Chris and I went to the news agents on Saturday as he wanted to buy a magazine for the soccer World cup. While in there he handed me the latest Mindfood magazine pointing out a psychology article “After the Affair – is it possible to restore trust.” I said oh good and opened it to page 50 in Health:Relationships.
Imagine my surprise when I read “Philipa Thornton’s strategies for making it work after an affair”! I had totally forgotten journalist Emily Joyce’s interview back in April.
I was pretty chuffed and had a good chuckle. It is a great article ( even if I do say so!) on affair recovery which is totally possible, I encourage you to check it out. Plus you get to see the gorgeous Rachel Weisz’s beautiful image and hear her story of a new chapter. See her interview with Graham Norton here on being married to Daniel Craig
The story is called Circle of Trust and is out now.
A huge thanks to Bethany Hatton for our guest article on addiction:
ADrugRehab.org states, “Addiction is tricky and calculating, and it’s the only disease that can take more than one person down with it, if it is left unchallenged. Addiction dramatically alters the lives of not just the addicted person, but of everyone within his or her vicinity, namely family and friends.”
Addiction in Australia
Millions of Australians are affected by drug addiction and alcohol dependency, either directly or indirectly. There are dozens of different drugs that can have a significant impact on a person’s life. ABC reports that the number of drug overdose deaths in the country has risen to the highest levels in nearly 20 years. It can be difficult, however, to determine if your loved one has a drug problem because different drugs have different symptoms, and people react to drugs in ways unique to them.
Identifying a substance abuse problem
Addiction to anything, whether it is drugs, sex, gambling, or food, can leave a person feeling socially isolated. According to ReachOut.com, a few social signs of a substance abuse problem include:
Avoiding non-users becoming isiolated
Feeling uncomfortable when unable to access their drug of choice
Going into debt to fund habit
Other indications include:
Poor attention span
Depression, often severe
Declining health, specifically heart problems
If you suspect that a friend or family member has an alcohol or drug problem, the first step is to help them recognize and admit it. Understand that you cannot force them to undergo treatment, but they may be more willing to get help if they are sure that they have a strong support network. Once they are willing to consider treatment, reach out to their doctor or healthcare provider.
The end goal of drug treatment is for the user to have the self-control their use if possible or to avoid taking drugs in the first place. But quitting cold turkey can be very tough and is often not a good idea. Withdrawal, the body’s response to craving a specific substance, can have debilitating symptoms including high blood pressure, anxiety, and shakiness. A person with an addiction to alcohol or a benzodiazepine, such as Valium, may even be at risk of death due to a sudden shock to the system if they quit using unexpectedly. The National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre in Sydney reports that opiate withdrawal, which was previously believed to be non-life-threatening, can result in death due to dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea.
Approaching an addicted person
Opening up a line of communication is an important part of helping your friend or family member seek treatment for their addiction. PositiveChoices.org.au explains that you must prepare ahead of time, however, before beginning the conversation about substance abuse. Gather information about the drug and decide exactly what you want to say about how you feel that the drugs have affected your loved one’s life. Come at them with compassion but be ready for some push back and negative reactions. More than anything, stay calm and be willing to listen to what they have to say. If you are intimidated or believe approaching them on your own may put you at risk, have a friend, family member, or mental health professional join you. You could also work with other close friends or family members to stage an intervention.
Type of treatment
There are dozens of residential treatment centres throughout Australia and even more outpatient facilities that can help. Long-term treatment, those programs designed to last between six and 12 months, offer 24-hour care and begin with a thorough medical detox. Community counselliing and support groups are also of offer.
Throughout treatment, patients are taught both how to live independent of chemical dependency and how to reenter society in recovery. The type of treatment your friend or relative seeks will be dictated by number of factors including their willingness to undergo treatment, time constraints, and finances.
For more information on alcohol and drug treatment, contact the Alcohol and Drug Foundation at 1300 85 85 84, your doctor or a psychologist. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 000 or seek immediate medical intervention.
If your bedroom has gone dead, you need to address this. You know your partner and your frequency. If it’s gone off the boil, you may need to light the fire again.
Intimate connection, begins with understanding and appreciation. We get caught up in the daily grind. You ignore your relationship and your partner at your peril.
If you start looking outside for the answers – accusing your spouse of infidelity then you only lose control. Even if there is an affair your best bet is to work on your marriage.
Both men and women need an emotional and safe place to experience their connection. Are you providing this? If so great. You are probably having sex. If not you may need to get on top of this pronto. Reconnect with your partner today. Do something nice, share yourself with love.
This is a good question you need to ask yourself. Let’s think about this now.
How much have you invested in your relationship? Perhaps you have years together with all the ups and downs a real history of companionship brings. Through the highs and lows of togetherness, you got through it.
You may have children together, who you have watched being born – happy days. With whom you witnessed growing up and how tough that can be at times.
Perhaps your family is a blended family and you already know the stress and suffering separation and divorce takes on your children’s lives. The upheaval and challenge of co-parenting are not easy.
Maybe this is just your latest relationship, where in the past it hasn’t worked out and you are sick of the merry go round pattern. Where you go for few years with a person and it’s great and then it suddenly seems to go kaput. And weh it all seems to go awry and it’s like you don’t even know your partner. Sorry to say they really haven’t changed it’s the love drugs have worn off and you are seeing them for all they are flaws and all.
So is relationship counselling worth it? Should you work on your marriage? Why bother you may say after slogging away for so many years it seems hopeless.
So here’s the deal:
If you work on your relationship and it cannot be saved, you have lost nothing.
If you work on your relationship and save it, you have gained your relationship.
If you do not work on your relationship, you have lost the relationship.
From this logic it is perfectly reasonable to work on your partnership. You have nothing to lose and every thing to gain!
So what is the works that can happen? And if doesn’t help you, you’re only out a buck. At least you can say you tried and that’s worth it.
Give it a go. Call us today to begin your gains Call us at 0434 559 011 or 0411 144 646 to begin the changes that will help salvage your partnership from the brink.
You may also email Philipa Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris Paulin at email@example.com.
At Marriage Works we want to support your relationship to new heights. Unfortunately many of us leave it until our spouses hand is on the doorknob, or get the divorce papers in the mail.
The LAST Resort Technique Blog is for exactly this type of scenario. It’s your best bet and may be your only chance to get your relationship back.
I am so impressed with the good people who write in and share their stories of pain, hope and healing, thank you!
I want to share their advice and success for those of you struggling with relationship despair and heartbreak. There truly is genuine hope with the LAST Resort Technique (LRT). Please read on to be inspired.
Steve writes: I thought I’d post a positive response to your article, to show this can work. Long story short – married to my wife of 15 years, 2 kids. I had a history of working too hard (long hours and occasionally weekends), playing sport every weekend and seeing my (male) friends. Basically whilst I provided a good lifestyle for the family I wasn’t there – mentally, emotionally or even physically – often enough.
I think you can guess what happened next. A male friend of the family became a shoulder to cry on, to help out at home, and then eventually an affair started. I knew something wasn’t right when I would come home on time from work and she would start an argument would start as soon as I walked in the door. Sometimes I would come home from work or sport and find my ( male) neighbour in our house talking to my wife in the kitchen. We nearly split up a couple of times prior to that. I used to read this article on a daily basis to give me hope.I realised that I did everything wrong (see the LRT phases), and struggled not to chase, ask questions about the relationship or check up on her. We went to counselling (together and on our own) which helped with communication between us. After many sessions, the counsellor confronted my wife – who did she want. TOP or me? Heart breaking, but she chose him.
So, why are we together now, and making vacation plans for next year?
Steve’s great advice :
1. Confront the issue early (very difficult without evidence), listen to your gut instinct.
Philipa here : Please do this without accusation and with openness to listen. Example : I feel there is something coming between us and want to help us get our marriage back to the love. What are you feeling? And really listen.
2. Listen to your partner to work out why they strayed.
3. Don’t vent on social media (as much as you want to). Only do this to trusted friends or family.
Philipa: integrity and respect are hallmarks of a great relationship. And when you are back together:
4. In the early days limit yourself to 15 mins a day asking questions, any more and it’s like pursuing.
5. Work on where you went wrong (see #2), but really be that person. They will suspect you are just doing it to keep them. Make the changes and keep doing them – even if it annoys your spouse.
Philipa: You can’t fake it til you make it you have to invest in understanding the issues.
6. In the midst of this all, don’t lose sight of who you are. You didn’t stray or cheat. You are a good person, do the LRT.
7. DON’T do the LRT too early. I did and my wife thought I was pushing her away. Its for when all else fails.
Philipa, yes it’s at desperation point, not before. Get help earlier please!
8. When the time comes do the LRT fully. It will seem wrong, but if everything has failed do it. Don’t pursue, beg, spy – just be you. And let them go.
Philipa: this has to be with an big heart and a faith you may never have had to test before in yourself.
9. The LRT prepares you for life without your spouse, but you need to continue being a parent. Remember you can’t control your spouse – they are free to make their own decisions.
Philipa : this is super important if there a children in the mix. They need you regardless. Curiously the more you let go of control the freer your spouse will be to circle back.
10. Be friendly, their best friend even, but not a doormat. Set boundaries – mine were if you want to see him I’m not being your child minder.
11. If your spouse wants to move out (mine did, but never went through with it), let them. But you need to discuss finances, and who pays for what.
Philipa: Yes Steve, this is vital. Mature relationships discuss financial issues.
12. Its their choice. Let them make it, you need to give them reasons to stay. Not to push them out or away.
Philipa: This is a real gem, exactly what is required of you.
Ultimately we stayed together – TOP gave up as my wife couldn’t make the final decision to leave. This combined with our kids wanting us to stay together, and my changes to be a better husband and parent. I also think looking at her finances provided a reality check as well.
You need to be strong, look after yourself and have trusted friends / family. You will go through hell emotionally. You will have bad days, days where you can’t function, where you want to give up and can’t take any more. Keep going. I lost 12 lbs in 3 months, felt like this was going to drive me mad or kill me. But it worked. It took 7 months from finding out to properly turning the corner. The turning point is letting go, and really, really meaning it. Then the penny will drop.
Thanks for this article Phillipa, it really did work.
Thank you Steve, glad you took the effort and energy required. Seven months is doable and not a bad investment to regain 15 years of marriage and your family.
And from another kind soul, Jetty’s remarkable work:
I have to say, that I am so impressed with the way this article helped me reign in my behavior. Following the tips here, along with some personal reflection, it seems like it has turned a corner.
The fighting has stopped. He is pursuing me. He is showing affection and effort. Just last weekend, HE asked me, to go away to Los Angles together. We hadn’t seen each other in six months and I don’t think it could have gone better. The change in myself is huge – I feel better about life, and about the way the relationship fits now. Just the fact that no fights have been had (with things coming up still) in over two months is mind blowing.
Thank you so much for this article, it really changed my perspective, and in turn, everything!
Thanks Jetty, you email will encourage others to think about their behaviour, the desired outcome and what works. Your change has offered your relationship a new beginning.
After a while when things are on stronger ground you then need to address the issues which got you to this catastrophe. Marriage therapy can fast track this. Learn Imago dialogue. Good luck and keep up the good fight!
Stressful events are things that come out of the blue and knocks us for a six. Planning Plan B by Kylie Parker will help you recover from the top 10.
I am super excited to introduce you to Kylie’s fabulous book as I had a small part to play in contributing to it. I did not hesitate when Kylie asked me to write as a relationship expert to help others.
Planning Plan B, is written for when life’s bumps in the road through you off track. It gives you the how to get back up and running again.
Kylie consulted with experts to bring us practical, prudent and real world advice. Here you will learn from financial planners Mark Bradley and Hamish Thomson from Priority Advisory Group, Melanie McFarlane business owner, Melinda Winning family lawyer, Alan Prasad, Michael Gottlieb, Vanessa Billy, Mark Sacks, Campbell Fuller, Kate Fitzsimmons, Michael Long and myself how to be prepared for Plan B.
Kylie has taken the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scales (Holmes & Rahe, 1967) 10 stressful events and compiled a way forward when disaster strikes.
The Stressful 10 are:
2. Death of a spouse or close family member
3. Divorce or permanent separation – without kids
4. Divorce or permanent separation – with kids
5. Disability or incapacity due to accident or illness.
6. Dismissal from employment
7. Disaster occurring whilst traveling
8. Dissolution of a business due to financial loss or unforeseen circumstances
9. Depression, mental illness or Dementia
10. Distressed sale of a home.
Life’s big things, we may never have to go through but if you do it is best to be informed. So get Plan B today!
Holmes, T. H., & Rahe, R. H. (1967). The social readjustment rating scale. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11, 213.
In Australia we are approaching Easter, a significant religious holiday for many. While I am do not belong to any church custom, I do a respect folks observances and their special traditions associated with this holy time.
When we were kids in New Zealand our TV stations played the Biblical hits. Truly this was this (with the greatest respect) where I received my religious education.
Watching Charlton Heston part the Red Sea in the 1956 tribute The Ten Commandments, was awe inspiring and still is.
I will be getting the DVD down from the shelves. Yes I own it.
Easter isn’t just about eggs and chocolates. Yes I do indulge in the brown delicious sweet!
I like to use it a a time for reflection.
It is a time where I am not working. What has passed in my life, people, habits or old beliefs? The death of things that not longer support me or help me grow. These can be a simple as changing an exercise routine.
It is an opportunity to bring about change with the ‘rising’. I ask how can I encourage and support myself and others to be their greatness? What works do I need to achieve in my mission of service?
How would you apply this to your relationship?
What do you need to do inspire for your partner? Is there anything you can do to enliven your partnership? Put some thought into it. Love to hear what you came up with and how it helped. Pop a comment in the box below.
Sexual frequency and libido difference are a huge relationship challenge. In my general experience men use to sex and physical touch to connect, whereas women need to feel emotionally connect in order to have sex.
Michele Weiner-Davis’s gives us her words of wisdom on the sex starved marriage. Here she is:
I love Ted Talks they are a superb free way to access thousands of amazing and inspiring speeches on every topic imaginable.
Can you guess the number one presenting problem couples have when they come in to see me? Yes you’d be right if you’ve said it is communication. Complaints begin with s/He doesn’t communicate, or s/he never listens are catch cries repeated in my office.
Accusations fly and a load of words move between the spouses like arrows. The discouraging thing is it’s usually totally negative. Making it virtually impossible to stay connected and positive.
When we feel attacked and criticized we usually get defensive, worn down and ultimately one or both withdraw, shutting down in sheer frustration.
Sound familiar? Perhaps you can see how this applies to your arguments and attempts to talk on the hot topics – parenting, finance, the in-laws the list goes on.
Now it’s not that they can’t talk, the truth is they can’t communicate effectively. When I listen it becomes clear key skills are missing. Communication is often misunderstood, especially in partnerships. That’s why couple coaching works.
Learning the techniques to communicate clearly will allow you to find freedom, joy, love and genuine connection. Disconnection is the second major complaint couples have.
When you communicate clearly you create:
Clarity and perspective
Better outcomes for all
Who doesn’t what these life-enhancing benefits?
Where Couples go Wrong.
If you have ever found yourself in the equivalent of a communication traffic jam, then you will recognise the roadblocks. Once you realise and release these barriers, next time when you see the signs you can take a different route entirely. You are in the drivers seat!
Missing the message
Lack of politeness
As I promised here are 8 Potently Powerful Communication Skills
1 Create Connection.
Before we even start to have a discussion we need to ensure we are ‘with’ the person. This means getting in synch with them. In therapy speak we call this joining. What we want to do is build rapport.
Communication experts believe the majority of the message being both sent and received is nonverbal. Words only account for a lousy 7% of communication is the oft-stated figure.
We have amazing things inside called mirror neurons, which, allow us to understand and feel what other people are going through.
That’s why when you watch those kids on TV bouncing off the see saw hard your body winces and you go ouch! And possibly laugh.
Mirror neurons give us this capacity for social synchrony, promoting bonding and empathy in our relationships. Scientists have determined analytical thought destroys and creates misunderstanding. Stop any analysis paralysis.
How do I create connection?
Simple you copy and match your mate’s body language as your chatting to them. It’s human nature we like others like us. Pay attention to your partner’s gestures, placement, and tone of voice.
If they tilt their head to one side you match this. If they are speaking slowly, so do you. When then breathe you breathe with them. They have crossed legs you might cross yours at the ankle. The key is to do it subtly.
Next time you are with someone and having fun, you will most likely find yourself doing this automatically. It is an unconscious process. So get back into synch with your partner today.
2 Forget Mind Reading. Become a Body Reader.
It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Too many partners are busy reading their significant others mind and totally missing vital information.
You won’t be surprised to hear body speak is a vital component. Don’t worry you don’t need to be an Allan Pease body language expert to decode your partners message.
What you do need is an idea of what their body is signalling to you. Is there a sign of relaxation and ease or discomfort?
Signs of comfort and ease are leaning towards, physically coming closer, twinkling eyes, turning to face you, a head tilt, a pat of the hand, a smile and touch.
Signs of discomfort appear as head or neck touching or rubbing, head turning away, arms crossing, body angle or feet turning away and poor eye contact or looking away.
What you want to do is note where the person’s general comfort levels are. High comfort gives you a green light to keep going and low comfort you may need to back off a bit.
For example I am in connection with my partner and I notice he goes rigid and starts smoothing his hair with his hand frequently, his face looks taut. I know that he is in discomfort and most likely not able to hear things clearly. So I soften and go back to creating connection.
3 Own It.
They best way to own your communication I know is with the tried and true “I Statement.”
An I statement is where you describe your experience and feelings on something. It is the gold standard in assertive communication.
If it goes something like: Hi honey did you take the garbage out (you know they didn’t as you can see the overflow out of the corner of your eye). They say Sorry I forgot. I’ll do it, why do you have to keep asking? Don’t you trust me? You respond you take forever to do it.”
You get the picture and I am sure you know where this one goes off into the ditch in your own life experience.
When you use a you statement which is sadly often followed with a never, always don’t, it will come across as an accusation. No one likes to be accused. Naturally they go into defense mode. These are part of what John Gottman refers to as the four Horseman of the Apocalypse and good predictors of divorce in communication patterns.
Read this statement and see what is wrong with it. “ I feel/think that you….” Warning this is not an I address of usefulness. The You overtake the I.
Bad news right? So the antidote is the “I Statement.”
An “I” offers an objective opinion; it opens space and gets your message across. Try taking a true I statement personally. Use this vital skill today in all your relationships and interactions. Watch the change.
4 Be Open.
This should really be at the top of my list, please make it your priority.
When you are vulnerable and open to others real magic happens. People will feel safe and will be open towards you. True vulnerability builds trust and strengthens bonds while deepening connection. See why it’s a priority? This will give you increased joy and security in all your relationships. Vulnerability is the cornerstone of intimacy.
When we feel safe we are like the flower opening to the sun, the bird spreading her wings to soar and the dolphin dancing in the waves.
Vulnerability advocate and researcher Brené Brown has improved our knowledge tremendously. I recommend her books and you will find these in the Book Resource section.
If you want your partner to be open and share their vulnerabilities you are going to have to take the lead and be the first to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability and gentle honesty can provide you with a powerful relationship, now who doesn’t want that? Let’s have a go at increasing your joy and stimulating satisfaction.
Yes the next thing you need to do is to shut up. Finding silence helps you listen intently to understand.
Quietness is a true gift for your spouse and you. This gift will create a deeper soulful relationship.
The stillness of attending silence offers you the opportunity to be a better listener. It is an active process of being soft and taking things in without interpretation or reaction.
Creating a silent space for others encourages them to talk more. (Yes I can hear some people cheering at this. Talkers, get ready to listen more.)
Interruption and its accomplice inner rebuttal (thinking of what you are going to say, how wrong they are in your mind while the other is speaking) are the murderers of silence. These shut down and diminish relationships.
True silence gently allows your significant other an invitation to help you both learn more about each other and the situation. Offering you real growth potential. Sit in attended silence more.
While respect is not so much a skill as an attitude. It says to your loved one you matter to me. I will show up in this discussion. If you wish to be an influential parent, a thoughtful partner or caring friend this outlook is the key to successful interactions. It all starts with you.
Respect is shown is a light tone of voice, it says I am here ready to hear you. I care about you, your issues matter to me and I want to help you.
Opponents to Respect are:
Thinking of your answer
Asking too many questions
Talking over another person
Intimidation – yelling, aggression or worse still throwing property or making threats
Bringing out all the issues at once
Dredging up the past resentments– dirty fighting
So as Aretha Franklin say show a little Respect! Forget any interjection, and relax. This alone will go a long way to resolving your issues and makes for a safe landing zone.
7 Reflect for Clarity.
In therapy we us a term called reflection, or mirroring. Basically this is where you paraphrase the other person’s comments back to them. It’s an integral part of a listening exercise using called Imago dialogue many couple therapists employ.
You let your partner speak and feedback what you have heard. This allows both you and them to really feel heard and attended too.
The real power here is will provide clear communication. No longer will you misinterpret your mate. You will check in with them. They will even help you if you have missed something.
When you partner has said their piece you paraphrase back to them. “So what I hearing you saying is… is a good starter or From what you said I heard … did I get that?
Practice, practice and then some more practice. Here you do not add anything in this process is for creating connection.
8 Add in Empathy to the Mix.
After you have reflected for clarity you can add the most potent communication enhancer empathy to your skills.
This is where you have a guess at what the other person is feeling on an emotional front. Connecting with a partner on a emotional basis will advance your relationship to a new level of fulfillment. Empathy is the healing influence. It is also the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.
So work at developing this and the above core skills to advance your relationships and connections to a higher level today. Challenge yourself to take these words off the blog and into your life, have fun!
Please let us know in the comments below what have been your bugbears and what has made a difference. Perhaps you have a suggestion you would like us to help you further with in your communication quandaries or would like to share your successes – we would love to read about them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Philipa
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