The Many Reasons to Have Sex

On August 27, 2014, in Sex & Intimacy, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Sexual activity is a little bit different for everyone, so as we dig into the “reasons to have sex,” there is plenty of ground to cover. In the past, most psychologists and sexologists agreed on three basic reasons: physical pleasure, emotional connection, and procreation.

While these three broad categories are still very much part of the reality of human sexuality, the generally accepted “reasons why” are expanding tremendously. Simply being aware of all of the facets of human sexuality (and all of the conscious and/or subconscious reasons we may want to have sex) can do wonders for the healthy sex life of a marriage. It’s important to go beyond the “big three” reasons and look at sex through a wider lens.

Several studies recently cited by WebMD show a broad range of reported reasons that people may engage in sexual activity. These reasons are not always necessarily admirable, but they do show the breadth of the topic, and in a sense, remind couples to have sex for the right reasons.

There are many good reasons to have sex!

There are many good reasons to have sex!

Some respondents to the studies reported things like social advancement, peer pressure, power, to evoke jealousy, and a sense of duty as reasons for sex – but these are certainly not “good” reasons, especially for married couples.

On the other end of the spectrum, other responses included showing love, emotional connectivity, relieving stress, giving your partner pleasure, and of course, making a baby.

This second set of reasons is where married couples can put their focus as they study their own sexual habits and get to know one another’s needs. The point of keeping these things in mind is to broaden the way you and your spouse think about sex – maybe it has become routine, or you’re only having sex under certain circumstances or at certain times of the day.

With more “reasons” in your mind, though, whatever hang-ups may be affecting your sex life may start to slip away.

Our bodies are hardwired to seek sex (in a primal sense), but psychological factors can “get in the way” of those basic instincts. When we take a step back and evaluate why we do what we do, or why we want what we want, we can start using those psychological factors to our advantage – in turn leading a more fulfilling sex life!

There are plenty of great reasons to have sex with your spouse, from sharing intimacy to getting a little exercise, all of which will help bring you closer together and relieve some of the pressure that many of us feel regarding our sex lives.

Sex doesn’t have to be quite so mysterious, if we’re willing to read some of the research and do a little self-evaluating. The more we know about ourselves – and the topic in general – the more we will be able to maintain positive sexual relationships based on a combination of the “reasons” we’ve talked about.

It doesn’t have to be ALL about physical pleasure, or ALL about emotional intimacy – you can find a variety of reasons to enjoy the sexual relationship you have with your partner, and even be motivated by more than on reason at a time.

Figure out the reasons you want to have sex, and talk about them with your spouse to keep your sex life moving in a positive direction!

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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My Spouse Says Their Affair Was My Fault!

On August 25, 2014, in Affair-Infidelity, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

In the wake of an affair, it’s only natural to search for reasons. To help cope with the pain and difficulty that accompanies infidelity, people will look to any target in their line of sight to blame for the affair – and one of the most common reactions is to blame the spouse who didn’t cheat!

While it may be hard to accept, there actually is some truth to it. But wait - it’s only a small part of the picture that couples need to examine to truly overcome an affair.

Simply placing blame on either party is insufficient.

A person who has made the decision to have an affair obviously needs to accept responsibility for their actions. It is essential that they recognize that only they are in control of their behavior, and that placing blame on others (or even talking about reasons beyond their own decisions) doesn’t absolve them of their own hurtful actions. An affair is ultimately the “guilty” party’s decision.

When looking to identify reasons for the affair, though, placing blame is not an effective way to move forward, and likely won’t address the problems that led to the infidelity in the first place.

Is your spouse blaming you for their affair?

Is your spouse blaming you for their affair?

Both members of the marriage need to understand the role they played in setting the scene for an affair to happen. While it’s not the non-cheating spouse’s “fault,” it’s almost certain that they were involved in the problems that lead their partner to stray. Whether it’s a matter of unmet emotional needs, lack of communication, arguments, or even just allowing small problems to go unaddressed for long periods of time – all of these issues require two participants.

Placing “blame” is not the point here. Overcoming problems and getting your marriage back on track is.

To do this, both people need to accept that they’ve played a role in the situation, and instead of looking for faults in others, explore what they can do to improve the marriage and prevent an affair from happening again the future.

While it may seem impossible to accept some responsibility for being cheated on, for having your heart broken, it is a necessary step in overcoming the affair. In fact, this kind of acceptance can be empowering. It means that you have a stake in the marriage, including how the other person feels and behaves, and that your efforts to make the relationship as strong as possible have a real impact on both of your lives.

Couples can look for ways to place blame, but they won’t truly understand the whole picture until they can also look at themselves, the marriage, and all of the other little factors that may have contributed to the breakdown of the relationship. Since the people who cheat usually do so because of unmet emotional needs (even if they aren’t consciously aware of this fact), it’s no wonder that they place some blame on their spouses, and coming to terms with this collective role in the affair is exactly where the healing process begins.

If you can both recognize what you’ve done to hurt one another, look plainly at what has caused the divide in your marriage, and individually commit to improving the relationship based on the lessons you’ve learned, you’ll be in excellent standing to rebound from and affair - and likely build a stronger marriage than you had before your troubles came to a head.

Instead of looking at blame, just look at reasoning. You can accept responsibility and admit fault (both of you) without shame, and use that knowledge to avoid those same problems in the future.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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Mental health is a complicated topic – everyone is a little bit different, and it can be extremely difficult to diagnose, treat, and understand problems like depression, anxiety, and other mental/emotional troubles.

Sometimes symptoms indicate serious disorders. Other times they don’t indicate anything beyond a particularly difficult time in someone’s life. However, because of the world we live in, many people seek treatment, and are eventually prescribed anti-depressants.

Now, before we go any further, it should be noted that we are not making a case for or against anti-depressants or any other psychiatric medication. For many people, prescriptions greatly improve their quality of life, while yet many others experience problems because of misdiagnosis, the wrong prescriptions, or even the wrong dosages. Our purpose here is to raise awareness about potential problems.

With that said, anti-depressants can (and have) caused serious problems for marriages. Their purpose is to alter brain chemistry – and for the right person at the right dosage, it can significantly help improve symptoms. However, for some people, the changes to the brain’s chemicals can have some seriously adverse effects on relationships.

Anti-depressants can do more harm for your marriage than good.

Anti-depressants can do more harm for your marriage than good.

The main problems are pretty straightforward: anti-depressants and SSRIs boost levels of serotonin and reduce production of dopamine. While this helps control anxiety and alleviate depression, it also reduces the chemicals associated with feelings of love and connection – as well as sexual desire.

While these side effects are common, many people are either unaware or ignore their doctor’s warnings – and eventually come to believe that the problems they face in their marriages are unrelated to the medication.

For some people, anti-depressants can affect the ability to reach orgasm, reduce sexual response and arousal, and even stunt feelings of closeness and connectivity. When these important pieces of the marriage are impaired, fights, disconnection, and distance are all but inevitable.

Again, anti-depressants have helped many people overcome debilitating depression and other mental health problems, but because of the impact they can have on our ability to form and maintain relationships – particularly marriages – simple awareness can go a long way in keeping those relationships alive and well.

If this is something you’ve experienced, either on medication yourself or with a spouse battling with depression, remember that it’s NOT dysfunction in your marriage or loss of love, but a very direct, chemical effect of the medication. This is no reason to let a rift form in your marriage, but instead a reason to stay close and support one another through the difficult time.

Unfortunately, untreated depression can also have devastating consequences, so it’s important to strike a balance that works for your unique relationship. If you or your spouse is suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental/emotional problems, you should certainly seek help. Depending on treatment, however, and how that treatment impacts your particular marriage, it will be up to you, your spouse, and your doctor to find the best methods for dealing with the problems without creating new ones.

It’s a fine line to walk, and one with many pitfalls, but with the each other’s support and an understanding of how medication can affect the way you feel, you don’t have to let chemical changes in your body change the love you hold in your heart. Work together to keep your marriage strong!

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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Help! I Don’t Like My Husband Anymore

On August 18, 2014, in Save Your Marriage, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

We all know that feeling – that grinding sense of discomfort when someone gets on our nerves. They don’t even have to do or say anything – just being present can make use feel tense or edgy. This can happen easily when someone leaves us with a terrible first impression, but how can this happen with our spouses? How do we get from a place of love to, well, feeling like we don’t even like them anymore?

This is a lot more common than you might think, and there’s actually a pretty simple reason behind it. When you spend a lot of time with someone, especially sharing a living space, you become VERY familiar with them – their bad habits and quirks included. This familiarity can be the basis of a wonderful connection between lovers, but it can also breed contempt.

Help! I don't like my husband anymore.

Help! I don't like my husband anymore.

When you see the same thing over and over, you start to internalize it (especially if you don’t say something about it). Little things like laundry left on the floor, a nervous fidget, driving too slow or too fast, an eating habit, a phrase they say often, or anything else that takes time spent together to notice, can become an object of fixation and frustration, where not you’re only hyper-aware of when it happens, you actually start to look for it.

These can stack up, and eventually, your mental image of your spouse isn’t a picture of someone you love or qualities you appreciate, but instead a set of annoyances that you expect at every interaction. You fixate on them, look for them constantly, allow yourself to reach a near constant level of irritation, and let those negative emotions cloud your entire image of your spouse.

Again, this is QUITE common. It even happens among friends and roommates, but since spouses share an even closer bond, the level of irritation (and the damage it does to the relationship) is amplified.

Overcoming this problem has two basic steps. First, recognize the irrational nature of obsessing over your spouse’s bad habits. You surely have some of your own, and the bad habits or annoyances that drive you crazy are certainly not the whole of your spouse’s personality. This doesn’t mean that the bad habits or annoyances don’t exist, or that they shouldn’t change – it simply means understanding how your own fixation on them is skewing your perspective on your spouse’s true behavior.

The second component is to just talk about it!

The main reason these little things become such big issues is because we don’t talk about them. Instead of addressing the problem with our spouse, we allow it to build up in our minds to something bigger and bigger. But if we address the issue when it comes up, we can move forward with finding a solution. Sometimes just getting it out in the open (even if the behavior doesn’t change) will help us stop stewing on it.

Once you can talk about an issue, your spouse is aware that what they’re doing is bothering you, and you can work together to find ways to change it. They may respond with annoyances of their own, but that’s ok! Letting each other know about the little things that grate on your nerves - and being able to admit your faults without embarrassment – is the only way we can begin working on our bad habits and frankly, make life a little more tolerable for each other.

Just communicate! If you let the little things fester, they turn into much, much bigger issues.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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5 Common Ways To Destroy Your Marriage

On August 13, 2014, in Keeping The Love Alive, Uncategorized, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

Plenty of problems can develop in a marriage - from major incidents to minor annoyances, a committed relationship will undoubtedly go through some ups and downs over time, but there bad habits and behaviors that push marriages into problematic territory.

This is by no means a list of all the things you could be doing to damage your marriage, just some of the most common – and some of the most important to be aware of.

Without further ado, here are five marriage pitfalls sure to damage the quality and strength of your relationship:

1. Sweating The Small Stuff

If you let little things get under your skin, like personality quirks or small tasks left unattended, you’ll become so frustrated that it will overshadow your ability to be happy and enjoy your time with your spouse. It’s one thing to ask your partner to pick up their laundry – it’s another thing entirely to let a few pieces of laundry make you angry and hostile toward your spouse.

2. Putting Kids And Work Before The Marriage

Don't let small things destroy your marriage!

Don't let small things destroy your marriage!

Work and kids can take up a ton of time, and are definitely important, but your marriage can suffer if you don’t carefully manage your priorities. For the kids, having a strong, happy marriage is one of the best ways to provide a stable and supportive home. Similarly, having a happy and low-stress home life will allow you to perform your job much more efficiently – and likely with less stress.

Having the support structure of a strong relationship helps you navigate challenges and stay cheerful, optimistic, and attentive to your kids and work too!

3. Letting Your Sex Life Slide

Physical intimacy is hugely important for maintaining the connection between spouses, but because many people feel embarrassed about difficulties they might face in that department, they’ll sweep them under the rug and let their sex life suffer.

But when this is allowed to happen, the rift between a couple can grow and grow, and soon it’s not just the physical component that’s affected, but your emotional connection too.

4. Putting Yourself First

Selfishness has no place in a marriage. If you’re only thinking about your own needs, you are neglecting the emotional needs of your spouse. While it’s ok to consider your own happiness, it should never be done at the expense of your husband or wife. Instead, focus on your ability to work as a team to build a relationship and tend to your various duties – and you’ll find that you have a lot more breathing room to pursue your personal interests as well!

5. Procrastinating About Problems

The mentality that you can “fix it tomorrow” is one of the most damaging attitudes you can have about your marriage. Pushing today’s problems to tomorrow means you’ll push tomorrow’s problems to the next day – and the next, and the next, and so on.

You’ll convince yourself that you can just say something to your spouse later, or work toward a healthier lifestyle tomorrow, or spend more time together next week, or whatever it may be. As we all know, however, life tends to get in the way and these priorities just get pushed further and further down the list. Then before you know it, the problem has become the norm and solutions seem all the more difficult to find.

If you’re experiencing problems, approach them head on before they have a chance to grow into something unmanageable.

These five little things, while they may seem simple, can have such a big impact on your marriage. Keep this stuff in mind as you move through your day to day, and if you suspect that you might be falling into one of these damaging behaviors, just stop to check yourself a little bit – ask yourself if you’re wandering into potentially dangerous territory, evaluate your behavior as objectively as possible, and if it isn’t good for you marriage, cut it out!

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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When a marriage is in trouble, one of the largest mistakes people make is assuming that it’s too far gone to fix. If people are willing to put in the effort, though, nearly every marriage – no matter how bad of shape it’s in – can in fact be brought back to a place of strength, success, and happiness.

Even when it seems like the final blow has already been delivered – when one spouse files for divorce – it’s not too late!

It might sound unbelievable, but the act of turning in divorce papers means no more or less to your marriage than any other act pulling you apart, whether that’s an affair, fighting, financial trouble, etc. Divorce papers don’t mean anything if you’re both willing to recommit and build the marriage you’ve always wanted.

Has your spouse already filed for divorce?

Has your spouse already filed for divorce?

Now, it’s perfectly normal for marriages to go through ups and downs, and even if this is the lowest it’s ever been, you can still get things back on track if you’re willing to give up on the way things used to be.

Here’s a hard truth: if your spouse has filed for divorce, they already think the marriage is over – and you should agree with them. Your old marriage IS over, but that doesn’t mean your relationship with one another is. This is your opportunity to build a NEW marriage with the person you already married.

Just this concept is the first step. If you and your spouse can agree to build yourselves a new marriage, you’ve already planted the seed of improvement. You’ve come to an agreement that your old marriage was not the marriage that either of you wanted (you did that when you separated, or when your spouse filed for divorce, or even nonverbally by doings that hurt the relationship), but this is an agreement to start all the way back at the beginning – abandoning your old bad habits and your old marriage to start building this “new” relationship without the factors that tore the old one apart.

This will mean something different for every couple, because every couple faces their own set of problems, and it will also mean owning up to the things you’ve both done to contribute to the downfall of your “old” relationship.

This is not a fast process by any means. It won’t make things magically better overnight, but it will give your relationship a true second chance. If your spouse has already filed for divorce, ask them to reconsider – at least for now – and try to start all the way back at the beginning, with none of the baggage you’ve built up over the years and an entirely new outlook on your married life.

The point of all of this, quite simply, is that hope is never truly lost.

People can change, and people can very intentionally change their habits and behaviors for the better. Just because things were bad, it doesn’t mean they always will be. However, it takes diligence, bravery, and commitment to face your problems head on. This idea of a “new marriage” will fail if you leave issues unaddressed or allow yourself to slip back into your former patterns.

If it feels like you marriage is beyond saving, if your spouse has checked out or already filed for divorce, maybe it’s time to admit that it hasn’t been the marriage you wanted either. This is your chance to wipe the slate clean and work toward the future.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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My Wife Told Me, “I’m Not In Love Anymore”

On August 6, 2014, in Save Your Marriage, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

The dynamic of any marriage will change and evolve over time, but one of the most difficult conversations we can have is when our spouse tells us that they no longer feel in love.

It feels devastating and hopeless, and in that tense moment, it seems like everything is lost and the marriage is over.

This, however, is a MYTH.

To think that “falling out of love” is permanent, or even abnormal, is just plain wrong! In fact, it happens to marriages all the time, and in many cases, several times over the course of a marriage. It doesn’t mean that the marriage is over or that there is nothing to be done. If anything, it means that maybe you’ve grown complacent and it’s time to reinvest in your relationship.

"I'm not in love anymore" doesn't mean the end!

"I'm not in love anymore" doesn't mean the end!

If you’re feeling disconnected, and your spouse tells you that they no longer feel in love, try to react calmly – explore the reasons behind their feelings. What’s missing? What has changed?

If you can take a step back from the marriage and look at how things were when you felt deeply in love, and how things are now, you’ll likely be able to see some stark differences – and that’s exactly where you need to start.

Has something changed in the bedroom? Have you let your appearance go? Are you committing too much time to work or hobbies or friends? Are other stresses impacting you happiness and causing you to be short with your spouse?

As our habits and interactions change, we can let some of the most important parts of maintaining a strong marriage fall by the wayside. If you’re suddenly faced with feeling “out of love,” don’t panic! Instead, stop everything and take a good hard look in the mirror (your spouse should do the same), and ask yourself if you’ve been doing everything you can to make your marriage strong and happy.

Just like when you’re first getting to know someone, you have to spend quality time together to build that feeling of trust and love – and when you don’t, those feelings can start to slip. By recommitting yourself to the marriage, even if it feels like the love has slipped away, you’ll likely find that it only takes “getting to know each other” again to fall back in love with the person you’re already married to.

Above anything else, remember that this is more normal than you might think, and that by reinvesting your efforts into the wellbeing of your marriage, you can get back on the right track.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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How To Handle An Emotional Affair

On August 4, 2014, in Affair-Infidelity, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

When we think about affairs, most of us jump immediately to thoughts of physical infidelity, of a partner cheating by way of romantic physical contact with another person, but this isn’t the only kind of affair people have, and the other “type” can actually be more damaging to the health of your marriage.

What we’re talking about here are emotional affairs, and they are a little harder to define. Basically, an emotional affair is taking place when one member of a marriage is relying on someone else for the emotional support of a spouse. This can happen in person, among friends or coworkers, it can happen via email, text message, or through a social networking site. It can happen with old flames and new friends alike – and it’s a slippery slope to severely damaging the strength of your marriage.

When people become involved in emotional affairs, it usually happens gradually, just like making a new friend or the earliest stages of dating someone new. You simply start talking with someone, buti for before you know it, you’re talking about more and more personal topics, and you’re forming an emotional connection.

Now, this is not to say that all emotional connections beyond your marriage are bad – we share emotional relationships with our friends and family, and feel closely connected to all kinds of people in our lives, but when those connections start to replace or reduce the connection you have with your spouse, it’s crossing into the territory of an emotional affair.

Emotional affairs can be just as devastating as physical affairs.

Emotional affairs can be just as devastating as physical affairs.

It often begins because emotional needs aren’t being met the in marriage. It’s easy to understand the scenarios that could lead down this path – getting attention from someone new if your spouse is neglectful, talking to someone who understands and offers advice or consolation about problems in your marriage, or sensing genuine interest from someone when it feels like your spouse takes you for granted.

Those examples, and many more like them, can tempt people to slip into emotionally charged conversations with someone outside the marriage. The real problem, though, is that having those conversations with someone else means you’re NOT having them with your spouse.

Eventually, it can cause people withdraw from their spouses even further, and what began as a purely emotional connection can become physical infidelity as well.

In many ways, it comes down to intent. You can feel it when you’re attracted to someone, when you’re forming an emotional connection, when you’re doing something that would hurt your spouse. If it feels wrong, it probably is.

We could go on at great length describing the nuances of emotional affairs, how people are tempted into them, and the lasting damage that they can do to relationships, but it’s also important to discuss how to deal with the problems once they’ve happened – and how to stop them before they start.

First and foremost: communicate. The major causes of emotional affairs are unspoken issues in the relationship. If you keep your channels of communication open and honest, you won’t feel the need to reach out to another for your emotional needs. Instead, you’ll be able to let your spouse know what you need or what might feel missing from the marriage.

If, however, an emotional affair is already happening, it’s up to you to stop it before it gets any further. You have a choice about all of your actions, and if you find yourself choosing (even unconsciously) to communicate with someone other than your spouse about your emotional needs, you are allowing a rift to form in your relationship.

If you truly want to get things back on track, you need to admit to yourself that it’s not just about the other person, or even the connection you may feel with them, but about problems in your marriage that you haven’t been willing to address and emotional needs that you haven’t communicated to your spouse.

Similarly, if you suspect (or know for certain) that your spouse is involved in an emotional affair, the first step is to discuss communication – and find out what’s missing that caused them to seek comfort from someone else.

Understand that no one is immune to temptation, but we are in control of our choices. We choose to succumb to temptation, we choose to emotionally invest in people other than our spouses, and ultimately, we make a choice each time communicate with anyone – there are simply some things that should be reserved for your spouse and your spouse alone.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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What To Do When The Other Woman Won’t Let Go

On July 30, 2014, in Affair-Infidelity, by Dr. Dana Fillmore

In past articles, we’ve talked in detail about the steps to overcoming an affair and rebuilding trust, finding forgiveness, and moving forward to build the happy marriage you know you deserve.

Unfortunately though, infidelity involves more than just you and your spouse – there’s got to be a third party in the mix, and that person will have their own opinions, emotions, and behaviors that can affect your ability to rebuild your marriage.

Human beings can be competitive, stubborn, and selfish, and even after an affair has ended, that “third wheel” may still have some personal investment in a relationship with the married person. Even if the married couple has reconciled and agreed to work on the problems in the marriage, that third person can still be emotionally invested and physically attracted, regardless of “ending the affair.”

So what can you possibly do about it?

For this instance, we’ll look at a hypothetical scenario. Your husband had an affair, it has been addressed, and the two of you have agreed to move forward together. He’s stopped contacting the other woman, but she remains persistent. What can you do?

Is the "other woman" not leaving you and your husband alone?

Is the "other woman" not leaving you and your husband alone?

First, sit down with your spouse to make sure that this attempt to continue the affair is coming entirely from the other person, that your spouse has ended things completely (especially in their own minds), and that you have their full support to try to improve the situation.

While your spouse may want to deal with it personally, this may not have very much impact – since the “third wheel” is still trying to win them over. If they haven’t taken the message from your spouse before, they likely won’t now.

So, that means that if someone is going to say something – it has to be you (or at least you and your spouse together).

It’s absolutely critical to be non-confrontational in these delicate situations. You and this “other woman” already have a reason to be at odds, and letting your emotions get the best of you can make this uncomfortable scenario much worse.

Whether by phone, in person, or whatever your preferred method of communication, ask for a chance to talk to the “other woman” on neutral ground, as mature adults, to sort out the problems at hand. Let her know that your husband and you have made a choice to work on your marriage and recover from the affair, and request that they respect your decision by backing off and letting go.

In a perfect world, this is all it will take, but it’s possible that she will resist, offer reasons to counter yours, or even become angry. Again, staying in control of your emotions makes all the difference here. Stand by your decisions, calmly explain how things have to be, and ask for their consideration for your – and your spouse’s – wish to build a strong, happy marriage.

You’ll never be able to control other people’s decisions, but hopefully a rational and calm discussion will help persuade the “other woman” to cease her efforts to rekindle the affair.

If things escalate, become hostile, or if you feel threatened, do not participate. Do not be afraid to call authorities or save the discussion for a time when all parties can behave reasonably. Getting into an altercation will only make things worse for everyone involved. This is a conversation that needs to happen with a level head.

It may take more than one attempt, but if you and your spouse are resilient – and committed to the affair not happening again – the time and effort put forth is definitely worth it.

This is another angle of infidelity that causes complications, but as with all of the other components of overcoming an affair, being honest and open with your spouse, and simply being willing to put in the hard work will put you on the path to building the successful marriage you’ve always wanted.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

Fall Back In Love, Watch This Entire Video Today



Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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Feeling trapped is never a good thing – it’s a feeling that induces panic and a sense of helplessness, and impacts nearly every component of the ability to find happiness in life.

No one needs permission to leave an unhappy relationship, and we are firm believers that nearly all marital problems can be solved with the right combination of focus and hard work. When people feel trapped in their marriages, but aren’t making efforts to change them, it’s almost always a result of underlying (and sometimes subconscious) fear.

That may be fear of a life outside of the marriage, fear of loneliness, fear of independence, fear of social consequences, fear of financial burdens, and particularly fear of facing problems in the marriage.

Do you feel trapped in your marriage?

Do you feel trapped in your marriage?

Before we go any further, it should be noted that physical abuse and violence are NEVER an acceptable component of a marriage, and feeling trapped in a cycle of abuse is one of the most difficult to break out of. In this cases, call the authorities, reach out to local support groups, and get out of the abusive relationship by any means necessary. Fear is still a very real piece of the puzzle here, but the longer these issues go unaddressed, the more severe they often become. This is often the one marital problem that cannot be overcome – if you’re in a violent relationship, get out immediately.

Now, for other troubled relationships, that feeling of being trapped is a psychological wall most people have built for themselves. At the core of the fear is almost always some lack of autonomy. This means that the person who feels trapped is simply not prepared to exercise their independence – even within the marriage.

Autonomy means confidence in decision-making, not needing to define yourself in relation to your partner, having your own opinions, and most importantly, being in a marriage because you choose to be, not because you feel like you have to be!

So, if fear of being alone, fear of confrontation, and lack of autonomy are the problems here, what can you do to overcome them?

As with many other things, it starts with small steps. First, accept the fact that most relationships will go through tumultuous periods, and that a stretch of “bad times” doesn’t mean you’re on a sinking ship. Addressing the problems head on can bring even disastrous marriages back from the edge of divorce, and build them into happier relationships than they’ve ever been.

By admitting your fears to yourself, you can begin to move past them. What’s so scary about facing your troubles? Every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow, and harnessing the courage to address the problems in your marriage will only lead toward solutions. Making progress, however slowly, is better than being stuck in a cycle of unhappiness.

Facing fears and developing personal autonomy will help to make you a stronger individual, as well as a stronger couple. If you’re confident in your own ability to make sound decisions, to direct your future as you see fit, to stand up for what you believe in, and to speak up about dissatisfactions in your life, you have nothing to fear! Starting down the path of solving problems only takes a single step, and if you know your own autonomy, you know that you will be able to rely on yourself no matter how things unfold.

If you feel trapped, don’t resign yourself and let fear define your relationship. You are stronger than you think, and it only takes springing into action to discover it! If you are unhappy with your marriage, it’s up to you to change it.

It can be a long road to finding autonomy and overcoming fear, but every little bit of growth helps, and strong, autonomous individuals who choose to shape their marriages to their wants and needs will be happier and healthier in the long run.

What are you afraid of?

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com



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