How Does Abuse and Emotional Neglect Make Someone An Avoider?

How Does Abuse and Emotional Neglect Make Someone An Avoider?

Understanding the Avoider’s Past So You Can Gain New Ways To Interact That Help You Break Out Of Old Ruts

We’ve talked a lot about what makes someone an avoider in previous articles on our website here and here.  We also explain more about why it matters and in different contexts.  But there are some other areas I want to dive deep into because they also play a huge role in your marriage. 

There are several things that can make someone grow up to become an Avoider. In this post we’re focusing on the aspects of your spouse’s past that make them an avoider.

There are several things that contribute to that from their past that we’ll get to in a moment. I don’t want to ignore the things that are happening now in your relationship that might cause them to avoid, that’s the the topic of another article you can find here. 

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How Long Should I Try To Work On The Marriage If My Partner Is Unwilling To Try?

How Long Should I Try To Work On The Marriage If My Partner Is Unwilling To Try?

Maybe you’ve been unhappy in your relationship for a while but your partner seems unwilling to do anything to improve the situation.  It can be so hard to know what to do.  You can feel so incredibly stuck.  

I can be even worse if you’ve experienced a significant hurt.  Maybe they don’t know know how to be there for you emotionally or physically when you need them most.  

Maybe there’s been betrayal like an affair.  Maybe you’ve considered looking outside the marriage for comfort.  If you have then READ THIS.
But the question we get quite often in our marriage counseling private practices is, “how long should I try to work on things before it’s a hopeless case?”  Other questions we get are…”am I crazy for wanting to work on things?” Or “Is my partner a Narcissist just trying to hurt me?”

In our years of experience counseling couples we’ve identified several types of people, and situations couples find themselves in, when they have to decide if they should leave their spouse or not.

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Is Emotional Blindness Hereditary?

Is Emotional Blindness Hereditary?

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “If I go to my partner with this issue or concern they won’t handle it well?”  

I think we all have thought that at some point.  But what happens after that initial hesitation is what matters a lot.

How do you handle these tough situations?  Do you still go to them and weather the stormy conversation or do you hold back?  Why?  What are we afraid of happening?

How we answer this says a lot about us and our upbringing.  It also tells us a lot about what your children will do when they grow up too….

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New Parent Difficulties: A Case Study

New Parent Difficulties: A Case Study

When it comes to celebrity couples, Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling are one pair of Hollywood A-listers who have managed to keep the details of their relationship relatively private. Maintaining this level of confidentiality is no small feat given the celebrity status of the two.  After all, it's hard enough for us common folk to keep our private lives private. 

Nonetheless, when you're as famous as Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling are, there will always be prying eyes and lenses whenever you go out and public. As a result, there are some things that you just can't keep secret for long, and recent photos of the couple together clearly show that Mendes is expecting the couple's second child...

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How Infidelity Creeps Into Relationships: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

How Infidelity Creeps Into Relationships: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were more than just a Hollywood power couple. They were also the type of couple that a lot of couples aspire to be. His teary-eyed, heartfelt acceptance speech at the Grammy's was enough to make many women swoon. It's difficult to not be impressed by a man who unabashedly thanks and weeps over his wife and children on live television. When news of the their impending separation hit, followed by rumors of infidelity hit, however, public opinion dramatically changed. What people forgot is that celebrity relationships are fraught with all of the same problems that regular relationships are fraught with, and more. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are real people and the basic problem in their relationship is a very common one....

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7 Surprising Facts About Infidelity!

The following 7 facts often surprise people about infidelity.  So many people have been completely lied to and have no idea what really causes people to cheat.

  1. A happy marriage is not a vaccine against infidelity.
  2. The person having the affair may not be giving enough at home rather than not getting enough. 
  3. It is normal to be attracted to another person, but fantasizing about what it would be like to be with an other person is a danger sign.
  4. Flirting is crossing the line because it is an invitation that indicates receptivity. 
  5. Infidelity is not only about love or sex - it’s about maintaining appropriate boundaries with others and being open and honest in your committed relationship. 
  6. You do not have to have sexual intercourse to be unfaithful. Passionate kissing or oral sex is a violation of your commitment to your partner. 
  7. Emotional affairs are characterized by secrecy, emotional intimacy, and sexual chemistry. Emotional affairs can be more threatening than brief sexual flings.

Remember marriage counseling can help you avoid divorcing and help you rebuild your marriage. 

Secret #7 How To Create Rituals, Goals, and Roles for A Happy Marriage

Secret #7 How To Create Rituals, Goals, and Roles for A Happy Marriage

The 7th and final step to creating the marriage you want is to have a "Sense of Shared Meaning." By this I mean you need to have "rituals, goals and roles" that you share. 

Marriage isn't just about raising kids, splitting chores, and making love. It can also have a spiritual dimension that has to do with creating an inner life together. Developing a culture together doesn't mean a couple sees eye to eye on every aspect of their life's philosophy....

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Helping Your Spouse Win

Helping Your Spouse Win

Successful couples realize they must help their partner realize important life dreams and become effective at making each others life dreams and aspirations come true.

In short: Help each other win.

A good way to handle conflict in your marriage is working together as a team to achieve each other's life dreams. Many conflicts  in marriage are caused because life dreams are in conflict. You need to...

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Secret #4 The Trick of Accepting Influence & Sharing Control

Secret #4 The Trick of Accepting Influence & Sharing Control

Successful couples accept influence from each other. 

Meaning they listen to, and seek out each other's opinions before making a decision. This is particularly hard for most men and some women. So men please don't feel like I am picking on you in this blog post. I am a man myself; I know how difficult it is to do what I am saying here. 

But it is extremely important to...

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Secret #3 Turning Towards Your Partner In Times Of Need

Secret #3 Turning Towards Your Partner In Times Of Need

Successful couples turn towards each other instead of away.

Real life romance is fueled by a far more humdrum approach to staying connected. It is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life. 

Romance actually...

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How Fondness & Admiration Leads To Success In Marriage

How Fondness & Admiration Leads To Success In Marriage

This means they retain some fundamental sense that their partner is worthy of being respected and even liked. Fondness and admiration are two of the most crucial elements in a rewarding and long-lasting romance. 

Although happily married couples may feel driven to distraction at times by their partner's personality flaws, they feel that the person they married is worthy of honor and respect. When this sense is completely missing from a marriage, the relationship has a very....

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Creating Space for Your Spouse (It's not what you think)

Creating Space for Your Spouse (It's not what you think)

Something that successful couples do that separates themselves from non successful couples is they create "Cognitive Room" for each other. Meaning they know what is going on in their partner's day to day world; they know what stresses they face, what their goals are, who they like and dislike at work, names of childhood friends etc....

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4th Sign that Divorce is Near!

The fourth and final sign that the end is near in your marriage is STONEWALLING. 

Note: The end is only near if there is no intervention like marriage counseling.  

This simply means the listener withdraws from the interaction while staying in the room. Basically this means not giving cues that he or she is listening i.e. by looking at the side and not maintaining eye contact or crossing one's arms. This is very common in men. 

Solution? Use PHYSIOLOGICAL SELF-SOOTHING, meaning learn to calm yourself down. Usually when someone is stonewalling their heart beat is close to 100 beats per minute. When your heart beat gets that high your adrenaline is pumping and you are in survival mode because you are being verbally beat up. 

The key to self-soothing is to use relaxation techniques like deep breathing or tightening and relaxing muscles in your body. Marriage counseling can help your marriage.

Do You Have The 3rd Sign that Divorce is Near In Your Relationship?

This is sign to end all signs, this warning sign is so bad that marriage researchers just by spotting this warning sign can predict divorce with 94% accuracy. The end is only near if there is no intervention like marriage counseling.

The sign is CONTEMPT.

To be contemptuous is to put someone down, and to take a higher plan i.e. taking a higher moral ground. It's a position that says, "I am better, smarter, kinder/etc than you are." It can be accompanied by a belligerent attitude. When contempt is present in a relationship it is accompanied by a negative habit of mind where the wife scans the environment for her husbands mistakes rather than for what is positive or what she can appreciate. Now there is a cross-cultural universal facial expression of contempt: a lateral pull of the left lip corner to the side creating a dimple on the left side. 

Solution?

Create a CULTURE OF APPRECIATION! Be thankful! 

Key ways to do this is to communicate to your partner what you like and love about them on a regular basis. It is more meaningful when it is done unexpectedly and in small ways, but done everyday. Let them know you are thankful for: being with them, knowing them, and what they do for you. Remember marriage counseling can help you avoid divorcing and help you rebuild your marriage. 

2nd Sign that Divorce is Near!

The next sign that you maybe in a troubled marriage is DEFENSIVENESS. The end is only near if there is no intervention like marriage counseling.  

Defensiveness follows criticism in the dysfunctional pattern of marital communication. What causes someone to feel defensive in a marital discussion is being criticized by their partner. When someone is criticized they are not thinking about what role they had in creating a problem but they are naturally thinking about how they are right and the criticizer is wrong. So defensiveness actually results in the defensive partner to criticize to show how "right" they are. It creates more criticism and causes nothing to be  resolved in your marriage. 

Solution?

When you are criticized accepted responsibility for your part in the situation, even if it is a minor role. If you don't the cycle of criticism and defensiveness will play out in your marriage and cause you to grow apart. Marriage counseling can help your marriage. 

 

1st Sign that Divorce is Near!

1st Sign that Divorce is Near!

Marriage researchers have identified four characteristics of relationships that are almost over. They are so important they have been labeled the “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” Because in the Bible the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear when the end is near. The end is only near if...

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What Causes Dysfunctional Relationships?

July 22nd, 2011
Myths about What Causes Dysfunctional Relationships/Marriages Marriage Counseling Tulsa
I want to burst some bubbles about what causes Dysfunctional Relationships/Marriages or what causes Divorce. They are:
1. “Affairs are the Major Cause of Divorce.” Actually the major cause of divorce (80%) of the time is that people become distant and drift apart. This is because the couple failed to maintain there intimacy and friendship over time. Most affairs aren’t about sex, but about friendship that leads to sex. The cheating partner found someone who offers friendship and affection. 
2. “Score Keeping is Okay.” No it is NOT. Thinking that says, “I did this for this person and it never got reciprocated.” Will lead to more trouble and it is in fact a sign that your relationship is in trouble. Happy relationships don’t have “emotional accountants.” 
3. “Dominance Structures in Relationships are Dysfunctional.” Not so fast according to recent research. Research has shown that there is more conflict when people must work out who is in charge of each thing in contrast to when there are gender lines on who does what. Structures in social groups are designed to minimize conflict. Here is what makes “Dominant Relationships” work: both people in the relationship feel like they are being treating fairly and each partner’s emotional needs are being met. 
Remember: marriage counseling can improve your marriage. 

10 Things We Know From Gottman's Research!

10 Things We Now Know From Gottman’s Marriage Research - Marriage Counseling Tulsa

1. Gottman method couples therapy is 45% more effective than regular couples therapy. 75% of couples “trying” a marriage counselor before divorce court report feeling happier in their relationship, and because they are happier they don’t call it quits. 

2. It is based on over 40 years of scientific research. Where couples in good times and bad times were/are watched 12 hours a day to record everything they do including their heart beat. They are observed by cameras in an apartment lab that is set up like a bed and breakfast. 

3. Because of the extensive research we now know what really makes a relationship work & what doesn’t make it work. I think you’d be surprised by the results. 

4. It isn’t the problem you encounter but the way you talk about it, that is REALLY the problem between a couple.

5. The most important thing in predicating if a relationship won’t survive in 3 years with over 90% accuracy is the sign of CONTEMPT in the relationship. Contempt is feeling like someone is less than you as a person. The body language for contempt in all cultures is best described as having a fish hook in the left side of your mouth. It pulls your cheek to the side. I’ve noticed it this at times for split seconds in a session and it helps me understand just how troubled the marriage/relationship is in. 

6. The strength of a couples relationship is based not on just one secret, but actually seven principles. 

7. Improving a relationship is based on spending time with your partner each day to discuss the major events in their day. Doing this for 20 minutes a day you will be amazed by how much you’ll learn about your partner and how your friendship will blossom. 

8. Arguing doesn’t lead to divorce or unhappy relationships. Its how you argue. Use a gentle start up when you start something that is sensitive. Don’t use a harsh start up. Remaining calm will work wonders. Gottman’s research has shown how a difficult conversation starts is how it will end. Meaning if you start on a harsh tone you will probably have little chance of getting what you want, and it will end harshly. 

9. A couples friendship is their best predicator of lasting success. So don’t let the kids come between you, because when they turn 18 and leave, your marriage might leave with them.

10. 70% of couples experience a decreasing in relationship satisfaction after the birth of a child. This can be improved by having the husband increase his workload around the house, and learning to be more supportive of his wife’s and baby’s needs. 

11. Bonus - Marriage counseling can improve your marriage. 

We Get What We Expect!

Everyone who goes into marriage has expectations of what that marriage will be like based on their upbringing, personal & family history, and what THEY WERE TOLD it would be like by their future spouse. A lot of my pre-marital couples who have never been married may not realize they have expectations for marriage, but they do. How can they fully realize them? They’ve never been married! So how do you adjust when you discover things aren’t as you hoped?
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