Help for Throwaway Marriage: Finding Old Love Online- Part 4


Eight Red Flags for Online Friendships

Review Parts 1-3 to catch up on the discussion about online friendships, the impact on marriages, and the motives for blocking spouse access to technology outlets. Now check out  8 risky red flags and mark what applies to you.

With your OLF (online friend) are you….

  1. _____Feeling an escalation of the emotional need or drive to connect on line.
  2. _____ Increasing the duration, number, and variety of modes of contacts.
  3. _____Thinking often about him/her when not in contact.
  4. _____Personalizing the contact: expressing feelings.
  5. _____Expanding the subject to intimate topics.
  6. _____Discussing what you would not/can not discuss with your partner.
  7. Procrastinating on task/responsibility due to spending time with your OLF.
  8. ________Kidnapping time, energy, and emotion from your marriage (and family) due to your activities. Examples:

_______ Visiting with your OLF at home online but claiming to be working instead.

________Passing up your sweetie’s invite to cuddle fireside.

________Letting your fingers do the talking with your OLF instead calling it an early night in bed with your spouse.

________Feeling eagerness to rush through family dinner and time with kids to connect with your OLF.

_______Combining your walk or workout with texting your OLF

_______Feeling that your OLF is a welcome escape from your life.

Marking just ONE indicates you are on a slippery slope to increased trouble in your marriage. Maybe—–you checked more? What are you going to do about it?

What do you think? Check back for more conversation and ideas.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

PS–I invite your push back of experiences and comments. Tell me what’s on your mind.

  • ·         Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com
  • Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy, brevity, clarity,  and information provided will be directed to the general interest.

© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.

Help for Throwaway Marriage: Finding Old Love Online- Part 3


Four ways online friendships can damage marriage

In Parts 1 and 2, we discussed the impact of online friendships on marriages. A ‘no access’ policy (with your spouse) on technology such as phone, e-mail, texts, social media, etc. falls into four motive sets or a combination: boundary setting, privacy protection, emotional satisfaction, and secrets with fantasy.   Review Parts 1 and 2 for the discussion and details of the motives.

Each of these motives for blocking your spouse’s access indicates a neglected or weak marriage and signals the need for effort to strengthen the relationship.

FOUR RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS come from the FOUR REASONS you build a “NO ACCESS TECHNOLOGY POLICY” with your Spouse:

  1. Reduces Intimacy  (comes from the motive: Boundary Setting)

People who identify one or more of the statements related to this motive are establishing walls between themselves and their partners. Intimacy will be blocked with this mindset. While our partners will never know everything about us (and may not appreciate it all) blocking them off from parts of ourselves is not optimal for an intimate relationship.

  1. Creates Emotional Distance, Mistrust, or Suspicion (comes from the motive: Privacy Protection )

When we marry, we do not lose our right to privacy. Too much privacy, however, can create emotional distance and mistrust or suspicion.

Arguing or insisting on technology privacy as an absolute right or a forfeited one in marriage is pointless. When relationships are healthy and solid, partners work together with individual privacy needs and negotiate privacy boundaries that are workable as a couple. Negotiation is doable.

  1. Triggers Marital Neglect (comes from the motive: Emotional Satisfaction: Siphoning and Bonding)

Everything about this motive spells emotional disconnection in the marriage. Dissatisfaction and the neglect of the marital relationship are likely.

All of the emotional bonding and sharing in the online relationship is directly siphoned from the marriage. The couple needs to embark on a serious marriage enrichment path through self-help or professional marriage counseling/coaching.

  1. Leads to Emotional Cheating (comes from the motive: Secrets with Fantasy)

The mindset in this motive places the individual on the brink of marital cheating— at a minimum, emotional eating. Where the crossover from innocent friendship to emotional cheating begins is blurry and relationship dependent. An emotional betrayal can be as painful (or more so) than a physical one.

The slope is very slippery from emotional cheating to sexual cheating.

What do you think? Check back for Part 4 and the Red Flags of Online Friendship Trouble.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

PS–I invite your push back of experiences and comments. Tell me what’s on your mind.

  • ·         Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com
  • Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy, brevity, clarity,  and information provided will be directed to the general interest.

© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.

 

Help for Throwaway Marriage: Finding Old Love Online- Part 2


Blocking spouse access to e-mail, social media, texts, and phone messages: Why do you do it? 

In Part 1, we began a discussion about the impact of online friendships (OLF) on marriage. Certainly all online friendships (OLF) are not the same. However, if you also favor a ‘no access’ or block out/lockout practice (with your spouse) built into your technology outlets (phone, e-mail, texts, social media, and other), have you asked yourself why?

Most likely your ‘no spouse access’ habits are based on one or a combo of these four motives: boundary setting, privacy protection, emotional satisfaction, and secrets with fantasy.

And while you are conducting a self inventory, what IS your relationship with your ‘online friend (OLF)’?  Now examine your motives for your ‘no access’ behavior with your partner. Recognize any in the list below that apply to you?

Motive #1- Boundary Setting 

  • This is me, separate from you (spouse).
  • There is no place for you here.
  • I do not share this part of me and my life with you.
  • You have no interest in this.
  • I do not want your interference here.

 

Motive #2- Privacy Protection 

  • I have nothing to hide and I may be stubborn, but it’s the principle of the thing.
  • It is my right to keep all of this private. It is none of my spouse’s business.
  • My spouse is too nosy (or jealous) and is obsessing with everything I do. I must make it stop and take control of my life.
  • Her/his insistence to get into my privacy is a challenge (or feels like a threat) to my independence.

 

Motive #3- Emotional Satisfaction: Siphoning and Bonding  

  • I can talk to my OLF (him or her) like I cannot talk to my spouse.
  • My OLF understands me. My spouse doesn’t get me.
  • My OLF is in a rough spot and needs me.
  • My OLF has no one else to talk to right now.
  • My spouse is so cold, but if he/she knew, it would be upsetting and cause hurt feelings.

 

Motive #4- Secrets with Fantasy  

  • There may be something I want to do or say my spouse may not (does not) like, approve, or understand.
  • This online friendship, unknown to my partner, feels too good (or intimate) to share.
  • The pleasure, satisfaction, and excitement of this secret (communication) might be lost if my spouse knew.
  • I know this friendship is questionable and my partner may find it unacceptable or feel it as emotional betrayal.  But I do not plan to give it up. After all, it is innocent.
  • I am not doing anything wrong. We have no physical contact.
  • I am justified in lying about this if my spouse keeps nagging me about it.

All of the above motives and intentions weaken relationships and create marriage busting patterns. Check back for Part 3 to see what these are.

What do you think? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

PS–I invite your push back of experiences and comments. Tell me what’s on your mind.

  • ·         Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com
  • Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy, brevity, clarity,  and information provided will be directed to the general interest.

© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions. 

Finding Old Love Online: Help for Throwaway Marriage- Part 1


I was upset to learn recently our dear friends were getting divorced. I did not even know they were having problems. I hear he found an old girlfriend through social media and had been posting to her for months. His wife discovered the contact and learned they were planning on meeting. He says it was innocent. She feels because he kept it a secret he cheated on her and she’s ready to file for divorce. I think they are throwing their marriage away over nothing. My husband disagrees. Should they try to get some help first?

———————————————————————————————————

I agree that too many people today throw away relationships which have the potential to grow through work and commitment. In pre-technology days, many people who may have left their marriage IF they had found someone to run away with, instead stayed and worked on their marriages successfully.

Today that low committed group has an easy exit card through cultivating new and re-cultivating lost friendships online.

Real life has common parts – – bills, work, stress, kids, etc. Those commitments consume energy, motivation, and time in marriages and other established unions. The original excitement and newness may have dimmed and not been updated and refreshed. Relationships gone stale—which are neglected or face challenges— cannot compete with the fantasy created by those absorbing and addicting social media connections.

It seems easy and convenient to give up and move on to the next relationship—– which is in the fantasy stage.

  1. Are we developing into a generation of “serial connectors”—-people who bail out at the first hint of  discord or difference when they ‘connect’ with a readymade ‘soul mate’ on line?
  2. Has perfect compatibility without muss or fuss become a requirement for relationship commitment?
  3. Are we foolish to allow ourselves to be seduced by ‘grass is greener relationships’ and risk losing everything of value in our present lives?

There is help available.

What do you think? Check out Part 2 for discussion and tips.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

PS–I invite your push back of experiences and comments. Tell me what’s on your mind.

  • ·         Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com
  • Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy, brevity, clarity,  and information provided will be directed to the general interest.

© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.

Arguing in Front of Kids Part 2


In Part 1, we discussed how parental differences are normal and that kids  learn about communication from witnessing their arguments—and that learning takes place from NOT hearing any arguments as well.

Teaching moments are missed when children witness unproductive and angry (abusive or scary) parental exchanges during arguments. The loss also holds for those who never experience parental disagreement and conclude that disagreements are bad and to be avoided at all costs.

Both sets of parents miss the chance to:

  1. Teach that differences are normal.
  2. Provide a healthy model of conflict resolution.
  3. Promote the understanding that expressing differences leads to a  successful healthy relationship.
  4. Demonstrate that compromise, negotiation, collaboration, and cooperation are valuable skills and can be achieved.

A valuable life lesson for children is to witness reasonably expressed disagreement and successful conflict resolution between their parents. Be their role model. If you lack the skills to model conflict resolution get professional help. Your children need to learn the skill—if they do not observe a healthy example from you as parents.

Intimate topics must be avoided, of course, but sit down together as parents and decide what is acceptable for them to experience.  As far as the “united front” notion, parents do not need to agree all issues, only discuss and reach solution together.  Kids benefit from observing people  disagree and still work together on a common goal. No one has to be declared ‘wrong’. This is not a ‘win-lose’ situation.

Help is available to build conflict resolution skills through self help books and classes as well as professional family counseling and coaching.  Work to provide a healthy conflict resolution model for your children.

What do you think? Check back for more.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

PS–I invite your push back of experiences and comments. Tell me what’s on your mind.

  • ·         Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com
  • Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy, brevity, clarity,  and information provided will be directed to the general interest.

© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.

Arguing in Front of Kids– Part 1


I am a 36-year-old married mother of two children, ages 9 and 11.  My husband and I disagree about arguing in front of them.  I say it is okay as long as we don’t get out of control.  He says, they should never see us disagree, and we should always present a “united front.”  The problem is, we often disagree.  Suggestions?

________________________________________________________________________

Parental disagreement is a normal (and necessary) part of parenting.  Should kids know parents have disagreements? YES. Should the children be witnesses to arguments? Also YES—in reasonable moderation.

Parental disagreement on arguing in front of children usually reflects a difference in childhood experiences. Very often, people from opposite family types marry.

Many adults grew up in households with violent, abusive, or conflict driven environments.  Others never heard a raised voice or witnessed disagreement between their parents.  Both of these opposite end experiences typically lead to a lack of communication skills and the (often) lifelong belief that arguing is bad, abnormal, or unnecessary. At times, couples  may build a chronically conflict driven relationship without hope of peace.  Significant relationship issues pass down through generations.

Both types of families pass up four worthwhile parenting opportunities to teach children skills to build stronger communication in future relationships.

What do you think? Check back for Part 2 and learn what parenting opportunities were missed.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

PS–I invite your push back of experiences and comments. Tell me what’s on your mind.

  •  Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com
  • Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy, brevity, clarity,  and information provided will be directed to the general interest.

© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.

More Compliments in Marriage: Positive Feedback, Not Neediness? Part 2


In Part 1, we discussed pleasing your partner, expecting feedback, compliment avoiders, compliment seekers, continuing conflict, and refusal to change.

Over time, if you remain oblivious to your significant other’s feelings, your relationship weakens.  However, change in this dynamic cuts two ways—-compliment avoiders need to ratchet up their sensitivity and pleasing behavior, while compliment seekers need to ratchet down their sensitivity and expectations.

  • And by the way, how strong do business relationships remain if you ignore the feelings, requests, and opinions of the boss, clients, and co-workers? 

Focusing back on intimate relationships….Compliments are the major method of positive feedback.  Yet people are accused of “fishing for compliments” and others become annoyed. Instead of grimacing with annoyance, try use their “fishing” to create your own expedition of knowledge:

  • Recognize they deserve more feedback.
  • Appreciate that they care what you think.
  • Feel grateful that you do not have to guess how to please them.

Positive and negative feedback from partners are the compass for the relationship – – all feedback suggests the directions to steer away from and toward. Mutual sharing of your wishes, dreams, plans, likes/dislikes, and values shapes relationships. A relationship warps lopsidedly when only one partner expresses these major parts of self.

When asked, even compliment avoidant individuals confess they harbor positive thoughts frequently about their partners— but do not express them.

What’s the value in that? Here are subtle changes to improve this pattern:

For compliment avoiders—increase awareness of your thinking.  Practice the habit of switching internal positive thoughts into external positive feedback—- a genuine compliment or acknowledgement:

  • “That shirt looks good on you.”
  • “I like that color.”
  • “I noticed you picked up the family room. I appreciate that.”

For compliment seekers—increase awareness of your thinking. Back up and monitor yourself—focus on self evaluation:

  • My opinion on this is enough.
  • I can tell s/he likes it.
  • Ask: I would appreciate your take on this.

Change from each of the two sides generates swift improvement. Awareness of what pleases your partner and selectively acting on that information enriches the couple bond.

What do you think? Check back for more Q+A.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

P.S.

v I invite your comments below.

v Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com

v Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy,

brevity, clarity, and information provided will be directed to the

general interest.

© Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions. 

More Compliments in Marriage: Positive Feedback, Not Neediness? Part 1


My husband says I am high maintenance because I like him to give me compliments. When I get a new outfit, hairstyle, do a favor, special work, or whatever, I want him to appreciate my efforts.  I want to know I please him. He calls me needy because he doesn’t care if I compliment him ever. He said he doesn’t “need” it. The subject keeps coming up. How do we make it go away?___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wanting to please your spouse is a healthy relationship behavior. But caution:

  • If you routinely please him (or her) at your own expense—might be a pattern of submissiveness (or worse).
  • And if you seek approval for everything—could be a self esteem  or low self confidence issue.

Many feel compliments are desirable and others that they are unnecessary. Both sides offer justifications for their refusal to change to  balance behavior and thinking:

  • “She should know how I feel  about this.”
    • Maybe, but she’s letting you know she likes to hear it from you. What’s wrong with that?
  • “He should ask if he wants to  know if I like it.”
    • Ditto the comment above.
  • “If I have to ask, it doesn’t count. She should volunteer.”
    • Of course it counts. You got what  you requested— just not in the way you preferred it.
  • “I always tell him when I don’t like something – – so if I don’t say anything – – he knows I like it.”
    • What’s up with this one? If you keep one side of your unsolicited feedback quiet (the good stuff), why not switch and clam up about the negative stuff instead?  Offer up the positive thoughts voluntarily. If you say nothing, let it be his call to solicit the negative feedback or not.

A frequent claim expressed by ‘compliment avoidant folks’ is they do not care what other people think of them. Uhhhhh….people important to you are not just other people.

What do you think?  Check back for Part 2 and more discussion on the role of compliments in a relationship.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

v      I invite your comments below.

v      Send relationship coaching questions to Dr. Coach Love through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com

v      Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy,

       brevity, clarity, and information provided will be directed to the

       general interest.

 

©       Copyright 2012  P.H. Pickett, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

            Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.

Ending Affair and Telling Wife– Part 2


In Part 1, I reviewed risks, morals values, and goals surrounding an affair. All are facets of the decision making process of potential disclosure to your wife.

The choice of disclosure or not depends on you and any investment you have in your marriage along with your respect for the welfare of your spouse. Marriage risks are present in either choice: Both options damage your relationship beyond the cheating behavior itself.

Secrets establish tension and wedges between spouses. Disclosures trigger similar dynamics in the couple’s relationship.

Remaining secretive builds suspicion and a ‘will-the-shoe-ever-drop’ climate, while disclosure triggers an immediate crisis of trust and betrayal.

With infidelity kept secret, you are proceeding in a marriage with the rules changed—broken vows— unknown to your spouse. Is that fair?

At the same time, disclosure brings an obvious collapse of the marriage she thought you still had. Ask yourself the following:

  1. Do you make the choice based on what is best for you?
  2. Or do you know what is best for her?
  3. Do you choose what is best for her?
  4. Is the welfare of children a factor?

The impact on your marriage (and family) of secrets versus disclosure is complex —depending on your personal values and life goals.

  1. Do you owe your wife honesty beyond all else?
  2. Do your relationship ethics require disclosure to her?

As an experienced marriage therapist/relationship coach, I believe disclosure can provide the best base for rebuilding marriages which have a foundation for growth—but not always. The choice and risk are yours. The risk of marital collapse remains.  The rebuilding road is also painful and slow, yet can result in a stronger and more resilient relationship.

After you consider this discussion and answer these questions, you may find your answer or become still more confused. In either case, consulting a licensed marriage therapist would help clarify which option matches your values, goals, and risk selection.

What do you think?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

v      I invite your comments on this blog.

v      Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com

v      Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy,

       brevity, clarity, and information provided will be directed to

       general interest.

 

©       Copyright 2012  P.H. Pickett, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

            Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.

Ending Affair and Telling Wife–Part 1


If a man has an affair with this first real love for a long period before ending it, should he tell his wife?

________________________________________________________________________

Aside from any moral breach you (or readers) may believe, there are serious relationship injuries that inevitably arise in both solid and weaker marriages, whether infidelity is prolonged or brief.  Further, whether secretive, in the open, suspected, or disclosed, infidelity compromises the integrity, trust, security, and, most importantly, the physical and emotional intimacy in a marriage or relationship.

Now I could continue for hours questioning you about your spouse, the quality of your marriage, your affair partner, details of your affair, family background, reasons you do not divorce, and other life specifics, which describe, or explain the “why” you chose to have an affair. None of that info really provides the answer to your question because marital dissatisfaction does NOT cause infidelity—infidelity was your choice.

Most folks do not choose infidelity as the response to marital dissatisfaction—-many just go play bingo (or immerse themselves in Angry Birds or other attention consuming activities). Others separate, divorce, or seek therapy/ relationship coaching.

Here are the FIVE major results from infidelity:

  1. Marital dissatisfaction remains and usually increases.
  2.   Infidelity delays facing dissatisfaction.
  3.    Infidelity complicates marital shortcomings.
  4.   Infidelity is a major obstacle to marital repair or recovery.
  5.   Infidelity deeply wounds and is emotionally destructive beyond what most can imagine.

This is the foundation for my response to your question which will follow in Part 2.

What do you think? Check back for Part 2.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Regards,

Dr. Coach Love

v      I invite your comments below.

v      Send relationship coaching questions to DrCoachLove through DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com

v      Questions selected will be edited as needed to reflect privacy,

       brevity, clarity, and information provided will be directed to

        general interest.

©       Copyright 2012  P.H. Pickett, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

            Contact DrCoachLove@HireCoach.com for permissions.