Counselling and Psychotherapy for
Body, Mind and Spirit

Ina Stockhausen, MTC

Ina Stockhausen R.P.C. offers spiritual counselling and body psychotherapy or somatic counseling in Burnaby and North Vancouver.

affair prevention

Have you felt hurt, disappointed, under appreciated or rejected in response to something your spouse said or did or didn’t do? And have you then gone ahead and adjusted your own behaviour based on that experience?

Take the example of Quinn and Lara:

Lara used to cook dinner for Quinn but often he would come home late and her lovingly prepared meal would be cold or overcooked. She interpreted is lateness as a lack of appreciation and acknowledgment that she was taking time to cook. Her cooking was an act of love and caring. Quinn seeming lack of appreciation made her feel hurt and disappointed. So she stopped cooking and made herself a sandwich instead. When Quinn would come home, she would be busy with her iPad and wouldn’t make a special effort to get up and greet him with enthusiasm.
Quinn interpreted her lack of cooking and enthusiasm as a lack of caring and now felt hurt. So he stopped bringing her coffee to bed in the morning the way he used to.
Slowly they both kept adjusting their behaviours and acts of love and kindness in response to their hurt feelings. Their sense of disconnection grew in proportion with their feelings of rejections and disappointment. Soon they stopped having sex or struggled wanting to initiate intimacy.

Can you relate to the pattern Quinn and Lara have fallen into?

Marriage counseling Burnaby helps you repair love and emotional connectionSometimes when couples come to see me for Burnaby relationship therapy or marriage counselling they have accumulated a list of slights, misunderstandings and hurt feelings. They have internalized their interpretations and conclusions which in turn are now impacting their behavior and their interactions.

Do you have such a list? Have you gotten stuck in scorekeeping? Is your willingness to be kind and loving with each other compromised by the discussion of who disappointed the other one first?

These discussions are as fruitless and unproductive as trying to figure out what came first, the chicken or the egg. In the end, does it really matter?
Is it really your partner’s fault? Or have you co-created the situation by not sharing your feelings and your interpretations? Did you not also make a choice when you decided that your partner’s behaviour indicated a lack of love and caring for you?

If you find that you regularly assume the worst and tend to forget that this person you’re choosing to spend your life with loves you, I encourage you to sit down together and discuss where this lack of emotional safety and trust comes from.

When did you stop trusting that your spouse only has your best interest at heart? What behaviours make you feel inadequate, criticized or judged?

In order to rebuild love and trust it is essential that you respond with love. Remember that you have a choice when you interpret your partner’s behaviour. You also have a choice how you’re going to respond. Are you going to close your heart and retaliate with a lack of willingness or can you set aside your ego and respond with love?

What would it be like if you could remember that complaining, criticizing and grumpiness tend to be Couples counselling New Westminster helps you repair broken trustan expression of not feeling loved? When your partner seems to express judgment or criticism it is not a statement about you being bad, inadequate other something being wrong with you. It is a statement about your lover’s lack of happiness, joy and inner contentment.

Ask yourself, what do you need to let go of scorekeeping? You might identify that you need to recover from codependency. You might need to be more authentic. Perhaps you need to be more clear and direct. Maybe you need to be more attentive to getting your needs met and honouring your own truth.
Sometimes sitting down with a counsellor can help you identify old patterns that no longer serve you and develop some new responses that honour your inner truth and contribute to you feeling happy, confident and empowered.

Remember you can choose if you are going to respond with love to grow the love you share or you can withdraw from your “love bank” by getting caught up in the downward spiral of scorekeeping.

Are you familiar with the major reasons for betrayal in relationship? And do you know how to avoid them? When couples come to see me for affair recovery or marriage and relationship therapy, we usually start with an assessment to identify the strengths of their relationship and where they need support.

Check out this list of the six most common causes that have been identified to put your marriage at risk for an affair. Do you experience any of these in your relationship right now?

Relationship Therapist North Vancouver: how to recover from an affair1) Do you feel lonely? Does your partner tend to be busy, preoccupied, not available when you ask for attention?

Antidote: make a point of scheduling time for each other. When your partner invites you to connect (he wants to share something with you, she wants to hear your opinion about something) be willing to set aside your media device, game control, social media activity etc. and give your loved one your full attention. If you aren’t fully available in the moment, communicate this with your partner and let them know when you will available.

2) Are you feeling disconnected because of a lack in communication? Have you and your partner stop discussing what is brewing under the surface, or what you have been sitting on emotionally because of time constraints or other reasons?

Antidote: be willing to dig deeper and go below the surface. Go beyond the usual question of “how was your day” and the standard answers of “pretty good” or “not too bad.” Use the daily connector to talk about what really matters to you and create a deeper level of communication.

3) Are you suffering from a love and attention deficit? Do you feel under-appreciated? Do you wish your partner was more affectionate and made an effort to acknowledge what you do or what he or she values about you?

Antidote: treat your partner with the love and care and attention that you would devote to something incredibly precious and valuable to you. (You probably spend some time taking care of your car, your special camera, your special media device, your bonsai collection etc.) Let them know that they are a priority in your life. Be generous in sharing praise and appreciation. If you’re not feeling generous, it’s time to find out why you’re feeling this way and talk about it together.

Couples counselling Burnaby: Relationship advice to prevent affairs4) Are you struggling with boredom? Have you and your spouse fallen into a rut of always doing the same thing, hanging out together but not really connecting…like watching TV every night because you’re both so tired? Are you experiencing a level of emotional distance?

Antidote: be creative and think outside the box. Are you really too tired to do something at the end of the day? Consider agreeing on a media free week once a month or one media free evening a week. Play games, identify or develop a common or shared interest and build excitement in connecting and enjoying this activity together.


5) Are you experiencing sexual disconnection? Have you stopped being affectionate with each other? Do you touch each other less frequently these days?

Antidote: start to bring mindfulness into your physical connection. Take the time and remember to have a ritual of greeting each other when you leave in the morning and when you come back together in the evening. Make it more than a quick peck on the cheek. Practice hugging each other once a day for three minutes and see if you can stay present or if your mind starts to wander.  Plan an erotic surprise for each other

6) Is there a lack of intimacy in your relationship? Do you sometimes wonder whether your partner really knows who you are? Do you feel emotionally safe to be completely authentic with the one you love?

Antidote: regularly update your knowledge about your partner’s world. Take time to share your innermost dreams, hopes and fears. Identify any hesitations or feelings of vulnerability and discuss them with your partner, letting him or her know what it is that you need from them so you can show up in a more authentic way.

I often like to compare a long-term relationship to a house. If you are a home owner, but even if you are renting, think about all Marriage counselling North Vancouver: creating long-lasting harmonythe things that need to be done regularly to maintain your property in good condition. What needs to be done regularly to ensure your investment is protected from external influences and increase or at least maintain its value?

Your relationship is a valuable investment. Would you agree that you have invested time, emotional energy and most likely money? Are you doing everything you can to take good care of this investment? If the answer is no, perhaps it is worthwhile to stop and think about why not.

As usual, I welcome your thoughts and feedback regarding this post 🙂

How to prevent an affair in your marriageDo you ever feel like you’re more open with your friends about how you feel, what you’re frustrated about and what’s going on for you these days than with your spouse? Feeling disconnected or lonely even though you have a partner is not uncommon and can be the first step into an emotional or physical affair with someone else.

Many couples complain that they feel disconnected from each other. But what does that really mean? During a couples counselling session the other day, a client talked about how pleased she felt after having shared her feelings of euphoria and success with her partner. The summary comment was “Of course we talk, but I usually don’t talk about feeling embarrassed or as in this case how pleased I felt that I had  overcome this particular anxiety of mine.” Her partner’s response had been so positive, encouraging and celebratory, and they had both felt more connected after that conversation, they wondered why they didn’t talk like that more often.

For most of us, life is busy. And if you’ve been together for a few years, it can become natural to fall into a routine of chatting about what happened in your day or what needs to happen. And if in the beginning you wanted to know your sweetheart’s every thought, after several years and possibly numerous occasions of feeling misunderstood or judged you talk less about your inner world or how you feel about each other.

As a marriage counselor, I help couples create a deeper and stronger connection. I encourage couples to integrate what I call “The Daily Connector” into their routine.

This is how it works:

Find a regular time in your day where you have approx. 30 min of time together. This could be while sharing a meal, doing a daily chore together, sharing a commute, ecc.

You are going to share the answer to the following three questions, calculating to speak approx. 5 minutes per answer.

1)      How do you feel? – here you are answering how you feel physically and emotionally. You might say something like this: I feel tired. My shoulder is still sore from working out yesterday and I didn’t sleep very well. I’m also pretty excited about the meeting at work today where I’m going to present my new project.

2)      How do you feel in relationship to your partner? – here you’re answering whether you’re feeling connected or not, loving, open, frustrated ecc. You might say something like this: I am feeling a little distant because I’m still disappointed and hurt that you forgot our anniversary 2 days ago. I’ve also experienced you as impatient these last few days and I am not totally relaxed when you always have a grumpy look on your face.

3)      What do you want, need or hope for? – here you’re sharing either a specific request or a personal need. You might say something like this: I really need some quiet time today. It’s been a busy day. I’m hoping that you might be willing to put the kids to bed while I have a bath and read.  OR something like this: I need some help on the computer. Would you have time over the next couple of days to help me install iTunes? OR: I’ve been feeling romantic. I’d like to plan a romantic date with you this week.

There are a few ground rules: as the person who is listening, all you get to do is listen to what is being said. You are not allowed to ask questions, become defensive, argue, add  to the content or otherwise interrupt your partner while he or she is sharing. You are also not allowed to start discussing or question content. If you get triggered or have feelings come up for you, you need to get in touch with your boundary.  I also encourage you to get in touch with what you heard in your journal or pick a later moment in time to share how you feel. Do NOT argue how you don’t agree with how the other person is feeling.

Integrating the Daily Connector into your life as a couple, is like checking the pulse of your relationship regularly. You will stop operating on assumptions, as well as feel more connected and authentic with each other. When you regularly dive below the surface to honestly talk about how you feel, you should not have to live thru an affair like Rosetta Getty.

As always I love to hear from you and encourage your questions or comments.