Tag Archive | cheating

Can You Totally Trust Your Partner?

Morning After Christmas Party

I often receive emails on the topic of trust so I think this might be a good time to talk about it. This is especially so as the Christmas season is upon us and for so many organisations this is also the time of the office Christmas party with potentially lots of alcohol and sometimes a little too much “merry”.

Trust, as defined in the dictionary, is the reliance of one person on another for honesty and sincerity in their relationship. Everything is open for discussion and, as a committed couple there is an expectation that as no subject is taboo then also there is an expectation that both of the couple will say what the truth is for them even when this might be hard to say.

So when we feel we cannot trust our partner, is that saying more about us or is it saying more about them?

My hunch is that maybe it says something about both of you.

Our distrust of another may well be about our own insecurities. While we might say we expect truthfulness from another we actually might find it difficult to be truthful ourselves and consequently not really believe that it is possible to get that from the other.

Alternatively it might be that if I have grown up with dishonesty, either between my parents or from my parents to me, then it is also more likely that I will be unsure about the ability of someone else to be totally truthful in their conversations with me.

The alternative of course is that your partner has already done something which was less than honest leaving you suspicious of their every word and action. If your relationship has come to this then you are in serious danger of losing your relationship unless you do something about it and quickly.

Where these two possibilities might intersect is at the place where, if you already have a distrust of your mate, then they actually might act upon it as they feel that they’re dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t.

What can you do about it?

If you feel that the issue is more about you then go and speak with a professional about it. You might benefit from doing some personal psychotherapy. In this case the therapist may explore some of your early life history to discover the past experience of your distrust.

The process would be similar if you are the one struggling to stay honest. The reason for this might also be discovered in exploring your past.

Once you know where it came from you can then do something about it.

If on the other hand you are married to someone who has behaved in such a way that no longer deserves your trust then you need to talk about it as quickly as possible either with your spouse or with a Couple’s Counsellor.

The Couple’s Counsellor will help both of you in articulating what your concerns are about hearing or telling the truth assisting you to communicate this to each other. This is because it is only in the truth that you will find true happiness and a promise that your relationship really can make it to become a long-term committed relationship.

If you don’t have access to a Counsellor try this exercise:

Make a time with each other to sit and talk. Choose one of you to have the entire stage first. You are “The Speaker”. That means that for whatever time you have chosen you get to speak without interruption other than for the other person clarifying what you are saying or to ask questions to help both of you get as clear a picture as possible about what it is “The Speaker” has chosen to speak about.

The other of you is “The Listener”. Your job is simply to listen. This must be without judgement or response in defence of yourself. That means that the other person can say whatever they want while you remind yourself that this is only their opinion even if you don’t agree with it.

And whatever you do, and whatever it is they say, just keep listening. And when I say listen I mean really listen: with your head, hour heart and your spirit as you just might be surprised at what there is to learn.

Try it one way and then next time you come together it will be the listeners turn to become “The Speaker” and the speakers turn to become “The Listener”.

This is what a real conversation is. As we speak and listen we will come to hear the truth and maybe even rediscover the trust that might have been lost making it once again the glue for a truly healthy, loving relationship.

Remember you were designed with two ears and one mouth for a reason!

So until next time – Relate with Love

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To Give or Not to Give (a Second Chance)

To Give or Not to Give (a Second Chance)

So often I am told about infidelities, hurts and disappointments between couples and then asked whether the offenders should be given another chance.

I think the question is often asked because the offender has felt some remorse for the misdeed and they, both in the couple, are hoping that this is enough to get them back on track. The question is also generally asked following a statement from the injured party confirming a continuing love for the person despite what they have done.

The sad thing is that remorse in and of itself is rarely sufficient to change a person’s behaviour. This is because if the underlying need or belief hasn’t changed then the behaviour may not either.

Let me see if I can make this clearer.

From my experience a typical scenario goes like this. The person who has more invested in the relationship will accept the others apology welcoming them back into the relationship without any requirement. Sadly, while things might be good for a period of time, what most often happens is that the person will likely offend again as nothing has really been learned or really has changed. There may not even have been any real conversation about what happened let alone why it happened.

And here’s another common scenario. There has been an infidelity and the relationship has broken down completely with the couple separating. The person who committed the indiscretion now feels free to enter into a relationship with the party with whom they had the affair who happily takes the person in believing most likely that all manner of wrongs from the other’s partner is the reason for the infidelity. They never even contemplate that the issue may actually have been with the offender and that likely nothing was actually learned to ensure that the person would not digress again.

What often ends up happening is that this couple finds themselves in exactly the same place as the previous relationship and so once again the offender strays from the marriage to attempt to find what is still missing from their lives in the arms of someone else.

What really needs to happen in these circumstances is that each party takes some time to try to figure out why the behaviour happened in the first place. Was it because some need was not being met or that there is actually a mismatch in the things that each party holds valuable about themselves, their spouses and their marriage.

So the way forward is firstly to communicate with each other openly and honestly about what is going on for each of them. They also need to discuss what they feel and think about their relationship and their part in it. Finally, and maybe this needs the assistance of a couples therapist, they need to share with each other what is really important to each of them about being in a relationship and to discover whether there is a match in those values.

If there is a match then the likelihood of them succeeding into the future is reasonably assured.

If there is no match then they need to determine whether they are willing to live with this and the consequences or whether they can save themselves and each other a lot of heartache by acknowledging those differences and separating from each other immediately.

Of course this course of discovery would be better done prior to entering into the relationship in the first place. And this is where preparation for marriage counselling is most valuable; simply ensuring your compatibility prior to saying “I do!”

So until next time – Relate with Love

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True Love, Lies and Deceit

True Love Lies and Deceit

Is it possible for someone to truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit?

What a great question this is to get me going for the week

The short answer is this:  NO! Someone cannot truly love you and hurt you over and over with lies and deceit. But it may be a little more complicated than that.

Lying and deceitfulness can be a natural response to being constantly tormented, fear of being found out, or from the modelling we get from the most important people around us, generally our parents.

There are also gradients of lies. There are the lies of omission when we don’t tell someone that what they are wearing doesn’t go with whatever, their body shape, the occasion etc.

On the other end of the continuum are the really big lies that have a huge impact on people’s lives, individuals or whole countries, which can and do change the course of history.

My curiosity is pricked when I hear that someone is being deceitful in their relationship. Is this a cold-hearted act of cruelty with no regard for the impact the lie has on another or is it something much more than that?

My belief is that lying is a complex issue that really needs to be viewed not just in the context of the current event but in the context of a whole lifetime of experience.

When we are very young we learn to tell lies as part of socialising us to the norms of society. So we are taught to hold our tongues when we get crushed under the hug of our big, fat aunties and respectfully say ‘thank you’ for the gift that we really didn’t want. We also learn in the process that lying can protect us from being punished, sometimes in very, even too harsh ways. Lying can even become habitual as a way of avoiding the anger of someone in a position of authority over us as well as a means of avoiding the feelings of fear that can go with that.

As an adult we normally grow out of this behaviour as we meet with other adults face to face, in truth and in good will, to manage our conflicts in an adult way no longer needing to resort to old patterns of behaviour. Sometimes however old behaviours are so entrenched that the habit has become hard to shift. Alternatively the person is triggered to feel the same sort of fear they experienced as a child and respond from an internal child part of themselves rather than an external adult part.

In these situations the lies and deceit are not intended to hurt but become the habitual response of someone who doesn’t yet have the skills to manage themselves in a more mature way.

So to come back to the question at the beginning of this article

Love is a mature adult feeling that is pure and clean with no unresolved issues attached to it. So to truly love another implies that you are fully there with this person in the most vulnerable way possible. This means that your heart, soul and body are open and exposed without any defences. So to put it more simply, love and lying simply cannot be present in the same moment.

While we are humans, and we will slip up, for us to be truly in love with another requires us also to be truly honest. If we cannot be truly honest then we can’t possibly truly love because instead of being there fully in the present we are being held back by something from our past that will need resolution.

So if you are being lied to and hurt constantly by your partner and they are unable, or unwilling, to do what it takes to change then you really do need to think about the long-term viability of your relationship.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Ten Reasons Why People Cheat and What to Do About It

Ten Reasons Why People Cheat and What to Do About It

Betrayed By A Fiancé/Fiancée?

I receive many emails asking about the meaning of affairs and what to do when you catch someone out. This question is one that comes up regularly both in my rooms as well as via email. In this post I will try and put my thoughts down about what I understand about affairs when they happen and what you can do about them.

Let me first define what an affair is and what an affair is not. For me, and you may agree or not, an affair is when someone creates a relationship with another person, with or without sex, in which that other person becomes the centre of their attention at the expense of their partner.

An affair is not a “one-night stand” where someone gets carried away in the moment and has a sexual encounter with someone outside of the marriage/relationship. Both, however, may be considered equally a betrayal and unforgivable to the other party in the relationship.

When someone has been caught out in any kind of unfaithfulness some of you have simply decided to walk away and others have decided to forgive and move on. There is no right or wrong way to respond to this. It is up to each of you to decide how significant the indiscretion is to you and decide on how you yourself should best react.

Often the actual decision made is more likely based on your personal value system. For some of you, when someone betrays you, it feels like the worst thing that they can do and there is no room for stepping away from the hurt or the loss of trust. For others of you there is such a strong value in your love and commitment that you will find a way to forgive even this most unforgivable of betrayals.

In either situation it seems to come down to which value is the strongest – the value around love and commitment or the value around fidelity.

When someone has been unfaithful it is worth pausing for a moment to take a look at why they may have done it before deciding what the best course of action is.

Reasons for being unfaithful may include:

  1. Fear of committing to one person at the exclusion of all others
  2. The behaviour was modelled by a parent or someone close to the person
  3. Curiosity, especially for the inexperienced, of what sex might be like with someone else
  4. Boredom in the current relationship
  5. An escape from reality into fantasy
  6. A lack of, or insufficient, intimacy in their marriage or relationship
  7. A way to experiment with sex that might not be welcome in their marriage
  8. A spontaneous response to the moment with or without alcohol or other drugs present
  9. A way to exhibit a position of power over another person
  10. An escape from an otherwise tedious or unfulfilling life

Once you have ascertained what might be behind the betrayal then you can make the best decision about what to do about it. You may ultimately decide it is totally the responsibility of the wrongdoer or you may decide that you have to take some responsibility for what has happened as well and change some of your own behaviours.

My belief about this is that when two people truly love each other and are totally committed to their partner then unfaithfulness simply does not have a place. Instead when there are issues they will talk them through until they get a resolution.

And a word of advice: if you ever find yourself in a situation where there has been an infidelity, I would really encourage you to seek professional counselling before making any decisions you may come to regret.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Is It Ok to Lie in a Relationship?

Is It Ok to Lie in a Relationship?

You wake up in the morning and look across to the person you say you care for more than any one in the world. What do you really think about this person? Does he/she immediately fill you with love and adoration or are you thinking terrible or maybe even contemptuous thoughts about that person.

You get up and go to the shower in preparation for the work day. You weigh yourself and realize that you have put on a few kilos. You say to yourself “Oh, that’s just because of the extras I had at dinner last night. It will be ok”.

You sit down to breakfast and find yourself wishing your partner were different somehow. If only they’d dress differently, act differently, weren’t so selfish, paid better attention to you or whatever it is. You don’t say anything.

You go to the office and find yourself seeking out that one special person who is always so nice to you. You flirt with them and find yourself requesting or agreeing to meet after work for drinks. Over time this leads to more regular meetings until one day this becomes more serious. You convince yourself this is not an affair but just a “bit of fun” that you can control and that no-one is being hurt by it.

And then one day you lose the control and the innocent flirting becomes a one-night-stand, the one-night-stand becomes a fling and the fling becomes a full-blown affair that now seems to have a mind of its own.

You have reached the point of no return and you realize you are now in really deep trouble.

How many lies were told in this story?

The truth is we all lie sometime and most of us lie most of the time.

We lie to ourselves about what is going on in our life and we lie to ourselves about what is going on in our relationships. And we lie to each other about what is going on in our relationships as well.

The lies are expressed in one of two ways; either by what we actually do say but most often the lies are expressed by what we don’t say.

So what should you do when you find yourself lying or catch someone out in a lie?

I often get asked questions about lying. When is it ok? When is it not? What to do when you find someone has lied to you? Should you forgive a lie?

The answer is not as simple as it might appear. You might be thinking that you simply should never lie. But as Allan Pease, in his book “Body Language”, says; to be socialised is to lie.

In other words every day we are confronted with situations, such as the first utterance we make when greeting someone, when we say: “how are you?” (As if we really care). The inevitable reply is: “fine thanks, how are you?”

We say this when what we’d really like to say is something like: “I feel terrible; the kids are mucking up, my husband does nothing to help me, and I’m fed up.” Or for the man who might really want to say; “I’m so over it. I work hard to provide for my family and there’s no thanks when I get home; just nagging to do more around the house and for the kids.”

This response would be heard as complaining and, while it might be the truth, is most often not aired in public.

So what about the lies that should never be told?

This is how I advise my clients. If you have done something wrong for which you think you should tell the truth about ask yourself these questions first.

  1. If I tell the truth about this for whom am I doing it? If it’s just about my own feelings of guilt – then think carefully about the good of that for the other person. If it’s because they really deserve to know then you must tell the truth.
  2. If I tell the truth what good will it do? If it means an opportunity to start afresh then you must tell the truth and deal with the consequences as they come.
  3. If I tell the truth what do I want as the outcome of doing that? Keep that outcome in mind to give each of you a chance to get to that rather than having the truth lead you to a place of regret.

And here are a couple of things you can do to help you both get to the best outcome.

  1. Create a good place and time for the conversation to happen.
  2. Alert the person to what it is you want to talk about prior to the meeting so they can prepare themselves for it.
  3. Before saying what you want to say in truth, let the other know how you would prefer for them to respond eg “There is something I need to let you know, and I hope that once you’ve heard it you will be able to find forgiveness for me so that we can continue our relationship”.
  4. Be willing to forgive yourself and the other person for any part they had to play in the situation that led to creating the lie in the first place.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

Forgiving and Forgetting – How to Truly Forgive and Then Truly Forget

It constantly amazes me how some people can remember the smallest details of everything that happened around a particular event while others don’t remember clearly what happened yesterday let alone last week, last month or last year.

Actually these attributes clearly describe the difference between my life partner and me. My partner can recall events from his past as clearly as if they were happening right this minute while for me it’s more like out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

There is an upside and a downside though for each of these positions. For my partner the upside is his brilliant recall allows him to remember the wonderful people we’ve met and the places we’ve been to on our many journeys around the world. The downside for him is that he finds it hard to let go of past hurts often holding grudges which should have been let go of long ago as they prevent him from fully enjoying the company of friends and acquaintances.

For me though, as I forget about old wrongdoings so easily I sometimes also forget the lessons I should have learned and have to learn them again. On the good side I don’t tend to hold grudges as I move on quickly putting old hurts behind me. The appearance to others of me is that I harbor no bad thoughts of people and I truly can forgive and forget.

So all of this got me thinking about “forgiving and forgetting” and the benefits and disadvantages of doing this when someone has crossed you.

Forgiveness is the act of excusing someone for a wrongdoing but unless you are also willing to forget their transgression you aren’t truly forgiving them. I qualify this by adding that ‘forgetting the transgression’ is really quite different from forgetting that it ever happened. It’s about not harboring the bad feelings associated with an event but instead becoming neutral to it.

You may have been wronged in a situation and your feelings of anger may be completely justified but it’s important to truly understand your feelings in order to forgive and forget.

It is imperative that you realize that the actions of the other person may have hurt you or made you angry but that reacting in a hostile manner as a result of these feelings is not beneficial to your relationship.

While your feelings of hurt of anger may be justified, taking the time to work through these emotions before offering forgiveness may help you to forget your partner’s words or actions. If you rush to offer forgiveness before you have had the opportunity to vent your own frustrations it will be difficult for you to forget your partner’s wrongdoing.

You also need to understand the feelings of the person who offended you. It is also important to speak to your partner about why they committed the offense against you. It is not fair to them to make assumptions about why they acted the way they did.

Giving them the chance to express their side of the situation will give you a better understanding of why they acted the way they did. You may learn that everything was a misunderstanding or that you were not hurt intentionally. Allowing the other person a chance to offer their take on the situation will enable you to see their motives.

Understanding your own emotions as well as your partner’s will help you to really forgive and forget.

This kind of forgiveness can only be achieved by understanding your own feelings as well as those of the person who wronged you. It requires you to express your feelings in a rational way, realizing that your relationship is more important than being right. It might also include accepting the other’s apology whether this is your partner’s, your friend’s or a collective of people.

Give yourself a little time to manage your own feelings and collect your thoughts so that when you approach your partner you are able to speak about your feelings in a rational manner. It’s best to wait until both you and your partner are ready to speak about the conflict in a calm and rational manner than to rush in and come to regret something said or done.

A crucial aspect of forgiving and forgetting is valuing your relationship more than you value being right in a disagreement. While you may be completely right in a situation, being right is not worth destroying the relationship over.

If you are able to put your love for your partner ahead of the need for being right you will be more willing to forgive and forget. Also, forgiving and forgetting will allow your relationship to continue to flourish simply because working through conflicts makes a relationship stronger.

Finally you can never really forgive and forget unless you are truly willing to accept your partner’s apology. Harboring feelings that the apology isn’t genuine will damage the relationship because you will never forget their offending action.

Listen sincerely to your partner’s apology and have faith in them that their apology is heartfelt and genuine. Then let them know that you accept their apology and are willing to not let this situation interfere with your future interactions.

True forgiveness involves not only excusing the transgression but also effectively forgetting it as well. You cannot truly forgive someone if you don’t also agree to forget the offence. Refusing to forget indicates a lack of trust in your partner to not repeat the offence.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Reasons Why Women Cheat

Why Women Cheat

 

Recently I was surprised to hear news of increasing number of websites promoting affairs. So it maybe a bit of a surprise to hear that men are not the only ones who cheat on their partners.  It is becoming more and more common for women to be guilty of cheating.

And while years ago a woman cheating on her spouse was unheard of more recently the number of women who enter into affairs and cheat on their spouse is growing exponentially.

However while women may be cheating as often as men, the reasons why women cheat are very different to the reasons why men cheat.

Men Cheat for Physical Reasons and Women for Emotional Reasons

Research is showing us that the principle difference between men and women cheating are that men often cheat for physical reasons while women often have emotional reasons for cheating on their partner.

The reasons why women cheat include loneliness, revenge, and boredom or as an attempt to raise their self-esteem.

A partner who becomes excessively involved with his work or some pastime may no longer make time to spend with his partner. This often results in the woman feeling as if she is all alone. So if a woman is not receiving the attention she feels she deserves in a relationship, she may be tempted to seek that attention elsewhere and become involved in an affair.

Loneliness has amazingly become one of the primary reasons that women seek out affairs and cheat on their partner. Although it sounds contradictory that they should feel lonely while being in a relationship, it is because that relationship has simply become emotionally unfulfilling.

Revenge has also become a growing factor in why women cheat. The modern woman is no longer willing to sit back and accept the fact that their partner may cheat on them. If a woman confirms or even just holds a suspicion that her partner is cheating on her, she may be driven to engage in an affair of her own as an act of revenge.

An Eye for an Eye

They may be extremely hurt by their partner’s actions and seek a way to hurt them in the same way.

Boredom may also factor into why women cheat. Their current relationship may have fallen into a rut and lost the excitement that it possessed in the early stages of its existence. They may feel that their relationship has become dull and predictable so rather than trying to bring excitement into their current relationship they may pursue affairs in the hopes of rediscovering the excitement they felt when they first became involved with their partner.

While an affair may bring about a temporary solution of making the woman feel excited about love again it may ultimately destroy both their current relationship as well as their cheating relationship.

An affair is exciting not only because it involves a relationship with a new person but also because it involves sneaking around and ultimately getting away with doing something wrong.

To many women this is very exciting and they are willing to risk losing their relationship over the affair.

Another reason why women cheat is a lack of self-esteem. Women may feel that they are not getting an adequate amount of attention from their partner and they may be tempted to cheat to confirm that they are still attractive and desirable.

Being found desirable by another compensates for the lack of appreciation they feel from their partner which helps to boost their self-esteem. While women with a healthy self-esteem are more likely to remain happy in a relationship, and do what needs to be done to find it, those who lack self-esteem may be more driven to cheat on their partners.

So if you are finding yourself lonely, bored or feeling like your self-esteem is failing you think twice before embarking on an affair. Maybe there is a better way out. This might be to seek some counselling and then to find a way to confront your partner about what it is you’re experiencing.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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