Healing from Affairs

Healing from Affairs

I love John Gottman’s work on betrayals in general, but especially in relation to non-sexual betrayal, or what many of you might call emotional betrayal. He makes it super simple to distinguish between what is platonic and what is not.

There is no such thing as a conditional commitment when it comes to a romantic relationship. This is why it is beneficial to have a healthy dose of curiosity when it comes to female phone contacts on your husband’s or male contacts on your wife’s phone.

But as always, the dose makes the poison.

You cannot constantly be going through your partner’s phone as this is a sign of mistrust.

Remember this: Trust and commitment are the two supporting walls the Sound Relationship House.

We have all heard of the term ‘work wife’ or ‘work-husband’. However, similar relationships can be carved with gym mates, hired hands, baristas, and so on. They all have a common theme in terms of starting off innocently, but when the conversations start to move into shared personal stories or intimate conversations, this is when the red flags go up.

I love to teach by example, so let’s set the stage. Steven and Michelle are attending Steve’s work Christmas party. Michelle and Steve are having a conversation when suddenly, his attention goes towards the entrance. In walked an attractive woman who you later learn is Jocelyn, a colleague working alongside Steve on a current project. Not soon after, Steve introduces you to Jocelyn. In the conversations that ensued, you become surprised that Jocelyn seems to know a lot about your family. She knows about your son’s graduation gift, the babysitter’s name, your dog’s illness, and the name of the nursing home where your mom is newly residing. Then, without first asking, when Steve grabs drinks for both of you, he brings Jocelyn gin and tonic and apologizes that they were out of white wine. What? More awkwardness occurs throughout the night that makes it impossible for you to overlook their deep sense of connection. Call it women’s intuition or just plain ‘weirdness’.

On the way home, you straight-out confront Steve about the depth and level of personal information that has been exchanged. Steve minimalizes it and tells you that you are grossly overanalyzing things and you need to calm down. That, ‘this is exactly why I don’t talk to you about female colleagues because you go completely nuts’ and ‘get your head on straight’. He wants to change the subject, rather than discuss how this level of intimacy could have transpired. Rather than making Michelle feel safe and loved, he makes her feel like she ‘wants to cause a fight’.

This little vignette gives you a sense of a level of emotional exchanges that are too deep and bid for your attention.

So, what were the ‘red flags’ from this scene? When and if you sense dishonesty or betrayal from your partner, this is what to look for:

  1. Quick dismissive attitude towards you.
  2. You have never previously heard him mention her name once in his work conversations.
  3. Lack of curiosity as to why you might be feeling or thinking this way.
  4. Compassion towards you because he senses the hurt feelings and distance from him.
  5. Turning the conversation on YOU rather than on HIM.




I want to specifically speak about how resentment in relationships is not only tortuous towards your marriage but to yourself.

It is very common to have couples coming to see me after years of built-up resentment. Can you mend a relationship after years of resentment?

The answer is YES, but it will be that much more effortful. The better way to approach your grievances is as they occur, or as the Gottmans suggest, to have a ‘state of the union address’ once a week to air out the dirty laundry.

But just as we tend to self-flagellate ourselves unconsciously, we often do the same with our partners. It becomes a daily pattern of looking at their faults, rather than their assets.

When one constantly looks at all the reasons why their life sucks, your life sucks.

What we focus our attention on becomes our reality.

The sad thing about resentment and lack of forgiveness, as the quote states so well below, is that we are only harming ourselves, no other person. We must realize that our thoughts, energy, feelings, and emotions are staying at this low frequency. You can’t just shut that off, it is how you show up in every situation you walk into. It is YOU.

This is how YOU walk into the kitchen and approach your children. This is YOU driving to your gym class and cursing at the other drivers on the road. This is YOU spilling coffee on yourself and cursing at the barista for making the coffee too hot, or placing the lid on poorly.

YOU are pure misery and therefore all of your life is misery.

YOU have the choice to live your life differently, to decide you are not going to allow these feelings to be a part of you anymore, and do life differently.

Resentment is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Resentment is doing, thinking, and being the same person every single day and expecting your world to change around you.

Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Hmmm…I think a very smart man noted that once upon a time. Perhaps it is time to pay attention to what Malachy and Albert had to say.

Having Difficult Conversations are Necessary in a Relationship

Having Difficult Conversations are Necessary in a Relationship

Many of us feel the need to play it safe. We don’t want to ‘rock the boat’. The problem with this is that your relationship stays stagnant.

I would say that 80% of couples come to me stating they have difficulty communicating to one another.

Stepping into safety by not talking about how you feel about something they did or say is the most common way of playing it safe. Most people think these discussions will end in about conflict and think ” it is not worth the argument’.

But that is my point, it doesn’t have to be an argument!

Some common examples might be not expressing your disinterest in cooking, how your partner dresses, or their hygienic practices, the fact that they can never place their cup in the dishwasher, etc. This doesn’t need to be a big, sit down discussions, but simply a mention. You can say something like ” hey, it is not a big deal, but it would be great if you could….” and if your partner answers ” well, it is a big deal”. Then you could reply – okay, just thought I would like you know how I feel… I still love you anyway. There is a VERY high chance that after hearing your response, they may gradually start behaving differently.

This is how to navigate a relationship properly: 1) Access what are the deal breakers and practice having difficult conversations in order to reestablish your self-worth, 2) For the smaller disappointments – the non-deal breakers, just let them know that the little things you do for them are done not because you feel you need to do it, but because you want to do it, because…you love them.

When you practice honouring yourself in a relationship in a very kind and gentle manner, you grow and your relationship grows.

Saying nothing about how you feel about certain aspects or behaviours about your partner is likely a sign that there is a ” I should” behind your behaviours or thoughts. Those two words – I SHOULD – are always of sign of feeling misaligned in the sense that you are doing from a place of societal or parental views of what you SHOULD BE rather than what you simply ARE.

Knowing that you have the right to feel and express your feelings is the most important aspect of your self growth as well as in your relationships.

If your partner is not willing to grow with you – then this will need to be looked at more closely.

This is one of the topics I will cover in my upcoming Masterclass: Finding Peace and Hope in Your Current and Past Relationships. For more info on my Masterclass click here.

Why do we stay stuck?

Why do we stay stuck?

With a new year shortly around the corner I think a lot of us like the idea of starting anew or approaching the year with a fresh start. I felt it would be appropriate to write about ‘getting out of a rut’ and building new habits in 2022.

 First, a little note about beliefs, behaviours and breaking bad habits. Beliefs are caused by a thought, and if that thought is put on repeat, the thought becomes a belief. Anything that is placed on repeat moves from conscious thought to unconscious thought. Are you with me so far?

Thought always precedes behaviour and we use feelings and emotions to gauge our thoughts.

We use our feelings to come to terms with the thoughts. We could never keep track of the many different thoughts entering our head at any given time. It is only your feelings that lead you to take note of your thoughts. You may not realize a thought precedes a behaviour because of the speed the neurons are firing. This speed is beyond what is occurring within any computer operating system.

This, for the most part, is a great thing. This means we do not need to relearn behaviour. Examples include driving a car, making your favorite recipe, and checking email. Unfortunately, this is the same for unwanted behaviours. I know!! If the rules would not apply to unwanted behaviours life would be so easy! Don’t like the idea that you are addicted to a substance or behaviour? You are not alone. Deep down inside we are all prisoners of unwanted behaviours. We are mere mortals after all. Examples might be screaming at your kid, eating sugar, snorting cocaine, or drinking coffee just to stay alert. These behaviours can become very difficult to simply ‘turn off’.

Well, it turns out the only way to get unstuck or to turn it off is through minding your mind. But it is impossible to do this in the moment of the unwanted behaviour. That’s the kicker.

So, what’s the answer? Is there a pill I can take for that? Well, no… unless you are referring to the broad sense of thought-based behaviour such as panic attacks, which of course there is no shortage of pharmaceutical options.

The best solution is always the longest lasting solution, which is usually the most difficult solution. We simply need to do the work.

We need to start small and work our way to the point of doing it in the moment. Starting small means just accessing our thoughts at any given time of the day. For example, when is the last time you ate a meal, or even an apple and focused on that exact task? How does the apple feel on my teeth? Is it crunchy or soft? Sweet or tart? You get where I am going. If you have done that very exercise with an apple, I bet you it didn’t last for longer than 15 seconds, not the entire time you took to eat the apple.

The above example is what some might call ‘doing the work’. That means taking time out in your day to focus only on what is in front of you. It is not easy! That is why it needs to begin very small.

Choose one thing you can do every day that keeps you out of your head and in the present. It can be as simple as eating a piece of fruit, taking your air pods out of your ears when you are walking the dog and focusing on nature, pulling out a gratitude journal, or sitting in front of the fireplace and starring at the flames and listening to the wood crackle. It doesn’t have to be meditation in the traditional sense, but that is not a bad place to begin either.

Nothing of what I wrote here is new. Meditation and prayer have been the longest practicing ritual since the birth of humankind. We have had meditation apps for how long now. It must be at least 10 years? Has the world become calmer? More focused? I hate to be a downer here, but I don’t think so. I think with so many other aspects of health, we know what to do but we are not doing it.

“Today is December 21st – winter solstice. A wonderful time to sit in the darkness of the season, and I mean in a good way. Cozy up in your favorite chair and pause and relax your mind.”

via @luellajonk


That is why I wanted to remind you today, that you can start today by eating that piece of fruit while concentrating on every aspect of it.

Today is December 21st – winter solstice. A wonderful time to sit in the darkness of the season, and I mean in a good way. Cozy up in your favorite chair and pause and relax your mind. See it as your gift to yourself. Don’t be afraid of your thoughts, as it is just a thought. It is not who you are, or what truly exists, it is simply a thought.

Next week I will send you a special message – it may be a ‘guest experience’. There – I did it. I wrote it. I am going to appear with a video message. This takes guts on my part…but just like the podcast, once it is down on paper it becomes real. I am taking the plunge! Polar plunge, like a true Canadian.

Till next week…have a blessed season. Wishing you all the health and happiness the season can bring. Most of all, be kind to yourself and to others.