Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Monday, April 13, 2015

Stay With It!

Filed under: Coaching,Commitment,Relationships — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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In a relationship? Things getting a little rough? Things can get a little complex at times. Never give up! Stay with the program. Make your relationship a lifetime commitment. Don’t weasel out! Sticking with it, is easier than beginning again.

Never stop. We often get so wrapped up in our everyday experiences that we forget that our relationship comes first. It does, you know. Make it a habit to work together on your relationship. When you become discouraged, seek out someone in your support system, perhaps a friend whom you “know” will be your encourager.

StayWithItTo paraphrase Vincent Van Gogh, “When you hear a voice within you saying, ‘You’re not going to make it,’ than by all means continue making better choices and that voice will be silenced.”

Perhaps it’s time time to re-imagine your relationship. Begin to think of it as you want it to be. Let go of tour resentments and begin again.

• Never stop doing the things that brought you together in the first place.
• Kiss hello before doing anything else when you get home, then give each other some space for a little while to ease into being home and being together again. Kiss good-bye when you leave.
• More “I love you”s are better than fewer.
• Be more spontaneous in demonstrating your love.
• Never allow yourself to become bored with each other. That may take some effort if you’ve slowed down on giving it your best.

Stick with it and your partner will stick with you. Catch your partner doing something right and acknowledge them for it. Play together. Learn to have fun together again. You both must be willing to bring your best to the relationship… working together. Positive repetition builds your relationship reputation. Become known to your partner as someone who is consistent with their best efforts; someone with commitment, perseverance and dedication to serving the relationship. You must demonstrate your commitment.

You have to wake up every day and “choose” the relationship all over again. Choose what you truly want and need in order to achieve the loving, caring, committed, passionate, fulfilling relationship that you truly desire. Coming and being together is a beginning. Keeping together is a progress that takes time and steadfast commitment.

We all make mistakes. Never stumble over something that is behind you. Forgive and let it go!

“You are here to learn how to be truly happy, to become your best self. And it is attainable. But only you can make that happen.” ~ Maria Shriver

Stay present. Recommit to really “be” in the relationship. There is a way out of your unhappiness. It’s simple. You say you love your partner… now stand up for that Love! Don’t walk away with without giving it your best! That’s the cowards way out.

BONUS Articles: How About a Healthy, Controlled One-on-one?
Halfway to Each Other…
Does Your Relationship Need a Wake-up Call?
Who Ya Gonna Call? – The Love Doctor, of Course!

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2015 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Halfway to Each Other…

Filed under: Coaching,Communication,Making Up — Larry James @ 7:00 am

“I’m really scared,” she said, “I’m so afraid the relationship is over.” She began to cry. “I feel like we’ve both waited too long before either of us were brave enough to ask for help.”

If this has happened to you or someone close to you, you are not alone.

The first words out of my mouth to her as her coaching session began was: “It’s never too late if you still love each other because there is a path that leads to halfway to each other however you both must be on the same path for you to complete the journey together!”

So many couples wait until they almost get to the end before they ask for help. The sad truth is, the biggest percentage of couples never ask for help because they give up and break up rather than make up.

Another truth about a relationship break-up is that in almost every case, one partner has secretly been “thinking” about leaving the relationship for a long time – perhaps a year or more – and the other partner is surprised when they finally break the news that they are leaving. Surprised? Yes, surprised. There are always clues that one partner or the other is unhappy in the relationship however they most often are too blind (or resentful – or angry) to see the clues. By then, it usually is too late to do anything to patch things up.

If you are unhappy in your relationship and have considered leaving… it’s time to reach out to someone who can help and to communicate.

Remember what it was like when you first got together? You talked about anything and everything and agreed on most things too.

“But I can’t talk to her/him. She/he won’t listen. Every time I try to talk with her/him, we begin to fight. It’s so hopeless.”

It takes learning how to communicate with your partner on a deeper level. While it’s true that to work together, you must communicate, there needs to be agreement for each of you to do your best to work it out together.

“All couples should learn the art of conflict as they should learn the art of making love. Good conflict is objective and honest – never vicious or cruel. Good conflict is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership.” ~ Ann Landers

There is no such thing as a relationship without conflict. Some conflicts are small. Others are colossal and difficult to manage. How you resolve the conflict, not how many occur, is the critical factor in determining whether a relationship will be healthy or unhealthy, mutually satisfying or unsatisfying, friendly or unfriendly, deep or shallow, intimate or cold.

Constant conflict can wear you down. It can destroy your self esteem. It is not unusual for people to be afraid about seeking counseling. This can be for lots of reasons. Many people’s culture or upbringing tells them that they should be able to handle their problems on their own, or that talking with a counselor is shameful. There is no shame is seeking help.

Don’t wait. If you do, little resentments then started to creep their way in and will always grow bigger. The longer you wait… the more difficult it is to get the process of communication started.

It takes courage to tell a third party – a coach, therapist, etc. – that you’ve lost that loving feeling AND if you love each other and choose to stay together… you must. The coaches goal is to help you.

Wouldn’t it feel great to have someone listen to you, and only you, without distractions, interruptions, and without judgment? Not only is it okay to see a relationship coach, it is a sign of strength and self-respect. You must take the first step while you are still afraid. After taking that final step, the fear is often replaced by a great sense of relief, comfort and well-being. Coaching allows you to clarify your needs without the blame, flame and shame experiences that block your communications with each other.

A final thought: I spoke recently with a man who told me that he and his wife had been to several different therapists, coaches and none of them worked. I asked him if he or his wife changed any of their behavior after seeing the therapists. He hesitated and said, “I guess not.” Be clear, you don’t go to a coach or therapist to have them fix you. They cannot do that. That is not their job. YOU have to do the work. Everyone has personal resources that are as yet untapped. A good coach can help you discover what those resources are and show you how to use them together for your best advantage.

A major shift in your behavior with each other is required for anything to be different.

BONUS Articles: Communicating is Not Optional
…And If All Else Fails?

Larry’s Note: A special “Thank you!” to Susan Pohlman for allowing me to use the title of her book as the title to this article!

susanpohlman

Click book cover for info!

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Friday, December 2, 2011

On What Street do You Live?

Filed under: Breaking Up,Coaching,Communication,Making Up,Relationships — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Wouldn’t it be great if we all lived on “Love Street” and we would all make expressing Love to our partners and those around us the highest priority in our lives?

If the relationship you are in doesn’t feel like there is a lot of love showing up, it’s time to begin demonstrating a higher commitment to finding that love again.

LoveStreetSIGN“Make good sense of a bad relationship by examining it as a reflection of your beliefs about yourself. Don’t just run away from a bad relationship; you’ll only repeat it with the next partner. Use it as a mirror to look at yourself, to understand what in you is creating this relationship. Change yourself before you change your relationship.” ~ Hara Estroff Marano, Editor at Large of Psychology Today

Every relationship is different. Everyone has their ups and downs. It is important to work on your relationship every single day. If you can’t make it work – even though you both agree that you want to work together to make it work – it would be wise to get outside help. If you take the easy way out and split up, as Hara said, “You’ll only repeat it [the same problem] with the next partner.”

I’ve been a relationship coach since 1994 and I can confirm that problems to not go away by themselves and unless you fix the problem instead of running away… you WILL repeat it with your next partner.

Part of the problem is that we cannot possibly accept that we may be part (or even the cause) of the problem. We hold on to being right about our position and as a result everything collapses around us. We either run away, still blaming our partner, or stay together and hope everything works out and continue to remain on “Miserable Street” all the time knowing that it won’t work out. That’s sad.

I am also an award winning Wedding Officiant. Every couple that I marry receives a “Relationship Coaching Certificate” after the wedding. It’s good for one hour of free relationship coaching at anytime in the future (no expiration) should issues arise that the couple can’t seem to work out together. Although the largest percentage of these couples remain together, I am amazed when I hear that a couple is no longer together and they didn’t at least call to try to work it out.

coupleinloveIf you are running away from a relationship where there was once a lot of love, you are a coward if you don’t at least seek to understand what caused the problem and agree to work on it together or with a relationship coach. Part of the problem is that often we feel hopeless – that there is no use trying – because instead of heeding the warning signs (and there are ALWAYS warning signs) we wait until it’s too late and both partners give up.

We think that it will be different (or better) with someone else. Believe me, you must fix the problem or it won’t go away – even if you do end up with someone else.

Always keep your relationship on the front burner. Make it your top priority. When problems arise don’t wait! If something annoys you more than once or twice you owe it to your relationship to talk about about it as soon as possible. When we allow issues to marinate things always get worse. Not speaking up when they arise allows time to dredge up all the other stuff that we may be unhappy about and when we finally do say something – KaBOOM! – it’s World War III. Often it’s too late! If you threaten to break up with each other after every fight or argument, you will never really resolve anything.

Don’t wait. In the most loving way, express what is going on. Hold your temper. Don’t speak blame. Talk about the real issue. Take responsibility for your share of the problem. Problems are seldom only one persons fault. Settle disputes peacefully. Apologize, forgive, and make up with each other. Take breaking up off the table. Never be afraid to say, “I’m sorry!” Learn to communicate about anything and everything all the time. Re-establish trust. Romance is essential to all relationships. Love each other. Make plans to have fun together! Never give up!

i-m-sorryThere will be times when you are less aware of your loving feelings, more into your own interests, perhaps things have even become a little selfish and routine. Notice when this happens. Those are the times to remember all the wonderful things you have done together, and still want to do. Remind yourself of all the wonderful qualities he or she possesses that made you fall in love in the first place. Remember, your wants and needs are just as important as your partners. If you give nothing of yourself, then you’ll get nothing in return. Never stop doing the things that brought you together in the first place.

Always remember the Golden Rule! Doing the right things will help your relationship move to “Love Street!”

BONUS Article: Does Your Relationship Need a Wake-up Call?

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Does Your Relationship Need a Wake-up Call?

Filed under: Accountability,Coaching,Communication,Intimacy — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Has your relationship whacked you over the head lately? Bet you didn’t see that coming! However, it probably would not have happened if you had been paying attention. Perhaps it’s the wake-up call you needed that something is missing in your relationship.

wake-up-callIt usually screams. . . Accountability!

Wake-up calls demand that you be accountable for the current condition that YOU have helped to create in your relationship.

“A common close call for a guy is having the woman in his life threaten to end their relationship because of his reluctance to finally look at and own up to his behavior that has helped drive the relationship toward unhappiness and disaster. At this point women need to see some concrete form of action from their guy, like getting some relationship coaching, getting into therapy, attending a seminar, reading a book.” ~ Hanalei Vierra, Ph.D.

I would add that although my experience has me agreeing with Dr. Vierra, I would add that men are not the only ones to get wake-up calls.

A wake-up call for a woman may be that she feels that her partner is pulling away; that he is spending more time at the office than usual. He may just plop down in a chair with the TV remote in hand and wait for you to announce, “Supper’s ready!” (Shame on him – I thought this was supposed to be a “partnership!”) There may be less intimacy or she may hear excuses when she wants to be close. It’s time to pay attention!

Wake up – don’t break up!

If you value your relationship, wake-up calls are not to be ignored. They are intended to get your attention.

Many partners have what I call blind spots. They drift along thinking that everything is alright but there is a feeling of disconnect that they tend to ignore.

It’s important to do something about these feelings sooner than later. Be careful not to wait too long to take action. Some wake-up calls come too late. The problem often is that by the time you pick up on that something is really wrong, your partner has been thinking about moving on for 6 months to a year and is ready to make the call and it may be too late. The other partner is usually surprised, stunned and clueless about what just happened. By then it could be the beginning of the end.

I often hear my coaching clients say, “I didn’t see it coming!” or “He (or she) won’t tell me what it is I am doing that upsets them. He (or she) says I ought to know, but I don’t.”

wakeupPay attention to your relationship! Give it your full attention. Then you will know. If you sense that something is not working the way you think it should. . . do something about it. Relationships require maintenance. They also require preventative maintenance; the kind that keeps you ahead of any problems or issues that may surface.

It is much easier to maintain and enrich your present relationship than to establish a new one. There is no shame in beginning again; starting over with your partner. If your heart is beating. . . you can start all over again.

“Be brave and ask your wife (or husband) how you measure up. Better to know now and correct the problems than to be blindsided by divorce papers later on. When you ask, don’t get upset at her (or his) answers, just thank them for their honesty and make your plan to improve.” ~ Gary and Joy Lundberg

Talk. AND listen to each other. Have quiet conversations about what you both can do to have a more healthy relationship. Treat each other with respect. Demonstrate your appreciation for each other. Your partner will treat you as well or as poorly as you let them. If something your partner is doing annoys you – in the most loving way you can – you owe it to the relationship to talk to them about it. The longer you hold it in, the harder it will be to talk about it. Flirt with each other. Be each others teachers. By that, I mean, practice the “Golden Rule!” Often we get more of what we want from the relationship when we give what our partner needs.

We often withhold communication because the last time we brought an issue up it caused a major disturbance in the relationships routine. So, we keep quiet. Then one day he doesn’t take the garbage out and you want a divorce and it’s not about the garbage. It’s about all the things you failed to talk about.

Hire a relationship coach. Read a good relationship book together. Yes, I said, “together!” Read, “How to Get the Most From Reading a Relationship Book.”

When you pay attention to your partner’s needs, they will be more inclined to pay attention to your needs.

Does your sex life need a wake-up call too? Intimacy almost always improves when you work together to make your relationship something that you are proud to be in. It’s difficult to want to make love with your partner when your relationship is in need of a major makeover.

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Confessions of a Relationship Therapist

Filed under: Coaching,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Sherry Amatenstein, Guest Author

As a relationship therapist who counsels singles and couples, I have been privy to the fears, compulsions, deepest secrets and desires of those hoping to figure out what it takes to find and sustain love.

coupleintherapyNo matter what their ages, histories or financial portfolios, the questions patients ask and the wishes they drop in my lap are heart-touchingly similar. It is likely their secret concerns echo yours. And knowing you are not alone in harboring these emotionally debilitating feelings can be a giant salve, a step toward healing.

So I am opening my office door to reveal the five most common problems unhappy-in-love patients bring up on my couch:

1. “I have to hide who I really am, because who I am is unlovable.”
Beneath the bravado and anger a patient exudes when bemoaning that no one (this can include a current partner) seems truly capable of giving love often lies a bone-deep, crippling belief: Something in me is inherently unworthy.

This crippling fear people causes people to hide their true selves, even with the one who shares their bed. *Janet B., a 34-year-old divorcee, admitted, “Bill was an open book. But I held back so much –- an abortion I’d had as a teen, even guilty thoughts I had about co-workers who got bigger raises than me. I didn’t want my husband to think I was a bad person.” She laughed ruefully as I pointed out, “Instead, your withholding made you become strangers.”

Love Tip: Obviously the seeds of such low self esteem are rooted in one’s psyche, thus difficult to rout out with a 1-2-3 abracadabra shrink trick. But it is helpful in moments when you feel, “Oh, I can’t say that to him. I’ll sound too awful,” to tell yourself, “Even Mother Teresa had mean thoughts. No one is perfect. Would I rather pretend to be perfect or try to be real and make a genuine connection?”

2. “My partner doesn’t understand or care about how I feel.” Here is the ultimate irony of relationships circa 2011: In an era where thousands of “friends” are available at the click of a mouse, we long for a soul mate who will truly “get” us, thus assuaging our sense of isolation. Yet 60% of the patients I counsel complain of feeling more alone in their double bed then when they slept solo.

Especially in long-term partnerships, there is a danger of partners becoming emotionally estranged as they stop believing their one and only sees their side. *Kate M., 40, said in a therapy session with her husband of three years, “Don just doesn’t get that I need to hear the words ‘I love you’ more than twice a year or I don’t feel cared about.” Her spouse rebutted in a resigned tone, “And she doesn’t get that it hurts me that she thinks I don’t love her.”

Love Tip: Couples may watch their spouse’s lips move but the words often land like lyrics to a long-recorded-to-memory soundtrack — verbal wallpaper. Here’s a terrific exercise to help partners reboot their listening and comprehension skills: Take turns talking. When in listening mode, pay attention as if you are going to be graded on the answer. Repeat the gist of what your mate said. When your mate finally says, “Yes, that’s right!” it is your turn to talk, be listened to and correct false assumptions until you feel truly heard.

Once Don understood that Kate felt her father never really loved her, he didn’t take her need to hear those words as an accusation that he wasn’t loving enough toward her. And once Kate truly saw that her spouse had been raised by parents who took emotional displays as a sign of weakness, she realized the high cost to her mate of being verbally effusive.

3. “My walls have walls”
Even when they’re naked (for some, especially when they’re naked), many patients report still feeling garbed in in a clunky, painful, albeit invisible suit of armor.

*Tara P., 39 and living with her fiancé, admitted, “Whenever I’m in a relationship, I put the guy through a series of ‘tests’ to prove his loyalty to me. If Dan doesn’t remember I had an important business meeting today it proves he doesn’t really love me. If Dan does remember it only means he made a point to ask me how it went because he was afraid I’d have a fit if he didn’t. With a test this rigged, a losing score is inevitable for both parties.

Love Tip: During therapy, once layer upon layer of defenses is slowly, carefully peeled back, what is typically left is a child petrified of being abandoned. That is the scary place you go to when you make yourself vulnerable to another person. Thus the emotional “cover-up.”

True, it’s wise to protect yourself with people until they prove worthy of your trust. But, once someone has proved over and over and over he is on your side, before putting him through yet another exam, take a breath and ask yourself, ‘In this situation is there a valid reason for mistrust, or is my inner child running the show?’

4. “Even when I’m in a good relationship, I’m afraid I’ll mess it all up.”
Patient after patient has sat across from me and confessed that while she has fairly good self-esteem and believes herself capable of love, there is a secret fear of ultimately doing something to “mess things up.”

For instance *Sharon M., a 42-year-old single mother confessed, “In my work life I’m Pollyanna. I’m secure things will work out the way I want …Yet, perhaps because I followed in my parents’ footsteps and had a messy divorce, I feel romantically jinxed.” She added with a semi-laugh, “Of course with that kind of belief I create a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Love Tip: Sharon is correct: Her (your?) doomsday mindset is in large part responsible for a lack of success in the love department. Instead of automatically giving free reign to that belief, stop recycling the ‘poor me’ card and start repeating a new mantra: “I’m sick of being a victim. It’s in my power to sustain a great relationship.”

That objective becomes easier to achieve by looking for positive romantic role models to emulate — couples that have been together 10 years or more and are happy to share their secrets.

5. “I love my partner. Why am I still unhappy?”
This wistful lament is familiar to anyone who has hoped that finding love can heal an inner emptiness. But the job description of a partner is to add to your life, not make your life fulfilling.

*Jenna E., 29 and single, has a history of serial monogamy. She landed in my office to work out mixed feelings about her current boyfriend. “Things seemed wonderful at first — I get such a high from being in love. But then I start not feeling as close and the person starts seeming like part of my problem.” She concluded, “I don’t want to leave Eric because that’s what I always do. He’s a good guy but things feel flat.”

Love Tip: Again, alas, no easy fix but the ‘solution’ is to realize that happiness is an inside job. The more you look for external sources to feed you the hungrier you will be. A lover can’t just be a temporary distraction from loneliness. Focus on things you love about yourself, activities that feel good, and, most important, on being able to feel good when alone. It takes work, true, but there’s a big payoff!

* Names changed

Copyright © 2011 – Sherry Amatenstein. Relationship therapist Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, author of “The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship Saving Advice From America’s Top 50+ Couples Therapists (Adams, 2010). Visit Sherry’s Website. Get a daily Sherapy love tip by liking Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW on Facebook.

Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Author and Speakers BLOG” at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who Ya Gonna Call? – The Love Doctor, of Course!

Filed under: Coaching,Communication,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost track of where you are in the relationship? Perhaps it doesn’t seem to have the romance it once had or maybe you’ve drifted apart and you seem to be at an impasse?

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed in any way. All that may mean is that you need a swift kick in the behind to get you back on track. A relationship coach might help.

commonsenseThe truth is that often the key ingredient that is missing in many relationships is plain old “common sense.” What is common sense? It is the sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge or training. Everyone has it. Some never put it to use. A relationship problem happens and common sense goes out the window.

When you love someone, it doesn’t make sense to slow down or stop communication with one another just because you have a disagreement. Smart people make it a point to move past the annoying problems that people with very little common sense allow to cause permanent damage to their relationship.

When communication stops – listening also stops. With no listening, there is no possible solution to the problem. A good relationship coach is a good listener. They will allow each other to speak and listen to what the other person has to say and if the couple can temporarily suspend judgment and their anger that is often a major step in resolving matters.

It doesn’t make sense to hold on to resentment or to not forgive your partner. To forgive means to “give up”, to let go. Let it go. Forgiveness is a journey. Forgive and forget is a myth. You may never forget AND you can still choose to forgive. You can forgive and tomorrow you may feel the pain all over again. As life goes on and you choose to remember and feel the pain, that is the time to once again remember that you have already forgiven. Mentally forgive again if necessary, next, move forward. When we allow it, time can dull the vividness of the memory of the hurt; the memory will eventually fade.

“Forgiveness allows us to let go of the pain in the memory and if we let go of the pain in the memory we can have the memory but it does not control us. When memory controls us we are then the puppets of the past.” ~ Alexandra Asseily, author of “The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut”

One more thing about forgiveness; when you let it go. . . really let it go and do not bring it up again. That only reopens the wound and the hurt will never heal.

Sometimes just being able to freely express how you really feel about your partner – in the presence of your partner – opens up the opportunity to more clearly see the problem from both sides. A good relationship coach will listen and ask lots of questions the answers to which could and often does lead you to your own conclusion about what needs to be done. Once you have a better understanding of the reasoning behind your behavior, you will have a much easier time getting your relationship back on track, minus the resentment.

deathofcommonsenseNotice that I said “behavior.” Your behavior in the relationship has to change for any positive change to occur. That is a fact.

It doesn’t make sense to hold on to being right when you know you are wrong. That’s called stupid! Do you want to be right or happy? Constantly fighting about little things doesn’t make sense either. If either of you can’t seem to get a point across without having a full-blown disagreement, a relationship coach can help you communicate better – in a way that benefits, rather than burdens, the relationship.

It never makes sense to blame your partner for everything in your relationship. As long as you are blaming anyone else for anything, you are giving away your power and creating more negative effects in your relationship. There is a payoff for everything you do. The payoff for pointing a finger at your partner and blaming him or her for your relationship condition is: you don’t have to take responsibility for your share of the problem.

Relationship problems are shared problems. To manage the complexity of a stormy relationship you must accept responsibility for your share of the problem. When you can do that, the problem is half solved. Not only will this change you, it will change your relationship with your partner.

So, the bottom line is this: Relationships are something that must be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed. Trying to fix your own relationship is like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself up by the handle.

When your relationship is about to crash, it is wise to take immediate action. Never wait until your relationship is past the point of no return. Be brave. Call a relationship coach.

“The best time – in fact, the only time – to make a real change in your life is in the moment of seeing the need for it. He who hesitates always gets lost in the hundred reasons why tomorrow is a better day to get started!” ~ Guy Finley, author of “The Secret of Letting Go

Preventative relationship maintenance works too!

CLoveLOGOBONUS Articles: Preventative Maintenance
Relationship Speed Bumps!

heartchangesthings

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Snap Out of It!

Filed under: Coaching,Confusion,Relationships — Larry James @ 7:00 am

When your energy is all sapped out, you’ve been let down by something or someone and everything becomes too much for you, it’s time to throw a Pity Party. Initially, you are the only person invited to this party, as you feel so sorry for yourself, you don’t think of inviting anyone else.

Pity Party – A period in which you spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and whining endlessly about how crappy your life is. It about being down in the dumps!

Slump – A period of decline or deterioration, which a person performs slowly, inefficiently, or ineffectively.

Sound familiar?

“Of all the negative emotions I’m aware of…self-pity is one of the ugliest. No matter what you’re facing…refuse to pity yourself. It all adds up to you making alibies so you can look special in the eyes of others or seeking justification for irresponsible behavior. It’s very seductive…but, in the end… always makes you feel lousy.” ~ Mack Newton

Choosing to feel hurt; to dwell on the pain; to go to the extreme of inviting guests to your “pity party” is an unhealthy attitude. In other words, telling everyone you meet about your hurt only prolongs the agony. It will forever keep you stuck.

depressedgirlPity Parties require the proper outfit, which is usually pajamas cause you don’t get all dressed up during those feeling-sorry-for-myself moments. You’re laying around, depressed with nearly no ambition to change. Also you should have no make up on or just the one from the night before; hair undone as well. It also involves tissues, comfort food such as ice cream; chocolate (especially chocolate!); potato chips; cookies; cake; and candy. Low fat food is banned.

Music is also very important at pity parties, including songs like “One is the Loneliest Number”, “All by Myself”, “Cry Me a River,” and any other song that makes you feel like throwing yourself in front of a bus. A pity party just isn’t a party without a dark, morose atmosphere. Staring blankly at old game shows with a quart of ice cream melting in your lap… now that’s a quality pity party! A few barf bags on the buffet is always a good idea and a few boxes of tissues. A “POOR ME” banner should always be included.

Pity parties usually end after you are done whining or if someone breaks it up. This will usually be a cynical loved one who will not let you drown in self pity and will take you either to have the best time ever, drinking and partying or will just make you crawl out of bed by making you see how pathetic you look and how you should cut out the whining and just do something to make things better. Why not use this opportunity to drag your friends down, too? Nothing says friendship like gathering together to bemoan the troubles of your respective lives.

panicbuttonGot the point? It’s not a pretty picture! Please do NOT send invitations. No one likes to be around someone who is always complaining and wining about life. It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet!

You need to “snap out of it!” Get off your butt! You must work on uncovering the reason you are having a pity party. There is a cure for stagnation. Having a slump is not the end of the world, as long as it’s short, temporary and you know what to do about it.

According to Robert W. Bly, Here is his 3 point formula for getting out of a slump:

1. Do something.
2. Do more.
3. Keep doing it.

Focus – Many slips into a slump are the result of being overwhelmed with just too many things going on at the same time. Relationship depression does happen on occasion. Feel sorry for yourself, have a good cry, then start working on a way to get you out of the mess. Take solace in the fact, that yes, you will get out of the mess. Slumps are unavoidable, but no slump is permanent.

depressedman2It’s time to get busy living! Life is too short to bitch and moan about what isn’t happening to you. Focus on what you want. What you think about, and speak about, you bring about. You might not be in the mood for exercise. But just do it anyway! Taking a walk, going for a run, going to the gym, whatever it is you do for exercise – get out and do it now!

Dress up and take yourself out to an expensive lunch somewhere really nice. Get out of the house and do something different. Take some time out for yourself. Celebrate getting out!

Reconnect to your plan. Don’t have one? Get one! Take some time to design a blueprint for your life. When you have something to look forward to, it is a great motivator. Know what motivates you. By the way, never look to others for your motivation. Motivation comes from within.

Play some lively music. Some people play “march” music and strut around the house. You may feel silly at first, but force yourself to at least do something different than just sitting around.

When you are hurting. . . ask for help. Get support. Uncover the cause of your slump. Get help from a coach. Ask them to be honest with you, and when they are, do something with the advice they give you. Talk about it.

Got a significant other, best friend, family member, co-worker, coach, minister, you can talk to? Bend their ear – but only for a while. That’s what they’re their for. Too much moaning and groaning will drive your friends away. If you don’t reach out to your close friends, there are hotlines, or professionals, you can talk to. Getting things off your chest makes a big difference, and can be a huge lift. It can also help you work out the reasons you’re feeling down.

The hardest part of coming out of a slump is acknowledging you are in one. You cannot solve a problem that you cannot admit you have.

leap2Once the decision to move forward is clear, getting started will be your next hurdle. It requires your personal urgency and lots of energy. It will take a leap of faith. This may feel like you are living your life in the leap; not being sure of what will happen or where you will land. It will also take courage. At least now you know what doesn’t work. Perhaps this is good. Don’t do life that way anymore.

It is now time to STOP blaming someone else for the misery you are creating for yourself.

I cannot stress enough that the only person who can get you into a slump is YOU. No matter what happens, you always have choice. It is also true that the only person who can get you out of a slump is YOU! Pray for inspiration. The choice to change your attitude is a step in the right direction.

If it’s a relationship that’s got you in this shape, read, “Relationship Slump Busters!”

pityparty

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
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Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How About a Healthy, Controlled One-on-one?

Filed under: Coaching,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:00 am

You were friends first, then you both decided to get serious about a relationship. Good for you. That’s about as good as it gets, right?

Hmmm. Not always. Relationships have their ups and downs. When you hit a bump in the road perhaps it’s time to have a sit down, healthy, controlled one-on-one and really get honest about what’s really bugging you.

In the early days of your relationship, it can be hard to imagine taking each other for granted and not making time for each other. Over time, however, we often find ourselves slipping into ways of communicating and behaving that can have a detrimental effect on the long term health of our relationship.

Couple ArguingStop conflict before it goes to far. . . begin communicating!

That is easier said then done, unless. . . you have agreements with each other about how this will occur. It might even be a good idea to regularly set aside a time to really “talk” with (not at) each other. Some say that communication is the number one problem in relationships. I say, that it goes deeper than that.

It also about “undelivered” communication. It’s about what you don’t say and know you should, but the last time you talked about it someone got angry and you don’t want to go through that again. So. . . you don’t say anything. You withhold. Then, one day your partner doesn’t take out the garbage and you want a divorce and it’s not about the garbage, it’s about all the things you didn’t say.

“Love sits in silence waiting to be summoned by our reverence for the sheer existence of another. Protect, honor and heighten it by expressing it genuinely.” ~ Jeffrey Levin

foldedarmsIn every relationship, you need to communicate via conversation. Once you have set a time to talk with one another, have an agreement that when your partner is talking, you only listen and visa versa. ONLY LISTEN. Do not be on the defensive. No folded arms (signaling not open to talk or “I’m shutting you out!”). Suspend any anger you may have. Never arguing. . . only listening.

Come with a brief (you don’t want to bring more than a couple of issues to the table) list of special annoyances or concerns. Take turns saying whatever is on your mind while the other listens and then repeats it back to make sure that they understand.

One of the keys is to only listen, then repeat. Critical to the conversation is that neither of you gets hurt by the information and that you each take responsibility for your role in the situation.

Relationships are individual projects first – the one with ourselves – and mutually beneficial projects second – the one with ourselves and our partner. Taking responsibility for our own stuff is a wonderful gift we give ourselves and our partner. Relationships take our constant attention; every day and every minute. It is when we forget this that problems begin.

The dilemma is this: there are two people. That means we have two people making choices and there are a multitude of choices each of us could make. Each love partner is only and always responsible for their own choices.

For this too work. . . you must both give up “being right!” This one-on-one is not about who is right OR wrong. It’s about lovingly airing your differences. It’s about speaking and listening – but not both at the same time. 😉 It’s about communicating with one another! Talking WITH each other. Got that?

Don’t sit there and think: “How can she possibly believe that I have anything to do with this problem?” Or “That really hurts to hear him say that,” or “Damn, I wish she would quit while she’s ahead. I don’t need to hear this again!”

You’re not really listening when you distract yourself from the conversation with anything that is not beneficial to it. So, think about THAT!”

I repeat, critical to the conversation is that neither of you gets hurt by the information and that you each take responsibility for your role in the situation. This “must” be done in the context of love, honor and respect rather than to knock down the other person’s interpretation of what is going on or to defend your own position.

Only listen and repeat!

This is often a scary idea to share negative aspects of your relationship. This is the time to have no undelivered communication. If you want to be improving your relationship, you must speak from your heart. Speaking from your heart means speaking what is really true for you. Speak the truth as you know it.

coupletalkOften in my relationship seminars I will ask a man and women (not the one you came with) to sit knee to knee and have the man only listen as the women pours out her heart. ALL women report what a tremendous feeling to be able to express an issue with a stranger who only listens and all women say that they wish it could be that way with their partner.

It can be! AND. . . you must have agreements before this way of communication can be effective.

It’s always best to never let a situation get out of hand by letting it fester and then only complain to someone else about it – someone who is not in a position to do anything about it. That’s stupid. Yes, we all vent now and then, but you must remember that there are consequences for not talking with your partner about what’s really bugging you.

Always make time for the two of you to communicate. To not do so only creates more ill will.

If you have allowed the situation to get out of hand, perhaps it might serve you better to talk about your issues in a safe, loving environment with a relationship coach. Is coaching worth it? With the right relationship coach and the right attitude from the couple, coaching may save your relationship. I often tell my coaching clients, “Coaching doesn’t work! YOU and your partner must do the work!”

However, most couples can avoid the coaching step if they will but agree to give up being right about their position and genuinely LISTEN and repeat to their love partner.

For a deeper look into this technique (with a slight twist), read: “Communicating is Not Optional: How to Listen So Your Partner Will Talk.”

Troubled coupleRecommendation: This is a long article and comes in 4 parts. Read it. Then, if it is something you would like to do, print two copies – one for each of you and arrange a time to get together, always following the precise guidelines. It’s never easy but this really does work. Or. . . call a relationship coach!

“Trust is the very foundation of a healthy love relationship. There can be no trust without conversation, no genuine intimacy without trust.” ~ Larry James

If you avoiding intimacy because it feels like another demand at the end of a very busy day or because you are feeling unappreciated or resentful, it’s time to do something about it.

jumpheart

Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

LoveNote. . .

Filed under: Coaching,Criticism,Relationships — Larry James @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , ,

lovenotesRarely does anyone get what they need from a relationship when their only intention is to criticize their lover for mistakes or to offer assistance that is not asked for. – Larry James

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Friday, July 17, 2009

How To Recognize And Deal With An Emotional Affair

Filed under: Coaching,Infidelity — Larry James @ 12:01 am
Tags: , , ,

This short video highlights some important insights into emotional affairs and warns us to beware because emotional affairs invariably don’t stop there. So often they’re the pre-curser to physical affairs.

If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to: http://www.celebratelove.com/relationshipcoaching.htm

Read, “Can You Survive the Emotional Crash of an Affair?”

Read, “My Partner Cheat? Never! 29 Red Flags That ‘May’ Suggest a Cheater.”

Never give up. Moses was once a basket case too. 😉

Your comments are always welcome!

Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Author and Speakers BLOG” at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

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