Thursday, August 11, 2016

Reducing Resentment in Your Relationship

Anger is a normal part of every relationship, whether it is between partners, family, friendships, or work relationships. Still, anger that accumulates and remains unprocessed becomes resentment, something much more corrosive and dangerous to all relationship.

When resentment shows up in a relationship, it’s as if the grave is being prepared for the feelings of love and connection. The relationship may remain in spite of resentment if commitment is built into it, such as a family relationship. But a romantic relationship, such as a marriage, marches towards a slow and painful death with enough accumulated and unprocessed resentment.

If you or your partner have feelings of resentment, these feelings can lead to certain predictable actions. The person feeling resentful may be:
  • Less trusting of the other person
  • Stop wanting to give as freely in the relationship
  • Feel less love or desire for intimacy
  • Not want to spend as much together time
As you can imagine, these feelings do not lead to a happy, satisfying relationship. Yet, most people ignore the deteriorating effect on their relationship, trying to continue to have the relationship on top of resentment.

Where Does Resentment Come From?

Resentment is comprised up of old feelings of anger and disappointment. To prevent it from eating your relationship from the inside out, you and your relationship partner need to do something let go of these old feelings.

Uncleared resentment works against the good feelings between you and can be a path to more distance and more negative interaction.  Resolving resentments together, if done right, creates understanding, closeness, trust, and love.

Resolving Resentments 

First of all, talk to your partner about the state of your relationship. Let them know that you notice less closeness, more frustration with each other, less connection. Talk about how and why both of you are carrying around some old frustration, anger and resentment at each other. Ask if they are willing to work through these feelings with you in some honest, calm conversations about how each of you feels. If you get a yes for an answer, you picked a partner who’s going to work with you to make your relationship better.

Resolving resentments may take a while and depends on the length of your relationship and the amount of resentment each one of you is carrying towards the other. For some couples, the process could take months to complete.

The good news is, if you are committed to resolving the resentment clearing correctly, you will be growing closer to each other with each conversation. This means the time of resolving resentments is also a time of positive relationship building, and is a time well spent.

For more information on how resentment can affect a relationship, visit or

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Is Your Partner a Sex Addict?

As a counselor specializing in working with partners who are codependent and in a relationship with an addict, I hear stories every day about how tough it is. Many partners of sex addicts still want to think the best of their spouse. If you are wondering if your boyfriend or husband might be a sex addict, here are some of the most common ways a person learns about a sex addicts behavior.

Many women find out about their partner’s behavior by looking through credit card statements and finding purchases for hotel rooms, dinners, flowers, jewelry, and gifts that they were not a part of and did not know about. Others find their partner’s Facebook and other social media accounts littered with inappropriate comments and sexual innuendos.

Other tell-tale signs include finding business cards or matches from strip clubs in pockets or the car, second phones for calls and texting, and having accounts on various dating and social hookup sites.

A number of women have reported finding stashes of porn on their home computer and have discovered that their partner spends time at home alone to compulsively masturbate. Lastly, and perhaps, the worse sign is when a woman reports getting a sexually transmitted disease and having only been with her partner.

Sadly, the list of red flags goes on and on because all addicts are experts at maintaining a secret life. Most addicts know, intellectually, that they shouldn't be doing what they’re doing, but, because they’re addicted, they cannot stop themselves. Of course, not everyone who engages in the above behaviors is a sex addict. However, if you notice a number of the behaviors listed above and they disturb you, you might want to talk about them with your spouse and even consider couples counseling.

If you find that your partner can easily give up the behavior because he values you and the relationship, he is most likely not a sex addict. But if you find that he tries to stop but cannot or refuses to even try, you might be in a relationship with a sex addict.

If you have been in a relationship with a sex addict for a while, you might be wondering if you are imagining things. This is partially because sex addicts are good at minimizing and rationalizing their behavior. They are usually skilled at deflecting criticism about themselves, in turn implying that you are crazy or imagining things. This is the turning point where you can decide if you want to begin your own recovery process. The process starts with respecting yourself enough to set boundaries and begin taking care of yourself. After that, you can decide if individual therapy and couples counseling might help the situation.

If you would like to learn more about couples counseling and addiction therapy, visit and

Monday, May 16, 2016

Anxiety Disorders in Relationships

Almost all relationships experience a certain level of difficulties. However, when one of the  partners has a psychiatric disorder, such as an anxiety disorder, the relationship will have new challenges, and their previous problems can be worsened.

Each has shown that people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) were more likely to see their relationship as unhealthy. Additionally, they reported that they were at least twice as likely to experience a significant relationship problem, including frequent arguments on a regular basis, and lack of intimacy with their partner. The implication here is that these findings may be true for couples with other anxiety disorders as well.

Challenges for Couples With Anxiety Disorders

Because having an anxiety disorder is typically associated with excessive personal distress, it is equally stressful for their partners. It is common for the spouse of someone suffering from anxiety to take in more responsibility in the relationship with things such as finances, household chores, and parenting. When this happens, the partner of the anxiety sufferer can become codependent much in the same way as someone living with an alcoholic. Resentment can build for both parties as they become more isolated in the relationship.

Because anxiety sufferers often become disabled with anxiety, household routines are typically disrupted and chores tend to fall on other people in the house. The other partner often must take on additional responsibilities such as shopping, finances, and parenting they can become overwhelmed. Some people with anxiety disorders find it difficult to get or keep a job, which can cause serious resentment in a marriage. If the other partner suddenly becomes the sole breadwinner, even briefly, this can set up an imbalance in the relationship.

Intimacy is often impacted in marriage with anxiety disorders. People suffering from an anxiety disorder tend to avoid intimacy and other activities that can foster intimacy, such as social outings. This can make both partners feel isolated. Additionally, both partners may feel depressed and frightened about the future of the relationship. This can lead to more resentment towards each other. The partner with the anxiety disorder may actually resent the other partner for pushing them to get well.

Marriage Counseling Can Help

Although these challenges may seem daunting, they can be helped with individual psychotherapy and marriage counseling. It is important to note that with these interventions, people with anxiety disorders and their partners can have successful marriage, thriving careers, and busy social lives.

For more information on how anxiety disorder can affect a relationship, visit

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Recovering From An Affair

One of the questions I am most frequently asked by couples in marriage counseling is "how do I recover from my spouse's affair?" After counseling thousands of couples with a wide variety of marital conflicts, I have come to believe that a spouse's unfaithfulness is the most painful experience that is encountered in a marriage. Couples who I have counseled who have had the misfortune of experiencing infidelity concur that a spouse's unfaithfulness is the most devastating experience thus far in their relationship.  

We have heard the tragic statistics; more than 50% of all spouses report being the victims of an infidelity. This means that one person in most marriages will suffer the most painful marital problem at some time during the marriage. 

Affairs usually begin with an attraction to someone known fairly well, such as a friend or co-worker. Affairs typically end with a partner revealing the affair to their spouse or with the spouse seeing a communication between the two involved parties. Either way, the event represents a dramatic turning point in the marriage and a decent into distrust.

Infidelity has tragic consequences. Not only does unfaithfulness itself cause untold emotional suffering for a victimized spouse, but affairs create a host of other problems, too. One example of these problems is venereal disease -- when an unfaithful spouse is infected, which is often the case, the disease is usually passed on to the unsuspecting marriage partner. Another example is pregnancy with a lover's child. 

You might think that after an affair spouses would instantly rebuild their love for each other and all would be forgiven. In truth, all might be forgiven, but it’s rarely forgotten. Usually, the person who has cheated wants to forget about what happened, but the person who has been cheated upon cannot forget about it. In fact, the memory of the affair can haunt people for decades after it happened. 

After the lover is finally gone and you are ready to restore love to your marriage, where should you begin? Infidelity is a devastating experience. And yet, most couples who go though it recover. How do they overcome the horrible memories of an affair after reconciliation? The answer is usually both marriage counseling for the couple and individual counseling for each spouse.

If marriage counseling is successful, communication between the couple will change from constantly rehashing the details of the infidelity to having discussions of more everyday types of marital problems such as parenting, finances, intimacy, and how they spend their time. It is important to remember that you can heal and that it takes time.

For more information about recovering from an affair, visit my websites: and

Monday, November 23, 2015

How Well Do You Know Your Partner?

This exercise below is actually a game.  While you're having fun playing, you’ll also be expanding and deepening your knowledge of each other.  Play this game together in the spirit of laughter and gentle fun.  Play as frequently as you'd like

STEP 1   Each of you should take apiece of paper and pen or pencil. Together, randomly decide on twenty numbers between 1 and 60. Write the numbers down in a column on the left-hand side of your paper.

STEP 2  Below is a list of numbered questions. Beginning with the top of your column, match the numbers you chose with the corresponding question. Each of you will ask your partner this question. If your partner answers correctly (you’ll be the judge), he or she receives the number of points indicated for that question, and you receive one point. If your partner answers incorrectly, neither of you receives any points. The same rules apply when you answer. The winner is the person with the higher score after you've both answered all twenty questions.

1 . Name my two closest friends.
2. What is my favorite musical group, composer, or instrument?
3. What was I wearing when we first met?
4. Name one of my hobbies.
5. Where was I born
6. What stresses am I facing right now?
7. Describe in detail what I did today, or yesterday.
8. When is my birthday?
9. What is the date of our anniversary? 
10. Who is my favorite relative?
11. What is my fondest unrealized dream? 
12. What is my favorite flower?
13. What is one of my greatest fears or disaster scenarios? 
14. What is my favorite time of day for lovemaking?
15. What makes me feel most competent? 
16. What turns me on sexually?
17. What is my favorite meal?
18. What is my favorite way to spend an evening? 
19. What is my favorite color?
20. What personal improvements do l want to make in my life?