Tag Archives: relationships

Matters of the Wounded Heart

Last year, I published a book called The Rescue You Program: How to Improve Your Life and Reinvent Your Love after an Affair, this being a personal experience for me. The affair in my marriage happened four years ago, but I can recall the emotional roller coaster I rode as if I was on it yesterday. The first chapter in my book, Shock and Circumstance, is led by this song lyric:

” . . . this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness, that brings me to my knees.” –Angel by Sarah McLachlan

Oh, that song. It was in my ear often back then and it still showers peace over my heart when I hear it now. In the immediate aftermath of an affair, when you’ve realized that everything that was, isn’t, anymore . . . It’s tragic and there is grief. Since my own experience, I have learned to love grief. It is your body’s natural cleansing and it washes over you as you mourn the loss of something. It can be beautiful and transformational.

For several months after I published, I heard no reader feedback. My book still remains review-less on Amazon.com. I told myself, “No news is good news,” but frankly, I had no idea how people were feeling about The Rescue You Program. Until recently. Comments and emails started crawling in, and they’re coming from real-life readers in real-life situations.

When I receive a Rescue You reader comment, fireworks go off in my heart. I write back, saying more than I probably should. I tell them “great work,” and “what a traumatic time for you,” and “I’m so proud,” and “all the best.” But what I feel–what I’d say if it could get the whole message across would be:

I love you so much.

First of all, I’m thrilled and thankful that people read my book. That, in itself, fills my heart. However, the fact that these women contact me? Well, I’m honored beyond words. I often compare people who face difficult life struggles with  the caterpillar-butterfly transformation. Did you know that when a caterpillar enters a cocoon, it doesn’t simply sprout wings? Instead, the caterpillar dissolves into sticky liquid form and then rebuilds itself as a butterfly. I can close my eyes and know that feeling–that liquid form-feeling. It’s vulnerable, sweet, and the absolute truth.

When readers write to me, I know that in a matter of long months, or short years, they will hardly recognize that old, caterpillar-self of theirs. They’ll think, when I was a caterpillar, I never even knew butterflies existed! But the one thing us butterflies will never, ever forget? The sweet madness of our cocoon and the glorious sadness of the transformation.

Love . . . in liquid form.

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Real Housewives of Anywhere in This Country? Yes, Puhh-lease.

Do you know what I think is so funny and categorized under: inside jokes that I create and enjoy all by myself? I found Bravo host Andy Cohen on Twitter and I want to type him questions and comments about the show all day long. I actually make fun of myself as I’m doing it, but I want to do it so bad, that I won’t not do it. You know what I mean?

@BravoAndy Jill Zarin calling man’s shoe cheap while cleaning dog feces off of it in her kitchen sink. Did I really just see that?

Alright, let’s do this damn thing. And please, if you have a blog or post where you like to talk about The Real Housewives of anywhere in this country, link up. As always, comment at will.

I think that one of my favorite quotes from all of Real Housewives is when Bethenny from NY said in a reunion episode, “That’s normal reality show banter.” It made me love her, because it’s so true. Everybody needs to unload sometimes, but these ladies have a camera–that not only absorbs it, but records it forevermore. Forevermore. And some people get into the show and just hate on these women. Let me be clear, I do not hate. In fact, even when I dislike a personality that I watch each week, I still appreciate the casts’ willingness to put their lives on TV to be watched, admired, and/or judged.

One of the reasons that The Real Housewives simply fascinates me is that the cast members with the most difficult personalities come to the show seemingly thinking they’ll be loved. The producers of a show like this–especially a show like this on Bravo TV–know exactly what they’re doing when they choose who to show the audience. Watching a character like Danielle from NJ think that she has a point the world can relate to is nothing less than captivating. And when I see Danielle drive toward Caroline’s fundraiser to crash it, I think of Jeff Probst who often describes what happens in Survivor production when something crazy goes down on their show: They’re popping champagne bottles. Reality TV JACKPOT! I love watching that, even though I don’t agree with Danielle. At all.

Now, I’m watching NYC and NJ simultaneously off the DVR and I’ve got to tell you, it’s all so delicious. Sometimes it tastes a little sour, even bitter, but most of the time it’s just sugar and empty calories–quite the indulgence. NYC is pure drama. P.U.R.E. Drama. I’m thinking most of those ladies are pretty sad, most of the time, but I love to see them have a good day. And NJ is off-the-charts fantastic. NJ has to be, by far, my favorite cast of all the Real Housewives on Bravo TV. When they’re not making me laugh, they’re making me smile and I think many of them know true joy.

I am also loving that all of the cast members have blogs on BravoTV.com where they discuss each other and themselves after each episode. To try to get a conversation started, here is a list of my Favorite Housewives:

NeNe of ATL: NeNe is funny. I can’t be the only person who notices that she’s only mean to others when something in her life is making her really sad. I love her.

Candi of ATL: I love that she’s in the mix, because she’s so clear-headed and rational. The fact that she’s so sensical makes the nonsense on the show even more nonsensical. I love that. I wish her and NeNe could put their egos aside and become friends. I think they would have a great time.

Vicky of OC: If you don’t like Vicky from the OC, that’s understandable. She’s self-involved and her ego is too big for her house. She’s one of the cattiest, and she wants to always be right. People who throw their strong opinions out at will, and then run-away when confronted about them as too fragile and delicate for conflict, drive me crazy. I recently read a blog Vicky did on Bravo.com in which she sided with Jill Zarin 110% and basically implied that Jill was a victim of Bethenny’s mean and hurtful attacks. That’s typical of both ladies. They stir the pot and then, backhand to forehead, sigh and distress about how tumultuous the waters have become.

That said, I like Vicky’s work ethic. I know that she throws her work ethic in our faces CONSTANTLY, that’s only because I think she may be one of the most insecure women we’ve ever seen on TV. She’s constantly angling for a position of superiority. However, I think she means well. I think she really doesn’t know what she’s doing when she wrongs someone, or shows up at her son’s college house with a 6-pack. And that’s the beauty of her: she’s trying, in her own way, to be the best that she can be.

Teresa of NJ: You had me at, “I don’t want to live in somebody else’s house. That’s gross.” I adore this lady. She’s having fun. That’s what life is about!

Frankly, I think most of the NJ cast is extremely likeable, so I will tack Dina, Caroline, and Jacqueline into this Favorites category. Real Housewives of NJ is what I thought I was getting into when I started watching these series. I love seeing how they live, how they dream, and how they play. This is, by far, the easiest cast to watch, even with their own version of villain thrown into the mix (read: Danielle, below).

Bethenny of NY: I think she should narrate every episode of every geographic region. I think that would be hysterical. I’m team Bethenny, by the way, or at least, so far. I see that the tides are turning and Jill is about to start chasing Bethenny around like a heart-sick puppy and I may trade teams at that point. I want these girls to be friends, and I want them to vote Kelly, Sonja, Ramona, and LuAnn OFF the island of Manhattan. Ugh. New York has the most dramatic cast, and I find it the hardest to watch.

Jill of NY: I like her a lot and I love to see what’s going to happen next with her. I enjoy seeing her family dynamic and watching her ridiculous relationship with “Gingah.” I was fascinated when that dog went to the bathroom all over the room when the vet came to the house. But, I have my issues as mentioned under Vicky.

Jill drove me crazy when Bethenny was being the heart-sick puppy. She wanted an apology. Then Bethenny apologized and she said, “Well, did she ask how’s Bobby?” So Bethenny wrote a letter to Bobby asking how he was. Then Jill says, “Did she write me a letter?” It was never enough for her, and I think she really liked being chased. Again, just like Vicky, she stirs the pot, and then when it comes to a boil, feigns distress, like she may faint at any moment. I’m not buying it.

And The Others, who captivate me:

Kim from ATL: I almost want to leave this blank, because I don’t know how to explain how badly I don’t understand this chic. What is she doing? I never know what she’s doing.

Ramona from NY: Ramona is either chemically imbalanced or just absurdly insane. It drives me crazy when Andy and guests talk about her on What What Happens as if she’s a regular person like the rest of us.

LuAnn from NY: Is this woman for real? I mean, seriously. She is the most ludicrous housewife to date.

Jo from old episodes of OC: While wearing pig-tails, sucking on lollipops, seducing a minor, and baby-talking @National TV, Jo pouted for the 2 or 3 seasons she was on about how she couldn’t fit in with the other adults. I think she was under serious delusion that she was a real-life Gabby from Desperate Housewives.

Slade Smiley from OC: Is there a petition I could sign to get Bravo to stop putting this man on the air?

Danielle from NJ: I’ve seen crazy, but never like this before. I’m scared right now, because the NJ housewives keep alluding to something that’s about to happen that makes Danielle’s regular crazy seem mild. I’m scurrred. How many kinds of insane do you have to be before you actually get kicked off a TV show?

And, that’s that. You may disagree, but really,whose gonna check me, Boo? Feel free to discuss, link, and check back for more banter about reality teevee banter. In the happy meantime, check out this post from a recent episode of Real Housewives of NY, but prepare yourself for graphic language and raucous laughter:

Real Housewives of New York: These Are the People In Your Neighborhood by Richard Lawson

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Honest Talk: After the Affair

An extramarital affair is such closeted material, which is the number one reason I love discussing it! If you’re having this experience, you may know that it’s virtually impossible to get real people to talk about it, especially if they’ve successfully recovered from the ordeal. The first few months are grief-stricken and tumultuous and here, from O Magazine, is one woman’s account.

He Cheated, She Stayed: One Woman’s True Story of Getting Over Infidelity

There is hope! For more information, please visit my website at www.rescueyou.org or search “The Rescue You Program” at amazon.com. All the best in love and life!

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Should you stay together after an affair?

This way towards Hope

I love this question and I really love the couples who face it. Why? Because I can relate,  and just by closing my own eyes, I can recall their uncertainty, frustration, and the love they have buried with fear. Should you stay together after an affair? In my opinion, the answer is sometimes a hardy ‘no,’ regardless of the promise and promises people try to preach in their behalf. These people usually have a huge resistance to letting the unfitting relationship go and opening themselves up to the unknown–thereby missing wonderful opportunities in the right direction.

More often for the people who seek me out, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ I believe people know in their heart whether or not a relationship is worth their hard work and precious energy. Love is free. You can give that to everyone and everything, and there’s no price to pay. However, relationships are a harmonized give and take, so to love the one you are in a relationship with requires daily deposit. In your heart, you need to know that your deposit is worth your energy–or you won’t really give it your all–and you need to know that the relationship is providing you a nutritional return.

After an affair, there are certain characteristics a couple will demonstrate that show their passion and willingness toward each other. All of these are good signs that things will work out for the best. As a dear friend and counselor told me after I experienced betrayal in my marriage, “Sometimes a couple will never recover, and their relationship will end over an affair. Other times, a couple will recover and rebuild and their relationship becomes a thousand times better.” How do you know which category you fall under? Here are some clues that you’re headed for a thousand times better:

1. A Great Track Record. This refers back to another post about Maya Angelou’s quote, “When a person shows you who they really are, believe them the first time.” That doesn’t mean the affair–if a person was trying to show you their dishonesty, deceit, and disloyalty, you would have gotten millions of signs before the actual affair occurred. This means, when you look back on your history together, is it filled with loving, touching, caring moments? Can you tell that good comes from the core in your partner? Or does the good seem to cover up the deceit? I believe that a great track record can even include past mistakes when history shows that the mistakes happen because the person or couple does not know how to deal with times of uncertainty, stress, or upset. Can you see the love beneath your partner’s actions–good or bad? Do you have a record of resilience through tough times?

2. Joy and Optimism. Does your couple love to have fun together? And I don’t mean Bourbon Street, night club, stripper poles-kind-of-fun (and I don’t Not mean that, either), but here I’m talking about Sunday-night-at-home fun. Do you share an overall spirit of joy for the life you share? And the people and activities and things around you? Do you enjoy quiet times alone–is there laughter and peace? Do you look forward to tomorrow, next weekend, next year, and the next decade together? All of these are good signs in the right direction.

3. Connection. When my husband and I are feeling distant of each other, we often refer to our “connection” in conversations about it. Connection is important. It is the feeling that holds the relationship together, that knowing that when I’m not with you–I’m still with you. And vice versa. This is one and the same with trust. Connection can feel like a poor, abused innocent in the aftermath of the affair, but it’s important that you had it and that you are willing to rebuild and improve on it.

4. Passion. This is a given. You must love the one you’re with, and invest in rekindling that desire on a daily basis. Are you excited to see your partner at the end of every day? Do you look forward to phone calls? Intimacy is a fundamental building block in any love relationship. You may be experiencing trust and anxiety issues in this department, but passion can be restored after the affair.

5. Gratitude. This is such a healthy and rewarding expression of self. It is okay if you didn’t express your gratitude often before the affair, but it will be a key to rebuilding and improving your relationship for the future. Gratitude is the manifestation of loving thoughts and optimism combined.

For more information or personal affair recovery coaching, please visit my website at www.rescueyou.org. All the best in life and love, my dears!

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Dealing with Betrayal

Maya Angelou is known to have said, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” This sentence of advice may sting after a betrayal. Or, it may provide a great reassurance.

Can you remember a relationship that ended badly? Any type of relationship will do well with this example, whether it be with a friend, relative, or lover. You can probably look back into your history with that person and remember the first time they said or did something that gave you pause, like a spiritual red flag. We’re all susceptible to these slips in judgement, this misalignment with people. Trial and error is how we find best friends, true loves, and kindred spirits.

However, sometimes you want something to be as you expected it so much, that you overlook spiritual red flag #1. And spiritual red flag #2. And of course, spiritual red flag #3, until you’re full blown involved in your latest dysfunctional relationship. Yes, we get better at recognizing spiritual red flags, but we don’t always get better at honoring their presence. Before you know it, you feel off-course and agitated and that dysfunctional relationship is feeling pretty comfortable and safe. You’ve passed all the spirtual red flags on the road, and now you’re facing glaring “WRONG WAY” signage. Hence the quote, “When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Then again, sometimes things are not so cut and dry, especially in dealing with betrayal. Betrayal can be a poisonous bite from a venemous person. Or, It can be a self-sabotaging act of discontent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not out to help sweep wrongdoings under the rug. I like to think my job is to help good couples keep it together and help loving families remain intact. Sometimes, betrayal is not a revelation of a who a person is, as we so often see on talk show TV and tabloid articles. Instead, betrayal can be a misguided and uncharacteristic attempt to feel better.

The social rule for betrayal–especially in love relationships–is, “LEAVE!” You’re almost expected to do this or you’ll be seen as weak and dependent of the person who betrayed you. What if you know who a person really is, based on what they’ve shown you for the last decade or so? And what if it’s not harmful? What if the past is filled with spiritual green go flags? Would you be willing to leave a kindred spirit over social expectations?

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The Rescue You Program: How to Improve Your Life and Reinvent Your Love after an Affair

Available at amazon.com

www.rescueyou.org

or

http://www.amazon.com/Rescue-You-Program-Improve-Reinvent/dp/1449561683/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263765364&sr=8-1

Thanks for looking! All the best to you.

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