Tag Archives: couple

If there’s one thing that pains me to hear from my female clients, it’s that the guy they’re dating is scared of commitment. In the dating stage it may look like inconsistent contact, last minute get togethers or booty calls. In a relationship, it may mean waiting to hear “I love you,” not moving in together or not getting engaged.

Yes ladies, you will meet men who don’t want a relationship or marriage…just yet. But it’s not even most men. In fact, men want love and a long-lasting relationship just as much as women do.

Sometimes love comes down to a numbers game. It’s unrealistic to think that every man you meet is at the right stage in his life to want a serious relationship or even marriage. It doesn’t make him a jerk. It just means you have to keep looking.

Here are five reasons men won’t commit:

  1. He’s not ready. Not being ready for a serious relationship doesn’t mean that he’s scared of commitment. It’s literally because he’s not ready. Hey may still want to play the field, concentrate on his career or needs to focus on family obligations. Men take their role as provider very seriously, and I’ve worked with many men who only casually date and put off serious relationships because they’re not where they want to be financially. He may also want to have experiences or work on himself first before he gets into a serious relationship. Timing matters, and a guy who’s not ready is not going to be able to give you what you need in a relationship.
  2. He’s terrified of making the wrong choice. Men are scared that the stories they hear about wedded hell are true: the ball and chain, not getting laid anymore, being with a controlling woman, etc. He may have doubts about your behaviors, like you being overly jealous or how you handle your anger. He may have thought his ex was “The One” but made the wrong choice once already. The pain and doubts may keep him from committing.
  3. He can’t see a future with you. A guy may not know if you’re going to be his future wife, but at least he knows if it’s even a possibility. He may be keeping you around because he likes you for the short-term, but he doesn’t see himself with you for decades. Plain and simple, he’s just not that into you.
  4. He’s scared of rejection. Ever feel like your man keeps you at arm’s length? Has a wall up or don’t feel as connected as you did when you first started dating? Again, most men want to feel connected to their woman, but to deepen intimacy requires one to be vulnerable. That can be downright scary. He may be thinking, Will she really accept me? When she knows me, will she still love me and want to be with me? If he’s not sure of the answer, he may keep from committing. You can reinforce the things you admire and accept about him to decrease this fear.
  5. He’s scared of divorce. We’ve heard horror stories about divorce. And if a guy has gone through his parents’ painful divorce and he hasn’t worked through it, he’s probably still scarred. Committing involves risk, and some guys may not do so until they’re 100% certain the relationship will work. The thing is, relationships are never a guarantee. But both of you have incredible influence over the outcome of your future, and that may mean getting some relationship education from a workshop or a professional.

For those of you waiting for your man to commit, it’s up to you to decide how patient you can be. At least have the conversation with your man about your future to see if your visions and goals align. If not, then move on to someone who will want you in his future.

 

 

You probably spend a lot of time talking about men with your girlfriends. You get support, but why not add the knowledge of a dating & relationship coach?

In this 2 hour event, you’ll have the same feeling of a girls’ night but with guidance and tips from Anita’s expertise. Your Night In is customized to fit the needs of you and your girlfriends. Every woman will receive a questionnaire prior to the event to ensure you get the most of your evening together.

Do you wonder why you’re not attracting the right guy? Do you worry you’ll be alone forever? Can’t seem to communicate well with your man? Whether you and your girlfriends are dating or in a relationship, you’ll receive practical advice and tools to get the kind of love life you want.

Contact Anita at anita@relationshipreality312.com or 312.399.1635 to reserve your spot. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

I know, I know…some of you are rolling your eyes at the title of my blog. Seriously, what can The Bachelor teach us about love? When the first season aired in 2002, I too thought, What are these women thinking? Where’s their self-respect? But when I watched this season’s episodes, I had a different take on the show. It’s not because it’s any different now than 13 years ago, but because I’m different. In 2002 I was still in college. Now, I’m a dating and relationship coach who has spent the last several years specializing in love and researching what makes relationships work. It’s been my job to help my clients figure out why they act like they do when it comes to love. Are people truly crazy and irrational, or can behaviors actually make sense? In the context of love and our need to connect with a person, the bachelorettes’ behaviors seem pretty reasonable. Here are 4 lessons from The Bachelor that can be applied to your love life:

  1. The need to feel special.

During one of his guest appearances, Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about how many times the word “amazing” was uttered this season. But really the key word should’ve been “special.” Every woman on the show wants to feel special. It’s what the rose symbolizes–I choose you, you are different than the others.

Britt, after getting a rose on the stage of a Big & Rich concert, was sure feeling pretty special to Chris. But in the next episode she confronts Chris when Kaitlyn gets the rose over her. Britt wanted to know that she’s his top choice and said she literally asked and begged Chris for validation. She added that she doesn’t want her husband to see her as a second, third or fourth choice. We all want to feel special, to know our date or partner only wants us. We may focus on behaviors that show we’re unique, like how much time we spend together or the compliments and affection we receive. But how did social media spin Britt’s desire for this feeling? That she has a “meltdown” and “breakdown.” Although she could have picked a better time to be vocal, knowing the rules of The Bachelor isn’t enough to stop the heart from wanting what it wants.

  1. The importance of security.

During every episode I love to read the Twitter feed about the show. One word that pops up a lot is “crazy.” In the context of the need of feeling secure, the women’s behavior makes sense. The women do what they can to increase their feelings of security with the Bachelor–they pull him away from other women, sneak time with him, ask him where they stand, wondering if he reciprocates their feelings, etc. There’s nothing crazy about this. We all have the need to feel secure with the object of our desire.

Maybe you’ve had times in your love life when you haven’t been as sure that your date or partner likes and cares for you as much as you do. Maybe you’ve wondered about exclusivity with your partner–wondered about what the next step is, felt anxious about it and the uncertainty of not knowing. All of this is perfectly normal and to be expected. My female clients sometimes tell me that the man they’re dating or in a relationship with calls her “crazy.” Some women worry that they’ll come across as being too needy or desperate if they ask for reassurance about the relationship or seek affirmation of his feelings. But we all have the need to feel secure, and the more we feel this security with our partner, the stronger our relationship.

  1. The need to be vulnerable.

When Chris dismissed some of the bachelorettes, he said that things just hadn’t progressed as far as with the other women. I believe it. The women have mentioned having their guards up and not wanting to be hurt. In the episode when Kaitlyn was let go, she stated that the feeling of profound hurt she was experiencing was exactly what she had wanted to avoid. But being hurt is inevitable–none of us can avoid that. And being vulnerable is scary but a necessity in order to get your date or partner to truly know who you are as a person. Hopes, dreams, fears, the skeletons in our closet–when we share these things and get acceptance and support from our partner, it makes us feel closer. You have to take the risk. Without risk, deep intimacy is harder to come by.

  1. There’s more than one good match.

When there were 3 women remaining, Kaitlyn, Becca and Whitney, the Bachelor told the host Chris Harrison, “I’m down to three really excellent women that I can see myself spending the rest of my life with.” And he probably could make a lifetime work with each of them. The Bachelor has often said that a lot of the women on the show have various qualities that he would like in his future wife. The thing is, for all of us, we have to pick which ones are more important and be able to accept and work with the rest. Looking for “The One” can keep you single. There’s no way you can meet someone who sees eye-to-eye with you on everything. Many people can be a good fit, but you have to believe that in order to make it work with one person.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Some thoughts from Karen Washington, AMFT, Sex Therapist:

Following all of the recent hype around the release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie, and its related products (i.e. OPI released the 50 Shades of Grey nail color line, Sephora has a few 50 Shades of Grey makeup packages, your local sex shop has a variety of toys and accessories as seen in the book/movie), I got to thinking about Valentine’s Day – about couples, intimacy, and sex. 50 Shades had women (and probably some men) all over the world contemplating their current sex lives, and the sex they were reading about. I wonder – Why not go one step deeper this year?

Media and retail tell the same story every year at this time – chocolates, dinner, and lingerie. It is all very basic. I can be a huge fan of the basics, as they provide a great foundation. However, this Valentine’s Day, I would like to challenge our readers to venture behind the veil of their current sexual play and explore new levels of intimacy.

Have you or your partner ever expressed sexual desires or fantasies that have yet to be attempted? Have you or your partner been promising to do something sexually, but it just keeps getting postponed? If you answered yes, then this is for you… Why not this time? Think of it this way – if you try it for a holiday and it doesn’t work out so well, you at least tried it and have broken the proverbial ice for future endeavors. While not everything is for everyone, sometimes, practice just makes perfect. Let this Valentine’s Day be a chance for experimentation to see what you can add to your sexual repertoire.

Here are three suggestions to help you and your partner step beyond the norm and add a new twist. Some are going to be more beginner level, some will be a step into new territory, and for others this just may be a reminder of ways to spice things up.

Lingerie

Instead of hitting Victoria’s Secret up this year for another teddy or garter skirt/corset combo, have you considered dressing up for role play? A very naughty chef/server serving dinner, or a man in uniform delivering flowers could be a great way to introduce a little role play fun into your life. Maybe you both want to be in character – explore some of your fantasies and find some overlap, or a scenario that you both don’t mind participating in and see what happens. Or, perhaps you could pretend to be strangers at a bar meeting for the first time all over again.

Dining out versus Staying In

I take inspiration from all sorts of places. If you happen to want to stay in but want to add some flair to the meal, try one of these two scenes. #1. Pretty Woman – Julia Roberts had room service waiting wearing nothing but a tie she picked out for him and stilettos. ‘Nuff said. #2. In the Book of the Courtesans, there was an excerpt about a woman – she had dessert prepared on her body, and was wheeled out to the dinner table to her man. He was provided no utensils. While you may not have the funds to have a chef prepare dessert on top of you and then staff to wheel you on a serving tray to the dinner table, you can be creative here. Turn yourself into a small buffet. No utensils necessary… just hands and mouth.

Kink

Kink is defined as a person’s sexual tastes; a taste for sexual behavior that is considered unusual. I firmly believe in kink being accessible to all levels of people’s sexuality. Again, not everything is for everyone. However, different levels or varieties of kink can appeal to most people. While I would never encourage my readership to go so far outside their realm of comfort that he/she can no longer find it enjoyable, I do ask you all to challenge yourself just a bit. You never know what you might find enjoyable…. I am saying that if you two like toys, or have maybe had some exposure to them, perhaps you can try out a new couple’s toy for the holiday. Lelo makes a Bluetooth capable vibrator that works wonderfully for couples. The vibrator slips inside a pocket in the included underwear, and it can be controlled from any smart phone with Bluetooth. Great for staying in and playing around the house…. Or for the more advanced couple, perhaps wearing it out to dinner to increase anticipation until you two return home might be more fun.

For more sex toy ideas, visit: http://www.kinkly.com/sex-toys/couples

Whatever your hearts’ desire, whether it be new positions, enacting fantasies or a new toy – Make this Valentine’s Day about actually trying new things to take your intimacy to the next level.

– Karen Washington, AMFT

One evening my boyfriend came over, and stopped at Chipotle on his way to bring me some dinner. He texted me to see what I wanted. My brief responses of “chicken taco” and “you know what I want” apparently didn’t help him too much, because he didn’t get my order right. I wondered, “How could he not know that I prefer corn over flour tortillas, and that I love sour cream with my Mexican food?!? We’ve been dating for almost 8 months!” When I asked him, he then threw down the gauntlet – “What do I like at Chipotle?” Without missing a beat I recited his usual order and he replied by putting his hands up in the air and saying, “Ok ok, you proved your point.”

 

I wasn’t upset with him that he didn’t know my order because, well…it’s something I’m highly aware of because of what I do for a living. As a relationship therapist, I work with my clients on the importance of increasing attentiveness to their partner and being attuned to what’s going on in their world. It’s what happy couples do since it increases feelings of closeness and security and it feels good knowing that your partner “gets you.”

 

And it goes beyond knowing your partner’s favorite foods. What are your partner’s current stressors? What do they worry about most? Who do they admire most? What are they sensitive about? How has their childhood and past relationships influenced who they are today? The more you know about your partner and vice versa, the deeper your friendship will get. A strong friendship is a necessary component to a lasting relationship – it’s a buffer against disconnection that plagues couples and is a leading cause of divorce.

 

The good news for you is that you don’t have to be a relationship therapist to turn this into a positive habit as well. Through practice it’s become second nature for me to file information that my boyfriend shares with me that I’ll use later to brighten his day, or show him how much he means to me. It’s not “work” for me, it’s a habit. Maintaining feelings of connection doesn’t happen automatically because you love each other. It takes effort and a conscious awareness of your partner and their world and then following through with actions, whether it’s planning a surprise, just listening or being present in the moment.

 

You can also strengthen your connection with your partner by sharing your opinion and being open. Sometimes people want to appease their partner or “go with the flow,” or don’t want to bring up hurtful past experiences, but you miss out on prime opportunities for your partner to learn more about you and use this information to strengthen your bond. For example, if you’re sensitive to feeling excluded because of a childhood experience and your partner is aware of this, they can make that extra effort to have you feel like you belong at parties or events by including you in conversations, introducing you to people and telling you how much it means to them that you came with them. These are small acts that can make a big difference.

 

The daily stuff matters, too. When your partner asks, “What’s wrong?” don’t say, “I’m fine” when you’re not. Again, you’re preventing the opportunity for your partner to know what’s going on in your life. Although my boyfriend didn’t know my Chipotle order to a T, he is very attuned to my emotional states. He can always tell when something bothers me or if I’m feeling “off,” and asks about it so that he knows what’s going on. It shows me that he not only pays attention, but that he cares about my well-being, so I make sure to open up to him. Talking to him about stressful things and having his support and understanding increases feelings of trust and safety for me. Talk with your partner about what it does for you.

 

The more details you know about each other, from the silly to the serious, the more likely you’ll make your relationship last.

 

And the next time my boyfriend brought over Chipotle, he didn’t forget the sour cream.

Featured in the Chicago edition of Attorney at Law Magazine:

When I argue with my spouse, she complains I am treating her like a witness I am cross-examining. She gets defensive and the tension escalates. Nothing ever fully resolves and we both shut down. I feel like we now avoid arguments rather than solve them. What can we do?

Having communication issues is one of the main problems couples face. In order to minimize getting trapped in the cycle you described, there are two main points to keep in mind.

First, although I don’t have specifics about what you and your wife disagree about, from my experience getting to the point of shutting down and not resolving anything is over perpetual issues. These types of issues include how money should be saved or spent, degrees of cleanliness and organization, how to discipline children, etc. They account for about 70% of the conflict that couples have. Perhaps surprisingly, they aren’t solvable because they are rooted in fundamental differences between people based on factors such as backgrounds, personality, experiences, and life goals and dreams. The good news is that you don’t have to expect to fully resolve most disagreements with your wife.

Instead, these kinds of problems need to reach a compromise. Managing the inevitable differences between you and your wife in this way will be key to your marital happiness.

Some couples believe they have to see eye-to-eye with their spouse, but this is unrealistic. We each have subjective realities and as I tell most of my clients, you’re probably both right. You want the focus to be on deepening your understanding of your wife’s reality instead of supporting your own case (and hopefully she will do likewise).

Since you’ve gotten to the point of not dealing with an issue to avoid an argument, I recommend that you try to listen without aiming to solve anything. Make a conscious effort to find out why your wife’s stance is important to her. No judging or criticizing, but truly getting an understanding of why that is her position – maybe a particular need, value, want or dream makes this especially significant to her. She also has to work on doing the same. The point is not necessarily to agree with each other’s view, but instead to understand it. Once this takes place, you are much more likely to reach a workable compromise. Respecting each other’s perspective and seeing its value can help you break out of your current cycle.

The second thing to consider when communicating is the timing of your talk. Getting to that point of shutting down is dangerous for a relationship and needs to be avoided. Once you hit that moment, rational thought is next to impossible. As your disagreement escalates, you stop hearing what the other person is saying. Your mind refuses to let you listen because instead it focuses on potential warning signs and escaping the situation. You’re also unable to understand your wife’s perspective or empathize. Bottom line is that it leads to the inability to access the necessary tools to effectively communicate.

It’s important to stop the argument before either of you shuts down, so call a time-out when you start feeling overwhelmed. Take at least 20 minutes, do something that calms you down, and resume the conversation once you’ve both cooled off.

Conflict should not be about who’s right and who’s wrong, who wins and who loses. It should center on respecting each other’s different points of view, to find an understanding on what you both need and compromising. In this way, your marriage can always win.

A common problem presented to me is, “Anita, I love my partner, but I’m just not in love with them anymore.” Usually my clients don’t realize that they were active participants in falling out of love by the choices they made over the course of their relationship. Frequent pitfalls they seem to experience include:

 

  1. Keep making negative comparisons. You not only spend more time thinking about what your partner is doing wrong than right, but you also think someone else would be better for you. Perhaps you start thinking that someone else would appreciate you more, understand you more fully, and that your life overall would be happier with someone else. Negatively comparing your partner and your relationship to others primes you to slowly chip away at your positive feelings.

 

  1. Don’t speak up for your needs/wants. A fast way to let disappointment and resentment build up is to not speak up for what you need and want in your relationship. Although your partner should stay attuned to your needs, it’s also important to be direct with your partner when you feel they are not being met. When you don’t openly express this, you increase the likelihood that you won’t feel as satisfied or happy in your relationship, and again open the door for more negativity.

 

  1. Pull back emotionally. Love can be scary. When you put yourself out there with your deepest desires, you can get rejected and hurt. It takes courage to keep being vulnerable with your partner. But if you don’t, you won’t feel as connected. Many of my clients talk about lacking that in love feeling with their partner, and they stopped being vulnerable a long time ago.

 

  1. Don’t prioritize your partner. Relationships require both partners to be active participants. Too often I see couples placing their relationships on the bottom of the list, after children, work demands and family obligations. You have to continually reignite the passion and connection by focusing on your relationship. You won’t feel in love if you don’t take the necessary time to continually cultivate those feelings.

Sometimes falling out of love comes down to the choices you make. If you’re struggling with your feelings but make an effort to avoid these pitfalls, you can begin to change the course of your relationship to feelings that are more positive and loving.

He’s someone I work with. I didn’t think much of him at first. We talked a little but mostly just went out for lunch with other coworkers. After awhile we broke off from the group and the two of us starting going out to lunch together. Then we started talking outside of work, mostly just text and email. He was a good listener and I could tell him anything. I didn’t think anything of it, he was just a friend.

As a relationship coach and therapist, I regularly help couples who are dealing with issues of infidelity. The workplace is one of the top places where cheating happens, and the above scenario is one I repeatedly hear. This type of affair is the sexless affair, also known as the emotional affair. The boundaries between it and a friendship can be blurry, so how do you know the difference?

Here are four questions to ask yourself to determine if your connection with someone else could really be a sexless affair or merely a friendship:

1. Is there little to no transparency? Your partner should know about your friendship. Most of my clients say that their partner either didn’t know this person existed or to what extent their communication was! Transparency also means you don’t discourage your partner’s questions about what’s going on. Another aspect to consider is whether you share more of what’s going on in your life with your friend than you do with your partner.

2. Would there be discomfort? If your partner asked to see the communication exchanges between you and your friend, do you think your partner would feel uncomfortable? Would you feel embarrassed if your partner stood next to you during any texts, emails or conversations?

3. Have boundaries been violated? If your partner asked you to stop doing things with your friend because it makes them feel uneasy, but you haven’t stopped, that’s a boundary violation. Although you and your partner may need to find a workable compromise, something to consider is why maintaining your friendship has become more important than respecting the wishes of your partner.

4. Are there fantasies? Every relationship has its ups and downs, but do you find yourself fantasizing about your friend when your relationship has hit a tough spot? Do you start comparing your current partner negatively to your friend, thinking life would be better with the other person instead?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, chances are your friendship is too intimate.

It’s important to communicate with your partner. Start a dialogue: What guidelines do you want for your relationship? One couple has a rule that they don’t have drinks alone with an opposite sex friend after dark. Another couple decided to delete their exes from their Facebook friends list. Some couples have the passcodes and passwords to each other’s phone and email. These may seem like good guidelines for some but for others it might feel like they are policing their partner. What works for one couple may not work for you, but start a conversation to figure out what works best for both of you.

A note about irrational jealousy or controlling behavior. Some of you reading this really will have nothing going on with your friend, but your partner may make demands or exhibit irrational jealousy and try to control you. It is beyond the scope of this blog to address this behavior, and instead I recommend seeking the guidance of a professional therapist to help.

What starts out as an innocent friendship can turn into a sexless affair. By considering the questions above and communicating with your partner, you can protect your relationship.

In my last blog I wrote about common myths about cheating. Research indicates that infidelity is on the rise, with more relationships being affected by it. If good people are cheating, how can you tell if your partner (who I’m pretty sure you think is a good person) is cheating on you? It’s not easy to detect given that most affairs are not discovered.

 

Although people can be very effective at compartmentalizing their lives that their affairs are never discovered, there are a few things to consider if you have any suspicions. You can’t tell if your partner is cheating based on just one piece of evidence, but you can look for a pattern of behavior that’s different from the norm in your relationship.

 

  1. You’re having more sex. People assume if one partner is cheating, the frequency of sex decreases because they’re already “getting it on the side.” Sometimes this may be the case, but also the opposite is true. The excitement of an affair can increase the passion in your own relationship. Your partner may have an increased desire for sex and it could be hotter than it’s been in a long time. They may even ask to try new techniques.

 

  1. Hostile answers to questions. Your partner gets off the phone and you ask them, “Who were you talking to?” They may snap back with hostile remarks such as, “Why do you always have to be in my business?” or “I can’t believe you don’t trust me.” You may even start doubting your own sanity, telling yourself that you should trust your partner. But harsh responses to questions, especially if you’ve never received this kind of an attitude from your partner before, are highly suspicious.
    If you’re in a healthy relationship, you should want to alleviate any concerns your partner has about a potential threat to your relationship. Monogamy cannot be assumed, it has to be confirmed with actions. If you truly have nothing to hide, prove it. Telling your partner who called you or showing them your texts shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not saying you need to show them everything every time, but if your partner asks, would you have an issue with showing them your communication?

 

  1. Consistent change in routine. Spending time with an affair partner takes time and effort. Pay attention to differences in scheduling like spending longer hours at the office, working on “weekend projects” or getting up earlier to go to the gym. Sometimes people are re-energized by an affair and become more dedicated to family life. Your partner may help out at home with chores and errands or be more engaged with the kids. The key is a consistent change in what had previously been present in your relationship or family life.

 

  1. You no longer hear the “friend’s” name – or hear it too much. Has your partner frequently talked about this “friend” or coworker and then, mysteriously, you no longer hear about him or her? When you mention why you haven’t heard about that person, do they get anxious or snap at you? Or the flip side is also true – you never heard about this person and then your partner brings their name up frequently. Both behaviors can indicate that things are evolving beyond “just a friendship.”

 

  1. You’re jealous. Maybe you’ve never been the jealous or suspicious type, but now you’ve developed uneasy feelings about someone in your partner’s life. You suspect this person has intentions beyond just a friendship or a work relationship. If you have a “gut feeling” I encourage you to trust it. Many of my betrayed clients had a gut feeling but dismissed it because they wanted to believe their partner would never cheat on them. If you have suspicions, be curious and get more information, but don’t attack your partner. Express your concerns but be prepared that your partner will dismiss you or even belittle you.

 

Because people often believe they are immune to cheating, they’ve crossed the line before they’ve realized it. If you have suspicions and your partner refuses to discuss things with you, seek the help of a professional to help you.

 

In my line of work as a relationship expert, I work with cheaters. Some are funny, others volunteer, and some go to church every Sunday. Some coach their child’s sports teams, others take care of their elderly parents, and some are the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Some research shows that, at a minimum, at least 50% of all couples will be affected by cheating.

 

It can happen to you.

 

No relationship is immune from infidelity. There is a lack of education about cheating, especially around how and why it happens. I find myself repeating the same things to my clients and continually debunking myths. Talking openly about the “reality” of infidelity is one of the best ways of protecting a relationship from it.

 

Myth 1: Only immoral people cheat.

Reality: Good people cheat. People are harshly judged for stepping outside the bounds of their relationship. Yes, they made a bad choice, but it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Two of the most common things I hear are: “I never thought I would cheat” from the betrayer, and “I never thought s/he would cheat” from the betrayed partner. If you assume that both you and your partner can cheat, you can be more aware about threats and risky situations.

 

Myth 2: If there’s no sex, it’s not cheating.

Reality: There’s a different kind of affair that’s been on the rise – the emotional one. It usually starts as “just a friendship” but then a deep, passionate connection grows as time goes on. People can fall in love before realizing just how far they’ve crossed the line. Warning signs your “friendship” may be heading toward an emotional affair: You don’t tell your partner when or what you talk about with this person, and you’ve started divulging personal information about your partner to him or her.

 

Myth 3: You only cheat if you’re unhappy.

Reality: One of the ways people leave their relationship vulnerable to infidelity is by assuming that only unhappily coupled people cheat. Not so, as my clients often tell me, “I thought we were happy.” For some, cheating is less about happiness and more about sliding across boundaries. Opportunity is one of the leading variables of infidelity.

 

Myth 4: Affairs happen because of sexual attraction.

Reality: My clients often tell me they weren’t even attracted to the person they ended up cheating with. Research shows that the affair partner isn’t any better than the spouse, just different. If you assume you need sexual attraction, you’re more likely to minimize the close emotional relationship you’re developing with another person.

 

Myth 5: A marriage is irreparable.

Reality: As painful as an affair is on a marriage, healing and recovery are possible. Many of my clients tell me that the affair was a “blessing in disguise.” Often I hear that spouses talked more in the aftermath of an affair than they have all year, or they realized they have been taking each other for granted and needed a wake up call. Although the process is not easy, surviving infidelity and making your marriage better than ever is achievable.

 

An affair can happen in any relationship. Awareness of these 5 myths and the reality of each can help keep you both faithful to each other.