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affair recovery - technology is hurting your relationship

Stop Your Technology Affair Today

It’s Friday evening, you’re on the couch, watching Netflix with your spouse and your phone buzzes gently next to you on the couch. You glance over and a small smile crosses your lips. “Who’s that?” Your spouse asks. “No one.” You reply, yet you’re itching to pick up the phone.

Now, you’re out at a restaurant, your spouse heads to the bathroom, you pull out your phone and frantically check your notifications: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. You see your spouse coming back and quickly pocket your phone.

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to your phone. Are you having an affair with your technology?

You’re not alone.

It’s been thought that we check our phones at least 110 times a day, probably way more.

Your guess is as good as mine about how long we’re on our phones each times we check them.

Overuse of technology is a common complaint I hear in my office from couples, heck it is one of my own complaints.

Whether it’s during dinner, a movie, a date, a day out with the kids, you name it, it’s there.

What does all this phone time do to our relationships? How does it impact the quality of our love life? Is it really “harmless”, a victimless crime?

That depends.

For some couples, this isn’t an issue. For most, it is.

The iPhone 8 was released just last week and people are already plotting and planning on how to get it. I mean do you really need a new phone? What else could you do with the $700, of course I say invest in your relationship, but I am sure you already guessed that!

For couples, I always ask:
What are your rules and agreements around technology?
Does your phone or computer have a bed time?
Where does your phone sleep?
When do you have set weekly time that you spend with each other without technology?

Technology can rob relationships of time, presence, intimacy, and emotional connection, to name a few. It’s important to remember that staying overly connected to technology, when in the presence of your spouse or partner, is a way to avoid communication and connection.

When we think about the amount of time we invest in technology and checking our cell phones, our E-Mail, text messages, playing games on our phone, it’s little wonder there’s no time left for meaningful connection.

What we invest into getting the latest gadget or toy, we take away from investing in our relationship. (Check out my video on How Investing In Your Relationship Can Go A Long Way to see what I mean).

For couples who are struggling with getting the technology mistress out of their relationship, you might be wondering what exactly you can do to achieve that goal.

Set Boundaries

These aren’t just for other people! Boundaries around certain activities are just as helpful as setting boundaries with individuals in your life. Get some boundaries around technology. Putting your phone to bed, on silent, shutting it off or even stopping the notification dings, rings and bings helps if you jump every time your phone does. You need to recondition yourself.

Schedule It

I’m a huge proponent of scheduling your time and scheduling it wisely. We all get the same 86,400 seconds every day (go ahead Google it that is how many seconds in 24 hours; I Google’d it myself). They will be spent whether we plan them or not, they will replenish but we can never get them back. How are you spending your 86,400?

If you know you need to work with your phone or laptop for an extended period of time, schedule it for times when it won’t interfere with family time, add breaks in between working and put your technology to bed.

Get Present

Staying in the present moment is so important for couples. Mindfulness (Check out Everyday Mindfulness here) is a buzzword as of late, yet what does it really mean?

It means being fully present in the moment (bye bye, multitasking) without passing judgement on the situation. What does that mean for your relationship and technology? Leave the phone at home! Don’t worry if that would have made a great Instagram picture. Stay present and enjoy the moment for what it is; the memory will last longer that way.

Looking to end your affair with technology? I’m here to help. Feel free to give me a call to further explore the possibilities of getting your relationship unplugged at 954.401.9011 or E-Mail me at Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.

3 Ways You’re Killing the Fireworks

… and don’t even realize it!

Happy Fourth of July!

This is the time of year when summer really gets into full swing for most, unless you are reading this from the other side of the equator, lol.

Days are long, thanks to the summer solstice, the weather’s hot, and the fireworks aren’t the only thing exploding.

Some couples especially couples in longer term relationships struggle to keep the romance alive, which is completely normal.

But did you know that some habits are more likely to kill that summer lovin’ faster than others?

If you or your partner engage in any or or all three of these habits then you might want to take a look at your love life to make sure you’re not killing the fireworks.

  1. You work too much or too little

As a reformed workaholic, believe me when I say, “I get it”. Some of us just love to work.

It might sound a little strange, after all, who really likes to work all the time?

When you are a business owner and just love to create it is an easy trap to fall head over heels and start romancing and spending lots of time with your business rather than your spouse or partner.

Deathbed confessions are ripe with admissions of, “I wish I hadn’t worked so much.”

If you’re a workaholic, chances are something else in your life is taking a back seat and it’s likely your love life or relationship with your partner.

On the flip side, if you work too little, that could be a killer for the mood too.

Doing your fair share of housework, and having interests outside your partner are actually better for the overall satisfaction in your relationship.

It is always a balance between the right amount of individuality and together time.

  1. Your relationship isn’t a priority

When your relationship isn’t a priority, your partner can tell.

Sometimes, it’s work that gets in the way of relationships.

More likely than not, it’s the 100 other things that feel urgent like the leaking toilet, doctors appointments, in laws, trying to have more than 5 hours of sleep, doing the taxes, watering the grass, relaxing, Facebook, I could go on.

Let’s not forget the number 1 time takers and of course priority … kids, that is of course if you have any.

Most couples report a 67% decrease in marital satisfaction after the birth of their children and it doesn’t go back up again until after the children leave home.

Why?

Depending on who you ask will get you a variety of answers yet research seems to point to the fact that babies are needy and take attention from both parents, who then neglect their individual and relationship needs.

But there’s hope!

My rule of thumb and what I tell all the couples that I work with is that you have to make your RELATIONSHIP the number 1 priority over everything else.

I know I hear the gasping over there and the “but what about my kids they are the most important.”

Keep reading…

I ask the couples I work with:

  • Will you forget to bathe, dress or feed your child?
  • Will your forget to pick him up from school?
  • Will you forget to take her to the doctor?
  • Will you forget to spend time doing something fun with your kids?

You probably answered, “no”.  That is exactly the reason your relationship needs to be the priority you are NOT going to forget to be a loving, great parent to your child.

Will you forget to be a loving and caring spouse or partner if you don’t make your relationship a priority… yes.

I tell parents, the best thing you can do for your children is have a loving and healthy relationship whether you are together or not.

Before you read the rest of this, do me a favor and try this fun experiment CLICK HERE and see if you pass the test in #3.

Which leads to…

  1. You’re not present

How many times do you look at your phone when you’re in the presence of your spouse or partner?

This little convenient electronic which today makes up our lives feels more like a hand held mistress sometimes taking time and attention away from our relationships ( I say relationship”s” because I see this everywhere in all relationships).

Don’t worry, we all get distracted with our phone sometimes but it is important to set some firm boundaries around it.

When your partner isn’t your priority and you’ve got other things on your mind, like work or chores, or your social life, your relationship takes a hit.

I mean would you pull it out on a job interview, while you are being presented an award, during sex?   Just saying… put it away, give your spouse your full presence and see what happens.

There is this great quote I have seen before,  “being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.”  ~ www.marriagemore.com

Think about a time when you were sharing something with someone and they were so right there with you.  It probably felt really good.  Give that to your partner or spouse.

Mindfulness is a wonderful tool we can all use when we find ourselves distracted, no matter where we are in life.

By focusing on the here and now, we can more fully experience what life has to offer and that includes our relationships.

So there you have it, the 3 ways you’re killing the fireworks in your relationship.

Do any of these sound familiar?  Then don’t hesitate to give me a call so you can put that spark back in your love life today. I’m just a phone call away 954-401-9011.

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The Kentucky Derby and Your Marriage

I’m the first one to admit, I’m not much into horse racing, yet there’s something about the Kentucky Derby that is so interesting…

Is it the hats, the roses or the names…

Perhaps it’s the glamorous hats everyone wears which are reminiscent of the fascinators more commonly found in England. It might be the day long event to watch mere seconds of a race. It could be the beautiful rose wreath placed around the winning horse’s neck (Run for the Roses anyone?) Or maybe it’s just the funny names each horse is given, like American Pharoah or Always Dreaming.

While thinking about the Kentucky Derby this year, I found myself wondering the amount of time and energy jockeys dedicate to training for the Kentucky Derby (the most well known of the three races, the Belmont and Preakness Stakes make up the other two of the Triple Crown).

And inevitably, I got to thinking about marriage counseling.

Horse and Home Life

The process of becoming a jockey is lifelong; like an sport, height and weight requirements, in addition to starting at an early age are factors which play predominantly in the jockey’s success. The horse, its temperament, and relationship with the jockey are also contributing factors, much like the saying, “picking a good horse for the race.” For those reading who like to gamble and bet, you might be familiar with the process of picking a racehorse, following the horse’s past wins and losses, style of racing, comfort on a certain track, etc.

How different would our lives be if we devoted the same type of diligence to our marriages? Or whom with whom we chose to have children?

How do you prepare for big moments in your life?

Couples often underestimate the benefits of premarital counseling or How Premarital Questions Can Help You Have a Happy Marriage. Yet marriage counseling is not necessarily only when there are problems or difficulties in the relationship. Healthy couples are always preparing for the next step of relationships, from dating, to the engagement, to marriage, and what happens during the marriage.

Just like the three races of the Triple Crown, relationships go through three phases, from courtship, marriage, to maintenance. Each phase will require different energy, motivation, and responses from the individuals in the relationship. The maintenance required of a relationship with children is much different than that of newlyweds and a new set of skills and resources must be learned and harnessed.

How did you decide to get married? How did you decide to have children? How will you make future decisions about the course of your relationship and family?

Don’t worry about the Derby…

It’s easy to get caught up in the little things; the engagement party, the wedding, the baby shower, etc. It’s only natural. These are big events, with many people in attendance, and we want to make a good impression and have good memories.

I’ll share a little secret with you: these aren’t the only big moments in your life.

The big moments are those in which you’re sitting at dinner and decide that your partner is the one. The day you wake up and feel nothing but joy and happiness with your life, your family, your friends. The time your child shares with you a very large (or small) worry or concern with you and you respond in a kind and supportive way.

These are the big moments in life for which we prepare. If you and your partner need a little help in your marriage to prepare for the next big steps you’ll take, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 and Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com and I’m here to guide you and your partner in your marriage counseling. Talk to you soon!

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Katie Lemieux LMFT Family and Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Your Relationship Needs a “Spring Break”

It’s no secret most of us are working more and playing less.  Ugghh… (hand raised) I have been guilty of that for years.  I have finally resigned to no longer working weekends, only took like 20+ years, and have been incorporating more play into my life.  I can’t tell you how essential it has been for me.  It’s almost like my oxygen mask.

Psychology Today published an article, “The Decline of Play and the Rise in Children’s Mental Health Disorders” in which it outlined how the lack of play in children’s lives lead to a decrease in feelings of control for children, with dire consequences.  Wowzers, right!

Adults are no different. Sort of.

Everyone remembers the scene from The Shining, where the words “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” were typed over, and over, and over. Well, Jack Nicholson’s character wasn’t entirely wrong.

The Case for Vacation: Why Science Says Breaks Are Good for Productivity” highlights a similar sentiment as Psychology Today’s article: everyone needs a break to feel and perform their best.

And you all know I’m a big proponent of the Pareto Principle, which is that 20% of our input causes 80% of our results. And you all know that getting balanced was a first order of business this year for me, still is and an on going process.

Why all the fuss over Spring Break?

In it’s truest sense, Spring Break is a time for students to take a break from returning to school for the Spring Semester. Florida is one of the more notorious Spring Break destinations here in the U.S., historically Daytona Beach on the East Coast and Panama City Beach on the Gulf Coast.

Before you start planning your own Spring Break, stop for a moment and consider all of the leisure activities you enjoy doing, especially those with your spouse and family. How many of these leisure activities are you participating in regularly? How often do you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t take vacation, you can’t take a break, or you can’t stop working?

This month, I’m giving you a homework assignment. Counterintuitive, right? Work so you can stop working. It’s helpful though, I promise.

Take a minute to think about the things you and your partner really enjoy doing and things you enjoy doing solo. Try to come up with at least 10 activities, whether it’s 5 with your spouse, 5 alone, 10 with your spouse, 10 alone, etc.

These are the things you should prioritize when developing your weekly or monthly schedule. The beginning of every month should find you scheduling these leisure moments for yourself, your spouse, and your family.

Easier said than done, right? One of the biggest challenges the individuals and couples I work with face is getting started on implementing a new activity, task, routine, etc. It can feel like there’s a lot of effort put into making change, very little pay off. Who knows if you’ll even commit to doing those leisure activities you’ve scheduled. Need a little help deciding what to do? Or a little extra push to commit to leisure? Check out my blog on 25 Ways to Have Fun and Be Playful in Your Relationship or my others on 15 Ways to Make Your Relationship Sizzle this Summer. (Tried those? Here’s 15 more!)

My colleague Susan Block, LMFT and I created a video on “3 Things to Do Now In Your Relationship” for those individuals who were motivated and willing to begin making changes. This month, begin making the changes you want to see in your relationship, your work, your life and identify the need for a Spring Break. If you’re having a hard time hitting “Pause” on your habits, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com, talk with you soon!

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Coral Springs Couples Counseling Yoga

How Yoga Can Make Your Relationship Superior

It’s a great idea and fun to celebrate, random monthly holidays. What better way to brighten your (or your partner’s) day than by celebrating Happy Cat Month by looking at pictures of happy cats everyday for the month? (Not for you? There’s always Adopt-A-Dog month).  Speaking of Adopt-A-Dog that’s exactly what we just did.  We added to our family.  We adopted a 1 year old rescue from the humane society.  Now, I’m making the case for how yoga can make your relationship superior. 

September holds numerous monthly holidays (Happy Cat Month is one of them) but it’s also National Yoga Month and “Superior” Relationship Month. That got me thinking: what makes a relationship “superior”? Could every couples make their relationship superior? And could this been done through yoga?

Coral Springs Couples Counseling YogaI spend most of my time thinking about how couples can improve their relationships and find satisfaction in their lives together. While superiority holds a rather negative connotation, I’m reminded of the Ernest Hemingway quote, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” This month, I want to encourage couples to try and become superior to their former selves.

Where does yoga fit into all this? Yoga can be an incredibly transformative practice, for individuals and couples alike. Through yoga practice we find inner strength and peace, an ability to calm our mind, a way of letting go of judgement and living in the present. When couples practice yoga together, the experience is eye opening. Poses specific to couples yoga require clear communication as the couple moves from one pose to another, using each other’s bodies to stretch deeper into a position and really becoming in sync with one another.  I have done both couples yoga and flying yoga, so much fun.  What a GREAT way to enhance communication, create connection, and build trust with your partner.

There is no superiority in yoga practice and each individual honors where he or she in that moment of their practice. Why would we turn to yoga for superiority, if it appears to go against the basic tenets of the practice? Let’s return to the Ernest Hemingway quote, about being superior to our former selves.

Everyday is another day in our lives with opportunities to change the parts of ourselves we feel unhappy with or find cause us distress. The same goes for our relationships. There is nothing to hold back couples from starting today to become a superior couple, a healthy and loving couple, a successful couple.

A daunting task for most individuals and couples, one that doesn’t just start by taking a yoga class or two with your partner. Rather, the path to a superior relationship starts the way most yoga classes start: with an intention. You set your intention for your practice, whether it’s to try that headstand or stay in downward dog, why not set an intention for your relationship. The intention can be to express more gratitude towards your partner for completing a small chore, leaving a little love note, or even a quick phone call to check in on a lunch break.

Once you’ve set your intention, work towards reaching your intention each day with your partner. Encourage your partner to set an intention with you, not necessarily related to you, maybe related to a work related stress or personal goal your partner is working towards. There’s no right or wrong intention for you or your partner (unless of course that intention is spiteful in nature, that’s not the type of intention you want to set).

It takes time, effort, energy, and intention to achieve our goals in life and the same holds true for transforming your relationship into the type of relationship you want it to be. I’m always here to lend a guiding hand or a listening ear if you find yourself struggling in your relationship and can’t quite get it to the next level. I can be reached at katie@familyandcouplescounseling.com or (954) 401-9011; remember, your relationship is worth it!

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Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Give Your Relationship a “Labor Day”

If I asked you what Labor Day and your relationship have in common, how would you answer the question? It might be hard at first. Read below to find out why it’s so important to give your relationship a “Labor Day”. 

Unlike other holidays throughout the year, like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veteran’s Day, Labor Day is one of those holidays which gets a lot of love but little understanding. Created during the Industrial Revolution, when twelve hour days, seven days a work was the normal working schedule for the average American, Labor Day was meant to honor workers and provide a much needed day of rest.Couples Counseling Coral Springs

What does Labor Day mean to us now? For many couples and families it’s a welcome day off from work, right after the start of the school year in some parts of the country.

So what does this have to do with your relationship? Recently, I began rewatching old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and I found myself noticing how often the theme of career versus relationships or families was referenced. The title character struggles with how her childhood was marked by frequent absences from her mother, due to her demanding career as a surgeon.

It seems many couples fail to understand, or understand yet fail to act on, the idea of a relationship being largely like a job; a good job, hopefully, but a job none the less. A job is something that requires you to show up, be present, focus on tasks, and commit to seeing through to its completion. Sounds nothing like a relationship, does it? I beg to differ. Relationships are work; again, hopefully good work, yet work all the same.

Couples who struggle with intimacy and romance in later years often cite similar complaints: “The romance is gone” or “He/she simply doesn’t try anymore” maybe even, “It’s not like it was when we first started dating.” That initial spark which initially attracted the two of you together has slowly dimmed and gone are the days of couples taking the extra time or effort on one another. Couples may find the little things they do for each other taken for granted and unrecognized.

Just like Labor Day was created to acknowledge the hard work of the average American, couples should create time or ways to acknowledge one another’s hard work in the relationship. Each couple will find a different way of creating this time or way of showing appreciation to one another and below are some ideas to get your started on the path of appreciation with your partner:

  • Create a morning ritual
    • Most couples may have the same work schedule of 9 to 5; for those that don’t, getting quality time together before or after work can be a challenge. Something as simple as making a pot of coffee or preparing breakfast if your partner wakes after you can positively impact the rest of your partner’s day and your relationship. If you’re lucky enough to have mornings together, use an extra few minutes to share that cup of coffee or breakfast and start your day connecting.
  • Say “Thank You”
    • In my blog “Top 10 Tips for Saving Your Marriage” I write about ways couples can strengthen the relationship and tip number five is “Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude”. You’d be surprised how much of a difference a simple “Thank you” can make in a person’s day. Test it out: thank one of your co-workers for taking out the trash or getting something to you on time. Notice how it changes the interaction between the two of you. Then, test it out on your partner.
  • Dismiss distractions
    • Experts agree the bed and bedroom should be reserved for only two activities: sleeping and sex. If you find yourself with your TV, iPad, tablet, laptop, or even cell phone ignoring your spouse as you surf the web, take a break from electronics in the bedroom. See if you can go at least three days without electronics in the bedroom and talk to your spouse before going to sleep. Your quality of sleep won’t be the only thing that improves.
  • Anywhere but here
    • It might be too tempting to fall into everyday routines at home; there are chores to complete and easy access to all your (de)vices. Schedule a getaway for you and your partner (even if it’s a small staycation, a one night stay at a local hotel). This one requires a bit of commitment and planning on your part, unless both you and your partner are spontaneous and enjoy last minute decisions. Labor Day is a perfect time of your for a short getaway.

No one wants to think of their relationship as work; yet to ignore the fact that relationships take work would do a disservice to you and your partner, creating resentment and anger in the relationship. This Labor Day, instead of focusing on the barbeques and all the chores you’ll catch up on around the house, take a moment to focus on your relationship. If the chores are done with your partner, great! Just don’t forget about your partner and the hard work he or she is putting in the relationship. If you find yourself feeling like perhaps you or your partner need a little boost bigger than just Labor Day, I’m always here to chat, Katie Lemieux, LMFT www.FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com

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Couples Time Together Beating Boredom

10 Ways for Couples to Beat Boredom

As we say goodbye to the long and lazy days of July, which coincidentally was National Anti-Boredom Month. For those of you who may be feeling the weight of all the free time summer has to offer, you may also be searching for things to do with your spouse or partner. Here, you’ll find 10 ways for couples to beat boredom. 

1.DIY

Summer time is the perfect time to finish up those little (or large) house projects you and your partner have been putting off. Paint the guest bedroom that new color. But don’t stop there! Once you’ve completed your project, celebrate that success and your teamwork with your partner.

2. Celebrate the little things

Kids away at camp? Celebrate! Planned and executed a (semi) successful family vacation? Celebrate! No matter the size of the event, celebrate your success. While not everything may warrant popping an expensive bottle of champagne, simply thinking about your success can do wonders.

3. Host a BBQCouples Time Together Beating Boredom

July 4th may have passed but that’s no reason not to have friends and family over for some quality time (Especially since you may have a new deck patio to use or a refreshed guest room in need of some guests, if you followed tip

4. Build a Sand Castle

If you’re lucky enough to live near a beach or even a lake, building a sand castle with your loved one can be fun.  You might even consider this a metaphor for your current relationship, as all relationships take work and the stability of your sand castle will depend largely on how strongly you’ve built your foundation. For those of you who may be landlocked this summer with little to no sand in sight, stop by Michaels to pick up some sand or make you own!

5. Pokemon GO

I can’t believe I am even suggesting this, but this tip comes from a couple I actually work with.  Before Pokemon GO the wife walked the neighborhood by herself with the kids.  Intro Pokemon GO she and her husband went from 0 walks a week to 3 together.  A cool way for technology to bring some fun and exercise to a couple.

6. Get Outdoors

Get outdoors with your loved one. Water sports, like paddle boarding and kayaking, can be more enjoyable when you’re hot and sweaty, as the water will more than likely cool you off rather than chill you like during some colder months. Hiking nature trails early before it gets too hot may show you some local flora and fauna you’ve never dreamed you’d see.

7. See a movie

Summers are known for their blockbuster and family hits, so spend an afternoon at the theaters with your partner. Not big on theaters? Try watching a movie at home, with some popped popcorn, blankets, drinks of your choice, and lights dimmed. It’s all about attitude when it comes to beating the boredom and even something most of us take for granted.

8. Wash the Car

Chores? Over the summer? Forget it! But not just yet. There’s a reason films like Bad Teacher and Charlie’s Angels feature car wash scenes. There’s something sultry about getting soapy with your significant other and being able to spray them with water.

9. Expand Your Knowledge

It is a great time to take a course with your partner.  How is your financial health?   Perhaps take a course on estate planning, retirement, investing, cooking, etc.  I know some of those don’t sound sexy but they can be very important and necessary in the legacy of your family and relationship.

10. Take it to 2 Wheels

Bicycling is a great way to spend summertime and the health benefits are just an added bonus. Wedding Crashers shows how much fun a summertime bike ride can be with someone you love. Break out the bikes, break out a sweat, and get moving!  Rent a 2 seater bike and bike together, go teamwork.

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