Can you Repair a Relationship where the Trust is Gone?

repair trust

Can you Repair a Relationship where the Trust is Gone?

There are a lot of different reasons someone can blow the trust in a relationship. It could be infidelity, emotional cheating, cleaning out the bank account and blowing it in Vegas, a shopping spree and hiding the credit card bills, or instead a string of little things so long it makes one wonder if they ever told the truth at all. Whatever the reason, trust is the glue that keeps a relationship together. Without trust there is no intimacy and without intimacy, no relationship. You can’t be intimate with someone you have to constantly be on guard around. So can you repair a relationship where the trust is gone? Certainly no one is perfect. Depending upon what you believe and what they have done, there are ways to build bridges back to trust. It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience, forgiveness, owning up to what both parties have done and superb communication. It’s important to look at what led up to the violation. Oftentimes there are certain goings-on in a relationship, underlying problems that must be addressed so such a slipup don’t happen again.

Those who are the victims shouldn’t rub their partner’s face in transgressions. Nor should they ignore what contribution they themselves may have made to the situation. Only when each person is open and honest with each other can they make plans of action or rules of engagement that work for them, can they overcome these obstacles and rebuild trust. If both parties are still very much in love, engaged and committed to renewing the relationship then it has the highest likelihood of happening. But half measures will cause few returns. The person who has perpetuated the betrayal has to be sorry. But they should also be open and forthcoming in all aspects and ready and willing to change. The more open they are the faster the healing process will be. A betrayal can be implicit or explicit, meaning it may be something that was a spoken rule or just an obvious one. But it can’t be obvious to one person and not the other. When a transgression has occurred and the person lies or covers up their betrayal, these actions only make things worse. They also contribute to a longer and more difficult road ahead.

Of course every relationship and situation is different. That said there are a few things anyone going on this harrowing journey should keep in mind. If you are the betrayer, fess up before they find out. The longer you wait the more damage you will cause and the more time it will take for the relationship to recover. Plus, unburdening yourself from the guilt will also be a great relief. Decide then and there to have absolutely no dishonesty in your relationship ever again. If you can’t be honest with your partner, why are you with them? At the time of confession and even after, allow your partner to ask questions. Be honest in answering. You want to communicate and restore goodwill. If you are the victim, you shouldn’t keep asking questions just to shock or hurt yourself. At a certain point, you have decided to stay in the relationship or go. If you are staying, it’s important to find the path toward healing, not dwell on the past. Patience is the best characteristic in this situation. Practice it unendingly. Keep in touch with yourself and your feelings. You don’t have to see eye to eye on everything to be fully present and listen to your partner as you work through things. Stay focused and if you are both meant to be together, you can get past this terrible time and find each other once again. For advice on keeping your marriage on the right track before transgressions start read, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love by Linda Bloom and Charlie Bloom.

When You Don’t Want a Divorce but your Spouse Does

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When You Don’t Want a Divorce but your Spouse Does

Oftentimes one person in a marriage wants to call it quits while the other wants to work things out. For the person who wants out, it’s over. They feel they’ve tried and tried. There’s no hope of reconciliation from where they sit. The majority of those in this position are women, as women are the majority of those who serve their husband’s divorce papers. Lots of men, ignoring the problems in their marriage, suffer what has been labeled as “sudden divorce syndrome.” But it certainly isn’t always the case. There are definitely men who get fed up with their wives and want out, too. Usually, this is when the other person panics. They try desperately to change things, to make the other person happy. But often they tend to further push their partner away rather than bring them back into their orbit. So what do you do when you don’t want a divorce but your spouse does? Are there any moves you can make to try and save the marriage or is it all just hopeless? There’s no way to make sure that they see it your way and warm to reconciliation. However, positive changes can make an impression. It’s possible to bring a marriage back from the brink and plenty of other couples have done so before. Here are some ideas on how to save a marriage.

Do not beg them to stay. This is perhaps the worst thing you can do. Crying and pleading never work. If they feel like it’s too late to change anything, you will only further solidify that idea in their mind by partaking in this kind of behavior. Don’t block them if that’s their idea. But don’t exacerbate the issue by say leaving the family home first. Do not exacerbate the situation. It sounds simple but many people in this tenuous situation often take part in other behaviors that make matters worse. If you have been unfaithful, call off the affair. If you have been whining, nagging and overly critical learn how to stop those things from happening and instead supplant them with positive behaviors. If you have trouble controlling your temper and this has been what has been driving a wedge between you two, seek counseling, go to anger management classes and get a handle on the problem. Many people at this point want to bring up the transgressions of their partner. But you can’t control the past. And you can’t control your partner. The only thing you have absolute control over in this marriage is yourself. If you want to see positive change happen and talk the marriage off of the ledge you will have to change those negative things for which you yourself contribute and that are causing strife. If you do make progress and want your spouse to consider couple’s therapy with you, your first step forward may be making progress on your own issues.

Are you spying on your spouse because you think they are having an affair? Stop. Are you pressuring them to go to counseling with you? Cut it out. Do you keep badgering your spouse for one more change? Don’t do it anymore. Are you reading their emails, texts and stalking them on their social media sites? Give it a rest. This behavior will only further push them into the divorce camp. If you want them to reconsider the marriage you will have to give them some space. If you smother them you will drive them away. Don’t demand anything from them at this time. Don’t take part in blaming behavior. Take a good look at the negative patterns you and your spouse take part in. You are a scientist researching a phenomenon. Give your spouse time and space. Consider what their complaints are in the marriage. Are they legitimate? What are you doing that is helping to drive them away? Show them concrete evidence that this time you are making different choices and working on your issues, out of love for them, yourself and for the sake of the marriage. Once you understand what triggers your problems, and what you do to help set them off, you can counteract that behavior. And that is the first and most important step. For more on this topic, pick up a copy of Fighting for Your Marriage by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley and Susan L. Blumberg. 

How to Fix Your Relationship like a Therapist

Relationship-Tips-From-a-Therapist

How to Fix Your Relationship like a Therapist

Has your relationship fallen into a rut? Do you live separate lives side by side? Or does it feel more like you are arguing and getting on each other’s nerves all the time? It could just be that things aren’t as sparkling as they once were, and you are starting to notice things about your significant other which you’d rather not have seen. Whether your relationship is in turmoil or you just aren’t seeing eye-to-eye, you have before you only a few options. You can try to tackle these issues together, but on your own. You can seek out and start having regular sessions with a couple’s therapist or you could not do a thing and just wait and see what happens. It’s great to have the sound advice of a professional you trust. There are inhibiting factors such as the cost and bearing your soul to someone you hardly know. A therapist isn’t for everyone. But there are certain steps you can take to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome, or perhaps a revitalization of the relationship, no matter how serious the issues between you. Here are some steps you can take on your own and with your partner too, to help get your relationship back on track. Here’s how to fix your relationship like a therapist. First, take your emotions out of the equation. Usually, when we are in some sort of conflict with someone we start to justify our side, thinking who is right, who is wrong and for what reasons. But this process can actually impede the thinking process that needs to occur. Instead, think about the patterns of behavior you and your significant other take part in. Who starts it? What are the situations that trigger this behavior? What escalates it? What kinds of behavior would instead be more cooperative and less abrasive?

In therapy you often hear the phrase, “pattern is more powerful than people.” There are certain good patterns that we ourselves exhibit and those that we exhibit in our relationship. But negative patterns have to be analyzed with clear heads and the best of intentions. Once you see the negative pattern and how it emerges you can take steps to head it off and instead supplant it with a more positive alternative. Instead of taking part in behavior such as nagging, let your partner know that you don’t want to nag, and what would be a better or nicer way to communicate that would make more of an impression without upsetting or annoying your partner. Look at your own negative patterns and how they contribute to the relationship. Take steps to change them. Let your partner know what you’ve noticed and what steps you are taking. They’ll appreciate it and perhaps it will send them down a path of self-reflection. But one person we can always change is ourselves. In therapy there is a dichotomy, what and how. What is what the issue is in order to be resolved. How is how to resolve it. How is the process. So the facts of the argument are the content and the fact that you are both getting angry is the process. But most people focus too much on content. Instead, switch your focus and instead look deeply into the process. Notice how your partner deals with conflict and how you yourself react to it. Is it anger or withdrawal? The best thing to do is to start doing the opposite of what your instincts tell you to do. If you usually withdraw, instead step forward and say what’s on your mind. If you are prone to anger, walk away and take a breather. Then collect your thoughts. You’ll soon find that you can come to arguments with a clear head. Suggest it to your partner, too.

Always conduct yourself as an adult. Sometimes the pull to do the opposite of that can be so strong. But in the end, what will it do? It will just make it more difficult to reconcile and will drive you both farther apart. You have to both agree to argue without disrespecting one another. Don’t go out of your way to hurt anyone. No sarcasm or passive-aggressive behavior. Often it’s easier to do at work than at home. But it will go such a long way to minimizing the heat and resentment in your relationship. Start to look at relationship problems in a new way, as bad solutions to an underlying problem. Whatever issue you are experiencing in your relationship be it arguing, lack of support when it comes to household chores, lack of sex, there is a deeper underlying problem that is exhibiting itself in this manner. So if you find a better solution to the underlying problem, fear, worry or repressed anger, then these other problems will dissipate. Don’t get stuck in past transgressions unless they illuminate on a current behavior. Remember to keep the focus on each person’s behavior and reaction to that behavior, not emotion. Sometimes we get so engulfed in how we feel that we forget to examine the behavior that created the problem. Support your partner. Be on their side. Talk it out. Be loving. Be there for them. Think about what you want and need and how to talk about it in a new way, and be open to what your partner has on their mind, too. For more, pick up a copy of Long Lasting Love: 7 Secrets to Creating a Harmonious Relationship that Marriage Therapists don’t want you to Know by Dr. James A. Anderson.

Does your Husband Reject your Advances?

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The old stereotype is that the man always wants sex and the woman is often the one who rebuffs his advances. But in a lot of marriages, the opposite is true. This point of view doesn’t often get addressed. Does your husband reject your advances? This can really hurt a wife’s self-esteem. One of the reasons we enter into marriage is to have a life partner to share our bodies, minds and emotions with. But if there is no sex in a marriage the relationship begins to wilt. It’s hard to maintain the strong emotional bond when the physical one is lacking. But it can be difficult to get a man to open up about why it is that sex isn’t of interest to him. First, there’s the social stigma. So in addressing it he may feel that there is something wrong with him or that you are blaming him. Instead, make it a comfortable setting. Pick a time and place to discuss it without any distractions, when you both feel comfortable. Use “I” statements. Tell him how you feel when your advances are rebuffed. This will make him feel sympathy for you. Now it’s time to ask what the problem is. It could simply be that he is stressed out and exhausted from work. In which case perhaps it’s time to get a little rest and relaxation. Can he delegate some duties, work from home or use flextime to his advantage? Are there ways he can relax and refresh himself so that he can be ready to help reignite the spark?

Oftentimes, a sexless marriage is due to deeper emotional issues. Was there an indiscretion? Has the bond of trust been hurt or broken? Or have the two of you just been growing apart? It’s important to sit down and address these issues honestly. But if one or both parties don’t feel completely comfortable, feel betrayed, or have a sense that they are no longer respected or loved, or that they no longer feel respect or love, than the sex isn’t going to be restored unless these deeper issues are addressed. Both parties have to think long and hard about the differences. Are they reconcilable? What steps need to occur to rectify the problems and put things right again? Couple’s counseling may be in order. Discuss this possibility. Is your spouse open to it? Are there sexual health issues at play? If addressing these with a man make sure he’s extra comfortable and trusts you. Be loving, patient and nurturing and get him to open up. A change in medication such as heart medication or some anti-depressants can also affect the mechanics of the situation. Talking to his physician and a switch in medication may be all that is needed to fix the problem. Perhaps things have just gotten old and stale. Instead, a romantic dinner talking about fantasies, planning them out and doing one for each of you may be what you need to get things back on track. Keep talking to each other. Get to the bottom of it. Renew your sex life and your marriage will follow. For more on this topic, read Why Men Stop Having Sex: Men, the Phenomenon of Sexless Relationships, and What You Can Do About It by Bob Berkowitz and Susan Yager-Berkowitz.

Being Married to a Narcissist

NARCISSIST

Being married to a narcissist is an emotional roller-coaster. It can be nerve racking, extremely painful and cause you to feel perpetually anxious. For some this is exciting, at least in the beginning. But it can wear you down. Abuse is also generally the norm when connected with a narcissist romantically. Physical affection and love will only be on the narcissist’s terms. This breeds a state of constant anxiety. The narcissist demands total submission. These types will break their own rules, push boundaries and never accept or submit to accountability. It’s not that they think they are perfect. In fact, for most the opposite is true. Though there can be and usually are other healthy psychological signs underneath the surface, the general holding pattern for the narcissist is gaining and self-interest. They aren’t evil villains per se, nor complete egotists. In fact, the opposite of absolute confidence is true. Narcissists are so insecure that they can’t even stand a whiff of criticism from anyone. Narcissists have trouble processing complex emotions and this may be one reason why they often cross boundaries and hurt others. Narcissists feel absolutely entitled. Since they feel the world is theirs alone, they also believe that their romantic partner is lucky to be with them and so should comply with whatever wishes or desires they request.

If you love a narcissist then know that you need a plan. Any questioning or challenging makes them rise up enraged. Disgust and rage inhabit the area just behind the mask of composure. In fact, occasionally the narcissist will get a whiff that something isn’t right with them, and they’ll scramble to keep themselves under control. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist you will be constantly walking on eggshells. Narcissism isn’t just one condition; there is a spectrum. Only 5% of sufferers endure actual Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s usually caused by a bad relationship with their primary caregiver in infancy. The trouble is they don’t know how badly injured they are psychologically. If a narcissist believes you have enacted a transgression against them their response will be to punish you severely, perhaps withholding sex, money or something else needed in life. There is a test psychologists use called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory. You can find it online. But it’s rare that any narcissist would sit down to take it.  Since these relationships are so shaky and painful, there are two choices- either leave the narcissist or decrease the amount of emotional contact between you and them. For the second option you won’t spend much time together, won’t have sex, watch TV or attend events together. You may have a marriage license or appear to be a couple but the relationship is emotionally devoid of any real connection. For more on this topic, pick up a copy of When Love Is a Lie: Narcissistic Partners & the Pathological Relationship Agenda by Zari L. Ballard.