Entry #3 of 3)  Step-parents are often both, “easy targets” for blame and extra stressed in their attempt to join with others in the family who already have well-established relationship bonds. This dynamic, along with past conflict resolution patterns, can make it rather challenging to adjust after separation and remarriage. Excessive silences can be just as detrimental to a relationship as can angry outbursts. In today’s third post in the series, we hear from the wife/step-mom, a self-proclaimed “rage-aholic“, as she identifies her husband’s contribution…

“I’m married to a silent rage-aholic.  When in an argument, he would rather avoid the problem or sweep it under the rug in hopes it will all blow over.  In fact, all it does is make it worse!  When you don’t talk things out or at least try, it just makes the other person angrier and left feeling alone and that they just don’t matter.  How many people out there understand or know what I’m experiencing?

Blaming one another only intensifies and extends the problem as our energies are now invested in misdirected ways.  Shifting our perspective away from the other and toward the couple as a team is critical in order to find solutions together. Working through the stresses involved with separation, divorce and remarriage is a complicated process, one that we hope we don’t go through often.  Because of limited experience it can be quite helpful to seek out professional coaching.

Our Oshawa counsellors teach effective coping strategies, increase and strengthen your interpersonal skills and help you stop hurtful conflict by increasing calm and successful problem-solving.

Relationships are constructed one sentence, action or facial expression at a time.

The more we can increase our ability to display loving expression with words, face and tone, we will build healthier and more  satisfying relationships.Painted heart

Entry #2) Remarried couples, especially when the previous relationships involved high conflict dynamics, are likely to take on the same characteristic conflict style, over time, they had in previous relationships. This is not a personal failure or flaw but rather a habit learned over time that also can be unlearned. In today’s second post of three we hear from a dad’s perspective on this dynamic…

“Most times when there is a problem brewing in the household my wife comes at me with arguments as if we’re having a fight.  I think she stews over issues in her head to the point when she talks to me its already a full blown fight.  I listen and understand what she is saying and she has validity to what she says.  I feel that when she comes at me I don’t know what to say because now I’m engaged in a fight that I had no idea was coming.  By not saying anything I look like I’m avoiding the issue. By blurting out “yes dear” I feel like I’m just giving in and not contributing any input or constructive resolution.  I don’t know what to do and this happens all to often.  Its like she prefers conflict over communication… rage-aholic”
                                                                                              Husband/ Dad
How to argue well is an art that we develop over time.  There are many books and resources to help. Negotiating changes and challenges in our families requires as much skill as we use in our careers, if not more, due to the higher emotional intensity present in our intimate relationships. It is work to develop these skills and they do not “just come naturally”.

Check out tomorrow’s post from Wife/Stepmom for the conclusion to this series.

So many people make this decision far too quickly and with very limited and or biased information.  After working in the counselling field for over twenty years, I have grown increasingly “pro family”. We often hear the following two main thoughts about separating… “I might as well leave and be happy” or “If I stay, we’ll only fight and be miserable”.  That negative voice in the back of our heads doesn’t want us to think about the other two possibilities… “I could leave and be miserable still” or “I could actually stay and work out things so we’re a happier couple/ family”. What happened to those options?

What can you do about it? There are lots of things we can do to change ourselves, thereby changing those around us (Social Systems Theory).   We receive ongoing training to be great at our careers, hobbies and sometimes even get trainers/coaches for great physical fitness and sports. Great relationships are constructed over time and with plenty of effort.  How about getting coaching to improve mental fitness and great relationships. There are numerous books and professional counsellors that can help you assess your relationship and achieve your goals.

Before you make any major life changing decisions, get accurate and objective information about your options.  Ask us what you want to achieve in relationship and we will draw upon your strengths in the training and effort required to negotiate issues better, problem-solve more quickly and communicate concerns more effectively so you and your partner can have a satisfying, magnificent  romance and family. . Please reach out and call us today

“Safe Sex” What does it really mean?

A lot of people get nervous when they are faced with answering the question: What is safe sex?Quick standard answers involve: 1) “condoms and contraceptives”, or  2) “abstinence or no sex”. On the contrary, these are actually simplistic and misinformed responses that can contribute to risky business.

Healthy and informed messages, to adequately guide our teenagers in the complex area of sexuality, require more detailed conversations throughout the adolescent stage.  Although people often say this talk makes them “feel awkward”, it is important to push past this normal apprehension in order to prevent future problems and increase healthier decision-making down the road.

We can help you have quality conversations about:

  1. what sexuality is and what truly safe sexual expression is,
  2. what is involved in having a healthy and satisfying intimate relationship, and
  3. what to do if problems arise or possibly have already occurred.

There are lots of things that you can do! Explore how you can enhance your communication skills to open up conversations with your teenagers. Contact us today !

Dr. Mel Krantizer, of the Creative Divorce, Love & Marriage Counseling Center, has put forth the idea that within most long-term marriage relationships there are seven distinct marriages:

  1. the ‘Movie Marriage in Your Mind Marriage’
  2. the ‘Our Careers Are Everything Marriage
  3. the ‘Good Enough Parent Marriage’
  4. the ‘Time is Running Out Marriage’
  5. the ‘Is This All There is Marriage’
  6. the ‘End is The Beginning Marriage’
  7. the ‘After Death Marriage’

It is Krantizer’s contention that we grow, change, and adapt so much during the course of a long term marriage that if both partners do not “divorce” within the marriage and move on to the next “re-marriage,” changing their views of their relationship as they grow, it will lead to conflict and possible dissolution of the long term relationship.

Many couples find that “self help” books or tips from friends and family help them “renovate” their relationship enough to deal effectively with these changes. However, just like home renovations, many people need more help than ‘self-help” books or the guy at Home Depot can provide. They choose to hire a specialist (contractor or coach) to assist them with the work.

Counsellors at Jeff Packer MSW & Associates Inc. are specialists who are available to help you renovate your marriage/relationship. We offer private and confidential solutions to help you plan your relationship renovation. Our services are available in pay-as-you-go sessions or alternately you could purchase a prepaid renovation package, feel free to contact us for more information.

  1. Buy her flowers… of course chocolate goes over well too!
  2. Write her a love poem
  3. Give her a foot massage…or full body if she’d rather… no it doesn’t have to lead to…!
  4. Caring for her more than she does for you is the essence of positive loving.
  5. Equality is not measured by a single act.
  6. Give her a kiss just because you love her. Tell her how much.
  7. Learn to enjoy shopping and chick flicks… yes it is OK to cry guys.
  8. Let her know how much you love her, no matter how hard it is for you.
  9. Tell her how proud you are of her – be specific.
  10. Hold her hand in public.
  11. Compliment her in the presence of her friends, not just when you’re  alone.
  12. Surprise her with breakfast in bed.
  13. Go into stores with her, rather than sitting out in the mall or in the car. The talking is invaluable even if you “don’t like shopping”!
  14. Fix dinner for her, one that’s her favourite.
  15. Value what she says.
  16. Tell her how attractive/hot she is at least once a day!
  1. Buy him a flower.
  2. If he’s a sports fan, find out what time the game is on.
  3. Turn on the T.V. to the right channel and watch it with him!
  4. Write him a love letter.
  5. Give him a full body massage.
  6. Greet him one night wearing nothing but one of his ties.
  7. Hide a sexy picture of yourself where he will have to find it during the day.
  8. Debate topics with him and find value in an alternate opinion, even if you don’t agree… even if you are right most of the time.
  9. Tell him plainly what you need or want… please don’t make him guess.
  10. Caring for him more than he does for you is the essence of positive loving.
  11. Equality is not measured by a single act.
  12. Give him a kiss just because you love him. Tell him how much you do.
  13. Expect his best and challenge him to live up to it.
  14. Get his permission to “work on him” or to give him useful feedback.
  15. Encourage his “reasonable involvement” in athletics. Iit will benefit you in the long run (wink wink, nudge nudge)
  16. Let him know how much you love him, no matter what it takes.
  17. Pick a week where you actually put sexual intimacy ahead of emotional intimacy… just to switch it up a bit
  18. Compliment him in the presence of his friends, not just when you’re alone.
  19. Hold his hand in public
  20. Put notes in his lunch!
  21. Keep him involved in what counts in your life and the children’s as well.