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August 31, 2014 / 5 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Gary Neuman’

Once A Cheater, Always A Cheater?

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Cheating on a spouse is a terrible betrayal. Yes, sadly, it is quite common, but that doesn’t erase the devastation and pain it causes. The discovery of cheating almost always comes on the heels of extreme lying. The big question always is, how can the one cheated on ever trust again? It is logical and practical to think that once a spouse has cheated, there is no reason to assume it would not occur time and again.

It’s worth being concerned about. In my study of cheating men, 46% had cheated with multiple women. Although the rest only cheated with one woman, some did return to the woman after promising not to.

After helping thousands of couples heal after cheating, here are the sure signs of whether or not your spouse will cheat again:

Remorse. If your spouse is cavalier about cheating and is less than profusely apologetic, you’re in trouble. While genuine remorse in and of itself does not protect you from future cheating, it is an absolute prerequisite for the possibility of future fidelity. If phrases like, “everyone cheats” and “how long is this going to bother you” are bandied about, that is a sign that the cheater is not doing the work necessary to protect the marriage.

Daily behavioral changes. The cheater must now show you that he or she has made serious changes which will greatly reduce the odds of it ever happening again. This would include distancing from friends who encouraged or in any way played a part in the cheating. For example, in my research, 77% of cheating men had best friends who cheated as compared to less than half of faithful men. There’s likely a need to be changes in the manner in which the cheater deals with the opposite sex as well.

Transparency. The cheater must allow accessibility in all areas – including passwords to emails, phones and computers. In essence, the cheater has to be okay with living on a short leash for some time. This is never comfortable because it is a constant reminder of tragic mistakes, but it is a necessary component for the victim of the cheating. Everyone knows that if someone wants to cheat, no surveillance will be enough. But it is the cheater’s willingness to be open and responsive to any concerns that helps the hurt spouse begin to move forward. I have gone to such lengths as to send certain cheaters for lie detector tests at the start of, and then a year into, therapy as a way to prove honesty in the future. This is an example of how much the cheater must be willing to help the spouse gain trust again.

Complete honesty about the past. The spouse who was cheated on needs clear answers to questions like: are you still involved in any capacity with any others, what were the circumstances of how the cheating happened, how often and when, etc.

However, I caution you not to ask graphic questions that are only going to help you form an image. Sure, the one who was cheated on deserves any answer but not every answer will lead to a healthy future. It’s a good sign when the cheater is willing to give answers. This shows that he or she recognizes how painful this has been to the spouse. However, if the cheater still seems more sensitive to the other person than to his/her spouse, that’s a recipe for future cheating.

Changes in your marriage. You, the one cheated on, may not like to hear it, but most cheaters (88% in my study of male cheaters) were experiencing great distress in their marriages in advance of the cheating. This doesn’t mean it was in any way your fault; but it does mean that both spouses have to seriously figure out what their marital needs are and how to start to fulfill them.

Counseling. There must be some form of counseling. It cannot be brief and if the cheater is unwilling to attend or continue, bad news. In my study, only 17% of couples went to counseling and only 1% went for more than 10 sessions. Counseling gives the couple an open forum to discuss matters that are difficult to resolve when discussed alone. There also needs to be an agreement that if you ever want to reenter marital therapy in the future, the cheater will go without any struggle. Counseling should include many individual sessions for the cheater in order for him/her to discover deeper issues that have led to such behavior.

Why Do Celebrity Marriages Fail?

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Not long ago, he was jumping on Oprah’s couch like a lovesick teen, and now Tom Cruise faces a bitter divorce with Katie Holmes. Why is it that when a couple seems to have everything: fame, fortune, health, and an adorable child, it doesn’t work? It’s enough to make everyone else hopeless. After all, if celebrities have everything and can’t make it, what are the chances for the rest of us?

Don’t worry. The very fact that they have it all is the very undoing of a good marriage.

Fame is dangerous to relationships for at least a couple of reasons. Most troubling is that it demands swaths of time away from each other, as seen by the divorce petition being served while Cruise is in Iceland on a shoot. My research of over 400 married women showed that the number one indicator of happiness in a marriage was the amount of time spent with one’s spouse. Women who were happily married reported spending a daily average of over 30 minutes of uninterrupted time talking to their man. Unhappy women reported a daily average of less than 30 minutes and 24% of those unhappy reported that they spent less than five minutes a day talking to their husbands.

It should come at no surprise that consistent time is necessary to sustain a happy marriage. All relationships need time and consistency. We need to keep up with each other’s lives, look into each other’s eyes, be in the same physical space to feel the mood and emotions from each other. Without that, we might love each other, but staying “in love” demands much more than occasional get-togethers where we catch up. You would never say to your six-year-old for example, “Hey, can’t wait to catch up but right now I’m finishing a project. I can’t wait to talk about first grade and catch up in a month or two.”

Celebrities seem content with the understanding that their work schedule will take them away from each other for long periods of time. However, it is a simple recipe for disaster.

The next problem of having “everything” is the inability to define what is your “couple culture.” A marriage needs to have a sense of meaning and a way to grow together – there needs to be a purpose to the union. Rarely do couples actually discuss what they want their culture to be. Rather, it generally forms as immense collective energy is thrown into career and/or family building. But when you have it all and it seems to come easy, couples often lose their way and life becomes a quick, steady path of self-indulgence.

The individuals no longer truly “need” the other to live happily. Instead, they just like being together. Yet, a couple needs to feel that life without the other is quite impossible. If a spouse does not feel a need to have the other in his or her life on a daily basis, that is a short step away from separation. After all, once separated, what have you truly lost? If you have been living your goals and dreams largely through your own strength and ability, then being married has become the spice instead of the main course.

The beauty of a Torah marriage is in the need for the other person in order to develop the very soul of both spouses. We cannot survive and grow as Hashem intended unless we work to make our marriage meaningful in and of itself. The marriage must be identified by the action it is taking as a collective force to better our world.

For your couplehood, make sure that you are spending regular consistent time with your spouse. Be sure that you are able to chat about the day and talk about things other than the stresses of life. Remind each other what you are building together and if you don’t know what that is – figure it out immediately.

Rabbi M. Gary Neuman is a New York Times best selling author and psychotherapist. He has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, Dateline and GMA. For more information about Rabbi Neuman and his work go to www.mgaryneuman.com and follow him on facebook and twitter @mgaryneuman.

I Want To Be Religious And My Wife Doesn’t

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Question: I am becoming an Orthodox Jew. I totally love what I am doing and the new meaning it is giving my life. I want to be become more strictly observant, but my wife does not agree and has become an unwilling participant. She refuses to consult with my rabbi because the one time she spoke with him she felt he wasn’t being sensitive to her needs. The more religious I become, the more irreligious she becomes. I really do love her but as far as I am concerned, when it comes to religious observance, things are black and white. I don’t want to live a non-observant lifestyle and yet, she won’t consider becoming religious. What do I do? I told her I was writing to you and she agreed to try whatever you’d suggest.

Answer: The pressure is on. While I am a big fan of a religious lifestyle, I am also a fan of a happy marriage. It is truly a wonderful moment when spirituality and marital love exist together. Your question, however, highlights the general issue of how do we make changes in our personal lives when we are married and expect to keep in step with that relationship.

Any union that will make it to the 50-year mark, and beyond, is going to face significant changes, because we will change as people. Those changes are often not the same for both halves of a couple, so the marital concept of growing together will often face a major challenge.

The answer lies in forming a loving spirit of cooperation by both spouses. First, the spouse who seeks change – in your case it is you wanting to become more religious – has the responsibility of including the other spouse in his/her desire to change. This means that you offer her a say in how to proceed. The fact that she did meet with your rabbi and is willing to listen to my suggestion means she isn’t closed to the process, but rather, hasn’t found a comfortable way to become a part of it. It might be a good idea to visit different synagogues with her, in the hope of finding one you can both relate to. This will also give her the feeling of having a say in the process.

You’re desire to lead a more religious lifestyle is admirable but it’ll be a far richer experience with the love of your life along for the ride. Toward that end you may have to go slower in making certain changes and give her time to “catch up” and join you on this journey. This doesn’t mean you each won’t have your individual thoughts, feelings and strengths. In fact, each of you will relate to different parts of what religious life offers because you are different people. This is wonderful because you will teach each other things you wouldn’t have related to on your own. But at the core, you will become closer to each other and reach a consensus on how to proceed.

The second part of cooperation is solely your wife’s job. Too many people discount any changes desired by their spouses claiming it wasn’t what they agreed to when they married. Of course not. How can we stay exactly the same throughout our lifetime? Others will think they are being good husbands or wives by telling their spouse to do what they want as long as they keep them out of it. This is a recipe for disaster.

What do you think happens when one spouse commits to personal changes and chases his passion without the involvement of his mate? Nothing good, that’s for sure. Either there is a mote of distance that quickly builds or the changed spouse finds someone else who loves these changes and gets on board (or both). Obviously, this doesn’t mean that a spouse can’t have some personal interests not shared with his or her mate, but it does dictate that there shouldn’t be too many and primary passions are best shared.

When your spouse feels compelled to discover new things, get in on it from the start. It may not be your choice or something you’d ever think of doing, but isn’t that what marriage and life is all about? We develop a complicated quilt of life experiences because of the people we love. If you’re child becomes a violinist, you’re going to learn more about Mozart than you ever cared to. Likewise, if your child is hearing impaired, don’t you think you will become an expert in sign language?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/i-want-to-be-religious-and-my-wife-doesnt/2011/01/26/

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