Can Your Relationship Survive Infidelity? And Should It?

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Trust. It is the foundation of any relationship. There are few things that can break the trust in a relationship as well as cheating can. Now, is cheating a deal-breaker? Not necessarily. It certainly doesn't have to ring an end to a normal healthy relationship.

Have you been cheated on? Before you end your relationship, it is important to think carefully and consider the circumstances. Consider your partner as a whole. Is he/she otherwise honest? It won't be easy, but if you trust your partner and feel that they are truly remorseful, you may want to consider working through the infidelity to keep your relationship.

By the way, if you're thinking of divorce, I have a Divorce Survival Toolkit that has crucial information for you- get it here.

But what if they have a track pattern of infidelity and other dishonest behavior? If so, you first need to decide if you are willing to stay. If you do decide to stay, it is important that both you and your partner are willing to work together to get to the root of these issues. Sit down together and establish game plan, such as couples' counseling. Know that if they cannot be open, honest and willing to admit that there is an issue, counseling won't be effective...and their dishonest behavior is likely to continue. 

While considering your partner, don't forget to consider yourself. Think about how being cheated on made you feel. Can you forgive them and let go? If not, that is perfectly okay. Think deeply about yourself and the principles that you value and live your life by. You might feel that this is the ultimate betrayal and that you cannot stay with your partner. There is no point in staying in a relationship if you know that you won't be happy. If you decide to stay, know that your feelings of hurt, betrayal and disappointment will fade with time as long as both you and your significant other work together to rebuild the bridge of trust that once bonded you together as a couple.

Ways to Handle Difficult Conversations in a Relationship

3 Ways to Handle Difficult Conversations in a Relationship

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Sometimes being in a relationship requires having a difficult conversation. Every counselor knows that ignoring or avoiding difficult issues in a relationship can actually be more detrimental to a relationship than an argument may be. However, figuring out exactly how to have these kinds of conversations can be problematic. Here are 3 things you can do to make those difficult conversations successful.

Be direct and State the Facts

When having a difficult conversation it is important to focus on what matters most. Be direct and stick to the facts by focusing on exactly what happened and why it created a problem. Usually when the focus of the conversation is on the facts, the other party is less likely to feel attacked and will react better. Hopefully, by being direct and sticking to the facts, you will be able to end the conversation on a good note.

Control Your Emotions

Often you must be prepared for difficult conversations to become emotional. Sometimes your partner has been anticipating the conversation and they handle things very well. But at other times, it can be completely unexpected, and an emotional outburst, whether from anger or sadness, can be common. Be sympathetic but don't forget or change your message simply because your loved one has become emotional. Your message is important and shouldn't be compromised because you are surprised or upset by their emotions. These unexpected emotions can be difficult to handle, but often you are as emotionally invested in the issues as your partner is. Therefore, it is paramount to the success of the conversation, and your relationship, that you control your emotions.

End with a Solution

Any challenging conversation should have a purpose. Usually when a difficult conversation is necessary, it is because something our partner is doing is causing problems or bothering us. Therefore, when having those difficult conversations, our goal ought to be finding a solution to the problem. When handled appropriately, your partner will understand that it's not a personal attack but that you are just honestly trying to find a solution. After understanding this, they are often as motivated to find a solution as you are.

Dealing with these difficult situations and conversations are never fun, but by remembering these 3 things we can ensure that our challenging conversations are less controversial and have better results.

I offer a 45 minute complimentary Clarity Session to show you how I can help you. Click here to book your session now!

Building Bricks: Understanding how Trust Works

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Trust is hard to define as a concept, yet it's something that we can feel. If you trust someone, you feel comfortable around them. You listen to what they say and expect them to listen to you when you have something to say.

In short, you are benefitting from an "investment" you made with someone in the past.

That investment could have been chipping in on dinner when you ran out of money, sharing a secret, or giving advice. Whatever it was, this "investment" is an action that connects two people. (Trust can also be established by what a person we don't know also. Or example, I can trust that a man with a doctor's uniform in a hospital knows about medicine versus a man dressed as a clown.)

This "investment" is what makes relationships work. It begins when one person does something for someone else. Humans are pattern-seeking animals, and when we see the pattern of "This person always helps me out" in someone we assume that the person will continue their behavior in the future.

Breaking Bricks: What Happens When Trust is Broken

In the same way, that trust is built and reinforced, brick by brick, trust can be lost. That being said, losing trust can occur much faster than gaining it. Losing trust involves dishonoring the investment made in a relationship.

This happens because trust is such a valuable investment. Violating that investment hurts more because of the emotional connection involved. This can happen in all sort of ways from being unintentionally disrespectful to intentionally being mean or rude.

Once broken, trust takes a long time to rebuild. Imagine removing a brick from a brick wall. It takes a lot more effort to remove that brick than to put it in place, right?

Trustworthiness: What Makes People Trust You

As shared above, trust is an investment. It's also an emotional and mental connection that is built over time. In order to for us to be open to that initial investment, there must be certain signals. The person we're looking to trust must have something of value that we're looking for.

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These signals are actions that signal a person might be worth trusting. Such signals can include attentiveness, a willingness to trust us, mutual respect, authenticity, and transparency. People that display these traits (bonus points if you show more than one trait!) are more likely to be considered trustworthy.

Couples and Trust: 3 Pointers to Making the Connection

Having a good relationship as a couple is all about trust.  In fact, trust in a relationship should involve deeper and deeper levels of trust. As your relationship matures and evolves, there will be challenges to this process of developing trust. The couple that can successfully navigate through those challenges are the ones who survive.

Three recommendations that can help your relationship develop this kind of "tough" trust include:

  • Invest in the positive before you make a withdrawal: If you consider trust like an "investment", there will be times when you need to make a withdrawal. You might need to say something difficult or comfortable that could affect your relationship. If you're already built investment through positive actions, your relationship should be able to handle it.
  • Revisit your past. If your relationship is going through a "rough patch", it can be hard to think beyond it. One way to break out of that mindset is by revisiting the past. Take some time to watch old videos or look at old pictures with you as a couple. Reimagine what was going through your mind. Going back could be a rekindle your trust going forward.
  • Start small. Whenever trust is broken in a relationship, you don't want to ignore it. You want to do three things: resolve, forgive, and rebuild. Realize that this can take time, so start off with small relationship rebuilding efforts. Starting the day with "Good morning" instead of rehashing yesterday's ongoing argument is one way you might do this.

Trust: Hard to Build (or Rebuild), Worth the Investment

Trust is a complex and touchy subject because it involves the most personal aspects of ourselves. When we trust someone, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable. The person we trust could return or ignore our offer of trust. They could manipulate it.

Yet, trust is worth that risk. Without that risk, we don't get the reward. Without being vulnerable, we cannot become truly comfortable. Without opening up, we remain closed. That is why the investment known as "trust" is so powerful. Trust that is built is much more powerful than trust that is never built.

I offer a 45 minute complimentary Clarity Session to show you how I can help you. Click here to book your session now!

Putting Your Spouse First: Best Practices for a Successful Marriage

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Let's preface this topic with some quick facts – yes babies need a LOT of attention, and yes normally young children will need your attention and your focus and your energy much more than your spouse because you are teaching them how to be fully functioning human beings. And yes your time and energy will be spent on your children because they need you to survive while they are young. But once you have children the best way to keep your family close and your marriage strong is by striving to put your spouse first. This does not mean you are putting your spouse first because you are selfish or a terrible parent, you put your spouse first FOR your children, your family, and your marriage.

Why should you put your spouse first? Here are some reasons your marriage will benefit by putting each other first:

A Lasting Marriage

According to success.com, "If you want your marriage to last your lifetime, give it the attention and effort it deserves. Your kids will live with you for just two short decades. Putting your marriage on cruise control for 20 years, while you focus on your kids is like falling asleep at the wheel – deadly." Your children are only with you for a few short years, if you want a lasting marriage then take time to appreciate and love the person who will be with you the longest. You do not get to choose your extended family – mothers, sisters, aunts, nephews, etc. You do not get to choose who your children will turn out to be, the only person you truly choose to love is your spouse. Create a lasting marriage by putting your spouse first.

Happy and Healthy Children

You are your children's first and most effective teacher – they will base many of their ideas of love and marriage on the example that you give. Your children will feel safe, happy when they have two parents who work together as a team and act like their spouse is their favorite person. Showing a healthy marriage where two people care about each other above all else is one of the best things you can do for your children. According to huffingtonpost.com, "I view my investment in my relationship with my spouse as one that is beneficial to our family as a whole."

Lasting Romance

Putting your spouse first, caring for their needs, loving them, and being aware of their thoughts and feelings is a fantastic way to care for a lasting romance. Your children will eventually leave, but your spouse will be with you if you take the time to create that lasting relationship.

Here are some reasons – centered on children – for why you should put your spouse first:

Self-Centered Children

Putting your children first, instead of your spouse, gives your children an unrealistic view of the world in which they are the center of attention. In an article by physician Danielle Teller, titled "How American parenting is killing the American marriage," she said, "Children who are raised to believe that they are the center of the universe have a tough time when their special status erodes as they approach adulthood. Most troubling of all, couples who live entirely child-centric lives can lose touch with one another to the point where they have nothing left to say to one another when the kids leave home."

Children Who Blame Themselves

If you put your children first and your marriage suffers because of it, your children may start to blame themselves for your unhappiness. According to psychologytoday.com, "Unhappy and unfulfilled parents can lead their kids to conclude that marriage makes people unhappy, or if the focus of their discord centers on child-rearing differences, that they are the source of their parents' unhappiness."

It benefits you, your spouse, your marriage, your children, and your whole family when you put your spouse first.

I offer a 45 minute complimentary Clarity Session to show you how I can help you. Click here to book your session now!

Rebuilding Trust

How do you rebuild trust when you have lost it?

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  1. Turn it Off: The computer and the television. Both forms of media isolate us and focus on the corrupt aspects of our society. We can build trust by communicating and discussing the issues with other people.
  2. Get it out: Get out of the house and meet a friend for coffee, or your  partner for lunch. Join a community group or organization, an interest group or take a class. Organize block parties, garage sales, potlucks or other neighborhood activities. This fosters social networks as well as trust. BE with other people!

I offer a 45 minute complimentary Clarity Session to show you how I can help you. Click here to book your session now!