There are few marital problems that can cause as much emotional pain as an affair. That’s because infidelity undermines the very foundations of a marriage. However, it doesn’t have to be the end. If both partners are committed to staying in the relationship and are prepared to make things better, your marriage not only has a good chance of surviving, it can actually become stronger as a result.
What is infidelity?
The classic definition of infidelity is if one partner has a sexual affair with someone outside the marriage. However, what actually constitutes infidelity can vary widely between couples. Is an emotional connection without physical intimacy as bad as having a full-blown affair? What about online relationships? Each couple needs to define for themselves what they consider being unfaithful.
Why do affairs happen?
Contrary to popular belief, most affairs aren’t fundamentally about sex. In fact, there are many factors that contribute to someone wanting to have an affair outside of marriage – here are some of the most common reasons:
- Lack of affection within the marriage.
- Loss of fondness and care for each other.
- Unaddressed marital problems that may have been lying dormant for years.
- Breakdown of communication about your feelings and relationship needs.
- Physical health issues including disability or chronic pain.
- Mental health issues including depression, anxiety and more.
- Addiction including alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex.
What to do when an affair is discovered?
When an affair comes to light, it can trigger powerful emotions for both partners, including anger and betrayal, guilt, shame and remorse. When you are in the midst of such emotional turmoil, it will be difficult to think clearly enough to make sensible long-term decisions. Instead, focus on the following strategies:
- Don’t force yourself into making any rash decisions. In particular, if you think you might be in danger of physically hurting yourself or others, seek immediate professional help.
- Give each other plenty of space and try to avoid emotionally challenging discussions until you are able to begin the healing process.
- Seek outside support by sharing your feelings and experience witSide view of young couple holding broken heart against grey backgroundh trusted friends or family who can positively support you and hold your hand along your healing path.
- Consider seeing an experienced marriage counsellor or family therapist, either on your own or as a couple.
- Take the time you need to understand what has happened and why, and try to avoid delving into the ‘sordid’ details until you are strong enough.
How do you mend a broken marriage?
Recovering from an affair is a challenging task that will come with much ambivalence and uncertainty. But as you rebuild the trust between you, admit guilt and learn to forgive each other and reconcile your struggles, it is possible to deepen and strengthen the love you’ve always had for each other.
Here are some recommended steps you can take to encourage healing your relationship:
- Take it one step at a time. Healing cannot be rushed; it takes as long as it takes. Before making a definite decision whether or not to stay in the relationship, you need to be able to understand why the affair occurred in the first place. A marriage counsellor can help you here.
- Take responsibility for your actions. If you were the one being unfaithful and you want to heal your marriage, put an end to the affair and stop all communications with the third party involved. If it’s a work colleague, minimise your contact to business only, or change jobs.
- Get support from diverse sources. Don’t rely on self-help books or generic advice alone. Rather, share your situation with understanding friends, experienced spiritual leaders or a trained counsellor.
- See a marriage therapist who is experience in dealing with infidelity issues. At KlearMinds, our marriage counsellors can help you put the affair into perspective, help identify issues that may have contributed to the affair, and encourage you to rebuild and strengthen your marriage and avoid divorce.
- Finally, it’s time to come together and make a plan to achieve reconciliation. Agree on a process and timetable, practice authentic forgiveness and seek understanding together, and restore trust in your marriage.
If you are committed to your marriage and have the desire to overcome the suffering and pain caused by an affair, KlearMinds can help you move forward together. Why not get in touch with us in confidence, or book an appointment here.
When things go wrong in a relationship or marriage, it may be difficult to pinpoint what exactly the issues are and how to resolve them. Perhaps you’re having constant arguments or are no longer communicating meaningfully? Have you stopped being physically intimate or has one of you had an affair? Should you break up??
If you’re unhappy with your partner, all may not be lost. There are many qualities that, if you can find them in your personal dealings with each other, are a good sign that your relationship can indeed recover.
1. You are sensitive to each other’s needs
If you’re not happy because she’s not happy, it means you care – that’s a good thing. If the other person didn’t matter to you or there was no emotional connection, you would have little concern for your partner’s feelings.
As long as there is still a strong connection between the two of you, it is not over and the relationship can be saved. With time and space dedicated to accommodating each other it is definitely possible to improve the quality of your marriage or relationship.
2. You have more in common than having sex
Great sex is a wonderful thing but when physical intimacy is lacking in a relationship, it is often seen as the end. Not so – as long as you have a strong emotional and intellection bond, with patience and persistence you can each relearn how to fulfil your partner’s physical needs.
Strategies to get closer might include spending more quality time together, and focusing on communicating and destressing so you feel comfortable and relaxed in each other’s company. Add more flirting and eroticism to your day and take steps to rediscover having fun together.
3. You are both willing to make changes
We all change as we go through life, and this affects our close personal relationships. Major life events such as illness or losing a loved one, moving home, a new job, to name a few, can place additional stress on a relationship.
As long as you and your partner are able to talk with love, honesty and respect about what is happening and how it is affecting one or both of you, you can heal the rift. In a good relationship, you find ways to adapt to whatever new circumstances life brings, and deal with them together.
4. You can communicate your needs to each other
Being able and willing to communicate your unhappiness to your partner, and to listen and understand their unhappiness when they open up to you, is a key requirement for improving things between you.
If you can learn how to really hear what the other person is saying, and communicate healthily, with open minds and respectful hearts, and without allowing bitterness, jealousness or other negative feelings to get in the way, you have every chance of moving forward together.
5. You feel safe with your partner
In unhealthy relationships, a partner may manipulate the other person’s weaknesses and question their self-worth in an effort to get what they want. Of course, everybody has insecurities but if your partner generally makes you feel valued and respected and isn’t using your insecurities against you, that’s a good starting point.
In a healthy relationship, you can work on healing your insecurities yourself because your partner will do all they can to avoid triggering them. If you can both embrace each other and be kind and open with each other, then your relationship has every chance of surviving and your love can be rekindled.
At KlearMinds, couples therapy and marriage counselling can help you understand why things are not working, and what you can both do to improve your relationship and rebuild a fulfilling future together. Making the decision to go to counselling is a big step. Whether you choose to attend sessions together, or even if only one of you takes part, as long as the indicators are right it is possible to make positive, lasting improvements to your relationship. Take the first step to make your life better and get in touch.
We all love a bit of retail therapy now and again, but when you get a buzz from the act of spending itself rather than from what you’ve actually bought, and particularly if you’re regularly spending more than you can afford, you might want to stop and think about what this might mean.
Put bluntly, emotional spending has nothing to do with shopping for things you need. Instead, you turn to spending money because of how you are feeling, such as in the following situations:
- You’re feeling happy about something and you celebrate by going shopping.
- You’re feeling unhappy with yourself and cheer yourself up by going shopping.
- You’re feeling stressed about something and going shopping is a welcome distraction.
- You’re feeling less than someone else and use shopping as a way to keep up with them.
A recent study showed that 19 million UK shoppers did so for emotional reasons. Emotional spending in 2017 led to a total of £26.5 billion in credit card debt – that’s a huge problem.
So, how do you know if you’re an emotional shopper? Well, ask yourself the following questions and see if one or several of them strike a chord:
- Are you routinely trying to justify your purchases to yourself or to others?
- Do you often feel worried or anxious after a shopping spree?
- Do you make a habit out of hiding receipt, tags, shopping bags or any other shopping evidence?
- Do you own lots of things you haven’t used or worn, or in fact forgotten that you had them?
If you’re affected by emotional spending, the trick is to understand what’s going on inside you, so that you can tackle the bad money behaviour. Here are 5 emotional motivations that can cause a disconnect between you and your financial decisions.
Learn to recognise these states, or talk them through with the help of a professional counsellor, and your decisions will soon become more intelligent:
Love and belonging
Do you have a problem creating meaningful relationships? You may buy things to meet the need of ‘feeling loved’.
Play and fun
Are you a workaholic? Rather than creating a better work/life balance, you feel the need to treat yourself to an expensive toy or holiday.
Is your spending never your fault? If you feel that your life is out of control, or you want to get back at someone, spending may give you a false sense of control.
Lack of freedom
Are you feeling trapped in an unhappy relationship or job? Spending money may represent a situation where you can exercise choice.
Are you trying to fill the emptiness that sadness can bring? Whether you’re struggling to deal with a personal loss or are suffering from depression, overspending can by a symptom.
Once you’ve decided to put an end to your poor financial behaviour, there are some practical steps and techniques you can implement straight away to avoid emotional spending. These include:
- Unsubscribe from mailing lists, so you are less likely to be seduced. The same goes for store cards – cut them up and close the account.
- Never save your card details on shopping sites. The temptation to shop with just one click is far too great.
- When shopping online, ask yourself whether you intended to buy the item when you first entered the website, how much you need it and how you would justify the purchase to someone else.
- When you go shopping, set yourself a firm budget and take the money with you in cash, leaving cards at home.
- Identify your triggers and devise alternative strategies to deal with the emotion that doesn’t involve spending.
- As a last ditch resort, use the 24 hour rule: Wait for a full day and see whether you still really want to buy the item before making a purchase.
If you feel that it would be beneficial to speak to an experience and sympathetic counsellor about your emotional spending habits, please call the team at KlearMinds in confidence or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our expert psychoanalysts, life coaches and counsellors are powerfully equipped to give you the best opportunity for positive results and help you achieve fast, lasting change.
We all deserve to feel safe, loved and happy in a romantic relationship but sometimes it’s not as straightforward as all that. But how can you tell whether your relationship is a healthy one or whether it’s time to say goodbye?
Most of the time, this is not a clear cut issue. Relationships are complex webs of human interaction and problems may develop slowly, over many months or years, possibly without you or your partner even realising. However, once the feeling sets in that ‘something isn’t right’, that’s when an experienced relationship therapist may be invaluable to help you understand what’s going on.
Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?
Fighting too much
It’s normal to have arguments but as you get to know each other, you would expect there to be a progression towards better understanding and communication. If you keep going round in circles arguing with each other, possibly over the same thing, there may be a problem. Poor communication that never improves is toxic, stopping the relationship from moving forward.
Walking on eggshells
Is your partner dominating or controlling? This doesn’t necessarily have to involve threats of violence. It could be that you’re nervous and afraid of your partner’s emotional reactions, and change your views or behaviour to make sure s/he doesn’t get upset. Or perhaps your partner chooses what you wear, how you spend money or who your friends are? Manipulative behaviour is not the sign of a healthy relationship.
Wishing your were home alone
Do you find yourself wishing that your partner wasn’t around? Do you have more fun on your own? If you prefer spending the evening home alone while encouraging him to go to the pub, or you increasingly socialise independent of each other, all may not be well at home. With tensions building while you’re together, you may start to realise that life would be happier on your own.
Constant power games
In a good relationship, the balance of power is evenly distributed; there’s plenty of give and take so that both parties feel that their voice is heard. However, if one partner feels powerless or disenfranchised, they may try to redress the balance by inadvertently upsetting the proverbial apple cart. Suddenly, the relationship feels on edge, destabilised and uprooted, upsetting both partners.
Positive communication is key in any relationship – you need to be able to talk about important issues to move your relationship forward. But what if your partner refuses to talk about the big stuff such as moving home, getting married, having a baby? Blocking the possibility of talking about the future means the relationship is stuck in the present, which could be a toxic situation.
People change and the secret of a long-term relationship is to keep adapting to each other and still make it work. If you find yourself thinking that ‘this isn’t how it used to be’, ‘this doesn’t feel good anymore’ or ‘this isn’t what I signed up for’, then perhaps what was once a good relationship has turned bad. Can you bring the good times back?
If you’re tired of feeling stuck, lonely or unhappy in your current relationship, seeing a relationship counsellor may help. At KlearMinds, we can show you simple steps you can take to improve your relationship difficulties, giving you plenty of advice and active strategies to help you achieve the improvements you want. Contact KlearMinds today on 0333 772 0256 for a confidential chat to see how we can help.
There may be many reasons why your love is on the rocks. However, if things between you and your spouse or partner are not going well, it’s not always obvious to see what the underlying problems are. How serious are the issues? Is it just a temporary blip or is it terminal? Should you stay and make it work or cut your losses and leave?
It’s important to understand that most serious relationship problems occur around the same themes. So if you recognise any of these in your marriage or partnership, it’s high time to take action to improve your relationship.
In any relationship, it’s completely normal to have arguments and disagreements. However, when a person is criticised for the person s/he is and a relationship problem is staged as a character flaw in a partner, it’s hard to move past that. If one or both of you provoke arguments and then look for reasons not to forgive the other person, that is a big problem you need to work on.
Contempt is the number one predictor of breakups. If left unchecked, negative behaviour such as finger pointing, insults, sarcasm and talking down to your partner will chip away at the very foundation of your relationship over time. If one or both partners are unwilling to soften the conversation and inject some positive emotions into the relationship, there’s little point in being together.
Lack of sexual desire
For most people, having a mutually fulfilling sex life is an essential part of any good long-term relationship. If one partner has a much lower sex drive or shows little interest in wanting to be intimated, this needs to be addressed urgently. A marriage or partnership without sex could be a deal breaker.
Commitment and exclusivity are the foundation stones of a long-term partnership. Being in a relationship with someone who cheats on you is tough. It is possible for both of you to work through the infidelity with honesty and forgiveness and a promise to put it behind you. However, chronic infidelity and broken promises are much harder to fix.
Lack of communication
Sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings about each other is what gives each partner reassurance. But if one partner shuts down emotionally or is unable to open up, it’s much harder to connect. How can you deal with relationship problems if one of you keeps it all bottled up? Communications skills can be learnt; it’s essential to keep talking to each other so you don’t drift apart.
When relationships go wrong, it can be the hardest thing. Are you fed up with constant misunderstandings or arguments? Do you feel as if you’re doing all the relationship work? Are you drifting apart? Has the spark gone?
Whatever relationship or marriage problems you may be facing, often it’s our communication skills that are letting us down. That’s where relationship counselling can make a real difference. Experienced therapists can help you understand the underlying issues while teaching you the tools to make progress.
According to the 1990s blockbuster The 5 Love Languages, there are in fact 5 ways that we express and receive love. The book may be a perennial favourite on the pop psych shelves, but there’s no harm in taking a closer look at the advice given: learn to speak and understand your and your partner’s main ‘love language’ and not only will you communicate better, your relationship will improve as a result.