Is Infidelity a deal breaker?

Infidelity is one of the most common reasons for divorce. Some people feel that infidelity is a deal breaker and there are no second chances. Ever. It is one of the most devastating occurrences to get past in a marriage. In fact, it takes a strong, committed couple to figure out why it happened and do what’s necessary to forgive and move on in the marriage.

Trust is the biggest issue. If you were cheated on, can you ever trust your spouse again? If you were the one who cheated, can you live your life like an open book, forever proving your love for your spouse and doing whatever it takes to be transparent? Rebuilding trust in your relationship will not be easy, for either person. It will take time and true commitment. Total focus has to be on your marriage and has to be the number one priority in your marriage and in your life.

Communication is key. Both partners need to take responsibility for their actions in what caused the breakdown in the marriage. What happened for your marriage to get to this stage? What are you willing to do to make it better? Actively show your love for your spouse and expect the same in return. Do what you say you’ll do, from remembering to pick up milk, to remembering to make reservations at a restaurant. And do these things without needing reminders. Touch each other often. Hold hands, kiss, hug, and show your love for each other.

Remember, actions speak louder than words. You can say, “I’m sorry”, but it’s just as important, if not more important, that you show your spouse that you are sorry by the things that you say and do. Neither of you should lie by omission, meaning, don’t try to spare your spouse’s feelings by not telling the total truth, always.

Be ready for a long, committed haul in restoring your marriage. There is no timeline for recovering from infidelity. Some people can get past it much quicker than others. There will be many stages. There is the initial shock, the emotions involved, the denial, the angriness, and many more emotions that may come into play. Once you get past the initial shock of infidelity, you may want to consult with a trained counselor. The sooner you and your spouse can begin to heal,the sooner you can move forward in your marriage. Couples who work with a professional, tend to have stronger bonds in the end. Counselors can teach you how to support each other, have an open, honest relationship, and feel free from the hurt you are experiencing.

If you are suffering as the result of infidelity in your own relationship, whether you are the adulterer or the victim, reach out and let the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you.

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

The Impact of Debt and Bankruptcy

Let the Relationship Center of Orange County help!Are you drowning in debt?

Are you struggling to pay your bills, including your mortgage? Do you have bad credit? Are creditors calling you every day? You’ve done everything you can think of, including selling some of your belongings, to make an effort to make ends meet and get the bills paid. But no matter what you do and how much you try to pay everything, it just isn’t enough. You’re only making the minimum payments on your bills, but every month a few unpaid bills remain. You feel as though you have nobody to turn to; nobody to lend a hand or give you a loan… and it’s taking its toll on your mental health and the health of your relationship.

There are several simple things you can do to try to work out a solution. Maybe something unexpected happened in your life and you just need a break. The following list offers suggestions to getting your financial life back on track.

1) Create a Budget – Make a list of your income and your expenses. Prioritize the list by placing things that absolutely have to be paid on time (mortgage or rent and car payments) at the top of the list, and continuing through to things that won’t be earth shattering if they’re not paid on time (credit card bills, cable, and phone bills). Look for ways to decrease your spending, such as buying generic brand items, skipping your trip to the coffee shop, and packing your lunches. Make an educated guess at how much you spend on those little extra each month and budget that amount to your bills.

2) Call Your Creditors – Even if you know you cannot pay your bills; perhaps you just lost your job and have no income, calling your creditors and explaining your situation may get you a payment plan agreement, waiver of late fees, or authorization to skip a payment.

3) Call or Visit Your Bank – Go to your bank and get information on consolidation loans or home-equity loans or lines of credit. But beware! These loans are secured by your home. There are pros and cons to consolidation loans. Although interest rates at much lower than credit card loans, the end result is if you end up not being able to pay your consolidation or home-equity loan, you could lose your house.

4) Think of everything – Don’t overlook things like homeowners insurance, health insurance, and health insurance. These things are vital. Do not let your coverage lapse. Get in touch with your agent and ask for suggestions on how you can save money by reducing coverage, but make sure payments for these things stay current.

5) If all else fails, you may need to consider bankruptcy – There are different types of bankruptcies; Chapter 7 bankruptcy is consider liquidation, and Chapter 13 is considered reorganization. Keep in mind though, not all debt is dischargeable, and not everyone qualifies.

Bankruptcy?

Maybe you’ve considered filing bankruptcy, but you can’t get over the embarrassment and the feelings of failure. Additionally, you may not know how or where to begin. First, go over all of your bills with your spouse or partner and make a list of your creditors and the balance owed to each. Next, find a bankruptcy attorney. Make sure they come highly recommended from someone you know has worked with them in the past, or be diligent and do your research. The sooner these things are in place, the sooner you can focus on getting past the embarrassment you feel, and the sooner you will be paving your way to a solution.

Once you have these things in place, you can focus on getting back on solid ground emotionally. Embarrassment may be present; however, you don’t have to tell people about your financial situation, and you can work to improve your mental well-being. Embarrassment can be overwhelming, especially if you are concerned about the impact it of your financial situation on approval of others, such as your parents or your spouse. Additionally, maybe you can no longer afford to take mini-vacations with your friends, or go out to dinner with other couples, as often. That’s okay. That’s part of working through this issue.

Bankruptcy is a big deal, but things will turn around and life will get back to normal eventually. Good people experience unexpected events in life, and there is no shame in seeking help – both financial help AND the help of a good therapist to deal with the stress and impact it can have on your relationship. Stay focused and remember how great life can be when you don’t have the pressure of debt on your relationship, and think about things and times and people that make you happy. Your embarrassment is understandable; however, you are taking steps and making progress to change the course of your problems and looking towards a better future. The word for that is “success”, not “embarrassment”.

If you need help coping with embarrassment or are questioning your sense of self, contact the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County. Our staff is comprised of wonderful people who are trained to help you deal with your issues. Call 949-220-3211 today to make an appointment, or schedule online at our website.

The Cost of Avoiding Conflict … It Could Mean Your Relationship

Need help repairing the damage after an affair - or are worried you’re headed in that direction? We at the OC Relationshiip Center are her to help.A friend once told me about a couple he was friends with, “Bob” and “Julie,” who were arguing over Bob’s recent purchase of a cappuccino maker. This was no ordinary cappuccino maker—the price tag was close to $2,000. He never discussed his plans to buy it with Julie, and she knew nothing about it until she found it sitting on the kitchen counter. She was hurt by what seemed like his utter selfishness and concerned about how they were now going to pay the bills they had coming up in the near future.

She barely had time to raise an eyebrow before Bob’s defensiveness set in. He explained that had been working so hard lately to improve his diet, get in shape and give up so many of his other vices—from Scotch to cigars—that it seemed only fair he should be allowed this one indulgence.

The latter statement gave Julie pause. She had been impressed, even touched, by Bob’s determination to get in shape, stop drinking and leave the cigars behind. She still knew they couldn’t afford a surprise $2,000 purchase—but now she felt like a nag if she continued to complain.

What ensued over the next several weeks would have looked like the plot of a mediocre sitcom, but with no clean resolution in the end. Julie made a show of looking distraught and commenting under her breath about how hard it was to pay the bills this month every time she opened the mail. Bob, meanwhile, made cappuccinos with a vengeance. Every time anyone stopped by for a visit, he made them frothy drinks and talked through them straight to Julie, making his argument again and again: “It wasn’t cheap,” he would say, “but you know, I’ve given up sugar, alcohol and cigars. A guy’s got to have one indulgence.”

Privately, Bob knew he’d blown their budget on a purchase that was largely impulsive. Julie, for her part, continued to seethe. She felt resentment every time she walked by it in the kitchen. Still, she kept her mouth shut.

What amazed me about this story, although it’s entirely too common among couples in my practice, is how Julie and Bob were both invested in sweeping the problem under the rug—not just for another day, but possibly forever.

Left unchecked, a couple’s habit of avoiding conflicts can put them on a slow collision course towards breakup—because chances are, this is not the first time one or the other has made a bad choice that hurt the other and refused to admit it or apologize, or the injured party choose to seethe and grumble rather than express their anger. It certainly doesn’t have to be over an impulse purchase; it could be one of them arbitrarily deciding their child no longer had to go to math tutoring; or one inviting a friend the other partner actively dislikes to a family event. We do these things because they feel right to us at the time, hoping our partner won’t mind—but in truth we already know it’s not going to fly over very well. It’s like that old cliché: a parent demands to know why a child didn’t ask permission before doing so-and-so, and the child indignantly replies, “Because I knew you’d say no!”

So Bob didn’t tell Julie he was buying a cappuccino machine, much less how much it would cost. Julie was furious but didn’t want to be the bad guy. Bob didn’t want to admit his mistake by apologizing and instead continued trying to justify it. At no juncture in this scenario did either partner make an effort to express their true intentions or resulting resentments about what nearly became a watershed conflict between them.

Couples who fail to communicate over the hard stuff are left, when they do talk, with little but polite conversation that barely scratches the surface of what’s really going on in their shared lives. So my advice is this: choose your words carefully but not too carefully, and when something’s bothering you—or you suspect you need to talk it over, even if you’d rather not—those are the issues that absolutely need to see the light of day. Honesty, even in the face of conflict, is a core ingredient of intimacy and makes you a much stronger couple in the long run.

If you and your partner are having a hard time facing the music and communicating through conflict effectively, consider enlisting the help of a therapist. A relationship counselor can work with you to help you understand each other better. Sometimes it takes the insight of a professional in order to see things differently, and begin to work toward resolving conflict that has been left to fester. If you are considering couples counseling, please give the counselors at the Relationship Center of Orang County a call today at 949-220-3211, or book your appointment via our online calendar.

Are You (and Your Relationship) Ready to Live Together?

If you and your partner are considering moving in together but want to try couples counseling to help decide if it’s right for you, schedule an appointment with the Relationship Center of Orange County today.You might have heard—from your mother, if no one else—that couples who “shack up” before marriage report lower marital satisfaction (even if they eventually do marry) and higher rates of divorce. Statistically, this is true. However, more recent findings have shown that the statistics do not apply across the board but depend on factors specific to each individual relationship.

In other words, moving in together is not inherently bad—and no specific time frame is inherently good or bad, either—if the choice is made for the right reasons and with both partners’ eyes wide open.

Here are two fundamental questions to ask making the leap to cohabitation:

  1. What are your plans for the future? If you both consider this as a sign of commitment to a long-term relationship—and are prepared for all that entails—your heart and mind are probably in the right place. The key is to approach this next step the way you would (or ought to) approach getting married, including couples counseling if necessary to discuss any unresolved issues that are only going to get worse—not better—once you’re living together. Prepare for this step as though you are preparing for a life together. Otherwise, you may not be as serious as you think (or have lead your partner to believe) about the long-term prospects of the relationship, and a break-up that also includes a move-out only causes more pain for everyone involved if it comes to that.
  2. Is this really “cohabitation of convenience”? Let’s say there’s a couple, Lisa and Jeff, who have been dating for about a year and now spend as many nights together as apart. After a while, it starts to seem silly—and unnecessarily expensive—to continue maintaining to separate places when they’re “almost” living together anyway. Still, there’s a world of difference between “almost” and “actually” when it comes to living together. For one, moving in together creates expectations that both partners might not share; maybe for Jeff, this reflects a serious commitment, while Sally mostly likes the idea of playing house while saving on rent.

Meanwhile, sliding into cohabitation without much thought can also lead to sliding into marriage without much thought, either. Just as their frequent sleepovers made it seem only natural to move in together, living together for a while might make it seem only natural to make it official. It might even seem too late now to take a hard look at your viability as a couple, because your lives are already so enmeshed, for better or worse.

Again, if you decide to move in together with shared goals and for the right reasons, it can be a wonderful thing. If you’re already contemplating marriage, it can also work as a trial run to help you uncover and sort out future relationship conflicts. But remember—as unromantic as it is—you also have to be prepared to be disappointed. We all know the alarming divorce rates in our country and the pain that divorce causes, so if moving in together reveals irreconcilable differences, it can be a blessing in disguise: Ending a live-in relationship, while painful, is nothing compared to ending a marriage – the worst-case scenario. The best case is that with solid expectations and preparations, moving in together can be the ultimate preparation for a long, happy life together, because you can never get too much practice in building strong relationship skills—no matter where you live!

If you and your partner are considering moving in together but want to try couples counseling to help decide if it’s right for you, please give us at a call at 949-220-3211 or schedule an appointment via our online calendar. We at the OC Relationship Center are here to help you.

Keeping a Positive Perspective: Seeing the Good

OC Relationship Center can help you keep the positive flow going in your relationship.No matter how much you love your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, there are going to be days when you find yourself just not liking them very much. Maybe it’s something superficial, like his that ugly wool cap leftover from his college days that he insists on wearing even when it’s clearly past its prime. Sometimes it might seem more significant, like her habit of putting scrapes on the car with her sloppy way of navigating around those pesky parking-garage poles.

If you live and share a life with someone, you get to know them intimately—warts and all. Meanwhile, your lives are so intertwined that their mistakes impact you as well as them. It is one of the biggies that makes relationships challenging. It’s tempting to look at your friends’ partners—or even strangers on the street—and imagine that they never overspend on frivolous things, come home from work in a bad mood, say awkward things at dinner parties or forget to pick up milk at the grocery store. But that kind of thinking is not only counterproductive, and most likely erroneous. It’s easy for a stranger—or a friend you only see when they’re on their best behavior—to seem like they have it all together. In reality you have no idea what they or their relationships are like behind closed doors.

Simply put, when doing this you are focusing on the perceived perfections of others while comparing them to the imperfections of your partner.

Like so many areas of life, the importance of keeping things in perspective in this situation cannot be underestimated. Accepting that your partner has imperfections and makes mistakes is part of working to grow the relationship into a more mature one that can stand the test of time.

If you find yourself slipping into the negativity trap, practice skills that can help turn your perspective around. If it helps, pull out a notebook and list your favorite and not-so-favorite qualities your partner possesses. Chances are, there are a lot of good ones you’ve been downplaying or temporarily forgotten—maybe because of something challenging going on in your own life, or maybe just because you’ve been taking them for granted.

As you do this, consider the “not-so-favorite” qualities and try to figure out if they’re something you can do to address them—affectionately, if possible. If that old wool cap bothers you that much, you could (a) buy him a new one and see if that does the trick, or (b) remember that he used to wear it back when you first met, and you found it endearing then. If you’re distressed about the scrapes on the car, find a way of telling your partner how much it bothers you without being accusatory or demeaning. I’m sure you could even come up with a few helpful tips, such as parking in less-crowded areas of the lot…or at least avoiding the concrete poles.

Not all relationship conflicts are so easily solved—but not all of your partner’s personality quirks have to be treated as conflicts, either. After all, you have plenty of quirks of your own, another truth we conveniently forget from time to time. Taking the longer view of your partner and relationship while choosing to focus on the positive rather than the negative are priceless relationship skills. Chances are, you’ll find it well worth the effort.

If you find your complaints about your partner (or vice versa) turning into angry conflicts and need help breaking the pattern, please give us at a call at 949-220-3211 or schedule an appointment via our online calendar. We at the OC Relationship Center are here to help you.