Connection.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Connection.

Connection.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Connection.

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”

― Herman Melville

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”

― William James

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Look at these related posts for more on this topic and other feelings.

Emotions and Feelings.

Inspiration

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Unhappy Relationship Surprises.

By David Joel Miller.

Why your relationship won’t turn out the way you thought.

unhappy couple

Unhappy Relationship Surprises.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We humans have lots of relationships and no relationship is more important than the primary sexual, love relationship.  So many people enter into this relationship with great, wonderful hopes for how well it will turn out.  The truth is the majority, more than half of all marriages end in divorce.

For those who choose to live together without the benefit of marriage or who produce children even before they’ve gotten into the relationship, the chances of staying together are even lower.  How come everyone thinks their relationship will be different?  There are few reasons why most relationships are full of surprises.

Some things will not “just work out.” Love will not conquer all.

The common premise is that we’re so in love our relationship will be better than other people’s.  The truth is some relationships just will not work out.  A great many of these relationships end in the first five years.  The early ending relationships usually were not good from the beginning.  There was an attraction but not much more.  Often these relationships were conflicted, with verbal and physical fights.  With that much conflict, no amount of love can overcome the difficulties.

What used to be cute will become annoying.

People who decide to work on their relationship, try to fix things, often come to marriage counseling with a long list of things about their partner they find upsetting.  It’s common for those things that are upsetting to be the very things that attracted the two people in the first place.

He was exciting, but after a few months, that exciting becomes irresponsible.  She was stable with a level head on her shoulders, that stability becomes a stick-in-the-mud who never wants to do anything fun or take any chances.

Your partner will not change the way you want.

There is an old saying, men choose women and hope they will never change, women always pick men and hope they will change.  Getting into relationships expecting that once together your partner will change in some particular way is a recipe for failure.  While your partner likely will change, it is likely to be in any direction other than the one you hope for.

They will change in ways you wish they hadn’t.

Lots of the change your partner will undergo will be in directions you didn’t expect.  The partner who used to buy things for you will become the one who doesn’t want to spend any money.

That guy they used to be so much fun and joked with you is likely to turn into the one that flirts with every other girl.

Fifty-Fifty relationships do not work. It will be more like 80-80.

Couples who expect their relationships to be 50/50 are usually in for a shock.  Both partners in a relationship typically think that they’re doing far more than the other partner.  Someone estimated that successful relationships are more like 80 – 80.

There will be a lot more pain, trauma, and grief than you expected.

The one thing you can expect for sure is the unexpected.  Movies and fairy tales always end with a wedding.  What they don’t show are the hard times, the times when things go in the wrong direction.

The real world of relationships involves pain.  There may well be, losses and grief.  That happiness ever after quickly turns to after.

Your partner will do and say things you don’t expect.

The first rush of getting together you thought you knew each other so well.  Once the initial attraction wears off you’ll be surprised at the things your partner does and says that you never would have expected.

Your partner won’t see “obvious” things.

Even when you think both of you come from the same culture, you will find that you are mistaken.  Each of you came from a family and that family had traditions, ways of doing things which may well seem strange to their partner. The things that are obvious to you, things that need to be done, things that shouldn’t be done, may come as a great surprise to your partner.

Your partner will shapeshift. Prince charming is really a troll.

Remember the end of the movie, after what you see on-screen comes real life.  The princess doesn’t look so royal six months pregnant with a cold, runny nose and dirt all over her.  Somehow that man you thought was prince charming, a few months later will begin to look like he was really that troll from under the bridge.

You will have to put more in than you take out.

Lots of people get into relationships expecting to get their needs met.  Relationships are kind of like bank accounts. If all you ever do is take out and never put in, that account gets overdrawn.  You will find that over time you put a lot more work into this relationship than you ever imagined when you began it.

Relationships need maintenance.

After the relationship comes life.  Jobs come.  You have work responsibilities.  One or both of you may try to further your education.  Very often, way before anyone is ready, there are children.  It’s easy to neglect a relationship in the process of all the other things that happen in life.  Couples who fail to maintain the relationship wake up one day, look at each other and wonder why they ever stayed together

It is hard for the “US” to coexist with the “ME.”

In the early days of a relationship, it is all about us, us, us.  Eventually one of you starts to wonder, now that there is an “us” is there still a me?  Where before you used to want to spend every possible minute together, now you begin to wish for time to do the things you used to do before you were part of a couple.

Your finished relationship house won’t look like the blueprints.

The beginning of a relationship is kind of like planning that dream house, it all looks great in your head.  Once you get that dream house built you may well find out that there are lots of features that didn’t work out the way they looked on paper.

You can find more on this topic under Relationships.

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 Paths to a better relationship.

By David Joel Miller.

Do these things to help create a good relationship.

Couples

Creating a Better Relationship
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Couples relationships start off headed in the direction of bliss and somehow, for so many, they end up in the pit of suffering.  How did your relationship get so far off track? If you’re not sure you may need to take a look at the Relationship Destroyers and see how many of these you are practicing. But regardless of how your relationship got off track, are you ready and willing to take some steps to get headed in the right direction again?

It is easy to slip into blaming your partner, while blame may feel good in the moment it won’t change anything. If you are thinking you want to see some changes, consider what changes you want to see and how willing are you to do the work to get this relationship headed in the right direction.

Think of relationships like moving a couch. Really hard for one person to move it very far or fast. But two people together can get the job done. So if you feel like your partner has put their end of the relationship couch down you may need to pick yours up first to help them get willing to make some moves again.

Here are five paths you could consider that may lead to a better relationship.

Good relationships require investing time.

Spend time together if you want to be together. When you first became a couple the two of you spent every moment possible together. Then along the way life happened. You get busy with jobs, children and all kinds of outside commitments. Eventually, you had to reestablish your separate life. You had to start doing more and more things without your partner around. Eventually, you look up and wonder if you two have any interest in spending time together.

For couples to stay close they need to invest some of that precious time in the relationship.

Figure out where you are going. What do you really want out of this relationship?

Initially, the goal of couples is mostly just being together. Most couples never think about what they want from the relationship beyond the together part. Time goes by and then what happens?  You start to wonder now that you are together why aren’t things perfect? Children often happen so does work, family and other commitments and the goal of being a couple may get forgotten.

You wonder about those dreams and values you had before the couple thing came into your life. Are you two on the same page now? What is important? Religious values, or money and things? If you didn’t explore your goals and values during the early stages now is the time to do it. Now is always the time.

Have that talk about where you see your life going. Do you see yourself being together as old retired people? Or are you only staying together or the sake of the children? How would you know if this was a good relationship? Does that mean the same thing to both of you?

Shared goals and values is a pathway to a good relationship.

When your relationship is not working try a new path.

What are you willing to change about yourself and this relationship to make this work? Do you know any happy couples? What do they do that you are not doing? Is this relationship worth putting some work into? Would any relationship? Before you jump to the conclusion that you need to end this relationship and look for someone new think about what brought you and your partner together in the first place. Are you willing to try again with the partner you have already invested so much time and emotion with?

Clean your own wreckage out of the way.

For many couples the reason things are not going well is because of the unfinished business of childhood, that baggage you are still carrying. How much baggage do you have? Are you willing to work on you to make this relationship successful? Or do you still expect your partner to supply all the missing parts for your emotional life? No partner will be able to always meet your needs. You need to learn how to meet those yourself and then see how together you can create something that is better than either of you would be separately.

What price are you willing to pay for a good relationship?

What will you do or give up to have this relationship? The highest prices we pay in life are the things we buy with time and sacrifices, not the things that cost us money. Can you accept that you are wrong some of the time? Are you willing to go along with things your partner wants to do even when they make you uncomfortable?

Many people discover that the things they enjoyed about their partner when they were dating scare them after they become a couple. Does that exciting person now seem irresponsible? Does that confident person now seem controlling?

Try being more accepting and open to new experiences the way you two were when you first started out together and see if that is not a path back to that relationship you once had. Just know that no one gets back to exactly where they began that relationship, what you want is to find that happy place you once were at, only a little farther down the road of life. Plan on growing together.

Those are some ideas for new directions you might take your relationship as a way to make it better. Have you found any other ways to create the relationship you want?

For more on this topic see:

Relationships

Family Problems

Couples Therapy 

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.

How to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.

By David Joel Miller.

Do misunderstandings and confusion harm your relationships?

Avoiding confusion and misunderstandings

Avoiding confusion and misunderstandings
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Misunderstandings can damage relationships at home and at work. If your life and relationships are plagued with misunderstandings, people misunderstand you or they say you misunderstand them, there are ways you can improve communications. These examples apply mostly to the office or work setting but the same principles apply at home and in your personal relationships.

Asking lots of questions reduces misunderstandings.

Rather than jumping to a conclusion based on a few statements, ask questions. Often as you get more information you will discover that the other person left out important details. They may not have been trying to lie or mislead you, they just did not know that you did not have part of the information.

When someone uses the word “hot” do they mean a warm temperature or do they mean very desirable? If they talk about plans to go somewhere do they intend to go there today or next month or after they retire?

Many misunderstandings are the result of bits of information that were left out.

Check out your understandings to avoid confusion.

When someone says we are all going, who is all? Does that include Mary? And Bob? What if Mary and Bob just broke up, does the speaker still want them both invited? Does the person you are talking to know about that break-up?

The other person may assume you know what they know or that you are thinking about the same place they are. Ever show up for a meeting and find that the person who called the meeting had a different location in mind but failed to convey that information?

Precise language makes things clearer.

Fuzzy language leads to misunderstandings. Strive to fill in the details. Things like “and stuff” and “you know what I mean” leave a lot of room for serious misunderstandings.

How big is big? If we need a lot of paper is that one ream or 100 reams? If you partner says to not let the kids do something is that today or ever? Should you tell them no or are you expected to hold them down and stop them?

Put it down in writing to get it right.

A saying in many offices is that “if it is not down in writing than it didn’t happen.” Documenting things avoids misunderstandings. This is especially important if there is money involved or someone is doing something now and the other person will do something else later. When is later?

Successful meetings usually have minutes. Deciding who will do what works better if it is written down and everyone gets a copy of the minutes. More than once we have done that only to find that not everyone was in agreement. I thought one person was in charge and someone else thought they were in charge of that activity.

Just because I said we needed to do something did not mean that I planned to be the one to do it.

Written lists are important in your home life as well as you work one. Give kids more than one thing to do and they tend to forget the second and third thing. Written chore lists help avoid forgetting.

When I am going to the store I make a written list. Otherwise, I get one ingredient but forget something else and need to make a second trip. This becomes more problematic when someone else needs to do the shopping for me.

Check back during the process to keep the communication working.

If things will take time to get accomplished it is wise to check back as the project progresses. Things change. The person who said they would do something may have gotten sick or discovered they had too many other things to do.

Checking in as things progress lets plans be adjusted. Better to change plans than to spend a lot of time at the end on whose fault it is that something did not get done or was done wrong.

Double and triple check your facts for reduced misunderstandings.

Sometimes that thing you were sure you knew turns out to not be true. Recheck dates, times, names and costs. Get those facts right.

Sunday your family member says that there is an important meeting “next Monday” Does that mean tomorrow or a week from tomorrow. I know purists have ways of telling you the correct way to say things, but does it matter who was right when you show up for an event on the wrong day? Recheck the facts and avoid the misunderstandings.

Make your yes’s yes and no’s no.

Sometimes people say yes to acknowledge that they heard the speaker. They may be agreeing that so and so said that, but not agreeing to the truth of the statement or that they will do as requested. No may mean that the statement was not accurate rather than that they were opposed to the goal.

Do not say yes or no unless that is what you mean. When others say yes or no check what they are agreeing with or disagree with.

Don’t take things personally.

People may say things about others behavior. They have in mind a particular behavior and a particular person. They may not have you in mind at all.

Do not assume that people are knowledgeable about your needs or tastes.

Keep things simple.

The longer the statement the more time there is for there to be confusion and misunderstanding. Long explanations rather than making things clearer often make them harder to understand. For clearest communication use short simple sentences. Check that people are following what you say as you go.

Many misunderstandings are the result of a long conversation with few pauses which leave the listener with a different message than was intended. The less the person you are talking to knows about your topic the simpler the explanation needs to be. This is especially important in communicating with younger children and those with some emotional or mental disabilities or cognitive impairments.

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.

Making 2015 a great year

By David Joel Miller

What is ahead for you in 2015?

Happy New Year

Happy New Year From Counselorssoapbox.com
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The New Year is upon us. For some this has come too soon, you were not ready to let 2014 go. For others 2015 could not have waited one more moment, you were ready for a new beginning. Either way here is wishing you the best year possible.

Some of you are nursing hangovers today, the physical alcohol-induced kind. Others find that their hangover is more emotional, an excess of negative feelings left over from the past year. Others of you are living with a hangover sufferer of the physical or the emotional variety.

Counselorssoapbox wants to be helpful no matter what difficulties you have carried forward from the last year. The official purpose of this blog is to be helpful in your creating the best life possible. I think of that as planning to be happy.

This year the plan is to continue to present posts on the topics of mental health and substance abuse, especially to mention the times that these two problems happen together. Those time when someone has both a mental illness and a substance use disorder is referred to as a co-occurring disorder or sometimes as dual-diagnosis.

But that will not be all we do.

Part of our discussion this year will be the continuing topic of mental illness, what it is and how it can and should be treated. I have some concerns that a whole lot of normal problems of living have gotten converted into mental illnesses and the system is spending too much time managing people with mental illnesses and not enough time helping them recover. More on this to come.

There should be no doubt at this point that I believe in wellness and recovery. People with severe mental illness and substance use disorders do recover and are able to create great lives. Recovery in my view does not mean cured. So having recovered your life, there is a need for tools to keep you headed in the right direction.

People do not have one and only one problem in their life. Some people do not have a diagnosable mental illness or a substance use disorder and still, they have problems. I hesitate to call these folk “normal” because the line between normal and not-normal is getting increasingly blurry.

These problems of day-to-day life include things like jobs, getting and keeping them, children and parents, love and relationships and a host of other issues. Counselorssoapbox will include some discussion of these activities of life that can cause you problems regardless of your mental or emotional state.

There are also topics that are not directly connected to problems, things like self-improvement and growth. We will talk about becoming the best, healthiest person you can be whether or not you have some other issue.

I do recognize that having one problem may put you at risk for others. Would someone who is unemployed and homeless have emotional difficulties? Probably. Now, what if they go through a divorce or breakup? These problems, sometimes called “life skills issues,” for want of a better term, will be the topic of some blog posts this coming year also.

Some technical, diagnoses and treatment questions come up from time to time. Questions about the process of therapy, starting, stopping and what does and does not stay confidential also come up. Some of you leave those questions in the comments or use the contact me form. Students in my classes and those I supervise also bring up those kinds of questions. Counselorssoapbox (Me) will try to answer those questions as much as possible. Keep those questions coming.

Some cautions here. This is a good place to remind you that nothing you read on the internet or in self-help books, (even my books when they get published) is a substitute for seeing a professional. It is not possible for me to do therapy via email or blog. If you need help please consider this and other blogs as information only and seek help from a local therapist or counselor. In an emergency call your local crisis number.

Thanks for reading this post or any others. If there is something you would like to ask, send the question on. Looking forward to making this the best year possible.

P.S. For those of you who were looking for a hangover cure for an alcoholic hangover? The only really effective one is time. Eventually, if you take care of yourself and do not drink more alcohol the hangover will pass. The secret cure for hangovers is prevention, not treatment. Next time drink less or possibly do not drink at all. Hope the hangover goes away 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.

Family Counseling for Family Problems

By David Joel Miller

Can counseling help family issues?

Family Problems

Family Problems
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Every family has some family problems soon or later. Some of these family problems are more serious than others. Most families try to work out their family issues without help from professionals. If you have tried the usual ways of dealing with or avoiding the problems in your family and those problems continue to cause you problems, now might be a good time to think about some family therapy.

Families may have difficulties that are unique, at least in the specifics, but there are some common issues that bring families to counseling. Here is a list of some of the more common family problems that might benefit from seeing a counselor.

You have old personal issues that need to be dealt with.

In the rosy glow of a new relationship, you may think that now your life will be better, your problems are solved. What most couples find is that it takes two mentally and emotionally healthy people to make for a healthy relationship.

If one or both of the members of this couple have unresolved life problems, they are on their way to creating an unhealthy relationship. People with serious mental illnesses can get together and develop a great relationship, but one requisite for that is that each of those two people need to work on themselves and their problem.

If one of you has “anger issues” or a substance use problem, that old issue is sure to move from being one party’s problems to being a family problem.

Trouble untying the knots to their family of origin and creating a new family.

Creating a new family unit requires navigating the sea of changing relationships from being a child in one family to being the adult in another family. Some parents find it hard to let loose of their married children. Some people, new in a relationship, keep pulling their past family into the mix.

Calling your parents or your siblings, even your friends, to discuss every piece of your couple’s relationship is likely to create a cluttered and uncomfortable relationship.

Cultures and families are or different. Some stay close forever and some quickly separate and become independent adults. If you and your partner are not in agreement on the role of parents and relatives in your new family this can create tremendous friction.

When disagreements and family problems arise, running to your family for advice and consolation can create the situation of alliances. Once you complain to your family about your new spouse you have poisoned the relationship. Do not expect to tell others your partners faults and then for them forgive them when you do.

Arguments over whose family to involve in holiday celebrations and which family’s routines and rituals to adopt are common family relationship problems.

You are not on the same page about where your family is going.

In new relationships, there are lots of expectations. There is generally a raft of things you forget to question or discuss. If religion is important to one member of the new couple, how does the other person feel? This is rarely something that will just work itself out as time goes on. Add children and the conflict grows.

If one person is a drinker or a drug user and the other person is in recovery this becomes a huge issue. Are you two in agreement about the role partying and drinking will play in your couple’s life? If one of you quit will the other quit also or will they sabotage your recovery to enable their continued use of a substance of abuse.

Your love fantasy can’t stand reality.

When you first fall in love you tend to idealize your new partner. The man is Prince Charming the woman is Cinderella. That all fades as the magic dust wears off.

Prince Charming turns into the troll and Cinderella becomes the ugly stepsister. If you had an unrealistic expectation of your partner and of what family life with them would be like, you are headed for trouble.

Stressful times cause family issues.

Life is full of stress. Being a family can make for more stress not less. Sharing the burden can lighten the load, but the load gets heavy the longer you carry it. What will happen to your relationship when life drops its stress on your couple relationship?

Unemployment, sickness, economic hardship are all likely in life. Some days are good ones and some are not.

Lifespan events magnify family problems.

Certain events happen whether you are prepared for them or not. Couples have children and the children grow and change. Or you plan on children and they do not materialize. Jobs come and go. You grow older. What used to be fun isn’t anymore. Then one day you begin to face growing older. The children leave the nest and you wonder what happened to the person you married. What happened to you?

Creating a family ended the couple.

Some couples discover that in the process of creating a family they lost the relationship between them. The years go by and if you do not work on being a couple you may find that you have nothing left once the children leave.

Some people compensate for this by trying to stay a part of their children’s lives. They can become the over-involved meddling parents that caused them problems early on. Other people separate or divorce. With no children left they can’t find anything they still have in common.

Baggage and Blending create family problems.

So you get together and you break up and then you get together again? In this process rather than reducing your pile of problems, you may well increase them.

Certainly, there are great second marriages. But each partner comes with a set of problems and changing partners does not eliminate your problems, it just offers you more issues to work on.

Now you have not just yours, mine and ours, problems, but also exes and their new spouse problems along with step and half, and so on family issues.

If these or other family problems are distressing you and your family consider getting professional help. An independent third person in the room can facilitate talking through and resolving your family issues. Marriage and Family therapists are specially trained in working to help families create their happy life.

Does your family have family problems you need to work through?

For more posts on Family issues see:  Family Problems

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.

Relationship mistakes to avoid

By David Joel Miller

How many of these relationship mistakes do you make?

Thinking that relationships should be easy is a mistake.

Relationship Mistakes

Relationship Mistakes
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Ed Yourdon)

Life is difficult sometimes, so are relationships.

If there are tough times in your relationship that does not mean that this is a bad relationship. Any relationship you will ever be in will have rough patches.

Some people think that a great relationship should always be good. When the bad times come they mistakenly believe this means the relationship was never good.

Having struggles does not mean the relationship is doomed.

Believing the other person can make you happy is a mistake.

Two unhappy people do not make for a happy relationship. Learn to be happy by yourself and then in a relationship you can have even better times. Thinking that it is your partner’s job to make you happy is a recipe for disaster.

Occasionally someone can help you feel happy for the short run but in the lifelong time frame you need to work on your happiness and your partner needs to work on theirs. Together two happy people can be even better.

Don’t think that one mistake and the relationship is over.

No one will ever be perfect. If you jettison your partner over a single mistake you will run through a lot of partners. Some “mistakes” may be on your no-way list. Make these clear to your partner early on. But if your partner turns out to not be perfect at everything on your wish list, this means that they are human, not that the relationship is hopeless.

Don’t think that you have to trust completely about everything.

There are levels of trust. Set your expectations too high and you will set yourself up to feel like you can’t trust your partner. You should be able to trust that your partner cares and that they will make a good effort at the relationship but if they forget an appointment or they do not remember something important to you this does not mean you can’t trust them.

If you have trust issues look at yourself and decide if you would trust you. Many people find they have set the standard for others above what they expect from themselves. Set your expectations for other humans too high and you are engineering failure.

Avoid thinking that you need to tell your partner everything.

Too much honesty can be a relationship wrecker. You do not need to tell your partner all the things they do wrong. (See the post – Just being honest – 5 times telling the truth is a bad thing .)

There are some things you partner can bear to hear. If you run to them with every hurt and disappointment you may overload them. If you have personal issues you need to work on, consider seeing a therapist. Your partner is too involved in your life to be able to listen to all your past issues.

Your partner should always be there for you.

Life is compromises. We expect our partners to be there for us during the big things but remember that your partner needs to balance the other parts of their life. Most partners come with families, friends and hopefully jobs. While you should be your partners top priority that does not mean that they can drop everything and be at your beck and call. People who expect too much togetherness set the relationship up for failure.

Trying to fit your partner in between other things doesn’t work.

Just like you can’t expect your partner to always be there, relationships do not work if that partner is never there for you. Make sure you are each other’s top priority. Family and friends have their own lives. Jobs will come and go. Eventually, the children grow up and start their own lives. A life partner should be there the whole way.

Make sure the two of you carve out time for the couple 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

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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.