Archive: November, 2011

Marital Infidelity – part 3

Elements that make people more vulnerable to extra marital infidelity.

 In addition to the general situations created by being in long term intimate relationships, there are specific elements that make affairs more likely to occur.

When people live in marital situations where there is a lot of hostility, for instance, an affair may be a way of getting back at a spouse seen as insensitive, uncaring and rejecting. At times they are ways of getting out of the marriage. These affairs are called “exit” affairs.

Going through a life transition, like entering middle age, may also increase chances of one partner getting involved in an affair. The unconscious purpose of the affair here is to deny reality by engaging with a partner – typically younger – who finds us sexually attractive and givers us the attention we crave.

Losing one’s job, recovering from a life threatening illness or getting through the birth of a baby are transitional times where usual patterns of connecting with one’s mate have been altered by these events. Because of this, these emotional connections no longer provide the comfort and security they might have provided in the past. These times also force some people to see their lives differently and reflect on what they want. Consequently, they may develop different priorities and different goals for themselves. Some may struggle with these changes, conflicted about who they used to be and who we are now. Extra marital affairs may both contribute and reflect these changes.

People who are better off economically and have higher levels of education tend to get involved in extra-marital affairs more often than people with lower incomes and lower educational levels. Further, people in occupations with high levels of stress, like working in an emergency room, being a firefighter or a soldier in a combat zone, have higher incidence of affairs than people in professions with less drama. People in the entertainment business are extremely susceptible to getting involved in affairs, because they have the financial means and lead lives full of excitement and high drama. This is also true for surgeons and politicians, as they operate in high visibility and high drama professions.

Gender Differences. Do men and women act differently when it comes to extra marital infidelity? Current trends indicate that the gender gap is closing, as more women are likely to engage in affairs, particularly younger women. We can speculate on what are the reasons for these changes. I think one of the main reasons is the more open attitude about sex and women today, versus the past. Also, most of women in long term relationships now work out of their homes.They are thus in daily contact with other people, exposing themselves to the same risks and vulnerabilities as men. Earlier we talked about the fact that most affairs develop in the office, where both men and women are in daily contact but without the stresses of living together.

Women, today, are also quite aware of their needs and are more assertive in verbalizing and meeting them, rather than passively accept their situations.

There also seems to be a correlation, in women, between age of first intercourse and infidelity later in life. The earlier the first sexual experience, the more likely women are to engage in extra marital sex later in their lives.

In the next blog post we will discuss some of the psychological elements that make some people more vulnerable to extra marital infidelity.

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Marital Infidelity – part 2

Conditions Favorable to Affairs

We all fantasize at times about what it would be like to have an affair with one person or another. These fantasies can reflect the dissatisfaction we may experience at some points in our lives, the frustrations, the boredom, or the need to recapture the excitement of a time in our lives that now seems gone. At times these fantasies are indications of something amiss in our lives. Acknowledging them helps us face and address the issues at hand. Fantasies about affairs, however, may also just reflect curiosity, the excitement that comes from someone new, and the sexual attraction we may experience for this person.

Because we live in a society where there is constant contact with people other than our mates, the opportunities to fantasize about them abound. 2 out of 3 women and 3 out of 4 men admit to having had sexual thoughts about a co-worker. And, if we consider that most of the affairs develop between co-workers, we can see how daily contacts with other people can facilitate the development of feelings, friendships and sexual fantasies.

However, even though all of us are exposed to these daily opportunities, it is important to know the difference between fantasy and reality, and be mindful of not going over the threshold between the two, unless we are quite clear this is what we want to do and have thought through this decision. While some affairs may develop into healthy, long lasting relationships, statistics indicate that very few lovers actually stay together for more than four years. And, of those who marry, 75% end up in divorce (Ceo, 2009.)

We will discuss elements that contribute to the occurrence of most affairs. These are grouped under three major headings: situational, psychological and physical elements and will be discussed in this and subsequent blogs.

Let’s begin with situational elements. Are certain situations more likely to make people vulnerable to extra marital infidelity?

Some situations are typical of long term relationships. When people have been in a monogamous romantic relationship for some time, the initial spark and passion for one another typically decreases. The predictability of married life, added to external stressors such as little children, busy schedules, financial strain and spousal disagreements and conflicts, can lead to dissatisfaction between romantic partners and lack of or dissatisfying emotional and physical connection with one another. These conditions may make one or the other partner more vulnerable to an extra marital infidelity. The affair can function as distraction from the nitty-gritty of daily life, and is seen by the person who engages in it as an oasis in the middle of a desert, a cocoon devoid of stress, where communication is open and sexual and emotional needs can be reciprocally fulfilled.

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Holidays: A Mixed Bag

Thanksgiving is almost here, and Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s are not far behind. While these are exciting times most of us look forward to, they often are very stressful times as well. Food needs to be prepared. Houses need to be cleaned and organized. Trips need to be planned. Gifts need to be bought and exchanged. Kids are expected to be well behaved and charming with family members and other guests. Even the pets are expected to be on their best behavior… But really?

While we are happy this time of the year is just around the corner, we may also feel overwhelmed by everything we want to get done TO PERFECTION before our family gets here, or before we go and visit them. We may create unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. We may idealize what will happen. In our minds everything will be just the way we want it to be: everybody will get along with everybody else; each one will be happy to be together and will be at their best. Wonderful memories will be created that will be cherished for many years to come.

Holidays can actually be very difficult and stressful times for a lot of us, if we don’t adequately prepare for them. And this means having REALISTIC expectations and letting go of the fantasized views of them that we create in our minds. These fantasized views are exactly fantasies, not reality. They are fed by romantic pictures we see on television or in magazines, where everybody is happy and everything looks wonderful and super easy to do. But, when we hold on to these fantasized views, often we get disappointed and frustrated, because OUR reality very seldom, if ever, matches those views. We feel angry at whomever we decide was the cause of our disappointment. We don’t understand what happened and why. We grow inpatient and intolerant with the people who don’t follow our master plan.

Is there a solution to all this?

Make a list of what you need to do and keep it simple. Stick to what you know; don’t try new experiments. Review your list of guests and make sure they are suited to one another. Make food preparation easy: do not make an elaborate menu that requires hours and hours, maybe even days of work. In the end, the food may be delicious, but you will be too exhausted to even enjoy it!

Above all, PLAN. Starting a week ahead, write lists of what needs to be done. Organize the list in order of priorities. Some things can be done ahead of time. Others may need to be done at the last minute. Delegate rather than trying to do everything yourself. People typically like to be included and contribute to the celebration. Each person has one or more areas where they excel. Make use of these talents and resources.

Don’t forget to regularly check with yourself how you are holding up: are you tired? How is your level of energy? Are you more impatient and irritable than usual? Are you sleeping well? Do you feel rested when you wake up in the morning? Are you taking time for yourself?

If you keep track of your feelings and listen to what your body is telling you, you can enjoy this wonderful time of celebrations with family and friends.

H A P P Y  H O L I D A Y S!

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Compassion Between Couples

Compassion is becoming a word heard more and more frequently. We ask how to bring this emotion with its attendant actions into all relationships, especially that of intimacy and love.

Compassion is an expression of empathy, care, concern, sensitivity, warmth, tenderness, tolerance, kindness and love. Ideally, compassion can be all-encompassing and therefore is quite primary in a relationship. It tends to appear differently and in different forms and actions depending on the person, the partner and the relationship. It will have various expressions depending on the people involved. The issue is not how it is expressed but how it is felt and incorporated into a relationship. We could even say that to live without compassion would be detrimental to having and keeping any form of love.

For example, one person knows the other enjoys coffee in the morning, a good cup of coffee. The first will make an effort to have the best brand and keep the supply well stocked. The person, as often as possible, will not just make the coffee but pour it, give it to the other person and sometimes accompany the coffee with a note of love, a kiss, a hug and kind words. All these are easy yet thoughtful ways of showing consideration to your partner as the day begins. This is a form of compassion for the other. True compassion does not require a return of attention and is satisfied with the enjoyment and pleasure the partner will receive. It has no need for being given back because one feels good just having compassion for another.

In other words, true compassion between couples does not have an agenda. It does not need anything that is equal or the same. Paying attention to your partner is not an effort but an expression of compassionate love. It is freely given, openly received, honored between each other and brings with it a flow of communication on emotional and physical planes. Compassion is a discipline and requires your thoughts and mindfulness.

Compassion means keeping your partner in your mind – kindly, thoroughly and consistently. It brings out the kind of reverie that moves from one person, then back to the other and then back again. This weaves a web of sweet and lovingly considerate emotional stroking. In turn, this builds a foundation that only becomes stronger. This is a way of forming a strong emotional basis that works especially when problems arise. It constructs a safety net underneath that both partners helped to build through their feelings of compassion as expressed to each other.

Keeping our partner in our minds emits the kind of energy that promotes connection, confidence and trust.

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Marital Infidelity

From time to time, by following the sexual and emotional escapades of married celebrities, we are reminded of how common and frequent extra-marital affairs are. So much so that latest statistics indicate that in this country 45-55% of all married women and 50-60% of all married men had an affair while in a committed primary relationship (Atwood & Schwartz, 2002.) If we consider unlikely for all cheating people to be married to one another, then we can infer that cheating affects approximately 80% of all marriages in the U.S.! Additionally, recent trends indicate that, under the age of 40, women’s rates of  affairs are getting very close to men’s, closing the gender gap.

This is a departure from a more traditional profile of the cheater as typically male, middle age, sex-starved, looking for excitement and adventure and needing to be made to feel young and attractive again, preferably by a much younger woman than his marital partner. Not that this profile does not exist any more, but it does neither exhaustively describe nor explain why people cheat in a society where sexual mores have become more relaxed and open, and where women are as likely as men to act out their emotional and sexual fantasies .

Other changes in patterns of affairs have to do with the way in which today people connect with one another. The increasing use of the Internet as a social network creates a whole new set of opportunities, and threats. The fact that about 35% of all divorce litigations cite internet affairs as the cause of them attests to the widespread use of the Internet for this purpose. People get in touch with one another after years of disconnection, or they anonymously connect with others in ways that create new virtual networks. About 70% of the time people spend on line is allegedly used to visit “chat rooms” or sending/receiving e-mails. The vast majority of interactions in chat rooms are of a romantic nature (Adamse & Motta, 2000.) Because all this was unheard of just a decade ago, we are just beginning to grasp its importance and its effects on intimacy and love.

One of the astonishing differences between romance and sex in cyberspace and in real time is that more than half of all men and women who engage in cyberspace romance and sex believe what they do is not adultery. I believe this contributes to lowering the threshold between thinking and wishing to have an affair on the one hand, and carrying it out on the other. This belief, in fact, by lowering one’s inhibitions and reducing guilt, increases acting out emotionally and sexually.

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Love in Recession Times – part 4

Quarrel between spouses

What happens to couples when they are forced by external circumstances to live together? How does this situation affect each partner and their children, if couples have children? I suggest that, rather than fighting their situation – which does not solve the problem anyway – couples should face what is happening to them, understand how they got to this point and explore ways of possibly reconnecting with one another, or let go of their relationship in a healthy way.

Areas of common ground in their distressed relationship can become the starting point of alliance. One such common ground is their children, if they have any. Usually, both partners want to be good parents, no matter how bad their relationship with one another is. Other areas can be extended families, friends, assets and goals couples may have been working on together and other areas that were and still are meaningful to both of them.

Focusing on children can bring out patience, acceptance and flexibility, even in distressed couples. Because they have no choice, partners need to address parenting issues now, rather than when they are apart. And, when they are still living together, there seems to be less room for parental alienation, as it is in both their interests to make sure children are adjusting well. Children, on their part, may have the opportunity to go to either parent with any question they might have or for support. Though there may still be attempts by each partner to be” the better parent” of the two, there may also be a stronger need for closer collaboration and support.

When in couple counseling, couples often become more conscious of the repercussions of their decisions on children. Here the focus is on teaching couples how to become more aware of their children’s reactions to the current family situation. This awareness helps them reach decisions that are more fair and sensitive to the feelings and needs of all involved. This process, though challenging and difficult, facilitates the development of empathy and compassion. Partners can appreciate each other’s intent to do their best in order to protect their children from emotional harm.

Couples learn that, even at this stage in a relationship, they model to their children how to deal with life challenges and responsibilities, as ending relationships is part of life. Invested in this role, parents are helped to restrain from acting inappropriately with one another, particularly in front of their kids. Also, time together may help them find healthy ways of dealing with their relationship, rather than making precipitous decisions based on the emotions of the moment.

The most important gift to couples is that this situation allows time for reflecting and thinking about how they got to this point. If they are willing to do the necessary work, couples may begin to tease out what emotions belong to the relationship and what is triggered by events and situations outside of it. They can ally and collaborate in dealing with the external challenges that affect both of them, rather than allowing these external challenges become a wedge in the relationship.

Helping couples understand the impact of external stressors on their relationship can help shift the focus from each other to the reasons why they feel the way they do about themselves, each other, and their external environment.

In relationship counseling with couples who experience high conflict as consequence of the current economic recession, the goal often is narrower and more focused than in marital counseling. Teaching constructive communication skills and effective ways of problem solving can be far more beneficial than undertaking the enormous task of “fixing” the relationship.

It is difficult to know what will happen once partners decide to work together, even at this late stage of disconnection, but a better understanding of how partners got to this place with one another could open up options on how each couple wants to proceed. Even if couples decide that they no longer want to be together and they are clear about their decision, the process of disengagement from each other can be facilitated by increased understanding, better communication and deeper awareness of issues and dynamics. These tools will serve them well in the future, with each other and with other people.

Having time to think and reflect, rather than acting precipitously and reactively, can make the difference between a mature and healthy way for partners in intimate relationships to go their separate ways and a break up without closure.

Optimally, this time to reflect can create a place for couples to examine their emotions for each other and even be able to make a paradigm shift between seeing each other as enemies to finding areas of collaboration and re-connection.

The key here to communicate openly and harmoniously.

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Love in Times of Recession – part 3

The current recession in the US presents some unique challenges to couples. This is due to a very specific set of circumstances that came together in the past two years, particularly in the Southwest and in Florida. Adding to job loss and depletion of savings, couples in these parts of the country had the added stress of dealing with the loss of their homes. And this happened almost overnight. Because the real estate market was hit so hard and so deeply by the recession in places like the Phoenix metropolitan area in Arizona where I live and work, couples found the values of their homes drop suddenly and with no forewarning. Houses are now worth on average 31% less than they were just a couple of years ago, and in some neighborhoods less than 50%. And nobody is buying them!

For most couples, owning their home has historically been a point of pride and an opportunity to live the American dream of upward mobility and independence. It is also their main investment. Add to this picture the use of “creative” mortgages that encouraged people to buy the biggest house they could afford with almost no money down, with the expectation of later rewards, when their home increased in value, and you have a perfect storm.

And a perfect storm was exactly what hit many couples who, when the real estate market collapsed, felt trapped in their own homes. A lot of couples found themselves upside down in their mortgages and unable to make their monthly payments. After months and months of surviving under very strenuous conditions, a lot of couples depleted their economic resources. In many cases one or both partners lost their jobs or had to take a pay cut. As men felt the impact of this economic catastrophe, they displaced their stress onto their primary relationships. Women, whose level of stress is directly influenced by what happens in their relationships, saw their stress level rise as well. Conflicts between partners increased, while at the same time the possibility of physically separating became less and less of an option for most couples. Living together was at times the only alternative open to them, at least until it was hoped things would get better.

It must be extremely difficult to live together when at least one spouse wants out and begin processing the loss of the relationship when the other partner is still around. The appearance of normality may make the hurt deeper and more painful. While hurt may build up in one partner, resentment may build up in the other, as she or he feels trapped, watched, controlled and often criticized by the other.

If couples do not do anything to improve their situation, they will continue to chip away at the foundations of their relationship until nothing will be left, in the process building thicker walls between them and preventing any healthy communication from taking place.

As a psychotherapist, I see both problems and potential benefits stemming from couples living together because their economic circumstances do not allow them to move apart. I suggest that these strenuous conditions may have not only negative effects, which are clear to see but also, potentially, positive ones. This is so because, while some couples may emotionally disconnect from one another in order to make their living arrangements more tolerable, others may decide to seek marriage counseling, or work on their relationship in other ways. Even for those who may feel past repairing the damage in their relationship, the need to learn to deal with one another is still an important part of ending their relationship.

When we are overwhelmed, preoccupied, scared or angry, we cannot access any feeling of love. The powerful emotions triggered by external stressors, in fact, prevent us from feeling anything else. Couples, therefore, often convince themselves that there is no love left for one another, and thus see their relationships as being over.

In the next post we will discuss how to become more aware of ALL our feelings, so we can make better decisions about how to act.

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Love in Recession Times – part 2

A clear correlation between economic pressure and interpersonal conflict in intimate relationships has been established by many experts in relationships.

In a 2005 paper on “The Effects of Economic Pressure on Marital Conflict in Romania” (Journal of Family Psychology, 2005, Vol. 19. No 2, 246-251), for instance, M. Robila and A. Krishnakumar studied this correlation in post-communist Romania. Here the political changes in the process of transition from communism to capitalism created severe economic difficulties for families. Many Romanian couples were not adequately prepared for such transition that brought with it severe challenges and new problems, which they did not know how to handle.

Robila and Krishnakumar’s conclusions are that high levels of marital conflict presented aspects similar to those of their counterparts in the U.S. and other parts of the world, when exposed to comparable economic stressors.

Couples throughout the world, when exposed to economic distress show higher incidences of interpersonal conflict, depression, domestic violence and substance abuse.

Isolation is an important condition that aggravates stress in couples. When they experience economic difficulties, most couples tend to isolate from extended families and friends, because there is shame in being in their position. A tendency to cover up what is really going on eliminates opportunities for sharing one’s feelings and achieving better ways of managing them without letting them become overwhelming. When couples don’t have a support system outside of their relationship, they only have each other to rely on for support and comfort. What they need, however, may not be available to one another, because of lack of empathy for each other’s feelings and needs.

Bad economic times are frequently reflected in falling divorce rates, as indicated in studies about the great depression and economic hard times in other areas of the world. This is mainly due to the lack of financial opportunities for couples, who cannot afford to split up. Gregory Rodriguez, in an article titled “Divorce and Hard Times” (the Los Angeles Times, July 13, 2009), predicts an increased rate of divorces as soon as this recession will be over.

Is what’s happening in the US today similar to what happened to couples during the Great Depression and what happened to Romanian couples as their country transitioned from communism to capitalism?

In the following posts we will discuss some unique challenges US couples face today ad explore way of providing help and open new options to them.

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Love in Recession Times

A lot has been written on the various areas of our lives affected by the current economic recession. One area that deserves attention, albeit not as immediately identifiable as others, is that of intimate relationships. When under a lot of stress, intimate relationships often cease to be haven from the storm, and can become the target of the storm. There is more tension and less energy for couples to address the issues and conflicts in their relationship, as they already feel overwhelmed by all the other stressors in their lives.

Let me explain why intimate relationships can become casualties during hard economic times. One defense mechanism most of us use at one time or another is displacement, an unconscious process by which we shift emotions from one area to another. Typically we shift from one area where we have no or little control to another where we think we have more control. This process helps us manage stress by compensating and balancing things out. We make use of this unconscious process when we have to deal with situations that are particularly stressful and painful to endure.

A perfect example of displacement is what happens when we get reprimanded by our boss at work. We have no control over his or her behavior, and we cannot truly express how we feel about this situation. So, when we come home, we may become intolerant with the dog, impatient with our children, or irritable with our mate. The emotions we feel and express at home have been displaced from the work situation onto our loved ones. As displacement is a completely unconscious mechanism, this occurs without us being aware of what we are doing. We believe the real causes of our irritation or disaffection are indeed our dog, our children or our mate.

Displacement creates a means of expressing our emotions in “safe” ways, while distracting us from what is really upsetting and compensating for it. Arguments, misunderstandings, and disappointments with our loved ones are likely to develop and not get resolved. Frustrations and resentments lead to fights and eventually to emotional disconnection. Thoughts of separation and divorce are more common at times of chronic or sudden severe stress. Yet often we don’t make the connection between our feelings and what causes them. Instead, we feel our desire to leave our mate is warranted. We reinforce these views by dredging up anything and everything negative we can think about her or him. This reinforces our current position and, in our eyes, justifies it.

Of course, this does not mean that every time couples think of splitting up it is because of displacement. However, displacement may account for the increased rates of conflict in intimate relationships during times of severe stress.

What are the external factors that are contributing to increased rates of interpersonal conflicts for couples? Some of them are traditionally associated with challenging economic times in general; some are unique to this recession. In the following three blogs I will examine these factors and discuss them.

If you are personally experiencing challenges in your primary intimate relationship, we would like to hear your thoughts. Or, if you have an opinion on this subject even though you are not directly affected by the current economic problems, please share it with us.

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Love and Trees

Love is like a tree: both need good soil, water and the protection provided by a safe environment in order to grow and be healthy.

There are many parallels between what happens in nature and what goes on between two people who love each other. In both situations there is a need to have strong roots that can spread wide and deep into the soil, providing stability, strength and security.

This need for security, both in nature and in love, cannot be overemphasized. Without security, fear creeps in and affects our view of reality both around and within us. When in fear, we search for protection. We don’t make ourselves vulnerable because it is not safe to do so. We don’t take risks, like opening up to our mate and sharing thoughts and feelings about us, because this would increase vulnerability. When fear is present, therefore, closeness and intimacy are impossible to achieve and maintain.

Trees need to develop strong roots in order to withstand nature’s storms and other calamities, just like love has to develop deep and strong roots in order to withstand the storms of life.

What are the human roots? They are the many ways in which two people in love maintain connections with one another. These range from remembering each other’s special days to favorite activities and interests, to being aware of a partner’s points of hurt and trauma.

Storms are unpredictable in their power and destruction. We can never fully predict when they will occur and how strong they are going to be, nor will we ever be able to be fully prepared for them, but we certainly can improve the odds of withstanding them.

Storms are particularly dangerous if they strike in areas where there already is weakness. A tree that is bent, or whose roots are exposed is more vulnerable to storms than a tree that is strong and solidly planted.

In love too we are most affected by the storms of life when they hit us in our weakest areas. These are areas where wounds from the past may not have fully healed yet. These become “faulty lines”, points of exposure in our emotional lives. As in trees, these areas of weakness reflect past experiences that wounded us and created a fragility that now makes us more vulnerable.

Storms, both with trees and with love, can happen suddenly, without forewarning, with a powerful, destructive force that kills.

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In love, likewise, some storms are so powerful, sudden and destructive that everything on their path gets destroyed. A sudden illness, as addiction, violence and other traumatic experiences are examples of these powerful and destructive storms. Other storms are not so totally devastating, though they also cause damage, particularly if not addressed and dealt with.

In nature, storms erode the soil and wash it downhill, exposing the tree roots.

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As tree roots become exposed, they are no longer able to anchor trees to the soil. Trees are no longer as protected.

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When trees are no longer firmly grounded, strong winds and rain can become much more destructive. While they do their best to stay anchored to the ground, trees progressively lose their strength. Resisting storms becomes a tough battle for them to win.

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As we can see, the more exposed the roots, the weaker and the more vulnerable trees become.

The same is true for couples: weakened by the stresses and pressures of life, what provided security and strength to them – romantic partners’ connections to one another – are increasingly less available. With each new storm, the unhealed wounds from the past get re-opened and they fester. Couples disconnect in order to protect themselves, increasing the distance between them and further reducing communication. And this happens at a time when both partners need each other and the power and strength of their love in order to better cope with whatever problems are facing them!

If nothing is done to remedy the situation, both trees and love will perish.

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Couples at this point may feel there is no love left for one another. They become overburdened by challenges that feel insurmountable. Each partner feels abandoned by the other. Both are ready to give up and go their own separate ways, or settle for a miserable, loveless life together.

But there is still a possibility for renewal, both in nature and in love.

In nature, from what looked like a dead stump, at times new growth starts to appear

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This is a new beginning, a renewed opportunity to grow and become strong. In love, if couples don’t give up and give in to their feelings of powerlessness, discontent, disappointment and hurt, they may be able to rebuild their relationship, just like trees that are born out of old, dead stumps.

New growth in trees is an indication that, even though on the surface everything seemed dead, there was still a spark of life somewhere deep down in the roots. From this little spark of life, a new beginning is generated, a renewed life that derives its energy from what was there before.

In love the spark may still be rekindled if partners believe in its power. Most of the time, it’s not that love for one another is completely gone. It is just no longer accessible, buried as it is by layers and layers of emotions – anger, frustration, fear, disgust, disappointment and other emotions – that lead to emotional disconnection.

It is possible to rekindle the feelings of love if, and only if, we are willing and able to face the issues TOGETHER, get in touch with our emotions and share this experience with each other. Love is resilient. Our openness – or closeness – to it facilitates or excludes the possibility of feeling it again. Both trees and human beings can thus grow healthy and strong.

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A new road opens up, full of possibilities

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And, with it, a new way of looking at life, as the sun comes out for a brand new day

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