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Hello.  My name is Janice Bowles and I want to welcome you to my blog.  In this little corner of my world, I will be blogging about all facets of relationships, including what I consider to be a very different take on infidelity.

So what makes me an expert?  Well, I’m a therapist for one thing with many years of experience helping couples sort through their relationship quagmires.  For another, I have been in lots of different kinds of relationships:  casual dating (lots of it),  unmarried and living together, exclusive marriage, open marriage, no strings attached sexual relationships,  and now a committed relationship with my ex-spouse who had an affair when that definitely wasn’t a part of our agreement.  I have dumped people and been dumped; hurt people and been hurt.  I’ve run the gamut, and as I blog along, I will talk to you about all of it, hopefully giving you information that will stimulate your thought and help you to have something fresher, deeper, and more satisfying with your partner.  I really want your input as well.  Tell me about how you relate to the things I write, as well as about your own experiences in the relationship wars.  Let’s use this blog to learn from each other.

I will tell you this: the journey my husband and I took together was some kind of an adventure, one that I never would have initiated, but now that it’s over, I’m so glad it happened.  It helped us take a giant leap forward to the wonderful, loving, respectful partnership that we now enjoy.  I plan to write more books on this fascinating, maddening subject and am open to including some of your experiences and ideas as well.

Here is my first tip: don’t try to fit yourself into a relationship structure that doesn’t suit you and your partner just because it’s what society, or mom, or your best friend says you should do.  Explore, find what works best for you, and then give it your all.  You will never hear me say that one kind of relationship is better than another because I don’t believe that.  But I will say that having the courage to do it “your way” will definitely give you the most bang for your relationship buck. 

So have I piqued your interest?  I hope so.  And I want you to know that my very sincere hope in doing this blog is that my experience, both professional and personal, and the wisdom I’ve gained along the way will help you to have a deeper, better, more fun-filled relationship with your honey.  And I know your input about your own experiences and how you feel about what I write will certainly help me.  Thanks for logging onto my blog.  I’m eager to take this interesting journey with you.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-Life Journey on all Amazon websites worldwide (in both print and Kindle editions) or at Barnes and Noble. It’s a powerful story about my journey to the other side of my husband’s affair. If you want an overview of the book, which gives you lots of tips and insights about relationships, log onto my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com.

I once had a client who came to me after three “serious” relationships had ended in disaster.  She came armed with a long list of complaints about her former partners.  How they cheated on her, disrespected her, ignored her, etc. etc.  I asked her a question that completely stumped her–“How did you contribute to all that happened in these relationships?”  “What?  Me?  No, it was them!”  Wasn’t I listening to the horrible things they did that proved her point?

After each break-up, this person immediately jumped into another relationship.  No reflection.  No thinking about what happened.  No clue as to her part in creating what was.  She was the victim; they were the perpetrators.  End of story.  Unfortunately, she is not alone in this kind of thinking.  Many of us are so desperate after a break-up that we think the only solution is to find someone else pronto. Someone who, on the surface, is different from the one we just left.   But instead of someone different, after a short while, we discover that this new relationship is eerily similar to the old one.  Different name, different face, but essentially the same person we just got rid of.

Hopping from one relationship to another without taking the time to explore will inevitably lead to more heartache.  Without reflection about what happened and our part in creating what was, we are still flying blind.  We’ve learned nothing from our previous experience because we haven’t put in the time and energy to gain insights, to learn and grow so that next time we can choose better.  If  we’re the same, we’re going to choose the same.  It can’t be any other way.

Relationships give us the best opportunity to learn about ourselves.  They point up our growing edges–the places within that need our attention.  We need to find out why we do what we do.  What’s underneath the surface of our behaviors.  Why do we continually choose people who treat us badly, for example.  Or don’t listen to us. Or love us and leave us.  With insight into our own being,  we are much better equipped to find a better partner.  One who matches our new more conscious level of being.

The best single advice I can give after a break-up is this: TAKE SOME TIME TO REFLECT.  Don’t just blindly jump into another relationship because you are lonely.  Live without a partner for a while.  Notice yourself.  Ask questions (Big Breakup Mistake #3) Do your previous relationships have patterns?  What are they?  Do these patterns bring you satisfaction or hurt?

If you need help, get it.  Insight into yourself gives you power.  Without self awareness, you have no power to change the hurtful cycle you have created.  Yes, I said YOU have created.  Not what was done to you.  With awareness, you are not a victim!

It’s easy to blame and play the victim.  Then quickly move on.  Harder to take the time to learn about yourself–to admit your part in creating what happened.  Yes, it’s not easy.  But it’s exactly what it takes to finally have the loving, supportive relationship you crave and most certainly deserve.  I know you’ll find it’s well worth your effort.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships.  You can buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (Kindle).

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully, you’re having a good day…a loving day.  Some of us are. But a lot of us aren’t!  Why?  Because there is so much hype around this day from people who want to sell  us something– chocolates, flowers, expensive dinners– that if we don’t get any of this, it’s easy to fall into depression.

My husband sent out a message today to everyone on his email list.  It was a quote from Byron Katie that says, “Your true nature is love.  There’s nothing you can do about it.”  It’s such a great quote I wanted to pass it onto you.  And how about my sweet husband?  Sending out that message of love made him feel so great!  And it touched me deeper than any “stuff” every could!

That’s the spirit of this day…to follow our true nature in whatever way suits us. So if you’ve fallen into depression because you’ve bought into the marketing hype, then “snap out of it!”  Instead of waiting for love to come to you, send out some love yourself.  I guarantee it will make you feel good.  AND here’s a bonus:  you will be planting future seeds for more love to come your way.  Worth a try?

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about how to live a happier life.  You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

Is something about your partner driving you crazy?  Have you tried to make them change by complaining, nudging, cajoling, pouting?  And still…no change?  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “physician heal thyself.”  Well, the same principle applies in relationships.  In order to change your partner, you have to start with you.  Why is this true?  Because you are the only one you have control over, and when you change, oftentimes your partner will follow suit.

Here’s an example:  Joe is an introvert.  He doesn’t like to socialize.  He would rather he and Sally just do things together without other people around.  Truth be known, Joe feels very uncomfortable and fearful in social situations.  Small talk is just not his thing.  But what he does like is the great outdoors…fishing , nature hikes, swimming in the ocean.  He would love for Sally to join him in one of these activities, but she always says no.

Sally, on the other hand, is a very sociable person.  She loves dinner parties, hanging out with friends, doing activities with other people.  Fishing, hiking, swimming?  No way.  She’s not the athletic type.  Yoga in a nice comfortable studio is about as far as she goes.  Sally would love for Joe to join her when there’s a party.  But he steadfastly refuses.  Sally and Joe are locked into a pattern of fear and stubbornness and neither is willing to budge.   Although they love each other and have other interests in common, this impasse is putting a big strain on their relationship.

So what’s the solution?

One of them needs to change.  It could be either one, but let’s say it’s Joe.  What if, in the interest of harmony in the relationship and wanting more closeness with Sally, he gives in and goes to a party when Sally asks?  Although awkward, he does his best to be as pleasant and into the evening as possible.  If Joe were to do this, Sally would be surprised for sure, and most likely very appreciative of Joe’s effort.  This in turn could encourage her to go for a swim the next time Joe asks.  Then there is a domino effect: you did this for me, I’ll do that for you.

It may surprise you to learn that this works a lot of the time.  One person stretches beyond where they usually go, and the other is so grateful that they are willing to stretch as well.  Result?  They live a bigger life both individually and together.  Win win.

Changing yourself in order to change your partner is a simple solution to a common problem.  Simple, yes.  Easy, no since fear is involved and both partners have to go beyond their fear.  But if there is goodwill in the relationship, the desire to please the other becomes the impetus for change.

Is this a problem in your relationship?  If so, I hope you will be the one to initiate the change.  Both you and your partner will be happier as a result. Guaranteed!

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

It doesn’t seem possible that something as simple as being thankful can profoundly transform your life.  It’s not something that most of us believe unless we experience it ourselves.  That was certainly true for me.  I kept hearing about gratitude and my response was, yeah, sure.  What have I got to be grateful for?  At the time, my life was turned upside down. I felt like scrambled eggs in a hot skillet.  But because I felt so bad, I was willing to try anything…even being grateful.

I began saying thank you for things I normally took for granted: my computer that gave me access to so much information, the refrigerator that kept my food cold and fresh, the clean, hot water that would pour out with only a twist of the faucet, the beautiful plant sitting in my living room, my eyes that enabled me to see, my ears that heard the sweet songs of birds, my strong legs and feet that got me around, my heart that beat steady without my even thinking about it.  And magically, when I gave thanks for even the smallest things, my mood would shift.  Sometimes only slightly, but a lot of times very profoundly.  I learned that you cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time.  A valuable lesson indeed.

Not only does gratitude change you in the moment, it plants the seeds for your future.  You’ve heard the saying, what you put out you get back.  Well, it’s true.  The universe acts like a boomerang.  Put out negative energy, and negativity is what you get back.  Put out positive energy, and the universe responds in kind.  When you are positive, you are watering the seeds that you’ve planted, and down the line, those seeds will blossom.  Don’t believe it?  Try it now.

Look around.  What do you see that you can be grateful for?  Your phone that keeps you connected to friends, your iPod that plays your favorite music, your house that shelters you from the weather, the colorful painting on your wall.  How do you feel?  A little better?  A lot better?

If you make being grateful a practice, something you do regularly, I guarantee you will be a happier person.  Gratitude, being of the highest energy vibration, is the key that unlocks a better life. I hope you try it.  Learn for yourself how powerful gratitude can be.  What could be simpler?

Thank you for reading my post. I am grateful  for you!

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about living a better life. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

Laughing is magic!  It adds so much pleasure to your relationship and your life. Yet often we get so caught up in the seriousness of life that we forget to laugh and have fun.  You might be surprised to learn some of the things laughing can do for you:

  • Studies have found that a good belly laugh releases endorphins (chemicals that combat pain and depression) much like a jogger’s high.  So when you’re depressed or in pain, instead of reaching for the anti-depressant or pain killer, have a good laugh.  It’s cheaper and has no negative side-effects.
  • You’ve read how much exercise can do for you, right?  Well, there was a study which found that humor is equal to, maybe even superior to exercise in producing positive psychological changes.  How about that!
  • When you laugh, you’re in the present, which means you’re not worrying about the future or lamenting the past.  Now wouldn’t that be a relief.
  • Want more closeness with your partner?  Laughing and having fun together is a great way to achieve it.
  • Are power struggles ruining your relationship?  Try laughing to diffuse them.  It works!
  • Laughing at yourself when you do something stupid helps you not take yourself so seriously.  Come on…you’re not so bad!
  • Ever get overwhelmed by a problem?  Finding the funny side of it helps you meet the challenge in a more productive way.

If you have gotten away from having fun with your partner, here are some suggestions:

  • Take at least an hour a week and play together.  Do something you both enjoy…take a walk, play a board game, fire up some music and dance, turn on the CD player and sing.
  • Find the fun in everyday life: share things you both find funny like a comic strip that makes you laugh, watch your pet do outrageous things, share the hilarious thing your kid did or said.
  • Seek out entertainment that makes you laugh: rent funny movies, watch fun TV shows, go to the comedy store, see a funny play.
  • With all these benefits, don’t put “fun” on the back burner.  Make sure that laughing and playing is a big part of your life.  You’ll love the benefits they bring.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

When you’ve been with someone, loved them, lived through experiences with them, weathered a few storms together, it’s not easy to let go. Even if the relationship wasn’t all that great, you were comfortable, and now you’re facing the unknown.  Questions fly through your head: will you find someone better?  Will you be alone? Are you financially okay? Are your kids going to be all right?

Breakups shake us to our core, but you know what?…that’s not a bad thing.  In fact, the upheaval is a great opportunity for you to learn and grow if you make the effort to discover the lessons that are there for you.  The insights and wisdom you gain from consciously going through the process will move you to a better, more satisfying place.

How do you help yourself during this time?  You get active!  Getting through the chaos to the liberation on the other side takes effort.  First and foremost, explore yourself.  What was your part in creating what was?  Please don’t say it was all his/her fault.  That is never the case.  Both of you created your relationship, so rather than simply blaming which doesn’t help you grow, explore what you did to contribute to the problems and take responsibility. (see Want to be happy?  Stop Blaming!)

Here are more suggestions:

Talk to people who care about you. You need love,understanding and support, and these are the people who can give it to you.  They will help you smile, even laugh when you have forgotten that the sun still shines in your world.  Understand, though, that no matter what advice others may give you, even good friends, you need to check in with your own inner guidance to see if it feels right.  Meditation is a great way to do that.

Get professional help if you need it.  You may only need a session or two to get you started on the right track.  Or you might decide to explore yourself more deeply with a therapist.  A trained professional can be extremely helpful at this most vulnerable time.

Treat yourself well–exercise, eat healthy, do nice things for yourself.  Be sure to watch for critical thoughts. (see Are your thoughts ruining your life?) A brutal mind shellacking will only make things worse.  So, instead of beating yourself up, do your best to be kind and gentle with yourself.  (see The one good friend you need…yourself!)

Continue to live–see friends, do your daily activities, do a good job at work, with your kids, etc.  Make an effort to be in the present with all that you do. This will help you stay grounded.

Allow times when you feel like hiding under the covers and doing all the wrong things. You might schedule ten minutes  of negativity a day where you let off stream from what’s boiling inside–anger, meanness, depression. Express all of it, but when your scheduled time is up…STOP.  Allowing short periods of negativity will help you move forward.  Glossing over them means they remain toxic in your body, poisoning you  physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Find inspiration where you can: books, seminars, spiritual endeavors, walking in nature, petting your cat or dog, watching uplifting movies, talking with someone who has successfully gone through the same situation.  Inspiration gives us the courage to get through the hard stuff and reach for greater heights.

Finally, remember that this too shall pass. Be assured that you will feel good again.  Take the adversity and use it, not to your detriment, but for your benefit.  If you do, you might just look back and see the upheaval as one of the best things that ever happened to you.  Good luck and happy landing!

(For more tips on breakups, see Gaining power through a break-up)

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, to learn how my husband and I got through our crisis and made our bond stronger than ever.  You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.  The book also gives you great tips and insights on relationships, as well as how to deal with this painful circumstance.

Breakups are tough, no doubt about it. But there are ways to go through one that will make it less bumpy, more hopeful and in the end, more empowering.  One way has to do with perception.  The same situation can be perceived in different ways, and the way we perceive it makes a difference in how we feel, think and act, which in turn affects the outcome.  Here’s an example:

A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region in Africa to study the prospects for expanding business.  One scout sends back a telegram that says, “Hopeless situation.  No one wears shoes.”  The other scout sees things quite differently.  His telegram reads,  “Glorious business opportunity.  They have no shoes!”  See what I mean?

In the same way, you could see your breakup (or any crisis for that matter) as only loss and devastation.  You could complain and cry and go on and on about the pain for way too long, which would keep you in a continual negative cycle.  This negative energy would, like a boomerang, bring you more of the same because what you put out, you get back.  It’s a law of the Universe.  I’m not saying that loss and pain aren’t a part of it.  Of course they are, and you need to give yourself the time and freedom to acknowledge the pain and grieve the loss.  But staying in that place will not help; it will hurt you.

You have another choice: View your break-up from a higher perspective.   Look beyond the surface for the deeper meaning of what’s happening.  Could it be that something new is trying to emerge in your life?  Something beyond what your current limited vision can see? Could the Universe be helping you rid yourself of the old so that you can make room for the new?  And might that new be better?  Something that would bring you more satisfaction and joy?

No doubt, letting go is a scary proposition.  We’re diving into the great unknown.  It doesn’t matter if what we’re letting go of doesn’t feel so great.  It’s familiar and  comfortable… two things we humans like a lot.  Letting go is, in fact, one of the hardest things that all of us have to do at one point or another. Someone once put it this way…”Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks all over it.” Wow.   I can relate.  How about you?  But there are times when we must let go.  And this may be one of those times.

So if we can entertain the possibility that something better might be coming,  give it just a little space in our consciousness, then for moments at a time we can look beyond the catastrophe to what’s trying to emerge.   We can ask questions like:  What are the possibilities for me outside of this relationship?  What good in this am I not seeing?  Are there gifts beneath this chaos?  What are they?

Perhaps the time and energy you spent trying to make something work that simply wasn’t working could be used for a new, exciting endeavor.  Or maybe there is someone out there who will be a better partner to you.  Or maybe just being alone for a while would give you the space to follow a dream that you’ve put on the back burner.

Going through the crisis consciously–learning the lessons that are there to learn, finding the gifts of the situation, looking for what’s trying to emerge, will give you hope and the strength to get through the hard stuff.  It is possible to become a stronger, wiser person as a result of a break-up.   Possible to open your heart ever wider rather than shut it down.  Possible to become more compassionate, more loving, more forgiving of yourself and others.   When you delve deeper, perceive your break-up in a more positive light, you put yourself in a position not only to create  more harmonious relationships, but to meet all of life’s challenges at a higher level.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, to learn how my husband and I got through our crisis and made our bond stronger than ever.  You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.  The book also gives you great tips and insights on relationships, as well as how to deal with this painful circumstance.

You’re having dinner with your sweetheart when a handsome guy passes by your table.  She gives him a long look.  How do you react?  How about when he raves about the smart, great looking new secretary at the office?  Or she calls you by her ex’s name? Does jealousy, the green-eyed monster as Shakespeare called it, overtake you and make you crazy? Do you silently seethe or cause a fight?  For some of us, that’s exactly what happens.

Over-the-top jealousy affects both genders equally and can happen even in casual relationships.  Why?  Because for one reason or another you feel inadequate, insecure and overly dependent stemming from your childhood.  Perhaps you were the first born, basking in all your parents’ attention, and then…your brother came along.  Or your dad constantly compared you to the good kid next door and you never seemed to measure up.  Whatever it was, it left a wad of jealousy in your gut which can be easily triggered in your present relationships.  You view every little thing as a threat and react accordingly.  Extreme jealousy can make you miserable and put a big wedge between you and your sweetheart.

So what do you do?  First thing is to determine whether or not your partner is right for you.  If they are habitually flirtatious and determined to stay that way, you are with the wrong person.  With your sensitivities, it’s unlikely you will ever feel secure in this relationship.  Better to move on and find someone more suitable.

But if you determine that it’s your issue, then take responsibility. Become aware of your inappropriate behaviors.  Like snooping through your partner’s e-mails, or secretly searching for messages on their phone, or spying in some other way.  If you do any of this…STOP.  Your behavior is inappropriate and demeaning to you.  It also undermines  trust in your relationship.  Why not talk to your partner about it?  Tell him/her that you know you are extremely sensitive in this area and are working to curb your suspicion.  Ask them to help by not deliberately provoking you.

Be aware that a little jealousy can actually enhance love.  Seeing someone flirting with your partner, if it’s not extreme, can actually rekindle some appreciation and romance.  Extreme jealousy, however, can get so out of control that it could lead to violence…even homicide.  So best to tame the demon now before it gets to this dangerous stage.  You’ll feel better inside, and your relationship will be happier too.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships.  You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

“I love you so much, I’d just die without you.”  Some of us think that that’s true love.  Wrong!  It’s not love at all to think that you can’t live without another.  It’s desperation, it’s being too needy, it’s smothering, it’s off-putting, it’s dysfunctional, it’s infantile….need I go on?

We need to develop ourselves to the point that if our partner were gone, we would be just fine.  Sure, we’d miss them.  We’d be sad without them, we’d be off-balance for a while, but eventually, we’d get our footing back and move forward in our life.  Thinking that you can’t live without another means that you’re not past infancy where your survival really did depend on a caregiver.  As an adult, that’s obviously not so.  Every able-bodied one of us can survive on our own if need be.  Believing that you can’t means that you’re way too dependent and have some growing to do.

A partnership can be a wonderful, meaningful, satisfying thing, but it shouldn’t be life or death.  If it is, you’re not giving enough caring and love to yourself, so you’re desperate to get what you need from another. Of course you expect love and kindness from your partner.  But if you are totally devoid of love for yourself, it won’t be enough.  No matter how much they give, you will still feel empty. That’s because no one can fill that hole inside of you but you.

Have you ever been in an “octopus” relationship with someone?  Where their tentacles were locked around you so tightly that you couldn’t breathe?  Or are you the octopus?  Wanting, wanting, needing, needing so much that you suck the life out of the other person.  This might work for a while, but eventually you will both grow weary of the dance.  It’s horrible if someone expects you to be their everything.  And equally as awful if you’re so dependent that you live in a constant panic that they might leave.

If you find yourself in either of these roles, it’s time to do some growing.  Time to make a commitment to yourself.  Make YOU a priority.  Start doing things that you enjoy.  Monitor your thoughts and say “no” to critical and judgmental mind chatter.  Pat yourself on the back for what you do right.  And don’t say you don’t do much right because I don’t believe that.  You’re just used to finding the “bad” and ignoring the “good.” Doing these things would be a good start.

When you have learned how to love and nurture yourself, you won’t need to desperately cling to another trying to get what you need.  Knowing you can live without your partner means the chains of desperation fall off, and you are truly free to love them.  And oh by the way, it feels really good to treat yourself kindly.  So what have you got to lose?

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

“Oooh I’m so in love.  I’ve finally found my soul-mate.  There’s nothing we can’t overcome.”  How many times have we heard statements like that; in essence, that love conquers all?   Well, bah hum bug! to that myth.  It couldn’t be further from the truth.  Love isn’t enough!

So many people, especially when love is new, think that this overwhelming feeling they’re experiencing is true love, that they’ve found “the one,” and nothing could mess it up. Wrong!  First of all, when a relationship is new, this feeling is not love; it’s pheromones, pure and simple.  We’re “in heat,” and yes, that does override everything else….for the moment. We feel confident, sexy, alive.  We’re over-the-top happy.  And one more thing…we’re delusional!

How destructive it is to believe that love conquers all.  It might cause us to jump into a commitment with someone who is all wrong for us.  Someone who turns out to be, not the person of our dreams, but the person who provokes nightmares.  When we make a commitment, there are many things we need to take into consideration.  Things beyond love (or lust) whatever the case may be.

Like values.  Do you share the same values?  Is one of you a devout Catholic; the other, Jewish?  Does one have children from a previous relationship; the other have a low tolerance for kids?  Does one have a hefty appetite for sex; the other lukewarm about it?  Is one career minded, spending lots of time at the office; the other expecting dinner at 6:00, then leisure time after to have long conversations and make love?  Is one sociable, enjoying  dinner parties and people around all the time; the other, needing a lot of alone time?  Is one a shopper; the other a spend-thrift?  Is one an athlete; the other a couch potato?  Does one like to go out a lot; the other, a homebody?  That’s what I’m talking about.

These things seem trivial in the throes of love, but loom large when the bloom is off the rose.  What do you do when you find this out after marriage, or after the kid is born?  Of course, with determination, it’s possible to work through these things.  But it takes work, and a lot of us just aren’t willing to put in the time and energy.  We’d rather dump this one and find another who seemingly fits us better.  Truth is, if we don’t know ourselves and still believe that love conquers all, we’ll look for that initial high again and keep finding ourselves in the same miserable place.

When you stop believing that love is enough, and go beyond, you save a lot of heartache.  You find out that it really is important that she’s of a different religion, or that he has kids and you can’t stand them, or that she sits on the couch and eats bon bons all day and you feel resentful that the house isn’t clean and dinner isn’t made.  You find out that the differences which once seemed trivial, aren’t trivial at all.  You learn what you can compromise on and what you cannot.  Shattering your illusions before the commitment is a lot better than having them shattered after the fact.

What do you think?  I would love to hear your opinions.

Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble.

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