Trina Dolenz

Trina Dolenz

Monday, June 6, 2011

How can we cope with the aftermath of an affair?

How can we cope with the aftermath of an affair?

How can an affair be forgiven?


It is vital that you both understand the real reasons why it happened. To do this you will have to talk about what had been going on between you in the time leading up to the affair. This can be very painful, but unless you know what went wrong, you won't be able to change things in the future. Be patient. Rebuilding trust that has been broken can take a long time.

What helps to mend a relationship?

  • The unfaithful partner must end the affair, once and for all.
  • Talk it through. This process may take days, weeks, or longer.
  • Don't talk on for hours and hours - you'll just go round in circles.
  • Set a time limit, and don't talk when you're tired.
  • Agree to also discuss future problems, instead of just hoping they'll go away.
  • Make a commitment to a new future together. Both partners must do this, and mean it.
  • Find more time for each other, take more interest in each others' lives and feelings.
  • Try to sort out sexual problems.
  • Consider relationship counselling.

Long-term effects of an affair
Only you can decide what to do in the aftermath of an affair, and whatever you decide will not be easy. Many affairs cause havoc in a relationship that is already dogged with problems. Affairs do sometimes provoke far-reaching changes that eventually strengthen and enhance the relationship. The cost can be very high, however.
An affair can also have destructive effects on your family. Children, in-laws, friends, may all find themselves caught up in events, and perhaps having to take sides. Permanent barriers can be created. Even so, an affair does not always mean the end of your relationship. With hard work, commitment and patience, it may be possible to come through this crisis changed, but also stronger.
The key message is to understand why the affair happened, rather than running away from the reasons. Whether you stay together or part, it is crucial to gather some insights into what went wrong. Do this, and if you remain together you will have a deeper understanding of yourselves. If you part, you will know that you had the courage to face the truth, and will be better prepared for future relationships.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

How do I move on after divorce?

How do I move on after divorce?
The end of a relationship is always a difficult time. No matter who ended it or when, the future can look bleak and frightening. But life does can continue and many thousands of people go to have happy and fulfilling lives after divorce.
There are many things you'll need to focus on during this difficult time and at times it may feel overwhelming. The advice in We're separating - what now focuses on the more practical elements and My partner and I are separating. I'm worried that our kids are going to suffer. I want to sort things out with my partner so at least, we can carry on being good parents. offers advice on helping children through your separation. But as well as that, you need to focus on yourself as an individual. Deciding what you need to do to help you let go of the past and look forward to the future.

Like most people, you're likely to experience a roller coaster of emotion. Some days you may feel hopeful and maybe even relieved if your marriage had been difficult for a long time. On other days you may feel sad, angry, confused and anxious.

Understanding what went wrong is an important step towards recovery. Many people get locked into questioning: Whose fault it is? What did I do wrong? How could they do that to me? Unfortunately all this kind of questioning does is lock you into the blame game which creates more bitterness and heartache. It can sometimes be more helpful to focus on what the relationship was lacking and how the relationship failed to meet your or your partners needs, rather than blaming yourselves as individuals. Though the answers may be upsetting, the greater the understanding, the easier it will be to let go of the past and move on.
Over the coming weeks and months you need to really focus on looking after yourself. The end of a relationship can damage self esteem and self confidence. The following tips will help you to get through this difficult time and face the future with hope.

  • Keep talking - talking is the best way to prevent isolation and help maintain perspective. You're not alone and sharing your heartaches and victories with a trusted friend, family member or neighbour will help to carry you along.
  • Let yourself grieve - it's normal to feel shock when a relationship finally comes to an end and it can take time for the reality of this to settle in. You'll have good days and bad days - give yourself time.
  • Let go of anger. Many people feel stuck with their anger. Either angry at themselves or angry at their partner. Holding on to this anger maintains an emotional connection between you and your ex and slows up your ability to move on. Make time to Relax. Whether you prefer reading a book, going for a walk, soaking in the bath, going for a run or gardening - it really doesn't matter. Just as long as you give your body time to de-stress. And remember, laughter really is the best medicine so make sure you make time to see friends and have some fun too.
  • Set small goals - when times are feeling really tough it may feel as if you're getting nowhere. Setting yourself small achievable goals not only boosts feel good chemicals, but also boosts your confidence. Whether it's getting a chore out of the way, going out for the evening or starting a new project at work, it will help you to see and know that you're moving on.
  • Look after your health. Make sure you take regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet. Unfortunately comfort eating is more likely to make you depressed than cheer you up.
  • Plan ahead - write down a list of all the things you're going to do when you get through this. When you have bad days, you can use this list to remind yourself that you still have a future ahead of you.
  • Get help - if each day seems to be getting harder rather than better, then you may find it helpful to make an appointment to see a Relate counsellor. There are details of your local centre on this website.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Life/Work Balance

Life/Work Balance
It's often observed that in spite of the vast array of modern day time-saving technologies we have less and less free time. Many couples find themselves constantly torn between the pressures of employment and personal life. We need to earn a living, but we also want quality time for our partners, our family, our friends and ourselves. It can feel as though there just aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week. And while we rush around trying to fit more and more activities into less and less time, it is often our couple relationships that suffer.

Why time is so important
When we first fall in love we spend as much time as is physically possible being together. Jokes may even be made about being 'joined at the hip'. In those early days we are desperate to get to know each other better. To share the minutiae of our daily lives, our thoughts and our feelings. And it is through this process that we get closer and feel connected.
Time together is, to a relationship, what water is, to a plant. It's how a relationship is nurtured and cared for. It's the stuff that makes it stronger and helps it to grow. To stay connected as a couple, you need to feed your relationship with time. Time to keep in touch with what's happening in your everyday lives. Time to share your hopes and dreams as well as your fears and failings. And time to have fun.

Here are some tips to help you re-align your life/work balance:

Accept Your Life Stage
There will be times in your life when you have even less time than normal. For example when you have very small children, have just started a business or are caring for an elderly relative. There may be very little that you can do to change your circumstances in times like these. But simply learning to accept where you are at and knowing that this is a phase can help you to feel less stressed and look forward to the future.

Expand Your Timetable
If it's simply not possible to fit everything into one week, then consider expanding your timetable. Rather than stressing and ultimately failing to manage that romantic evening in ever week or that long country walk, consider scheduling on a fortnightly or even monthly basis. It may not be ideal, but it may be more realistic and less likely to fail.

Get Help
If you're going through a particularly demanding time in your life, then grab as much help as you possibly can. There are a multitude of ready meals and partly prepared dishes available as well as a host of technological miracles from internet shopping to the dishwasher. If you can afford it, get a cleaner, if not rope in the family. Let the mother-in-law do the ironing, the neighbour's kid wash the car and your sister babysit. You'd do the same for them if the situation was reversed.

Don't Be A Perfectionist
Remember that when you're very busy it's better to let your standards slip than your relationship. Any meal tastes better when it's eaten together and you can't see the clutter by candlelight.

Schedule Couple time
Lot's of people feel it's far too formal to schedule time together as a couple. But sometimes making an appointment to see your partner is the only way to make it happen. The method may not be romantic, but the outcome could be.

Think Quality not Quantity
It's a cliché, but it's true. If you only have a short period of time to play with, then make every second count. Book times when you can talk as well as times when you can crash out together on the sofa and watch a film. And remember that nowadays it can be easy to keep in touch during the day. Get into the habit of exchanging text messages, making a phone call, or meeting for 10 mins in a private chat room. Do whatever you can to keep in touch.

Consider Your Priorities
If you've tried everything above and you still don't feel you have enough time as a couple, then you may have to have a long hard look at your priorities. Are there activities in your life that you should seriously consider dropping? At least for the time being. Sacrificing something you enjoy doing is always difficult - but are you willing to risk your relationship instead?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Coping with a new baby

Coping with a new baby
Making the change from being a couple to being parents isn't always easy. It can be difficult to find time for yourselves, your sex life can change, you have to juggle the commitments of work and family and find a way of agreeing on how to bring up the children.
This fact sheet aims to help you if you've just had a baby but the Relate book Babyshock! explains how your relationship can be affected from the first decision to try for a baby, through pregnancy, birth and babyhood, up to the stage of caring for toddlers and young children.
When the baby comes home:
  • Don't keep it all to yourself. Talk to your partner, and other parents - you'll find that many of them are experiencing the same mixture of conflicting feelings.
  • Work with your partner to support each other through it. Take turns with the baby. When it's not your turn, don't hover - get away from the noise. Go out, if need be.
  • Be kind to yourself and each other, knowing that lack of sleep causes lowered tolerance and frayed tempers.
  • Sleeping separately can help to keep at least one of you from falling apart, but don't do it for too long. Sharing a bed is an important part of being a couple.

Living with your new family:
A new person in the home, however small they are, has an impact on the relationships of everyone who already lives there as well as on extended families. Keeping an eye on how things change can help you to be sensitive to your partners feelings and those of others around you.
Some things to look out for are:
  • Is someone feeling left out in your family group?
  • Is someone intruding in to your family set-up? How can you tackle this?
  • Is anyone's past experiences causing them difficulty in coping with the new situation?

If a new baby has upset your relationship:
  • Make time to talk. Agree on a time. It needn't be long, but choose a moment that suits you both, when you're not hungry or especially tired.
  • Take turns to listen to each other, uninterrupted, for a certain amount of time. One of you might talk for five or ten minutes about any particular problems and anxieties, while the other listens carefully without interrupting. Then the other partner has an equal amount of time to do the same.
  • It is very important not to use language that blames or criticizes the other. The object is not to attack or undermine each other, but to try and understand what the problems are. Say, "I feel abandoned when you go to the pub after work instead of coming home to me and the baby", rather than, "I'm furious that you spend so much time at the pub. You've never bothered to come home on time, and since we've had the baby things have got even worse".
  • When you have heard each other, go away and think about what has been said. Your first reactions may be "hot" thoughts - anger, resentment. You might feel like crying. Let these feelings pass, and focus on what your partner actually said, so that you end up with a clearer understanding of his or her feelings. Then, when you're ready, use your insights to talk the problem through again calmly. Try to move towards a solution that satisfies you both.
  • Don't give up. It takes practice to learn to communicate better. Don't expect everything to be solved immediately, but keep at it and bit by bit you will start to see changes.

If your sex life has suffered:
  • Be very aware of you partner's feelings. Don't accuse - "You never spend long enough on foreplay." Try making gentle suggestions - "It feels so nice when you stroke me all over. I'd like you to do it for longer next time."
  • Don't feel you can only talk about sex when you're actually in bed. It can be easier to talk about it away from the scene of the action.
  • Get used to talking about sex in a more general way by watching TV programs about it together or cutting out magazine articles to show your partner.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Marriage 911 in the year 2011

Is your marriage alive and well, or is it time to dial 911? Chances are the health of your relationship falls somewhere in the middle — slightly out of shape and tired. Unfortunately most of us tend to take the health of a marriage for granted. And we don’t realize how important a happy, healthy relationship is until it’s time for marital CPR.
Maintaining personal health requires work — exercise, good nutrition, rest and regular checkups. No one teaches us that the same kind of maintenance is also necessary in order to keep a marriage alive. Love between a parent and child is unconditional. Love between a husband and wife is not. As divorce statistics would indicate, an untended marriage falls apart too easily. The good news is that there are ways to make a marriage survive, and better yet, thrive.
Your Marital Diagnosis
There are warning signs or “symptoms” when your marriage is “under the weather.” Here are some key symptoms:
  • ·       feelings of chronic resentment toward your spouse
  • ·       lack of laughter between the two of you
  • ·       desire to spend free time with someone other than your mate
  • ·       too much time spent playing the “blame game”
  • ·       conversations between you are laced with bitterness and sarcasm 

Relationship Revival Program
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? If so, it’s time to revive your marriage by following this program.
  • ·       Make the marriage your priority, not an afterthought. Set aside regular time to be alone with your partner. If kids are in the picture, hunt for a “network” of trusted babysitters. If money is a concern, compare the cost of a night out with that of marital therapy or a divorce attorney! Get the drift? Start doing some of the things that used to bring you joy, and helped you to feel more connected. There are plenty of activities that you can do for free — a long walk, star gazing or window-shopping are all simple pleasures that can bring you closer together.
  • ·       Resuscitate your romance. Remember how the sparks flew when you first met? It’s probably not too late to rekindle the embers. Surprise your spouse with a homemade Valentine (any day of the year!) and a bottle of champagne. Light up the bedroom with candles, or put a love note in his briefcase. Last but not least, initiate lovemaking. Passion is the glue in a marriage — it helps you feel close to your mate, and makes getting through rough times a lot easier.
  • ·       Accept what you can’t change. Much marital strife is caused by the belief that you cannot be happy in your marriage as long as you must live with your partner’s bad habits or imperfections. Have you noticed that no matter how much you gripe and moan, these things don’t change? Rather than trying to control what you can’t, work around his quirks and focus on the positive. We all respond much better to praise than to criticism. And here’s the paradox: Sometimes when we stop fighting the way things are, they actually do change. No guarantees, but it’s worth a try.
  • ·       Be attractive, inside and out. “Married” doesn’t have to mean complacent. Continue to learn and experience new things, and share these with your partner. Eat right, exercise, rest and make the most of your appearance. Doing these things is taking good care of yourself, but it’s also a way of showing your mate that you want to be your best and share yourself with him.
  • ·       Improve communication and negotiation skills. Being a good listener is key to healthy communication. Even if you don’t agree with what he’s had to say, empathize with his position. This will open the door to more effective conflict resolution. If you must be critical, convert criticism into a request for behavioral change by stating it positively. Most important, apologize when you are wrong.
There are no marriages made in heaven. But by devoting time and energy to reviving your marriage, you’ll once again feel your relationship pulse beating strong and steady.