Your Couples Specialist:
Marital Counseling: 7 Myths Couples Should Know
Research tells us couples often prolong -- sometimes for years -- getting professional help for their...
Intimacy in Marriage Declined? What Couples Should Know
If you're feeling confused and frustrated about a decline in intimacy...
Cheating in Marriage: Can We Trust Again?
When any type of cheating occurs in a relationship, there are two levels of pain: The...
Parental Conflict Affects Children
It's not unusual for couples to say that one of the reasons they seek counseling is...

Many couples are not fully aware that they are teaching their children. In good times and in bad times. Your children are keen observers of your actions, behaviors and moods. It is through you that they learn about the world, and that includes how to cope with problems, how to handle disagreements and how to connect and be close to others.

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From the research, and just as importantly, from what I hear from the couples I work with, we know that the most fulfilling relationships have many qualities. Couples seek:

- To be able to turn to their partner when they need comfort, understanding and to feel genuinely loved. To know that our partner can be fully attentive and give us the time we need.

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This is a common concern I hear from couples when we first meet. They even have told me that if I came to their home, I could find all all kinds of issues that have been "brushed under the carpet"!

Not being able to resolve even simple issues is a byproduct when couples argue. We call this the "negative cycle," in which arguments continue and often one partner shuts down because they don't know how to handle the conflict. Then, often both partners don't want to bring up the issue again, fearing another argument. So, while couples often have learned to "recover" from an argument, they tip-toe around the issue to avoid another conflict.

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Many couples can unintentionally fall into a negative cycle of arguing -- small issues seem to lead to major conflict that then can continue for an extended period of time. Important matters never seem to get resolved.

Over time, couples sometimes feel hopeless because this continuing cycle feels endless. Some partners may shut down, not bringing up important issues because they fear it will spark the endless arguing.

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When sexting is discovered, arguments often ensue: The sexting partner defends his or her actions as innocent fun, nothing serious and not anything his or her partner should worry about.
A Note: The content of the texts or emails does not have to be sexual for a partner to become upset. Continuous contact with someone outside the relationship of the opposite gender can feel threatening -- particularly when done in secret.

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