Couples therapy

How trust can affect a health relationship

trust in a relationshipAs you know, trust is vital to any healthy romantic relationship. Still, it can be difficult to trust. There are many reasons we may distrust our significant other, including the reality that they may have betrayed our trust.

That said, our own life experiences impact our own views on trust as well. Here are three experiences that may impact us:

  1. Self-esteem issues. Many of us struggle with managing our self-esteem, which can come from a variety of experiences. For example, if we experienced social rejection as a child/teen, were betrayed and/or abandoned by someone we love, or experienced bullying, we may feel like we don’t deserve love. That makes it easy for mistrust to infiltrate relationships as adults. Early life experiences play a significant role in our development.
  2. Abuse. Trusting a significant other after being in an abusive relationship is difficult. Living in an abusive household as a child can make it difficult to trust as well. This impacts our belief in the central goodness and trustworthiness of others. As in issues with self-esteem, mistrust takes root.
  3. Previous infidelity. When you have been cheated on, it is easy to start seeing betrayal around every corner. Even once you have moved on from that unhealthy relationship, little nagging thoughts can begin to sneak in, undermining your faith.

One of the healthiest steps you can take to handle issues of mistrust is to have a conversation with your significant other. Let them know if you are struggling due to previous experiences. A loving partner in a healthy relationship will support you and ask how to help. This may mean seeing a therapist, volunteering, attending self-esteem workshops, or finding other ways to strengthen your relationship. Indeed, this can help you to trust your partner and move you towards a happy, fulfilled life together!

Marriage Best Practice: Spending Time Apart

Time Apart - good relationship practiceYour honey is your best friend. You enjoy spending time together, doing activities, hanging out, and eating food. Sometimes, though, you feel the need to do something – anything – alone or separately.

That’s normal…and completely okay. Healthy relationships require time apart. That’s why spending time apart from your honey is a best practice for healthy marriages.

First, none of us are carbon copies of our significant others. We have interests the other doesn’t have, and making your honey participate in things he/she doesn’t like all the time is exhausting for both of you. Instead, spending time with a friend who enjoys the same activity (such as hiking, gaming, poker, book club, etc.) allows you to enjoy the activity without worrying about your significant other.

Second, alone time is often underrated, but it helps you to refuel your soul. Some people need more alone time than others. Still, we all need it to some extent. Having alone time helps us to re-focus and de-stress, which helps us handle conflict better. In other words, your honey can’t be with you for you to have alone time!

Third, we have different people in our lives for different reasons. When we are upset, excited, angry – whatever it is – we know what we need from others. If someone doesn’t react how we need, it causes distress. As much as we love our significant others, they don’t always respond how we need in a particular moment. Rather than fight about it, or feel worse because you didn’t get what you needed, spend time with a friend who meets that need.

Finally, absence makes the heart grow fonder. If you spend a day with your friend doing something you love (but your honey hates), you’ll come home refreshed and missing him/her. They will have missed you too. You can tell each other about your day, feeling happy to be together and more in love than ever.

So, go forth and spend time away from your significant other without a guilty conscience. It’ll benefit your relationship, and you’ll thrive together!

InfidelityThe High Stakes of Infidelity – Part 1

There are probably a million and one reasons as to why one of the partners in a marriage decides to indulge in infidelity.  Sometimes it is a one time betrayal, whereas in other relationships the cheating partner returns again and again to unfaithfulness.  No matter how little or how many times it happens, the faithful partner almost always seriously considers immediately ending the marriage.  Yet as painful as betrayal is, some couples actually honor their commitment to one another, repair their marriage and go on to live faithfully to and for each other.  So what are some of the critical factors that lead to a repaired marriage after infidelity?

In this two-part series, we will explore some of these critical factors.

How Many Times?

When the affair is first uncovered, almost every wounded partner wants to know how many times did the cheating occur.  Of course, every interaction of unfaithful intimacy matters deeply to the wounded spouse.  If the unfaithfulness consisted of an unplanned one-time occurrence, there is most likely a greater chance of forgiveness than discovering your partner indulged in serial infidelity.

Commitment and Personal Faith

In these days of no-fault divorce and re-marriages galore, it is easy to assume that all marriages should dissolve after infidelity.  However, many people still value the seriousness in which they entered their marriage commitment, and the vow they made before their God is not something they want to break.  Some people choose to lean very heavily on their faith to carry them through their most painful moments and decide to stay after many months of soul-searching, religious counseling and finding wisdom and strength through their spiritual faith.

In part two, we will explore the last critical factor and offer some advice on how to arrive at the best outcome after infidelity.

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