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.

Loss of Connection

Going from finding it hard to get enough of each other to finding it hard to have anything to talk about in a relationship happens slowly over time.  As relationships move forward and progress to true commitments and/or marriage, a lot of times, life just gets in the way of keeping a connection and people tend to be lonely in their marriages.  That is, if people allow that to happen.

As relationships move forward on the path of life, a lot of things happen to change the dynamic of your household.  For instance, over time, you go from marriage to having children, to running children to and from activities, all the while you’re working full-time, outside of the home.  It’s exhausting to even consider.  No wonder there is no time to stay connected to the one you love, right?  Well, wrong.  There are things you can do to make sure your relationship stays strong throughout life, no matter what changes come your way.  

If your partner realizes your relationship has gone from awesome to lonely, it’s actually a plus.  Then you both can work on restoring the connection.  If not, you may have to do what you can do, individually, to try to make a difference.  First, realize it will take time to bring your relationship back.  It took years to get to where it is today; it will take months of practice and commitment to bring it back to where you want it to be.  Start by committing to spending at least 10 minutes a day with your partner.  It can be any time of day (morning, after work, after dinner, before going to bed), but do it every day.  This is time for only the two of you; no interruptions.  Talk about your day, your feelings, anything.  But be sure to connect.  By both of you committing to this, you are starting down the right path.

Have a date night, at least once a month, even if that means hiring a babysitter.  Try to go away for a weekend alone at least once a year; preferably twice a year.  Have sex.  Sex is not just about the physical attraction; it’s also about staying connected emotionally.  Have a teenaged neighbor come over to play with your children so you and your partner can connect.  Whatever it takes.  Do it!

There are many things you can do to turn your relationship around, but really, it’s all about communication.  If you aren’t talking to your spouse, how will your spouse know your feelings, your frustrations, your anything?  Try to talk about things that will ignite a good conversation.  Try not to talk about the kids every time you get a few minutes to catch up.  Whatever you try to do to make a difference; you’re on the right path.  If you have tried to make the effort and you are getting nowhere, 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.

Loss of Love

Have you ever spoken the words, or worse yet, heard the words, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you”?  Whether you’ve spoken the words, or heard them, it’s a hard phrase hear or say.  No doubt those words were said by you or to you as a beginning to the end in a relationship.

Did you know that relationships may have been able to be saved if people knew that it’s common to fall in and out of love with your partner during the duration of your relationship?  Long-term commitments do not automatically guarantee that you will always, every minute of every day of every month, be totally in love with your partner.  As we are aware, in the beginning of a relationship, hormones are racing, you can never get enough of your other half, and you can’t wipe the smile off your face.  If you expect that the two of you will always feel that way, you are paving the way to a rough road for yourself.

Total commitment is more than the infatuation you experience during the initial stages of a relationship.  It is being compatible, liking each other’s company, and vowing that separation and/or divorce is not an option.  Although that sounds like a huge promise to make, it basically means that you keep communication alive in your relationship, and that both of you cherish your life together and promise to keep your relationship or marriage in tact, through good times and bad, sickness and health, and all those other things you hear as part of wedding vows.  They are not just words.  They are promises the bride and the groom should not take lightly.

So what can you you do if you feel your relationship or marriage has lost its spark?  First and foremost, refrain from getting married during the first six to twelve months of meeting someone, even if you think that person is your soulmate!  Always have time for your friends; don’t abandon those who have known you and stood by you for this new found person.  And as hard as it may seem, listen to what your friends are saying (or implying so they don’t hurt your feelings) about your newly found love.  Talk about everything and anything.  Be open about what you do and do not want in your future.  This includes topics like having children, advancing in your career, and reaching your long-term goals.  Be sure you are speaking truthfully rather than saying what you think your partner wants to hear.  Require your partner to do the same.  

If you realize life will never be all chocolate and roses, you are on the right path.  If you and your partner seem miserable or have a hard time coping with the fact that you should really be striving for “commitment” rather than “in love” forever and ever, you may want to consider getting some help.  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.

Loss of Communication

As life and your marriage moves forward in time, it’s easy to become busy, having separate hobbies and friends or being known only as “Mom” or “Dad” while raising your children.  Loss of communication is common in marriages as life goes on.  The secret is to never be too busy to stop communicating with your spouse.  Easier said than done, right?  Wrong.

Nobody’s life is too busy to spend at least a few minutes each day talking to each other.  These couple of minutes can be anytime; first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, while the kiddos are napping, or right before bedtime.  Lack of communication is a horrible thing and likely will just lead to more problems, i.e., falling out of love, not caring as deeply for your spouse as you once had, etc.  No doubt you may each feel like the other doesn’t understand you anymore or doesn’t care about you as a person anymore.  Arguments will begin to ruin your relationship and put you on a long, lonely path.

So how do you get through this?  Make a plan.  Both of you need to be committed to making changes to become the happy couple you were in years past.  Make time to be together, every day.  It can be anytime of day; in the morning before the kids wake up, during nap time if you have toddlers, at night before you go to sleep.  Just commit to having at least 30 minutes of one-on-one time with your spouse or mate.  Other great things to consider are having a date night every week and going away (just you two) at least once a year.  Last but certainly not least, have sex.  It’s important to have intimacy, not only for the physical contact, but also to stay emotionally attached to each other.

There are so many things you can do to turn your relationship around, but really, it all starts with communication.  If you try to talk about your feelings and try to make time to be together, you are on the right path.  But what if your efforts are getting you  nowhere?  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.

How to Stay Involved with Your Kids You are Not the Primary Custodian

Relationship Center of Orange CountySo, for whatever reason, as the result of your divorce, you no longer see your child(ren) every day. No doubt it breaks your heart and you struggle to figure out how you are supposed to be a positive role model for your child when you were not granted primary custody.

After your initial grieving over the facts of your circumstances, you need to decide to be strong and come up with a plan on how you will be involved as the non-custodial parent. No, it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Communicating with your child in today’s high-tech world should be fairly easy. In fact, communication, is the key word!

Communicate with your child, via regularly scheduled telephone calls
. Some families prefer this; others do not. Some feel that having a schedule is too impersonal; others feel it makes it easy to know when a call will be coming so the child(ren) can be near the phone and ready to talk. If your kids are fairly young, you should consider calling every evening to help ease the pain of your separation. If your family prefers not to schedule phone calls, be sure to call at least twice or three times a week. If you are unsuccessful in talking with your kids, leave a nice, loving message on their voicemail or answering machine. Even if your kids (especially pre-teens or teenagers) seem annoyed by the messages, at least in the end they may recognize that you were thinking about them and caring about what was going on in their lives.

Now that you’re not in the home with your children, be sure to ask about what’s going on in their everyday routines. For example, ask about their activities, their friends, and ask open-ended questions if they seem too preoccupied to speak with you. Although your children may not want to talk for long periods of time with you on the telephone and although this fact may tear at your heartstrings, try to recognize that having this open line of communication may be the factor that makes it easy for your kids to talk to you in later years if and when problems occur in their lives.

Gone are the days of only being able to speak on a landline telephone! You can always contact your children on their cell phones, even by texting them. If you know they have a big test on a certain day or a big game on a certain night, text them some lines of encouragement! You may or may not hear back from them, but your text may make the difference.

Communicating can be done in other ways as well. Send them a note card in the mail or a magazine article you think would interest them. Write them a letter. Send them an email, or Skype with them. Any form of communication with your children will show them that even though you don’t live with them, you’re still part of their family and you still care about them as much as you did prior to your divorce.

Try to keep the lines of communication open with your ex-spouse as well. This may be the hardest part for some people; however, it is essential for your children’s sake. Many times the custodial parent will not allow the children to see the non-custodial parent when it’s not a specified “visiting” day. Others even interfere with communication between their children and their ex. If this happens to you, speak with your ex when he or she is not in the company of your children. Explain why it is so important that you stay involved in your kids’ lives, for them as well as for you. If you suspect your ex is running interference in your ability to see your children, request that you work with a professional to resolve your differences.

Some things that you should know, and your ex should know as well: children of divorce are generally better adjusted to their situation when they have strong, loving relationships with both parents. Additionally, non-custodial parents are more likely to make consistent support payments, which is very important in being able to afford raising children.

So, how can you and your ex make this as easy as possible? There are several ways. Never argue or get into heated conflicts in the presence of your children. This can be hard; however, take the high road and walk away without saying a word. Stick to the visitation schedule to avoid inconsistent contact. There is nothing more heartbreaking to children than a parent not showing up as scheduled. Don’t talk negatively to your child about your ex, ever. If you happen to speak of your ex to your child, make sure it’s positive, a good memory, or something your child will remember that all of you did as a family. Don’t question your child about your ex’s whereabouts or who they’re dating or where they went over the weekend. It’s not your business, and it’s not fair to expect your child to provide you with that type of information.

In the end, the key to successful parenting is in your hands and in your ex’s hands. Find the right balance and always remember to have your child’s best interest in mind. If you are the custodial parent, don’t withhold visiting or interfere with your child’s contact with your ex. If you are the non-custodial parent, work at developing a strong relationship with your child. Don’t be the “weekend” or “fun” parent. Finally, if the two of you can be consistent with your parenting styles, including rules, curfews, when homework should be completed, etc., you will all be better off.

If you are struggling as a non-custodial parent, whether it’s because you don’t know how to approach your new role or you feel devastated that you are even in this predicament, you may need to seek the help of a professional. The counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County are trained to help you work through these issues. Call us today at (949) 430-7198 to make an appointment or use our online tool to set up a convenient time to see us.

Couples Counseling Topic: How adversity can either bring us closer together or break us apart

When people see a married couple experiencing adversity, their first thought often goes something like this: “Thank goodness they have each other.” But facing adversity together as a couple can pose unique challenges.

The good news is that this awareness increases your chances of surviving a traumatic situation intact. If a child becomes seriously ill, a family faces a financial crisis or during any other time of adversity, too often spouses presume their feelings and reactions will be similar. When they aren’t, it can lead to misunderstanding, anger, hurt feelings, and ultimately drive a wedge between even the most committed of couples.

No two people confront adversity alike. Moreover, a lot of experts believe that men and women in general tend to grieve differently. A man might be more likely to shift into a take-action mode that downplays emotion. He goes into overdrive trying to “fix” a crisis; if he can’t, he throws himself into work or other activities to stay busy and avoid thinking about it.

A woman, on the other hand, may tend to be more expressive and relationship-oriented, taking time to cry and talk about her fears, sadness or anger.

A common result is for the wife to believe her husband simply doesn’t care. She feels alone in her pain and is more likely to reach out to others for solace—which can work to drive a couple apart. The husband, on the other hand, might feel overwhelmed by the combination of his own grief and fear that his wife’s reactions are unhealthy or even dangerous. Soon, he’s spending more hours at the office and less time at home, which only escalates her sense of isolation. It is a vicious cycle.

In a situation like this, communication is key. The husband who tends to shun open expressions of grief needs to assure his wife that while he might deal with it differently, he does feel the pain of their shared loss or challenges just as acutely as she does. She, meanwhile, might assure him that she is simply coping in the way that comes naturally to her.

Of course, when it comes to gender, these are broad generalizations and every situation is unique. There are plenty of women who are less expressive about their emotions, plenty of men who are very expressive and many more who fall somewhere in between. The important thing is to recognize that we all cope and communicate differently, and it doesn’t mean we care less.

What’s important now is to look for common ground. Set aside time each day to talk about what each of you is going through and how you’re feeling. If difficult circumstances are ongoing, now is the time to strategize as well as commiserate—which can turn a negative into a positive by building a sense of partnership. If the adversity is a finite event, such as a loss in the family, it could be a time to compare favorite memories of that person and think of ways to honor his or her memory. How long you choose to do this is up to you, as long as you both agree. (If one of you feels particularly afraid of being tied into a long, emotional talk, you might even set a time limit.)

It won’t always be comfortable, and you still can’t force your feelings to be in synch. But it keeps the doors open and can be a special opportunity for your relationship to grow, even when times are tough.

You deserve to have a great love life.  Let’s see if we can make yours better. Contact our professional therapists at the Relationship Center of Orange County. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

From Friendship to Romance

This issue is very debateable…can a friendship turned romance survive, and if it doesn’t, will the friendship remain? Some think it can, some think it cannot. What do you think?

This issue can be very frightening and very challenging, especially if you have romantic feelings for your friend but you don’t know if your friend feels the same way about you. Tread lightly. Although some people have found true happiness by getting involved with and then marrying a former friend, some people have tried to get romantically involved with a friend, only to lose the romance, as well as the friendship. Here are some thoughts on how you can approach this issue if you have feelings but don’t know if your friend feels the same way.

Identify your feelings and emotions and be sure to distinguish between romantic feelings and platonic feelings. Men tend to feel more comfortable talking about intimate things to women. Make sure you’re not mistaking that for love.
Evaluate the benefits of telling your friend you have feelings, as well as the possibility of losing a friendship altogether.
Know that there are two possible outcomes: Risk being rejected or chance having a very strong basis for a relationship.
Once you’ve decided to make your feelings known, if the feeling is mutual, don’t move too fast. Take time to savour the romantic side of your relationship and realize your interaction is going to change.
Do everything you can to maintain the bond you shared as friends, prior to the romantic side. Remember how you spent times confiding in each other, laughing, and crying on each other’s shoulders. Realize that the best marriages are made of two people who consider themselves best friends.

If it doesn’t seem the right time to make your feelings known, continue hanging out as you normally would, but throw in a little touching. Brush a stray hair from his eyes or touch his arm when you get a chance and see if that ignites anything. Some will move forward into a “friends with benefits” relationship, but really, that is not recommended. Try to avoid that phase if at all possible. Additionally, don’t stay stuck in the zone where you want to move from friends to romance but the other person doesn’t know it. When you stay in that zone too long, you tend to do everything for the other person, but that person doesn’t go above and beyond for you because they are getting all the benefits of being in a romantic relationship without being in one!

Here is some advice on how to get out of that zone if you’ve been there too long, or if you simply don’t like being there.

Stop Being so Interested – If you value your relationship more than the other person, your relationship is imbalanced. Becoming less interested may be the first step in helping you get what you want.
Stop Being Available – Don’t be at your friend’s beck and call. Have “other plans” sometimes and make yourself scarce for a while. If your friend has a real interest in you, he will feel your absence.
Make new friends. A little jealousy never hurt. Just be sure not to “use” another guy as bait, unless you set it up that way.
Ask for Favors – Ask your friend for something you need. The more he does for you, the more he likes you. Ask for a ride somewhere or to fix something for you.

Trying some of the things listed above should raise your status in your friend’s eyes. And as hard as it seems, it is possible to dig out of the zone you may have been dwelling in for months or years. Go for what you want in a relationship. Allow space for your friend to miss you, make other friends, and see what happens. There are two passages that come to mind: “Never miss the chance to tell someone you love them,” and “If you love something set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your current status with your friend or need to talk about relationships in general or the chances of messing up a great friendship, the staff at the Relationship Center of Orange County can help. Our counselors are trained professionals who would be happy to spend some time with you. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

The Surprising Power of Empathy

When your spouse doesn’t get a hoped-for promotion, your best friend suffers the loss of a parent, your child feels rejected because she’s not invited to a classmate’s party…whenever a loved one is hurting, chances are, you’re hurting too. You want to make it all better, but you can’t. You might even feel it would be easier to suffer the loss yourself rather than see your loved one go through pain.

That’s probably not possible, either. However, the little-known secret is that there is a way to turn this into an opportunity to strengthen your relationship. It’s called empathy—such a simple thing, yet it goes so far.

To begin with, a person in pain needs to know they are not alone. When bad things happen, a sense of isolation is a natural byproduct. Cognitively, your spouse, friend or child knows he or she is not the only person who’s ever been in this situation before, but at the moment it sure can feel that way. Sharing your own painful experiences can go a long way toward showing you care, easing that sense of isolation, and reminding your loved one of the proverbial wisdom that this, too, shall pass.

Maybe you were also passed over for that great job you were sure you’d get, but later you found an even better one. Maybe your own mom passed away a few years ago, and while you still miss her, you’ve learned to find comfort by sharing stories about her with your kids or making her favorite recipes for family celebrations. Or in high school, maybe you were the only one of your friends without a date to the freshman dance, but…(insert your own happy ending here). The point is that when a person is hurting, it can feel like the end of the world. But if you’ve been through hard times of your own—who among us hasn’t?—and lived to tell the tale, suddenly you’re living proof that it’s not.

And this is where the added benefit comes in: You’ve opened the lines of communication, which so critical to building and maintaining healthy relationships. You’re not just trying to make loved ones feel better and show you care, you’re learning to understand them a little better at the same time—and they’re learning to understand you better, too. And in the process you’ve made them more comfortable sharing their feelings with you in the future.

Finally, remember that empathy has little to do with giving advice, and even less to do with trying to minimize whatever it is they’re going through. (“You think that’s bad? Well, let me tell you about the time…”) As uncomfortable as it might be, they need time to experience their feelings, so express your empathy but also give them the space they need. That way, if and when they want to talk some more, you can talk through it together and come out with a stronger relationship in the end.

The professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County can help you get your relationship back on track.Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.   We look forward to connecting with you.

 

Looking for love in all the wrong places: 3 common dating mistakes

There are a lot of clichés about the challenges people face when looking for a mate, and many contain at least a kernel of truth. Have you ever dated a woman or man long after it was clear that he or she was “just not that into you”? Do you ever “let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” fixating on some superficial flaw while ignoring all the wonderful qualities a person has? Or what about this classic line from the 1970s Stephens Stills hit: “If you can’t be with the one you love, baby, love the one you’re with,” perfect advice for the person who rejects date after date because they’ll never compare to the one who got away?734022_537551232954990_1287964903_n

If you’ve been struggling to find a meaningful relationship, you may be guilty of one or more of these common mistakes. But if you take an honest look at how you approach relationships, you can make changes to get things headed in a better direction where you’re more likely to meet, connect with, and build a healthy, satisfying relationship with a person who really is right for you.

Let’s break them down one by one. First, the habit of clinging to people who “just aren’t that into you.” This one requires some soul searching, because you may be suffering from poor self-esteem and believe you don’t deserve better than a mate who treats you like an afterthought. Or you could be convinced that he or she is just shy, going through a hard time, extremely busy, or otherwise has a legitimate excuse for treating you poorly or just indifferently.

You might benefit from talking with a therapist to help find the underlying causes of why you settle for less than you deserve. If you were neglected or abused as a child, for instance, you may enter into similar relationships as an adult because they feel normal to you. Learning to understand this pattern could not only save you from repeating the same mistakes in your love life but improve how you go about getting your needs met in other areas of life, as well.

Next, “letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.” When it comes to dating, this is about fixating on a certain ideal mate in your mind while barely noticing the other attractive, interesting, real-life people all around you. For every criterion you consider nonnegotiable—whether it’s “great-looking,” “really rich” or something more esoteric like “award-winning poet,” you’re limiting the possibilities.

Worse, some people create these perfect-mate images based in part on other people’s expectations rather than their own. This also speaks to poor self-esteem—a need to impress family or friends with, say, the best-looking date in the room or the young lawyer who just made partner at the biggest firm in town. Now you’re not only shrinking the pool of prospective partners, but you’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Instead, keep an open mind, and you’d be surprised how many people you’ll meet who might not fit your preconceived notions of perfection but might make a better match than you ever dreamed possible.

Finally, back to that song: “If you can’t be with the one you love….” It should be stated that the next line (“love the one you’re with”) might or might not be good advice. That’s situation-dependent, so let’s rephrase it to say, “If you can’t be with the one you love…you can still love someone else.” The point is that people who’ve gone through a painful breakup may get hung up believing that no else can ever fill those shoes. And it’s true: no one can; the person and relationship you lost were unique. But when the time is right and you want to begin dating again, keep in mind that just because no one else can replicate the exact qualities of your ex, others have great qualities of their own.

It’s well worth finding out.

You deserve to have a great love life.  Let’s see if we can make yours better. The professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County can help you get your relationship back on track. Call us today at (949) 430-7132, or book your appointment online using our online scheduling tool.  We look forward to connecting with you.

Balancing Work and Family

“I’m going to have to finish this project at home.” “I don’t think I will have time to take the kids to their soccer practice, I’m staying late at work.” “Ugh, I feel like I haven’t seen my family in days.” Do you find yourself saying something similar to this? There are only 24 hours in a day, and we have to choose how to use them. Often we feel stressed because there is not a balance between our responsibilities and what we enjoy.  Our lives naturally fall out of balance from time to time, so we have to set time aside to assess how things are going, and what we might need to change to make sure our daily lives reflect what’s important to us.

Part of this assessment might include asking yourself what emotions you experience throughout the day. For example, when you’re with your spouse or family, do you ever feel anxious about not working?  Or at work, do you ever feel guilty about not being with your family? These might be indicators that you need to do a little restructuring of your time.

There are some pretty significant consequences to ignoring the need for balance. You’ll lose energy, your work performance will drop, and when you are with your family you’ll be too tired to enjoy it. Some people lose the ability to say “no” to tasks as well, and they miss out on important family moments and milestones.

Here are a few strategies to work on achieving greater balance in your life.

1. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s natural for life to fall out of balance from time to time. Just use that knowledge to take a step back and plan. Write down what you want out of life. Consider whether how you spend your time reflects what is important to you. Decide what you absolutely want to happen no matter what.

2. Identify your distractions. We all have times during the week where we’re likely to be distracted and procrastinate. Maybe this is an opportunity to free up some time for your significant other or family. Identify what times of the day you are most likely to be productive, and put your focus there.  Being unorganized can be a huge distraction, so consider what strategies can help you get work done more quickly.

3. Practice saying no. Stick to your values and decide what is too much. You should be able to leave work at work, and prevent the lines between both words from blurring. If your focus is divided, then you can’t accomplish much. If you have trouble saying no, start practicing it on smaller tasks at work and work your way up.

4. Take care of yourself. When our lives fall out of balance, we often sacrifice healthy habits first.  If you value yourself, then that means taking time out to practice good self-care.  Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and take time for activities you enjoy and that help you relax. That way when your focus does need to be on work or on a relationship, you’ll be alert and get the most out of your time.

5. Talk to your family and coworkers. Ask family members and coworkers about their perceptions and expectations of the balance you all should achieve. Problem solving work tasks with coworkers can help alleviate some imbalances you have at work. Listening to them and making sure responsibilities are shared will help everyone feel less stressed. Perhaps they need to reevaluate their schedule as well, and it can be a whole family/work effort.

6. Plan a weekly activity. Ideally you should plan at least one enjoyable activity with your family during the week, so that you have something to look forward to.   Having a way to reward yourself for the effort you put in at work will benefit your productivity and your family.

7. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Have you already mastered saying no? Figure out what is important and what can wait. Do you really need to do that last work task, or can it wait so you can go home and help your significant other make dinner? When making decisions on how to balance work and family ask yourself, “Can this wait until tomorrow?” and “Is this what I should be doing right now?”

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 the Relationship Center of Orange County help you.  Call us today at 949-430-7389 or book your appointment via our online calendar.