Time When You Need Relationship Coaching

Relationship Coaching is the application of coaching to personal and business relationships. While many become motivated to seek help when struggling with their relationships, coaching and relationship coaching are positive, results-oriented professions that help functional people achieve their personal and relationship goals and is not a substitute or replacement for therapy provided by a licensed clinician trained to treat mental, emotional, and psychological disorders. While relationship coaches might be experts in relationships, the art and science of coaching is to facilitate success for the client without providing advice or “professional opinions.”

Origins

The label “relationship coach” has been used for many years by professionals (Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Marriage and Family Therapists, Social Workers, etc.) and entrepreneurial para-professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds.

With the evolution of personal/life coaching as a recognized profession in 1995 with training standards and certification initially established by the International Coach Federation, relationship coaching as a coaching specialty with its own professional training, standards, certification and methodologies was first developed in 1997.

Relationship Coaching Specialties

Singles Coaching

44% of U.S. adults are single, and 27% of adults live alone. If this trend continues, soon, the majority of the population of the western world will be single.

Helping singles have fulfilling lives and successful relationships requires understanding that not all singles are alike and most do not fit the stereotype of being lonely and desperate for relationship.

Here are seven types of singles:

  1. Temporarily Single-actively seeking a partner and in between relationships
  2. Recently Divorced/Widowed-recovering from loss and not ready for a relationship
  3. Frustrated Single-wants a partner, not able to find one and gives up
  4. Passive Single- wants a relationship but not actively seeking a partner
  5. Single But Not Available- self-perception of being single and desires a lasting relationship, but “hooking up” to get needs met
  6. Busy/Distracted Single-absorbed in being a single parent, career, school, etc. and doesn’t have time or desire for partner
  7. Single by Choice- no desire for a partner, being single is a conscious permanent lifestyle choice for many reasons, including –
    • “Been there, done that, don’t want to do it again”
    • “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
    • Ascetic or other religious/spiritual reason
    • Loner
    • Values independence more than couplehood
    • Polyamory/alternative lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to cohabitation
    • Celibate/asexual
    • Financial reasons
    • Aging
    • Health

Each type of single has their own unique developmental goals and challenges requiring specialized skills and strategies to effectively coach them to experience relationship success independent of the advice-driven approaches of other professions.

Couples Coaching

As with singles, not all couples are alike. Here are four types of couples:

    1. Dating Couples: Self identify as “single” but have an on-going, non-exclusive relationship. “Friends with benefits” is one common way of describing these couples. These couples see the purpose of their relationship as fun and recreational. Dating couples often seek coaching when one or both partners want to take their relationship to the next level.
    1. Pre-committed Couples: Both partners have decided to stop dating others and become an exclusive couple, and while co-habitation is common at this stage, no formal or explicit long-term commitments have been made. These couples often desire commitment and are testing their relationship for long-term compatibility. Pre-committed couples often seek coaching when they encounter a “deal-breaker” (also referred to as a “requirement”) preventing their ability to enter into a long-term committed relationship without sacrificing something important (such as whether or not to have children).
    1. Pre-marital Couples: Both partners have decided to become committed, but haven’t yet acted to formalize their commitment (marriage, commitment ceremony, etc.). Many of these couples are acutely aware of the high failure rate of committed relationships and seek coaching to acquire the skills and practices needed for long-term relationship success.
  1. Committed Couples: “Commitment” can be defined as both an “attitude” (belief) and a “fact” (formal, symbolic, even legal act). While most couples might think of their relationship as “committed,” if they haven’t acted to formalize their commitment they have the attitude but not the fact of commitment. Couples who have made a formal commitment sometimes bring up divorce in response to a problem, which can be a cause of confusion, consternation and conflict. Most committed couples are married or have formalized their commitment in a ceremony of some kind. These couples often seek coaching because they desire to find a way to successfully solve problems and “live happily ever after.”

Family Coaching

Family coaching includes nuclear and extended families, parenting, siblings, family businesses and co-housing arrangements.

Business Relationship Coaching

Productive businesses require effective relationships. Coaching business relationships can include workplace relationships such as manager-employee, peer-peer, between corporate divisions, teams, as well as customer and vendor relationships.

Comparing Coaching and Therapy

In short, coaching is a results and goal-oriented methodology that assumes the client is functional and fully capable of success, while (psycho)therapy is a healing profession trained and licensed to diagnose and treat mental, emotional, and psychological disorders. Coaching and therapy can complement each other very well. It could be said that coaching starts where therapy ends, making coaching a good fit for personal growth-oriented therapists.

Being a professional Relationship Coach is a fun and fulfilling way to make a great living as well as make a difference in the world. If you enjoy helping others and find that your friends, family and co-workers come to you to talk about their relationship goals and challenges, you’re probably a good fit for this growing profession.

Consider You Are In Abuse Relationship

Do feel like you are thriving in your relationship? Some people don’t realise that they are in a one-sided relationship where their rights as a human being are abused. They don’t always consciously notice that they are being manipulated, controlled and used for the purpose of pleasing their partner. An abusive partner can be male or female and abuse can be sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse.

Are All Your Relationships Abusive?

Some people just seem to attract people who abuse them. They may have escaped one abusive relationship only to find the next relationship also brings abuse too. Psychologists have recognised that some people unconsciously choose partners who will abuse them because that is the only form of attention they have been used to. Others would rather endure an abusive relationship than end it because to leave it brings other anxieties such as fear of loneliness (eg. I’ll never find anyone at my age), financial difficulty (eg where would I live), shame (eg. what would my friends say) or other stresses that might make the abuse seem the easier option.

Tell-tale Signs of an Abusive Relationship

There are signs that can indicate abuse in a relationship. This list is not exhaustive give an idea:-

1. Your partner is excessively jealous and possessive and will accuse you of betraying them or not loving them enough. They will constantly check on your whereabouts and what you are doing almost to the point of interrogation. They may even monitor your internet and mobile phone activity

2. Your partner manipulates your existing relationships and attempts to cut you off from anyone that might criticise them or encourage you to have your freedom

3. Your partner never takes responsibility for anything unless it is a success. If things fail it is your fault or they blame other people or situations.

4. Your partner’s emotions are made your responsibility. So that if they become angry, sad or stressed it is your fault

5. Your partner makes all the important decisions and doesn’t discuss these with you. You are expected to agree with these decisions unquestionably.

6. Your partner wants their needs met by you and others and never pays any heed to your needs unless it is a manipulation to get their needs met (eg. I did that for you therefore you must do this for me)

7. Your partner may expect you to adhere to rules that they do not follow themselves. They may have been unfaithful but expect you to be faithful.

8. Your partner will accuse you of being unreasonable and yet be unreasonable themselves.

9. Your partner will hide all of the above and often be charming and agreeable with everyone else except you. You will feel trapped in the relationship because everyone else will believe their smoke-screen of being wonderful and how could you contemplate leaving such a wonderful person?

These are probably the most obvious elements of an abusive relationship. Yet any relationship can have elements of abuse that are detrimental to the health of the relationship. Most of us “turn up” to relationships that form as we go along and as the relationship matures.

What Happens to a Relationship?

Rarely does someone begin a relationship understandably with a list of do’s and don’ts about what they like. Rules in a relationship may form in verbal communications (eg. I don’t like it when you… ) and they can form in what we perceive through interactions (eg. partner looked angry when I… ). They can even be historical rules that are brought to the relationship from childhood and observing your parents relationship or from past intimate relationships.

We rarely sit down and consider how our relationships run and have become. This is a pity because it is only through talking about our personal relationship ( or other wider relationships) can we address unspoken issues that, if not resolved can lead to resentment, betrayal, depression and ultimately the ending of the relationship.

Abuse and What it Does to You

Feeling used, abused and disrespected in a relationship eventually leads to low self-esteem and low self worth for anyone. If you feel like you have no status and no respect in your relationship than you won’t get it by acting like a door mat. If you’re always being criticised and never praised, how can you feel good in your relationship? If you’re always giving but never receiving you will find it unsustainable.

Everyone deserves a happy life and for many people, being in a relationship is one of the main pillars of happiness and fulfilment in life. Staying in an unhappy relationship drains your energy, muddles your life purpose and saps your will and if you’re not careful can waste many years of your life.

It’s Time to Find You Again

If you’ve lost yourself in your relationship along with your sense of purpose and don’t know quite which way to turn, this can be a sign that you are no longer thriving. It doesn’t mean that the relationship needs to end but on the other hand sometimes it is the best for all concerned.

Even being free of an abusive relationship can leave you with feelings that cause you doubts about ever finding happiness. Maybe you are in a loving relationship but are unable to let go of insecurities that a past unhealthy relationship has left you with.

Finding Your Authentic Self

What can really make a difference and empower you to make informed choices is to find your ” authentic self ” again. This is the self that you put away and that was rejected by others and has felt crushed, never to come out for fear of being laughed at, teased, bullied and rejected again. Let’s face it, how can you really feel loved if you hide away your authentic self and only present to the world the mask of acceptability you have been manipulated into creating?

Whilst emotions such as sadness and anxiety are a part of living and as much as happiness and joy are, they don’t have to dominate your every moment. Wouldn’t you rather live and thrive with the energy, enthusiasm and verve that goes hand-in-hand with a healthy purposeful life?

EMSRP and Healthy Relationships

There is no secret to living a happy and thriving life. It begins with being honest with yourself, who you are and what your needs are. EMSRP – Emerging Meta-Schematic Repatterning provides a series of simple steps that help you flourish in all your authenticity. It gets you to map what is right for you and then check this against your relationships to be able to make informed choices. It helps to set you free to live and thrive in life.

 

The Meaning Of Relationship

I was recently having a conversation with a friend of mind who is much older. She got involved with a gentleman in which after being in a “relationship” for a few weeks they broke up. She was shocked to find that only a few weeks after breaking up with her that he was in a “relationship” with someone else.

This was mind blowing to her because she is like me in many ways. She just does not jump into a relationship easily. For myself, I think I have had about 2 boyfriends in my life. Both boyfriends I introduced to my family and I was very serious about. This is not to say that I did not date, because I have, but boyfriends and dating are two very different things.

For myself, I will date someone, and in the process of dating them I will determine if I would like to get more serious with them or not. Meaning, I like to determine if they are boyfriend material while dating them. I state this fact, all to say this. Both men and women of this generation need to understand what relationships are and what they are not.

Anyone can say that they are in a relationship. However it takes true work to be in a relationship. What a relationships is not, is you finding someone being attracted to them and calling them your boyfriend or girlfriend. Then after a month or so, you find out you do not really like them, and then you jump to someone else and that person is now your boyfriend or girlfriend.

This is something that my friend seem to be shocked about. She takes her relationships very seriously and those that she is in a relationship with, she deems them as someone that she is going to be with for a long time for the purpose of moving into something more serious.

Although this is how it should be, this is not how it is. Both men and women will jump from person to person stating that they are in a relationship not knowing what it really takes to be in a relationship. True relationships are beyond self satisfaction and getting your rocks off for the moment. True relationships can be fulfilling if you let them, I am convinced that so many go bad because people do not know what true relationships are.

Relationships are not about you. This is a common mistake that people make. They get into relationships because they want to be fulfilled, because they are looking for someone to make them better, because they want, they want, they want. This is not to say that when you are in a relationships that these things do not happen, but you are not the focal point of a relationship.

Relationships are about a mutual understanding of one another. Coming together for a purpose that enriches both lives and also fulfills your purpose. Does this make sense?

Some people who enter relationships are not really ready for relationships. To be in a true relationships you need to have your stuff together. This does not mean that you need to be a millionaire. But it means that you should be self sufficient.

For men, this means that you do not need to be living with your mother, unemployed, and not taking care of the 15 children that you have by 9 different women. If you are not taking care of your own responsibilities, the last thing you need is a women to add on to more responsibilities that you have. And for women, if a man is not taking care of himself and his kids, then why would you want to be with him any way.

This was the case with the friend I mentioned above. When she first told me about her potential man, he was not seeing any of his kids nor did he have a relationship with this children. I tried to explain to her that being romantically involved with him was the last thing that she needed to do at this time. Make him get his crap together first. This type of behavior symbolizes a flaw in his character. If he does not have enough sense to take care of his own self, what makes you think that he can fulfill responsibilities as a man and potential husband to you.

The bigger issue is that women do not know what to look for. This or that they are to hungry for a man that they are willing to overlook his shortcomings all to say that they are in a relationship. Then they are shocked a few weeks, months, or years down the line when the man disappoints them. Did they not see this coming? He was a disappointment when you meant him? Why did you think you were going to change him?

For men, why look for women who do not take care of their kids or do not have their stuff together. And even worse, have more kids by them and then you are shocked when they are a bad mother. They were a bad mother when you got with them. Did you not see the writing on the wall?

People get on me because I am single. But I am confident, and get offers on a regular basis. But as a single mother, I have to look beyond the idea of being in a relationship and think to myself, is this person really good for me? Will this person be a good man and potential husband or would they just be an added burden?

Yes they may look good, they may even talk good, but actions speak louder than words. Look at their life, their past history, look at what they do over what they say and this is what would tell you if they are a fit person to be in a relationship with or not.

In today’s world, 50% of marriage end in divorce. This is for many reasons. But mainly it is because people do not really know who they are marrying. They are so busy putting on a facade, or looking at the physical and do not reflect on if the person fits into their long term plan.

God taught me this lesson which is why I needed to slow my role on dating. He told me

“Sophia, why do you even give half these men the time of day? Get to really know them first. Do not pay attention to the nice words they are speaking or what they promise. Find out who they really are, and then you will find out if they are the one of you.”

This may sound like a none humble thing to say, but God has shown be what He wants me to be and what He wants me to do. And since then every person that I go with, I see if they fit into that plan. There are certain things about men that I must have. I do not like men who lie, cheat, steal, who have a bad moral character, and those who are not Christian. Before I use to entertain such men, but then I found that there was no point. These are the things that I require from a man, and therefore, if they do not have these characteristics, no matter how fine are, or how much their 8 packs looks good to me; I rather pass.

I want a man that is after God first and foremost. Not just one that goes to church and fakes the funk stating they are Christian but there is nothing in their personal life that resembles God.

I am not saying that all women should be like me, but I am so tired of women condoning none sense out of men. Allowing men to bounce between them, and fighting each other over a no good man. What world do we live in?

I am tired of seeing men talk about how their women cheat on them and how much of a bad women she is. I know they saw her posing half naked on Instagram, with man number 1, 2, and 3. Why would she change that because she is with you?

A lot of relationships issues can be prevented if you refuse to get into the relationships in the first place. A lot of men when learn to man up if women stop fighting one another over a sorry behind man and leave him alone to get his life together. A lot of men would avoid trifling behind women if they look beyond her breast and butt implants and actually observe how she lives her life and see that she is trifling.

I am not saying that you cannot look for outward appearance for the person that you are with, but look for something deeper than that. If a person has a history of having a relationships of 3 months and moving on to the next. This is a red flag. Something is wrong with this. You do not need to waste the next 3 months of your life entering into a relationships with a person where you can clearly see that something is wrong here.
When you get into a relationship with someone, it is not your job to fix them and try to mold them into the person they are meant to be. Leave that up to them and God. If God cannot do it for them, then please know you certainly cannot make them into the man or women that you want them to be.

Just think about it, which one is worse. Wasting your precious time and effort on someone trying to make them into a person you want to marry. Only to be disappointed in the end. Or find someone who is already a good man or woman, and the two of you growing together making each other better in the process. Think about it.

Signs You Make Your Relationship More Worse

When you start off in a relationship, the future looks rosy and you envision a lifetime of eternal bliss and contentment with the person you love. The very idea of relationship problems might seem alien to you and you believe that you have found the perfect partner. However, as time passes, the reality of relationship problems begins to hit you. You quarrel for small things and things that would have been easy to handle earlier, now become a major irritant. Clearly, your relationship has hit troubled waters.

All relationships do have problems, and these problems usually can be dealt with. However, there are times when your actions can break your fragile relationship and can lead to the bond being broken, at times even beyond reconciliation. If you are doing any of the following things, it is time to stop right now if you want to fix your relationship.

Playing The Blame Game

There are times we spend so much time pointing fingers at our partner’s mistakes that we stop to take a look at our own contribution to the problem. When your relationship is in trouble, take ownership of your own mistakes and work towards setting things right before you point at your partner’s failings. Fault-finding and blaming your partner will only make your relationship problems worse, even if there is quite a lot that your partner needs to work on. If you really need to address concerns as to your partners behaviour or activities, wait for the right time and do so without blaming him/ her for your relationship problems.

Getting Suspicious

Suspicion is a major relationship breaker. If you have the habit of constantly checking your partner’s text messages, e-mails and correspondence, of it you constantly suspect him/ her of being unfaithful to you, then your relationship problems are bound to go from bad to worse. Most suspicions are unfounded and if you spend some time thinking about the root of these, you will find that they actually lie in your own insecurity. Therefore, address your own issues before allowing your suspicions to ruin your relationship. If there is a valid reason for your suspicion, then address the matter calmly and refrain from constantly bringing it up if it has been proven to be baseless.

Throwing Tantrums

No one likes to be in a relationship with a person who throws either temper tantrums or emotional tantrums at the slightest provocation. If you have a problem in getting your temper or your emotions under control, work on this as it can really ruin your relationship if left unchecked. A tantrum could be the last stray for an already troubled relationship, and you definitely do not want to let things get to that stage.

Gossiping About Your Relationship Problems

While you might want to unburden yourself to your friends, gossiping about your relationship problems is one of the worst things that you can do if your relationship is already in trouble. Things that you tell mutual friends might be passed around in a totally different light and could reach the ears of your partner as something absolutely contrary to what you actually said, and which you will not be able to defend anyway. This can break your relationship irrevocably. Work on settling your relationship problems in a mature way. If you need to talk to anyone about it, seek out the advice of a relationship counsellor.

Beginning To Stalk

You know that you relationship is in trouble and you then begin to wonder whether your partner is distant toward you because he or she is seeing someone else. Suspicion leads on to paranoia, and you begin to stalk your partner. This can take many forms – keeping a track of where he or she is going, checking on correspondence, and even monitoring phone calls. This is a huge relationship breaker and should be avoided. Give your partner some space. Stalking is not the sign of a healthy relationship and can lead to major complications.

Becoming Clingy

When you are afraid of losing the person your love because of relationship problems, you might be tempted to cling to him or her even more. This can lead to the push and pull effect – the more you push towards your partner, the more your partner pulls away. Being clingy also causes your partner to get suffocated in the relationship and relationship cracks become more pronounced. Therefore, give your partner some space and resist the temptation to cling, no matter how insecure you might be feeling.

Becoming Extra Nice

While it is good to be sweet, avoid being saccharine sweet. This means that when you see that your relationship is in trouble avoid being unnaturally sweet and good to your partner, or being a doormat. This is not going to help. On the contrary, your partner will see that you are not being yourself and this can put him or her off. Be yourself, while avoiding traits that could make things worse between the two of you.

Keeping In Touch All The Time

You are so worried that your relationship is going to break completely, that you begin to constantly remind your partner of your presence, either by texts, e-mails, instant messages, phone calls or gifts. Cut this out if you want to hold your relationship together. While you are doing all of this out of love, these actions could make your partner run even further from you. An occasional positive bit of communication is fine. However, avoid overdoing it.

Flirting With Others

Some people make the mistake of thinking that if they flirt with others their partner will get jealous and work on the relationship. To an already troubled relationship, this can be a major cause for complete breakdown. If you flirt with others when your partner is already unhappy with your relationship, he or she will feel that this is added reason to leave you, and the next thing you realise is that your relationship is over. Be faithful to your partner. It will pay off in the end.

Having A Don’t-Care Attitude

Having a don’t-care attitude will give your partner the impression that you are not interested in the relationship and in him or her. There are many people who might tell you that if you back off and use reverse psychology on your partner, he or she will come back to you. Well, this might work to a small extent. However, this will break your relationship in the long run since the underlying problems still remain. Take an interest in your partner and continue to work on your relationship. When you care, even the most disgruntled partner will care too.

Many people feel that it takes two to make a relationship and it should therefore take two people to even fix a relationship that is in trouble. This is true in most cases. However, there are some cases where this is not the rule. There are times when relationship problems might have pushed your partner to a point where he or she is fed up of the relationship. In other cases, there could be circumstances that stress your partner out to the point where logical and reasonable thinking is difficult. In these cases, it is illogical to expect your partner to work with you on the relationship right at the start.

By not contributing further to relationship breakdown by doing the things mentioned above, you will be giving your partner a chance to heal and come to a state where he or she can work on the relationship. Once this stage is reached, you can take things forward together.

 

Sexting on Relationship

‘Sexting’… So what is it anyway? ‘Sexting’ by definition is sending or receiving sexually explicit messages or photos by mobile phones or other social media. This is a trend that has increased steadily through the years as more and more people have utilized phones as their main method of communication. In fact, 88% of adults have engaged in some kind of ‘sexting’ within the context of a relationship according to a paper called: “Reframing Sexting as a Positive Relationship Behavior.” 2

Is ‘sexting’ more common than we believe or are these research studies just turning up coincidences with this type of behavior? Emily Stasko, at Drexel’s University in Philadelphia, surveyed 870 heterosexual individuals and found that more ‘sexting’ was associated with a higher level of sexual satisfaction. 2

These are just two studies, you might say, and don’t represent the population at large. Well, another way to look at this is that technology is something that most people (in larger cities or suburban areas) concentrate on daily. People are very involved with social media on mobile phones, computers & tablets. They are using these social media applications for various reasons (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat, etc). Is there any reason to think, even for a minute, that people are not using technology to date or enhance their present relationships? People all over the country (and the world) have access to texting/messaging, social media, and video chatting (Facetime, Viper, etc.). It is extremely easy to use any of these modalities in the context of a relationship.

So how do people view ‘sexting?

The problem is that not everyone defines ‘sexting’ the same way. Is it the sending of sexually explicit or provocative messages? Is it primarily the sending of sexual images? Some people see it as one, the other or even as both. This has been unclear because there have been various opinions about the subject. ‘Sexting’ may not be limited to just messaging but could also include the use of Twitter, Facebook, Skype and Facetime, as well as, other social media platforms. This could also mean sending sexually explicit video or showing nude body parts while video conferencing. This complicates matters even more and broadens the current definition.

Most people have really warmed up to the idea of ‘sexting’ and according to the research, previously cited, a very high number of people have engaged (and continue to engage) in this behavior. These research studies and surveys have focused on how ‘sexting’ can improve relationships and rekindled sex lives. However, there is a darker side as well. This article focuses on those individuals that use ‘sexting’ as a way of seeking excitement, sex, and/or attention outside of their present relationship. The lines are sometimes blurred with regards to virtual or internet relationships because they are not viewed as being “real.”

Is ‘Sexting’ outside of a relationship considered cheating?

That is a good question. We already know that ‘sexting’ or sending these sexually provocative messages can really enhance a committed relationship. However, what happens when people send these types of messages outside of a committed relationship? How is ‘sexting’ viewed among the general population?

“A 2013 Huffington Post article of 1,000 U.S. adults found that 85 percent of women and 74 percent of men consider ‘sexting’ a form of cheating.” 1

‘Sexting’ outside a relationship can be exciting especially for those individuals that are looking for ‘that extra something’ in their lives. Perhaps these individuals love their spouses or partners but seem to have ‘lost’ the passion or excitement in their relationship. For other individuals, maybe they are looking to find someone else online or in a virtual sense (i.e. via texting, online websites or other media) that they can flirt with and is considered “safe.” That could fall into the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” scenario. A person may be very happy or mostly satisfied with their partner but think that they might be able to find something better outside their relationship.

Other scenarios could include men or women that seem to feel as if they are invisible to their partners or spouses due to over demanding careers, children, mental illness, physical illness, alcoholism, etc. These individuals may find that through ‘sexting’ with a 3rd party that they can feel loved, desired and even sexy. It is through this media (and possibly other reasons) that people justify their actions and tell themselves that they are not cheating because there is no physical relationship.

Is this behavior wrong? Is it cheating? There are various reasons why an individual may decide to engage in ‘sexting’ outside of his/her relationship but what is the intention exactly? Some people may believe that due to the virtual nature of ‘sexting’ that it isn’t necessarily wrong. ‘Sexting’ doesn’t have to involve physical contact and it could just be chalked down to a simple fantasy (or something that they don’t intend to pursue). It may have started as something very innocuous (like work-related messages sent to a colleague, coworker or fellow student) but then it moved forward to a more sexual type of relationship.

However if a person is deleting texts, hiding cell phone bills, or being secretive about this virtual relationship then it seems that he/she has become more involved with someone other than a spouse or partner. This person is now thinking about another person, sending pictures to that person, and possibly wishing he/she could spend time with that other person. If we are looking at the health of a marriage or relationship, any time someone else becomes involved, that health has now been compromised. We could also argue that the commitment toward the relationship or marriage has waned because of the 3rd party that is now part of the equation.

Case Examples:

Maria and Thomas (not their real names) have been married for 3 years but have been together for about 12 years. Thomas had been dealing with anxiety issues for his whole life but had developed a drinking habit to numb the intense feelings that he dealt with on a daily basis. This drinking problem had become so bad where Maria had found him passed out on the couch a few times after work and he spent a good amount of time drinking with colleagues. This situation caused her to feel very detached and distrustful of Thomas. She didn’t feel as if Thomas loved or desired her and that his drinking had become his new relationship. Maria decided to contact a former male friend from school with which she began a ‘sexting’ relationship. She never sent any sexually explicit photos of herself to this other person but the messages they shared were very provocative.

Maria never had any intentions of actually cheating on Thomas but she just felt lonely and unattractive. She sought companionship with someone that showed interest in her and chose to continue this ‘sexting’ relationship for a couple of months. She mentioned that this person made her feel sexy and desirable. She also felt good that someone was interested in her and although this person requested to meet her in person, she never did. Maria had some guilt that she was busy sending messages to someone other than her husband yet she continued. She got so frustrated with Thomas that she even ‘sexted’ this friend of hers while her husband was next to her on the couch.

Now, although this behavior of Maria’s was not having a physical affair it was an emotional affair. Maria was tired of trying to get through to her husband about his drinking and lack of interest in her. She spent a good amount of time looking for affection outside her relationship because her husband was not available to her. When Thomas found out about this ‘sexting’ relationship that Maria had started, he was devastated that she would do such a thing.

Maria made the decision to seek therapy to discuss her concerns and disappointment in herself and her relationship. Obviously she realized that while her marriage was not in the best state that she needed help to put things into perspective. After a few sessions, Maria wanted to bring her husband to join in the sessions. These sessions were spent having both of them discuss their feelings and how they were each disappointed with one another. Maria was able to discuss how she felt undesirable and lonely while Thomas received validation for his anxiety issues. Thomas was confronted for his alcohol abuse and how that was affecting their relationship. This couple was able to communicate, forgive each other and move forward.

A second couple, Julio and Gabrielle (not their real names) were not so lucky. Julio started ‘sexting’ with another woman he met online just after the birth of his daughter. He had been unhappy with Gabrielle for some time however just didn’t know how to communicate his feelings. He had come from a family in which communicating feelings was highly discouraged. So while his wife was pregnant and tired a good portion of the time, Julio was online looking for some attention.

At first, things were very mild. He sent a few texts here and there just looking to see if other women were interested. However, once his daughter was born, Julio spent a lot of time on his phone. He ‘sexted’ with a particular woman with whom he had a connection at work and in the car. He also deleted all of the messages because he didn’t want his wife to become suspicious or to find them ‘by accident.’ So he was able to keep up this front for some time…a good 6 months.

However, one day he wasn’t so careful. Julio forgot to delete some messages and his wife looked at his phone while she was up in the middle of the night feeding the baby. She was appalled and devastated at what she found. Gabrielle chose not to say anything right away because she wanted to see if she could catch him or get him to admit to this behavior. And one day she was able to do just that. She found him in the bathroom taking pictures of his genitals and sending the pictures & messages. She confronted him on the spot and but he denied ever meeting up with this woman. Gabrielle realized that they needed some serious help and sought therapy.

She communicated that she loved Julio and wanted to keep their marriage intact but was not going to accept this type of behavior from him. Julio was able to finally, after some encouragement, to communicate that he had been unhappy with Gabrielle for years. He stated that he only married her because she had become pregnant with his daughter but he didn’t feel that the two of them were very compatible. She also found out in therapy that Julio had lied about meeting up with the woman that he was sending messages to and that they had been dating. It was at this point that Gabrielle and Julio decided to separate because their relationship was not reparable.

So what should you do?

If you have found yourself interested in finding attention outside your marriage or relationship, it is important to ask yourself some important questions.

What do you want to accomplish? What are your intentions? Have you found that you are not interested in maintaining your marriage or relationship? What is the reason you are trying to connect with someone else? Are you looking for some attention because you are not getting it at home? Are you seeking out something more exciting or compatible than your partner/spouse? Or is your relationship salvageable with the help of someone who can encourage better communication and engagement? Are you just looking to make you’re your partner/spouse jealous? These questions need to be answered before the relationship deteriorates past the point of no return.

If you decide that you are simply not interested in continuing with your present relationship, then some honest dialogue needs to occur with your spouse or partner. It is important to communicate your feelings and to allow this other person the opportunity to hear that the relationship is over. This allows your partner to start the process of grieving the relationship and eventually moving on. Hopefully, you are able to provide some support and compassion for your spouse or partner and allow for a more amicable separation.

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However if you have recently found out that your spouse or partner has been involved in a ‘sexting’ relationship, it is important for you to maintain composure. It is completely normal to have intense emotions regarding the situation however it will not help in the communication process. Please ask questions about this other relationship and find out about your partner’s intentions. It is important to know if your spouse or partner is interested in continuing with your relationship and ending the other one or not. It is helpful to have an objective 3rd party there to help both of you to determine in which direction you both want to travel.

Emotions will be high in either situation especially for the person that has just found out about this outside relationship. If you are too deeply hurt by your spouse or partner’s ‘sexting’ relationship to stay with him/her, then this must also be addressed. Each person deals with highly emotional situations in different ways. One couple might be able to communicate effectively even in difficult situations while another couple might not be able to be in the same room together. So it is important to know how your spouse or partner will react in this situation and find a way to come to a workable conclusion that best fits both of you.

Conclusion

Since ‘sexting’ has become such a popular activity among adults in monogamous relationships and with those that are dating based on the research provided in this article, it is important for everyone to be more knowledgeable regarding the topic. The research shows that ‘sexting’ can enhance a monogamous relationship. The case examples show two different scenarios that can ensue. If people are unhappy in their present relationship and choose to utilize ‘sexting’ to find excitement with another person, the end result could be relationship or marital dissolution.

Couples are encouraged to seek out help. A counselor, therapist or psychologist can help couples to find their way through this situation. If a relationship has been extensively damaged by ‘sexting’ (through which a physical relationship may or may not have begun), there are important feelings on both sides that need to be addressed. Depending on the desires of both people involved, these relationships can be saved but does take time to rebuild trust and confidence. Since most of these relationships consist of one (or both) persons seeking out someone else, it is vital to encourage verbal communication about the things that each person views is lacking in the relationship. Feelings need to be communicated and each partner or spouse needs to have the opportunity to express him/herself. Forgiveness plays a HUGE part in this type of situation. Each person has to ask him/herself if forgiveness is an option and if so, they can proceed toward creating a new relationship together. They can do this by spending time together and discussing how to satisfy each other’s needs. Only after these important issues have been brought up can the couple begin to move forward on a new path toward happiness.