Breaking Up During the Holidays- 12 Tips for Bringing Back Your Joy

Making Up After Breaking Up-Dr. Sheri MeyersThis year, instead of a house filled with delight and stockings full of gifts, home for the holidays is taking on a new meaning. Your relationship has been given its walking papers, and suddenly, all you want for the holidays is a shelter from the storm and a soft place to curl up and retreat.

It doesn’t matter if it was a long marriage or a short-lived relationship, if you cared and connected, you may feel like you are on a sleigh ride without the runners, the snow, or even the bells. What was once a season that was joyful and bright has now lost all its charm!

Grieving over your love loss any time of the year is challenging enough, but the holidays bring another dimension of “shell-shock” and darkness to an already stressful time.

Trust me, as a relationship therapist, divorce mediator and a veteran of two divorces myself, I’ve seen it all and I get it. What works in getting over a breakup is a holistic approach addressing four core areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The following are highly effective strategies from the healing section my book Chatting or Cheating, using each of those four core areas to get you on the road to recovery from that breakup – fast.

bigstock-Silhouette-of-woman-practicing-40446856PHYSICAL

1. Meditate, don’t medicate. Avoid overusing drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee, and resist the urge to stuff down your feelings using chocolate and food. You’ll only end up feeling worse about yourself. In times of stress, having an extra drink or two, another piece of cake, or downing a quart of ice cream may be tempting, but doing so will only cause you to spiral down into a depression, lose sleep, and gain weight. Instead, take five minutes to sit quietly, meditate, practice yoga or pick up a book that gives you a gift of knowledge, hope or inspiration.

2. Eat healthfully and regularly. Your body can’t function properly without the proper nutrition. Don’t skip meals or resort to convenience food. Treat yourself well; eat wholesome meals that are balanced and freshly made.

3. Get plenty of sleep. There’s nothing better than the gift of sleep to refresh your brain and your perspective. If you’re struggling with punishing, pain-producing thoughts that keep you awake, try this: Keep a journal by your bed, write down your anxieties and imagine them flowing out of you and onto the paper. Say, “I fully release you and let you go. I give myself permission to peacefully sleep.”

4. Exercise your blues away. The absence of pleasure-producing endorphins after a break up can make you feel sluggish and miserable. Exercise increases your endorphins. Join a health club, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to work, do some yoga, or take a salsa lesson. Make a promise to do something active for 30 minutes a day for 30 days, no excuses.

Ballerina In Ballet Pose Classical DanceEMOTIONAL

5. First off, STOP scaring yourself!  NO! Your divorce is not the end of your life. It’s not the end of your family. It’s not the end of your happiness, and it’s not the end of having cheerful holidays. Your body automatically responds to the messages you say to yourself. Replace your negative thoughts with positive responses. Think positive. Think opportunity. “I can do this.” “I’ll get through this and move on!” ‘What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger. I’m getting stronger and stronger.’

6. Feel your feelings. Don’t ignore or stuff them down. Let the tears flow and express your anger. Ignored emotions will only make you calloused and afraid. One way of unloading your feelings is to write out what might be too difficult to say out loud to others right now. Or better yet, start a dialogue with your broken heart, asking yourself questions and giving it the solace and attention it needs right now.

7. Surround yourself with smiles and happy vibes. Make time for uplifting things — anything from having a cup of tea with a friend, to appreciating the pretty lights on the houses and tress, to playing a round of golf or whatever you love to do. Be sure to surround yourself with people who are your true supporters. AND hang out with friends who make you laugh. Studies have shown that laughter, or just smiling, has a way of lifting your mood instantly. A funny movie or hilarious TV show is also good. It’s about making the conscious effort to choose activities and people that lift you up.

MENTAL

8. Stop obsessing.  Yes! Right now! All those obsessive thoughts and instant replays of “…would have, could have, should have”  head trips must stop NOW. The best way to do it is to say: “STOP!” If the thoughts won’t stop, then say, “NO! STOP NOW!” If they persist, then continue, “ENOUGH! NO MORE! STOP!”

Saying “STOP!” interrupts the obsessive thought process and breaks the cycle of pain. Immediately, redirect your thoughts away to something good that is happening in your life.

9. Take regular 60-second vacations. Relaxation is literally a breath away. Anytime you feel stressed, take a minute, slow down and breathe deeply. Thinking relaxing thoughts and verbalizing calming statements starts the healing process and helps you lessen anxiety. Take a deep breath and say out loud, “I am calm, I am safe and I can handle this.” Anything from smelling a flower to petting an animal can help take you away for even a minute, which starts the process of feeling free.

10. Set new goals.  You have a brand new year ahead. Where do you want to be this time next year? Use some of your alone time and mental powers to set goals and make plans for getting what you want out of the coming year.

Give to othersSPIRITUAL  

11. Give to others. When you’re depressed, anxious or stressed, there is a high degree of focus on the self. Focusing on the needs of others literally helps shift your thinking and your mood from victimhood to empowerment. Studies show that the happiest people are ones who give the most to others, and what better time of year to put that into practice? Spreading light in the darkness is a practical way of raising your spirits, too.

12. Gratitude is grounding. Have you ever noticed that it’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed at the same time? Gratitude can transform pain into love and bring peace to your emotional chaos. Remind yourself of all the things you’re grateful for. Better yet, write it down. This strategy works miracles for bringing you out of any gloomy mood.

Instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by the breakup blues or thoughts of being newly single, choose to do the activities that will help you feel better: exercise, visiting friends, being kind to yourself and those in need, giving and receiving gifts, etc.  The holidays aren’t wasted because you aren’t with your partner anymore. Instead, think of this time of year as an opportunity to reinvest in a healthier, more grounded and more spiritually enlightened YOU.

To see my original post of this article on Divorce Magazine, please click here

 

Why Couples Should Have a Social Media Prenup- Dr. Sheri Meyers on CBS News

Have-Proof-Before-You-ConfrontAs you may know, I’m a big proponent of and very passionate about the need for couples to  have a “social media prenup” discussion.   Basically, it’s an agreement in place BEFORE anything goes wrong and an understanding about what to do if it does.

Nowadays, our computers, tablets, smart phones have become a convenient one-stop way station for many of our social, professional, intellectual, recreational and personal needs. It’s easy to let our devices become the Viagra to a boring moment, an immediate source of connection and instant relief for loneliness and stress.

Before we know it, we are seduced by all the attention and addicted to the feel-good feelings and online cheers we get for posting and sharing our intimate thoughts, photos and life details.  Relationships already have so many moving parts, now add social media  to the mix and it’s no wonder why Facebook is now mentioned in over 30% if all divorce filings these days.

I truly believe that every couple who uses a computer or smart phone needs to communicate about what is and isn’t acceptable to post, what is the line between chatting and cheating with online friends,  how each feels about having smartphones or tablets at the dinner table, and how much time online and our devices is acceptable.

In my personal relationship,  because social media is and was such an important part of our lives (both professionally and socially) my sweetheart, Jonathon and I had a ‘what’s cool and not cool to post’ discussion and prenup in place from the start.

Having a social media prenup in place, got us through a lot of potential rough times with ease and grace.  And, even when we broke up last year, having a social media prenup helped us to uncouple with love, cooperatively announce our break up, navigate through the usual jealousies that arise and discuss how to interact on social media thereafter.

CBS News happened to come to interview me on the day we posted our BreakUp announcement on Facebook and decided to do a segment on it.   Here’s the report:

TARZANA (CBSLA.com) June 5, 2014

Sheri CBS News social-media-prenupWhen Sheri Meyers, a marriage and family therapist, and her boyfriend of 4 years broke up, they also broke the news on Facebook.

“We did it holding hands and we did it with full consciousness. We wrote what we were going to say together. And we were on the phone when we both hit the send button,” Meyers said.

Throughout the ups and downs of their relationship, Meyers said they always discussed what’s acceptable to post on social media.

“Before Jonathan was going to post something, he said, ‘This is an SMP moment. Is this OK?’” Meyers said. “And I said yes or no.’

CBS2’s Kristine Lazar said social media prenups are a new trend in modern relationships.
“I’ve seen so many couples break into big fights because of a misunderstanding in this area,” Meyers said.

The prenup may include how much time a couple can spend on social media and what they can share.

“So for us girls, a big one is when our sweetheart posts a picture, a photo, they think is funny, but we think is so humiliating and embarrassing because it’s so ugly,” Meyers said.
Meyers said couples may give a big eyeroll to social media prenups right now. “[But] I am sure this is something that’s going to become commonplace. Because with social media taking up so much of our lives now, a lot of our work is involved in social media, we need to find the balance and we need to start having the communication around it,” she said.

Is it Real Love or Infatuation? How to Tell the Difference

Couple hugging2“Love – a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker.” Author Unknown

Ahh…love. Is there anything else that feels quite so sublime?

Your heart’s pounding, you’re flush with excitement and giddy with anticipation. You jump every time your smartphone pings you with a text, hoping it’s from them. You can’t focus on your work. You’ve lost your appetite for food because you’re reminiscing about how delicious it feels to be in their arms.

Nobody “gets” you the way your sweetheart does. The connection you feel with them is out of this world. It’s as if you’ve known each other your entire life. You can barely stand to be apart.

You have no qualms announcing your good news to your friends and family—you’ve finally found “the one”!

Sexual Messages-DrSheri.comAlong with the dizzying heights, there are the terrifying lows, too. They forget to call and you’re anxious. They are in a bad mood and you obsess over whether it’s your fault. They express their doubts about the relationship and you’re in agony for days.

In spite of the occasional pain and uncertainty, the sheer magnitude of emotion just proves how much you love each other—or so you believe.

If this isn’t real love, what is? Right?

Actually, not so fast.

Not All Love is Created Equal

As a relationship therapist, whenever I hear my clients describe their relationship as an all-consuming, exhilarating, obsessive tidal wave of emotion, I know that what they’re describing isn’t real love, but an immature, attachment-based infatuation.

What’s the Difference?

Infatuation is fueled by what I call EMOTIONAL SEX.  Emotional Sex feels passionate and addictive but is ultimately insecure. When acceptance and admiration flow in our direction, we feel safe, happy and completely alive. However, when infatuated, it only takes a temporary shift in the flow of good feelings for all of our unresolved childhood issues to rear their ugly head. Our partner lashes out and suddenly we are five years old all over again, feeling abandoned, scared and unloved after a scolding.

Real love is very different than EMOTIONAL SEX because real love grows out of the healing of our childhood wounds through the ups and downs of a relationship.

Here are Some Ways to Tell Whether What You’re Feeling is Real Love or Infatuation Based EMOTIONAL SEX:

babyInfatuation is All About You, You, You

Are you focusing solely on how your partner makes you feel, both good and bad? How empty life feels when you are apart from each other? How you want your partner to change so that you can maintain the high? How you’ve never felt like this before and the relationship is everything you’ve ever wanted? Do you feel more whole now because this person is in your life? Chances are, when you’re obsessing on what you’re feeling, needing and wanting from the relationship, you’re experiencing an immature, attachment-focused infatuation, not real love.

Infatuation Has Expectations

With infatuation, you create unrealistic expectations and beliefs about your partner in order to maintain that incredible high. You expect that because you love each other, the relationship should always feel good and that your needs should naturally be fulfilled. You can’t stand the thought that relationships do take work, don’t always feel perfect or that your partner won’t change in order to please you. When things go awry, you shut down, cling or pull away, and fear that the relationship is over.

bigstock-Close-up-Holding-Hands-44254000REAL Love is All About WE.

During bad times, you see yourself as being on the same team. Your relationship is a safe haven because you know that no matter what, you are there for your partner and they are there for you, even if you don’t agree. Real love is not just about what you want or need, but rather what’s best for the relationship.

bigstock-Happy-celebrating-winning-succ-45658090REAL Love Begins From Within

Real love begins with feeling lovable, and it doesn’t depend on a partner doing something right or validating you. There’s nothing missing or no aching needs that you’re looking to have filled by that significant other. Real love complements each partner’s strengths, accepts the weaknesses, and remains strong, reliable and steady in the face of challenges.

REAL Love is a Verb

Real love is not about being in a perpetual state of bliss, but about showing up for each other during good times and bad. It’s loving your partner, not pulling away. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions.

couple in loveREAL Love is About Being Friends as Well as Lovers

Real love is based on shared values, acceptance and respect. It’s about wanting the best for the other—even when your needs conflict. Real love is about growing closer and growing up.

The Persistence of Real Love

Unlike infatuation, with real love you both feel like you are in for the long haul. You see the relationship and each other as a source of support, acceptance and comfort in your life and are willing to do the work to keep the relationship strong and thriving. You understand that love is a result of consistent actions that build trust, not just a feeling to cling to.

When you see your partner through the eyes of real love, you’ll know that while your partner may not always make you happy, you love them nonetheless. That’s when you know you’ve arrived.

This article, written by Dr. Sheri Meyers was originally published on The Huffington Post.  To see original article click here: Real Love or Infatuation

Making Up After Breaking Up: Read This First

Making Up After Breaking Up-Dr. Sheri MeyersIt’s over!  You’ve broken up. You’ve dumped or have been dumped. It feels final and real.  You’ve  hired attorneys, filed or are already divorced. You thought that you were successfully moving on, but it’s Friday night and you’re facing what feels like another long, lonely weekend alone. Sure, you’ve been dating, but you haven’t met anyone of enduring significance. When you first separated you felt confident and justified, even hopeful about meeting someone new, but now you’re feeling miserable.

You’re laying on the couch, obsessing over what could have or should have been with your ex. You’re wondering what they’re doing and whom they’re with. Are they thinking about and missing you too? Maybe they’re your Great Love after all, and you screwed up in letting them go!

So when they text you with an “I miss you. Can we talk?”, you’re beside yourself with hopefulness and glee. You feel like this is the miraculous moment you’ve been praying for. Here’s your chance to make it right and get back together.

Not so fast!

In my work with separating and divorcing couples, and being the veteran of two divorces myself, I’ve personally and professionally learned that no matter what your lonesome heart is telling you in this moment of vulnerability, it’s critical to remain rational, take it slow, and most of all, keep your eyes open.   I can promise you those unresolved problems will rise again, once the hormones and excitement settles down and you’re back in your comfort zone.

If you both truly want to use this as a second chance at creating a happier, more successful and secure relationship, make sure you can both clearly answer a resounding “yes” to the following relationship well-being stabilizers before calling your attorneys and jumping back in. Please note that the operative word here is “both.”

1. We have a plan of action in place to deal with disappointments that may occur. It is important to have a “rough waters, this is shaky territory” game plan for how to handle your responses differently this time around. Discuss the problem areas that you had in the past and the needed changes. Having some strategies in place will eliminate some of the shock and disappointment that occurs when you realize not much has magically changed during the time apart.

2. We have no secrets, no masks and are willing to speak our truth.
Many times we hide our true selves in order to keep the peace and win approval, attention and love. But then, we never feel completely known or seen. To make it work, you need to have the following agreement: No secrets. No masks. I am really me. You are really you. No lies, no games.

3. We won’t bail when things get tough.
There has to be a firm commitment to stay together while you are making new and permanent changes. Create a love contract that declares your willingness to hang in there and hold hands when the inevitable problems, fears and regressions arise.

4. We are prepared to take it slow and rebuild again.
This is a second chance for love. Take it slow. Don’t fall prey to the lure of ex-sex. While the desire to jump into bed may be strong, give yourself the time to learn about each other anew and see each other with fresh eyes. Go on dates, talk and build trust. Become friends. Be gentle and nurturing with yourself and your partner. Notice how safe it feels to really be you. Are your needs being met? How loved and accepted do you each feel?

5. We have the same goals for the relationship.
It’s problematic if one person wants to move quickly and the other wants to take it slow. Or one of you wants children and the other doesn’t. Don’t reunite before you are sure the timing is right and a mutual commitment of goals is agreed upon.

6. We are ready and willing to forgive the past.
If you truly want to repair and rejuvenate your relationship, you’ll have to resolve the negative feelings and come to a place of forgiveness and understanding with yourself and each other. As the barriers melt and a renewed sense of safety and relief replaces hurt, your hearts will be free to truly love again.

Let’s face it, no relationship is problem or disappointment free.

The real strength and cohesion between you is often revealed in how you deal with the problems and frustrations that arise. This time around, make sure you have a plan in place, especially for your hot button issues. Decide in advance how you’ll solve problems as a team, not make issues exclusively a “me” problem or a “you” problem. When problems do arise, the best question to ask is “How would love respond?”  Loving actions brings caring solutions.

A breakup isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Couple Fun- Healthy Shake UpSometimes it can give a relationship the healthy shake up it needs. Like a brush with death, splitting up can breathe new life and love back into a relationship that has lost its luster, grown lonely, built up a shopping cart of unexpressed resentments, or got caught up in the spin of too many distractions. Suddenly, in the midst of this rebirth, you value being together more and realize how much you really do love each other.

This could be a second chance to have that great and enduring relationship your heart desires, or it could be the necessary completion you need to fully move on. Whatever the outcome, the willingness to choose love over fear is a worthy journey no matter how the relationship ultimately ends up.

With Great Love,
Dr. Sheri

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers and originally published on The Huffington Post.  To see the original article click here. 

Read This Before You Send That Sexy Text

Is-My-Partner-Cheating-Woman-textingInnocent texts that morph into full-blown affairs are now so common that one Los Angeles-based family therapist advises all married couples to have a conversation about what constitutes cheating.

“Do not assume that everything is okay and that you’re on the same page,” says couple’s counselor Sheri Meyers, whose new book, Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship is ‘a wake-up call’ to spouses to become ‘affair aware.’ “It’s getting your head out of the sand and looking for red flags.”

Is your partner on the Internet or Smart Phone all the time?  “In this day and age, it’s really important to have a conversation about, ‘What is cheating?’ and what the ground rules are about flirting, sexting, and late night texting with another outside your relationship.”

Flirty texts and emails are “like a drug, and makes us want more,” says Meyers. “First, we go into fantasy, then we go into, ‘I wonder what it would be like if I were with this person?’ And then we stSend love notes throughout the day-DrSheri.comart wanting to make it real.”

It can happen to anyone, even people in solid relationships.

You’re at a soccer field with an available parent, and you’re just talking and what you have is so innocent because you’re just sitting there chatting, and you start relating and communicating, and then you start looking forward to seeing that person, and then you start getting up and putting your makeup on to look a little more attractive. We don’t even think we’d have an affair, ever, because we’re so loyal, but before we know it, it overtakes us” says Meyers.

Plus, it’s in our nature to bond with people, she explains. “We just want to love and connect.” With technology, meeting, staying connected, getting intimate and cheating has never been easier. “Suddenly, without realizing it, more and more of your attention, time, excitement, and affection is focused toward your new friend instead of your primary partner.”

In the book, Meyers provides a list of questions to ask your partner.  A yes should set off “blaring alarms.”   Ask: “Have you ever exchanged personal information with an online friend that I do not know about?    Have you ever sent or received a flirtatious text or email?

Next, look for behavioral changes.Your partner may stiffen when you enter the room, or put the phone away suddenly. Is there a shift for no apparent reason in how your partner is treating you? More critical, grouchy, or conversely extra nice?”

Are there changes in your sex life? “Usually women become less interested in sex unless they’re operating a fantasy life. They might want more sex if they’re closing their eyes and thinking of the other person.” One husband told Meyers his wife initiated a fantastic night of lovemaking. “It was totally out of character for her and puzzled me, but I figured I’d roll with it. After being intimate, she got up . . . and her phone buzzed with a text message on the nightstand beside me. It read, ‘I miss you, sexy.’ ”

Before confronting your partner, gather proof positive.Otherwise you sound like a babbling idiot,” says Meyers. “Be super-extra-cautious not to get caught snooping. Otherwise, you’ll be the one put in the hot seat and accused of being jealous, crazy, and a distrusting lunatic.” Also, without proof positive, your partner will know you’re watching and hide their tracks, she says. “It’s better to be patient and gather the proof.”

ConfrontWhen confronting your partner, stay calm, and don’t hit them with all the evidence.  “ A confession is what you’re after. Do not attack, she says.”

Think CONVERSATION not CONFRONTATION.   

Meyers suggests approaching with the intent to encourage conversation. “Say, ‘I love you. I’m really concerned. This is what I know. But I want to talk to you about it because I want our relationship to work.” Use a conversational tone and watch your body language. Once you have a confession you can work at a solution and resolution.”

If there’s any hope for the relationship, the truth has to come out. “There has to be illumination. That’s the basis of rebuilding. I do believe that couples can rebuild and be stronger but it all starts with truth.”

 

This article, written by  Julia McKinnell was originally published by Macleans.ca (Do Sexy Texts Constitute Cheating)

Is Your Partner Cheating on You? 7 Ways to Know

Is-My-Partner-Cheating-Woman-textingThere’s something a little “off” in the way your partner has been acting lately. You’re starting to wonder if they’re cheating on you.

There are some clues, but you’re not sure if they mean what you suspect they mean. They’re spending less time at home, have become a sudden workaholic, are taking their phone calls in private, texting into all hours of the night, or aren’t sharing as much about their day with you as they used to. When you question them about why they’re being so secretive and distant, they snap back at you, usually with a logical explanation. “I’ve got a special project at work.” Or they accuse you of snooping, being paranoid or not trusting enough. They make you feel guilty for even bringing it up.

When your partner is having a cyber, emotional, or sexual affair, sometimes the most subtle clues can be big “red flags”  that signal a destructive secret is hiding underneath the surface.

While it may be obvious from some of their behavior that they’re hiding something, some changes aren’t so obvious. Perhaps they give you an odd glance or there’s something cold in their eyes that doesn’t quite feel right to you. When you ask what’s wrong, you may get a shrug or a defensive, “Nothing! Get off my back already.”

You may start to wonder if you’re going crazy or just being paranoid for no reason.

Here’s what I know from my professional experience as a relationship therapist: If you’re suspecting that your partner may be hiding something, if a sinking feeling in your gut is telling you “something’s off,” then it’s absolutely time to pay attention. Your intuition is sounding an alarm.

Here’s a quick “Affair B-Aware” reality checklist of cheating red flags from my book Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love, and Affair-Proof Your Relationship that can help you determine if the subtle (or not-so-subtle) shifts in your partner’s behavior may be signs that they’re cheating:

Cheating Reality Check-DrSheri.comRed Flag #1
They’re suddenly more aloof, withdrawn, or want more “space.”

Overall, you’re noticing less intimacy, sharing, talking, and self-disclosures going on.  Your partner may seem zoned out, lost in thought, or less available to you. They talk in terms of “me” or “I” instead of “we” or “us”, as in The next time I go on vacation, I want to go to Hawaii. And when you lay your concerns on the table, your partner calls you jealous, or says you’re imagining things. They might even say you’re “smothering them.”

Cheating Reality Check-DrSheri.comRed Flag #2
They’ve lost interest in you, your problems and sex.

When you bring up a problem, your partner tells you it’s no big deal, or tells you that their problems are worse. They’re not as emotionally supportive. Even when they’re home, you feel a lonely void between you, like there’s no one with whom to share your thoughts or feelings. There’s less affection and passion. When you suggest making time to connect you get back “Not now babe” or “Maybe later.” Even if you are still having regular sex, it may seem like they’re performing a chore rather than making love.

Cheating Reality Check-DrSheri.comRed Flag #3
They get easily annoyed, defensive or argumentative.

When an affair (be it cyber, emotional or physical) has begun, the cheater may want to sugar-coat their guilt and justify the affair. Making you the bad guy helps them feel better. That’s why a cheating partner may try to find ways to blame you for their indiscretions. They start fights, pick on you, push every button you’ve got, and may even accuse you of cheating. Cheaters are good at transferring the guilt onto you—don’t buy into it.

Cheating Reality Check-DrSheri.comRed Flag #4
They’re not immediately available when you call, text, or email them.

Your partner is spending more and more time away from you, and they’re more difficult to reach. When you try calling on their cell phone, you get voicemail. When you ask why they didn’t call or text you back, the answer is, “The battery died and I couldn’t use my phone.” There are endless excuses about work or other things that limit their availability for making plans with you.

Cheating Reality Check-DrSheri.comRed Flag #5
They’re spending more time online or on their cell phone than with you.

If the amount of time they’re spending talking to, texting, emailing, or messaging someone else is strongly impacting your time together, there is a problem brewing.

Cheating Reality Check-DrSheri.comRed Flag #6
They’re acting secretive all of a sudden, especially around the computer or cell phone.

Your partner has Facebook, e-mail and social media accounts that you don’t have access to. When you ask about their online friendships, you get short, sharp, evasive or defensive responses back. Your partner receives regular texts, emails, or sexy photos from a “friend” you weren’t aware of. Suddenly, they’re conducting mysterious calls in the other room and when you ask who called, the answer is… “No one.” “Wrong number.” “It’s business.” or “Why do you ask?”

Cheating Reality Check-DrSheri.comRed Flag #7
They look, smell, and dress better, but not necessarily around you.

They’ve suddenly started working out. They might have a change of clothes in the car or in a sports bag that aren’t gym clothes. Your partner may leave the house smelling like soap and come back smelling like perfume or cologne. They may be buying new clothes or lingerie, but not wearing them for you. Someone else may be reaping the benefits of your partner’s newfound interest in looking spiffy.

bigstock-Swearing-an-oath-with-fingers--39094954Let’s face it, any of these red flags are indicators of behaviors that are suspicious and should arouse your doubts. Even if your partner is not cheating, but is keeping secrets, withdrawing, lying, being hurtful or withholding important communication of any kind, it’s clearly time to heed the red flags, take your blinders off and press on to know the truth. Ignoring the clues won’t help the situation because denial just harbors more deceit, mistrust and greater distance between you.

Cheating happens for a variety of reasons and it usually means there’s something missing in the relationship.

When you both honestly address the underlying problems and relationship vulnerabilities that may have lead to cheating, healing can begin.

With truth comes the chance to improve the current condition of your relationship. I’ve counseled numerous couples who have transformed the discovery of an affair into an opportunity to wake up, clear up the wounds of the past and learn new lessons for the future. Love and connection can be resurrected and a healthier relationship rebuilt.

There is hope.

This article, written by Dr. Sheri Meyers  originally appeared on The Huffington Post.  To see original, click here.

Why Men Cheat More than Women

why men cheat Well, here’s the real reason guys apparently cheat more than women do: Their uncontrollable sex drives.

In two studies on how men and women respond to sexual temptation, researchers found that men reported stronger sexual impulses and acted on those impulses more than women did. Not a huge surprise, right?

However, this proclivity toward wayward ways doesn’t mean that guys don’t have as much self-control as women but rather explains what happens when they fail to exercise it. “If men fail to use self-control, their sexual impulses can be quite strong,” says Paul Eastwick, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, who coauthored the study. “This is often the situation when cheating occurs.”

However, relationship expert Adam Lo Dolce notes that one of the study’s results may be skewed because of the way the research was conducted. “”The reason this study makes it seem that men have higher sex drives is that men’s attraction triggers are visual, while women’s are emotional,” he says. “This experiment purely focuses on the visual element — using a computer screen to choose accept or reject — so of course more men would want to taste the forbidden fruit.”

But, assuming that the studies’ results remain true when applied to real life, one explanation of why men’s sexual impulses overpower all else is because of how they’re biologically programmed, says Sheri Meyers, Psy.D author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship.

man reaching outAt the heart of men’s sex drives is testosterone — a.k.a. the Sex Driver,” Meyers says. “While women have it too in small doses, men naturally have it in much higher levels. The higher the testosterone, the higher the lust levels. Studies suggest high-testosterone people have more affairs and higher divorce rates than those with average testosterone levels.”

Yet, she also notes that socialization might also have a lot to do with women not acting on their sexual impulses as much as men do.

two-happy-little-girls“Women are trained from childhood to be ‘good girls’ and to even fear sex, warned of the dangers if we let our unbridled libido and natural sexual tendencies out to play,” she says. Think about the screwed up messages we receive about sexuality: Being too sexual is equated with being a slut, setting ourselves up to be raped, get pregnant, be disrespected and never be truly loved.

On the flip side, guys grow up learning that being sexual is “manly,” and could even make them more popular and respected by their peers.

“Quite different messages lead to quite different sexual responses when we grow up,” Meyers notes.

So, basically, the reason guys cheat more than women do has to do with a perfect storm of factors: They have more testosterone, which is a huge sexual trigger, plus guys are turned-on more by visual stimulators — and there are oh so many visual temptations that men can see every day — plus men are encouraged for their sexual conquests through our social mores. Obviously, this information shouldn’t absolve guys for being unfaithful, but it sure provides a pretty solid explanation of why it seems to happen so damn much.

This article written by Natasha Burton was originally published in Cosmopolitan Magazine.  To read post click here.

Bring the Sexy Back into Your Relationship

Passionate Couple-DrSheri.comDo you still love your partner, but  you’re just not “feeling it” anymore?  

I am often asked by many couples, “What does it take to jump start our stagnated relationship and revive the passion that first brought us together?”  I tell them that the number one challenge for most partners in long-term relationships is learning how to maintain the balance between making time for intimacy and the demands of everyday life. 

When we first fall in love, the romantic thrill happens effortlessly because pleasure-boosting hormones create a neuro-chemical cocktail that drive us toward greater intimacy. Nothing is more important or feels better than being with that one person who makes you feel like you’re on fire. It certainly didn’t take planning or feel like work to keep the flames of lust burning and your interest in one another growing.

But, after you’ve been together for a while, things seem to change. Suddenly, there’s precious little time or energy left over in your day for an affectionate caress, an intimate conversation, or a night of romance.  Your days are now filled with to-do lists,  kids, work and social obligations rather than steamy all-nighters and poetic love notes. When your partner caresses you, you might get sleepy rather than turned on.

Relationship-Simple Formula for RomanceJust as your car needs gasoline and your body needs food, your intimate relationship needs a daily dose of the  3 A’s—ATTENTION, APPRECIATION and AFFECTION, to keep it  live with interest, desire and love.

It’s the little things you do on a daily basis that can mean the difference between a passionate, thriving relationship and one that’s on a slow death walk towards infidelity or divorce.

Here are simple things that you can begin to do RIGHT NOW that can really make a difference in enlivening your love life.  PRONTO!

1.   How do I Love Thee,  Let Me Never Stop Counting the Ways:

Send love notes throughout the day-DrSheri.comRomance is the language of love. It’s the little things that we do or say that mean a lot. Let’s face it, everybody wants to hear and know that he or she is loved. It’s important to regularly tell your partner that you love them through your actions and your words.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Leave a love note on their pillow, stuck in their purse, briefcase or book they’re reading.

Bring home a special treat you know your partner will love.

Write a list of all the reasons you love and appreciate them and whisper each one into your partner’s ear.

Text, call or email each other to say, “I’m thinking of you.”

Create a secret signal that says ‘I Love You’ that only the two of you know and send it often.

Now it’s your turn. Add to this list.

2.  Keep it Fresh & Plan More Play.

Break through the ho-hum “I’m so bored” barrier that often plagues DrSheri.com_Romantic Tips1long-term relationships by learning something or doing something new together. Once a month try a new and different activity–something you normally would not do. Go ice skating, take a salsa lesson, rent rollerblades, sign up for a tantra workshop, go for a full moon hike, stay in hotel in your city and be a tourist.  Take turns planning a surprise, mystery date.  It’s amazing what getting out of your normal routine and pushing your comfort boundaries will do for your love life.

3. Be Generous With Praise & Saying “Thank You”

Thank You in many languagesWhat you focus your attention on, grows. Accentuating the positive and what is good in each other and in the relationship is a win/win for both partners.

Say “thank you,” offer a hug, pay your partner a compliment—anything that communicates you acknowledge and value how important they are to you and that you appreciate them. When you feel grateful for the good things in your life, you attract more of those good things to you.

4.  Touch, Hug, Cuddle, Snuggle, & Stroke 

Touch often-DrSheri.comSo many couples hold back kissing, touching, or holding each other until they have time or the desire to have sex. Researchers have found that holding hands relieves stress and affectionate touch boosts the body’s feel good hormones. Let’s face it, touch is a fundamental part of our existence since we were born. So even a simple hug each day is actually good for your health and wellbeing. Hold hands. Stroke your partner’s arm or shoulder softly as you walk by. Give your partner a 20 second kiss when they walk in the door or are leaving for the day.  Affection is the way to make love all day outside of the bedroom.

5.  Set Aside Time to be Intimate

Nothing says bigstock-Young-Man-Blindfolded-Woman-I-5017219I love you” like spending quality alone time together. Before rushing out the door in a frenzy in the morning, get up one hour earlier and share breakfast in bed, read an inspirational passage aloud, or go for an early morning walk.

At the end of the day, instead of plunking down in front of the TV or computer, give each other a massage, take a shower together or do something novel like reading erotic literature out loud or telling each other steamy stories before turning in for the night. Carving out time during the day to be intimate and present to your partner strengthens your bond and builds the desire for affection, setting the stage for great lovemaking.

6.  Communicate and Connect

couple talking and into each otherTrust, understanding and intimacy (into-me-see)  comes from our willingness to share our truth and allow our partner to do the same.

Talking to each other is one the main tools we use to connect with each other. When we open ourselves, share our truth and let our partner know who we are, what we need and how we feel, we open the doors to deeper bonding.   It’s important for the partnership to create an open passageway where each person can safely express themselves without fear of rejection or judgment.

Take at least 30 minutes and put out your ‘do not disturb sign’ to the world. Turn off the phone, close the door, and tell the kids, unless there is an emergency, not to even think about knocking. Then, sit down and take a few minutes to breathe and settle in with each other. Ask your partner what he or she needs from you. Share what’s really going on in your heart and psyche, not just your day.  Take turns. Openness and honesty are essential. The goal is to show more and see more of each other, rather than defend the status quo. It takes time and patience but is worth it.

Think of your relationship as a love savings account.   You get out what you invest inLoveSavingsAccount-DrSheri.comto it.

When you make daily love “deposits” of attention, appreciation and affection into your relationship account, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy and sexy love “balance”.  By following these six simple strategies and making love a priority in your life, everything else in your life will feel a whole lot sweeter.

 

With love,
XOXO
Dr. Sheri

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers, America’s leading love and intimacy expert.

Why You Should Forgive Your Cheating Partner

“When I discovered my husband had an affair I was both devastated and furious, but what I didn’t expect after confronting him is that he would blame me for his infidelity!”

Why Should I Forgive?

In my private practice as a relationship therapist and infidelity expert, I hate to tell you how often I hear reiterations of this statement from my clients.

Some cheaters go on the offensive vs. the defensive.

A revelation of an affair is a devastating blow to any relationship, but when the cheater blames their partner for creating a situation that “made them” vulnerable to the affair, that usually puts the shock and hurt over the top.

Quite often the men say it’s because their partner has lost interest in them, sexually. Women most often blame a lack of emotional intimacy for why they suddenly became erotically entangled with another man. “He understands me and listens to me in a way that my husband (or boyfriend) doesn’t,” is the common refrain.

As much as the cheater would like to cast off their guilt by blaming their partner for their bad behavior, it really doesn’t work that way.

When infidelity occurs, the cheating partner bears the brunt of owning most, if not all, of the blame. Not only did the cheating partner choose to ignore or downplay the pre-existing problems, behaviors and conditions that made the relationship vulnerable to cheating, but they actively made the decision to betray their partner instead of facing up to those problems and working through them.

However, since a relationship is the creation of what two people put into it, when cheating happens, both partners must take a serious look at their own responsibility and contribution to the downfall of their closeness. An emotional indiscretion or physical affair is really a loud wake-up call to both partners that there is something seriously amiss in the primary relationship.

Why Cyber, Physical and Emotional Affairs Happen.

From my book, Chatting or Cheating here are a few of the reasons most cheaters say they strayed:

1. We share an address, but little else
Statistics show that couples who lead separate social lives are much more likely to cheat than couples who spend more time enjoying common friends and interests.

2. I feel misunderstood or under-appreciated
Frequent criticism and complaining is a big red flag that your relationship needs work … NOW.

3. We’re more like roommates than sexual partners
When this happens, partners may begin to look outside of the relationship for physical or emotional fulfillment.

4. Our lives are changing or in transition

Children, retirement, a midlife crisis, a new job, loss of parents … you name it. Big life changes are often catalysts for cheating.

5. I deserve it
If they’re working too hard or their needs are going unmet, and they feel all they do is sacrifice for others, they may end up having an affair to satisfy some unmet desires “because they deserve it.”

Whatever the reason for the affair, it’s important to note that while both partners may have contributed in some degree, there is a lesson to be learned and an opportunity to understand, mend, forgive and heal. And if desired by both of you, it’s even possible that your relationship can be better after an affair if you both do the necessary deep work (as a couple and individually).

Even if it’s too late and the relationship can’t be mended, or if you’re already divorced, to successfully move on and take control of your life back, it’s important to own what happened, learn the lessons of what went wrong, and then forgive your partner and yourself for whatever events lead to the affair.

Forgiveness might not be your first reaction when you learn of your partner’s infidelity.

Forgive My Cheating Partner? No Way!

“My Ex-husband left me for my best friend. They had been having an affair for two years before I found out. The two people I loved and trusted the most betrayed me. I’m still devastated. I’m not sure I’ll ever trust again yet alone forgive.”

Hey, I get it!

Getting past the pain of betrayal can be difficult and forgiveness can seem impossible. I’ve seen friends in this situation – locked in an endless well of bitterness, hurt and blame that’s left them untrusting, depressed and lonely. Some remained single for years after a breakup, unhappy and convinced that there were “no good people” out there. Long after the divorce, the betrayal kept affecting them and their choices, over and over again.

This is why forgiveness is so important when you’ve been betrayed. Forgiveness is not about them as much as it is about you and creating a better, emotionally healthier future for yourself. After infidelity, you are the one that lives with the rage, jealousy and feelings of victimhood, not the cheater.

Forgiveness means letting go of the anger related to cheating, not condoning what the cheater did.

Forgiveness is the choice to not suffer.

Maybe you’re telling yourself that you want to feel better first before you extend forgiveness. What I’m suggesting is that you’ll feel better faster if you forgive first!

Forgiveness is not saying “What you did to me was OK” it’s declaring, “I’m not carrying this anymore.”

To start the process of forgiveness you must first give yourself permission, out loud, to heal and move on. In doing so, you are acknowledging that you are ready to see beyond the pain of today and project a brighter, more joyful future where you are loving, happy, and clear of anger and guilt. What happened is in the past and cannot be changed or controlled. What you can control is your current actions and emotions. You can reflect on what happened and make wiser decisions in the future.

The way back to love is choosing peace over anger, love over hate and forgiveness over blame and resentment. Remember, forgiveness is not about the person who hurt you. It’s about you, your future and opening your heart to receive love and trust again.

This article was written by Dr. Sheri Meyers and was originally posted on The Huffington Post

8 Behaviors That Will Increase the LOVE in Your Life

bigstock-Key-to-heart-49260785Your last relationship didn’t end well, you haven’t heard a peep from that charmer you met for coffee the other day and most of your friends are tired of listening to you complain about your cheating ex. You’re trying to maintain an optimistic attitude, but it isn’t easy. You’re feeling pretty lonely and unloved at the moment.

Why does real love seem so hard to find?

Why does it seem so easy for others to find and connect with their soulmate but so pull-your-hair-out complicated for you?

For one thing, you may be going about it all wrong. Love isn’t about searching for and finally finding something or someone out there to unlock the doors to your sheltered heart. If that’s what you believe about love, no wonder you feel frustrated! Love is about a state of being, and the only way to have an abundance of love is to create the conditions it needs to grow.

Here are 8 ways to create those conditions and have a more fulfilling, happy, love life now.

bigstock-Happy-celebrating-winning-succ-456580901. Be the love you seek

Being kind and warm to the people you meet every day builds positive energy and allows you to expand your capacity for love. Smile at strangers. Lend a hand where needed. Rather than save your love for that one “special” person, treat the world as your lover and you will never be lonely.

2. Accept yourself 100 percent

Often, our biggest obstacle to love is that we’re too busy holding onto our own unworthiness. When you respect, love and trust yourself, you’ll stop looking for an outside source of validation to fix you, fill you, heal your wounds or reflect your love-ability. Intimacy with another happens when we feel safe to be vulnerable, reveal our truest selves, and honestly show up being who we are. It starts with building a healthy, loving, reliable and trustworthy relationship with yourself. The key to showing people how to treat you starts with how you treat yourself.

3. Treat yourself well

Self-love is the source of all other love. How committed are you to your own happiness and well-being? If you were married to you, would you be happy with the amount of time, attention, loving kindness, respect and nurturance you are receiving or would you asking for a divorce because you felt so deprived? Being in a good relationship with another starts with being in a good relationship with yourself. Nourish your body, mind and spirit everyday with healthy food, exercise, positivity, and the enrichment you need to thrive. Get that massage. Meditate. Listen to beautiful music. Do what feels good and is good for you.

4.  It’s time to live the life you love

-Beautiful-Girl-in-blowing-dress

Have you been waiting to take that trip until you have a significant other to travel with? Do you want to take a dance class but are waiting for a partner to do it with? Stop the excuses. Take that trip, join that class, what the heck, GO skydiving! Try that thing you’ve always been curious about. When you pursue your passions and fill your life with fun and stimulating activities, you’ll feel a love for your life that can’t be quenched. And as an added bonus, you’ll be meeting like-minded people who you have a lot in common with. So don’t wait! Ask yourself… “What can I do that will make me happy?” And do it! It’s time to rock this life.

5. LOOK AT EACH DATE AS A NEW ADVENTURE AND OPPORTUNITY bigstock-Concept-of-freedom-32288330

It is said that everyone we meet has something to teach us. While someone may not at first glance appear to be your type, stay open to the possibility of learning something new from this person. Having too rigid expectations or a fixed agenda of who and what you think you want, leaves you unable to enjoy the moment. And you could be missing out on getting to know someone who’s a true gem. By detaching from your preconceived notions and creating a space of openness and curiosity, your heart may pave the way to finding a partner who’s surprisingly perfect for you.

6. Focus on what you want more of

Ah, the power of words. “I don’t ever want to go through that again!”All the good ones are taken.” “It’s hard to just relax and enjoy myself because I have too many responsibilities in my life.” Sound familiar? Our misery is almost always the result of our thoughts and what we say to ourselves. Worrying, blaming or having a personal pity party is a waste of time. It doesn’t change anything, it just messes with your mind and steals your happiness.

To attract positive things into your life, start by focusing on and being grateful for what you have that is good. Right now, as you read this, think of five things that are going great in your life, big or small and out loud say “thank you!”  Want to take it up a notch? Think of five reasons to be grateful for the difficult experiences in your life. Being happy doesn’t mean you have it all, it means you appreciate it all.

7. Embrace a peaceful, calm energy

Everything around us is made up of energy. If you are running around frantic and frazzled, your life will be frenzied. If you are calm and peaceful, your life will be calm and peaceful. Calmness is the result of slowing down on the inside and becoming present.

Let me ask you a question…Are you really present in THIS moment and HERE right now? Want to be?

Try this BE HERE NOW exercise:

bigstock-Silhouette-of-woman-practicing-40446856

1. Take a deep breath and allow your focus to gently rest upon one object in the room that catches your eye. Now say “I’m aware of” and name five things you notice using your sight.

2. Then, close your eyes, take a deep breath, tune into the sounds in the room and say”I’m aware of” and name five things you are hearing.

3. With your eyes still closed, take a deep breath, and tune into the sensations you are experiencing in your body. Say “I’m aware of” and name five sensations you are feeling in your body right now.

Feel calmer and more peaceful?   Welcome to presence!

8. Forgive others and yourself

It is often said that forgiveness is the ultimate act of self love. That’s because for every moment you are angry, regret-filled, full of shouldn’t haves and could haves, and remain unforgiving, you lose 60 seconds of happiness. Forgiveness is not condoning another’s (or your own) bad behavior, it’s declaring, “I’m not carrying this anymore!” When you let go of the resentment, bitterness and pain that is holding you back from loving, you create space for more of what you do want in your life. To start the process of forgiveness you must first give yourself permission, out loud, to heal, let go and move on.

Remember, feeling loved doesn’t mean you have to spend all your energy looking for that one special someone who will give it to you.  Getting more love is much easier than that. It’s a daily practice of generosity, gratitude and compassion that attracts love to you from the world and from within yourself. Every time you interact with another, whether it’s your neighbor, your significant other, a date, or the grocery store check-out clerk, look at it as your chance to project an attitude of acceptance and kindness. Love is abundant in the world and all you need to know is how to tap into it. When you do, you will never feel alone and will bask in the glow of love, always.

This article, written by Dr. Sheri Meyers was originally published on The Huffington Post as “8 Ways to Instantly Amp Up Your Love Life”  Click here to read.