My favorite quote on forgiveness , “Mistakes are always forgivable if
they are admitted”. ( Bruce Lee). When you find yourself in the
position of apologizing to you partner, remember to acknowledge
are apologizing for. Never say, ” I am sorry you got hurt”, or ” I know
you are sensitive”. Those are neither sincere or believable. Be direct
and say, ” I am sorry that I forgot to pick you up for work and you
stood out in the rain, that must have been miserable”. It doesn’t
matter whether your actions were accidental. The important
piece is that your partner got hurt.
In my practice, I have seen on several occasions instances in which an older sister will try to undermine her younger brother’s romantic relationships . Sometimes this can show itself by rudeness whenever the girlfriend or wife is around. Or it can begin when there are family events planned and the wife or girlfriend is not included.
This often happens in families in which the sister at some time in the brother’s childhood was made to take a maternal role due to the mother’s death or illness or even neglect. In this family dynamic the younger brother is never seen as grown up whether he is 19 or 49, the sister assumes she knows best. She has taken on the role as her brother’s protector even when he has long outgrown the need of a protector.
Often the brother feels torn between his girlfriend and his sister and family members. Even though he know that he should stand up for her and let his family know that his romantic choices are his alone to make, this may not be behavior that he is used to. However it is important for the family to be told that they must be cordial and polite and inclusive of the brother’s wife or girlfriend. Once they know that he is going to stand up to them, most often they will back down and start the acceptance process. In the mean time, its important the the wife/girlfriend understand that the behavior was not meant to be malicious but simply was a way to protect the “little brother” of the family.
In my private practice in Burbank, Ca, I often hear couple’s complaining that their partner will no longer have sex with them. For some couple’s this time of no sex can last for months or even years. The partner who is no longer interested is often the female in the relationship, but not always. About 15% of the time it is the male.
Research shows that touch, hugs, kisses and sexual intercourse are important components in keeping couples emotionally close. When sex seems to have gone away, I advise couples to continue to shower together, to give each other massages and back rubs. When sitting on the sofa watching television, make it a point to touch. Stay connected to each other’s bodies even if intercourse is not happening. This will go a long way in protecting your relationship over the “dry” spells.
Jeannette York, LMFT 818.200.9513
Contact Jeannette York, LMFT for premarital counseling. (818.200.9513) Topics included are money, parenting, traditions, religion, sex, families, finances, Facebook, and other topics that the couple determines are important.
The word Co-Dependent gets thrown around quite a bit these days. Often we hear about parents and Adult children in co-dependent relationships. The definition of co-dependence is excessive emotional dependence on another person. The part of the word that is “Co” is that the excessive dependence goes both ways but shows itself in different forms but really two sides of the same coin.
For example, a husband is dictated to by his wife. She demands to know where he is going at all times and where he is at all times. The wife controls the husbands where bouts and controls the money in the relationship. Sounds sad for the husband, right? The Co dependency comes in when the husband begins to ask the wife when and if he can go certain places or he “sneaks out” like a little boy. This couple has entered into a relationship in which the husband on some level is dependent on the wife to manage his life and the wife is emotionally dependent on the husband to behave like a son (child) and not a grown man. In healthy adult relationships, adults do not tell adults what to do.
I often hear one member of a couple say that their partner’s sudden anger is the most challenging roadblock to creating a loving relationship. The couple is generally having a “normal” conversation when out of what seems like nowhere one of them explodes with anger. This leaves the other partner feeling confused, hurt, unsafe and distrustful. The partner who has become activated is convinced their significant other, has deliberately said or done something to hurt or disrespect them.
Anger that happens suddenly and with very little provocation often has very little to do with what is happening in the moment. This type of “eggshell” encounter is when an unresolved hurt from very early in life is triggered in the present. It may seem as if your partner is deliberately trying to cause a fight. However you or they may unknowingly be responding to past family circumstances when you felt helpless or ignored and were unable to fight back.
Ask yourself what your triggers are? What are your partner’s triggers? Examples are feeling disrespected, ignored, not heard, helpless. Start to be aware of when you have these feelings. Learn to replace the anger that surfaces with statements that identify the feeling. “I feel helpless”. “I feel ignored”. Keep in mind that this does not mean that your partner is ignoring your or that they are intentionally trying to take away your power, however it is important to state that this is the feeling that you are having. Together try to find ways that each of you can express yourself and learn to separate what is happening between your and your partner in the present from the past.