Monday, December 16, 2013

Austin-Cheating/Adultery/Affairs--Getting Caught

 Getting Caught Cheating

Because my specialization for the last 20 years has been cheating, I think I've heard possibly every story in the book. But when I received this joke from a friend of mine, I got to thinking maybe I haven't heard it all. One thing is for sure. Rarely do I have a couple come in saying the "cheater" had a guilty conscience and wanted to come clean. Usually the reason the affair comes to light is because the "cheater" got caught. And the ways they get caught can boggle the mind. Technology has made it very easy to catch the "cheater." But many times people are caught simply because they believe they can get away with cheating. And add to that the fact that people are just more savvy about cheating.

A man calls home to his wife and says, "Honey, I've been invited to fly to Canada with my boss and several of his friends to go fishing, for the long weekend. This is a good opportunity for me to get that promotion I've been wanting, so could you please pack enough clothes for a three-day weekend. And also, would you get out my rod and tackle box from the attic? We're leaving at 4:30 pm from the office and I'll swing by the house to pick-up my things. Oh! And please pack my new navy blue silk pajamas.”
The wife thinks this sounds a bit odd, but, being the good wife, she does exactly what her husband asked.
Following the long weekend he returns home a little tired, but, otherwise, looking good. The wife welcomes him home and asks if he caught many fish?
He says, “ Yes! Lots of walleyes, some bass, and a few pike. ” "But", he said, "why didn't you pack my new blue silk pajamas, like I asked you to do? ”
You'll love the answer.
The wife replies, "I did -- they're in your tackle box".

If you're dealing with an unfaithful partner, I can help. I can be reached at 512-795-0402. You can find me at my Mariposa Psychotherapy Services 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How to Fall in Love AGAIN

I frequently have a couple come in and one or both of the individuals are concerned about the fact that they aren't "in love" anymore. Many people believe that this is a sign that the marriage is over. That couldn't be further from the true.

If you talk to happily, married couples who have been married over long periods of time, i.e. 20 or 30 years, they will tell you that the feeling of being in love comes and goes and if you put it on a graph, it would look a lot like a sign wave. That feeling of being in love can be influenced by many things such as stress, the need to hyper focus on something outside the marriage, illness etc.

When I explain this to most couples, they often say they miss that feeling of being in love. Of course, you can only experience that initial feeling of being in love once, because one of the contributing factors to that state is the newness of the relationship. It's a time of heightened awareness and discovery. But you can experience something closely related and something that feels even better than the "high" because it includes the comfort of knowing and trusting your partner. The "high" isn't quite as high, but the feeling of "love" is much more loving.

So the next question from most couples to me is usually is, how do you fall in love again? The "in love" feeling occurs at any time because there is a very focused attention on another person in which you ignore or minimize their flaws. Judgement of the person is suspended and 3 things occur.

1. You're working hard to try to know and understand your partner. You have a deep curiosity about your partner, who they are and what they are all about.

2. You're looking for reasons to like and admire your partner and are giving them feedback about what you see.

3. You are making efforts to engage and connect with your partner.

Here are a few of the things you might do to recapture the feeling of being in love.

1. Unexpectedly, call your partner and tell them you love them and are thinking about them and/or tell them some of the reasons you appreciate them.
2.  Look at your partner as if it was the first time you ever saw them and/or as if it was the last time you will ever see them.
3.  Reminisce about a special time the two of you had together.
4.  Surprise your partner--leave an "I love you" note in an unexpected place--anything that is unexpected and is just for their enjoyment.
5.  Do some of the things you did to woo your partner when you first met.
6.  People who are in love are playful and usually become great playmates. Bring that back to your relationship if it has disappeared.

Falling in love again doesn't take big, extravagant gestures, like running off to Paris. It's the small things that we can do often that bring back those feelings.

If you and your partner need help with your relationship, you can reach me at 512-795-0402 or go to my website.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Building Trust in a Relationship

Six Major Deposits that Build the Emotional Bank Account
(How to Build Trust in a Relationship)

  1. Work on understanding the other person.
    • What is important to the other person must be as important to you as the other person is to you.
    • True understanding of others requires that you listen for understanding not in order to respond.
  2. Attend to the little things.
    • Little kindnesses and courtesies as well as little discourtesies and unkindnesses are important.
    • In relationships, the little things are the big things.
  3. Keeping commitments
    • Keeping a commitment or a promise is a major deposit; breaking one is a major withdrawal.
    • Being unwilling to make any commitments is as much a withdrawal as making them and not keeping them.
  4. Clarifying expectations
    • The cause of almost all relationship difficulties is rooted in conflicting or ambiguous expectations around roles and goals.
    • You make deposits when you make expectations clear and explicit in the beginning.
  5. Showing personal integrity
    • Integrity includes but goes beyond honesty. Honesty is telling the truth — in other words, conforming our words to reality.
    • Integrity is conforming reality to our words — in other words, keeping promises and fulfilling expectations.
  6. Apologizing sincerely when you make a withdrawal
    • Sincere apologies make deposits.
    • Repeated apologies interpreted as insincere make withdrawals.
Excerpted from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mariposa and Carolyn Contribute to Google+ on Mental Health Issues

Through the magic of social networking, mental health information will now be shared on my Google+ page . You will find more information on anxiety, depression, trauma and couples' issues. We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Premarital Bliss: Being In Love is Necessary But Not Sufficient

Relationships go through 3 stages:
  1. The In-Love Stage--You see all of the good in your partner and the relationship. If there is anything negative or bad, you minimize it or ignore it.
  2. The Disillusionment Stages--You've been with your partner long enough to see all their warts and bad habit and all the problems in the relationship. You see all of the bad and if there is any good you minimize it or ignore it. If unprepared, it is very common for couples who come to this stage, to think it's time for a divorce.
  3. The Working Stage--You've seen the good and the bad in your partner and the relationship. You and your partner are working to increase all the good things about yourself and the relationship and you recognize there are things that aren't so good. You're both working to minimize the bad and/or accept that some things aren't going to change. This stage cements the commitment to the marriage and depends the love and devotion. This is the stage that carries couples to "forever."
Couples who come in for premarital counseling and are still in the "in-love" stage often find it hard to believe they will ever have any significant problems. When I say, "There will come a day when you will look at your partner and think, 'What have I done?,' they often don't believe me. They tell me how in love they are, how perfect they are for each other, how much they have in common and how they are different from most couples because they are soulmates. When I explain that every couple goes through the disillusionment stage, that it's part of relationship maturation, these couples often continue to be skeptical. And that's OK.

The In-Love Stage is a delightful place to be. Most of us have been there at least once. Who would ever want to move out of this stage? But, inevitably, we all do. And for couples who haven't experienced the Disillusionment Stage yet, premarital counseling has prepared them. When that time comes, they will be less shocked and alarmed. Thinking back to the premarital counseling, they are more likely to normalize what they are experiencing and say, "Oh, now I get it. I guess we've got work to do on our marriage," instead of thinking, "This means we need to get a divorce."

If you're planning to marry soon, know that according to research, you are half as likely to divorce if you do premarital counseling before the wedding. If you are interested in premarital counseling, you can reach me at 512-795-002 or go to my website.  



Friday, April 5, 2013

Wedding Bell Blues

In 1969 The Fifth Dimension sang this song with Marilyn McCoo asking, "Bill, when are you going to marry me?"

Frequently in my pre-engagement counseling with couples this is the issue. One person wants a commitment and the other is ambivalent or afraid to commit. Endless books have been written on the issue of "fear of commitment." But here's my take on what usually is happening.

In processing with couples, inevitably, the partner who is ready to commit will eventually find themselves asking their partner, subtly or blatantly, "Am I not good enough for you?" Often, that's not the issue. Too often it is the non-committing partner who doesn't feel good enough, worthy, or confident that they can be a good partner in marriage.

As I work with these couples, there is this magic moment when the non-committing partner gets it that their is a skill set for making a marriage work and that learning that skill set is achievable. I call this a magic moment because I witness the light bulb going off in the partner's head and hope spreading across their face.

I believe the non-committing partner is the canary in the coal mine. Marriage is scary. Deciding to stay together forever is daunting. It's natural to be fearful. The partner ready to commit often is overly confident, hoping their positive attitude and optimism will rub off on the non-committing partner. But relationships are always trying to stay in balance. One partner goes to an extreme and to keep things on a even keel, the other partner will go to the other extreme.

This balancing act is an amazing thing to watch in therapy. As the non-committing partner begins to move toward the middle and be more confident about getting married, the partner ready to commit begins to move to the middle and experience their own fears about getting married. At this point, the power struggle is over and the couple can finally start working together to plan a future together.

If this scenario sounds to familiar and you would like to work together as couple to figure out your future, you can reach me at 512-795-0402 or go to my website for more information.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why Did They Cheat?: Making Sense of An Affair

Inevitability, everytime I work with a couple who's marriage is in crisis due of infidelity, this question comes up. The most common answers of the betrayer is either, "I don't know," or some form of blaming their partner. It's an important question, but it's rarely easy to get to the answer. The betrayed partner has a high need to understand how the affair happened and often has a hard time articulating why it is so important to understand how their partner took the path of cheating.

The question is an important one. The answer informs the steps needed to keep it from happening again. In order for a betrayed partner to rebuild trust, they need for the betraying partner to learn how to "affair-proof" their relationship. Let's use Jack and Jill, two of my clients, as an example. Jack gives one reason for the cheating, "I was traveling and got lonely." My question, "There are a lot of ways, good and bad, of dealing with loneliness. Why that path?" Jack says, "When I travel to Asia, it feels like I'm completely disconnected from the rest of my life. It feels like I have two completely separate lives." At this point, I begin helping the couple problem solve ways of staying connected when the two are on the opposite sides of the world.

Jack might have given a different answer, "Jill never wants to spend time with me. She's too busy with the kids." It would be important for both Jack and Jill to understand that it is never the betrayed partner's fault that the cheating occurred. No matter what the circumstances, Jack, consciously or unconsciously, made the decision to cheat and took the actions. Jill may have some responsibility for Jack's unhappiness in the marriage, and it is important for her to acknowledge her part in his dissatisfaction of the marriage, but Jill has no responsibility for the choices Jack made.

Rarely is there just one contributing factor to infidelity. And many times it is the perfect storm of many elements, each of which needs to be examined and new strategies and habits formed in order to protect the relationship from future betrayal.

If your relationship/marriage is suffering from the immediate or lingering effects of cheating, you can reach me at 512-795-0402 or visit my website for more information about infidelity, affair, and cheating

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

9 Stress Myths, Busted

Today's Huffington Post gives us new insights into the most resent research in the area of stress. Understanding these 9 ideas can signicantly help you identify ways of managing your stress more effectively.

If stress is a problem in your life, working with a therapist can help. You can reach Carolyn C. Martin at 512-795-0402 or go to Mariposa Psychotherapy Services for more information.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Four Advanced Skills for Relationship Communication

In Dr. John Gottman's research, he found that happy, stable couples do the following 4 things in order to keep conflicts from escalating and to have clear communication.

1. They used a "softened start up." The first 3 minutes of a conflict will determine how well the discussion will proceed. If problems are raised with criticism, the discussion tends to every quickly go downhill and relationship satisfaction decreases.

2. Accept influence: understand your partner's way of thinking. In every conflict there are two points of view and two realities. Both realities are right. Hold your views while hearing, accepting and acknowledging your partner's view. Get out of the mindset of who's right and who's wrong.

3. Repair blunders. In the heat of a conflict emotions can escalate. Work toward being respectful of your partner and his/her views, but if you make a blunder, clean up your mess.

4. Compromise. Work just as hard at helping your partner get their needs met in a conflict as you do at getting your needs met.

If you believe you and your partner could use some work in the area of conflict management, you can reach me at 512-795-0402 or go to my website