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Sexless Affair or Just a Friendship?

Sexless Affair

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.

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 consider:

  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.

I’m excited to announce that my book, FIRST COMES US: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love, is officially published!

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This 365-day tip book offers practical, insightful, and quick tips to help a couple stay connected to each other and make their love last. I am reminded daily with my clients and friends how useful FIRST COMES US can be for a couple, and so I am asking you to share the book with your clients, especially if they struggle to find daily time to connect with their partner. And there’s no better time than the New Year for a couple to focus on their relationship.

For a sneak peek at this daily guide, click here. To buy the book on Amazon, click here.

Use the hashtag #FirstComesUs to share your experiences and the book on social media. Thank you for your support and cheers to strong, healthy, and passionate relationships in 2017 and for a lifetime!

Relationship Reality 312: Why Men Won't Commit Couple

Five Reasons Men Won’t Commit:

While dating, you will meet men who don’t want a relationship or marriage…just yet. However, while you may be ready for commitment, he may not in the right stage in his life to want a serious relationship or even marriage. If you’re wondering why he’s procrastinating the big “move-in” or won’t move out of the booty-call stage, here are the Five Reasons Men Won’t Commit:

1. He’s not ready.

Not being ready for a serious relationship doesn’t mean 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 of 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. A lot of men come to me and ask me how they’re supposed to know that the woman they’re with is “The One.” We can’t predict how someone will change, so to some degree you have to take the risk.


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 are afraid of rejection and 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, move on to someone who will want you in his future.

Couple After Breaking Up and Being Dumped

 

Facing the aftermath of being dumped by surprise can be one of the worst feelings. You can’t seem to focus at work or school, you become obsessed with memories of your ex, you lose your appetite.

And when my clients come to me in these kinds of situations, I find that specific actions are extremely helpful.

Here are a few tips to get you started after you’ve been dumped:


  • Date. I know it’s sometimes the last thing people want to do after a breakup, but there are so many men out there for you to go out and have fun with without the expectation of a serious relationship. Just be upfront about your intentions. You can tell your potential dates that you’re casually dating or wanting to explore the city, but aren’t looking for anything serious. Those who have similar intentions will stay in the game.

  • Fill your time. If you used to make dinner with your ex every Sunday night, plan an activity that you’ll look forward to until the pain of Sunday nights subsides. Get together with your friends, volunteer, take a class, or catch up on your favorite shows. Fill that time that you used to spend with him doing something fun or productive and stop the anxiety. Some of my clients know when they’ll have idle time so they ask their friends to hang out – and promise not to bring up the ex!

  • Plan for weak moments. You’ll have your weak moments when you may want to contact your ex. Have a go-to plan in place – exercise, call a friend, distract yourself with work, pick up a book, etc. And whatever you do, don’t cyber-stalk! You’ll be upset if you see something you don’t like or can’t explain – “Who is that girl in that photo with him?” Even better, unfriend him on Facebook if you haven’t already done so and if necessary, block him so you won’t sneak a peek. Also, allow your friends to take your phone away at times of weakness.

  • Keep count. If you’re an “out of sight, out of mind” person this won’t work. But if you’re not, use a calendar to keep track of the days you’ve gone without contact. Having a visual reminder can also keep you from reaching out.

  • Remember why you broke up. Visual reminders can be extremely helpful. Keep a list or use sticky notes with the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Leave them in your purse, put them on your nightstand or hang them on your fridge. Were there any red flags that you missed? Write those down and look at them often. If you had friends who disliked your ex, this would be a good time for them to remind you how much they disliked him.

  • Avoid your relationship haunts.It’s ok to avoid your usual hangouts until you feel better. It doesn’t mean your ex has power over you, it means you’re paying attention to your emotions and doing what’s best for you in the moment.

  • Get out of routine. Getting out of routine can elevate mood. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, trying different restaurants, or taking a trip to a place you’ve never been, these little and big ways can make you feel happier, which can also give you hope that you can happily move on.

Although time can heal all wounds, it’s what you do with that time that can be a key difference to you healing more quickly.

Cheating Partner Takes Off Wedding Ring

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.

2. 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?

3. 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

4. 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.

5. 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.

There’s so much dating advice on the internet these days, and some of it makes me cringe, especially when it comes to what not to do on a first date. The first date is particularly important because as much as you may text each other before the date, nothing matters more than first impressions and the conversation that follows. Below are two pieces of bad first date advice that you should never follow:

  1. Don’t talk about your exes. Talking about your ex can give your date important information about you and what you’re looking for in a relationship. It doesn’t mean you’re still hung up on him, but how you bring the info up makes the difference. Obviously you don’t want to bad-mouth your ex. But what did you learn from the relationship? Why didn’t it work out? Did your ex cheat? You can have a conversation about how important loyalty and trust are to you. Was your ex selfish and only cared about meeting his needs? You can discuss what’s important for you in a relationship to feel satisfied. If your ex disrespected you, you can talk with your date about how you don’t tolerate that behavior and that it is a deal breaker. Maybe your ex wasn’t a good communicator and that created a lot of problems. You can take the opportunity to discuss how important open and honest communication is to you. By sharing your stories (just remember to not bash the ex!) and non-negotiables, you can see if your date thinks similarly or if they can’t meet your expectations.

 Trust me, you can filter your date out much more quickly than if you ask about how they like to spend their free time.

  1. Telling him you’re dating for marriage. You’re advised not to bring up the “M” word on a first date because it supposedly makes you look desperate. So basically this advice is telling you to suppress your own needs and desires in order to not scare a man off. If you’re dating for marriage or a long-term relationship, you definitely need to let your date know your intentions. I’ve saved myself a lot of time telling men I was looking for a serious relationship, and to their credit they were honest that they either were too focused on their career or didn’t have the same mindset.

Simply put, timing matters. Don’t waste weeks of your precious time by not telling your date what you really want. That time could be better spent with someone who has his/her goals aligned with yours.

…But it does make a difference on how you say it.

Men are terrified that a woman will just want any man – not him. So I coach my clients to say something like, “Yes, I would like to be in a serious relationship, but I know that it takes time to see if a guy is a good fit. I’m not just looking for just anybody, so it will take time to know more about each other to see if there’s even a chance.” Guys who are also looking for a serious relationship won’t run, despite popular advice saying that they will.

For more tips on how to date to find and keep a mate, come to my “Have More Than a Fling” dating workshop. The details of which are provided on this site.

You finally met someone. You’ve had several email and text exchanges, and maybe had a date or two. You think this person is great, and you wonder if he could be “The One”?

The only problem is, you barely even know the guy.

Have you ever built a guy up in your head before actually meeting him or only after a few dates? I work with many women who get caught up in meeting someone new. They tell me how much they really like him and how they hope things will work out. If it won’t, they’ll be devastated and think they will never find love.

Here are two of the biggest dating mistakes women make today.

Slow. It. Down.

When you first meet someone, sure it’s fun to be so excited at this new prospect, but you also have to keep a level head. If you put your date on a pedestal by idealizing him, you risk feeling more self-conscious, the need to prove yourself to him, and doing whatever it takes to win him over and get him to like you.

You’re also much more likely to miss red flags because you only see what you want to see – you want things to work so badly that you ignore or dismiss problems. And what if things don’t progress beyond the first few dates? If you’ve fantasized about a future together, you’ll be crushed, and your self-esteem can take a major hit.

Undervalued Self Worth

One of the most common things I hear as a dating coach is, “What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t that person like me?” I know it can be hard, but don’t base your self-worth on what happens after that first date or first few dates. Your date is still a stranger to you. You don’t know this guy well enough yet to truly know why he stopped seeing you. There are so many variables (like timing, stress at work or an ex coming back into the picture) that affect dating that I encourage you not to take things personally.

And some of my clients are so focused on getting the guy to like them that they forget to ask themselves, “Do I even like him?” I’m not talking about experiencing feelings of infatuation, but can you truly name several qualities or values that you admire about your date? It’s simple to list common interests, but it’s easier on a long-term relationship when a couple shares similar values. It takes time to see how your date lives out his values and vice versa; it’s not something you can fully know on just a date or two.

It takes time to get to know someone. If you’re dating for a long-term relationship, you want to take your time to determine if your guy is a good fit for you, which can result in a happier and healthier lifestyle. Fantasizing about a relationship without even knowing him will leave you with more to lose than gain.

By the time most of my couples come and see me, they report feeling unappreciated, disconnected and out of love. Some don’t even know if they even like their partner anymore! Usually they stopped doing things that would’ve nurtured their love and connection for each other.

Here’s a list of 15 things you should keep (or start) doing in your relationship to keep it strong:

1. Compliment. Your partner may know how you feel about them or that you find them attractive, but it’s great to hear it. Point out what you admire, appreciate and simply really like about your partner. Plus studies indicate that the person receiving these compliments is more likely to succeed in achieving his or her life goals.

2. Validate. You won’t see eye-to-eye with your partner on everything. Validating their perspective and what’s important to them goes a long way in making them feel respected and accepted for who they are. You don’t have to make it your goal to agree, but to understand where they are coming from and acknowledge their viewpoints as valid.

3. Give the benefit of the doubt. With infatuation at the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy to give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Of course you don’t think that they would hurt you! But as the relationship progresses, it’s more difficult to stop some of the negative thoughts and assumptions about them. Give the benefit of the doubt and if necessary, see #4.

4. Speak up. If you’re upset or hurt, speak up in a respectful way. Most of the time couples don’t intend to hurt each other, but as hurts go unaddressed, resentment and distance grows. Your partner also can’t read your mind, so when something bothers you, address it with them so they have the opportunity to make appropriate modifications.

5. Plan consistent dates. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, setting aside couple time is critical to connection. It’s easy to get bogged down in daily responsibilities and duties and not give as much effort to the relationship. With consistent dates, you’ll have time to reconnect and continually learn about each other.

6. Play together in new ways. When you first dated, getting together was all about fun and trying new things or activities together. Don’t lose that sense of variety! Take a class together or go explore a different part of your city or community. Novelty helps keep the passion alive.

7. Kiss passionately. One way to keep the romance alive and improve your health is to put some passion into your kissing. French kiss, make out, whatever – just do it!

8. Show love your partner’s way. Some people feel loved by getting hugs; others by having their partner do nice things for them. Talk with your partner about how they feel most loved and the closest to you, and show them love in these ways.

9. Have regular sex. One of the best ways to ensure an active sex life is to have it often. It’s as simple as that.

10. Talk about sex. You can prime your sexual connection by talking about it (when you’re not doing it). Tell your partner what you most enjoyed about last night, or what you’re looking forward to next. Talk about how you like sex to be initiated or how you’d prefer to be turned on. It’ll keep you feeling closer to each other.

11. Touch more. Touch releases oxytocin, and it’s a key chemical associated with feelings of happiness, closeness, and joy. Sometimes couples associate touch with sex, and when one isn’t in the mood or has the lower sex drive, the touch drastically decreases too. Having routine touching without the expectation of sex will keep you feeling close to each other.

12. Go out of your way. Couples can sometimes take each other and their feelings for granted. Do something special or put in extra effort to show your partner how much they mean to you. This can be something like picking up your partner’s favorite takeout dinner, running an errand for them or planning a spontaneous trip.

13. Create rituals. A ritual is an interaction or activity that is repeated and significant to both of you. It has to have emotional meaning. Rituals can be done however frequently you and your partner want them to be to feel connected. Eat dinner together, share morning coffee, hug and kiss every time you get home, and celebrate special occasions.

14. Apologize. When you make a mistake, own up to it. Sometimes a genuine “I’m sorry” is enough to help your partner move past an issue.

15. Put in the effort. Some of my clients have told me, “Anita, I just thought the love would always be there” or that “love should be easy.” Love isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. Sometimes you’re going to have to do things that you don’t want to do because your partner and your relationship needs it. This list is a good place to start!