Your Two Best Tools for Better Communication with Your Partner

best tools for better communication“We need tools to communicate better.” This is one of the most common things I hear couples say when I first start counseling with them. And of course, it makes sense. After all, anyone going to marriage counseling or couples therapy would expect to learn ways of communicating better with his or her partner.

 

There’s more to the story here, though. In order for couples to communicate better and grow closer together, they need more than tools. They need to become skilled at using those tools, and that means that they themselves need to grow and change. 

Why We Have Trouble Knowing Our Feelings: How to Recognize and Deal with Your Feelings (Part 2)

why you have trouble knowing your feelingsRemember the last time you felt something so strongly that your emotions got the better of you? Maybe you did something you regret. Maybe you spoke words that you wish you could take back. Or maybe you just gritted your teeth, trying your best to hang in there while it felt like the world was falling apart. Because in moments when strong emotions have ensnared us, it really does feel like the sky is falling.

 

Most of us, in moments like this, have at least some idea that we’re caught up in powerful feelings. What we don’t always know is what we’re feeling and why. As we’ll see, being aware of what you’re feeling is the first step to taking the reins back from your strong emotions.

How to Talk to Your Partner about Going to Therapy

how to talk to your partner about going to therapyWhen I get a call from a couple needing help, the spouse or partner on the phone usually says that the relationship is in some kind of crisis. Couples can sometimes struggle for months, even years, before something happens that at last causes the relationship’s ground to give way.

 

When this finally happens and partners talk about going to therapy for the first time, it may not go anywhere. In fact, things sometimes get worse. Fights get louder and longer. One partner might storm off or leave and not come back for the first time. Words are exchanged that can’t be taken back. Each partner feels like there’s nowhere else the relationship can go. Neither can see a way of working it out. They’re both at the end of their ropes. The relationship is crying out for help.

How Much to Tell & When, Part 2: Formal Disclosure

This post is the second in a series of posts called How Much to Tell and When: Disclosure in Early Recovery. This post discusses formal disclosure and its benefits. Click here to read part 1, here for part 3, and here for part 4.

 

“How much do I tell her?” In part 1 of this series, we considered spontaneous disclosure, which happens when the sex addict’s behaviors are either discovered, about to be discovered, or when there is partial disclosure of the addict’s acting out behaviors after the initial discovery.

 

Oftentimes, spontaneous disclosure occurs as a couple is preparing for formal disclosure. Although holding off for a few months on formal disclosure can give both sex addict and his partner time to prepare for the traumatic formal disclosure date, waiting can be excruciating, especially for the partner.

 

But what is formal disclosure? And as painful as it is, why is it worth waiting around for?

How Much to Tell & When, Part 1: Spontaneous Disclosure

This post is the first in a series of posts called How Much to Tell and When: Disclosure in Early Recovery. This post discusses spontaneous disclosure and the benefits of delaying formal disclosure. Click here for part 2, here for part 3, and here for part 4.

 

“How much do I tell her?”

 

When spouse initially finds out about your sexually compulsive behaviors, there’s enormous pressure on you to disclose details about your acting out. It’s completely understandable to struggle with what to say in response.

 

Whether she confronted you after an initial discovery or you confessed to her some or all of your behaviors, you’re facing some tough questions. If she hasn’t already, she’s going to press you hard for details. The more she finds out, the more she’s likely to grill you.

 

So what do you do?

The Guide to Empathy for Sex Addicts (Part II)

Empathy, if you recall from part I, is the ability and practice of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Most simply, empathy is an effort to take the other’s perspective and share his feelings.

 

We went a bit farther than that, though.

 

Empathy is not agreeing with the other person (most likely your partner). It’s not sympathizing with her. It’s not just listening like a bump on a log. It’s not sharing “that-time-when-something-similar-happened” to you. It’s not fixing her or making her feel better (although empathy can and will probably make her feel better and more connected to you).

 

Instead, empathy means that you’re attempting to know and understand the other person’s perspective from within her subjective world. Empathy constantly seeks for avenues into another’s universe, joining her mind, her heart as she feels safe enough to open it to you.

7 Ways to Love Your Partner When She’s Hurting After a Betrayal

If you’re reading this, perhaps you’re going through a very difficult time in your relationship or marriage. You’ve betrayed your partner in some way, whether it was infidelity, sex addiction, or watching pornography.

 

In other words, you got caught cheating. Now you’re in the doghouse, and you don’t know what to do. You want to work on the relationship, but you’re not sure how.

 

You love your partner, but when she’s overwhelmed with her pain about what’s happened, you feel stuck. Maybe she’s raging at you. Maybe she’s flooded by anxiety. Maybe she’s sobbing uncontrollably.

 

How do you respond in a loving way that helps rebuild intimacy and restore trust in the relationship?

Pleasure and Pain: Power and the Arousal Neuropathway (Part II)

In part I, we reconsidered the arousal neuropathway as the addictive neuropathways have been on our minds of late. We established that the sexual activities that activate the arousal neuropathway, which is about excitement, pleasure, and intensity, can include the exertion of power over another person.

3 Things Your Therapist Must Do in Couples Therapy

I recently submitted my first response to Help a Reporter Out (HARO). If you don’t know what HARO is, it’s a subscription service that connects inquiring journalists doing research for stories to experts hungry to provide them with a few good quotes (and get some publicity in the process).

 

Now, chances are I’m not going to get picked because these reporters get a lot of responses. So in the offchance I don’t get instantly famous, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you. Here’s the response in its entirety.