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Healing your relationship after an affair
If you’ve had an affair, there may be a question mark hanging over your entire relationship. If you and your partner have decided to work things out, the following tips can help you both to overcome the effects of the affair and start moving on together. When you first admit to your partner that you’ve had an affair, it’s natural for them to feel lost and confused. Their safe connection with you has been threatened, and it can lead to a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. They may feel angry and behave aggressively or they may shut down and be unable to communicate with you at all [1]. Affairs leave people feeling emotionally vulnerable, so your partner may become insecure and clingy to protect the relationship [2]. They may repeatedly ask for reassurance that you love them and are still committed to the relationship. Try not to get frustrated - give your partner time to react to the news without criticising them. After the initial shock and rollercoaster of emotions have died down, you and your partner can both begin thinking about how and why things went wrong in the relationship and how you might move beyond the problem [3]. Revealing an affair can cause your partner to become extremely aware of your behaviour in the relationship and they may start to analyse and judge your actions [1]. They may become more suspicious of you, even when you are behaving normally. For example, if you are trying to be considerate and leave the room to answer your phone, your partner may worry that you are trying to talk to someone in secret [4]. How can I help us move on? One of the best things you can do is try to understand your partner’s point of view. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, even if it hurts to hear. It is also important for you to communicate your own feelings. You will both need to find ways to overcome the mistrust. For example, you may consider sharing the password to your Facebook account or giving your partner access to your phone. These things will only work if the decisions are made together, so make sure you discuss these ideas thoroughly and come up with a plan that works for both of you [4]. As well as talking things through together, several studies suggest that couple therapy can be an effective way of coming to terms with an affair and moving on together [5] [6]. In a recent study, couples who had successfully dealt with an affair recommended seeking support from people outside of the relationship, as well as talking and listening to each other. References [1] Oka, M., Sandberg, J. G., Bradford, A. B., & Brown, A. (2014). Insecure attachment behavior and partner violence: Incorporating couple perceptions of insecure attachment and relational aggression. Journal of marital and family therapy, 40(4), 412-429. [2] Johnson, S., Makinen, J. A., & Milliken, J. (2001). Attachment injuries in couples relationships: A new perspective on impasses in couples therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 27(2), 145–155. [3] Olson, M. M., Russell, C. S., Higgins‐Kessler, M., & Miller, R. B. (2002). Emotional processes following disclosure of an extramarital affair. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28(4), 423-434 [4] Brimhall, A. S., Miller, B. J., Maxwell, K. A., & Alotaiby, A. M. (2016). Does it help or hinder? Technology and its role in healing post affair. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 1-19. [5] Dunn, R. L., & Schwebel, A. I. (1995). Meta-analytic review of marital therapy outcome research. Journal of Family Psychology, 9(1), 58-68. [6] Baucom, D. H., Shoham, V., Mueser, K. T., Daiuto, A. D., & Stickle, T. R. (1998). Empirically supported couple and family interventions for marital distress and adult mental health problems. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66, 53– 88.
Article | cheating, counselling
If trust was broken by a previous partner
What am I up against? If someone put your heart in a blender during your last relationship by either cheating on you or breaking your trust, it can be hard to trust someone else with your (now-liquefied) heart. If that’s you, you’re not alone – betrayal tends to have this effect. A betrayal teaches you to be cautious and reminds you that your trust is breakable. When dating or starting a new relationship, try to bear in mind that any potential partner deserves a clean slate and a fresh chance to earn your trust. How can I deal with it? Try not to test them A very important element of any relationship is the demonstration of commitment [1]. But seeing as you’re just dating (which is considered by most as a BETA test for a relationship), you can’t expect them to provide those signs of commitment yet. If they haven’t made any promises to you or committed themselves to you, then you’re not yet in a position to expect loyalty or faithfulness. Be aware of your own vulnerability and emotions When people feel betrayed, they’re often left with a sense of vulnerability and weakness – sometimes long after the thing happens. But, by coming to terms with how that betrayal has affected you, you’ll be in a much better place to start dating. You’re that much more aware of things like your own self-esteem, your sensitivities, the affirmation you need, the need for exclusivity, etc. For example, you may recognise that moving slowly is good for you, or you may decide that you’re not ready to date at this time. Consider letting your date know If you decide to tell your date that you’ve been hurt in a previous relationship, try not to place any expectation on them to heal you. Rather, tell them that you’re working on it. If they choose to be supportive, then great. This becomes you two against the trust issue, rather than one person on their own dealing with an issue that affects both parties. Couples who refer to themselves as “we” more than “I” or “you” are better equipped to deal with conflict resolution and positive problem solving solutions [2].  Give yourself some time It’s natural to want to push forward into the new and leave the old behind. Past might be past, but (to quote The Lion King) the past can hurt. So allow some healing space, and take it slow with anyone new. If they don’t take the time to understand and be supportive of your choice of pace in the early days, this could be a warning sign about the future prospects of the relationship. References [1] Gabb, Klett-Davies, Fink, & Thomae, 2013; Reynolds, Houlston, & Coleman, 2014 [2] Simmons, Gordon, & Chambless, 2005
Article | breakups, trust, YPc
Dealing with jealousy when it first starts
What am I up against? Jealousy is renowned for its negative power. Everyone has felt it swell up inside them at some point or another, and although short bursts of it can remind you how much you care for someone, prolonged jealousy can be harmful to a relationship. How it manifests and how it’s triggered will vary from person to person. But one research study has found that, generally speaking, the triggers between men and women are profoundly different. “Young men on average fear their partner having sex with someone else, whereas young women on average fear their partner falling in love with someone else". (Groothof, Dijkstra, & Barelds, 2009) How do I deal with it? Trust is slowly earned and quickly broken If you’re feeling a lack of trust between you and your partner at the start of the relationship, it may just be that trust still needs time to be established. If one or both of you have been hurt in previous relationships, it may take longer still. Being in a relationship is risky for anyone– everyone is quite aware they can get hurt even if they’ve not been hurt before. If you’re dealing with past betrayals, it’s easy to get stuck with memories of what went wrong. A partner can assist with this healing process, but it shouldn’t become their responsibility to ‘fix’ the other person. When jealousy triggers control, take caution When you enter into new relationships with past betrayals inflicted by ex-partners, there are a few ways you can play it. You may choose to tell your partner about your previous betrayal, and allow them to earn your trust while working it through with honesty and sensitivity. Of course, it’s possible to have a balanced relationship without mentioning the past betrayal, as long as you treat your partner with respect. Where the jealousy gremlin does the most damage is when you seek to control the other person, to appease your uneasy feelings. Be very wary of exhibiting controlling behaviour. Be mindful of online social networks Social networks like Facebook can crack open a window into what you’re doing, who you’re flirting with, and even where you are.  One study (Muise et al, 2009) argues that the wealth of information about our partners can contribute to an increase of jealousy. Research also shows that women are more likely than men to monitor their partners’ profiles.  If you think you're detecting flirtation on your partner's activity, stop and give yourself a minute. Come off the social network, clear your head (maybe make a cup of tea or something), and return to it. If you still think there's a lot of flirtation going on, ask a friend who is neutral and doesn't revel in drama to give you an outsider’s perspective. You might find that you’re overreacting to something quite harmless. Text is easy to misread. Equally, if you think your own social network activity might trigger jealousy in your new partner, just be mindful of how your interactions and statuses may appear. You may well be perfectly innocent but there’s no harm in being considerate and thinking about how your words and pictures may come across to others. Keep an open and honest dialogue Talking to each other about what bothers you and giving each other a chance to respond can be hugely helpful for both sides. It’s useful to talk about things you have noticed and don’t like, rather than allowing a catalogue of complaints to build up in the back of your minds. Also, remember to talk about what boundaries you would like to have in place. Being clear about what you do and don’t find acceptable lets your partner make an informed choice about how they behave and how it might affect you. Accept what you cannot control Although it's not easy, it’s possible to ease jealousy by simply accepting that it’s not your job to control someone else’s behaviour. Your partner will make friends both online and offline, they will likely have drinks with colleagues and share jokes with attractive people from time to time. This is where trust comes in. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, in the same way you hope they will do for you.     Remember that jealousy isn’t pretty Another problem with jealousy is that it’s rarely attractive. You wouldn’t write a dating profile that says: “I go to the gym three times a week and I’m the jealous type”. Jealousy tends to come hand-in-hand with neediness, insecurity, and emotional baggage.  While some reports say jealousy can make for more intimate and passionate sexual encounters, there’s little evidence to suggest that it’s helpful for maintaining a healthy long-term relationship. If your partner is struggling with jealousy, turn your attention to supporting them and building up that trust.
Article | jealousy, YPc
Cyber snooping and stalking
What am I up against? Most of us walk around with little computers in our pockets, broadcasting our lives and even our whereabouts. And while this is indeed a marvel, it’s also how cyber snooping and cyber stalking are afforded to us. A study carried out in Amsterdam [1] suggests that the wealth of information available to us about our partners creates a strong temptation to snoop, which in turn can exacerbate jealousy issues. Cyber snooping can include monitoring a partner’s Facebook, keeping tabs on their movements via Foursquare, or even tracking them via GPS. Whatever form it takes, it’s usually unhelpful for a relationship. How do I deal with it? 1. Assess why this might be happening If you or your partner are struggling with cyber snooping, it might be tempting to call it insecurity, but the cause may be more complicated than that. If one of you has had experience of trust being broken, or an ex-partner who was secretive or manipulative, this can increase the need to try and control a partner. Experiences from childhood, such as a parental separation following an affair, can also have huge effects on people’s behaviours, attitudes, and ideas about what constitutes ‘normal’. We often refer to these buried causes as hidden issues, and such issues need to be uncovered by the person who has them. 2. If you’re the one snooping Although it's not easy, you can ease the need to monitor your partner's activity by accepting that you cannot observe all of their behaviour. Your partner will make friends both online and offline, they will likely have drinks with people after work and share jokes with attractive people from time to time. You can’t control what happens offline, so don’t bother trying to control it online. It’ll only feed your need for more control which you ultimately don’t have (and can lead to controlling behaviours). This is where trust comes in. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, in the same way you hope they will do for you. If you think you're detecting flirtation on your partner's activity, stop and give yourself a minute. Come off the social network, clear your head (maybe make a cup of tea or something), and return to it. If you still think there's a lot of flirtation going on, ask a friend who is neutral and doesn't revel in drama to give you an outsider’s perspective. You might find that you’re overreacting to something quite harmless. Text is easy to misread. 3. If they‘re doing the snooping If your partner’s cyber spying is affecting you, it might be worth having a conversation about how it makes you feel. For best results, try not to be accusatory. Take an interest in what they’re saying, even if they become defensive.  You might learn an entirely new reason for their snooping. Perhaps they’re uncomfortable with you being friends with your ex on social media, or maybe they find your photos a little inappropriate. It may be that you can make a compromise here. Equally, if you think your own social network activity might trigger jealousy in your new partner, just be mindful of how your interactions and statuses may appear. You may well be perfectly innocent but there’s no harm in being considerate and thinking about how your words and pictures may come across to others. 4. Remove temptation If you or your partner are struggling to stop checking Facebook, refreshing the GPS signal, or chasing each other’s social trails, then consider deleting the apps and restricting the time spent online. It might seem a bit drastic, but it could turn out to be quite freeing; by removing yourself from a situation that isn’t doing you any good, you’re giving your relationship a chance to grow.
Article | jealousy, social media, YPc
How can I deal with jealousy?
Jealousy can be a strange and powerful feeling. It’s closely linked to self-esteem [1] and may reflect how confident you feel in your relationship [2]. The more confident you are that your partner is committed to you, the less you’ll worry about them leaving you. If you’re not secure in the relationship, then it may not take much to set off your jealous feelings.  Jealousy itself won’t necessarily do your relationship any harm [2], but acting on jealous feelings can be very destructive [3]. Left unchecked, jealously can lead to behaviour that you might not be proud of – seeking constant reassurance, making accusations, becoming possessive, and even threatening to break up [4]. The following tips can help you boost your self-esteem, increase your confidence, and start to deal with your jealousy. Accept the jealousy The next time you feel jealous, remember that it’s just a feeling and you don’t have to act on it. This might not be easy – if your usual responses have become ingrained over the years, it might take you a few goes to change things. Breathe slowly, and notice the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. You may feel angry or anxious – that’s OK. Just accept that it’s happening and give yourself a chance to reflect before you act. Talk to your partner When difficult feelings come up, it’s usually easier to deal with them straight away [5]. Talk to your partner and try to focus on describing your own feelings, rather than their behaviour. Let go of blame, and explain to your partner that you sometimes get upset or worried about losing them. Be clear that you’re not asking them to change anything, but that you’re trying to deal with some unpleasant feelings. Listen Give your partner a chance to respond. You may find it helpful to ask what would be the best way for you to talk about similar feelings in the future, so you can build up your own way of communicating about your feelings as a couple. Tackle negative thinking Like other forms of worry, jealousy can lead you to focus on the negative, and misinterpret your partner’s behaviour. Remember that your jealous thoughts don’t necessarily reflect reality – you may think your partner is interested in someone else, but that doesn’t make it true. Take some time to reflect on the deeper feelings behind your jealousy. If you are truly afraid of losing your partner, ask yourself why your confidence has been rocked, and what you can do about it. Tackle your assumptions Sometimes when we have low self-esteem, we can read meaning into things that have nothing to do with us. If we’re feeling down, we might see someone yawn and assume it’s because they find us boring when, really, they might just be tired. The same can happen in your relationship. When something happens that makes you feel jealous, ask yourself what else might be going on. Sometimes people dress up to feel more confident amongst their peers, and not to attract a new partner! Develop your communication skills You can improve your confidence in the relationship by working on your communication skills with your partner. Make a habit of praising each other, planning fun experiences together, and being on the lookout for positive behaviour from each other. Over time, this can help boost your self-esteem and strengthen your relationship. Accept uncertainty You can never know for sure that your partner won’t leave you. It’s instinctive to want to protect yourself from the fear of rejection, but uncertainty is a part of life and a part of every relationship. When you accept this, it can give you a new sense of freedom to stop worrying about what your relationship might become, and get back to enjoying what it is. References [1] DeSteno, D., Valdesolo, P., Bartlett, M. Y. (2006). Jealousy and the Threatened Self: Getting to the Heart of the Green-Eyed Monster. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91 (4), pp.626-641. [2] Sheets, L.V., Fredendall, L.L., & Claypool, H. M. (1997). Jealousy Evocation, Partner Reassurance, and Relationship Stability: An Exploration of the Potential Benefits of Jealousy. Evolution and Human Behavior, 18 (6), 387-402. [3] White, G.L., & Mullen, P.E. (1989). Jealousy: Theory, Research, and Clinical Strategies. Guildford, New York. [4] Carson, C. L., & Cupach, W. R. (2000). Fueling the flames of the green eyed monster: The role of ruminative thought in reaction to romantic jealousy. Western Journal of Communication, 64, 308–329.  [5] Theiss, J. A. and Solomon, D. H. (2006). Coupling Longitudinal Data and Multilevel Modeling to Examine the Antecedents and Consequences of Jealousy Experiences in Romantic Relationships: A Test of the Relational Turbulence Model. Human Communication Research, 32: 469–503.
Article | jealousy, trust
0 4 min read
Jealousy and affairs
Most of us experience feelings of jealousy in our relationship from time to time. Sometimes, it’s just a fleeting feeling that’s easy enough to let go of; other times, jealousy can take hold, settle in, and turn to anxiety. Mild feelings of jealousy can be useful. A little bit of jealousy might remind you not to take your partner for granted – but when jealousy won’t let go, it can become extreme or obsessive. Jealousy, left unchecked, can ruin a relationship. Where does jealousy come from? Often, it's linked to something in your past which has left you with a sense of insecurity. If you're insecure in your relationship and very dependent on your partner, then you may have more triggers and be more likely to become jealous. You may find it helpful to explore where your feelings of insecurity come from. If it’s something you’re able to identify, try to accept and own it. Have an honest conversation with your partner about your insecurities, and explain that you’re trying to work through them. Affairs People have affairs for a variety of reasons. It isn’t always about sex, but an affair is usually a sign that something in the relationship is not right. An affair is a breach of trust between partners. Trust is essential in any relationship, and it's often taken for granted. Finding out that your partner has had an affair can be a huge shock. If your partner has had an affair, you may feel insecure and jealous for a long time. You may choose to end the relationship but if you and your partner both want to try and repair the damage, it’s likely to take some time before you feel confident in your partner again. There’s no set time on how long it will take to rebuild your relationship, but it is possible to recover if you’re both willing to move on from the affair and work on the underlying issues. Many relationships do survive affairs and can sometimes end up being stronger over time. As time passes, trust can be restored and you may find yourself feeling more secure in your relationship. An affair will nearly always bring about a change in a relationship, but it doesn't always spell the end.
Article | jealousy, trust
0 3 min read
“Girlfriend cheated, I can't get over it”
I met the perfect girl about two years ago who ended up being my first love and first serious relationship. She became my girlfriend, my best friend, my EVERYTHING! Then almost a year into the relationship I was going through some stuff that made me very stressed out and less available to spend quality time, which put a huge strain on our relationship. My girlfriend began to go out with her friends all of the time and I never thought anything of it because I trusted her and was busy myself so I wanted her to have fun. One day later on down the line I see a picture that she was tagged in on Facebook with this guy behind her dancing with her. We had a rule that we wouldn't dance with anyone else and when I questioned her she said they took the picture right when he got behind her to dance with her... Being the (dumb) trusting boyfriend, I accepted what she said without question and just asked her to remove the picture. Then a couple of weeks later, she had a falling out with her roommate who supposedly posted that my girlfriend cheated on me on Facebook and my girlfriend told me about it and how it wasn't true and being once again the (stupid) trusting boyfriend, I was receptive to what she said without question. Cheating was something that i didn't think she would ever do because I knew that she loved me dearly. I began to feel myself becoming more and more unhappy primarily due to the great amount of strain that was put on our relationship because of what I was going through. My girlfriend was somewhat supportive but complained and didn't like it at all one bit. I thought about things for weeks and decided to break up with her because I needed time and didn't wanna do anything bad to her like cheat or anything. She was heartbroken and begged for me back but I refused. Months later I tried getting back with her and she was not making it easy for me at all. There was another guy who she was seeing but she still loved me and it showed and I knew I just needed to be patient so I was. She then decides to get some type of birth control that required her to have an STD test and come to find out she has syphilis and I was likely to have to it as well because we had sex on several occasions. Being focused on wanting to get her back I completely brushed that off when she told me and she felt like she couldn't make me wait for any longer because I was the best thing that's happened to her and she dropped everyone and got back with me. Weeks following I found out that she lied about a guy she said she didn't have sex with and that she cheated on me back when I was going through that stuff and her roommate had posted it on Facebook and told me it wasn't true when it really was. I was completely crushed! I couldn't do anything but want to work things out because I had just gotten her back and wasn't ready for things to end. She made a 360 degree change  for the better and has shown me that she was sorry and loves me and would never do anything like that again. It has been seven months and still to this day, I can't seem to forget about it and I feel like its preventing me from moving on with her. Things will be good for a couple of weeks and then something will happen or I'll see something that reminds me of what she did and it just brings me back to the situation and how much it hurt me. Still to this day there has been a lingering unhappiness that I just can't get over because of what she has done and I do not know what to do with myself! I wish I could just get over it so I can move on with this girl and my life! She has done everything she possibly can to show she is sorry and to make things better. Although I do want to move on with this girl I'm not most concerned with that. What I'm mainly concerned with is what the best thing for me to do for MYSELF is. Advice would be greatly appreciated.. I have been having way too many sleepless nights..Thanks! By the way... my girlfriend and I are both in college. I'm 20, going on 21, and she's 19, going on 20.
User article | cheating, trust
“Married, having an affair with younger man“
I am a married woman with children and I'm having an affair with a younger man (10 years younger) who's also in a relationship, and has a baby!! I know what we're doing is wrong but neither of us intended for it to get this far or for anyone to get hurt. My marriage is at an all time low at the moment and has been for a long long time, we just don't get on at all, constantly argue and there is no intimacy between us at all!! but I just plod on for the sake of my children - H (the other man) is more or less in the same position but he's not married just lives with his girlfriend and baby. We first started out just messaging each other general conversation but things progressed further with each of us confessing how we'd love to meet up - eventually we did at his house while his partner was out and one thing led to another!! We've recently met up in a hotel room and had the best time ever. I can't leave my marriage as it would destroy my husband and kids and he won't leave his girlfriend because of his baby, he says he can't leave her til his baby is old enough to leave home (which is a long way off!) We don't see each other as much as we'd like to as it's difficult for us to both getaway but message most days. I am at an all time low at the moment as I can't stop thinking about H and the times we do spend together :-( would love to hear from anyone who's been in the same position......and what I should do x
User article | ongoing affairs
Community posts
What should I do?
Hi everyone I’m going through a huge dilemma in my current relationship involving a girl who my boyfriend claims is “obsessed” over him. Me and my boyfriend really haven’t dated for long just 4 months. I’m 20 and he’s 24. This relationship was off to a really rough start because my boyfriend had many many toxic traits as he had just gotten out of a relationship two months before me. Needless to say I told him that if he didn’t change his toxic ways I would just leave. To my surprise he changed drastically and my relationship with him was going great. But there was one issue. I had trust issues. I had absolutely no reason in particular and because of this I chose to break up with him because I didn’t want to be that one girlfriend who doesn’t trust her boyfriend. I also needed time to figure out why I didn’t trust him. The breakup didn’t last long just two days without talking to each other because to my surprise it was really easy to figure out what was wrong with me. But my boyfriend told me that he was still confused and needed time. And I told him if he wanted to stop talking to me he could because I understand. He claimed he was confused and going through a lot. I respected this but the problem was we were still seeing each other and doing everything a couple does. It has been two weeks since our breakup and once things were off to a great start I saw a video. In this video i saw my boyfriend going into his bathroom (which is connected to his room) and in his bed there was the girl who recorded the video and his door was closed. It was just the two of them. When I confronted him about it he told me that this girl is obsessed with him. That she told him she was gonna kill herself over him. And because of that he said he didn’t tell me and that’s why when I came back two days after our breakup he said he was “going through things”. He claims and swears that he never slept with her. But I find it hard to believe as they were alone in his room with doors closed. He’s asked for forgiveness as he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t really think things through when he does them. He’s more of a “go with the flow” guy. And he didn’t think much of it at the time. Also he said she was in his room because they were waiting on this other guy who was hanging out with them too. It was basically all three of them. But when the video was taken it was just them two. He’s told me he will stop hanging out with her. But if he stops hanging out with her that means he has to stop hanging out with one of his group of friends. They’re not his closest friends. But I feel guilty because I don’t wanna feel controlling. I’ve been really confused… I don’t know what to do… I don’t know if to believe him… I don’t know if to talk to her and figure out what’s really going on. It hurts me cause I wanted to have a fresh start with him and now we have this major issue to deal with.
User article | breakups, cheating
Feeling alone after discovering porn issue
I am actually in shock that im writing this. My partner has an issue with porn. When we first got together he watched so much porn he couldn’t perform. This had a huge impact on my confidence and that never really repaired… We had a huge conversation about it and as a psychologist I gave him space to be open and honest while also sharing with him it hurt me as I already felt he didn’t fancy or wasn’t attracted to me sexually. Fast forward 2 years a trip around the globe, and settling down with a dog late and after giving him the space to discuss what he likes sexually and thinking we’ve gotten to a place we’re both sexually satisfied … but still checking in to see how he’s doing with his addiction and being told it’s at bay etc… I have just come home to spend evening with his father who is living with us… to find he’s gone on a night out which I was excited for him about to find a t lady boy escort in his history… I feel so sick. I told him the trust is broken as I have trust issues do to my father…. Expecting he would come home from his night out as he knows this was the last straw …. And he has not come home. My psychologist head tells me it’s him subconsciously wanting it to be over … looking at the history it’s the first time in a very long time, and what point will boys or men be men and we have to accept porn is a thing….and at what cost.. I used to dress and act sexy with other men and with this man who I believed I’d settle down with I have no room to be my sexual self…because he seems disinterested in me.. and as if I am a beard. Just packed a bag and deciding to I go.. before he gets home
User article | pornography