Recognizing Cheating Over the Holiday Weekend

July 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The 4th of July should be a time for family, food, and good friends. But wives might find their partner distracted if he’s engaged in or contemplating an affair. Look at the cheater that is trying to pull one over on all parties involved: “The guy who takes his wedding ring off and goes ‘on the hunt’ is especially troublesome, like the “indie cheater;” that’s one of the most sneaky and narcissistic things he could do because he is lying to not only his wife but his potential mistress.” Fortunately, since the summer months have arrived, a ring-finger suntan will be a tell-tale sign that this type of cheater should be wearing a wedding ring.
Aside from sneaking around during time that should be spent with family, “indie cheaters” are a particularly troubling kind of narcissist because they’re out to hurt so many people. It’s imperative that people know when they’re dealing with a narcissist, and how to handle the situation.
Narcissism is a type of bullying, and leaves everyone betrayed. Usually someone who engages in this type of behavior devalues others and may even be trying to hurt their partner. “It’s a drastic form of bullying,” she says.
To nip narcissism in the bud, look out for these warning signs this holiday – or any time:
Do they turn the activities or conversations back to themselves?
Do they feel entitled?
Do they shut down and ignore other people?
This behavior comes from the Biochemical Craving for Connection, which I discuss in my book “Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery.” It pushes people toward a thrill-seeking high to make up for stress, loss, and separation they feel in their lives. Partners dealing with a narcissist should engage in my Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue – “Learn the right questions to ask so this person begins to tell the truth, and begins to see their behavior for what it is.”
And as for the potential mistress, take a look at his ring finger. If there’s a suntan line, chances are he’s married and trying to pull the wool over the eyes of both his wife AND you by lying and saying he’s unmarried.
For more tips from on how to handle a narcissist, click here: http://youtu.be/nmEShUlejj8, or check out my book “Make Up Don’t Break Up.”

Why it’s Important to Fight Fair

June 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Research from Gretchen Reynold’s blog on “How You Fight With Your Spouse May Affect Different Body Parts” demonstrated that stonewalling spouses were more apt to have muscular issues like back pain or neck pain. I know from my own private practice that negative or intense emotions affect health. Angry, sad, frustrated or fearful people have more health issues. Anger puts a strain on the heart and people in bad marriages can have worse health problems. This is why it’s important to fight fair with an emotional bullet proof vest and make your partner feel safe to share and “air” differences. Doing this increases passion. Walking in your partner’s shoes goes a long way to prolonging the “honeymoon” stage. Fighting fair techniques are essential for fightphobic couples whose apprehension courts confrontation, rather than clearing the air. I recommend 10 min weekly to air differences before they escalate. After that raise endorphins with physical activity with each other like tickling, kissing, or even making love. For more simple techniques on fair fighting check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUM4TnQRWz0 and my chapter on fair fighting in Make Up Don’t Break Up.

The Dating Blues

June 23, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Dating can be a drag and you can get depressed because you have hope you will meet the person of your dreams and that doesn’t usually happen right away. Instead you had a boring evening and would rather have stayed home and washed your hair. My mom always told me it only takes one, but which one? Where? How? Actually you probably will meet him when you do not expect it–maybe at a bus stop, on the subway, at a wedding, or even the salad bar. If only the wall would come down. If you have one great date or experience you could desensitize yourself to rejection, and make sure to keep a sense of humor about it. It’s important not to stereotype and smile, look in his eyes and say hello, do not walk away (it only hurts for a little while),be positive, it only takes one! Yes, women you can make the first move! Men are actually more sensitive to rejection. Good luck and let me know how it goes. Be sure to check out my dating book “Make Up, Don’t Break Up” for more tips.

Happy Father’s Day!

June 19, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

This Father’s Day, more men are taking an active role in their kid’s lives than perhaps ever before. While this is a positive change, it can have negative effects. According to research published in the Wall Street Journal in 2012, 32% of fathers with working wives are helping to care for their kids under 15. That’s up from 26% just ten years ago. With dad as the new mom, it can affect a couple’s relationship if they don’t know how to best manage things.

This shift can be a positive thing for the whole family – kids get a father who’s present, moms get some time off from the 30 hours per week they work inside the home in addition to their careers. Having involved dads makes sense, since men would be better at parenting than at partnering. Men aren’t used to engaging in the level of communication that a relationship needs so they become great dads – which is wonderful, but it shouldn’t come at the detriment of their marriage.

Single dads might face the parent vs partner problem in even worse ways than their attached counterparts. They’re trying to play catch up because they spend time away from their kids, so they parent with extra fervor! While kids may benefit from this, it could also be the underlying reason why single dads stay single – they don’t know how to be a partner because they’re parents – it’s a different set of skills. And they’re already pressed for time and money, making it difficult to connect on a practical level as well: according to the Department of Health and Human Services, 24.5% of single custodial dads work more than 44 hours weekly; and 90.2% of fathers with joint custody pay all their child support each month.

Whether single or married, men also often find it biologically difficult to connect with their significant others – or to find a potential partner after a divorce. It stems from a time period early in a boy’s life that I call the abrupt schism: when a boy leaves mother abruptly while he’s still dependent, in order to identify with his father and become more like him.

Boys don’t make this transition gracefully and the wounds they incur affect their relationships with women for their entire lives. Some mothers have a hard time letting boys go – which means that later in life a man will disappear from a relationship if a woman makes him feel guilty about not meeting her needs; or he will feel that he is never good enough. This provides another glimpse into the reason why men are more reticent to open up – if they do so, they worry they will then need the woman with whom they open up.

Because of their roles in the culture, men often don’t have to know how to be attentive, how to need someone; they are typically more independent. I believe the skills needed for successful parenting and successful partnering can be taught through my Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue, which I developed because I believe most men are connectable by instruction (I discuss this further in my book, Make Up Don’t Break Up and the attached DVD Falling in Love and Staying in Love).

Although women are often the guardians of connection their husbands can learn to connect in their marriage and communicate successfully. They need the confidence from their wives to be better partners, which can spring from their parenting abilities. Men already don’t feel comfortable identifying their feelings and talking about them, so women have to make a safe place – don’t shame or blame! Set aside ten minutes per day for this type of safe connection, where women create a place that their husbands can express themselves.

But it shouldn’t be either/or – people become better parents when they learn to be better partners, so learning to communicate safely and frequently in a relationship is healthiest for the whole family!

To see me talk more about single parenting and getting your relationship back on track click here: http://youtu.be/vNTq_wwXeKA and here: http://youtu.be/MtdykGxY708

Reviews on Best Dating Sites

June 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

I recently came across an article on Reviews.com that was evaluating and reviewing dating sites (http://www.reviews.com/online-dating-sites/). I was so happy to see this much needed asset in this busy world of singles. My single patients struggle with finding the “right” dating site and one that is easy to use. I’ve had patients marry from meeting on eharmony and OKCupid , so that is a testimonial in and of itself. Many patients prefer the two sites Reviews.com found to be the best, as they felt they had less narcissistic members than the others, and were more truthful. Another couple met and are serious now, and another is engaged. I met my husband through NY Magazine (no computer dating in those days) and we taught a course together on how to write an ad to meet and greet. It’s a wonderful way to meet after college, when it’s trickier or after divorce when you might be shellshocked!

The Little Things: Part 2

June 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Just today, I was lucky enough to be driven in a car service by a wonderful man who is married 29 years happily and whose sentiments echoed the one’s I spoke of yesterday. He spoke to me about how a good marriage is about doing those “big” little things daily, like helping his wife in the kitchen, telling her he loves her everyday, picking her up from work so she does not take the bus, sharing finances, not keeping “score”, never going to bed mad, walking in her shoes even if they do not fit, and not arguing if she feels different but understanding instead. He told me “I can’t wait to come home to her and hug her hello, and eat dinner with her.”
This is a man after my own heart. All of those same mini connections are also how my husband behaves. That behavior propelled us to write our “SmartHeart” skills and tools for all of you to emulate in “Make Up Don’t Break Up” and my Education 2 Go course “Marriage and Relationships: Keys to Success.” The driver and I spoke some more about how sometimes people give up too easily and divorce, and how important it is to work at it. It’s not hard to be nice and loving instead of vengeful and angry. It’s also better for your health!

The Little Things: Part 2

June 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Just today, I was lucky enough to be driven in a car service by a wonderful man who is married 29 years happily and whose sentiments echoed the one’s I spoke of yesterday. He spoke to me about how a good marriage is about doing those “big” little things daily, like helping his wife in the kitchen, telling her he loves her everyday, picking her up from work so she does not take the bus, sharing finances, not keeping “score”, never going to bed mad, walking in her shoes even if they do not fit, and not arguing if she feels different but understanding instead. He told me “I can’t wait to come home to her and hug her hello, and eat dinner with her.”
This is a man after my own heart. All of those same mini connections are also how my husband behaves. That behavior propelled us to write our “SmartHeart” skills and tools for all of you to emulate in “Make Up Don’t Break Up” and my Education 2 Go course “Marriage and Relationships: Keys to Success.” The driver and I spoke some more about how sometimes people give up too easily and divorce, and how important it is to work at it. It’s not hard to be nice and loving instead of vengeful and angry. It’s also better for your health!

It’s the Little Things

June 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In light of this past weekend’s tragedy in Orlando, I want to take some time to talk about how not to take our partners or family members for granted.

It’s important to feel gratitude, write down those little things that melt our hearts, and see your partner or family member with new light. Focus on what they are doing, not on what they are not doing. Cherish those mindless moments that make up a relationship, like a walk in the park, eating an ice cream cone together, binge watching your favorite show, a cuddle in am and pm, an unexpected kiss or hand holding, touching his or her arm, or opening the door. The little things mean a lot! Count your blessings and make up don’t break up.

Why Staying Married is Worth the Challenge!

June 9, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

New research on marriage in this week’s issue of Time Magazine, discussed how to stay married and why no matter the challenge, it’s worth it!  Belinda Luscombe’s article speaks to the expectations that are are so much higher than they once were, which is why more effort needs to be put in than ever before.  I always tell patients your partner needs to enhance who you are and let you be your true self! In other words: you’re better together as it brings out the best in each of you separately and together. In line with my writings on adultery, the research shows that adultery can be seen as a forgivable sin, but remorse, an end to the affair, and reconciliation are paramount. Marrieds have greater health, finances, sex lives, and overall happiness than singles, and I see this in my practice.  I have seen couples reach real life love when they are more gentle and kind with each other. When the power struggle is gone and good will takes over, it reminds couples of how it was in the beginning when they first met each other. Sarcastic remarks or tones in a contemptuous way corrode marriages and without respect, love erodes.  I speak about this in “Make Up, Don’t Break Up” and my Education 2 Go course on Marriage and Relationships: keys to success http://www.ed2go.com/online-courses/marriage-and-relationships. The first and most important thing to decide is that divorce is not an option.  This is what I did with my husband of 27 years. Because of that, we work through things differently, with that commitment and love leading the way.  Men need to be educated to do the emotional heavy lifting in order to make a relationship last the test of time–it’s what I call “connectable by instruction.” Fair fighting is important!  Polite marriages are higher in adultery.  Conflict and passion often go hand-in-hand. Sex is important too!  Many married couples make the mistake of turning into only a friendship. We need to reawaken those endorphins you experienced when you first fell in love.  You can have both, but you need to set aside time for this.  It’s key to compartmentalize this from problems, and do not mix the two!

Corden’s Carpool Karaoke as Couples Therapy

June 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

James Corden’s carpool karaoke is an aphrodisiac and stand in or mandatory exercise for my couples therapy. His free spirit and spontaneity are contagious, and allow the child in all of us come out and play.  This is so important for “stuck” couples to piggyback off of.  I have couples participate in carpool karaoke as a part of my couples exercise. It acts as both a stress reliever and romance enhancer . Why? It solves one of the biggest issue couples fight over in the car–directions!  Couples are copycatting the sing along on trips rather than fighting over directions. Thank you James! Thank you for romancing all my couples! You are saving marriages now without a psych degree!

 

 

 

 

 

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