Myths about online dating…

Back in the 90’s, when people said they “met someone” online, all sorts of red flags would go up!  Friends and family would automatically think those people were losers or wonder why they couldn’t meet someone in person, rather than spending hours searching online.  Not so much anymore.  Since there are now many happy couples who met online, even some who have married and stayed together, people, in general, are more accepting of people close to them meeting their dates online.

That said, there are still many myths about why and how people meet online and exactly what people are looking for in a mate.  And, it is still important that certain precautions are taken to maintain your safety.

●    Myth #1 – Online dating is only used as a vehicle for affairs and to participate in casual sex with someone who is looking for the same type of interaction.  Not so much.  For centuries, people have been hooking up, whether they do so with someone they work with, someone they hang out with, or just someone they barely know.  Online dating doesn’t make this the first place for searching for companionship or simply just a physical relationship.

●    Myth #2 – Much older men look to connect with much younger women who are most likely only in their 20’s.  Sure, there are some much older men who search for the best looking babes who are in their 20’s; however, overall, men tend to look for someone within 10 years of their own age.

●    Myth #3 – Nobody tells the truth on their online profiles.  Some people don’t tell the truth on job applications.  Some people don’t tell the truth to their bosses.  And some people don’t tell the truth to their family and friends.  There are untruthful people everywhere.  Online dating profiles are not the only place.  Just as you would consider whether or not to date someone who’s standing right in front of you, you have to consider the information provided online and first see if you make a connection and feel comfortable enough to even want to take it any further than messaging.

●    Myth #4 – Most of the users on dating sites use phony photos.  A lot of people probably think of the show “Catfish” on MTV where the hosts help people find the people they have been communicating with but have never met, other than online.  That’s entertainment television.  Not everybody posts phony profile pictures.  In fact, when truly looking for communication, companionship, and connection, why would you want to pretend to be someone you aren’t?

So yes, when searching online it is extremely important to weed out the phony profiles, and it’s extremely important to realize your safety is at risk if you post or message someone and include intricate details about yourself, where you live or work, or about your family.  However, in a world that is fast moving with electronics, the Internet, and dating apps and sites, it’s not uncommon for people to see who may be interested and available.  Use your head, keep your personal safety in mind, and don’t be anything but authentic yourself.

If you find you have met someone online who has not been authentic, or you find you have met someone online but nobody close to you is supportive, you may need some help in dealing with your emotions.  This is when you may want to 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.

Dealing with Finanicial Issues as a Couple

You’ve probably never really given it much thought, unless you’re among the many people in the world who use credit cards to survive.  Are you aware of how many marriages end in divorce because of financial issues?  Most likely, one or the other, buy things for which there is no money.  How?  They charge their credit cards.  They probably have at least 5 or 6 and at least half of them are maxed out.  What’s worse?  They only make minimum payments every month.  This type of debt will haunt you your entire life is this is the way you are living.  So what do you have to do to manage your debt?

There are many different ways to manage your debt, and opinions will vary based on who you speak with.  You can find a lot of different examples of debt elimination on-line.  Most financial advisors will tell you to make a list and pay off the card with the highest interest and then move on down the list.  Others will tell you to pay off the one with the lowest balance first, so you can prove to yourself that you can do it.  There is no right answer.  The bottom line is, pay off your debt using whatever system appeals to you.

If one of you is a saver and the other a spender, you will most likely be looking at a rough road at some point.  Some people who say they love their spouse, but they’re at the end of their ropes, have said they have decided to give their spouses and ultimatum, “Cut Up Your Credit Cards, or I’m leaving!”  Does that sound harsh?  Maybe so, but a lot of people are serious about this ultimatum.  They don’t want to see their credit card ratings fall, and they don’t want to live in constant, ongoing, rising debt because of credit cards.

If you think about it, marriages used to be arranged based on social status, political reasons, or economic reasons.  The recent trend, is to marry for love.  In fact, when you hear somebody talk about marrying for money, you probably feel disgusted and are turned off.  It may not be such a big mistake after all.

Here are some pointers to consider when discussing your financial standing.  Make spending choices as a team; everything from how much to spend at the grocery store each week to how many coffee drinks can be purchased a week.  That may sound silly, but if you buy coffee at a coffee shop several times a week, believe it or not, it affects your finances.  Make a rule not to use any credit card without your spouse knowing it.  Additionally, get rid of every credit card but one and make sure you are both notified of statements, purchases, and payments.

If you are young and are thinking of getting married, be sure to talk about money before you get married.  Talk about how much money you have (or don’t have), how much money you want to have, things you’d like to buy or trips you’d like to take, and when you will retire.  What?  Really?  Yes.  Getting a divorce later in life over money issues can cost you a lot more than all of your credit card debt.  It is essential to get these things in order and understand each other’s financial wants and needs before getting married.

If you or someone you love is having difficulty in their marriage due to money issues, it may be time to speak with a professional.  Reach out to the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County to help you.  Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

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.

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.

The Couple that Volunteers Together…

We hear a lot of helpful tips about ways that spending quality time together helps couples strengthen their marriage, find new, common interests and keep the relationship fresh. Trying a new hobby, meeting new friends and even just making time for regular date nights are just a few examples of ways couples can grow closer in the relationship, especially during those times when the stuff of everyday life seems to risk squeezing out any room for intimacy (and not just the bedroom kind).

But there’s another, often-overlooked activity that some couples report has done wonders for their relationship: community service.

Why? Well, for one, it often combines all of the above. Activities like volunteering at a soup kitchen, getting involved with Habitat for Humanity, participating in a clean-up project at the local nature preserve and other types of community service are great ways to meet new people while spending time together. You might even learn something new along the way. A couple I know who volunteers with Habitat for Humanity reports that their landlord adores them, because they can now do all the house repairs that used to require a visit from the handyman. That’s not exactly a predictor of relationship success, but it certainly makes things less stressful when the kitchen faucet leaks!

It’s long been shown that volunteer work promotes happiness for all people, whether they’ve involved in a relationship or not. (It’s even a great way to meet potential dates if you’re single and looking for others with common interests.) Some of the evidence as to why people benefit from helping others is anecdotal, but it makes sense. It relieves stress, breaks the rut of ruminating about your own problems and helps you see life through the eyes of others. Many regular volunteers report that it has increased their overall life satisfaction—at the end of the day, they feel they’ve done something more significant than meeting a client deadline or folding the laundry. They’ve looked outside their own lives to help someone else who really needs it, if only in the smallest of ways, while gaining a greater sense of understanding of the world around them.

No one wants to think about volunteering as a way to meet their own needs, but there’s nothing wrong with feeling better about yourself while helping others. And, when it comes back around to relationships, feeling better about yourself and gaining a new sense of confidence in your ability to be of service is probably going to make you a more pleasant person for your partner to be around.

The popular catchphrase is “getting out of your own head,” and your newfound empathy for a homeless family, a child in need of mentoring or others could even spill over and become a habit in all of your relationships—especially your spouse or partner. Simply put, anything that improves your mood and perspective is bound to improve the relationship.

Doubling the Benefit

When you do it together, a volunteer effort becomes larger than the sum of its parts. Your experiences volunteering give you something new to talk about together, which is always a good thing if you find yourself always having the same conversations about work, dinner plans and who’s going to pick up the dry cleaning—all of which will seem less important anyway when you’re thinking more about helping people in need rather than your own problems.

Still other benefits include:
A volunteer or community service project can reinforce the values you share while creating new memories together. It can also remind you of some of the common interests that might have brought you together in the first place, whether it’s an appreciation of nature, a passion for helping children with special needs, a love of animals or maybe the satisfaction of working with your hands (remember that helplessly dated rancher you bought when you were first married and worked tirelessly to turn into your dream cottage)?

If your first plan for a new volunteering project doesn’t seem to fit your goals, lifestyle or schedule, keep trying. There is no shortage of causes and projects that need your help, and trying until you find the right match can be a bonding experience in and of itself.

If you have children, consider involving them, too. Most volunteer organizations welcome the involvement of children, and it can be one of the best ways to teach your children the importance of helping others in need. It’s an-act-is-worth-a-thousand-words kind of activity that has been shown to make lifelong volunteers out of people who start young, by making even the smallest contribution. Doing it with you will reinforce the desire to help others even more.

If you need need to discuss ways to keep your relationship strong, the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County are here for you. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text 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.

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.

Does it Matter Who is the Breadwinner in the Family?

In today’s world, as compared to 40 or 50 years ago, husbands are much more accepting of their wives being professionals and making money by working outside of the home. Gone are the days when men believed their wives should be home raising the kids and taking care of the house. Fast forward 30 to 40 years to the adult lives of those children who were at home with mom while dad was at work. There are still some men who think they should be the breadwinner in their family and that their wives should be home raising their children or working only part-time hours! These thoughts are due to the beliefs instilled into these men when they were young. They were home with their mothers while their fathers were working.

Today’s “society” men, however, are accustomed to women being in the working world, whether they work in construction, truck driving, the office, or the corporate world. Today’s men are even okay with the fact that many women out there make more money than they make; however, many of them admit they just don’t want one of those women to be their wife!

Some men never even look at the household finances, so they have no idea about salaries. Some only realize their wives make more money than they do when money issues arise at home or an unexpected expenses arises, forcing them to sit down with their wives and figure out a plan to get back on track.

Here are some general known facts. The gender gap between men and women is still very real. Women make only 77 cents for every dollar that men make. However, the number of women breadwinners in the world is on the rise. A little less than half of American breadwinners are mothers and wives, who make more than their husbands make.

So, why is it that men have a problem having a wife who makes more money? Some say it is because husbands have lower self-esteem, are set in their ways, are less motivated, or are less educated than their wives. Others say it is just a male ego thing and men feel inadequate if they are not the breadwinners in the family. It’s true that many women are waiting to even consider having children until they have obtained their college degrees and have their careers in place. Some women are choosing not to have children at all so that they can continue to climb in the corporate/professional ladder in their fields.

A lot of middle-aged women are on the rise to breadwinner in their families. This rise often causes a lot of tension in their marriages. This is especially true if earlier in life the husband was the breadwinner. Many of these middle-aged couples end up in counseling because of the wives’ earning and promotion potential is causing stress and strain on their relationships. So what can you do?

First, don’t apologize for making the money you make. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished in your professional life, and accept the fact that you are now the breadwinner in your family.

Be honest about your feelings about the situation. You may feel that your husband should earn more money than you earn. Accept your feelings, whatever they are, in order to stop resentment in your marriage.

Get to the bottom of your frustrations. Do you think your husband is a slacker or needs to be doing more to make more money? Do you think your husband is just fine where he is in the working world? What exactly does your husband think you should do in addition to being the breadwinner?

Make yourself see things from your husband’s point of view before sitting down for a conversation about the topic. Doing this will allow you to see things from his view.

Set aside time to talk about your issues with your husband and convey a positive attitude. The goal is to make money as a couple, as a team, not to worry about who makes more money.

Talk about your expectations of each other. If your husband’s income is lacking, maybe he could do more around the house or take care of your children. There’s more to a marriage than just financial issues. The important thing is that the needs of families are met.

Remember to do fun things together that you enjoy as a couple. This will ease tension as well. Do not participate in arguments about this topic.

The bottom line is to not let money issues destroy your marriage. Instead, use the money (“the”, not “your” or “his” or “her”) for what is needed to support your family. It doesn’t matter where it came from and who earned it. If something needs to be done, get it done without thought to whose money is paying for it or who made the money to pay for it. The family money is yours and your spouse’s money.

Yes, it does happen. Sometimes the wives who make more money let it go to their heads and start behaving differently, and acting as the alpha in the relationship. Do not convert to this type of person. Instead, try to keep things in balance. Never let your job come before your family or your marital obligations. If your husband is doing things to upset you, talk about the issues.

Husbands should not feel insecure or resentful towards their breadwinner wives. Some husbands are so insecure about their wives making more money they resort to accusations of extra-marital affairs or whenever the wives are a few minutes late arriving home, there’s hell to pay. If your wife is doing things to upset you, talk about the issues. Don’t make accusations because of your own jealousy. Get through this by talking with your spouse or you will end up in divorce. Nobody wants to be accused of things they are not doing.

Couples need to commit to talking about their feelings around this issue, as well as any other issue that may be causing heartburn in their marriage. Talk, talk, talk, and talk some more. Come up with a plan on how to get past the issues at hand and return to working as a team for the enrichment of your family. The focus should always be on your marriage, loving and supporting each other through anything and everything that arises. Getting caught up in your career is not just a man thing. A lot of times people lose their identity to their career. Remember, you are more than a person with a career. You are a spouse, a mother or father, a son or daughter, a sister or brother, and so forth.

The key to getting past the issue of who makes the most money is communication. Talk about your finances. Make a list of your earnings and your expenses, as a family; not separately. Review this list as one or both of you receive raises, promotions, and/or bonuses. Be sure that the household expenses, family expenses, are paid each month. If salaries are close, split it down the middle. If one of you makes about one-third of what the other makes, pay the respective percentage. It isn’t that hard to understand that you are a family, a unit, a oneness. There is no more “I”, “mine”, or “yours” when it comes to money.

Men are typically embarrassed by the situation of making less money than their spouses. Wives really could put their husbands at ease in this case. Let him know you think nothing less of him. Tell him you see it as combined income, for the needs and wants of your family. Tell him you are fine with the situation. Remind him that the tables were turned earlier in your marriage, if that is the case.

If nothing else helps you see this issue differently, try this. Look around you. Look around the country. Unemployment rates are skyrocketing, people are out of jobs or have completely lost their jobs. You are being selfish and uncompassionate by complaining that your wife makes more money than you. Who cares who makes the most money? Seriously. Have some compassion. Be proud of your breadwinner wife. She is being rewarded for being smart! There are people all around you, in your state, your city, maybe even your neighborhood who are far less as fortunate as you. Be thankful! Be thankful that you and your wife both have jobs and make decent money. Get over yourself!

When all else fails, seek counseling. You may not be able to get through these issues yourself without professional help. You may be surprised at the benefit of you and your spouse talking to a trained professional about issues surrounding money. Call the Relationship Center of Orange County  today and schedule an appointment, or use our online tool to schedule an appointment. Our counselors are trained professionals who can help you get through this difficult time. It may be the best call you’ve ever made.

Starting Over


How to Start over after a Spouse’s death or after Divorce — Ways to Avoid Depression and Loneliness.

Grief is the human response to loss and the suffering you feel when something is lost or someone you love is gone.  Gone can mean death, as well as merely gone from your life.  The more you loved the person that is no longer with you, the greater your grief will be.  The most common action associated with grief is the loss of a loved one, but many other things in our lives can cause us to suffer including, relationships, things we take for granted, such as a job or our home, or a dream.  It could be caused by a miscarriage, a divorce, or a separation.  It could be caused by someone you or someone you love being diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Additionally, grief can occur where you wouldn’t normally think it would, such as when a pet dies, retirement occurs, your homestead sells, or you move away from home.

It’s important to understand that everybody grieves differently.  Some things that come into play with how a person grieves are your life experiences, your faith, and your personality.  Likewise, there is no “official” time limit on grieving.  Some people start to feel better in a few weeks, while others take years to get over a life-changing occurrence.  Healing is gradual and is not something that can be controlled or turned off and on.  It’s essential to be patient and allow the grieving process to occur naturally.

Most people tend to believe many myths about grieving, in general.  For instance, many think if you try to ignore your emotional pain, it will eventually go away.  That perception can be more harmful than helpful.  It’s important to deal with your grief by facing it and working through it.  Another perception is that you should be strong and face your loss; this is especially true with men.  Feeling sad or afraid is normal.  Crying doesn’t show weakness; rather, it shows you are a real, caring person.  There is no need to put on a brave front.  Showing your emotions can help you, and others who are grieving as well, to cope with your loss together.  The most popular myth is that grieving lasts about a year.  No doubt, you’ve heard people say that a surviving spouse should not sell anything or do anything out of their normal routine for “a year”.  The fact is, people grieve differently, and only the person who has suffers knows when they are ready to move forward.

Grief can take on many forms and many processes for life changes, the death of a loved one, or a breakup of what you thought was a good relationship.  Someone who is grieving will likely be faced with denial, anger, negotiating, pleading, depression, and finally, acceptance.  And many times, just when you think you are ready to accept what has happened, you will revert back to anger or denial or some other stage in the process. There is no right way to go through the stages of coping.  It can be best described as a roller-coaster ride with highs and lows and ups and downs.  All of this is normal.

If you are struggling with these emotions following a loss, please know that all of these things are normal and that you will heal in time.  Let the counselors at the Relationship Center of Orange County help you heal.  Maybe you need to talk about your loss with someone who is not attached to it.  Our counselors are trained professionals and can help you learn how to cope with the grief you are experiencing.

Although losses affect people in dramatically different ways, there are common reactions to grief.  When you are first informed of a loss, it is normal to feel like you’re going to faint, you’re having a bad dream, you’re going crazy, or you’re not able to breathe.  Another common reaction is that people tend to question their religious beliefs.  Right after a loss, it is normal to be in shock and to not believe what happened.  You may feel numb or even choose to deny the truth.  Sadness is another symptom of grief.  You may feel empty or lonely.  You might cry at any given moment causing you to feel emotionally unstable.  You may feel guilty about things you didn’t say or didn’t do for the person you lost.  You may also feel guilty for being relieved, such as if your pet dies after a long illness, or a friend passes who was suffering from a nasty disease.  You may feel blame and be resentful.  You may blame yourself for not doing enough for a dying loved one, with God, with the doctors for not saving your loved one, or with the person who passed for leaving you.  You may be afraid or helpless.  There are also physical symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, weight loss, and insomnia.

So, what are the strategies for coping with grief?  The most important thing is that you get support from other people.  Express yourself and share your feelings.  Whether your support comes from family members, friends, neighbors, clergy, or your counselor, accept their help and support.  Connecting with other people will help you to heal.  Draw strength from your faith.  Join a support group.  Get in touch with a mental health professional, a therapist, or a grief counselor if you are carrying too much grief.  A professional can help you overcome and deal with your grief.

Be sure to take care of yourself, physically.  When you feel good physically, you will also feel good emotionally.  Try to beat additional stress by getting a good night’s sleep, eating right, and exercising.  Never use drugs or alcohol to numb your pain.  Don’t let anybody tell you how to feel.  Again, everyone grieves differently, so one person cannot tell another person how to cope with grief.  Be prepared for things to happen that will remind you of the person or thing you lost.  Holidays and birthdays can be especially difficult.  Hearing a certain song that was important to you and your lost loved one can trigger emotions.

Try not to sink into self-pity or feelings of helplessness.  Make changes.  Nobody can do this for you; you will have to do this one on your own.  Find positive, healthy ways to get through loneliness.  Connect with people and vow to move on with your life. Here are some suggestions:

●    Get involved in organizations or pursue hobbies that you participated in prior to the death of your spouse.  Or, if that’s too hard emotionally, try something new.  Choose social activities over sitting at home reading a book or watching television every night.

●    Volunteer!  Volunteer at a soup kitchen, your favorite charity, or at a hospital.  Spreading kindness will benefit others while getting you out of the house and available to meet new people and form new relationships.

●    Start dating again, if you’re ready.  Once your heart is healed, ease back into dating.  Please know, that this doesn’t mean you are replacing your loved on; just that you’re ready to open your heart to a new relationship.

Facing the death of your spouse or facing the end of an intimate relationship is earth shattering.  Expect to feel grief.  This person was the person you chose to share your dreams and build a life with.  Not only was this person your “other half”, but many times people characterize these people as their best friend, confidant, and/or traveling buddy.  The passing or loss of someone so significant in your life is bound to leave you restless and emotional.  Be sure to find support from others you love to get through this taxing time.

It is okay to cry.  Tears are necessary and do help.  Crying is a way to heal.  Be cognizant that a lot of people are uncomfortable with death and truly do not know what to say to the one left behind.  They will say and do stupid things.  Forgive them.  They don’t know what to say.  They don’t know if it’s okay to hug you, cry with you, or speak of your loved one.

Loneliness is probably the hardest part of grieving.  You will likely remember everything that brought the two of you together and you will miss the charm, humor, and strength that molded your relationship.  You will also miss the physical aspects of a touch, a hug, and a kiss.  You will get through your grief by leaning on those who love you.  However, as time passes, if you still feel heartbroken and the days seem dark and lonely, you may need to talk to a counselor.

Try to keep yourself healthy and hydrated.  Eat healthy foods and avoid too much alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.  Exercise and drink plenty of water.  Also, keep your emotional well-being intact.  Holding on to anger, resentment, and hostility can make you physically sick.  Be sure to get out of the house.  Do things that make your heart feel good and bring joy to your life.  Spend time with your grandchildren.  Join a support group.

The sadness of losing a loved one may never go away completely, but it shouldn’t be the center of your life forever.  If grief causes you to never resume your life, you may be clinically depressed.  If your life feels meaningless or empty, you are extremely bitter over your loss, you avoid things that remind you of your loved one, you feel hopeless or worthless, you are unable to function at home or work, or your have thoughts of suicide,  be sure to seek professional help.  Contact the professionals at the Relationship Center of Orange County at (949) 430-7198 or use our online scheduling tool to book your appointment today.  The counselors are trained professionals who can help you work through your grief and can offer you ways to deal with things you may be suppressing.