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Monthly Blog

Welcome to my blog! Each month I will be writing on different topics of interest to you.  Please email me topics that you would be interested in.


15- Steps to a Happier Relationship

By Rae Louise Stern LMSW

  1. When in doubt don’t say it!
  1. Whenever possible communicate verbally instead of texting.
  1. Every morning think “what can I do to make my relationship better.”
  1. Listen!!
  1. If your spouse asks you to do something and you agree to do it, do it!
  1. You don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to.
  2. If you have young children, it takes time to figure out how to balance all of the different parts of your life.  Communicate openly with your spouse about working on making needed changes and adaptations together.
  3. Be sure to discuss your spouses’ intimate needs.  Take their needs into consideration.
  4. Do not start a sentence with “you”.  This can put the other person on the defensive even though you don’t mean to do so.
  1. Have a regular meeting every week to discuss schedules, weekend plans and, if you have children, children’s’ activities.
  2. If you receive a message on Facebook or any media from an old flame, delete it!  Focus on your current relationship.
  3. Emotional and physical intimacy is very important.  If you are drifting away from each other, you may think about some help from medical professionals to rule out any physical reasons.  If physical problems are ruled out, you may want to see a therapist.
  4. Keep the friendship alive between you.  Friendship  is one of the backbones of a good relationship.  Friendship, love and respect will get you through the hardest times!
  5. You do not need to tell your partner every time you are angry with them.  Decide if you really need to tell them, will this information help the relationship and ask yourself if you are better off waiting to discus it until you calm down.
  1. If you find yourself attracted to someone other than your partner you may consider discussing this with a therapist.

In case you are wondering, here is a list of common reasons couples present for counseling:

  1. Circumstances in which one partner thinks the other “is not the person” they fell in love with
  1. Difficulty with emotional, physical and/or friendship in the marriage
  1. Drifting apart after having children
  1. Extra marital affairs
  1. Differences in how to spend and/or save money
  1. Secretive behavior
  1. Problems communicating
  1. Facebook contact to or from one’s past
  1. Premarital counseling
  1. Questions about or problems within step families
  1. Spending too much time on the internet
  2. Feeling isolated in Houston because of a recent move here from another city.
  1. One or both people feeling bored and/or unhappy in the relationship
  1. Problems dealing with ex-wives and/or ex-husbands regarding raising their children
  1. One partner looking at pornography instead of interacting with their partner.
  1. One of the partners needing help with their partners’ depression.
  1. Sexual problems
  1. One or both of the partners feeling generally unhappy, bored and/or disappointed with life.
  1. Excessive fighting
  1. Thoughts of divorce

When to get help for your relationship

Couples should call for a consultation if either partner is unhappy or feels that there is something missing in the relationship.  Also, if the relationship and or family difficulties interfere with day to day functioning, i.e. trouble sleeping, eating, going to work.  Many people reach their goals fairly quickly, 4-10 sessions. 
I have been treating couples for 15-years. 
Please call me at 713-682-8118 if you have any questions about marital/couples therapy.  All communication is confidential.

3/1/12 - Internet Affairs

The computer, cell phones and especially social media sites have brought the “whole world” into our day to day lives in a big way.  We can play bridge with people all over the world; we can buy items from all over the world; and generally have conversations with anyone anywhere!

What happens when those conversations lead to emotional, close and intimate relationships that “water down” and interfere with our love relationships?  What happens when employees of companies use company computers to communicate about personal information and carry on “internet affairs” while at work?  What happens when a past girlfriend, boyfriend or lover “innocently” contacts you on Facebook?  Do you find yourself changing your passwords so that your spouse can’t look at “innocent” communications from a past love?  Do you stay up late communicating with the person on the internet instead of going to sleep when your partner does?  Do you buy a throw away phone to communicate with someone at work who understands you so much better than your spouse?

If I am communicating with someone via the internet about personal, intimate and/or sexually suggestive things, is it cheating?  Read my blog and then you decide.

We live in a demanding and complicated world!  More and more is demanded of everyone at work, school and home.  Often my clients will come into my office and ask me if some part of their behavior or someone in their life is a problem.  The answer I always give to measure if someone is a problem is: is it interfering with your day to day functioning? If it is, it’s a problem.  If any part of a relationship outside of your marriage is taking any time away from your main relationship- yes- it’s a problem.

Internet affairs can occur with either partner in a relationship.  For years it was thought that most affairs were begun by men.  That is clearly not true!  As a matter of fact, most of the time it is women who contact men on Facebook to re-kindle an old flame.

How do these relationships get started?  In my practice the following are the most common situations:

A. - Boredom with someone’s current life situation.

B. - A detour from dealing with problems in the persons primary love relationship. 

C. - Denial that communicating on the internet while in a committed relationship is “cheating”.

D. - Belief that communication from an “old flame” is purely innocent on that person’s part.

E. - Having an internet relationship to avoid the idea of divorce and all the pain that comes with it!

F. - A false sense of closeness with someone who one has never met.

G. - The ability to be anyone to another person!  People can make up a new persona that is far more exciting and interesting than they feel they are!

H. - For some people who are afraid to meet people, they can have a “pseudo” relationship on the internet without walking out of their front door- it can feel safer than a regular relationship!

I have treated people with all sorts of situations related to the internet.

There are also many positive relationships that come via the internet.  Once people are working and are no longer in school, it is difficult to meet someone to share your life with.  I met my husband on a dating site.

People with similar interests can meet, shop, write and learn many new things and get information about anything.

So at this point you can ask yourself- is an internet relationship interfering with my day to day life? If it is, I have some suggestions for you.  First face the fact that there are things in your real day to day life that you are:

  • Unhappy with.

  • Avoiding.

  • Afraid of.

  • Ashamed of.

  • Are failing at in your mind.

This life is not a dress rehearsal!  Decide that you are able to deal with what you are avoiding.  Stop fooling yourself by telling yourself that intimate internet communications are harmless to your current love relationship.  Work at making your current relationship better. 

If you have any questions about how to set up an appointment with me to assist you in your quest, please call me at 713-682-8118.  I can see you alone, your spouse or both of you.  I have twenty years of experience and an 85% success rate with couples!

Call me and improve yourself and your relationship.



Stern Center for Successful Solutions
Rae Louise Stern, L.M.S.W., A.C.P., L.M.F.T.
 
   Phone: 713-682-8118   
  Fax: 713-975-8586 955 Dairy Ashford St., Suite 110
  Email: rae@raesternhouston.com Houston, TX 77079
 

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