Cheating Happened, NOW what?!

Featured

 

cheatingcouplepic2089831860379119432.jpegCheating Happened. NOW, WHAT?

It is a confusing time in a relationship when someone cheats. We feel angry as hell at first, then we try to decide if it is a deal-breaker. If we are dating someone, cheating is most often a definite deal-breaker. But many times, cheating happens within a marital relationship. When cheating happens in marriage, it is not always assumed that the big-“D” is coming.

The Decision can be Doomsday -staying focused on the feelings of a potential dissolved relationship or view it as a wakeup call to resolve issues. It can keep you bound in the thoughts of the Deception or alert you to deal with what went wrong. It can feel Devastational- but can be a catalyst for meeting unmet needs or facing unfulfilled desires.

It can stay Disastrous- and keep one partner in victim mode- or be the bridge toward having the intimacy that was lost.

It can be a Dreaded journey of bitterness, anger and lost hope or a beginning toward rediscovering each other.

It can be the most Difficult time of your life or the most enlightening as to what your future holds for you.

You can stay in a Depressive state of being over the past incident, or choose to move forward in a positive directionIt can hold you hostage with Discouragement, or help you grow wings to soar.

It can provide for you insightful knowledge that gives you a new Direction toward forgiveness and healing. Or it can lead you toward leaving, but still needing to forgive and heal, which equals the Biggest “D”….DIVORCE. But no matter which path ‘you decide’ on, forgiveness and healing is required to have a positive emotional future.

If you cheated, or if your spouse did; TRUST was the key ingredient that has now been compromised. For a relationship to have a positive flow, trust cannot be broken. Chances are, trust was broken down long before the cheating began; not in every case, but usually -it is the case.

Cheating in the eye of the cheater seems to get justified by the wrongful actions of the non-cheater (the victim) in a relationship.

Cheaters usually do not take the time to identify and/or communicate their unmet needs, or they feel unheard -unappreciated -misunderstood or neglected in some way; so they go out to try to fill these unmet needs by emotionally and/or sexually connecting to someone else.

In some cases, the cheater feels like they did try to tell their partner, but to no avail. So, therefore, instead of explaining that they are unhappy and want to separate, or express their need to go get couples counseling, they avoid this action. To fill their void, they just slowly attract to what fills their unmet needs: a person who takes and shows interest with them. Then they slowly, without realizing it, emotionally connect to someone, which sometimes leads to sometimes sexually connecting- to that person.

Cheating is a false sense of satisfaction and it is not a remedy for fixing relationship problems; it makes them worse. Cheating is never justified, no matter how wrong the behavior is with the non-cheating partner. Cheating is a wrongful choice. Conflict can be resolved, compromised, discussed, and dealt with. Cheating requires a lot more than ceasing the affair, it requires a long span of time to recover, heal, forgive, rebuild trust, and repair the things that were broken before the affair! Even if couples call it quits after infidelity; recovering, healing, forgiving, and rebuilding trust is still needed, especially if couples must co-parent together after splitting up.

Healing after cheating is not something that magically happens with one counseling session, nor does it resolve after the victim receives a remorseful apology, if or when the cheater may ask for forgiveness.

Healing is a long process that takes time, patience, quality communication, understanding, listening, and adhering to boundaries that may feel uncomfortable for the sake of the ‘rebuilding trust process’ that must take place.

The most difficult part of healing after cheating for the ‘cheated on’ person in the relationship is not only having to rebuild trust and all the crazy emotions that go along with that but how to eliminate the thoughts replaying in their head; the “would of…could of…should of…thoughts” of doubt and self-blame that go along with being cheated on.

The victim sometimes is made to feel responsible by the cheater. The cheater will often say things like…” well you never….” or “you always…” or “you just didn’t listen to me…” etc. Somehow, the cheater tries to continually justify their wrongful behavior and choice with blaming their spouse for their own unmet expectations. Let’s get one fact out in the open, here and now:

Behavior that you don’t like, current conflict with a partner, unmet expectations, or unbecoming behaviors or attitudes of a lover -NEVER- justify cheating.

Solving existing conflict doesn’t correct itself by going outside the relationship in secret, and starting a new one! A cheater usually does have thoughts and feelings that are negative toward their partner, but the correct and mature and responsible way to deal with those unmet needs, or unwanted behaviors-is to talk about them, and seek counseling to resolve them.

If unmet needs cannot be filled, or if the solutions are not reached, that is when a person should speak up and express their desire to separate from the relationship.

A person should be confident enough in what they want enough~ to express it. So, cheating happened. We can’t undo that. But what we can do, is to learn how to express our needs to our partner. BOTH partners need to sharpen their communication skills. Our partners should never, ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable sharing their deeper thoughts and feelings with each other. Partners should never feel fearful to share constructive criticism.

In many cases, a cheating partner wants out -but continues to ‘blame the split’ on the non-cheating partner, placing fault on them. The cheater sometimes has a history of building up a record of wrongs for weeks or months or even years as if they are on a mission to try and make their partner seem inadequate for them, which then justifies their reasons for cheating and leaving their partner. Reality is that those weeks or months or years they spent in the blaming mode- focusing on what behaviors they didn’t like, were all building up in their own head, causing them the inability to express their needs and work on unmet expectations.

If you were the cheater in the relationship and you definitely want a divorce; keep in mind, you made your emotional disconnection long before your spouse even began to, and maybe they still haven’t! So as you approach your separation and divorce, be cautious not to treat the situation as though it is mutual. In the non-cheaters mind, no matter their past behaviors, the divorce is about infidelity, not irreconcilable differences.

If you are the person who does not want to reconcile (cheater or non-cheater) then you need to free yourself by expressing your unwillingness to reconcile.

If or When either partner keeps trying to deflect responsibility for marital problems onto the other unjustly- it will cause major conflict.

It’s hard to imagine this, but why be angry if someone doesn’t ‘want’ to love you and work things out? Isn’t it their loss? Do you feel you were at your very best, giving your very best?

The formula for a healthy marriage is:

1 emotionally healthy individual + 1 emotionally healthy individual = A Healthy Marriage! ~Life Coach Annalisa O’Toole

If you were the cheater, wouldn’t the love you show, possible willingness to reconcile, humble apology, disconnection from the relationship you had outside your marriage,  not be enough for them? If you are feeling this way, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your partner needs time to process, accept, and forgive in order to heal.

If you were cheated on, you may be feeling 3 different things…and what you should do:

  1. I might be able to try to forgive and trust again~ if I feel my partner is genuinely sorry and genuinely loves me and wants to work together to rebuild.

If you feel this, seek couples counseling.

  1. I definitely know I can not move forward with this infidelity that happened, and I admit I am not able to work through the forgiveness and trust right now, it is far too devastating.

If you feel this way, confidently tell your partner.

  1. I need more time.

If you feel this way, confidently tell your partner, consider counseling.

Interestingly enough, most cheaters are in reality, unhappy with their self. Many times they haven’t mastered knowing what they really want in life, so they fall prey to a quick infatuation that can provide a false sense of satisfaction. Sadly, most affairs are temporary seasons of happiness, and do not fulfill the voids they lacked in the first relationship, to begin with! And, without personal growth of ‘both partners’, their relationship (if they stay together) will have pop up problems in the future because they didn’t take an inventory of weaknesses, and learn from them, making changes to support an emotionally healthy connection. But even more devastation comes from getting a divorce having never gone through the personal growth work of recognizing your weaknesses, learning from them, and eliminating the same issues which may rise up in a future relationship!!

Cheating happens for many reasons, but several most common causes are:

  1. A person is not emotionally healthy enough to communicate their deepest needs to their partner; so they seek those needs elsewhere. It sometimes isn’t intentional, it just happens slowly. A cheater slowly feels the joy outside the marriage, that they somehow either don’t have, don’t work for, or don’t recognize ‘inside’ the marriage.
  2. A person does not feel safe or comfortable expressing their needs, for fear of rejection, fear of confrontation, or fear of not being heard and understood.
  3. A person prides themselves on being the support, leader, giver, fixer, provider, etc…so they actually feel “selfish” to express unfulfilled needs, they don’t want to tell their partner their negative feelings, (what is missing) (since most of the time, whatever the partner lacks, they pick up the slack on) so they gradually fall prey…elsewhere.
  4. A person is not feeling heard, appreciated, or supported by their partner, even though they try to communicate their needs, they don’t feel understood. Instead of investing time to fix this, they gravitate toward a person who makes them feel understood …elsewhere.
  5. A person is not receiving what they need most, and so an affair gives them a sense of affirmation that fills their unmet needs, temporarily, which creates a new emotional connection which causes the first emotionally connected relationship -to diminish.

Even if someone cheats, it is possible to consider a reconciliation. If you are currently confused about your marriage, or your relationship, because you were a cheater, or were cheated on…

Here are the 5 key questions to consider while your emotions are on a roller coaster as to ‘stay or not stay’ in the relationship which was compromised…

  1. Does the cheater feel remorse? Do they, or have they expressed a humble, sincere, heartfelt sadness for their behavior? This sense of guilt should not at all be confused with having fear of separation, or potential divorce. This guilt or humbled request for forgiveness should be real, not just ‘words’- and not initiated due to the possibility that the ‘cheating relationship’ didn’t work out, so the cheater just wants to go back to normal…
  2. Does the “cheating” spouse seem to have unstable emotions? …it is expected that the non-cheating spouse has unstable emotions…(shock, grief, depression, anger, resentment, bitterness, etc) but if a cheating person has severe mood swings, where you find it hard to understand what they are thinking and feeling, it probably isn’t a good time to communicate on details about your future relationship. If a person seems to want one thing one day, and on another day -they are focused entirely in another direction, they most likely, need more space. This is a sign that the unstable person (could be the cheater or the non-cheater) needs more time to evaluate his/her needs as an individual, and need more work in the self-development department before re-committing to be a team together.
  3. Does/Did the victim of the cheating spouse take responsibility for the unmet needs of the cheater prior to the affair? If a partner was/is willing to admit mistakes AND a willingness to make corrections for those mistakes, going forward, and can truthfully say they can forgive (either now or sometime in the future) and move forward, then these are positive signs things could work toward reconciliation.
  4. Was the non-cheating spouses’ needs met by their partner prior to the affair? In other words, was there distance- or everything seemed fine? If everything seemed fine, and the non-cheater was blindsided by the affair, it means that there were unmet needs -and possibly still are unhealthy traits in the cheater; examples being: inability to express what they want, but pretending all is well; not able to express deep thoughts and feelings and not feeling understood; but not sharing these details; or taking ‘space’ in a relationship making their partner feel they are working on things; but that time was spent cheating. (Characteristic: dishonesty) If someone has not overcome unhealthy characteristics – it would not be wise to consider reconciliation.
  5. If both partners erased the “affair” from their mind- pretending it didn’t happen and they were faced with only the feelings for one another, their communication with one another, and their personal needs that they need to be filled- would there be a score of 8+ in each category if the scale was 1-weakest and 10-strongest between them in each of those areas?

Examples would be:

Feelings:

10 = feeling close and attracted to my partner

1 = no attraction and don’t feel close at all.

Communication:

10 = we can talk and we understand each other, rarely argue

1= We fight. All. the. Time.

Personal needs met:

10 = My needs are always met by my partner.

1 = I don’t think my partner has any clue what I need most.

This test shows the work involved to reconcile beyond the work involved in rebuilding trust back! It helps couples evaluate whether the numbers reflect ease or difficulty of the reconciliation process. If numbers are low in these areas, working through a trust will be harder. If numbers are high, couples stand a better chance of resolving their issues and working through conflicts.

One of the biggest mistakes couples make after infidelity is playing the ‘blame game’ -blaming their partner for being unhappy with their present relationship, and naming all the wrong things their partner has done or is doing- as if this justifies their choice or reason for stepping out or not wanting to reconcile. This sometimes goes on for years.

It is much more freeing emotionally to know clearly what it is you need most, and decide if that criteria is realistic in your partner’s ability to meet those needs, or seek counsel to determine if they can.

Sometimes, we can love someone but just can not live with them. Sometimes we cannot feel deeply loved by them because they just don’t take the time to meet our deepest needs. Or…we have built up the record of wrongs for so long in our minds, any thought of a positive emotional connection to reignite a flame is impossible because it would make all of our hard work that created a “wrongful partner” seem as though we lied!

Don’t let pride or your record of wrongs stand in the way of reconciling. If you feel your partner is capable of loving you and meeting your needs and overcoming their inability to communicate their deepest thoughts and feelings, initiate a humble reconciliation. But if your partner has a hardened heart, you should either hold out …giving them time to heal and forgive, or make the decision it would continue hardening your heart to do that, and move on. Only you can decide what God may be leading you to do. There is not a best friend, a family member or even a counselor who can make the best decision for you. Only you, and divine connected guidance within you can decide if your future includes your partner, or if your feeling led away from them.

To divorce or not to, to move back in or not to, to reconcile your differences, or not to … lies between you…God …and your deep inner knowing, of what is best. Our deepest yearnings, those are our invisible compasses, guiding us toward joy. Our spirit is always trying hard to lead us toward joy. “Forget reason”…”forget religious laws”…those are things our inner soul speaks to us…” go here, where it feels good”…..that is our divine nature. To feel love. Acceptance. Joyful experiences. Belonging. We need it so badly, we forget that sometimes wrongful places and people illuminate the belief that we can capture the good things we need elsewhere, and avoid the feelings of ‘lack’ we may be feeling, elsewhere. Many of those illuminations are just illusions or false beliefs that seem real. They feel so real. Many of these, are fake. Fake illusions of our deepest needs. It’s trickery. ‘Bloom where you are planted’ is a powerful quote. But then so is this quote…

When the pain of remaining the same grows greater than the pain of making a change, we change. ~author unknown

When our feelings of lack expand in one area,                                                          our feelings of fulfillment expand in another!!~Coach Annalisa O’Toole

If you genuinely try to communicate, take steps toward your personal growth, learn from your mistakes, openly communicate what you need, and your partner is still not hearing you, this determines that your partner is not working on their own personal growth. If your partner is not accepting responsibility for their actions, or openly and positively receiving constructive criticism…it may mean you need more time and space, or you may feel God guiding you another direction.

Some people are meant to be in our lives for a moment,

some for a season, and some for a lifetime.

Pray about your situation and go with your gut feeling. No one should stay in a situation that feels constantly resistant- but no one should give up over a mistake if/when someone deeply loves you and you just don’t want to go through the work- that would be tragic too. Sometimes we just know when it’s time to let go. Sometimes we just know ~we need to hold on. Also, remember this…

When a person really loves someone, they would not need to be asked, prompted, or swayed by a counselor, a clergyman or anyone else to meet their partner’s needs because it should come naturally to them, to not only recognize what their lover needs, but meet those needs lovingly, and consistently.

“Love wins; every vibrational emotion below love,                                              either helps us learn or lose.”~LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

Test your emotions by viewing this chart below for where you are feeling emotionally, where your energy vibrational number is, God’s view of that state, and the process you’re in.

We can not control what other’s will say or do, but we can control our reaction and response to them, ultimately controlling our own emotions for our desired state of wellness! ~LifeCoach Annalisa

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a personal or Relationship issue, reach out to me, by calling, texting, or seeking more information at my website!

Life & Relationship Coach,

Annalisa O’Toole

678.431.6528

http://www.askannalisa.com

Advertisements

10 Steps for Struggling couples

Featured

couples siloughette

Relationships, unfortunately, don’t have a 3 month, 3000 miles rule for going in and getting a tune-up or oil, filter, lube! But just as important as keeping our auto maintenance periodically, our relationships need checkups too, especially if couples have pushed unresolved issues under the rug over and over for years, and they tend to surface over and over, and they seem to be facing the same problems over and over.

Something to remember is that when a person goes years layering the problems and keeping a record of wrongs in their mind, these records tend to fester and grow bigger the more they think about them, and the more they share them with others, who most likely share their victim stories, and then that only adds fuel to the flame as well.

Conflict resolution means two things. It means a willingness for both parties to participate in being teachable toward listening to possible solutions and guidelines and choose their best path. And second, both people admitting their own personal weaknesses and mistakes, taking responsibilities for those, admitting faults, and moving forward in a positive direction toward compromise and forgiveness.

Coaching and counseling fails if one person has their mind set on the deadset belief that the coaching or counseling session is going to be focused on ‘setting their partner straight’ about some things. In other words, they feel that the counselor is going to hear their view, and going to ‘change their partner’. It will always be the coach or counselors position to hear both parties, and present ideas and suggestions that both people in the relationship may choose as a compromise, so that both parties feel they are working together as a team, and that they are both benefiting from a solution, and working together. Sometimes, however, suggestions will be outside the comfort zone of someone. That is because to accommodate our partners in relationships, change is often a part of successful flowing relationships. This does not mean, however, that we are supposed to change in ways that are uncomfortable, or feel unnatural to us. If there is a change our partner wants us to make that is outside of our comfort zone, we have a very HUGE decision to make, and we all know what that is. We must ask ourselves,

Can I continue to live with and love this person, creating this change in my life, and in theirs, easily and comfortably, without feeling resistance to this change, for the sake of maintaining a positive relationship?

If the answer is yes, you can stay in this relationship without hardship. If the answer is no, you will have a big decision to make.

The reason I love this question is that this question helps us evaluate ‘ourselves’; rather than continue to blame, or point the finger toward our partner. People tend to say things like this…

“Well, if my spouse would just stop…….and then they finish this sentence with whatever behavior is unbecoming…this idea sets up the belief that the problem lies solely outside of their self.

OR this one…

“Well, if only he/she would start ________more, then I would be more________.

They tend to fill in this sentence with whatever they desire from their partner to justify their reason to step up.

Here’s the major part of how this all has to work though. There has to be quality communication about what changes are necessary if any. What does need changing? What needs are being unmet? Has each partner even discussed their personal needs with each other? Why do we struggle? What are the fights about? What are the issues? Here are the 10 steps to get back on track to being friends, having fun, communicating, laughing together, finding that passion, and rediscovering the marriage you once thrived on!

  1. Make your needs list. Exchange it, and work on filling each other’s needs. DAILY.
  2. Buy the LOVE LANGUAGES book. Read it together. Know yours. Know Theirs.
  3. Buy the movie: FIREPROOF. WATCH IT together, ASAP. No Interruptions.
  4. Hire a Life Coach or Counselor, but be open, be teachable. It takes 2!
  5. Talk, Don’t Argue. If emotions get elevated; take a break.
  6. Work on your Communication skills. The NO’s of communicating: no interrupting, no yelling, no blaming, no bringing up the past, no name calling, no going to bed mad, no threats, no ultimatums, no defensiveness, no changing subjects; stay on topic.
  7. Anger will never fix anything but only brew more anger. Talk in a calm manner.
  8. Forgive. Unforgiveness is like paying rent for a home you don’t live in or visit.
  9. Don’t keep a record of wrongs, in your head, or verbally expose them to others about your partner, this just keeps the negative energy alive and continuing.
  10. Start new today with a new attitude of moving forward with positive new ideas for a positive future! You must believe it to achieve it!

For more life coaching information- visit http://www.askannalisa.com or find Life Coach Annalisa on Facebook or other sites as Coach Annalisa or Ask Annalisa!

Ask Annalisa!

I love my partner, but they’re making me crazy!

Are you in that love – hate relationship that is having constant conflict? Are you in emotional turmoil most of the time over this relationship? Do you miss the romantic spark you once felt? Maybe you are getting along, but you feel it’s only because you don’t speak up about your feelings, for fear it will develop into an argument. Whatever your relationship problem, there is hope for a positive future. There is good news about this, and also bad news.

The good news is, you DESERVE to have your needs met. You are worthy to be heard and feel understood. You are valuable, and your feelings do matter. You can have a blissful, romantic, fun, friendship and companion who meets your needs and rocks your world. So, that’s all the good news. Moving on to the not-so-good part…

In order to experience positive, flowing, fun, non-combative, friendship and romance, you have to understand this very important belief and absorb this belief into your deepest counsciousness. You must accept and agree with this belief. For some, this may be shocking. For other’s it may be just what the Doctor ordered. Many people will have a hard time accepting this belief as a serious truth. Here is the first step in positive relationships:

~Never allow your need for affection or affirmation; nor your fear of being alone to over ride your ability to prevent emotional connection to someone who does not meet your needs.~

Interestingly enough, the first step in qualifying someone for dating exclusively, is learning as much about them as you can. I had a close friend once who would meet someone interesting, and upon my asking how that new friendship was going, he replied, “oh, she wasn’t my model number!”

Habits and Behaviors that occur during dating (good or bad in your view) will usually multiply upon living together or in marriage. Evaluation should be the mission during infatuation! To clearly establish if someone meets the preferences that align with your needs (or not) indicates you are confident with your own personal path. How could being physically attracted to someone just majically work if you haven’t figured out your own course for life? Maybe you haven’t settled on a career path- or you’ve decided on taking 3 months to hike and sight-see Europe, wouldn’t it be great to know that a person would support your goals or aspirations? If your dream is to live and work in a foriegn city for a year- or do an internship in a busy city, but your love interest is passionate on a farm in the mountains living off-grid, you may need to reconsider getting serious. Geographical incompatibilities are just one area, there are of course, many other preferrences of people to learn about! Having clarity for yourself and knowing what your deepest values and needs would be from a partner, speaks volumes for your confidence level. Relationships have a higher success rate if individuals allow theirself time to become friends and establish a deep understanding of each others inner charachter before becoming emotionally connected. It’s important to understand though, that it’s not our job to mold or change someone so our needs are met. The right emotionally balanced and mature person should meet your needs naturally- for the most part- because they love you.

Individuals who can clearly state what they like, what they don’t like, and have courage and confidence to speak up for their needs, are much more likely to be satisfied in a realtionship, versus someone unable to speak up for what they want. Many times people can not speak up for what they need because they don’t even know! You can’t expect someone else to love you if you don’t love yourself enough to have a plan for your life! How would you know if someone WOULD fit along side you and your mission- if you don’t even know what it is yet?

Once you’ve discovered your calling, you can gage so easily, (when you’re attracted to someone and you begin talking)- if there could be a potential connection that develops. You would know because a potential dating partner should respond to your interests with enthusiasm, supportive gestures, helpful ideas and be your biggest fan.

If you are in a relationship where your personal needs are not met, and you have expressed what they are (and they are reasonable, doable, and not crazy, costly, immoral or illegal!) then you may need to reconsider how long you plan to stay in an uncomfortable relationship that is constantly resistant to meeting your needs.
Maybe, your needs are not about you. In other words, you’re desiring change in your partner because that change will somehow be more pleasant to you. In your partners life, however, their behavior is comfortable. The change you seek is considered your ‘preference’ (not a personal need) and is in conflict with your partner’s ‘preference’. Here’s a common Example: You prefer no alcohol. Your partner drinks. This can cause serious lifestyle conflicts. The only way a couple with these differing values could grow in a positive way, is for one or the other to “give up” their preference, and honor their word, consistantly. So either the non-drinker accepts the drinker -and all the lifestyle choices that go along with that (over-indulgence with drinking from time to time, spending extra money on alcohol, socially partaking, etc) or, the drinker quits and goes along with lifestyle choices supporting the sobriety. There is no grey area here- unless both people remain in their preferred lifestyle choice; which would mean breaking up or divorcing; or staying together with constant conflict.

Another example is a couple who is unequally yoked spiritually. One is an avid church goer, one is not. But if one person continues to try and judge or change their partner due to the difference (could be either partner here) it doesn’t feel good- one feels resistance on a consistant basis. However, if both parties agree on the situation, it can be a non-issue. If they can not agree- it means resistance continues; or to avoid resistance on a consistant basis- one partner decides they do not want to live with that resistance over a vast difference in values. The only way to live with a partner having a different value or lifestyle choice is to accept it- and make no resistance over it, or determine that value is unacceptable to you, to the point of it being completely unbearable – and get out of the relationship.

Before getting out, (if thats your decision) it is a good idea to express to your partner what your very serious ‘need or preference’ is and express that the future of staying together depends on it. Someone who loves you and wants to be with you, someone who respects you and your lifestyle, will either comply, or choose their preference over you. But, respectfully accept this, because this means at least they have clarity for what they value and need.

Positive relationships will have situations that feel resistance, but they shouldn’t be continual. If resistance continues, over the same differences for long periods of time; it simply means someone, after agreeing to a solution, has broken their word. It is important to know if you are someone who can continue forgiving and restarting new committments, or if this is unbearable.

Counseling can help individuals- if a person is consistant to seek guidance.

Remember this…

~The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results~

Know yourself, know your needs. Honoring yourself is vital before you can successfully unite with someone in an exclusive relationship. And, never try changing people. Inspire them by sharing your convictions- but know when it’s a fit or time for a flight!

~LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

For more info on #relationships visit http://www.annalisaotoole.wordpress.com

When she says, “We need to talk!”& other communication survival tips…

downloadCommunicating…

with live speaking is a lost art. If verbal articulation is involved, people bail out, they would rather send a text. God forbid we dial a number! Youth these days begin getting to know someone through text messaging first. I asked my teenage daughter the other day if the cute guy at the gym asked for her friends number. She said yes, he did. I asked her, “Well, did he call yet?” She responded, “Mom, no one calls you! He’s not gonna call.” In shock, I said, “What do you mean he won’t call?” She went on to explain he would text her, and they would start talking. So, innocently, I said, “Oh, so after he texts her, he will call and they start talking.” She says, “NO, Mom. They start texting, you know, talking through texting.”  What a shame, I thought.

The young people today are losing ground on quality communication, and fast because of the vast text messaging that is the preferred method of transferring information. It’s really sad that they are not able to perceive tones, moods, fluctuations of voice, or even detect silence, through texting on a device. What’s even more alarming is that the people skills and social skills that many adults have learned through the youthful experiences of real interaction and real conversations on the phone, will be a weakness for this younger generation of avid text messengers.

As a relationship specialist, I am floored with the number of couples who try to work out problems and actually communicate through text messaging. Couples need to realize that one priority of a solid, love relationship is to be transparent. Couples who share their feelings openly help to create or maintain intimacy through talking in person. When they can look at one another eye to eye, and feel free to express their feelings in a non-judgmental, non-threatening way, they are able to feel a closer connection and bond. When they are able to get better and better at having discussions, versus regular arguments, they can learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses regarding differences and expectations.

Communication involves three phases. First, it involves a talker, and a listener. Second, it involves one person needing to feel understood, and one person being understanding. Third, it involves a talker with a motive, and a listener with feedback. In each of these phases, there are two distinct roles. One role is the giver, one is the receiver. Arguments happen when both people try to take over the same role. Discussions stay discussions (not developing into arguments) when one person seeks to help the other more frustrated person, feel understood, INSTEAD of trying harder to be understood him or herself!

Here’s the best tips for communicating effectively, and having regular discussions that never turn to arguments. The basic five rules critical to follow for productive talks.

  1. Never interrupt.
  2. Never bring up the past; stay on the subject at hand.
  3. Never name call, or criticize your partner.
  4. Never threaten to leave the room, the house, or the relationship.
  5. Never go to bed mad; agree to disagree, or reschedule your talk, but be kind before sleeping.

Here are some other guidelines to keep in mind, so that when you need to talk, both of you have a productive conversation where you both feel that your feelings matter, that you’re being heard, and feel understood.

If one person is frustrated, or even angry, even if it’s not ‘at’ you, it is VITAL, that you become a strong listener, and do not let the elevated emotions of your partner, elevate your own. Keep calm, and offer support, empathy, understanding, and concern. This is not the time to offer opposing viewpoints, alternate suggestions. If tension is high on the subject, become a listener, with little advice, more phrases like, “I hear you” “I understand” “I know what you’re saying”, “I feel your (pain) or (hardship)”

If one person ‘becomes’ highly emotional during a talk or discussion, they should recognize that elevated emotions will decrease chances of coming to a resolution; and increase chances that a full argument could arise. Signs of escalated emotions are: yelling, rapid heart rate, heavy breathing, physical outbursts of hitting, stomping, kicking, etc..

If any of the following things happen when you get frustrated, it is highly advised that you seek anger management, counseling, or help with what may be triggering your outbursts of stress that turn into unhealthy behaviors. Here’s a list of unhealthy characteristics indicative of needing help in communicating:

  • VERBAL THREATS of any kind.
  • HYPOTHETICALS (defined as false accusations or assumptions that are not real) example: “So, if your Mother plans another party, most likely she will be rude again, and then what will you do?” (key words indicative of a hypothetical situation: If, Most likely)
  • CRITICIZING, Blaming, accusing, badgering, harassing, name-calling, or bullying
  • Physically abusing material items, destroying property
  • Physically harming a partner, child, or pet.
  • Hinting or proclaiming statements implying your intent to harm yourself, or take your life.
  • Hinting or proclaiming possible intent to break up, divorce, or leave

The following behaviors are absolutely not appropriate when you’re wanting a productive conversation.

  • Replying with defensive statements.
  • Creating avoidance tactics (changing the subject, not answering the question, blaming, twisting a response around to point toward you, making critical statements, using any response that doesn’t pertain to the subject (the root of the issue)
  • Having a heated discussion in front of others, around the children, or at work.
  • If one or both partners are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • If one person is unwilling to talk, but the other keeps nagging.
  • If one person is getting aggravated and their emotions are escalating, and they don’t take a break.
  • If one person is angry, and the other person decides to be angry because the other one is.
  • When one person is ‘assuming’ things.
  • When one person is ‘taking things personally.’
  • When one person is not willing to ‘own their wrong’ or ‘take responsibility’ for their actions.

~Sometimes, it’s not a matter of one partner being right, and the other wrong; but each having a ‘different’ perspective. Mature couples can recognize this scenario, and accept the difference, rather than try to convert their partner to their view.~

Most people get agitated when they have an unmet expectation. It is important to clearly, and lovingly, express what you need, and get in agreement with both your needs and how each of you plan to fill the other’s. There is nothing more frustrating in a relationship than expressing your need, but continue to have it go unmet. If this is happening, it is necessary to find out ‘why’ your partner is not willing to fill this need. It is usually one of three things:

  • They are incapable of filling this need for some reason
  • They are unwilling to meet the need for some reason
  • They are unclear  of your need or expectation

It is also VITAL to use the FEEL, FELT, FOUND principal when communicating things to your partner. You can begin statements with, “I feel _____________, when _____________” or “I have felt ______________, and _____________’ and then, “I have found that when _____________”

When beginning with these statements, the issue is about YOU, and not about what your partner is doing wrong; it is perceived more as a need of yours that you need filling, versus a wrong behavior their doing.

It is important to learn the art of setting boundaries. Boundaries are a way to inform others of your needs, in a loving way. This is in no way, a permission slip to command your desires, or be demanding of what you want. Here’s a great example of a person who is setting a healthy boundary in a loving way:

Susan, I really feel loved when you take the time to move my laundry over when I forget to. It means a lot to me that you work with me as a team” This works a lot better than saying “Why didn’t you move my laundry over? I forgot to do it last night, what did you do all day?”

Here’s another example: “It is really important to me that the boys eat healthy before practice, but we both get home so late, should I put something in the crock pot today, or can you get home to make something, or should one of us pick up something on my way home?”

What’s great about the latter example, it incorporates questions. The great thing about asking more questions than making more statements in communicating with our partners, is that it sends the following VERY important messages.

  • Questions imply you care about your partners input, their idea’s, and their viewpoint.
  • Questions create a team-mindset, versus a single-mindset that is perceived as selfish or uncaring.
  • Questions make another person feel heard, understood, and creates respect toward the one asking.

During communication, we should be mindful of the Biblical truths as a guideline. Galatians 5:22, 23, and Corinthians 13.

Love is.Kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, not keeping a record of wrongs, not self-seeking, not jealous, joy, hope, forbearance, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, not boastful, not easily angered, not rude. Love never fails.

If you need more communication tips, I can Skype, phone coach, or do an in person session with individuals or couples. Life Coaching is a great way to reconnect in your relationship, or prepare for marriage. 

Happy Talking!

LifeCoach Annalisa O’Toole

678.431.6528

Relationship Struggles? Tips for re-connecting…

Emotional Connection is the secret to Flowing Relationships...

Emotional Connection is the secret to Flowing Relationships.

INSPIRED LIFE COACHING….. December 2014 Newsletter

by Life Coach, Relationship Specialist & Inspirational Speaker,

Annalisa O’Toole

Emotionally Connecting is the root foundation for relationships to flourish…

If your Relationship is in need of repair, it is most likely, because your EMOTIONAL CONNECTION has been compromised. It is in jeopardy, it is not strong, and it is creating havoc in your life. Here are the BEST ways to reconnect emotionally. It requires at least ONE person, constantly working to show love, support, and admiration, and trustworthiness. It takes two forgiving, honest, and willing people to move forward. If you are the one trying to repair, mend, or save a relationship, you will know the advice below that is specific for you. If you are the one who thinks everything is fine, but your partner is having trouble –look again at the following things. You need to absorb some emotional-connecting tips- and fast!!  Stop arguing about the little things, and realize it is your EMOTIONAL CONNECTION that has been broken. Let’s repair it!!! Hope these tips help you through this season. We are in a season of giving, so try to focus more on what you can GIVE to the relationship, verses WHAT you get or don’t get out of it.

If one is tired, offer a massage —

If one is crying, hold them.

If one is bitchin, say, “I understand what can I do or help you with?”

If one is frustrated, let them vent without getting mad – one person at a time with the elevated emotions!! Your job is to Just listen, empathize, support, offer assistance.

If one is nagging, say, “What can I do to help you?”

If one is demanding, say, “Let me write these things down, so I don’t forget, I know they are important to you, I’ll do my best at these”

If one is distant — give them space.

If one is short—say, “I know it feels as if your world is falling apart, but I still love you.”

If one is quick tempered, say, “How can I make things easier, or relieve your load?”

If one is late home from work, have dinner ready, offer a beverage, sit with them and talk.

If the house is messy, clean it.

If it’s trash day, take it out.

If its grocery day and you’re buying them, bring home flowers guys. Girls: Bring home his favorite item, or beer.

Leave notes of appreciation saying “have a great day” in their car, or by their mirror in the bathroom.

Guys: Buy a spa day certificate, take the kids all day, and tell her she’s off-duty!!!

Girls: Buy an admission ticket to a sports event, or the shooting range (hopefully you haven’t made him too mad! HA!)

Love Languages:

Most people feel loved if their partner does one or more of the following:

TIME      GIFTS      SERVICES        WORDS OF AFFIRMATION       AFFECTION/TOUCH

Figure out which one is their HOT button, do things around that love language as often as possible.

Social Media & Friends of opposite sex:

Clean up your friendships outside the marriage. It is not good to have ‘female’ or ‘male’ friends you talk to daily or often. Even if you speak to this person about getting their gender perspective on your relationship – which seems innocent, it creates a sense of disloyalty within your partner. Phone records can be checked. Although you may not be in a sexual relationship —-an emotional connection starts by talking often — and even if talking often is not leading to an emotional connection, it would never be perceived as ‘platonic’ if there are multiple texts and calls throughout day to day. OR, long patterns of texting or talking on and off throughout the month. Chatting on games, snap chat, vines, and other forms of communication are all the same. They are not healthy to participate in with friends of the opposite sex if you are in a committed, exclusive relationship. Even if you both trust each other impeccably – it sends the wrong message to the other chatter – the message being –I have a need to talk to you, and have fun conversations with you- because my partner isn’t available to. Even though this isn’t the message you INTENDED – it is what ‘can’ be perceived. So  to stay in the safe zone: REFRAIN.

WORDS & COMMUNICATION:

  1. No interrupting
  2. No threats to leave house or relationship.
  3. No name calling.
  4. Stay on topic, no bringing up the past
  5. No going to bed mad

If someone is upset, ask more questions verses making more statements. Always repeat what you thought your partner said, here’s an example: “So, what I heard you say was”: then repeat that outloud. This way, your partner can feel they were ‘heard’ with their perspective, or ‘not understood’. The goal in any conversation is for one person to feel understood.

The MINUTE your emotions start elevating (heart rate increases, sweating, or feelings of panic, or feelings of anger) due to frustration or anger, it is best to TAKE A BREAK rather than yell, or get aggressive, or begin hitting walls.

If, or when- one partner see’s their partner is getting worked up in anger, it is best to begin soothing them with things like:

Let’s talk about this later.

Maybe I should go, and we can talk it out later.

Maybe we should just stop talking now, hold each other, and come back to a discussion later.

Always speak life. Never let your words have a frustrating tone- no matter your mood, their words, their accusation, etc…If they are upset, YOU REMAIN CALM! If they need correcting, do it lovingly. If one is upset, the other could use phrases like:

  • I hear you, I understand.
  • I am so sorry that upset you. What can I do to make you feel better?
  • Come over here, let me hold you.
  • Let’s go do something very, very special together.
  • I love when you ______________
  • I think it’s so cool that you ______________
  • You make me feel so good, and special when you ________________
  • You’re leaving home in THAT shirt? You look so good in that, I worry someone will steal you away! (playful, not jealous tones…easy does it on this one)
  • I am so sorry that is happening to you, how can I help you?

If you are the one upset, be careful to use the I FEEL______I FELT_____, I FOUND______ method, it makes your partner feel less accused, less criticized, and it makes it more about ‘your feelings’ than their wrong doing.

EDIFY your spouse even if it is not received in love. The goal is to give -without any expectation of a return. Give compliments, show appreciation, offer helpfulness, show thoughtfulness, show kindness, show consideration. Don’t have double standards. EVEN IF they aren’t showing these to you, DO IT ANYWAY!! They will eventually learn their mistakes, and your example will pay off – or things won’t change and then you can re-access the relationship or seek more coaching.

If you are estranged, separated, or working on things and sex is ‘OFF’ limits presently –NEVER make a pass, or caress, or reach to touch your partner unless THEY initiate, so you know that you know- that you know- they want to go there. If sexual relations are OK, take the time to be gentle, do something fun and different. Be about making THEM feel good for a change – it’s not all about YOU, you know. Get creative, and be spontaneous. Break the same-ole, same-ole routines. Surprise your partner with something new. Remember:

Passion is a Friendship – ON FIRE!!!

Learn to LAUGH! You must share laughter together. It is the secret ingredient that makes everything else work. If you cannot laugh daily, create pet names, make up new stuff that makes you laugh, act silly, whatever, you are missing a very important part of emotionally connecting.

BE OK if your partner needs to CRY! What someone who is crying needs most, is less talk, and more holding. PERIOD. But reminding softly, that they are loved, and you’re in this forever and, ever after that, is not a bad idea!!

Always give eye-contact….ALWAYS, even if they are not looking at you! Don’t be easily distracted if they are talking to you. FOCUS on not only looking at them, but listen intently, put the phone down. IT CAN WAIT!

INITIATE a fun activity together, plan a date, or plan a future vacation together. Plan a project, or do something charitable together. GIVING always creates peacefulness within.

RESPECT the money manager of the relationship. This person has it tough; they have to be the bad guy. They have to budget, they have to say no, they have to access the needs (that don’t always align with their partner’s idea of needs) Somebody will have to be more flexible, but ultimately, the money manager needs A LOT of understanding, and appreciation –The hardest duo’s are when the $-manager is the FEMALE. Because that is out of alignment with the MAN who needs feeling like he’s in charge, like he’s the leader, and the decision maker of the family. But, if his weakness is managing money, he needs to respect and adhere to the woman’s talent and ability to manage – the woman in this role needs to take EXTRA care when talking, and planning, and deciding things. There is a fine line between being the decision maker, and respecting your Man!

HE needs respect upmost in the relationship.

SHE needs to feel understood, loved, cherished, adored, and be reminded by her man she is number 1, he’s in for the long haul, and there’s no one else who could ever take her place and she’s amazing, and you love her cooking, and she is talented, and she makes you feel so good, and…….

NOTICE: Men –need one thing. Woman: A long-Complicated list!!!!  Men & Women who ‘get this’ will have flowing relationships.

PRAYING together is the ULTIMATE way to build back a strong emotional connection. Try it, it’s amazing. Start out with one person, build up to taking turns. It can truly shift your relationship; it somehow creates a sense of unity that is empowering.

Resources that are helpful in hurting relationships:

  • The movie FIRE PROOF.
  • Purchasing the 40 day journal they use in the movie at a local Christian book store, and do it.
  • Love & Respect book, or ANY book by Gary Chapman. He wrote the love Languages book also.
  • Briggs Meyer’s- ISDC Personality Profiles. This is great insight for determining how your partner thinks and their perspective of things. It is helpful for improving communication and connection.
  • Attend a marriage or couples retreat or seminar together.
  • Create a ‘MUST HAVE’ list and each of you ‘share’ your list of desires, and work on giving more.
  • Decide the past hurts that are still rising up, and creating problems, write them each down on an index card. On the back, write how you choose to forgive, and move past it, what you’ll do different in the future moving forward…then have a BURN date, by the fire! DISCUSS each one- STATE YOUR WRONG if you were- FORGIVE-OFFER your NEW way of resolving-PRAY-THEN TOSS them in the fire!!! Don’t go back to those situations.

If your partner is distant – YOU warm up.

If your partner is quiet, make them laugh.

If your partner is hurried, help them.

If your partner is trying to make plans with friends without you, (they are needing space, apparently) you make plans on your own, happily. Two individually independent people with their personal interests are far more intriguing and enjoyable- than two people who are together all the time- without outside interests. Make SURE you are supportive of your partner’s friends, interests, and activities that have nothing to do with you. This is healthy, and a necessity in life.

Keep in mind, if you are in a position of trying to consider: SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO in your relationship, these tips are VERY IMPORTANT as you seek God and His guidance for that decision.

  • Fruits of a loving spirit, (within someone’s character) are peace. Lack of them, is turmoil. Here they are: Gentleness, kindness, joy, humbleness, not self-seeking, doesn’t keep record of wrongs, not jealous, patient, and loving.
  • Have I maintained a loving spirit, for a long consistent amount of time, and my partner still treats me unloving?
  • Does my partner seek God, or is there something else more important: Money-Entertainment-Friends-Work-etc.? (not sure, look at where their money, time, and thoughts go)
  • Do I –or- Does my partner have purpose and passion about life outside of ‘us’? A person without this, will often times rely too heavily on their partner to feel good about themselves, and this is not only insecure, but a big load for someone to bear! It is vital that people discover their skills, talents, and creative side and serve someone or something in this world to make a difference – not just with their partner and on the home-front!!
  • Does my partner have a positive energy around them, do I feel uplifted when we are together, or is most of our time feel like one or both of us wants the other to change something?
  • Is there an unhealthy, influential person in my partner’s (or my) life that is not likely to disconnect from (them) (or me) anytime soon, and therefore; makes it extremely difficult to have and keep a strong emotional connection with my lover?
  • Are our values so different that our priorities are different, and this causes us to have constant conflict?
  • Do I –or- does my partner –stay in this relationship because they ‘fear’ something? Rejection, instability, being alone, jealous of the other moving on without them, fear of not having or making enough money, etc…
  • Do we find ways to manage our children or do we constantly have issues regarding their care?
  • Is there constant drama, other people involved in affairs that should be handled between just us?

I hope these tips are helpful. I hope they make you think, and contemplate your relationship -so you can make the positive changes that will ensure your happiness together. For some, it’s taking time to create space and work on building back the friendship, so the passion is re-ignited. For other’s, it is re-building a friendship, so the passion increases, so the mistrust issues diminish….and more trust is gained.

You attract more bees with honey!!

Coaching relationships doesn’t make progress if one or two people have a hardened heart, remain un-open to change, un-open to forgiveness, or are unteachable.

Relationship coaching however, can succeed if each person will ‘look in the mirror’ – accept their weaknesses, commit to change, and work on serving their partners deepest emotional needs.

The Holidays are only stressful if you allow them to be. I hope this Christmas season, you will commit to your relationship. The changes necessary, and work toward your mutual goals to create a wonderful and loving, romantic New YEAR!!!

Looking forward to hearing from you and learning how you’re doing!!

Coach Annalisa O’Toole~

(ph)678-431-6528 (email) lifecoachannalisa@gmail.com

Follow for More relationship advice daily on Twitter: @coachannalisa