Jealousy… We all know it, it’s the sign of an underlying insecurity that traps us in a scenario that can turn into something really toxic if unaddressed. The world we live in somehow accepts the idea that men cheat and women are more faithful, but the truth is somewhere in the middle, as always. Women cheating on their partners, be they male or female, is also commonplace, because the psychological mechanisms behind cheating are often similar.
Are there any signs that your girlfriend is cheating on you that you can pay attention to? Unfortunately we still have a lot of learn about human behavior and finding out ways we can better relate and understand why it happens and what we can do about it in a more mature and wise manner. Most of the times couples get into fights and can’t solve a simple conflict in a rational way, but when it comes to someone who cheats on their partners, things can take a different route, one that’s more hurtful or/and aggressive. If you look closely and pay attention, however, you can spot plenty of signs of guilt in a cheater.
How to Catch your Girlfriend Cheating
Let’s start with the basics. You’ve probably noticed some things that may be different in your partner than when it was all honey and milk at the beginning of your relationship. That doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s getting involved with someone else, so make sure you think before opening up Pandora’s Box and accuse your partner of something that they might not even have done, because the road back to trust is harder after something like that.
If your relationship is getting less attention and love, you should look at things more carefully. Women usually cheat when they don’t get something they need from their partners and are too dependent on the relationship to let it go and start a new one, or are simply too afraid to make a change. Yes, we humans are brave in a lot of ways, but when it comes to change we panic more.
Cheating signs can differ from couple to couple. An example would be if you used to have regular intercourse and all of a sudden no matter how you work your bedroom magic it just does not spark any interest in her. Sometimes women have a lower libido and it may have nothing to do with cheating, so again don’t jump too fast on the cheating train just yet. It’s normal to not want to have sex from time to time, depending on what kind of stress or moods she’s in. But when you see that the situation stretches from weeks to months, then you have a problem, be it cheating or not.
It’s human nature to feel attracted to people who are different than what we’ve got at home. So maybe she’s going through a phase where she’s feeling attracted to bad boys, or vice versa. Even though that hurts, you should not take it personally, but rather try to understand if that is what is happening and if yes, why it did.
Signs that Your Girlfriend is Cheating
Though I know the detective in you is eager to come out because you are frightful and desperate, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of desperation. Instead of becoming all Sherlock Holmes about it, maybe try in the beginning to watch out for signs that may indicate that you girlfriend cheated or is cheating on you.
If your girlfriend all of a sudden has extra work at the office, even though she never worked late until it might be a telltale sign. If she pays extra attention to her looks, differently than before but doesn’t get all excited when she is with you, but rather is more eager to get all pampered up and leave the house as fast as possible – I have to break it to you and there is not an easy way to say it, but these are all physical signs of cheating. If she loses nights out as well, you can’t reach her on her mobile phone while she is away adds, then that adds up to that equation. I know, you’re probably getting angry as you’re reading this, and it’s ok to get angry, since betrayal is not easy to endure.
So can you physically tell if your girlfriend is cheating just by those things stated above or are there more ways to know? There are endless opportunities to spot a cheating partner. If she sighs and always quotes other men and raises questions of what she always wanted from you and never got, plus makes you question if you actually did pay true attention to her and your relationship, because as I stated before a cheating partner never cheats because of how great and understood they feel in a relationship. So buckle up and start looking at yourself and your relationship all together. I am not saying this is your fault, actually it is nobody’s fault, but it’s just how things develop after unmet needs or desires.
Can you 100% tell if your girlfriend is cheating? In truth you can, but until you have an open discussion with her, unless you already caught her in the act, you can’t go around accusing her of it. Another sign that you can look out for is actually the accusing one. There are physical signs of guilt beneath it. If during an argument she starts accusing you of cheating we are dealing with signs that psychology might define as projection in the blame game. What this means is the person cheating refuses to acknowledge his or her responsibility or flaw and projects it onto other people. All of a sudden she might get angry and start accusing you of cheating even though you never gave her any reasons to believe such a thing. She could do this even in the midst of a simple argument about washing the dishes or taking out the garbage. One minute you’re arguing about the mess in the house and the next she starts yelling at you by calling you a cheating bastard. Each one of us is different and acts in different ways, but no one is a stranger to projection.
Actually even the act of cheating itself is born out of a projection. Not getting what you need and want from your partner or from yourself can send one spiraling into a circle of “hunting down” another partner to fulfill their needs that weren’t met in the actual relationship. Hence what you don’t give to your girlfriend, one day she will start looking for someone else who will be able to provide her with that. But that’s also part of the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. It’s a matter of survival and even though hearts will be broken, the person who decides to cheat is just taking care of his or her needs however they see fit at that time.
What Should I Do if My Girlfriend Cheated on Me
If you discover this is the situation and she indeed cheated on you, the first thing you should do is actually take some time to process it. Work with yourself a bit first before you start discussing the issue with her. Do not, under any circumstance become aggressive. I know you are hurt and angry, but going to war with your partner is not going to solve anything. When an act of betrayal such as cheating happens, the wise and mature path would be to understand why it happened and what you can learn from it, so that you can acknowledge some of your own issues. We all work as mirrors to one another, that’s why the blame game is not a solution when dealing with any type of conflict.
After you’ve calmed yourself a bit, try to have an open discussion with her. You could start by telling her what you know about it – this only applies in situations in which you haven’t already had a fight about it. Tell her that even though it hurts you, you need to understand why it happened, what she expected from you and you haven’t done and how could she have said things in a different way so that you understood her needs better before. Sometimes we do tell our partners what we want and need, but don’t find the right moment to tell it or the right words to do so.
If your partner gets aggressive and defensive try to stay as calm as you can, or at least maintain a solid outer appearance, even though inside you are burning with pain and anger. If you start playing the aggressive game most certainly the discussion will end with smashed dishes, one of you leaving the house and hating the other for a long period of time, and that does not bring any resolution, nor does it in any way help the healing process.
Now let’s imagine you spoke with her, she told you why she did it, why she was unhappy with you and apologies and the like were said. The next step would be to see if she indeed has a deeper feeling for the person with whom she cheated with and whether you two can still work things out in your relationship. That is also possible. Dealt with wisdom this can actually be a seed of growth in your romance and spark a new flame inside it.
You’re probably asking yourself: How can we make things better after she cheated on me? Well, for starters you just found out all the things that were missing in your relationship and you can now decide if both of you are willing to work with the issues at hand and continue to grow as a couple, paying more attention to each other. The truth is, in any situation or thing in this life, everything has two sides. You got the bad and the good, the light and the dark. It’s how you piece them together that makes you a more conscious and responsible person. Can you now also see that something as heartbreaking as betrayal can have good in it? I know it’s not something we are taught to accept and understand, but rather to hate and punish, but ask yourself if in your past, something good and fruitful came out of punishment and hate. Did it truly and honestly heal the wounded parts of your soul?
You could also try to put yourself in her shoes, see how would you feel if you were the one who cheated? We sometimes disregard empathy and this leaves us seeing just one side of the coin, the one that is darker and full of rage.
And of course there is also the situation where you talked and decided that you can no longer be together and it’s better to just break up. I know this is heavy and not easy to do, we’ve all been there one way or another, but it is not the end of the world, though it might feel like it now. Having the power to say goodbye to someone you shared some of your deepest feelings with is not an easy task, but it is sometimes necessary.
After that you have the opportunity to find someone who clicks better with your personality and who is more fit to be your partner, and so can she. There are couples who stay together even after they see they are not fit for each other, because they are too afraid to let it go and start a new relationship. It’s normal; even if your partnership is no longer working, at least you have some level of comfort in it. Neale Donald Walsch said it wisely: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Even if that means moving on from a broken relationship, or having to deal with healing one that has been tainted by cheating, getting out of your comfort zone is the only way.
Hope you enjoyed the read and make sure to check out www.modernlove.life
Relationship and affairs expert Yvonne Filler analyses week 4 on the island.
Slow down chaps, we can’t keep up! So many twists and turns and so much rich psychological games and moves. Big focus this week on the ups and downs for Georgia. Our cool as a cucumber fun girl appears to have been sucked in by the love island drama.
Georgia – The first signs of trouble for our self assured, confident young lady was when she openly talked about her difficulty in showing a partner affection. The beginning of her relationship with Josh was all focussed on fun before she found herself wanting, but struggling, to give the relationship more. With a suspected fearful-avoidant attachment style Georgia is always going to find it uncomfortable getting close to others. As she herself has said, she will worry that she will be hurt if she allows herself to get too close to people. It would be interesting to explore any losses she’s had in her life to date and how she has dealt with them as often this is reason for this style.
She is likely to have unconscious negative views about herself and Josh and it was surprising to see her so trusting of Josh as he first entered Casa Amor. Perhaps this was self protection as we soon saw cracks beginning to form and she began to possibly be more worried about Josh that Dani was of Jack. I suspect trusting that Josh will come back single from Casa Amor was a huge step for Georgia and the devastation that he’s found someone else has been really crushing. No matter what we see in her behaviour I believe this is going to have long term repercussions for Georgia even once she’s off the island. When trusting someone is such a big mountain to climb, the abuse of that trust is going to hit hard.
Adam – “I’d be lying if i said I didn’t fancy her”. Wow. Just wow. Our anxious-preoccupied lothario is really proving he just can’t settle down. True to his attachment style he is really showing he is uncomfortable without a close relationship, seeks high levels of intimacy and responsiveness. I believe he can only reduce his levels of anxiousness by being adored. His impulsiveness won’t change until he can understand his own relationship patterns and what they do for him and others.
Dani – With over 1000 complaints to Ofcom for the “emotional abuse” caused to Dani Dyer by showing a clip that implied her boyfriend could cheat, she’s certainly causing a few stirs this week. The problem the regulator has is staying neutral from the emotion we all feel about seeing a “character” we’ve all fallen in love with and sticking to the question in hand. “Is this programme inflicting emotional abuse and bullying?”. Whilst never excusing or condoning such behaviour we have to bear in mind that this is essentially a game, a reality TV show and to that end the contestants know they aren’t going to be treated to hearts and flowers for 8 weeks. Having said that, viewer numbers were most certainly up to see how Dani copes.
Despite a few wobbles, including her upset at the video I still believe that Dani is inherently secure in herself. I don’t see her upset and worry as causing her long term damage. Anyone would be worried if they send the clip the was shown but I believe she had inner faith in Jack but above all strength in knowing herself that if he did come back with someone else she can get over it eventually. This girl is still strong and secure in my eyes.
Megan – Wow what a character. Not an easy girl to like from any perspective. A female Adam, she functions off the attention of men. She struggles with women and I believe, is so incredibly anxious she’d really struggle with any kind of game of trust. Both Adam and Megan would never had chosen to “stick” in the latest re-coupling. Far too risky for their relationship style.
Half way already.
Megan – will stick with Alex until he wavers even in the slightest. she can’t bear the thought of not being adored.
Adam – will move on when another brunette enters the villa though he also might try a little dabble with Jack’s ex, Elle.
Alex – Grace will get bored and move on. Think he’s on his 9th life – he won’t be in much longer
Jack and Dani – will be stronger for their various tests. They’ll stick it out with a few wobbles
Laura – will be dumped again – and move on again very quickly
Wes – will wait for a girl to come to him rather than make a move himself – he’s got to be quick though or he risks being dumped at the next re-coupling
Ellie and Charlie – not compatible at all. Not sure who will jump first. Probably Charlie.
This has to be the hardest of all affairs to come to terms with. In the process of losing a partner you lose a friend. A whole social circle are left wondering what they do. Sadly it’s not uncommon. When we know that most affairs start as opposite sex friendships and we consider the gender mix of our social circles, you can see how this is not a rare occurrence. There is, of course, a very strong moral line that is crossed here and that hasn’t escaped most of our clients, but they commonly agree the pull was too strong. We’re here to help them understand why.
Andy* explains “I’m not sure how or why I did it or indeed what I was actually thinking. I love my wife, my kids, my life. My wife’s best friend has always been good fun, attractive and my wife and I have always enjoyed spending time with her and her husband on holidays, weekends and nights out. We’ve always talked a lot and I’ve always flirted a bit in jest. I got excited about our conversations and it made me more and more attracted to her. I knew there was something between us and I put it to one side for over two years. But when she said a few things to me that made me think she was attracted too, I really struggled to stop myself. One kiss wouldn’t hurt. But of course it was more than that. We were secretly seeing each other for over a year when we were found out, really sadly, by her teenage daughter. The fall out has been horrific and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone”
“But we were friends”
It was very sad to see Lisa Armstrong going through this pain as she heard about Ant McPartlin moving on with someone she considered a friend, through social media. Even if a marriage is in difficulty it’s very hard to see an ex with someone you trusted as a friend As Lisa implied, you invited them into your home, fed them and may even feel that you somehow pushed your spouse into a relationship with them. It’s not about the food you made or the drinks you shared but the time and effort you entrusted to this relationship.
Lisa talks about the “girl code”. She implies it’s just not what girls do to each other. But sadly it can be. Just as we’re seeing girls “troll” each other on social media about they way they look, girls can be as equally ruthless in love. Just last night on Love Island, Megan stabbed a supposed “friend” in the back without any remorse.
Whether it’s your childhood friend, school mum buddy, nanny, cleaner or work colleague, the pain is still magnified when someone you trusted hurts you in this way.
When does it become an affair?
As we heard from Andy above, these affairs brew over a long period of time. Connections are made and feelings grow. But when is the line actually crossed? Does it have to be a physical act to constitute an affair? Not necessarily.
Relationships are more than sex. Confiding in someone, feeling vulnerable with them , relying on them, are all essential elements to any relationship. Mimicking these non-physical sides to a relationship with someone else constitutes an emotional affair. The problem is these non-physical affairs are harder to quantify or challenge. When is a good friendship something more?
Generally women will engage more in emotional cheating and men physical cheating and interestingly each will find the opposite harder to forgive. Men really struggle with a physical cheat and women with an emotional one. Men can’t deal with a woman being more physically attracted to another man and women know the investment in an emotional connection so find it harder to forgive. People are always surprised to hear that from the clients we see, emotional cheating is generally harder to come back from than physical but because it has built up over time and a lot more has been invested into it, the connection is harder to pull away from.
“Should I be worried?”
Shelley* came to see us a few weeks ago. She wonders if she is being silly even suspecting her husband of 7 years, but she wanted to talk it through. Her husband and her best friend have run together most weeks for the past year. They both really enjoy it and at first she liked the fact that they got on so well and she’s never liked running so it was nice Steve* can run with someone they both know. But now she’s worried. Steve has become distant with her. He doesn’t want to talk about everyday things anymore. The only time he seems properly happy is before and after a run with her friend.
We’ve talked about the endorphins of exercise and it may just be that the relationship is having a tough time and he enjoys the space running provides. But we have also talked about the danger signs and what to look out for.
If you’re getting emotional support and attachment elsewhere you are losing the connection with your partner. This can make you distant. For men, this is usually when they are getting a connection elsewhere. They rarely just become distant. This isn’t to say Steve is definitely having an affair. A new emotional connection can even be subconscious, so he may not even know he is using up more emotional energy with Shelley’s friend, even if this is at all the case. Shelley and I are now working through family patterns and other reasons, very personal to her case, why Steve might becoming more distant and how she can approach this incredibly sensitive subject with him.
“When will I get over it?”
The bad news for Lisa Armstrong is something like this can take years to move on from, if at all. Losing a partner through a marriage breakdown can be like a bereavement. When the loss is to a friend it can take even longer to get over.
Working through all the elements of the break up, the emotions and feelings, can help at every stage of this cycle that people unwillingly find themselves in. The Affair Clinic counsels and offers therapy to those at any stage, whether it be shock, anger, depression or even acceptance.
Relationship and affairs expert Yvonne Filler analyses week 3 on the island.
When Love Island makes BBC Breakfast news you know its been a controversial week for the islanders. Not for the first time Adam steals the limelight, or is that gaslight? This week we possibly add our own controversial view as we cast an expert eye over proceedings.
Adam – Adam, Adam, Adam. If only you knew what was being said on the outside world. Despite his nasty sniggers and smirks I almost feel sorry for the lad. Yes, he’s made for some incredibly uncomfortable scenes but I’m left wondering about the scenes we’re not shown. He hasn’t changed. He claimed he finds it hard when a relationship gets too intense. It did with Rosie. Zara is understandably being more cautious and therefore plays neatly into Adam’s “type”. Despite his obvious interest in Zara I still maintain his style as dismissive-avoidant. I believe he’s hiding behind the charm – you can tell he’s having to really try at it and it doesn’t come naturally. He is 20. And he’s male. He clearly doesn’t yet know how to handle his emotions. He’s on a reality show called Love Island. I think it’s dangerous to call him a “gaslighter” or “emotional abuser”. We can’t judge him on a few carefully chosen excerpts from 24 hours of filming but we can use it to highlight the danger of emotionally abusive relationships in general. I await the disinterest with Zara as soon as she becomes that little bit more settled and keen.
Laura and Wes – Be careful what you wish for Laura. Last week we heard her almost tease the producers when she said “we need something to test us”. Enter Ellie stage right. When a head is turned purely by the same colour hair and eyes as your partner we know we’re not watching a particularly scientific experiment about human interaction. I predicted last week that the producers will try their hardest to make it happen and their minor efforts have at least wobbled the couple. Laura with insecurity, and Wes asking “am I wanting to settle down?”. With Ellie’s eyes firmly on the cash prize, as opposed to Alex, Laura can rest easy. For now.
Jack and Dani – Warning – another controversial view for those who are as besotted with these two as much as Jack likes to think they are besotted with each other. I talked last week about game playing by Dani and last night I picked up on a big hint that I might not actually be too far off the mark. When new boy Sam arrived Adam asked “lets cut to the chase, who do you fancy”. Others joined in the questioning but if you listen hard enough you’ll hear Dani say “Yes, what’s your game plan?”. She’s enjoying time with Jack but she’s either very camera shy, worried what her dad might think or playing a very good game. She’s not giving a whole lot.
Josh and Georgia – Still not a lot of airtime for these two, so clearly still not rocking any boats and hanging under the radar. Georgia wasn’t slightly concerned about the arrival of the two new girls and confirmed our assertions that she’s not here for love, more for fame. Josh was slightly unsettled by the arrival of Sam but he too is confident in his own skin with a secure style that doesn’t seem to be causing any dramas.
Meghan and Eyal – Almost certainly to Adam’s disappointment Megan and Eyal appear to have provided the first sexual encounter of the series, 3 weeks in. I was quite surprised. She was seeming almost reserved and not willing to give much to the coupling up until the wine tasting date. Perhaps it went to her head or maybe she is seeing something in Eyal that audiences aren’t. Twitter is full of negative comments for his personality which doesn’t conform to the usual Love Island style but it seems to be impressing Meghan although she is easily taken in by a few compliments. I’d worry about her if, or when, Eyal’s head is turned.
Alex and Samira – ….and finally. They’re still here. Alex possibly safer than Samira. Desperate to find Love on the Island, he’s now coupled up with Ellie. Who, I’m guessing, is desperate to be coupled up with a viewers favourite – after all there is £50,000 up for grabs. They are a very unlikely couple and although I’ve seen many different personalities work together long term, this one just doesn’t look likely. Ellie is already finding Alex’s awkwardness difficult to manage and asking him to “go with the flow” more. My guess is he spent a large part of his teens and twenties with his head in a medical text book and is only now realising what more he’d like from life. Socialising and romancing takes practice and he’ll get there. Just not on Love Island. I really hope Samira stays in but she comes across as too level-headed, wise and emotionally aware to make good TV.
So, there we are, Week 3, done. Another coupling up tonight is going to make for interesting viewing. I predict new boy Sam will go for Georgia, so we might see a little more of Josh over the next few days.
Relationship and affairs expert Yvonne Filler analyses week 2 on the island.
So they’ve certainly settled in now. With a love triangle, a re-coupling and an unexpected vote off, it’s all been going on this week. Time for a little psychological analysis……
Adam and Rosie – Well, as predicted, Adam was really the one to watch this week, at least at the start of the week. After choosing Rosie and thus sending Kendall home he hasn’t exactly slipped under the radar. Predictably, his head was immediately turned by the new girls on the scene and he was quick to verbally distance himself from Rosie. He claims he finds it hard to get close to people and backs off if a relationship gets too intense too soon. Poor Rosie. When somebody shows a dismissive-avoidant style it’s really difficult to know how to move forward with the relationship as they constantly suppress their feelings. They tend to view partners less positively than they view themselves. They can also be very defensive which we saw when Rosie confronted Adam in front of everyone. Rosie, bowled over by the greek god good looks, is hanging in there but most girls struggle with an Adam like character. Despite having girls fall at their feet most of the time and never without a girl on their arm, the Adams of this world are rarely in serious long term relationships.
Georgia – Georgia took the shock of Niall’s departure for “personal reasons” in her stride. It confirmed our assumption last week that she’s there for a bit of fun and fame. She’s moved on seamlessly to Josh who is only too happy to jump into Niall’s shoes, not, from his body language, because he’s super keen on Georgia, but more that he’s relieved to be in a “couple”. The producers haven’t given him too much airtime this week which makes us assume he’s not rocking too many boats so in that respect, he and Georgia are a good match.
Alex and Samira – If Love Island was full of Alex’s and Samira’s then we’d all have our faith in relationships and love restored. But we wouldn’t be tuning in each night because it would make for such boring TV. I’m not sure Alex, who, despite it all, is still exhibiting a “secure” style, would appreciate how much people are “feeling sorry” for him. For all his awkwardness I still believe that he’s emotionally mature, undeniably positive and, although desperately wants to couple up on the island, is generally happy with independence. Samira shows the same inner strength, loyalty and emotional intelligence. They make a fabulous support team which in somewhere as intense as Love Island is not such a bad thing. I think they’ll be safe from tonights’ vote off – who could possibly vote for Hayley and Charlie over these two delightful human beings?
Hayley – Where do you even start with Hayley?! Her dial is generally set to miserable and moany. She likes things very simple, so a complex character like Eyal was never going to be a good fit. But even with a new partner and one that was of her own choosing I’m not sure she’s going to feel like she’s found happiness with Charlie. Although he has the laid back attitude she is seeking, he doesn’t seem to have the “adoration” for Hayley that I think she wants. In contrast to Laura who needs approval and responsiveness at a more basic level, Hayley seems to need idolisation – someone who will be everything she needs at that exact time she needs it. A listener, a comedian, a waiter, a thinker, a not so deep thinker. Charlie is “walking on egg shells” and that feeling is not sustainable in any relationship. I’d be amazed if Hayley and Charlie aren’t voted off tonight. Poor Charlie. Voted off because he was forced to couple up with a girl that picked him, not the other way round.
Jack and Dani – Jack. Hmmmmm. Jack. A few questions lingering with Jack. Where has Jack the lad gone? Was he just a big softie from the start but just tried to align himself with Adam? Is he playing a game with Dani now to establish himself in a couple? As an expert whose has worked with many a couple in many a situation I actually think what we see now is the real deal. He doesn’t seem clever enough to be thinking about “the game”. Dani, on the other hand, might not be playing games but she’s definitely not jumping in as deep as Jack. She really holds back on intimacy, not quite wanting to commit too much too fast. I’m still not worried about her at all. She can handle herself.
Laura and Wes – The compatibility game was most interesting for these two. Knowing that a computer rated your suitability together as the lowest of any match was a bit unsettling for this seemingly loved up pair. Unsurprisingly, Laura was the most shaken. Neatly complying with our assertion of Laura as anxious-pre-occupied, she needed reassurance from Wes that he wasn’t as troubled by it as she was. As she quite rightly said, “we need something to test us”. Love Island is so obviously not real life so a few peaks and troughs can help to reflect a relationship in real life. It’s only week 2 and it’d be a big shock to see either of these 2 copping off with someone else for the rest of the series but I’m sure the producers will try their hardest to make that happen.
So, week 2, done! So many twists that just writing analysis once a week isn’t easy so the producers are clearly doing a good job. Who will go tonight? I never show favouritism in this job but the doctor and his lovely partner certainly deserve to stay.
Q. Congratulations on your book Wendy. Can you give us a summary of what it’s all about?
A. Relationships go through all kinds of stages. It starts with the romantic, or honeymoon stage, where love seems so effortless, and people don’t see or overlook the other’s less endearing habits. When people are asked why attracts them to the person they fell in love with, they often respond with the physical attraction, and then say they like the same activities, but as we know these things change in time, so I believe its good to look beyond those – at core beliefs and values, as they are more likely to hold a relationship together and sustain it through the tough times. As a relationship moves forward life events can affect a relationship, such as moving in together, getting married, a baby, blended families, affairs etc. as well as the emotional challenges couples may face, such as communication issues, or the need for time and space on their own. Each chapter of the book focusses on one of these area. The reader can then be prepared for those events and plan ahead, or understand what they can do if they are currently facing them. It also provides exercises & questionnaires that couples or individuals can take to help and support them. ( The Kindle Version has a link to download them)
Q. If I was struggling in a relationship how can the book help me today?
A. It a really easy book to dip in and out of, so readers can just look up the thing they are struggling with at the time, and find something that will help them. Or equally they can read the relevant chapter for something they may face in the future.
Q. We totally agree that all relationships are different. Can tell us more about this from your perspective?
A. I think too often people look around at their friends – or even media hype and compare themselves to others. This places a huge pressure on couples, because they feel their relationship isn’t measuring up. They see the grass as looking greener over the other side of the fence, and it looks more inviting. This leads to discontentment and can lead to affairs. As long as two people are both happy in their relationship, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If it works for them that’s the most important thing.
Q. Our clients are all affected by affairs. Having them, suspecting them or are the cause of a relationship. Do you see clients who are experiencing the same and how do you help?
A. I often see clients where one or sometimes both have had affairs, and also those where affairs are suspected. I believe that affairs or cheating most times are a symptom and not the cause. I’m far more interested in what else is going on in the relationship for the affair to happen. Often the ‘innocent’ one feels they haven’t done anything wrong, but when we start to look deeper, looking deeper at the part they played, which is really tough, but perhaps they neglected their partner, or the relationship as a whole. Maybe they didn’t listen when their partner raised concerns. I encourage them each to see the others perspective. The one who has cheated usually wants to move forward and put it all behind them, whereas the one on the receiving end is devastated as their trust has been broken and its affected their self worth, lost as to the reason why they haven’t ‘been good enough’. I encourage them to listen to each other, and hear the other’s truth, without interrupting. When they are able to do that they can often learn more about each other and how to repair the relationship. Its obviously very hard to especially if the affair is still raw, and they aren’t in a place to do that. So it’s a case of taking things slowly.
Q. Sadly affairs will always happen but how they start, what they consist of and how they end is a fast changing landscape. What changes have you seen in this area?
A. Social media and technology play a huge part. Its made affairs far easier. Whereas before the internet flirting would still happen, it would take a lot more effort to turn it into something more. Maybe there was more time to weigh up the consequences of taking the next step. Now it just takes a few finger strokes to connect, and that seemingly innocent flirting turns into something more much more quickly. People get found out due to carelessness, they forget to erase messages. Or they use social media to connect, which is much easier to be discovered. Private messages can be found by partners, friends and neighbours share their concerns via social media. People blatantly disrespectfully chat to someone else right under the nose of their partner, getting caught up with the excitement of it, and totally ignoring their partner’s feelings.
Q. How do you view websites set up purely to connect attached people, encouraging affairs?
A. I guess if someone wants to cheat on their partner they will find a way. Everyone has to take responsibility for their actions. Alcohol and cigarettes are freely available, and everyone knows the dangers associated with them. It’s the same when someone takes those first steps towards cheating. They have to actively seek out the sites, instead of taking the adult view of talking things through with their partner. So I’m unsure whether it makes it easier or not.
Q. As counsellors who see the destruction affairs cause on a daily basis, is there more we can do to highlight the possible consequences?
A. I guess we can only highlight the consequences at every opportunity, whether in articles or discussions with people. Sometimes they listen, and we can only hope they will see the trail of devastation it causes to children, family, and even themselves. But often people just aren’t prepared to see that, until its too late and the damage has been done.
Q. Other than the temptations of affair websites, what are the other main reasons clients that you have seen are having affairs?
A. Often people have affairs because they feel they aren’t loved, or shown appreciation by their partner. As soon as someone outside does that, their heads are turned. I would say that is the main cause of affairs in my experience.
Q. What would you say are the 3 most important factors in a healthy relationship?
A. I believe there are three main ingredients which I call the 3 C’s.
Caring – demonstrating loving care and attention to each other in words and gestures every day. They don’t have to be grand gestures, but demonstrating that care in small regular ways, keeps the spark alive. Accepting the other as they are and loving them despite their foibles, as we also have them too. Cheering the other one on and supporting them in their achievements.
Commitment – being committed to the other person and making the relationship work, even through the tough and trying times, of which there are many in all relationships. Not giving up at the first problem, and recognising there will be times when they won’t particularly like each other, but knowing that they have each other’s backs. Its about accepting that relationships are about two imperfect people doing their best.
Communication – Listening to each other, giving each other their full attention, and then responding to what they say – instead of what you thought they said! Good communication is the cornerstone of all relationships. Its not just the transactional every day conversations of daily routine. But sharing thoughts, concerns, dreams and goals. Communication is also more than words, its about connecting with bodies too. Kissing, cuddling, stroking and sex are all ways of communicating with each other.
Q. Self-care for counsellors is imperative to our work – how do you relax?
A. I love the countryside, and am lucky enough to be surrounded by it. So walking in the peace and quiet of nature relaxes and grounds me. I also enjoy socialising with friends and family, as this re- energises me.
‘From Surviving to Thriving in a Romantic Relationship ‘. Available on Amazon as paperback and Kindle.
Relationship and affairs expert Yvonne Filler analyses this weeks’ drama.
So, they’re in, the class of 2018. Record viewing figures watched the opening episode that saw our class couple up for the first time. But never ones to hold back, the producers are already throwing the hand grenades and exciting audiences with the explosions. So what’s caught the expert eye so far?
Kendall – As much as I loved her refreshing “just give me time” approach, I’m glad Kendall is out. I was beginning to really worry about her. She just didn’t have the confidence of the others. Sometimes confidence is just a mask (we’ll come onto that later with the boys) but Kendall genuinely looked like a rabbit in headlights. I’m wondering if she’d ever even watched the programme before she went in – or if she was just told by her mates “you’ve got the chance to get to know a nice man, over time, in a sunshine paradise”! She clearly has a past she hasn’t quite processed yet and there was no time for that on the island. You barely get time to process yesterday let alone your last year. Enjoy watching from the comfort of your sofa Kendall, and be relieved you’re no longer in the pressure cooker.
Dani – In complete contrast I’m not worried about Dani at all. She’s a girl who knows what she wants and what she has to do to get it. Yes, she got upset at the end of the week when Jack “appeared” to move on without blinking, but at that age we all can get a bit jealous when an ex moves on quickly. Teenage tears aside, she’s a girl that can work through things without too much heartache.
Laura and Wes – I predict trouble for the seemingly content “Love Island Love Birds”. Laura shows signs of an “anxious preoccupied” attachment style. It’s early days so she is quite rightly unsure about Wes’ feelings but she seems overly unsafe in the relationship asking for reassurance from both Wes and the other islanders. If she actually is “anxious preoccupied” she will only get more clingy, demanding and possessive and will interpret Wes’ actions as affirmation that he doesn’t want to be with her. This just isn’t going to work on the island.
Alex – The media have gone crazy for Alex, grabbing such conflicting comments like “as a doctor trying to find love I sympathise with Alex” and “not just a fish out of water, he’s in the desert”. So either love or loathe the marmite character I actually think he’s one of the more balanced, secure blokes on the island. Yes, he’s got the usual insecurities about not being picked or finding love but I don’t think they run deep. On the other hand……
Jack and Adam – The shiny teeth and the mediterranean good looks aren’t fooling me. These two like to present an “I will always get what I want” approach but after an initial physical attraction females tend to feed off kindness, compassion and the ability to be vulnerable with someone. Neither of these two look like there even close to be able to provide any of that.
We’ve already seen James admit that he was actually hurt that Dani “just want to be friends” but he didn’t want to show that her his emotional side. A bit of boy bravado? Could be, but I am left wondering if he’s actually going to struggle a little bit more than the others with rejection. We all react to rejection in different ways. I’ll be keeping an eye on him.
Adam needs it all right here, right now. Very keen to have someone to stroke his ego so Rosie is perfect for him. She almost can’t believe her luck that Adam “fancies” her. Is his need to settle down a result of the same anxious-preoccupied style that Laura shows signs of, or is he simply playing the game and needing a more reliable option than Kendall? One to watch.
Niall and Georgia – Nothing this couple have said or done has made me think they aren’t actually the confident, secure individuals they are presenting. Admittedly Georgia’s “journey” has been relatively straight forward so far. Join the islanders, compulsory first date, laugh, kiss, couple up, job done, but she’s even won over the suspicious group of existing girls. A bit like Dani, she seems to be in there for the fun as well as the love, an approach thats like to give you Love Island longevity.
So, week 1 over already. 7 to go. Worrying? At times. Cringey? Yes. Staged? Almost certainly. But it doesn’t stop me making the tea/pouring the wine and settling down to my guilty pleasure.
Our blogs constantly talks about the “C” word. Yes, “Connection”.
Connection is the key to any healthy relationship. Connection is easy in the early stages. We crave the togetherness. Talking, spending time together, sex. But over time it becomes harder, especially as children and normal life issues are added into the mix. The excitement fades and we have to work at keeping our relationship fresh.
Staying connected can be particularly hard for those who have enforced time apart. Absence does not always make the heart grow fonder and in fact can erode connectivity by the hour! Picture the soldiers deployed for months at a time and the partners left at home. The international business people who are on and off planes every week. The partner forced to move in with elderly parents hundreds of miles away. There are many people for whom time apart is a hard reality.
So, how do they keep a strong connection and avoid having to rebuild every time they are reunited?
Little and often
Belonging is a human need and one we cannot function properly without. Children who are starved of this have an even stronger need to “belong” as adults. Whilst the amount we crave differs, we all need to feel we’re accepted.
In our relationships we need to belong to the partnership. We can carve roles to cement our sense of belonging but we only really feel it from the other person. It is easier, though I appreciate not always practical, to keep a sense of belonging by connecting on a regular basis, even if apart. In this respect we are lucky to live in an age where we have choice. Text, whatsapp, email, phone, Skype, FaceTime, the list goes on. We can connect quickly but the benefits can really make a difference.
In all our relationships, whether its partners, friends or family, just to know someone is thinking of us for that split second can fulfil a sense of belonging. So it is much better to send a quick text/message than keep waiting for that time you can really talk – it may not come as quick as you’d like – and all the time connection is fading.
Goodbye and welcome home ritual
Goodbyes can be tough but, strangely, hellos can also be hard. We are creatures of habit and adapt to our situation. For a serviceman, away for 6-9 months or even a year, slowing getting back into family life that has been running perfectly well without them can be really difficult. What is built up to be a great homecoming can breakdown rapidly and leave partners disappointed and sad.
So how can we make the transition easier?
Talk about what would be the ideal. What would you like to do before you go? How shall I welcome you back? It’s really important to be honest. So, a rare example from my own experience. My husband goes away for a few weeks sometimes. After a few years of frustrations on the day he leaves we talked about it. I was frustrated he hadn’t packed until 10 minutes before he was going, he didn’t want me nagging when he was trying to get away. We tried a few things but what works best for us is for to say goodbye and for me to then go out and leave him to pack and go!
Talk about what you like upon coming home too. Cup of tea and a long chat? To get unpacked first? To have some space? To jump into bed? Talk honestly about what works for you as couple and you’ll avoid any immediate annoyances that can take the joy away from any homecoming.
So whilst you’re apart we’ve talked about contact little and often, but what to talk about when you get the chance? Whilst one might be stressed but exhilarated in New York, one might be trying to keep the wheel turning for 2 toddlers and a baby. Whilst 2 people are living drastically different lives it can be a hard decision on how to talk about what’s going on for you.
Couples sometimes talk to me about “competing” for who has the worst deal. Although it’s good to be honest about how you are feeling it isn’t always helpful to compete for who is having the worst time. You DOn’t need to lie about how you are feeling – just appreciate what is going on for the other. It’s OK to be excited to be working in New York. It’s also OK to be enjoying the extra space in the bed, control over the TV and eating what you like when you like. It’s OK to moan for the third day running. That’s life. It’s Ok to be happy even if your partner isn’t. There will be days when the roles are switched.
The key is talk about what is going on for you. Be honest. Say how you feel.
The media present the discovery of an affair in a very dramatic and explosive way. It is, however, very rare that someone is caught in bed with someone else or immediately has a violent showdown with the “other” woman or man. In fact, the initial stage of affair discovery, “shock”, can be a very solitary, quiet and lonely experience.
Whether it be through the media, the experience of someone we know or what we’ve read about, most of us at some point have wondered what we would do if we discovered our spouse or partner was having an affair.
In our experience this can be very different to how we actually handle the situation. Many of us have quoted the “you won’t get another chance” line but how many of us would actually walk away if we were dealt these particularly harrowing cards? With children, houses, friends and a whole way of life thrown up in the air it’s not easy to just walk away. In fact only a small percentage of divorcees cite an affair as their reason. It may well be that people that have had affairs, subsequently leave before the affair is discovered or are unhappy for a number of reasons but if the statistics can be a guide, many couples do stay together and try and make it work.
In most cases these couples are climbing the very steep mountain to try and get an acceptable relationship back. Many are in counselling, others trying to make sense of the bomb that hit them and their family. Either way, working through the shock, anger and depression can be as hard as a bereavement.
It is hard to imagine a more difficult time, but with time, energy a lot of communication things can begin to feel easier. This very slow ease of pain however is an impossible dream for those who deny themselves the chance to face the reality.
We meet people on a regular basis who are internally imploding knowing that their partners are having an affair. They are breaking so much inside that the thought of trying to face it is too much to contemplate. So they don’t. They try to act as normal whilst carrying the heaviest of burdens around like a rucksack of bricks. Whilst in the luxury of a happy relationship we would be forgiven for wondering why someone would do this.
I’ve asked Rosie*, an ex-client, to explain.
Mark and I were married young. We were only 23 but we knew we were meant to be together. We shared everything including dreams of children, holidays and even our retirement. We had a very happy few years together before our daughter was born when we were both 26. Our friends were still out every weekend and we weren’t prepared for the responsibility of having children. We loved our daughter but we both secretly mourned the loss of our young carefree life.
We worked through the tough time and when we were 34 felt real to have another child and our 2nd daughter was born. This time we were much better equipped to deal with a newborn and I personally felt like our family unit was complete. But after a few months Mark became distant. He was working later and going out more. I resented his party lifestyle and as much as he encouraged me, I didn’t want to be out. I just wanted us to be together. This became a real source of arguments that became more frequent as the months went on. Most of the time Mark would storm off, not wanting us to talk.
One Saturday afternoon he was in the garden with the girls and I grabbed his phone to call a taxi company as I didn’t have their number on mine. Seeing weeks of flirty, suggestive texts from another girl and evidence than it had gone further than just messages literally took my breath away. I didn’t know what to do. Without thinking any further I put the phone down and took some deep breaths. Mark walked in and asked if I was ok. “Fine”. It was all I wanted to say. I wanted him to keep playing with the girls, for me to potter around the kitchen. I wanted to rewind to not seeing the texts. I wanted to pretend that it hadn’t happened. Yes I was angry but more about what it meant for our family. So in my crushed and crazy head I decided it didn’t have to mean anything for our family. And so it went on. Me pretending. Him carrying on.
It was great in the short term, weirdly, even better than before. I was so determined to be the wife he wanted, that I went out of my way to make him happy. He seemed to respond. We were getting closer. I almost forgot about the texts. But the painful niggle reared its head at the most inopportune moments. After sex, when he told me he loved me, just watching him with the kids. The longer it went on the harder it became and eventually I just couldn’t pretend any longer.
I didn’t want to confront him straight away and had a couple of sessions at The Affair Clinic to work out what was right for me. I had no idea where to start and the sessions helped me work out what I wanted and how to approach Mark, something I had been dreading for 8 months. Although I was shaking and nervous I felt I had sorted things in my head first and I was able to bring the subject at the right time in the right place.
He didn’t deny it and it was like reality kicked him in the face really hard. I’m not saying he didn’t deserve it but seeing him crumble in front of me helped me realise that he did actually care – something I felt we lost years ago.
It’s still very much work in progress but we move forward a little everyday.
Whilst we may criticise those who sit with such knowledge it’s hard to blame Rosie for sitting on this information. We have to remember we just don’t know what we would do if we were faced with the same scenario. Rosie chose to sit in the denial phase and deal with things in her own way. Some clients sit with it for years and even after therapy choose to carry on sitting with the knowledge. But we would always encourage to think about what life is like carrying these thoughts and what lifting them could look like. For some, moving out of a feeling of constant bereavement is the best thing they ever did.