. There are few things as painful as what you’re going through.

Although a season of pain and bewilderment is normal, you’ll eventually reach a fork in the road. You’ll have to decide between becoming a weaker or stronger person through the experience.

If you harbor bitterness, mistrust, and hold onto sadness, it will eventually break you down. If you hold onto a positive attitude, reach toward hope and strive for something better, you’ll emerge stronger.

You can emerge stronger. Sadly, not all do. But whether or not you become stronger through your experience ultimately is a choice.

After a Recent Breakup, Exchange Negative Self Talk with Positive

A breakup with your partner can feel like an epic personal failure. But you at least had the courage to try even though you knew there was a chance that things wouldn’t work out.

One of the most agonizing aspects of a breakup is the emotional toll it can take on you through self-doubt.

Your internal dialogue will question whether you can be successful in another relationship, whether someone else will find you attractive again and will tell you that you can’t trust others anymore. There are million other negative ideas you’ll be tempted to believe as well.

Do your best to sit back and notice the internal dialogue assaulting you. Those in the most danger don’t step back and look at their negative thoughts from an objective vantage point.

Once you’ve stepped back, take those negative thoughts and speak true and positive ones into your life instead. And doing so doesn’t mean you ignore your failures (we all fail at points—it’s just part of being human). Admitting failure is the first step towards healthy change.

Here are few examples of this:

Negative Talk:

“You know your anger is why the break up happened, don’t you?”

Positive Response:

“I admit my anger may be part of the reason for my breakup although there were many reasons. But it doesn’t need to define me. With the proper support, I can and will do better.”

Negative Talk:

“You can never trust again. You’ll only get hurt.”

Positive Response:

“Although that’s how I feel right now, that’s not an option. Trust is a must if I’m to be successful in a future relationship. In time, I’ll learn to trust again.”

Ask Others for Help

To emerge stronger, everything rises and falls on whether you can conquer the battle of the mind.

Write down every negative thing you’re tempted to believe about yourself. Next, replace those negative thoughts with truth. The best way to do this is to write out positive responses in a journal.

But don’t stop there because you may struggle to come to the right conclusions alone. Be honest with a trusted friend and share the negative thoughts you’re tempted to believe.

A good friend will be able to give you plenty of ammunition against those lies as will a trusted therapist.

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

Coping with Depression After a Breakup

A break up is a very stressful life event and can lead to depression in some people. Even for those who don’t experience depression as a result, for a span of time, their life is in upheaval.

Everyone handles breakups differently. There’s no prescribed time to recover from the emotional hurt. However, if you feel like it’s been a while since the breakup and every day still feels bad, depression could be a possibility.

If that’s you, there are some things you can do to cope. Here are some to consider.

Dealing with Your Shattered Image: Depression after Breakup

Breakups can bring out our insecurities like nothing else. They can leave you feeling inadequate, unloving and unlovable. This emotional tornado can feel so strong that depression can overwhelm you.

These feelings cut to the core of who you are and cause you to question everything about yourself. Thankfully, although your emotions feel very real, they aren’t always centered in reality.

The truth is that we’re all broken people. We all know what it’s like to have key relationships break down because flaws or circumstances on both sides get in the way.

Anyone you decide to pursue as a significant other in the future will be flawed just like you. Don’t let your mind beat you up and tell you that you’re the only one who has failed or is flawed.

The story of humanity never was easy success. It’s one of perseverance. One of continuing to go on despite our failures to reach the summit.

Instead of focusing on what you’ve found is lacking because of the breakup, focus on something else. Zero in on how you can become a better person despite those setbacks.

And when you find that new significant other, you’ll be all the more ready for a healthy, thriving relationship.

Other Quick Tips for Dealing with Depression after Break Up

Exercise: Fight the urge to crawl into bed and stay there. Get out and raise your heart rate and your body will work better. You’ll also be happier with how you look and feel.

Journal: Write out your pain. Scream out powerful words on a page. Rage about the hurts and injustice of it all. But more than all of that, focus on the positive even if it feels weird at first. There is a lot of good to find—you just can’t easily see it yet.

Be Social: Yes, it’s the last thing you feel like doing after a breakup and with depression to boot. But you need to understand others and to be understood. Don’t worry about finding another significant other initially. Just look for people you enjoy being with and that you can trust.

Get Help: If you feel your depression is getting the best of you and you can’t pull yourself out, seek a trusted professional who can help. Remember that doing so isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of inner strength.

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

How to Handle Running into Your Ex

Running into your ex can be a stressful, unpleasant encounter. Especially depending on the events surrounding your breakup, it can be one of your greatest fears.

While there’s no way to guarantee you won’t run into your ex again, there are some things you can do to make such unexpected encounters less stressful.

Here are a few ideas to help you prepare for the next time your paths cross.

Running into Your Ex: Admit It’s Awkward

just admitting that something is difficult makes it easier. This can be true of many scenarios in life including grief, public speaking, as well as running into your ex.

You can admit to yourself and possibly to your ex that “this is awkward.” He or she will probably agree. An interaction like that will lighten the mood. You might even get a smile or laugh out of the situation by admitting the truth.

Doing so won’t make the potentially unpleasant feelings go away. It will, however, help you to loosen up and relax some. And relaxed, non-defensive people make better decisions.

Resist an Emotionally Charged Interaction

A chance encounter is the worst time to let your emotions get out of control. You both already happened upon each other. You both were caught off guard.

Both of your brains and bodies have signaled high alert. Those defenses came up without you even thinking about it. The adrenaline is going.

Now could be an easy time to rehash old problems in a not-so-pretty way.

Easy? Yes.

Wise? No.

After admitting that the encounter is awkward, do your best to keep the conversation short. Keep things “businesslike” even though that may be the last thing you feel like doing.

Another good idea is to avoid physical contact a much as possible.

There’s a reason you broke up. You and your ex likely hashed the thing out many times in your mind since and in person. Doing so now won’t fix anything.

Work at Forgiving your Ex

When there’s a breakup, both parties are left with some baggage. Both sides feel some level of being wronged.

We tend to hold onto these hurts and stew over them. It’s easy to minimize our own failures and magnify those of our ex.

Although there will be an inevitable stage of anger and loss following a breakup, holding onto these feelings too long isn’t healthy.

In time, for your health and the wellbeing of others, you’ll need to let go of your hurts.

For many, this isn’t a one and done decision but a daily one for a while. Without letting go of the hurts you experienced, you become a self-imposed prisoner.

You’ll eventually need to choose not to relive hurts in your mind. You’ll have to get to the point that you refrain from badmouthing your ex as this only causes unforgiveness to grow again.

Letting go of hurts doesn’t mean denying they happened. It does mean that you choose life and health for yourself and others. Doing so will make those unexpected encounters with your ex more bearable.

Doing so will also set the groundwork for a healthy relationship with your present or future significant other.

Still struggling with a past relationship? We’re here to help whenever you have the need.

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

What Qualities Should You Look for in a Partner?

People look for many different qualities in a mate. So, not surprisingly, there’s a lot of confusion about traits you should look for in a partner.

After all, we’re highly unlikely to get everything we’re looking for in a significant other. There will need to be some compromise on both sides.

However, there are some underlying, foundational qualities you need to look for to ensure a successful relationship. The difficulty lies in the fact that these traits aren’t always the ones that jump out at you.

They’re usually either quietly working under the surface or they aren’t. Here are a few non-negotiable traits to look for in a partner.

Kindness

Although some have the tendency to be attracted to “good guys” or “bad girls”, kindness still is king.

Being with someone who is kind to you but not others may be thrilling for a while. There’s the “bad” appeal.

But what happens when your partner is no longer able to compartmentalize their rudeness and they start treating you like they were treating everyone else all along?

Kindness gets a person further in every area of life. In no place is it harder to practice and more essential than in a committed relationship.

If your partner is consistently a “jerk” to you later on, that will get old fast. However, if there’s an inherent respect and kindness towards you, that will sustain you even in the tough times.

When evaluating whether a date is kind, don’t only look at how he or she treats you. Your date may be able to fool you for a while.

Instead, how does your date treat their parents, restaurant workers or those less fortunate? Find out the answer to that and you’ll have a good clue.

A Positive Outlook on Life

The quality of a positive outlook in a mate can come out in a variety of ways. But one thing’s for sure: Without this trait, life can really become a drag.

If your partner is consistently negative, it will eat at you like cancer. Life will become unbearable and you may take on the trait of negativity yourself.

Living in negativity is like a fish living in a tank that’s never clean. It feels suffocating, unhealthy and toxic. It kills your productivity and snuffs out your hope.

Avoid negativity at all costs. Find someone who can see life in a positive light and the sky will be the limit.

This trait can exhibit itself in a quiet contentment, a good sense of humor or resiliency in tough times.

Closely watch how your partner handles difficult situations–especially the little ones. Life is mainly made up of a myriad of small sufferings that if, born well, enrich the life of the sufferer. If born badly, “the little things kill”, as the song goes.

The Qualities You Have and Want to Become

In conclusion, what are the qualities you possess and want to become? You’ll have to be a bit of a speculator when looking for a mate.

Learn to locate the most-important traits in raw form. We’re all still a work in progress and, hopefully striving to get better.

So, you could say, besides the obvious trait of trustworthiness, the quality of wanting to become a better person is a must.

Arguably, the greatest beauty of a strong relationship is that you become better people together. Oh, there are storms and there are problems, but you chip the rough edges off of each other.

The process isn’t always fun and sometimes it’s painful. But, you become better together and, as a result, make the world a brighter place.

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

How to Know If This Person is “The One” For You

Finding “the one” is a big priority for most people and understandably so. It involves something way more enduring than an emotional “Hollywood high.”

You’re looking for something that will last a lifetime, not for a mere day or week. But deciding if someone is the right one can be stressful.

Here are a few ways to tell if that special someone is “the one and only”.

You Trust Each Other

Mutual trust is the foundation of the house of your relationship. If you doubt you have trust at the early stages, you can almost guarantee that you won’t have it later on.

There needs to be a settled confidence that you and your partner will consistently act in the best interest of each other.

Without trust, your relationship will be built on a shaky foundation. All it will take is a little adversity and that house will collapse.

Trust is crucial and indispensable. If you don’t have it in your current partner, they are not the one.

You Make Each Other Better

If you’re in a toxic relationship, deep down, you know that you don’t make each other better. You don’t bring out the best in each other.

But if you’re in a good, healthy relationship, the answer is clear. You can easily see how much you’ve progressed as people because of each other.

You better understand life, have learned selfless devotion and have gone through adversity only to come out of it stronger than before.

You mutually respect each other, encourage each other and help each other improve in all aspects of life.

You Have Similar Values, Goals and Beliefs

Do you feel like you and your partner have compatible goals?

Things to consider include career goals, family dreams and religious beliefs.

Do you feel that given what you know, the two of you will be compatible or will there likely be a source of ongoing friction?

This is an important question to ask. If the person you’re getting to know is “the one”, the answer will be “yes”.

Spending Time Together Is Enjoyable

Do you have a blast when you’re together or do you feel like you’re in shackles?

If you’ve found the one, you won’t need to hesitate on this one.

If you’ve found “the one” you’ll have a long list of things you do together that are fun. You’ll have a smile on your face you won’t be able to wipe off.

It really comes down to whether your relationship is working for or against your wellbeing.

Need some additional help sorting out whether your partner is “the one.” Speaking with a trusted professional can give you the confidence to make the right choice!

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

How to Stop Telling Your Partner He/She is Wrong (Even If They Are!)

Did you know that telling your partner they are wrong can be harmful to your relationship?

It doesn’t mean that you ignore destructive tendencies in your partner like physical abuse, compulsive spending or substance abuse, for instance. But it does mean that you learn to overlook some things.

Certainly, there is a time to bring up problems in a relationship. But does your partner need to hear about every time they are wrong?

No, and here’s why.

Self-Discovery is the Most Powerful Change Agent

You love your partner so it’s natural that you want to speak the truth about the lies your partner believes. Failing to do so would be unloving.

But should you highlight every time your partner goofs up? No, because doing so is degrading, unnecessary and demotivating.

No one likes all their faults put on the big screen. In most cases, the most compelling motivator for your partner to make a positive life change will be found by you being a consistently loving and forgiving partner knowing that you need the exact thing.

Think about it this way: Would you want a friend or parent who picks out every fault in you or one who loves you through your imperfections as you grow to be a better person?

All relationships work better when you can overlook what you can. Decide what you can overlook while still maintaining a healthy relationship.

Within the framework of a healthy and supportive relationship, something powerful is unleashed. Because there is accepting love, your partner will be able to have transparency and support to overcome issues through self-discovery—on their terms.

Not because you rehashed your partner’s faults but because your partner noticed them first.

If the idea to change comes from your partner’s internal dialogue rather than your constant input, they’ll be way more apt to change.

They have to at least think it’s their idea!

Encourage Self-Discovery in Your Partner

We all have a natural desire to improve as people although we sometimes face seemingly insurmountable roadblocks to that end.

Make a point to help your partner practice self-discovery instead of stifling it.

One of the best things to do is to talk about your goals, hopes and dreams. Be an active listener for your partner and work to bring out the best in your partner.

Praise your partner as much as you can. This will make it way easier to bring up topics that need to be addressed when those moments arise. You’ll face a lot less resistance and defensiveness, too.

In Summary

Loving action is the greatest motivator to help your partner change. It isn’t found in constantly diagnosing faults as much as it may seem that way.

Need a little more help encouraging your partner to change? Be open about your own faults and the areas you personally want to improve in.

If you still need an extra boost, we would be happy to help you in this process. Healthy relationships and families are what we’re all about!

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

Is Your Partner Having an Affair?

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

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

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

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

A Spike in Protectiveness of Their Devices

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

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

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

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

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

Unexplained Time Away

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

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

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

You also feel a relational coldness previously not experienced.

Unusual Smells

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

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

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

In Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Do You Want to Create Drama or Memories?

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

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

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

What can that lead to?

Big. Time. Drama.

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

Agreed?

Good.

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

When You Feel Attacked by Your Partner: STOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Is the “Drop” Step for Handling Conflict

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

Really dirty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to Roll: Start Making Memories Instead of Drama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Women: How to Manage All the Hats You Wear

Our society credits women with being talented multi-taskers. Although that can be true to a point, you still have a breaking point. You’re still human and can only handle so much.

So, what should you do when the number of hats you wear is about doing you in?

Here are a few quick, bail-you-out ideas.

Women: Just Say ‘No’

Yep. The same way you say “no” to drugs.

That saying’s nothing new. You’ve heard it thousands of times. But are you practicing “the art of no”? That’s the more important question.

There’s no special prize for doing the most things. After all, what good is it if you’re so overloaded that you no longer can do anything well?

And what good is it if you wake up dreading every day of your life because you have too much on your plate? You’ll soon wonder what the point of it all is.

Closely evaluate what must be done and what’s not important. As good as volunteering each week is, are there more important things that are being neglected as a result?

Decide what you can cut out and do it. Then, watch your quality of life quickly improve.

Carefully guard your time and decide if you should say “no” when asked to do one more thing.

Even good activities aren’t good if you have more than one person can handle.

Manage All Your Hats by Delegating

Another thing you can do is find others to help you.

Businesses unashamedly practice delegation all the time.

You can do the same thing in your personal life.

This means getting your kids to assist you with tasks. If your family isn’t used to helping you, things need to change.

It can seem like more work at first to ask for help. But in the end, it’s far more work not to.

Plus, doing all the work yourself is frustrating and lonely.

Maybe there’s a task you do outside of the home that you no longer have the time to do. Ask someone with the necessary skill set to take over that task.

Do Less to Do More

In America, we’re often ridiculously busy. Women have mastered the ability to have never-ending responsibilities.

Intentionally try to do way less and discover something important.

You’ll realize that less is more. No, you’re not defined by how much you do. You’re more than a robot with thousands of tasks to accomplish.

Your family and friends need you more than your schedule does. 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.