Why People Have An Affair

SCENARIO

Many women either suspect or discover that their partner is having an affair. What a lot of women then ask themselves is “what am I doing wrong?”

Do people cheat because of their partners? Can what you say or do cause your partner to stray?

CONSIDER THIS

VICKI:
People have affairs because of their own thoughts and belief systems. While it’s easy to blame a partner it has nothing to do with them.

Sex means many things to many people. For some it’s a physical need and for others it can be about self-worth or manhood/womanhood, etc. There are so many reason why people cheat on their partners that they couldn’t all be covered here. What so many people don’t understand is that the reasons are generally mental and/or emotional needs that are not being met. Many of the unmet needs having nothing to do with sex at all.

If someone has unmet needs it’s their responsibility to discover what they do need, whether through counseling or inner reflection, and discuss it with their significant other. No adult is responsible for another adult’s emotional well-being.

With that being said I want to add in that anyone who has a partner who is withholding sex will most certainly stray. Especially men as their sperm can only build to such an amount then there is a physical need to expel it. We all need human touch and masturbation can only cut it for a certain amount of time.

JILL:
It should first be said that not all female partners do blame themselves. However, the ones that do may do so for two reasons.
Their self-blame may come from low self-esteem. We are inundated with all forms of media that tell us that to the thin and beautiful comes the perfect life complete with a perfect marriage. Reality shows feature men dropping to their knees to ask the newly transformed woman to marry him, the subtle message being that he would not have proposed to her as she looked before.

Secondly many women instantly want to fix a problem, to make it all better. They don’t take time to analyze what has transpired and more importantly to see where the other person is responsible for their actions. If that person was looking for a change in his life or if something triggered feelings of unhappiness he should have done the right thing and talk to his partner.

All this doesn’t mean that there should not be a time of quiet reflection for the woman. An honest evaluation of what has transpired will bring with it positive self-growth and recharged self-esteem.

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Two Religions, One Wedding Ceremony

SCENARIO

We received this as a question from a young bride-to-be. She and her fiancé are from two different religious backgrounds. Neither of their families want a blended religious ceremony, yet this young couple is paying for their own wedding and cannot afford two ceremonies. They would like to make this a happy occasion for both their families and wonder how they can do it.

What would you do in this situation? We’d love to hear your comments.

CONSIDER THIS

JILL:
Perhaps the parents are worried that a blended ceremony will disrespect the meaning and traditions of their faiths. Possibly by outlining for them how the two religions would be represented, this could change their minds. In today’s world interfaith ceremonies are done in a very respectful and tasteful manner. Do some research and speak to planner who specializes in these types of marriages. With the details on paper the bride, groom and both sets of parents should come together to discuss this style of ceremony.

If that doesn’t work look at having a civil, non-denominational or spiritual marriage. No one can afford two ceremonies and one of those choices may be the only way to keep both families happy. Write your own vows. Keep everything simple but meaningful. Taking religion out of a service no longer means that the event has to be cold or impersonal. Another option is a destination wedding and not necessarily to another country. It could be held in another state or province or a pretty little town that is only a few hours away. Afterwards the reception could be a blend of both family’s traditions and backgrounds.

It is important to remember that the very essence of a marriage is the joining of two people who love one another. If however the couple is feeling somewhat incomplete they can meet with religious person who has guided them each through the years and ask for their blessing on the union.

VICKI:
My first thought is what does the couple wish to do? I certainly understand that family pressure can be a huge issue and that we all wish to please the ones we love. However there comes a time where, no matter how challenging, everyone needs to put their family’s values behind them and live by their own value system.

If the couple wish to make the situation work all around then…in order to make this economical the only suggestion I have is to have the ceremony take place in a hall, etc. and literally have one religious ceremony after the other; without an official pronouncing this couple married until after the second ceremony.

Real Love and Reality

SCENARIO

Do you feel loved by your partner? It’s a common issue for many couples. In the beginning of a relationship it was exciting and passionate, with time reality hits and love becomes secondary to daily demands. Does it have to be this way?

CONSIDER THIS

JILL:
While the excitement and passion may settle down with time, the loving of one another shouldn’t become secondary. If you have to put each other on your schedule – every month should include at least one date night and maybe a lunch date too.

One of the most exciting things in a new relationship is the spontaneity so try to revive that. An unexpected phone call in the day, a note slipped into their pocket. It is however the physical aspect; the touching that provides the warmth and glow for a couple. A hug, kiss or squeeze of a hand take a few seconds but the affect is long lasting for the recipient.

Don’t try to revive what has been but start today to sustain a loving relationship that will have you growing old together.

VICKI:
It most definitely doesn’t have to be that way. Love is a choice, which each and every day you and your partner can choose to do and say the things that make your partner feel loved. This is like re-committing to each other daily.

It’s not always an easy choice to make. It only works on one condition – that both of you have to know what makes you, individually, feel loved and be willing to discuss it with your partner.

There is a great book that discusses it called “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It discusses the five main languages of love: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. In reading this you will learn your main love language and help identifying your partner’s. It’s not only a quick read it’s also really enjoyable.

Vacation Plans: Hers vs His

QUESTION

My boy friend and I are trying to plan our first summer vacation together. He wants to go whitewater rafting. Not only does the thought of that really scare me but I don’t consider that a vacation; I’m a lay on the beach and do nothing sort of girl. Should I just go along with him or tell him how I really feel?

ANSWER

VICKI:
Stop, cease and desist! If it’s your first summer vacation together then you’re in a fairly new relationship. I can’t think of a worse way to start then to hide your truth. How is your boyfriend supposed to get to know the real you?

If you start putting aside your desires to please a man in the beginning of a relationship what will you be giving up of what you want in three years time? Remember something really important – relationships are not about giving yourself they’re about sharing yourself. You can give the person you love everything and still have shared nothing with him; that’s because in sharing you give part of yourself which includes your likes and dislikes.

Look at your boyfriend as a soul partner; all souls are on equal ground with no one being more important than the other.

JILL:

I would tell him how you feel and then suggest a trip that is a compromise.

1. Vacation in a place where you both get something. You relax on the beach or by a pool, while your boyfriend is out doing water sports or other physical activities that may appeal to him.
2. Plan a vacation doing something completely different for both of you such as a horse back riding or bike riding vacation, tour a wine area or travel through a country, state or province that appeals to you both.

If you just ‘go along with him’ you will both end up having a miserable time.

Letting Go Of Blame

QUESTION

Eight months ago I lost my son; I am slowly getting through the pain. The problem is that it happened while my husband was supposed to be watching him, he drowned in our pool. I keep telling myself that it was not his fault but I still blame him, how can I stop being so angry at him?

ANSWER

VICKI:

You have my heartfelt condolences on your loss.

This is something that really needs to be worked on with a grief counselor and possibly a marriage counselor. This is a time when you and your husband need each other most. It is possible to get through this and it has to be together.

If you have a religious affiliation this would also be a good time to seek clerical advice and support. Faith can help people move through extreme tragedy. Do whatever you can to get the help you need – your son would want that for the parents he loves.

I’m wondering if you are saying things to yourself like, “If only I had been there” or “I was the one who was supposed to be watching him at that time” or any “I should have” statement pertaining to yourself? The reason that I’m asking is that if you are then you are feeling responsible and are angry with yourself, this means you feel guilty feeling you did not do everything you could. Be gentle on yourself.

Forgiving yourself first will open the doors for you to take the blame off your husband. You know in your heart and mind that your husband didn’t do anything on purpose. He feels the same pain as you and considerable guilt I am sure.

JILL:
Grief is a deeply personal process, there is no set formula or advice that can be given to someone.

Vicki’s answer was through, so I only have a couple of things to add. It is important that you give yourself permission to feel the anger. If you do see a grief counselor go by yourself first so that you can work through that anger and blame. This will then allow you to process the other stages of your grief and to hopefully reach out to your husband for the love and support that you both need at this time.

Another safe place for your feelings is a support group. I realize that initially that seems like revealing yourself to strangers however the fact that you brought together by a common loss removes the normal barriers. Sometimes it is in that very anonimity that we find the understanding and support that we need.

Without being able to work with you one on one I hope that this advice helps in some small way and I too send you my condolences.

Thinking About “Him” Too Much

QUESTION

Three weeks ago I met a great man. We’ve been seeing each other every weekend since we met. My problem is that I fantasize about him all the time. It’s at the point where I can’t get him out of my head and it’s affecting my work and personal life. I notice this is a pattern that happens with every new man I meet. How can I stop this?

ANSWER

JILL:
You need to look at what your actions are saying. “I had no value until this man came into my life. He is all that I need. My career, my friends, my family, even my self-care are of no importance now, my life is all about him.”
A man does not complete you, what a relationship does is enhance who we are and the time shared while special and loving is only a portion of what makes a complete life. .
I am not trying to be harsh but having a man in your life no matter how deep the feelings are, is something that becomes part of who we are it is not ALL that we are.
The pattern will be broken with the realization of how worthy you are in your oneness and that your life has value with or without that person.

VICKI:

Fantasies can be a way of getting your needs met and may be very healthy, as they are a clue to your emotional needs, however not in the amounts you are describing.

Sit down and take apart your fantasies as you would if you wanted to find the meaning of a dream. What you’re looking for is what need a particular fantasy is fulfilling. Once you realize what it is you really want it is time to work on getting that need met in your daily life. Some needs you may be able to ask your boyfriend for and others you may need to fulfill through other people or possibly on your own. Remember that no one person can give you everything you need.

Once you know what it is that you require please don’t hesitate to ask the appropriate people. In this life if you want something you must ask, ask, and ask. No one will read your mind. I assure you that as you bring into reality the things you daydream about that those daydreams will minimize to a healthy amount.

Husband Of 27 Years Is Gay

QUESTION

My husband and I have been married for 27 years and have two grown children. He recently told me he wants a divorce; he also revealed that he has been having an affair with another man! I feel angry and betrayed as though our life together was a lie. What should I do?

ANSWER

JILL:

1. Take a deep breath and accept that you have a right to feel those emotions and more. You are dealing with a number of difficult issues here. Not the least of which is that the end of the day you and your husband of 27 years are getting a divorce.

2. Don’t assume that he didn’t or doesn’t still love you. Being gay doesn’t preclude his ability to having feelings of love for you.

3. The foundation of the marriage itself I cannot speculate on. One day I hope that you will let him tell you why he got married and what the union meant to him. That conversation may bring you some peace and lessen the feelings of betrayal.

4. Remember that what your husband is doing isn’t about you. Don’t question your desirability, femininity or the type of a wife that your were.

5. When I work with a client who is undergoing a major life transition they tend to feel empty and off-balance so I recommend that they take a lot of quiet time for themselves. It gives you an opportunity to assess who you are, loving mother, good friend, supportive daughter, strong and vibrant woman, successful entrepreneur or career woman.

6. Don’t hesitate to turn to spiritual or professional guidance during this time.

Finally, self-care helps with the healing process. Practice the things that are important for your mental and physical well being. Avoid friends or relatives who may judge or discuss the issues continually. Seek the company of those who strengthen and respect you. In other words take care of you!

VICKI:
Jill is absolutely correct when she told you that your husband’s actions are not about you and not to speculate about his love for you. Know that when your husband chose to marry you it was not with the intention to cause you pain.

There is no doubt that you are filled with questions at the moment and some extremely intense emotions. Where I believe that it is very important that you ask your husband for the answers you need it should not be done until you are in a calm and collected state of mind.

Firstly it’s impossible to be in emotional turmoil and have clarity at the same time. You need to be clear headed in order to decide what the really relevant questions for you are and in order to be able to listen to your husband’s answers with an open mind, which you will need. Take all the alone or quiet time you need in order to get to that frame of mind; it may be weeks or it may be months and you may need help getting there.

Secondly when you and your husband do talk, especially about his motivations, you need to recognize that this isn’t a black and white area. It is not a matter of right or wrong. This is the gray area where he has made past decisions based on his fears and insecurities; something that every single one of us has done at one time or another.

I hope the two of you will sit down and talk with compassion and good will for each other in both your hearts and truly listen to each other.