Working through Infidelity

The most common reason for breakups, separations, or divorce is infidelity.  Some people feel that infidelity is a deal breaker; there are no second chances; the marriage is over; no discussion needed; pack your bags and get out.  There are not many worse things than finding out your partner has betrayed you by having an affair.  It is arguably the hardest thing to get past and the hardest thing to forgive.  But it can be done.  It takes a very strong, committed person to be able to work through the process of forgiving the person who cheated while healing your own heart.

Working through the betrayal issues has to be a commitment made by both partners.  If you are the victim of the affair, you may feel that they can never trust again.  You probably doubt yourself, your confidence has declined, and you are embarrassed.  Your heart is broken, you feel betrayed.  So what will you do to get through this time in your life?  If you are the partner who cheated, you may or may not want to move forward and ask for forgiveness.  You have a long road ahead to prove that you can be trusted and that truthfulness will be required in your relationship.

Both partners have to desire to move forward to work through the issues at hand.  First and foremost is restoring trust, which will not be a quick or easy task.  Both partners need to commit to many things.  Start by being honest and communicating with each other.  Be responsible for your actions, be reliable, and always be on time.  Do what you say you’ll do, without reminders.  Commit to showing love to each other by touching, hugging, and kissing.

Never lie by omission.  Lying by omission is not telling your partner something that happened because you either don’t think it’s important or you want to spare your partner’s feelings.  For example, if you stopped to pump gas at the convenience store and the person you had an affair with drives up to pump gas in their vehicle, should you tell your partner?  Absolutely; even though you know it will be uncomfortable or may upset your partner.  If you don’t, that is an example of lying by omission.

Restoring your relationship will take a lot of time.  There is no timeline for recovering from infidelity.  This may be the worse time of your life and the worse emotional hurdle you will attempt to conquer.  If you are suffering as the result of infidelity, you may want to reach out to a professional where you will be taught techniques to support an open, honest relationship.  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 Through the Gridlock

Let the Counselors at the Relationship of Orange County help you.When there’s a particularly thorny issue that you and your partner disagree about, it can become all-consuming. It hangs between you like a thick fog, shading all the things that are going well in your relationship. Ironically, at the same time these are the kinds of topics that you increasingly ignore: After all, you’ve already tried and failed to resolve it, so you shove it in the closet while quietly seething. Let’s call it a “toxic topic,” because that’s what it is—toxic for your relationship and even your own mental health.
So what do you do when you find yourselves stuck in war of wills? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Don’t carry the issue with you like so much baggage, hauling it out every time you have a drink with your buddies. They’re not the ones you need to convince that you’re right—and even if you do, take it for what it’s worth. It’s easy to convince a friend about nearly anything when they don’t have a dog in the fight.
Let’s say the dilemma is this: she wants to move to a bigger house, and you’re perfectly happy living where you are. Sure, you can probably convince others all day long that she’s wrong and you’re right, but then again, they’re inclined to agree with you no matter what as a show of solidarity. More importantly, it’s not their house or their wife. Besides, what does it accomplish? Telling your wife or partner that your friends think she’s nuts is likely only to make her dig in her heels.
2. Do continue trying to resolve the issue. Even when it seems like you’ve reached an impossible impasse, there’s always another way to approach it. Talk openly, and without malice, about why each of you feels the way you do. Make sure you understand why she’s unhappy in your current home, or what she hopes will be better about a different one. Likewise, make sure she understands your reservations.
Try making a date to discuss it—and in the meantime, do some mental preparations. This does not mean finding ways to bolster your argument. It means spending some time soul-searching about your true feelings. Maybe your parents always worried about money when you were growing up, and taking on a bigger mortgage brings up old insecurities. They might be valid, but it’s helpful to understand where it’s coming from. Then you can talk to a financial advisor or simply run some numbers; you might decide you really can afford a bigger house without sacrificing financial security.

3. Do always remember to consider multiple options. The more contentious an issue becomes, the more people tend to see them in black and white. There are always compromises, especially once you know what each other really hopes to accomplish.

Just don’t give up; don’t sweep it under the rug; don’t expend your energy rallying a crowd of well-meaning friends to your side. Instead, show faith in the relationship and respect for each other by continuing to talk it through. You might be surprised how empowered (and relieved) you’ll feel by breaking the gridlock and finding a mutually satisfying answer and a common goal to work toward together.
If you and your partner are stuck in disagreement over an issue that matters deeply to you both, please give us at a call at 949-220-3211 or schedule an appointment via our online calendar. We at the Relationship Center of Orange County are here to help you.

Avoiding Holiday Financial Strain In Your Marriage

Let the counselors at OC Relationship Center help you learn to communicate about finances in your relationship.Christmas is quickly approaching. In the midst of all the fun that’s to be had with putting up the lights, trimming the tree, and baking Christmas cookies, one thing is for sure – Christmas can be a very stressful time financially for some families.

In addition to the presents that need to be purchased for the children, there’s also the chore of finding money in the budget for gifts for relatives and Christmas parties. By the end of the month, a lot of couples find themselves in debt. Not to mention, many couples don’t even buy gifts for each other so that the others in their families can be taken care of.

Communication Is Key

Many of the couples we work with find that they struggle with money during the holidays because they do not discuss how much they will be spending. If you share a checking account, it might not be uncommon for you to check your account, only to find that most of your money has already been spent for the week or the month. That can cause stress during any time of the year, but during Christmas, it can be a real problem.

As you go into the Christmas season, and as you begin to plan your holiday shopping trips, sit down and talk to each other about how much money you’re going to spend on gifts. Discuss your other bills as well, and put together a strategy as to how you’re going to cover your expenses and still buy gifts for everyone on your list. The important thing is to get on the same page.

Use Cash Instead of Credit

During this time of year, those credit cards in your wallet can look pretty tempting. However, remember how much stress those bills will cause you after the holiday season is over. Whenever possible, start saving early in the year for your holiday purchases; this will make is easier to resist the urge to use credit cards as much as you can. You might even consider saving cash in a separate “Christmas Fund” envelope to pay for holiday gifts so that there is never any confusion over how much money you have available to spend.

plan ahead for Next Year – together

If you communicate with each other this year, you’ll find that your stress levels will decrease substantially. However, going forward, it’s a good idea to make a plan for next Christmas right now. When you know that you’re going to have financial concerns about Christmas every year, why not plan ahead to make things easier? Many banks offer Christmas savings clubs that deposit money from your paychecks every week automatically. That twenty dollars a week probably won’t even be missed, and when Christmas comes, you’ll have a good start on the money you’ll need to buy gifts.

Above all, remember that Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time of year. By taking the time to communicate with each other, and come up with a plan of attack together for your purchases, you can experience more of that joy as a couple. That alone can make this Christmas the best one you’ve ever had.

Why We Regress to 5 Year-Olds When Under Stress

Is stress driving you to act like a 5-year-old? Let OC Relationship Center help!

Here’s an easy question: The last-or most memorable-time you said something hurtful you came to regret, were you basically feeling calm or were you feeling stressed out?

We all know children act out when they’re tired, hungry or mad that someone is hogging a favorite toy. But many also experience stress far more serious than missing naptime. It could be parents divorcing, a serious illness in the family, bullying at school, or any number of circumstances that threaten a child’s sense of security and feelings of lovability.So often, when we lash out at a spouse, partner or family member, stress is a factor. It may well start with a legitimate grievance, but add into the mix a bad day, a bad headache or other underlying stressors, and suddenly mature adults can regress to five-year-olds-tantrums and all.

When it comes to adults, here’s where stress can get really sneaky: it can take us back to those times when we felt stressed as a child, and we may regress to childlike responses. When your boss is critical of your work, it might remind you of a parent who never seemed to fully accept you. When your own child has trouble at school, it might remind you of similar situations you experienced. It can add up to make you feel vulnerable, lose perspective and regress to a more childlike state.

One result could be that when you go home and find your spouse forgot to pick up the milk at the store, you don’t think, “Oh, well. We can do without for one day.” Instead, you might actually feel that the household is falling apart while suspecting him or her of not caring enough to do what you asked-and lash out as a result.

Of course, your frustration has next to nothing to do with a jug of milk, but in the moment neither you nor your partner realizes that, so a very minor complaint can spiral into a full-blown fight. If it happens repeatedly, it can cause real damage to a relationship.

The healthy response – one worth practicing – is to identify stress as the monster-in-hiding that it is, and when either person in a relationship seems to be overreacting to minor problems or otherwise regressing to five-year-old behavior, both need to back off. If you are the one feeling stressed out, take time to calm down, think about the current sources of stress in your life, put them in perspective and identify actions you can take to mitigate them. Did your boss really reject your proposal, or just offer some constructive criticism? Is a teacher really out to get your kid, or is she simply stricter than last year’s? This will help bring you back to the present and stop the five-year-old tantrum in its tracks.

Understanding, coping with and mitigating stress are among the most important steps you can take to feel better, enjoy your relationships more and improve your overall health and mood. Then you can keep tantrums where they belong – in the nursery.

It can also help to talk with a trained therapist who can help you work through stress you experienced as a child and make you more aware the next time it rears its ugly ahead. This way, you can react more calmly to future adult stressors that are, unfortunately, inevitable.

If you are considering 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.