Is Marriage or couples counseling expensive?

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

End of Marriage

Marriage mistakes.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

How much does Marriage or couples counseling cost?

Lots of people know that they need couples counseling. They have heard about and thought about the things relationship counseling can do for them. They are considering it for all sorts of reasons. What they want to know when they ask about the price tag is often, can they afford it and then will it be worth the price.

It is unfortunate that this question comes in as often as it does. Couples counseling can help. Sometimes it helps a lot. Couples therapy can even help if you have both decided it is over and you want out. This is extra true if there are children involved.

Sometimes couples counseling can help you repair a damaged relationship. Other times it can help you both work through the decision to separate. Remember that if there are children, family, and friends or even pets to consider, the more you can agree on, the less the trauma and cost of taking this to the lawyers.

More than one couple has come in thinking it was all over and they needed to work out the details of the divorce and by the time the relationship counseling was completed they had rediscovered the things they liked about the other person and the relationship was off life support and on the mend.

Couples, married or not, should get the help they need to keep their relationship healthy and growing and the price of seeing therapist shouldn’t be the deciding factor. If there are children involved they need the help in working out the ways to make this less traumatic for the kids.

Let’s look at what is involved and then what it may cost you in time and money.

A good couples therapist can help interrupt the conflict and give you a chance to try on some new behaviors. Sometimes just finding out that what you are going through is typical for a relationship at the stage you are at can be helpful.

The counselor can give you a different way of looking at your issues and can help you develop and practice new skills. The things that brought two people together are often the things that are pushing them apart. The skills you need to start a relationship are not the skills you need to maintain one.

Once your relationship begins to change the common tendency is to blame the partner.  You think they need to change or that you need to get out of this relationship and find someone else. It is rarely that simple. Pick a partner and you get a set of problems. Change partners and you change problems, often for the worse rather than the better.

Most couples end up going to very few couple’s sessions.

The average couple, according to one study, attends couples counseling about 6 times. A few couples may opt for more sessions than that, say twelve or more. Beyond that, you are probably not working on conflicts. You will have transitioned to more of a relationship coaching situation where you are working on growing the strength of your relationship rather than trying to save it.

Some of the how long or how many sessions partially depends on the nature and seriousness of the issues. If there has been an affair the non-affair partner may need time to work on their own pain and issues separate from the couple’s issues.

We often discover that there are personal issues that one or both of the parties are working through. Hidden underneath the “couples issues” and “lack of communication” there are often long-standing serious substance use or childhood issues.

Just the dollars and cents, please.

Divorce

Divorce
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Price for couples counseling varies from area to area. In major cities, the prices can be higher but then so is the office rents and everything else. In my area, the “usual and customary” rate is on the order of $100.00 to $150.00 an hour. A few very new counselors may be lower and some old timer’s with very busy practices charge more.

Relationship issues are not considered a mental illness, even if your spouse is driving you crazy. Most medical insurance or public funding will not cover relationship issues or the coverage will be limited. There are cost-cutting things you can do. Some Employee Assistance Plans cover relationship issues. There are low-cost clinics and some counselors offer sliding fee scales for low-income people.

Relationship counseling may turn out to be a bargain.

Even if none of those options work for you and you are looking at paying out-of-pocket consider this:

How much will the divorce lawyer want for a retainer? Do the math. Six sessions at the average price that works out to six hundred to nine hundred dollars. Less than a lawyer. Less than deposits and rent for a second place. Way less than the cost of a custody dispute.

How much time and effort have you put into this relationship? There must have been some reason you two got together and stayed together besides the booze that first night.

If there is any chance of fixing this don’t you owe it to yourself to invest a few bucks in trying to make this relationship work?

One thing I have noticed also. Those people who divorce, they often end up quickly getting into a second or third relationship. A bit later those repeat relationship’s end up in therapy to work on the reasons their past relationships did not work.

My hope is that this post helps put the costs, financial and emotional, of relationship counseling into the larger perspective of the cost of abandoning a potentially good relationship, the effects on the children, family, and friends of not trying to learn how to have a good relationship.

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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Why counselorssoapbox by David Joel Miller

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

Counselorssoapbox.com

Who is this David Joel Miller and why is he writing a blog called counselorssoapbox?

Counselorssoapbox is a blog about recovery, wellness and having a happy life. Yes, you guessed it, I am David Joel Miller and I write this blog. It occurs to me though that I have not explained why I write this blog and why I called it counselorssoapbox.

Someone is snickering under their breath the words “for the money” If you were thinking that then you would be more delusional than I was when I started writing this blog. Not delusional in the psychiatric sense, but delusional in that I had no idea how much work writing a blog on a regular basis would be. As for this blog making money, I definitely will not be quitting my day job, or my night job for that matter, anytime soon.

My first exposure to all things psychological was, like many of you, a few classes in psychology. It was the sixties after all. I have since learned that psychology, the kind we study in high school or most colleges is only a distant relative of counseling and recovery. Clinical Psychology, that takes 6 years of college for a Ph.D. and then you can start looking for the answers to why life is the way it is.

My first exposure to counseling and therapy was as a client. I discovered school counselors could tell me what classes to take if I wanted to make the big bucks but none of them seemed to know how to be happy along the way. Eventually, I ended up seeing some therapists. I discovered that there were helpful therapists and unhelpful therapists.

Becoming a therapist was not in my original plan. I took the classes and became a Drug and alcohol counselor. Along the way, I learned a few things. One was that there was a lot of wisdom in those 12 step programs. The other was that my AOD (Alcohol and Other Drugs) clients all had families. If I wanted to be helpful to those families, especially the children and the significant others, then I needed more training.

Next stop was the classes in how to be a Marriage and Family Therapist. Originally here in California, this was called a Marriage, Family and Child Counselor. Marriage in this context means any two or more people who have a close, primary, usually sexual, relationship.

Over the years of trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be when I grow up, I discovered that having a job or at least a purpose in life was an immense part of being happy. The answer to the who and what question I am still working on, but at least now I know something about the how of being happy.

To help people with their job issues and substance use issues took me in the direction of Professional Clinician Counseling and today I have that license also. From there I drifted, more like jumped, into teaching and supervising other counselors and therapists. So now you know a little bit about me. More is on my “about me” page.

But I still haven’t told you “Why a blog named counselorssoapbox?”

Throughout my process of becoming a professional in this field I kept thinking about those times I had sat on the other side of the desk and what I had experienced. I decided I did not ever want to forget what it was like to be on the client side of the room.

In graduate school, they explained a lot of stuff to us but honestly, I did not feel like some of these professionals I had seen had explained things to me in the way they were supposed to be explained. I asked about confidentiality and never seemed to get a straight answer.

Therapists were often good listeners but if they knew the answers to the “how to have a happy life question” they wanted me to suffer through the process of finding them myself and they flat resisted giving me any answers to these questions.

Counselorssoapbox started off as a way for me to express my opinions about what worked and what didn’t in the therapy world. I wanted to demystify the therapy process and explain what I had learned. Those times I got a reader question and didn’t have the answer took me back to reading the research and looking for more ideas. Writing a blog meant I needed to keep reading, studying and living wellness and recovery. So I just took it one post at a time.

What quickly happened was you readers prodded me in a few directions. Counselorssoapbox received a lot of questions about the safety of counseling, confidentiality and what gets reported. I was surprised at the number of search terms that involved counselors having sex with clients. So I put up a link to the publication “Professional Counseling Never Includes Sex.”  That post and the link keep getting hits so there remains an interest in this topic.

There has also been some interest in particular diagnoses and their treatment. While I can’t do therapy by blog post I have tried to provide general information on mental health and illness. All sorts of how to have a happy, productive, successful life posts find their way onto the blog also. Whatever tips on having the best life possible I come across I try to share.

There you have it. The answers to the questions who is this David Joel Miller and why a blog called counselorssoapbox.

What’s next? I continue to work on some books, both fiction and nonfiction and I write more blog posts looking for all the things that seem worthy of sharing with you. So if there are questions or comments related to the fields of substance use disorders, mental health, and wellness or living a happy life, send them along. I will do my best to answer questions or send you to someone who can. Comments and information from you or others gets shared here also.

If you read this far an extra thanks. Talk with you again soon.

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.

8 Ways to improve your couple’s communication.

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

Talking to yourself

Communication.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Improving couples communication takes time and practice.

Problems communicating is a common complaint in distressed couples. To improve communication between you and your partner will involve a lot more than simply spending more time talking with each other. If your communication is conveying the wrong message more of the same is only rehearsing the problem.

Here are 8 tips to see that your communication with your partner takes you in the direction you want to go.

1. Develop a “fund” of positive feelings in your relationship.

If all you ever hear from an important person in your life is negativity, you stop listening. Your relationship needs to include lots of positive communication with your partner when times are good.

Create happy interactions as frequently as possible to carry you through the times of conflict. If the only time you communicate with your partner is when you “need to talk” talking becomes painful and eventually stops.

It only takes a few angry hurtful statements to wash away the love in a relationship. Make sure you have communicated the positive messages frequently so that they do not get lost during the conflicts.

2. Discover ways to make your partner feel loved.

Communication can’t be restricted to the verbal channel. What your partner sees you doing and how you act carries a lot of the communication burden. Some people feel really loved when they receive gifts. But if you work all the time to pay for presents, your lack of presence in the relationship can damage your ability to communicate.

3. Ask for what you need.

If your relationship is not meeting your needs, consider that it may be because you are not asking to have your needs met.

Far too many people believe that their partner should know what they need and provide it without them asking. Unfortunately, we often have difficulty figuring out what we need and want, let alone know how to meet our partner’s needs.

Very few people are successful at reading their partner’s mind. Thinking that your partner should have that ability if they really love you will result in poor communication.

4. Fight fair – do not criticize your partner.

Many couples use a scorched earth approach to their disagreements. When there are conflicts limit your communication to the topic at hand.

The goal should be to resolve the disagreement not to see how much damage you can inflict on your partner. Keep your comments to the behaviors you want the partner to change not global descriptions of their character.

Saying that you feel more loved when he cleans up after himself can be helpful. Telling him he is a pig, was raised in a barn and his mother is the biggest sow around, are all the sort of personal attacks that will cut off communication.

If you try to destroy your partner during conflicts, your relationship, along with your couple’s communication will be collateral damage.

5. Look for win-win solutions to improve communication.

Winning arguments at the cost of your partner losing results in an impoverished relationship. Work on finding ways you both can get your needs met in the relationship rather than keeping score on who is winning the most.

Listening to really understand your partner’s wants and needs will improve communication. Finding solutions to disagreements where you both win will make your relationship a winner.

6. Make “I” statements to improve communications.

To improve communication talk about how you feel.  Rather than saying that your partner “makes you feel -” Let them know that you feel sad, hurt etc. when they do a particular action.

Own your feelings and your partner will learn how you are feeling. More understanding is the road to empathy. More criticism and blame will not improve your couple’s communication.

7. Avoid going for the jugular when you two disagree.

When conflicts grow heated and intense the temptation is to say and do the thing that will hurt your partner the most. It may feel good at the moment to get even and inflict some pain on your partner but over the long run, the thing that gets destroyed is your relationship.

8. Pick a good time for important communications.

When you partner is running late for work is not the time to start a serious conversation. Just before lovemaking is not the time to bring up your complaint about their behavior. When people are under stress, are sad, depressed, hungry or feeling other intense emotions they will find it hard to consider their partner’s point of view.

Pick a time when you two can have a leisurely conversation to work on areas that require deep communication.

If you discover that your joint life is always full of hurry and conflict? What then? Do you just keep putting off that communication? You shouldn’t. Many relationship failures are the result of conversations that couples should have had but never got around to.

Set a time and stick to it. This joint problem solving to set that time to discuss couples communication may be just the impetus to get your communication back on track.

If you have been trying to get your couples communication on track but it does not appear to be getting better consider seeing a professional relationship counselor. Seeing a couples counselor does not mean your relationship is over. It may be just the thing you need to repair the breaches.

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.

Reasons Marriage Counseling will not help you

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

End of Marriage

Marriage mistakes.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are there reasons to avoid Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling can save your marriage. It can also hasten the end to that relationship. I see many couples who have used marriage counseling to strengthen and improve their relationship. There are also those couples, up to half of all couples who attend couples counseling, who end up divorcing soon after the marriage counseling experience.

How can you tell if you are one of those couples that can be helped by marriage counseling or if you are one of those couples were attending a counseling session might end your relationship?

Here are reasons some people need to avoid marriage counseling.

1. You want the Marriage Counselor to decide who is right and who is wrong.

Specifically, you want the therapist to tell your partner that they are the one causing the problem.

If you want a right and wrong decision, see a judge for the divorce. Couplehood is a partnership. To be effective the counselor needs to stay neutral and rather than solving problems for you, they need to help you learn ways to resolve these disagreements in a more positive way.

2. You want the counselor to change your partner.

Change is an inside job. Changing a relationship requires the people involved to each work on changing themselves.

3. You have already decided to divorce and you want to prove that you did all you can to save the marriage.

A significant number of clients come to the first therapy session already having decided that they want a divorce. They want to be able to say to their friends and family that they did all they could. The truth is they didn’t want to fix or save this relationship.

If you already have your stuff packed and plan to move on no matter what happens in therapy, going for marriage counseling is just one more trial that you will need to get over to start your new life.

Counseling can be helpful when both parties know that this is coming and they are trying to work out some end of relationship issues, like co-parenting.

Counselors can and do work in the area of divorce counseling. But before you turn your marriage counseling session into negotiating a divorce talk to the lawyer types first.

4. You are making your partner go so you can punish them for their misdeeds.

The couple shows up for counseling often at the insistence of one partner who has demanded that they attend counseling as a condition of staying together. This can work if both parties are committed to changing themselves and things in their relationship.

What will not work is to inflict X sessions of therapy in which one partner beats the other up over the “guilty” person’s transgressions.

If there was an affair you can work on the reasons it happened in the first place or how to rebuild the relationship and trust. What is not helpful is just to use counseling as a way to flog the affair partner for their misdeeds.

An ordeal in the therapy room results in more resentments in the relationship and addition problems in the future.

5. You expect everything to happen in the sessions and are opposed to doing any “homework” outside of sessions.

Relationships need maintenance. Sometimes in sessions, you can get some of the “garbage” out. You can also learn some new ideal relationship skills.

What you are likely to hear in the couples counseling session is that relationships take work. You need to make repair efforts when things go wrong and there is work to do to maintain a relationship.

Expect that your convalescent period for an ailing relationship will include homework and skills practice you need to do outside the counseling session.

A good marriage counselor will make suggestions and may well suggest some homework assignments outside of session. Do not expect your therapist to do all the work. You need to practice good relationship skills between sessions.

6. There are topics that are off-limits and you are unwilling to talk about.

Couples come to therapy saying they have poor “communication” and they want to learn to communicate better. The next part of this conversation is that there are topics they do not want to talk about.

Some topics probably should be off the table. You like coffee and your partner is a tea drinker. You can share and each try the others beverage or you can fight forever over who is right. Some disagreements have no resolution and it is a waste of time to continue to fight over things for which there is no solution.

The off the table topics that cause relationship counseling to be unproductive are the big issues that stand in the way of having a good relationship.

Additions, drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling, pornography, those things undermine any relationship. So you come to couples counseling and say you want to communicate better, only he won’t talk about his drinking and she won’t discuss her affair.

Is this situation likely to get better? Not unless the unresolved issues get handled. That resolution could be he stops drinking or tries to anyway. It could also be that she just has to accept she married an alcoholic and accept that if she wants to stay married. Either way, the topic can’t be off the table if they want this relationship to get better.

7. You expect your partner to do all the work and make all the changes.

A relationship involves people, more than one, so any real change in your relationship will involve both of you making changes. If you think that your partner changing will solve all the problems consider that each year we see a great many people who divorce and remarry.

Before long those new relationships are fighting and there may be second, and third divorces.

Pick a partner and you get a set of problems. Learn problem-solving in your relationship, not problem switching.

8. Your relationship is not worth the cost of marriage counseling.

Marriage counseling is often not covered by insurance. If you are mentally ill your medical insurance should cover treatment. But if you are unhappy do not expect the insurance company to pay for dating services or marriage counseling.

A lot of people who spend a great amount of time complaining about their relationship are unwilling to spend money to work through their conflicts.

Before you say you can’t afford couples counseling, consider that the average couples come in about six times. The cost of six or even twelve sessions with most therapists would not equal the cost of the retainer for the divorce lawyer.

How much is it worth to you to end your relationship? How much might it be worth to transform the relationship you have into the one you would like?

9. You already have a replacement partner lined up.

If you already have a new partner waiting in the wings. Not much rational thinking takes place in the early stages of love. After six to eighteen months the love neurochemicals wear off. At that point, you will discover that this new partner is a lot less perfect than you thought. But while you are in the throes of a new love it is hard to see the good things you are leaving behind.

If you can’t give yourself a year or two to try to work out the problems in the current relationship – well then you will get to do the work later.

Marriage or relationship counseling can be very helpful in transforming a relationship into the one you want. But if you go into relationship counseling with any of the 9 problems listed above your are not likely to get much help from being in couples therapy and the therapy may well leave you with one extra “relationship trauma” to deal with after your relationship ends.

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.

5 Misconceptions about the causes of affairs.

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

Emotional Affair

Affair?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The causes of many affairs are not what people think.

Often they are a lot simpler than you may expect. Here are some common misconceptions.

1. Affairs are all about sex.

Love Triangle

Love Triangle
Photo courtesy of Flickr (slambo_42)

Some affairs do start that way, the one night stand or the hookup, but most include a much deeper feeling component. Wives are often surprised that the woman their man picked for an affair is not all that spectacular.

Far more affairs begin as over close friendships that develop given enough time together and the increased sharing of feelings that develop into an intimate relationship. Many affairs start out with the sharing of things that the affair partner is not able or willing to share with their regular partner.

Affairs can begin as a result of people spending time together on the job or in an outside activity. They progress from spending lots of time together to sharing about the hobby or job and ultimately reach sharing about feelings and secrets.

When someone begins sharing inner secrets with someone other than their partner the risks of an affair increase. This is one reason therapist are warned to always be on the lookout for clients who are beginning to feel attracted to the therapist or vice versa.

2. Affairs are the result of a bad or unhappy marriage.

Many people, up to 37 % in one study, reported that they thought they were in a good relationship. They did not begin to think of their primary relationship as bad until after they were involved in an affair and then felt the need to choose between the relational partner and the affair partner.

3. People leave their wives and families for their lovers.

That does happen sometimes, but it is true less than 25% of the time. Most of these relationships that started out as affairs do not work out. Either the primary couple reconciles and works it out or the person who had the affair ends up alone for a period of time before getting into another long-term relationship.

4.  Affairs are planned ahead of time.

Most affairs are the result of opportunities and attitudes. Away from home travel, working or socializing with the opposite sex and being in a culture that accepts or condones sex outside marriage increases the risks.

If others around you are hooking up and fooling around it becomes more difficult to maintain boundaries.

5. An affair is a rational choice – there had to be a reason he picked her.

Often the affair is a purely accidental happening. When it comes to a romantic relationship humans are often drawn to someone very different from themselves. A new partner who is very different from the primary relationship partner has that extra allure of the unknown. They may also present the challenge of seeing if you could get that person to want you.

As people get older the affair may be a chance to answer that question “Do I still have what it takes.”

6. Affairs are secretive solitary happenings.

Sometimes affairs are conducted in secret but more often than not the affair couple develops a social circle of friends who support the affair couples relationship.

The social group of one or both of the participants in the affair frequently encourages the affair couple. Working in a place with lots of single people or a culture of hook-ups and away from home sex can encourage an affair. Some jobs have a culture of partying after work, complete with alcohol or drug use and hook up sex.

In a setting where others are fooling around it is easier to end up hooking up yourself. Having friends who will facilitate your adventures and cover for you increases the risks that you will engage in an affair.

Affairs happen, more often than not. They can cause a huge amount of suffering. Some people have one affair and they regret it. Others repeat the mistake. If this is the first time and the person who had the affair regrets it then there is hope. Marriage counseling can help. So can individual counseling for the two married people to help them see why it happened and how to create a safe relationship in the future.

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.

5 ways the Internet may destroy your relationship

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

Computer

Internet usage.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Signs internet usage may destroy your relationship.

The internet has changed how we all live our lives for good and bad. It can help you find information, directions, and possibilities. Singles can use online dating sites to find dates or even long-term partners. It can create a lot of happiness.

Internet usage can also destroy relationships. Here are five ways your or your partner’s internet usage could be jeopardizing your relationship.  These are not discreet problems. A particular person or couple may be affected by one or several of these problems and sometimes one problem can morph into another.

1. Cyber-flirting and emotional affairs.

sex-on-a-cork-board

Talking inside games or chat rooms can start off innocently enough. In the relatively anonymous environment, it is easy to flirt, make sexual comments that would never be allowed in real life. You think you are getting to really know the other person at a very rapid pace.

In the online world, you do not have to see the person when they are tired or cranky. You can put only your best, often fictitious, self forward.

People will disclose to an anonymous avatar, feelings that they have been unable to express to their life partner. The feeling of being understood and cared for can be created quickly and look more real than it is.

More than one person has fallen in love with someone on the internet only to find out that this person never existed or was very different from the way they represented themselves.

Emotional affairs involve a giving of feelings and self to a stranger that should have been saved for the partner. People will tell their secrets and their partner’s confidences to a comparative stranger often with disastrous results.

Some partners of people having emotional cyber affairs describe them as even more painful and damaging than a real-life one night stand. You can alibi the one time sex, alcohol, being out-of-town, overcome by a momentary weakness. But the time spent in romancing a cyber affair partner and the keeping of the secrets this entails is a more severe breach of the trust that a relationship partner can excuse.

2. Cybersex.

Cyber-flirting can easily expand to cyber sex. IM allows a conversation that can quickly escalate in emotional intensity. People can live out their sexual fantasies; describe desired sex acts that they feel uncomfortable describing to a real live partner.

People become their alter egos; the unemployed man becomes a jet-setting playboy. The middle-aged mother of 6 becomes a hot twenty-something model and this fictional couple describes all the emotional and sexual acts they wish they could do. People may fanaticize about behaviors that given the chance to act out in real life they would decline.

This cyber flirting or cyber sex can involve masturbation and become a substitute for real-life sexual activities.

These cybersex activities may include sexting and incurring time spent thinking about and participating in fantasy sexual activities.

3. Internet created sexual affairs.

Cyber-flirting and cybersex may move into the real world. Online infidelity often begins with looking for an affair.

Adult dating sites and the relative anonymity of chat rooms have made it easier than ever before for people to find other people for sexual relationships. The relative anonymity of the internet encourages people to talk more openly and that feeling of intimacy can develop much more rapidly.

These internet arraigned sexual liaisons may go on for years, one partner after another.

Often these internet facilitated affairs are discovered accidentally. When they are discovered there can be an explosive reaction from the relationship partner.  This sudden disclosure of the infidelity can result in separations and divorce.

Even when the affair goes undiscovered or if the couple decides to stay together after the disclosure of the affair, this event can permanently damage or alter the relationship.

Developing the online relationship requires dishonesty and keeping secrets. To facilitate this behavior the partner having the affair needs to become more secretive and dishonest. The relationship couple moves farther apart emotionally. A distance between the couple may be created that can never be bridged.

4. Internet pornography.

The internet provides a ready access to pornography. There are graphic images of all manner of sexual activity. Some of these activities may be illegal, child porn for example.

Porn can also be computer generated with no real people involved in the activities the viewer sees. This material can quickly create a distorted view of sexual reality. Not many people have near perfect bodies. Even the most sexually adventurous person can’t engage in all the activities that are portrayed on the porn site.

A real live partner pales in comparison to the images on the web.

Viewing graphic sexual materials is very emotionally exciting and the occasional view can quickly escalate to an addiction. The magnitude and destructive properties of porn addiction have only recently been recognized and the harm porn can cause has been underestimated.

This should not be taken to mean that we should return to the Victorian era when no bare skin showed and sex was a taboo subject. Some sexual behavior and arousal are normal and healthy. Researchers have made the case that some viewing of sexual materials can inspire a couple to be more adventuress.

What is a problem is when this becomes a habit that races out of control. Sexual arousal is a very powerful force and can quickly lead to some form of sexual addiction.

5. Internet addiction.

In this internet activity, the sexual component is absent or minor. One member of a relationship becomes more and more involved in their online activities to the point of failing to meet relationship responsibilities.

They can play online games and forget to go to bed with their partner. They may stay up later and later to play online games or other activities.

Eventual this online need overtakes their real responsibilities. People with an internet addiction may miss work or come in late from being up all night gaming.

They may experience real emotional withdrawal reactions, anger, and anxiety when they are unable to participate in their customary on-line activity.

If you or your partner has developed any of these internet issues your relationship does not have to end. Marriage or relationship counseling can help. A relationship may become stronger and better as a result of the steps you take to repair these problems.

In future posts, I plan to explore internet addictions, affairs and other relationship issues in more detail. Hope you all stay tuned and follow counselorssoapbox.com

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

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Are internet affairs real affairs?

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

Computer

Internet.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are internet affairs real affairs?

Today’s post over at counselorfresno.com (my website for counseling clients) talks about the phenomenon of internet affairs, how they may be damaging real relationships and suggests reasons to seek counseling if you have experienced this problem.

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.