Category: Blog

Is monogamy an unrealistic goal for most marriages?

Good Morning,

 

Last night, in the IRI Relationship Support Group, two questions came up:

 

Is monogamy an unrealistic goal for most marriages?

 

Under the current system of simply “assuming” monogamy, it’s an unrealistic goal for most marriages.

 

But it’s possible for any marriage to be monogamous IF they recognize the need to deliberately work together to continuously reinforce their commitment through honest discussions about everything – including their attractions to others (which are natural and inevitable) and more importantly, how they will deal with those attractions or temptations.

 

(People tend to think it’s too risky to discuss such things, but the greater risk is in NOT discussing them, which leaves the fantasies to grow without any offsetting focus on the potential consequences of acting on them.)

 

And, of course, in order to make monogamy a realistic goal, a couple needs to be informed about the myths (mentioned above) that can undermine their intention and desire to remain monogamous.

 

Is there a hypocrisy when people talk about affairs? 

In other words, people say how horrible it is, yet may also be having affairs.

 

Yes, there is a hypocrisy, but even those being hypocritical don’t always recognize it. Since most genuinely “believe in” monogamy, even those who have had affairs may talk disparagingly about others similarly engaged. That’s because almost everyone involved in affairs uses a great deal of denial and rationalization in understanding/explaining their OWN situation.

 

There is also a great hypocrisy among those who have NOT been the ones having affairs. They say affairs are horrible, but inadvertently support affairs through their participation in all of the “societal factors” that I wrote about in response to the first question.

 

NOTE: Even the most pure, religious, “good” people (who might say they don’t contribute to any of the “societal factors” mentioned above) have inevitably made a huge contribution to undermining monogamy by virtue of their failure as parents to talk openly and honestly with their children about sex as they were growing up. Due to this lack, kids learn that “sex and secrecy” go hand-in-hand. They learn to be deceptive and to hide their sexual activities from their parents. Then as adults, when they’re married and tempted to have affairs, they simply continue the pattern of deception learned while growing up. They act on their desires and pretend to their spouse (just as they did to their parents) that they’re not. So no one is exempt from the responsibility for contributing to affairs.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

DBA, MBA, BBSc, MPsych (Clin)

What are 8 Movies we suggest to start with in Movie Therapy?

Could a Vince Vaughn romantic comedy save your marriage? Maybe. What about “The Avengers”? Probably not.

Jason & his girlfriend has recently completed the Movie Therapy Course. Jason is typical of the “modern male” who would like to have a closer relationship with his girl, but sometimes cannot find the words to help express himself. By watching movies and following the questions and format each couple must follow after the movie, Jason has found a deeper and closer relationship with his girlfriend.

What does Jason’s girlfriend have to say about the course? You can watch Jason and his girlfriend talk about their experience with their chosen movies inside the Movie Therapy Course.

 

Can Movie Therapy Prevent Divorce?

Couples who watch relationship-centered movies — chick flicks — and then discuss them afterwards are more likely to still be together after three years, according to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce. University of Rochester researchers, hoping to find a program that would keep people together, recruited 174 engaged or newly married couples at bridal shows in the Los Angeles area. They randomly assigned the couples to get no treatment, a movie-centered intervention or one of two types of marriage-preparation classes, which consisted of multiple workshops designed to hone participants’ relationship skills. The couples were followed for three years.

The couples who were assigned to watch movies were told to pick five from a list and then to discuss with their partner questions, such as:

    • What main problems did this couple face?
    • Are any of these similar to the problems that the two of you have faced?
    • How did the couple handle arguments or differences of opinion?
    • How did the couple in the movie handle hurt feelings?”

Ultimately the movies turned out to be just as effective as the workshops, which required hours of lectures and homework on top of that. All three interventions cut the three-year divorce rate by half.

“We don’t think it’s just about watching movies,” said the study’s lead author Ron Rogge, an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Rochester. “There are lots of couples who watch movies and end up divorcing.”

The important thing is the conversations the movies spark, Rogge said.

What movies are recommended?

It’s not like any old movie will do, however. People have to choose films that will spark discussions about the couple’s own relationship. That means a romantic relationship at its core, Rogge said. “That cuts out almost all science fiction and fantasy movies,” he explained.

There’s no clear data on which movies work best as marriage therapist substitutes, but Rogge suggests movies like:

  • “Couples Retreat”

  • “Four Christmases”

  • “Terms of Endearment”

  • “When a Man Loves a Woman”

  • “Funny Girl”

  • “Two for the Road”

  • “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

  • “Yours, Mine and Ours”

 

To start the Movie Therapy Online Course CLICK HERE

Feeling like you have great communication already and you just want to watch great couple movies? Here are direct links below

 

The Life Stages of Men in Relationships

G’Day Everyone!

 

This week I am writing to you from the gorgeous town of Queenstown, New Zealand. I am here with my 22 year old daughter, who is on university break from her Law degree ( mama is so proud!) We spent a week in Lake Tekapo, where I was best man at my best friends wedding. Now Sara and I will venture around the South Island of NZ, spending some quality time together – as I know this alone time with my daughter will soon come to an end.

 

A subject matter Sara likes to ask me about is the life stages of the male. As a 22 year old woman, she has categorized the men she has met into categories that will start to negatively impact the happiness of her future relationships. In fact, the only male she feels is 100% honest – is her Dad (awe!)

 

So to help Sara understand men a little better, I broke down their life stages into these generalised stages below.

 

PLUS…I offer you a few tips on how to deal with your man if he is in one of the stages below.

 

 

There are several key stages in a man’s life that will drive his passions, relationships, and fears.

 

The three pivotal stages which will decide ultimately who he is and what he will accomplish will occur sometime between his early twenties and late forties.

 

The man in his twenties is focused on leaving his mark. Men gauge much of their worth by their job performance, so it is not uncommon to find men of this age becoming workaholics. Beyond work, the younger man is busy discovering who he is and what he cares about. If he fails to find a stable partner, it may set the stage to enter his thirties in stagnation, self-absorbed and fearing commitment.

 

A good woman can save him from this, but she will need to learn to communicate with him. If a woman wants to get something across, she has to come right out and say it in concrete terms. When a woman complains of being unhappy in terms like, “Even when you’re here, you aren’t really here,” he’s going to look at her like she’s speaking Dr. Seuss. Instead, she could say, “When you come home from work, I understand that you may need time to unwind, but I really enjoy talking to you, and would like to do it more often.”

 

A man in his twenties may doubt his ability to make a woman happy, compensating by dating as many women as he can. Younger men seek safety in numbers (of women), but what they fail to realize is that women hate the numbers game, and those numbers can dwindle quickly once one number starts talking to another.

 

30s

A guy in his thirties (depending on if he is married) may not feel much different from his twenties. He may be slightly irresponsible and selfish, but will soon realize that he is not as indestructible as he once thought. These are the years when he will realize his inevitable decline. This may benchmark a sadness over his lost youth, but can lead to a renewed drive to find a lasting love.

 

Working against his search for companionship will be the fact that he is becoming set in his ways as a single bachelor. This can bring about a lot of conflict in relationships, as while he may say he wants to be a team, he lacks the ability to think beyond himself. Getting a guy in his thirties to commit is a bit of a race against time. The longer he enjoys his bachelorhood, the more set in his ways he will become.

 

One of the first things a woman can do to ease a thirty-year-old into commitment is to understand his fears. One thing all men fear is failure. Failure at work, life, and in their relationships. Men like to be the hero, which means knowing he can please his partner, making her feel secure and loved. Men are more apt to listen and act upon relationship problems when criticisms are preceded by a compliment.

 

40s

Being comfortable and secure in life, family, friends, and career are what every man hopes to achieve by the time he is forty – but not every man does. Some men have no more understanding of who they are at forty than when they were twenty. A confused guy in his forties may wish he could start over, pulling away from his long-term partner, cheating on his wife, buying a red sports car, and partaking in what’s been described as a “mid-life crisis.”

 

The unmarried forty-year-old has lived for himself for over twenty years. He has seen enough weary married men dragged through the mall behind their wives to believe that there isn’t always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He may fear commitment and marriage more than ever, and the chance that he will make a lifestyle change is slim. If he doesn’t want to get married (i.e., doesn’t want kids), take his word at face value. What you see/hear is generally what you get.

 

One of the biggest complaints for older men is that they are stuck in their glory days, wearing the same clothes, listening to the same music, and using the same pickup lines as they did in college. Women, however, embrace the new by keeping up on the latest music, fashions, and hip dialect. This may lead some women to date younger men, but with age comes benefits. The older man is generally more stable (emotionally and financially), a better listener, and in some ways a superior (more controlled) sex partner.

 

All men mature differently, offering a different experience depending on the outcome of each stage. Ultimately, what you are looking for is a man who knows who he is, or is at least well on his way to making that discovery!

My advice to Sara, is to keep an open mind, as she herself is also growing and changing, depending on her own life experiences and opportunities. Not every man can be as wonderful as her Dad (of course), but each man is different and she should never assume one man is like another.

What’s your take on how men mature… or don’t? If you are a man, please add to this conversation with your experience.

 

Best Wishes,

savsign

 

 

 

Savannah Ellis is a Psychologist, Educator, Relationship Counselor, Speaker and Author of Reboot Your Relationship & I Cheated – available on AMAZON.

 

Find her at www.savannahellis.net and @infidelityguru

Why do women cheat in their 1st year of marriage?

G’Day Everyone!

Elle Magazine Australia recently interviewed me regarding the growing issue of women having affairs in their 1st year of marriage.

For those of you who cannot grab a copy of this months Elle Magazine, Australian Edition, May 2014, I have attached the article for you.

Please feel free to add your comments. Do you think it is a growing concern? If so why?

We’ve all heard of the seven-year itch – the stage where couples lose interest in their relationship and stray. Now, new research shows the time frame for cheating has lurched forward dramatically: eight per cent of Australian female newlyweds who signed up to controversial dating website, Ashley Madison, admit they were unfaithful before they’d even been married for one year.

Researchers have pinpointed the seven-month mark as the flashpoint where extramarital affairs begin, giving rise to the seven-month itch phenomenon. “Traditionally, seven years into a relationship used to be make-or-break,” says Savannah Ellis, founder and coach at the Infidelity Recovery Institute. “But now, in our ‘have it all, have it now’ culture, because our courtships are much longer, romance often wanes way before the wedding. Then, after the natural high of the honeymoon period wears off post-wedding, all too often you’re left with two people with everyday problems and stresses. And if romance isn’t happening in our marriages, many women are tempted to seek the new-relationship high elsewhere.”

On her wedding day, Cressida Smythe*, a Melbourne-based advertising executive, was the perfect picture of a loved-up bride. At 28, she was marrying her childhood sweetheart, James. They’d travelled overseas together and had spent the past few months planning their dream wedding. “It was the happiest day of my life. I’d always imagined growing old with James – I couldn’t wait to be his wife,” she says.

Smythe is the first to admit she assumed marriage would lead straight to happily-ever-after. While she was saying her vows in front of friends and family, it never crossed her mind she’d cheat on her husband before they celebrated their first anniversary. Yet she says that almost immediately after the wedding, cracks appeared. “Before we married I’d found the fact that James was the jealous type flattering. After our wedding, I noticed him becoming more possessive,” she says. “He seemed to think that because we were married it was – everything James wasn’t at that time. We swapped numbers and met for coffee.”

Smart phones have a key role to play in infidelity – it’s now easier than ever to cheat. “Having unlimited opportunities to connect online makes it easier to contact people outside of our marriages and this can have an effect on someone who is not happy with the state of theirs,” says Denise Reichenbach, counsellor at Relationships Australia.

Dating sites and apps make it simpler to find people outside of your immediate social circle to cheat with, and opportunity is a big factor when it comes to stepping outside of your relationship. Meanwhile, social networking makes it easy to blur the lines of what constitutes infidelity. “When does harmless Facebook flirting turn into cheating?” asks Ellis.

Smythe continued to text and meet with the man she met that night. “I convinced myself it was innocent friendship until we went out for drinks and ended up sleeping together. I’d never been unfaithful before and the guilt was crippling but still, I felt a sense of defiant freedom.”

Living together before marriage might also be responsible for infidelity in the first year. Research by psychologists at the University of Denver reveals more couples are marrying simply because it has become the expected next step, rather than because they actually want to wed. Psychologists have even coined the term “sliders” to describe co-habiting couples who “slide” into marriage without any real desire to make a lifelong commitment. The study goes on to find that female sliders who move in with their partners before they get engaged are statistically around 40 per cent more likely to get divorced compared with those who don’t.

Sara Bright*, a management consultant from Sydney, admits she felt pressure from her social circle to marry. “Tim and I were introduced by mutual friends at a party. The night we met, he practically moved in to my place,” she says. “The physical attraction between us was intense – we couldn’t get enough of each other. We were both in the same line of work and in our forties; I felt like we were soulmates. When we launched a business together, it only compounded that feeling, but soon our business became all we talked – and bickered – about. It caused so much strain that we stopped having sex.” Bright’s friends, oblivious to the problems they were having, continued to pester the couple about when they would tie the knot.

“I was stunned when, out of the blue, Tim proposed,” she says. “I said yes straight away – I really believed marriage might help to bring us closer. The months planning our wedding were heady with romance. But it was only once we were unpacking our bags after the honeymoon that I felt a pang of regret. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he wasn’t the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Returning to work, the same pressures and stresses were there. Within days, I felt exactly as I had before we’d got engaged – frustrated and bored. And it was even more galling to feel that way because we were married.”

Relationship experts believe unrealistic expectations about what married life will be like can quickly lead to bitter disappointment. This breeds resentment, which makes infidelity more likely, especially for women. “We expect that being a husband automatically makes our partner a better man and marriage should give us a more rewarding relationship,” says Ellis. “But in reality your new husband is the same man he was before your wedding – and it doesn’t take long to feel frustration because nothing’s changed or improved.”

“Being unfaithful to Tim hadn’t entered my head until seven months after we married,” admits Bright. “I attended a work meeting with a client, who happened to be an attractive single guy. The conversation turned flirty and, before I knew it, we were in bed. I was shocked I didn’t feel guilty. I felt desirable for the first time since my wedding night. Craving that, I slept with him again soon afterwards.”

As divorce rates in Australia rise, leaving a marriage when things don’t work out feels increasingly normal. “It is more acceptable now to walk away from a struggling marriage,” says Ellis, “Our culture centres around, ‘If it doesn’t work, get divorced’.” Reichenbach agrees: “Often we’re not prepared to work on ourselves and our relationship to make it work. We just expect everything to run smoothly, which isn’t the reality of marriage.”

In the end, Smythe was prepared to fight for her marriage, but it took two years of hard work. “I realised that I didn’t want to leave James so I ended my affair,” she says. “I had infidelity counselling and came to my own conclusion that I owed it to James and our marriage to confess. He was devastated and asked me to leave but once he’d cooled off he admitted his controlling behaviour was partly responsible for driving me away. He’d been feeling insecure, but could appreciate how ironic it was that his behaviour had driven me to cheat and promised to work through his jealousy issues. We had couple’s counselling and now, looking back, I regret being unfaithful, but my affair made us both realise what we stood to lose. Now, we’re finally happy.”

However, if the love and commitment isn’t there anymore, those who have acted on the seven-month itch agree there’s little point in struggling on. Bright’s infidelity was the wake-up call she needed. “Eventually, I confessed to Tim,” she says. “He was furious and we split. I was sad but relieved, too. In hindsight, I was naive to think marriage would suddenly make us right for each other. Instead of talking weddings, we should have talked about how we really felt.”

It’s not easy to be brutally honest about what you expect from your marriage but pre-marital counselling can help couples determine whether they are both in it for forever, before they say “I do”.

In 2014, no-one should feel like they have to tie the knot – unless they really want to. “Before you get married ask yourself: ‘Am I in this to the end? What are our goals? Maybe there will be years where we don’t have great sex or have financial problems – can I handle that?’” says Ellis. “If the answers are ‘no’, then don’t do it. Live together, have fun, but don’t walk down the aisle.”

This article appeared in Elle Magazine, May 2014.

Written by: Beth Pope

– See more at: http://infidelityrecoveryinstitute.com/women-who-cheat-in-the-1st-year-of-marriage/#sthash.EsmNBv5t.dpuf

We’ve all heard of the seven-year itch – the stage where couples lose interest in their relationship and stray. Now, new research shows the time frame for cheating has lurched forward dramatically: eight per cent of Australian female newlyweds who signed up to controversial dating website, Ashley Madison, admit they were unfaithful before they’d even been married for one year.

Researchers have pinpointed the seven-month mark as the flashpoint where extramarital affairs begin, giving rise to the seven-month itch phenomenon. “Traditionally, seven years into a relationship used to be make-or-break,” says Savannah Ellis, founder and coach at the Infidelity Recovery Institute. “But now, in our ‘have it all, have it now’ culture, because our courtships are much longer, romance often wanes way before the wedding. Then, after the natural high of the honeymoon period wears off post-wedding, all too often you’re left with two people with everyday problems and stresses. And if romance isn’t happening in our marriages, many women are tempted to seek the new-relationship high elsewhere.”

On her wedding day, Cressida Smythe*, a Melbourne-based advertising executive, was the perfect picture of a loved-up bride. At 28, she was marrying her childhood sweetheart, James. They’d travelled overseas together and had spent the past few months planning their dream wedding. “It was the happiest day of my life. I’d always imagined growing old with James – I couldn’t wait to be his wife,” she says.

Smythe is the first to admit she assumed marriage would lead straight to happily-ever-after. While she was saying her vows in front of friends and family, it never crossed her mind she’d cheat on her husband before they celebrated their first anniversary. Yet she says that almost immediately after the wedding, cracks appeared. “Before we married I’d found the fact that James was the jealous type flattering. After our wedding, I noticed him becoming more possessive,” she says. “He seemed to think that because we were married it was – everything James wasn’t at that time. We swapped numbers and met for coffee.”

Smart phones have a key role to play in infidelity – it’s now easier than ever to cheat. “Having unlimited opportunities to connect online makes it easier to contact people outside of our marriages and this can have an effect on someone who is not happy with the state of theirs,” says Denise Reichenbach, counsellor at Relationships Australia.

Dating sites and apps make it simpler to find people outside of your immediate social circle to cheat with, and opportunity is a big factor when it comes to stepping outside of your relationship. Meanwhile, social networking makes it easy to blur the lines of what constitutes infidelity. “When does harmless Facebook flirting turn into cheating?” asks Ellis.

Smythe continued to text and meet with the man she met that night. “I convinced myself it was innocent friendship until we went out for drinks and ended up sleeping together. I’d never been unfaithful before and the guilt was crippling but still, I felt a sense of defiant freedom.”

Living together before marriage might also be responsible for infidelity in the first year. Research by psychologists at the University of Denver reveals more couples are marrying simply because it has become the expected next step, rather than because they actually want to wed. Psychologists have even coined the term “sliders” to describe co-habiting couples who “slide” into marriage without any real desire to make a lifelong commitment. The study goes on to find that female sliders who move in with their partners before they get engaged are statistically around 40 per cent more likely to get divorced compared with those who don’t.

Sara Bright*, a management consultant from Sydney, admits she felt pressure from her social circle to marry. “Tim and I were introduced by mutual friends at a party. The night we met, he practically moved in to my place,” she says. “The physical attraction between us was intense – we couldn’t get enough of each other. We were both in the same line of work and in our forties; I felt like we were soulmates. When we launched a business together, it only compounded that feeling, but soon our business became all we talked – and bickered – about. It caused so much strain that we stopped having sex.” Bright’s friends, oblivious to the problems they were having, continued to pester the couple about when they would tie the knot.

“I was stunned when, out of the blue, Tim proposed,” she says. “I said yes straight away – I really believed marriage might help to bring us closer. The months planning our wedding were heady with romance. But it was only once we were unpacking our bags after the honeymoon that I felt a pang of regret. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he wasn’t the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Returning to work, the same pressures and stresses were there. Within days, I felt exactly as I had before we’d got engaged – frustrated and bored. And it was even more galling to feel that way because we were married.”

Relationship experts believe unrealistic expectations about what married life will be like can quickly lead to bitter disappointment. This breeds resentment, which makes infidelity more likely, especially for women. “We expect that being a husband automatically makes our partner a better man and marriage should give us a more rewarding relationship,” says Ellis. “But in reality your new husband is the same man he was before your wedding – and it doesn’t take long to feel frustration because nothing’s changed or improved.”

“Being unfaithful to Tim hadn’t entered my head until seven months after we married,” admits Bright. “I attended a work meeting with a client, who happened to be an attractive single guy. The conversation turned flirty and, before I knew it, we were in bed. I was shocked I didn’t feel guilty. I felt desirable for the first time since my wedding night. Craving that, I slept with him again soon afterwards.”

As divorce rates in Australia rise, leaving a marriage when things don’t work out feels increasingly normal. “It is more acceptable now to walk away from a struggling marriage,” says Ellis, “Our culture centres around, ‘If it doesn’t work, get divorced’.” Reichenbach agrees: “Often we’re not prepared to work on ourselves and our relationship to make it work. We just expect everything to run smoothly, which isn’t the reality of marriage.”

In the end, Smythe was prepared to fight for her marriage, but it took two years of hard work. “I realised that I didn’t want to leave James so I ended my affair,” she says. “I had infidelity counselling and came to my own conclusion that I owed it to James and our marriage to confess. He was devastated and asked me to leave but once he’d cooled off he admitted his controlling behaviour was partly responsible for driving me away. He’d been feeling insecure, but could appreciate how ironic it was that his behaviour had driven me to cheat and promised to work through his jealousy issues. We had couple’s counselling and now, looking back, I regret being unfaithful, but my affair made us both realise what we stood to lose. Now, we’re finally happy.”

However, if the love and commitment isn’t there anymore, those who have acted on the seven-month itch agree there’s little point in struggling on. Bright’s infidelity was the wake-up call she needed. “Eventually, I confessed to Tim,” she says. “He was furious and we split. I was sad but relieved, too. In hindsight, I was naive to think marriage would suddenly make us right for each other. Instead of talking weddings, we should have talked about how we really felt.”

It’s not easy to be brutally honest about what you expect from your marriage but pre-marital counselling can help couples determine whether they are both in it for forever, before they say “I do”.

In 2014, no-one should feel like they have to tie the knot – unless they really want to. “Before you get married ask yourself: ‘Am I in this to the end? What are our goals? Maybe there will be years where we don’t have great sex or have financial problems – can I handle that?’” says Ellis. “If the answers are ‘no’, then don’t do it. Live together, have fun, but don’t walk down the aisle.”

This article appeared in Elle Magazine, May 2014.

Written by: Beth Pope

– See more at: http://infidelityrecoveryinstitute.com/women-who-cheat-in-the-1st-year-of-marriage/#sthash.EsmNBv5t.dpu

Best Wishes,


 

 

Savannah Ellis is a psychologist, educator, relationship counselor, speaker and author of Reboot Your Relationship & I Cheated – available on AMAZON. Find her at savannahellis.net and @infidelityguru

 

We’ve all heard of the seven-year itch – the stage where couples lose interest in their relationship and stray. Now, new research shows the time frame for cheating has lurched forward dramatically: eight per cent of Australian female newlyweds who signed up to controversial dating website, Ashley Madison, admit they were unfaithful before they’d even been married for one year.

Researchers have pinpointed the seven-month mark as the flashpoint where extramarital affairs begin, giving rise to the seven-month itch phenomenon. “Traditionally, seven years into a relationship used to be make-or-break,” says Savannah Ellis, founder and coach at the Infidelity Recovery Institute. “But now, in our ‘have it all, have it now’ culture, because our courtships are much longer, romance often wanes way before the wedding. Then, after the natural high of the honeymoon period wears off post-wedding, all too often you’re left with two people with everyday problems and stresses. And if romance isn’t happening in our marriages, many women are tempted to seek the new-relationship high elsewhere.”

On her wedding day, Cressida Smythe*, a Melbourne-based advertising executive, was the perfect picture of a loved-up bride. At 28, she was marrying her childhood sweetheart, James. They’d travelled overseas together and had spent the past few months planning their dream wedding. “It was the happiest day of my life. I’d always imagined growing old with James – I couldn’t wait to be his wife,” she says.

Smythe is the first to admit she assumed marriage would lead straight to happily-ever-after. While she was saying her vows in front of friends and family, it never crossed her mind she’d cheat on her husband before they celebrated their first anniversary. Yet she says that almost immediately after the wedding, cracks appeared. “Before we married I’d found the fact that James was the jealous type flattering. After our wedding, I noticed him becoming more possessive,” she says. “He seemed to think that because we were married it was – everything James wasn’t at that time. We swapped numbers and met for coffee.”

Smart phones have a key role to play in infidelity – it’s now easier than ever to cheat. “Having unlimited opportunities to connect online makes it easier to contact people outside of our marriages and this can have an effect on someone who is not happy with the state of theirs,” says Denise Reichenbach, counsellor at Relationships Australia.

Dating sites and apps make it simpler to find people outside of your immediate social circle to cheat with, and opportunity is a big factor when it comes to stepping outside of your relationship. Meanwhile, social networking makes it easy to blur the lines of what constitutes infidelity. “When does harmless Facebook flirting turn into cheating?” asks Ellis.

Smythe continued to text and meet with the man she met that night. “I convinced myself it was innocent friendship until we went out for drinks and ended up sleeping together. I’d never been unfaithful before and the guilt was crippling but still, I felt a sense of defiant freedom.”

Living together before marriage might also be responsible for infidelity in the first year. Research by psychologists at the University of Denver reveals more couples are marrying simply because it has become the expected next step, rather than because they actually want to wed. Psychologists have even coined the term “sliders” to describe co-habiting couples who “slide” into marriage without any real desire to make a lifelong commitment. The study goes on to find that female sliders who move in with their partners before they get engaged are statistically around 40 per cent more likely to get divorced compared with those who don’t.

Sara Bright*, a management consultant from Sydney, admits she felt pressure from her social circle to marry. “Tim and I were introduced by mutual friends at a party. The night we met, he practically moved in to my place,” she says. “The physical attraction between us was intense – we couldn’t get enough of each other. We were both in the same line of work and in our forties; I felt like we were soulmates. When we launched a business together, it only compounded that feeling, but soon our business became all we talked – and bickered – about. It caused so much strain that we stopped having sex.” Bright’s friends, oblivious to the problems they were having, continued to pester the couple about when they would tie the knot.

“I was stunned when, out of the blue, Tim proposed,” she says. “I said yes straight away – I really believed marriage might help to bring us closer. The months planning our wedding were heady with romance. But it was only once we were unpacking our bags after the honeymoon that I felt a pang of regret. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he wasn’t the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Returning to work, the same pressures and stresses were there. Within days, I felt exactly as I had before we’d got engaged – frustrated and bored. And it was even more galling to feel that way because we were married.”

Relationship experts believe unrealistic expectations about what married life will be like can quickly lead to bitter disappointment. This breeds resentment, which makes infidelity more likely, especially for women. “We expect that being a husband automatically makes our partner a better man and marriage should give us a more rewarding relationship,” says Ellis. “But in reality your new husband is the same man he was before your wedding – and it doesn’t take long to feel frustration because nothing’s changed or improved.”

“Being unfaithful to Tim hadn’t entered my head until seven months after we married,” admits Bright. “I attended a work meeting with a client, who happened to be an attractive single guy. The conversation turned flirty and, before I knew it, we were in bed. I was shocked I didn’t feel guilty. I felt desirable for the first time since my wedding night. Craving that, I slept with him again soon afterwards.”

As divorce rates in Australia rise, leaving a marriage when things don’t work out feels increasingly normal. “It is more acceptable now to walk away from a struggling marriage,” says Ellis, “Our culture centres around, ‘If it doesn’t work, get divorced’.” Reichenbach agrees: “Often we’re not prepared to work on ourselves and our relationship to make it work. We just expect everything to run smoothly, which isn’t the reality of marriage.”

In the end, Smythe was prepared to fight for her marriage, but it took two years of hard work. “I realised that I didn’t want to leave James so I ended my affair,” she says. “I had infidelity counselling and came to my own conclusion that I owed it to James and our marriage to confess. He was devastated and asked me to leave but once he’d cooled off he admitted his controlling behaviour was partly responsible for driving me away. He’d been feeling insecure, but could appreciate how ironic it was that his behaviour had driven me to cheat and promised to work through his jealousy issues. We had couple’s counselling and now, looking back, I regret being unfaithful, but my affair made us both realise what we stood to lose. Now, we’re finally happy.”

However, if the love and commitment isn’t there anymore, those who have acted on the seven-month itch agree there’s little point in struggling on. Bright’s infidelity was the wake-up call she needed. “Eventually, I confessed to Tim,” she says. “He was furious and we split. I was sad but relieved, too. In hindsight, I was naive to think marriage would suddenly make us right for each other. Instead of talking weddings, we should have talked about how we really felt.”

It’s not easy to be brutally honest about what you expect from your marriage but pre-marital counselling can help couples determine whether they are both in it for forever, before they say “I do”.

In 2014, no-one should feel like they have to tie the knot – unless they really want to. “Before you get married ask yourself: ‘Am I in this to the end? What are our goals? Maybe there will be years where we don’t have great sex or have financial problems – can I handle that?’” says Ellis. “If the answers are ‘no’, then don’t do it. Live together, have fun, but don’t walk down the aisle.”

This article appeared in Elle Magazine, May 2014.

Written by: Beth Pope

– See more at: http://infidelityrecoveryinstitute.com/women-who-cheat-in-the-1st-year-of-marriage/#sthash.EsmNBv5t.dpuf

We’ve all heard of the seven-year itch – the stage where couples lose interest in their relationship and stray. Now, new research shows the time frame for cheating has lurched forward dramatically: eight per cent of Australian female newlyweds who signed up to controversial dating website, Ashley Madison, admit they were unfaithful before they’d even been married for one year.

Researchers have pinpointed the seven-month mark as the flashpoint where extramarital affairs begin, giving rise to the seven-month itch phenomenon. “Traditionally, seven years into a relationship used to be make-or-break,” says Savannah Ellis, founder and coach at the Infidelity Recovery Institute. “But now, in our ‘have it all, have it now’ culture, because our courtships are much longer, romance often wanes way before the wedding. Then, after the natural high of the honeymoon period wears off post-wedding, all too often you’re left with two people with everyday problems and stresses. And if romance isn’t happening in our marriages, many women are tempted to seek the new-relationship high elsewhere.”

On her wedding day, Cressida Smythe*, a Melbourne-based advertising executive, was the perfect picture of a loved-up bride. At 28, she was marrying her childhood sweetheart, James. They’d travelled overseas together and had spent the past few months planning their dream wedding. “It was the happiest day of my life. I’d always imagined growing old with James – I couldn’t wait to be his wife,” she says.

Smythe is the first to admit she assumed marriage would lead straight to happily-ever-after. While she was saying her vows in front of friends and family, it never crossed her mind she’d cheat on her husband before they celebrated their first anniversary. Yet she says that almost immediately after the wedding, cracks appeared. “Before we married I’d found the fact that James was the jealous type flattering. After our wedding, I noticed him becoming more possessive,” she says. “He seemed to think that because we were married it was – everything James wasn’t at that time. We swapped numbers and met for coffee.”

Smart phones have a key role to play in infidelity – it’s now easier than ever to cheat. “Having unlimited opportunities to connect online makes it easier to contact people outside of our marriages and this can have an effect on someone who is not happy with the state of theirs,” says Denise Reichenbach, counsellor at Relationships Australia.

Dating sites and apps make it simpler to find people outside of your immediate social circle to cheat with, and opportunity is a big factor when it comes to stepping outside of your relationship. Meanwhile, social networking makes it easy to blur the lines of what constitutes infidelity. “When does harmless Facebook flirting turn into cheating?” asks Ellis.

Smythe continued to text and meet with the man she met that night. “I convinced myself it was innocent friendship until we went out for drinks and ended up sleeping together. I’d never been unfaithful before and the guilt was crippling but still, I felt a sense of defiant freedom.”

Living together before marriage might also be responsible for infidelity in the first year. Research by psychologists at the University of Denver reveals more couples are marrying simply because it has become the expected next step, rather than because they actually want to wed. Psychologists have even coined the term “sliders” to describe co-habiting couples who “slide” into marriage without any real desire to make a lifelong commitment. The study goes on to find that female sliders who move in with their partners before they get engaged are statistically around 40 per cent more likely to get divorced compared with those who don’t.

Sara Bright*, a management consultant from Sydney, admits she felt pressure from her social circle to marry. “Tim and I were introduced by mutual friends at a party. The night we met, he practically moved in to my place,” she says. “The physical attraction between us was intense – we couldn’t get enough of each other. We were both in the same line of work and in our forties; I felt like we were soulmates. When we launched a business together, it only compounded that feeling, but soon our business became all we talked – and bickered – about. It caused so much strain that we stopped having sex.” Bright’s friends, oblivious to the problems they were having, continued to pester the couple about when they would tie the knot.

“I was stunned when, out of the blue, Tim proposed,” she says. “I said yes straight away – I really believed marriage might help to bring us closer. The months planning our wedding were heady with romance. But it was only once we were unpacking our bags after the honeymoon that I felt a pang of regret. I couldn’t shake the feeling that he wasn’t the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Returning to work, the same pressures and stresses were there. Within days, I felt exactly as I had before we’d got engaged – frustrated and bored. And it was even more galling to feel that way because we were married.”

Relationship experts believe unrealistic expectations about what married life will be like can quickly lead to bitter disappointment. This breeds resentment, which makes infidelity more likely, especially for women. “We expect that being a husband automatically makes our partner a better man and marriage should give us a more rewarding relationship,” says Ellis. “But in reality your new husband is the same man he was before your wedding – and it doesn’t take long to feel frustration because nothing’s changed or improved.”

“Being unfaithful to Tim hadn’t entered my head until seven months after we married,” admits Bright. “I attended a work meeting with a client, who happened to be an attractive single guy. The conversation turned flirty and, before I knew it, we were in bed. I was shocked I didn’t feel guilty. I felt desirable for the first time since my wedding night. Craving that, I slept with him again soon afterwards.”

As divorce rates in Australia rise, leaving a marriage when things don’t work out feels increasingly normal. “It is more acceptable now to walk away from a struggling marriage,” says Ellis, “Our culture centres around, ‘If it doesn’t work, get divorced’.” Reichenbach agrees: “Often we’re not prepared to work on ourselves and our relationship to make it work. We just expect everything to run smoothly, which isn’t the reality of marriage.”

In the end, Smythe was prepared to fight for her marriage, but it took two years of hard work. “I realised that I didn’t want to leave James so I ended my affair,” she says. “I had infidelity counselling and came to my own conclusion that I owed it to James and our marriage to confess. He was devastated and asked me to leave but once he’d cooled off he admitted his controlling behaviour was partly responsible for driving me away. He’d been feeling insecure, but could appreciate how ironic it was that his behaviour had driven me to cheat and promised to work through his jealousy issues. We had couple’s counselling and now, looking back, I regret being unfaithful, but my affair made us both realise what we stood to lose. Now, we’re finally happy.”

However, if the love and commitment isn’t there anymore, those who have acted on the seven-month itch agree there’s little point in struggling on. Bright’s infidelity was the wake-up call she needed. “Eventually, I confessed to Tim,” she says. “He was furious and we split. I was sad but relieved, too. In hindsight, I was naive to think marriage would suddenly make us right for each other. Instead of talking weddings, we should have talked about how we really felt.”

It’s not easy to be brutally honest about what you expect from your marriage but pre-marital counselling can help couples determine whether they are both in it for forever, before they say “I do”.

In 2014, no-one should feel like they have to tie the knot – unless they really want to. “Before you get married ask yourself: ‘Am I in this to the end? What are our goals? Maybe there will be years where we don’t have great sex or have financial problems – can I handle that?’” says Ellis. “If the answers are ‘no’, then don’t do it. Live together, have fun, but don’t walk down the aisle.”

This article appeared in Elle Magazine, May 2014.

Written by: Beth Pope

 

 

Why Do Men Cheat?

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Why Do Men Cheat?

To be honest, both men and women cheat.  But with that said, men are more likely than women to cheat and there are some differences between the sexes when it comes to cheating.

In order to understand why men cheat, it helps to understand what causes both men and women to be unfaithful.

Why do both men and women cheat?

The science of cheating is clear on this point: Roughly 3% of all mammals, including humans, practice what is called pair bonding or monogamous mating.  However, even within the 3% of mammals that practice monogamy, very few species, including humans, are truly monogamous (see, Barash & Lipton).  In fact, when it comes to both men and women, monogamy is not our natural sexual strategy (see, Barash & Lipton and Ryan & Jetha).

To make a long story short, for millions of years, the desire to mate with multiple partners was a useful reproductive strategy.  Men and women, who had multiple partners, likely produced more offspring than people who were faithful to a single mate.  Cheating was a strategy to increase reproductive success and diversify risk.  Or think about it this way: investing in a mutual fund (multiple stocks) is, on average, a better financial strategy than putting all of your resources into a single stock.

Because a multiple partner approach was a better reproductive strategy than monogamy, men and women living today are the descendants of people, who had the desire to have sex with more than one person over the course of their lifespan.  Simply put, we have inherited this trait from our ancestors – it is a part of our human nature.  This does not mean that everyone will cheat on a partner or that people are fully aware of their unconscious sexual desires.

How are men and women different when it comes to cheating?

While both men and women cheat, there are important sex differences when it comes to cheating.  The sex differences that influence cheating are based on two basic biological differences between men and women

First, men and women differ when it comes to eggs and sperm.  Men can produce hundreds of millions of sperm per day.  By comparison, women are born with a million or so eggs, but only a fraction, roughly one egg released every 28 days over a short period of time – from puberty to menopause – has the potential to create life.  Simply stated, women have about 400 viable eggs to use (and taking into account gestation, only about 20 actual opportunities to reproduce), while men are capable of fathering an unlimited number of children.

The second basic biological difference deals with gestation.  Embryos grow and develop in women, not men.  For men, reproduction can literally take just a few minutes of effort; while for women it involves, at the very least, a nine-month process.

From a biological point of view, men can constantly and quickly engage in reproduction while women are much more limited in their ability to do so.

These biological differences influenced our psychological desires before the invention of modern forms of birth control and still influence our unconscious sexual desires today.  Men are more likely than women to think about sex and fantasize about having sex with multiple partners.  In fact, a multi-billion dollar industry – pornography – exploits this basic sexual difference.

Given this basic biological difference, here are some key differences between men and women when it comes to cheating:

  • Men are more likely than women to cheat with someone who is less attractive than their current partner.  Women cheat up while men are more opportunistic when it comes to cheating.
  • Men are more likely than women to have a one-night stand.  Women are more prone to having emotional affairs.
  • Men are less likely to consider leaving their partners after cheating.  When women cheat, it tends to be more emotionally involved so they are more likely to consider ending their current relationship.
  • Men are more likely than women to repeatedly cheat on a spouse or partner.

Can you think of other reasons why? Feel free to add to our list.

Best Regards,

savsign

Why are affairs so powerful?

Why are affairs so powerful? What could drive a person from a committed relationship, into to the bed of a near stranger?

The answer is easy to understand when you look further into what drives our actions. We do have the capability of thinking and understanding logically the difference between right and wrong. Our personality, beliefs and values guide our decision making processes so we can control our emotions . We don’t then react to our every urge.

If you have read into the 7 Types of Affairs, you will find examples of how certain types of affairs occur with people of certain personalities & beliefs. This is why there is a different treatment plan for each affair type.

What the affair partner gave to the unfaithful partner, is fulfillment of 1 or 2 of their most important emotional needs.

Emotional needs are unique to each person, and often people believe they know what their partners needs are. This is a huge mistake. To recover from infidelity, it is recommended that you understand  your emotional needs and your partners emotional needs.

Then your goal is to meet each others top emotional needs.

 

The 10 Most Popular Emotional Needs

 

  1. Intimacy
  2. Recreational Time
  3. Conversation
  4. Financial Support
  5. Affection
  6. Honesty
  7. Admiration & Respect
  8. Family Commitment
  9. An Attractive Partner
  10. Sexual Satisfaction

You may have another more important need. Then write that in this list. You make a list of YOUR needs. 

Our primary goal in helping couples recover after an affair is for them to establish a romantic relationship that’s just as passionate as the affair. I don’t want their choice to be between passion and reason – the affair offering passion and the marriage offering reason. I want them to have passion and reason, something that can only be found in their marriage. – Savannah

 

For the emotional needs assessment article CLICK HERE, or to read more about emotional needs, download a copy of “I Cheated: Affair Recovery”.

Here is to your relationship recovery,

savsign

Marriage: Communication, Preparation, and Counseling

It is without the slightest hint of doubt that everyone will agree to the fact that being married is absolutely challenging. The problems that you face in married life are not the kind that you can sleep off and wake up okay. Sometimes, it could be particularly hard to shake ill feelings off when you are sleeping beside who you have identified as the problem, and everywhere you turn has something that reminds you of that.

Married life is sadly not for everyone, especially for those who do spur of the moment decisions to walk down the aisle. Well, it could work out for some, but statistics support that a lot of these kinds of marriages just end in divorce. In the first place, divorce is not and should not be the primary recourse for marital problems. It should be the last option when every other option was already exhausted. Think about this: If people who waited and planned for their married life still encounter rough spots along the way, what makes you think that anything short of the right time and the right preparation will yield better results?

If you are thinking about getting married, this post is not intended to discourage you. No. This is meant to inspire you, to inform you about what lies ahead with the hopes that you will then take the necessary steps to ensure that the marriage that you are going to have will not be just another number to add to the surveys of those who tried but failed.

There is actually one aspect similar in all kinds of relationships that has to be particularly nurtured between couples, specifically married ones. This is the aspect of communication. As early as before getting married, assess your and your partner’s way of communicating with one another. Do the both of you talk in a constructive manner? Can you say the things you want to say without having to consider a million times before you actually do? What are communication patterns that seem to do more harm than good?

The way you interact with each other at present will determine the kind of relationship that you will have as husband and wife. Take it from a lot of licensed marriage and family therapists’ experience, a lot of the couples who walked in and out of their offices all had (or have) the same, prominent problem:  dysfunctional communication. Do not bank on the hope that things will get better once you get married because you will face a lot of different—and difficult—problems with your spouse then. Working on having a way to resolve your issues through effective communication channels will spell a great deal in keeping the marriage together.

In case you are unable to make ends meet at present, do not lose hope. This does not mean that you are never going to get along. This is only evidence of how limited your knowledge is on how to resolve certain issues. Luckily, counseling is highly advised of two individuals who decide to get married. There are licensed marriage and family therapists who are available to guide you through the different methods of getting to know yourself and your partner more. Do not think of counselling as something that happens only when problems are already present and are getting out of hand. Think of this as a preparation, a phase of conditioning, and a declaration that you are taking the decision of getting married and what it entails seriously.

Though therapists have a lot to offer, they can only do so little when a couple has each decided to close their minds to reason and understanding. One long-standing barrier to communication is having no communication at all. Make sure that you do not reach the point where talking things over only makes things worse. Start assessing which areas of your life need to be worked on now and proceed from there. If you feel that something is beyond your capacity, seek therapeutic help. More heads are better than one anyway.

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4 Tips to Stay Monogamous?

Personally, I’m shocked that the TV show “The Bachelor” and its sister show “The Bachelorette” are still going strong! The shows’ longevity speaks to how focused we are, as a society, on the dating portion of romance. As a culture, we have turned the search for love into a competition, a game, entertainment… when what we really need are stories and examples of what happens after two people find each other.

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