Monday
Oct082012

"Just Friends" ???

ATTRACTION.  OPPORTUNITY.  Maybe it starts with conversations at the water cooler. Then it turns into weekly or maybe even daily lunches. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? After all, you work together. Pretty soon you find yourself looking forward to seeing this person… there might even butterflies involved. It’s something to get excited about. Mondays aren’t so bad anymore. Then, the two of you start texting, all the while telling yourself, “I’m happily married, so it’s okay. This is harmless… We’re just friends…”  SECRECY.  JUSTIFICATION.  These thoughts serve to further your relationship with this other person while, more importantly, NOT strengthening your relationship with your partner.  Secrecy and justification further EMOTIONAL INTIMACY and fuel SEXUAL CHEMISTRY both of which send you on a trajectory for something regrettable...

FACT:  According to Shirley Glass in her book, “Not Just Friends”, At least one or both parties in 50% of all couples will break their vows of exclusivity to one another sometime in the life of their relationship. 50%!!  So, if you are absolutely sure your relationship is foolproof, think again.

The majority of affairs that happen today have the following notable characteristics:

  1. The individuals involved started as “just friends.”
  2. Today’s affairs do not occur because the betrayer is out “philandering”, rather today’s affairs do not have to be sexual, and many aren’t (both online AND in person affairs).
  3. Affairs ARE happening in loving, dedicated relationships.
  4. Emotional intimacy is the first warning sign of impending betrayal.
  5. In the majority of affairs happening today, the unfaithful partners met their affair partners at work (the second type of occurrence is with a friend).

Not only are affairs happening everywhere, but they’re occurring with deep, emotional connections. OUCH.  Once affairs are discovered, prior beliefs about the relationship are shattered.  Trust has been stomped on and bruised until barely recognizable.  Both partners are left confused, shaken, and fragile. The betrayed partner may develop symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, including flashbacks, rumination, obsession, and physical symptoms.  If the affair partner is a colleague of the involved partner, there may be complications with how to move forward.  The involved partner may experience depression and a sense of loss.  Like it or not, these feelings are real, and without having the space to process, the involved partner will have difficulty recovering, including a sense of resentment believing, “how I feel doesn’t matter.” Couples therapists can help the willing couple recover from the trauma of infidelity, understand how their relationship became vulnerable to the affair, and integrate and apply this knowledge towards making the relationship stronger than before.

And soooo, as one half of a committed relationship, what can YOU do to avoid becoming a statistic?

  1. BOUNDARIES. BOUNDARIES. BOUNDARIES.  Consider them. Talk about them with your spouse. Consider online boundaries as well. Be aware of boundaries, and don’t let them fool you….
  2. Trust your gut. Don’t ignore that little voice in your head that tells you, “My husband doesn’t need to know… this is harmless.”  If he doesn’t need to know, that usually means he does! Having to describe the relationship as “just friends” probably means it’s more…
  3. Know that attraction is normal. We’re all living, breathing, sexual beings! But, just because you feel it, doesn’t mean you have to act on it, right? Just because you are attracted to someone else doesn’t mean you are with the wrong person.  Don’t let yourself fantasize about what it would be like to be with another person.  Affairs begin in the mind.  To be committed to someone means you make that person a priority and filter out ‘distractions.’  If you need help with focusing your attention constructively, marriage and family therapists can help!
  4. Avoid risky situations. (Back to boundaries because this is soooo important). IF crossing boundaries has been a challenge in the past, then consider not flirting with anyone but your partner. While flirting can seem natural and harmless, for many it’s the gateway to the next step. If you are in a committed relationship, and you find yourself in a close friendship with someone of the opposite sex (or the same sex in the case of gay and lesbian relationships), be aware of how easily your seemingly platonic relationship could imperceptibly cross the line.  And, if you find yourself comparing your committed relationship to your friendship, you might already be sliding down that slippery slope.

If your committed relationship has fallen victim to infidelity, although you may feel completely solo in your feelings and at a loss as to how to move forward, know that marriage and family therapists are able to help committed, dedicated couples rebuild their relationships to create a stronger, more intimate relationship than ever before.

Intentionally yours,

Lisa

Tuesday
Sep252012

Don't let your thoughts define you. Instead, get curious about where they came from.

Why is it that with friends our compassion and empathy flows, but when it comes to ourselves, we are quick to critically judge? Those parts of you that are overly critcally, sad, or uncertain... don't judge. Get curious. If you look deep enough, they'll let you in on all kinds of secrets, and get you closer to the true you.

Intentionally yours,

Lisa

Thursday
Sep062012

GREAT TED talk by Susan Cain on "The Power of Introverts"...

Thanks to my friend John for suggesting this link as a follow-up to last week's posts! Susan Cain, author of  'Quiet', explains in this video how we live in a society that promotes and rewards extroverts. This video explains why fostering environments in schools and workplaces that encourage introverted behavior (as well as extroverted) is so important. Take a peeksy... this'll be my final posting on the topic of extroversion/ introversion. ;)

"There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” (Susan Cain)

 http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html


Do you agree??

Intentionally yours,

~Lisa

Thursday
Sep062012

And not to leave the EXTROVERTS out, as we all know they love the attention...

Ring a bell with anyone?? Don't be afraid to 'speak'... you know you wanna!

 

Intentionally yours,

~Lisa

Wednesday
Sep052012

Introverts are all the buzz these days...

I always thought introverts were the quiet, shy ones who sat in the corner and preferred a book to a juicy conversation with a group of friends, but I've recently heard that introversion versus extroversion is more determined from where a person derives their personal energy.... solitude (introverts) or by talking with and being around others (extroverts). As a teen and young adult, I would have easily placed myself in the extrovert category, but when I consider the above mentioned thought, I'd say I'm more of an introvert... maybe even an 'ambivert'?? Sure I enjoy hanging with my fam and my home girls, but when it comes to re-energizing, I NEED my alone time... quiet reflective moments to process and integrate what's going on in my life. Is it possible to change over time or do you believe this is an inherent personality characteristic?  Take this quiz to help determine where you fit on the spectrum, and then consider how your type affects your relationships with others. Is your partner the same type as you or different?? Your children?? Understanding where you're each coming from can help immensely. And (surprise, surprise), marriage and family therapists can help you determine how being different or the same from those close to you can affect your interactions as well as offer tools for how to apply this knowledge to better your relationships!

 

Intentionally yours,

~Lisa

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