Affairs, Pornography Addiction, Sexual and Internet Addiction Posts

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

The effects of affairs, pornography and sexual addiction on couples.

Couple not talking

Couple’s problems.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Here are some of the recent posts on the effects of affairs, pornography and sexual addiction on couples. Topics covered include making the decision to stay or go, how to repair the relationship and when and how professionals can help in mending relationships touched by these problems.

The internet is making it harder to define all the things that may be damaging relationships. Cybersex and virtual affairs are becoming destructive of relationships in the same way real life meeting-up affairs.

Despite the suffering, these problems cause most are not yet recognized as specific diagnosable illnesses. Most are very close to being a behavioral addiction but to date, only one behavioral addiction (gambling) is recognized as a specific mental illness.

Here are the posts so far – more to come

5 Misconceptions about the causes of affairs

Does an affair mean you should divorce?

Are internet affairs real affairs?

Internet affairs

Internet affairs? Internet addiction?

10 Rules for recovery after an affair

5 ways the Internet may destroy your relationship

Grieving bad relationships? Why men fear marriage counseling

Length of time together in failed relationships or marriages

Is he internet addicted 

(Some of these posts are scheduled to appear in the future so if the link does not work please check the list of recent posts or let me know and I will fix the links as the posts publish.)

Feel free to leave comments on these posts or send me a note via the “contact me” feature. I can’t do relationships counseling here via blog or the internet. That is not what this blog was designed for, but I will try to answer questions as I can and where possible tell you about other resources. If you know of resources out there that might be helpful then please let the rest of us know.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Does an affair mean you should divorce?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Divorce.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

7 things you need to know if you stay together after an affair.

One partner has had an affair, should you divorce? Should you stay and try to work it out?

Here are some of the things that you need to think about, talk about and work through in counseling before you decide whether to stay together or separate.

1. Do you and your partner share any common values, goals, and interests?

What do you have in common other than having been sexual partners?

Having common values and goals for your life is a great predictor of long-term compatibility. In the first intoxicating insanity of love, we often do not ask questions about the values that underlie our potential partner’s desires and dreams.

No matter how hard you try to support your partner’s dreams and goals if you have different values the results are uncertain.

Any couple should expect to have tough times. Affairs are one of the toughest. So are deaths in the family, particularly the death of a child. Addictions are another severe crisis.

When a couple is thinking about the decision to stay together or part ways, now is the time to have those discussions about your values. That discussion can bring you closer together or help you make the decision that this relationship is not salvageable.

2. How will you feel about yourself if you stay?

What does it mean to you if you go?

The first few weeks after the discovery of an affair you may be asking yourself all sorts of questions about you. How did you make this mistake, is it your fault that the partner cheated.

This is a time to get in touch with yourself. Some people can never forgive or forget. This is an especially difficult problem for those who have been the victim of abuse or neglect in the past. If you already had “trust issues” this crisis may be beyond your ability to accept.

Think this through carefully. If you can feel good about yourself for the decision to stay, then give this a chance. If you feel you can never forgive yourself for letting them get away with this then your own mental health may demand that you leave.

3. How will you feel about being alone?

Are you likely to get into another relationship to fill that void? If you do start a new relationship they will have a sexual and relational past.

Being alone can be a scary situation. If you are fearful about that think carefully about your ability to stay single for any length of time after you end up separating.

Each partner you pick will come with a past. People fresh out of a relationship, those who are afraid to be alone, are at extra risk to start a relationship with a person who has their own set of problems and their own emotional baggage.

If you have a lot of time invested in a relationship, be careful that you do not leave one partner because they had an affair only to enter a new relationship with someone who is single because of their affair.

There are reasons why people are single. Think about what attracted you to this certain partner. Will those same things be attractive in a new partner? What are the chances that you will pick a new partner that may cheat or have an undesirable sexual past?

4. Did you contribute to this in any way?

Will you change or will you pick a new partner and go through this again next time? If you had a role in these problems, say you did not have those discussions about problems with your partner before they started the affair you will probably contribute to the same sort of problems with the next partner.

It takes two healthy people to have a healthy relationship. If you are healthy and both you and your partner are willing to work on mending this breach, you have a good chance of ending up with a great relationship. If only you will stay and do the work.

5. Is he or she reliable in other ways or is this part of their pattern of being unreliable.

If this is the only significant problem in your relationship then it may well be mendable. If this partner has a history of not coming through when you need them, they are not likely to change just because you know about the affair.

6. Besides being lovers, were you two really life partners.

If you have things in common, you like the same things, have the same hobbies and want the same things out of life, consider staying together and mending the problems in the partnership.

If the only thing you had in common was the sexual part or if the emotional closeness you had is gone and neither of you is willing to do the work to get it back, then the chances are good that you will never be life partners.

Two people living separate lives under the same roof is not much to settle for.

7 What other serious problems does your partner have?

If your partner has other serious problems, addiction, alcoholism or gambling, an affair could be the smallest part of the problems you will have to face. Criminal lifestyles can sweep you up. So can most any other addiction.

All of these are things to consider before making your decision to stay or go. It can help to talk this through with a Marriage Counselor or trusted advisor.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Should your therapist tell you what to do?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Therapist

Therapist.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Do therapists and counselors tell people what to do?

Most counselors and therapists will tell you that they do not, under any circumstances, tell clients what to do. Frankly, I think many of my colleagues are fooling themselves more than they are fooling their clients when they say that they do not tell clients what to do.

There are good reasons to tell someone to do things and there are also good reasons to not tell people what to do. This is especially true in something as close and confidential as the counseling relationship.

Clients have told me that they get very upset with their therapists either because the therapist keeps telling them to do something that is inconsistent with their goals and beliefs or because they ask the therapist what they should do and did not get an answer.

There are three questions to examine here. Why do therapists avoid telling clients what to do? Why after saying they would never do this do they then go ahead and try to influence client’s behavior in more subtle ways and lastly why counselors can and should tell clients what to do.

Two reasons why the therapist should avoid telling the client what to do.

The goal of counseling is to help clients learn to solve their own problems. Telling clients what to do “fosters dependence” meaning if we make the decisions for you then you do not learn to make them for yourself.

Rather than telling you what to do the counselor should be helping you learn about yourself, what are your values and goals, and then learn how to make the choices that are right for you, not the ones that are good for the therapist.

Second, it is your life, not ours. I do not want to tell someone to get married or divorced and then have to take the blame for things that turn out badly. We are not fortune tellers and do not know what the future holds. You need to pick the outcome that is best for you. While we may have opinions, they are our opinions.

How therapists try to tell you what to do anyway.

Therapists and counselors have opinions, often strong opinions about things. We see certain things as bad for you and other things as good. Not all professionals agree on which is which.

Some marriage therapists refer to themselves as “Gorilla divorce busters.” They believe that all marriages should be saved. So if you go to them for help, no matter how badly you feel in this relationship expect this professional to try to talk you into working on the relationship and out of getting a divorce.

Some therapists take a pro one gender stance. Lots of times this is a pro-feminist stance. They seem to always align with the woman. The message is the man is the problem, get rid of that guy and things will be better.

Personally, over time my position on these gender issues has changed. Most of the time it is neither person’s fault, and if they get divorced they will each be back with a new partner. Pick a partner and you pick a set of problems. So I encourage them to learn the skills they need for a good relationship and practice this with their current partner first.

I also recognize that sometimes even if both people change, the damage they did to each other may mean that they just can’t be together.

Personally, I have worked with so many people who have a substance use disorder that I tend to think most people need to give the drugs or alcohol up. If the couple has most of their fights while drinking I tend to think we need to talk about Alcohol abuse. If the client says they do not want to quit, I go with that. But next week when they get drunk and hit each other again I may ask about that drinking thing again.

I can think of a bunch of other issues that turn up in counseling that might prompt a counselor who has strong opinions to try to influence their client even after that professional says they never tell their clients what to do. Abortion, Homosexuality, and other sexual behaviors all may evoke that behavior in the therapist.

When should a counselor tell a client what to do?

I think, and I may well be in the minority on this, that there are times the counselor may need to tell the client what to do. I usually do this more in the way of providing information or making suggestions, but the point is clear that I think this is what the client should do.

When might a counselor do that? Mostly when I have some information that the client needs and the client does not have that information, some of this borders on social work. I do not do that but I do clinical counseling and there are similarities.

If the client does not have a job, I might do some testing, talk about their job history and which was their favorite job and then I might suggest some careers that would be good for the client. I might also suggest some websites to visit and some ways to revise their resume.

If the client is homeless I might suggest some places to go for housing. I might also revisit the drinking problems and suggest that if they stay sober their housing opportunities increase.

When doing Cognitive Behavioral therapy I may give homework. We sometimes call this “conducting behavioral experiments.” I ask the client to do something and then in the next session we talk about how that went. If they did not do the experiment we talk about what got in the way of doing this exercise.

Most of this “advice giving” is done when the client is trying to adjust to a change in their life and they just do not know where to go or what to do. This “telling” also works best when it is done in the form of suggestions and the client is free to do or not do these things. Either way, I am willing to keep seeing the client and together we work on finding the solution to their problems that work best for them.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.